Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Roman, "The Wild One", slept through the night--9 to 5 last night. Good going little guy. The caveat, he slept between mom and dad in bed. That could be tempting to try everynight but can also be a hard habit to break. Mary said he even kept his lunch down, NO URPING.

Zoe has slept through many nights. She even woke up a couple nights ago, Mary gave her a fresh diaper and she went back to sleep. She has the sweetest disposition. When she awakens she is at her smiliest and even laughs. Her auntie gave her a Curious Georgina stuffed animal for Christmas that she likes. Roman got George. Who knew there were two.

The picture of the two of them together says it all. Zoe is calmly posing while Roman fusses. Not identical twins indeed.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Going Batty

Help. Will someone signal Batman for me? Is that signal reflected on a full moon ? When is the next full moon? Will Batman rid me of the bat we have in our garage?

The weekend Jon was in hospital after his surgery I saw what I thought was a bird flying around in the garage. We have had birds come down the chimney in the garage before. It crossed my mind it could be a bat but I wanted to have it be a bird. I didn't see it again and forgot about it. On Christmas Eve our son Dan was out smoking in the heated garage and came in to tell us, "You have a bat in the garage." I didn't want to hear that and still don't. They are inactive during daylight so I feel secure during the day. I don't think I want to go out there at night. If I suddenly stop blogging or answering email it is because I have moved. Unless Batman comes to my rescue. I am not going to look for the creature.

Friday, December 26, 2008


New York's Governor wants to raise state revenue by adding an 18% "obesity tax" to soft drinks. That might leave empire staters humming, "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke", but........I can't afford it anymore.
Now someone in Minnesota heard of the plan and wants to follow suite. One of our legislators commented, we might have to tax Santa if we go to obesity taxing. You knew it had to come. Sin Tax. We feel justified taxing tobacco users, gasoline users, liquor imbibers. Why not punish those who consume Coke? It would be a lose/lose proposition. Hopefully they would lose that extra flab without the fructose heavy beverages. Big brother is not only watching, he is tending the store. Time for the electorate to revolt and toss cases of Coca-cola in the harbor. Have a party like the early Bostonians. Government has gone too far.

Who Knew?

There is actually less crime and violence against persons now than there was decades ago, but there is exponentially more reporting of crime. We have 24 hr news sources who keep it constantly in our face. We are warned the world is more dangerous with the look-what-just-happened, it-could-happen-to-you-too stories. Take a deep breath. Try to get a positive outlook and be prudent but not overly fearful. That is what I tell myself.

Then there is a weather thing. Global warming means different things to different people. Some are alarmed. Some aren't. I fall somewhere in the middle. I sure think there are some weird things happening. Weird weather phenomona. Snow in Malibu at the beach. Snow in New Orleans. Snow in Las Vegas. Seattle shut down with snow and ice. Maybe it has happened before, but not in my memory.
My great grandparents probably didn't know about the big earthquakes in the heart of the country in the mid 1800's. CNN was not around. No electricity. No TV. No hovering helicopters. Not even radio reports. My great grandparents probably weren't frightened by the thought of an earthquake shaking their Wisconsin nor Minnesota homes. No one warned them. Lucky them, I think.
Today when I heard the reports of it snowing in the mountains in Hawaii I said, "That is weird weather". My husband Jon, said, "Maybe it is normal for it to snow at higher elevations." My retort, "In Hawaii?" Okay, use a filter on the news. Google it. Believe that. (Why do I trust Google?) I did, and found out it does snow in Hawaii at higher elevations. There are ski clubs. Maybe our President-elect can do some snorkeling and skiing while on vacation this year although being from Chicago, he probably doesn't mind leaving that behind.


Silence Isn't Golden, or Red Either

They did a feature piece on local news this week on a noise reduction project at a downtown St. Paul hospital. Their aim, to reduce ambiant noise for a more restful atmosphere for patients.

I am well acquainted with this concept from my working days. The community hospital where I worked was the first hospital in the country to build circular nursing stations, an innovation in 1950's. This design saved nurses steps and made it easier to observe patients. You could visually see them more easily and also hear if a frail older person was getting out of bed without calling for help. You could hear a weak cry for help. The downside, all the noise from the work station was heard by the patients. We worked hard to reduce noise ridding ourselves of noisy ice machines on the circle, getting plastic chart holders that didn't clank like metal ones when they were put away, and banishing the addressograph stamper. It was replaced by peel-off stickers to mark pages on charts with pt. names. Eventually the inner circles were retro-fitted with plexiglas to keep the conversations and ringing telephone noises from disturbing patients.

When I saw the piece on the "Yakity-Yak" alarm installed on this hospital's circular nursing units I was interested. They showed a contraption that looked like a semaphore traffic light with displays of green, yellow and red lights. No explanation necessary here. Then the person demonstrated what happened when the noise level rose to the red level. As she clapped her hands loudly in front of the device it set off a "red" light. An audible alarm sounded that was not unlike a wailing ambulance siren. Really it did. I laughed. That must be helpful in the midnight hour. The nurses get too noisy and a wailing alarm alerts them. Patients must love it. You can't make this stuff up. Truth is stranger than fiction.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Good Family Pix

Four Grandkids

16 yr old Zach holds Roman and almost 12 yr old Mina holds Zoe. We have more to be thankful for this Christmas. Great kids. Zach has grown into being a wonderful teen who hugs his grandma and has a sense of humor. He is pretty cute with his moppet hair. Mina is still sweet Mina, a darling who always asks me, "Can I help grandma?" She is in her fifth year as a Girl Scout and recently went on pilgrimage to the founders home in Atlanta with her girl scout troop. Love those kids.

A Leg Up

Did you see the movie "The Christmas Story"? This is only funny if you know the background.
Picture: Andy posing by his Christmas gift from girlfriend Laura. The leg lamp. We proudly left it lit in our window last night. Our associate pastor said he would make a trip by our house to see it from the street. The guy has a sense of humor and would appreciate this display.
I am not sure how this will fit in our decore but it is the start of a great Christmas tradition for Andy. He was thrilled.
The box was marked "fragile".

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

There is Room in the Inn, Just None in the Refrigerator

I quit drinking milk a couple of years ago. I just got tired of running out of three kinds of milk. I prefer skim, the kid drank 1%, my husband wanted 2%. You can run out of milk three ways. If you have a spare of each, you have at least six milk containers in the frig. Jon finally consented to drink 1% but now I don't care. I would rather eat yogurt.

We don't have the milk problelm but have morphed into being a five kinds of butter or margarine family. Andy likes the butter canola oil blend. I like real butter occasional for cooking. I have Jon on olive oil no trans fat I Can't Believe it isin't butter spread and I like to cut the calories and use 5 calorie I can't Believe it isn't butter. We like the no calorie spray fake stuff for popcorn. Five kinds. Five ways to run out. Takes 5X as much room in the frig. That is the problem. Holiday food and the frig is usually near capacity with 7 kinds of salad dressing, condiments, marinades, sauces etc. Single people get it right. Just nail polish or beer depending on the gender of the owner. Family frig looks different. There is baseline stuff. Jars of olives, BBQ sauce, h orshradish, dipping sauces etc. No room in the frig. Add to that my stockpiling of individual yogurt now that all of us eat it now. I won't even get into buying lettuce in the big container that doesn't fit in the produce drawer. Merry Christmas. I am grateful we have food unlike so many of the hungry in this world.

Facts That Shape Our Future

Isn't it amazing with the overflow of communication and technological information, an old book with a story about a 33 yr old carpenter from Israel is more important to our future? This book predicted centuries ago that in the last days travel and information would increase. Sadly, it also predicted that most would depend on a human worldly leader to solve immense global problems, ignoring the truth.

May you find real peace this Christmas that only comes from The Prince of Peace. Wise men still follow Him.

What to Get a 16 yr old Boy?

I've never understood people who procrastinate and shop for Christmas presents at the very last moment. Today that will be me. I haven't gotten a thing for our 16 yr old grandson. We will give $$$, but I wanted a little something under the tree. I am clueless and haven't spent enough time around him lately to know what he already has or wants. I asked him what he wanted for Christmas and didn't get an answer. Money seems cold. Cold cash. We have given the Best Buy gift certificates the past few years along with a present. This year I am not trusting the stores to stay in business and am using currency. So the dilema remains; ? what to get a 16 yr old boy---besides a 16 yr old girl! I might be headed to the mall to visit Aeropostale or American Eagle and see what is cool or I could really shift into out of touch grandma mode and get socks and underwear for a memorable Christmas. Wish me luck.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Carolyn

Carolyn, husband Mike, and granddaughter Bella

Jane Comments on Dec.21st's, "Inquiring Minds Want to Know" Blog

I heard it at the coffee and cookie fellowship after our church's children's Christmas pageant yest erday. A woman came up to the window and asked me to quickly hand her a cup of lemonade because her husband was choking on a powdered sugar donut. As a nurse I probably should have investigated further and see if a heimlich manuever or fast dialing of 9-1-1 was needed, but I instinctively knew this was just civilian first aid. Give fluids to the choking. Use the word choking loosely. I never heard sirens or saw a crowd gather in a circle and people screaming so the guy must have lived. I don't think my church profits from my active nursing license. I am better off serving in the kitchen and pouring kool-aid.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sis

Tomorrow is my beautiful sister Carolyn's birthday. In the picture she is the one seated. Happy Birthday Carolyn. My nephew Peter, her older son, is standing behind her.

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

My breakfast treat today; a small scoop of fat-free, sugar-free Blue Bunny ice cream on my steel cuts oats. Question: does fat free and sugar free still qualify as ice cream?

We watched a favorite old movie last evening, "Spanglish". There is a scene with Cloris Leachman comforting a bawling Tea Leone that makes me scratch my head. Tea is sniffling and sobbing and Cloris hands her a glass of water. Why is it in films and TV shows that someone hands a crying or bereft person a glass of water? Will that make things better? Worse scenario, and this always makes me cringe, when someone is choking they give them a drink. Hello. They need to cough not drink. They are choking because something has gone down the "windpipe" not the esophagus to the stomach. They don't need to put in liquids. That might kill them. Save the water for when they are having a good cry. There.

Another gripe of mine. In movies, TV and sometimes life, loved ones are always concerned that the grieving person who has lost a loved one, eat. "You must eat." Why? Eventually you must eat, but it won't matter if you miss the next meal. Watch for yourself. Water and food are first aid. I should talk. I learned at my mother's knee that you feed people who come to visit. I always ask my kids if they want something to eat. I guess nothing says loving like something from the frig.

My final question: What is a "sports barber"? Jon noticed yesterday one of our local clip joints has a sign calling themselves "sports barbers". Is hair cutting a sport not? Do they only cut athletes hair? Is there an athletic haircut? Are the barbers or patrons good sports? I asked Andy that question. He had a simpler answer; "They probably have a TV tuned to ESPN,

mom". If a guy is getting a haircut while watching the Vikings lose on ESPN at the barber, do you think the barber offers him a drink of water so he can compose himself? I don't think they have a liquor license. Wait. Wait. That might be a good idea for a new business. The errant husband / boyfriend could stop off for a quick one and have his haircut at the same time. He could tell his love he was just getting a haircut. I suppose they wouldn't get quick enough repeat business to make much money.

Snow Daze

I don't have my snow picture yet. When it gets light I better take one to post. We got "it" yesterday. Six, maybe seven inches of fresh fluffy white stuff in time for Christmas. We have had several Christmases that were brown or barely dusted with snow in recent years. It is a disappoint to those with snowmobiles, skis or children who want to play outdoors on vacation. It doesn't usually disappoint me. I have a couple cousins who will spend Christmas in Uganda visiting a newly married daughter and husband. I like their plans.
Since Jon is still recuperating, it is my pleasure to man the snow thrower. That makes quick work of the job. My only problem is that it doesn't have electric start and I had to have the big guy come out and do the pull start for me both times I used it. I think it is time for me to get back to the gym. I took a hiatus since early November because it was hard to work into my schedule. I walk when I can. Haven't been able to do outdoor walking much lately because it is often slippery. At 63 you don't want to fall and break something. My walking buddies remain supportive and check on my welfare and send encouragement. One has a no walk Dr's. order until her Achilles tendon heals. We need to get back to walking. My card club buddies haven't done well getting together since one of our members had surgery for breast cancer. Even if we aren't meeting regularly as before, we all hold each other in our hearts and prayers.
I am adding my two cousins who are traveling half way around the world to Uganda to my prayer list. Have a safe trip. Have a glorious time. Enjoy Africa. Cliff is a professional photographer and I can't wait to see his pictures. That is how I will leave you. If you are buried in snow or ice, try daydreaming about a Christmas in Africa.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

America's Top Model Baby Girl-- Zoe

Roman the Reader

Plunging Ahead Toward the Holidays

I realized this morning we have another "holiday tradition" I had forgotten about. Several times on a holiday our main bathroom toilet has overflowed or the floor drain in the laundry room backed up after I put all the greasy turkey skin down the garbage disposer. We were embarassed but not nearly as much as the family member who got caught in the bathroom with an overflowing commode! That sure can break up a party.

It happened to me first thing this morning. I caught it in time. Note to family: I bought a new, stronger plunger. It is in plain sight. Yesterday I caught my sweetie just as he tossed a paper towel in the toilet and flushed. He had wiped something off the countertop in the BR and flushed it to my horror. The potty chugged and he grabbed the plunger but I am now watchful. Maybe I will recommend the nervous guests who read this use the other bathroom or at least be quick with the plunger

It seems I have run out of topics for blogging.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Potpourri

End of the week musings:
Minnesota is in a stalemate about the election of our senator. We are doing a recount in a too close to decide race. This morning I heard the state supreme court decided to admit a bunch of absentee ballots that had been dismissed. That leaves the candidates just two votes apart. Two votes. Think your vote doesn't count? My husband and I could have swung this race by ourselves.

The weatherpeople are scaring us again with predictions almost daily about snowstorms. Last night it was supposed to start around 10pm and snow through the night making a very messy rush hour. We have a dusting on our driveway. Less than 1/2 an inch. Las Vegas and Malibu, CA had 3 to 4 inches. Last week New Orleans had 3 1/2 inches.

We have been busy and decided to send Christmas cards out after Christmas. I told my sister and she said she didn't send them last year and isn't this year either. You can do that?
Yes, you can. Funny how things get much more relaxed when you skip a step or two.
I can create my own stress so I should be able to destress too.

I read online that "Woolies" is closing all their stores in Great Britain. Woolies is the affectionate name for F.W. Woolworth's, a spin off of the American chain that closed about twenty years ago. When I was a kid growing up in central Minnesota we had a Woolworth's and Ben Franklin Five & Dime store. Kids could afford to shop at these stores. There were Kreske 5 & 10cent stores that morphed into K-Marts. Now all the 5 & 10cent stores are gone. We have a variety of different Dollar Stores. I like them, but still can't find a little blue glass bottle of "Evening in Paris" parfum. I don't think they have bins full of tiny rubber babies for a nickel either.

As the stock market slide south my survival instincts drove me to stock up on more food. I am one of the last people on earth who would starve to death. Why this need to stockpile the pantry? I am concerned about a big disruption in food distribution. I still haven't purchased a 25# sack of rice or beans, but feel I should. If there is trouble, you all can come eat at our house. Better check what else I will need to fix those beans. Better put Beano on the list. Our youngest son laughed at the amount of coffee I purchased. Can't imagine going through hard times without a morning cup.

After arguing with the gas company for the better part of a year, they finally determined we had a dead meter and replaced it. Wouldn't you think a company would respond a little quicker to 5 or 6 inquiries about why we aren't being billed?

Some objected to Rick Warren doing the Inauguration prayer. I'll bet they haven't read his best seller book, "The Purpose Driven Life". First line in that book is: "It's not all about you."

If there is global warming, why is it so cold in Minnesota this December?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

New York is losing their senator when Hillary becomes Secretary of State. Caroline Kennedy Schlaussberg has her hat in the ring. A few others have expressed interest.
Illionois's senator Obama resigned his office. There are hats in the ring and hands in the till in that state.
Minnesota has an ongoing senatorial recount. Yesterday someone suggested they share the office and be known as Sen. Norm Frankenstein. It is a horror story . One newspaper column pleaded, "Just pick someone. Anyone".
All these dilemas. Maybe we could settle them by selling lottery tickets. Throw all of the seats open to anyone with a dollar for a ticket. Make it truly democratic and equal opportunity. No campaigning. No qualifications. Just luck. The perks of good health care, good retirement and God knows what else might appeal to struggling citizens who have lost their jobs, retirement and or homes.. Limit the # of tickets to one per adult citizen. Use the voting roles to see who qualifies. Who knows. Chicagoans could elect a dead man to office if they use their voters roles.

Name That Tune

Isn't it amazing that with all the songs out there someone can still come up with new ones? New melodies? All they have to work with is do, re, me, fa, so, la, ti , do in several octaves. Yet, every day new melodies are written. There might be similarities in some songs but creative minds still come up with new songs.

I think I want to be a songwriter. I'm not even worried about about writing lyrics. I just want a catchy melody and some good luck. This aspiration came from chasing down one of those internet news headlines. "Paul Anka's wife involved in domestic dispute" it read. Hmmmm. Wasn't Paul Anka that sqeeky clean performer known as a family man with five kids? He was. I went to Wikipedia to discover he was married from the early 60's until 2000 to his first wife. It doesn't say how that marriage ended...divorce or death. They had five daughters whose names all started with A. One, Amanda, is married to actor Jason Bateman.

Paul married his current wife, Anna, this past summer. The other night he beaned him in the head with a piece of ice that sent him to the emergency room for staples. She was charged with domestic abuse. Maybe elder abuse??? She is 37. He is 67. He is rich.

I wonder if he will be writing romantic songs about Anna.

All this nonesssential information came from Wikipedia. Paul Anka was a teen idol in my youth. He continued as a successful performer and songwriter for decades. What caught my attention was that he wrote the theme song for the Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. I knew that. I didn't know each time it was played on the show for 30 years he got $5000. in royalties. That is why I am up late humming and scheming...hoping to come up with something I can pitch to Jay Leno. I think he might be good for another 20 yrs. Do the math. $5000 x 250 shows x 20yrs. I wouldn't even expect a Grammy.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Roman's Pinups

If you read recent blogs, link to my daughter and son-in-law's blog about the twins:

More later. It is raining this morning. Much easier to deal with rain than the blizzard up north or the ice storm they had out on the east coast.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

How About Hanging some Christmas Tree Lights on it? Or isn't that politically correct either...

Afton / 'Monopine' tower going up Monday
Pioneer Press

Construction crews on Monday will begin erecting a controversial 88-foot public-safety radio tower in Afton disguised to look like a pine tree.
The "monopine" is being built on 1.6 acres at 15326 Afton Hills Court S.
It's part of a new $15 million Washington County radio system that will dedicate a single frequency to police, fire and medical personnel.
After the tower is erected, crews will begin installing antennas and "branches" to camouflage them, said Steve Pott of the Washington County sheriff's office. The entire process is scheduled to be completed next week.
Plans for the tower raised the ire of local residents earlier this year. Among their concerns: property values, health risks and aesthetics

At Last

2008 has been quite a year. For decades this country has struggled to achieve equality for it's citizens. We have anguished over inequality in economic circumstances. In 2008 we may have finally reached equality. GM, formerly the biggest corporation in America, is broke. So is everyone else. Equality, right?
This does not realize Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" stirring speech. We don't have the national dream. This might be more like a Tim Burton vision of "Nightmare Before Christmas". The strength and positive spin on the situation is we are in it together. We may get balance back in our spending/borrowing habits. We could quit financing by mortgaging our grandchildren's future. We could learn to live simpler lives. Be less materialistic. Those things don't bring happiness anyway. Those things just get heaped up in recycling centers and junkyards. Those things are the chief exports of our country. Maybe it is time to rediscover what the US sent the world in past decades instead of heaps of recycled junk.. It sent inguinity, grit, Yankee innovation and know how. If the south can rise again, and it did, so can this country. Just don't banish "In God We Trust". That made us different than many places in this world.

Roman & Zoe Visit Grandma

Pondering the Pandars

My son-in-law, Mike, told us the little guy's attention focused on the TV the other day when he spotted a panda bear on a show. He watched intently. I have heard infants notice the sharp contrast of black and white images. Roman was fascinated.

Yesterday Jon and I babysat the kids at our house. I put the twins in the Pack 'n Play portable crib and wound up the mobile. Then we enjoyed watching them coo, kick, smile and play for half an hour. What a delight. They watched that mobile and got excited. Occasionally in their exuberance an arm would swing out and hit the other sibling. Grandma refereed. Then I noticed something. One of the bears on the mobile is a Panda.

The summer Andy was in China he visited the Panda nursery/sanctuary in Chendu, China. He was amused that the Chinese host students pronounce the word "pandar". They are proud of their "pandars".

The picture on the blog is the babies' view from the crib of the flying panda. Imagine that. "Flying pandars". Even China can't boast that attraction.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Living the Life

My daughter and I got into a discussion this morning about walking. She asked if I had gone out for my walk. It is -1 degree. Won't do that and got up too late to get over to the dome to walk inside. I told her I would walk later at Walmart. She found that amusing.
Our Walmart is a block long. A super-Walmart. If you walk around the perimeter inside you can cover about a 1/4 mile.
Mary responded you could also park your RV in their lot and live at Walmart. You could. Our store has a bank, Subway restaurant, manicure place, opticial department, beauty shop, pharmacy, groceries, liquor and garden stor. One stop shopping. Put all the local merchants out of business in one whopper of a Walmart.
If you decided to live in your RV in the parking lot you could occasionally go to the nearby Menards and use their bathroom. They have the biggest bathroom I have ever seen in a store. There are nine roomy, mostly unused, stalls and four hairdryers in the women's lavatory. You could probably "spit wash" in one of the many sinks and go unnoticed. Menard's is a store men go to. Not many women are in the bathroom. Believe me, this bathroom is fit for a football stadium and very clean because not many people use it.
Living at Walmart. Do you think the manager would object to a few potted plants on your steps? It is something they sell.

Keeping the Vision

Monday morning we hoped Jon would be discharged from the hospital after his surgery a week ago Thursday. He was bummed when the Dr. didn't come in and release him in the morning. So was I. His mood was withdrawn and there wasn't much I could say to cheer him. I visited in the morning and called him at lunch. As I was preparing to go back at 4 pm, he called saying he had his walking papers.

He is progressing nicely. Yesterday he graduated to walking around the house without a walker. It will take a while to feel normal again but that will happen.

When you want a horse to follow a steady straight path you put blinders on him so he/she won't be distracted. At least I think that is the reason. My cousin Donna, who reads this blog, can correct me if I am wrong. The saying, "To have blinders on" has come to mean not noticing what you should. I prefer to think of wearing blinders to stay focused on the goal. I think I have to proceed with blinders on until Jon's leg is totally healed. The other day he remarked that our bedroom "looks like a MASH" unit. The dresser is covered with dressings and tape and ace bandages.

Day by day he gets stronger. I remind him what he will feel like when the wound has healed. I remind him what he will be able to do. We will go for those walks we haven't been able to take together. We will go on a little trip. Since we are a team (think horses), maybe we both need our blinders. That seems like a good idea during these times of economic trying. Look ahead. Any problems or challenges we have now are in the present, not the future. We will reach our goal if we walk it out and not quit. Keep doing your part and remember where our help comes from. He is faithful.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Wise Man

We tend to respect advice from people with letters after their names. Anyone with a talk show also has street cred in our culture. I'm not sure they know more than this nine yr. old boy. If you haven't read his story, it might amuse you. He wrote a book about getting girls attention. One of his hints, "Listen to your mother. She's a girl". That endeared him to me. His research method was observing interactions on the playground at recess. Not sure a 9 yr old should even be concerned about getting girls' attention, but this is a supercharged out of skew culture.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Stitch in Time Takes Time to Heal

A stitch in time, well actually a staple in time will still take time to heal. Thursday we checked Jon into the hospital for an endarterectomy of the femoral artery. He has had increasing numbness and pain in his thigh. Test showed multiple blockages. The surgeon scheduled a "roto-rooter" procedure to remove the plaque and open up circulation. The morning of surgery the Dr. said he now believed he should clean out the vessels and do a bypass using a grafted vein from Jon's thigh. Research showed a longer relief and better result. We said yes. This changed things. We had anticipated a fairly brief recovery. Small incisions. Jon consented to the more involved surgery. He has a groin to knee incision that needs to heal and is quite tender. They give drugs for pain but it will take time for the healing and swelling to diminish. He felt better yesterday and was more mobile. Doc said he might release him today. He was bored in the hospital yesterday. I am lonesome. I am hoping I can bundle him up and bring him home. It is not the same around here without him. I even miss the snoring. It is frigid cold in Minnesota. Winter has come with a blast. Time to hunker down, put up the Christmas tree and drink warm tea---together.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Safe Investment

There is much talk of rising umemployment rates in this financial crisis. It is heartbreaking for families already struggling to pay climbing heating bills, until recently high gasoline and rising food prices and possible home foreclosures to lose a job. My heart goes out to them. It is not only the unemployed who are suffering, most other people are stressed wondering if they will lose their jobs.
The stock market has plunged. Loans are hard to come by. Bad news pervades. So much bad news is on TV that we would be better not watching the news at all. We really would. (There was only one piece of disturbing news that probably made people feel good yesterday. That doesn't seem right. It is a paroxysm. ) The news? OJ is going to prison for a long time. Justice delayed is not justice denied.
Part of the problem with our stock market decline is lack of confidence by the investor. Many pulled money out of the market as it was rapidly plummeting. One TV host of with an investment advice show was screaming, "Sell. Sell." Was he right? Save what you can? My husband is a more trusting relaxed investor. He is an optimist. He doesn't make quick emotional decisions. His mantra--the money has to go somewhere. Investors will be back. I am more of a pessimist. They'll be back with WHAT money? Even OPEC is losing this week.
What to do? What to do. Indeed there is one very safe investment many overlook. It is Rock of Ages advice. Store up treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor theif can steal it. The book says, He who gives to the poor, lends to the lord. Also it says, Where your treasure is, there also will be your heart. Wall Street can disappoint. God's bank will never fail. He will repay every kind word spoken, even a cup of water given in his name.
Maybe getting off the track of overabundant gift buying at Christmas for people who already have too much is a good thing. Get the giving in perspective. Give time. Give love. Give money if you have any to someone really in need. As my Aunt Elaine used to say, "God's shovel is bigger than mine." We are just trustees of treasure. Everything already belongs to the Lord. He will take care of us if we trust Him even if that IRA or bank account balance is zip. God is good all of the time.

Friday, December 5, 2008

That Was the Week That Was

These are strange times. The federal government has stock in banks and insurance companies and may soon own an automobile manufacturer or two. My son Daniel noted that even if these turn out to be bad investments, they won't go out of business. The federal government never shuts anything down when it is ineffective. We maintain our mistakes.
As we all have noted, there is no script with our "current events". Everyone is making it up as we go. Now Minnesota is projecting a 5.3 billion $$$$$$$$$ shortfall. Everyone is scrambling to guess where the cuts will be made. We recently voted ourselves an increase in our sales tax that is dedicated to the arts and the wildlife. The intention was for this to be supplemental money for these causes. Now they are alarmed that the legislature will stop giving them the usual funding for the arts and wildlife thinking they can survive on the dedicated sales tax funds. Get real already. We are all sinking. Maybe the birds can survive on wild rice and the goodwill of people who stock their bird feeders. Maybe artists will have to remain starving a little longer. That is the tradition, isn't it? We have a 5.3 billion $ shortfall. This will not be pleasant. Whose ox do we gore?
Welcome to the land of innovation. The state that gave us 3M and IBM, Post-it notes and PCs, Mayo clinic and rollerblades. Now someone has suggested we sell off the airport to private investors. Sell the lottery system. The lottery can go, but who is going to buy the airport? The airlines are broke. The banks won't let go of their cash stash. Who wants the airport? Maybe the naming rights could be sold. At MSP we could be known as "Cinnabon Airport at Caribou Field". Everything else is already named Target and that doesn't seem like a reassuring name for an airport. No thank you. No Target field. They might be able to sell naming rights to Target for the space shuttle landing strip, but not the airport, please.
Now about that lottery. No sooner had the First Nation made gains with "gaming" and we want in on the action. It only seems just if money is to be lost gambling that the native tribes should profit. Call it payback for taking the whole country. We didn't even give them naming rights. The country is named for an Italian no one knows. I'd be willing to be Dakotaland, or Cherokeevillage for a price. I don't feel indebted to any Italians. We all know the Norwegians were the first Europeans here, don't we? Hmmm. Do the Norwegians have any oil money they would like to spend for naming rights in Minnesota?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

CAR TALK -or- A Tale of Two Cities..Detroit vs. Washington

A couple weeks ago the CEOs of the big three American auto manufacturers went before a DC committee to ask for a 25billion $$$$$$$$ loan to stay afloat. One cheeky congressman inquired how they had travelled to Washington. Did they all fly solo in corporate jets? He wondered if they couldn't have "jet-pooled" or "downgraded to first class"? They were left without an answer to satisfy this guy. They were sent home hat in hand, (or would have been if anyone wore hats, I don't think they were wearing stocking caps for cold weather). They must have felt they were being "dissed" like former CEO of GM Roger Smith when Michael Moore followed him around with the camera rolling. The movie, "Roger & Me" was viewed by some as entertaining. Others strongly disliked Mr. Moore. I think we could count Mr. Smith in the later category.

The auto execs had misjudged the mood in this country. They hadn't noted Madame DeFarge knitting in the front row. We have turned on the Fat Cats. People with luxurious lifestyles are suspect. Execs with big salaries, stock options and lifestyles who don't properly manage their corporations are reviled. We have short memories that they may have enriched us in our IRAs. Maybe that is because those IRAs have shrunk. People with private Gulf Stream jets are ridiculed. Some of those TV preachers better tone it down. The mood is getting ugly.

No one asked how the congressmen get home for the weekend. Any of them hitching rides on someones corporate jet?
The auto executives were denied the 25billion $$$$$$$$$$$ and told to come back with a plan. The country wasn't going to give them a blank check to temporarily survive. We might help if their corporations were viable. That seems reasonable to me.
Now they are coming back. I can imagine the frantic behind the scenes planning.
One CEO wanted to take Amtrak like Joe Biden.
They wondered if using the company helicopter to get to the Amtrak station would be criticized.
An assistant suggested taking a cab to the Amtrak station. That raised questions about the maker of the taxi. Were there any Checker cabs still in service? The whole idea of taking a cab to the Amtrak fell apart when someone thought they spotted (filmmaker) Michael Moore by the front door. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_&_Me
They considered commercial air. Which one bakes the chocolate chip cookies?? Will using the executive lounge at the airport be viewed as elitist? How is the weather? These are busy guys with meetings. They couldn't be held up at the airport waiting for de-icing or being rescheduled when bad weather cancelled their flights. What to do? Someone suggested driving. It is a ten hour drive. Aha. That is faster than flying.
Done deal. We will drive, they said. What to drive? Everyone wanted to be seen driving a car made by their own corporation. Did you know they make Dodge Durango hybrids? Hummer hybrids? Just ask Gov. Arnold, he has three. They couldn't agree to car pool and each will drive separately. They are all coming to town in a hybrid they produce. I doubt they will drive their own vehicles. If their chauffeur drives, they can use the HOV lanes and make good time. I hope they remember Madame DeFarge in the front row knitting and have the chauffeur dress down. Worn denim and a J Crew sweater would be nice. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Tale_of_Two_Cities
Now the auto executives are back and looking properly contrite and humble. Maybe congress will receive them and show respect. They still don't wear hats but now they want 34 billion $$$$$$$$. Can we turn the clock back, ignore the corporate jets and settle for 25 billion?

Roger Smith is probably relaxing over his morning coffee grateful he is retired. If his wealth is tied up in GM stock that may not be true.

Has anyone seen Michael Moore lately? He wasn't the one in the front row knitting, was he??
PS. If you don't know who Madame DeFarge is, you were asleep in high school English class.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008