It IS a Good Friday!

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Posted by Brenda Gorseth | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 18-04-2014

I am calling this month’s season ‘sprinter’-spring and winter fighting on a daily basis; one day it’s warm and inviting and the next the snow is swirling. Still, life is good-family health is back on track, the weather forecast looks promising, and the kitchen is 99% done. I say this because we thought we were done, but then we went in there and made some minor changes. I need to find one more ‘good deal’ used fridge and it will be done. The health department came a few days ago and gave me the green light; I expect to get the county on board on Tuesday at a meeting, and then the real fun begins!

My grandpa used to say planting potatoes on Good Friday was important; if we did that today, we’d have frozen French fries out there, so I think I’ll pass. My son and I are finally going to start some plants today indoors and yes, I realize this is a month late. I am going to (gasp) buy transplants this year simply out of time constraints. Next year I will not be building a kitchen during this time and should be able to start plants. I hope. We are also going to give the house some much needed attention-dusting, vacuuming, washing-all the things my son ‘loves’ to do. Let’s face it-if it were my favorite I’d be doing them more often, too, so he’s not alone. However, the allure of a clean, decluttered house is exciting and needs to be done. Time to put on those big girl panties and get’er done. Yes, I had to add that to the dictionary; apparently  Larry, the cable guy, hasn’t gotten it approved yet for everyday usage.

Yesterday was a text book day. I baked cinnamon rolls, slathered some frosting on them and gave my son a few still warm when he got off the bus. It reminded me of growing up and having mom’s rolls hot out of the oven-heavenly! Then we took a walk to the mailbox (remember, it’s almost a mile long) which means the dog finally gets off her butt and eagerly comes with us. It’s fun to watch her scare up pheasants and play in the sloughs. However, she thinks it’s a great idea to shake her coat when we are close by-it’s bad enough having dog smell, but it is still chilly out-I think the cold surprised her, too. The cats gave a good show yesterday, too. It’s that time of year when cats get frisky…the mother cat felt the need (?!) to mate with her son and thus did everything in her power to attract him. He is not even a year old and befuddled; he knew he should be doing something but had no clue what it was. They started at one end of the yard and it was a parade of our dog, her, and her son; they’d move ten feet and fail time and time again. It was funny to watch…and slightly appalling, too.

My sister, son, and I went to San Diego a week ago to see our other son’s Navy carrier dock and participate in family day on the USS Ronald Reagan. It was wonderful as they were having a ‘heat’ wave early this year and we were there for it-temps in the upper 70s and 80s felt so good to soak up in our winter weary bones. We were on a carrier with over 7000 people and saw an amazing air show; of course, being on a carrier means going up and down those narrow, steep steps and touching the hand rails.  Both my sister and I came home sick-must bring hand sanitizer next time. However, it was so good to see our son and spend time with him; it doesn’t need to be fancy-just to sit and look at him is good enough for me. More importantly, it’s good for his younger brother. Those two are close and any chance I can get the younger one to see the older one-let’s just say a mother will do much in her power to make it happen. Having my sister/pseudo-twin with me was simply icing on the cake; her and I are experts at people watching together and we know exactly what the other is thinking when someone walks by who may spark an interest. The men in my family don’t get it, but she does. We also share dishes; we each order something the other would like to try and divide it in half. It’s like getting two meals for the price of one! And the great thing is, we don’t have to suggest it, we just chat about the menu, order and DO it. It’s the little things I miss…

I will leave you with a picture of the boys when the carrier first took off out of the harbor; the sun was rising and those two were enjoying each other’s company. Have a blessed Easter and don’t forget where you hid the candy!

Sound of the Sirens…

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Posted by Brenda Gorseth | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 02-04-2014

Hopefully you weren’t sleeping during class when Greek mythology was being taught or you will have no clue what I’m talking about today. I swear the commercial kitchen has become my Siren; I have a house to run as well as a business and on top of it I am moving in to the kitchen. It needs to learn to wait its turn, yet every time I  walk past it on the way to do something else I hear it calling to me, tempting me with its shiny steel and new (and used)  appliances just dying to be tried. I make a list when I get up as I’m enjoying a cup of coffee or tea and have learned to get the paperwork part of my day out of the way while I’m still fresh…yet the kitchen doesn’t care-it acts like a jealous pet and continues to nudge me into it. Three times today I walked in there, started to do something and then walked out because I had other things to get done first. At times I feel I’m losing my mind when that happens. Meanwhile, the bathrooms aren’t getting cleaned, the floors aren’t vacuumed and the laundry barely got done-only because I saw my son streak past me, looking for a clean pair of jeans, which then reminded me I better get them washed while he was at school yesterday. No one needs to visit my house for the next two weeks-I insist-until the kitchen is under control. Then I will give the house some much needed TLC before the kitchen begs me to bake something…and I will give in…I need some wax for my ear like Odysseus used for his sailors. Because let’s face it, how fun is it going to be to bake in the new kitchen? I can’t wait!!! I did, however, find my first spider in there today and whacked it pretty hard. I am NOT sharing that space with those six legged creatures.

I got the maple table done with much thanks to my Junkfest friend; she taught me the thrill of smooth wood after a good sanding. The table looks beautiful and is already full of appliances; to know all the hard work that went into it makes me appreciate it that much more than if I had bought countertops. She may have created a monster-when I have free time-wait, I had to stop and laugh at that-I have some other pieces to tackle in the other garage. I haven’t even ordered my seeds for the garden yet and I’m fairly certain we should have already started some of them. Just one more thing I need to carve time out for…

I will leave you with a picture of my new key chain-there are now four doors which have keys for the business…yet I keep forgetting to lock any of them, so if someone wanted to go in there and make a snack in the middle of the night or while we’re gone, it wouldn’t be difficult. It is really hard to get in the habit of locking your doors when you live in the country, your nearest neighbor is almost four miles away and the driveway itself is nearly a mile long. Someone would REALLY need a reason to come to our house and break in. However, the habit has to start somewhere so I shall sign off and go lock those doors right now…which means I have to walk in the kitchen one more time-the song of the Siren strikes again…

Braids-r-us

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Posted by Brenda Gorseth | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 28-03-2014

I am not doing so well on keeping up with the blogging-that darn thing called life keeps getting in the way. So while the bread is rising and the cookies are cooling, I am going to squeeze in a blog. For the past few weeks I have been working on a spinach braid; my intention was to sell it for St. Patrick’s Day back on the 17th but since the kitchen isn’t done, that dream became wishful thinking. However, I still had tons of spinach in the freezer from our garden, began working on a recipe and guess what? I LOVE IT. A LOT. So does my son-he ate almost an entire braid on his own after school. I swear he acts as if he hasn’t eaten a meal in days when he comes home, yet I know he is eating plenty at school. It must be the seventh grade growth spurt he’s going through;  I’d like to use that excuse, too, but my 40+ body can’t do what his does. I’m making it today for a lady in town who orders from me weekly; she’s pretty excited to try it and I’m thrilled to make it for her. It will be part of my ‘bread of the month’ club offering when I’m up and running.

How’s the kitchen going, you ask? So close, yet so far…my hubby and I are going to put two non-stop work days into it and hopefully by Monday we are moving things in. I still have the maple table top to contend with and hope that gets solved this weekend, too, so we can move that behemoth in. We are going to install six large gorilla racks for the pantry and I guarantee they will be filled by Tuesday; it will be nice to start emptying out the house-I’m getting to where tripping over things is just part of my workout these days. The laundry and sun rooms have become oversized obstacle courses and I don’t care. I know I’ll be moving stuff out very very soon!

With that, I hear the buzzer going off and for me that means round three. It’s Friday and the sun is shining on this cold March morning. Two out of three ain’t bad…

The Power of Love

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Posted by Brenda Gorseth | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 15-03-2014

It’s a sappy one today so if you’re looking for clever Pintrest-worthy gardening or canning advice, you are better off going to aforementioned Pintrest. Today is our golden anniversary-no, not fifty years, but fifteen on the fifteenth. For those who have known me longer than Justin Bieber’s been running amok on this earth, lasting relationships are not my cup of tea. Since my sweetie is spending our anniversary in the hospital, I felt it only appropriate to speak of our relationship as I am missing him a tad…but first, the back story.

Back in 1984, Dan and I were in my sister’s wedding-he as a groomsman, me a bridesmaid. That day I told my sixteen year old self, “I am going to marry that man someday.” Keep in mind he was 22 and fresh out of college; did I REALLY think he was going to fall for a sophomore in high school?! In my mind, yes. However, life, as it does, makes the world go around, and we didn’t see each other until I was in college. A few of us went dancing at a truck stop called the Flying J outside of Fargo (hey, it had good bands back in the 80s-go figure) and he was in town for a wedding. We danced and had a great time, but once again, he was living elsewhere and I was in college…I didn’t think twice about it. Fast forward to 1998 - the advent of the internet and the home computer. A friend had just bought one and was showing me how you could find anyone in the country; we spent the day looking up all kinds of people and he was one of them. I copied down his number and was thinking about calling him when he CALLED ME THAT NIGHT! I am not making this up. I called my friend and told her who had just called and she was amazed; it’s lucky he called, too, because the number I had was for North Dakota and he was living in Georgia. Thus began a long distance relationship which resulted in our marriage in March of 1999. We combined our two families and became a yours, mine and ours family.  Love that story…and now to today.

Fifteen years teaches a person a lot about who you are and the person you married; you see that person (and vice versa) in their best and worst days.  It isn’t like the dating days when you got to put on your best face, hang out with them, and then leave to become an ogre again. There are the really good days and the awful, I want to bury my head in the sand days…and yet we plug on. Dan is a strong man and to see him in a hospital bed is hard because he looks weak and is struggling with pain. Suddenly I have to do things around the house I’m not used to doing, making decisions on my own, and trying to keep my spirits up for our son. But I know he’ll come home, heal, and eventually be the strong man he was before. He’s a tough cookie and together we’ll get through this. That is the magic of a good marriage; you’re in it together and then the burden is shared, making it feel lighter and bearable. We haven’t endured fifty years like my parents, but we’ve both done a lot of growing up and compromising in these fifteen years and for that I am thankful and amazed. Maybe I should have called the blog ‘The Power of Like’; love is easy-people fall in love all the time, but to stay in love and actually like the person you married is a different story. Marriage isn’t a fairytale in that it’s full of warts, farts, and backed up toilets, yet when you find a person who can make the day to day drudgeries seem like no big deal, then you have picked your knight in shining armor.

Happy anniversary to my best friend, Dan; since we can’t eat cake or have a decadent meal, we’ll chat and maybe play cards with our son. We’ll give each other a hug and kiss goodnight and then my son and I will go home while he gets better. In my mind I know he’ll be home soon and we’ll deal with the cards that have been dealt…together. Here’s a picture of us on our wedding day in 1999.

The finish line is approaching…

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Posted by Brenda Gorseth | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 11-03-2014

That phrase could be used in a myriad of ways: winter is waning, the college semester is over half done, and for me, the kitchen is nearing completion. Do you hear that sound? It’s me, letting my breath out because this is the hardest part-the finishing touches. The walls need to be touched up with paint and/or washed thanks to a contractor who left them messy, that darn trim still needs to be painted, and I have to work on the large 9 x 4 maple table I purchased at the Harvey Bakery auction. My son spent six hours sanding the legs last Saturday; I have newfound admiration for him because he didn’t give up, even when the belt sander broke apart. He used duct tape and kept reapplying it every ten minutes or so…good ol’ duct tape! I had one of the Junkfest gals come over and give me advice on how to sand the table and as usual, she had great ideas; I admire people like that, because I have no creativity when I look at a piece of wood. By gum, that table will not defeat us and it will get done this week. Part of the problem is how heavy it is; my son and I can’t flip it over on our own, so I’m waiting for the plumbers to return so they can flip it for us.  They are all done except for the hood, but are waiting for a warm day to work on the roof/venting. That could be tomorrow or May…

Yesterday Carrington had an interesting day regarding water; they called school at 10:30 since there was limited water and by eleven my son was home…I had a KC dinner to serve last night so I brought my own silverware, used paper products, and brought home all the dishes to wash. I can say I did my part to not use water! It made me glad to be on the farm with not one, but two sources of water. One doesn’t realize how much water is used until the use is limited.

Somehow I want to find time to start our seedlings this week; last year I started too late and my tomatoes were maybe four inches tall when I put them in the ground. The first crop came right before the first frost; not a good idea. I love the thought of being in the garden-the warm, black soil, the smell in the air, the hope those little seeds possess. Um, this smells like spring fever-yikes!

Someone in my house is turning 13 on the 13th; his only wish is if it had been on a Friday. Creepy. I need to make a cake yet can’t seem to get a flavor choice out of him which means I’m going to choose…so in between the kitchen and that, I better get the day going. Here’s to another day closer to spring! I’ll leave you with a picture of the water side of the new kitchen the day the plumbers finished…love that Bison gold!

 

Elvis has left the building…

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Posted by Brenda Gorseth | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 04-03-2014

and by Elvis, I mean my words…my witty comebacks…the feeling in my hands…My optimistic painting on the 19th has been considerably darkened by the destruction painting has done to my body and soul. I didn’t like painting before and now I loathe it. If someone wanted to torture me, don’t use Chinese techniques or hold back chocolate-make me paint. The good news is the hardest part is done; the bad news is the trim still has to be done and at this point I may keep the ugly white stained with the contractor’s greasy hands as a reminder how much I hate painting. It will add character to my kitchen…that’s the ticket. Things are rolling along in the kitchen; the floor has been laid, the plumbing and sinks installed and I can hear the contractor doing something out there; let’s just hope it’s not a meth lab. I’m too tired to look…or care right now. Chin up, the end is in sight!

I’m not going to talk about it-that-must-not-be-mentioned, but when I saw white flakes and wind this morning I nearly crawled back into bed. Animals have the right idea by hibernating; by March we are sick of it and need to move on! This year, I’d actually LIKE to have spring; last year we went from winter to summer-no fair. But who said life was fair? Someone who won the lottery, that’ s who.

Yikes, the blog is a bit bitter today. I warned you! I’m trying to think warm, fuzzy thoughts, but all that’s coming to mind is Oscar the Grouch-he’s fuzzy, I guess. I’m excited about going to a massage therapist on Thursday-it truly is becoming the highlight of my week. For an hour she’s going to work out the knots in my back, knead my hands to putty and make my shoulders stop hunching. I cannot wait. The only good thing about the bitter cold has been the ability to put my freezer products out there for storage while we paint and move things. Some are covered in yesterday’s snow, but hey, it’s frozen solid…

The saying goes, “March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb”-I am going to personally hold Mother Nature to this and expect great things for this month. Hey, it’s got St. Patrick’s Day in it; that in itself is a highlight! There, my blog ended in a positive…today is fat Tuesday to usher in the beginning of lent tomorrow, so I better go make something decadent for tonight.

 

The stories it could tell…

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Posted by Brenda Gorseth | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 19-02-2014

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We all have an item or two in our lives that, if could speak, would blabber like a school girl to the nearest set of ears. I started the painting campaign yesterday and as I was mindlessly moving the roller I looked over at the ladder. It was standing there, patiently waiting for me to step on it to cut the top of the wall/ceiling. It’s ugly, actually, to the casual observer-made of wood with peeling paint-splattered with countless jobs of paint, yet to me it is my hero when I have to reach a place which is unattainable with my glorious height. Not. When you’re short, reaching the top shelf of anything requires a ladder-I have a step stool in four different rooms in my house, including the one I made in 7th grade Industrial Arts with Mr. Lester Nelson. How it is still functional is beyond me; I was not known for my skills in woodworking. While that has a few stories to tell, I will get back to the ladder. So when I did get to the cutting part of the day, I tried to look at the different splotches on it to date it-think of it as carbon dating, if you will-and saw a lot of my past staring back at me. I painted our house in Georgia twice; when we bought it and when we sold it. That was also during the sponging technique of the 90s; I had some interesting rooms back then and didn’t exactly make the best choices paint wise. When it came time to sell, white and beige were the only two colors allowed. While we were painting that house for sale, I was painting the North Dakota house. We drug that ladder up here with us for each trip and drug it home again; that poor ladder was a crack addict by the time we were done with all the drugging…Since then, we added a sun room which needed painting, remodeled a bedroom into a master bathroom, and now the commercial kitchen has three rooms to paint. Just to clarify-I don’t like to paint and I am messy as well.  I paint because I have to and am too cheap to hire someone. While painting, I listen to 70s and 80s music loudly and sing along to it as well; I may not be the best singer, but by gum, I think I AM Pat Benetar when “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” comes on.  I am paying the price today-sore back, arms on fire and hands going numb every other minute tell me my body wasn’t ready for the garage yesterday. On a side note, I purchased a ‘Paint-n-Roll’ from Wagner products more than ten years ago and love it; matter of fact, I bought two, because if you love it, you should have two. You fill the handle with paint and roll away! It works wonders on walls but does a terrible job on the ceiling; I am going to use the roller/pan today for the ceilings instead. With that in mind, it is off to the addition; today the ceilings in both the garage and pantry are getting painted as well as the pantry walls. There are no lights yet, so I need to paint with natural lighting-and daylight is burning! What item of yours could reveal your life story? Here’s a picture of my carefully handcrafted stool-notice the stepstool in the background. Such a piece of workmanship…notice the paint splotches?!

Something sweet is in the kitchen!

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Posted by Brenda Gorseth | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 14-02-2014

I love baking for Valentine’s Day because the possibilities are endless. Breads, cookies, scones, cakes-all take on a little more red, pink and white for this holiday. I created a cookie/scone-a scookie, if you will, using chocolate raspberry as the flavor profile and topped it off with a white frosting. Yesterday I gave them away to my customers as a thank you while I made deliveries in Carrington. The feedback was good, so I think they will be added to my repertoire of February goodies. Today is my last baking day for awhile; I will be painting the entire commercial kitchen/pantry/new garage and it is a big project. If the stars align, people show up and all goes according to plan (I’m already laughing because so far NOTHING has gone to anything that resembles a plan), the plumber should be done by Wednesday, electrician somewhere in there, and the cabinets delivered next Friday. The next week should be all installation, trim work, etc and then maybe, just maybe, the first week in March is move-in time. MAYBE….but doubtful. But hey, just like Valentine’s Day, one has to have hope; hope your husband will remember, hope a boy you have your eye on will surprise you with flowers, hope a secret admirer will reveal his identity. I’m hoping for all three-kidding! But back to baking; I am my own worst distraction.  Since there is no school today-not weather related- my son and I are going to be cookie monsters. A customer ordered two dozen of the chocolate raspberry hearts from yesterday and two dozen of another type. Then we are making, forming, and freezing the dough for another event at the end of the month-we need about ten dozen total, so we’ll do five dozen of two different types. Ugh, I just realized that’s fourteen dozen cookies. With that in mind, I better get busy. Here’s hoping your Valentine’s Day is filled with love; it doesn’t have to be from the opposite sex; letting a friend know you are thinking of them, calling a parent, or just letting those around you know they are appreciated is more of what the day is about. I’ll leave you with a picture of my broken heart scookie…maybe you’ll get one next year!

 

Whoa! Construction…or construction woes?!

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Posted by Brenda Gorseth | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 11-02-2014

I am now at the point of no return with this construction project and can’t tell if I’m frustrated or petrified. Today I sanded the glass board to prep it for painting and painted my lone cabinet. I wore some sexy safety glasses my shop teacher would be proud of; I think every girl should have to wear them and if a man still thinks she’s pretty, she’s a keeper. I can’t paint until the plumber, electrician and contractor do their things…and who knows when that will be? I find it highly frustrating when a person in service says they’ll be here and then…nothing. There is this invention called the phone; you can text if you’re shy/busy/hate your phone voice, but do something. To not show up is rude, plain and simple. And then there’s dust. Everywhere. Even in places you’d least expect. I’m trying to keep in front of it but the battle is lost. I have lost track of how many times a day I wash the kitchen table and counters; my new rule is no food or utensils on the counters until this is done. I don’t want gritty, crunchy food when it should be smooth.  Unfortunately, the dust is also highlighting another phobia of mine-spider webs. Get a thick layer of dust on those fine strands and suddenly it looks like the Munsters in my household. I have given up on the household for now; it’s just going to have to be dusty until this is done. If you come to visit, you have been forewarned; the only place I’m keeping spotless is the kitchen…that way you can be sure to have something tasty while sitting in a cloud of dust.
No, I have not been watching the Olympics; the last go around we enjoyed watching as a family but we just aren’t finding the time this year. The internet is doing a great job of spoiling it for us, anyways. I guess that’s the price of technology. I do have a fascination with curling and may have to watch it- reminds me of cleaning, I guess. I feel like they’re trying to get out that one spot on the floor which won’t come clean…and just giving up on it. “Out, spot!”-Macbeth. Inside joke to myself and anyone who’s taken the time to read or watch it. Yep, it’s going to be one of those days…
I’ll leave you with a picture of my ‘Death by Chocolate’ Valentine cake; double chocolate cake with a thick layer of fudge frosting and topped with cute little red and white hearts. One gains a pound just looking at it, so jump on the treadmill now!

I have become my mother…

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Posted by Brenda Gorseth | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 07-02-2014

You swore growing up you would never do what your parents did, because we all know how uncool parents are, right? However, little things are happening every now and then-things my mom did-and it catches me off guard. When did this happen? Why is it happening? Can I prevent it? Do I want to prevent it? What’s on PBS tonight? See? Happening again…
The other day, my son was about to head out to the bus without his cap and gloves on. Remember, folks, it’s below zero here in the morning and it was a bit windy (which describes EVERY day in North Dakota) so as he is about to walk out the door, I yelled those classic words, “Put your cap and gloves on!” It was verging on the edge of hysteria; honestly, the walk to the bus isn’t that long, but I felt like he was heading out to the Russian tundra and would perish before stepping foot on the bus. The look he gave me was equally classic as I’m certain it’s the same look I gave my mother. At that moment our world became a sitcom and I was having a flashback, complete with awesome 80s music in the background. I ran to the kitchen for a cup of coffee and realized with horror that’s what she would have done, too! I calmed down and reflected a bit and came up with this nugget: it isn’t so much as me becoming my mother but becoming an adult. Let’s face it-sucking on Jolly Rancher sticks purchased from Duber’s Variety Store in Appleton for 10 cents each was a thrill back then, but I can’t imagine putting those dentist’s nightmares in my mouth anymore. Speaking of that, my son came home from the dentist yesterday with the good news/bad news of the day-no cavities but needs braces…and do you think our insurance covers that? Nope. Sigh…What other body part can I sell?
Today is baking day and on the menu is pumpkin pecan yeast bread, honey wheat, caramel rolls and Valentine chocolate chip cookies.  I made cheesecake brownies yesterday and cut them into hearts; on Sunday I’ll spoon cherry pie filling and cool whip on top for the KC Valentine dinner. This is one time I really hope there are leftovers…The plumber is coming today to look things over before beginning work next week; things are progressing on the kitchen and it’s exciting! Yesterday the contractor gave me the new garage door opener and I had to try it; I can’t wait to park a car back in a garage-but by the time I finish painting, it may be spring, thus being a moot point. I’ll leave you with a construction picture-it’s of the new mechanical room and metal ceiling. You might not see a lot, but I see progress…and it makes me smile. It’s Friday-get it going so you can begin the weekend that much sooner!