Friday, October 31, 2008

From the Baby Blog

Mary keeps posting new pictures of the twins. They have three Halloween outfits that "Grandma K", Mike's mom has gotten them. Cute little punkins, aren't they?"
Mary reports her first night of the kids sleeping 4 1/2 hours last night. She was thrilled. Now that they have grown a bit, no need to wake them every 3 hours at night which is a relief for the caregivers.

To Have and To Hold, In Sickness and in Dancing....

WHEW. Jon had surgery yesterday to clear a blocked carotid artery (in his neck). It was a relief to have that behind us safely. I think I was overly concerned about a stroke and feel better to have the plumbing cleaned out. He'll be discharged later this morning after they remove all the "lines". His blood loss was minimal. Everything went as well as it could have. He spent the night in the new ICU at Lakeview Hospital where I used to work. They put him in the suite, a room generously twice the normal size with views of two lakes. Too bad he couldn't appreciate it. The bathroom is almost as large as our bedroom at home. Room assignments were made by people who are old work friends of mine.

We have a local plumbing company named "Clog Unbogglers".

Didn't use them. Instead he added another Dr. to the somewhat long list of professionals who do maintainance on him. I like this new doc. He has a sense of humor. After surgery he told me that my husband did have sleep apnea which was a concern to the anesthesiologist. (We knew he had sleep apnea. Wives are the first to know.) Then the surgeon smiled and said, "Jon did fine. His apnea kept the anesthesia guys awake. That's always a good thing during surgery." I made a mental picture of a bored anesthestic dozing on the job. Apparently that didn't happen yesterday. All went well.

We have been married almost 41 years and I realized there is little I would change about my guy. Maybe I would have liked to dance a little more. He quit dancing after the vows were spoken. Did just enougdancing to get a wife.

My sister emailed me the following video. The couple look like they will have fun together. Wonder if she has a prenupt stating he will continue to dance after the wedding.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hope They Have a Fire Extinguisher Pumpkin House

Pirate Pumpkin - Aye, Matey

Happy Pumpkins

Artful Pumpkin

New Life

I went with Mary yesterday to the clinic just to weigh the little darlings and see how much they have grown. Both weighed in at 8# 3 oz. Amazing growth. I guess they are twins. Do you know someone asked me if they were identical AFTER I had said they were a boy and a girl?
Zoe and Roman were born six weeks early at 5# 6oz and 5# 5oz. They were a good size for their age but had a little struggle with maturity of the lungs. Now both are thriving which is an answer to prayer and the result of good parenting and medical care. I am thankful every morning for this kidlets and love the little snugglebunnies dearly.
We live in a great country. I do have a heavy heart that many don't see all children as a blessing to be loved. There are too many abused children. How can a heart be so hard as to harm a child? There are also many who have hardened their hearts to accept or practice wiping out the life of the unborn. Are children more valuable just because their mom wants them? Is there not a racist streak that wants to do away with unborn minority babies so they are not a drain on the welfare system? How did we get to this point? Why do we nuture and save babies in a crisis like Zoe and Roman and legally allow partial birth abortion at the same age? Partial birth abortion works by forcing a sharp instrument into the base of the brain of the partially born baby to kill it. No pain control. Only the intent to kill the nuisance. It could have been legally done to my grandkids the day they were born. It should make us think.
We have a copy of the series "Band of Brothers" about a troup of soldiers in WW2. The most poignant scene is the soldiers liberating a concentration camp near the end of the war. They are sickened by the scene of dead and starving, emaciated prisoners. There are heaps of the naked dead in piles. Our soldiers enlisted the local civilians to help bury the dead. The locals were overcome and said they did not know what was going on. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe they did not want to be involved. Maybe they thought the Gypsies, Jews, protestors, handicapped, mentally impaired and homosexuals were a drain on their society. Maybe they just didn't want to think about it. Maybe if we ignore what is going on in our country we will carry the same guilt.
If we claim to be humanitarians we should question how good a humanitarian we are to allow this killing to be sanctioned. Many have allowed abortion because it is safer for the mother. It is. It is also totally unsafe for the child. We do not need to judge people who have had abortions when they felt desperate. We need to inspire people and help them. We need to look to common ground to prevent sexual promiscuity and unwanted pregnancies. We need to love people. All people--the born and unborn. We need to keep this in mind when we vote next week.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One More Week !!!!!!!

We are on the countdown. Pundits on radio are already analyzing the vote. Hashing over who won like it had already happened. Actually, (I was going to quit overusing that word, wasn't I?)

10,000,000 people have already voted. Many states allow early voting. All states allow absentee voting. I have concerns about abuses when all this early voting is allowed. Couldn't people easily be voting early and often? Mayor Daley lives on.....

Only the people collecting revenue from political ads will miss them. The rest us have had it. Shut up, already. Go away. People who don't know who they want to vote for by now shouldn't be allowed to vote.

We were discussing candidates qualifications last evening. I guess we are caught up in it too. Jon remarked that maybe it isn't so important that a candidate have "Washington experience". Okay. I see that at some level. Both parties have a candidate who has been accused of not being ready to be president. His example made me laugh. "How about Abe Lincoln or Harry Truman?", he said. "They weren't insiders". Ah, I think they were. Both were in congress before getting the big job. Truman was a senator and Abe Lincoln served one term in the House of Representatives. One term. Two years. Haven't we been critical of OBama for not having enough experience? Haven't we discounted Sarah Palin for her two years as Governor? Makes one think. Maybe Jon was right. Maybe they don't need a lot of "Washington" time. I am not endorsing either of these candidates, just amazed at Lincoln's background.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sometimes You Just Have a Good Day , Sometimes A Bad Day - or- Men Can Be So Exasperating!

Sweet little Piper Palin became everyone's favorite child when she groomed her baby brother's hair at the Republican National Convention. Won my heart. This is what mom's instinctively resort to--spit cleaning.

She may have been having a bad day or this kid just ticked her off. Bet she heard a word or two from mom and dad after the photo popped up. Click on photo for details. I laughed at the look on her face. We have a similar photo of our innocent youngest child doing the same thing when he was about three. Oh, my. Where did he learn that!

Scary Kids

Not too scary with the pacifers, though. Mike's mom got them their first Halloween costumes.

Scary Stuff

Halloween has become a major holiday in the USA. We are someplace between thosewho regard it as pagan revelling and avoid it and others who enjoy the fun of decorating and dressing in costumes and having parties. We will give away bags of Famous Amos cookies with a message attached.
When our youngest was in junior high he dressed up as a scarecrow (full mask) and sat quietly on a chair outside our front door trying to blend in as part of the decorations. When kids rang the bell he would ask them if they wanted candy. Scared a few of them. He was under instructions not to do that to very little kids.
For years our churches had parties on Halloween. A couple years ago our pastor decided it was time to quit hiding in the church and use the opportunity to spread a little good news. Groups of people now host elaborately decorated houses, do puppet shows, etc and give away the king sized candy bars to kids. There is always a child's bible verse attached to the candy. Nothing too scary. Another group of people do reverse trick-or-treating and go to houses giving them gifts. Almost everyone answers their door on Halloween. One year they made beautiful pine swags as gifts. Just a friendly greeting and invite them to church if they are looking for one.
Friday we went to the Halloween party that could not be topped. My sister and brother-in-law spent weeks decorating and it was better than Disney would have done. Invitations said "Costumes expected". Jon bought a Barack Obama head mask and I wore sequins and feather boas and went as Dancing With the Stars contestant Cloris Leachman with a long black wig. Jon thought I looked more like Jimi Hendrix! Lots of fun. They did an amazing job inside and out.
Pictures: My good looking brother-in-law Gordon as a Zombie (Swamp thing?)
My sister in-law Jannie as Cleopatra
Jon as Barach ( he will vote McCain)
Hillary even showed up and Barach and Hillary were making nice.
(Hillary was one of their neighbor guys who even wore low heeled women's shoes. The pant suit was actually orange, but looks pink in this picture.)
You can't see the black feathers on the bottom of the pink sequeined pants from my costume. The pants were a little long, and as I walked I would step on the feathers. Yesterday my sister in law called and told Jon, "Tell your wife to get over here and pick up her feathers! " They were everywhere. Sorry, Jannie. Today she called me and while laughing, related that when she made her bed this morning and shook the quilt, black feathers went flying. I had to defend my honor. While I think my brother in law is a good looking guy, I was not attracted to him as swamp thing. I keep finding black feathers around our house too. Old birds molt, I guess.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Stockholm Syndrome

Today will feel and look more like November than Indian Summer. November, with it's bleak grayness, leafless trees, and howling winds is soon upon us. Snow is predicted for parts of Minnesota and possible flurries here. It is just a taste of what is to come.

A week or two ago we did a "leaf run" down the Mississippi river valley to enjoy the fall color. Lunch was in the tiny town of Stockholm. It has a population of about 80-some souls, most of whom are artists. We ate a wonderful, moderately expensive, lunch. The town is an old rivertown enjoying renewal as a pleasant place to shop and lunch. They have a couple stashes of old bikes painted blue for communal use. One store sells Amish quilts, another artisan lawn ornaments. There is one antique shop, a wine and cheese store and a great bakery and restaurant with a garden cafe for warm days. Nice place.

We found a place to gather wild bittersweet near here years ago. I am content to let it thrive in nature now as I am less inclined to climb trees to harvest it. The fall colors were stunning when we were there and we were able to spot many soaring eagles by the river bluffs.

The Mississippi Great River Road is one of the wonders of this area.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Two More Weeks of Daylight Savings Time. Hurry, Hurry if you haven't Saved Any Time or Daylight Yet.

The morning sun is rising late
It’s dark by dinner, and oh I hate
To think what season now is near
Yes, winter’s coming soon I fear.

Daylight time is ending soon
And won’t return ‘til months before June
Can you bank sunshine to appreciate belated?
Maybe daylight savings time is overrated

Friday, October 24, 2008

Roman & Zoe -- "Lil Punkins

Son Andy's Scary Pumpkins

What Are We To Believe? -or- Navigating a Modern World With More Knowledge than Christopher Columbus but it is Still an Adventure

Just when I had been convinced that "The World is Flat" after reading Thomas Freidman's book, another newer release claims, "The World is Curved". What are we to believe?

A couple years ago I was humming along with Rascal Flat's "Life is a Highway. I'm gonna ride it all night long". If you can't hear that song running through your mind now, you haven't seen the movie "Cars" and there are no children in your life.

I really don't know if the world is flat or curved or perhaps round. We have to believe the astronauts who got a peak at it from far off, I guess. All I know is that if my 101K, formerly known as my 401K, doesn't keep plummeting I am going to be "Leaving on a Jet Plane" or maybe riding on that highway...and not looking back.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Grandma's Brag Book

Fun Books

I have been enjoying some light reading, a series about two southern sisters who solve murders they accidentally become involved in. Both are in their 60's and the stories are light, not gory.

While the two sisters are opposites, they enjoy a nice relationship. The plots remind of of Angela Lansbury's character in "Murder, She Wrote". They are pleasant company but one would hate to invite them to dinner. Everywhere they go they stumble into murder scenes. You might be the next victim.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rock The Vote

Our older three children were all born in the former St. Barnabas Hospital in downtown Minneapolis. That hospital was closed and HCMC expanded onto the site. Our older grandkids were born in HCMC's midwife birthing center.

Back in the late 60's, early 70's there was a sign in the OB unit at St. Barnabas that said "Deliveries in Rear". They really did do deliveries in the rear portion of the unit. When a woman was having a baby she labored in one room and delivered in another --the delivery room in the rear. I always thought that was funny. "Deliveries in Rear" looked like a sign belonged at a place of business not a hospital. I am sure humor was intended. I wonder why I have never seen a sign in newborn nursery that says, "We will pamper your child".

A couple days ago I blogged about baby Roman's first survey. He was solicited to answer some questions about his hospital stay. What a paper trail that kid already has. Besides some big bills flying back and forth from hospital to insurer, he has a birth certificate and social security number. In some precincts of large eastern cities that would be enough to register to vote. He might even make a buck or two for throwing his vote to the "ward boss". They vote the cemetary, don't they? Chicago, Philly, Cleveland? If he had a cell phone, land line or email address he might get requests for campaign donations.

Oh Roman, you have so much to look forward to.

Roman's namesake, great-grandpa Roman who died in 1997 still gets mail sent here occasionally. My husband had his mail transferred here after grandpa Romie died to catch any bills etc. One letter came for him about a year later asking, "How do you like your new home?" We hoped he liked his new home.
Maybe Grandpa Romie can vote in Chicago and Philly now too.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Pumpkin

It's a chilly morning in Minnesota. We still haven't had a killer frost and my Impatients are still blooming which surprises me. Some of the flowers have been nipped with scattered frost in our yard. I thought I better keep Mr. Smiley Pumpkin bundled up. When mom is cold everyone has to wear a sweater!

Zoe in Pink Hat. Roman in Green. 10/19/08

The Survey

When I was a working woman I would peruse the monthly report on patient satisfaction surveys. Then I would grumble that the department that did colonoscopies nearly always received 100% satisfaction results from their patients. They gave everyone "drugs". Drugs for pain. Drugs to induce amnesia so they wouldn't remember what was done to them. When they returned their surveys they had only glowing praise for the staff and experience. In ER we had great marks but didn't hit 100%.

Four weeks ago our twin grandbabies were born. Mary and the kids were discharged one at a time. Last week the little guy, Roman Wesley, received a letter from the hospital with a request he complete the survey and return it. The letter was addressed to him; " Dear Roman Wesley B------", and asked for his participation to improve patient satisfaction. His grown up name may have fooled whoever chose the random sample. (One of my friends said he has a name fitting a Supreme Court Judge. Roman Wesley. Quite distinguished.) Mary plans to fill out the survey and return it. I suggested she keep a copy for his baby book. Here are some paraphrased questions:

Did you have a roommate during your hospitalization?

--answer. Yes, several. The first day I think there were 17!

Did your roommate disturb your sleep?

--answer. They were up day and night and sometimes cried.

Did you have any dietary restrictions?

--answer. Yes, I have no teeth.

Were you satisfied with your stay at ___________hospital?

--answer. Yes, but I have nothing to compare it to.

Was this a planned or unexpected admission?

--answer. A little of each. I was planned but arrived unexpectedly early.

Would you recommend this facility to others?

--answer. I will when I can but I like being home with mom and dad more.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Food That Lasts

I have been walking solo this past week but had a chance to walk yesterday morning with my friend and walking partner Mary. Mary, a fiery redhead and one of the kindest people I know, caught me up on the news in her life. She is newly retired and was able to spend most of last week with the team at our church who were gathered to do community outreach.

Our church hosted a group of German and Swiss and one Hungarian as well as others from America to meet and pray. This was a partnership with two other ministries to reach people with The Good News. Not the good news about what your government is going to do for you, the good news that there is a bigger "world" than what we see and hear about on the news. (It was a good week to dispense good news with so much bad news out there.) The Good News that eternal life is ours for the asking. The focus was training laborors for the harvest. Several community outreachs were planned. In our area they went into the Eastside of St. Paul to low income housing areas with a semi-truck load of donated new clothing and $3500 of food to give away.

One hundred volunteers helped serve the people who came. There were challenges. They had done flyer handouts in the area but most of the Somali, Hmong, Viet Namese and Mexican immigrants cannot read English. Word of mouth on the day of the big giveaway carried the day. People told others to go to the parking lot where "some white people" were giving away food and clothes. When people came, they usually came on foot. Volunteers sometimes walked several blocks helping them carry their goods home. Each recipient was given two garbage bags and told to take all the clothes wanted. Food was given in cases or boxes and was a challenge to get home without cars. I am sure those who received were blessed in these times of rising food prices. It gave a little security to have an extra source of food mid-month. Food shelves are heavily used but many of these immigrant families are large.

We are instructed to "feed the hungry and clothe the poor". Clothing the poor is frequently done with hand me downs. It was a thrill to give away new clothes. The clothes were seconds donated by the manufacturer. Of those blessed, the workers received the most blessings. We will continue to pray the seeds sown will grow. Times ahead will be tough for many in this country and it is always good to help people connect to their true source of help. Their true source of help is not the government.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Class Wars

Joe the plumber had his fifteen minutes of fame in the last 24 hours. Aha. Fifteen minutes of fame can last longer than fifteen minutes. This hapless guy who only entered the spotlight because he asked a presidential candidate a question, has been hounded by media camped out in his driveway. Diane Sawyer joyfully said they had an interview with "Joe The Plumber". Man of the hour. Joe has now been vetted. Joe is really named Carl. Joe didn't pay all his taxes to the IRS. Joe doesn't have a plumbers licence. Under Obama's plan he would get a refund anyway. The strange world of Joe the plumber.

This politicos debated about tax plans of the candidates. It highlights how different classes will be treated. Everyone wants to help the "middle class". With few exceptions, we all think we are the middle class. Some with more money are upper-middle class. The upper class know who they are. A strange thing happened during the recent Wall St. party. When they shook that stock market did we all drop a class? Many fell out of the comfortable class. What are we now? Since the reduction in wealth was almost universal we may be able to keep our middle class designation. We certainly are in the middle of something.

Time to vent. I hate referring to people's class by the amount of money they earn. Are high earners really upper class? We have heard some stories of executives who raided millions from corporations with golden parachutes that I dislike calling upper class. Nothing classy about those guys. There are also hard working low paid people who are called low class. If you are hard working and do not make much money you are not low class. Low class should be reserved for bums who don't work. Low class should refer to druggies, criminals, perverts and badly behaving people. Low class should not refer to the impoverished person eeking out a living holding down two or three minimum wage jobs. They should be referred to as working class.

They work. They are working class and should be proud of it. My mom worked hard as a waitress to raise two daughters on low wages but she had a lot of class. She had way more class than those guys from AIG who partied hearty on $400,000. federal $$$ after the bailout.

Class. You have it or you don't. Even if we have lost some of our portfolio strength we haven't lost our class. Keep your chin up. Keep behaving. Keep on working. We are all in this thing together.

Class dismissed.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Licenced to Bill if You Are Joe

I admit I am shallow. Joe the Plumber just seems too easy. He was the star of last night's debate. Joe is based on a real individual Obama met while going door to door. The candidates disagree about which of them will help Joe. Joe represents "Everyman". He is the hard working American tradesman. He has skills that we all appreciate when we need him (or her?). I have never met a female plumber but I reckon there are some.
Joe's union job is probably safe from export. When you toilet overflows or the pipes freeze at 5 am on Saturday, someone in India cannot rescue you. Thank God for Joe the plumber. Too bad there aren't more good paying jobs for skilled laborers in America.
For years Jon fixed and refixed a leaky connector in our shower. He would take it apart and replace the washer, tighten it up and it would be good for another year. Two decades of this and he finally could not fix a constant drip from the faucet over the bathtub. That can add up to a lot of wasted water and he called a plumber. The plumber replaced a part and the problem was solved. It doesn't leak. For the house call and 20 min. of work the bill was over $200. We were glad he could fix it without tearing up the tiled wall. We paid the plumber as soon as he finished.
$200 for a brief visit. Another plumber housecall was $150 for a pipe problem. I am glad they can fix it. I just wonder if using a skilled plumber as an example of the average "joe" was a good choice. I think his salary is above average for labor.
Now how do you go about getting that plumbers licence?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sneaky or Cuddly??

Why some people love cats and why some people hate cats!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Twins Are Tied For First Place!

Oh, I know. The Minnesota Twins are through for the year. I think the Vikings may be through for the year too, but that is another tale.
"The" twins are tied for first. They went to the pediatrician today and both weighed in at 6#4 oz! Yahoo. They are growing and thriving. Six pounds plus of sweet smelling baby times two. They only weigh six pounds but manage to keep many adults spinning around their orbit. Mary has moments when she is challenged from the tiresome schedule of frequent all night feedings. Mike's mom and I tried to help a bit this weekend to give the new parents a little sleep. These early weeks are difficult and it is difficult to believe you will ever get any rest again. I tried to reasssure Mary the time will come quicker than you imagine now when you look at them and see how fast they have become a year old.
The kids are three weeks old today. They are also three weeks short of the date they should have been born if they had been born full term. So, are they + 3 or -3? In China they count age from conception. They would be 37 weeks in traditional Chinese culture. Their first days were a little disconcerting but now I see them growing stronger, eating better, and developing their distinct personalities. Go, twins, go.

Worse Than Hooters. I think you can get a salad at Hooters.

Pictures from one of those emails that circulate. I don't know where this grill is but it looks like it is real. Notice the disclaimer outside the front door. (Double click to see bigger picture and read the signs.) Don't sue them. Eat at your own risk.
Do you think the guys come for the burgers or the ambiance? I wonder how many 911 calls originate from the place. I wonder how you would even bite through a sandwich that big. It is probably a novelty like the 96 ounce steaks in Texas Roadhouses. Eat it all and it is free.
My heritage is French-Canadian and they have a few non heart-healthy recipes too. I have been served french fries with gravy but had never heard of "poutine" until recently. It is french fries covered in gravy and melted cheese curds. The trifecta of greasy foods. They probably survive but washing it down with red wine which is good for cardiac health in small doses. Perhaps the Heart Attack Grill should serve red wine. If they did, they would definitely need a bouncer to keep those macho guys in check.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Roman Holiday

All present and accounted for. Baby Roman was discharged from the hospital this week and the twins are reunited. Picture: Dad Mike carrying both babies out of Methodist Hospital. Zoe had to come along for the ride.

I spent part of Thursday with the kids and Mary. I am lonesome today and think we better visit again.

Cool Your Jets

Jon's longtime best buddy just left for the airport. Dave and Jon lived a few houses away from each other since they were children and have maintained their friendship over sixty years. At least once during the fishing season Dave flies in from Manchester, NH and they head 250 miles straight up the map of Minnesota to lakes that actually have fish. There are walleye in those cold border lakes.

He expected to pick his friend up at the airport late last Saturday evening. Those plans hit a snafu when a late flight caused him to miss his connecting flight from Philadelphia. Dave couldn't catch a flight on to Minneapolis that night and went back to Manchester to try again the next day. His luggage had other plans. It was on vacation flying solo. The dilema: If airlines lose your luggage, they will have it sent out by courier when it arrives. Give them an address where it is to be delivered. He planned to fly into Minneapolis and then immediately drive "up north" to a house on a sparcely populated lake in the boundary waters. What directions would you give the airline? Deliver it to the yellow cabin in the grove of trees past the hangman's rock around the corner from the big island on the third lake? Do it by boat? We are talking remote here. We are talking about luggage with fishing gear, warm clothes, rain gear and everything you need for a week in the back country. This is not a street address or a hotel.

With all the criticism of airlines, nickel and dime extra charges, late departures and arrivals, no food, (not even munchies), disgruntled staff, cancelled flights etc., this airline got it right. As soon as Dave realized he wasn't getting out of Philadelphia he tried to find his luggage. I believe tighter homeland security procedures dictate the bags should be taken off the flight if the passenger isn't on the plane to prevent bombs sent in luggage. Well they broke that rule. He explained that his prescription medication was in the suitcase and it was imperative it be located. The next morning when he arrived in Minneapolis he went to the baggage claim area. When he asked airline employees about it they immediately located it. It had indeed received special handling. Several employees came over and had heard the "APB" from Philly to look for the bag. It was specially wrapped, tagged, and handled with care. They were gracious and glad to have found the owner.

Every time we travel I hand carry medication. Jon has a lot of pills and gets special scrutiny. Maybe putting them in checked luggage is not so bad. He got royal treatment. I wondered how things would go if I packed one of those little red and white coolers that Red Cross transports transplant organs? I bet they don't lose those. Maybe the Red Cross doesn't check them in the belly of the plane either.