Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Last night on the local news there was a story about deer causing a lot of accidents. Sources said three thousand deer were killed annually on state roads. I remember one Wisconsinite I worked with who had had nine encounters with deer while in her car. The insurance rates in her county were high due to the number of deer/car collisiions.

Help is on the way. The reporter mentioned technology having something you could put on your car that would signal the deer --car approaching. I think one variant of this has been around for years and doesn't work well. Maybe they have improved it. They stated the other thing that repels deer is wolf urine! Then they showed a wolf and a yellow puddle. All this was during the dinner hour news. Not a good time to watch TV and eat I thought. Do we 'mark' the cars or the road? I think we are going to need a bigger wolf pack in Minnesota.

How would we collect the urine? Wolves are wild and there are a lot of roads and cars in this state. Did you ever see the movie "Never Cry Wolf"? Maybe a contest like that would be more practical. Mark your own.

Last April our local paper's Bulletin Board asked for writers to submit original Berma Shave verses. This is one of the ones I sent that they printed.






PS. Day 16. Meeting a friend I used to work with for exercise. Still hanging in there.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


This isn’t about exercise. I heard a segment on the radio this am about Life Coaches. Apparently this is an unregulated, unlicenced occupation. The host said some charge $100 -$200 an hour for their services. One organization requires some education and an online test. They also scrutinize one taped coaching session for the techniques used. It appears anyone can be a Life Coach if they can sell themselves and their services. There probably are many effective and wonderful people doing this. Aren’t you a little tempted yourself to furnish an office and hang out and shingle and start billing $200 / hr.? One of my son’s friend’s mother is pursuing this career. She is a successful lawyer, actually head of a large law firm. I wonder how much an hour she plans to bill. More than as a lawyer?

Jay Leno had a funny comment on Life Coaches. He mused, “Isn’t that what friends are for?” I think so, or at least mothers. Everybody get a grip here, can't we trust our own instincts? Pay for a Life Coach?

I am not against paying someone for counseling or therapy. There are situations where this is appropriate. There are professional psychologists and chaplains etc. who are very helpful to people in need. Maybe the rest of us could just stay on course using that time tested book left to us. Our previous pastor and his wife used the Proverbs to train their children. One chapter each day after dinner. Good practical wisdom for living. There are 30 chapters so it fit most months. As far as I can tell, their kids have turned out pretty well.
PS Day 15. -10 and did 10 laps.

Monday, January 29, 2007


The fluffy white cat is Nissa. Sammy is the black cat with the stole. The light brown cat looking guilty ( like a mug shot ) is Wicket. Daughter Mary and husband Mike live at their house.

We had barn cats when I was a kid on the farm. My sister remembers one named Balogney Sausage. I remember Kitty. I think we dragged those cats around a lot. As an adult I developed an mild allergy to cats. Can't drag them around anymore and we don't have one. I do enjoy our "grandcats". Sammy, Mary's black cat greets you at the door with hello. Mike's Persian cats have gotten to know me and like being petted. They hid from me initially. Dan's black cat is playful. When I babysat at their house a week last summer the cat delighted in pouncing on me while I was sleeping. That elicitated a shreek from me. The cat had more fun than I did.

The cats we had while growing up just caught mice. There are more talented cats out there. Watch the videos if you want a good laugh. Laughing is good for you. there are 3 videos

PS Day 14. Training time. OK on Sunday but too much salt!

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Last Saturday we had lunch with Jon's cousin Linda. Good chance to catch up on family news and enjoy her company. She had heard about a newer restaurant here from a friend of hers. We hadn't been there before and decided to try this Main Street wine bar.

The ambiance was great. Lunch was so-so. Jon hated his dish. We lingered after dinner talking about future travel plans and our lives. Jon excused himself briefly. When he came back he said something like, "you've got to see the bathroom sink". I said we might not have the same plumbing in the ladies room. Not to worry he told us. Now I was concerned. Was he snooping in the ladies room too? Time to see for myself.

I found out he had not been in the ladies room. There was a unisex wash up area. Picture this, a black countertop with faucets on either end. No sink to catch the water, just a faucet over the counter. Of course I tried it. The water puddled briefly under the outlet then drained backwards toward the wall into a slit I hadn't noticed. Clever.

We saw a lot of clever Euro plumbing on our recent trip. Faucets with sensors are common now but we saw a lot of variations of these. Had one hotel with nifty lighting in the mirror that was not visible with the lights off. Also have a pretty good two-button flushing system. Figured out ourselves --big button for one job, small button for less water to flush. Europeans are very eco-conscious. Our favorite plumbing experience was what Jon called the "sheetzerator". Forgive me. It was attacked to the toilet and did a grinding thing like a garbage disposer if you pressed the "big button". Engineering marvel or crude device. You be the judge.
Day 12: Can't walk in field house on Saturday and it is cold and snowy. I'm doing a little penance today. Ate too much bread yesterday even if it was good whole grain stuff. Keep on keeping on. Jane

Friday, January 26, 2007

Watch Out For Those Bullets in the Medical Bulletins, Might Be Dangerous to Your Health

On the news last evening I learned some study says if you take more than thirty minutes to fall asleep you are have double or tripled the risk of death. I am not sure that was helpful to insomniacs who now can ponder that while tossing and turning.

I do not have much faith in medical bulletins because they frequently contradict each other. Cardiologists advise a glass of red wine a day. Other health officials consider 7 drinks a week excessive. Got to protect that liver. A few years ago one report stated that underweight people were at a higher risk of dying sooner. A bit before that someone's study showed that significantly reducing caloric intake could lead to a longer lifespan. What to do. What to do. That is why I usually cut a path down the middle, in my thinking anyway. My behaviour does not always follow my thinking, but I am working on that.

I take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep most nights. Lunesta commercials are aimed at me. Either I can't fall asleep or stay asleep even in my decaffeinated state. Trouble is, I hate the way you feel the next morning if you take a "sleep aide". I guess I will just have to live with the knowledge I have 100% chance of doing you know what someday. Today I feel fine. Perhaps I could get a research grant to study how long people live who ignore medical bulletins.

PS Day 11. Walked this am. Had a good day yesterday. Still hanging in there. Jane

Thursday, January 25, 2007



Newspaper reports of the military’s new “Nonlethal Ray Gun” caught my attention this morning. The ray gun (developed by Raytheon) shoots a beam that briefly heats the skin to 130 degrees. The receiver feels very uncomfortable or “as if they are about to catch fire” according to the Associated Press article. Apparently the military hopes this would be enough to make your opponent drop their weapon.

Things to consider before spending a bazillion defence dollars:

1. This has already been tried by Marvin the Martian fifty+ years ago. In spite of his ray gun he could not defeat Daffy Duck or Bugs Bunny in those Looney Tunes escapades.

2. Older females who have experienced menopause would be immune. We have hit 130 degrees frequently. My glasses would steam. Really. At least in my experience, this flash of heat never rendered me passive. Quite the opposite. I might have gone right for the enemies throat if they zapped me.

3. It wouldn’t work against Iraqi insurgents. They are already living in a climate that has 130 degree summers. Ask any soldier who has been in Iraq how hot that macadam is in the summer. Some of the local population still go barefoot on the asphalt.

4, It would probably make the international community nervous. Remember how the Star Wars program was received? Remember the Neutron Bomb? Could we get the remaining two Pointer Sisters to do a little song and dance about the new Ray Gun?

5. Sounds like it would contribute to further global warming.
In support of developing and outfitting our troops with massive
Ray Guns consider the following:
1. It couldn’t be a worse idea than allowing Tazer guns to be sold to the public. How do you feel about every bad guy—rapist, mugger etc having that in their arsenal?

2. I like the idea of a new song by the Pointer Sisters about a Ray Gun.

3. It would give us a step up in our defending ourselves against Aliens. The people in Roswell, New Mexico would understand. Think the movie “Independence Day”. We would be ready.

4. Remember this is a proposed non-lethal weapon. Mothers Against Military Madness would endorse it. I’m not sure how the NRA would feel but then I don’t care what the NRA says.

5 . I think Ronnie would like it.
PS. Day 10. I am still in the army. No AWOL. Walking laps like a rat in a maze is getting easier and faster. I also got a very good offer from Curves. 30% off and one free month. Want to start 1st of Feb. Keep good thoughts coming my way.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


A cup of hot coffee, a comfortable chair, and the morning newspaper are one of life's simple pleasures for me. This past year I have also regularly submitted anecdotes to the Pioneer Press Bulletin Board. Most of the contributors are persons of my demographic. We have similar histories and memories and there are ongoing comments on each other's stories. I have to admit it makes my day when they print something I have sent them.

Yesterday I read my daughter's Mary's blog and I am piggybacking off her topic. She had my granddaughter Mina overnight this past weekend. They went shopping and Mary let Mina pick out her own birthday present. She is a Barbie fan and picked a set called "Barbie and Tanner". Tanner is a dog who resembles Mina's real life lab Bailey. I laughed when I read the description of Barbie and Tanners interactive play. Barbie feeds Tanner dog biscuits. He opens his mouth and lifts his tail and poops! Barbie then picks up the stuff with her magnetic wand and puts it in the recepticle and on and on... How could I resist commenting on this?

link to BB:

Monday, January 22, 2007


Day 7. Yesterday, not so good. Not too bad either, but a struggle. I had the popcorn maker on the counter and was ready to melt the butter when my husband walked into the kitchen. He didn't say a word. Didn't have to. I put it away and didn't succumb. The evil twin in my head was tempting me. You hear popcorn recommended as a healthful snack, 50 calories a cup, but I have never eaten a cup of dry popcorn. How about a batch of it with butter? Not so good. I need to avoid popcorn.

I'm going to think of this as basic training. Nobody likes it, but it is effective for getting the troops ready for the fight. Our pastor has been preaching that this is "The Year of the Fight". Expect some struggles. Get ready. Be victorious. The struggles will be there anyway. Might as well realize where our help comes from and join forces and win. I don't think I can do it alone.

Yesterday my thoughts were "what's the use". I'll do this for a while then revert back to my old self. It is the stinking thinking. I have an all or nothing mentality. Either I am "on a diet" or not. Diet time or eating time. That is not a good attitude. I have to walk this out day by day.

Hey, I think I am journaling. Anyway, it is Monday the beginning of a new day. A new week.

I did ten laps at the field house and even increased my pace as I went. It actually is getting easier. I can do this.

Last evening I watched "The Apprentice" on TV. I haven't watched it before but was just too lazy not to turn off the TV and do something else. At the end one of the members quit before Trump had a chance to fire her. It took the wind out of his sails. I think he likes the dramatic moment. I could see myself in her. Quit in case you might fail. Regroup Jane. Hang in there.
Going AWOL not allowed.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Party Hardy but No Spanking Machines

St. Paul is about to celebrate it's winter carnival. On the news last night I heard something that got my attention. The sledding hill will be free this weekend for families. What? Sledding hills aren't free all the time? Today I read something about parents renting an ice rink for a kid's birthday party. Whatever happened to public park ice rinks? They were free. They were free and as kids my sister and I skated everyday until the time when warmer days left the ice bumpy when it refroze. We got the exercise we needed without paying admission to an indoor rink. We slid down hills---no charge. Sometimes we even slid down on a piece of cardboard. You couldn't control where you went but it was fun. It was free.
I am sounding like a curmudgeon. What started this tirade was the recent publicity given kid's lavish birthday parties. There is a "guy"(not sure what he is--psychologist? teacher? ) encouraging parents to turn back the clock. Don't go overboard with birthday parties. Some parents have responded by finding like minded souls and agreeing to take it down a notch. No more limousines, no more gift bags for the attendees with expensive gifts, no more over the top spending. At the extremes examples were given of parties costing tens of thousands of dollars. How are these kids ever going to have normal lives when someone wows them like that at six?
Jaded lives. God knows what values--at least in my opinion.
This got me to submit my "two cents worth" to the newspaper Bulletin Board. It was today's first story. I'm The MOM in Stillwater

PS. Day 5 It's all about impulse control. Word for the day. "Take every thought captive to Christ". translates to me--the battle in all above the ears now. Eat if you are hungry but if I just want to eat for comfort stop and ask for help from HIM. I'm still hanging in there.

Friday, January 19, 2007


I am really not fixated on death and I have got to quit reading the obituaries, but today’s obit was actually a story on the back page. As you probably noted, Art Buchwald died. Younger people may not know who he is, but anyone from my generation should fondly remembers his humorous writings. He had a syndicated newspaper column for years that took humorous barbs at politicians and the movers and shakers. He was not mean.

February 2006, Art was told by Drs. he would dead in weeks from kidney failure. He went into a hospice but had to check out when he lived on… and on. He continued even when faced with bad news to cheer others up. He is quoted in the article as saying; “The French ambassador gave me the literary equivalent of the Legion of Honor. The National Hospice Association made me man of the year. I never realized dying was so much fun.”
That is actually an excerpt he wrote in his last book.

My mom also died from kidney failure. Like Art Buchwald she outlived predictions of Drs. Her nephrologist said she would be dead in six months without dialysis. She lived two and a half more years. She got her news in early fall and gave away all of her summer clothes thinking she would not be around the following summer anyway. We then had a chuckle when it warmed up the following May and she had no lightweight clothes. Time to shop. Outliving the six months probably had a lot to do with her self discipline. She was on an extremely restricted low protein, low sodium, low cholesterol, low potassium diet. She followed it. My sister and I joked it would be curtains for us if that was our prescribed diet. Not much is left on the menu when you compute that diet.
She also was a woman of faith and not afraid to go to her reward. Even in that trial she was an inspiration to many much like Art Buchwald. A salute to both of them for lives well lived.

Day 4 for me. Today I’ll look to these two as my inspiration. I can do this.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


I just like this picture. When have you ever seen anyone carrying a Golden Retriever? A small dog, sure. You might carry a large dog if it was injured, but to carry it like a small child looks ridiculous. Then I read the caption. This is the blessing of animals. Maybe it was sick, but I think it looks too perky to be seriously ill or injured. It's a dog's life in Spain too where this photo was taken.
Having been raised in a time when dogs were animals not family, I am amazed at the lengths owners will go to serve their pets. I do understand the attachment and empathize with losing a good dog or cat, but I remember a time when an animal was euthanized if it had a serious problem or was dealing with a disease that caused pain. On the farm even bad behavior would get the attention of the farmer and his gun. Chasing chickens--not tolerated. Biting people--not tolerated.
We now have dog psychologists. I know someone who has had her pets "analyzed" by a doggie psychic to find out if they were well adjusted. Even more outrageous in my eyes was a story in the newspaper last fall about implantable heart defibrillators and pacemakers being removed at the time of (a human) death. They were then donated to veterinarians who used them in animals with cardiac problems. The owners were spared the cost of the equipment and only had to pay for the vet's services. Hmmm. Sorry, I just can't fathom a dog being zapped by an implantable defibrillator. That (above) is one dog I would not want to be carrying around when he got a jolt. Hope I haven't offended you.
PS Day 3. Doing pretty well, thank you. Just keeping myself accountable.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Day 2. I feel fine. One day of "better choices" behind me. A lifetime of "better choices" ahead.
Went to nearby field house to walk laps this am. Good thing to do. Five years ago I could do ten fast laps. Now I am getting passed by senior citizens in walkers. Okay, I am kidding about the walkers. I am getting passed by many, but not all. Will try to work up number of laps and do them faster gradually.
Our youngest had his 21st birthday last Sunday. He is out of the country, so sent him an electronic birthday card. He had only left the week before and didn't have time to get a card in the post to arrive on time. One of the electronic cards I sampled was a cartoon of James Brown singing "Happy Birthday to you" to the tune of "I Feel Fine." I don't think James feels so fine right now. After a dignified, heartfelt send off by his many fans, he is being kept refrigerated until his family decides where to bury him. John Brown's body may lie "a moldering in the grave", but alas not poor James Brown. I think there is something to be said for preplanning your own funeral.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Oh boy, oh boy. Today was my annual physical. Not something I look forward to. My Dr. is nice but I have to face the facts. Again. The dreaded scale. I lost 10# in October. Gained back 15 #. It is not supposed to work that way. Caught a bit of "Oprah" yesterday. She had her personal trainer Bob Greene talking about lifestyle changes and food. I do not have a knowledge deficit. I have a behavior problem. That is what I told my Dr. when he asked if I wanted to talk to a dietitian. Time to regroup. Day 1 of behaving better. Now, I must believe there will be a day 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 etc. Stopped at the supermarket on my way back from the Dr. Of course I did. I relate everything to food. I replenished my supply of good fresh veggies and fruit and sliced turkey. Wish me luck.

There is a business opportunity in this world for affordable Detox for compulsive people like me. Lock me up every three months for 72 Hours if I am not on track with healthy eating and making progress to lose weight. I had my eye on the old State prison for years. It stood empty. It was a large space surrounded by a big stone wall that used to confine the likes of members of Jesse James gang. Unfortunately, it burned in 2002. Wouldn't that have been a good place to have people like me detoxed from overeating? It would address the eating, detoxify the body and give me the proper amount of punishment to deal with the guilt. Just feed me the 1000 -1200 calories a day and make me exercise in the yard. No exercise= no recreation. I could be swayed by the temptation of a good game of Scrabble or Cribbage. They do this with the incorrigible drunks, why not incorrigible overeaters? My other hope is GRACE. Repent Jane. He is faithful to forgive and heal us when we turn to Him. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers. I'll take all the encouragement I can get.

Monday, January 15, 2007


The snowmobilers are happy. We have fresh snow cover. The sun is shining, the air crisp, and I just remembered why I usually like January. Enough of the bare brown frozen ground. It is pretty right after it snows. I can say all this because I don't have to drive to work before roads are plowed. I don't have to drive to work at all. We also have a big snowblower and my husband usually gets out there and does it. We also live in a town that plows the roads even during the snowfall. When we lived in Minneapolis they would get around to it a day or two later. Sometimes they would be short of funding and not plow unless the snowfall was 8 inches.
Anyone with a business relying on snow will be happy today. This was also much easier to deal with than the ice storm the middle of the country just got.

Friday, January 12, 2007


The arctic air mass has hit Minnesota. It is 7 degrees this morning, just in time to save the St. Paul Winter Carnival. It has not been cold enough to freeze thick ice on our lakes. The carnival had planned to build a maze from chunks of ice. Finding thick ice became problematic. Next they considered using styrofoam blocks. Sigh... Lake Elmo down the road from us still has large open water in the middle and a flock of ducks and geese that never flew south. The Mississippi river is still navigable. Fishermen are fishing from boats instead of ice houses. The annual fishing contest on Forest Lake was cancelled. I can't remember another winter when I haven't seen an ice house on a lake around here.
Well, they probably will build the ice maze. David Letterman is supposedly sending a camera crew here. That is if the warm air doesn't return and meltdown occurs next week. Link to Ice and Snow Sculptures:


Everyone has strong opinions about the announced "surge" or "escalation" of the war. I only heard one suggestion that was unique that had not been talked about at length. Robin Willliams was interviewed after some recently broadcast award show. He was asked to give his opinion of the (stupid) fued between Rosie O'Donnell and THE Donald. He managed to use humor to sidestep chosing sides. He then suggested we send Rosie to Iraq since she obviously has more ______s than anyone else. Have to admit she is tenacious and goes for the jugglar. Could be our secret weapon.


Last night I chipped a filling eating a raw carrot. Not fair, especially since it was the one fixed at my last $900 session with the dentist. This morning I thought about finding a cheaper dentist online. How about this guy?
Doesn't like like he uses sedation for pain control but his overhead looks minimal.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Not-So Fawlty Towers

Yesterday's email brought more news from the youngest who is studying in London this semester. I felt better hearing he was getting settled. He also posted some of his first photos on a Picasa album site. His flat is next door to an embassey. Very close. My first thought was "how interesting". My second thought, "I hope that is secure". While discussing it this morning my husband remarked he hoped that country's newspapers didn't publish any cartoons that upset anyone. Really I am not too concerned. The Israeli embassey is on the next block. That concerns me a bit more. Time to do what a mother does. Pray for safety and then be thankful he is so blessed. Picture of his apartment building.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ode to Boniva (or the Dog Ate my Boniva Excuse)

Ah. I have found a kindred spirit. Today's St. Paul Pioneer Press Bulletin Board has a contribution from someone about the Boniva commercial by Sally Field. I blogged about this on December 15th. This is what was printed this am about the TV add for Boniva.

Badvertising (from the Bulletin Board at the Pioneer Press)
"Today's nomination has arrived via e-mail, from blue heron: "Is it just me, blue heron, or does the Boniva commercial starring Sally Field bother anyone else?
"In the commercial, Sally Field tells us that a friend of hers has to set time aside to take her osteoporosis medication. Apparently, Boniva is taken once a month.
"Am I really supposed to get all worked up over someone who has to set time aside to take a pill? How involved could that be? Would that person have to take time off work?
"I once worked at a place where employees called in sick for many reasons. Now they have another excuse: 'Uh, I can't come to work today. Yeah, I have to take my pill, and you know how involved that can be! Not sure I can be there tomorrow, either, because I have to take another pill. I'll let you know about the day after that.' "

This inspired me to write a limerick, that lowest form of poetry, about Boniva.

Ode to Boniva

If your bones are thinned out and too brittle
You’ve been forced to become quite committal
To weekly take pills
To avoid coming ills
That admit you into the hospital.

New Boniva saves time for us all
Who’re too busy for weekly protocol
Now once a month we can swallow
A fix for bones getting hollow
That break if we happen to fall.

Taking pills once a month now would yield
Three minutes at least while we’re healed
As our bones get much stronger
Our free time gets longer
Thanks very much Sally Field

Monday, January 8, 2007


Last night we hosted a dinner party for fourteen--our "small" group from church. There wasn't much praying but a lot of good eating and conversation. It was a pot luck with everyone pitching in to help. We cooked a ham. When it was done I looked for Jon to carve. He deligated the job to Bill, who along with Joann his wife is the master of the kitchen. Bill deferred at first to Jon, saying since he was the "Grand Poobah" he should have the honor. That phrase brought a smile to my husband's face and he assimilated the role wearing the honor of "grand poopah" (as he pronounced it ) with honor. No disrespect to my husband intended. He has a great sense of humor, but he is going to have to live with the consequences. He shall now be known as the "Grand Poopah" --Lord High of Everything Else. I am not sure if all this titling is good dogma for a group of Christians but I think the Lord has a sense of humor too. Grand Poopah is will be.

Today I had to Google it for the history behind the real title.

""Poobah" comes from Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado," which debuted in 1885 and skewered the then-current rage in Britain for allthings Japanese. Set in the fictional small Japanese town of Titipu,The Mikado tells the storyof Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner, Yum-Yum, his fetching ward, andNanki-Poo, a wandering minstrel who is actually the son of the Mikado(Emperor) in disguise. The plot of The Mikado is far too baroque torelate here, but one ofthe other characters is, you guessed it, Poo-Bah, who holds theexalted offices of Lord Chief Justice, Master of the Buckhounds andGroom of the Back Stairs, as well as the handy catch-all post of LordHigh Everything Else."Lord High Everything Else" was such a brilliant summation of theself-important puffery of bureaucracy that "Poo-Bah" (and its variant"poobah") immediately became a popular mocking synonym for someone who holds a number of offices, wields ultimate power, or exhibits aninflated self-regard. "

Sunday, January 7, 2007

In Memoriam of Momofuko Ando

Today's Sunday paper has a 200 word obituary for Momofuku Ando who died at age 96. His claim to fame? He invented Ramen noodles which is credited with keeping many college students alive during lean financial times. Andy's bags are packed and he did find some room for Ramen noodles.
Andy is allowed 100 pounds in his two pieces of luggage and fell short of that weight. That is why he added the Ramen and some Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup. These foods also sustained him when he was a picky eater as a child. I am not sure I did my job well as his mom keeping him in junk food when he was a kid but our firstborn was also a picky eater and at age 40+ I didn't have it in me to have food fights anymore.
If he is accepted he will return from Europe in May and leave for China two weeks later. He wants to experience the culture and said he expects to "eat outside of his comfort zone". He told a funny story told by another SJU student who lived in China last summer. Not wanting to offend, he ate what was served. One meal was a bowl of broth with a whole chicken foot. He ate is all. His Chinese hosts did not eat the foot.
I remember getting email accounts my nephew Peter sent while in China on business. He also wanted to eat like the locals and once had a large bullfrog in his broth. Peter, did everyone else there eat that amphibian? Peter wrote of many other culinary delights such as wine with a dead snake in the bottle. That makes the Tequila worm more tolerable. Better to drink the wine without seeing the container it camefrom. I told Andy if he goes to China to eat slow and glance at to see what the Chinese are actually consuming. I just might sneak some Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup in his luggage on that trip too. Official sie for Ramen which includes recipes you probably don't want to collect ://

Friday, January 5, 2007

Advice I Never Thought I Would Give My Son

Our youngest will leave this weekend for a study abroad semester in London. He has had some reservations about his choice since finding out how expensive London is. Housing costs will be what he would have paid at his college here--a bargain. The apartment is across from Hyde Park near Imperial College where he will take classes. Kensington Palace is about a half mile walk. Madonna and Hugh Grant live in the neighborhood. This is a high rent area where he wouldn't be living if it were not arranged for foreign students. But, there is no meal plan. Eating out is expensive with exchange rates close to 2:1 for pounds to dollars. Estimates he has heard is everything costs twice as much as here. That means double what you would pay in a large city like New York.

Now the advice I gave him is: Pack some Ramen noodles in your suitcase if you have room and find a McDonalds to eat some inexpensive meals. (It won't be 45 cents for the All American Meal.) I am less concerned about him eating a healthy diet for a few months than coming home ten pounds lighter. Has there ever been a mother who told her son he should eat at McDonalds more? Doubtful.
This kid was the fussiest eatier I have ever encountered when he was younger. At six he finally started eating pizza and then only plain cheese. He took a cold lunch to school everyday. It was usually a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He also liked yogurt, fruit, and bagels but not much more. He learned about Ramen noodles at day care and wanted to eat them often. He had a short list of foods he would eat. He never ate meat until he was a teenager. Peer pressure at that age loosened him up a bit. He was 18 and dating before he came anywhere close to a normal diet.

Things have changed. He is now careful about what he eats and considers what is good for him. At least he can cook and probably will balance his budget by doing some of his own cooking in the UK. But, I think I will sneak a few packages of Ramen noodles in the side zippered pocket of his suitcase. Hopefully the British will not judge him harshly if he is seen eating at McDonalds.

Link to a funny take on eating at McDonalds abroad:

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Uno, Dos, Tres Deja Vu

I am trying not to be superstitious. Day one of the new year started with the snowblower needing repair work and the floor drain backing up. My husband said, "I wonder what number three will be". We have been conditioned to think bad news comes in threes. This morning when I woke up he asked me if I wanted to hear the "good news or the bad news first". Not much of a choice. I chose the bad news. He replied, "Well , the third thing broke but it is the coffee maker. " I guess we were relieved it wasn't a car. It was 7:00 AM and where could we find another Bunn-o-matic NOW?We found our small espresso pot that brews by using a burner on the stove. That got us the first jolt of caffeine for the day. Uno, dos, more bad luck for a spell.

P.S. I made the Bulletin Board again today. Click on today's Bulletin Board and scroll to The MOM in Stillwater.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Amazing Grace

I found out something interesting this am reading my newspaper's Bulletin Board column. I read it daily and occasionally send in my comments as "The MOM in Stillwater". My sister Carolyn who lives ten miles down the road from Lady Bird Johnson also shares her birthday. They were born on December 22nd, but years apart. Recently someone had written in the Bulletin Board about electronic billboards being enough to make Lady Bird Johnson spin in her grave. Many rose up to say "She's not dead"! Lady Bird still hosts an annual birthday party on Lyndon's birthday and invites the neighbors. Since I barely know the people on my block, I am chagrined by her hospitality to include people from miles around. I missed her face among the former first ladies yesterday at Gerald Ford's funeral. She has had a stroke and her health is diminished.

If you have ever visited Washington in the spring you probably noticed the mature azaleas blooming all over DC. Her project while first lady was beautification of the environment. She spearheaded flower planting projects and promoted legislation to decrease views of billboards and junkyards. I understand she loved the Texas wildflowers and was involved in replanting of those at home in Texas. Belated 94th birthday greetings to Lady Bird who has lived as a widow for over thirty years on the banks of the Pedernales . And to my sister who also has a love of Texas wildflowers, is a gracious lady like our former first lady, and faithfully teaches Bible study classes at her home encouraging everyone who comes to her with their problems, I'll dub you LBJ too (Lady Bringing Jesus.)

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

2007 - Day 2

Winter started a little late this year with the inch and a half of snow we got on New Years Eve. Other places in the metro area got up to 10 inches. We got enough snow to blanket everything in white--not enough to immobilize us or make it problematic. It is almost 40 degrees today and the snow is receding in the bright sunshine. Maybe winter is going to end a little early

On January 1st, my husband used the snowblower for the first time this winter (a record) only to find out it did not work right. I am trying not to remember that things break in threes. Last night we had problems with the sewer backing up the floor drain. It was noticed before it much of a mess and Jon got his first fix-it job of the year. Today the snowblower was job two. We are hoping for nothing else to break down. This does raise the question I pondered a few months ago. Do things break in threes because we group things after the third mishap? Probably. I will be happy waiting a long time for the next problem.

Monday, January 1, 2007