Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Aha. I read the Bulletin Board section in the local paper every morning. Today's first story included a reference to "The Power of Three". Now I have a name for that phenomenon of things happening in threes. I also have a little quip in there today under "The MOM in Stillwater." People also send in favorite web sites and they print the "website of the day" at the end of the column. Today as I was reading the column I thought I really should send my Casket site website that daughter Mary had shared with me last fall. Strange coincidence? You guessed it. At the end of the column the Website of the day is the same casket site. Honestly, true story. If you have never seen this you have to go there. Jon likes the bookcase one. I like the purple velvet lined curio shelf. link:


It's been a quiet week in Lake Woe-Be-Gone. We dug out from the 10 inches of snow. (Nice to have a snowblower.) Now we are listening to weather reports of another storm on the way starting this afternoon. They are predicting snow over three days starting with 2 - 4 inches today. We used to take this stuff in stride. It is winter and it is Minnnesota. 10-12" of snow over three days used to be normal. Our Sunday company cancelled last weekend. We have friends invited for Friday night. Perhaps those plans will be scrapped too.
We are taking a Safe Driving After 55 class that started yesterday. We have a nice instructor who has lots of stories and encourages audience participation. I was wondering how he would fill 8 hours. I even imagined using one of those simulators like they do in high school.
He started the class with a "test your knowledge" quiz. Question 1: "About 90% of the information we get to avoid danger in our driving environment comes through our ..........
(Fill in the blank). We were asked to say our answers out loud if called on. My husband answered, "wives". That says it all. I am a nag. Shades of mom and dad driving in later years. At the stop sign he would look left; she would look right and announce, "ready on the right Cliff". Never failed to amuse me.
The snow is supposed to start this afternoon. The class is held about 12 miles from here. Maybe there will be tips on winter driving that Jon could pick up, or he could just listen to me.
PS. I never got the true answer to question #1. Couldn't hear it over the laughter to Jon's response.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


This has nothing to do with Kevin Bacon. Are you familiar with the game "Six Degrees of Separation from Kevin Bacon?" This is about "degrees of separation" from Leonardo Di Caprio. The picture was taken by son Andy at the London premiere of the movie "Blood Diamonds". He stood outside the theatre with friends snapping pictures as the stars arrived.
Last year our former pastors did a missionary trip to South Africa and Mozambique. She had some health problems and they did a little R & R at a seaside resort in Mozambique. The hotel staff told them there were other Americans staying there. Later that day they saw Leo who was filming "Blood Diamonds" in Africa.
We will watch the Oscars but haven't seen many of the movies. I did see "The Departed" and liked Leo in the role. It is a violent movie but he is good. With this double connection I think I will root for him to win for "Blood Diamonds."


If you watched local news or read the newspapers all last week , you would have been inundated with predictions of the coming storm. We have had a wimpy winter. It started in January, delivered about two weeks of frigid weather in February, but total snowfall has been about 8 inches. The state is experiencing severe drought conditions that are worrisome up north. Forest fires are a danger if we do not get spring rains or more snow. Duluth has no snow for the first time in 150 years. Lake Superior froze over without snow cover and is smooth enough for skating in Duluth harbor. Probably because reporters have had so little weather news this winter they have hyped this storm.

We were initially warned the bad weather would start Friday mid-afternoon. It would start with rain or sleet. That prediction was pushed back to after rush hour drive time. Good. Didn’t happen. TV forecasters next cautioned us it would snow heavily overnight. Better cancel Saturday plans. Time to stock up on videos and make that trip to stock up on bread, milk, and eggs. I guess that is what most people do. I look to see if I have enough books to read. I awoke to find less than an inch of snow but it was sleeting. Roads actually were slushy but fine locally. Freeways were racking up accidents. I didn’t cancel plans to meet friends at Curves and go out for coffee after. So far so good. Drivng to Curves I heard a prediction the metro would get 4 to 8 inches of snow. Thirty minutes later I heard we could expect 10-15 inches!

It is Sunday morning and we have 7-8 inches of fresh snow now. I wonder what the weathermen are saying. I’m not sure I need to check. Hopefully people have not been paralyzed by fear of what is coming, but I think some have. Good lesson here. This is like all the bad news we hear. Watch out for dire predictions.

It isn’t often we need to be over warned. We have a 4-wheel drive SUV and a 5 Hp. Snow blower. Our city crews have plowed the road once already after the inch of slush.

Years ago when VCRs first came out my father-in-law had to have one to tape the 10pm weather. He said he always fell asleep before watching it and he wanted to tape it and watch it in the morning. (Smile here.) A relative quietly remarked perhaps he could just look out the window in the morning. The advice is still relevant.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


I got this picture via email, it didn’t happen to me, but it will put anything else that happens
today in perspective.


I'm a hopeless fan of American Idol and after watching the past two nights want to pick the final few. Last night's performance by Lakisha was amazing. It brought back memories of Fantasia Borino two seasons ago. She stood out among a pretty strong field. Before she sang I thought Melinda was the best and Melinda is very talented. My other pick among the girls was 17 yr old Jordin. The only guy I think will make it to the final four is Blake. Unless Lakisha has a meltdown I can't imagine her losing.
She learned to sing in church like so many others and seems refreshingly modest and soft spoken. Let's keep on eye on her.

PS: I'm still walking. An hour flies by when I walk with my friend Judy. Curves has become easy but I wonder if going consecutive days without a day off between is helpful. To build strength it is recommended to lay off a day. Now did I want to be a strong woman or a thinner woman? Think I will keep going daily.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


This is shameless self-promotion from a typical "little sister". Always looking for attention. This is a story I submitted to local paper's Bulletin Board that was in today's paper. They did not change the online site today, so I am copying it below from Microsoft word:

My favorite aunt, now deceased told this story. She lived in a small Wisconsin town and volunteered as a “funeral lunch lady” at her parish. Like many other churches, friends brought hotdishes, jello, salads and cakes for the luncheon following the funeral. The “lunch ladies” made the coffee, set-up the tables and cleaned up after. The family of the deceased were asked to buy sliced ham.
There was a very sick elderly man whose family contacted the parish priest saying there would be a funeral soon. This activated the planning process and the family was told not to worry about the luncheon except their contribution would be the sliced ham. Done deal. The family bought the ham. He lived on. After a week they were beginning to worry. Grandpa was keeping better than that ham would! A few years later when my mom was ailing and slowly dying from kidney failure this became a byword for her to relate her condition to me. It was a “don’t buy the ham day” or the opposite. The MOM in Stillwater.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Monday morning started early. When I awoke at 6:30 Jon was already on the phone talking to an operator at Capitol One applying for a new credit card. He signaled me to stay put as she would have to speak to me as well. After a few minutes he handed me the phone. She was from South Africa and spoke in a heavily accented speech. After a brief greeting that went something like, "Hello Jane, I need to verify some personal information Jane she said 'OH' and then sounded very fluxomed. She said her program had crashed and would "you please hold Jane?" Jon was standing by to take the phone back and I couldn't resist a little razzing. I proceeded to say into the phone, "No, I have never heard of this guy". Next, I said "Oh him, he has a lousy credit rating!" His eyes were getting bigger and a puzzled look crossed his face." I laughed and whispered that I was on hold. Fun way to start a day.

Monday, February 19, 2007


For the past month I have been trying to regain my girlish figure and some muscle. I joined a health club and have gone 4 - 5 times a week. My endurance is better, my heart rate is now in the target range instead of above it, and I actually enjoy the time spent exercising. I also meet a friend and walk 2 to 4 miles each weekday morning. I definitely enjoy doing this with someone to talk to as walking round and round a fieldhouse alone is boring. I have another friend who is coming on board Mondays and Fridays to join us. I get lots of support from women I know at church. Only one thing is missing in my retinue; a net! Yesterday started out okay but the afternoon was bad. The evil twin in my head convinced me some cinnamon bread would taste great toasted. It did. Bread is my downfall. It was like "Happy Hour" for toastaholics after that first piece. I ate four. Then I made a bad choice for dinner substituting a frozen chicken Kiev for the skinless, boneless chicken breast I was going to have. Not good either. So I need a friend with a net or maybe I should authorize my husband to duct tape my wrists together if he hears the toaster.
Today is a fresh start. I am getting back on the program and may even add a new exercise regime. I think I may take up dancing to the oldies. It sure took the weight off the little guy in this video. link:

Sunday, February 18, 2007


This is the new USS New York, a warship that will be used to fight terrorists. It is made from the scrap metals recovered from the World Trade Center.

I am sure the men and women who serve on this vessel will do so with honor and remembrance of the many who died. May the flag continues to fly on the ship for a long, long time.

Friday, February 16, 2007


Two summers ago we had the pleasure of hosting a German exchange student named Kai. Our youngest son was part of a German/ American exchange program. Each of the students spent a month living at each other’s home practicing their language skills and attending high school.

Kai was curious about everything. We were prepped for months preceding the student exchange by our son’s German language teacher. “Let the students see your normal lives” he told us. The ordinary things in our lives might seem extraordinary to the German student. He was right. Kai was fascinated with our squirrels. He pronounced it something like “sqvirrels”. I am not ridiculing him; it was charming. Our first indication of his fascination was seeing him run into the house for his camera when he saw two “sqvirrels” on our deck. Apparently this is not a common sight in his country.

We tend to treat squirrels with disdain. We look at them as intruders at our bird feeders. Time for a paradigm shift. I began to notice they are kind of cute, however these are the same rodents who dug up my tulip bulbs, dragged walnuts from the neighbor’s tree onto our lawn, and chewed a hole in our deck floor one winter trying to get at an acorn that was stuck between two planks. They have gnawed through my plastic droll bird feeders to get at sunflower seeds. My father in-law was determined to keep them away from his bird feeders with little success. A local radio personality calls them “Midwest Monkeys”. They will do anything to achieve their goals. Many people just give up and put some corn out to feed them. But there is hope. Perhaps we could work out a trade or exchange program with Germany and send them some sqvirrels.


My husband came up from downstairs yesterday and looking serious said he was nervous every time he looked at our 34 year old furnace with that "big plume" of fire. He remarked we really should install a CO detector. "I hate to think we could wake up dead one morning" he said. Life sure is fun with this guy feeding me great lines like that. We will replace the furnace when the heating season is over and we really need to get the CO detector. They are mandatory now in new construction in the state. Next year they are mandatory in pre-existing homes. They are a cheap investment for a lifesaving device.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


I wrote this essay last summer. Can't say I am not free with the financial advice. It seemed to fit today's topic.

Having rather erratic sleep habits I have seen a lot of get rich quick infomercials on all night TV. I’m happy to tell you I have great sales resistance and have not been purchasing real estate in Alabama or enrolling in seminars to be a day trader in the stock market. My impression is the person with the proposal is the one getting rich quick. Many people who are either desperate or motivated by greed are willing to send the dollar to the person who promises to tell how they got so rich. They got so rich having all those people send them a dollar!

I do propose what I believe to be a new, innovative proposal for doubling your money. It is not just for the desperate or for the upper 1% of the socio-economic class. Like Steven Covey teaches, this is a “Win-Win” deal. Both the governed and the government should profit.

Intermittently someone at the federal level proposes discontinuing the minting of pennies. Part of the problem is their seemingly insignificant value. This is usually met with resistance from the public. How would it affect making change? Recently I heard it costs the government 2 cents to mint a 1 cent penny. There are actually plenty of pennies “out there” but they do not circulate. People have them in a jar on their dresser, in the bottom of their purses or in piggy banks. When they are dropped, few will stoop to pick them up. I have to admit I used to do the same thing. I have even swept pennies up with a broom and thrown them away. Not anymore. I now believe you must respect money if you are to have any.

Here is my win-win proposal that would save mineral resources, maintain our established coinage and spread wealth among all socio-economic levels. The federal government should stop minting pennies and revalue the current penny to be worth 2 cents. That would put many coins back in circulation. It would double the wealth of almost every casual penny hoarder. It might even create a stir among coin collectors. Did you know a Kennedy silver dollar is worth more than a dollar now? When is the last time you have seen a 50 cent piece? It would make it more worthwhile to stop and pick up that penny on the sidewalk if it were worth two cents. It might bring back the gumball machine. They would double their profit.

The republican convention is coming to the Twin Cities in 2008. I’ll bet they would appreciate a new platform plank that would not divide this country. How about it politicians? How about it economists? Can we do this without negative impact on our economy?
Those late night TV infomercials could now be about investing in metal detectors. We could hunt for pennies. I think my mom would like this application of recycling


Since I officially retired last March I questioned whether I wanted to spend the $85 biannual fee to renew my nursing licence. Since I had the required continuing education credits I decided to do it one more time. I would keep my options open two more years.

Yesterday my husband met with our insurance agent to review our policies. He found out we could get a 5% annual discount if I sent them a copy of my RN licence. A 5% reduction comes to $85 / yr. Double my money back because I get it every year and only pay for the licence every other year. I might be keeping that licence until I die or quit driving. I'll bet the rest of you hope I don't live to be 100. Spooky to think of me doing either until I am 100.
I "made" the Bulletin Board in the St Paul Pioneer Press on Feb 13 with a one liner and again today with a story my sister should remember. I am "The MOM in Stillwater". I don't know why I like to do that so much. I guess I like an audience. Is anyone out there?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentines Day

It's February 14th, a day set aside to tell your sweetie your love him. Jon has always been thoughtful and romantic. He is better at being sentimental than I am. This year I decided to give him a special treat. I got reservations for us and two other couples who are close friends to eat at White Castle. The men felt special. Jon remarked all that was missing is a good "Three Stooges" movie. We had a delightful young waiter dressed in dark suit, white shirt and tie. The manager circulated and took polaroid pictures of each table.
They printed special menus, lit the candles when we were seated and made it a special night.
I found out there is something at White Castle that I enjoy eating. The fish isn't bad. We
enjoyed a good light-hearted night out in a very busy restaurant. Reservations in the metro
area have been booked for sometime. You think I am kidding?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


"Thou shalt have no false gods before Me." I've been a fan of "American Idol" since the second season. I even vote for my favorites and have gotten my husband interested as well. He liked katherine McPhee last year. Something about the name of the show makes me a little uncomfortable. I'm not looking for an "Idol". Tonight I will keep my priorities right and go to Ladies Bible Study--(but I'm taping "American Idol" to watch later.)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Smile for the camera

I have an appointment for a teeth cleaning in an hour. No xrays for me today. I am reprinting my account of a visit with this dental office last year.
I have a 10:00 AM appointment to have my teeth cleaned. At 9:30 I will take two Tylenol. That should tell you something about my pain tolerance. I chose my favorite dentist because he had a big sign outside his office proclaiming himself “The Dentist for Cowards”. My kind of guy. He gave me nitrous before injecting my front teeth with the Novocain on the 8 inch needle. Well it always felt like an 8 inch needle. I lost him last year when he suffered detached retinas and could not practice. He sold his practice and I went to the new group.
We didn’t “click” like I had with my former dentist. Here is why. My 20 yr. old son was raised brushing well, drinking fluoridated water and he even flosses daily. He had no fillings. The new Dr. told him he had two cavities. I was surprised. My next oldest son also transferred to the new Dr. When he next went, he was told he had a cavity. He is 35 and has only had one cavity before. Actually it is a filling because there was an indentation in a tooth, not a cavity. Now I said “If I go in there and he tells me I have a cavity I am going to be pretty suspicious”.
I went in. Had my teeth cleaned. When the dentist came in the room he asked the hygienist how my teeth looked. She answered, “Fine”. He then proceeded to find a cavity! He said I needed a crown. That is kind of like planting roses by the outhouse when Shasta daisies would do. I thought I would find a dentist who would fill the tooth.
I didn’t feel a need to be loyal to this dentist, so I transferred to the dentist of a friend.
I was impressed with the friendly professionals in her office. Of course they did not like the panoramic x-rays my old dentist had sent,and said they had to do a new full mouth set. I no longer have dental insurance and could feel the bill mounting. But, okay. I’m new. The hygienist did her thing. The new dentist examined me and said I did have two cavities. On return appointment she filled them. While doing this she found two more cavities. What could I say? Fill ‘em up. Now I have a panoramic and a full mouth set of x-rays that did not show these. Watch me refuse those expensive x-rays next time. She was a very skilled and gentle dentist and I like that. But my bill was $900.00. I miss the old days when I went to the dentist as a kid and he let you pick a plaster of Paris statue of the seven dwarves after your appointment. It might soften the blow now. Dentists are you listening?

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Yesterday was our 39th anniversary. We took each other out to breakfast in the morning and our newlywed daughter and husband took us out to dinner. We dined at Santorini's Greek restaurant. Mary had a reservation for 7:00pm, but we had a Seinfeld moment when we arrived. When she told the Maitre de her name, he scanned the list and retorted "Julianne?" No, Julianne just sounds like her surname. No table waiting in the busy restaurant. Mike commented they knew how to take the reservation but not keep the reservation. I'm not sure they even knew how to take the reservation. They did accommodate us after a brief wait and we had a wonderful dinner. I am enjoying the other half of my dinner for lunch today. Love those take home boxes. Do dogs ever get the doggie bag? That probably is a phrase that is no longer used. This reminded me of the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." I think I will watch this wonderful movie again. I saw it the first time when it was a small movie not many were seeing. It's popularity grew by word of mouth and endorsement from fans, not the usual studio hype. We saw it with my daughter who had just gone through a break up with her long time boyfriend. I think the light when on in her life when she saw this movie. She saw there was a future and shortly after that met the great guy she married last September. OPAA.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Did you look carefully at this picture? This was taken decades ago when hospital volunteers went to the bedside with a hospitality cart. They usually had candy bars, gum, magazines and do you see that little pack with the bullseye on it? Yes, (Lucky Strike and other) cigarettes. You could smoke in bed and even buy them in the hospital. This is a foreign idea now but it wasn't that long ago that hospitals quit doing this. Employees would also smoke in the hospital. When I was a student in the 60's some Drs. smoked while they sat at the desk writing orders. Most of the nurses smoked but we had to do it in the report room. Twenty years ago when I worked nights some of the nurses I worked with in Coronary Care smoked at the desk at night while they watched the heart monitors. The smoke circulated freely, probably into the patient's rooms who had recent heart attacks! This doesn't happen anymore, especially in Minnesota where nothing is permitted. The legislature is now trying to outlaw smoking in all public places. There are some municipalities where you cannot light up in a park. I no longer smoke but some smokers are offended. We have come a long way from buying them at the bedside in the hospital.

PS. Day 27. Still with the program. Curves is getting easy. I have hit a plateau and am anxious for that needle on the scale to start moving down again. Keep on keeping on Jane.

Thursday, February 8, 2007


The FDA has officially approved allowing the prescription drug Xenical’s release as an over the counter drug. Beginning in late summer the drug will be marketed as Alli. There are now many supplements claiming to bring about rapid weight loss. Most are considered food supplements and not under the jurisdiction of the FDA. Many claims made are outrageous and only separate desperate people from their money not their excess pounds. The action of this medication (Alli) is to block absorption of 25% of fat consumed leading to weight loss. It only works as an adjunct to exercise and a calorie reduction diet.

I have read estimates saying ¾ of Americans are overweight. Of these many are obese. In the interests of public health and safety, yes safety we need to attack this problem. The public health part is obvious, but who do we think are going to serve in the armed forces to defend our country if so many of our children are obese?

Because this has such an impact on national security the government might consider giving a tax credit to obese people who use Alli. To make this a “win-win” deal, perhaps some resource recovery benefiting the public treasury could be attempted. Think about it. If 25% of the fat consumed is not being absorbed where is it going? Yup, right down the plumbing. With 75% of the people overweight that could be a lot of fat. Instead of oil slicks in the Mississippi and greasy residue on the beaches, might we recover some of this resource at the water treatment plant? There you go, another biomass renewable fuel source. This might help keep the price of corn down so Mexicans could afford tortillas again.

The product comes with a caution that it may cause gastrointestinal effects such as loose stools. Consumers would need to be warned not to use the medication and consume White Castle “sliders” concurrently. Persons with these side effects may need to resort to using NASA’s maximum absorbency garment AKA the space diaper. (Remember the recent incident of the female astronaut involved in mayhem who wore a space diaper so she could drive from Texas to Orlando without a pit stop? I’ll bet NASA does not appreciate this publicity about our heroes wearing diapers.)

I may get my Xenical or Alli before the EPA does an environmental impact study and decides all this oil in the water is a threat. One can imagine a catastrophe if we had another flood on the Mississippi and a giant oil slick invaded New Orleans sliding what was left into the Gulf of Mexico. While they are at it I hope the EPA checks to see where NASA is disposing of those space diapers while in orbit.

PS Walked 4 1/2 miles today on the track. Still need to go to the gym. Doing okay.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


Wow. Today is the kind of day that helps you to remember why you are living in this zone. It is sunny with a clear blue sky and the inch of fresh snow we had yesterday is still dusting the pines. It is briskly cold, a -5 degrees but without wind and very tolerable with warm clothes. When I pushed the trash can down the drive to the curb this morning I could feel and hear the snow crunching under my feet. It is too cold to melt. Just cold enough to feel like a nice winter day. I hate gray skies. I can take -20 briefly if there is no wind.
First order of business today was doing laps at the fieldhouse. I had walked about 10 or 15 minutes when a friend I used to work with arrived. We walk at the same pace and kept going until I had done an hour. Time goes fast when you are engaged in conversation. After an hour I felt like I wanted to keep going. Think I had the dopamine circulating and had hit a high. When I got home I added a scarf and gloves and did the 3/4 mile circle around our "block". This reminded me of how I felt when I used to cross-country ski. You actually enjoy the cold and snow and when you move enough to get that high. I quit a few years ago when I fell and hurt my shoulder. I became leary of skiing alone on trails where I might get hurt and be alone. Cell phone coverage is spotty in the countryside around here. I gave my skis away. Maybe next year I will acquire another pair of skis and look for someone to go with. Excellent exercise and it sure makes winter more fun. I can do this!
PS. It has been 3 weeks. Still on the routine, but have to argue with the evil twin when I want to do some recreational eating. So far, the good twin is winning. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007


“I’ve got people”. Haven’t you heard that a lot lately on the tube? A commercial for a tax preparer offers reassurance we won’t stand alone before the IRS if we use their services. The other ad has to do with winning something and having “people” to pay the bills. Usually the phrase "I've got people" is used by famous or affluent people. They have people to manage their careers, their finances, generally take care of every need and maybe get them into rehab when scandal looms. I wonder how many people Donald Trump has? If I were his barber I wouldn’t want that widely known.

In a sense, I’ve got people too. I’ve got someone to do tech support on my computer. Someone who services my car and occasionally washes and polishes it. Someone who plows the driveway. Someone who does the taxes. Someone who shares the cooking and will do a load of laundry. Someone who does the lawn. Sounds like I am a high maintenance person.

This week it will be 39 years since I married that someone. He does far more than the services I have listed. He is more than I have described. I love you sweetie.

Monday, February 5, 2007


My father in-law has been dead almost ten years. After he died, my husband as executor had his mail transferred to our address. Occasionally he still gets solicitations for chemically treating his lawn or an appeal for money from a charity. We haven’t seen one for a while. Yesterday he received a letter notifying him his vehicle warranty was expired or about to expire. I think the full sized Ford sedan he drove was a 1989 or 1990 model. Surprised to hear that was still under warranty. More surprised he kept up the warranty those last few years he did not drive.
We’ll have to ponder this one. We no longer have the car. Sure is a shame to let that warranty lapse, but the letter does say “this notification may be your last chance to extend your coverage”. We might still have another chance. I guess there is no way to escape junk mail, even when you are dead.

Sunday, February 4, 2007


We have friends and relatives with air mattresses that require establishing an individual “sleep number”. Our son checks his numbers to see if he has won the PowerBall lottery.
Our Drs. check our numbers to monitor our health. I check my IRA Rollover account daily online to see if that number is doing well. Now I have a new number to calculate.

Reading the magazine published by the ladies gym I joined left me reaching for a pen and pencil. Might even need a calculator. The article “How Long Will You Live?” gave a table of women’s life expectancies. My number is 84. The writer goes on to tell ways to extend our lives. Here is the list.

Keep blood pressure in normal range without medication. Add 8 years. Ooops. Not going to help me here. I am trying to lose weight and exercise and that will be a goal. (To get off the medication. Then I would have a potential 8 yr. gain= 92 yrs.)
Walk. Be active two to four hours a week. The gain is not in years but in likelihood of living to age 85 without disability. I think I like this idea better than hitting 92!
Maintain normal weight. They are generous here with the weight allowance but I don’t fit the profile yet. I am on my way. If I achieve the goal and walk 30 minutes a day, add 5 to 10 years. My number now is 84 + 5 or 10 = 89 or 94.
Go to church once a week. I might even get some bonus points because sometimes I go to church more than once. Add 9 to 14 years. My number now is 84 +5 or 10 = 89 or 94 plus the 9 – 14 yrs = so I could hit 102 or 108 years longevity!
Get the recommended health screenings. This will increase your chances of cancer survival and could add 40 or more years. After enduring a colonoscopy, mammogram and Pap test this year, I’m claiming this too. My new number is 84 +5 or 10= 89 or 94, plus the 9 or 14 = 102 or 108 plus the 40 for screenings=148.
Now if I could get my blood pressure in normal range without pills… I think I should have used a calculator. And I think I should have saved more money for the golden years of retirement. Perhaps if I backslide I could console myself with the idea of just attending church and living to be 98.

Saturday, February 3, 2007


Time to give the dogs equal time. I seem to be on an animal theme run lately. We love dogs, especially big dogs, but my husband and I are too lazy to commit to their needs. I would like a dog that used indoor plumbing. I've seen cats and bunnies trained this way but not a dog.

We traumatized our kids when they were young in our dealing with dogs. We had an apricot standard poodle named "Pesche" once for about six months. He was six when we got him, placed from an older couple that was retiring to an apartment out of state. The kids loved him. While he was making the transition to our house he wouldn't eat. Our six year old son helped by taking him to the food bowl and consuming some of the dog food himself as he encouraged Pesche to eat. This dog had one big fault, however. He did not like being left alone. He misbehaved if left alone usually by peeing on my husbands pillow. This was a big dog and he had to make an effort to do that. He did it one time too often and in the heat of disgust we decided to take him to the Humane Society. We were out of down pillows. Two of the kids were pre-school age. They went with us to the Humane Society to surrender the dog. They put him in a kennel and we said goodbye tearfully. We probably lied and told the kids a euphamism for what we were doing. When our oldest came home from school we intended to break it to him gently. Not to be. Our second son blurted out, "Pesche is in jail!"

Link to talented doggie videos:

Friday, February 2, 2007



February 2nd. Ground Hog Day. Somewhere in Pennsylvania Punxsutawney Phil is awakening from his winter hibernation. Thousands of people are gathered to celebrate. Remember the movie “Ground Hog Day” with Bill Murray stuck in time until his behavior improved? Bring on the beer and polka band. Time to see if spring is around the corner. Time to see if Phil sees his shadow.
Somewhere in Minnesota our ground hogs will stay in their holes if they have any sense. It was -5degrees this morning. Predictions for tomorrow are worse with a biting -35 wind chill. Survival of the fittest should have bred ground hogs who live in Minnesota to ignore man-made festivals and folk culture and stay in the ground. Whether he awakens and sees his shadow or not, winter here has usually lasted at least six more weeks. We are zone 4 people. Not time to plant those peas yet.
We tend to call ground hogs wood chucks in this state. I know they burrow relentlessly and eat garden produce, but I’m not sure if they chuck any wood. How would we know if they did chuck wood? And what does “chucked” wood look like?
Since they are related to squirrels I can understand how people might consider them pests. I remember a few guys from my youth taking an Elmer Fudd-like shot at them.
Perhaps that is not a good idea. With everyone worrying about global warming or climate change maybe we should be keeping an eye on these little guys to see if they ever pop out of the ground on February 2nd in Minnesota. Then it would be time to consider a move to Canada or at least high ground.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

AN ENDANGERED SPECIES (my dear husband)

I awoke this morning to a strange moaning sound. Jon was already up and reading and he was not the source. While doing morning ablutions in the bathroom I heard the sound again. I thought it might be the train in Lake Elmo which we hear faintly on cold mornings, (It is a cold morning.) and related that to Jon. He reminded me it was his new screen saver installed yesterday. Sure enough, the aquarium on his screen was emitting whale sounds and bubble noises.

Whale sounds brings back another memory of my dear mate. A few years ago, probably more like ten, we listened to a tape of Jeff Foxworthy while driving on a highway in Florida. We had never heard of him and found his routines hilarious. Passing motorists would have given us wide berth if they had noted how out-of-control we were, consumed with laughter. It is hard to drive with tears in your eyes. One of the stories Jeff told was about his father. As he got older he spent more time in the bathroom and sometimes the kids heard groans and moans that sounded like a whale coming from the room. He told that better than I.

A few weeks later we went to breakfast at a Country Kitchen in River Falls. Andy was about ten yrs.old. Jon excused himself to go to the “jon” with Andy. Andy came back to the table in minutes. We waited for Jon. We waited and waited. Finally I sent Andy back to the bathroom to check on his father. Both came out. Jon had a big grin on his face. Here is the story he told: They went to the bathroom together and Jon went into a stall. He then proceeded to make “whale sounds” (moaning, groaning noises). Andy did his business and promptly left. Jon continued with his performance thinking Andy was the only one in the bathroom, until another gentleman knocked on the stall door and asked “Are you okay in there?” He affirmed he was, but then stayed in the stall—too embarrassed to meet this guy. He stayed on until a few more people had cycled through the men’s room so he would not be identified. The whale sounds this morning brought back some memories. Life is never dull around here.