......finding a new home for lutefisk lovers.

(ok we don't love it. or even like it. but we're supposed to.)

31 October 2010

(I took this photo on the sly - from my slow moving car. The elaborate Halloween display guarding the gates is wildly lit at night.......with orange bulbs and red glowing eyeballs. It belongs to a neighbor of mine who is a celebrity of sorts; perhaps a writer. One who might be responsible for several off the charts bestsellers with titles that sound something like "The BaVinci Mode." Does anyone know the appropriate etiquette regarding trick-or-treating at homes with security gates?)

27 October 2010

The "40 Before 40 List:" Salem, Massachusetts at Halloween

Many years ago, on the cusp of our 30th birthdays, my posse and I put our heads together and created a list; a list that would shape our attitude toward our next decade. It was called "The 40 Before 40 List" and contained 40 items for each of us to experience/accomplish/enjoy before our 40th birthdays. Examples include 1) run a marathon 2) get published 3) stop wearing nursing bras 4) get arrested (that was me. People like me only get arrested when they are standing up for something they believe in...........or if they're having a really good time. It seemed like a good thing to include).

Another one of my list items was 33) visit Salem, Massachusetts during Halloween. And now that I'm a New Englander, I can visit Salem easily in a DAYTRIP (hooray for the daytrip!). My friend Colleen, a member of my posse, came along as my co-pilot. Which turned out to be quite necessary even though we used a GPS device. Or maybe BECAUSE we used a GPS device. That's a post for another day: "GPS: Friend or Enemy?"

We arrived in Salem on a cold, windy day in October (spooky!). The town welcomed us with an imposing witch statue perched over the main thoroughfare surrounded by a gaggle of tourists, cameras pointed upward trying to capture the spookiest shot. So we fight for a parking spot and scramble over to the witch statue so we, too, can get our witch photo. I read the plaque at the foot of the witch and........wait a minute! This isn't even a witch! And I'll bet you dollars to donuts that none of these people snapping photos has any idea! Doesn't anybody read anymore? It's actually a statue of just a plain guy who was active in the founding of the town. He signed off "on the building contract for enlarging the meeting house in Town square for the First Church in Salem........He was active in the affairs of the town throughout his life."

Seriously? Then why the pointy hat? And the billowy cloak? And that thing that looks like a broom handle? Is this a game of trick-the-tourist?

But I take a picture anyway (cause it's witchy!) and then we proceed to the Salem Witch Trial Museum. Which is, incidentally, one of the "1000 Great Places to See in the State of Massachusetts!" And I want to say, you know that Massachusetts is a really small state, right? Not a normal-sized state like an Ohio or an Arizona or maybe a Dakota or something? So I want to know what they count as a "great place to see" because I don't think you could fit 1000 anything in a state this size unless it's like 1000 blades of grass.

This is a New England phenomenon, the ranking and the "best"-ing; there are so many places that have a sign saying "Best (something) in all of (someplace really small)!" If you have the best lobster roll in all of New Hampshire, you're really selling yourself pretty short because I can drive up and down the New Hampshire coastline 4 times in an hour. The whole state is like the size of Hennepin County. It's the equivalent of saying "Best Tomato Soup on all of France Avenue!" The pool just isn't that big. It's all the more funny when you come from Minnesota, where we get hives when we call attention to ourselves. If you won "The Best Place to Eat, Drink, Dance, and Breathe in all of the Solar System," you could never bring yourself to put up a sign. But if they made you, it would say "Yah, on a good day we do pretty good for ourselves."

So Colleen and I buy our tickets to one of the "1000 great places to see in a very small state." We've heard a rumor that you can get in for free if one of your ancestors was tried and hanged as a witch. What a nice perk! But I have no early American roots and, sadly, all of Colleen's early American ancestors died of natural causes. Rats!!

The museum consists of a spooky audiovisual presentation using cutting-edge technology in still-life dioramas and wax mannequins. It's like visiting Disneyland's Hall of Presidents in 1971.......on a day when the animatronics are broken. That being said, a wax dummy with a noose around his neck is still pretty scary. Especially when you add creepy lighting and a booming Vincent Price voice over. So when I see small children in the room, I'm thinking about the nightmares they'll have later that night. Maybe featuring the wax mannequin in diorama #4 who was crushed between two boards piled high with rocks until his lungs collapsed and blood spurted out the broken seams of his body. I think that's scary. Especially if you're 4. If a child is young enough to ask his mommy for a pacifier during the presentation, he might be too young for images of men being crushed to death. No passies at the witch museum.

The next part of the museum is a guided tour through some more dioramas (a sale at the diorama store?) that explain the history of witches in America. Our guide is like a bored Sunday school teacher who's just phoning it in. Her demeanor is magnified even more by the presence of a big fake spider sitting on top of her grandma hair. She tells the class of high school students in our group that some people are actually interested in this information so she hopes they'll be respectful of them by being quiet. And maybe they'll learn something. (the high school kids look at each other like "what did we do?").

But I do learn something. I learn that tragedies like the Salem Witch Trials need 3 things to occur: a fear, a trigger, and a scapegoat. She uses the witch trials to explain the growing prejudice surrounding the Muslim population: Americans are taught to fear terrorism, the 9/11 attacks occur, now we use the entire Muslim population as our scapegoat. I see her vaguely roll her eyes like "Stupid Americans. If only you were as schooled in hysteria as I am."

I also learn that the cast of Bewitched visited the town in 1970..........and they're still talking about it. There were no fewer than 3 books on the visit of Samantha and Darren (which Darren, I wonder?) and Tabitha and Endorra. I don't think Mr. Tate could make it; he had a meeting with a really important client back at the office. And Mrs. Cravitz wasn't invited. One of the books included 3D glasses! And there's a statue of Elizabeth Montgomery (aka Samantha Stephens) right in the middle of town. This must the "real" witch statue. And I can mock all I want, but the truth is that Colleen and I endangered ourselves and others - circling the block, breaking traffic laws, doing chinese firedrill-like maneuvers - just trying to get close enough to get a good photo of the Bewitched statue. So the joke's on me.

I like Salem at Halloween. I don't need to go to the broken animatronics museum again but it certainly piqued my interest in both the hysteria and history of witches and their rituals (I like to call them "witchuals").

As for the "40 Before 40 List," Martha and Colleen have both run marathons, Annie has recently landed an agent for her novel (and she's no longer wearing nursing bras), and I can now check the box marked "Visit Salem, Massachusetts during Halloween."

But I'm still waiting to get arrested.

24 October 2010


A move always involves a visit to the Department of Motor Vehicles. For me, it's not a great concern; I'm happy to ride it out with my Minnesota license until it expires. Why waste good plastic? I'm cheap, lazy and I like the picture on my Minnesota license.....and that is a gift you don't throw away. Plus, it's motivation to drive carefully. Although, after moving to Chicago, I got out of several tickets by flashing my old license and cooing "I just moved here and we don't have traffic like this where I come from. I was told that slowing down for a yellow light could get me rear-ended so I should floor it until I see solid red."

I used a North Carolina driver's license in 3 different states until it finally got taken away in Wisconsin. And that represents a savings of several hours, perhaps days, of waiting in line at the DMV. But Mike is a rule follower and he's sweating like a fugitive right now......so callously driving in New Hampshire without identification that accurately portrays his residential status. He's a ticking time bomb. So I agree to take the day off with him and drive to the inconveniently located DMV and make it legal.

The DMV ladies greet us loudly when we cross the threshold and quickly ask if they can help us. We're startled.........as you are when you pick up an empty milk carton that you thought was full. We approach them with our files of gathered materials and they gently, kindly - with one hand on the panic button - explain to us that we don't have all the necessary material and that registering our cars and registering to vote takes place at the town clerk's office..........from whence we came..........15 miles behind us.

Mike was in charge of this task and has put on the illusion of "preparing" for it for quite some time. But it appears that the extent of his "preparation" was finding the address of the DMV. But I don't needle. He's beating himself up internally so I let it go.

We get back in the car, drive 15 miles to his office to get our passports, drive home to get an accepted form of proof of residency and then drive to the town clerk's office to register our cars and register to vote. The town clerk fills out form after form after form thinking that Mike's middle name (Nelson) and my last name (Nilsen) are the same name and one of us is spelling it wrong. Like maybe Mike took my last name as his middle name in a show of neo-feminism that just doesn't exist in our house. Although he tries, he really tries, but he's just not that evolved. So she spells each name the same on all the forms and then prints them out on a dot matrix printer from 1988..........and when I get my forms back I say "Excuse me, you spelled my name wrong. It's N-I-L-S-E-N." And then, unbeknownst to us, she goes and changes the spelling on BOTH sets of forms and reprints them all on the dot matrix printer from 1988. Then Mike gets his forms and says "Sorry, but it looks like you misspelled my name. It's N-E-L-S-O-N." And she goes back and changes all the forms again. And if we had been paying attention and not checking our facebook pages during each others' forms-roundup, we probably could have stopped the shenanigans before the ink ran out on the dot matrix. Poor Pat. Or Sheila. Or something like that. But we eventually do wake up and explain that these are actually two different names. And she can't believe it, what are the chances of sharing such a similar name????

Pretty good, actually. "We're from Minnesota," we say in unison. But she doesn't get it. But we leave the town clerk's office on good terms with Pat. Or Sheila. Or....I don't know, I can't remember. But she was a good sport.

Then on to the DMV again where we're greeted heartily again as we cross the threshold (but this time we're prepared). I fill out my form but I leave "haircolor" blank. Seriously, I have no idea what my real haircolor is. I know what it is TODAY but that has nothing to do with what it will be next month or next year. I'm honest with DMV girl. I say "I left this blank because, honestly, it changes all the time. It's generally in the blonde to brown range but sometimes it's both depending on what song is playing in the salon. And sometimes it's red. And recently I had a blue streak. "

She says, "Why don't you choose the one that makes you feel the best?" Which is really sweet for a DMV worker. Then she adds, "Today you look blonde." And before you can hear the "d" in blonde, I've filled in "blonde" so I can cling to my youth for another five years.

When it's time for the eye test, I struggle to make out the letters (numbers?) on line 5. There are twice as many characters as other lines and they seem to be overlapping each other. I stammer and pause and correct myself several times. DMV girl is concerned. I wait to see what she'll do. I try again. She asks for input from other DMV workers. After several failed attempts and a weighty silence in the room, I say "Fine, I'll put my glasses on." Collective sighs of relief and nervous laughter from all 3 DMV workers. DMV girl dryly says "Yeah, you need to wear those." I thought my eyes were getting better. I swear.

Finally, she makes us hand over our Minnesota licenses. Which is sad. Mostly because, like I said, mine has a really good picture on it. And because it was taken on my 40th birthday. And because it means we're not visiting this place anymore.

20 October 2010


I am a daytripper. I love the daytrip. Liam, coincidentally, is learning to play Daytripper on the guitar. And New England is daytrip country. Mostly because of an alternative scale of proximity. Everything here is less than a day's drive. If you put your hands around the borders of Minnesota and squeezed it down to the size of Shakopee, squishing all of its contents/communities/points of interest closer together, you'd have the New England experience. Think of it; what if you could go to Grand Marais for the day? Have lunch at Chez Jude, buy some art and come home? Or have a picnic at the headwaters of the Mississippi and be home for dinner? Or maybe you want to go canoeing in the Boundary Waters for the day......stop at the Hockey Hall of Fame and then grab some caramel rolls at Tobie's on the way home. That's New England in a nutshell (pun intended. hee hee).

Our destination this weekend was the Pumpkin Festival in Keene, New Hampshire, home of the Guinness World Record for the largest number of carved pumpkins lit at one time. I may have mentioned previously that one of Liam's weird obsessions is superlatives. Previous inquiries include: What's the sharpest thing you've ever seen? How many bandits are there in the whole world? and What's the scariest thing you've ever seen? He asks this one almost daily so he either doesn't believe us or he thinks we see scarier and scarier things every day. So anyway, we thought witnessing a real live world record in the making might make him a willing daytripper. Instead of whiny baggage that begs to go home every 30 seconds.

We stop in Peterborough for lunch, the real-life setting of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" (for those of you who were in the theater crowd in high school). Peterborough is celebrating "A Peak at Peterborough" on this fall day so the streets and shops are crawling with leaf peepers. Liam and Mike listen to a bluegrass/oom pah band while I browse in a shop called Red Chair Antiques. Generally, antiques make me wheeze but these were repurposed finds from Sweden and France; chock full of linens and duvets and shiny trinkets (like jewelry made out of buttons).

When we finally reach Keene, we stroll along the long, long, long, long line up of carved pumpkins that snaked through the town..........admiring each and every design and picking out our favorites. If you look closely at the photo below, you can see a series of pumpkins displaying a fragment of the phrase "Will You Marry Me." I didn't even see this when I was taking the picture; the next day, I heard the story of the couple who met years earlier at the Pumpkin Festival and, this year, Mr. Pumpkin Festival decided to use the Pumpkin Festival to ask Ms. Pumpkin Festival to marry him. And, voila, my camera decided to document the event without telling me!
It cracks me up how people take pictures of individual pumpkins. Picture after picture of individual pumpkins. I wonder if they'll put them in photo albums and look at them when they're old. Or, god forbid, show them to their friends. Like "oh would you like to see my photos of the pumpkin festival? Let's see.....these are from 1999. This one is scary. And this one has a mad face. And this one looks surprised! And this is my favorite - they put a hat on it!"

Here's the highlight of the day for Liam: the New Hampshire equivalent of the pronto pup is "Fried Dough." It is just like it sounds: dough that is fried. That's it. To me, it sounds a little lacking in ingenuity. What's it dipped in? Where's the stick? It's just dough. Fried. On a paper plate. But he ate that fried dough like it was his last meal. And the smell of the fried......well, everything.......gave us the Minnesota State Fair fix that we missed this year because of our move. Which no one ever brings up because the pain is too great.......how long can one go without Sweet Martha's cookies?????? Instead, I stalked my friends via cell phone during the fair, shouting from New Hampshire "What are you eating now? How about now? What are you eating next? WHAT'S NEXT?"

As the sun started to set, hundreds of volunteers rushed to light thousands and thousands of jack o'lanterns as we all watched and waited with cameras poised. Crowds of people, standing still, snapping and snapping and snapping like it was the Eiffel Tower on fire. We also waited for the final count. Will it be another world record? The answer......drumroll please..........is:
22, 949

Holy Balls! When they said a world record I thought it would be like 400!
Way to go, Keene, New Hampshire.

Once we got our picture, we climbed back in the car for our 2 hour drive home. This could be painful, I think, with Maniac Magee in the backseat, overtired and hopped up on fried dough. But that beautiful child sat quietly in the back seat mainlining digital media, leaving us to have uninterrupted conversations and admire the fall colors and the winding New England roads. It was a rare treat for those of us who have spent the last eight years answering a perpetual assault of questions, most of them from the backseat during heavy traffic. It was like date night.

To reward him for being our ideal child, we tracked down a Famous Dave's restaurant an hour out of town. Famous Dave's is Liam's favorite restaurant; it was a short walk from our old house in Minneapolis and he was on a first-name basis with many of the workers.

When we arrived, he was silent. But smiling. I thought he might cry. And when the waitress came over to our table and said "welcome to famous dave's i'm famous sabrina how are you doing tonight can i start you out with some of our famous onion strings?" Liam whispered, "It's not as good without Nancy but I still like it."

So if any of you happen to go to the Famous Dave's in Linden Hills, please tell Nancy that Liam says hi.

A great ending to a great daytrip.
Keep on daytrippin'.

18 October 2010

Brought to you by Kerrygold Irish Dubliner Cheese......

Last week's grocery store blog post included a rant about my inability to find "my goddamn Irish Dubliner cheese." The next day, I get an email from Molly O'Loughlin from Kerrygold, makers of Irish Dubliner Cheese, saying that they don't want me to be without my Kerrygold Irish Dubliner Cheese and can they please send me some? And I'm like "Bring it on!" and "Yummy!" and "Thank you Irish Jesus!" And then I'm thinking "Molly O'Loughlin, is that your real name?" I bet when you get hired at Kerrygold, makers of Irish Dubliner Cheese, they make you choose your Irish name. You know, like your communion name or your bowling name (mine is alternately Jeannie or Lola. That's my bowling name, not my communion name. Lutherans are far too modest to align themselves with saints. Plus, the name you have is perfectly fine. Don't be so greedy).

So I invite you all to choose your Irish name and share it with me. I've chosen Bridget O'Hurlihy. What's yours?

So anyway, we opened the box and went through an entire block of cheese in one day. We were like George Costanza eating a piece of cheese the size of a car battery. Kerrygold, makers of Irish Dubliner Cheese, also sent a recipe booklet that suggested making a panini with Kerrygold Blarney Castle Cheese and mango chutney. Which is what we had for dinner that night and, let me tell you friends, that was a yummy treat. Be liberal with the chutney. So tasty.

It's funny how cheese can make a girl so happy. A tip 'o the hat to you, Molly O'Loughlin (if that's your real name). :)

15 October 2010

Fart Follow-up

I am not kidding about this. It's too bizarre to be a joke. The very instant that I clicked the "Publish" button on yesterday's fart-themed post, Liam waltzed into the room and said "What did my first fart sound like?"


He must have picked up on the lingering fart ambience in the room.
Or he's got some serious comedic timing.

13 October 2010

A Gift for Me While We Precariously Hold on to Beach Weather............

Don't try to over-intellectualize this. Don't try to make out all the words and glean some meaning from them.

It very distinctly says "fart" in the sand.

And I just wanted to share that with you all.

(p.s. For those of you who simply must know, the other word is "cupcake.")

(p.p.s. The fact that I find this funny could explain why Liam has a fart box. A box that he farts into. Mike mistakenly tried to put the fart box - which is a plain cardboard box devoid of any distinguishing features - out with the trash. Which was met with "NO! That's my fart box!" That's how we found out he had a fart box.)

(p.p.p.s. We recently attended Curriculum Night at Liam's school where they showed a DVD of the kids at work in their classrooms. Liam's class was doing an exercise a la Electronic Company - you know the one: "N......Est. Nest! B......Ox. Box!" On this DVD, that was shown to ALL the 2nd grade parents, Liam says, "I have one for "art!" A quick look at Mike out of the corner of my eye said "Don't react. They don't know us so they won't know he's ours. sssshhhhhh." Maybe we should stop laughing at fart jokes. Or taking pictures of the word "fart" in the sand and posting them on our blog. But I still think it's funny.....hee hee!)

11 October 2010

The Universe Provides in a Timely Fashion

I was all set to sit down and fill you in on my grocery store drama. How I walked the aisles of the local (and most highly recommended) grocery store and tried not to cry because they didn't have Irish Dubliner cheese; biting the inside of my cheek and hissing "I WANT MY GODDAMN IRISH DUBLINER!" at the sea of orange cheese. How I drive to Maine to buy the eggs I like. How I keep a cooler in my car because I found out by accident that quality food is not convenient and might thaw on the way home. How grocery shopping takes an even greater devotion of time and energy because no single place carries all the things I like........and none of them are convenient. How I asked neighbors about the grocery store culture and they referred me to the Rite Aid.

And then I open a copy of Coastal Home magazine. And there before me is a full page ad for my favorite of the far-flung grocery outposts with a headline announcing that a new store will be opening in January..........


Which makes it THE CLOSEST grocery store to my house!!!!!! The favorite AND the closest!

I needed this. I really, really needed this. Because the grocery shopping was becoming a metaphor for the transition we've been asked to make. And perhaps I was given this gift at this juncture so that I wouldn't shuffle into my soon-to-be-former closest superstore (with slippers and a ciggy of course) and wave Mike's sweet new air rifle in their faces shouting "I WANT MY GODDAMN IRISH DUBLINER! JUST GET ME THE DUBLINER AND NO ONE GETS HURT!"

And now I think I hear the Mary Tyler Moore theme singing in my head.............
..............."you're gonna make it after all."

07 October 2010

Byerly's oh Byerly's......wherefore art thou, Byerly's?

I knew grocery stores would be an issue. They always are. Because I am a grocery store junkie. I love grocery shopping the way some people love sudoku. Like "We need milk?! I'll go! Please.......ME! I'll do it!" When Liam was a baby, Mike and I would get in huge fights because he would notice that we were out of milk and then gallantly take it upon himself to fulfill the task without being asked. That really chapped my hide! I also used to get mad at him for mowing the lawn but that had more to do with equal parenting "opportunities" (picture a greasy-haired woman in a bathrobe standing at the window with an infant on her hip........you can't hear her over the roar of the mower but you think you see her mouthing the words "GET IN HERE AND TAKE THIS DAMN BABY!").

I don't love the historic concept of grocery shopping - two hours every Saturday humping it through the aisles filling two carts crossing off your coupons for Steak Umms and Pepsi Light with two kids in tow one of whom is begging for Captain Crunch and the other just begging to go home. No. Why torture yourself like that? Just give everyone a fiver and say "Bon appetit, family. You're on your own."

Food is good. It's yummy. It sustains life. It can be really beautiful. Why do we have to have to reduce it to such drudgery? I love the aesthetic experience of it all; the colors, the smells, the recipes, the artful interiors, the happy farmers, the elderly Lutheran ladies offering me samples and the adorable retired gentlemen who chat with me as they load my groceries in my car. I want to shop at a place with chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and soft carpeting under foot. I want to shop in a place where people smile and say "Look at the starfruit!" - not shuffle along in their slippers with a ciggy hanging out of their mouth. If I'm going to devote such a significant amount of my precious time to this necessary task, don't you think I deserve that?

Obviously, I'm not talking about your average American superstore. Within 10 minutes of my old house in Minneapolis, I had 4 grocery stores that fit this description AND a Trader Joe's AND a Whole Foods AND my neighborhood natural foods co-op (which was not your mother's 1970's co-op where everyone smelled like patchouli and volunteered once a month in exchange for bulgur). Within 10 minutes of my old house, there were also 3 or more soul-sucking superstores........where I could save a lot of money. And cry.

But Kristin, you seem like such a woman of the people......why such a snob about groceries?

The short answer was mentioned previously; food acquisition is a necessary task that takes significant time and energy so I would like it to ADD to my happiness - not reduce me to slippers and a ciggy.

But here's the long answer:

When I was a poor graduate student at the University of North Carolina (go Heels!), I longed to shop at The Wellspring Market or Foster's Market (of the Foster's Market Cookbook fame). But I was frugal. Which was lucky. Because I was poor. Participating -in- medical- experiments poor. So I shopped at the two local superstores. Food Lion and - I'm not lying about this......the Harris Teeter. Which we, of course, called The Hairy Peter. My friend Alison called it the Hairy Tit but that was too gritty for me. Either way, The Hairy Peter really did feel like shopping in the crotch of the grocery store world.

I was such a loser that I saved my grocery shopping for Friday nights - woo hoo! I didn't realize how pathetic this was until my roommate gave me a message after I got home one night: "Oh by the way, Mike called. I told him you were probably grocery shopping. Because that's what you do on Friday nights." Ouch. Hearing it out loud made me think seriously about accepting that invitation to the Library Science Student Social Club.

But then something happened that would change my grocery shopping behavior forever; a special edition of Prime Time Live with Diane Sawyer and Sam Donaldson. The episode exposed the seedy, unsanitary underbelly of the supermarket world. And where did they do their undercover investigating? Hmmmm?

FOOD LION! And not just any Food Lion! MY FOOD LION! The actual, physical store that I patronized!

In addition to your run-of-the-mill "wipe your ass and then unpack the apples" transgressions, Food Lion employees were caught in dozens of disgusting, dangerous and really creative practices all in the name of getting consumers to buy crap. Including pouring BBQ sauce over expired meat and then repackaging with a new expiration date. Thank god I couldn't afford meat!

My first reaction: a little bit of throw up in my mouth. My next reaction was like Scarlet O'Hara frantically eating the carrot she pulled from Tara's soil......."AS GOD AS MY WITNESS, I WILL NEVER SHOP AT A CRAPPY GROCERY STORE AGAIN!"

And Minneapolis completely supported me in this pledge. With it's Lutheran sample ladies and chandeliers and its huge variety of goat's milk products.

So now that I live in the real world and not grocery store nirvana, what am I supposed to do? On the one hand, this is New Hampshire; aren't there lots of happy farmers and happy cows and happy chickens here? And happy vegans for that matter? Shouldn't that translate into happy grocery stores and happy farmer's markets? Or does corporate greed and the farm bill have a greater influence over my choices?

Stay tuned and I'll keep you updated.

04 October 2010

Shop Local

There's not a lot going on in my new town..........but we do have Wholly Scrap. When my dad was visiting, he kept saying he wanted to see our town. And I kept saying, "Dad, you've seen it. Like 9 times. There's the fire station, the grocery store, the Home Depot and Wholly Scrap. That's it."

01 October 2010

Just a Note About the Wallpaper

In the last post, you saw a picture of Liam in our downstairs bathroom. If you recoiled and felt a stabbing pain in your eyes, I am really really sorry. I should have posted a warning. Something like "ATTENTION: The following image contains outdated decorating techniques that may not be appropriate for all viewers. Women who are pregnant or nursing should consult their physician."

Don't panic........the wallpaper is going. My tolerance for twee pattern is zero zero zero. I'm offended every time I walk by that room. I close my eyes when I pee.

I can't even go to a B&B for fear they'll have "period wallpaper" and "quaint furnishings" (which makes vacationing in New England a little tough - but I'm researching it).

So...... a wallpaper exterminator has been called and the problem should be eradicated sometime this month. I'll post the "after" pictures as a salve.

Again, I'm really really sorry about this.