Saturday, June 30, 2007

June Brides

Can you find the redneck bride? June is the month of brides. We have a wedding to attend next weekend but haven't seen any June Brides up close.
All the young ladies in white were entrants in a contest to make a gown from toilet paper. Good effort; the cost considerably less than the real thing.

Double Bubble

Thursday night, this was the view from our yard. We first heard them. They make a whoosing noise when they hit the gas to raise the balloon. There was another one that followed this one. When I got up at 6:00am today, I heard the familiar sound and another balloon was drifting overhead quite low. I hope we see more when friend Barb is here in July. Years ago, they launched these about a mile from our house and we saw many drifting over the house. Nice air traffic and certainly quieter than the 747 runway we lived near in Minneapolis.

Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?

Will the real Rod Stewart please stand up. Jannie, Jon's sister, noticed this Rod look-alike at the History Cruising in NSP. She wanted her picture taken with him, and he obliged. In person, he resembles him even more, but I think he knew that.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Could It Still Be Called "Rush" Hour?

Got the final email from son Andy in China. He heads home 6:30am their time, or 6:30 pm Friday, June 29. He has three flights to hip hop his way home. Hopefully, things will go smoother than the trip there.

He sent a link to a You tube video and said that it is accurate and exactly like the traffic he has seen. There are many accidents and deaths. All the auto traffic is new to this country that is full steam ahead into the 21st century. No one enforces what traffic laws are on the books. I got the picture off the intranet. Watch the video.



January 15, when I had my annual physical there was some bad news. I had developed diabetes and my cholesterol was 235! Are you getting any exercise, the Dr. asked. He probably already knew the answer. January 15 was day one of a lifestyle change. Yesterday, when I went for a return appointment, he was impressed I had lost 50#.(I seem to be at a plateau.) They drew labs and he called me with the results this am. My cholesterol went from 235 to 98. Yeah. Good incentive to keep on. I was not so sure I could move that number significantly.

Stillwater, Minnesota -- Birthplace of Minnesota

Picture: Dr. Mayo's boat, the first boat to cruise under the "new" lift bridge in Stillwater, when it opened in 1931. The bridge is still in service although traffic has outgrown it. Since the 1960's some have been trying to get a bigger river crossing built. They have talked about it the entire 24 years we have lived in this town. It gets close to being a deal and then something slows it down. The St. Croix is a National Scenic Riverway and permission was needed to build another bridge. The Sierra Club members sued to stop another bridge and finally a local city council in Oak Park Heights refused their permission on the access. The fight continues. Last news I heard was it will be built in the next 5 to 10 years but I am not holding my breath. Many of us don't care if they can move traffic faster; we want the old bridge to remain intact. It probably will be left as a pedestrian bridge if a giant bluff to bluff bridge rises downstream.

When we moved here from Minneapolis 24 years ago, we were amazed at the small town services. When it snowed the trucks were out plowing residential streets during the storm. They returned after the snowfall to plow again. We had lived in Minneapolis 17 years and your street got plowed within 3 to 4 days after it stopped if it was an 8 inch snowfall. I guess it wasn't necessary to plow less than 8 inches. They never plowed the alleys. We had a guy with a blade on his truck that lived on our block and plowed the alley. You needed the alley open to park your car. Couldn't get many cars on those snow clogged streets and you couldn't leave it there if they actually plowed. I was impressed with Stillwater Public Works. Today I am more impressed. When we were biking on neighborhood streets yesterday am, Jon noticed a lot of small pieces of broken glass on the street. A pattern emerged of a spot of it in front of almost every house by the driveway. He remarked, it looked like the recycling truck had been spilling broken glass. They had been through the day before. When I walked a few different streets in the afternoon I saw the same thing. I called Public Works and left a message asking someone to check it and perhaps sweep the streets. This morning at breakfast we heard the street sweeper doing his job. Can't beat that for service. I love this town.

Tetris Anyone?

Link to new show on NBC lineup this fall. American version is adapted to the popular Japanese game show. I think the set builders have their work cut out for them and may need to enlarge all the props to configure to American bodies.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Bully Pulpit

Last year the mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul took their best shots in competition for a national political convention. Both mayors are Democrats, and St. Paul's mayor Coleman "won" the honor to host the 2008 National Republican Convention. The media touted this as a coup which would bring $$$$ into the local economy.

Periodically there is something written about preparations for next summer's convention. This spring they were addressing the pigeon problem by building little rooftop condos for them. Plan was to fool them into moving in and then the city planners would steal their eggs. I thought it would be more efficient to just poison or shoot them (the pigeons, not the politicians).

I am reasonably sure all the freeways and roads will be in good shape for the summer of 2008 because they are working on ALL OF THEM this summer.

No doubt the whole metro will be prettied up by August '08. Perhaps we can mimick LA's action in 1984 in preparation for hosting the Olympic games; they bought up the slightly tattered tuxedos from rental shops and donated those formal clothes to free stores in hopes of having better dressed homeless men on the streets. True story.

Local laws have recently been passed about where and when you can panhandle. I wonder if these laws apply to our more upstanding citizens. Today's St. Paul Pioneer Press has an article titled, "Governor Pushes for Convention Donations". Quoting Gov. Pawlenty, "We're looking for each Fortune 500 company headquartered in Minnesota to give at least $1 million: and some of you will be able to be far more generous than that." Doesn't this sound like panhandling to you? I don't think it is unique to the Republicans. All parties probably do it and that is why I can't help but feel we are all compromised. These fortune 500 companies are probably squeezed by both major parties. Whatever happened to wanting the convention so the local economy would benefit financially?

We are "nice" in Minnesota, and I suppose the necessary funds will be collected. On second thought, why are they necessary? Do we still need national conventions? Won't candidates have the endorsements before the convention? I miss the drama of the conventions of decades ago when they actually kept the TV audience awake late at night while candidates worked the room to get the necessary votes for a majority. Remember scenes where southern states pledged their first round votes to the local favorite son? Everyone jockeyed for the position of throwing these votes to the leading candidate at the right time to be the state to put him over the top. Politics no longer work that way. Candidates have been "working the room" since a few days after the 2006 elections. It will be decided in earlier and earlier caucuses and primaries who will be the party standard bearers. All that will remain is settling the bill.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Draining Experience

A couple years ago I spoiled Thanksgiving when I announced to everyone they could not use the plumbing as everything we put down the sewer was backing up onto the laundry room floor. My suggestion; use the facilities at the nearby gas station or go to the hospital lobby BR. The party ended early I am afraid. I had ground up all the turkey skin and potato peelings and one of those or both clogged it up. It was a big greasy mess on the laundry room floor. We have since found out we can use the bathrooms when this line plugs up if it originated in the kitchen or laundry room.

Yesterday I washed an old bathroom rug (my spare) and the backing on it totally crumbled and clogged up the drain. Jon could not budge it with the snake. I left a message for a local establishment that does that work last evening. Today they called saying they were already overbooked but referred me to a business called, "Clog Un-Boggler". I left another message saying I had a clog that needed unboggling. I'll bet they get that a lot. Maybe I should try that new drug "Alie" that is supposed to move things along quickly in human plumbing. Do you think it would unplug a bezor-type rubber plug in my drain? (Bet that makes you wonder what a bezor is. A bezor is a lump of iron that collects in the colon of someone who has overdosed on iron or iron supplements. You can see it on x-ray.) Jon was right. This blog is about nothing. Good advice for the day. Throw the old rug with the cracked backing away. It is cheaper than paying a plumbing bill.

Take It Easy

This is one of those email messages that go around that just struck me today. I am guilty of a few of these. Jane

READ THIS VERY SLOWLY... IT'S PRETTY PROFOUND. Too many people put off something that brings them joy just because they haven't thought about it, don't have it on their schedule, didn't know it was coming or are too rigid to depart from their routine. I got to thinking one day about all those people on the Titanic who passed up dessert at dinner that fateful night in an effort to cut back. From then on, I've tried to be a little more flexible. How many women out there will eat at home because their husband didn't suggest going out to dinner until after something had been thawed? Does the word "refrigeration" mean nothing to you? How often have your kids dropped in to talk and sat in silence while you watched 'Jeopardy' on television? I cannot count the times I called my sister and said, "How about going to lunch in a half hour?" She would gas up and stammer, "I can't. I have clothes on the line. My hair is dirty. I wish I had known yesterday, I had a late breakfast, It looks like rain." And my personal favorite: "It's Monday." She died a few years ago. We never did have lunch together. Because Americans cram so much into their lives, we tend to schedule our headaches. We live on a sparse diet of promises we make to ourselves when all the conditions are perfect! We'll go back and visit the grandparents when we get the kid toilet-trained. We'll entertain when we replace the living-room carpet. We'll go on a second honeymoon when we get two more kids out of college. Life has a way of accelerating as we get older. The days get short er, and the list of promises to ourselves gets longer. One morning, we awaken, and all we have to show for our lives is a litany of "I'm going to," "I plan on," and "Someday, when things are settled down a bit." When anyone calls my 'seize the moment' friend, she is open to adventure and available for trips. She keeps an open mind on new ideas. Her enthusiasm for life is contagious. You talk with her for five minutes, and you're ready to trade your bad feet for a pair of Roller blades and skip an elevator for a bungee cord. My lips have not touched ice cream in 10 years. I love ice cream. It's just that I might as well apply it directly to my stomach with a spatula and eliminate the digestive process. The other day, I stopped the car and bought a triple-decker. If my car had hit an iceberg on the way home, I would have died happy. Now...go on and have a nice day. Do something you WANT to...not something on your SHOULD DO list. If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say?

And why are you waiting? Make sure you read this to the end; you will understand why I sent this to you. Have you ever watched kids playing on a merry go round or listened to the rain lapping on the ground? Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight or gazed at the sun into the fading night? Do you run through each day on the fly? When you ask, "How are you?" Do you hear the reply? When the day is done, do you lie in your bed with the next hundred chores running through your head? Ever told your child, "We'll do it tomorrow." And in your haste, not see his sorrow? Ever lost touch? Let a good friendship die? Just call to say "Hi"? When you worry and hurry through your day, it is like an unopened gift... Thrown away.... Life is not a race. Take it slower. Hear the music before the song is over.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Field of Dreams

"If you build it, they will come". Remember that last line from the movie, FIELD OF DREAMS? Well, they have come. About a million visitors have visited the farm site where the movie was filmed. Even Kevin Costner has come back to Iowa. It's not heaven, but it is nostalgic. That is one of Jon's favorite movies so we had to take his picture on the bleachers. He did not fall off or choke on a hot dog. There are two souvenir stands there which make money for competing sides of the family. The house is unoccupied. Apparently, they were able to pay off the mortgage because people did remember the game of their youth. We saw people with bats and balls hitting a few, and every conceivable FOD shirt or poster. Now if Minnesotans could just be as nostalgic about our baseball stadium and quit rebuilding them every 25 yrs. with public $$.

Chairman of the Bored

We bought new deck chairs yesterday. No, not the one Jon is sitting on. That is from a woodcrafters shop in one of the Amana towns. Remember Lily Tomlin's character ,the smart-mouthed little girl Edith Ann? They actually have a picture of Lily Tomlin sitting in this chair. It is a big version of the classic Amana rocker. We bought a set of four comfortable chairs with cushions and glass table at a good price. It was cheaper to buy the set than to buy just four chairs. We can give the glass table away and still come out ahead. Does anyone want a square glass table?

Life In The Middle Lane

Today's paper has a quote from Jerry Seinfeld, "After the TV series, I really didn't want to do anything and I still don't". I guess his life was well funded and he had that option.

I'm not advocating sloth, one of the seven deadly sins, but we have become a nation of overachievers in my opinion. I heard someone comment on the radio yesterday that she had seen a man running with an infant strapped to his front, while reading a book and wearing a headset. Multitasking at the extreme. We seem to have forgotten about smelling the roses.

My husband warned me about being retired. Everyone will hold you accountable for how you spend your time. At first I needed to be busy and continued to work a bit. Finally I realized I had worked forty years as a nurse and that was probably enough. I still run into people who are surprised I don't have a part time job. One newly retired friend occasionally asks me what is on my agenda today. She plans her days out in blocks. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't. This week when we were able to get away spontaneously for three days I realized I love being free.

I'm sorry mom, I never understood why you didn't get another job after you quit waitressing.

This essay in "My Turn", a Newsweek feature, amused me.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Monkey or Bird Flu Anyone?

Son Andy has not written much, but I did get his latest pictures off his Picasa site. The group spent a long weekend in Chengdu, China last week. Apparently he saw the pandas. His caption on the picture of him with monkey on shoulder was something like, "Rabies shot, anyone?" I had read; stay away from wild animals. Our CDC recommended he get a series of rabies vaccine before going but he did not have enough time to get these shots. I also was nervous about the bird flu and hoped he would not be around too many poultry. (The chicken in the picture was on the bus with him.) That probably was moot the first trip to the market where every manner of "live food" like chicken, snake and rabbit is sold. There is another picture of them singing Karaoke which is big there. Collegeville and St. Joe are probably going to seem pretty tame to the Chinese students coming our way.

Bucolic Buddies

Jon has a thing for cows. He cannot resist stopping when he sees a herd close to the fence on a country road. When he talked to them, they all gathered in a semi-circle like relatives or school kids posing for a group picture. They really did. Some nudged their way in line so their faces showed. They posed. I had Jon pose too with his buddies. He can talk to the animals like Dr. Doolittle. They moo back. Our home movies and photo albums have many pictures of cows. Even foreign cows respond to his charm.


Not the game, the town in Wisconsin. We passed through La Crosse the other day and found the movie theatre Jon's Uncle Ralph used to manage. It is in what is now called the Historic Old Town. I think the Hollywood Theatre probably doesn't show first run movies anymore. Jon's uncle was a very distinguished, tall handsome man and took pride in his establishment. Like everywhere else, the movies are probably now at a cineplex in the suburban area.
I remember driving through La Crosse years ago and passing the "World's Largest Six Pack" on the main drag. We didn't see it the other day because be came through town on another route. I wanted to track it down but we didn't. When we got home I found out it had been painted over when the Heileman's Old Style brewery was sold. With popular demand, it was repainted a few years ago.
The other thing I remember in La Crosse was a giant chicken statue by a drive-in or restaurant. Jon thinks it was in a different town. I am not sure and can't find that by googling. Perhaps cousin Linda can solve that riddle for me. When I googled "big chicken" I got a KFC in Marietta, Ga. Maybe my sister remembers that place from when they lived in Marietta.??

Anyway, La Crosse is looking pretty good for a river town. They have a branch of the U of W there and have a neat bridge that crosses the wide Mississippi by hopping from island to island.
-52 today

Friday, June 22, 2007

Strange But True

We brought out bikes and got in a couple nice rides this week in Amana. Amana and East Amana are connected by a path that winds past pasteurs, fields and Lily Lake. I have never seen so many "wild" rabbits. Surprisingly, hassenpfeffer is not on local menus although they serve German cuisine. Wed. am we spoke to a local lady while we were waiting to cross a highway. She asked where we were from. "Stillwater", was Jon's replay. Her face lit up and she said, "I used to live in Stillwater! " She told us she was originally from Austria, but first lived in Stillwater and worked at our Lowell Inn when coming to America in 1962. While working there, a local noticed her accent and offered to introduce her to a young man from Germany who lived in the area. They met and married shortly afterwards. It is a small world, but gets even smaller when you meet and greet people you meet.


Wasn't that a movie with Sean Penn?

Pictures courtesy of Jon's Picasa site. A lady circulated passing out samples of broiled Spam on a pretzel stick. I had forgotten I actually like the stuff. Last weekend Mary and Mike had a cook-out for friends and family. One of their friends is researching a new Spam recipe for a state fair contest. After seeing the exhibit, I wish her good luck. There is a great diversity of recipes already tried by people all over the world. They have a big Hormel Spam factory in Beijing, China. Wonder if Andy toured that. I would hope not! Spam is marketed in dozens of countries around the world. I looked at the map and it doesn't look like it is sold in Germany. Perhaps they are more hooked on Schnitzel or just have better taste. Many of the asian countries are big buyers. Some of that taste probably was cultivated by Uncle Sam sending Spam with the WW2 GI's. Hawaiians love the stuff. I suppose it is a tougher sell in Asian countries with a large muslim population because it is pork. Anyway, you have now been "spammed".


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cowabunga !

Early Tuesday morning, husband Jon mentioned we should throw the bikes on the rack and take a little trip. In less than 30 minutes we were on our way to the Amana Colonies in Iowa. It is still fun to do things spur of the moment. We had to do a little back-peddling by cell phone to have our mail and newspaper picked up and plalnts watered, but it was fun.
Years ago, we arranged a three week road trip to California with three kids in three hours. That is a lot of "3s", but a true story. Jon had applied for a new job at 3M and knew he would not get three weeks vacation for five years if they hired him. We were young. We charged our way from Holiday Inn to Holiday Inn, hoping he would have employment when he returned. He had been self-employed for four years with all the time in the world to travel but no money. We lucked out when they did hire him. It helped pay our Holiday Inn charges.
This little jaunt had so little planning that one can expect a few glitches. I was the navigator. About twenty years ago my sister and mom and I had toured the Amana colonies. We stayed in Cedar Rapids the first night, then in a B & B in Homestead, one of the seven little towns. We were on the way driving down the Mississippi river corridor, when Jon asked me what route to take. I said we should aim for Cedar Rapid, which is close. I then made a big boo boo and told him Cedar Rapids was SW of Des Moines. "In that case," he said, "We should take I 35." We corrected our course by driving across southern Minnesota on I 90. When we got to Iowa, we stopped at the visitor's center and got a map. Guess what. Cedar Rapids is not southwest of Des Moines. Our original route would have been more direct. We drove a bit out of our way, but did get to visit the SPAM Museum at the Hormel plant in Austin, MN. I am not sure that is a destination drive, but a fun stop if you are in the neighborhood.
With my recent dieting and weight loss my wardrobe is limited. I am not buying a lot of clothes yet. Most of my clothes were in the laundry and I grabbed what I could. I have a shirt someone gave me with, "County Cow Tipping Team" printed on it. The illustration is of an upside-down cow. I grabbed that thinking if I can wear this anywhere, I can wear it in Iowa. Strangers commented on my shirt. One museum docent asked if I had ever heard of "Cow Bingo", a game her daughter had played. Nope. She explained a large grid is marked off and numbered on a field. People are assigned numbers. Then the cow is loosed and where ever it "drops it's patty" (her term), that number wins. Bingo! Maybe I will tell this story to the couple who gave me the cow tipping shirt after I told them about cow tipping. They might get me a "Cow Bingo" shirt too. You think I am making this up, don't you? See link:

Monday, June 18, 2007

Things I Should Have Learned in School or Did Learn and Forgot

I just got around to reading, or studying, the book "Eats, Shoots, & Leaves". It was a best-seller a few years ago. The good nuns taught me grammar and punctuation well. I was hard to trip up some forty years ago, but I have forgotten many of the rules of punctuation. I thought it was time for a review.
As well as tuning up my punctuation skills, I learned a new word: solidus, meaning forward slash.
I checked the Webster's New College Dictionary for their definition. It says, "1. An ancient Roman coin used until the Byzantine Empire."
"2. A virgule."
A virgule? What is a virgule? Now I had to check that definition in the V's. Sure enough it is defined as "a diagonal mark, (/) used esp. to separate alternatives, as, and/or, to represent the work per."
Did everyone know this but me? I have never heard the word solidus, or perhaps I just don't remember it much like I don't remember when to use that drat semi-colon. Maybe when I finish the book I will know when to use it.
Here is a cute quote from the book's jacket: "A panda walks into a cafe. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.
'Why?' asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.
'I'm a panda,' he says, at the door. 'Look it up.'
The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.
'Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.'
So, punctuation really does matter, even if it is only occasionally a matter of life and death. "
PS. I hope Andy didn't run into any Chinese pandas with poorly punctuated wildlife manuals.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Just cute pictures. Got to appreciate good friends. I talked to a longtime friend yesterday who may be coming for a visit in July. We were bridesmaids in another good friend's wedding in June 1967. They will celebrate their 40th anniversary this summer and hopefully her two slightly older bridesmaids can attend together. I also talked on the phone with another friend of 40 some years who is on a weight loss program. We are encouraging each other to continue on.

Another Endangered Species; A Good Father

Happy Father's Day to all the dads. I am an orphan. My dad died in 1987. One of our sons took his dad out to breakfast at his favorite diner. I can't duplicate that at home and Jon loves eating the big breakfast there. He has been a good dad to our kids. He was a hands on father, changing diapers and rocking babies. He will occasionally mention he misses the smell of a new baby's neck. Hopefully there will be a few more grandbabies to cuddle.

My dad was a quiet, shy man but as a child I remember well his gentleness. He didn't say often he loved you, but showed it. Those Norwegians are reticent.

We have the national holiday to mark our appreciation. Many cultures and countries have a patriarchal respect for the father. In our Judeo-Christian heritage we have the fourth or fifth commandment, the only commandment that came with a conditional promise. (I was raised in a denomination that called it the 4th. Protestant tradition has different numbering and the specific commandment my church omitted forbidding building graven images. Guess they couldn't give up all those religious statues.) Anyway, God said, "Honor thy father and thy mother that you may live long in the land I am giving you." I know there are many who have had absent or abusive fathers who may struggle with that commandment, but I think you can honor the position even if the respect is not earned.

Friday, June 15, 2007

For Sale

My husband's observation when he sees a sign like this is, "Why do they have to put 'by owner'? Who else would be selling it?" Good point. Even if the bank were selling a foreclosed home or repossessed car wouldn't they be the owner?

Out of the Woods

My sister in-law shared a website of the Minnesota Historical Society that displays old photos. ( Link: ) Enter a small town or location and access digital images from the past. My husband perused pictures of his old neighborhood in North St. Paul. I went to my roots and found an interesting link in my history.

I was born in Sandstone, MN. My parents lived on a nearby Pine Lake. A search for photos revealed the typical old general store and high school. Then I found a picture of the world’s largest pile of logs from the days when they were clear cutting those white pine forests. It shows men standing on top of a pile 100 feet high. This area was big in the logging industry.

When I was a toddler we moved to a farm south of Little Falls, MN. Guess what I found in that photo search; more logging pictures. Pictures of sawmills and the Mississippi clogged with log jams and men with pike poles managing the flow of floating pine trees come to life. The Mussers and the Weyerhausers were lumber barons in the young town.

Well, I now live in Stillwater. As you can guess there are many pictures of the river pigs and lumber industry in bygone Stillwater. The town is famous for Lumberjack Days for a reason. I guess my life all ties together around the lumber towns.

I grew up in an old log cabin. I love piney forests and sure would take a step back in time and see those virgin old growth woods. I think I will have to settle for the old pictures for now.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Spirit of Nostalgia

Here is a site from the Minnesota Historical Society with old photos of Minnesota towns. Enter your town. I was raised in Little Falls, MN and these are pictures taken in 1927 when "Lucky Lindy", our most famous citizen, came for a visit after flying solo across the big pond. My husband found old photos of his home town he had never seen before. If you have roots in Minnesota, try browsing.

June 14th, Flag Day

I walk early these hot days. The nice sight greeting me was Stillwater Blvd. lined with flags. One of the local service clubs does it every year. Rows of evenly spaced small flags line the boulevard. My mother in-law, rest her soul, loved to display the stars and stripes. I remember that flag flying proudly from their home all summer.
Because the flag represents our country, we are proud to see it waving. It brings something up in our hearts to remember our history. Many served and many died to defend our freedom. Many worked for good laws and good government. I read John Adams biography a couple years ago and was struck by the sacrifices of those early founders and patriots.

When we were in Germany, we stayed in Bertchesgaden. That is where Hitler had his "Eagles Nest" hideaway in the mountains. When I watched the series "Band of Brothers" there is a scene of the conquering Americans marching into this area. The swaztika was still proudly displayed. The people in this area were Nazis and many supported the Third Reich. All this came back to me when we were there. Modern Germans we know are quick to acknowledge their history and condemn it. They are also quite restrained in their national pride and displaying their flags. Kai explained to me that is because of their Nazi history. They are surprised to see the way Americans hang buntings and display the red, white and blue.

I am thankful we have been abundantly blessed in our country. I believe rewards follow virtue. We have been generous to help others in need in the world. We have defended England and helped liberate Europe when Hitler was overrunning the continent. We have sent food and aid to people suffering from famine and helped in disasters. In turn, we have been blessed. What you sow, you reap. But, I do not believe God loves us more than anyone else. For it says, "God so loved the WORLD, that he sent his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes shall have everlasting life." That is still our greatest blessing and the one we still should share with the whole world.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Harry Potter and the Cereal / Serial Novel -or- Where Have You Done With My Imaginery Friends??

What's for breakfast? Harry Potter Pops? No. This really is not about cereal. It is about serial novels. Fans are awaiting the release of the last of the Harry Potter books with mixed emotions. They want to read the latest installment of the characters' adventures but they do not want the stories to end. Some speculate they will kill off Harry in the last book. I don't think she will, not if she understands her readers.

Since I have been retired, I have given myself licence to read, read, read. I have mixed serious books with light reading. My favorite thing is finding an author who develops a character I grow to know and love and reading the whole series beginning to end. There is always a let down when I read the last of the series. Wishfully, I wait for another book to come out. Many have attributed the Harry Potter series with engaging children in reading--a good thing. I have concerns about portraying the dark world of magic and warlocks in a positive light. Good vs. evil books are okay if the truth is portrayed, but not if magic arts are held in a positive light. Hopefully, children will not be left viewing the dark arts as good and aspiring to be little warlocks. We grew up with the Wizard of Oz and the "Good" Witch Glinda, didn't we? Think about that classic.

Well, I will be understanding of the hype around Harry Potter's next book and movie while I contemplate my friends in printed word: Dave Robicheaux, Anna Pigeon, Lucas Davenport, Kinsey Milhone, Hanneh Swensen, Fr. Blackie, Theodosia and her Tea Shoppe, Alex Delaware and the most guilty pleasure -- Stephanie Plum. May they not rest in peace. Authors--to your computor. No slacking off. I am awaiting the next book!
PS. I remembered another Stephanie Plum book was due out in May. That sent me to the library's request list where I am now #284 in line.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

School's Out. Pool's Open.

Granddaughter Mina is spending a couple of days with us. Today we swam in the neighbor's pool. She would be there until nightfall if I didn't think that was an overdose of sunshine. It is 90 today and we all enjoyed cooling off. Even the neighbor's dog got wet. Mina likes to snorkel and use her goggles to dive for pool toys. I was hoping she would find some sunken treasure. No gold doubloons surfaced in her hands, but she sure did look. Did I mention our neighbor lady's father, Mr. Pool, lives with her?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Panda -'modium

News from the kid in China: He is glad he has plenty of Immodium and the group will travel to Chengdu for a long weekend. The Chinese girls need to go there to get their Visas. He said he booked a hotel for $5. Brings back memories of the 60's when college kids would tour Europe all summer on a budget of $5 / day. I Googled Chengdu and found out that is ground zero for the pandas. Should be another interesting city to visit.