Wednesday, February 28, 2007
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
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."
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
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, February 19, 2007
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: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/2931/skeleton_street_show/
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
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.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
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
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Monday, February 12, 2007
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
Saturday, February 10, 2007
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
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
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
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
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
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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCYaw5tGYAs&mode=related&search=
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
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.