Monday, April 30, 2007


Word from son Andy is that they are "stuck in Hungary". Yesterday they drove from Budapest to the resort area by Lake Belaton. After finally finding a campground, they (I hope Kai car was driving and not Andy) backed over a stump and tore the fuel line. It is May day tomorrow (Tuesday) and mechanics are on a four day weekend. They will hopefully get it repaired on Wednesday. That gives them plenty of time to enjoy the beauty of the resort area. Downside is it is off-season and not much is going on. The are near the town of Siofok, Hungary.

His story of car trouble on vacation brings back memories of throwing a rod and having to replace an engine on a trip to Michigan. We were stranded on the freeway in the lower peninsula of Michigan. The tow truck took us to the nearest town which happened to be Gaylord, Michigan. Jon sat in the cab of the tow truck with the driver and Andy, myself and 24 yr. old son Dave sat in the truck on top of the tow truck. It was sort of a Beverly Hillbillies scene.
If you are going to be stuck, Gaylord was a good place. We checked into a motel. In the morning we moved to the Holiday Inn which has a Holidome with pool, hot tub and other amusements. This helped our eleven yr. old son cope. The manager let us use the hotel's station wagon.

We were driving a Ford Explorer with 37,000 miles on the odometer. The warranty on the engine was good for 36,000 miles. The damage report was $2800 to replace the engine--not on warranty. Repairs would take two weeks because they could not find a replacement engine in Michigan. I was puzzled. This is Michigan. They build Fords here. No engine? It got worse. Hertz did not have a rental vehicle available. We went to bed again for the night. Son Dave went out for a few, probably wondering what on earth he was thinking about vacationing with his parents.
We went to bed, but I could not sleep. I was two weeks post-op from a spinal decompression and had bronchitis. When the coughing spasms would start, I had to quickly brace myself against a wall to support my spine. Jon was snoring heavily. Dave was puking from the happy hour libations. Son Andy wrote a story about this for school in the fall. I still have the little book which his teacher had bound. Great memories of a stressful time.
I took a chair into the bathroom and read my Bible and prayed most of the night. By morning I had a peaceful heart and told my husband not to worry. Everything would be okay.
In the morning, Hertz had someone return a car which we rented. When we spoke to the dealer about blowing an engine on a low mileage expensive vehicle so close to the warranty, he talked to the District Manager. Ford agreed to install a rebuilt engine. No charge. None. We got in the rental and continued on the vacation. We lost two days but I gained a wonderful testimony to the God's provision.

Invisable Surgery

Attention grabbing headlines drew me in to read about surgeons’ unfathomable attempts to remove body parts through “natural body openings”. Their aim ? Less scarring and less pain. Claims are made that Drs. have removed an appendix through the mouth and a woman’s gallbladder through her vagina! They propose abdominal surgery may be done through the rectum. This is going to revolutionize nursing care. How to tape the bandage? I hope there are no men who need brain surgery. I don't think there is any connection between the brain and the remaining body orifice.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Spiderman? Superman? No, the Other Caped Crusader

Last week I received the annual newsletter of the alumni of my School of Nursing. The diploma school is no longer educating nurses, but the alumni remain active. I haven’t been active, but am still on the mailing list.
The newsletter made an appeal for volunteers to be part of a group that does funeral honor guards for deceased alumnus. They attend funerals of former grads in full uniform. That uniform consists of white dress uniform, cap, white shoes and stockings and navy blue cape. I briefly considered paying my dues so I could have this honor when I died. I emailed friend/ classmate Barb who said she would pass, but if I wanted the honor guard she would show up in a cape for my funeral. Add that to the procession by goat cart to the cemetery, and the funeral will be quite an event.
When I was a student there in the 60’s the school owned navy wool capes that we wore for “special occasions” like Capping and Graduation. When we graduated we were offered the opportunity to buy our own capes. Only one or two of my classmates did. The rest of us wondered what on earth we would do with a cape. I guess I did not anticipate the funeral honor guard duty.
One of the years I was in school, a physician thought it would be nice if the student nurses solicited door to door for Red Cross donations wearing full uniform and cape. We were thrilled. That getup was a 1940’s fashion statement. We wouldn’t have minded so much if he had added a Lone Ranger type mask so no one recognized us.
Three years ago we were in Rome and I saw nurses in full regalia on the streets: White uniforms, caps, and navy wool red-lined capes! My biggest regret---I didn’t take a picture. The concierge at our hotel told us they were religious “sisters” who were nurses. What a step back in time. Secular nurses dress in scrubs like their American counterparts.
I am frequently asked to go door to door collecting for charities like the American Heart Association, Leukemia Foundation, Kidney Fund etc. If I had my own cape I might get a better response. I would be a unique Caped Crusader.

Waldo is Still in Budapest Part 7

Early morning checking from son Andy who is traveling finds him still in Budapest. While he is impressed with Budapest he found Belgrade "more exciting". I am not sure those words are reassuring to a mother. They visited a War Museum in Belgrade and he found it unnerving to see artifacts from captured American Soldiers from the 1999 war! Usually when we see our soldiers mentioned in European war memorials there are many decades to soften the memories. We were very recently at war with the Serbs. Andy liked being the only tourists. People stared at them but were very friendly he states. There, as in many countries and some of our cities, they are crazy drivers. Wait until he sees China where I do not believe they enforce many traffic laws. If there is an accident, the involved parties hash it out at the scene and decide fault. They then pay cash to the claimant on the spot. I thought St. Cloud was going to seem dull to him for a while, but then I remembered the drivers in Stearns county!
Next stop: Lake Balaton, Hungarian resort area 60 miles from Budapest


Picture sent to me by my sister. Could it be the original NBC peacock when they were a black and white broadcasting network?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Where's Waldo - {Part 6

The briefest of e-mail from son Andy confirmed he is in Budapest today. He described it as an "intellectual" city. As of now, he stated the highlight of the trip was the time they spent in Belgrade.

We had planned to visit Budapest last October but changed our plans after Jon's stents in favor of more "western" European countries. Thought we would be closer to cardiologists if need arose. In retrospect, Budapest would have probably been better than some of the rural places we stayed in western Europe. We know an American couple who are missionaries in Hungary and headquartered in Budapest. She was born and raised in Hungary and escaped when it was communist years ago. They were drawn back to minister to the poor and Roma (or Gypsies).

Today is another wonderful spring day. We actually have much earlier and a longer spring season than we used to. Don't tell anyone how nice the weather is in Minnesota or everyone will want to live here. Good weather and 15,000 lakes. Awe, life is good. Our neighbor is swimming in her pool today on the April 28. That didn't happen years ago.
PS: I am still "at it". -35 but it is harder to stay on track. Didn't do any exercise today and that is the first time in months I have to say that. Did hit Curves 4 x this week and walked enough for the week plus a little bicycling. Today I will consider a day off. Back at it tomorrow.

Friday, April 27, 2007


I was reluctant for a long time but new evidence has swayed me into the column of believers.
At Easter, granddaughter Mina and I discussed the Easter Bunny. She was having doubts. Hard to believe he really could hop to all those houses around the world carrying baskets. It is a stretch. She did affirm that Santa is real, however.
Now I am a believer. Recent evidence has me almost certain there is a Superman. They may have found Superman's home planet. Scientists have recently announced they have found a planet 5X the size of Earth that may support life. It has water and is a solid mass, not just a gasseous planet. The temperature ranges from 34 degrees to 104. (Minnesotans could tolerate an even wider temp. range. We have experience surviving from -34 to +104.)
Now I wouldn't have jumped to conclusions with just the planet's discovery, but news yesterday reveals scientists have also found Kryptonite! Better yet, they found the Kryptonite in a mine in Serbia. My son is traveling in Serbia today. I am not sure what that has to do with anything, but it is a strange coincidence.
I am on a new campaign. If we are to rely on Superman and scientists to save the world, we need to preserve more of those old phone booths. Perhaps we could get Al Gore on board to help with the effort. Or, we could just spend more time on our knees praying to the one who can do something about our problems.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Word from the kid today is that they are in Belgrade, Serbia at a youth hostel. He relates seeing a lot of bombed out buildings from the recent war years but says the city is beautiful. I googled it for pictures and background. It is an old city and has a long history according to archeologists.

It has been conquered by just about everyone who was a conquerer. The breakup of Yogoslavia in the 90's and ethnic cleansing atrocities during that time are freshest in my memory.


Minnesota was the first state to pass a Clean Indoor Air Act years ago. This imposed the first restrictions on smoking in public places. Restaurants initially had to split the space proportionally between smoking and non-smoking areas. Over the years, this has been adapted nationally with more and more restrictions. Smokers are in a minority and the opposition has sponsored bills to totally ban smoking in bars and public places and even jails. The goal is probably to ban smoking entirely. One suburban community bans smoking in it's outdoor parks. Many employers, including my former jobsite, ban smoking on their property even if you are sitting in your car in their parking lot. We do demonize tobacco.
Today's St. Paul paper carries a story of numerous bars erecting smoking tents to accomodate smokers. This is Minnesota and it might get cold again someday. Arnold, Governator of Caleefornia, has a smoking tent where he enjoys stogies. How long will it be before the anti-smoking lobby wants half of that space? I wonder about the type of tent they are using. Wouldn't a Native American Wigwam work? Doesn't it have a hole at the top to chimney the smoke out? I am a former smoker and do not like smoking, but I am content to let them have their tent unless the band follows them out there and they have all the fun.
It has been two weeks since my husband quit smoking. He is using the newest drug Chantix. If he stays off the weed, I am going to write to that company and offer his services to do a testimonial. He has tried repeatedly since Nicorette gum was introduced in the early 90's to quit smoking. Wish him luck. I don't think he will be free of cigarettes until he can look at one and say "Oh, ish".

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Dober Dan (good day)

The MOM can relax, got word from the young traveler. He spent first night in Lake Bled, Slovenia. (picture of church on island in lake). They seem to be having fun and enjoying awesome scenary. Picture of the waterfalls is from Plitvice Natl Park in Croatia. The three boys spent one night in a private home. The people were elderly and spoke a little German so they could communicate. They also fed them some homemade bacon and a toast of Schnapps. This makes me want to be there. It is wonderful to talk to the locals and enjoy their gracious hospitality. We will love to see his pictures. Andy said they have camped two nights by the sea. Tonight they are in a youth hostel in Zagreb, Croatia. I hope there are no bunk beds stacked five high.
I googled the places they saw to get internet pictures.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The 1st Step From Top Bunk is a Doozy

There has been no word from son Andy since he left London. We did get an update Sunday from our friend Gerd in Germany, but no email yet.

When we were in Europe in October, my husband caught on to my loosely translating every language I did not understand. I decided what I thought it was and went with that. It seemed more interesting to me to create a background story if I didn't know. He caught on and didn't believe my BS. Sometimes I was correct. Legionaires at the Venice Holiday Inn turned out to be true. (I blogged about that nov 22 '06, French legionairres.)

This is what I imagine Andy doing:

Day 2. Drove into the old city of Ljubljana. Nice man offered to watch the car while they walked the city. Spent 60,000 stotins on postcards for mom. Found necklace, woven rug, vase, scarf, and icon for girlfriend Laura. Returned to find car stripped of tires and radio. Drank 3 liters of local beer. Ate local food which consisted of stuffed goat stomach and curdled yogurt and prunes. Got a room at youth hostel with bunk beds. Felt sick later, and discovered first "Turkish toilet". Regreted drinking so much beerand eating prunes.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Getting Fit

Today my husband helped me get my bike road ready. It has been hanging from the garage ceiling about ten years. Both tires were flat. He inflated the first tire with the air compressor until it popped. We went to Walmart and got an inner tube. I would have purchased a spare, but they only had one in the correct size. After a bit of fiddling, he reassembled the wheel with the new tube inflated in the tire. Next he inflated the front tire until it too popped. Really. Not being critical here, I think the tires are old and not very elastic. He is at Target now buying another inner tube.

I walked an hour this am with my friends, did a double Curves workout and cleaned up my perennial garden and spent an hour cutting the lawn. I am too tired to ride that bike. Maybe he can just leave it with one wheel and I can ride a unicycle like the guy in the video. Link:


I never thought the Anorexia Foundation would have shirts in this size.

That is not me!

Deja Vu 2


I have thought about editing my tag line to change the "overfed" part, but after this weekend maybe not yet. Back to yogurt and salads today. Regroup. Weekends are difficult and I am not even employed during the week.
We are a bit "overspent" after signing on the dotted line to purchase a new heating and cooling system. We still have to make decisions on new flooring for the first floor. This spending is softened by putting it on our new credit card which gives rebates. We pay the bill at the end of month anyway, but now have a new 7.1 pixil digital camera as a bonus. Do you think the college would accept a credit card to pay the tuition?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Where's Waldo -Part 4

Now we are tracking Waldo. Jon called our "German family" today but missed catching the kid. They had left Sunday am and already called Kai's home saying they were settling into a nice campground in Slovenia. The map shows the country which is across the Adriatic Sea from Italy not far from Venice. We await his email and support their safety in prayer.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Martha, Martha, Martha

Our local "fishwrapper" paper carries a column by Lori Gordon. She writes a little story and finishes with a recipe. Today she gave the reasons she does not oil her cat's nose. She states she heard Martha Stewart elaborate about oiling her cat's nose every morning with a Q-tip. Most of us don't reach for that degree of perfection. Most of us do not know a cat that would let us do that.

Picture I Found Funny and A Good Reason to Ban Cloning

Some resemblence to Billie Bob Thornton perhaps?

You've Got My Goat

For fifty years my unfilled childhood wish was suppressed in my subconscious. When I was a youngster I wanted a goat cart. I daydreamed of driving that grand conveyance. I entered contests on cereal boxes and called in to radio sponsored competitions trying to win $100 to buy one. I’m not sure why that amount of money, but I thought that would be the price. $100.
The past year "The Little Treasures" has had multiple old photos of kids in goat carts. I treasured them. As a child, I lived on a central Minnesota farm and have no memory of seeing a traveling photographer with those props, but that is exactly what my dream cart looked like.
Last fall my son in law who works for a company that builds props for events asked me if I knew anything about goat carts. He claims no one had prompted him to ask me. I gave him my BB clippings.
Saturday’s BB came with Sharon of Roseville’s dream about riding off in a goat cart. You are dreaming my perfect ending Sharon. Tonight before I go to sleep, I may meditate about driving off into the sunset in a goat cart and see if I dream the same scenario. On second thought, I won’t do that. Maybe I’ll save that for my final exit from this world. A casket on a bigger cart pulled by a lot more goats would be a unique ride from church to cemetery.
These plans surely would give my family fits trying to find all those goats and harnesses not to mention clearing a ride down busy Hwy. 36 with the State Troopers. Just chalk those plans up to the musings of a 62 yr. old newly retired nutcase.
I’ll keep clipping those goat cart pictures and daydreaming like Walter Mitty.
If you want to read the BB column, open and scroll down to the "Perchance to Dream" by Sharon of Roseville. I found it funny.

Friday, April 20, 2007

So You've Had a Bad Day --Part 2

I was up way too early today again, earlier than the paper "boy" delivered the paper. I read my favorite column, the Bulletin Board in the St. Paul Pioneer Press online. I laughed so loud I thought I might wake my husband. I thought you might like a good laugh. Here is is:

A day in the life
Reports Katharine With One Dog Only (verbatim - including: WARNING! Threats to contented dining ahead!): "Friday April 13, 2007:
"Mug slipped out of hand and 16 oz. of hot coffee spilled on kitchen floor. Slipped on coffee and banged knee on corner of refrigerator. Turned on work laptop and got the blue screen of death (hard drive crash). Switched to Mac desktop and got the bomb icon (hardware failure). While on hold for IT help desk, grabbed throwaway plastic container away from playful dog and cut right palm near thumb. Out of Band-Aids. Out of Kleenex. Out of paper towels. Used shirt. Dragged suitcase downstairs and left wheel came loose. Wrapped duct tape around wheel, around socket, up through support bar, and back around wheel to correct. Drove to airport. After security check, walked carefully in unlaced sneakers over to plastic chairs. Tripped over left lace. Dropped briefcase on feet of small Chinese woman. On plane, seated next to hairy man audibly sucking pencil and smelling of patchouli cologne. Remembered iPod. Forgot headphones. Ate sandwich from home. Started feeling ill. Arrived Ronald Reagan airport. Knelt on floor of restroom stall and threw up. And threw up again. Only 3 inches of toilet paper left on the roll. Got in cab driven by man smelling of patchouli cologne who wished to discuss all sides of question why Minnesota says 10,000 lakes on license plates when there are really 12,243 lakes or 12,432 lakes or 12,342 lakes. Hotel desk manager asked would you like to check in. Replied would like to throw up. Knelt on floor of employee bathroom stall and threw up. And threw up again. At door of hotel room, gave bellman two $10s instead of two $1s. Lay back on bed and cracked head on headboard. Struggled to open bottle of water with very tight cap. Re-opened cut on palm of hand. No Band-Aids. No Kleenex. No paper towels. Used shirt. With other hand, pulled covers over head. Fell asleep."

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Where's Waldo 3

Today, April 18th was the day Andy finished in London and flew to Frankfurt, Germany to stay with his "German" family and travel with Kai. Andy was a foreign exchange student in high school. Andy and Kai stayed at each other's house one month while attending high school classes. Kai's family are wonderful people who made him feel at home. We had Kai visit us again a year later and do a road trip out west with Andy. Last October we stayed with Kai's family in Germany. The picture is our "German" family without Kai who was in military training at the time. Hope the boys have fun traveling in eastern europe. Hope he emails his mom.

PS. My face is a little thinner now than in this picture. -33# today.

It's For the Birds

On a lighter note, I received one of those humorous emails from both my sister and friend Joan. It is about housecleaning, titled "I Don't Do Windows". If you don't care for the advice in this clip, at least admit there are some good excuses about being a less than stellar housekeeper.
The very last statement is my favorite.
It begins talking about an excuse for not washing windows. I could use one. Probably due to air quality, my windows do not stay clean. I remember years ago washing them 2 - 3 X/yr. was adequate. They not look lousy in a month. At least it is good for the birds. My walking partner Judy said she had a Robin continually crashing into her window this morning. I believe I have heard birds suffer head injuries much like humans. Perhaps he is concussed and not using good judgment and there is no one to ground him from flying. I think natural selection takes over as I have heard these "birdbrains" have trouble navigating to warmer climes in the winter. I guess it really is up to us to do our part to save them.

No Greater Love Has a Man ....

It happened again on Monday. America took another arrow to the heart with the rampage of killing on the Virginia Tech campus. When tragedy occurs, it seems the media over reports resulting in an oppressive blanket of bad news.
Why does this evil again strike our young? Why are they targets? Why? Why? Why?
Why 32 dead students and staff? How did the killer sink to such darkness?
Today’s news brought a report of triumph over darkness. Professor Liviu Librescu is hailed as a hero for saving the lives of his students. While the gunman pushed at the door, the professor held it shut and shouted at his students to escape through the window. They escaped. He died.
Professor Librescu survived the Holocaust as a child. Later he survived the oppressive Communist regime in Romania. He emigrated to Israel and then the US.
The article states Monday was Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel. In spite of evil in the world, good and God will triumph. Always. Take heart. That is what I am remembering

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Boogie Days

We had the "Benediction Nun" here the weekend. This sweet 91 year old is Jon's aunt and I love her. She is gentle, upbeat, interested in life and she is the one who sent me this video.
I blogged about her on March 13th after mispelling Benedictine in an anecdote I sent to the BB. (I wrote the benediction nun") Maybe because Sister is the same age as my mom would be I especially enjoy her company. That and she loves to play cards, so I had fun.
While Sister was here she noticed the framed copy of my book cover on the wall. (I co-wrote a book about growing up with my sister.) It is called "Sisters" and peaked her interest. I showed her a copy and she asked to read it. She read it all. While she was engaged reading, I was chagrined to remember there were several references to nuns in our lives. Some were funny. The ones about the "Nazi Nun" not so good. We gave our take on the former director of our School who was named Sr. Keith. When she read this she said, "I knew Sr. Keith". She didn't say anything bad, but she didn't correct me anyway. If she was offended she didn't tell me. I could not come up with a word of criticism about our dear aunt. She makes up for all the cross nuns in my past.
Unless you are out planting daffodil bulbs, take a moment to play the clip. It might put a little bounce in your step--a little boogie in your life.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Reaping and Sowing

Discouraged? Need encouragement? Think what you do in life doesn't matter?

After attending the memorial service for a co-worker whom everyone described as a good guy, I have been trying to "take stock" of my life. I think I will try to do a little more to lead a life relevant to others.

If you need inspiration to see how a single life can be a blessing to others, watch the video on the first link and/or read the Daffodil article and look at the picture above. Keep in mind Grandma Moses did not start painting until age 80. Every day can be a new beginning.

THE DAFFODIL PRINCIPLE (from an article e-mailed from my sister_

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead "I will come next Tuesday", I promised a little reluctantly on her third call.Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren."Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see badly enough to drive another inch!" My daughter smiled calmly and said, "We drive in this all the time, Mother." "Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears, and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her."But first we're going to see the daffodils. It's just a few blocks," Carolyn said. "I'll drive. I'm used to this." "Carolyn," I said sternly, "please turn around." "It's all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience."After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read, "Daffodil Garden." We got out of the car, each took a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain peak and its surrounding slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, and saffron and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted in large groups so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers."Who did this?" I asked Carolyn. "Just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's her home." Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house, small and modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house.On the patio, we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking", was the headline. The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958."For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration. That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time--often just one baby-step at time--and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world ..."It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years? Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way. "Start tomorrow," she said.She was right. It's so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use today?"Use the Daffodil Principle. Stop waiting.....Until your car or home is paid offUntil you get a new car or homeUntil your kids leave the houseUntil you go back to schoolUntil you finish schoolUntil you clean the houseUntil you organize the garageUntil you clean off your deskUntil you lose 10 lbs.Until you gain 10 lbs.Until you get marriedUntil you get a divorceUntil you have kidsUntil the kids go to schoolUntil you retireUntil summerUntil springUntil winterUntil fallUntil you die...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Recipes Martha Stewart Doesn't Want

I'm on a roll making homemade soup this week. Today I tried a recipe for Corn Chowder, or is it Chowda? I followed the recipe but couldn't resist tweeking it a bit. Big mistake. I added chunks of cream cheese. I should have softened it before adding it. It sort of curdled at first and with the creamed corn and kernels of corn looked like barf! Oh good. I have company for lunch and I am serving Barf Soup. Thankfully a little more time and dickering and it turned out fine. However, it is burned in my brain as Barf Soup.

Years ago, when our older three kids were growing up, they named one of my hot dishes Barf Hotdish. I never made it again. It was an escalloped corn with Swiss cheese and spicy bulk sausage. I had to agree with them on the name although I liked the taste. Kids are a little reluctant to taste something if it looks strange.

In case my sister, who is an excellent cook, feels superior I want to remind her what her oldest son Peter called her Minestrone. She made a great soup that had 2 inch chunks of Italian sausage floating in it. Peter dubbed that Poop Soup. I wonder if she ever made that again.


My sister sent me this picture. I think we have identified the dog that has been getting the home cooked meals. Would one turkey a week do it?

Friday, April 13, 2007


Yesterday I did something I swore I would never do. I told my husband how much I weigh. I haven't told anyone how much I weigh since I hit 126# years ago. My Dr. knows, but he has taken the Hippocratic Oath and is bound by Hippa law to secrecy.

I was outsmarted by my sweetie. He bombarded me with guesses. He guessed extremely high knowing that might make me feel good that I didn't weigh as much as he said. It was a boondoggle. Feeling a little better about myself since I have lost 30#, I told him the truth. Time to be honest and time to divulge so he can hold me accountable in the future. Problem is, I forgot my husband is no good at keeping secrets.
I want friends and family to swear out a warrant for my arrest if I regain more than a pound, but I am NOT telling you what I weigh. You will have to be very observant.I know that doesn't make sense. You can see the real person but that number will remain my secret. Maybe someday my driver's stated vital stats. will match the truth.

The woman in this cartoon must have one of those talking scales. If mine had talked it would have said "Get A Life". That is what I feel I am finally doing. I have new zest and energy and see myself getting and staying in shape. Now, when was that high school reunion again?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Maybe We Should Try Solar Heat

We just had the heating and cooling guy here to give us an estimate for a new furnace and A/C. He listed the options with costs and rebates. There was a pretty good size list of rebates plus a federal tax credit of $300. He also worked up the possible savings in utilities. With all these savings, I figure if we bought two of everything we would really be rolling in the dough. I think my husband wished I had not been party to that conversation. Jon also scratches his head about my blogging. "It's about nothing" he says. It is. Just everyday life. It worked for Seinfeld. Perhaps I need a job where I talk to more people.

This Freaks Me Out

Soup Kitchen

I may start cooking for dogs. Yesterday was snowy, cold and a good day to eat homemade soup. We had ham Sunday and a juicy ham bone went in the soup pot first. After simmering that several hours, I added diced red potatoes, carrots, onion and cabbage. Topped off with fresh cracked pepper it was scrumptuous. Jon and I ate some for lunch. When I tried to serve it again today (soup gets better a day later) he declined and ate pasta. Do dogs like soup or would they rather just have the ham bone?

PS. -30 today. Maybe I should now go on the Cabbage Soup Diet. Yes, there is such a fad diet.


The EAT section of the morning paper has an article about cooking for dogs. With the recent scare of tainted pet food that killed some animals, this is attention getting information. Inside the paper are recipes for dog food. I have previously seen recipes for home cooked dog bones and how to make rawhide, but this is cuisine! Lucky dogs. As the writer states, some people do not even cook for their kids.
Our friend Bruce would be jealous if he saw this. Margaret does not cook. A few years ago they remodeled their kitchen to a state of the art spacious, granite countered, island holding, luxury applianced wonderland. It didn't work. They still eat out. I hope he doesn't find out the author's dog is feasting on meatloaf, organic carrots, beef vegetable soup and roast turkey. Her doorbell might ring at dinnertime.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


I received some very sad news today. One of my former co-workers in the ER was killed in a car accident on the way home from work yesterday. His name was Maynard and I worked with him the last ten years of my career.
Maynard was an LPN hired to work night shift about ten years ago at our community hospital. When I was night supervisor he worked under my supervision. As years went by the ER went to an all RN staff. Maynard was "grandfathered" in. He was a very competant nurse and I encouraged him to pursue an RN associate degree. He already was capable of doing the work, he just needed the credentials. Maynard had been a medic in the Army and also an EMT on the western Wisconsin ambulance service where he lived. Instead of pursuing his RN, he studied to be a paramedic. This was probably more difficult and did not pay as well . Doing it on a volunteer basis he was only paid for the actual hours called to duty. He did believe in serving. At the end it was his friends, the volunteer paramedics and EMTs who came to his rescue after the accident. He was conscious initially and I am sure that was a comfort to him.
Some memories come to mind of very stressful shifts almost on "tilt" working in the ER. I always felt like we had it covered if Maynard was my partner.
He was a big guy who usually brought Slim Fast for lunch but succumbed to the treats we had stashed in the back room. I described him as a "teddy bear" and that fits. Patients loved him. His co-workers had a hard time outworking him.
I am sure his wife and son are in shock. In his 50's, he was cheated out of a leisurely retirement and they have lost his generous spirit.
I stopped up at the ED this afternoon with a bag of cookies. Maynard was known for bringing a bag of cookies on Tuesdays. I guess he sabotaged his Slim Fast too.
Many will miss him. So long soldier, nurse, medic and friend.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Swing Low Sweet Chariot

Picture of the catafalque drawn by horses from my friend Judy's sister's funeral. I love the simple elegance. It seems much warmer than a modern hearse. At least one of the horses belonged to the deceased.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Where's Waldo part 2

The kid wrote about his Easter "homestay" visit. He stayed with an English family who were medical missionaries to Uganda for 15 years. Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers. They took him to the larger family gathering on Saturday and to a cute little country church on Sunday and fed him Hot Cross buns, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. What a nice experience. May they be richly blessed.


Just when I think I am doing pretty well with the exercise thing, someone moves the bar.

The past two days were a bear walking outside. It was cold and windy. Wind chills of -5 were reported. I had to get out the hat and scarf to fend off the stiff breezes but got in the three miles. Walking briskly has become easy. I need to walk more interesting places and am trying encouraging a couple of friends to get out on the hiking trails in the country with me. Will try again next week. The ground is dry so I could change the ten year old air in the tires on my bike and try that too. What looms in the back of my mind is getting in shape on the bicycle to eventually do one of those fund raising bike trips. A few years ago, our daughter Mary was doing 150 bike trips and running marathons. Maybe I could interest her to be my partner. All that will have to wait until next year when the new, improved me is ready to go.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Hopped UP Bunny

Our granddaughter Mina told me that the Easter Bunny is not real, but Santa Claus is. I guess it was just too much of a stretch to believe a giant bunny came to every house in the world. Maybe she saw the picture of this bunny and decided to reject him. This is a pix I got off the internet, not my Mina. Happy Easter, Sweetie.


(or---How I Learned to Not Hate Window Washing)

Last year I found a recipe that some professional window washers use. They also recommended using a squeegee and wiping the blade between wipes. This is the solution:

2 cups rubbing alcohol
1/2 cup sudsy ammonia
1 tsp. Dawn dish detergent
enough water to make 1 gallon.

I was probably the only one who did not know this. For years I have used spray Windex and cloths or newspaper only to see streaks when I was done. My husband still swears by this. I also had to stand on a ladder to get the outside of most of the windows. Now I have a squeegee with a long handle and a sponge on one side. Easy and faster. Not so easy today when it was cold enough outside to have the solution that dripped down the handle freeze.


We've had "Mr. Potato Head", now meet "Mrs. Pancake Face". This was on the front page of our regional section of the Pioneer Press. The rest of the article relates that this "Apparition" of Mother Nature's smiling face has a $60 bid on eBay. C'mon. Get a clue. When our granddaughter Mina stayed with us this week I made pancakes for her breakfast. My attempts at making Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes did not turn out so well, so I resorted to making smiling faces on them. She laughed. Drip a little batter on the griddle to make the eyes, nose, and mouth and then add the rest. Instant apparition! Don't expect to hear much from me in the way of blogging for a while. I will be in the kitchen turning out apparitions and marketing them on eBay.

Friday, April 6, 2007


Pretty isn't it? The way I bowl, it wouldn't look nice for long. I have given up trying to be a good bowler. Everytime I try my score is lower than the last time. The upside is, those tulips might act as a bumper and keep me in the lane.

PS. I am not losing fast, but I am making slow progress and have come to actually enjoy the physical activity. That is something I never thought I would say or feel. It is bitterly cold today with the wind gusts. I think it may be colder at Easter than it was at Christmas.

Rest In Peace and Home For Easter

Yesterday I met a friend for a morning walk. I hadn’t seen her for about a week and knew she was out of town caring for her seriously ill sister. Sadly, I found out her sister had died. The funeral was Monday and was carried out according to her sister’s wishes. After the service, the body was lovingly transported to the cemetery by a wagon drawn by the deceased’s own horse. I had seen a picture in the paper recently about a Wisconsin farmer’s funeral with his casket carried by wagon drawn by his horses and understood what she meant. As Judy was describing this to me and searching for the right name for this conveyance, two other friends of hers caught up with us. She backtracked to explain to them the funeral arrangements and tell them about the horse drawn wagon. One friend offered the word “catafalque”. For a brief moment my mind heard “catapult”. Not respectful, I thought. Some gray matter must have made the correction, because I quickly realized what she had said. Catafalque: Think state funeral with the body lying in state on a platform that may or may not be moveable. This is definitely more dignified than the Gonzo type catapult.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

City To Experience Wildlife Shortage

Front page news today in the Pioneer Press, “Project Pigeon Purge”. I am glad nothing really bad happened in the world yesterday, (or did it?) so our only scary thought is of ridding ourselves of public nuisance pigeons. The GOP national convention is headed to St. Paul in 2008, and city fathers are busy sprucing up the place. Time to deal with messy birds. They have come up with a novel solution. They are going to build them nice, rooftop condos. When they have made themselves at home and built nests, these guys plan to steal their eggs! They hope they slowly die off.
Didn't Chinese officials get rid of birds who were eating too much grain? That hasn't worked out so well for them.

When the Olympics were held in Seoul, Korea a few years ago, I remember reading officials there forbad local restaurants from serving dishes with dog meat. That might offend visitors. Now, I will wait to see a directive from “officials” to hamper local chefs from serving pickled pigeon eggs at brunch during the convention. It might be okay to serve this to a delegation from California. I won’t tell if you won’t tell.
PS. We experienced this feeding frenzy of birds when we were in St. Mark's Square in Venice last year. I gave my crackers to a group of young ladies. Guess I come with too much baggage, remembering my Alfred Hitchcock movies about birds.

Yesterday's Journal

It's spring break and I have our granddaughter Mina staying with us. She is a delight and agreeable to do almost anything, eat almost anything. Since I walk every morning and it was cold and blustery yesterday, she agreed to walk with me at the fieldhouse. We met my new walking partner, who is about my age. When I asked Mina if we were walking too fast for her she took off running. My friend just laughed and reminded me she has way more energy than a couple of retired women. Mina did two miles and we called it quits. After lunch I took her to an indoor swimming pool where she played and swam for two hours. By 6:00pm she was asleep on the couch. Tuckered out. This old broad made it to 9:30 but sure slept well last night. Maybe there is hope for me. I have kicked up the exercise a bit and now try to do five workouts a week at the advanced level and walk four miles/day if I can.
In last evenings email check I found a strange coincidence. Two emails I checked consecutively quoted the line, "Growing old is not for sissies". Both had had an encounter with medical tests such as stress tests and a stroke work-up and things had turned out well I am glad to say.
My husband frequently quotes the line "Growing old is not.." and it made me wonder if there are any old sissies?? This cartoon is all I could find when I went to my usual source, Google.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Welch Rabbit Anyone? Or is it Rarebit?

The son just spent the weekend in Wales and posted these pictures of interesting signs on his Picasa website.

The Picnic Tool

Laughter is good for the soul and body. Click on this link and read the first column. If you have a background in the medical field you may laugh twice as hard.

Years ago, when I was night supervisor at a community hospital, I would read charts when I had time to appraise the nurses' charting. These were nurses whose performance reviews I needed to write. One nurse was a young mom who worked nights and got less than optimum sleep. One night she charted something close to this: "The patient ambulated well and went outside and urinated on the bushes." When I asked her why her patients were wandering outside at night to relieve themselves (likely himself) , she was horrified and had absolutely no recall of charting it. No one had left the hospital. This nurse was not a screw-up, but a great nurse who went on to become manager of a busy unit. You can't underestimate the importance of a good night's rest.

Monday, April 2, 2007


I’m probably not alone in this, but I don’t always hear the lyrics of a song the way they were sung. Being a long time fan of Johnny Rivers, I know the song is “Secret Agent Man”, but swear he says “Secret Asian Man”. That is a common misperception. Today I suddenly “heard the light” when they played Hall & Oates, “Your Kiss Is On My List”. For years I have been singing along, “Your kiss, your kiss, is on my lips!” That motivated me to Google the lyrics to “Blinded By the Light”. I never thought “wrapped up like a douche” made much sense. All these years they have been singing, “Revved up like a deuce”. I like that better.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Shaggy Dog Story

On our way to church today we spotted an unusual white dog walking its owner. My husband remarked it looked like a “scruffy” dog. I told him it might be one of those designer dogs that are a hybrid. I had heard that a Standard Poodle/ Golden Retriever is a desirable combination that doesn’t shed and has a nice temperament. I could not remember what they were called, but my husband suggested “ Go-Poo” was a possibility. That doesn’t sound like a dog I would want. Later it came to me that they are Goldendoodles.
PS, This weekend I went to two parties and ate out today for lunch and still behaved. Pat on the back for Jane.