Off the Vicodin tomorrow, which is like saying farewell to a big stupid relative who just sat on the sofa for a week and made everyone dumber just by being there. We’re down to aspirin-level ouch now, I think, and even if I wasn’t, it’s just such a tiresome thing. There’s still an area of the jaw that wants to party on - every celebration has someone who gets a little louder and more desperate when it seems like everyone else is crashing, and he will no longer have free-floating social validation for his excesses - but that too will pass.

Since I missed last Friday, I am lining up a Friday that will be the best possible Friday. I will take an hour-long nap before I drive daughter to Piano. We will have a deep-dish pizza from Davanni’s, after which I will make myself a large Americano from the new machine with the finest beans I can buy. My evening bourbon will be a little of that Pappy Van Winkle 20 year-old saved for special occasions. (That means only the finest tonic water! JUST KIDDING.) I will watch two TV shows: an episode of “Rutland Weekend Television,” and half-watch “M Squad” while I do website work. Around twelve I will stop working and go downstairs to watch “Looper.” I will have a dish of ice cream, probably the Peanut Butter Panic the local creamery makes. It’s an odd title, because you don’t associate PANIC with peanut butter unless you have an allergy, in which case it’s rather grim. It’s like a honey-flavored ice cream called BEE STING TERROR. Given my allergy, PENICILLIN CHUNK-SHOCK would be fitting.

I mean, no one panics over the presence of peanut butter chunks in ice cream, so that means they might expect us to have an adverse reaction over the lack of peanut butter. But that reaction would be more angry than fearful. Perhaps the stuff is made while workers are encouraged to strain their ears for the haunting, maddening sound of the goat-god’s pipes, calling them from the glen to engage in a riotous dance of mad abandon, but that’s hard on productivity.

Boss? I’m not hearing it. Not in the Dorian mode anyways. Not even in your Aeolian mode there.

We also have a scround of “24 Karat Carrot Cake,” from the same company. Another name that makes no sense. Karat is a homophone of Carrot, yes, but so? Karat is a unit of weight, as well as purity. So either the Carrot Cake in the ice cream is pure carrot cake or the amount of carrot cake in the ice cream has a specific weight of 4,800 mg of carrot cake.

All I know is that both have ribbons. I like ice cream with ribbons. Add chunks, and we’re in business. Ribbons can be caramel, peanut butter, fudge, or even “batter dough,” in the case of the Super Chunk Insanity Cookie Dough Gibbering Lunacy Chocolate-Chip Ice Cream. Chunks can be composed of one thing - chocolate, nuts - or some fiendishly delicious composite with nested layers. Say, chunks of peanut-butter cup. The use of the word “cup” makes it clear to all: chocolate surrounds the peanut butter. And the cup itself rides a ribbon. Irresistible.

What I don’t understand is why the bulk of the ribbons and chunks tend to reside towards the bottom of the scround. Settling? Probably. But this means that every new scround - and I go through about 1.5 per month - begins with the hard-pack surface, uniformly white with few hints of the riches below. You cannot flavor-mine. This breaks the compact with others in the household. Everyone gets a fair shot at hitting that mother lode of ribbons and chunks.

I think there are some Moose Tracks in the basement. That’s one brand’s name for the peanut-butter-cup / fudge / ribbons of peanut-butter style. When Blue Bunny made the style, they called it Bunny Tracks. Eventually it will just be Tracks style.





The quality and variety of modern-day ice-cream is another sign life’s gotten better. As much as I would love to revisit a 1964 supermarket and hear the Muzak and the skrr-skrr of nyloned legs, the ice cream would disappoint. As much as I’d like to go here . . .

... you know what they have. Not much. When I was a child, there was vanilla, chocolate, and Neopolitan, which had nasty embedded things in it, like candied fruit flies. I’m sure there were a few others, like Rocky Road - which meant nothing to a kid. Here, have some Gravel Driveway. Also Mint with chocolate flakes, now that I think of it. And now that I’m really drilling down into the childhood kitchen cabinet, there was a bottle of Creme De Menthe - probably DeKuyper - that the grown-ups would pour over vanilla for a real treat. That bottle was in the cupboard my entire childhood.

That’s one of the reasons I periodically sweep through the cupboard and throw away old things. There was something about the static nature of the upper shelves in the kitchen that bothered me - all those glasses that never got used because they were for company but never came out when company came over because the men were content to have a Hamms from the can, oh never mind the glass, thanks. The nut dishes. The ancient bottles of extract with three or four atoms left. I would come home from college and see that bottle of Creme De Menthe and something inside would just sag. Continuity is one thing, but it always made me fear that nothing new had ever happened here in years. Years.

But that’s how it seems to outsiders, I suppose - and everyone’s an outsider. There are things you have no reason to change, or even to move, and what seems to others like signs of inertness is simply the settled arrangement of your life and your space. My daughter, like many children, hates change: everything is fine the way it is. I prefer that some things evolve; always tinkering with the look of my studio, trying to pare it down. Somethings are perfect: every time I go in the living room, I just sigh and remember how much I love this place. Tomorrow, however: change.

A painter is coming by to do the trim in the living room. And the ceiling of the dining room. And - this is big - the entire kitchen / family room area. We set aside some money shed from the refi (hey, no payment due this month? Free parking!) and brought in a color consultant, who will sit and nod and steer you towards better ideas, and it’s free if you buy the paint from them. Tomorrow the kitchen / family room, where I do half my work, gets appreciably . . .


This, I hate. But when we painted before, my wife wanted more Vibrant, and I wanted Neutral. I won that one. Now it’s her turn. And I don’t really hate it. I think it’ll look great, and it’ll be different.

I’m also having my studio painted.


Just realized he’s supposed to do the room on Friday. Which means it will be a mess and will smell of paint.


Maybe he can come back next week.


The only update today is a little thing about Minneapolis bygone hotels - an old site cleaned up with a crisp interface and a few additions. This is what I did over the weekend while woozy with pain and Vicodin: I just sat at my desk and plowed through one page after the other until it was done. I think it’s about 150 pages. Practically a book. Which I give to you to enjoy, for free. Here it is.

See you around in the usual places! If you missed yesterday’s Strib blog you missed this.


If that makes sense to you, congrats.







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