Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Last night was a good evening to see a movie. Too many hot nights have been spent at home, indoors. I guess we were still indoors, but at least not dozing off in our recliners. We saw Hairspray. Not many movies out there to consider; it seemed the best of a few we considered.
The movie is set in 1962 and since we both graduated in a years bookending '62 we enjoyed some of the nostalgia. One funny scene has very pregnant women drinking cocktails and smoking in a bar. When I was quite pregnant I remember attending a baby shower for a friend held in a downtown Mpls bar. I am pretty sure we drank and also smoked. I distinctly remember some guys making passes at me and I responding, "You have got to be kidding". Times have changed. Horrifying isn't it.
My second aha moment was seeing the hairdo the young star of the show wore. I wore my hair like that in 1963 and sprayed it solid with Rayette hairspray. I also wore white canvas Keds shoes with nylons and straight skirts. I was not as zoftic at the time as the main character. It is funny how the show puts an upbeat spin on being fat. All the news this AM on the Today Show was about controlling the weight of the younger generation of chubby kids. I also grew up in a small town in central Minnesota where there weren't any race issues I can remember. We only had two Jewish families in town and no one of color.
Yesterday I cooked a pork roast in the crock pot. Jon is not fond of pork but ate it for supper. One of the running gags in the movie is the John Travolta character/aka the mom, offering to feed people pork. I guess pork still gets a bad rap as fattening although the leaner cuts are about like chicken now. Tonight I waltzed up to him asked if I could feed him pork again. He will only bite on that menu once.
Here's to memories of watching American Bandstand and ratting up my hair and spraying it solid. Those younger better watch out. Those raggety cut hairdos of the past few years are not going to hold up much better. Your kids will also laugh at your old pictures. At least no one is wearing pantyhose with white tennis shoes.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Cove Inn, Beaver Bay, MN

We need a Lake Superior fix at least once a summer. Can't beat a cool breeze off that frigid water when you are getting tired of heat.
So many of the small mom and pop resorts and small cabins are gone; they have been replaced by large resort hotels or mansion style summer homes for the well heeled. This place falls in the middle range but offers solitude along with the rustic decor. It is not uncommon for the staff for the restaurants and hotels on the north shore to be staffed by college aged eastern europeans.

Tea with my classmates

Taking the Good With the Bad, -or- You Think You Had a Bad Day

Well, not that bad of a day.... I didn't wake up to find Oscar the cat curled up on my bed. Surely you heard or read about the nursing home cat in Rhode Island who snuggles up to dying residents. taff began to note the cat was the first to know which patients would go to the "Pearly Gates" next. They say he instinctively comforts the dying. My mother in-law, who despised cats, would have had a different interpretation of the cat's behavior. They were all suspect. http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2007/07/26/cat-death.html

No, we just had a series of small challenges yesterday. Tuesday after hearing the bleak weather forecast of the most uncomfortably hot, humid weather of the summer coming our way, husband Jon said, "Let's go to Bayfield". After googling Bayfield's weather and seeing about the same prediction as we were getting, we revised our plans and headed up the north shore of Lake Superior a cooler spot.

We stayed at a newer inn on Lake Superior called the Cove Inn near Beaver Bay. Nestled on a quiet cove far from the highway, it is our new favorite hotel on the north shore. We walked on the trail by the rocky shore and pulled on sweatshirts to relax on the deck. Perfect escape from the heat. Nice relaxing respite. When we checked in we filled out the usual registration card with name, address etc. The question about car licence number stumped me again. Jon has had his SUV two years and neither of us can remember the licence number. I doubt if anyone at a hotel has ever checked to see if the cars in the lot match the info on guest registration. This clerk said what they all say when I admit I can't remember the plate #, "Don't worry about it. Just describe the vehicle". Good. I wrote, "cobalt blue, Mazda SUV". The next morning Jon woke up laughing. "Remember that question about our licence plate?" he said. Then I got it. We had driven my car. Hopefully the night manager of the inn was not out in the lot scratching his head wondering where that extra gray sedan came from. Strike one.

The room that was available when we checked in did not have air conditioning. (They rarely need it.) We were fine with that because the temperature was in the 60's in mid afternoon. My husband likes it cool and found a fan to put in the window to draw in the even cooler night air. In the morning, after his remark about neither of us remembering which car we drove, he also pointed to the ceiling fan in the room that neither of us had noticed. We laughed. Usually one can cover for the other. We better watch it or we will begin to hear our kids say, "What are we going to do about pops (and mom)", Rodney Dangerfield's line about how you know you are losing it. Strike 2.

We didn't drive far yesterday on our return home before hitting extreme heat. Duluth was hot. It was 96 at home with high humidity. Thankfully we had a thunderstorm as we were arriving home which brought cooler, drier air. When we walked into the house it was stiffling hot. We had left the A/C on. Not a good sign. No air was moving. This is a new air conditioner. A call to the installer directed Jon to the problem--a blown fuse. Strike 3, but not too bad.

Strike 4: I forgot to water potted outdoor plants before leaving. They did not do too well in 96 degrees. The good news, I have very few container plants this summer because it is difficult to leave home in the summer without someone coming to water them.

All in all it was a nice couple of days for our little escape and there was no cat on the bed this morning either. Have a nice day.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Pearly Gates

No, it's not heaven, not even Iowa. Remember the line from "Field of Dreams"? The picture was taken by the chamber of commerce in St. Peter, MN. Friend Barb pointed it out to us and we had to have our picture taken. Her family said it was build after being promoted by a gentlement from St. Peterwhose name is Mr. Dumdie but was called "dumbguy" by people who didn't approve of spending public money on this gate. I have to admit I kind of like it. I am a fan of strange public edifices that appear in "Roadside Attraction" books. I probably would not be a fan if I had to pay for it with my taxes. Cute, though--St. Peter's Pearly Gates.

The Memory Box

I spent a wonderful afternoon yesterday having tea with old classmates. Our hostess did a proper tea. She hired a friend who caters teas. Nothing was missing. We have five, maybe six “courses” served on floral china and all the amenities of high tea. The guest of honor was a classmate I had seen last sixteen years ago. I was the first to arrive and was greeted by Joyce, the hostess, and Mary the guest of honor. I did not recognize her. Many times years take their toll on faces and bodies and we need to reintroduce ourselves. This is a good example of emerging from the Chrysalis. Mary was always pretty and vivacious. She is now beautiful, gracious and accomplished. I knew her well years ago and we were roomates one summer, but I have never met anyone who has changed so much for the better over the years. She is now an artist, blond instead of a redhead, soft spoken and continues to do research on chemotherapy. I did more listening than talking, knowing I have more to share about how my flowers are growing, what books I have read and how many miles I walked today.

Of the seven gathered most are grandmothers. I have the youngest child. They laughed when I related I am almost finished raising our family.(Been at it since 1968.) Julie reminded me I had one too early and one too late. She also had one too early. We swapped pictures and email addresses were renewed. Much of the talk drifted towards our maladies. I am the only one not on Fosamax or some treatment for osteoporosis. I guess it paid to be a little bigger boned and heavier. These are all very trim women. There were several who have had joint replacements. I started feeling pretty lucky and pretty healthy.

Most of us are orphans but three had mom’s in their 90’s who were in assisted living or nursing homes. Julie told of preparing a memory box for her mom with mementos of her life. The facility asks all the families to do this. They are outside each resident’s door, reminders of how each life was lived, what was precious to them. I am sure it serves as a reminder to the resident and also to the staff and visitors that this person is more than the frail individual we might visually observe now. This got me thinking last night. What would be in my memory box? I made one in the 70’s and it is still on a shelf in my closet. The most precious content: a lock of each of my babies’ hair. I need to tell the kids not to throw it away. That could be the first thing in my new memory box. I also have an empty bottle of Shalimar perfume in that collection. It was the first gift Jon gave me when we were dating. I have my baby fork and spoon, a couple of De Guerre type tin photos of relatives I can no longer identify, a Ukranian Easter egg from one of our first Easter’s, and lace doilies passed down from my grandma Dybdahl. There is also a tiny harmonica and a jointed teddy bear about three inches high that were my dad’s. I think he had them since he was a child so they are approaching antique status. For a long time I had my Grandma Parnell’s yellow sapphire engagement ring in this display. I took it out and gave it to my daughter when she was a young adult. I know my new memory box will have to have pictures of Jon and the children and grandchildren. Maybe my service pin from Lakeview hospital belongs there too. I don’t think my computer will fit but they could include a title page from the book, “Sisters” Carolyn and I wrote last year. In my jewelry box I still have a small pin awarded for being the best typist in my high school class and a pin for graduating with honors. For the next forty years I haven’t been winning awards or blue ribbons. This search for what would be noted in my “new” memory box was turning into a downer until I remembered the “secret” memory box I have stashed. I have one being kept safe from thieves, rust and moths. God promised to store up my good deeds in heaven. He asked that we lend to the poor—give it in His name and he would repay later. Even a cup of water given in his name will not be forgotten. I think I will just continue to focus on that memory box. That is an account that will not plunge if the Dow Jones fails. I have assurance of salvation through his work and reward for mine. Good place to focus. I want to see a smile on my Father’s face when we open that memory box someday.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Tea Time

No, I am not playing golf. I am headed to a tea party at a long time friend/ former classmate's house. Another classmate whom I have not seen since the 25 year reunion 16 yrs ago is in town. I am about to leave and hope I am not the only one showing up casual. Teas can be silk dress and wear a hat events. Years ago we passed at afternoon high tea at the Mayflower hotel in Washington and also high tea at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC thinking we were not properly dressed.

The first formal tea I ever attended was about ten years ago. A couple of co-workers sent written invitations for an afternoon tea. "Wear a hat or one will be provided" the invite said. I didn't own a hat. The hostess had a rack of vintage hats like my mom would have worn in the 50'-60's. Someone sat at the table and poured from a silver tea service. Fun time.

The second formal tea I was invited to was two hours after the first one on the same day. None for fifty years and then two in one day. Honestly. I went to both.

The third tea I attended several years ago was at the (fancy) Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel by the seaside in Santa Barbara, California. My sister in-law wanted to treat. I tried to beg off thinking I hadn't packed a proper dress. She told me not to worry. This time everyone was dressed casually. This is a hotel where a sighting of Jennifer Aniston and Oprah is a possibility.

Today I probably will not see Oprah, but guests I am more thrilled to see after several years. I hope I am not the only one in capri pants.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Rock on Grandma-- No Rock of Ages, Just the Ages of Rock are Beginning with Mina

Several weeks ago our ten year old granddaughter told grandpa there was a band she wanted to see at Lumberjack Days. Thursday I called her and asked which one. She told me it was the Jonas Brothers who were playing Saturday afternoon. I volunteered to take her. Her mom smiled and said I was a good sport. Mina was thrilled. This "bubblegum rock band" was heavily promoted on Radio Disney and they are her 2nd favorite band. ( They really do grow up too fast.) I bucked up, braved the heat and sun and enjoyed her having a good time. Years have flown by since I was her age and enamored by Ricky Nelson. I never saw him in person, but held my breath while he played the song at the end of "Ozzie and Harriet". The concert was free and attended by mostly 9 to 14 yr. old girls, the younger ones accompanied by moms or dads or grandmas. We stood toward the back of the crowd on a rise of ground so Mina could see. She was well behaved but followed along with the girls who cheered loudly when the band encouraged it. Of course all these events are overamplified and the bass reverberated in my solid internal organs. No kidding. My liver rocked. I apologized for returning her to her parents with possibly damaged hearing. Mom smiled. She is not that far away in years from overamplified concerts herself. Mina just said her ears were fine, but her voice was hoarse. They really do grow up too fast.

In Need of Grace

We don't have quite the same scenario at our church this weekend, but... Thursday our Sr. Pastor's mom died. He and his family are now out of town with their family. This weekend our church is heavily involved in outreach during the Lumberjack Days celebration in the valley. Our pastor was scheduled to preach at the combined worship service (five evangelical valley churches)in Pioneer Park. His wife is in the music ministry at this service. Our associate pastor is running the pancake breakfast before the service. Our children's pastor is in charge of the parade float and puppet ministry which will perform on the float. She also heads up those who will walk the parade handing up small gifts. Because there will be no service at our church building this weekend they are moving the music section and installing a baptistry in that spot--the youth pastor's responsibility . To top it off our church is orchestrating a fund raising cruise on a riverboat on the St. Croix Sunday night. Our founding ex-pastor and his wife will be honored at this event. There is a shuttle that will take cruisers from our church to the boat and back. I think they can just hand off the dinner to the company who owns the boat but still there are details to attend to. All this when our pastor is gone due to his mom's death. Of course the pastoral staff will also go to the out of town funeral Monday am. No pressure on anyone. Please pray for them to have strength. Please pray for our Pastor and his family in their time of loss.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Lumberjack Days in Stillwater

Our town's annual celebration of Lumberjack Days is in full swing. Last night we went down by the river to hear bands play from the floating stage in the river. It was billed as "Hometown Night" and the crowds were small. That is an oxymoron, I think. The crowds were small but young, especially as the night wore on. We listened to the second band play covers of classics. The third band drew a younger crowd and we stayed a bit but left because we were dressed for summer and I was freezing. It had only been about 78 during the day and cooled quickly by the water. The young rock band was from Dallas, TX. The singer asked if we always have such nice summer weather. The crowd answered yes. Liars. He is probably used to 100 and considering moving farther north. It was a nice evening, just would have been nicer for me with a light sweater.

Downtown should be packed this weekend. A local downtown bookstore is staging a Harry Potter weekend. Tonight when the book goes on sale they are using the depot for a party. Fans can then ride a midnight train (the Zephyr Dinner Train) in a Harry Potter re-enactment set.

The concessions, Log rolling demonstrations and competition which will be on ESPN, and music venues will draw a crowd. Sunday night it will end with a spectacular fireworks display. We will watch that from the Andiamo riverboat. Our church rents the boat to use as a fundraiser for a former pastor's missionary funding. We'll have dinner, a nice cruise and watch fireworks from the top deck.

In the early 80's when we first lived here, they would have an old steam locomotive downtown giving short rides. It was nostalgic but belched clouds of black smoke. Street drinking and rowdy behaviour were beginning to be controlled by law enforcement. Stillwater had a reputation for hard partying. I think it was the same 130 years ago when those bed-bug bitten, louse infested wood choppers came out of the woods to drink and visit the floating boradellos in Stillwater. Our local hospital had one of the first HMO plans. For a few $$ a year, a lumberjack could receive all the healthcare he needed at Lakeview Hospital. I have seen the old log books. They cover over the individuals names, but the conditions treated were mostly cuts and STDs and injuries from drunken brawls. For the twenty or so years I worked ER, we dealt with a lot of the same conditions in the merrymakers. Of course, the real problem patients from across the river in Somerset were more of a challenge. Throngs of youth would drink and drug while attending rock concerts or floating down the Apple River. They arrived by ambulance in their wet swimsuits, were treated, and then had no clothes, no ride, no money, no friends to take them back. I guess I don't miss summers in the ER afterall.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

All I Am Saying, Is Give Peas a Chance

Tuesday we spent visiting friend Barb's family and friends in St. Peter, MN. As you drive down Hwy 169 past Le Sueur, MN you spot a huge statue of the Jolly Green Giant up on the hill overlooking the valley. This is the home of Green Giant food. They can corn and the Green Giant peas in the valley. Tee-hee. Old joke. I think the company is now owned by a foreign group but still busy freezing and canning vegetables grown in the area. That was one of the jobs my dad did years ago. Now it is probably manned mostly by "guest workers". They need a surge of workers to pick and pack the crops as they harvest.

We had a great day at a lake cabin on lake Washington outside of St. Peter. Barb's lifetime friends and her brother and wife who have a cabin next door to the friends' hosted. They have comfortable cabins that still look like a cabin should. This lake is in transition and looks like a lot of the lakes up north where p eople buy small cabins, tear them down, and build 6000 sq.ft. summer lake homes with pools and extensive landscaping. Our hosts took our group of eleven on a pontoon tour of the lakeshore. Fun day with nice people.

Before heading home, Barb narrated a tour of St. Peter. This town was devastated by an F 4 tornado six years ago but seems to have sprung back. The trees are smaller but everything has been rebuilt and replanted. One of the tales of the tornado involves a friend of Barb. He picked up his mom from her trailer court to bring her to the safety of his basement when the tornado warnings were sounded. The house they sought sanctuary in was demolished by a trailer blown into it. Mom's trailer was untouched. You just never know about that weather.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Keep it in Neutral

"Feral cats - those skittish, temperamental cousins of the domesticated house cat - may soon see their sentences commuted by the city of St. Paul.
In an effort to control a growing number of feral cat colonies, the city is adopting a counterintuitive tool: Stop killing them.
While a trip now to the animal control office is almost always a death sentence for feral cats, under an ordinance to be introduced at today's City Council meeting, the cats could be trapped, spayed or neutered and released back onto the street. " from St. Paul Pioneer Press online

It is hard to be funnier than true life. St. Paul is at it again. First the roof top bird condos, now this. Is Bob Barker in St. Paul now? Okay, okay, it is a good idea to spay and neuter animals. I suppose we want the best foot forward next summer when the Republicans arrive for the convention. I just wonder sometimes. Now the cats will really have something to meOOOW about. Perhaps we could just let nature take it's course and schedule a performance of "CATS" at the Ordway Theatre in downtown St. Paul. It could be followed by "Bye Bye Birdie" to make us all a little more sensitive to our critter population.

From China With Love

Last weekend my son's university, which is hosting the visiting Chinese students, brought them to Mpls. to tour the Walker Art Museum and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Andy had come home as well to see his sweetie so asked if he could bring his student/partner Linfeng for an overnight. Linfeng is an eighty pound dynamo and we loved her. She has the inquisitive nature of a child and had to touch, taste and experience everything. Everything we cooked she helped fix and then tasted the dish. She is the only person more tactile than my husband. She touched everything, asked about everything and captured our hearts. Some of the things she noticed we take for granted. She noticed the open spaces without many people, how clean everything is, the air without "particles". She loves "all the grass". With the huge population in China there is less open space in the cities. She remarked there is so much grass here. She had loved sitting on the grass to watch the fireworks on the 4th of July. Sitting or walking on the grass is not allowed in her hometown. Too many people and too much traffic would probably kill the grass. She also was astonished how many stars there are. The college where she is staying is away from city lights(Collegeville) and you can see more stars. Add that to China's smoggy sky which probably obliterates the view. She asked us if she could attend church services with us. She told me she had been going to the church services at St. John's and liked that very much. Our service is different from the Mass and she asked about everything. We are praying God will water the seeds planted and I was happy to hear she has a Chinese friend at home who has been talking to her about Jesus.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries

Besides feasting on Bing cherries everyday, we visited the Walker Art Center Sculpture Gardens for the unique Minneapolis identifying photo op.
This is friend Barb with the city skyline peeking out behind the trees. Minneapolis is still a beautiful, liveable city. We skipped climbing on the spoon. Didn't want to fall into the green pond.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sam I AM

We stopped at daughter Mary's yesterday and my friend Barb had a chance to meet Mary's new husband Mike, and Sammy her cat. Sammy was busy hunting butterflies in the back yard as we sat on the patio. He was not wearing his fur stole. I am talking about the cat. Mike does not have a fur stole.


I remember an old song that goes, "Make new friends, but keep the old, One is silver and the other is gold". One of my golden friends is staying with us this week. We are still "well-matched" after 44 years. Barb and I both like to walk everyday and even walk at the same pace. We both do an hour. We both miss it if we can't fit it in the schedule. Barb and I have played Scrabble for years and we take turns winning games and our scores are similar. This trip I found out she loves to play Cribbage and we are doing that too. We even eat about the same way. She has sucessfully lost weight and kept it off for 4 years and is an inspiration to me.
-57# today

A Monday Morning Laugh

Did you think you were a daring risk taker? Watch video for a laugh.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Hot Diggety Dog

We didn't see the Oscar Meyer weinermobile yesterday, although I have seen this in years past. It is a Minnesota invention of course. While in downtown Minneapolis I noticed the many outside hotdog vendors on the Nicollet mall. They weren't there years ago. I like the ambiance of the public art, street musicians (thought scarce), flowers, and even the hot dog vendors.

This morning's paper has a story of government bureaucracy and the little business guy. St. Paul now mandates 2 million $ liability insurance. They also charge a $200 vendors' fee and a $95 monthly fee to see up on the sidewalk. Because they operate a food service outside they are regulated by public health people and the agency that supervises city streets and sewers. Hopefully, no one wants to smoke the hot dogs or sausages. Smoke in any form is not tolerated well in Minnesota. Remember the poor hot dog vendors are also regulated by the people who
shut down the lemonade stand of a seven year old girl last year because she did not have a licence. Public outcry restored her business.

PS: As I wrote this my husband told me the weinermobile was in Stillwater last week. I think there are several of these touring the country.
-55# today. Finally broke through that plateau.

Friday, July 13, 2007


My long time friend Barb is staying with us several days. Today we spent in downtown Minneapolis. She didn't recognize anything. I guess things have changed in forty years. We parked in the Mall of America lot and took the light rail from the transit station to downtown. Barb was amused that Minnesotans line up and buy tickets when no one collects them on the train. Wouldn't happen in New Jersey, she said.

We bought the discounted tickets for senior citizens even though I think they want you registered with a card to do that. One the return trip, senior tickets were not available. Later we found out they don't get a discount during rush hour. We then masqueraded as disabled and bought those discounted tickets from the kioskvending machine. I think I may have to confess this.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

There is No Crying in Poker!

My card playing buddies and I are getting together this afternoon for 500 and Cribbage. I haven't played 500 for about 25 years. We play for pennies so even if I lose it will only be loss of face. Wish me luck.

We had a foursome playing Cribbage last winter and spring, but one friend is touring Alaska for two months in their RV. Another spends the summer by Lake Superior in Duluth. The third lives in the metro but fell and cracked her femur in May, putting her out of commission for a while.

In two days my old friend and former school and young adult years roommate is coming for a week's visit. We plan to play a lot of Scrabble. Over the years we have stayed in touch. Her family visited Minnesota almost every summer and Barb and I would stay up very late having "just one more" game. Time to dust off the Scrabble board and put on the tea pot.

The Shoe is on the Other Foot

I've blogged about my son's eating adventures in China. He is home now (living at college) hosting the Chinese delegation. After six weeks of the American students trying food strange to them, the shoe is on the other foot. Now it is time for the Chinese to try the strange food. He was anxious to see how they adapted to American culture and cuisine. He is thoughtful, and was concerned it would be a shock for them; such a big change. He took them to a supermarket so they could buy fresh produce to cook themselves. They didn't. They are going with what the college cafeteria provides. At noon they must order a "box lunch" due to some time constraints. Andy said the girls said they didn't like bread, dairy, sweets, or cold drinks. That pretty much sums up what would be in a box lunch. They didn't get their wishes and reluctantly ate the food. I think wiser people realized that is what a cultural exchange is about. Experience the others' culture, not find a way to live your own culture. Funny story yesterday; Andy said his partner took a bag of potato chips and some grape jelly to dip them in. He told her that wasn't what it was for but then regretted saying it. Who knows, maybe she was on to something. If I were eating grape jelly or potato chips I might try that sweet and salty combination myself. Peanut butter and chocolate may have been discovered by a traveling student.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful...

That song was written to be sung when it snowed. The lyrics still fit when it gets hot. Today will get hot and humid. We still are not suffering like they are in other parts of the country. The west has been scorching. We will see high 90's with high humidity making for some discomfort. I exercised early and spent the morning out on the deck. Yesterday we took the boat out for the first time this year on the river. We found out the drought has affected the water level and could not get past the sand bars to go as far north as we usually do. It worked out anyway. We played in the water where we got stuck and then drifted down river without the sound of the motor. The only thing moving on that stretch of the river were pontoons and canoes. Quite peaceful. Today is the kind of day best spent indoors or in the water. Maybe beach lovers will be building sand castles like these. I got the pictures in my email. It appears to be a competition of castle builders.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Plastic or Paper?

"Plastic. One word; plastic." Remember the beginning of the 60's movie, "The Graduate"? Dustin Hoffman's character is counseled by a family friend to pursue a career in plastics. If you know the story, he doesn't follow the advice because he gets distracted. He is stalked by what we now refer to as a "cougar". It becomes a wild-life story.

We were up in Duluth over the 4th and stayed at a lakefront hotel. In the evening we sat on the patio enjoying the view and cool shade. People were friendly and we visited with a couple from Wisconsin. Another older gentlemen joined the conversation. He wore a beret and dressed in red, white and blue. He told us he would be singing at the symphony concert in the waterfront park. The beret guy was not shy about asking questions and connected with the other gentleman when he discovered they were both Navy Viet Nam Vets. The conversation proceeded between the two of them. The rest of us faded away. This gent's braggadocio was not appealing. He lost me when he commented about the inexpensive entertainment in Bangkok. It was not hard to catch his drift. Everyone else on the patio was quiet. We have had a boa-wearing former governor who bragged like that and it did not go down well in Minnesota. Then he questioned the Wisconsin man about his trade. They both had been in the building trades and used to spray polyurethane. The beret guy emphatically said he could not tolerate polyurethane and even the word made him sick. A moment of quiet was answered by a guy sitting alone at another table who had not been part of the conversation. He said, "Polyurethane". Everyone laughed and then another voice joined his saying, "polyurethane". I don't know if the guy got the hint but it was a great moment. Most of us laughed. I wonder if he really sang at that concert.

Thursday, July 5, 2007


That is not self-depracatory, I am mad and I am not going to take it anymore!!! Technology whizzes please take note. I am old and set in my ways but I still have some money to spend. I am just mad at you and will boycott your products if they do not meet my requirments.
Now, if anyone is listening, note old eyes cannot see small black buttons. I do not like a few hundred buttons and functions. Keep it simple.
Thanks to the inventors of the Jitterbug phone. I do not have one, but you are getting the idea. Keep it simple if you want to market to me. There probably are others who think like me.
My mom was like me when she was her age and I found it amusing. I am not amused now. I am ticked. I am bugged with whoever formatted DVDs in the letterbox mode. I hate the letterbox mode. My husband recently bought the big a...ed HDTV. The screen is wider and should fit the shape of movies shot on film. Why does the DVD now cheat us out of 1/2 the size of the movie by adding wide black strips at the top and bottom. Why buy the big screen TV and watch the movie on half of the screen?
I do not understand. While you are contemplating this, consider a simpler way to play DVD's. Whatever happened to on and off? Stop and Go? Loud and soft? I have become my mother. She was just more polite and avoided technological changes. Somebody please help. See the pads on the Jitterbug phone? Nine numbers, and three keys. What else do you really need. Remember the AARP generation still control a good share of the wealth in this country. Fix the DVD thing or I will continue to be revolting. There I said it. Good bye.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Julia Who?

I ready the Nancy Drew series of books when I was a girl. They have just released a "Nancy Drew" movie. My granddaughter said she would like to see it so we went yesterday. After the movie I asked her if she knew who the star of the show, Emma Roberts, was. She said she did. She is on Disney TV. I then asked if she knew she was Julia Roberts niece. She said, "Who is Julia Roberts?" I keep forgetting she only has a memory chip ten years old. Emma Roberts is a big deal in her world; Julia Roberts is an unknown name. My daughter in-law Jen has the whole series of Nancy Drew mysteries, books that were her mom's as a child. Granddaughter Mina is now motivated to read them. The continuum of life is sweet. Maybe I will look for the Sue Barton Student Nurse series I read at a young age.
wonder if that influenced me toward my life's work.

There is no Ethiopia

Happy Birthday America

Thank God

For Our Blessings

That is what I put on the church sign this week. I volunteered for this simple task a couple months ago and enjoy doing it. Our church is off a heavily traveled highway and the sign an opportunity to catch some attention. Our pastor states they have people call and comment on what is put on the sign. This week it was appropriate to refer to the nation's birthday. Other weeks I post appropriate scriptures etc.

Early this am I read my paper's section called the Bulletin Board online. Below is an excerpt I liked. I did not write it. I am quoting the column. I feel more blessed than lucky. Jane

"The Dragon Lady of Inver Grove Heights: "Linda D of Little Canada wrote about feeling lucky. Bulletin Board asked: 'Are you feeling lucky?'
"Feeling lucky? You bet! I am feeling lucky! I'm feeling lucky every time I look around at our beautiful surroundings - the trees, the birds, and the lakes. I'm feeling lucky when I can come home to my own house with no fear of a bomb dropping on my roof. I'm feeling lucky when I go to buy food from my local supermarket and have so much choice of healthy products to buy. I'm feeling lucky that I can go to my choice of a church to pray in peace. I'm feeling lucky that I can talk and not be hauled off to prison or shot because I didn't agree with the present political regime. Yes, I feel lucky, proud, and fortunate to be born a citizen of and live in the United States of America, and I do believe we have the most beautiful of all the flags anywhere! We are all, indeed, lucky to live here!
"A long time ago in Bulletin Board, there was a 'Where have you gone, Mrs. Malaprop?' in which two men were discussing perfectionism. The culmination of the conversation was: 'Well, let's face it. There is no such thing as ethiopia.' Nothing is perfect, but for a society trying to deal with all the imperfections of human nature and coexist as human beings of such diversity, our forefathers made a bang-up beginning with our Constitution!"


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Would You Like Soy Sauce With That?

Our firstborn son was a fussy eater. We tried to fix him. We didn't. We just had miserable mealtimes. When #4 came along years later (17 yrs later), he was fussier than son #1. We didn't try to fix him. We capitulated. I have only had one other mother share she had an equally finicky eater. Andy would only eat the crust on pizza until he was six. He ate that because we were traveling and desperate. He would not even try chocolate ice cream until he went to school. When we went to Epcot Center we ate at the French Pavillion because they had French fries. I think he knew how to manipulate us, but he wouldn't taste new things. He is the only kid I knew who would not even taste the Gerber baby food meat. He ate a few vegetables like corn and potatoes but no meat. His first hamburger was consumed at age 18. There was a standing offer for years of $20. if he would eat a hamburger. In his teens he began to eat turkey and chicken but still just a small selection of foods fit his palate. Andy became more adventurous when he went to the prom and his group ate oysters. He ate the oysters. Now after his adventurous eating in China, he remarked, "I can eat anything after that." I think we screwed up not sending or taking him to China at an early age.

Animal Magnetism -or- Do a Little Dance...Get Down Tonight

We went to see the movie, "Evan Almighty" last evening. It is a modern day parody of the Noah's Ark story. It has been promoted as a family film even adults will enjoy and we did. Steve Carrell is a busy father/husband who is visited by God in the form of Morgan Freeman. If you saw the movie, "Oh, God" with John Denver and George Burns years ago, it is similar to that. The dogma is not perfect but it gets across a sweet story.

Part way into the movie we got the giggles. I try to observe movie etiquette and not talk during films, but I couldn't resist leaning over to say something to Jon. God has called all the animals two by two to follow the main character. Steve Carrell is sitting on a couch with an aquarium behind him and all the tropical fish move with his movements to follow him. Animal magnetism you could call it. I wanted to whisper to Jon, "Like you with the cows", but he beat me to it and said, " Yeah, I know. The cows." Then we both giggled. Dr. Jon Doolittle lives, or maybe . Jon of Ark. Cute movie.

Monday, July 2, 2007

I'm a Winner

I usually sign up when I see a box for a prize drawing. Last Friday evening, we stopped at an open house our insurance agency held. We were in the neighborhood to attend the Friday night "History Cruising" car show. Jon grabbed some snacks and I signed a slip for the door prize. I never even looked what it was. Today I was notified I had won the door prize, a gas card. It will come in the mail. I am not sure how much it is worth, but with the escalating prize of petro this is a nice prize.


This has nothing to do with Jimmy Buffet, but I do love his music.
Our former pastor used to remind us the scripture of Paul's about "buffeting" our bodies means to discipline or treat harshly. He said we prefer to buffet our bodies like in smorgasbord. Yesterday was a little too much "buffeting" for me. We didn't do an all-you-can-eat buffet, but did stop at Andy's favorite pizza place for lunch and I made lasagna for dinner. I ate both. Today I walked a little farther. I actually ran a while and then walked. Back to buffeting the body the way scripture intended.

Return of the Exile

This weekend I was so thankful our son arrived home safely. I rejoiced just having him back on US soil. I was also grateful he was not traveling from London. We talked about the car bombs in London and he said they were both in areas he frequented. One was by Hyde park. Hyde park was across the street from his residence and the undetonated bomb in a place we walked by every day. The Piccadilly club was also a place his group frequented.

Yesterday was a beautiful July 1st day. Temperatures were moderate and the sky a clear blue. He said he had missed seeing blue skies. He never saw a blue sky in China--too much polluted air. I think the girls from China are going to be amazed. He anticipates culture shock for them related to the wide open spaces and less crowding. Andy noted that too. He said you see crowds of people everywhere. Even on the "freeways" many people are walking.

He came bearing gifts. One was shrink wrapped chicken feet. They are edible in China. I think they will stay shrink wrapped here. We watched his videos and slide show of digital photos last night. The area where they lived, a small town of only 300,000 did not see many foreigners. The "white people" were noticed every where they went. People stopped what they were doing and stared. One of the girls in his group was a statuesque blue eyed blonde, who not only drew stares but people could not resist touching her. She was treated like a foreign movie star and people stopped to take their picture with her. She is that pretty. Could have been a movie star pretty. Besides having paler skin, the Americans were all a foot taller than their hosts. Andy's take on his experiences of the last six months living first in London then China; "Now I know what it is like to be poor in a rich country and rich in a poor country." Interesting year for a 21 yr. old young man.