Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Successful Troll Party- even without the Packers

So game over and San Francisco goes on to the Superbowl.  In some small way, that makes me feel better about losing last week. However, as I thought might be the case Smekk was heartbroken.

 “Where is the Clay?” she asked her face twisted up in what I can only assume is the equivalent of a pout.

“Well, the Packers lost last week, remember? Clay’s season has ended.”

Suddenly she took on a look of terror, “was he killed?”

“What! No, he is perfectly fine. Somewhere he is watching this same game, safe in comfortable chair.”

“But he lost the battle,” she said still not understanding.

“Oh Smekk, this all just a game. The players are battling for honor and bragging rights. Clay and the others will be back in a few short months to play again.”

She started to relax and just to make sure I hit the button setting off that gnarly horn. She was quickly back in the swing of things shaking her pompom and cheering on her favorites.

As for our halftime meal, I hit the sweet spot. I watched as the walnuts disappeared by the fistful, but it was all the more rewarding when Leaf made her way to the table. She took in my choice of serving ware and her beautiful face blossomed into a smile. I gave her a little nod and handed her the last apple before Pod stuck it in one of his endless pockets.

Yes, even though my beloved Packers did not take the field, they can take some pride in being knocked out by the team which will represent the NFC in the big game. I have figured out what makes my troll friends happy, but the best was just as I was dropping them off at the river.

Leaf turned to me before hopping down out the truck and said, “I think you may be the one, yes, you may just be the one.”

Before I could ask what she meant she out the door and running across the valley. “The one? What does that mean?”

Only the wind responded with a sudden gust slamming the door shut. 

Now I have to wait two weeks for the big game to find out what that meant.


I’ll be heading to the river soon. I told Oton to wait for me instead of heading out early. I would hate for them to get hit by a car. Besides it’s incredibly cold out there. All of which makes me wonder, just how do they survive weather like this?

This is the kind of cold where the snow literally squeaks beneath my boots. Even the dogs didn’t want to stay out very long this morning.

I worry about everything that lives outside this time of year. Just this morning I woke up and tossed a scoopful of mealworms on the ground for the flocks of finches, juncos, and sparrows. I see a pair of cardinals nearly every day, and, I occasionally get visits from flickers and nuthatches, but it is the finches who “own” my feeder. I’m careful to fill the feeder with high energy food including lots of sunflower seeds, nuts and safflower seeds. Look, I feel responsible for my tiny feathered friends. After all I taught them to depend on my feeder in better times.

But I digress; this is about my troll friends. How do they stay warm in temperatures like this? I mean they have been bare-footed every time I’ve seen them.  I’ll have to ask.

Pre-game Preparations

After a midweek visit to the river to make sure the trolls don’t show up on Saturday, I headed to the grocery store. After the debacle of the cheese platter, I needed to find a different option.

As I wondered the aisles I kept going over the dishes brought by my guests in the past; some grotesque some hearty, others delicate, but always food directly from the earth. Living in modern America we sometimes forget that to live close to the earth ultimately puts a different kind of fare in our mouths. Not that I’m a health nut, but I grew up with a garden. Besides it’s not like they could run down to the Pick ‘n Save for a frozen pizza.

Still it is a party. I head to the produce section. Now, what would the trolls find to be a treat? It has to be something that grows naturally in the area so the bananas are definitely out. Hmm, I know! Apples are sweet, crunchy and a treat for anyone. I swoop up a few granny smiths, some red delicious, and a few honey crisp. Pausing to admire the apple growers who over the centuries have cross-bred an amazing variety of tastes, textures and colors of the humble apple I head deeper into the store.

I’m on a roll now. I steer the cart straight to the baking section where I pick up 3 bags of walnut halves.  I remember seeing a small grove of walnut trees along the edge of the village on one of my earlier visits. Oh, I pick up a few packs of hotdogs just to be sure, but I’m think I’m on to something this time.

Excited now, I head home to set up. I don’t know what the weather is like where you live, but it is bitterly cold today. Single digits with a light breeze even though the sun shines that’s damn cold for those of you who live in warmer climates. I turn on the heat and head inside.

I toss the hotdogs in a roaster and dump one bag of walnuts into the beautiful pot given to me by Leaf just last week. As soon as the garage warms to above freezing I’ll set the apples out. I can’t wait to see their faces.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

So it's over for the Packers, but not for the trolls

So that is not the game I hoped it would be, nor is it what I think my readers wanted to see, but something magical happened during that ugly second half.

Somewhere along about the part where things started to fall apart, time started to compress. Sure my Packer heart was breaking, but the trolls didn't care. To them the spectacle, the sport, the battle was all that mattered.

Smekk kept up the chant for her beloved Clay while the boys cheered, jeered and gesticulated for the mere love of the game.  The hubby did a fine job keeping the flag throwing to a minimum, but I have to admit we had a few more then actually happened on the field. Imagine Packer fans, watching the game with new eyes, eyes that only see the pure heart of the game.

But it is not that I post about. My little Packer heart breaking the action slowed then stopped completely. The hair on the back of my neck stood up again, and I turned to look at Leaf.

Her beautiful face was serene, graced with a beautiful smile she said, "We should talk."

I stood to head out to the back yard when she added, "they can't hear us. Time has frozen for them. This will only take a few heartbeats."

I looked at the others including my husband frozen in grimaces of anguish as the Packers started to break down. "Okay," I said.

She reached behind her back and pulled out an object covered in coarse cloth. I have to admit I was more then a little apprehensive as she continued.

"Mama picked this out for you. It's one of my favorites. I think you will like it."

I took the package from her and unwrapped a wonderful pottery vase. "Where did this come from," I asked visions of theft from the downtown shops knocking on my integrity.

"Mama made it. I've been telling her about you. She says you may be the one."

"The one who what?"

Her countenance changed as she said, "You'll see."

Suddenly the roar of my fellow football fans broke the silence. Leaf again melted to the back of the garage her stunning blue eyes watching my every move as the Packers finish their season in defeat at San Francisco.

This is what I know for sure. Football will be back next season, my love for the Packers is as strong as ever and there is a whole lot more to learn about my little friends.

Next week is another round of games, I'm in aren't you?


Half time

With the game a nail biter, I'm exhausted and need a break. Now I just have to face the food the trolls have  brought.
The cauldrons magically bubbling where appropriate, Oton lifts the lid on his steaming offering. Instantly my nostrils are assaulted with what smells like burnt rubber.
"I found it along the human path. Not sure what it was, but there was plenty of meat left on the bone after I chased off the crows," he says beaming proudly.
"Uh, maybe later," I mumble as Venn helps himself to a big ladle full.
With more than a little trepidation I move on. Next is Pod. He pulls a platter of freeze dried grubs from his cloak, and I suddenly feel weak in the knees. Moving on I find Smekk pulling the battered lid from her cauldron to reveal what looks like tapioca pudding.
"Maggot pudding, it's yummy," she says.

Ugh. I quickly set out the hot dogs and platter of cheese. The trolls are excited and the hot dogs go are quickly slurped down, but the cheese remains untouched.

"What is it?" Uredd asks as he leaves deep indents of his grubby fingers in a nice thick wedge of cheddar.  

"It's cheese. You know from milk. They heat it up and it turns..." I couldn't continue. Uredd's eyes have glazed over and the boys (I've started to think of Twig, Pod and Oton as the boys, but I have no idea how old they are) are right there leaving nasty dents of their own.

"Where do you keep the goats?" Uredd finally says.

"Well, this is from cow milk, and I don't have any cows here. This came from..."

"Cow! That's gross!"

I'm tired and second half hasn't even started. "Let's go Smekk, give me a P, give me a A...."

Even she has stopped listening to me. "Give me a C, give me a L, give me a A, give me a Y! Go Clay Go!"

But then I can't say I disagree. Go Clay Go! We need a defense NOW! Please send out the real team....


No sooner has the game started than Sam Shields intercepts one for a touchdown. This can't have started any better!

"Shields? I didn't see any shields," Oton says.

"No, Sam Shields. That's his name."

"This is very confusing."

"Don't worry the Packers won that round."

"Go Shields Go," Smekk chants.

"Errrrrrr," the others growl at the screen waving their flags in the air.
I just hope the neighbors don't call the police.

Kickoff time...

Here we go! I play the obnoxious viking horn (still makes me a bit nauseous even if they are watching from a cushy chair somewhere).

Driving deep the kicker sends the ball downfield. The Packers take out the returner within yards. Not great, but it could have been worse.

Crash, they players end the play in a pile up that would put a serious hurting a normal human being. Next thing I know the flags are flying in every direction. Maybe not in San Francisco, but definitely in my garage. I may have to rethink this. Hmmm... I know

"Okay guys. See the rules are very structured. You can't see it on this puny television, but none of the men wearing black and white stripes can throw their flags until they are given a thumbs up from the master referee off screen." Okay so that's a lie, but give me a break.

"Ohhhhh," they all said in unison their eyes wide in wonder. 

Sure I feel bad, but if I have any hope of seeing the game I have to get a handle on things. "Okay, my husband here will act as master referee here in the garage." I say without clearing things with him. He jerks his head up and says, "No way, I'm watching on the good TV inside."

"Please," whine softly.

"Master, will you accept us a apprentice referees," Pod asks with great respect.

Who could turn down that face, all pudgy and smudged with soot. My hubby is no fool. This is his garage, his santuary so he agrees to take on the heavy mantle of master referee.

Now to the females. As I expected Leaf hangs back, her eyes calmly scanning the boisterous fans. I finally see her glance flick in my direction. My breath catches as she flashes a shy smile. I have to know more. If Oton is to be believed Leaf is very powerful, the sorceress of Elvsmyr right here at my troll party!

Suddenly Smekk is tapping me on my ankle. "I'm scared. Can you show me how to do this?"

I gently take the homemade cotton puff pompoms from her, and give her an idea of the moves. She grabs them back and happily joins the others ogling the screen.

I have to sign off now. I can't miss this playoff game. My blood does run green and gold after all. I'll update as I can.

Aaron Rodgers

Thank you Fox Sports for a wonderful interview with Aaron Rodgers. I know I am drawn to The Clay as Smekk would say, but Aaron Rodgers is a class act.

Green Bay fans love him. He is the calm in the eye of the tornado. Thank you Mr. Rodgers. You're awesome!

sprinkle platter

All that remains of the donut holes. Had to grab the platter away before Oton started licking it. I just didn't want to see that, no, not that.

Almost ready

This time I didn't even make it all the way to the river before I found them trotting along the road on the way to my house. Each one carrying a bulging pack on his back full of god knows what. Oton, Twig, Uredd, Pod, Eog, Venn, Smekk, and yes Leaf along with six others piled in even before I had the door all the way open.

It took some explaining, but I finally convinced them we would eat at half time. Taking a whiff of the various pots and cauldrons, I'm really glad I had a light dinner before heading to the river. Ew! To keep order I put out the huge platter of donut holes. It was that or listen their grumbling bellies all through first half.

Excited would be an understatement for their state of mind. Twig is spinning around and around so anxious to get things started. Eog is pacing nervously while we wait for kickoff. Oton and Pod are demolishing the remaining donut holes. Another minute or two and there won't be anything left of the 50 or so treats, not even a sprinkle.

As I hoped the flags are a huge hit. At first I was worried I had made a colossal error. Flags were "thrown" on every move they made in mock play, but a few reminders of the rules and Oton dutifully tucked his in the pocket, the others following his lead soon after. Now if I can just keep control once the game starts. 

But all that pales in comparison to the look on Smekk's face when I pulled the pompoms from behind my back. I swear her smile wrapped back around her ears as she gently took them from my hands.

Yes, this is going to be a good night. Now if the dogs would stop barking...


No cupcakes at the store today, but I did find some donut holes covered in sprinkles. At least I know Oton will love them. I'll slice up some cheese and hope for the best.

One thing I know for certain. No braiding of the hair tonight. It took me a couple of days before I could look in the mirror again. Maybe I'll give Smekk a pom pom and see if I can explain the concept of a cheerleader. Yeah, that will work. Ooh, and I'll cut up a old yellow tee shirt and tell them it an official flag. There's not much they can break in the garage. I better make sure to have a red one too. Somebody has to play coach. This is gonna be fun.


Troll man courtesy of my little friends. I found this this morning when I took the dogs outside. And the whole village too. Okay so it's representational, but look harder.

Troll Packer Party, preparation

It's football Saturday. We'll be heading for the store to pick up supplies soon. I can't wait see what happens tonight. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I sure hope Oton brings the whole village this time!

Now that I've seen some of their food I'll be branching out from the hot dogs. I'm thinking a cheese platter and maybe cupcakes. Who knew trolls would be such sweet party guests? I'm learning a lot.

So before I forget... the niners are so 1980's... Go PACK Go!

I'll keep you posted on the big event.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Victory, in so many was last night was a victory.

My two car garage nearly filled with tiny trolls it was quite an adventure. We got started about 30 minutes before kickoff. My massive pot of hotdogs was quickly gobbled up. Seriously, they would grab one by the end, throw their head back and shove it in, tiny teeth gnashing the whole time.  As for the other dishes, well to be polite I did take a spoonful of each that I could identify.

A steaming pot of rutabagas was surprising good. I have no idea how they were seasoned, but it wasn’t bad at all. Of course, Oton couldn’t wait for me to take a bite of his roasted rat, and because I couldn’t think my way out of that particular corner I did as he wanted. It was stringy and bland. Nope, I’m not going to ask for that recipe. There was a creamy soup of delicate greens only a few of which I could identify- dandelion and thistle. I had to forgo a taste because the thorns were quite evident. There were other dishes, but that is not what you are waiting to hear today.

Just before kickoff I swallowed my Packer pride and played the Viking horn to get them good and ready. As I hoped they stood in rapt attention to the main event. Down the field the Packers flew at the wildcard Vikings. Play after play it wasn’t looking good. I was caught up in the game when Smekk a sweet trolless of Elvsmyr asked, “Where are the females?”

I was taken about, but didn’t want to ruin their version of events. “This battle is undertaken for honor. These are the chosen champions. In the human race females are simply not as strong.”

She seemed to consider my statement, and then said, “Can I braid your hair?”

Societal issue averted I said “sure.”

She spent the entire first half perfecting my ‘do.  I was afraid to look, but the others seemed to approve of her work.   Back to the game I answered their many questions as best I could.

“Why do they yell 3-19 over and over?” Twig wanted to know.

“Aaron Rogers uses it to set a cadence, a rhythm for his team. With it he can tell his teammates non-verbal messages the other side will not understand. “

“Music? This is a battle about music,” a tiny voice asked from my right.

Leaf. “Not exactly, but you could think of the practice and timing this games requires as being musical in nature.” Knowing full well, that is not really the point, but you try explaining this to a troll. I am intensely curious about Leaf, so different from the others she looks like a tiny beautiful human woman.  All I really know is she is Oton’s teacher, the powerful sorceress of Elvsmyr. Her curiosity satisfied, she melted back into the crowd, still a mystery to me.

The game now going well for Packer fans everywhere, I started to relax and really enjoy the party. The trolls started measuring the quality of each player by the amount of facial hair he displayed. Smekk quickly put an end to it. She had fallen under the spell of Clay Matthews, who while able to whip his long blonde hair about is clean shaven.

“Look, the Clay, he is hairless, but I dare any of you to meet him on the field of Lambeau,” she snapped obviously quite taken with the handsome player.

“Clay is a powerful name,” Leaf added, but said no more. Leaving me wondering what she meant.

All too soon the game was over, my beloved Packers had trounced the Vikings sending them home to watch the rest of the season from their couches, the trolls returned to the river, and I made my way to bed. Stopping to brush my teeth I was stunned by the reflection staring back at me. My long strawberry blonde hair was knotted up into seven long twisty braids. Six hung down my back while one came straight out the top of my head. Each was stuffed full of bits of plant matter, dried grasses, crumpled up oak leaves and most striking a full cattail spike stuck sideways across my top braid, Pebbles Flintstone style. Yikes.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Here we go...

There they were, lined up like rags on a clothes lines each holding a soot encrusted cauldron of what I was afraid to ask. As always Oton was the first to speak.

"Thought you would never get here. We've been waiting since sundown. The others got tired and went back to the village. Twig, go get them."

"Wait a minute. This is our thing, just how many trolls are you intending to crash my party with?" Images of total destruction racing through my mind.

"Eleven, maybe twelve," he said with no sense of shame.

I was just about to put an end to the whole thing when I saw Twig returning with a pack of trolls. Leading the way with a twisted staff in her hands was Leaf. Instantly I was awe struck. Leaf the unique trolless of Elvsmyr wanted to come to my little football party.

"You were saying?" Oton said through a wicked grin.

"Never mind. Just get in, and keep your feet off the dash this time."

All tucked in for battle

Looks deserted doesn't it? Well, with the game about to begin and temperatures low everyone has found a comfortable chair and the best quality television possible. I snapped this in downtown Stoughton on my way to the river.

Dear readers...

I'm intensely curious what you think of my little brain storms tornadoes. I welcome your comments good bad or indifferent. We all have an opinion. What's yours?

The rematch

It hasn't quite been a week yet, but the Packers and Vikings will meet again tonight. For an insane moment I think, forget it, leave them out there. What are they going to do? It's not like they would just show up.... That's when it hits me. Damn right they would show up. Never shy Oton knows the way now.


I've sent the hubby to the store to empty the meat case of the cheapest hotdogs he can find. I figure a little barbque sauce and maybe some bacon grease from breakfast this morning and I'm good.

While he is gone, I haul out the table and benches although none of trolls sat last time. It's bitterly cold so I'll need the heater for sure. And here I thought that would only be used to work on the cars during the winter, HA! Now to tire out the dogs so they will be content to stay inside, away from the trolls. Instinct warns me my border collie mixes will be a dreadful idea at at a troll party.

Now, I just have to find that recording of that god awful Viking horn which would never be played on Packer home turf. I throw the hotdogs whole into a huge crock pot and try to relax. I have few hours to kill before the chaos begins. So don't let me forget to say this...

GO PACK GO. The playoffs are here. Amaetur hour is over. Now the real professionals will take their place in football history, and it better not be Minnesota.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

football and books

It's a new year, and I can't sleep. My brain won't let me rest until I tie a few loose ends together.

I was 5 or 6, and surprise I couldn't sleep. A lifetime curse, at the time I didn't understood others didn't suffer my fate. The grandchild of a third grade teacher and her sister in the same profession, I had a library stocked with dozens of children's books long before I was born.

The library dwelt just outside my bedroom door, this was a library most children could only dream about. Oh, I had my favorites, Caroline and her friends, The Wizard of Oz, and a tattered hard covered copy of the original Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales. It was magical.

I remember that night, it couldn't have been much past 9pm, but to me it was the dead of night as I hovered in my brothers doorway quizzing him on the details of the books I had not yet read. Ronn, older by three whole years seemed worldly and wise to this shy little girl. I held up book after book as he rattled off the premise of each book in quick response. I had no idea if he was making it up or not, but I definitely remember my amazement at his power, his knowledge, his magic.

Ronn won't remember this. How could he? I was the bratty little sister, he just wanted me out of his room.

The years went by. Ronn grew into a passionate fan of sports. It was he who pushed me to purchase hockey tickets that year at UW Madison, and he who paid for my Badger football tickets as well. Football. It was a religion in my house. My father played on the defensive line in both high school and later at a small college watched every Packer game, even tool us to the NFC Championship game in Miami the week after the famed Ice Bowl in Green Bay, but it was Ronn who would teach me the game. To this day, I can hear his voice after every play. Ronn always the teacher. He has since taught his daughter, and I love to read her passionate postings on Facebook; they remind me so much of my younger self.

So this one is for you Ronn. Football and books. The trolls love them both. Who would have thought?