Friday, December 31, 2010

Who Dat

Jon found an old negative with a picture of our daughter Mary when she was about a year+. When he emailed it to Mary, she showed it to two year old Zoe and asked "Who is that"? Zoe answered, "Roman" , her brother. She is on to something. Roman looks like his mom. Zoe is a clone of her dad, Mike.

Andy & Laura's Real House

I found the picture. We are going to stop in today.

Eat the Yellow Snow

I took a snowshoeing lesson yesterday at a Lake Elmo Park. A friend and I signed up a month ago thinking we could try snowshoeing before buying the equipment. I envisioned a cold, sunny December 30th. Normal weather. It rained. It poured right before we started and then only light drizzle while we were outside. It was fun anyway.
The class was conducted by a naturalist who gave us some practical advice on which snowshoes to buy. He told us he would give us cues on tracking animals and what to note in the snowy woods. We had just started our trek when the leader bent down, picked up some yellow snow and ate it. Didn't his mom warn him? After watching us squirm, he admitted it is okay to eat some yellow snow. If it is by a tree and on the surface, go for it. The yellow is from the tannin in the tree. Yellow snow contaminated by animals melts the snow a little and is sunken. Aren't you glad you know that?
We enjoyed snowshoeing and I would definitely do it again. Next time I would try not to fall. The snow is deep and it is a little tricky getting up again. Thanks to some kind fellow shoers who gave me a hand. No harm. No fowl. Fun even if I was very wet when it was over. I have had the desire to just run off into the wood into deep snow for a long time. My only adventures have been hiking on paths or X-country skiing in the slots.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

No Pardon Necessary

Grandtwin Zoe. Recommended by her mama. Love that kid. Can't hide mischief if you leave fingerprints, Zoe!

Well, Pardon Me!

Rumors circulate that New Mexico Governor Richardson will posthumously pardon Billy the Kid before the governor leaves office. Billy, who was a pulp fiction hero in his time despite the problem of his killing 21 people, is again becoming a folk hero.
In an era of glorifying "Gansta rapsters" we also get folks who don't think mass murderers are so bad. Maybe he was misunderstood. Maybe his parents weren't attentive. I digress. Weren't there some guys who lead more admirable lives back then that we could idolize?

I wonder if Jesse James wants to line up for a pardon too. Public opinion turned against him when he cheated on wife Sandra Bullock with that human billboard of graffiti. No pardon for you Jesse....yet. Maybe in a hundred years. The public may be more inclined to pardon the original Jesse James.

Every time I get judgmental I am self-reminded of my lack of continuity. In yesterday's blog I claimed to "love" Brett Favre. I want to qualify that. I love his dedication to football. I am still mad at him for his sexting and betrayal of wife Deanna. Even Bill Richardson can't fix that. Pay the fine, Brett, and make nice at home. You may be a sports hero but so was Tiger.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuesdays With More - Joe Webb to the Rescue

Yesterday, son David commented that the networks probably wouldn't broadcast many Vikings games on Sunday night or Monday night football next year. They have had a lousy year. This year the Vikes were spotlighted several times. That honor came from having a great 2009 season. Favre carried us to the very steps of the Superbowl in 2009. We tripped and didn't make it, but it was a superb season.

2010 was not destined to be a repeat. "Our" (he may have finished a career in purple, but the Packer's should claim him) #4 played with a lot of heart and also a lot of injuries. He played with a broken ankle. He played with an injury that left his right hand purple and numb. He probably would have played after a concussion if league rules hadn't trumped his decision. He is a warrior and I love him.

Our luck...injuries, collapsed stadium roof etc. seemed to follow the Vikings to Philadelphia. A blizzard caused the game which was scheduled for NBC's Sunday Night Football broadcast, to be played on Tuesday. There hadn't been a Tuesday NFL game since 1946. Critics, including Pennsylvania's governor were irate that the game wasn't played in the snowstorm. He called the NFL "wusses".

I didn't hold much hope for an interesting game. Favre was on the injured list. The second string quarterback had a less than stellar performance at the last game. Then he went on the injured list as well with "turf toe". Turf toe? Did he stub his toe? Our only remaining quarterback was an untested rookie who was drafted as a wide receiver. Joe Webb to the rescue. Michael Vick, quarterback on the Eagles, would eat his lunch. Vick has had a great year.

Hope springs eternal. Joe Webb and Vikings defense played an amazing game and won big. They won an honor game and made snow-buried and soon-to-be rain drenched Minnesotans smile again. They impressed a surprised bunch of football TV comentators.
Joe Webb with that big smile and those fast scrambling feet won our hearts.

We are the champs of Tuesday Night Football.

Go Joe. Thanks Brett for a great effort. You may get that new stadium yet. Just don't send me the bill.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Homeowners

Our youngest son Andy and his new wife Laura just signed the papers this morning to buy a house. (No, it is not the one pictured on this blog. That is grandtwin Zoe exploring a play house at the Minnesota Arboretum.) I had a picture of their new home on my computer but must have deleted it.

We are always thrilled with our kids and grandkids milestones in life. Graduations, weddings, births etc make us proud. We are also happy for this young couple to be so blessed to start out in a home of their own. They have been city apartment dwellers in a nice old building on Grand Avenue, St. Paul. The downside has been the parking issues. Although they have two spaces to park offstreet, that space has shrunk to by 25% with all the snow. Now they can drive into their own garage. Garages are prized in this cold clime.

We are going to gain a closet when Andy takes his stuff from his old room. I have plans for that closet. Their house is bigger than ours so I am showing no mercy. Move the stuff when you can. Christmas decorations are going to find a home where he now has his things.

Congratulations kids. You really are grownups.

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Plan for Economic Recovery

What do TARP funds, Wall Street bailouts, tax relief, Cash for Clunkers, and GM buyouts have in common? All are federal programs for economic recovery that may or may not have worked depending on your political point of view.
What will they do in the new congress? Will we see more ideas for spending or more ideas for saving. I don't know. If they do decide to continue the federal charge-as-you-go program, I have a suggestion that many citizens might back. Buy a snow plow blade for every driver who wants one. This would benefit about half of the country who have been struggling with big snow this winter. Even the south and the high country out west have had too much snow. We are buried in white stuff in Minnesota.
This program could even get the backing of big-business NFL and TV networks who have seen a few games postponed in December. Manufacturers of the snow plow blades would hire more workers. We would sell more gasoline to people who would drive and not get stranded during storms ; BP & Shell would be happy. Employees would show up for work and productivity would be higher. There would be savings to local communities who would pay less overtime to city snow plowers. The mail could go through and US Postal service could stay competitive with UPS and Fed Ex.
I am starting to like this idea. Mobilize Americans. Don't worry about cancelled flights during stormy weather. Drive. Drive unimpeded by drifts of snow. Blaze the way.
Now all I have to do is convince our Hawaiian president of the need. He is missing the great east coast blizzard. Maybe I can appeal to John Boehner. Hope he doesn't get sentimental and tear up.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

"And It Came to Pass in Those Days" that the media got something very right

In this age of political correctness when wishing someone a "Merry Christmas" is frowned upon by some, I was pleasantly surprised at what I noted yesterday. The St. Paul Pioneer Press published an "Excerpt: An Account of Christmas, from the Book of Luke (King James version)" on the Opinion page in the place where the editorial usually is. Surprising and much needed good news in this troubled world. They printed Luke 2: vs 1 -20.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A New Christmas Story

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve celebration that started at noon and ended about the time midnight mass from the Vatican was on TV. We weren't watching TV, that is what was on when I collapsed into a recliner before bedtime.

Our new daughter in-law Laura had to work the 3-11 shift at the hospital so Andy and Laura came for lunch. That is the lot of nurses. Some must work the holidays. Andy stayed. After her shift they were to meet her parents and brother at Midnight Mass at the St. Paul Cathedral.

Our oldest Dan and family and son Dave were here to celebrate too. Dan & Jen's kids are growing up. Zach is eighteen and a great kid who gave me two big hugs and an "I love you grandma" as he left. Mina will be fourteen soon and the sweetest girl. She played with the two years olds and helped them pass out the presents. I reminded her it wasn't many years ago that she and I played "having tea" at holidays. We would get out the doll dishes and I would be the pretend customer at her cafe. Now Mina wants to go to culinary school and open her own restaurant when she grows up.

Daughter Mary and Mike arrived after the kids afternoon nap. The two year old twins were such a delight. They talk in short sentences and we were all entertained by what they say. The loved all the toys they got, but Roman was fixated on the package of 48 AA batteries that Andy gave son in-law Mike. Roman carried it around asking everyone if they would "open it" for him. We all declined to slit the shrink wrap for him and chase the 48 batteries that would scatter. Next, Grandpa Jon got a (sealed plastic) package of Jordan Almond candy. Roman called these "beans" and kept after grandpa to "open beans, grandpa". Sorry little one. Choking hazard. No beans for you.

Jon fires up the wood stove in our attached garage during holidays for a smokers' lounge. (one less this year. Dan quit.) Mike came in and announced we had a "Christmas Bat" flying around. Grandpa & Mike brought the twins out to see it. The bat flew circles around them as they held the kids. They weren't scared. Then Jon opened the door and the critter flew out. Zoe became upset when the bat exited and Roman started crying. What, no bat for Christmas Eve? I guess fear of bats is learned behavior. If I had been out there they probably wouldn't have had such warm thoughts about pet bats.

When they came in, Zoe continued to talk about the bat while Roman wept. He wouldn't let me console him, so I picked up Zoe and asked if we should look out the window for the bat. There is a full moon and it is bright outside with the snow cover. I pointed to the sky and asked if she saw the bat flying around. Couldn't see him. Then I told her that Santa would fly in the sky tonight. Santa would fly with his reindeer. "No", she said. "Santa and (his) doggies". I wonder if the lead dog has a red nose.

Someday Zoe and Roman will be eighteen and you can be sure we will tell them the story of the Christmas bat and santa and his doggies. We might even give Roman his own jar of "beans" and a package of batteries. I hope they will give me a hug and an "I love you, grandma" as they leave.

Merry Christmas from a very blessed woman. Keep your eye out for the bats and the doggies.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Fresh snow again this am. I ran to the grocer for a couple of last minute items. When I came out, I was surprised how much snow had accumulated on my car. I stood next to it and pressed the remote. I heard the click but the door wouldn't open. I repeated the process but still couldn't open the door. Then I realized why there was so much snow on my car. It wasn't my car. Don't tell anybody. Time to go now. Time to shovel more snow.
Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dear Santa

Jon yelled for me yesterday saying, "Come see what I really want for Christmas".
The one seen belongs to the city of Stillwater.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Beautiful...take a peaceful moment to feed your soul

Driving Miss Zoe

Last Christmas I drove my family crazy with my worrying. Our German friend Kai, who was studying at a Virginia university for a semester, was driving here from the east with a German friend. They had a record two foot snowfall in the area days before he left and more snow and ice storms enroute. He didn't call and I was concerned. They arrived intact.

There is a lot of traveling home to family for the holidays and this year a lot of stormy weather. One friend has a daughter & family coming from Colorado with three kids under 18 months in the car. Her other daughter will come with three kids from Texas. Mom's breath easier when everyone arrives safetly. We drove through winter weather when we were young and it didn't concern us at the time.

Our daughter Mary & husband Mike are driving their new minivan and the twins to the Chicago area to visit his family. His brother will be home from the Air Force and he has never met the kids. Everyone is anxious to see each other and we were glad they could do the trip. They left just yesterday as it was snowing, driving the direction the snow would go.

My job is to pray for safe travel and not to worry. I did and was relieved to get emails sent via cell phone from Mary while enroute. The first one left me laughing so hard and lightened my mood. Mary said, "We are an hour out and Zoe is squirrley. She keeps saying 'I want to drive'. Mike had his last cigarette this morning and we are having a gay old time." Another email arrived later saying they were in Illinois. Good. Good luck and happy trails. I am just keeping that message of "I want to drive" in my head. Did I mention that Zoe is two years old?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Begins At 5:38 pm CST

Did you think it was winter already? Wait a little longer. It starts this evening.

Save the Dome

Ten days ago Minneapolis was in the news for a near-record early December blizzard that dumped snow measured by the foot. This load of snow caused the inflatable roof of the domed football stadium ( officially the Hubert H. Humphrey Dome at Mall of America Field) where the Minnesota Vikings play, to collapse. Down it came, just like the hopes of Vikings fans who have watched their purple team collapse this season. Off went the Vikings to play a rescheduled Sunday to Monday game in Detroit.
Stadium officials, Vikings management, NFL bigsters, media and local government stared at the hole and scratched their collective heads. What to do. What to do? It became apparent there was no quick fix. No fix before the next game on Dec. 20. Moving to another city would result in too much of a revenue loss. The decision was made to play at the beautiful year-old TCF Bank stadium on the U of MN campus.
Tell me again why we didn’t think of that before. Share that stadium. The Gophers play on Saturdays. The Vikings play Sundays.
We watched as an Herculean effort converted the TCF stadium from a buried in two feet of snow winterized Dr. Zhivago ice stadium into a ready to play again shoveled out, semi-defrosted option. They did it. They were ready for the final game between the Vikings and Bears.
Die-hard fans came despite another snowstorm starting a few hours before game time. Die-hard fans came despite scarce parking that cost $20 - $40 bucks. Die- hard fans came despite the no alcohol policy of the university. Die-hard fans came even if they couldn’t tailgate. These folks love the Vikings and the nostalgia of outdoor football kept their spirits high.
In an era of cash strapped state and local governments, we should take note of this desire for nostalgia. Why not return to the days when tough northern teams who played outdoors had an advantage over teams like the Miama Dolphins and other hothouse teams? Bud Grant knew the possibilities and those were the golden days of the Vikings. Toughen up. Outlast them. Fans stayed warm enough huddled over parking lot tailgate barbeques in their snowsuits with ETOH coursing through their veins. We could do this.
Here is my win/win solution. It came to me this morning after reading an article in the paper about officials shooting out another panel in the stressed Metrodome roof. The roof has been temporily patched but a buildup of ice was threatening to damagethe supporting cables if it collapsed again. They used a shotgun to destroy the panel leaving another gaping hole for the ice to come down .
Why can’t we just shoot the whole thing down? Sell the right to shoot holes in the dome roof to the highest bidder. Won't we all have more $$$ after the Tax cuts? Rich men have spent big money hunting big game in Africa. Why not spend big money for a chance to see who can fire the round that brings the whole thing down? Then we could keep what is left of the building and play outdoor football there. The parking, public transportation and surrounding bars are already in place. Pretty it up a bit. Fans could drink, tailgate and wear snowmobile suits to watch football. We could beat the Miami Dolphins and have our vengeance against the New Orleans Saints who beat up Brett in 2009’s playoff.

Monday, December 20, 2010

These Trucks Come With Diamonds

We had dinner last night with a small group of friends that we rarely see. A few months ago we were invited to a birthday party for Bruce that we were unable to attend. During dinner I asked how the birthday party came out. This brought a smile to his face and a laugh from his wife.
She had kept the party as a surprise. When he was a little late arriving home, she called and asked him where he was, assuming he was just held up at work. His answer didn't please her. "I'm on my way to Michigan" was the answer. They live in Minnesota. Michigan is the wrong way. People are coming. There is a party planned.

She had assumed he would be home as usual. He had other plans. Bruce collects vintage trucks and had purchased a '74 Dodge pickup on-line. He has a lot of trucks and wouldn't give a straight answer when I asked how many. A lot. A lot of trucks. He owns a large farm with buildings to store his collection. His wife does not think he needs more trucks and his philosophy is that "It is easier to obtain forgiveness than permission" to make another purchase.

Wife Margaret flashed a beautiful new diamond studded wrist watch which he purchased after his latest acquisition. Keep the bling coming, Bruce. You don't need her permission to buy that.