Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Yachta, yachta, yachta

The sign on the window of the boat says, "4 sale. First $100 takes it." The sign in front says, "Trailer NOT included in sale. Sorry. Use possible." As we drove by this boat, Jon laughed and said, "How would someone get the boat home without the trailer? How would they get the boat off the trailer?" Maybe they would just have to wait for a flood to launch and drive it. With the second anniversary of Katrina this week, some of those people probably would have appreciated having a boat, with or without a trailer. Several counties in southeastern Minnesota that recently flooded could have used it too.
The question is, why on earth do they want to keep the rusty trailer? The boat is also a P.O.S.
(You figure it out.) but has a retro look and might be great restored. I don't think we will purchase it unless we get a lot of rain.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Something Is Fishy

I don't like fish. I don't mean I have anything personal against any specific fish, I just don't enjoy eating them. Too often they "taste fishy". They probably should taste fishy just because they are fish not hamburger.
My husband and I have an understanding. He can fish all he wants as long as he doesn't bring fish home. He usually does catch and release, or gives them to his fishing buddy. Last June he went on an Alaskan fishing trip with his cousins. They caught 1900# of dressed weight fish. It was flash frozen and packed for the guys to bring home. He weakened and brought home a 50# box of frozen fish. I groaned and then called anyone who lived close and had freezer space. We did not have that much freezer space nor did I want that fish. We saved some salmon and halibut. He had eaten fish stew in Alaska and wanted to make a batch. We still haven't eaten any fish stew. I try periodically to convince him to divest our freezer of nature's bounty to no avail. He wants to keep it to make fish stew.
I have nagged a bit because it took up about 35% of our cold space. Finally, I have been trying different fish recipes I find online. I cook a slab and then have to eat it for four days. My stalwart fisherman does not eat the fish. Tonight's teriyaki garlic marinade wasn't bad.
Moral of the story: If you do not like fish and your husband says he is going to bring just one fish home, ask how big the fish is. The halibut above weighed in at 180#.
A couple of weeks ago my sweetie went fishing "up north" with his friend Lance. He brought fish home. It is in the freezer. When I asked him last weekend if I should cook the fish, he turned up his nose and said he didn't feel like eating fish.
That's is my husband of almost forty years on the left. My dinner is in the middle.

Faith, Hope, and Charity

Last week the pastoral staff and their families from our church went on retreat. Our church uses a camp in Wisconsin owned by another church that rents it for church group gatherings. It has a old main lodge complete with stone fireplace, plenty of bunk space and the ambiance of a log lodge. It is a rustic setting with lakeshore and woods and three detached cabins. One of our associate pastor's wives told me the cabins have names. They are Love, Joy, and Faith. They usually stay in what they humorously dubbed "The Love Shack". It is older but cozier. I asked our associate pastor why they didn't name the third cabin "Hope" instead of "Joy"? I guess there is no hope.

Yesterday was my day to change the sign at church. It faces a busy highway and is used as an opportunity to reach people driving by with an inspirational message. We had windy, stormy, weather last week and I found the F in faith had slid off the sign. So I guess there is no hope and our faith is failing, but we have plenty of love in that congregation.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Lost Woman

My friend has been on a medical fast using liquid protein shakes since June. She has lost almost as much weight as I have. I am now at -65# and getting close to goal. It is heartening to have people comment that I can stop now. "You have lost enough". I think people are conscious about anorexia. I am more conscious of the middrift bulge. Sobering thought: Between my friend and I, we have lost the equivalent of another whole woman! I said that to her husband and he laughed a little too hard.
PS This picture doesn't look like either of us. Yet.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Diaper Dilemna

Andy relates seeing a lot of stuff on the streets of the city in China that he carefully stepped around. He found out later the cause of this organic pollution was babies without diapers. Parents keep the small fry naked on the bottom. No diaper. The mom or dad become good at reading the signals and facial expressions of the infants and hold them out at arm's length when they look like they mean business. We are more ecologically conscious in America and even some of our dogs wear diapers! Can't have them making messes in the house. I think some of this is because Fido becomes one of the family and people have a hard time euthanizing an older, incontinent pet. I hope that is the cause. We have had a dog from the dog pound in past years that we adopted. Reason he was there? He was not house trained. Found out you cannot teach a one year old dog to go outside. We returned the dog and did not buy the case of "Doggie Pampers".

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Hollywood Rain

We saw an unusual phenomenon in our backyard this week. As you looked out the patio doors it was raining on only one side of our yard. Several times I have noticed it raining in the back and not in the front. That doesn't last long, only until the cloud moves. This lasted several minutes and the sun was shining. It looked like the scene when the movie makers are sprinkling to simulate rain and the camera pulls back to reveal it isn't really raining.

Twice as Righteous

One of the tests of Christianity is how we relate to each other. I love this cartoon. We need to remember we are not in competition. We recently had a large congregation from a nearby town build a big church close to our smaller church. The congregation began holding services in the new church this month. My first gut reaction was, "I hope people from our church don't mosey over there." My second, and better response, "welcome new neighbors." They are also an evangelical church and work for the same boss.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Joybubbles..Now With a Long Distance Connection

I have been reading things contributed to the St. Paul Pioneer Press by "Joybubbles" for a couple of years. He died in August and the BB did a tribute to him Friday, printing many of his past writings. I did not know his whole background. Googling his name, legally changed to Joybubbles, revealed an amazing man. He was an abused child, blind, with a genius IQ, who used his abilities to help others. He lived joyfully without handicap or bitterness. Follow the links to read the obituaries.

Excerpts below from the tribute column in the Bulletin Board section of the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Friday, Aug. 17, 07.

Hi, this is Joybubbles."
5/15/2001: "Friday, May 25th, is my birthday. What a wonderful day to be 5: the fifth month, and the five-times-five day. And I want
to shamelessly tell you my birthday wishes. Maybe then they might come true:
"I wish everybody that has been hurt and abused by enemies of childhood when they were little would come to know, now and always: It's not your fault. You did the best you could at the time, with who you were. Maybe now you think of things you could have done, or ought to have done - but remember: You weren't then who you are now, and the wisdom you have now, you didn't have then. You did the best you could, at the time, with who you were. And if you would've known better, you would've done better. It's not something wrong with you; it's something wrong with the people who did that to you. Remember: It's not your fault.
"My second wish is: I wish everybody would take a little time, even if it's only once a month, to get out of the rat race into the sandbox and play like a child. Because, like Mister Rogers said: 'Sometimes I'm a child, still - and sometimes, not so still.'
"My third wish: I wish my friend Adele Lorraine would get well. She suffered a massive stroke - but the way I remember her is: so bubbly and lively and wonderful and full of laughs and hugs. She played at the Minnesota Orchestra and went to schools to help kids learn about loving music. The thing I remember most is: During the time when I was just obsessed by oboes ... I even just loved to say the word 'oboe' ... she picked me up and took me to Orchestra Hall, and a lady came in and played an oboe from the lowest to the highest, so I could hear it really good, and then took one apart and showed me the insides, and how to make reeds, and we talked and laughed and spent half a day just with oboes. Then Adele Lorraine took me out, and we got this great big pickle for me to eat on while we were waiting for your butter-pecan ice cream, and we laughed and hugged. And she let me play some pan pipes. And we went out and tried Greek food. And she was just so full of life and shared her fullness with others. I'll always remember her. May she be well.
"At 5:55 in the morning on my birthday, I always get out my huggable globe - big, soft world - and hug it and think all kinds of peaceful thoughts out to this wonderful world we live in.
"Now you know what my birthday wishes are. Happy birthday to me."
5/9/1992: "One day when I was at the play group, I was talking about my imaginary friend that I regularly play with, named Emily Friend. And a little 4-year-old girl there was so excited that I had an imaginary friend that she told me about hers. She said: 'Mommy, let's tell Joybubbles about Bumpo!'
"She hopped in her mother's lap and told me about a day just shortly after she was adopted: She and her mother were driving towards some parenting meeting, and they had to take a potty-break stop, and then they drove and drove and drove, when all of a sudden she started crying just as hard as a little 4-year-old can cry, saying 'Oh, Mrs.! Mrs.! We left Bumpo!' She didn't call her new mommy 'Mommy,' because she'd say 'You're not my mommy. You're Mrs.'
"So she was crying really hard, and her mother said: 'Where did we leave him?'
"And she said: 'Way back at the potty!'
" 'Well, do you think he's still there?'
" 'Well, yeah, that's where we left him!'
" 'I could drive back there, and we could see if we could find him.'
"She said: 'Oh, that's too far!'
"But her mother said: 'Not for me it isn't.'
"So they drove back, and when they got there, the little girl jumped out of the car and found Bumpo - nobody else could see him - and brought him back to the car and was crying for joy and hugging him. She was bouncing up and down; I think if her seat belt wasn't fastened, she would have gone through the roof. And then she reached up and hugged her mother and said: 'Oh, Mommy! You found Bumpo! Oh, Mommy! You're my real mommy now. My other mommy would have never found Bumpo! Oh, Mommy!'
"And you know when you've adopted a little girl and you get to hear her call you Mommy for the very first time, that's truly one of the greatest Mother's Day gifts in the world.
"Well, I wish you tonight the motto of our play group, which is: We go apart to dream; we come together to play. I hope you have time for both.
"Good night, and Happy Mother's Day."
11/10/1993: "Barney, on TV, is really two people. Bob West is hidden away deep in a control room, doing the voice. And David Joyner wears the costume and does all of the movements. They coordinate it with a two-way radio link. Likewise for the other dinosaurs, Baby Bop and B.J.; they each have a voice person and a costume person. Wouldn't that be an interesting radio link to listen in on?
"But that's not the real Barney. The real Barney is the one that kids have as a playmate and a friend when the TV is turned off.
"Like my friend Jason, for instance: He knew the real Barney. He died when he was 4½, last March, and he would talk to Barney regularly - especially when he was real scared or sad or angry. He talked to Barney a lot about dying, and Barney told Jason that Barney would take him to Playland - this wonderful place where he wouldn't be sick anymore, and he'd be able to jump on the beds and everything again.
"One night, his mommy heard Jason talking to Barney and knocked on the door and said: 'Sweetie, could I come in and talk to him a little while?' And Jason, sort of unbelieving, said: 'You? Talk to Barney?' And Mommy said: 'Well, you know mommies know a little magic, too, darling.'
"So she came in and sat on the bed and hugged Jason tight and said: 'Now Barney, this is the most wonderful little boy - a very, very special little boy - and I love him a lot. Now you promise me you're gonna take care of him real good. There's some important things I need to tell you: He likes his sandwiches cut slantwise; he doesn't eat 'em if they're cut straight across - well, except for sugar-bread sandwiches; they're to be folded in half, with a little butter and lots of sugar inside. And you'd better have strong beds there in Playland, because he likes to jump on the beds, and he's really good at it.'
"She told Barney a lot of other real important things that are vital in caring for a little boy.
"And man, you should've heard Jason bragging to his little friends about having a mommy who could talk to Barney. And a few weeks later, he went to Playland.
"Jason's mommy still calls me, and she likes it when I let her know what she already knows - that she is still, and forever will be, Jason's mommy.
"If there's a Barney Fan Club out there, I'd like to find out where it is and join it and be the biggest 5-year-old Barney fan there is - because I talk to him, and he talks to me regularly, and I'm proud to say that I love Barney.
"And to Jason, who I know is well and happy in Playland, jumping on beds and eating lots of sugar-bread sandwiches and doing all kinds of really neat things, forever and ever when I listen to Barney on TV or listen to my Barney tapes, you'll be there in spirit. I'll never forget you.
"Shimbaree, shimberah - which, in this case, might mean: Goodbye, hello!"
12/16/1999: "This is a very special night for me. It's Children's Memorial Day, and it's a time when I remember some friends that will mean a whole lot to me forever, but have made their journey - as Jason used to say - 'on to Playland.'
"At 6 o'clock, Jason's mother called me. Everybody was lighting candles at 7 o'clock - and it was 7 in Florida, where she's from, and she wanted me to be on the phone with her while she lit the candle for Jason.
"I let her know that, always and always, she's Jason's mother. And she said: 'And always and always, you're Jason's friend.'
"I sang a song that I sang back in 1993 over the phone at his memorial service. It goes: 'You're so special, we all love you. Don't be scared, your friends are here. Look up to the light above you. Sail ahead; your way is clear. It's so sad that things are ending. They must end so we can grow. You with light and love ascending, special friend - goodbye, hello.'
"And then at 7 o'clock, our time, I got on the floor with a big bunch of toys and invited a lot of invisible children, from far, far in spirit, to come and play with me. And I heard them! 'Cause when I was little, I died for a few minutes and went to this place that's just too good to even talk about. And ever since, I can be quiet and I kinda hear, inside the ear that's in my heart, sounds of invisible kids and stuff. And we played and had a special time and lit an invisible candle.
"I know that the candles that everybody has been lighting - those kids up there see them and know that they're missed and loved and cared about. And those lights will be remembered forever.
"Good night. And stay strong. And take care of each other."
1/1½000: "Some things, you just remember forever - like the ice-cream man that used to come to our house in Miami, Florida, back about 42 years ago.
"We'd hear him coming down the street, dinging the truck like a music box. And me and my sister would run out there. I would get vanilla, and she would get chocolate.
"One day, when we heard him coming, we came back in the house - 'cause, well, Daddy didn't have a job. He kept dinging and dinging and waiting out there - so we ran out there and said: 'We don't like ice cream no more!'
"He said: 'Gosh, I haven't heard anybody tell me that before! Why is that?'
"And, like kids say, I just said: 'I don't know.'
"He finally got us to tell. I said: 'We don't have money for ice cream, so I don't like it anymore.'
"He said: 'Well, I hope your father finds a job soon.'
"I guess we didn't hide our sad faces too well, 'cause he was walking away and then he came back and said: "You know what? I just remembered! I have some leftover ice cream, and I can't sell that. I gotta give it away. Would you be able to take it?'
"And that was good ice cream. It was just the flavors we wanted. And every day, week after week, he came with leftover ice cream. He always had the flavors we wanted, too - whatever they were; even when I changed my mind and surprised him one day, he still had it.
"Well, after a couple months, we said: 'Surprise! Daddy found a job again, so now we can get regular ice cream again. We've got some money!'
"I still think that leftover ice cream was even better, 'cause there was so much love in that ice cream. You could even feel it as he handed it to us.
"I was about 7 or 8 years old then.
"And then came the day when we were gonna move away, and me and my sister gave him a Braille letter.
"He said: 'I can't read this with my fingers, like you can. What does it say?'
"I said: `Dear Ice Cream Man, You've got cold ice cream, but a warm heart. Bye!'
"He said he would keep it forever.
"I told him I'd remember him forever.
"And, you know, I think I will."'
6/14/1997: "People ask me: 'What's your secret of happiness? You seem to be happy most of the time, when we meet up with you.'
"Well, I'll tell ya: I think one of my greatest secrets of happiness is that I can cry really hard when I need to, and I can let myself feel way, way sad.
"I think that crying is not a breakdown; it's a breakthrough, and sometimes when I'm putting myself together, I have to let myself come apart.
"For instance: On the last Sunday in May, a lady named Janet brought me a wonderful dear friend named Spinoza - and he talks to me! He has a little player inside and tells me that I'm special, and we can play Pretend and go to Pretend Land. Just a wonderful friend, and he told me: However you feel is OK; you can cry on my shoulder; you're special.
"So I decided that was a good time to cry some uncried tears, and I remembered, from about 40 years, the grownups who were hitting me, and they said: 'Stop that crying this instant, or we'll hit you harder and harder, 'til you stop crying!' I just don't see how that's the best way to stop somebody from crying - but it worked. They said: 'See? We broke the skin. Now do you want it to get worse?' Well, I stopped crying immediately.
"But I think those uncried tears just wait around to be cried - and wow, did I do a good job! Me and the bear together - I cried really good and really hard. And afterwards, I felt so grand, because of those tears that had waited so long to come out, that I went out and got a whole pint of butter pecan ice cream for me and Spinoza - and Spinoza didn't eat any; that bear let me eat both of our shares. That's some kind of friend, you know.
"So I want to say to whoever-all worked the magic to get Spinoza Bear into my play room: a great big huge humongous 5-year-old WOWWWWWWWW!
"And I want to give this word of assurance to any Bulletin Board reader who needs to cry: You're so beautiful when you cry."
2/½000: "Remember: If you rearrange the letters of silent, you get listen.
"What does that mean?
"I don't know!"
5/22/1997: "I called England recently - a guy in Peterborough, England - and asked: 'Is your refrigerator running?'
"He said: 'Oh! It must be Joybubbles!'
"A friend of mine in Oklahoma City has this friend in England, and she had already warned him about me.
"The reason I wanted to find out if his refrigerator was running is because I figured that refrigerators must hum differently in England. And sure enough, they do! Because the electricity in England is 50 cycles, and here it's 60.
"So he had the microphone ready, and he put it up to his refrigerator, and sure enough, the ones in England hum a minor third lower than ours do.
"Just thought you'd like to know.
"During the same conversation, I learned something about my very, very favorite TV program in the whole world. It's called 'Tots TV.' 'Tots TV' is made in England - and Tillie, one of the tots on 'Tots TV,' here speaks only Spanish, but the same tot, Tillie, on 'Tots TV,' if you're in England, speaks only French!
"Isn't that something?"
8/½000: "Back in 1957, when we lived in Saugus, Mass., the thing I wanted most in the world was a truck tire to play with.
"I used to roll tires around the basement and sometimes take them outside and play with them - you know, like the snow tires in the summer. I always seemed to have bunches of car tires, but I wanted a big truck tire.
"Well, after me pleading for so long, Mother said the Easter Bunny might just bring me one. I could hardly wait.
"I remember it was April 21st, the big day, Easter. I walked into the kitchen with the Easter basket, just holding my breath with wondering - and sure enough, right by the kitchen sink, leaning against it, was a big truck tire. I read, by feel, the upraised letters: 'Firestone' and 'Gum Dipped Rubber.'
"Well, I was anxious to get the truck tire down the basement steps, and my parents were asleep; I mean, they tended to do that about 4:30 in the morning, when I woke up to look at the Easter basket. So I rolled the truck tire. I brought it over to the basement steps, opened the door to the basement and rolled it down the basement steps.
"The thing I devoutly wish is that I had let go of the tire before it started rolling down the steps. Somehow I didn't. The next thing I knew, I found myself lying on the concrete at the bottom of the basement steps. I was 7 years old - and also, I had a broken wrist.
"I thought it would get well, so I tried to wait all day and not tell my parents. But it hurt so much, I finally did have to - and we went to Melrose Hospital and got a cast put on it.
"That's the last time in my whole life that I've rolled a truck tire down the basement steps. I guess some things, it only takes once to learn.
"But I sure did get a lot of good play out of that truck tire."
3/14/1998: "Being blind, it's easy for me to forget that people are watching me.
"Back in 1972, when I lived in Millington, Tennessee, I used to save up for a while and come down to Memphis and stay in a motel where there was an indoor pool - 'cause I just love swimming pools.
"I'd stay in just about all day: I'd get in there when the pool opened, and be jumping and splashing and spinning around, and clapping my hands in the water just to hear it splash, and sitting out in the deep end and floating like a chair. It'd just be a wonderful time. And then I would take a break and go eat some stuffed shrimp.
"I was doing this for a couple days when a lady came up and sat down beside me and said: 'Thank you for saving my life.' At first, I thought she had the wrong person. She said: 'You know, I had come here to this hotel with the intention of killing myself. I had lots and lots of pills in my room and stuff. Things have been going bad, and I just didn't think I could make it.' She said: 'I just kept watching you laughing and singing to yourself and smiling and jumping up and down.' She said: 'There was just such happiness. And then I'd come back, and you were still there. And then I'd come back, and you were still there.' She said: 'I don't know; just watching you, I just started crying, and I cried and cried and cried - and I decided: You, without your eyes and all' - actually, I do have my eyes; I just can't see with them ... but she said: 'You, without your eyes and all, you find such happy stuff - and I guess if you can, I can, too. So I threw the pills away and called my best friend, and she came down right away, and we went over to Baptist Hospital and talked to some people, and now I'm gonna stay with that friend for a while and get myself together. And I want to thank you.'
"Yeah, I never thought anybody was watching me play like that. I told her that I would be sure to pray for her every day, and we hugged, and several months later, she called me up and wished me a happy birthday and said: It's hard, but she's getting herself together and working on making it.
"Wherever she is, I wish her well. And may I always remember that we influence people, for good or ill, and try to do my best."
2/19/2001: "I'd like to hear some of the BBers' secret wishes.
"For instance: Some kids got together, and some of their special wishes were:
"One wanted to bust 50 balloons, by crawling around on them and stuff.
"Another one wanted to spray hair spray ... to hold the button down, just to see how long it would spray for.
"Another one wanted to squeeze all the toothpaste out of a brand-new tube, to see how big of a lump it would make.
"Penelope in Oklahoma: Her two secret wishes are to have 50 pounds of chocolate and a tub full of big marshmallows to play in.
"So, yeah, I'd like to hear other people's unusual wishes, that they don't think will ever come true.
"A couple of mine are: I'd love to have a playground named after me. Joybubbles Playground. And I'd love to have a real happy, childlike crayon color named after me. Something I don't think will ever happen, but it's still fun to wish for it, anyway."
11/10/1998: "There's not too many things in the world I love more than swinging on swings. And one day, while I was on my way to the Lake Harriet Bandshell playground in the Metro Mobility van, the drizzle turned into a downpour, and the driver asked: 'Are you sure you want to go swinging on a day like this?' And I said: 'Oh, yeah, it'll be wonderful! I've never experienced a playground in the rain, and I sure won't have to wait for the swings.'
"Well, when I got there, I noticed that when I swung forward, the rain felt almost like needles; it was coming at me really hard. But when I swung back away from the rain, I could just barely feel it.
"And then, while I was playing in the sandbox and experiencing the wonder of wet sand, I started listening. And being blind, you know, I usually see things one at a time - like: I walk around and kinda find where the seesaw is, or walk around 'til I find the sliding board. I find things one at a time, and then I have to remember separately where everything is. Well, all of a sudden, I noticed something; it was a very special experience: I was sitting in the sandbox, listening, and the rain made all of these different sounds, and I realized the different sounds were where the rain was dripping on different things - when it hit the big sliding board, it was a big, bass-y dong-ing sound; then there was a little splat noise where it was hitting the swing seats; and kind of a ting-ting-ting-ing noise as it hit the poles of the swing set, and a different kind of splat as it hit the sandbox. Then I heard something I didn't recognize, and I walked over and felt a big stone turtle that I named Corey, after a friend of mine that died. I cleaned the sand out of its eyes. Great big stone turtle there. And all of a sudden, as I was listening to those sounds, they were all coming together like a symphony ... like music. And I could tell where everything was, all at one time; the whole playground was making itself alive ... had come alive by the different sounds of the rain falling. And I said: 'You know, I think this is kind of how a sighted person must see. You know: things in parallel, all at one time.' I could just hear where everything was, all at once, and walk right to it, without even having to remember where it was. It was truly a mystical and wonderful experience. The gift of the rain truly made it a wonderful day. Yes, I was pretty wet and pretty muddy, but it was a symphony that I'm glad I heard. One of my greatest wishes in the world is to find a place with a big porch swing where I can go every week. Maybe someday."

Monday, August 20, 2007

More "Sqvirrel" Sightings

Last week I saw two black squirrels; one in our neighborhood and one by Sibley High School in Mendota. I hadn't seen one in years.
Twice while I was sitting on our deck last week a squirrel scurried on the deck with a whole walnut in his mouth. (Our neighbor has a walnut tree.) It probably was the same rodent both days. He tried to hide his walnut in the fake silk ficus tree on our deck. He tried digging. He tried covering it with fake leaves. The first time he gave up and left. The second time he left the nut. Strange behavior. Perhaps that was easier than digging a hole large enough to bury the almost tennis ball sized walnut.

The Rain in Des Plaines Falls Mainly on the Plane

Too bad it is pronounced "Des" not De Plane. The rain is falling mainly on the plain lately. The center of the country from Texas to Minnesota has been deluged. Des Plaines, Illinois had heavy flooding. Southeastern Minnesota had major flooding with six dead from drowning in their cars in flash floods. That is something that usually happens elsewhere. One area had 17 inches of rain in a short time. That news, following the weeks of reporting on the people drowned after our bridge collapse, has me tempted to slide a couple of life preservers under the seats in the car. I have one phobia. Drowning. When I was twelve I was rescued from drowning by a neighbor. Six years ago those old memories returned when I tried to swim through a waterfall in Jamaica (while wearing shoes)and being continually pushed down by the force of the water. I do not like to swim anymore but I was the fearless kid, always in the water, when I was young. I had a nightmare the other night about trying to swim after being on the bottom of a 12 ft. pool and taking in a big gulp of water before I reached the surface. I am glad we live on high ground and not close to a river. I am also glad we have a boat in our garage.
My heart and our prayers go out to the people who have lost their homes or loved ones in the latest floods. My sister and family survived 12 inches of rain in a day in Texas and have been watching Dean hoping it doesn't hit Texas.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Late Night Shopping

I got caught up in a cycle the past few days of too little sleep = need for caffeine in the morning. We usually drink decaf but I needed a jolt because I would wake up at 3 or 4 and be tired in the morning. That only leads to repeating the pattern the next night. I finally caught up on sleep last night. It was interrupted sleep, however. I awoke at 2am, got up, and slouched in the recliner watching whatever came on TV. One infomercial caught my eye. The guy was selling books on health and fitness. Buy one, get others free. I actually wrote down the phone number. This morning I threw the note away. Besides purchasing air time on TV cheaper at night, they probably get more sales from half-awake people who have low resistance. Ask me. I have sent for Sheer Cover and Victoria whatever's makeup during the wee hours. I actually liked both products. Watch out for Sheer Cover. The next shipment will be $99 for a three month supply. I cancelled both after the first batch. I also watched Kevin Trudeau's spiel on "what they don't want you to know about diets" one night. I then googled his name and found out the book is okay but you will get a monthly newsletter for $9.99 a month that you will find impossible to cancel. No human answers the phone # they give. Lots of negative stuff about this being a scam. I think I will go back to just writing down the info and throwing it away in the morning. I have not signed up for any get rich flipping real estate schemes either. Wonder how those are going.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

When It Rains, It Pours

We have had a drought since having little snow last winter and precious little rain this spring and summer. We are now playing catch-up. In the past few days we have had four inches of rain. Most of it runs off. The damage is already done to crops but at least we can refill our lakes and rivers.
We are fixated on weather reporting in this state. Perhaps due to our severe winter temps and hot summers, we devout a good chunk of the local news hour to weather reporting. Since our weather has had little variation this summer, a good thunderstorm had the local stations ditching their regular programs and spending hours locked onto the last nights stormy weather. I thought it was a bit excessive until I saw some of the damage reports on tonight's news. One western Wisconsin town within 20 miles had 60 to 80 buildings (houses and barns) severely damaged from 100mph straight line winds. I thought the news people were just hard up for some storm forecasting. We survived intact but had a good soaking.
Remember the Morton's Salt Box? There have been several updated versions of the label over the years. The current one has been around since 1968. I'll bet not many young people know that salt can clump in the shaker if you don't use the right brand. Years ago, you occasionally saw a salt shaker with a few grains of white rice in the shaker to keep the salt dry. I guess it all pours now, even when it rains.

Purchasing salt used to be simple and cheap. Didn't a box of Morton's Salt sell for about a quarter not that long ago. If you watch the food channel or any cooking show, you might have noticed the variety of sea salt etc. I found this site and was surprised at the prices.
My mom would never have felt it necessary to purchase special salts @ $18. for 9 ounces. I think this is about as silly as designer water and the $4 cup of coffee. I am satisfied that the salt pours when it rains.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Riddle

What's used by Chinese, not from China, but is china? We had lunch at a Chinese restaurant today. After the meal, Jon turned his plate over and read what was written under the plate; Made by Oneida in Buffalo, NY. Can you believe it? The restaurant quality plates were decorated with a Chinese art motiff around the rim. I have been searching for a small gift for Andy's Chinese exchange student and having a hard time finding something not made in China. I finally succeeded. When I went to "wrap" the gift in a giftbag I noted the bottom of the bag was imprinted with "Made in China". We are the consumers. They are the manufacturers. I guess that is why I thought it ironic that the tableware in that Chinese restaurant looked Chinese but was made in America. It would also be funny to find out we have a factory in the US that turns out Chinese flags considering all of ours are made in you know where.

Bourne Again Experience

We saw the third "Bourne" movie, "Bourne Ultimatum" yesterday. For a couple of weeks we had talked about seeing it some hot afternoon when we needed a diversion. We had a hard time remembering the name. Was it "Bourne Supremacy"? No, that is an old one. "Bourne Identity"? Nope again. "Bourne Intimidation"? Wrong. "Bourne Again" seemed appropriate.
Matt Damon has become a bankrollable leading man. I like that he is not associated with scandal or gossip. He is not metro-sexual in appearance. He just reminds me of a nice guy. The role he plays as the trained assassin is not an average nice guy, but in his personal life he seems ordinary.
I read all the Robert Ludlum books about Bourne years ago. After sitting through the fast paced movie I think I definitely prefer print media for this type of story. I like the mystery. The intrigue. We saw the movie on the Ultrascreen at the movieplex. It is in your face big with surround sound so loud I plugged my ears and it was still too loud. The action, and there are plenty of chase scenes, were filmed with hand held cameras, giving blurry distorted images. I thought I needed my prescription on the bifocles checked until my husband said it was out of focus.
This is not a "chick flick". I figure after sitting through it, hubby owes me for one syrupy, sappy love story movie in the future. Not that he bent my arm to see this one. I had just forgotten the frantic pace of movies like this. (Think Tom Cruise ala "Mission Impossible".) Might be better to watch the DVD if you have the remote to control the volumn.

Monkey Business

After reading the Bulletin Board in Thursday’s paper, an article on the opposite page titled, “Diapered Monkey Briefly Eludes Police” caught my attention. With so much sad disturbing news lately an account of a monkey on the run seemed like delightful escapism.
The story relates police efforts to locate a monkey that bit a woman in Madison. Drs. were advising quarantining the animal until transmission of contagion was ruled out. They found the monkey, and the man who had kept the monkey on a leash in a local beer garden, but the monkey escaped before being captured by animal control. After an alert went out for a monkey wearing a diaper, the monkey was captured within seven hours. I wonder if it was necessary to specify they were looking for a monkey wearing a diaper. Couldn’t they just arrest any monkey running loose in Madison? A woman then came forth saying the animal was her service monkey. She had loaned him to a friend for the evening. I don’t think this guy watched the early years of “Friends” and the trouble David Schwimmer had with his pet. He probably just wanted to pick up girls.
Service monkeys are trained to assist severely disabled persons. I hope she does not have her monkey repossessed for her bad judgment loaning him to a friend. Maybe I am assuming too much. Perhaps the friend was disabled also.
Do you think the local police found any humor in this caper? Do you think a rookie cop was assigned the duty of changing the diaper on that animal?
Local television news could have had some fun with the story. Who was Pampering the monkey? Did they Luv him? Curious George, is that you?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Water You Thinking About?

Decades ago the ads for Rolaids asked, "How do you spell relief? (the answer) Rolaids." Today I would say how do you spell relief? (the answer) RAIN. We still wait for a nice soaking shower. Weathermen had predicted 5 or 6 days of light showers. We had drizzle on Saturday. It has been a hard summer. One can't leave town for long unless you have inground sprinklers or an irrigation system. Many have an investment in horticulture that needs tending. I am wondering if we should pursue planting a more drought resistant grass like they use in hot, dry climates. There is not a limitless supply in those aquifers even if we have the patience to keep moving the sprinklers. My husband has been good about watering, but we have a dead spot on our lot line. Our community has not banned or restricted sprinkling but some suburban communities have regulated it. It makes sense to use water wisely even if it is cheap in this land of 10,000 lakes. My daughter married a young man with 1/8 Ojibway Native American heritage. Maybe he can research doing a rain dance, or I could consult the oldest son about better grass. I'm glad we aren't farmers.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Several years ago some law abiding citizens sick and tired of staying in at night due to rising crime rates in their neighborhoods, organized National Night Out. The idea is for people to come out of their homes and mingle with their neighbors. There is safety in numbers. Jon and I will be on our porch tonight. (see photo) Stop and say "Hi".

Sometimes You Just Get a Little Down...

Dog Days of Summer

Bring on fall! It is so humid today you can see the air. My husband has been working on a few projects in the garage and coming in to "reshower" and refresh. I am breaking my walks up into smaller bites to tolerate the humidity. Childhood memories of crisp apples at the orchard, cool nights, clear blues skies and golden leaves beckon me to anticipate October. The reality of recent years is that September can be pretty hot too. When I was a kid I spent almost every afternoon swimming at the beach until the water turned green in mid August. We called that Dog Days. It was two weeks before school started, you couldn't swim, and the fact that school was soon to start never cheered me up. Today I cheered up with the news of the stock markets rally yesterday. Do you think it had anything to do with changing my password? I am no longer "losingmore" money. Now if I could just figure out how to manipulate this weather.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Taking Stock of My Money

The upward graph on the stock charts is how investors want the Dow Jones to perform. Last week it went the other way. I keep reminding myself not to worry about short term losses. I check the progress of my IRA online. I frequently change passwords as recommended. Today I changed mine again. My old one was "losingmore". I picked that to reflect my desire to lose more weight not realizing it sent a nasty message to the people who manage my money. Nope, I don't want to lose more $$.


We live in a town that is an antique hunter's destination. Years ago my longtime friend Barbara asked me to be on the lookout for pink and green depression goblets to match the three she had inherited from her mother. She described them to me. I keep an eye out when I travel or browse the stores downtown. Last month when she came to visit we spent an afternoon shopping the antique stores. In one of the malls we spotted her goblets. They had five of them and she even bargained a bit on the price. Last week she emailed her purchase had arrived UPS intact. She is exstatic to have found them relating the only other time she got close she had been told by a dealer they had just sold some an hour before her arrival. I have never seen them. Her sister in ND has an incomplete set of sherbet glasses in mom's pattern. Barb now has me keeping my eyes open for those. Today when I checked on eBay I got excited. They sure looked like what they are hunting for. Alas, the seller's not says they are not Tiffin. They are look alike depression glass. It is easier now to hunt for them because we know the name of the pattern.
So---If you every see any Tiffin, Diamond pattern, pink with green base sherbet glasses let me know. There are some that have green stems. They want the ones with only the green base.
Barb or Mary Cay if you are reading this, perhaps this eBay dealer has other stock:

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Wally and the Beaver...Make that Wally and the Gopher

When our son was deciding on which college to attend, he narrowed it down to three. He contemplated UMD, Madison, and St. John's. He was accepted at all three so needed to consider how each fit his aspirations. He had many friends who were enrolling in Madison, UMD and the U of M twin cities. SJU offered great scholarships...what to do? In the end he chose SJU because he said he would be more able to focus on his studies there. It is a scenic though remote campus with a reputation for low drop-out rates and high numbers completing an undergraduate degree in four years. College is an adjustment, his campus was isolated and he had no car. Perhaps he regretted his choice the first few months. His old buddies at other schools were having different experiences. That passed quickly and he now appreciates the choice he made. I remember him telling me he was working out at the school gym that fall and looked over and saw Wally Czczerbiak on the next machine. I was not initially impressed because I did not know who Wally Czczerbiak was. He was a Timberwolf player and the Wolves were in training at St. John's. It guess getting the boys away from the big city distractions works for basketball players and students. Yesterday I heard the U of MN Gopher football team is checking in at SJU today to train. Alas Wally C. was traded to the Celtics in 06. Now Kevin Garnett will follow. These are the only two Wolves I could name. And to think I just learned how to spell Czczerbiak. What a waste.

SLOWER THAN...or- The Great Boston Molasses Disaster of 1919

My computer tech guy is on a three-day fishing trip this weekend and my computer is slower than molasses. What to do. I won't try to diagnose the problem because I do not understand the answers or the questions the programs ask me. Should I say "yes" or "no" to the inquiry of what it wants to do to correct the problem. I have been down this slippery slope before and chosen randomly only to have to take it to a higher source (not God, the Geek Squad). I will just wait. I thought, "It is running slower than molasses in January". This inspired me to look for a photo online to illustrate this piece about a slow computer. When I Googled "molasses in January" I came upon this site:

Can you believe it? A molasses disaster? I don't mean to make light about the loss of life in this disaster, especially with what Minnesotans have been going through. I might need to suppress a snicker about someone's obituary reading: "Death by Molasses". This disaster had more victims than our bridge collapse. Most of those who survived are probably gone now too so I do not risk offending too many people I hope. It is a sticky situation. It reminds me of the early Smothers Brother's song, "I yelled fire when I fell into the chocolate". Why did he yell 'fire' when he fell into the chocolate? Because no one would have helped him if he had yelled 'chocolate'. Just when we are struggling not to be fearful and avoid bridges, I now have to keep an eye on those tanker trucks full of sorghum. They make molasses from sorghum.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Proud to be a Minnesotan

Much attention has been focused this week on the collapse of the I-35 bridge over the Mississippi in Minneapolis. Matt Lauer and the Today Show broadcast from here. Brian Williams did the news from the banks of the Mississippi. President and Laura Bush are here today. There have been so many comments about the community working together and even civilians putting their own lives at risk to help in the early minutes.
There has been much praise for emergency preparedness and pre-planning. When I was involved in emergency planning and safety as an ER worker I witnessed much of this first hand. When the news hit, our county planners quickly dispatched water rescue crews with boats and divers to help. I am grateful to the good people who take seriously their roles in public safety. Perhaps Minnesota Nice still is true. In some cities much of public works projects are jeopardized by graft and involvement of organized crime. We are blessed to have clean politics even if we do not agree with every politician. The mayor of Minneapolis and our governor conducted themselves well providing leadership and comfort.
The deterioration of our nation's infrastructure has been in the news lately and concern was escalated after this catastrophe. (It is amazing there were not many more lives lost.) We need to continue on not living by fear, but using wisdom to plan. Funds are not unlimited. We need to pray for protection. What would happen if we concentrated on praying for safety of the bridges we and our families cross? We can only imagine. Remember when Jesus left this earth he put us in charge until His return.
I love Psalm 127 and especially verse 1:

"Unless the Lord builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city
the watchmen stand guard in vain."

A good God still hears prayers. The destroyer is still subject to the authority of the believer.


- 60 # this A.M. finally! Yahoo

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Minneapolis Bridge Suddenly Collapses

There was no other news anyone in Minnesota heard yesterday except the horror of the 35 Interstate bridge collapse in Minneapolis. I was cooking supper when my husband called, "Come here. Look at this." All local stations broadcast continuously for hours into the night reminiscent of the 9/11 coverage. After a quick peek, I went to the phone to call our kids making sure they were not on that bridge. My heart goes out to those who did have family on that bridge and also those who anxiously waited to hear from loved ones whose location they did not know. Early TV news showed a school bus scrunched next to a burning 18 wheeler on a edge of a section that buckled. In the hours that followed, every angle of this was covered. I left to exercise at the gym, only to find this was the only conversation anyone could have. At 10pm I turned to the BBC international news to find the BBC spending over ten minutes talking about and showing footage of the collapse of the bridge in the US. When we are confronted with horrifying news, part of dealing with the reality is talking about it and reviewing it.

This was a heavily used bridge and many could identify with it's random collapse. Forty years ago when it was built, we lived very near to it and over the years crossed it countless times. This incident only confirms that we need to live ready to die. I don't mean that to be morbid. I just live knowing there will be an end. There is a date unknown to me that will be chiseled on my tombstone. My readiness is that I don't know how or when this life will end, but I know what comes next. We make those arrangements now. Eternal life is still a free gift accepted while we are alive by accepting what Jesus Christ has offered to us. May a gracious God comfort those who have lost family and friends on that bridge.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

It's Only Fair

It is August 1st but signs of fall are here. The days are shortening. The State Fair is coming. Big box stores are having sales on "Back to School" supplies.
We spent four hours today at the Washington County Fair. Our church mans a hospitality tent where people can eat their food at a table in the shade. We also give away bottles of ice cold water and have Veggie Tale cartoons for the kiddies. It is appreciated by hot tired families. Our pastor has a heart for just doing helpful things for people. Our most unusual church ministry: clean porta-potties on the Lumberjack Days parade route. Is that "thinking outside the box"? Sounds like thinking inside the box. Oh, well.
We spent four hot hours helping set up and serving and came home totally exhausted. I wonder why people venture out in this hot weather. My love of the northwest grows every year. Even Minnesota has gotten too hot. That is a lot of whining for someone with central a/c. Imagine what people who make their living picking agricultural products fourteen hours a day experience. My brother in-law's great-grandparents were slaves in Louisiana working in the sugar cane fields. I don't think the master's were offering them ice cold water or air conditioned housing either. That said, I will stop whining and be thankful I am living in a time when we have much more comfort than those who went ahead of us.