Sunday, September 30, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
Thursday was another perfect autumn day. My husband proposed a drive into a small Wisconsin town for lunch. Leaves are beginning to turn. He thought Amery would be good, but I voted for Plum City where my aunt, the last of mom's six sisters lives. I haven't seen her since the last family funeral several years ago. We didn't have her new address or phone #. She has moved within the town in the past few years. Since the town is really a hamlet, we figured we could ask people until we found her.
We stopped to get a bag of cheese curds and as we were leaving the parking lot a guy signaled us to stop. I rolled down the window and recognized my cousin John and his wife. Apparently we had been in the shop at the same time and I had not been very observant. How is that for a nice coincidence? He gave us my aunt's phone # and directions to her house.
We had a nice "visit", which is what old people do. We visit. My dad and mom would visit. I don't think we did that much when we were younger. My aunt seemed to appreciate the diversion in her quiet day. Another cousin stopped in when we were there. Fun. I hope someone "visits" me when I am 85 and legally blind. We should have done this sooner.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
This wood will be used to heat the garage and some in bonfires. It is going to last a long time. Our neighbor was trimming his trees today and came over with a bit more. I joked, "Did we look like we needed more?"
I'll get more exercise today splitting wood. Jon has gone to rent the splitter. Then we will need to pile it up and clean the yard. It is a nice 58 degrees outside and good weather for outdoor work. I have fond memories of my family and my sister's family "making wood" on a weekend together at their cabin years ago. Everyone helped. We all ate good because my sister is a really good cook. Jon will have to make do with me pushing the high protein lunch today after a morning's work.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Interesting, the teacher's put their desks at the back of the room so they can see what the students have on their screens.
I will accept there are many underserved, undereducated kids on the planet that would benefit. The computer's battery is rechargeable with a hand crank. No electricity necessary, but where would they be getting the internet signal in the jungle?
Minneapolis has been working on WiFi so everyone can connect without paying a cable or DSL hookup fee (and having problems with "dead spots"). Will poor countries provide the same resource? Will remote places be able to get a signal? Will the keyboard be "one type fits all"? I am sure this would work many places. Hard to believe it could be universally adapted. The man interviewed said to paraphrase, in 15 years we could wipe out poverty and have peace on earth. Perhaps if the "whole village" has these computers, they could all "raise" the child to be computer literate.
A few years ago our local school board decided to give a laptop to every kid in one of our junior high school. There are two junior high school. Just one got the computers at a cost to the school district I think was close to a thousand buckerinos per kid, if memory serves me correctly. Some parents didn't want their child to have one. They would be responsible to pay for it if the child damaged or destroyed it. This is an affluent area. Most had computer's at home. Not all had computers, so everyone got one. Heads rolled at the next school board election. We now have a referendum for a school bond and many still think they waste too much money and will not vote to increase their own taxes.
I wonder if anyone has considered that the terrorists communicate with each other via internet. Would that influence our gettting the whole world online?
Sunday, September 23, 2007
We saw a group like this a month ago when we went to the Stone Arch Bridge to take a look at the collapsed Mpls. bridge. Yesterday at Curves one of the women said she was going on a Segway tour. I asked her to explain. There is a rental / tour group that visits sites in areas around Minnepolis. She was doing a six hour tour yesterday. I googled it and found a site that does tours or rentals to corporate groups or other gatherings. It would be fun. Look closely at the picture. All the people are wearing helmets. It is legal to ride a motorcycle in Minnesota without a helmet. We had a helmet law but it was heavily protested years ago my biking enthusiasts. Lawmakers thought it was okay to let them chose. Some commented, those not wearing helmets didn't have much between the ears to lose anyway. Oh well. I seem to know more and more people who cannot walk great distances due to medical conditions. A Segway tour might be fun.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
I used to be annoyed picking flyers from tree trimmers off the front door or finding them in the mailbox. My do-it-yourself husband did it himself. About five years ago he had an accident trimming a branch off a tree while up about 10ft on a ladder. The branch gaveway before he cut all the way through, swung back at an angle not intended, and sent him flying. He was knocked out and didn't remember the details. Did I mention he was home alone at the time? He came to lying under the tree, unable to move. Finally, he hollared and got the attention of a woman walking by in front of the house. He had a broken pelvis and three broken ribs and his wife threw the ladder away. We pick up those flyers now from tree- trimmers.
After a little searching, we found the number for the last tree trimmer we used and left a phone message. He is also an older guy but hires young guys who climb like monkeys to do the climbing. This guy is short and round and said he quit climbing trees when someone told him he looked like a bear doing it. I bet he did. Anyway, he did not immediately call us back.
Mid-afternoon son Andy called. He asked if we had "funny weather"? We had overcast skies. While we were talking you could hear a siren in the background. He interrupted, "I better go. The tornado sirens are shreiking." I wasn't worried because he was seeking shelter, but did turn on the TV to see them scurry about warning about a funnel cloud north of St. Joe (where Andy goes to school). No touchdowns. It blew east. During our evening news, they again switched to weather reporting mode. This time it was the metro's turn to take shelter. Funnel clouds, big hail, heavy rain and winds up to 70 mph were in the west headed our way. We both thought of the bad tree. Jon joked maybe he could cinch it up with a chain. We then agreed in prayer to leave it to God. I was wishing we had noticed that cracked tree a couple days ago and our tree guy had taken it down. It wasn't going to make it in a big wind.
TV continued storm coverage for hours. Reporters were sent to show us the size of the hail, the flash flooding on the freeway and downed trees. One commented, "the arborists are probably cruising the neighbors offering their services". Maybe that is where our tree trimmers was last evening.
The good news, we got soaking rain but no wind. It all went south of us. We are thankful we aren't looking at daylight through a hole in the roof this am. Thank you Lord.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
THINGS I WILL NEVER DO AGAIN
1. Drive through the dessert in mid-August in the afternoon with three children in a car with 100,000+ miles on the odometer. We did this when our kids were young. It got so hot the engine would overheat if we used the A/C. There was a reason those wagon trains crossed at night.
2. Have dental work done without novacaine.
3. Have a flex-sigmoidoscopy. Thank the Lord they now recommend the colonoscopy procedure which uses drugs in the protocol.
4. Ride on Space Mountain in Disneyworld. I did this once--white knuckled. I never opened my eyes. My eight year old son had fun. I was terrified.
5. Go for a walk in the park on a warm fall day after spotting snakes sunning themselves on the asphalt. Everything in me warned me not to proceed. I was walking on a pathway when I spotted a snake in the path ahead. I screamed and turned to run the other way and ran into another snake. My walks on warm fall days are on sideways in town. Not a nature girl.
6. Take a small, prop commuter plane. Had an experience years ago on an ancient looking plane that I was sure would crash when it hit turbulence.
7. Cook halibut for my husband.
8. Wear 4" stilleto heels or a bikini.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I just like these fruit and vegetable pictures.
Perhaps there will be delayed justice for OJ. His legal problems in Las Vegas seem to escalate daily. Do you think they are "throwing the book " at him? I have to imagine prosecutors who charged him with five or six counts of crime and the judge who refused to grant bail because he was a flight risk are taking into account his priors. What was OJ thinking? Did he think it was right to use deadly force to reclaim what he thought was his property? Isn't that what the first trial was about? I don't think he will be able to wink or smile and make this go away. I do think a lot of people would like to see him in jail, including me.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Yesterday I watched Oprah. She had Dr. Oz, the healthful living gury as a guest. He talks a lot about what we should eat to improve health. He revealed several research studies that either debunked or proved the efficacy of assorted diets or practices. One study followed a group who ate a high volumn diet--lots of fresh fruit, veggies, and nuts. They felt full, lost wt. and I think had some measureably improvement in cholesterol levels etc. They were fed 11# of fresh produce a day. He showed an example of that and related the participants had trouble consuming all that food. I am eating a lot of fresh vegetables but no where near 11#. I would need a bigger refrigerator and might have to eat as I walk my six to seven miles a day. No wonder "fast food" caught on. Is your lunch break long enough to consume a cucumber, tomato, green pepper and a head of cauliflour and a bunch of broccoli?
One of the things I will miss about the summer season are the good tomatoes. The recent frost was hit or miss in our neighborhood and spared our plants a little longer.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
This small diner is called the River Oasis which everyone just calls the Oasis or Jon shortens to "The O". It is his favorite. This is no franchise restaurant. The food is also better and more varied than most diners. They serve the regulation bacon or ham and eggs, but also a tasty quiche or eggs benedict. Food is homemade. Pies are made on the premises and you can get a malted milk like the drug stores served in the 50's.
I have a few other places I enjoy breakfast, but they don't have the charm or clientele of this joint. There are two counters where singles meet for good coffee and an economical meal. The collection of mostly men, mostly older, seated at the counter come from a variety of backgrounds. One was the mayor and is still on the school board. Another lifetime hometown resident owns several restaurants, a small hotel and five riverboats. I think he could buy and sell everyone else in the joint. Jon asked him one day why he wasn't eating breakfast at his own establishment, a fancy small local hotel. He said the food was better at the Oasis. I think the comraderie probably brings them in. If you come regularly you will recognize most of the faces.
The waitresses and staff don't change much. One waitress has been there as long as I can remember. We asked her one morning how long she had worked there and she said "23 years". We left a $23. tip that day and boy do we get good service since. She deserves that amount every day.
When Hollywood filmed "Beautiful Girls" in Stillwater they used the Oasis for a scene. Another Indie picture was filmed here last summer. I am not sure if that will be popular enough for us to see on the big screen.
One of the regulars has written a book called "The Oasis". Read an excerpt online.
Come visit us sometime. I promise we will take you to the Oasis for breakfast.
Friday, September 14, 2007
There are still banners welcoming home the large contingent of MN National Guards who were deployed recently from a two year assignment in Iraq.
I grew up in Little Falls and visited the base a few times as a kid because our neighbor worked there. It was used for two week summer training for several midwestern Natl. Guard groups. Now I believe it is also used for winter training.
We drove up to Camp Ripley to see the Veterans Cemetery adjacent to it.
1. Talking about our funerals is easier for seniors than the younger generation. (Our youngest had a frown on his face when I told about this. ) A couple decades ago my brother in-law related going home to visit his parents and his dad taking him aside to tell him he had something to show him. He then took him to the cemetery and showed him the tombstone they had selected. I think it shocked Mike. His dad had spent his life cutting granite at a local quarry and this was a natural thing for them to do as senior citizens. The kids are not in the same place.
The pre-planning is easier for us to do than them to do during a stressful time.
2. The funeral home seminar was about cremation. I smiled everytime she referred to the "cremains". It just brought to mind craisins.
3. I had never heard of a columbarium. It is a memorial wall where the cremated urns are kept with engraving of persons name, dates, etc. (Think Viet Nam war memorial, although there are no remains there.) We liked the idea of above ground storeage, but this funeral home has them set in a natural prairie grass field. In a dry, drought year it looked a bit like weeds gone wild. That would never do for my fastidious lawn-keeper husband and I don't like sand burrs, but we like the idea of a columbarium although the world sounds like a PC incorrect way a native american would say column-bury-'um.
4. Everyone is a comic. When the speaker was talking about urns, one guy said his wife wants to put his ashes in an hour glass so he can continue to be useful. Remember, the cremains are more like gritty sand than fly ash.
5. Did you know you can come back as a diamond? For a fee, you can have part of your loved ones remains compressed into a man-made gem stone. We were told they are beautiful and certified diamonds. I think this is a beautiful idea, especially if you lose a younger person. It would have to remain a family heirloom. You couldn't sell off that diamond.
6. The DNR has a "Don't ask, don't tell" policy about scattering cremains in parks. Wonder if that was adopted during the Clinton administration. She said everytime someone wants to be scattered on public parkland they get that response. It is illegal to scatter ashes there, but they can't forbid it if they don't know.
7. They have a wide selection of urns including one that looks like a life preserver and floats for a brief time before sinking. They have one embedded with flower seeds that you can bury. I read of someone having forget-me-not flowers planted where her ashes were scattered. Nice.
8. They served pizza from a local Broadway Pizza. My brother in-law wanted to know if they served Tombstone Pizza. Groan...good one. The speaker said last year they had done seminars in St. Paul. Someone who received one of the invitation to eat pizza and discuss cremation, wrote to the local paper's Bulletin Board wondering if they used the separate ovens. Everyone is a comic.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
We are familiar with the green and yellow John Deere tractors. My dad had one years ago. Jon did a lot of film work for John Deere and his good friend worked as a producer in their inhouse movie dept. Jon would love one of the little lawn and garden Deeres, but can't justify the cost with a 80' by 150' yard.
Their ads used to say, "Nothing runs like a Deere". Wonder if this powder puff could pull it's own weight.
Friday, September 7, 2007
He is tall, works clean, and has had an engaging sense of humor since he was a child. Stand-up delivery is a new display of his talent. He is a writer and a die-hard Red Sox fan. He's my longtime friend Barb's son and this is his stage debut. I expect to hear he will be doing more. His dad is a great storyteller, his mom always makes me laugh and Joel's sister is a Second City actress who does improv in LA, sings, dances and does TV commercials. Joel comes from a talented family.
Good act, Joel. "May the force be with you."
Thursday, September 6, 2007
I can't say I know much about Fred Thompson, but I did see him on The Tonight Show last night announcing he was running for president. I am not familiar with many of his positions, but he said something that endeared him to me in Leno's interview. Asked if it was a handicap coming in late to the race, (is 14 months really late?), his (paraphrased) response was: Politicians are like dentists. People do not like to see too much of them. The guy has a sense of humor or good writers. I'll take either. My husband thinks an actor is the ideal candidate. It worked for Ronnie.
Things to consider with Fred's entrance:
1. The tallest guy usually wins. He is 6'6".
2. We do like actors. After Ronald Reagan's popularity many will automatically trust a guy who played the role of president three times.
3. Being divorced and raising a second family no longer has the stigma it once has. Even the church is full of people who have similar backgrounds. Look at some other remarried candidates, Bob Dole, John McCain, and Rudy is on #3. Newt has an interesting track record with women and Bill Clinton is still popular although he didn't marry all of his daliances.
4. Fred is #2 and hasn't spent any money yet, while some early out of the gate have gone through fortunes. I think when they have polled Americans, "none of the above" has been ahead of most of the others.
5. He probably doesn't spend $400 on haircuts.
6. I don't think he has written any books about it taking the village to raise a child.
7. He was a low profile senator. The approval rating of congress is 14%. We are not crazy about those politicians (except our own reps) and maybe no one will remember him being there. He did not like the senate either according to the bio this week in Newsweek.
8. With so many candidates in both major parties the constant exposure over a long period is sure to trip some up with words they wish they could take back. Nuclear bombs in Pakistan?
How many ways to say "I was hoodwinked into voting for the war?"
The guy who waits might have an advantage of not shooting himself/herself in the foot. To think Howard Dean could have been at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. if the video cameras had not been rolling. It doesn't matter what you plan to do as long as you can weasel out of stating it before the election.
9. We are concerned about security and most Americans still trust the Law and Order candidate. Seems like watching Fred will be interesting because I don't like dentists or politicians very much. Bring on the actors but act nice pleases. This will only go on for the next fourteen months until we get a few days' break before the 2010 election begins.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Signs of fall:
There were kids at the bus stop this morning for the first day of school.
Some of the maples are beginning to turn. Our oak has some yellow leaves. We're hoping it is early autumn, not the oak wilt on the next block.
The sun is not up until almost 7:00 and it is dark at 8:00 pm.
Nights cool off. Last week, it was 43degrees when I went for my morning walk at the first sign of light.
The state fair is over. Now, only the vendors are packing up their wares, Carnies breaking down their rides, and the hopeful with metal detectors searching for coins and jewelry. I think the state fair is a bigger deal in Minnesota than most states. Politicians love the ready made audience. Entrepreneurial food vendors love making a year's income in 12 days. The public gets the hype from TV and newspaper and trudges over handing over the $12 gate to pay to eat their fill of french fried junk food. Tradition lives on. We skipped it this year.
It's the first day of school and I was reminded by the ads in Sunday's paper to stock up on notebooks, pencils and trapper-keepers. It has been a few years since I have done that. Our youngest is now independent and I didn't even pop for a new pair of shoes this year. I don't think he needs crayons, markers, paste or safety scissors in college. I kind of miss that since I started doing that kind of shopping in 1973. Life moves on.