Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Yesterday also brought forth a candidate who will be one of two Democrats to oppose our representative in the House. Do you know what all this means? It means we won't have any down time between elections. June finished the last race. July began the next one. Add to this the amount of email complaining about the current administration and we never seem to catch a break from politics.
Personally, I long for the days when Andy Taylor probably ran his re-election campaign by having Opie and his buddies put flies around town. Aunt Bea might have said a few words at the garden club. Floyd would remind people who came in the barber shop to vote. Barney Fife wouldn't have to do anything but be Barney Fife. That would remind everyone how much they needed Andy to be re-elected so Barney wouldn't be in charge.
I think I am living in a fantasy world. My fantasy is less meanness, and less hog-wild spending. Keep it simple, be polite and play nice and keep the campaign six months or less, please.
Vikings haven't had the star quarterback who consistently makes the big plays all season for a few years. Many would have loved to give the legendary Favre a chance. Others would have liked to see him finish up in our colors just to bug Packer fans. I think he would have damaged his legacy in Wisconsin if he had signed here. They might be willing to forgive him for last season's return to New York but to sign with their arch rival might be too much.
When I retired I was given "parting gifts" and a pension from my employer and restricted from returning to work for them before six months. I got some mass-mailing brochures from city hospitals looking for nurses. The Army didn't even write recruitment letters. Maybe their computers are linked with the Social Security Administration's computers and they realize I am not the nurse they are looking for. I did get those recruitment letters long after I should have.
So here I am, unemployed and happy. No pressure from the NFL to play and they are laying off RN's in the metro. Wonder how Sarah Palin is doing. Bet she will spend a few days just happy to wake up without an alarm but there probably are people out there trying to get her involved in something already. If she stays in the political scene NBC will probably be pursuing Tiny Fey like the Vikes did Brett Favre.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Jon has compiled a nice geneology and put it online. The results are a handful of people who have e-Googled their names and found they were related to Jon. Yesterday he heard from a woman in Wisconsin with ties back to his mom's Swiss family. We visited that family home as well. The surprising part---they are related through Melchior U. Wasn't Melchior one of the names of the kings? Yes. This is only known through tradition. Their names aren't in scripture.
Friday, July 24, 2009
You can get a real time look at river traffic and the downtown riverside park. They raise the bridge on the hour and you might get a peek at a river boat going under the bridge if you are lucky. There are now six riverboats on the levy.
This weekend is our annual Lumberjack Days Celebration. It commemorates the days when the river was jammed with logs floated down to the sawmills. A century ago they clear cut the big white pines up river and Stillwater was a hub was processing the lumber. It was a rough and tumble town and had more bars than churches. There was even a boradello floating on the river. http://www.lumberjackdays.com/concerts.asp
Those days are over. Now we wrestle with some of the bad behavior that comes from over indulging people who come to Lumberjack Days and consume too much alcohol. We had a few rough years but they seem to have a handle on it now. Last night we went downtown for a short time. Besides the local police and sheriff's deputies, the area had a large presence of red-shirted security guys. They looked like barroom bouncers. Beefy guys who were very cordial but obviously there as a deterrent to troublemakers. We didn't make any trouble. The first year we lived here we had houseguests and went out to dinner at a downtown restaurant during LJD. We were witnessed a very drunk woman make a scene at a table near us in a restaurant. We ducked as she threw glasses at her dinner companion. We could have used a few of those big, red-shirted guys there that night. Memorable dinner and we haven't eaten downtown during LJD since.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
This week they have been submitting stories about personal items bequeathed to survivors. It started with a column about a mom and dad asking their adult kids to mark the things they wanted from the house when they had died.
Today's story is about a button box. The guy who wrote said he and his brothers wanted grandpa's button box. They had fond memories of playing with it as kids. They remember the round, metal canister with the flowers on the lid. He wanted it when grandpa died. After grandpa died, no one could find the button box. I was more fortunate. I have my mom's button box.
The story echoed my life. When my mom asked me that question, "What do you want?", I said, "Your button box". As k;ids, my sister and I played with the buttons. My depression-era mom never threw away a worn out garment without first salvaging the buttons. She strung matching buttons together with thread. There were lots of white "underwear" buttons from long johns. That is an oddity today. I don't have buttons on any underwear. Most of the buttons she could identify such as a bunch of dull black quarter sized buttons from her mom, Grandma Victoria's, coat. There were brass buttons, glass buttons, abalone shell buttons, wooden painted buttons and some hard rubber buttons. All of these were kept in a round dusty rose colored metal canister with flowers painted on the lid. I believe the canister originally came with some food product in it. Everything was recycled. I reach for it when we lose a button and try to find a close match. Frequently I do find something. There are 100's of old buttons.
In this world where we are now recycling clunkers for the government rebate of $4500, I wonder if anyone is still saving buttons. I know I haven't added to that collection. I have used some of those buttons and can still point out the black buttons from Grandma Victoria's coat.
Today as my son ate breakfast before leaving for work, I asked him what he wanted after I died. He didn't have an answer but I told him to think about it. Years ago I asked that question of daughter Mary. She said she would like the big green mixing bowl. Years ago every kitchen had a set of Pyrex nesting bowls. Each size was a different color and there were four bowlscolored red, blue, yellow or green. Only the big green one survives from our original set that I got with S & H trading stamps the first year we were married. Mary remembers mixing cookie dough in that bowl when she was growing up.
It seems fitting memories I have left would have to do with cookies.
I just took a magic marker and wrote "Bequeath to Mamie" on the bottom of that bowl. Mamie is my pet name for her. It comes from the way her brother Dave pronounced Mary when they were toddlers. I hope that bowl outlasts me and Mamie and Zoe and Roman can mix cookie dough in it too.
I don't think my kids have my emotional attachment to mom's button box. If not, I wouldn't mind having it for an urn for my ashes. That might bring a bit of levity to my memorial service and honor my mom, the ultimate recycler. I think she would approve. I am serious kids.
Readers challenge. Ask your kids what they want as a remembrance and let me know.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
It poured rain after a few minutes and we wouldn't have stayed dry on the deck for long. It is much needed rain. We are in a drought and inches behind on precipitation.
We are fine but there was a sad outcome we heard when we watched the local news. A 14 yr. old girl in our town was struck and killed by that bolt of lightning we heard at 3:00pm. She lived about a mile away and was outdoors when it hit a tree in her yard. You have to respect lightning.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
There are 96,548 centenarians in this country according to the US Census bureau. I think there are too many who reach that milestone each day for Willard Scott to have time to wish each one a happy birthday. Perhaps Smuckers just sends them a jar of jam.
I wonder if the marketing people from Smuckers ever realized their brand name would be so aligned with being a centenarian. Don't they all chase a younger demographic?
I may hear from Smuckers. I have had several public relations people affiliated with a brand comment on my blog when I mention them. Usually they do it to defend against my remarks, such as the Culvers people who didn't want everyone to think they made walleye custard. I was corrected. The sign didn't say "cherry pecan walleye custard". It was cherry pecan custard (and the fish of the day) walleye.
Don't worry Smuckers. I am not suggested your fine jams and jellies are only eaten by hundred year oldsters. Us sexagenarians like them just fine but you may not want the endorsement of a sexagenarian either. Do you make cherry pecan jam? I am not at all interested in walleye jelly.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Back to the nagging wife, I asked Jon why our phone couldn't just ring? He changed it to a ring tone that is just an old fashioned ring tone. This morning when someone called, neither of us ran to answer it . We looked at each other and said, "What's that?" True story. Strange but true. We have forgotten what a phone should sound like. Maybe we will have to go back to the Beach Boys or the Minnesota Rowser. At least then we got some exercise.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
It is probably efforts to combat racism that prod people to make statements like hers that really are racist against white folk. I am not that offended. I don't think she meant harm, but it shows where she is coming from. I strongly disagree with and dislike skin heads and white supremists. They are narrow minded and racist and hateful. I would decry any statements they made about being able to make better decisions because they are "wise" and "white". If Judge Sotomayor looked at it from that point of view, she might understand why her words struck us the way they did.
Isn't it time other sensitive people did away with the beauty contest "Miss Black America"? I realize the contest started when African American women were passed over but have you noticed all the African American contestants in the Miss America in recent decades? Have you noticed how many of them won the title?
Times have changed and the Miss Black America contest should cease or actively seek non-black contestants. It is racist. Affirmative action should cut both ways.
Our neighbor Harry, the 95 year old, volunteered at a local nursing home until his health failed in May. He is greatly missed by the daughter who moved him into her home eight years ago and cared for him. He is greatly missed by all his friends and family and even the family dog, Lucy, who still goes into his bedroom looking for him.
Uncle Jack was Jon's favorite uncle. He had polio as a young child and had some encumbrance with mobility all his life. In the last decade or so of life, that polio caused increased weakness of muscles and he used braces, crutches, then a wheelchair.
That disability didn't stop him from having a wonderful life. You might have noticed his deformed feet and spindly legs but quickly forgot those physical attributes when you spent time with Jack. He was one of the warmest, most engaging people I have met. Jack had many interests and spent a lifetime learning. He loved to read and had more books than some small town libraries. He loved doing research. He was interested in new ideas. His major interest was in history and he wrote several books about subjects in Stearns County, MN. Although he loved history, he kept his focus forward and marveled at new things that interested him and almost everything interested him. He was a lot like my father in-law Roman and they were close friends. Both were great storytellers.
Uncle Jack was a bachelor until he was forty. He drove a cool T-bird--a two-seater that impressed the nieces and nephews. He loved photography and had his own dark room to process his photos. He wrote. Most of his life he worked at St. John's University, first teaching English and then working at the liturgical press.
He married later in life but still managed to have five children.
My husband Jon stayed close to his favorite uncle. He always made copies of his vacation videos for him and Jack enjoyed this vicarious travel. At his funeral Jon met many of Jack's friends who told him how his uncle would brag about his nephew Jonny. They would also get to see the videos. I think this was a symbiotic relationship. Both men were creative and interested in life. Both men appreciated each other.
I know Jon will miss visiting with Jack. No more email. No phone calls. No more visits. Not until later. Jack is no longer living in St. Cloud. He is now walking the Streets of Gold, as Jon said at his funeral. Much has been made of the demise of the King of Pop as he made the rounds in his golden casket. He had fame, talent, and money but lived tragically. I don't think the King of Pop enjoyed his life as much as the humble man from St. Cloud. The celebrity certainly had the bigger send off but we are certain Uncle Jack had a very warm, big reception by the real King. Streets of Gold and no disabilities anymore. A whole new world has opened up for Jack in heaven. Surely Jack has a lot more to experience there and I know he is enjoying himself more than we can imagine. He loved the Lord and the Lord was waiting to welcome him home.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
This is about looking in our bathroom mirror and seeing a reflection of a very dated 70's bathroom. It has been painted or papered and a few minor alterations made, but it is dated. The wooden cabinets are dark, the lighting a swag style fixture found only at garage sales when the seller tries to unload old fixtures. There are a few cracks in the grout and I have never like the grayish tone on the floor tile which doesn't match the tub tiles. Yesterday Jon suggested we replace the tile and that got the ball rolling. As long as we are doing that we better redo the vanity.....get a new sink and counter top and get a new medicine cabinet.....and that lighting.....we need updated lighting and we need more storage so a tall linen cabinet would be nice. We want to replace the toilet fixture with one of those gravity super flush commodes. We could use a cabinet above the potty. I drew the line at replacing the tub. The tub is okay. We will have to replace the door to the room to match and when we do that the three adjacent doors to the bedrooms and linen closet need to match. Then we will have to change the baseboards to match and ................on and on .
We checked out a local builders store and got a few options. There wasn't anything I was crazy about. I have a terrible time visualizing how something will look and dread making a choice I will hate when it is installed. As far as I know, they won't bring everything out and let me look at it in our bathroom for approval. Make a choice and live with it. That is how it works. It took me a year to buy our last couch and love seat. A full year. I started looking at HOM's labor day sale one year and when that sale rolled around the next year I was still looking at furniture. I also dilly-dallied choosing floor covering and carpeting with our last job and now wish I had not picked that carpet. Maybe I should have been a renter instead of a home owner. I could move when things got dumpy.
Today when Jon said something about the bathroom work I inquired whether we shouldn't replace our deck instead. He seems to think the bathroom thing is all settled. Meanwhile, I am looking online for a different house. Why do I think that would be easier than choosing a new bathroom vanity? I guess Michael Jackson wasn't the only one who is a bubble off.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Do you think it will matter if the impersonator is "black or white", Arab or Asian?
Is that a rejection of one's heritage?
There is a money to be made for an entrepreneur who markets white sequined gloves and fedoras, uniforms with epaulets and braid. The death groupies have money to spend. Anyone for an eBay business partnership?
I am sorry for the pop stars kids, but I was sorry for them before he died too. I am sure he loved them, but how could they have ever had anything but a weird life?
LA is gearing up for a big (ticketed) public funeral. I don't know if Michael in his $25,000 gold casket will make an appearance there but it could be a good place for an impersonator to start a career. Just dress the part and lie very still. And it better be a white guy who does the funeral.
We did the trek up I 94 to Avon, MN yesterday for the Prairie Home Companion's 35th anniversary show. It was a pleasant day. We arrived an hour and a half early but had greatly underestimated the crowd that would come earlier than that. Most of the remaining outdoor seating was in the hot sun and on the periphery. With two babies entow and five adults who didn't want to look into the sun, we chose to set up our lawn chairs on a grassy, shady area close behind the stage. Our view was limited but we were by the staging area where the shows cast congregated. We watched Garrison Keillor come out of his trailer and mingle. We saw our senior Senator, Amy Klobuchar, work the crowd. When she got close I said to Mary and Mike that this would be a good opportunity for another first time experience for the twins.... Hand them over for their first politician's kiss. That is what they do, right? They kiss babies. Sure enough. A good natured Senator Klobuchar received a smiling Zoe. Zoe repicrocated by grabbing her glasses. I pried the glasses out of her hand only to watch her get a good handful of her neck. Thankfully we grabbed her back before she pulled the senator's hair. Zoe is good at doing all that with a big smile on her face. If pictures of the senator today show a bruise on her neck you will know why. Could you call this child abuse? Abuse by a child? Oh, Zoe. We didn't hand Roman to the senator. He is famous for spitting up on people and that might have been inconvenient for a politician with a lot of hands still to shake. The afternoon continued with a tireless politician doing the meet and greet. She told us she had already done four other town parades. Two smiling nine month olds also worked the crowd. They didn't walk around and shake hands but still charmed everyone who came near them.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Friday, July 3, 2009
My son told me Tupac, the gangster rapper, is still selling a lot of CDs ten years after his death. Good musician or gangsta appeal? He is dead and like Elvis probably more prosperous now.
John Dillinger was a criminal. He was the FBI's most wanted and terrorized banks while on his crime sprees. There is local history of gangsters hiding out in St. Paul when the heat was on in Chicago. Certainly Chicago had a nasty reputation in the 20's and 30's when bullets flew and bad guys ruled, but that corrupt town was probably more innocent than St. Paul where the officials were bought off and many citizens were complicit. All gangsters had to do was not commit crimes in the city and pay mobbed-up cops and judges who looked the other way. Add to that, many locals socialized with these scumbags. Others gladly served these big tippers in bars and restaurants and rented them apartments and cabins. They were recognized but moved about freely. People considered prominent in society hobnobbed with them.
If you don't believe sin entices and initially looks glamorous, just examine those gangsters lives. Not many died as old men in their warm beds. In the end justice was served. Dillinger died like he lived, violently.
The paper this morning says federal officials expect a rise in bank robberies after the Depp movie comes out. One Wisconsin bank has posted a sign saying caps, hoodies, and sunglasses are not allowed. My husband wondered if they shouldn't add ski masks to that list. Can't say anyone walking around off the slopes with a ski mask on has ever been up to much good. Maybe a bank robber could pose as a Michael Jackson wannabe with aviator glasses, fedora and black silk mask and slip into a bank. Then again, more reasonable people would guess anyone in that get-up was not a normal bank customer.