Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Those in the southern clime may not understand our Minnesota fixation with the weather. TV stations devote more time to it here. Hope springs eternal that we will catch a warmer, sunny winter day or a cooler, dryer summer day. You probably have weather with less variables.

We are coming off a few extremely humid, hot days. Oppressive heat. Yesterday afternoon the humidity went east to annoy Wisconsinites etc. Even the high 80's felt pretty good. Today we will continue to catch a break. This morning Jon "opened the house" to enjoy the summer morning. As I sat to catch up on my email I noted my local weather predictions on my computer homepage. See, it is a fixation. The humidity is going to climb to miserable readings tomorrow. I told my husband, "The humidity is going back to 76%". He paused, then asked, "Today?" (another pause before I answered) I answered, "No, tomorrow". This is when it gets scary. "I know the answer," I said, "but what was the question?" Thank God he knew. With the pause in the conversation I had forgotten what I was talking about. Give that guy two Klondike bars. Give Jane an Aricept.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Just Tell Them Groucho Sent You

We were invited to a birthday party Saturday for one of Jon's aunts. Can you see the strong family resemblance in these photos? (I am in the black with the shorter hair.) After all thse years I even look like the in-laws. At least we don't resemble the dog. I've seen some funny pictures of dogs and owners who look alike.

I only have one surviving aunt. Jon is blessed with six of them. Longeivity runs in his family on both sides. As you might guess, this is a fun bunch of people.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

More Peppers...

I followed a trail online this am. The newspaper's Bulletin Board had a link to city nicknames. I looked up cities where I knew someone but came up short looking for the city slogan of Foxborough, MA and Fredericksburg, TX. No slogans but they do have websites. I found out Fredericksburg is having their Gourmet Chili Pepper and Salsa Festival this weekend. Locally grown peppers, I hope.

Just in case you want to address your Christmas card to me at Stillwater, The Birthplace of Minnesota or find someone else's hometown slogan, here is the link:

Spent some time with Mary yesterday when she had an ultrasound of the twins. They each weigh 1 lb, 14 oz now. The little girl kept kicking her brother while he sucked his thumb. Amazing to watch that action. I guess sibling rivalry starts young.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Just Thought You Might It Would Be Interested Now That It Is More Affordable-- **

*click on the link to skyroffersgroup to see great gardens. You might want to move to Stillwater even if it is getting "yuppified". Jane

Jessica Lange's Stillwater estate back on market — for $1.95 million
Article Last Updated: 07/24/2008 12:42:07 PM CDT

Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard's estate on Stillwater's North Hill is on the market again.
The Oscar-winning actress and the award-winning playwright and actor pulled their former home off the market last fall, but it recently was listed for $1.95 million. The real estate agent is Frank Roffers of SKY Sotheby's International Realty.
The estate first went on the market in 2004 for $3.3 million. A year later, the selling price had dropped to $2.6 million, and the main house (about $2 million) and the guest house/pool house (about $650,000) also were being offered separately.
A listing on Roffers' Web site at describes the property as a "spectacular home and landscape featured in Architectural Digest."
"Rich in history and architecture, this extraordinary estate is situated in the quaint town of Stillwater, just 30 minutes from the Twin Cities," the listing says.
Lange might dispute "quaint."
In a February interview in the New York Daily News, she was quoting as saying, "When we first moved to Stillwater, it still felt like a real place. It had a downtown with a hardware store, a furniture store, a clothing store. Now it's all gift shops and these terrible condominiums. It was a little town with a great deal of character. Everything gets yuppified, I guess."

Lange bought the former bed-and-breakfast at 903 4th St. N. in 1994 for $415,000, and
she and Shepard lived there about 9 years.
The property includes a 6,000-square-foot main home, built in 1892, the guest house and swimming pool, as well as a carriage house, tiered gardens, a small fruit orchard, ponds and woods. The house sits on one of the largest lots in the city — 2.5 acres — and offers sweeping views of the St. Croix River.
Roffers, the agent, declined to comment on the property listing.
J.L. Family Trust of Beverly Hills, Calif., is listed as the house's owner, according to Washington County property tax records. Records indicate the taxable value of the main house in 2008 is $964,200.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Politics R USA

We are ramping up for the finish now. After almost 18 months of campaigning the national conventions will convene to crown their candidates. I, as an independent, will watch from the sidelines. A person can't avoid politics and we should weigh our options. Independents will be courted by the majority parties for our votes. They can't win without us.

Minnesotans are waiting to see if our young Governor is picked as McCains running mate. We are also bombarded with attacks on Al Franken. More are jumping into the senate race to oppose the endorsed candidates. We will be spared Jesse's reenlistment in politics. Jesse Ventura that is. It doesn't seem like the other Jesse wants out of the spotlight. Maybe it is that name. What a pair.

So we wait. They are deconstructing the Excel center where the RNC will meet. It is a fairly new building--5 yrs old? All the seats are coming out. They are building press boxes in the suites. Lots of $$$ is being spent.

Yesterday's Pioneer Press Bulletin Board had a story that made me laugh. A local was downtown St. Paul and said she spotted a man dressed in cut-off camoflage pants and a sleeveless tee-shirt up in a tree by the Union Depot. He had a graying ponytail and was ringing a bell while making kissing sounds. A small group of people watched him but kept their distance. She said she wondered if he was off his meds! Then a green parrot emerged from the tree. I guess you have to see all the evidence before rushing to conclusions. My comment: The city has been cleaning up downtown, stealing pidgeon eggs to keep the birds population in control so they don't poop on the Republicans and rebuilding a new Excel center to make an impression. How did they miss a camo-dressed aging hippie ringing bells in a tree? Quite an image.

I listened to a radio guy yesterday who was talking about campaigns. He said people were saying this candidate was not experienced enough. He may be a good orator, but he wasn’t ready for the job. He came from Illinois and didn’t have foreign policy experience. He was strongly disliked by his detractors. He split the party. I thought he sounded like he needed good Secret Service protection and I was right. He was talking about Abe Lincoln., a Republican.
Perhaps only time will tell.

A New Use For Pepper Spray

After delivering a punishing blow to tomato growers, the feds announced the source of the salmonella outbreak from food is probably jalapenos. This morning's paper attributes the detection to Minnesotans. Our epidemiologist, Michael Osterholm, is a relentless detective and a giant among scientists in tracking down sources of infection. I have read this man will not eat food grown outside of the USA. Consumer beware. These detectives traced a local outbreak to a restaurant that garnished with jalapeno salsa. Even the employees got sick--hence they weren't the carriers. They found people who have eaten at the restaurants by tracing credit card purchases.

I feel better eating tomatoes now but still buy just the ones grown in a Minnesota greenhouse. It shouldn't be long before our tomato plants are producing. We have loads of green ones that are beginning to ripen. This is already late for tomatoes but we had a cool spring and early summer.

I didn't plant jalapenos. Maybe I can buy a can of that pepper spray for the salsa. No Mexican peppers for me this year.

Sweet Mina

Here is granddaughter Mina at the Disney summer touring High School Musical show with Corbin Bleu. The concert was part of Lumberjack Days in our hometown. Something for the preteen set attended by mostly 30ish parents and kids and preteens and a few grandmas.
Mina enjoys it but takes it all in stride. Not a screamer. I think she enjoyed last year's concert with the Jonas Brothers more. But it was a pleasant summer night by the river.
Mina is the sweetest granddaughter I could hope for and I love any time I spend with her. Amazing kid. Loves vegetables, soccer, an avid reader, swimming, soccer and is well behaved. The kind of kid you approve of as a playmate for your kid so she gets lots of invites from friends to go places. She spent a weekend this summer sailing on a big sailboat on Lake Superior with a friend.
She won't be going to summer camp this year. Her girl scout troop is going to a rally in Atlanta where the GS started. I don't think I was doing these things at 11.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Another Test

Scary. How old is your brain? Don't know if this is an accurate test, but it is interesting. I had to read and reread the instructions before starting. Almost wrote them down because I was afraid to fail.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Privledged Few

We were in the southwest metro yesterday and noted a freeway entrance to an HOV lane. I couldn't remember what the acronym HOV stood for. Neither could Jon. The encyclopedia Google cleared that up this morning. According to MnDot, HOV = high occupancy vehicle. If you have two or more persons in your vehicle you qualify as high occupancy. High occupancy?

Daughter Mary and I went to Seattle eight or nine years ago. With two in our car we traveled in their designated lane for high occupancy vehicles. Don't remember if it is dubbed the sane lane or HOV lane or something else. We whizzed by stalled traffic on the clogged freeway during rush hour. In spite of the advantage of getting around more easily in rush hour, most of us still fly solo much of the time. That would include me.

Those HOV lanes are usually underused. It is annoying to be crawling along jammed up in traffic and see empty lanes. A few years ago MnDot turned some of our west metro HOV lanes into toll lanes. Pay and go. I am ignorant of the results of this program. Perhaps it relieved congestion. At least it gave people options.

Yesterday I heard of China's plan to relieve air pollution during the Olympic games. You can only drive every other day. Go by the last digit on the car's licence plate. Odd and even. That would reduce traffic by 50% if everyone played fair. I can imagine a blackmarket developing here to sell you an extra licence plate. Wouldn't magnetic plates over your old plates work?

China has had an authoritarian government. They regulate much of their citizens lives but haven't kept up enforcing traffic laws. Car ownership has exploded in recent years with a more affluent population. I heard 25% of the population has moved out of poverty into the middle class in the last decade. $$$ brought a desire to drive. More driving but without much regulation. Andy was in a town of 300,000 that had only one traffic light. It is free- for- all at the intersections with many accidents. You have to wonder how the new edict of odd and even driving will work. Perhaps it will. The people tend to comply.

If we ever have odd 'n even driving days what would we do with cars with vanity plates? One can only imagine what some of those plates would say. Expect to see some attitude expressed. Maybe we could let them use the HOV lanes. The rest of us stuck in crawling traffic would have time to scratch our heads trying to decipher what some of those acronyms on vanity plates mean.

Link : click on "Vanity plates contest rules" for answer to what the plate on this blog means.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Counting Sheep

No sleep
Count some sheep.
Which sheep don’t make a peep,
Which sheep are easier to keep,
Which sheep will never leap?
Ma Bell’s sheep.

Click on the pictures of the sheep on the top right to enlarge picture for a closer look. I like their feet.

My sister and husband are raising sheep on their Texas ranch. They chose the Katahdin breed because they have hair and shed. They don't need shearing.
You guess which picture is of their sheep. The other kind don't need much upkeep either. (The sheeps' hair is made of old phone cords.)
Carolyn said you can hire sheep shearers for a small fee but they don't like to bother driving out to your ranch unless you have hundreds or thousands of sheep. Not worth their time to shear 20.
Could be a new business venture out there-- sheep spas. I heard of a combination car wash and dog wash started by one enterprising individual. One stop service. I don't know how many sheep my sister can fit in the back of her Lexus. Might not be practical.

Ramblings about meat loaf and aliens and glamorous jobs

The only thing stranger than a woman up at 3 am and on the internet is two of us up at 3am. That's what happens when you go to sleep too early. Up for the day.
It's too early for the newspaper to be here. Jon turned on the TV to an old movie with Ray Milland and Robert Cummings and Grace Kelly. What is the name of that movie? Tried Googling
and found "Dial M for Murder".

Jon remarked that Bob Cummings was the reason he chose photography for a career. Bob was the star of 50s TV sit-com called "The Bob Cummings Show" and in reruns called "Love That Bob". The storyline: a bachelor photographer of glamorous models. Today we would dub him a womanizer. Good looking guy surrounded by glamorous women. Got Jon interested in the career he chose. Little did he know he would spend his time filming or taping industrial equipment and doing K-tel commercials. Some glamorous chicks but not many.

We had to Google to find out the name of Bob Cummings TV show. I swear you can find anything you want by Googling. That lead to chasing down another unrelated question. Where did the line, "If you don't like my meatloaf, why don't you have Sigourney Weaver make you one?" come from? Familiar to anyone? Amazing the strange information you find when you enter variations of that phrase in Google. Found out a lot about the rocker "Meat Loaf". Found out Sigourney Weaver wants to go into space. (Seems appropriate). Watch out for those aliens, Sigourney.
Eventually I tracked down the source of the meat loaf line. It is from a Jeff Foxworthy routine.

Would hate to be trying to make a living selling encyclopedias door-to-door. That was a college kid summer job when I was young. Doubt many spend money buying Encyclopedia Brittanica anymore. Information is all free online. Kids these days are stuck selling new roofs and siding in storm ravaged neighborhoods.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Inspirational Message

One of the pitfalls of being retired is the lack of urgency to do tasks. There is always tomorrow. I used to clean house on a scheduled day off. Use my time wisely. That vanishes when you are in the zone of the put-out-to-pastured. I can always do it tomorrow. My schedule can be rearranged.
Imagine my relief yesterday with the agreement between the US and Iraq for troop withdrawal. We have agreed to a "general time horizon" for withdrawal. I understand needing to not tip our hand to the enemy about our plans. Don't advertise a specific date and allow the terrorists to cause pandemonium. Former President George Herbert Walker Bush set a good example years ago when he refused to publicly disclose our troop movements in the first Gulf War. I agree. Announce your intentions but not the specifics.
The verbage of this agreement is brilliant. Can't miss. It is on the horizon. I think cleaning those lower level windows and sorting out the shelves in my laundry room will now be on my general time horizon. No guilt. No problem if I don't do that today. I am truly liberated. I might just hop on my bike and peddle off humming, "Beyond the blue horizon". I can always start a file called "Somewhere over the rainbow" for projects like cleaning the kitchen cupboards. God bless those politicians and diplomats.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Are You Sure That is a Blessing?

When we stayed with my sister and brother in-law Mike in Texas this February, Mike chuckled as he told us this observation: Have you ever noticed when someone starts a comment with,

"Bless his heart, but" what usually follows is negative?

Check out Nancy Pelosi's comments yesterday about the president. I don't think her intentions were to be kind, do you? Wonder if she has checked those opinion poll ratings for congress lately.

CNN) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called President Bush "a total failure" on Thursday, among the California Democrat's harshest assessments to date of the president.

"God bless him, bless his heart, president of the United States -- a total failure, losing all credibility with the American people on the economy, on the war, on energy, you name the subject," Pelosi told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in an exclusive interview.
The comments came two days after the president sharply criticized Congress over what he described as relative inaction over the course of the legislative term. At the White House on Wednesday, Bush noted that there were only 26 legislative days left in the fiscal year and said Congress would need to pass a spending bill every other day to "get their fundamental job done."

Bedtime Story

Up too early or up too late?
Went to bed at ten
Can’t sleep ‘til eight

Read the “paper” online
Checked the stock market quotes
That IRA of mine
Is in the wrong boat

Poker After Dark is on TV
Why does watching interest me?
I never bet, I don’t gamble
I blog, and talk and ramble, ramble.

I’ve got time on my hands
It’s the middle of the night
I could pluck my eyebrows
Fix my hair, it’s a fright

There is laundry to be folded
A dishwasher not unloaded
A kitchen floor that needs sweeping
But all that is keeping--

Instead I’m writing bad rhymes
Wasting God-given time
A good book waits to be read
But I’m going back to bed.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Big Brother Is Watching Out For You

Thanks goodness. The federal government has lifted it's warning against eating tomatoes. The epidemic of salmonella infections has eased. I'm not making light of salmonella infections. It's a serious, even life threatening disease. Tomatoes or possibly peppers were suspect. Now, they say, it is safe for us to eat tomatoes and probably those hot peppers. The directive states only the elderly and sick should avoid the peppers. Is this really a problem? Do you know any sick people who are consuming jalapenos? The frail elderly I know avoid most spicy food. Not big consumers of hot peppers. You would think the salmonella themselves would have trouble living on that food. They didn't mention if it was safe to feed peppers to babies. I would be careful about using this product anyway.

Burning Down the House

Todays wake up music:

Life is strange. A couple of weeks ago there was a house fire in the south metro. Passersby noted flames coming from a home, stopped, beat on the door, broke down the door and rescued a sleeping teenager. Heroes. Risked their lives and had a very grateful family thank them. This morning's paper carries a story of the cause of the fire. Spontaneous combustion of a flower pot on the deck. Really. Insurance agents admit this happens rarely but it happens. Who knew?
I tend to be a "glass half empty" person. Danger lurks. Not in all my worries has the thought ever crossed my mind that a flower pot might spontaneously ignite. I know you shouldn't use them as an ashtray. Daughter Mary almost lost her garage years ago when someone used a peat filled planter as an ashtray in the garage. That stuff burns. But spontaneous combustion? I think I will go out and water my garden now and hit those flower pots with the hose too. Don't want to burn down the house.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The American Way

There is a gut-wrenching scene in the mini-series "Band of Brothers" I will never forget. American soldiers liberate a Nazi death camp. They are overcome with shock and repulsion when they see the starving prisoners and piles of dead bodies. The American commanding officer then does something unusual. He rounds up the local German population and makes them bury the dead. They somberly do the job. They claim they did not know what was going on.
Over the years I have wondered how the German people could have allowed such a thing to happen. Few were members of the Nazi party. Many were conscripted into the army. Not all were collaborators. Some risked their lives hiding Jews or helping others escape. Still, their collective national conscience says this was a time of shame for them. Fear kept many quiet. If they objected, they would suffer the same fate. If they objected, there would be consequences.

How can a people have a clear conscience if their sense of justice is violated and they say nothing? How can we stand by when the government does things in our name we do not think are just or ethical?
I attended Catholic schools for fifteen years. In my ethics classes, I was taught "The end does not justify the means." You cannot do something bad because it will cause a good outcome you want. I believe it is wrong to wipe out unborn children because it is a difficult or inconvenient pregnancy. I also believe it is wrong for our government in engage in torture. Do you remember the controversy over waterboarding? Many thought it wasn't torture. I believe you could settle the question of whether or not it is torture by having those who vote experience it themselves. Then tell us if it is torture.
America. We are better than that. We send the best of our men and women as warriors to defend our freedom. God bless them. They give their limbs, lives and sometimes mental health to defend the American way of life. A life of freedom and justice. It is a miscarriage of their spilled blood to have policies that are like the enemy we try to defeat. If the enemy is unjust and cruel, we must vigilantly defend our principals without resorting to torture. Show the world what freedom means.
We rented the movie "Rendition" and it stirred this up in me. Our fight against terrorism is real. The movie shows the evil we are fighting. It shows the evil of the jihadist indoctrination of the young in other lands. It shows the murderous people we have as enemies. It shows the struggle to combat this force. It also shows what happens when we violate our own sacred principles. Watch it if you have an open heart. As a Christian, I cannot stand idly by. We all must give an accounting someday.

Hee Haw

It's an election year, but we might as well have some fun. Turn up the sound and clap along to the video. Go ahead. Try it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I Love Lucy

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood. You can almost hear Mr. Rogers theme playing softly in the background. A perfect summer morning. Cool, sunny with a clear blue sky and promise of a pleasant warm day. I took my early morning walk at 6:00am and then hopped on my bike to make the circuit. My first site was my neighbor Marge returning from Starbucks in her new black BMW convertible. She buys a caramel latte for a wake-up jolt that she shares with her Lucy. Lucy is a cockapoo who has grown fond of caramel lattes. A sweet little playful dog who romps in their backyard chasing butterflies and keeping the neighbor's cats in check. Jon loves Lucy too. She usually wears a collar that keeps her inside the invisible fence. If that collar is not in place she sneaks under the fence to collect her share of affectionate petting from Jon. I think he needs a dog of his own. I'd be willing to share my homemade carmel latte with it.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


I found this in my word documents. This is how I started my blog a year and a half ago:


Most of this is still true, but I try for just WELLFED now. Still content, still retired and grateful to be blessed. Jane- in- the- middle- lane

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Birds and the Bees and the Flowers

I put out a Hummingbird feeder a week or so ago. It is in the garden. I thought the red, yellow and orange flowers would help attract the little birds. I haven't seen any. Too much cat traffic in the yard? Too late in the season? Too much competition from neighbors who feed birds? Anyway, no hummingbirds were seen. This morning during our coffee on the deck time, I mentioned to Jon I hadn't had any little visitors yet. He went inside to refill our coffee cups. That was when I spotted a hummingbird on the flowers. He proceeded to chase a Chicadee away from the sunflower seed feeder next to the nectar feeder. That little bird is the size of a large bee and he aggressively cleared the area. He probably isn't afraid of the cats either. Will be fun to watch. If the level of the nectar drops, I'll know they are using it.
This morning I'm going to the local garden tours. I've gone other years and been impressed. My next door neighbor and I are going. I'll offer to drive, but if she insists I'll accept a ride in her new black BMW convertible.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Over the Line. This Blog is Banned in China. Really. It is.

Last summer, when our son was in China, he had email from home but all blogs were blocked. Many are too political. They filter internet communication. Foreign students at Southwest University (where Andy was) were warned not to download or access any political or religious sites. Violation would cancel their privledges. They would probably be sent home as well.

Dinnertime conversation last night was about China. The Olympics are quickly approaching and we are hearing more about Chinese preparations. Andy told us another way the Chinese government is preparing their population for the world's visit. On the 11th of each month they practice standing in line. No, not one big line of a billion plus people stretching up and down the Great Wall. They are to stand in line at store counters etc. This is not their custom. They usually cluster.
Foreign visitors are also shocked at Chinese customs of public spitting. Even women, especially older women, spit in public. What we would consider rude in the west is not rude there. Acceptance for this by China is due to their rejection of western manners decades ago. They wanted to purge the country of western (British?) influence. The pendulum swings.

Andy said when he was in London he noted they always stand "on queue". We would say we stand "in line", not "on line" or "on queue". On line here means we are on the Internet.
(Did you know in-line skates, Rollerblades" were invented in Minnesota?) One sociologist noted Minnesotans are more likely to stand in line than other parts of the country. Do we treasure good manners? Do we have a sense of fairness? Are we all conformists? Have we been to New York City and reject public pushiness? Are we sheep?

Good old Minnesota where we try to keep our spending in line, our behaviour in line, and our people in line. We pass so many laws regulating behaviour that we dub ourselves; "Minnesota. Land where everything is illegal."
Perhaps that is why we accept those mavarick politicians like Jesse Ventura and Al Franken. Deep down we are yearning to live free. Live free or die. But that is another state. We'll have to get in line to use that motto.

Transparent Butterfly....Beautiful

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Blue Ray of Death

This week Jon has been busy making DVD copies of some family movies to distribute at the upcoming family reunion. I have thanked him multiple times. What a nice guy. He must have figured he was firmly in my good graces. Timing was right. He came home with a newly purchased Blue Ray DVD player. He fell from my good graces for a while. I was upset. I had just gotten over him repurchasing favorite old movies on DVD. He didn't want to watch the VHS versions. Duplicates. Most women don't get this. Most men do. My brother-in-law is doing the same thing. I think Jon was envious. He is a tech guy. Video guy. Wants the cutting edge stuff. Anyway, he told me and then listened to me rant. (No Klondike bar.) Then said he wasn't going to buy all those $40 Blue Ray DVDs; he would rent them on Netflicks.
Blue Ray. My ire hit like the Blue Ray of Death around here for a while. I've settled down. I'm just glad he isn't into Harleys.

Royal Flush vs. A Full House or Is It a Square Deal?

These nice summer mornings we have our first cup of coffee together on the deck. It's a nice time to talk, enjoy each other's company and sometimes read the newspaper. Today as my sweetie was reading an ad in the paper he said, "Hmmm, a Jacuzzi toilet". You probably can guess the images that conjured up for me. Jacuzzi, although just a brand name, has come to mean whirlpool spa or tub. Who knew they made toilets. I looked at the picture in the ad. Just a white toilet with a strong flush. No other water therapy.

Couldn't help Googling "Jacuzzi toilet". They have a full line and are not new to the business. They are just better known as tubmakers.

This Googling lead to another site. I found this picture of the cool square toilet. I want one. Jon is reserving judgment. He wants to see what it looks like with the lid up. Square seat? Not aligned to the human body? Sure would be a show stopper. Sure would be fun to tell your friends you bought a Jacuzzi toilet. Sure would give people pause before they used it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I'm Not Lying, Best Pet Adoption Story ...

Guten Tag

I have to give some thought to how to feed boneless, skinless chicken breasts to my husband. He prefers them with skin on and baked at 400 for two hours so they are nice and dry (like jerky). I don't. Tonight I am going to schnitzelize them. Pound them thin, bread and fry in olive oil. No deep frying. Add lemon and serve with packaged bread dumplings, (Semmel knoedels) and sweet and sour red cabbage. The first time I made red cabbage I was amazed. It turns vivid blue before you add the vinegar. I know a secret now. Our son worked at our favorite German restaurant. He told us they use commercialy canned red cabbage. Now I buy it and it tastes great. Easy dinner. Might be fun to cook up some red cabbage from scratch and not add the vinegar. Blue food. Very unappealing in vegetables.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Leading the Blind

This morning I am off to order my new glasses. I hate the old ones. My prescription has changed just a little and I could probably keep these but I want new ones. Okay, the picture is me in the gag glasses Jon bought. He has gag brown, scraggley teeth too. Makes quite an impression when he wants to.

I asked my sweetie to come with me to pick out frames. I selected three I liked and have no idea what I look like in them. How can the blind pick out frames? I am at the mercy of the store clerk for advice and hope she likes me. Otherwise she could sell me a pair like in this picture.

I bought glasses once at a place that took digital pictures of you in frames you tried on. Put your real glasses on and look at the pictures. Everyone should do that. That is why I am bringing Jon with me today. Not sure I can trust him telling me which looks best. He says everything is fine most of the time.

Most wives can't get dependable fashion advice from their husbands. They are wishy-washy. Men see the slippery slope. What if they say it doesn't look good and you buy it anyway? What if they say it's a go and your girlfriend's face betrays how you really look? Today was an exception. I bought a tacky blue tee-shirt at a garage sale recently. It has a butterfly pattern outlined in sequins. Nice and sparkly. Yesterday I shopped at a local store that is going out of business and bought a blue sequined cloth belt for 75 cents. Thought I would use it as a ribbon on a gift. Good price. Cheaper than buying ribbon. Today I realized it would match my tacky sequined tee-shirt. I tried it on. Jon said "NO". Didn't appreciate the trailer trash look. I was kind of disappointed. Maybe I should wear it when I walk with friend Mary tomorrow and see what her face tells me.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Wide Eyed and Worried

Late this afternoon I had an eye exam. The Dr. dilated my pupils and gave me barely adequate disposable eyeglasses for the drive home. The office is six blocks from home and I made it okay, but was glad it wasn’t farther. I squinted, shaded my eyes, and was glad to get back indoors.

After dinner I took my evening bike ride. It’s humid and warm and cooler riding a bike than walking. My pupils were still dilated and I looked like Mr. Magoo.

A few miles from home I had an alarming thought. What if I fell, struck my head and became unconscious? Whoever happened by, would call 911. An ambulance would haul me off to the local ER, and they would find widely dilated pupils-- a sign of severe brain damage. Being unconscious I couldn’t tell them I just had an eye exam. Maybe someone working in the ER would recognize me (former co-workers). Word would get around the department it was curtains for this old nurse. Word would get around the department I wasn’t wearing a bike helmet. Tongues would wag. The old adage, “Those who don’t wear helmets don’t have anything to protect anyway” would come to minds. I’ve said that, but only about motorcyclists without helmets. My reputation would be ruined.

I cut my ride short.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Keep Your Chin Up by Jane Celeste the Pest

The stock market’s in a slump
Gasoline prices made a jump
The Mississippi breached some levies.
GM can’t sell many Chevies.

Spring came late and was too cool
Couldn’t swim in a chilly pool
Rising food prices do alarm us
Bad tomatoes still might harm us

Iowa farm fields are under water
California just keeps getting hotter.
The Arctic ice is melting fast
Fly the airlines—feel harassed.

Believe the bad news—get depressed
Be optimists—hope for the best
Cheer yourself up--don't just mope
It's healthier to have some hope.
Politicians say they'll fix what troubles
The national deb? -it soars and doubles
If you trust them and are impressed
Remember New Orleans is still a mess

The First Minnesota

Brave men still answer the call to arms and now brave women as well. Link is to historical site about the 1st Minnesota Regiment of the GAR in the Civil War. They live in infamy because most laid down their lives in the battle of Gettysburg. There was an 82% casualty rate that day but the unit went out to fight the next as well.
There were brave soldiers who fought valiantly for what they believed on the other side too.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

What a Tiger

Jack, my nephew Peter's boy who got a birdie on a par 3 course this week. Way to go, Jack.

Made in America

Here is the last picture of our old 1993 Ford Explorer taken at the junk yard where we deserted it. We're thankful it lasted just long enough for Andy to have cheap transportation at college. He was out in the boonies and having a vehicle was helpful. We appreciated him being able to transport himself back and forth on home visits and move in and out each year. Farewell Ford.
We felt good about buying a Ford back then. Support USA made cars. Buy American. Then we found out it was made in Windsor, Canada. Ironically, the two Mazdas now in our household, (Japanese car, right?) were made in America. Go figure.

Taking the Fifth

It's July 5th. We had a great 4th yesterday. The weather was sunny and 70's. Might not have pleased those who had beach days planned but it was a little warmer in the afternoon. I don't miss hot.

We went to dinner at a Marine on St. Croix restaurant with (daughter) Mary and Mike and then watched the fireworks in Stillwater while standing on that old bridge. It is quite a show, probably unmatched in the area. Lots of big booms. You can feel the bridge shudder when they fire multiple, large pyrotechnics. I wondered if it was such a good idea to stand on that 80 yr. old bridge with all those people and cars crossing while it vibrated. Next year I may be the one wearing a life preserver.

There was a 4th of July celebration at the historic courthouse (draped in red, white, and blue bunting) on the hill in Stillwater in the morning. A couple decades ago, some had the forsight to preserve this beautifully sited building with a gorgeous view of the town and St. Croix river valley. Yesterday was the dedication of a recently purchased Civil War canon. There was one there in 1902 that fell to disrepare years ago. Stillwater was the home of the 1st Minnesota Regiment. The first in the nation to send troops to the GAR union army in the Civil War. Most of these men were killed in the battle of Gettysburg. The canon is now in front of the Civil War memorial with it's bronze statue of the union soldier.

A local band played and politicians spoke. There was free coffee and cookies and rows of white wooden folding chairs for those who gathered. We ran into an old acquaintance who is running for state legislature. Can't miss those opportunities to campaign. We brought our own folding chairs. When Jon briefly left his to get a cup of coffee, an older gentlemen, 80-85 came up and asked if the seat was taken. (Guess I can still pick up men.) We let him sit and found him charming. I thought he must live alone. Came alone and was talkative. My favorite comment:

he pointed to two white haired octagenarian women sitting in front of us and said, "Aren't they good looking?" Got to love that spirit. Guess he figured out I was taken. As we were leaving I realized I hadn't introduced myself. I said, " My name is Jane, what is yours?" He said, " my name is Jane too." Perhaps he thought I said "Jean" and he was Gene. I'm going with that. Nice old guy and pretty good looking.

Friday, July 4, 2008

American Pie

I never knew what half the lyrics to "American Pie" meant. Here is a primer if you are curious:

Have You Been Naughty or Nice

I read that the real "Seinfeld" Soup Nazi is opening a local restaurant. We've been using that line from the Soup Nazi episode, "No Soup For You" for years to register disapproval.
Since they have been playing the TV commercial for Klondike bars, I have started saying to my husband, "Give that guy a Klondike bar" when he actually listens to me. Need to reinforce good behaviour. (Child rearing 101)
Today I am in a quandry. We ate breakfast at a local downtown Stillwater cafe. As we were leaving my sweetie said, "Look at that cleavage! ".He followed quickly with, "I guess I won't be getting a Klondike bar." That's correct. No klondike bar. No soup. I did laugh though.

Happy Birthday, America

Chillin out

When we still had four kids at home, we had an extra full sized refrigerator in the garage. It died about a decade ago and we couldn't justify replacing it with only two adults and one kid living here. We live close to the supermarket and Andy's dorm refrigerator summered with us during his college years. The attached garage is cool enough in the winter to keep "pop" at just at just the right temp. This week the little workhorse died. Summer beverages were now competing for space in the kitchen refrigerator .
We purchased a slightly bigger dorm frig at Sam's Club yesterday. It has three shelves and a better storage area on the door. This model doesn't have a small freezer, which is wasted space, and instead has larger shelves which could hold three tupperware containers of food, Jon set it up and stocked it yesterday afternoon. Then he asked me not to open it. It would take almost a day to cool down when it was full. Might take longer if we kept opening the door to see if it was cool enough. (I think he had been doing that.) It hadn't occured to me to check how cool the Coke was getting. Now it is 3:00am and I can barely resist going out there and opening the door to see if it is cool. I don't think it would hurt, but it is a point of honor not to. My mother's voice is echoing from the past telling me not to leave the frig door open too long. She wanted to save energy.
Before I was in elementary school we lived on a farm. We didn't have electricity until I was five and the REA electrified the countryside. Food was kept in an "ice box" which looked like a refrigerator. It was cooled by keeping a big chunk of ice in it. Kids job was to empty the drip pan that caught the water from melted ice. Understandably parents told kids not to open the door too often or too long.
I guess I will chill out. I won't peek. I'll respect my husband's wishes and fondly remember mom.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Lighten' Up

We’ve been working on redecorating our bedroom the past week or two. I am using the royal “We”. Jon did the work. I mostly shopped. New carpet, paint, and furniture. It came together nicely although the first window treatment didn’t meet with the husband’s approval. “Too bland”, he said. Get something with more color. He was right. I bought something different ready-made and it just fits. The last thing to get was matching lamps for the bedside tables. Our old bed had a pier with overhead lighting built in.
I bought matching lamps and returned them. The right look but not tall enough. I placed different lamps of ours on the tables and decided 30 inches was the right height.

I looked at every home store, discount store and furniture store in town for lamps. They were all too shiny, too bumpy, too big, too small, too tall, too short, too frilly, too spindley, too dark, too light, too low wattage, or too expensive. I tried eBay and got in a bidding war which I lost in the final two seconds. I almost cried. Low price for a pair of lamps I priced at online stores for $179. each. They went for $48 because my mouse wandered when I clicked and I didn’t get in the final bid. Why didn’t I bid more aggressively? They were perfect. Back to wading through the eBay site of over 6000 lamps. Back to looking at every store imaginable online only to get depressed I had let that bargain slip through my fingers.

Wednesday was the day we would go to the Mall of America and shop. If you can’t find it there, God help you.

And then He helped me.

I walk early in the morning with a friend. I was going to drive to her house but Andy had parked his car behind mine in the driveway and I waited for him to get up. Should only have to wait a half an hour. Might as well go for a bike ride. I headed out planning to loop in a circle through the neighborhood and around the pond. Instead of going left to go that way, I turned right at the corner. Second house in and around the corner I spotted two matching lamps on the curb. ( It is garbage day and people put their stuff on the curb.) Take it if you like it. I grabbed them. Two 3- way, 30” ginger jar lamps in a taupe ceramic that matches my colors. Great lamps. Perfect price. Free. They even had light bulbs that worked. It made my day. True story.


Worth watching.

Aaarrrg.... No, no pirate talk. AARP is the Word

Yup. The AARP did send the Andyman a temporary membership and offered a year's membership for $12.00. He put the card in his billfold. Next time he is carded at a bar he can show is AARP card. Should do the trick. It is also good for discounts. That he plans to try.
Seems like he skipped a step in his life and went right from graduate to the near grave in a short time. Aaaarrrg.

Some of My 20,000 Words

We attended a marriage enrichment weekend several years ago. One of the teachings said, a woman needs to speak 20,000 words a day to be happy. Men don't. They have trouble listening to all that talk too. Spare them. Spend some of the words on a girl friend. Men, try to listen and understand. The Martians and Venitians have differences.

My blog is part of my need to talk. Talk or write. Shameless self promotion.

I find the TV commercial for Klondike bars amusing. In one scene a wife is chattering on about her day. On and on. The husband looks like he is reading the newspaper. Then he asks her a question pertinent to what she hasd just said. The jingle plays, "Give that guy a Klondike bar".

Last weekend I bought a supply of Klondike bars. Their advertising must be effective. My guy got one for all the work he has been doing around the house. Haven't rewarded him for listening to me yet. His comment the other day when I paused, realizing that I was over-running my mouth again, "You say what you are thinking to process your thoughts, don't you?" YUP.
Give that guy another Klondike bar for insight. And for staying married 40 years, most of them happily.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Real Sign of Maturity

Kids grow up fast. Parents of toddlers and colicky babies don't believe this, but from my perspective it is true.
Our baby who recently graduated from college has been driving a barely reliable beater for the last three years. It stalls when it gets cold. The car, a big honking Ford Explorer that gets 15 mpg, thinks 60 degrees is cold. He drives sparingly and carries a cells phone.

For Christmas we gave him a AAA membership with 100 miles towing. When you "join" this club you get a monthly or quartly magazine. I looked at them and didn't bother to forward this mail to him at school. Monday a new one came with his name on it and he was surprised. Not very interested, but surprised. Lots of good stories on RV travel and safety.
The kid has been in the market for a car and went car shopping with his dad last night. One dealer had special 1.9% financing and he bought his first new car. That is a milestone and a mark of maturity. Now he gets to buy the insurance and change the oil. Time to really be an adult.

Today the ultimate mark of maturity for the lad. I can't wait to share what came in the mail for him when he comes home from work. AARP sent him a letter. AARP! He is 22. I didn't get my first correspondence from AARP until I was 48. My husband was solicited when he turned 50 and he ratted me out and signed me up. I was indignant. In denial. "I am only 48!" I said. Now I say, "I am only 63"! Time marches on.

Don't know what the offer from AARP is, but the look on his face should be priceless. Wonder if he will get catalogues for hearing aids and cremation societies next. Must be that AAA membership.