Friday, August 28, 2009

For the Rest of Us It Will Be Rest in Peace

After dinner last evening, my husband announced he might lie in repose for a while. I guess he was tired. We had been in the car and listened to numerous reports about Sen. Ted Kennedy. Every reporter said that he was "Lying in repose" at JFK's Library. I had to check the dictionary and wikipedia about "lying in repose". I guess I can always learn something. If he had been in the Capitol in Washington or in the State House in Boston, he would have been "Lying in State". This phrase is used for politicians. Anyone else famous would have been "Lying in honor". Lying in repose indicated his position and location of the reviewal.
Poor Michael Jackson got a lot of attention from grieving fans after he died, but the crazy press coverage left you feeling sorry for this tragic figure. Was his body even in the golden casket or were they playing a shell game with him? Rumors said they had lost his prosthetic nose. That's not something easily replaced. Family disagreed about where to bury him.
For those of us less famous, the term resting in peace will be used. Some actually will be at peace. Some won't.
Years ago Jon said the words spoken at Catholic funerals, "Rest in peace and may eternal light shine upon you" didn't sound good to him. If he was to rest in peace he would occasionally like someone to turn off the lights.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Doggone It, You Can't Be Sirius

We’ve got “Blue Dogs” (fiscally conservative Democrats) weighing in on the current healthcare bill, hot dogs and coney dogs at the State Fair, and Clifford the Big Red Dog on children’s bookshelves. There is a repentant ex-con NFL quarterback who did time for dog fighting and pretty soon Randy on American Idol will return with his “dawgs”. It seems we have gone to the dogs.

Take heart. Dog days are over. My source says the term “Dog days of summer” ended August 24th. The phrase comes from the timing of the Dog Star Sirius. It commonly refers to the hottest days of the summer.

Dog days brings back memories of August summers when I was a kid and you couldn’t swim in area lakes due to the algae bloom. Lakes and ponds looked green and unappealing. Hot humid days wore us down. Few had air conditioning and the cooler days of fall were eagerly anticipated. If you were tired of the season, you just waited. Things would change.

Wouldn’t it be nice if our 7 trillion $$ debt would just fade away too.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Weather You Like It Or Not

We are almost officially out of our drought. August's 6 inches of rainfall caught us up. There aren't many years all the lawns look this lush and green this time of year. We had a gullywasher last night that knocked out power in part of the metro. My daughter said she was late for work when her alarm didn't ring. No electricity. At least we weren't swept off a rocky coastline by rogue waves like those poor people in Maine.
With our eyes off precipitation we can get back to thinking about our seasons. The Minnesota State Fair starts tomorrow. It ends on Labor Day and that is the unofficial end of summer. The calendar lags by a few weeks declaring summer's demise the third week of September but real Minnesotans know when the state fair starts we are on the downward slope.
For kids anticipating the beginning of school ,feelings may be mixed. Most kids are bored by now after the long hiatus. Some are anxious to see friends and get back in the routine. When I was a kid I remember enjoying organizing my new school supplies. All the new crayons had sharp points and none were broken. Pencils had no bite marks and erasers no ink marks. We wrote our names on the Big Chief nickel tablet of paper. Calculators hadn't been invented and so our parents weren't expected to shell out $120. for a TI scientific graphing calculator. We had book bags not backpacks. You might have a little change to purchase 2 cent milk at recess.
Now I am retired and news the state fair is starting just brings back the reality of snow and ice on its' way in a few months. Even though we don't have to drive anywhere.... no job anyway, we still are one of the first on our block to get it cleared. That is another blog... weather we like it or not.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sugar in the Morning, Sugar in the Evening, Sugar at Suppertime"

If you recognize the title as lyrics to an old tune you may be my age. I watched a PBS program this weekend of oldies and the McGuire Sisters were on singing that tune.
After being vilified in recent decades, natural sugar is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Who knew we would look at sugar as a healthier option. Medical bulletins are now suggesting some of the sugar substitutes we thought would help us control weight aren't effective. It is back to sugar. Have you noticed ads for products proclaiming they contain real sugar? Go ahead and enjoy it. Even McDonald's has been promoting sweet tea with real sugar.
I will probably get a comment from the Sugar Institute or a similar organization for mentioning sugar. Maybe they can advise me if anyone has a patent on "sugar pills". You may be familiar with placebos being called "sugar pills". My attention was grabbed by the TV add for the quit smoking drug Chantix. It states 44% who tried it were able to quit smoking at the end of the 12th week. Good for them. That is great. It is very difficult to quit smoking and anything that works is wonderful. They also state that 44% quit on Chantix vs. the 18% who took sugar pills. That is why I see a possible business selling sugar pills for smoking cessation. 18% is not bad. Sugar pills are cheap and sugar is back in style. If one could secure the rights to the song "Sugar in the morning, sugar in the evening, sugar at suppertime" you could use it in the ads. I don't know if that is what the songwriter had in mind when he talked about sugar, though.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

We said, "Bring Back Dayton's"

For decades Minnesotans had Daytons department stores. The venerable mother store was located on the Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. There was a downtown St. Paul Dayton's store and they also anchored each of the Dales malls. From there Daytons spread to bigger outstate towns to have 19 stores.
We loved the merchandise, easy return policy (no sales slip necessary and no time limit on returns,) and looked for the delivery trucks. Delivery was free. Daytons had high end fashion setting clothes and more affordable lines. If you purchased from Daytons you got quality and value. Dayton's always had a wonderful Christmas display in the top floor auditorium.
In the 90's the Dayton-Hudson Corp. purchased Chicago's Marshall Fields stores. In 2001 they changed the name from Dayton's to Marshall-Fields to the consternation of Minnesotans. By 2005 the corporation was sold and the name changed to Macy's. That one went down hard here. Many didn't feel the same attachment. We missed the policies of the old Dayton's that had been around for a century.
Mark Dayton is a heir and descendent of the founding George Dayton. He is also involved in politics and ran unsuccessfully for several offices. He spent his own money on the campaigns. I may not be exactly right, but I believe he spent about 14 million of his 20 million$$ fortune getting elected. He was a one term senator from Minnesota and then he decided not to run for re-election. Maybe he didn't like the ridicule he got in the press when he closed his Capitol hill offices during the anthrax by mail scare. Maybe he didn't want to spend another 14 million of his own money. Maybe there wasn't an overwhelming cry for him to run again. I don't know. I do know he has now thrown his hat in the ring to run for Governor in 2010. I don't know if he wants my advice, but I would like him to know I think it is Dayton's not Dayton that we miss.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tiger Tale

Minnesotans were focused last week on the PGA Golf Tourney played at a metro area course. Tiger lead all week. Crowds followed him. Spectators bought Nike duds like he wore. Kids pestered him for autographs. Headlines were all about him. He lead until late in the last game and then went down. A novice to the circuit from South Korea took Number 1. Tiger , whose real name is Eldrick Woods had a bum day. He is so famous you don't need to say Woods to identify him.
The suspense of the tournament was not lost on our little fans Zoe & Roman. They visited grandma & grandpa yesterday and seemed drawn to the actioin.

Bing- Oh

They are advertising Microsoft's new search engine "Bing" as a better alternative to the popular Google. I was curious and not too familiar with finding search engines, so I "Googled" to find it. That struck me as funny. Kind of like asking your boyfriend for his roommates phone number. The only search engine I use is Google. Jon has a list of search engines on his computer but I am not sure he uses them anymore. Things have progressed. I remember when he got his first computer (laptop from work) in the early 90's. The WWW was either in it's infancy or didn't exist. To navigate to an outside site he had to go through the Gopher connection set up by the U of MN. We had a dial up connection and everything moved as slow as much computer does on a bad day. I continue to hang on to this tempermental, virus infected, beast while my birthday gift laptop sits on Jon's desk. Plans are hopefully to wean myself from this desktop to the new one soon. After a peak at Bing I am not sure I want to wean myself from Google yet.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Back to the 60s ?

With the highest of intentions, the USA has spent a lot of money and blood to bring democracy to Iraq. Many had teary eyes (me included) watching the statues of the demi-god Sadam Hussein fall. We were helping to bring freedom to the people of Iraq. Freedom to chose their own governance. We did topple a represive regime. The people did vote. They chose the side that wants oppressive sharia law. What we didn't count on were the deep divisions in their society. Perhaps the heavy handed Sadam kept that in check. He kept order like Mussolini and Hitler kept order. With force.
After the people of Iraq voted ,civil disorder followed. There are two strong religious factions in that country. From across the sea we could see they needed to compromise if they were to succeed. You cannot have a peaceful life without reason and diplomacy.
I lived through the strifeful 60s. There was strong protest to government policy and people wanted change. They wanted to have their voices heard. Critics of the Viet Nam war rallied and sometimes became violent. Those who disagreed took the mantra, "Love it or leave it". That meant accept America as it is or leave it. Stop protesting. I wonder if the same people who spoke "Love it or leave it" would be upset if someone said that to them now. Eventually things changed and we enjoyed a period of civility. If we don't respect each other now and work together we aren't much different than the Sunni and Sharia factions. Otherwise we are headed for another decade like the late 60s.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Happy Birthday

Today is my "baby girl's" birthday. Happy Birthday Mary. Left picture: Mary with her babies who are getting close to their first birthday.
Right: Mary as a youngster, about four years old.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Yesterday was D-Day, aka demolition day in our bathroom renovation project. Thankfully, someone else did the heavy labor. The few minor chores Jon and I did left us tired. Our 60 something knees do not like being involved in physical labor. Today when Jeff (the tiler) came, he said he laid 90 yards of sod yesterday after leaving our job. Jeff went to school with our middle kids. At 37 or 38 he holds up better than we do.

Last evening I ran to the local home store and got three samples of paint and applied them. When I looked at paint "chips",it is hard for me to imagine how the whole room will look. I need see it on a a bigger area. My least favorite chip is the color we like. Wish I could get someone to come out and try another 10 or 20 shades before making my color selection. I want to paint before the wall cabinets go in so that ain't gonna happen.

Picture is of the cabinet style we chose. The top will be a lighter colored granite. The floor is Roman stone porcelain tile. We are anxious to see if finished. Last night as I was quickly painting sample colors on the walls, I said, "We made one mistake." Jon answered, " Yes, starting this." I meant I should have been painting sample colors earlier and selected a color scheme. Then I could have painted the whole room last night when it was empty. Live and learn. It will be nice when it is finished.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Between Iraq and a Hard Place

We all breathed a sigh of relief when the two American journalists who were held captive in North Korea were released this week. One also has to wonder what it cost our country.
Pundits have been speculating how this action may have altered our tough stance with this rogue nuclear power. North Korea must have seen this as a winning situation for them to be viewed as gracious.
Why were these two caught crossing that border in the first place? Was it bad luck or poor judgment? There is probably more to this story.
When the three young Americans were captured last week in Iran, my first reaction was that they were crazy to be walking that border. Most of us wouldn't want to be in Iraq or Iran. Not safe. Not a good plan. Once again our diplomats will probably work to free them. We have just seen how Iran treats its citizens when they protested the election. I don't think we want to be giving them credibility or concessions. Another American journalist was recently released from a harsh prision term in Iran. This group should have been aware of that. Two women were still being held captive in North Korea when these young people put themselves in harms way in Iran.
As usual, when I get a judgmental attitude, I often find I have been "guilty" of a similar offense. A couple years ago my college -age son drove around Serbia with a couple German friends. Sometimes he told people he was Canadian. He now admits there were times he didn't feel safe, especially with the wounds of war fairly fresh in that country. They went to a bullet riddled museum that displayed a uniform of an American serviceman killed in that conflict. Now I get it. If my son had been taken captive I would have wanted to send Bill Clinton to the rescue too.

More of Our Little "Sunshine Superman"

Indulge this grandma from the 60's. Remember Donovan's "Sunshine Superman"? Lots of pictures this week of little superguy, Roman on the baby blog.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

This Made Me Laugh.....

I stole this picture of Grandbaby Roman from the twins blog because it made me laugh. I have been saying he moves fast. Now we know why.
Superboy to the rescue. Grandma has a long list of things he can fix.
How about tackling the health care bill. He has recent experience as a consumer.
Could Superboy have a better plan than giving consumers $4500 to trade in a clunker for a car of their choice? Hello. Don't Americans own a car company? Wouldn't it be nice if that $4500 were spent buying an American made car? I know. We drive a Mazda (made in the USA) and a Hyundai. Better not preach, but if it is our money we are giving so wouldn't it make sense to help our own company?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

What's Love Got to do With It

Today's headlines remind us it is the 2nd anniversary of the I35W bridge collapsing in Minneapolis. That shocking image flashed on the local evening news within minutes of it's occurance. A news helicopter in the vicinity caught an aerial view that horrified us and sent almost everyone to the phone to call family members to make sure they weren't on that bridge. I did that. I called our adult kids and was reassured to hear their voices. The overload of cell phone calls jammed the system like it had in New York City when the twin towers came down.

One bridge collapses and many lives are forever altered. Thirteen people died but many others were seriously injured. Many have haunting memories if they were on that bridge even if they escaped.
If one bridge crashing down causes this much pain, can you imagine what it must be like when a population lives through a war? I got an email this morning labeled "cool toys". It contained photos of military planes, helicopters etc. Weapons of war we need to defend ourselves. Weapons of war that leave civilians on the receiving end with terrifying memories. I remember thinking that when video of our "Shock & Awe" bombing of Baghdad were telecast. How did the Iraqi mother huddling with her children feel about that. It was easy to watch our display of power from our living rooms and feel American pride. We were helping bring democracy to a country enslaved by a horrible dictator. I wonder how you reconcile all that with the example of Jesus telling Peter to put away his sword. Those who live by the sword, die by the sword.

Today our church is ministering in the inner city. We linked with an urban ministry to take the gospel and food to give away to an area with a large muslim population. Maybe loving them is better than the other option. I never have cared for the turn the other cheek scriptures, but maybe this is what he meant. Love never fails.