Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Family Values and Getting Lei-ed

Last weekend we attended a family reunion of my mother in-laws family. She is deceased, but three of her sisters were honored in a mutual birthday celebration. The oldest will be 93 in September. They are vibrant, lovely ladies who are treasured by the extended family. The hosting family killed the fatted hog and had a roast and a good time was had by all.

Family. Good memories. Nice people. Lots of fun. Thanks to Marion's family for being such wonderful hosts.

The Good Old Days

Hardly a day goes by when someone doesn't email something nolstalgic about the good old days. Remember 15cent McDonalds hamburgers? Hula hoops and poodle skirts? Remember the Russians in the 50's? Home bomb shelters and duck and cover?
Now, just in time to knock that awful gushing oil in the Gulf out of lead story on the evening news, they have uncovered Russians spies among us.

It reads like a Ludlum novel. The quiet suburban couple who worked on Wall Street. Ordinary people. The young vixen who moved in high society. I wonder if she tried to crash any White House parties. Should we take another look at the Salahis? (She was the one in the red dress who got the White House social secretary in hot water.)

With the fall of the old iron curtain we relaxed. Even presidents were seen cozying up to those cossack presidents. Shouldn't be any political edge here. There are pictures of one riding the range in his white SUV with a pale Putin and another sharing a burger and fries with the current guy. We didn't mind. We are now afraid of muslims and the Russians didn't seem so scary.
We missed the obvious. We oogled Maksim and Edyta while they danced their way into our hearts on that popular show. We let our guard down. We should have had more blond Mormons on the show. While we were asleep, they began to infiltrate our entertainment.
I suppose the next step is to take a closer look at our neighbors. It won't be enough to check their immigration papers or peek who is under that veil. The Russians look like us. Now, where can I get that bomb shelter and since we seem to be turning back the clock, how about some 15 cent hamburgers!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Filtering Madison Avenue

That golden arches fast food company is getting some grief about putting toys in their "happy meals" to entice parents with children to buy. We have villified tobacco companies for having hidden agendas. Now it is time for the food police to come after the purveyors of food. We need protecting, don't we?
Oh, the good old days. I often wonder when those good old days were. Which decade. Which century. In pioneer days medicine shows pitched miracle medicines to cure what ails. Most of their tonics were alcohol or sometimes opium products.
Women with frailties felt better when they were medicated.
Joe Camel is barely cold in his grave. We all had to say goodbye to that cute mascot of evil tobacco. I really am against hawking tobacco to youngsters. That is why I was surprised to see a couple of these old adds on an email I got. Probably can't trust Madison avenue now and probably couldn't trust them years ago either. Perhaps the 50's weren't so innocent.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Bobbsey Twins

As I read my daughter & son in-laws blog about the twins today, it struck me as simi lar to all the "Bobbsey Twins" books I read as a child. That series chronicled the adventures of a family with twins. My memory was jogged when I Googled and read it was about a family with two sets of twins. Our grandkids blog is all about Roman and Zoe's everyday adventures, much like the books. I don't remember the Bobbsey twins solving any mysteries. Some of the titles were "The Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore",
"The Bobbsey Twins in the Country" and the "The Bobbsey Twins Forest Adventure". Sounds like our grandtwins. Lots of these books are available on eBay and Amazon. They were in print almost a 100 yrs with various authors writing under a pseudoname.

It's a Mad, Mad Small World

Note from my daughter this morning about actor Rich Sommer of "Mad Men Fame". Turns out he was raised in Stillwater, MN. Small world. I now have two connections to that popular series. My dear friend Barbara's daughter Molly who is an actor has been on the show two seasons. I hadn't heard about character Harry's real roots.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

No Oil On These Beaches

The kiddos at play on Lake Michigan beaches near Chicago. Roman has that California blonde surfer look. Zoe appears to be more serious as she closely exams the sand but didn't find any oil or tar balls.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Real form fitting jeans

The ad in the circular says, "Make a little fashion statement". Clever diapers. Everyone likes denim. Jeans for the littlest by Huggies.

It's Greek to Me


I finally tried some Greek yogurt. I have a problem eating plain yogurt. Found Dannon fruit-on-the-bottom blueberry and loved it. I bribed my husband to eat some too. He is resistant to eat anything he deems "good for him". I should have called it junk food.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Faster Than a Speeding Bullet

Our future daughter in-laws younger brother Patrick ran Grandma's marathon in Duluth on Saturday. He has done shorter races but this was his first full marathon. His time was 3:12,54 and he placed 267th in a field of 5597. I am impressed. Good job Pat.


We do become our mothers. How many times do I remember my mom grumbling about inflated prices. Here I go. I was bugged when I got the bill for my mammogram last month for $526. Weren't they under a $100 a few years ago? My insurance and Medicare picked up most of the cost but $526 seems exorbitant.
Today I went to the appliance repair shop to replace a dryer lint trap that was broken. That was $28.63. Twenty-eight dollars and sixty-three cents for a bit of plastic and some screen. Breakdown: probably 63 cents to manufacture and $28 to ship from China. They've got me but I don't have to be happy.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Picture: not ballroom dancers, turkish Whirling Dervishes. Don't know how they can do that without using Anti-vert.

There were 35 tornadoes or twisters that touched down in Minnnesota yesterday setting a new record. You would think this was Oklahoma or Arkansas. We do have tiwsters in the warm months but that weather was unusual. We missed the bad stuff in our area although it covered a big piece of the state. I erred on the cautious side and stayed home during the warning phase.

Maybe They Should Send a Hallmark Card...

I don't "get" most Capitol hill congressional hearings. I didn't get it when they castigated major league ball players for use of steroids. It might be appropriate for them to investigate the Gulf oil spill, but it really became a public flogging. It really became an avenue for elected politicians to be seen by their constituents as being tough. Photo ops. News clip ops. Enough. We don't do "tar 'n featherin" anymore to shame people (although we have enough tar and feathers floating around by Louisiana to do it).
I almost feel sorry for Tony Hayward. He said he was sorry. He took responsibility. I think he is trying. Maybe he forgot to send the appropriate Hallmark card, but what else can he do? He (meaning BP) has coughed up $20billion bucks. Seems a good time to remember that we can't turn back the clock. We have to deal with what has happened. Screaming and foot stamping won't make this go away.
God help us. All the politicians want to help.

When it was announced this week there would be a twenty billion $$ fund, my husband commented that he could only imagine the missuse of that money. Our congresswoman Michele Bachmann said something similar and was critized by the woman running against her. A Texas congressman at the DC hearings apologized to Tony Hayward for getting fleeced out of the billions. A woman from Texas smeared in tar disrupted the capital hill inquiries. Lots of opinions. Lots of mess and lots of need.
In medical / nurses lingo Bp means blood pressure. BP currently is the name of British Petroleum. When I hear BP now, it reminds me "better pray". God only knows how we are going to restore that area.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New Hobby ?

I spent much of yesterday making beaded bracelets for Gypsy kids. A group of us met and strung beads to make necklaces, bracelets and earrings which my friend Mary will
bring to Romania. I have no previous experience, so much of my time was spent making simple kids bracelets. After about a dozen of those my efforts turned out a few special ones for the ladies. Mary will be teaching English to Romanian Gypsies and use them as incentives. All of the other ladies turned out beautiful necklaces and bracelets that will be given to adults there. I think I caught the fever. My sister in-law Joan has done beaded jewelry for years. I just assumed I was hopeless.

Rainy Day # 14

WHERE IS THE SUN ? We were promised a sunny Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Inspiration and Hope

First the HOPE. The rain will stop. We aren't suffering like the people who drowned in the flash flood in Arkansas,but we are tired of rain. That sounds ungrateful. We have been in drought mode a couple years and rain is good. It has rained 13 or 15 days since June 1st. The sun is but a memory. Weathermen have promised a day of mostly sunshine and only rain in the evening tomorrow. Hurray.
I also have the memory of what my dear deceased mom used to say; the rain will stop by June 24th. June 24th was mom and dad's wedding anniversary and it rarely rained on that day. June brides best be wary of setting an earlier date. It is normal for the second and third week of June to be rainy. Years ago we would plan a vacation at a lake cabin in early June. We would leave as soon as the kids were through with school which used to be around the 6th or 7th or so. We usually ended up staying in the cabin listening to the rain on the roof and playing board games.

The INSPIRATION also comes from mom. She had a lot of sisters. When they were growing up several of them tap danced together. I remember them doing their "act" at a Christmas gathering with the extended family. Cute. Sixty something sister tap dancing. My aunt had even given mom a pair of tap shoes. The You tube video isn't my mom and aunts and they weren't quite this talented but they were about the same vintage and maybe they were this good when they were very young. We don't have a video to compare notes.
Link- copy and paste to your address line:

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Christian Barred From Bike Tour

What is the world coming to! No, no, it's not what you think. Morgan Christian has been told he isn't welcome on the CANDISC weeklong bike tour after objecting to a prayer said before meals at the host communities gym lunch. Morgan Christian? He has contacted the American Civil Liberties Union and the Freedom from Religion Foundation for assistance. You can't make this stuff up.

Breaking Out of the Mental Hospital

A photo of the cast of the movie remake "The A-Team" is on the front page of the morning Weekend Life section of the newspaper. I would have sworn there were only three guys on the old A-Team--Dirk Benedict, George Peppard and Mr. T. This picture has four. Wikipedia informed me the fourth character in the original series is committed to a mental hospital and they liberate him every time they need him for a caper. That jogged my memory a bit. Might be time to watch the old series on Netflix. I'm not sure I thought it was great TV the first time around but our kids loved it in the 80's and we watched it.
It would be fun to see if a lot of 30 somethings stand in line to see the new movie. Nostalgia. Maybe that is the demographic movie producers seek. I love it when a good plan comes together.
If the remake flops, could we call it "The B-Team"?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Should We Rethink the Expression, "More Fun Than A Barrel of Monkeys"?

photo: stolen from a random email

How Does My Garden Grow?

Next January when the wind howls and the ice and snow pile up, I will go back to this blog and remember summer.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Corny Humor

I'm still laughing at the blog my son in-law put on the twins blog today. Too much to copy. You will have to read for yourself and check out the pictures.

link: copy and paste to address bar at top

It's the End of the World As We Know It...part 2

I checked the local news at the online Stillwater Gazette today. Two items caught my attention:
We are getting rickshaws and
the River Oasis Cafe, a diner where we like to eat breakfast, is
approved for a licence to sell beer and wine.

Rickshaws. Who would want to peddle one of those with a passenger up our hills?
It might be fun to stand on a corner and try to flag one down. If I were the peddler I would look at the size of the customer before I stopped. If they looked lean enough, my second question would be where to? It wouldn't be bad to drag them around downtown which really is down town. But,---up those hills?

The River Oasis, which we simply call "The O", has a sign that encourages patrons who sit in booths to not linger longer than 45 min. Wonder how that will mix with the adult beverages. I wonder how that will go down with the regular guys who eat their meals at the counter and ponder all the world's problems. Might make for more interesting conversations to overhear. I just wish they wouldn't change the place.


We just watched (on Netflix, streaming video) the movie, "Lord, Save Us From Your Followers". Thought provoking, poignant movie that I highly recommend.

The Best Boys of Summer Inspire

In recent years we have seen old baseball records smashed by new heroes only to find out they had taken performance enhancing drugs. Should those records be on the books with an asterisk?
Last week we had an incident that also needs a footnote. Detroit Tiger pitcher Armando Galarraga pitched a perfect game. He did. He won't get in the record books because of a bad call by the official calling a player safe at first instead of out as the replay showed. The official was in tears knowing his bad call cost the pitcher his perfect game in the books. What happened next was amazing. The ump tearfully apologized and was comforted by the wronged pitcher. What an example. Now that is sportsmanship. Way better behaviour than some parents I remember from years ago when our kids played little league. Hats off to the pitcher and umpire.
Too bad we can't put that game in the books with an asterisk and footnote explanation.

Monday, June 7, 2010

And I Don't Even Live in Flushing Meadows

A few days ago I spotted something in my neighborhood that begged for a picture and a blog. I kept forgetting to bring my camera. Last night I remembered and drove to the house. All my digital camera would do is notify me the batteries needed recharging. Today I remembered the camera when I walked but the purple toilet is gone. There was a painted purple toilet similar to this picture in someone's front yard. The sign said it was a Relay For Life American Cancer Society fundraising device. If you found it in your yard, ante up $10 and they would remove it. For $20 you could send it to a "friend". $30 bought "toilet insurance"; it wouldn't come back to you. Funny. I usually pledge someone in the Relay For Life walk for breast cancer and I have walked myself years ago, so I was up for the toilet and plotting who would get it after me. Now I will have to wait and see if I see it again.

Blue Angels at Chippewa Falls, WI Airshow

We went again on Sunday

Sunday, June 6, 2010

No Angel Show, But Awesome

My youngest grandson likes to make the zzooommm and booom sounds when you read him a story book about planes or race cars. He eagerly points out overhead planes or trucks, cars and busses on the street. He might have enjoyed the show we saw yesterday, except very loud noises scare him. The stuff we heard yesterday was making babies cry.
On an impulse we drove to Chippewa Falls, WI for their annual air show. Reading the advanced publicity last week, Jon commented he would like to see the Blue Angel who were scheduled to perform. If you have ever seen them or their Air Force counterpart the Thunderbirds you would drive to Chippewa Falls too.
Years ago, after an especially snowy winter, we met friends from New Hampshire in Las Vegas. I felt guilty visiting "Sin City" with an elementary kid in tow, but with a cheap flight and reduced hotel costs it worked to meet there. We didn't do the typical Vegas thing. With a car we did trips in the area. One morning on our way to Death Valley, we stopped at a diner outside of town for breakfast. Next thing we know the dishes were rattling and we almost covered our ears due to the noise. "What was that?" we asked the waitress. She said, "Go outside and look over the fence". We did and saw the cafe was backed up to the fence next to an airstrip where the Thunderbirds were practicing. We were at Nellis AFB. I don't remember finishing the breakfast but I will never forget this close up view of their manuevers. What a show.
We had the cheap seats again yesterday. We parked by the fence at the regional airport. The show began with sky dive teams parachuting and stunt planes doing loop-de-loops and manuevers with stalled engines. We were also fooled a few times when we heard a screaming jet engine on the strip and expected to see a jet taking off only to spot a school bus with a jet engine driving on the strip. Amusing. I don't think it had wings or it would have flown.
After the warm-up acts, we were awestruck as an F-16 did manuevers for about fifteen minutes. The power and speed of that bird is amazing. The pilot did what the smaller biwing stunt plane had done but with a lot more speed. I don't think he did an engine kill though. Awesome. Can you imagine what that sounds like on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier? One especially close to the ground pass made the babies cry. Our Roman would have been traumatized. We were simply amazed. It also struck me how scary it must be to be at the receiving end of fly overs like that if you are at war with the USA.
It began to rain heavily and we didn't stay to see the Blue Angels. I don't know if they even performed. It was still worth the drive to see that F-16.
They are doing the show again today and I wouldn't mind going back. We just have time to make it if we leave as soon as church is over.
My son in-law Mike, whose brother is an Air Force pilot, would have loved this.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

They Are Keeping a Low Profile

Nobody likes the Gulf oil spill. BP is losing big bucks and it is a PR nightmare.
Engineers are working overtime looking for a solution.
The Coast Guard has been engaged for the past month.
Residents and fishermen from Louisiana and its neighbors are in shock. The rest of us are heartsick as well.
There may be some politicians who are trying to profit from this by portraying the others as blameable, but basically who is profiting from this except Toyota? Do you remember what the headlines were before the oil spill dominated the daily news? Haven't heard much about those runaway Toyotas lately, have we.

Memorial Kiss If It Wasn't His Twin Sister

June Is Busting Out All Over

It is the first day of June. I was assured it was near because I have been stepping on dead June bugs on my morning walks. June bugs. Those big, crunchy beetles that crash into your screen in June if you leave a light on by a window after dark. June bugs. The bugs that gather by your porch light in June. They gross me out.

June. Warm days and enough rain for the grass to stay green in Minnesota.
There are 30 days in the month and summer still seems plum-full.
Recently planted tomato plants offer hope of a sweet harvest.
Kids are still in school on June 1st but getting restless.
Churches are planning vacation bible school and parents are planning road trips. Community leaders are shoring up festival plans.
High school band leaders are practicing with their marching bands in their lightweight uniforms. A few of them will still wear hot, long sleeved uniforms in summer parades. Some of those kids will faint from heat exhaustion and see the inside of ERs. Hello band leaders. It is cheaper to put the kids in tee-shirts than to pay the hospitals. That is just free advice.
I haven't heard of any newborn girls named June. When I was gainfully employed I would monitor the names of kids in the nursery. The old names come back. I cringed when I saw a baby with a great-grandpa name but those names quickly grow on a person. The trend is for unique names. How about using June?
My generation grew up with actress June Lockhart playing Lassie's mom. Well, she wasn't really Lassie's mom. Lassie was a TV dog. June Lockhart played the mom on the TV show. I believe she was typecast as the dog's mom.
The sixties had Barbara Billingsley cast as character June Cleaver, the mom in popular series "Leave it to Beaver". We all loved The Beaver and his mom who dispensed love and brownies in high heels and a shirtwaaist dress while she cleaned the house. Then Betty Freidan wrote that book and my whole generation equated baking brownies, cleaning your house in high heels and being a stay-at-home mom as suspect. We didn't name our daughters June.