Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Table is Set With China

I dislike long flights. Therefore, I enjoy domestic travel more than foreign travel. My husband, who whines less than I do, just factors it in. He has some amazing possibilities for foreign travel in the coming years. I am content to stay home or at least in the US.

Today I printed Andy's itinery for his China travel. The first leg of the trip is from Mpls. to Newark = 3hrs.20mn. Leg two: Newark to Beijing = 13hr 30 mn. Leg three: Beijing to Chongquing = ? 3 - 4 hours. I am glad I am not going to China. He will do this 10 days after erasing time and coming from Turkey to Frankfurt to London to Newark to Mpls. Good luck Andy. It is great to be young.

When we got China info. we were also notified about the immunizations he would have to squeeze in a 10 day home stay. Hepatitis A, Japanese Encephalitis, typhoid and rabies plus the many he already has up to date like tetanus and measles are recommended. He will get anti=malariail medication. Cummulatively this made me nervous. We are throwing a lot of vaccines at a travel stressed body here. My daughter teased me that maybe the Chinese students were being vaccinated against Lyme disease and West Nile Fever. "Don't worry mom. Where do you think he will be going? the jungle?" Yes, Mary. That is where he will be going. Today I googled Chongqing and found a headline describing it as "The Filthiest City in China"! Oh, my. His group of researchers will be in the thick of it. Last summer's SJU students tested a special bacteria in the water.

I guess I should put this in context. I was, as a hospital nurse , "in the thick of it" in the early 1980's when AIDS surfaced. We didn't even understand clearly what we were dealing with. We did know to use gloves and careful technique. I am trusting these students will be well coached and use good technique. I am trusting my 21 yr. old son to be an adult. To be responsible. It is not even my choice. I am trusting him and the Lord. .


The devil's advocate is an ominous title. I have understood it's meaning as one who argues the other side, but this week I learned the origin of the phrase while watching Jeopardy. In the Catholic church, during proceedings to canonize someone as a Saint, someone proposes reasons why that person should be canonized. Another person has the role of "Devil's Advocate" to argue against the proposed evidence. I never knew that.

You have heard and read about my efforts to trim down. Sometimes I have talked about the "bad twin" who tells me to eat unhealthy or overeat. Do you think I have been playing devil's advocate? Time to unmask that voice and stop listening although I must admit it has been easier. I am not on a diet. Diets have starting and stopping points. I am just following a healthier lifestyle that will continue on. I guess that in itself is a miracle and I am grateful for abundant grace. I am also grateful for accountability and the support you have given me. No more secrets. Hold it up to the light.

To continue with my BB link. Scroll way down to the bottom of the column and see the Web site of the day.

Friday, March 30, 2007


If I have an audience, I need to hear from you on this question. Have you ever read or even heard of the writer Proust? I have been arguing with the Bulletin Board editor in three e-mails. He did not believe I had never heard of Proust. I can't believe I am exposing my ignorance, but I had not heard of him. I will allow it's possible I heard of him and forgot. Not only am I ignorant of a famous writer, I am again getting correction on my spelling. Proust vs. Prowse.
Oh, my.

Marcel Juliet: One good Proust deserves another?
Pioneer Press

Reports The MOM in Stillwater: "My daughter dropped off a DVD of 'Little Miss Sunshine' last weekend, and I made time to watch it after lunch today. Steve Carrel plays a character self-described as the 'Number One Proust Scholar in the World.' That went over my head. There are holes in my education. I had never heard of Proust, the writer. (Juliet Proust, the dancer, I have heard of.) [Bulletin Board says: Actually, it was Juliet Prowse - R.I.P.]
"After waiting months on the library waiting list for Nora Ephron's book 'I Feel Bad About My Neck,' I picked up my copy yesterday afternoon. I started reading it last night and this afternoon started the chapter about cabbage strudel. She talks about people making references 'as if they had read Proust, which in most cases they haven't.'
"I may be ignorant of Proust's writings, but am comforted I may be like most people.
"Bulletin Board ruling?"
BULLETIN BOARD RULES: Sure. We'll trust you when you say you'd never heard of Proust - even as we guess that very, very few people who have read a Nora Ephron book have never so much as heard of Proust.
(Of course, it's conceivable that you've run into Proust sometime and forgotten all about it. Few of us, after all, have perfect remembrance of things past.)
D'ya suppose Nora Ephron has read Proust?
Or does she merely want people to imagine that she has?

Thursday, March 29, 2007


If we hear a word about Anna Nichol on TV we change the channel, fast. Now, I think I will add The Donald to that list, but only after one last mention. CNN headline online stated, “Trump Has 50% Chance of Losing Hair”. Wishful thinking on the writer’s part? I was lured to read the full story.

The Donald has supposedly accepted a challenge from Vince McMahon (another guy not on my list of most admired men in America). Each would have a wrestler representing him in a WWE match billed as the “Battle of the Billionaires”. Each had written a large check for charity and agreed to have his head shaved if “his wrestler” lost the match. Do you think Mr. Trump has a piece of the action and stands to profit financially?

The match will be a pay-per-view broadcast on April 1st. Oh. April Fools Day. Maybe the joke is on us. They can stop the barbers by saying “April Fool”.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Being the first (and only) wife of a guy who attempts anything, I learned to assist on some projects. That is how I came to hate sheet rocking. There are reasons you pay professionals to sheet rock that you only learn by doing it.

Project one: Finishing a basement in our first house. My husband, the optimist, hauled home a load of sheet rock. The pieces were taped two-together for easier transport. Easier to keep track of, but twice the weight. We dragged all that heavy stuff down the stairs.
Lesson learned: Cut the tape to separate the pieces if you don’t want to hear your assistant whine. (Would you like some cheese with that?)
He measured twice and then cut it to fit. After burning out a power saw, he learned his next important lesson. You do not saw sheet rock. You score it and snap along the line!

Project two: A family room addition with double thick sheet rock around area of fireplace insert. Double thick sheet rock is double weight sheet rock. Oh, my aching arms. His taping was getting a little better, but we still had to hire someone to spray that ceiling to cover the inadequately camouflaged joints.
Lesson learned: Hire the tapers unless you have practiced your skills on someone else’s home project.

Project three: New house and new project “ finishing” the garage. This time the sheet rock was 12 foot length pieces to hang on the high cathedral ceiling in the workshop off the garage. As the assistant, I am on a ladder lifting and then holding the sheet rock on that ceiling that reaches 12 feet at the peak while hubby screws it in place.
Lesson learned. Professionals and other do-it-yourselfers use a T-bar to hold the material in place.

Project four: Hire sheet rockers for new great room addition.
Lesson learned: I don’t do sheet rock.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Dedicated to my daughter Mary who will graduate May 20 with a degree in Information Management. Years ago this degree would have been called Library science I think. She is a great organizer. When she was a single homeowner I happened to see her tool box. Everything was in it's proper spot and was labeled. I think Mary has the DNA of her grandmom Catherine. The world needs you Mary. Lord knows, you did not get these good traits from me.

Monday, March 26, 2007


Rabbit ears are making a comeback by people getting new HDTV sets. You need them or an antenna to pick up the auxiliary channels such as PBS broadcasts. Most people have cable TV and don’t have that antenna on the roof.

I heard a new use for rabbit ears. I met up with old friends for coffee and caught up on their lives. One friend’s oldest son is graduating from high school this spring and headed off to college next year. All of us who have been through this experience commiserated and offered solace and support. She remarked she has confidence they have prepared their son for his independence. He is a good kid. She even said she has always been forthright in talking about sex with their kids. “I had to” she said. When the first child was five he asked his father, “How can you tell the difference between boy and girl rabbits?” Her husband told his son “You can tell by the ears”.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


I've had an "earworm" this week. The video guy has been editing a DVD about fishing in Alaska that will be shown at a sportsman show this week. I have repeatedly heard the narrator mention Dolly Parton. My curiosity got the best of me and I finally had to check to see what she had to do with Alaskan fishing. Turns out he was saying they could fish for Dolly Varden--a fish. Cleared that up, but it was funnier thinking about a bunch of grubby fisherman in search of Dolly Parton.
Link to Dolly Varden if you don't believe me:

Saturday, March 24, 2007


Hot off the press---They are changing the horticultural planting zone where I live. Due to warmer winters, part of Minnesota will move from zone 4 to zone 5. The county where we live is partially in zone 5 now. I am not sure how this will affect us. From the map it looks like the areas closest to the river are now zone 5. I can't tell if that includes our yard. With our eldest son a horticulturist, perhaps I can get an answer to my question. However, it doesn't matter much to me. My plantings are what is easiest to grow. I am not sure I want to try anything exotic. I jumped on the bandwagon a few years ago with the Endless Summer blue hydrangea and it did not survive the winter. I also planted two Carefree yellow rose bushes which also died over the winter. Both of these plantings were zoned for zone 4. Go figure.

It is warm this week. Monday should hit 70 and I see my daylilies and some hostas are poking out of the ground. Dan, the horticulturist, planted a bunch of new tulip bulbs last fall. He meant to surprise us, but our neighbor told me. I can't wait to see them popping up like a row of soldiers. Hopefully, the squirrels have not feasted on them.

Friday, March 23, 2007

M & Ms--They don't melt in your hand, but might melt in the rain!

Today is the 6-month anniversary of our newlyweds, daughter Mary and Mike. Happy Anniversary and many more happy ones.

They were married on a rainy Sept. 23rd at the home of Aunt Jannie and husband Gordon. They had knocked themselves out for this garden wedding but it started to rain five minutes before the ceremony. It was a nice save getting married in the house instead. Jannie had decorated beautifully for fall, inside and out.

Link for "The MOM in Stillwater" today:

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Fitness Rules

It was so nice today, sunny and warm, that I walked to the gym and back. Going over was easier that coming back. I could have used an escalator coming out.
Good news. The sink is sunk. The guy came and did the work and it looks great.


Today I expected to see our new kitchen sink installed. Jon contacted his friend who is a carpenter, to hire him to install this heavy, cast iron beauty. The guy expected to be able to do it today, but never called back to confirm. The sink is heavy and Jon should not be lifting it alone. He has never done an install like this before and wanted the professional help. Now we wait. After it all it takes two to sink the sink 'n sync.

Yesterday Bulletin Board had my retort to the "Benediction nun" saga I blogged about on Mar 13. Their web format has changed. To find BB click on life + culture on the top tool bar, then on bulletin board on bar that opens below.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Ten things I like about spring

The sound, like ice cubes tinkling in a crystal goblet, when the ice is breaking up on the Minnesota lakes in the spring.
The noise of peepers croaking in a muddy, shallow pond.
The first pussy willows.
Crocus and grape hyacinth, daffodils blooming in the warm soil near my house.
Waterfalls running at full force.
Fifty degree, warm, misty mornings.
The street sweeper making the rounds ridding us of the winter sand and debris.
Kids on bikes.
The first walk on the soft, fertile ground on paths through the woods.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Yesterday I received the family Round Robin letter. My uncle had included a photo of this oil painting that hung in my grandpa's butcher shop for years. He received it from a renter named Gleason, I believe, who gave it to him in lieu of rent when he was short of cash. My uncle says this hung in the store about twenty years before one of grandpa's brothers asked, "Why does one of the cows only have two legs?" Apparently no one had noticed. Count 'em. Six legs--two cows.
The painting stayed in the family. One of the Parnell boys now proudly displays it.
A second oil painting by this gentlemen, circa 1920's or 30's, hangs in the low rise senior housing where my mom lived in Somerset.
ps. I am still on the plan. I have eaten dinner for breakfast most mornings the past week. With the nice weather, I am walking more outside. -23 now.

Monday, March 19, 2007


Sometimes real life is funny. Saturday's news had a front page report of a 20 yr. old man from Fairmont, MN who was arrested for making terroristic threats. I know that is not funny. How they caught him is amusing.
This guy held a grudge against a girl he had known in third and fourth grade. She had rejected his attention (in his mind at least). Years later, he began writing letters threatening her life if he could not have her. He drew pictures of tombstones with her name on. He wrote bad poetry with many mispellings. She lived in Connecticut. He put the harassing, threatening letters in a plain white envelope and left them for his mom to mail. Mom noted he had not put his return address in the corner and did that for him!
The FBI found the guy. He had purchased a gun and saber and had a backpack full of ammo.
Do you think he will be writing his mom from prison? I am glad the girl was not hurt and realize this is black humor but I find it "poetic justice" at it's best.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


March 16th was St. Urho's Day. On March 24th Finlayson, MN will celebrate with a parade. My sister was born in Finlayson and I was born in the neighboring Sandstone, but we lived in rural Finlayson so I am drawn back. That area was settled by Finns. Not Irish Finns but the kind from Finland. St. Urho, the patron saint of Finland, is famous for helping stop a grasshopper plague. My reason for liking this holiday? Traditional colors to wear are emerald green and purple! My mom made a terrific grasshopper cake that I could try to duplicate. No, it does not contain grasshoppers. It is chocolote cake with creme de menthe and whipped cream. I think I will try and catch the parade. The little town of Finland, MN also celebrated on March 16th.


My sister-in-law Jannie "made" the Bulletin Board today with her anecdote about clearing paths in the yard for their poodles to run and play. These pictures are from the intranet and not the "real" Matisse and Shaka who are cuter. Link to BB and the Poodle Lady:

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Happy St. Patrick's Day. I am a wee bit Irish. My mom's Parnell family are descended from Englishlandowners in Ireland. My great-great-grandfather was Thomas Parnell. My mom thought he was a brother of the famous Charles Parnell, the revered Irish patriot and statesman who was born in Ireland and championed home rule.
I attended St. Mary's grade school in Little Falls, MN and was taught by the Missionary Sisters of St. Francis from Ireland. We learned the Irish jig and a lot of Irish songs. I can remember being on stage singing "Danny Boy" on St. Patrick's Day. We took the "wearing of the green"
seriously on that day and if anyone came to school wearing orange, they were sent home to change.

Friday, March 16, 2007


As you know, I love to follow the comments people make in our paper's Bulletin Board section. One of the topics lately is "A Sure Sign of Spring. I sent this yesterday when I saw that the frost had come out of the ground. This is a sure sign of spring in the colder climes. My Texas sister tells me when the daffodils bloom in her yard. That is a lovely sign of spring in the south. Our first sign of the daffodil bloom is getting a good deal on them at the florist. I love daffodils and crocus. Our crocus will actually push up through snow if they are planted near the house.

Link of today's BB. Scroll down to "The MOM in Stillwater.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Heart Condition

I read an article in Newsweek magazine this week that I wanted to share. Do you need a little encouragement? Do problems seem too big today? Please click on the link and read "Seeing a Smile I Never Knew Existed" online. Anyone can submit an essay to Newsweek's "My Turn" from which they select one weekly to publish. If I had any profound thoughts I would be tempted to try. Read it to brighten your day. Link:

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


This is a picture of son Andy. Can you guess where he went last weekend? He has this and other pictures on his picasablog site. In the other picture you can see the circle of stones is bigger, but he is not in it.
We booked his flight to China yesterday. I think all he earns there from the grant may be spent on the airfare! It is not about the money he will be paid. It is quite an opportunity for a college-aged kid and we hope will help him gain employment after graduation. Back "in the day" when I was studying science in high school a trip to the science fair in St. Cloud was exciting.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


We have a local scientist named Ann Bancroft from Scandia, a nearby town, who was in the news yesterday. No, this picture is not her. It is the actress Anne Bancroft. Just keeping you on your toes. Last night on the 5pm news it was announced, "Local explorer's Arctic Trek to publicize global warming cancelled due to frigid weather". They had a little fun at her expense. She was one of two women attempting to ski across the pole to publicize Al Gore's cause. She is tough, but the other woman had frostbiten toes due to the -50 degree days and -100 degree nights. She may get the last laugh; it hit 66 degrees today here on the 13th day of March. It is hard to find Minnesotans who feel bad about the so-called "global warming."

U2 Can Help..

You will need a fast internet connection to watch the video from this site of Bono accepting an award at the NAACP award show. If you don't have that, read the text. I challenge you to watch this without having a tear in your eye. My oldest son Dan and daughter Mary were among the earliest fans of U2 and Bono. I am glad to see he has used his celebrity to help others. I have heard other videos of his speeches and believe he is sincere. He has the access to powerful people who can make policy changes and he has the attention of little people like us who can soften our hearts. I know we are used to watching celebrities plug various charities, but I respect this guy.


I frequently refer to sending comments to our local paper's Bulletin Board. Yesterday they printed this one I sent. I am still laughing. I made a spelling error. Serves me right to get caught, as I can be a bit smart-alecky. Perhaps I should have disguised Sr.'s name. I had Benedictine nuns for nine of my fifteen years in school and never knew anyone who was a "Benediction nun" but maybe that was someone's job. Incidentally, the "ruler" under the picture of the medal is on the website to indicate the size of the medal. It has nothing to do with "The Rule of St. Benedict".

From the Bulletin Board in St. Paul Pioneer Press on Mar. 13:

Or: CAUTION! Words at Play!
The MOM in Stillwater: "My husband faithfully composes his e-mail on Microsoft Word so he can spell-check it before sending it on e-mail. One letter was to his aunt the Benediction nun. He had addressed it to 'Sr. Helenette, OSB' (Order of St. Benedict). Spell-check wanted to change that to 'SOB,' which surely would change the meaning. [Bulletin Board notes: Yes. Then she'd be a "SOB sister"!]
"Oops, have I made spell-check a verb?
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: You have. It's OK. "Spell-check," as either a transitive or intransitive verb, communicates quite economically, don't you think?
Of course, even Microsoft Word is powerless to "spell-check" words that are, in fact, words — but are not the right words (under the circumstances).
Like, just for example, "Benediction"!

Monday, March 12, 2007


I think the NASA's budget does benefit the common person. We have Tang, adult high absorbency diapers and now this!

Picture was in yesterday's paper. Apparently this was poster hung on the satellite that had nothing to do with the satellite. It wasn't a special john for people without enough fiber in their diet.

PS. -22 today. Yeah. I have been able to walk outside with this spring weather. The "Reverse Diet is going well. Skipped supper two or last three nights.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Have you heard of the book "The Reverse Diet"? I read about it the other day. The author formerly weighted 300 # and lost her excess weight by eating what we would normally eat for dinner for breakfast. She ate her smallest meal in the evening. Interesting. There are many diet books and people giving advice, but I thought what have I got to lose. (PLENTY, actually.)

This was not a scientific test; I just ate roast beef and vegetables for breakfast the last two days. Yesterday I had no interest in eating lunch. No hunger. At "supper" I still was not hungry or interested, but ate something because I don't want protein intake to get too low or I will lose muscle not fat. I am not sure I can remember ever eating just because I thought I should.

We'll see how today goes. Jon has no interest in having reverse meals. If I cook for him and eat the leftovers the next day it could work. Truth be told the poor guy is doing much of his own cooking these days because he does not want to eat what I am eating. I don't think he will want to join me tomorrow eating leftover ribs and sauerkraut!

Friday, March 9, 2007


I heard about the Toygers on Good Morning America today. They are "housecats" bred to have the coloration of a tiger. They do not have wild blood but are good hunters. Cute. Designer cats. With the price range of $800 - $4000 it may be a while before they are common but I bet we'll be seeing pictures of pseudo-celebrities carrying them in their purses soon. Given any cat's independent nature, maybe we'll just see pictures of starlets with scratches and no cat.
Owner better keep an eye out for Cruella deVille.


Here they are! My sister knows someone who wears them for relieving back pain. They are called Z-Coil shoes. Of course I found a picture by googling them.
I think they should be called the Tigger shoe--bouncey, bouncey --

PS. A better day yesterday after two lousy eating days. I started with 30 min. at the gym followed by an hour of brisk walking. Did not eat between meals and think I can get back on track. I am approaching two months. Wish the weight was coming off faster. My self-encouragement yesterday was to say I was on the 5 Minute Diet. Don't eat anything for the next five minutes! I need to curb the impulses. I also remembered what my dad said when I was a kid and he decided to quit drinking; "People will be surprised!" To round it off I decided to follow what Jesus said that somethings are moved by "prayer and fasting" and dedicate myself to praying for someone elses's need.

Thursday, March 8, 2007


Today while walking with my friend Judy at the fieldhouse she called my attention to the shoes of a man walking ahead of us. The heel of the shoe had a coiled exposed spring built in. We noted that would surely put some spring in his step. Judy remarked, "I'll bet that would work well if you had heel problems".

I just sat down to google "picture + shoes with springs" thinking I could show you what I saw. No luck. I got many links to spring shoes, shoes with spring( Croc's Rx diabetic shoes made from molded rubber with holes to give you springy action) and my favorite---the vegetarian shoe. I guess they are made without killing any animals. I don't think they are named vegetarian because they are edible. Ebay has listings of shoes with springs. Some are for Hondas and some Toyota brand. The pictures lead me to believe these are for your car's brakes and not what a cobbler would sell .

I am a firm believer you can acquire almost any answer by googling. The shoes this guy wore he did not buy off the rack at Nordstrom. I will now have to keep searching for the source, or perhaps I could just go back tomorrow and ask him where he got those shoes. You could use your imagination while looking at the picture above and envision a stronger, more compact spring in the heel of a shoe.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


Until a couple of years ago, we had a huge ornamental crabapple tree in our front yard. The tree was lovely when it blossomed in May and remained decorated with tiny red apples through the long, barren fall and winter months. That was our view from our bedroom window.
We cut the tree down because it was planted in the wrong place and growing too large, too close to the house. The previous homeowners had not anticipated the growth over thirty years.
For one week in May I greatly miss that tree. It was covered in pink perfumed blossoms that scented the air and dazzled our senses. We no longer have the tree but, our neighborhood is filled with these lovely pink blooming apple trees. You catch the scent of blossoms when you walk down the street.
The other thing I miss are the flocks of Cedar Waxwings that would gather to eat the tiny apples. Whoever spotted them first would alert the rest of our household to observe this visitation. There would be dozens of them stopping for lunch. This time of year in pre- or early spring another phenomenon occured. The fruit had fermented and the birds were affected. Some would fly into our windows. This was distressing to watch, but I don't remember any of them found dead from the impact. Perhaps some had headaches later or even brain damage, but they always found our tree and were a delight to watch. Maybe we should plant another ornamental crab but pick a better spot.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


We saw the movie "Amazing Grace" last weekend. It is the story of William Wilburforce and his struggle to make slave trading illegal in Britain and on British ships. It was an arduous struggle against great odds but he persevered feeling God had called him to do this. People opposing him defended their positions to keep slavery legal because it would cause great hardship and financial ruin to many if slavery ceased. Where have we heard that argument before? We need to have the "freedom of choice" or we will be adversely effected? The movie hits you in the gut. How can we believe chosing a course that we see as beneficial to us but causes the death of another is just?
Today I began reading a book recommended by my sister. It has been on the NY Times bestseller list many weeks and is called "Left To Tell", by Immaculee Ilibagiza. She is a survivor of the genocidal holocaust in Rwanda in 1994. She tells her story gently and espouses love and forgiveness after enduring the madness that enveloped that country. She set a good example I feel for how we must proceed. We need to tell the truth with love. To call each other to be better. To treat each other as brothers and sisters. To seek just solutions for problems.

Monday, March 5, 2007


I named this blog "In the Middle Lane" and blogged my explanation last fall. I avoid controversy when possible. Last week we took a Drive Smart after 55 class to get the 10% reduction on our auto insurance. This is what I culled from that class:
1. One of the things he taught was the safety of the middle lane. You have options to move right or left as needed. Use the left lane to pass but it is the most dangerous. That is already what I do.
2. Carefully pass large vehicles and 18 wheelers. Don't follow them because you have no visibility ahead of them. Many in the class, including myself, thought of them as "running interference" and chose to follow them. My husband always passes them. I will change the way I drive and pass.
3. I was taught in the 60's to place your hands on the wheel in a 10 & 2 position. Later I heard 8 & 4. This guy teaches 9 & 3 for greatest control. I'll do that and continue to nag my husband who loves to cruise down the road with hands resting on the crossbar!
4. Do you remember being taught to keep one car length times 10 miles of speed you were driving from the car in front of you? I haven't done any driving classes since 1963 and still try to estimate that distance. The instructor had a good question. What is the length of the car you are using to estimate that distance? In 1963 cars were a bit longer. Lengths vary a bit now. He states leave 4 seconds between cars. Watch when they pass a landmark and count off "One Mississippi, two Mississippi "... to determine what a 4 second gap is.
5. Adjust the headrest behind your head to have the middle of the headrest line up with the middle of your ear. This will help prevent whiplash.
6. Some colors of cars are safer than others. Everyone thought red fire engines were the most visible until research showed they disappeared in the glow of sunset. Green blends in with the grass, my dark gray is the color of the road. White is one of the best although I felt nervous when my son had a white car and lived in Boulder, Colorado. Would they find you in a snowdrift? Some in Colorado may be painting stripes on their cars this year. A bright yellow-green is the safest but no one wants it. The answer is to use those lights 24 hours a day. Mine turn off automatically and I do that. Score 2 points.
7. Never change a flat tire by the side of the freeway. Gawkers will look at you and some may drive right into you. Your cars go where your eyes go, that is why people hit highway patrol cars and stranded cars. Drive slowly with the flat to the next exit to change it. Not much danger here to me as I do not change flats or clean fish. He didn't say anything about cleaning fish while driving. That is just advice I got from my mom. "Don't learn to change a flat or clean fish". Now if she had just told me not to learn to vacuum and cook....
8. We were spared the photos of mangled bodies from car crashes but I did work in an ER for years. Above all avoid getting T-boned at an intersection (hit from the side). Don't be the first one out there when the light turns green and don't be the one running that yellow light.
9. Hit the deer. Swerving to avoid the wildlife may cause you to go in the ditch, possible roll over. Hit the deer. This brought an unfavorable response from a few older ladies. I have never had a close encounter with a deer and know you should hit them, but wonder if I would just react from instinct and swerve. Hope they keep their distance from me a few more years.
10. If you do breakdown by the side of the road and call someone to rescue you, have them park their car behind you. This will leave a car for them to hit instead of instead of hitting the car with the people in or around it.
All right everyone, start your engines!
PS I had a good weekend. Managed to get out to walk on Friday in spite of the snowstorm and get to Curves on Saturday. Both are closed on Sundays so that is a day off. I last weighted myself March 1 and am down 18 #.

Sunday, March 4, 2007


This isn't really what I saw this morning. It is a picture taken last fall in Gmunden, Austria in the lakes region. What I wanted to illustrate was the faded blue image of the mountain on the horizon across the lake. This morning in the pre-dawn light the western sky had dark clouds on the horizon that looked like a mountain range. Add that to the blue-white pristine snow covering everything in sight and it was quite a view across our backyard. As the sun came up my mountain range vanished, but it was like looking at the Wyoming vistas for a while. In spite of the inconvenience snowstorms cause, the results are still beautiful. We not longer have children who play in the backyard so we have virgin snow until the rabbits and squirrels leave their little criss-crossing trails.
Friday night we entertained friends who had expressed interest in watching our "home movies" of our Oct. European adventure. My husband is a retired professional filmaker/videographer and we have better than average vacation movies. I am glad for his skill and love to relive great memories through his work.
Perhaps tomorrow morning I will be able to see that western sky with the mountain range again out of my window--"through my mind's eye". We arn't limited to what we catch on film or video if we have an imagination. You probably have the same view of the mountains I did this morning.

Saturday, March 3, 2007


If you have ever watch the Tonight Show when Jay Leno does his "Jaywalking" segment the following email I received might astound you. Standards might have been a little higher then. Certainly some of the Tonight show contestants who do not know who is the vice-president or when Columbus sailed would be put to shame. Some of Jay's miscreants are elementary school teachers and college students. They might not make it past 8th grade in 1905. I was always chagrined when my 70 yr old mom would solve a problem using algebra. Picture is of my dad Cliff's one room school classmates from Dalton, Minnesota taken around 1916. They all look shy, especially my dad the third from left on the bottom. He is leaning away from the girl!
Read on:
"What it took to get an 8th grade education in 1895 --Remember when grandparents and great-grandparents stated that they only had an 8th grade education? Well, check this out. Could any of us have passed the 8th grade in 1895? This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina, Kansas, USA. It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, KS, and reprinted by the Salina Journal. 8th Grade Final Exam: Salina, KS -1895 Grammar (Time, one hour) 1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters. 2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications 3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph 4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of "lie", "play", and "run". 5. Define case; Illustrate each case. 6. What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation. 7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar. Arithmetic (Time, 1.25 hours) 1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic. 2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold? 3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare? 4. District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals? 5. Find the cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton. 6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent. 7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per metre? 8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent. 9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of which is 640 rods? 10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt. U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes) 1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided. 2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus. 3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War. 4. Show the territorial growth of the United States. 5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas. 6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion. 7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe? 8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, 1865. Orthography (Time, one hour) Do we even know what this is?? 1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication 2. What are elementary sounds? How classified? 3. What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals 4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u.' (HUH?) 5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule. 6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each. 7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup. 8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last. 9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays. 10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication. Geography (Time, one hour) 1 What is climate? Upon what does climate depend? 2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas? 3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean? 4. Describe the mountains of North America 5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco. 6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S. 7. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each. 8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude? 9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers. 10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth. Notice that the exam took FIVE HOURS to complete. Gives the saying "he only had an 8th grade education" a whole new meaning, doesn't it?! Also shows you how poor our education system has become... and, NO... I don't have the answers, and I failed the 8th grade test!! "
We won't tell. Get more on shows you hate to love(and love to hate): Yahoo! TV's Guilty Pleasures list.

Thursday, March 1, 2007


Kellie, Kellie, Kellie what have they done to you! We both liked Kellie last year. She looked good and could sing even if she was a little ditzy. That was part of her charm. A natural comic, Jay Leno has used her a couple of times to do spots on the Tonight Show. Tonight she performed on American Idol and I could not believe how she looked. She looked cheap. She is a Partonesque version of her former self. Yes, I believe she has had a little work done. Her makeup was overdone and the hairdo awful. The old Kellie did not need improving. She should fire her handler or if she doesn't have one she had better find one.