Sunday, September 30, 2007

He Has Found Favor

Sadly, the Vikings lost their game to the Packers Sunday. I am a Vikings fan, but my #2 allegiance would go to the Pack. When these bordering teams play each other there is a mostly good natured rivalry with the fans. You have to figure fans who would wear either a wedge of cheese shaped foam or a set or horns on their heads would have a sense of fun. We live on the eastern edge of Minnesota bordering Wisconsin. There are cheeseheads who live in our MN towns and visa versa. Some don't wish the other team well, but I hope everyone can appreciate the record set by Brett Favre with his 421st TD pass. He is awesome. Now if you can just explain to me why F-A-V-R-E is pronounced "Farve" I would be anxious to hear the story.

Oooo Ya, Booyah

We got our fix of Booyah today, buying three quarts from the North St. Paul Fire Dept. fund raiser. We had to stand in line in the rain with a lot of other people. The firemen cook twelve 50 gallon vats of the stuff and people flock there to buy it and take it home. If you have never had it, it is like a thick beef vegetable soup. Recipes vary. I have heard of groups cooking using any meat or vegetable that was contributed. Got venison? --in the pot it goes. People have been pretty creative. My husband remembers the NSP volunteer firemen making this in his youth in a 50 gallon caldron. Looks like their act has grown. In September the St. Paul paper publishes a list of the communities that have a booyah feed. I think there were six or seven in St. Paul and east metro. I googled the origin and definition. Wikipedia attributes it's start to Green Bay, WI. Quite appropriate since we ate it while watching the Viking / Packer game on TV. Good stuff.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A New Meaning for Bonding With the Baby

I find a lot of funny things in the paper during the political season. (When is it not the political season?) A small item today on the inside pages relates Hillary's proposal to give a $5000 bond to each child born in the USA. I'll bet that plays well in the border states. There would be more incentive than ever to sneak into the country illegally and give birth. Not only would you get free medical care and a kid with US citizenship, he would get $5000!!!! Like my sister used to say, "Common sense is not all that common".

Why We Made our Own Funeral Arrangements and Reserved a Spot In a Columnbarium.

There was a tragic house fire in Oak Park Heights near Stillwater several years that took the life of a local woman. Since that time loved ones have put flowers and wreaths where the house stood. This area has now been cleared by eminent domain for a new approach to a bridge we hope will someday be built across the river. The blue porcelein fixture is a new addition. I will haunt my kids if they do that to me. No disrespect intended. The people who maintain this memorial do not read this blog.

Friday, September 28, 2007

It Never O'Curd to Me

Ellsworth is the self-proclaimed, "Cheese Curd Capital of the World". This creamery cranks them out. If you like them fresh, get there weekdays at 11:00 when the daily batch is ready.

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

Bridge Over Untroubled Waters

We stacked about half of the wood yesterday and then decided to go out on the St. Croix in Jon's fishing boat in the afternoon. It is almost time to put the boat in mothballs and is good to use up the old gas. We launched at the public launch just north of Stillwater and went as far as allowed--the Arcola High Bridge. Because there are zebra mussels in the lower St. Croix, you are restricted from going father north. You can go further north if you launch there, but not risk spreading these noxious creatures with your boat.
We walked on this high bridge in the sixties before we were married. In the Viet Nam war they closed it to pedestrians because of danger of sabotage. They actually posted a guard just like they had done in WW2 according to my aunt. Jon had a crazy friend who flew his airplane under the bridge while Jon filmed with his camera. I'll bet an authority somewhere wouldn't have liked to see that, but we have it documented in old home movies. In all the years we have been out on the river, I have never seen a train cross the bridge when we were down below. The train slowed down to cross.
I googled to find out the stats on the bridge because it looks so old. We are worried about all of our bridges in Minnesota since the Mpls. bridge collapse in August.
My mom said they used to hike from Somerset out to the high bridge when she was young. My aunt said when she was in high school kids would go out there to park. I think she was one of them.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Veteran's Support I am still proud of Lakeview Hospital, my "alma mater". Link is to article from local paper about the hospital's plans for serving returning vets.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


ADLs is medicalese for activities of daily living. Retirement is not always about reading books and eating lunch with friends. See the mess we made? I thought we would get the log splitter and finish in two hours. My more realistic husband told the guy he wanted it the whole day. It took us six and a half hours. You can only see part of the wood we split. Note the size of the log on the splitter. Jon lifted most of the big ones. I couldn't budge them. I don't know if he should have either, but we did survive. I dispensed prophylactic ibuprofen before we started. No backaches for either of us and we have all of our digits! We have handled each piece of two trees twice and tomorrow we must stack it all. I didn't have to exercise at Curves today or walk. I am glad I don't do this for a living or live in pioneer times. I like gas heat.
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?"
-70# today. I have been taking credit prematurely, saying, "I have lost almost 70#, but today the scale agrees. I finally read the book for Curves members about dieting and will make some changes. I still have the roll around my middle so need to lose that. They recomend more calories and even more protein than I have been eating. I aim for 50 -60gms /day. Their phase 1 is 1200 calories and abou 139 gms of protein plus lots of water for kidney protection. That is to be only for one week, then eat 1600 calories as long as you lose but lots of protein. Maybe I have been doing this the hard way. The aim is to lose the fat, not the muscle.

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

Laptop part 2

After blogging about laptops for students this am, I read this article in the Stillwater Gazette online this afternoon. It is about the laptop program at Oakland Jr. High in Stillwater school district.

Interesting, the teacher's put their desks at the back of the room so they can see what the students have on their screens.

An Optimistic Endeavor or Why Will WiFi Win The World?

I caught an interview on Good Morning America with a gentlemen whose organization's goal to to put a laptop computer into the hands of every child on earth. Ambitious project. M.I.T. has developed a child-resistant, inexpensive ($100) computer that they want to distribute to needy kids.
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

Segway Touring

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

A Book I Liked

I read this last week and enjoyed it. It was a best-selling, award winning Norwegian novel recently released in the English translation. The story is the reminiscence of a retired widower who lives alone in a cabin in a remote area in Norway. His desire to live a life of solitude is changed when his memories of his fifteenth summer spent with his father in another remote rustic cabin come flooding back. Not an action novel, but quietly catches you up in his past.


A picture is worth a 1000 words. The "arborist" came yesterday, responding to our urgent request to take down the split tree before it took us down. We took two trees down actually and I feel bad there was a squirrel nest in one of them. There was no way to give him advance notice and he will have to scramble to rebuild before winter.

The crew shred the small stuff (leaves, small branches), and we will keep the wood to burn in the garage woodstove and for campfires. They will come back and grind the stumps. Next step: rent a log splitter. I heard it said, "Young men plant trees, old men cut them down". I guess that tells you where we are in the circle of life. I think it might be easier digging the holes to plant the trees. We are going to have to plant something in the space next spring. Maybe a tall hedge or a flowering crabapple tree would work.

The owner invited us to a campfire where he lives. He said they sometimes burn up to a cord of wood at a time. Now that is a campfire. We are restricted to a small 36" width fire in town. His fire sounds more like a bonfire of years ago.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Arborist

Jon called to me yesterday afternoon after lunch, "Jane, come out here and look at this". It must have been the tone of his voice, but I didn't expect good news. He pointed to a mature tree by the side of our garage with a 4 ft. split in the crotch. That didn't look good. The crack was big enough to see through. He said he thought we better get that tree taken down. I concurred. It didn't look stable and a good wind would bring it down on our house or the neighbors fence as the best scenario.

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

The List

My first job as a nurse was at the U of MN hospital in Mpls. Even then parking was an issue. The cheapest parking lot was on the "flats" by the river. The downside was the long flight of stairs up to the hospital. The first building you came to was the heart hospital. I hope the patients weren't parking in that cheap lot.
Most mornings I start with a good walk to get the metabolism going. Today I walked downtown. Downtown really is down. We live up on high ground. It was a nice cool morning, and a nice walk down. The return trip has a few steep hills. It is almost five miles and as I climbed I thought maybe I won't do this again. Maybe I will. That reminded me of my mental list of things I won't do again. It is my way of coping with a bad situation. I keep telling myself if I get through this, I won't ever do it again. Here is the list:


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.

The Housing Market Slump

Our daughter and husband are in the early stages of looking for another house. They would like to move in a year or so and have been considering pros and cons of different neighborhoods, suburbs. I thought I would send them the info about this house that is new on the market. A front page article in the daily paper featured a story about this house for sale with the headline, "If You Have to Ask 'How Much"..." To finish the line, most wouldn't qualify for a loan for this mansion with an asking price of $53,500,000. The realtor said it was hard to price because there aren't many comparible homes for sale like this in Minnesota. It is the original home of the Pillsbury family with extensive frontage on Lake Minnetonka. Read the add online and see the pictures if you are interested. This might not be in our Mary's future...yet. They don't need 9 bedrooms and 16 bathrooms or two pools. The article said very expensive homes are not affected that much by the current housing slump.

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

The Wizard of Oz

Some days I run short of time trying to work in my walking, exercising and everyday chores. This is pathetic. I am retired. I don't have a job. How did I find time to work for a living? The Peter Principle lives on.
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

The Oasis

In the past 24 years we have lived in Stillwater we have taken visitors downtown to shop for antiques, see the riverfront and perhaps eat at a local restaurant or go out on the riverboat. We have never shared our favorite breakfast diner with them. We did spend years sharing breakfast on Saturday morns with good friends who lived in the area. I don't know why we don't bring visitors there. Perhaps we should let them see the "real" Stillwater that the tourists don't see.

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

GI Jon

No, he didn't re-enlist. Picture was taken at the Military Museum, Camp Ripley, Little Falls, MN. Outside there is a display of helicopters, tanks, ambulances, trucks and artillery used over the past 60+ years.
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.

Things My Kids Don't Find Funny..

Hey, we went to the "Pizza and Pre-planning" party at the funeral home the other day and learned a few things:

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


My Uncle Jerry worked at a Green Bay TV station in the 60's and 70's. He was a cameraman and then a producer. They broadcast the Green Bay Packers games in their halcion Lombardi days. I believe they were in the first Superbowl game and it was played in January. Yup, the Superbowl used to be in January until the league moved the games indoors and increased revenue by dragging the football season into February. We had better keep an eye on them. Look what happened to Stanley Cup finals. They finish in summer!

A friend of our recently related getting his hands on "the mother lode" of old TV studio equipment from a Green Bay station. I wonder if some of this was used by my uncle years ago. How many "degrees of separation" would this be?

Our friend is in the AV field at a prominent Boston college and an avid collector of old broadcast memorabilia. Memorabilia usually brings to mind small items. He collects huge studio cameras and video equipment from the early years of TV. I think his wife would rather see him collecting stamps or coins. Not all the equipment fits in the museum, so he stores stuff at home in the basement much to the chagrin of wife. He is the go-to guy when directors are doing a period film and need a vintage camera. Several of his cameras have been in recent movies.

I am glad there are people that save old things for posterity. I am also glad I am not one of them. We don't have an attic or empty basement space so the choice was made for us.

Prepare to Meet Your Maker

I am not sure who the "maker" will be, Dominos? Papa Murphy?--but we are going to a pizza party today. I laughed when we got the invitation in the mail. It is from Bradshaw Funeral Home just up the road. They are having an informational meeting on cremation services. Pizza is provided for this lunch time event. They know their audience. Seniors will turn out for free food.
A month ago when I went to an afternoon Tea with old friends, I realized I was the only one there who had not written a living will. Most had plans made with the Cremation Society of MN and had preplanned their funerals. I know we should do this. It just seems like there is time. You do it to make it easier for your kids and we always intend to but..
The only planning I have done is how to work a piece of pizza into my daily calorie count today. I could eat lighter for breakfast or take a pill from my emergency bottle of Alli, the fat blocking pills. Those pills claim to block 25% of the calories from fat in a meal. I have only used two so far because I eat a pretty low fat diet. I can't see taking an expensive pill to block 25 - 50 calories. It is just as easy to walk a little more. I look at indulgent food now and calculate how far I will have to walk to burn it up. I have been walking 7 miles on good days. That should cover about 700 calories. Maybe I can have the pepperoni and cheese. Soon I will have to have a winter plan and do most of the walking indoors or buy a piece of equipment to use at home. Winter is coming. We have frost warnings tonight and tomorrow night. Last week the thermometer hit 92. What a switch.
I like the picture of the pizza delivery guy who is wearing black. Maybe he is from Bradshaw. I know they do pickup. Perhaps they deliver.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Oh, Deere...

The pink tractor is at a local garden store. When we drove by and spotted it, my husband said, "It must be a Joan Deere".
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

Last Comic Standing Tall - Joel Beck

I enjoy clever comics and have found a new one who could do a few rounds with the contestants on "Last Comic Standing" and his mom would not be embarassed to hear his routine. He has a wry sense of humor. Sample the two clips on You Tube.

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

President Fred?

He's on everybody's front page this morning, so why not my blog?
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

The Autumn Leaves

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.

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Garage Give

Our pastor teaches to give what God tells you to give. No pressure. I haven't seen anyone leaving the church partially clothed, yet!
This week we are giving again. It is the 8th or 9th annual "Garage Give". People in the church donate gently used items and people in need in the community can take them free. Our former pastor, who started this tradition, taught it was better to give and receive the reward from God than charge a small sum. It was better to bless someone. We give away an amazing amount of clothing, household goods, and furniture and sometimes even a car. People are amazed that there is no charge. It is fun. Church people are available to even deliver furniture to people's houses.
My sister and friend advised me to get rid of the "fat clothes". Last week I washed and pressed everything that was too big. It is very liberating and is my way of closing that door. I must be vigilant to not regain and buy bigger sizes. I will need lots of grace. I believe God will help if I do my part.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Labor Day

This is Labor Day weekend and I googled it to find it's origins. It was a product of the labor movement and first celebrated as a workingman's holiday in 1882 in New York.
I believe labor day has lost it's original meaning. It is more simply the last weekend of summer. It marks the start of the school year for most young people. It is the last day of our state fair. The last three day weekend to enjoy a trip "up north".
I don't think many of us remember the struggles of working men to get a decent days pay in a safe environment. One thing I do know, my profession of nursing, while not a typical labor job, benefited from becoming organized. When I was a new nurse the job did not pay enough to support a family. It did not pay enough for a nurse to live without sharing an apartment with several others and still own a car. With global economies things have changed. Who would have thought that medical care could be outsourced? People now combine travel with pursuit of cheaper surgery in India and Asia. Many senior citizens get dental care at border clinics in Mexico. Hopefully, we will not go the way of Ford and GM while competing with medical professionals in the world who were trained in the USA.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Beautiful Bayfield

We got away for a few days this week to Bayfield, WI which is on the shores of Lake Superior and site of the Apostle Islands. We brought our little boat and spent an afternoon circling some of the islands. The water is crystal clear. You can see the sandy bottom at great depths. I read in the brochure visibility is 60 ft. You can't do that in the muddy Mississippi.

This is a delightful little town known to midwesterners as a laid back summer retreat. There are many artisans in the area and it has the charm of a New England coastal hamlet. We have a favorite place we stay across from the ferry. The restaurants are good and we had a relaxing time.

The used to quarry brownstone from those islands and many of the New York brownstone buildings rose from the stone found here. One renowned B& B, the Rittenhouse, has foundations and retaining walls built in this material.