Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Count ....a one and a two

I am being reintroduced to Sesame Street characters like Count von Count by my 18mon. old grandtwins. They love (M)Elmo & (N)Ernie and can even pick out the Count in a book.

The count. It is time to count Americans. We received our census form and returned it the same day even though it asked who would be at our house on April 1st. Hopefully, we are correct about who will be here on All Fool's Day. We will. Us "fools". Fools?
Maybe, after all despite the advice of our Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, we filled our the census and returned it. Are we doomed? You would think she would want her constituents counted so Minnesota doesn't lose a seat.

The Help

I just finished reading last year's best seller, "The Help". Should be on your reading list if you haven't already read it.

Milestone - The First Haircut

Grandbaby Roman got his first haircut this weekend. I stole the picture from their twinblog. Mom Mary said this kids barber shop knows how to handle kids. They put on a video and gave him lollipop. He sat still. Too bad they stop that practice when you grow up.
Roman now looks like a well groomed little guy. His twin sister Zoe hasn't had that experience. Everyone is just so glad she has finally grown some hair I doubt she will get it cut very soon.

Friday, March 26, 2010

It's The End of The World As We Know It..(and I feel fine).

We used to read stories about young blond, blue-eyed runaways from Minnesota ending up on the streets of New York. There was a "Minnesota Connection". Today we are tied to the Big Apple with a different weird, wild coincidence; coverage of New York's finest capturing a wild coyote in Manhattan. Don't they belong out west?
This morning's paper has a similar story of the capture of a wild coyote who moved into someone's garage in this fair city of Stillwater, MN. First we have a cougar this winter and we are getting used to the occasional bear siting in town, but coyotes?
We can't even escape the wild upper midwest by going to New York City. We can't go east at all until they reopen our bridge which is closed due to flooding. Maybe we do all need guns.

No wonder our hockey team is called the Minnesota Wild.

from St.Paul Pioneer Press: "Stillwater / Coyote found camping out in garage
Pioneer Press

Updated: 03/25/2010 11:32:38 PM CDT

A coyote is put into a dog kennel by Stillwater police for transport to a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wildlife area in Oak Park Heights. (Courtesy to Pioneer Press: Stillwater Police Department)A wayward coyote that wandered into a garage in Stillwater has found a new home on land owned by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Stillwater police received a call Saturday about a coyote in a garage in the 1300 block of South Third Street.

Sgt. Jeff Magler and officer Chris Crayne used dog poles with nooses on the ends to capture the coyote. They also used the homeowner's dog kennel and borrowed a neighbor's truck to transport the coyote to a DNR wildlife area near the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Oak Park Heights, Magler said.

"It's very rare that a coyote would be found in somebody's garage," Magler said. "It appeared to have been living in there for a couple of days. I totally expected to find a possum or a raccoon — not a coyote."

Magler joked that he and Crayne plan to tackle a bear next."

— Mary Divine

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Water, Water, Everywhere

Not a newscast goes by without flood stories. The impression left is of widespread disaster. Don't believe everything you see on TV. News reporters are drawn to these sites for a big story and it becomes a big story whether it is or not.
Our hometown borders the St. Croix river and it floods to some extent every spring. Some years are worse than others. Water comes over the levy and floods the park. Spring melt swells the river until it almost touches the old liftbridge. they close the bridge inconveniencing commuters who need to find another river crossing. They did that today. Then they finished the earthen/sandbag emergency levy to keep downtown dry. In 1965 downtown flooded. Since then they have improved the permanent levy and built temporary dikes when too much water was expected.
News of flooding draws a crowd. Downtown businesses are booming. Last weekend it was crowded and today lots of gawkers. We were among them. It all looked like a normal spring to me. It is an unusual year we don't take on a little water in the park.
Part of our flood watch today included a trip to Mounds Park to see how downtown St. Paul was doing. Mounds Park is on a high bluff overlooking the Mississippi across from the downtown and Holman Field airport. The water level didn't look too bad even if local news continually talks about their flood. A small group of oldsters gathered around us. Like us they have long memories of the real floods of 1965 & '69 when it flooded extensively. One older gent said it was nothing like "52. Jon and I couldn't comment. We don't remember the 1952 flooding. Thank God for that. I was in first grade in '52 and living in central Minnesota.

Friday, March 19, 2010

We're In the Movies...Again

Stillwater, Mn was used again for a scene in a movie recently filmed in Minnesota.
"The Convincer", still unreleased, used our local US bank in a scene with Alan Arkin and Greg Kinnear. The bank is a solidly built building with big columns, marble floors and a spacious lobby.
We will have to add the DVD to our collection of movies made locally. Scenes from "Grumpier Old Men", "The Cure", and Beautiful Girls feature our little river town.
picture was copied from online Stillwater Gazette and used without permission

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Celebrating Our Diversity -- Keeping It Real @ The More Cafe in Milan

Those are fightin' words in some circles. To others they have different meaning. With political overtones aside, we enjoy sharing other cultures. As I posted on Facebook, we just returned from Milan. I got a few quick comments this morning. One friend questioned when we went because she had just talked to me two days ago! We just returned from Milan, MN. Milan (pronounced Mile-an) is a town of 326 people near the So.Dakota border. It is on the beltline of Minnesota. We live in Stillwater, a town on the MN/ WI border straight across the state at it's skinniest part. Heritage in the Milan area is mostly Norwegian. Last year we heard about a tiny restaurant that made potato dumplings (klub)similar to the ones Jon's family makes. That is why we drove 200 miles. We wanted to compare the Norwegian version to the knoedels he makes. We were charmed and it was worth the drive. (Factor in we are retired people.) Jon called in advance to assure they were still making klub. There were about a dozen people eating at the cafe when we were there. Single guys wearing seed caps sat on high stools at a long table. Couples took the booths. The entertainment was Vern and his One Man Band. He looked to be 80 something and played a harmonica and zither as his foot thumped the peddle to beat the drum. The music was old time. Great ambiance. The cafe is owned by a guy in his 30's. His Korean-American wife cooks. The recipe for the Norwegian dish was acquired from the locals. At other times an oriental menu is available. On Tuesdays the menu is simple: One or two klub. Ham or side pork are optional. The klub dumplings are served in a bowl of melted butter. Add salt and eat. I am glad you can still find little restaurants like the More Cafe in Milan, Mn. We have enough chain restaurants that all look alike.
To add to our ethnic sampling we stopped for a slice of pizza at Cossetta's in downtown St. Paul on the way home. We arrived at 2:00pm just as the St.Pat's Day parade was ending and throngs of green costumed revelers were descending on McGovern's Bar across the street from Cossetta. We managed to add Irish and Italian to the list. Too bad we forgot about the St. Urho's Day celebrations in Finland, Mn on March 16th. Maybe next year we can do that.
Link to You tube video of Vern found on You tube.

He Was a Good Cat - Tribute to Sammy

Goodbye Sammy. You will be missed. Sam was the black cat our daughter Mary rescued from the shelter ten years ago. She was single and he filled a spot in her house and her life. Sammy was the cat that made me like cats. He never hissed or scratched. When you came to the door he came with a greeting. I swear that cat said "Hello". At least it sounded like hello to my ears.
Sammy was company for Mary. He loved to stretch out on her lap and be stroked. When she met and married Mike, Sammy had to make room in his heart for Mike too. He did. Mike loves animals and took to Sammy as well. Sammy had to adjust to a blended family as Mike brought his two Persians to the family. Mr. Sam remained top cat but they all got along. He was playful and would chase those fluffy tailed cats into hiding at times.
Sam had to adjust again when the twins were born. With the focus on caring for premie babies he had to cope with a little less attention for a while. As the kids grew they noticed him and although coached to "Be gentle", he had to scamper occasionally from their grasp. Though it all he remained gentle.
This week Sammy got sick. He had been losing weight and was old and the decision was made to put him to sleep. RIP Sammy.
My sister once said she saw a tombstone with the inscription, "She was a good woman", and thought it a wonderful thing to be said about you after you were gone.
That is what can be said about Sammy. He was a good cat.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Join the Klub

Spellcheck doesn't like the word "klub". I know how to spell club. Klub or potet klub is a Norwegian potato dumpling. When I Googled klub, I got excited reading a site that says it is from the Trondheim region of Norway. Hello. That is where my Norwegian ancestors hail from.

My husband grew up loving knoedels (potato dumplings) made my his paternal grandmother. She was Austrian. Germans also have knoedels but they are made with cooked potatoes. Her recipe used raw grated potatoes. We learned ordering knoedels in Germany or Austria would always get us a slightly different, light dumpling that was not like grandma's.

The closest thing we ever ate to his family recipe was palt, found at a church dinner in McKinley, WI. I can't remember if that was Swedish or another ethnic food, but it was close.

Last year we were watching a local TV show done by Jason Davis. He travels the region doing stories on small town life. He highlighted a restaurant in the small MN. town of Milan which is across the state almost on the So. Dakota border. A Chinese restaurant has a klub dinner every Tuesday during the cold months. Town folk are of Norwegian heritage and turn out to eat the klub and enjoy a little accordian music. Klub is almost like Jon's family dish.

Since the snow has melted and it was a balmy 64degrees yesterday, we are feeling some urgency to drive to Milan for some klub. We can celebrate my Norwegian and Jon's Germanic heritage.

Would it be dishonest to write a note on Facebook stating we are off to Milan? Would that be misleading? Would friends think we were racking up frequent flier miles flying to Italy? Would they be jealous that I am going for the spring fashion week in Milan? Would they envy us eating Northern Italian food?

Friday, March 12, 2010


Our foursome of old friends finally got together yesterday to play Cribbage. We have had a hard time scheduling when everyone is available. Who says retirees aren't busy?
Two of the group are sisters. They grew up down the street from Jon and are his oldest friends siblings. I have known them 45 yrs. The other is a nurse I worked with for decades who also knew them since High School.
We play partners and I was on the winning team because we broke up the sister pairing. They are keen card players and keep their skills honed playing bridge.
With all of our short term memories challenged, the games have become more a time to laugh than gloat over our prowess. I played one hand with five cards instead of four. Karen counted her points twice and the others did something similar. We are more focused on visiting than the game. The mantra yesterday when one of us made an error was: "That's how we play it at the home". Maybe that will be true someday. If it is, I hope I am surrounded by people who like to play cards or Scrabble.

People I Don't Want to be Facebook Friends

We all get spammed. I have a couple programs that block pop-ups. No phishing allowed. No spam allowed. But there are ways around every program. Everyday I am getting several offers for Cialis or the equivalent. They are titled with a person's name such as, "Julia Stevens has news for you about Viagra". All the names are different and I don't know anyone by that name so far. I don't open this mail and I don't ask if they want to be my new Facebook friends. I'm thinking I picked up these new friends by searching for online Canadian pharmacies to get a better price on a new expensive prescription for myself. I can continue to delete the unwanted mail but will cross my fingers someone somewhere isn't getting a similar email with my name on it asking them telling them "MY NAME has news for you about Viagra".

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Rock of Ages

I have seen the You tube snippets of the senior citizen group rocking out. You probably have too. This week my friend Mary, loaned me a copy of their DVD. Now I want to move to New Hampton, MA for my final years and join this lively bunch.

"Young At Heart", is the story of this spirited group. Lead by a charismatic younger guy who looks 50 something, these octogenarians who love life, have a playlist out of their usual comfort range of songs. Imagine your grandma singing punk, or Jimmie Hendrix or James Brown hits. It all works. Thier sense of fun and the comraderie of the group blesses the listener and probably adds years to their lives and life to their years. Good stuff.

Amazon has the DVD for less than $10 or you can Google several sites on You Tube.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Say Your Prayers

Picture: Jon with his finger on the doomsday switch in a Titan Missile silo in southern Arizona. We grew up during the cold war when the Titans were nuclear missiles not football teams or video games. This silo is deactivated or nuclear arms but intact for tours. The other 53c were sold to private parties or demolished.
The tour guide took us through the steps used for security when these were active. In James Bond movies he is seen sneaking into similar armaments by hiding behind stuff and taking out the lone guard. I don't think even James could have cracked this silo.
The control console is 60's technology with lots of buttons and switches; No computer screens in sight. I don't know how anyone could have stayed sane and watchful doing a 24hr shift in the silo. These were the days of real threat from the red menace. No doubt a soviet counterpart far away kept the same vigil.

Cross This Off the List of Sights Seen Once

I don't have a "bucket list", but if I did, the Grand Canyon would be on it. Neither of us had seen the Grand Canyon before our recent trip. We enjoyed the breathtaking beauty of the view even if we didn't enjoy the breathtaking cold windy weather. It felt like Minnesota. Our exposure was limited; we didn't hike to the bottom or raft the Colorado. Thirty years ago that might have been fun, not now. I was content seeing the awesome majesty of the canyon from the South Rim.

We saw what tourist see in Arizona: the canyon, the red-rock splendor of Sedona, the mountain switchbacks and snowy peaks, lots of saguero cacti and cactus beginning their spring bloom. We took in Tombstone and toured a Titan missile silo. For good measure we went to see the London Bridge at Lake Havasu. Locals think it is overrated and the #2 Arizona attraction is geared to amuse tourists. It is a functioning bridge and much smaller than I expected.