Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Eight is Enough

A California couple just delivered octuplets. It was a surprise because Drs. had only known about seven babies. I suppose it doesn't matter much if there are seven or eight. They will be overwhelmed any way you look at it.
The news said the mom is planning to breast feed. Unless she looks like a pagan fertility goddess, good luck with that. Life will never be the same.
Having twins in the family, my hat is off to parents of multiples. I can't even imagine caring for five, six, seven or eight babies. Even if you can handle it financially, you would never sleep. Everything changes. Where do you get a vehicle that you can easily load and unload eight cars seats? How big is your garbage bin to handle all those discarded diapers? Where in the house would it be quiet? Mommy time would be just a dream and you would probably be too busy to have more kids.
Our daughter has always been a very organized person and she has had her work cut out for her with two newbies. They are four months old and just beginning to sleep through the night.
The Guiness Book of Records lists a Russian woman as birthing the largest number of children -- 69. She produced many multiples including four sets of quadruplets. The Tsar supported the family. What goes around comes around. Russia now is encouraging an increase in the birth rate. They have a holiday dedicated to it. Take the day off and snuggle. Hopefully this will produce in nine months. They have financial incentives for having more babies in sharp contrast to India and China's policies of one child.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Forever In Blue Jeans

Shoeless Ro. Another trait passed down from Mary's side of the family.....long toes. My dad had them and passed them to me and I to Mary and so on. I don't see a little toe on his foot.

Pretty in Pink

Sweet Zoe in her new pink sneakers. She loves to stand if you support her.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Cold Will Stop Us

A couple days ago I put one of those humorous stories about how Minnesotans are accustomed to tolerating cold weather. This morning we had the Today Show on as we had morning coffee. Matt was outside talking to the crowd. Andy remarked how sparse the group was and that it must be "30 degrees there this morning". (I think it was colder). Then they interviewed two girls who were from Minnesota. Andy piped up, "I know her. That is Allie." The crowd outside the Today show may have been thin due to cold weather, but that didn't stop the Minnesotans.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Changing of the Guard

He started his speech with the words, "I am humbled..." What could prepare a person for the heady experience witnessed today in DC? At a meeting last night someone noted how often media have used the words "pilgrimage" this week. He also thought the events in Washington looked more like a coronation. Certainly there has been exuberance and weighty expectations placed on a human being but history has left people hungry for vindication.
Like much of America, we have been watching inaugural events on TV. I grew up in the 50's and 60's and scenes of fire hoses, dogs and violence against civil rights marchers were imprinted in my memory. Today's milestone seems unbelievable. We wish him well and pray for President Obama to succeed.

Monday, January 19, 2009

My Granddaughter was Selling Girl Scout Cookies Last Week

You have seen things like this before. I got this from my sister and it seemed so true. My granddaughter just started selling the Girl Scout cookies. Wouldn't that be a better project in May?

A few years ago we were in Orlando in January when they had cold weather. The thermometer dipped below freezing. You could sort the Floridians from the midwesterners by apparel. The Minnesotans brought shorts and wore them even if they were a little cold standing in line waiting for the parks to open. The locals had heavy jackets. The local news broadcast a "Baby Alert". Advice? DO NOT TAKE YOUR INFANTS OUTDOORS.

In Minnesota we still go outdoors when it is cold. It is bad form to leave your animals outside when it is -20.

Email on Minnesota and cold weather:

60 above zero:Floridians turn on the heat.People in Minnesota plant gardens.

50 above zero:Californians shiver uncontrollably.People in Duluth sunbathe.

40 above zero:Italian & English cars won't start.People in Minnesota drive with the windows down.

32 above zero:Distilled water freezes.The water in Bemidji gets thicker.

20 above zero:Floridians don coats, thermal underwear, gloves, and wool hats.People in Minnesota put on a flannel shirt.

15 above zero:New York landlords finally turn up the heat.People in Minnesota have the last cookout before it gets cold.Zero:All people in Miami die.Minnesotans close the windows.

10 below zero:Californians fly away to Mexico.People in Minnesota get out their winter coats.

25 below zero:Hollywood disintegrates.The Girl Scouts in Minnesota are selling cookies door to door.

40 below zero:Washington DC runs out of hot air.People in Minnesota let the dogs sleep indoors.

100 below zero:Santa Claus abandons the North Pole.Minnesotans put the extensions on their ice augers and go fishing.

460 below zero:ALL atomic motion stops (absolute zero on the Kelvin scale.)People in Minnesota start saying..."Cold 'nuff fer ya?"

500 below zero:Hell freezes over.Minnesota public schools will open... .... 2 hours late.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Happy 12th Birthday Granddaughter Mina

They All Want to Come to the US

What should we do? We have a growing problem. I think early migration was tolerated. People were willing to look the other way. Some appreciated them. Some thought they should stay in their own country. Many people who weren't directly impacted thought others were being cruel. "Kind hearted people" fed them. They crossed our border in escalating numbers. There are no official head counts but estimates say there are three to four times as many here as there were a couple decades ago.
They hang together. Live together and cause problems with their overcrowding. Couldn't they cause disease to come into our country and threaten public health? There are people who would like to use their 2nd amendment rights to have a gun and use it. Now, some want to guard the borders, or use dogs to track them.
I admit there have been some problems. In my hometown there was pressure to discourage them from settling here. I am beginning to see both sides and the problems that can follow when too many come in. They have brought down a US Airline plane in New York. Canada Geese. What are we going to do about them?
I usually think of Canada as a nice place to live. This week we have their cold, frigid weather and I understand why those geese fly south. The USA is still a desirable destination in spite of the current economic problems.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Slow as Molasses in January

I haven't blogged for over a week and have been getting "welfare checks" from friends. Doing a blog is like having a bird feeder. You have to maintain it. The first couple of days I didn't blog because I couldn't think of anything relevant to say. Next we were out of town several days. When I received inquiries about my health, I decided not having anything to say had never stopped me before from blogging. What did stop me was my computer. No access to the Internet and no idea why. It said I had a good connection. It also said I was short of memory. I can't remember if it said "virtual memory" or "short term memory" . How did the computer know that? I can't remember.
In a month I will turn 64. When my husband had that birthday he asked the question the Fab Four raised in song years ago, "Will you still need me? Will you still feed me...when I am 64. " I teased him, but it is not so funny now. On top of that I am short of short term memory.
Some people become wise with advancing years. I am not sure I am one of them. We were married almost 41 yrs. ago on a frigid, minus 20 something day. It was so cold the photographer was unable to take photos outdoors. His camera balked. The camera had more sense than the bride and groom who might have posed for those pictures outside. The weather was a lot like we have had this week. It was -20's and we didn't know about wind chills. Would have been a good time to go south to a warmer place on a honeymoon. We drove north to Canada. This week when we got a little case of cabin fever, we drove north to a resort complex through a snowstorm. I don't think we have learned much over the years.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Maybe Ducks Can Survive Hurricanes

A couple of years ago I read the book, "A Confederacy of Dunces". The book is a strange piece of fiction about a character from New Orleans. There are fan clubs for the book and the author who committed suicide at a young age. The book was published a decade after he died due to his mother's persistence . She finally found an allie in Walker Percy who became the novel's champion. "A Confederacy of Dunces" is a very strange but amusing book.

Today I heard a true story that is almost as weird. I walked at the fieldhouse this morning. Neither of my regular walking buddies came. I spotted someone I knew and walked a few rounds with him. He told me the tale of Ruthie the Duck Girl of New Orleans. He had met her when he was a young sailor on leave in New Orleans in the early sixties. For the rest of her life she told people he was her fiance. Ruthie was kindly referred to as an eccentric character. She stayed in touch by letter for years. In the late 90's he was contacted by a filmmaker doing a documentary on her life because Ruthie identified him as her fiance. He was asked to be in the film. This past Sept. she died of cancer.

I found his story somewhat strange and googled her name. He had the facts correct. The article also says she was very well known in the French Quarter for years. Tourists would ask how to find Antoines and Ruthie the Duck lady. I wonder if there was a true life character that inspired John Kennedy Otoole when he wrote his book.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Not Gifts from the Wisemen

The Christ child got gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but Minnesota is stuck with COLD, FRANKEN sense, and MORE snow. Not gifts of the wisemen. More like gifts of a wiseguy. That is what we got on Saturday night's live newscast.
It seems like it either snows everyday or we hear predictions of snow everyday. Yesterday for variety it started with freezing rain. I'll be quiet and take the snow please.
Minnesota will go from freezing rain to "purple reign" today with the Vikings in the NFL playoffs. The game was almost blacked out due to unsold tickets. The league will not allow broadcast of a game that is not a sell-out. After two 24 hr. extensions enough tickets were sold. These are bleak economic times and some of the $100 tickets weren't moving.
The other Viking news ----the owner wants us to build a new stadium. Hey wiseguy, did you notice the 5 billion $$$ deficit in Minnesota's budget? Just because we are building a new Twins baseball park and a Gopher stadium you assume it is time for the Vikings to cash in? Better win the Superbowl and then we will talk. Purple reign indeed.
Current ballot count: Al Franken + 250. More boards and probably the State Supreme Court have to weigh in before we have a senator. Next time can we just draw straws and spend the money on a new football stadium?

Scene Stealers

Indulge this grandma, if you will. Here are recent pictures of the twins. Zoe, in pink, at her sweetest with a big smile and Roman looking cuddley.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Shopping at the No Name Store

For decades we had a convenience store nearby named Brooks. Brooks was a smallregional chain of stores. This store was sold and changed name to become The Oasis Market in the last decade. We still called it Brooks. (Do not confuse this Oasis Market with the River Oasis Cafe in Stillwater which I previously blogged about.)

Around a year or so ago Oasis sold it to a local couple who run it as an independent store. They remodeled adding a coffee bar, outdoor patio with furniture and front step rockers. They repaved the lot. They painted over the sign that said Oasis but they never put a name on the sign above the store.

I don't write checks anymore, preferring to use my debit card or cash so I have no idea what the store is named. I think of it as the "No Name Store". I find it odd that they showed such pride in restoring this thirty yr old store and not call it "Johnsons" or "Nelsons" or whatever their own name is. I would have named it after myself. No matter.

This week Cub Foods is featuring No Name Steaks sale priced. No Name Steaks has always amused me. Before there were "no name" steaks were there named steaks? Did we eat Bessie Burgers or Elsie steaks? (think Borden's Elsie the cow) Meat didn't have a brand, did it? There are exceptions.

When my sister and husband bought their little ranch in Texas, they raised a steer to eat. They got him as a calf and he became like a pet. They hand fed him and he came when they called. They named him "Hamburger". When he was fully grown they had him processed as beef. Carolyn said they would regret naming him Hamburger because some of the packages of beef they got back from the butcher after he was slaughtered were marked "hamburger". I guess that is just keeping it real. If we are carnivores, and I am, we are eating animals. No wonder we don't usually name them.

I still don't see why they don't name that store, though, unless they plan to sell No Name Steaks.
If they called it "The No Name Store" would they have copyright infringement with the steak company?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Top Ten Things I Am Thankful For in 2009

If you don't focus on what is right in your life you will probably zero in on what is wrong. Take time to cheer yourself up. On the days you feel your lowest, stop and see what is good. Be grateful. Something I read this year had the question, "What if you only got to keep what you thanked God for?" It is the beginning of the New Year and time for inventory.


It is 2009 and I woke up still here. In the later years of my mom's life she would laugh as the numbers added up on her birthdays and say, "considering the alternative, that is okay". She used humor and did consider the alternative and not fear that either. There are seasons in life. Enjoy all of them. Yesterday I was a little less positive and said to Jon, my husband, "I don't think I like being an old lady that much." He came back with, "Neither do I". Love that guy.

I am thankful for the guy who still loves me and makes me laugh. Forty years of marriage. We have come through a year of several health challenges for him. I am grateful for that being in the past. Grateful for healing and Doctors and kind nurses.

We raised four kids we are proud of and love. I am grateful for all the joys over the years and memories of their growing up. They are now mature adults and I enjoy their company.

Four grandkids: Zach and Mina, Zoe and Roman.

Coffee. I like and am thankful for coffee. (This list is not done in order of importance.) I have a pretty good stash in the pantry in case we have a "nucular" war with South America. When I was a kid on the farm my sister and I tried smoking coffee grounds rolled in paper. We had to give it up when my mom switched to instant coffee---the stuff melted when we lit up. I only lived on the farm until age 9 so you can see I had a degenerate youth. So much for clean rural living.

Friends. Old friends and new. There have been several who have encouraged me and cheered me up this year during one trial or another. When our daughter was going through a difficult pregnancy and delivery they could see the end of the tunnel before I could. Prayer helps. Friends help.

I am thankful I haven't seen "Jon's little pet" that lives in our garage lately. Is it a bat? A bird? It is probably a bat. I am at ease during daylight hours but move in and out of that garage pretty quickly after dark.

My birdfeeder is on my lists of things that bring joy to my life. Jon recently moved it to a spot under the eaves where I can see the birds close up and fill the feeder by cranking open a window. We have downy woodpeckers at the suet and saw many migrating birds this fall. I like the redpoles and finches. On a cold, snowy day they are very busy eating to stay warm.

How did I ever live without boneless, skinless, frozen chicken breasts. Enough said. Low fat and high protein and the convenience of being ready to go. Toss one on the George Foreman grill without even thawing for a quick dinner.

It is clementine season. Yum. Notice how much of my list is about eating?

Public radio.

Books and a good local public library that lets me request books online and after assembling "my order" calls to tell me they are ready.

A fieldhouse nearby where I can walk when the sidewalks are icy or the wind too cold.

Fleece. Nice, warm fleece when the temperature drops.

Granola and yogurt.

The local farmer's market. Buy local produce and keep some of our land in agriculture.

Falling gasoline prices. Hope springs eternal that we won't have $4 gas again.

Newspapers which are an endangered industry. I browse the internet and spend time online, but still love a hard copy to read in the morning. I am thankful someone still delivers it to our door.

Extended family and especially a recent family reunion that helped me get to know some of my younger cousins. (Face it Jane, most of them are younger.) My sister and Jon's sister and their families.

2009 and the election is almost over. Most of you thought it was over, but in Minnesota the senate race drags on. Score now: +49 for Al Franken with more absentee ballots still being scrutinized. Maybe our governor has the power to appoint a "Caretaker Senator" like the Gov. of Rhode Island. Maybe he could send Jesse Ventura out to DC. The media jackals would love it. Hey there is a bright side. They haven't been running any Franken or Coleman commercials since Nov. 4.

See...........that was twenty things I am grateful for, not ten. If you think about it, there are always more blessings than bad things. Happy New Year. Try making your own lists.

Happy New Year

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Time Squared

The New Year's "Ball" drops a lot earlier at our house. In recent years we have stayed in on New Year's Eve and gone to bed before midnight.
Last night we went out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant to celebrate. We went out at 5:30. Ole! People our youngest son's age had probably not even decided where they were going to toast in the New Year by that hour. After dinner Jon said, "I don't think I am going to see the new year." I added, "Not at midnight, but it will still be the new year in the morning. Little did I know that both of us would fall asleep so early we were already getting up before midnight to see the new year in. Old people. Gotta love them, especially if you are them.
I view life as a continuous line coiled in a circle. The middle is the end. Time seems to go faster as you get closer to the middle.
I can't believe it is 2009. We have never gotten a definitive name for this decade, have we? Millenial decade? Maybe. Anyway, I am just happy to be here. Happy Jon and I are both here to see the new year in. Happy New Year to all.
Every day I am thrilled at the new life in our family when I visit the baby blog our daughter publishes online. Those babies are doing the big, outer circles. http://chezdeux.blogspot.com/
Today I am going to watch the Rose Bowl Parade on TV and try to spot my BFF Barb who is watching the parade in Pasadena this year. I think she will look more comfortable in California than the shivering people in Times Square last night. Good plan, Barb.