Thursday, April 30, 2009

Just Remember, Barbie, that 50 is the New 20. Yeah, right.

They call the new version of Barbie doll "Totally Stylin' Barbie". She comes with a set of tattoos that little girls can apply to look like their heroes. Their heroes? Why can't little girls have wholesome heroes like Barry Bonds and A-Rod? Heroes with realistic bodies. Oh, never mind.

Since her inception (not conception) Barbie has been viewed as edgy by some. Her unrealistic proportions, might- be- gay boyfriend, and fantasy careers have raised an occasional eyebrow. Never mind she drives a gas guzzling Corvette. Then along came the popular Bratz dolls and Barbie looked California girl wholesome. Now, with the demise of Bratz, Barbie is conforming to that slutty image. Or not. Not all tattoos are slutty although people my age tend to look disapprovingly at them. They do call it a Tramp Stamp.

Barbie is now fifty. She might want to put a tattoo on her chest that says "Do Not Resuscitate". (Lord knows, I do.) She might need money and be selling advertising space on her hide. She might be depressed that the AARP is now solicitating her as a member. On second thought, Barbie go for the tats if you want. It is all downhill from now on. The next version might be "Botox Barbie".

CDC Sleuths Uncover Mode of Flu Transmission

Where's Joe?

Rick Warren started his best-selling book, "The Purpose Driven Life" with the line, "It's not about you." I'll start my read-by-my-daughter-sister-and few-friends blog with the line, "IT'S NOT ABOUT FLU. Too much flu talk is scaring everyone. Even Joe Biden is advising not to get on a plane or ride the subway. Where is Joe this morning? Do you think they sent him to the bunker formerly occupied by VP Cheney? Loose lips sink economies. The airlines must have cringed with that comment. It is okay for us to think that we wouldn't want to be on a plane right now. It is another thing for the VP to voice it. Reprecussions. We can't even get the gov to close the borders. That is right--- borders. There is flu in Canada too.

Enough. I wanted to talk about the concert by "Flight of the Conchords". Daughter Mary and Mike are going and I am watching the twins Sunday night. I asked her who they were? Her reply: "They are a New Zealand guitar-based digi-bongo accapella rap-funk comedy folk duo."

It used to be easier to catagorize music. It was rock 'n roll or pop. It was jazz or blues.

I Googled the group and watched a You tube video clip. They do comedy and parody. Remember Weird Al? They aren't exactly like him except in the comedy sense. When our baby Andy was about six or seven he was crazy about Weird Al. Mary and daughter in-law Jen made sure he got to see a live performance of the weird one. He was playing some outdoor festival and Andy was thrilled. Andy is no longer such a big fan of Weird Al but he is also taking his Laura to The Flight of the Conchords concert this weekend.

We don't have HBO but this New Zealand group has a TV series about a couple of New Zealanders living in NYC. With the demise of the supersonic airplanes, these are the only concords around.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Flu Formerly Know As Swine Flu

The cat is out of the bag or the pig is out of the pen, I can't remember not to call it swine flu. It isn't a funny situation, but I take humor where I find it. My son chided my response to the gov's name change by reminding me it is a devastating time for pork farmers. Personally, I am not afraid of dead pigs or pork products. I am not sure I would want to be hanging around any live pigs now but I wouldn't anyway. Too stinky. Typical city dwellers response. Pigs stink.

There is sometimes a silver lining to bad situations. One health official commented Americans may fare better than Mexicans in surviving a case of that flu because of our better nutrition. We usually hear about the health hazards of an obesity epidemic. Now we learn it might be helpful. Who knew.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Being Politically Correct

Only the government could come up with this stuff. Aren't we all glad our government is getting bigger and bigger? Lots of material for bloggers like me. Today some federal department asked us to quit referring to this outbreak as "Swine Flu". They want it called by the viral strain's name, which I can't remember. The thinking is, calling it swine flu will give pigs a bad name. It would be bad for pork sales.
Okay, since I can't remember the new name can I call it "The Flu Formerly Known as Swine Flu?". I am from Minnesota, land of the purple one.

Purple Greenscape

Our horticulturist son is doing some landscaping for us today. The picture is of a (cotinus) smoke plant. I wanted at least one showy bush and this will get 10 - 15 ft. at maturity. Foliage is purple changing to green later in the season with white flowers.


The question was, "What were they thinking?" Yesterday, New Yorkers evacuated tall buildings and fled Manhattan after spotting Air Force One being chased by a fighter jet over Manhattan by the World Trade Center site. This wasn't a terrorist attack but a photo shoot authorized by someone who didn't think of the terror it would strike in the hearts of Gotham City residents.
I Googled to get a picture of Air Force One and the first thing that came up were the Nike shoes. They are called Air Force One. Andy recently ordered a pair of "custom" shoes online from Nike. You get to chose the color of the lining, laces, sole etc and the materials used. Lots of possibilities. Maybe I could have used this site to get a really authentic pair of nun's shoes for last weekend. Maybe not.
The story on the Manhattan flyover; A photo op of the plane. Mayor Bloomberg was livid that he wasn't told or the populace informed before it was done. It was kind of like the "War of the Worlds " radio episode of decades past when people thought we were under a real attack. Memories of bodies falling from skyscrapers and the horror of incineration were too fresh.
Don't they people know that the middle of the country is "flyover land"? They could have easily taken the pictures over Kansas or Minnesota or Iowa. I'm glad it wasn't Minnesota because for years local civil defense planners have been afraid the Mall of America was a target because of the name. Air Force One never flies there but they probably have the Air Force One shoes.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Flu Fighters

Not Foo Fighters, flu fighters. That is what our nation is geared up for now. Forget we are all broke, homeless and watching out for tainted peanut butter, we have to fight the flu.
It occured to me this morning I still have my RN license active and might be called to duty to help in the crisis. I have past ICU experience and a clean pair of white duty shoes. Then the irony hit me. The people who succumb to this Swine Flu virus are young. If they get a severe case that leads to pneumonia, they might end up on my watch. Might be on a ventilator. Might have drugs to make them whoozy and paralyzing agents to keep them from pulling out an endotrachial tube. Then they might freak out being cared for by a geriatric nurse or two
When I was working there were disaster plans to activate retired doctors and nurses to care for a huge influx of patients. There might be a Senior Citizens Nurse Corps. The poor, hazed young flu victim would only see old people and think they were hallucinating . It might impede recovery. Maybe I will volunteer to answer phones or roll bandages.
That scenario reminds me of a true story my sister in-law told years ago. She had a classmate who did drugs. One day he dropped acid and went to the state fair. He freaked out thinking he was having a bad trip. "Everyone was old". I think it straightened him out. What he didn't know while he was tripping was that he went to the fair on Senior Citizens Day. Oldsters got in at reduced admission rates. I think he quit drugs.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cute Kid Pictures

Swine Flu Stinks

I remember the last outbreak of Swine Flu in 1976. Public health officials were alarmed when young GI's succumbed to the swine flu and a nationwide push to innoculate the populace began. Jon and I got our shots. I can't remember if our kids did. As the immunization program proceeded, a nasty number of Guillion-Barre (French polio) cases were traced to the vaccine. This neurological disease crippled and killed. They stopped the Swine Flu shots. There weren't many cases of the flu and pundits asked the question, "Name a cure for which there is no known disease?"

Now there are outbreaks of Swine Flu in Mexico and the US and Canada. I don't think my 1976 shot is providing immunity to this morphed virus. I do know we were just in San Diego where they had the flu but are feeling fine. I will watch Jon for any oinking.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Election Update

No, Minnesota still does not have a second senator. Our state supreme court will hear the case in June. Much money and time could have been saved with job sharing between Al Franken and Norm Coleman. Their parking space could be labeled "Frankenman". It's a nightmare.

Seeing Double Double

Twins daddy son-in-law Mike's family visited them last weekend. Picture is of Mike's twin sister and brother, Amanda and Jared, holding twins Zoe and Roman.
Two sets of twins with the same last name. Don't see that everyday.
I am going to a baby shower for a young lady from our church who got married last year. She is expecting twins. Lots of this going around lately.

Back to the Fifties

In our church, RVCC of Lake Elmo, members volunteer to serve coffee, greet, do nursery and Children's Sunday school, work the audio board, tape services or sing in music ministry etc. There are many places to serve and we have very dedicated people. I believe almost 75% of people are serving in some capacity. Last night the church had it's annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. This is an event not to be missed and a lot of fun each year.

We warmly welcome newcomers to church and hope they continue to come. Perhaps if we let them come to our party and they would come, volunteer to get in on the fun.

The theme this year was "Back to the 50's". The pastoral staff and heads of ministries worked to turn the church into a 50's diner. They constructed booths with food served by costumed waitresses and waiters. One of the pastors who was a DJ in his younger years parodied Wolfman Jack. Another woman was in charge of costumes and outfitted all who wanted to dress for the 50's in vintage poodle skirts etc. They had two old cars at the entrance and a Harley hog in the "diner". Music was from the era but parodied lyrics. Performers mimed and danced to about a dozen tunes. The food: thick burgers, fries and malted milks. Door prizes (everyone won) were toys from the era like marbles, hula hoops, play dough and frizbees.

Jon and I came as a nun and priest . That is how we spent most of the decade--in parochial school is a nun in long black habit up front. I carried a ruler and admonished our wize-cracking, gum chewing waiter and enforced partiers to keep an early curfew.

I posted lots of pictures especially for my good friend Mary who is on a mission trip in Serbia. She was sorry to miss the party but will know the people in the pictures. You won't know many, but Jon and I are the ones in black.

Come visit us at RVCC in Lake Elmo, MN but you will have to wait a year for the next party.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sure Signs of Spring

Jon powerwashed everything, driveway, outdoor rugs, plastic lawn furniture.

He has switched from spending much of the day in his "office" to hanging out in the garage. It is a guy thing.

My perennial plants are emerging.

All the babies and moms, dads, or grandparents are strolling with the strollers.

Garage sales are starting. There are just a few but I went in search this morning. Want to find another (folding) high chair. When did high chairs get so bulky? When our kids were little they had Cosco aluminum high chairs that folded and fit in the space between my frig and wall. All I see now are huge plastic things. I only found three sales this morning, none with kids stuff. I bought what I usually buy. Textiles. I can hardly resist tableclothes, placemats, and cloth napkins. Hardly anyone uses them, but when they hear I am out shopping they put them in their sales. At least I don't collect sets of dishes like my friend Sue. She can't resist. We had dinner at their house on St. Patrick's Day on year. She is the only person I know with shamrock dishes. I asked her how many sets of dishes she has and she thought "about 50". I will stick with tableclothes. We could entertain together. I'll do the linen. She can set the tables.

The heat and rain last weekend prompted the trees to bud. No leaves yet. The grass is greening.

Sign of spring; we have been sleeping with the windows open.

Sign of spring: I shaved my legs. Probably didn't need to do that today. Tonight we are going to a Back to the 50's Dinner in costume. I am an old-fashioned nun in a long black habit. Don't think those 50's nuns had to shave their legs. Don't think they had to worry about anything but a well scrubbed face. My distress? I may have to skip the mascara, the cosmetic I can least do without. Make a note, Jane. Tell Jon to pack an eyeline in my casket. My friend Barb wants a casket with a drawer (they have those) so her hubby can throw in a bottle of Lady Clairol just in case it isn't available elsewhere.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Kicking Back in Santa Barbara on Spring Break

Jon managed do some swimming. We met his brother's two new granddaughters. Both were born within a month of our new grandbaby twins.

Ronald Reagan Library

We visited the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA and were impressed. Perhaps you remember watching his burial here on television a few years ago. I was struck then by the beautiful views from this mountaintop site and we were not disappointed.
It is a beautiful tribute to President Reagan that would be appreciated by all Americans who remember him.
You can go on the retired Air Force One 707 that was in service from President Nixon through the first Pres. Bush.
There is a replica of the oval office the way it looked during Reagans term.
Lots of memorabilia were on display from his early years including the love letters he wrote to his Nancy.
While we were there they had the Magna Carta on display. It is on loan from London. There were four copies and this one is 800 years old. I saw another in the National Archives in DC years ago.
The gravesite is quiet, simple and the views are beautiful. Nice place to visit. Nice tribute to an effective president who was determined to bring down the stranglehold of communism.

Top Ten Things I Learned In Southern California

There really is a Rancho Cucamonga. (Sounds like a place that would have a retirement home for aging Chimpanzee actors.)

Thousand Oaks, Ca doesn't have 1000 oak trees, at least not that we found.

If you saw the old comedy movie "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World" you might remember them digging up the buried treasure under the BIG W in a park in Santa Rosita. We looked at the map trying to find Santa Rosita which was a town on the ocean near the Mexican border. We were in San Diego so Santa Rosita should be near, right? Not. Santa Rosita is a ficticious town and the real park no longer has the big W. Three of the four trees were lost and now it has a "BIG I".
My source of this information, of course, is Google.

100 degrees in a dry climate really isn't as bad as a 100 degree day in Minnesota in the summer. We don't even go outside because it is life threatening heat with a high humidity. It hit 100 one day when we were there. Not too bad, but we didn't spend much time outdoors.
Jon has a different opinion from mine as to how tolerable it was.

It pays to have two people in a car and use the HOV lane on the freeways. We drove past LA area during rush hour and the HOV was a godsend.

Unlike Texas, California has no plans to succeed from the nation.

San Clemente is my new favorite beach town. Gorgeous place with white sand beaches. The vibe by the beach is like a French Riviera beach town but without the rocky beaches. Nice place. The only thing I knew about San Clemente before we stayed there was that President Nixon had the western white house there during his term.

The best Mexican food is found in little Ma and Pa shops and you can drink the water, not that the Californians do drink tap water.

Ronald Reagan is still beloved and his Presidential Library is worth a stop.

We can't afford to retire to Santa Barbara with a house on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Need $5 million to live that lifestyle.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day For Earthy People

I just returned from sunny California and am behind on my blogging. More to follow, however when I read our local curmudgeon, Joe Soucheray's column on "Earth Day" i had to reprint it without permission. I don't think he would object. It is golden. If I offend someone, too bad. You need to read this. When we worship "Mother Earth" and ignore Father God things get crazy.

Quote from St. Paul Pioneer Press:

Joe Soucheray: It's Earth Day. So have a pizza before the sun explodes.
By Joe Soucheray
Updated: 04/21/2009 11:55:22 PM CDT

Fat people can take some comfort in the idea that any year now, the Earth is going to be hit by a giant solar storm that will so thoroughly devastate the developed world that there won't be any need or time to blame fat people for anything, much less global warming.
That's the latest of what passes for science as we approach secular religion's highest holy day, Earth Day, today. Fat people are now blamed for global warming, which, if true, would only cause me to wish for more fat people around these parts because spring has been slow to arrive, as usual.
Keeping in mind that what the followers of environmentalism as a secular religion truly share is a dislike of people, fat people have got to go. They don't come right out and say that fat people should be rounded up, but some true believer named Dr. Phil Edwards of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said, "Moving about in a heavy body is like driving a gas guzzler."
When in need of an uplift, always turn to the Sun, a British newspaper of dubious credibility but always good for checking up on the likes of, say, Susan Boyle, now suggested in some quarters, incidentally, to have been planted by Simon Cowell. I don't care. I still love her.
In any event, the Sun went all out to report that each fat person emits a metric ton (2,204 pounds) more of carbon dioxide per year than a thin person. It means, the Sun reported cheekily, that an extra billion metric tons of CO2 is pumped into the air each
year just by fat people waddling about or getting into their cars to drive a block to buy a gallon of ice cream. In the hands of a true secularist, a lawn mower is said to emit a billion tons of pollution each summer. A billion is their default number.
It conveniently falls into their template that fat people obviously drive more than thin people. Neither the Sun nor the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine offers any proof, weight guidelines, empirical evidence of any sort. They don't have to; it's theology.
It also falls conveniently into the template that the United States — read "rich'' nations — are getting fatter all the time.
So what? If we get a solar storm, also predicted by science but with more plausible anxiety, the sun — our friend not the newspaper — could at any moment spit out a huge blob of plasma, a giant superstorm that would detach from the sun.
They give such a storm a worst-case scenario. In a nutshell, "a coronal mass ejection" of electrically charged particles would destroy our electricity. With the destruction of the electric grid, we would be thrown back into the dark ages until we could replace the damaged transformers and delivery networks.
Such a storm happened Sept. 1, 1859, known as the Carrington event for the British astronomer who observed it, Richard Carrington.
But it didn't really cause any harm, except for telegraph systems, because we were a steam-powered world back then, not an electric-powered world.
If it happened now, it wouldn't make any difference if you were fat or thin or tall or short. It wouldn't make any difference what you drove or what you ate.
All of us would be catastrophically affected by the one thing and one thing only, short of massive nuclear war, that could ever catastrophically affect us: nature. Endlessly absorbing, untamable, unpredictable nature.
One giant solar storm would certainly put us in our place, as would an eruption of the Yellowstone caldera, earthquakes, tsunamis. Nature is bigger than us.
But today, your kid will go to school and get a good Earth Day dose of that new-time religion. When the big one hits, a big natural something, you and your brainwashed kids can be glad you were thin, drove something responsible and tried to read by the light of those little corkscrew light bulbs.
Joe Soucheray can be reached at or 651-228-5474. Soucheray is heard from 2 to 5:30 p.m. weekdays on KSTP-AM 1500.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Teed Off

Yesterday was tax day and the nation held Tea Parties to protest government overtaxing and overspending. Tea Parties are symbolic of the original Boston Tea Party that rallied colonial patriots. They wanted no taxation without representation. I think the battle cry might be we have enough representation. Government is too big. Stop the spending and borrowing.

My brother in-law sent me pictures of the Tea Party in Fredericksberg, TX.

With federal bailouts and intervention into GM and the banks, many feel we are headed toward socialism. Weeks ago the cover of Newsweek magazine stated "We are all Socialist Now". Putin warned us not to go down that road. Imagine that. Who would have thunk it. In news coverage I have seen protestors carrying signs saying "USSA".

I think we may have started down this road before the current president. When did we start naming the DC heads of projects "Czar"? Isn't that a Russian word? We have had "Energy Czars", "Drug Czars" and some suggested we needed a "Car Csar" with the automotive industry near collapse. Yesterday's appointment of a "Border Csar" was big news here in San Diego.

See, Putin was right. But as long as we are becoming a nation of Csars and Csarinas they should name a "Sea Csar" to go after those pirates. We have come full circle from the time of Thomas Jefferson sending in the Marines .to Tripoli to rid the world of pirates. Go get 'em Marines. Go get 'em Navy. Hail Sea Czar.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spotlight on Serving on Sun Country Airline

Nice flight out yesterday on Sun Country Airlines. There were many empty seats. Jon and I had reserved aisle seats across from each other. No one was in the dreaded middle seats by us and we had elbow room. Before takeoff, the flight attendant approached the young man in window seat by me and said, "Sir, it would be my honor to upgrade you to first class. Thank you for serving our country." They proceeded to pull other young men out of coach and fill the empty first class seats. Nice. Nice airlines.
Jon and I traded seats and he had a whole row and could elevate his leg on the flight.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring Break

Jon and Jane's spring break starts today. We are headed to San Diego. I checked the weather forecast online. Should be 62 degrees and sunny. Sounds good. Weather forecast today for Stillwater, Mn? Sunny and 63 degrees. Good planning.
We'll head up to Santa Barbara for the weekend to see Jon's brother and family. There are babies (new grandchildren) we should see when the family gets together Saturday. I am armed with photos of our grandkids
Daughter Mary recommended a side trip to Temeluca, Ca.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Culvers Flavor of the Day

Today's "Flavor of the Day": CHERRY PECAN WALLEYE. I think I will skip it, but maybe it is an acquired taste.

Culvers serves soft serve custard. They don't call it ice cream. I still don't want to try cherry pecan walleye. Thanks anyway, Culvers.

I used to drive home past Culvers everyday after work to see if they had blackberry as the flavor of the day. They had it about twice a year and I ate it or not. Wonderful stuff.

I Never Got Any Jelly Beans!

Easter Pureed

No Green eggs and ham for the twins, but they did try asparagus for the first time. After making a few funny faces, they chowed down the vegetable and bananas.


Twelve year old granddaughter Mina just got glasses and looks cute.

Grandson Zach

He's sixteen and he's in there somewhere.

Ham in a Spam Can

It doesn't matter what I blog today, because computer spam filters will toss this out because of the title.

Why is ham a traditional Easter dinner? Ham is pork and our traditions are Judeo-Christian. Pork is forbidden to Jews. I know a better cook might serve leg of lamb for Easter. My sister probably does, but most of us have a ham dinner. Whether that is because they are the supermarket special this time of year or our mothers cooked ham, I'm not sure.

My mom served ham at Easter. That 50's ham was boneless and came in an eliptically shapped can. There was a key stuck to the can that you connected to an end of a metal strip to open the can like Spam cans used to open. Mom them made criss-crossed cuts on top and inserted whole cloves so it looked like a giant Tic-Tac-Toe board. Glazed with pineapple, it was a simpler way to serve ham than the bone-in smoked ham. Easier to carve. You don't see these in the store anymore. Boneless hams are shrink wrapped in plastic.

This is one of the only years I didn't dye eggs. We had a double smoked ham, but no green eggs.

In the year 33 AD (that's AD and NOT CE) Jesus and the disciples ate lamb at Passover. The next meal after the Resurrection, we see Jesus cooking lunch for the disciples. He cooked fish. Fish over the fire. Shore lunch. Like a Minnesota fisherman. Why don't we eat fish for Easter? It is more symbolic of Christians than pig meat. Maybe it is good we don't eat fish for Easter. I might have grown up eating sardines for Easter.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

No Excuses
Can't exercise because you cut the gym membership from your budget? No more excuses. Jump ropes are cheap.

Why I Am a Moderate Independent

I think you can sort out the liberals from the conservatives by which picture they defend:

Bush kissing and holding hands with the Saudi King Abdullah or Obama bowing to him.

Go figure. It can't be long before I get emails about the bow. Shouldn't have done that. They barely got by with touching QE2.

Parrot Head

Took this picture of our grandtwins off mom and dad's baby blog. I was wondering if Roman, in the background with the parrot on his head, was a Jimmy Buffet fan?
I think sweet Zoe is singing, "We're gonna win Twins, we're gonna win"...........

There is No Free Lunch....Post It

So the adage is true. There is no free lunch. Newspaper this morning has an article about cost-cutting measures at 3M. They are eliminating the free lunch at the annual stockholders meeting. They quote one 3M stockholder-retiree as saying, "I am disappointed and angry".

The May meeting is usually well attended by 3M worker retirees. They come for the swag bag, company store where all products are discounted, and the free lunch. The company indulged this group. My husband worked AV at these shows for years. He always smiled at the questions during open mic. Questions such as, "When are you going to increase our pensions?" and "Why can't you provide dental coverage to retirees?" The CEO deftly answered. They usually didn't like his answers, but the next thing they would do would be eat that free box lunch. It placated the masses.

I confess I have been to two of these meetings myself since retirement. I didn't ask any questions but I got my swag bag and free lunch. I predict a smaller attendance at this year's meeting. Maybe no one will show up to ask about increasing pensions or dental coverage. Maybe the Board figured this out. Maybe we will skip it this year too. After all , there is no free lunch.

I Predict

The economy is in the dumpster, we are going for broke in the federal budget, tornadoes and bad weather are ravishing the southeast, and pirates are plundering off the coast of Somalia.

What to do. What pressing question do DC reporters want answered? When is the puppy coming to the white house.

I am going out on a limb and predicting it will arrive with the Easter Bunny on Sunday. It will take a big bunny like this one to carry the new dog. They better put a fence around that new vegetable garden on the grounds. This rabbit looks like he could eat a lot of carrots.