Friday, February 29, 2008

February 29th

I read a blurb in the paper this morning reminding us those born on this day in 1928 will turn 20 today. Still not legal age. Happy Birthday Leapers!
The downside of a Feb. 29th leap year birthday is the scarcity of days to celebrate your actual anniversary. The upside? It is a unique experience although millioins of Americans must share it since there are only so many days in the year to be born.
One local restaurant is offering free dinner to anyone with a birthday today. Sounds like a win/win deal since most birthday celebrants will bring people with them.

Sleeping Accomodations

Picture titled "Redneck Guest Bedroom" is from one of those joke emails.

We have been planning a little redecorating in our bedroom and probably guest bedroom as well. We need to recarpet, paint, do the window treatment and reorganize the closet with one of those closet systems. I despise the painting, especially the ceiling. This is something I did easily when I was young. Jon would go out of town on business and I would surprise him by painting a room when he was gone. Now, I think about it for a year or two before it gets done. We hired the kids to do the last painting job.
There is a logical order to do these things. I started by cleaning out my closet. Amazing the kind of stuff that was hiding on the top shelves in there. I found an old pair of Jon's swim trunks that probably were there a decade. I also tossed a box of certificates of continuing education I needed for licensure with dates from the late 90's. You get the idea. It has been a while since I looked in those boxes. I have an unfinished needlepoint which I started when we lived in Minneapolis. We moved from there in 1983. The needlepoint matched a navy blue floral couch we got rid of eons ago. I also found Andy's graduation gown from 2004. Did you know kids have to buy those now? I kept it thinking it would make an easy costume for a party!! I have calligraphy instruction books and pens up there. That was a hobby of mine from the late 70's that I always mean to pick up again. There is a also shadow box filled with mementos from my early life. It contains a Shalimar perfume bottle--the first gift Jon gave me when we were dating. There are locks of hair from each of the kids first haircuts. My dad's 2 inch tall teddy bear is in there and a decorated Ukranian Easter egg I bought the first Easter we were married. There are two old tin type pictures of ancient relatives whose name I cannot remember. (maybe I should scan those)
As you might guess, I spent a bit of time on memory lane and did not start painting yet.
My rationalization is to wait until spring when I can open the windows to air out the paint smell.
I did the fun part of redecorating. I bought a new comforter set. My kind of project. Do the fun stuff first.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Putting Your Best Foot Forward

The kid was home last week to go to a job fair. He has an interview over spring break for a job after graduation. He dressed in his new suit, new shirt and tie and I took his picture. If you look closely at his right foot he has a hole in his sock. That won't show when he puts on his shoes.
We are all like that to some degree. We have our little imperfection. Sometimes we can cover them. God loves us anyway like I love this kid. Now if I could just photoshop this picture to straighten the picture hanging crooked on the wall behind him. I guess my flaws show!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Barry Bonds or Roger Clement's Dog Perhaps?

Do you think this dog has been eating "Ballpark franks"? Looks like a steroid case to me.

Sentimental Moment

I turned 63 today. Jon took me out to breakfast in the nearby town of Hudson. As long as we were close, he suggested running over to Somerset on a couple of errands. I wanted to talk to someone at the village office about reserving a pavillion at the park for our family reunion this summer. We were greeted by a detour sign (local traffic only) when we were just past the middle school. We wanted to stop at the village office (in the old Somerset Bank) so drove on. We parked in the lot by the village hall and could see three fire trucks blocking the street up a ways. When we finished our business, only one fire truck remained and the street was open to traffic. We drove up and saw firemen hauling hoses out of grandpa's house. (The house was sold about 30 yrs. ago and is divided up into rental units.) Jon parked down the block and I went back to take a look and talk to one of the firefighters. You could not notice fire damage from the outside except for broken out windows, but he said the inside was gutted. It looks like it will have to be torn down. I have so many warm memories of that place. My mom grew up there. My grandpa had a meat market & store adjoining the house. As a kid I loved to go there. My aunt Lu lived there most of her life until she moved into senior citizen housing. Now, I fear it will be gone. What remains is memories and family. I am glad we are having a reunion this summer in the hometown to share those memories.

PICTURE: my sister, myself and my grandpa outside his meat market.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hail to the Chief

I risk offending some with this blog. While I have always believed we should respect the wisdom of the elderly, I think one of the candidates needs careful consideration. If elected and re-elected, he would be in his 80's when he finished his terms. True, he has a history or hard work and dedication. True, he has the support of some because of his environmental causes, but I think he should step aside. Ralph, for heavens sake, you are making the rest of us senior citizens look bad.

Ralph Nadar announced today he is running as an Independent candidate. I don't even think the Independent or Green parties are endorsing him. Of course for all those clamoring for "Change" this would indeed be a change candidate. Maybe they will want to take a look at him. See what can happen when the outcry is for change and some can't articulate what "Change" we need?

Mamas, Don't Let Your Daughters Grow Up to Be Cowboys

I grew up loving Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. I loved cowboy movies. Being a bit of a tomboy, I had a gun and holster. On our recent trip to Texas we indulged my former cowboymania by stopping at the birthplace of John Wayne, The Cowboy Western Heritage Hall of Fame and a museum in Gene Autry, Oklahoma. Then we continued on to real cowboy country--central Texas. Guys are quite likely to drive pickups and wear cowboy boots. My sister said when they go to cattle auctions expect to see women in denim, Stetsons and boots. Working cowboys or ranchers if you will. Our view out the Bunkhouse (named the Ark) was of black Angus cattle grazing and herds of wild deer. A couple of ranches up the road there are cattle roaming free range. This is romantic country. Another thing we found to be true. The stars at night are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas. Beautiful country.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ego Booster or Deflater

Something to do on a rainy or snowy day. Drive yourself crazy.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sweet Reading

I love it when I read an engaging book and it is the first of a series. I am late in finding the Mitford series. Years ago people I worked with were reading these. Now, I am glad I have entered the world of Fr. Tim and the town of Mitford. The best part, there are six books. No waiting for the author to write another book.
I am sentimental about small town life. The book follows this small town pastor who is a man of prayer, lives his life confident in God's godness and loves his congregation. Nice.

Vindicated by the Tooth Fairy


No, I did not have a noctural visit from the tooth fairy. She hasn't visited our house for years, but I did have a daytime encounter that also lined my pockets in another way.
I have been a cantankerous dental patient. I bet my chart is flagged as one who is difficult. It started two or so years ago when my long time dentist lost much of his vision with detached retinas. He sold his practice. I followed to the new dentist but he didn't inspire the same confidence as my former dentist. My former dentist had a sign outside his office that read, "We cater to cowards". My kind of guy. Anyway, after one exam this new guy announced I had a cavity on a back molar that he would put a crown on. Out he marched. No time for questions from me. Having no dental insurance since retirement, I decided to look for a dentist who would consider filling the tooth. (Cheaper, I thought). One of my former co-workers had a daughter in-law who had a newer practice and I got an appointment with her. When I went in I found I was not seeing her but her partner. Okay, I guess. This dentist assured me she could fill it, not just crown it. (Cheaper, right?) She did not like the panoramic set of xrays (current) I had transferred from my former dentist. She wanted a new full mouth set. The bill is mounting. Okay. She then told me she found another cavity. Oh, oh. What to do . I made the appointment for the fillings. When she had me in her grasp and that drill humming she announced, "There is another cavity!" She said that one more time for a total of four cavities to fill and a bill of $900 or about what the original crown would have cost. Oh, my. I get my teeth cleaned every four months (my choice) to combat mild gum disease. Four newly filled cavities in a woman who hasn't had cavities in decades. I take care of my teeth, I floss... Anyway, I refused xrays the next time they were due. They were not happy with me. No xrays. Four months later I refused again but got more pressure to have the xrays. My response, "After two sets of full mouth xrays, you saw two cavities. The dentist found two more. I don't have a lot of faith I need xrays that frequently if you couldn't see those cavities on xray and I have no insurance." The hygenist then sent the dentist in to talk to me. I succumbed. This is not my favorite place to spend time. (See, I think my chart must be marked as difficult patient.) After she looked at the xrays, she told me I had a cavity. She also said I needed another crown replaced that was irritating my gum. When I went to the desk to pay, the receptionist said they could get me in the next day to do the work. I declined and said I would call and reschedule when I knew my schedule. I didn't. They called me the next day saying the Dr. was worried about me. Time for a second opinion. A few months went by and my next four month cleaning appt. was approaching. I made an appt. with my husband's dentist and called to cancel the previous cleaning appt. and request my xrays be sent to the new dentist. The old office called me the next day saying the Dr. was worried about me. Time to have the filling done. Yesterday I went to the new dentist. My xrays had not been transferred but I did have a "work order" from the old dentist showing which tooth needed filling. Bless his heart, the new dentist asked if he could re-xray "at no charge to you" to find the cavity. They did a set of xrays and looked at them. He examined me and then they did another xray of the tooth that supposedly had the cavity. Conclusion: "There is not a cavity in that tooth. No cavities. He also told me I did not need to have that crown replaced." He sure looked like the tooth fairy putting money under my pillow. I paid cash and got a discount. $100 total bill and my faith in dentists restored.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Admiral Nimitz National Museum of the Pacific War

Not to be missed if you visit Fredericksburg, Texas is the Pacific War Museum. Located on main street, the museum is shaped like a ship. It has extensive artifacts from the WW2 pacific theatre. Fredericksburg is Admiral Nimitz hometown. An exhibit in the museum is dedicated to President George H.W. Bush who was a Navy pilot shot down during the war. There is film showing him being rescued from a raft after his near miss. What a treasure to have recorded for posterity.

Don't Mess With Texas

When we stopped at the welcome center on entering Texas a couple weeks ago we got a decal for our window that said, "Don't Mess With Texas". The slogan is part of an ongoing campaign to combat littering. Do you think the Texas Rangers are the enforcers? Is Chuck Norris involved? I wonder is some of those Texans will be seen carrying "Don't Mess With Texas" signs outside the Democrat Debate in Austin tonight. None of the Texans I know or recently met are big Hillary Clinton or Obama fans. They are all friendly and polite but more likely to support favorite son George W.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


It is too cold. At least we don't have the amount of snow our Wisconsin neighbors have been receiving, but it is too cold. We are again having nights in the double digit minus column. On the brighter side, the first day of spring is only a month away. My friend Judy have me a ray of hope to get through this last month or two of gloom. She went to her first garden club meeting of the year and gave me printed instructions on wintersowing seeds. I have started seedlings indoors years ago. I was disappointed trying to transplant these spindly stemmed hot house plants. When you wintersow, the seeds are planted in containers outdoors when it is freezing. As the soil warms, the seeds germinate when the plants are able to withstand cool weather. They grow in these tiny greenhouses semi-protected but not like hot house plantings. We will see what results I get. She gave me a list of seeds that can withstand this way of planting. They are seeds that self-seed . I chose marigolds, zinnias, and poppy seeds. Wish me luck. Even if they don't do well it felt good thinking about spring and flowers.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Red River; Comments on the movie and the cereal

Maybe it was seeing John Wayne's birthplace recently that got me to stay up last night watching "Red River" on TV. In this 40's movie, John Wayne plays a somewhat tarnished hero who leads the first cattle drive on the Chisholm Trail. We stopped at an interstate rest stop that commemorated the original Chisholm Trail. The movie is based on the novel, "The Chisholm Trail" which I read in high school. It is much easier to drive through this open country than it would have been to drive cattle while on horseback. You have got to respect these tough guys.

One of my all-time favorite sagas is "Lonesome Dove". Red River has a similar story but not a character as loveable as Gus. Still, "Red River", done in black and white, has strong appeal for lovers of cowboy lore. I enjoyed the movie and if you like healthful breakfasts, I would recommend Red River cereal as well. You can probably find it at your health food store.
Picture here was from a set at the Cowboy Heritage Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

What Did Say Your Name Was?

It's only six months until my maternal family reunion. One of my cousins set up a website for sharing information, old pictures, etc. I had never seen this picture of great uncle Ed.
I blogged previously about finding a picture of Ed in a group photo of lumberjacks in an historical book about pioneers in this area. I thought it was my grandpa Ed but my mom identified him as my grandpa Edmond's brother Edward. Hmmm. Two Eds. Good looking guys. My cousin had written that this Edward died at 24yrs of age. Although this was a large family, I commented it was funny there were two Eds. My cousin wrote back there were three Eds among the siblings if you counted their sister Edwidge. No wonder my grandpa went by his initials E.A.
Everyone's assignment for the day: label your old pictures. A generation or two later your descendants will be grateful.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Reel Addiction

We received a NetFlex subscription as a Christmas gift from our daughter and son in-law. Jon and I listed movies each of us would like to see. One of my choices came yesterday, "Charlie Chan in London". I haven't seen a Charlie Chan flick since they were on TV decades ago and enjoyed watching it tonight. I love vintage black and white films. On a "special features"on the DVD, is a discussion of how Charlie Chan movies affected American culture in the 1930's. Chinese were not held in high regard by many. There were laws preventing intermarriage between caucasians and those of Chinese descent. The Charlie Chan movies helped change some people's attitudes. Charlie was intellegent and respectful. Oddly enough, the role was played by a caucasian actor. It was also common casting in the old western movies for causasians actors to play "Indians". Disregard blue eyes please.

On our recent visit with my sister she recommended many foreign films they have rented through Netflex. I made a list of their favorites. My brother in-law told an amusing story about my sister's enthusiastic plug for foreign films. They were having dinner with a group of friends from their church. She commented,"We are addicted to foreign films". Husband Mike saw the look of horror on their faces and realized what she said and what they heard were not the same thing. In her non-Texas dialect, saying foreign (forn) sounded like "Porn".

Oklahoma City National Museum Memorial

Across the street from the Oklahoma City Memorial a church has a small memorial with a statue of Jesus enscribed, "Jesus Wept". One thinks He must be doing that often these days. When humans do inhumane things to their fellow man, God is grieved. He did leave all of us in charge of the world and man will need to give an account of his actions.

Oklahoma City National Memorial

We visited the Oklahoma City National Memorial on our recent trip. This horror is tattooed in our memories. The memorial focuses on the lives lost. On the original site of the Murrah building, 168 chairs each representing one of those killed, are placed in the approximate place they would have been when the nine story buildingcame down . There were so many children. We saw this at sunset with the light streaming through the base of each chair. Let their light shine on. The images on the news at the time showed mementos friends and loved ones left on the fence around the building. The original batch of these are preserved inside the adjoining memorial museum. New ones take their place on a section of fence on the perimeter. A corner of the original foundation stands and one lone tree that survived the explosion testifies to the resiliency of the American spirit to stand and go on. Moving site. They have closed off what was a street in front of the building and a reflecting pond stands bookended by two stone gates. On the top of one wall is enscribed 9:01 representing life before the bomb exploded. 9:03 is enscribed on the other gate representing life of recovery post the 9:02 disaster. Visitors still slowly walk these grounds and exhibit in near silence and remember.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Striking Out

I think I am going to run for congress. The pay is pretty good and the benefits are fabulous. Above average health care. Franking privledges. You can retire with full pay for life. Best part of the job? You don't have to show up for work. You may be a one-term congressman or senator, but consider being paid for life regardless of the job you do. Look at the candidates who have been running for president. Many are on the federal payroll. Many aren't reporting to Washington for work very much. This is not the only thing that aggravates me. Does anyone else wonder why there are senate hearings about steroid use in baseball? Doesn't baseball have their own commission to regulate this sport? How is this a federal matter? One would think congress could keep busy just keeping their own people accountable. Did they spend as much time asking guys about restroom etiquette, their email or extracurricular activities?

Citizens have the option of spending money to watch big league baseball. There are plenty of sports writers and entertainment shows to look for scandal. Buyer or consumer beware. I didn't send my senator to DC to discuss baseball. What will they do next, look at professional wrestling? Where were they with their inquiries when we were electing a wrestler as governor? How about if they confine their search to big headed steroid freak baseball players who want to run for political office?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Top Dog

A cute beagle won Best of Show at the AKA dog show at Madison Square Garden today. This is the first win for a beagle. Snoopy has been an American icon for years; now this adorable pup has been chosen as "top dog".

Don't you wish political decisions were this well received? We have been watching many audition for the top post for over a year. Resolution is still nine months away and I don't think everyone will be pleased no matter whom we chose. Making things more interesting, is the dead heat between the surviving Democrat candidates. Sorry Florida, your votes will not count. It is possible no one's primary or caucus votes will count in the Democrat's choice. The decision may be made by "super delegates". Maybe an offer to sleep overnight in the Lincoln bedroom will again be on the table. Too bad we can't just pick the candidate with the best breeding, shiniest coat, and best behaviour.

Bridging the Gap from Winter to Texas Springtime Through Winterset, Iowa

It's been a "Quiet week in Lake Wobegon" because we weren't here. No blogging. We headed down the road to Texas and spent almost a week with my sister and brother in-law in Fredericksburg. We left frigid Minnesota and spent a week in Texas sunshine with + 70 degree temps. We were again greeted by frigid temps when we returned but had good travel weather coming and going. It didn't take long to miss Texas.

We made a few stops to see roadside distractions on the way south. In Winterset, Iowa, we saw the little white house that is John Wayne's birthplace. The area is also famous for the "bridges of Madison County". Eight old covered bridges are scattered countryside close to the town. A movie, "The Bridges of Madison County" with Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep was filmed in Winterset. The town itself is typical of small Iowa county seats with a distinctive courthouse in the town square circled by small businesses. It's a lovely little town that attracts tourists coming to see the old bridges set in a beautiful landscape of rolling hills.
The play/movie "The Music Man" is also set in Iowa. Marion is the local straight-laced librarian courted by the newcomer. In Winterset, Iowa, Marion Morrison is the local celebrity. That is John Wayne's real name. They did not paint "Home of Marion Morrison" on the water tower. His mother could never have guessed her baby boy would be the archtypical manly man, or she probably wouldn't have named him Marion. Recently, I have been sorting through old family photos from the early 1900's. It wasn't unusual to see the baby boy in the family dressed in a long dress. Maybe naming them Marion wasn't so strange in those times. Or did his dad think like the dad in the Johnny Cash song, "A Boy Named Sue" and know that name would teach him to be tough by having to duke it out to defend his honor.