Stop Touching Things

"Miss! you can't touch the artwork..."
"He means you, too, G-ma"

Thursday, December 31, 2009

I would just like to mention before the year is up...

Some things I've noticed in the last year week:

One: I'm addicted to online scrabble

Two: I am a multi-tabber in my web-browser and why won't scrabble load while I'm in another tab! Like it knows that I'm not really paying attention to it, so it just stops talking until you are paying attention again, all the while giving you a dirty look. That's how I feel when I ignore scrabble when it's loading.  Please don't hate me scrabble. I need you!

Three: Hold on it's my turn in scrabble...


The official telephone of Howktown is now: Chocolate. Yes. That's right.

Now I just have to figure out how to use the dang thing... after scrabble of course.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Christmas to Remember

I'll have work on this entry way

There are a lot of things to make this year a pretty memorable Christmas.  The least of which is the 2 feet of snow that has showed up on my front door in the last couple days.  Luckily I didn't have too many places to go, so I'm not sweatin' it too bad.

Oh No! Ski hill too steep!

We donned the skis and snowshoes and made it as far as the front yard. We built a pretty sweet snowman complete with carrot nose, dug two snow forts at the end of the driveway, AND had a snow bank high enough in the yard to have a snowpant sliding hill. Even The Queen Mother of Howktown slid down on her butt.

Snowball fight with himself

Let's not forget the snow balls, either. The snow is so deep neither the kids nor the dog could walk in the yard unless the adults packed down a path for them.   Good times were had by all...

Of course I'm leaving out the highlight of my Christmas with my family. Yes it involves presents. It shouldn't be mistaken for material values over family togetherness. It was really the reaction to the greatest gift ever. The look on her face is one that I will never forget.

Walleye cribbage board with bobber pegs and antique fishing lure playing cards

It was worth all the torment. Because she just about threw up when she saw it, AND simultaneously her husband was giggling with glee at the awesomeness.  She did come around when it came out the package and she realized it wasn't as awful as I made it seem.

In return, my mom and she acquired a very cool and unexpected gift for me. They happened to run into Christopher Straub (of last season's Project Runway fame, who is from MN) at an art fair and picked out a very cool wallet that he signed!

Oh, and she cut up a children's sweater to make me matching wrist cozies and leg warmers. Tre` Chic!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Coloring Contest News

This is the winning entry to the coloring contest. Notice the shading? Notice the atmospheric perspective? Notice the creature reaching it's hand up from the bluish pool?

A winning entry indeed!

As for the prize:

I lost my silly putty at the Chinese Buffet.

I am a creature of habit without any habits.

"But, Barrett..the problem is I am a creature of habit"
"NO you're have NO habits, that's the problem"
"You're RIGHT!, I am a creature of habit with not habits...can you see now how lost I must be"

yes, this was a conversation resulting from the departure of my family estate in Fairmont after the family christmas. The family christmas in which one gift was a cell phone platform so that I was able to locate my phone when the family calls. Barrett and I departed. 5 minutes past the overly bright neon Walmart that seems to define the end of Fairmont, Barrett recieved a call. The car was turned around and I was met at the door by Erin, my cell phone, and a not so subtle demand for money. I ran to the running car and thought that my arrival at home signified something like a successful trip home. I layed down, let my mind stop swirling, and realized that Fairmont.

No worries, I wrote these pretty cool Haiku's.

creature of habit
i am without habits
easy to seem lost

keys coat money purse
can locate myself only
relax i'll find them

lost in a vortex
Myself but nothing else here
day in and day out

everything works out in the end.

Friday, December 18, 2009

I've never owned Silly Putty

When they told me that there was going to be a coloring contest at work, I knew I had a chance. I do, after all, have an art degree.

Then they told me that the winner usually does way more than colors in between the line.  Gotcha, I've got a great imagination. In fact I love making things up. It's the best part of my day... especially if there are kids involved (though if they ask, I do tell them if I'm just pretending).

Okay, I'm up for this! I can win this! I didn't want to get all cocky though, since this would be my first coloring contest.

I brought my sheet home, got out the water colors, technical pens, and colored pencils. I added dialog and background pictures. There was shading.

Now, I almost went so far as to add 3-dimensions have cut outs, but I thought I might be going a little too far.

I posted my pic with the rest, and mine did stand out. Most kept there designs to the picture and use of crayons. It did look like maybe I was trying a little too hard, or maybe showing off a little bit. I mean, water colors AND colored pencil. Geez, Erin. 

Well, guess what Punks. I WON!  It was a three way tie, and I was the tie breaker winner.  Sweet! I won silly putty and Milk Chocolate Hersey Kisses.

I've never owned Silly Putty before, and the kisses will be going at the front desk, because we all know how I feel about chocolate. So watch out newspapers! I'll be acting like kid with whose never played with silly putty before, making transfers they they are going out of style.

Man, I'm glad that degree was good for something.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Playin' Barbies

Cast of "The Howktown Dollies"

I heard recently that "As the World Turns" is going off the air after over 60 years of soap opera sudsiness. Normally, I wouldn't care too much because I'm not really a soap opera watcher.  I don't set my TiVo, VCR, or rearrange my schedule to keep up with "The Story" as my grandmother used to call them....

but that's just it. My grandmother used to watch the same story that my Mom watches, and frankly, I watched all growing up.  I've been watching As the World Turns since I was an infant, and my mother since she was 8 years old with her mother.

I can walk into my mother's house when she watching ATWT and reasonably understand the story line. It's not too hard, they don't change much. The actors playing the characters change more than the story lines.

My mother said ATWT was her family when she and my dad were overseas or far away from home in the military housing. She knows all the kids and grandkids of the characters and all the illnesses the actors have struggled with.

I honestly can't say that I'll miss the story when the show is off the air... but I do think I feel like I'll notice something not quite right in the early afternoon. I'll feel like there is something I should be doing with my mother at this time. I'm sure we'll find something else to watch together. HGTV, Food Network, or you know... Y'n'R.*

While playing barbies with my niece, I realized that the soap opera is not completely dead in Howktown. In fact it's the same ol' story line.  We created our own Howktown Soap Opera, The Howktown Dollies, and boy, you would not believe what is happening there! Yikes!

Let me tell you. Rock and Roll Relationships never work out.


*Young and the Restless for those who don't know.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sex ed comes to Saariburg

I knew the day would come.
I had heard it always catches you off guard.
But at a peaceful family dinner as William mused about the Virgin Mary, it suddenly occurred to him he didn't know what a virgin was.
And it happened.
The blush inducing, stammering, ummm..., ahhh..., well...,
And I did it. I just sucked it up, and I told him what a virgin was. He was non-plussed. Immediately returning to his non-stop rambling on a different topic, Kevin and I realized we had done the right thing.
Bolstered by our success, when William found a "where do babies come from" book at the library, he let him check it out.
What followed was a weekend long sex ed course. The book, written for kids without leaving anything out, is illustrated with smiling eggs, eager sperm, and several drawings of body parts, with and without child.
The children are fascinated. William is reading this book to himself, having us read it to him, and spending several minutes (a long time for him) looking over the pictures.
Amy is interested, but is clearly not grasping the concept. She just enjoys speculating how long it takes for the pee to get all the way from the stomach to the bladder, depending on if you are a baby or a teenager or an old lady.
Let's just say, fallopian tube is a common word in Saariburg.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Breaking news from Ingvaldia

It may be true that allergies are contagious.

The Howk family line has seen a spread of allergic reaction/sensitivies in the last five years that has spread from one end of the family to another.

Looking back into the Howk sister childhood, a typical family supper included the 4 food groups, cultural norms such as buttered bread and hotdish. The same on each person's plate.

That is not the case now. No one eats the same dish. Not because they are picky but because they can't.

The list goes on: lentils, wheat, eggs, beef, peas, dairy, peanuts, treenuts, blackbeans, blah blah blah.

Last night it was reported by spouse of Howk sister 1, (who has hinted at times to childhood allergies and an ongoing allergy to neoprene-this info is to be disregarded for entertainment purposes of this article), that low and behold, while eating Howk sister 1's soy yogurt, experienced a tingling sensation in mouth, followed by red chappiness in corners of mouth.

Could it be proof that allergies are catching?
Could it be a cry to be included?

Only time will tell.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009



Tuesday 12/8/09 at 2:30 PM.  Snowing sideways.


* Cat's lack of interest in mouse, causes him to leave it lying there on Erin's bed after killing it.

* Toilet overflows at work, almost soaking shoes of floor mopper

* Polenta makes the dinner

* Banana fudge bundt cake sways opinions of non-believers.

* Computers are a hassle.

* Book Club book full of hooglie googlie

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Torment is Love, right?

Now that the craziness of Thanksgiving is over, I can take a little breath and tell you about something that I've been meaning to tell you about for a long time.

It has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, at least not directly. Are you disappointed that I'm not going to talk about the crazy dinner, surprise guests, full length table of food, and the Holiday Haikus that I suggested and my sisters pulled off while I was clucking around in the kitchen?  Ah, that's boring, lets talk about our family members. Namely my sister, The First Lady of Ingvaldia, Sara.

See, I've been tormenting her for YEARS. It's true. She made the mistake of telling the whole family when she got married that Under NO Circumstances, did she want "FISH" items.  "Just because we LOVE fishing, doesn't mean I want a SWEATSHIRT with a WALLEYE on it!" She declared.

As you can imagine, that hasn't stopped me from finding exceptional examples of fish related items, taking pictures of them and sending them to her on her phone with a not so veiled threat... That I'm at the store now buying this for you. HAHAHAHAHA.

It started out simple enough. One really ugly fish head photo holder just couldn't be passed up. I had to show it to her. Of course, it really was just a gateway. A gateway of torment, that was really just my way of showing love... Right?

Every store I walked into, every catalog I opened. Garage Sales, Craft Shows, Festivals... all full of glorious ways to taunt my fish loving sister.

There wasn't anything more to it... but the examples... they  just kept coming.

There were the lamps that were fashioned to look like a walleye jumping out of the water, the wire mesh chip basket with a dip bowl in the tail (and mini fish hanging off the side), the stained glass suncatchers, the pot racks that looked like a giant lure.

The best part of it, however, was Sara's reaction to everything I showed or sent to her. Sometimes she would walk away without acknowledging the awesomeness that I was showing her.  Other times she tried to play it cool, because she knew (or did she?) that I was just playin' her. When she started to act like it was no big deal, that I wouldn't really do it... I reminded her that it might be true that I wouldn't get something for her... but her husband was fair game.  He already had a "Rather be Fishing" bumper sticker.

That's when she would turn a shade lighter and try to change the subject.

All I have to say is... Christmas is a comin'! Will I?

heheheheh HAHAHAHAHA hheheheheh HAHAHAHA

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Haiku

Thanksgiving Haiku
New Family Tradition
Scaring the In-Laws

*That's right. New to Howktown family gatherings is the Haiku recital. No pressure, just 5,7,5. Unless of course you are the patriarch, in which case you recite Howku, usually 8,7,7, but "You take what you get."

So come one, come all
A house full of friends and food.
Don't forget Haiku.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pre Thanksgiving Warm Up

The wind is blowing and snow is flying. When I returned home on my lunch, potatoes were being peeled, the brine prepared, and the turkey being thawed.  The guest list is being finalized and it looks like it will be one of our biggest gatherings ever.

Tonight, I start the pies and set the tables so that the sides can be focused on tomorrow. Oh, and possibly cutting the boyfriends hair because he waited until the last minute to call for an appointment, and surprise they were closed.  *edit* Oh snap! Just called and got him an appointment somewhere else! Thank you.

It is tempting to go crazy maniacal over the set up we've got going on, but I decided I'm going to be sensible and just laugh hysterically at every little problem that comes up and then go on with my day.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


So this last weekend we had a Family Get Together a.k.a.  POTLUCK.  I brought the meatballs... that my mom made. Oh, and the chips... that my mom bought.

As you can see, I'm not that good at potlucks. I've only recently entered Potlucken*.

I'm pretty good at bringing things to a Party. I can BYOB with the best of them, and I can even bring a snack to share... that one is easy, cause I love snacks. Unfortunately, I usually eat part of the snack before I get there, and then I'm mowing down on it the rest of the time... it is the sharing part that gets lost.

I've noticed in the last few years that I've attended a lot more of these Potlucks, and even write them in my calendar as a planned event. This last weekend, I had an opportunity to SKIP the family potluck, but I didn't. In fact, I even came back to help clean up later. Don't tell anyone, but I had a reasonably good time. Howktown family reunions are generally conspicuously absent of 16-30 year olds. One or two will brave the fire, but usually because they have children that want to play with their 2nd and 3rd cousins.

I determined that I must have entered that phase of life commonly referred to in Howktown as Potlucken. Which is a word I made up, but since I rule this town, and have final say over the Howktown Lexicon... well you get the picture.

Potlucken - noun. A phase of life usually entered into in late 20's to early 30s for women, and mid 30s for men, where things that you couldn't be bothered with before suddenly are entered in pen in your calendar and take priority over nights on the town. e.g. "Sorry, I can't stay out all night at the "New Moon" Premiere, I have a potluck to go to, and I said I'd bring the meatballs. Yeah, I know that I'd have dropped everything to wait in line for 3 days five years ago, but since then I've entered into Potlucken"

Side effects of Potlucken often included exaggerated use of the regional dialect, don'tch ya know. An increase in hot dish recipes in your repertoire, and thinking that pickled herring, sauerkraut, and liverwurst aren't really that bad when you come to think about it.

Maybe next year I'll actually make a salad or hotdish... I have a few more in my recipe box this year.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It's for The Babies! *SQUEEE* with Pictures!

So, when I got the literature in the mail about the event that I 'volunteered' for with the March of Dimes, one of the instructions was to "BRING YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR".


Well, I do have a sense of humor, but I wasn't sure what this was supposed to mean.
Kylie and I pondered over it a day or two before the event. "What are they going to make us do?"  No one was really clear about what was going to happen, aside from needing to bring phone numbers, a sense of humor, and that lunch was provided.

"Oh, well", I said, "it's too late now."

Then when we walked into the site, it all became clear to us... and we let our humors out of the bag.  There before us was a table with striped shirts and signs to hold.

And a camera. Have you noticed that I'm not shy around cameras? The photographer couldn't help but laugh when I struck my notorious pose. I think this picture will help lots of babies! *squeee!

My partner in crime, Kylie also mugged for a shot; then we went to get our lunch. While we were chowing down, we figured out that we were volunteering our cell phones and address books for the cause. They wanted us to call anyone we knew to ask to donate to the March of Dimes.

Only problem, Kylie forgot her phone (VERY CONVENIENT if you ask me).  So we decided that we would save time and just send a mass text message with a photo of us in jail.  Then of course we would call the numbers we had memorized, and tell them all about the babies *Squeee!

Oh, and you can bet that we had it on que, when ever one of us said "babies" the other *squeeed on command. We had it down. The organizers were cracking up at our antics. Some people weren't quite sure what were doing, so we explained that we weren't imitating babies (*squee!) we were voicing the reaction of people when they see really cute babies. Their voice gets really high, they get all excited, and they, well, Squeee.

It worked wonders and we  squeed some donations, made people laugh, and had fun for the afternoon. Not to mentions got some awesome pictures for the ol' blog.

Monday, November 9, 2009

In Howktown, you must past this test.

Showing Doug the National Geographic Ropes

It has come to pass in Howktown, that in order to be fully integrated into The Family, you must complete an unmentioned number of tasks.  I'm sure every family has their little tests to see if you made it into the fold, and far be it for us to be any different. 

Heh, well, I guess it isn't that far fetched to be a little different here in Howktown. 

That being said, I think that I can reveal the most difficult test to pass here in Howktown; playing National Geographic Explorer: Global Pursuit circa 1987. 

My sisters and I acquired this game as a Christmas Present via Santa Claus.  This guy must of really knew what he was doing that year, which I believe was 1987, or '88.  We dove into the game and it's maps and read through the questions and gobbled it up year after year. 

Depending on what topics we were studying in school would determine how well we were doing that year, but it always seemed that my Dad won the game.  We girls moved off to college and the game was only played occasionally when we were all home at the same time.  We tried to include other friends and extended family members in the game, and usually with dire consequences. One aunt refused to play games at our house after their inaugural game.  I mistakenly told a friend that I didn't think she'd like the game when she asked about it, and she subsequently stopped being my friend.  

Then one year we noticed that some of the questions weren't so accurate anymore. I mean the Berlin Wall had not yet fallen when this game was penned! In questions regarding territories and country flags we started each questions with the caveat: In 1987.... 

The questions became out of date, and yet we kept playing. We could not stop. Both of my brothers-in-law were made to play The Game and Barrett giggled like a girl when he played. It turned out The First Lady was the first person he met that had also played this game (and he the first we'd met!) and it solidified his marital choice.

Saturday we pulled out the game in early celebration of the First Lady's birthday and it was an exciting game that had a lot of firsts.  It was the first time we all had to play couples, it was Doug's induction into the family game, and it was William's first game.  William, age 6, read helped me read the questions and amazed us all with his reading abilities.  Doug, having been the last in turn to play, only got answer two questions the whole game, so he felt a little bored about it all. I don't blame him, for a first game it was overwhelming. 

Playing this game has gone beyond the actual enjoyment of the processes of the game. It has become tradition more revered than turkey on Thanksgiving in this house. Christmas Eve dinner can consist of anything from Tacos to Lasagna, and it doesn't matter what day we open presents. However, if we are playing The Game, the whole family joins in. It's about sitting around the table and looking at each others faces as we talk and laugh. It's about helping each other match the map pieces, and giving each other clues to the trivia questions. Playing this game is what it means to be in our family. 

So, if you want into to Howktown, study up. There'll be a quiz and game on Monday.

memorable moments of my weekend.

Friday, November 6, 2009

How to get out of a Funk - Howktown Style

So, my sister says to me today.

"I'm in a funk, today. Any suggestions? I already googled how to get out of a funk."

Naturally, I had some suggestions, but I thought I would check out what google had to offer..
hmm, exercise, exercise, change your routine, think happy thoughts... yeah, yeah,  yeah.

That seems to be some really vague advice. I like to get more specific.

First. Don't just exercise. Go to your music playing device and find Elvis Presely "A Little Less Conversation",

Then Dance your dag gurn fool ass off. Let it fly. Don't be shy, just flail and flop about. That's the best way.

Second: Drink a lot of water. Why? Well, you're probably just dehydrated and it's hard to worry about the stuff in your life when you're always running to the bathroom. It's proven. In Howktown.

Third: Dark Chocolate. The endorphin inducing, anti oxidant containing, deliciousness is truly a SUPERfood, so eat it, smell it, drink it, sprinkle it on your cornflakes. What ever you have to do.

Fourth: Do a search for Jack Handy Quotes... you'll find gems like these: "If you're robbing a bank and you're pants fall down, I think it's okay to laugh and to let the hostages laugh too, because, come on, life is funny."

I think that about says it all, don't you?


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Thanking people is the bomb.

Sara, I can't thank you enough for the wonderful email. You made my day..or week...or month. You are the reason we keep doing this business. We love the people we come in contact with. And yes, I do love the teaching part! Thank you again. Ginger

-----Original Message----- From: "Ingvaldson, Sara J 46K" Sent: Nov 4, 2009 7:55 AM To: Subject: Minnesota Renn Fest 09 travelers sax
<> <> <>

I would like to extend my thanks to you for two reasons.
One, we bought a travelers saxophone at the Renn Fest in Minnesota this past summer and the whole interaction was a highlight of our year. Ginger was really enthusiastic and proud to show us the instruments. My husband, Barrett, was in awe and absolutely intriqued by the travelers sax. He stood back hesitantly; gazing with longing at the instruments. When asked if he wanted to try it; he shrugged and said he couldn't play instruments. That he appreciated them but wasn't musically inclined. That just seemed to spur Ginger on in sharing. She showed Barrett how to hold it and how to blow with the reed. She showed him how to read the fingering charts that came with it and where to get more music. Ginger is a gifted teacher.
My husband was so happy; how could we deny him such a gift. We bought one. The second thanks goes out because until now, my husband was a collector of instruments from around the world. They hang with pride on our walls. Your instrument isn't hung with them. It's played. By both of us. It is brought out for visitors and has gone camping with us.
Thank you; thank you; thank you!
Sara (& Barrett)

Monday, November 2, 2009

my boy

There are currenty six boys in my backyard.
Only one of them is mine. They are playing football, a game my son, at such a tender age, doesn't know how to play. He is standing in the middle of the group of kids -- all older than him, some much older -- with his hands waving in the air, desperate to be included as the other boys pass and throw around him.
I want to go out there and tell them to let everyone play. I want to stand on the deck, making sure those older neighborhood roughians whom I have never seen before know my boy isn't one to be triffled with.
But I know better. Instead, I stand anxiously at the window. Occastionally pacing back and forth, stopping myself from being the overprotective mother of a preschooler to the watchful eye of a first-grader.

My Closet Is a Treasure Trove!

You know, I don't know how this happened to me. My closest friends are Halloween fiends. FIENDS I TELL YOU!  I have more than on friend that spends 12 months planning, 6 months collecting, and 1 month preparing and then the appropriately name HELL WEEK decorating and making the final preparations for the big day.
Me. I could care less.
I never trick - or -treated as kid. My father didn't believe in begging, and going door to door asking for something we didn't even need, didn't fall under productive activities for his kids.  I'm kind of clueless when it comes to costumes, and I refuse to pay $80+ for the CHEAP ones at the store.
What does a girl do then, when she has to go to a Halloween Party? I do like parties, after all. I remind myself of that every year, it just a party... with costumes. I wait until the very last minute to come up with a costume. I rely on what seems to be a very boring wardrobe and my creative sensibilities and whip something out fast. It usually involves some silly trendy outfit that I purchased in the past, or some crazy hat that I own, and the one or two wigs, leather pants, evening gowns, fake eyelashes that I wore in my poser punk rock years...
Huh. My costume every year seems to be some internal interpretation of myself. It's made of things that I've owned for a long time or considered part of my everyday wardrobe.  Very interesting.

Well, it seems to be working, so I don't plan to change my methods.  Oh, I wait until the last minute to by Christmas presents, too... but that's another post.

I do have to go to the bathroom

Nothing irritates me more than going home and having the family make some remark about how I used to go to the bathroom to get out of doing dishes.

I denied this and planned on denying this to the end of time.

I routinely mutter to myself on trips to the bathroom. It's my bodies natural response to taking time to sit still for a while and in processing the food which I am eating. It's not like I never did dishes. It's not like the dishes were more often than not waiting for me. 'Dang! Leave me alone', I thought. It's not like I wasn't doing anything in the bathroom. I WAS doing the appropriately approved activities that one does sitting on the toilet.

But still...the mockery goes on. At least once a year. And my silent continual mutterings while I go to the bathroom in between eating and doing the dishes about how, see.. i do have to go. I am not trying to get out of something. avoiding work. avoiding my fair share. it's JUST. NOT. TRUE.

Friday, at work, I was again feeling the weight of being the ONLY one working, the ONLY one taking on their fair share, when another requested task was posted...Fine, I will do it..AFTER I GO TO THE BATHROOM. if no one has taken it by the time I get back.

I stand corrected. I don't go to the bathroom to get out of work...I go to the bathroom to..prepare and compose myself for the upcoming work..yeah, that's it.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Chocolate, right to my door!

On my way into the office this morning I saw out of the corner of my eye a van. On the side of the driver's door was the company name.

Chocolate Couriers.

Oh, the joy! Someone is actually bringing chocolate right to the door! They read my mind, they know my heart!

It was so good it deserved a little rubber-necking. And that is when the other shoe dropped.

It seems my fancy got away from me; the sign actually said Corporate Couriers. Oh, well. I am sure they do a good job at whatever they do, but what a disappointment.

If anyone is looking for a business opportunity, may I suggest a Chocolate Courier?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A state of vagueness.

I was going to write all about my first firing. You can see from the pictures how they turned out. However, I am stuck on a thought about control. As you can see from the pictures the end result is quite different from the beginning product. Obviously. It's how the middle and the last piece relate that run through my head yelling "aha!". It is playing "bumper thoughts" with an issue I have at work. It's about control. Correction, it's about vagueness.

The glazes for pottery are interesting. I take my piece that I've formed. It's been bisked fired and is ready to get dressed. Seems like an important task. hmm...I bet that metalic green would look really cool... I open the metalic green glaze container to see this grey muck. I check the mustard yellow...its rusty muck. Okay, I see. suprise surprise. well, go with it. they have samples fired so I can guess roughly what it might look like... I can wait until next week to see the finished product. I think.

I move on to the raku pieces that we get to fire tonight. The first opportunity to fire as a class in the raku way. I grab the little bowls. My color choices are less...mostly blues. turquoise blue. blue nebula. The actual glazes are not blue but I am cool with this. I get it.
The firing goes on as promised. I am please with how they turned out but they are NOT blue. Why are they not BLUE?

This is what I ponder as I look at them. not blue. And maybe this is because I am at work but I am thinking about several friendly conversations I have had with my supervisor about being okay with vagueness. I generally say that I am okay working independantly and doing my own thing as long as I know the rules and boundries. This job comes with so many different levels of vagueness. I don't fee like going into all of them; just trust me that they are there. I am contantly talking to about how if I could just come up with a guideline. If I could just know "how many" people should I call a day. Then she tells me that it is part of the APO's for the next level up from me to be okay with vagueness.

All I want to know, is that somehow the blue glaze that looks like yellow muck will turn blue.
I am still thinking about this.

On a different note...The intructor came up to me as I was leaving and said that no matter what might happen for the rest of the class, what i made right there, is enough to have made the class a success. That is Raku. I have Barrett as a witness.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Look here, look here, we have prizes!

As our faithful readers know, both Howktown and Saariburg have been arrested and require you to bail us out.
Since we are partners in crime in the fight for babies (**SQUEEE**) we thought we would sweeten the deal for you.
Anyone who donates to both of our bail funds will have their name in a drawing to win a fabulous prize!
Simply go to: today and make a donation. Then, head over to and make another donation. We will be notified, and when we get out of jail on November 10, we will draw a name and the lucky winner will receive a prize.
Remember, it is for the babies **SQUEEE**!

Friday, October 23, 2009


So, I'm sitting at my desk minding my own business, answering the phone like I usually do, when the lady on the other end of the phone says "Erin? Great! Just who I was trying to reach! You've been arrested by glerbidy blog glip..." This is where I stopped listening because I was REALLY confused.

"What? The Who? The Where now?"


Oh crap, they caught me! I thought as a leader of a hilarious nation, I would have immunity. I guess not. I wonder what they caught me for, I better not say anything just in case. I've learned THAT lesson from many a sitcom!

"... THE MARCH OF DIMES!"  *Squeee*!

Oh... phew!

It's a fundraiser and it's for BABIES! Who doesn't love other people's babies! I know I do. Here's the spiel:

HELP!  A warrant for my arrest has been issued by the March of Dimes for aiding and abetting the fight against prematurity.

I have been found GUILTY of wanting every baby to be born full-term and healthy! To avoid doing hard time for my crimes I must raise my bail quickly.  YOU CAN HELP bail me out – or contribute to my incarceration.  Visit my cell online at today.

To learn more about how your dollars are helping to fight prematurity and save babies’ lives visit the March of Dimes at 

If you or someone you know has had a child born prematurely or with birth defects, or who has lost a child, encourage them to visit a special site for families at

Rest assured, I will be publicly humiliated for all of your monetary efforts. Mug shot and everything. I'll keep you posted, and if you have some spare change for the BABIES *squeee*!  That'd be great!

OH! I should mention, that I totally fingered KYLIE as my partner in crime:  so if you want to donate to her page, go ahead, I don't mind. :)


For many around the state, the kidnapping of Jacob Wetterling was a shocking and sad crime. For me, it was a watershed. I was 11 years old when 11 year old Jacob was taken, and living just an hour south of his hometown. I remember standing in our family room, having come downstairs to talk to my mom, and stopping short as we watched the coverage unfolding on tv. I know she talked to me about what was going on. But I just remember the horror. It was the very moment I learned that bad things happen. It wasn't that I was very sheltered as a kid — I grew up in the Twin Cities — I knew about safety and that bad people were out there. But until Jacob's experience was broadcast, it wasn't real. I didn't know him, but feel like I did; his tragedy is a very real part of my life. Years later, when a schoolmate was kidnapped and murdered by his neighbor, purportedly because he "was different", I thought back on Jacob, and I wasn't the one in the counseling office the day after the Pioneer Press put Grant's photo, complete with a gunshot wound to the head, on their front page. I already knew the truth by then. Bad things happen.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I'd Die for "Rocky Mountain" Oysters?

The mighty oyster. Mother of Pearl. The World's Most Perfect food, according to Anthony Bourdain. Indeed, it seems like the oyster is a decadence worthy of sampling on my inaugural adventure onto Sugarloaf Mountain in Roosevelt National Park this last week. That's right, I was going to have oysters in the Rocky Mountains (rest assured they weren't going to be be Rocky Mountain Oysters!).

I have this habit of wishing for things that I wish I could do, and then allowing those wishes to come true. Not long ago, after hearing my friend Jo Jo Potato describe a meal her Chef Brother, The Former Twerp, Map Boy, Jeff prepared  for her, I wished I could travel to Colorado one day and sample some of his cooking.

After becoming fully embroiled in this little hobby of haute cusine, top chef, and eating "anything but hotdish", I began to wish I had the "Rocky Mountain Oysters"* to try the real thing. That little rocky nugget from the sea. I was, however, too chicken to order them in a restaurant.  Any number of embarrassing things could happen, the least of which being, I wouldn't like them and have to pay for them.

Can you see where this is going? That's right! Last week I traveled to Colorado for wedding! Jo Jo came along to help me drive and we made a stop at her brothers... and as we were wandering around Whole Foods, he suggested oysters!  I couldn't believe it, the man could read my mind!

This adventure would not be just a mere tasting, however.  It would start with learning how to shuck the motherf'ers. It is not easy, but with determination, Jo, Elizabeth, Jeff, and I got those puppies open with a butter knife. We just had to remember to "wiggle and twist.

The next thing would be to taste them. Jeff demonstrated everything from start to finish, so I was confident that I would be able to pull this feat off.  Open the shell, swoop around to loosen, squirt with lemon, tip back into the mouth, hold it there for a sec, and swallow. Easy.

I did it! And it was... amazing. It was like pouring the sea into your soul. The salty breeze wafted to your nose and the juice was like waves pouring down your throat. It was bright, fresh, and definitely not hotdish. It was a gorgeous experience and one that I will treasure, because it will be the last time I will ever eat an oyster. It turns out I'm allergic to oysters. Damn'.

Not long after the feast commenced, my upper lip started swelling and I was having a bit of difficult time breathing. We searched the house for some benedryl and I subsequently stopped swelling and then passed out from the medication. Luckily we didn't have to make the 30 minute drive down the switchback roads of the mountain into the nearest town. Coming from a food allergic family, my parents and sister almost had a heart attack when I told the story about how I had a allergic reaction up the mountains and promised my mom I wouldn't ever eat oysters again... at least without an epi pen near by.

Oh well! On to the next adventure!

*Supposedly, Rocky Mountain Oysters are some kind of deep fried testicle. So, I'm told.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

a new found love or getting dirty

I have known for a while that I needed something new to do. Something for me only, that didn't involve another person participating. I knew this because I felt incomplete. kindy edgy. not completely happy about all the good things in my life. and because when asked what was going on and what was new in my life I was responding with statements about things long past or what other people were doing currently. Or simply staring blankly at the person asking until the level of uncomfortableness caused them to turn and walk away.

I needed to create something. I like making things. I have to say, I am pretty good at making things. Nothing in particular but definately "things". Supper got the majority of my creativeness but now I am bored with that.

Pottery is the lucky medium. It took a while but I am finely there. Tuesday and Thursday's from 6-8 pm. absorbed. with clay. with watching others work. with creating. with zoning out. with ideas. oh, the plethora of ideas of what is next.

For those 4 hours a week I am one with myself. I am not thinking about what I need to do at home. I am not thinking about all things I need to do better or what I need to do to save the world or at least my friends and family. I am calm. I am energized. My mind is crystal clear and energized. What shall I make next. Oh, my it's almost time to go. What is he making..oh....i can do that!! It involves running water, it's hands on, I can get lost in watching the clay centering in my hand. I am in love.

Guess what you are getting for Christmas!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

 I cannot wait to go on vacation.  I'm leaving in about three hours to make the 12 hour drive to Boulder, CO. My best friend Jo Jo Potato is coming along with me. I think I am just as excited about this trip as I was to leave for Mexico... but maybe that's because I haven't left the state since then.

Now the Queen of  Howktown has much love for traveling. Mostly it's the eating out at different restaurants, and seeing the different landscapes and such... oh and visiting the peeps.

So it has been a year and a half since I've been on a big vacation, big deal you say. I used to make a road trip somewhere out of state at least every 4-6 months!

This trip has the auspicious title of  Family Wedding, and that will be good I'm sure. However, JoJoPotato's little twerp of a brother, who amazingly got older just like Jo and I did (how'd that happen?) and he isn't so much of a twerp anymore lives out there, too.  I think this trip was destined to happen for me and Jo.

I'm counting down the minutes until we are on the road. Yee Haw.

HOWKTOWN APPROVES:  Road trips with your best friend since the 5th grade.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Holy Pumpkin Pie, Batman!

This ice cream tastes exactly like Pumpkin Pie!

You should go out an buy some now and eat it.  Then you can do like we did and put caramel and mini chocolate chips on it.

Or do like Kylie suggested and  make an ice cream pie/cake out of it in a graham cracker crust.  If I didn't have a 'World Famous' pumpkin pie recipe, that people wait to sample every year, I'd consider never making pumpkin pie again!

P.S. Howktown is now in possession of a camera aside from the one on her phone. Expect this blog to be pic-a fied.


Officially I declare to the world:
I am going to spend my protest as warm as possible as often as possible.
Age may be getting to me, I am willing to admit.
But I will admit it from the comfort of indoors, wrapped in a blanket.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Think Like a Tree
by Karen I. Shragg

Soak up the sun
Affirm life's magic
Be graceful in the wind
Stand tall after a storm
Feel refreshed after it rains
Grow strong without notice
Be prepared for each season
Provide shelter to strangers
Hang tough through a cold spell
Emerge renewed at the first signs of spring
Stay deeply rooted while reaching for the sky
Be still long enough to
hear your own leaves rustling.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Blog 1; Post 1

So. Hello Everyone. I am here. Blogging.

You haven't heard from me before. I would like to say that I have been too busy. "I am too busy to "blog"." I work. I have things to do. Well. that is true but not the whole story.

Getting to the point where I can blog has been quite the process. My knee jerk response is that I don't like blogging. I don't like that in order to keep up with my friends and family, that I have to "read" about them. Why can't we just get together? Why can't you call me and say, "hey, how was your day? and let me tell you about my life" It also bothers me that I can read all about the activities, interactions, and events of a person who doesn't have time or energy to interact personally with me or if does, has nothing to say.

Another roadblock to blogging is this feeling of needing to impress my readers. I am not a "writer". I am nervous about having an "audience". Do I match my writing style to the owner of the blog? Do I try to keep up with the "wittiness" of my sisters? What is the topic? Just "whatever?" I don't even journal.

Then there is the vaguely disturbing stories of people not getting jobs because of something they put on facebook or a blog. Or getting in trouble with work or loved ones. I don't want to be judged because of a misplaced picture of me drinking in Thailand or whatnot...

I also don't like being pressured to do things. "Don't tell me what to do."

So, while spending all my time focusing on my internal blathering and poutiness, a funny thing has happened. My mother knows more about my friends than I do and I have many conversations that go like this; "oh, guess what. Lin is pregnant." " I know". "Sara, how is your uncle?" "what?" "Sara, how is that one thing working out for your sister and how come you don't blog on your sisters blog".

So here I am. Joining the world. My Grandpa Howk's words to my Dad echoing in my head "Loren, you have to move with technology or you will be left behind". Oh, and , my friend from work Abby just asked "Saraaa, are you becoming a blogger?"

Why yes, Abby. I am.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Buenos días!

Hola, mis amigos!

Just a little announcement to my whereabouts for the next 6 months.  I am in MEXICO. Sitting by this pool.  If you see me walking down the street looking dapper in my red hat, wool trench, and 10 foot long scarf... remember I am in MEXICO. Greet me accordingly.

If a scale a snowbank to get to your front door, remember I AM IN MEXICO, hand me a margarita and greet me accordingly.

I will have my laptop, cell phone, The Shark, and other communication essentials with me, but remember, since I am in MEXICO, I might have difficulty understanding you unless you greet me accordingly*.


Feel free to stop by MEXICO, anytime!

Pass the Nachos.


* A proper Mexican greeting would include using such friendly greetings as Hola! Buenos Dias, Buenos Tardes, Here is your Margarita!, Isn't this pool, great! Boy, you sure look tan!, Isn't this sunshine wonderful?!, Would you like some tacos? and other such niceties.

Touche`, Stacy, Touche` *

In Response to the last post by The Mayor of Ingvaldia:

Sent:Monday, October 05, 2009 8:39 AM

in a world filled with murder, mayhem and h1n1 ... blogging is safer then handshakes.  stacy ------------------------------------------------------------------------------


You may have noticed that The Mayor hasn't been posting to the Howktown Gazette recently (or at all). She has a lot excuses, some of them good... like she didn't know how to log on.  So this weekend I assisted her in that endeavor.  She now has no excuses for not being able to log on.  I can't say that will increase her posting though, since technically I wrote that post for her while she was sitting next to me.

*(Snrk. touche! I crack myself up!)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Don't expect much.

Happy Birthday, Erin. I hope your freaking happy. I blogged, okay. Can I go on with my life now? Huh? Huh? You know, interacting with people on a personal level. With voices, and handshakes, and such?

Thanks. Love you too!
Ta Ta!

Friday, October 2, 2009


Birthday Was Good.

Remember, this national holiday isn't over yet, my friends. There is still tomorrow.. which is Friday.

G'night y'all.

And the winner to the contest is... me. There were no enteries, so i guess that means, I WIN!

Awesome. I guess I have a few more things to learn about blogging, and maybe bribing comes later. Until then, have a good night.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Nothing a good pile o' leaves can't cure

Fall is the most favorite time of the year in Howktown.  Of course, my birthday being in the best time of fall has a lot to do with it, but that is not the only reason.

There is also the way you can put the youngin's to work in the yard cleaning up the detritus from yesterday's windstorm.   Noticed the tyke size rakes Grampy made sure was available for their little hands! Oh wait, they volunteered. They love raking up the leaves.

I don't blame them either, because once you rake them up, you get to do fun things like bury your sister and her two kids in the pile and take pictures of her.  Or if you're six you can pretend that you're a leaf monster and the big pile of leaves are your stomach. Everything you eat ends up in the pile.  Including your sister and your mom. 

Or if you're four, you can reason that the sun won't be in your eyes if they are covered in leaves. So here is a big pile of musty dead leaves in your face and down your shirt. 

Yup, those things are great about fall, too. Feeling the hot sun on your face and cool breeze in your hair at the very same time...

Of course then there is that last ditch effort to get some fun in before the winter sets in. That's a very important quality that you'll notice about northerners. They don't want to forget to get everything in.  I feel that way sometimes in life, too. I don't think that a person can dwell on it too much, otherwise you'll spend too much time thinking and not enough time doing. Rest assured good friends, I spent this afternoon doing. 

Monday, September 28, 2009

I am an ARTIST!

The rumors are true, before The Howk became a Professional Massage Therapist, NCTMB, she was an Artist, BS.  That's right, I have credentials that I can pile up after my name and make myself seem important (Hey! I paid for those letters!)

Actually, my mother can tell you that I've been saying that I wanted to be an Artist since I was four years old. It's one of those few childhood memory snippets that I still remember. I also remember thinking I didn't know how the hell I was going to make that happen outside of school.

self-portrait 1997 copyright Erin Howk 

Oh, I put my degree to use. I worked JOBS in the arts, but somehow it isn't quite the same. So, I changed careers and put the actual making of physical pieces of art on hiatus. I needed to do it for a couple of reasons. One I was struggling with a culturally implanted conception of what it meant to be an artist. You stayed at home working your butt off wearing dirty clothes and smelling of garlic and cigarettes for little return until you hit your big break. That doesn't sound very fun, and I didn't have much passion for that type of lifestyle. Oh, I like garlic, but I don't smoke and I wash my clothes regularly.

What was I to do?  Give up the artist moniker and embrace my new MT one?  I tried that for a while, but I just felt a little empty and incomplete.

Then I decided, well if I'm not making art, I certainly need to be a Patron of the Arts!  I'll collect!  I'll support! I'll find room somewhere in this closet to store all of the stuff I buy! I will, I swear!  I have to say this helped for a while. I have some beautiful pottery at home. Including some from this artist.

After a while I felt  I was letting my 4 year old self down. I TOLD people I was going to be an artist! I have to live up to my word!

I kind of forgot about it for awhile, running my business took priority. I started reading more blogs by what I considered creative people and artists.  I came to the conclusion that it isn't the collections, the portfolios, or the gallery showings that make a person an artist, not completely. It has a lot to do with your approach to life. Your mind is a creative mind, in that it creates things out of seemingly nothing and changes the perspective of their world.  This is done through writing, drawing, photography, cooking, speaking, singing, laughing, hugging, massaging, and healing.

Here I was limiting my soul to a path that is decidedly the antithesis of what it means to be an artist. A pre-defined, static path is for Math! Sheesh.

I hope to look down from heaven and view my life path as a beautiful intricate drawing. One with turns and surprises. One with layers and meaning beyond even my understanding.  That is what it is to be an artist.

Which is awesome for my closet.

Art Inspiring Blogs That I Read:

Accidental Mysteries  I love this blog. It does all the work for me. The author searches the internet and other collections for interesting artistic interactions with the world. Sometimes it is just your artist mind that sees the creative process in the objects, sometimes its a feature on an honest to goodness working artist (aka, not a lazy one like me).

Lobster and Swan This website is so beautiful. Not every post is art. Sometimes it is what the author is eating that day, or inspirations she sees in a magazine. She is also an etsy seller, and I have purchased and item or two from her. Handcrafted and easy to own. What could be better!

REMEMBER that give away I told you about? I wasn't lying. I would love to surprise a reader with something off their Amazon wish list (up to $20 value).

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment answering this question: What blog(s) do you find inspiring?

I'll pick a winner randomly on my birthday.

Don't forget, you can also follow this blog! Click follow me at the right!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Shot through the heart!

Deb enjoying 2 for 1s and the self described "Black Madonna" behind her.

In Howktown, birthdays are a national holiday. Friends birthdays are not be excluded from the celebratory shennanigans. So when good old NOH said 80's night, I said. Howktown will support this diplomatic action.

So, I loaded up the Shark and drove to St. Paul to partake in some good old fashion 80's night goofiness.  There was a costume contest, but I remember gleefully destroying anything I had from the 80's as way to rid the world of those middle school demons, so I opted for regular clothes that were clean and didn't reveal too much of my age.

It was a girls night for sure. We were all giddy at not having to pay a cover, but then they gave us a free drink ticket! Who Hoo it's going to get all crazy up in here!  We went to the back bar to order when they told us it was 2 for 1 rails until 11.  It couldn't get any better for a birthday party!

The music started out great, he annouced that it was going to be 80's night AND a Micheal Jackson tribute! We were on our way to the best birthday celebration a 30 something could ask for!

Unfortunately, their idea of a request list was a piece of paper on a clip board that was completely ignored. The eighties music featured New Edition, Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston, and Metallica.  Oh, they threw in the odd NKTOB and Cindy Lauper, but they were so far and few between, I couldn't really get a good dance groove on.

Wait? Wasn't this supposed to be a Michael Jackson Tribute Night? Oh, yes! At 11:45 pm, they played 3 MJ songs in a ROW! Wow, what a tribute. Then after playing Motley Cru, they played 2 more MJ songs, after that they started repeating the MJ songs they already played and ignoring the ones that I requested.

Oh did I mention the service was horrible, and the creep factor on the dudes in the bar was high? Indeed.

Well. Now that I have just spent the last several minutes bitching. We had an awesome time. I hadn't seen Deb in 2 years, and I hadn't been out drinking with her in at least 4. It was great to see my college pals and sing out loud to Bon Jovi at our table while drinking rail 2 for 1's.  When I think back to when we were all in school, this is how it was when we went out all the time. The DJ plays the songs we like early when no one is there, the service shitty because it is so damn busy and they are understaffed, and we have an awesome time anyway.

This time, though, we didn't have a final exam the next morning.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Civic Minded!

Protesters outside Mankato High School

So a coupla months ago, Kylie was assigned to cover a Health Care Town Meeting in our area.  I tagged along and sat 'with the press' which means I sat next to my sister in a filled to capacity high school auditorium.

As you can imagine, there was heated debate, gross misinformation, yelling, clapping, booing, cheering, rabble-rousers, and regular old folks.  We all know about that stuff; we hear about it everyday. I'm not going to try and explain my position on health care or anything like that...

I am going to say this: It was a very American experience. There was a lot of emotion involved in this 'get together' and not all of it was positive, but the fact that we could all get together and talk about it without getting arrested, molested, or lined up at a firing squad afterwards was quite inspiring to my sense of nationalism.

We may never all agree on anything. There will still be people out there who will be convinced by the absurd things they read on the internet. There may even be a time when the government makes a mistake (or five).  However, our democracy is formed by the people, and our ideals are reflected in it.  Their mistake is our mistake.  Once we take responsibility for that, I think we can better work toward positive outcomes.

We are a strong people. We have choices. We can participate in our government. Nothing is hopeless. Let's stop pointing fingers and work with what enormous amount of resources that we have been given.

*** stumbles of soapbox***

ahem. WELL, I say.


Here is something that I have always wanted to do:

Randomly search Amazon public wish lists and buy someone a gift.  It is a wish list after all, and wouldn't it be awesome to have something magically appear?

What wish would you like to grant?