Thursday, December 31, 2009

Awaiting Twenty-Ten

Imaging Problem


You won't find an X-ray department in a hospital anymore. It has been renamed Radiology or the Imaging Department. In the same update, the Personnel Department became Human Resources, The Housekeeping Department emerged as Environmental Services and the custodians morphed into engineers. The word secretary disappeared from the lexicon and "ward secretaries" became Health Unit Coordinators. The new name gave them new respect. A nurse knew she was going to have a really bad day at work if the "ward secretary" called in sick. Like all secretaries, they kept everything running smoothly. Most of these name changes happened over a decade ago in the hospital where I last worked.

We have had most of the decade to adjust to post-9-11 airport security. TSA scans our luggage; metal detectors scan us. We obligingly took off our shoes when that layer of security checks happened. We obediently limit our carryon liquids to 3 oz. and bagged them in Ziplock bags. Our motivation of safer travel helped us keep a good attitude when elderly white women like my husbands 90+ yr old aunt the nun underwent special scrutiny in TSA's attempt to keep security checks random. It's not nice to profile is it? Sorry, but I feel more secure when they pay as much attention to a young ethnic Muslim male as they do to the 93 yr old nuns.

The Christmas Day bombing attempt has it hitting the fan. Someone will eventually be held accountable. There will be lots of talk about policy change. My favorite proposed change was not allowing passengers out of their seats the last hour of flight. Did it occur to policymakers that the terrorists could detonate the bomb anytime during the flight?

Many airports have had scanners that see through clothes but have been reluctant to use them. Some use them on a voluntary basis. That makes sense. I am sure a real bomber / terrorist will voluntarily be scanned. Most of us just looked at those scans and cringed. Basically we would look naked to the scanner. Congressmen opposed using these scanners to protect our privacy. Now that we have had a fresh bombing attempt we will probably suck it up and go along with this latest indignity.

An aha moment. There is an "image problem" with the scanners that might be solved with renaming the experience. Come up with a name that suggests an instant makeover. I confess I don't like the idea of someone looking through my clothes. I don't like it because of modesty but moreso because I'm not thrilled about how I look neked! All that is needed is software that makes us look like we have had a makeover. All females would appear curvacious and minus sags. Guys would have six-packs and well developed muscles. They might even let us peak at how we could look if we stayed on the diet and exercised. Bingo. Two problems solved. A more secure flight and inspiration for overweight Americans.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Lists

It's the end of the year and the lists are appearing. Lists of famous people who died in 2009. Michael Jackson heads that list as the most talked about death. Amazing how dying can cover a lot of weird behavior. Farrah Fawcett makes the list probably because she died gracefully and did it on video. Certainly there were people with a better resume who died and didn't reach her place on the list, but we have short memories. Walter Cronkite deserved to make the list especially if you are my age and remember his working years contributions.
There is a list of most popular You tube videos. There is a list of the richest people who probably don't have as much money as they did last year. The worst divorces or breakups in the public arena was advertised as a coming story on the "news". Hard to call that news and hard to top Tiger Woods in this category. Sarah Palin's grandson's daddy could be #2 on that list and certainly #1 as biggest cad.
It is also (debatedly) the end of the decade so we are getting composites of the aught years' newsmakers. With 9-11, two wars and an economic meltdown overshadowing the good news of the decade most prefer to look ahead. There were good things that happened but I doubt we will see a list of heart-warming stories of 2000-2009.
Most of us are glad to say goodbye to the past decade with its sorrows and strife. Bring on the tens. The tens? The teens? Again we are faced with a no name decade ahead. When the twenties come around we will feel more comfortable for about eight decades if the world lasts that long.
I didn't make the list of those who died in 2009 and have decided to count my blessings instead of the world's woes.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Must See Movie



There aren't too many movies that make you smile, laugh, and cry. Loved "The Blind Side" and it's based on a true story.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Our Four Grandkids

Merry Christmas


Our German freinds who drove from the state of Virginia through freezing rain, drizzle and snow arrived about 4pm on Christmas Eve. Their departure from Virginia was delayed due to last weeks "monster storm" that hit the eastern seaboard. I fussed and worried for days that they would get in an accident or stranded in the snow. Everything worked out. I would have worried less if I had known they were driving a (rented) SUV with 4wd.
Kai is a German exchange student who lived with us when Andy was in high school. Andy then went to Germany and stayed with his family. They have each made another trip and traveled with the other. We spent a night with his family on our last trip.
Kai just finished a semester study-abroad in a Virginia university. He will be doing an intership at the beginnning of 2010. It was nice to see him and meet his girlfriend who came for two weeks over Christmas. The picture is of our family and Kai and his girlfriend Mirjam, seated in the middle. Mirjam is from Nuremberg, Germany and brought a gift of lebkucken made in her hometown. Small world. I just had a conversation with my sister who returned days ago from Germany and Austria with a supply of this wonderful gingerbread. Yum.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Santa's Little Helpers

http://elfyourself.jibjab.com/view/hwhVNuwsolGy8BH5isgx

Friday, December 18, 2009

Loved this Book



My favorite book read during 2009 and I recommend it highly.

I

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Retraction

Oops. Got it wrong. Peter Billingsley, the child actor from "The Christmas Story", is NOT the son of actress Barbara Billingsley. He is not the real "Beaver Cleaver". Sorry about starting that rumor.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Part 2 - Christmas Cinema & The REAL Beaver



Follow up to yesterday's quiz. Who is that guy? Is is Peter Billingsley who was the child star of the late 80's movie, "The Christmas Story". The more mature Billingsley continues to work in movies but not as an actor. What is the "Beaver" connection? His real life mom is Barbara Billingsley, AKA June Cleaver, the mom in "Leave it to Beaver".

Addendum added 12/17/09. My mistake he is NOT the son of Barbara Billingsley.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cougar Caper Part 2





Thought I was kidding about that cougar? I took the pictures of Channel 5 news outside our house this afternoon probably doing a story on the cougar. Will have to catch the news tonight.

Christmas Cinema -or- The REAL Beaver


Quiz for you: Who is this guy? Answer to follow in subsequent blog. I gave you a clue in the title of the blog.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas cougars


Nope. Not a blog about fifty-something women chasing hunky younger guys. This story is from today's afternoon Stillwater Gazette. Last week the news reported cougar sightings in the north metro. The DNR warned residents to be careful. Plans were for residents to call 911 if they spotted the animal and police would shoot it.
Read the article and keep in mind Sunrise park is across the street from our house. Parkwood and Croixwood Blvd. are each a one to three blocks away. Not sure if it is safe for my grandkids to visit! We always feel like we are very safe out in the peripheral east metro. Not much crime etc. Over the weekend there was another domestic ending in a man murdering his wife, shooting his daughter and taken out by a policeman himself. Hmmm. Think I will stay in tonight.

" HEADLINES
Cougar spotted in Stillwater
Stillwater is the latest stop on one cougar's journey across the metro area, officials believe.

Friday two separate callers reported to Stillwater Police that they'd found cougar tracks around Bethany Church, Sunrise Park, Parkwood Lane and Croixwood Boulevard.
Monday, December 14, 2009 4:37 PM CST"

Christmas crazies


File this article under "OMG". They live among us and they vote.!! Hard to believe.
Got this from the online St. Paul Pioneer Press today. Jane


"My Pet World: Pets don't care how much you spend on their gifts
By Steve Dale

Updated: 12/08/2009 11:45:00 AM CST


Q. Santa has always loved our dogs, but this year we can barely afford to leave out cookies for Santa. My husband has been out of work and I'm on disability. Do you think our dogs will care if we're opening a few gifts (from friends and relatives) but there's nothing for them? Do we need to buy Christmas presents for our dogs?

— S.Y., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

A I think you do. I don't know what you've given your pups in the past, but I also know your dogs won't recall, 'Last year, I got this really nifty toy.' And most certainly, they won't be aware of how much you spend. Of course, the wonderful thing about dogs is that even if they knew how much you spent — they wouldn't care. They simply enjoy being part of the fun.

Wait until you see a coupon for some treats, a brand you might buy your dogs anyway. Wrap up the treats. You'll feel good about it, and I know your dogs will love scarfing down a gift that may have cost under $2. I wish you and your family — and many families — a better 2010."

Christmas cruisin'



We are in a winter wonderland in Minnesnowta. A couple of inches of fresh snow fell overnight covering the spruce tree branches and freshening the landscape. That is a positive spin on winter. It is cold and December kicked in overnight and we are still adjusting.
If you were raised in a region with a real winter you may miss it at Christmas. We know people who visit the midwest to experience snowy holidays. My sister and brother in-law have never said she missed the snow, but these Texans are on a European adventure now. They are on a cruise ship on the river Danube which stops everyday in a different town so they can tour and shop the Christmas (outdoor) markets. The cruise originated in Vienna, an elegant way to start a tour. Austrian winters are snowy but not as cold as Minnesota except in the Alps. Our rivers freeze over and the cruise boats here are idle December to May.

http://eurorivercruises.com/Cruise%20Itins/uni_danube_christmas_nurem_vienna.html

Jon and I drove along the Danube a few years ago starting in Melk, Austria and I thought it would be wonderful to return on a bike trip in the spring. If you come from our state you are less inclined to visit another snowy country in the winter. Our springtime is short and we usually long to go somewhere a little warmer in March or April.
Picture: husband Jon by the blue Danube.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Yakkety Yak, Don't Talk Back

We had dinner last night at a Tibetan / Nepalese restaurant in St. Paul. Son Andy's apartment is a block up Grand Avenue from this ethnic cafe and he chose it. He and fianace Laura had eaten there previously. I asked if he had eaten Yak. He affirmed he had.
We dined with Laura's family, a congenial group who enjoy new dining experiences. Not wanting to appear out of sync with the rest, I ordered the curried goat. It would taste like chicken, no? NO. Not chicken. More like beef but with a lot of fat and grissle and small bones. Nepalese food is like a blend of Indian and Chinese, flavorful but the meat is chopped up leaving in the little bones.
Everyone enjoyed their meals. I wouldn't recommend the goat.
The garlic mint naan was wonderful and the appetizer tasted like a pastie from mining country, very tasty.
There are a few yak dishes on the menu which made me wonder where the cook would go to find a yak butcher. Andy said there is a farmer in Cold Spring, MN who raises yak.
I have seen bison (buffalo) graising outstate so why not yak. You probably could substitute bison without any diners knowing the difference.
The goats are easier to find. Maybe that is the problem. I expected goat to be lean and it probably is if you order it abroad. I don't think they have to import goat meat. Here in the USA our goats may be dining on leftovers from Mickey D's and have gotten obese. Order the yak.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Teddy Bear Picnic


I can hear the tune in my head. If you can't, you don't have enough children in your life. The tune is "catchy" and will play in your head all day.
I just read a story online about a couple of Minnesota hunters who think they have a photo of Bigfoot. Local Bigfoot experts concur. I just thought of that kids song and remembered we were warned we would have a big surprise.

http://www.twincities.com/ci_13968657


The Teddy Bears Picnic
If you go into the woods today
You're sure of a big surprise.
If you go out in the woods today
You'd better go in disguise.

For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic.

Picnic time for teddy bears,
The little teddy bears are having a lovely time today.
Watch them, catch them unawares,
And see them picnic on their holiday.
See them gaily dance about.
They love to play and shout.
And never have any cares.
At six o'clock their mommies and daddies
Will take them home to bed
Because they're tired little teddy bears.

If you go out in the woods today,
You'd better not go alone.
It's lovely out in the woods today,
But safer to stay at home.

For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic

CHORUS

Every teddy bear



http://www.twincities.com/ci_13968657

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Send In The Clowns


I feel 100 today. Yesterday I picked up a shovel to clear snow by the doorway and away from the garage door so Jon could get the snowblower out to attack the foot high drifts. Foolishly I twisted by back while shoveling and felt a sharp pang. Oops. I know better. Never twist while you are lifting heavy snow. My back was sore yesterday and worse this am. I am bent over and listing to the right and mad at myself.
Walking and standing upright hurts, so I settled into my recliner and turned on the Today Show. Before long, Willard Scott was giving the Smucker Salute to centennarians. Feeling a hundred myself today, I watched, wondering if we would continue to see Willard on this segment until he announced his own 100th birthday!

Time to Google Willard and see how old he is. I discovered he is "only" 75. Wikipedia also says he was the original Ronald McDonald and did the first of those commercials. He was also Bozo the Clown in early television. A decade or so ago, Scott was the weatherman on the Today Show. He was occasionally called a buffoon. Perhaps it was just his inner clown peeking out.

Today I have a new long range goal: Live to be 100 and have Willard, dressed in full Bozo suit, wish me a happy birthday on the Today Show. My short range goal: Walk upright and feel better after some ibuprofen.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Precious Lady Shares A Precious Story




From the current Newsweek. I have always liked Barbara Bush and am anxious to see this movie.

"Recently George and I hosted a special sneak preview of Precious in our hometown, Houston. The audience of 200 included young people and old, teachers and corporate executives, parents and grandparents, and folks of just about every ethnic and economic background. I planned to say a few words when the movie was over—but I was speechless. (My husband would tell you that is highly unusual.)

Precious is the story of an illiterate African-American teenager growing up in poverty in the 1980s. The abuse—sexual, physical, mental—this young woman suffers at the hands of her parents is difficult to watch; there are times when her hopelessness is overwhelming. But what saves her from a life of despair is a teacher who helps her learn to read and write.

After 30 years promoting literacy, I've never felt more energized. Watching this movie, I was reminded why it's important that we keep working so hard. There are kids like Precious everywhere. Each day we walk by them: young boys and girls whose home lives are dark secrets. They are often abused or neglected, and seldom read to or given homework help. Without the skills they need to lead a productive life, the chances are good they will continue the cycle of poverty and illiteracy.

But if young people can read and write, they are less likely to drop out of school, turn to drugs and violence, get pregnant, or depend on welfare. There is not one child in America who wants that life. Kids want to learn. They want to stay in school. They want good jobs. They want a chance. Which is why, three decades ago, I decided to use my bully pulpit to promote literacy.

I'm proud that the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy has given out 773 literacy grants in 50 states and the District of Columbia. We give them to programs whose goal is to teach both parents and children to read. This is happening in schools, prisons, workplaces, and communities. The programs all have the same goal: read, read, read. We've made progress, but Precious is a new call to action.

If I were to give out a homework assignment, it would be this: go see the movie. You might be shocked when it's over that it was Barbara Bush who asked you to do so. But go see it—then ask yourself how you can help."

Bush, honorary chairman and president of the foundation (www.barbarabushfoundation.com), was first lady from 1989 to 1993.

© 2009

Winter Has Arrived and We Are Learning To Deal With The Snow




Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Serious Piano Student?



One year old Roman is showing some promise sight reading music. His great-grandma Catherine played by ear. His mom blogged that he was probably playing the theme from "Junglebook".

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Lump Of Coal For the Infamous

December 7th, a day of Infamy. December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day. The Japanese bombed our fleet in Hawaii and pushed us into WW2. I can hear the voice of FDR saying, not not from life but from old recordings, "Today shall live on as a day of infamy".

Yesterday was December 6th and the Vikings got pretty beat up by Arizona. I'm not sure if that was their Waterloo, Day of Infamy, or they just got a lump of coal in their stockings from Saint Nick.
I hated to see them lose but it probably won't stop Vikings owners from demanding a new stadium anyway. They have already made that bid and announced they aren't renewing the Metrodome lease. (Make that Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome @ Mall of America). It's hard to imagine the Los Angeles Vikings. It probably was hard to imagine the Los Angeles Lakers years ago too. Remember, they were Minneapolis Lakers originally. LA doesn't even change the name. At least Texas was clever enough to drop the North from North Stars before adopting those guys.

So here we sit with a wealthy sports franchizer who wants an almost billion $$$ stadium. The state is not in good financial health and the needs are many. Where can that $$$$ come from? My bet is we will get state owned casinos. It has been proposed by one legislator. After all, why not steal the major source of income from the Native American tribes? We Vikings need our football. Perhaps we could offer to rename the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome @ Mall of America Field the Zygi Wilf Superdome @ Vikings Field.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A New Twist on Faith Based Initiatives

It started with a "Thousand points of light" and Pres. George H.W.Bush. Do something. Progressing from this were the "Faith based initiatives". Get the churches or religious organizations serving social needs with a little federal $$$. Some worried this would violate the separation of church and state.

Now, a Stillwater, MN church has taken the helping to a new level. Local Trinity Lutheran Church is going to foot the bill for a new US Post Office. True story.
The current post office is on land leased from the adjacent TL church. Trinity wants to expand and owns land across the street. They are donating $1,000,000. to build the new post office across the road. Everybody is happy. The current postal building is inadequate and they don't have to wait decades for an appropriation from Washington. I wonder if some will object when they see the sign that says, "Martin Luther Post Office"? Just kidding. There are no strings attached to this gift. As you may have guessed, Trinity is a big church.

Now if we could just get a local business to finance the new bridge and get that project started we would be in good shape. Andersen Windows, are you listening? We would promise to name the new bridge after you. Maybe ExCel Energy could share the cost for a bridge called, "Andersen Window Bridge @ ExCel Energy Crossing". I think I am on to something here. We do have the Hubert H. Humphreydome at Mall of America Field.

http://www.stillwatergazette.com/articles/2009/12/04/headlines/829st3postoffice.txt

Friday, December 4, 2009

Is That True, Gov'ner?


Conspiracy afficianados are in for a treat. Jesse Ventura is about to debut on TruTV with a program that investigates conspiracy theories. He is qualified not only because he was mayor of a small town and a former governor (who did finish his term) but also a wrestler and movie actor. He usually played a tough guy in the movies and that may come in handy wrestling the truth out of the rumors.
The governor's first program explores HAARP. I had never heard of HAARP. Now I know it is an acronym for a federal research project called High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program. Some believe this program, operating in Alaska, controls the weather or our minds with sound waves. Hmmmm. Maybe that explains our strange weather. I actually had someone tell me a couple months ago that all the excessive rain in flooded areas was due to government interference. I just scratched my head and wondered if they were moonshiners who disliked the Fed.
If these people are right, Gov. Ventura may vindicate them. Wouldn't you trust what a guy who wears a feather boa and braids his beard says instead of the government?
Jesse, how did we manage without you when you were off living in Mexico.
Maybe for his next assignment, he can find the Obama birth certificate.

Culinary Institute of Brooklyn Center





Daughter Mary put these pictures on the twins blog. The kiddos are now very helpful in the kitchen. They helped out a little at grandma and grandpas on Thanksgiving too. Note the statue of the Santa gnome in one of the pictures. It is about the same size as the kids and they are cautious to keep a little distance from it. I guess it takes a while to warm up to Santa. Lots of kids yowl while parents wait for the cute photo with a mall santa. I guess even in a smaller size Santa is not automatically trusted by toddlers.

Inspiration on Page 7B of the Pioneer Press


For all our talk about global warming and a balmy Minnesota November, reality has arrived. It is shivery cold this morning. I compensated by snuggling with my blankie and reading the morning paper while sipping the first cup of coffee.

I always glance at the obituaries to see if anyone I know has died. You would think that would happen with increasing frequency at my age. No, since I retired from nursing I no longer see the names of patients who have died.

One obituary caught my eye this morning. It starts, "Hey, when you know it's time, you can write your own obit!" You can chose your own picture and graciously thank everyone who has blessed your life. After reading the auto-obit I noticed something
was missing...her age. Since she thanks her co-workers of 31 years I am also wondering if she used her Facebook photo. I didn't know this woman but feel a kinship.

On the same page of the paper is a feature called "Faith Notes". I scanned it looking for a possible Christmas musical performance we could attend.
The first listing is for a retreat, "Unplugging the Christmas Machine: Simplicity in Advent and Christmas". That sounds interesting but it is in Eau Claire, WI which is 90 miles away and it wouldn't simplify my life to drive that far.
The second workshop that I noticed, "Transcending Life as a Duck". Sounds interesting too, but dangerous. Isn't it still duck hunting season? It is held at the Institute of Himalayan Tradition and not exactly what I am looking for. Still, you have to wonder how this class managed to be nestled among all the Christmas chorals and performances of Handel's Messiah.
There is a third possibility titled, "Theology and a Pint" at O'Gara's Bar and Grill.
It is about understanding the incarnation of Jesus. I think it is more in the Irish tradition. These people attracted to this meeting would never be contemplating life as a duck.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I'm Dreaming of a Red Christmas


Bargain hunting on the day after Thanksgiving has become a tradition. With all the hyperbole,ads and promotions one feels almost disconnected if you don't chase down at least one bargain. After reading the Wednesday paper which was fat with ads, I found the item I wanted. Menards, a regional building materials/ home store had a type of Snuggie blanket for $2.99. The ad said limit of ten per customer. If they were limiting them ten per shopper, perhaps they had a good supply of them. Aha moment. I could go with my husband and buy a dozen plus snuggies---enough to give one to everyone who is coming on Christmas Eve. Then we could take one helluva family picture dressed in our red robes. We are also having two German guests and we could have told them this was a normal American Christmas custom. Sadly, the store ran out of Snuggies before we got there. There will be no Christmas pictures of red-robed revelers. No need to decide if we look like we have taken religious vows or are awaiting the mother ship. Maybe next year. Maybe we will do like we did a decade or so ago and buy a supply of those glasses/ nose/mustaches for the group photo or should we stick with Santa hats?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Washington D.C. Turkeys








We have a long tradition of presidential pardon of turkeys at Thanksgiving. You decide which are the real turkeys. My favorite picture? Hillary in a Green Acres frame of mind. President Ford with live and frozen bird comes in a close second. I didn't find a picture of President Eisenhauer pardoning the gifted bird. I guess when he got his turkey they cooked it for dinner! Now that is a practical man.

Loveable Hero or Corporate Shill?


Tigger, Tigger, what have you done?
With all the more newsworthy things happening in this world, why is the media fixated on Tigger crashing his SUV into a hydrant? Tigger isn't talking. Tigger makes a lot of $$$ and can even pay his own damages. No pesky accident reports to fill out. No adjustors to talk to if he doesn't claim damages. Apparently he doesn't even have to talk to the Highway patrol. Is it optional for everyone?

I am paying too much attention to this myself, but that is because my grandbabies adore Tigger. He is talented and loveable. There is no language or cultural barrier. He is just so huggable.
Tigger's problem is the corporation owns him. He needs to keep a squeaky clean image. He must be family friendly. We want him to be his bouncey, smiley self with no scandel.
Oh. OH! Not Tigger? It's Tiger? Never mind. Maybe he should come out of his house.
He can't hide in the Big Woods.