Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mr. Relaxation

We followed a frequently observed ritual this morning and went out for breakfast at our favorite local diner. I had planned to stop at Kohl's on the way and pick up something at their Saturday Early Bird sale. (I managed to avoid the black Friday shopping rush. People are getting killed at those bargain hunting events.) I asked Jon if he wanted to run in the store with me or wait in the car. He replied he would wait in the car. He was wearing his bedroom slippers. That attire is acceptable at our diner but would look strange at Kohl's. He hadn't planned to dress this casually, he just didn't notice what he had on his feet until we were in the car.
The River Oasis Cafe went through some minor changes with the new owner, but the staff and food are mostly unchanged. Kenny, the dishwasher who was banned from coming out front to pick up dishes from the dirty dish bins, is back doing his job like he previously did. We see him come out to get the dishes again. All is well in the kingdom. The waitresses have been working there for decades. They usually don't need to ask what we want. Jon is a creature of habit and orders #2 even though they no longer have #2 on the menu. They know what he means.
Life is good.
The view from the River Oasis Cafe is of a smoothly frozen over St. Croix river. It is cold outside and warm inside. Warm and cozy enough to show up on a Saturday morning wearing your bedroom slippers. Hopefully, Jon won't push that to PJs.

Here Comes Santa Claus

While some were elbowing their way to good deals at Black Friday store sales, others in Stillwater were waiting for Santa. Every year on the Friday after Thanksgiving he tours the neighborhoods on the fire truck throwing candy to the kids and waving to all. Our grandbabies are too little too be impressed. Our older grandchildren too sophisticated at 11 and 16. Maybe in a year or two.....

It isn't just kids who run out to wave. Our neighborhood is more retired adults than youngsters, but the oldsters fondly remember all the years they bundled up little believers to get their first glimpse of Santa. We braced for the cool morning and visited with each other, swapping stories of years gone by. We didn't get any candy. He saves that for the kids. Good thing. Our frig is still stuffed with leftovers from Thursday.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Zoe, Zoe

Zoe is the more laid-back twin. Photo taken yesterday shows her calmly sleeping in my arms. She is a little darling who is also enjoyed by grandma and grandpa.

Romie, Romie

I knew I would have to apologize to the little guy's dad, Mike, for taking his picture with a dollie. I couldn't resist putting it by him to see if he would notice the face. He did. Jon captioned the picture. Naughty Jon. Innocent Roman.
Roman has picked up another nickname, "Wyatt Urp" because he spits up his formula so often. This doesn't look like the face of a gunslinger, does it?

Lelftover Leftovers

I wrote this "poem" last year after Thanksgiving and put it in my blog. I am serving it up for you again today. Everything will be leftovers today, even the blog.

Leftover turkey, this we treasure
Chop it, slice it, guess- don’t measure
Take a handful of turkey pieces
Add some veggies or
Add some cheeses
With rice or noodles it surely pleases.

Turkey chili can be spicy
Served up with cornbread it’snice, eh?
Turkey sausages-- very hardy
Turkey meatballs—for your party.

Stuff some peppers with the turkey
Dehydrate slowly – make some jerky
Top a pizza, stuff some pitas
Serve them up with margaritas

Turkey soup will warm you up
On colder days just drink a cup
Try turkey tacos, make some hash
Use the leftovers, save some cash.

Quesadillas, enchiladas,
Tetrazzini, manicottas
Turkey omelettes, turkey stew
Many choices, what to do?

In Minnesota we feed a group
Making “hot dish” with canned soup

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Pardoning the Turkeys

Where do you think your holiday dinner came from? It was once alive and now slowly roasting in the oven. There was a step we didn't see--the slaughter.
There is a tradition in Washington to pardon a turkey before Thanksgiving. Its' life is spared and it lives out its' days at the national zoo. THis years the turkey President Bush pardoned will live in Disney World.
Governor Sarah Palin was also part of a turkey pardoning ceremony in Alaska.
Much has been made of the continuation of killing turkeys that went on in the background. Like I said, where did you think that turkey came from? Unless you are vegan, some turkey lives are lost. They were born to die. Get over it.
There is also talk about pardoning other turkeys in Washington. Scooter Libby must be hopeful. Every president pardons scoundrels with political connections as they leave office. The outgoing presidents are lame ducks themselves and sympathize with the turkeys, I think. The turkeys who didn't contribute to a political party will lose their heads.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pardon Me, But I Better Not Put a Title on This

Getting Grandma Into the 20th Century

My daughter suggested we communicate by Instant Messaging and called me to help set up my account. In the space of a few minutes we were good to go and sending inconsequential messages. She is at work. It is a slow day before the holiday.
I like having this feature to communicate about the kids. You can teach an old dog new stuff. When I said I was getting up to speed with the rest of the world, (there was a movie about ten years ago with Meg Ryan) she laughed and said Andy, who is 23, told her he hadn't used IM since 7th grade. So you see, we have gotten grandma up to 20th century speed. Next year we will work on the 21st century. This might be another way to find out if my name is in the obituaries. On the other hand, the young set communicate by texting. No thanks. Don't need arthritic thumbs. I might need my thumbs to open child-proof pill bottles someday.

Being Thankful

There is an old joke about picking up the newspaper, seeing your name isn't there and getting on with your day. I have often said that. Last week I picked up the paper, scanned the column alphabetically, and saw my name! Yikes. You would think I would be the first to know and not have to read that in the obituaries. I am fudging a bit, the last name was the same, not the first. The woman who died is distant kin who also lived in Stillwater. She had a son close in age to our older boys. Years ago we would often get calls at our house for him that I would redirect. One day I called her to see if the families were related. Since she also is an in-law we had to dig back to find the relationship. Her husband's hometown wasn't familiar to me. When I asked who his grandfather was, she said, "Peter". My husband's grandfather was also Peter but a different Peter. When I have read Jon's geneology the names Peter, John and Michael appear often. This family was distantly related but the families were so big we didn't know the 2nd or 3rd cousins.

Anyway, she died not me. I am still here and grateful for it. Someday my name will be in the paper. Someday all of our names will be in the paper if there are still newspapers around.

I hope we don't see the disappearance of the rags while I am still around. It just won't be the same reading about my demise in a blog.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


It's a good day. The price of gas at the station by my daughter's is $1.58. It was ten cents more by our house yesterday. I sincerely hope what is left of my IRA is not in Exxon and Citibank.
I have read a couple of Thomas Freidman's books. The last was, "The World if Flat". I see he has a new book out, "The World is Flat Broke". Just kidding.
My husband has a unique fix for the financial quandry is our country. Have the feds buy everyone a new GM, Ford or Chrysler. I suggest letting the individual be responsible for the sales tax. That collection of sales tax on 3 million adults in Minnesota at $1000 a pop should fix our state's financial shortfall. If someone doesn't want a vehicle, give them something manufactured in the USA. That might be a hard thing to find. I think we are down to making tin whistles in Maine, wooden arrows somewhere and Kentucky bourbon and California wines.
Thanksgiving is coming and I will again state my pet peeve; people who call Thursday "Turkey Day". It is Thanksgiving Day. Thanks giving. To whom? Believers better than God. Unbelievers should at least thank those they can see. I read something that gave me pause; what if we could only keep what we had said thanks for ? Our loved ones, our health, our stuff, our freedom and on and on. What if everything we take for granted disappeared if we didn't say thanks? We are recipients of a merciful provider. It is easy to amble through life without giving it a thought. What if He forgot us?

Monday, November 24, 2008


(this blog done with zoe in my left arm---no capitals. hunt and peck typing)

romie enjoys his "state fair" chair. zoe likes her gym mat. she was quite content to reach, wiggle and kick on it for over half an hour this morning. the gym mat has dangling toys, mirrors, squeekers and is geared to stimulate a young baby who is not mobile.
last thanksgiving mary and i did the lifetime fiyness turkey run (or walk--we walked) in downtown mpls. it was fun being in a mass of fun loving people, some of whom were dressed like turkeys or pilgrims. we won't do it this year. maybe in a year or two, zoe will want to come with us. i think romie may be home in a recliner with grandpa watching football or listening to the beach boys.

Fair State of Mind Chair

Minnesota has one of the biggest state fairs in the country. It marks the end of summer. It is a ritual to visit for city folk, farmers with 4H kids and a trip to "the cities" for "outstate" people before school begins.
What draws us to the fair? Tradition? Fun? Food? Shopping? I know people who go to buy things. I am not one of them. My idea of fun isn'y to buy a mop or salsa maker and carry it around all day. The fair is also a place for vendors to showcase their stuff. New tractors, farm equipment, 4 wheel drive pick-ups, hot tubs etc. Different people are interested in different things. All of the people make a beeline to a few of the fair displays. They get a bucket of Sweet Martha cookies and they go to the Grandstand display and sit in the relaxalounger chairs. Men and boys don't understand why the wife/mother always vetoes buying one of these chairs. They are comfortable. They lull and soothe tired fairgoers with their soft vibrations and built-in back massagers. They come in brown or black vinyl and are ugly. That is why more aren't sold. They don't fit in our decore. When Andy was ten or eleven he thought we should get one. We didn't. Boys and men don't think black vinyl is ugly.
I have fed the twins this morning and Roman is groovin' in his electric vibrations chair. Maybe he will want one of those State Fair chairs when he is grown up. Maybe I will see if I can convince his wife that he needs one. Maybe that won't work with her either.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Other Zoe

The babies other grandma noticed the Lil Sesame Street Muppet mobile over Zoe's bed and pointed out one of the muppets is named Zoe.

Giving Thanks

A One and A Two and A......

My mother in law, who came of age in the '30s, loved Lawrence Welk. When we went to their house for dinner on Saturday night, she would entertain the kids so I could watch his show. I usually protested, I disliked Welk. He seemed corny to me. She loved him but wanted me to have the treat. Hard to refuse her generous offer. Even a game of Monopoly seemed better than watching Lawrence Welk. I think I do things like that now. Try to get the kids to enjoy something I like but they probably don't.

Lawrence Welk was a big bandleader with a thick South Dakota German dialect. You just can't spell how he said "a-one-and-a-two" like he pronounced it.

We are busy counting in Minnesota. Our election is not over. OMG. When will it end? The possibility of a coup 'd etat or takeover by terrorists is starting to not look so bad. We had 2.9 million votes cast and the separation is now 107 votes. Al Franken and Norm Coleman camps are both being obnoxious about challenging votes. The political balance in the senate will be affected. Don't blame me. I voted for Independent Dean Barkley. Most of the people who voted for one of the other guys would probably like to change their votes to Barkley now too. Ballots are being challenged for frivolous reasons. One challenge: The voter cast a vote for the republican candidate for president and the democrat for senate or vice-versa. That can't be right. They challenge the ballot. HELLO. People do split the ballot. Anybody home?

I am tired of ranting. I don't think anyone reads my blog anymore. They are tired of my ranting too. HELLO. Anybody out there? Write a comment if you are. I will cover my eyes and count. A-one-and-a-two.......I am not coming out until we have a senator. It should only take a month or so. Meanwhile future candidates are lining up for 2012. Maybe Obama got it right. He put Hillary where he could watch her. She couldn't possibly campaign for president while she is Secretary of State, could she? Better keep an eye on Bill though. This is an ambitious family.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Double Down? Double Up?

I have been focusing on our twindom or politics. I like writing about the twins more so here goes. Today was another milestone. Mike and Mary took the babies in for their first immunizations. They tolerated this well according to mom and cried only briefly. Giving shots to kids kept me from enjoying pediatrics. When I had to give an antibiotic to a kid in ER, I always asked if someone else wanted to do it. No one ever did. No one wants to make a kid cry. My friend Barb, who worked in a peds clinic for about 18 years reminded me why we give the shots and incidentally brief discomfort. Her baby brother died of meningitis and her mom was hearing impaired from childhood chickenpox.
The kiddos are now immunized against Hepatitis B, Polio (oral med), Pneumococcal Disease, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Rotavirus and HIB (meningitis). Good. Good thing they can combine some of these. Each has a bandaid on each thigh. Grandma kissed the booboo.
Here is why I titled this blog "double down vs. double up". They weighed in at 10#6oz and 10#8oz. Each weighed just over 5# at birth. Like all newborns they lost some of that initially. They are gaining and doing great. No more tiny preemie. They look robust and round.
Roman does have a reflux problem that has gotten worse. The pediatrician was reluctant to treat with medicine. The H2blockers neutralize stomach acid and help, but there is a reason for that acid. Acid destroys germs and protects against illness. We will all continue to position him carefullly--not flat, burp gently, and give smaller, more frequent feedings. It was also okayed to add rice cereal to the formula to thicken it and make less likely it will roll back up.
Twins: Double blessing, double the pleasure, double the fun. No gum for them yet. Too little for that.

Wharton's School of Nurses Re-education

A month or so ago they found a tumor in Jon's neck while doing an ultrasound of his carotid artery in the neck. The word "small tumor" was frightening. It needed further exploration. After repeating the non-invasive test, they did a needle biopsy. Benign. "Good" tumor. What a relief. Jon had this news at his followup surgical appointment. He didn't know the particulars. Yesterday he saw an ENT specialist who called it a Warthin's tumor. He will follow up and possibly need it surgically removed.

This morning I went to that font of all knowledge, Wikipedia. I noticed Jon reading over my shoulder. He said he had looked there yesterday. When I got to the part about it being caused by cigarette smoking he said, "I was afraid you would see that". Not much good to say about cigarette smoking. If only the young could relate and understand how starting to smoke will affect them in later life. I have already bribed my grandson offering cash if he doesn't smoke. I hope he sees the big picture. Both of his parents smoke and for now he distains smoking. His dad said that at 16 too. I remain hopeful.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

You Are Cordially Invited to the Vetting of Bill & Hillary

Once again, Bill is a problem for Hillary. News today say she is being "vetted" for the Secretary of State position. One problem; Bill has earned $109 million, yes million, since leaving office. And to think she called Obama an elitist. I know, elitist doesn't refer to wealth, but it might not be nice to point fingers when your income tax form has those kind of numbers on it.
The problem: What did Bill do to earn this income? If you can believe it, he is a very good speaker. Arab sheiks have paid exorbitant sums to hear him. Maybe they like the Arkansas dialect although I think it is gone. Maybe they like Bill. Maybe they think he has influence. I vote for the third option. Here is my suggestion. Bill, as long as you have this kind of hold on these people, can you convince them to buy more GM cars? They are available at bargain prices and GM needs to move some merchandise.
In the 40's when American oilmen found oil in the Persian Gulf, the less worldly sheiks bought big US cars and abandoned in the desert when they had problems. Flat tire? No problem. Get another car. There was plenty of $$$$. There is still plenty of $$$$ over there. Our $$$$$. Convince them to buy more American cars. If they abandon them in the desert there are probably some enterprising Chinese businessmen who are willing to collect them, send them to China as scrap and have a win/win deal.
There. I have offended several countries.
Today's paper reports several of the Saudi royal family are in Rochester at the Mayo clinic for check-ups. Even the king has been sighted. He is a big tipper and people remember him. Added to that, men in Arab burnoose stand out in this southeastern small town. There are lots of foreign visitors but they don't all blend in with Caucasian Olmstead county farmers.
When Jon's aunt lived in Rochester she worked at a department store in the lingerie department. She told of wealthy Arab's buying enormous orders of expensive lingerie. They probably still do that. Now if we could convince the clerk to Tell them the local car dealer has some good deals.......... Maybe the Mayo clinic could open a branch at the Mall of America doing virtual colonoscopies. That would lure a few big spenders a little further north. There are plenty of car dealerships out on that 494 strip by the MOA who would be happy to do business.

More Mush


There is a biblical principle; "Whatsoever a man (woman) soweth, that shall you reap" that is tried and true. I quote it in King James English because it sounds more authoritarian. In plain English is says; What you did is going to come back to you.

When I was a kid I was an extremely fussy eater. I got two of those back (fussy eating kids). I hated oatmeal. I don't think I ever tasted it, I just hated the way the gluey, slimy stuff looked. My mom made oatmeal for my sister Carolyn. I preferred Malt-o-meal. I made it to 63 without eating oatmeal. Finally, those health gurus got to me. We bought a box of steel-cut oatmeal. Jon cooked it. Viola! Love the stuff. It takes 30 min. to prepare but was worth the wait. The next morning I made it. It turned out gluey and slimy. Repaid for past behavior? I strained off the extra thick liquid and ate it. Today I read the box. Cook UNCOVERED. That is the secret. It turned out the correct consistency and tastes great with Splenda and no milk. Don't want to make it slimy again.

I wonder if my mom cooked her oatmeal with the cover on or off???

Now I have another world to conquer. Canned spinach. I have never even tasted canned spinach. Never was tempted to be like Popeye. I couldn't get past the smell. I love fresh spinach and eat it if I cook it myself, but can't deal with the canned stuff. Too smelly and slimy. Do they cook it with the cover on?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Like a Bat Out of Hell

I don't even understand mountain climbing. Thrill seeking is not my game. The people in the video seem reckless to me. I think our Minnesota astronaut, her name escapes me, could have used this bat suit to chase her lost tool case. How embarrassing to have the world watching and not secure your $100,000. tool bag on a tether during the spacewalk. She used good judgment not going after it. Remember the scene of the spaceman floating away forever in "2001; A Space Odyssey"?

Women usually overcompensate when they do a traditional "man's job". I'll bet she has regrets but hope she just accepts it as a screw up. She was heading a team that was doing some home improvements up there. They were fixing the plumbing and installing a new refrigerator. Since nothing weighs as much as it does on earth, it seemed a reasonable task for a woman. She could lift the frig in a weightless space capsule, couldn't she? At least she only lost the tool bag. It might not have been optimum to have a loose refrigerator orbiting up there. Space junk, indeed.

I'm Picking Up Good Vibrations

Good old Beach Boys song, "Good Vibrations". Jon had the song as the ring tone on his cell phone the past couple of years. When he got a call, that song blasted out loud. Loud. He seldom has his cell in his pocket, so he needed to hear it ring from around the house. I got tired of "Good Vibrations".

When Andy was little he was his dad's companion on fishing/swimming trips in the boat. Jon had a waterproof boom box and a tapes of the Beach Boys that they liked. I'm sure they heard "Kokomo" and "Good Vibrations" often. Andy referred to them as the Beach Brothers when he was a pre-schooler. We didn't correct him because we thought it was cute.

Now our little guy, Romie, is cruising to good vibrations himself. Probably because he was a preemie he is a little fuss. High strung. What works wonders to settle him down is putting him in his "electric chair". It is a battery operated bouncy chair that reclines and vibrates to soothe him. It works wonders. Good vibrations for the littliest "beach brother". Maybe grandma should get him a little Hawaiian shirt. Cruisin' Romie. Surf's up.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


No turkeys were harmed making this game. If that thought actually bothers you, skip this.

Get Out on the Highway, Lookin For Adventure...

It's back to work week at the twins household. Mom had her first day back on the job yesterday. I spent the day with the kids. This morning I picked them up and brought them here for grandpa and I to do it together. Transporting them is all about timing. They have to be in their snowsuits (it is in the teens) and in snug car seats. You can't do it when their tummies are full--or spit (up) happens. I had the whole routine down but when we arrived I couldn't remember how to get the car seats unlatched from the base. After a few anxious moments we figured it out. It was simplier years ago. Kids sat in one of those raised seats in the middle of the front seat by mom. You could keep an eye on them. I wonder if the Simpsons still starts the show with Marge and Maggie driving. Maggie is in the now forbidden front seat. Somehow our first kids survived. Shudder to think what would have happened in a crash. I Googled Maggie Simpson + carseat and couldn't find a graphic for that. Maybe cartoonists have done away with that. Sets a bad example, although I don't think you could find a front seat for kids like that.

Grandpa just fed the little guy Romie and he is blissfully snuggled up. Both of them look blissful and warm. Aren't babies wonderful?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Favorite Andrea Bocelli Recording

This moves me. Beautiful, grand, inspiring... I'd better share this with the little guy, too.

Cleanliness is Next to.....

Mr. Clean, AKA husband Jon, caught my attention the other day when he said he was "going out to the garage to vacuum my vacuum". Come again? I followed to see what that was about. He took our small, handheld vacuum out and cleaned it up inside with the Shopvac. How many people do that, I wondered.

Last night he mentioned he had "backed up my backup" on his computer. Careful guy. Swiss and German genes. Clean and methodical. His mom was the cleanest person I ever met. People's eyes get wide in disbelief when I say she would scrub her sidewalks yearly. Scrub them on hands and knees with a bucket and brush. She did the same on the siding of the house and garage floor. That place sparkled. All this was a mite intimidating for a new daughter in-law. I coped by not trying to keep up to those standards. It shows. Her legacy lives on with her son and daughter. Things in their keeping still sparkle but I don't think they do the sidewalks on hands and knees. How Catherine would have loved Jon's power washer. Does the job and saves the knees.

There is a benefit from living with Mr. Clean. Yesterday he cleaned the stove top and shined up the appliances. My feelings aren't hurt. I just have to remember to notice and give him a hug. Keep up the good work, Mr. Clean.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Private Eyes Are Watching....

I can hear the song, "Private Eyes Are Watching You" in my head. After Nov 4, we thought we would be through with politics for a while. Not to be. Our senatorial contest was a dirty one. Both major candidates flung stuff at each other. 40million $$ was spent. Most weren't impressed with the campaign. The third party candidate got 15% of the vote. On election night Norm Coleman, the republican incumbant, declared victory with about a 700 vote lead. That lead has shrunk to 206. The aftermath has been almost as dirty as the campaign. Lawsuits. False allegations that election officials were carting around absentee ballots in the trunks of their cars. Allegations of cheating. All this in Minnesota, the land of clean politics. We may have to take that off our signs.
One candidate was raised in Minnesota and lived much of his life in New York before moving back to qualify as a candidate for senator. The other candidate was raised in New York and moved to Minnesota. Who is the real Minnesotan? I dunno. The third party guy was responsible for getting Jesse Ventura in as guvner a few years ago. "Minnesota, the land of clean politics". I think "Minnesota, the land of strange politics" may stick instead.
We still don't have an official ruling on who won the senatorial contest. There will be a recount starting next week. It will take a month. There are recount panels. Recount official watchers, and now volunteers are coming forward to watch the watchers. Sounds like a third world election where Jimmie Carter mans the poling place. Maybe he will come too. He can watch the watchers who are watching the watchers. Is anybody still left to keep an eye on those bozos on Wall Street who have 700 billion of our $$$s and want more? Christmas is coming and they may not have enough to meet their bonuses.
God help us. Please.

Little Bocelli Fan

Mary reports the little guy, Roman, likes opera. He sat up and took notice when he heard Andrea Bocceli sing on TV. Good taste, Roman. He isn't even Italian. It must be the name Roman. I am going to share my CDs with mom who will put them on your Ipod. When I babysit I will probably not play that when you are trying to sleep. You never know when Roman is going to burst into an aria.

(Good) Sign of the Times I Never Thought I Would See Again

The price of gas at our local station today. Funny, when the stock market started tanking a few months ago, I hoped my mutual fund had BP and Exxon stocks. Now they are losing too.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Sunday night was my last overnight with the babies for a week and I miss them already. Mike's sister Shannon is flying in from Chicago today to help. She is about our Andy's age, a nurse, and a very generous auntie who sent beautiful clothes for the kiddies.

The baby blog and new pictures almost every day will be my fix to stay connected until next week. Pictures are wonderful but something is missing. You don't get the sweet smell of their necks, the almost-there social smile I am trying to elicit, or the touch of soo soft skin. You don't feel the warm little bundles cuddled up against you as they sleep after feeding. My clothes don't smell like formula. You don't see Roman's big eyed expressions or Zoe's pretty princess little face.

I even miss the "watchcat" Wicket. She has appointed herself keeper of the kids. She patrols their room occasionally like a night watchman on rounds. If all is well, she stealthily leaves. If the kids are crying (sometimes both at once), Wicket is in your face to remedy the situation. She gets close, turns that Ewok-like face at you, looks with her dime-sized pea green eyes, and meows loudly. DO SOMETHING, the look says. Watchcat. Her mothering instincts are intact.

You can't say she would be a wicked mother. Wicket, gotta love her too.

Thanks to All Who Have Served

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Qwerty meets Quirky

I'll have to check the dictionary, but I think I have found a Q word for Scrabble that doesn't need a U. Qwerty refers to the standard keyboard. Read across the second row starting at the left. Every now and then I hear of someone who wants to streamline the keyboard to make it more efficient. More efficient for them would not be helpful to me. I am a whiz on the standard keyboard. Actually, I was an award winning typist in my high school days. I could type 120 wpm accurately and have a lapel pin to prove it. I am still almost that fast now. Accuracy is not as important anymore now that you don't have to use correction fluid or carbon paper. Just fix your mistakes with delete and continue on.

Today's newspaper ads caught my eye with pictures of cell phones with qwerty keypads. Texters must appreciate this technology. Minutes before I had bristled when Jon asked me what I thought about the electronic "book" called Kindle. Quit messing with what works. I still barely understand our TV and can't play a DVD or record anything anymore. I can't play my CDs. Where did that "stereo" go? It was replaced by a bunch of black boxes with small print I can't see and functions I don't remember how to use. (There is a business someone could pursue catering to old ladies like me with fading vision who wish they still had their old equipment. Come to my house and set me up and never offer me an upgrade please. )After a moment's thought I acquiesed thinking Kindle would at least save space and paper. Saving paper is how computers were promoted in the workplace. Then everyone at work printed everything and a new techno tool, the shredder" was invented. Will Kindle save paper? I might like the idea of saving space and downloading books.

Jon just got a new cell phone contract so he could replace the phone. Why?? The old one worked fine. I understood its' functions pretty well. I could actually pick up messages. I am still lost on the new one. Even if it had a qwerty keypad, which it doesn't", I wouldn't be able to use my stiff fingers on such small buttons.

Every day I am becoming more like my mother who disliked new electronics. I can give up TV if I have to. I can listen to the radio instead of play CDs, but please publishers keep cranking out those printed books or I will despair.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Can I Give You a Snuggie?

At last. The perfect Christmas gift for those who live in cold climates. A Snuggie. That's not what you think. It's not a disposable diaper or some trickster yanking on your underwear but rather a warm blanket with sleeves. Everyone will be warm but look like they have joined some religious sect. They should be acceptable to fundamentalist women of a certain religion if they wear a head covering with them. They might be embraced by women who eat too much over the holidays and have midrift bulge. One size fits all or at least most people. They are gender neutral and modest. No Republican female candidate would blow the party budget wearing this $19.95 outfit. Even traditional nuns could add a little holiday cheer by going with the red. Judges could have a holiday alternative to the black robe.

Snuggies might be a good option for me these cool evenings. I honker down to watch TV or read in our leather chairs and freeze if I am not wrapped in blankets. Leather looks nice but is too cold in the summer when the AC is on and too cool in the winter for me. I usually cover the chair with one blanket and cover myself with another. Why don't I just turn up the thermostat? My husband is always too hot, that's why. We keep it at 70as a compromise.

While I agree it is better to keep the thermostat down to conserve resources, I would not be motivated to keep the thermostat down to save money. Our gas is free. That's right. It is free. For almost a year Excel Energy, who provide our electricity and gas, have sent our monthly bill with the charges for electricity according to useage and the charge for gas at $0. Zero. Nada. No charge. Last fall we thought our bills were low because we had installed a new superefficieint AC and furnace. Then we noticed the breakdown on the bill. All the charges were for electric use and gas was $0.00 Jon called Excel who thought we might have a failed meter and would have it checked. After a couple months he called again. The customer service agent was a bit snippy and said they knew about the problem. Okay. A couple more months and someone came to check the meter. A bit later it was replaced. The next bill? Zero for gas. $0.00 He called again. He mentioned we had a few furnace installed recently. They said they would check on it. We waited. Every month gas use is nada. We have a gas clothes dryer and hot water heater so use gas in the summer. Even if there had been some problem with the new furnace hookup, the dryer and water heater aren't new. As fall approached he wrote them a letter. Next month...the bill arrived. Again no charge for gas.
I am going to find out if Excel Energy has gas stations that sell petro for the car. We could use free gas for our vehicles too. Warren Buffet says there is plenty of natural gas.
Maybe I don't need that Snuggie after all. I think I will sneak over and set that thermostat at 75. Thanks Excel.

Adventurous Eating - or-- Yakkity Yak, Guess What's For Dinner?

My dad was a hunter and mom was a wife of limited means who knew how to stretch a buck. She grew up during the depression. That says it all. She could cope with the current economic crisis because she paid cash for the little house she bought on a waitress wages, never had a credit card and ate all the leftover food in the frig. My dad hunted and she cooked what he brought home. She told stories about fixing racoon, squirrel, turtle and rabbit. I clearly remember eating frog legs. All of these stories smacked of economical living.

Our youngest son Andy spent a summer working as a waiter at a nice local restaurant at the marina in the next town. At the end of the summer the place closed. Now it has reopened. I was curious what it would be like under new management. In the mail today we received sample of the menu with the following entrees:

Elk Tenderloin 8 oz $29

Bison Rib Eye 12oz $22

Antelope Flank $22

Frog Legs (appetizer) $8

Mom would have loved this. What was paramount to "road kill food" at our house has been turned into moderately priced wild game meals-- clever marketing. How continental. They love to serve wild game meals in Bavaria and Switzerland.

I didn't see racoon or turtle stew on the menu. I didn't see moose or caribou either. If this restaurant wants to thrive in this conservative political district, they might be wise to add a dish or two of caribou or moose and get a recipe from Governor Palin. Every time I heard her talk I thought she would fit right in here in Minnesota. By the way, this restaurant does serve Yak. You Betcha.

Call Him Pee Wee

My baby dressed up for Halloween party.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Will Work for Pizza. Lassie ,You had better watch your back.

A penny for your thoughts.....

Tune Time

Just type in any song that was ever played, and see what happens. Then, following the
end of the song, it will keep playing songs of the same era forever.
Happy listening.

Grandmas Rule

The twins other grandma, Mike's mom Candy, spent last night with the new family. She has been a Godsend. A supportive, loving woman who endeared herself to me forever when I saw her walk out of the nursery the first time she saw Roman and Zoe with tears (of joy) in her eyes. She is the grandma who outfits them with the cutest clothes. I am most thankful that she is the best mother in-law our Mary could have. I felt that way about my mother in-law. Both are warm, loving women who embraced their daughters in-law and loved their grandkids. My mother in-law Catherine kept a shelf of games and books at her house for the kids. When we visited she would take all of them and read, tell them stories or play games with them. She quietly snuck money into our hands for treats for the kids in the lean years. Go grandma. I miss her.
Little Zoe has the middle name Cate after her great grandma Catherine. Our older granddaughter Mina has the middle name Catherine after her and her maternal grandma.
Grandmas rule.
This morning I read an article about the inner circle of the Obamas. Michelle Obamas mother is the caregiver to their two children when they travel. She is a widow and some wonder if she will move into the White House as well. In any case, she will make the move to Washington. Grandmas rule?

It is a honeymoon period for the new President-elect. Even former opponents like Rudy Guiliani have wished them well. George Will actually endorsed Obama before the election. In one Newsweek column he said he reminded him of a young Reagan. I was proud of John McCain's gracious speech election night. I voted republican but don't feel bad about Obama winning. It was overdue. I hope people can give this man a chance now that he is to be president. God knows, he needs our prayers and acceptance. The challenges he faces are horrendous. When Abe Lincoln said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand", he was quoting scripture. Good words to live by. We should not be our own enemy. We have enough of those in this dangerous world. And we have had enough bitter divisive attacks on everyone who seeks office. Judge by results, not prejudge by partisanship. Wait and see and don't forget to pray.

I was struck last night that the situation feels like the Huxtables are moving into the White House. ---an affluent, black family with a mom and dad who have a strong family dynamic. The wife is a lawyer and beautiful. Young kids. When The Cosby Show aired in the early 80's there had not been many situation comedies about black families. There probably hadn't been any about functional black families with a married couple, a dad who was intelligent and faithful and a wife/mom with a professional career. I hope Barack doesn't wear the sweaters.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Unbirthday, Roman and Zoe

They are six weeks old and today, Nov 4th, is the day they should have been born if full term. Instead, we have had them an extra six weeks. They are thriving and always up for a rousing chorus or two. "In heaven there is no beer..."

It Was Tempting....So Many Bad Demeaning Ads Make it Hard.

I did vote and there was no line at 10:00 am -- one of the perks of being a senior citizen. You can vote in the middle of the day and not stand in line like the people voting before or after work.

It's Not Over Until.......

This time it is literally true. It is not over until the fat lady sings! It's election night and the Ordway theatre has a special ticket deal to draw in customers; A $110 ticket to the opera is selling for $20. The Guthrie has also deeply discounted ticket prices tonight. Local theatres report only about 1/3 capacity of patrons. People vote then huddle up to the TV to watch election results. Some go to bars to celebrate or commisserate. Those who plan ahead to vote early in the day could have a cheap date tonight.

Our son is going to a Bob Dylan concert tonight with his girl friend and her parents. Dylan crosses generations and the dad is treating. He will play a concert at Northrup Auditorium on the U of MN campus. This is the first time Dylan has played on campus since he was a dropout student in the early sixties. The news reported that this concert sold out immediately. No fat ladies singing here. Also no beer as it is election day. The concert will start at 8pm when the polls close. That's the law.
While seeing a Bob Dylan concert would appeal to me, we seldom go to anything that starts that late these cold, dark months. It is dark but fortunately not too cold. Hit 74 yesterday with sunny skies. I'm staying in. Maybe I'll just stay home and do my own fat lady singing thing. And watch election results on TV.....and possibly cry in my beer.

The Only Political Video You Will Like...I PROMISE, JUST WATCH IT


Monday, November 3, 2008

Tuesdays With Morrie

Doesn't the bottom picture of Romie look like the baby on the Gerber's Picante Sauce label? It must be the distressed look. The pictures on the left come from the babyblog Mary and Mike post. Maybe with that expressive face Roman has a future in baby modeling.
When kids are born I am the last to figure out who they look like. Many thought Roman looked like his grandpa Jon's side of the family. One of the comments on the babyblog came from a relative of dad Mike's family. "He looks like Morrie". Now I hope I can see a picture of Morrie. I find it hard to imagine what babies will look like grown up.
I spent Monday, not Tuesday, with "Morrie" and Zoe. They are experimenting with different formulas but the kids still spit up after feedings. They did this when breast fed too. Hopefully this will soon pass. It is distressing to the parents and the little ones. No picante sauce for little "Morrie".

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Treat or Treat?

The past few years we have given away Famous Amos cookies on Halloween. We had a choice this year, the cookies, microwave popcorn or M&Ms. I asked one little girl which she wanted and she answered, "Cupcakes". Cute kid story. Too many choices. Next year I think we will give away cans of spinach or boxes of mac n cheese--something I won't eat as I pass it out.

Grin and Bear It --

Years ago I heard that the tallest candidate usually wins an election. This week someone suggested their "research" showed a woman wanting to succeed in politics had to be bright and attractive. Looks matter. Are we that shallow? I wish everyone would lighten up about Sarah Palin's RNC wardrobe. Who cares if they bought an expensive wardrobe for her? Don't you think those male candidates are wearing $1500 suites?

I wonder about the teeth thing. Most candidates have bleached their teeth. One of our candidates in a Minnesota election has teeth that almost glow. A bit too much Clorox, methinks. Unreal. Trying to look good but surpassing the standard. Europeans are amused by our obsession with bright white smiles. I like white teeth, but think they can get too white. I wonder if the feds have given a grant to study the whiteness of teeth in election results. If they haven't, they probably will. Just print a few more bundles of money and give the grant to someone. Maybe if the stock market stays depressed I will apply for that grant. How hard could it be to do research? I have the equivalent of a ream of paper with political ads that have been sent or distributed to my door. Check the smile. Later coordinate with the results.

I wonder how many of our past presidents would be elected today. Lincoln had Marfans syndrome. He was the tallest....but, a bit awkward looking. FDR was paralysed and in a wheelchair. Washington had those wooden teeth. Maybe they were the whitest teeth and helped his cause. James Madison was 5'5" and probably not the tallest but how many of the electorate saw him? Campaigning was local and media coverage was limited to fliers and newspapers. Who could tell how short he was on a poster? There were no cameras. No pictures. Just hire someone to draw you a bit taller and you were all set.

Politics were dirty years ago too. Political cartooning was big. Scandals were publicized. Shady people probably gave big donations then as well. The best part of old elections-----no radio talk shows. No TV commentators who will continue to rehash this election long after it is over. Two years of campaigning and we probably won't get a break after Nov 4.