Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thank You Mr. Patrick Thiele

I love living in my adopted "hometown" of Stillwater, Mn. This scenic, historic rivertown is a nice place to live filled with nice people.

Every state and local government has been making budget cuts in recent years. We must. Local government polled the residents of this area to determine which services to trim. They found the library ranked very high as a place citizens wanted to fund.
Our beautiful restored Carnegie Library has continued to serve the valley with only modest cutbacks, but yhey closed it on Sundays. This week I read in the newspaper that it will again reopen thanks to a generous gift from a new resident.

Patrick Thiele's donation will fund reopening the library on Sundays for the next year.
The article said the former CEO of St. Paul Companies ( now Traveler's Insurance) and another reinsurer in Bermuda, recently purchased the Stillwater home formerly owned by actress Jessica Lange & actor /writer Sam Shepherd. Mr. Thiele continues to live part of the year in Bermuda. I wonder which part.
Thank you very much Mr. Thiele. We appreciate your generosity.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

No Need to Lick That Ice Cream Fast, It Won't Melt

Saturday, Jan. 23, Stillwater had an outdoor Ice Cream Social to celebrate mid-winter. The tradition has roots going back about a half-century. It was revived a few years back and visitors and locals gather in a downtown riverside park to laugh at winter.

I didn't go but my good friend Mary did and sent me the pictures. I love the child in the stroller who is bundled up like Ralphie in "The Christmas Story" with a snowsuit that looks like a form of restraint.

Minnesotans. Gotta love 'em. Who else stands around a bonfire eating ice cream in frigid conditions?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Suspence is Over

The package arrived by USP yesterday. The suspense is over. Jon recently started wearing suspenders. He liked them except the center clip in the back was irritating against his spine when he sat. He has an old back surgery incision there. Jon is blessed to have a wife who Googles everything and found a source for side clip suspenders. They are designed to be more comfortable. He ordered a pair online.

This morning he is sporting his new suspenders. My first impression is that TV police detectives wear something similar to holster a gun. I wonder if he will be more closely scrutinized by TSA at the airport. Not to worry. Our former governor, Jesse Ventura, has just filed a lawsuit against Janet Napolitano of Homeland Security to stop that invasive airport frisk. He is claiming TSA sexually assaulted him. Who knows. He may become a hero and we will have to recycle him as governor like California did with Jerry Brown.

Wonder if Gov. Ventura was wearing the boa when they patted him down. I guess that isn't important. Go get 'em, Jesse.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Oprah's Longlost Sister

There was a recent story of a 23 yr. old woman finding out she was kidnapped as a baby. The "mother" who raised her could not produce a birth certificate. They were estranged. The woman was a drug addict. The 23 yr. old searched the internet for stories about abducted children and found an artists drawing of what one infant would look like as a young woman. It looked like her. She followed up and eventually was reuinited with her birth parents. DNA tests confirmed she was their kidnapped daughter.

Over the weekend the woman who raised her was apprehended. She surrendered on Facebook.
I'm scratching my head now. How does one surrender on Facebook? I searched for some names of "famous" cops like Joe Webb, (Dirty) Harry Callahan and even "America's Most Wanted", John Walsh. Each of those names brought dozens of pages of hits. Some don't have photos so you can ID them. I am baffled.

Someone may explain to mehow to surrender on Facebook. Much of the world is registered on this social network. This could be a cost cutting measure in an era of penny pinching.

Do you think with good facial recognition software Facebook could be used to identify suspects before they turn themselves in? Think of the possibilities. You don't even have to be "ON" Facebook. Friends post pictures of people in their lives and name them.
Watch out crooks. Facebook might be coming to get you.

If this stream of thinking isn't too far fetched, maybe combining artists renditions of missing infants and advanced facial recognition software could find missing people. People who were kidnapped at a young age or people with amnesia. Maybe I am one of them. Maybe when Oprah announces her "family secret" on her TV show today they will reveal I am her long lost sister. That would be a windfall, wouldn't it? Since I am pretty fair skinned, it is also unlikely.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Truth in Advertising

I just checked Facebook, blogs I watch and both email addresses for news from friends or family. Still had a few minutes to fill before we leave for a birthday party so I went on eBay.

I'm in the market for a new picture or wallhanging for the stairway. An original caught my eye. The vibrant colors and sweeping sky arrested my attention.

The bidding has started at $75 with a modest $9.95 shipping fee. I like it but it doesn't fit in my house. I was astonished that it was described as "A Truly Worthless Original Signed Painting western mesa."
I scanned down for the dimensions. It is 16 x 20 and done in acrylics. So far, so good. The artist? J.C. Worthless. True story. It is in the eBay auction under art. I suppose he is not only a starving artist but a worthless one too who lives in a worthless house and drives a worthless car. Funny name. Good artist.

Ice Road Commuters

We live in the smallish historic town of Stillwater, MN. The welcome signs proclaim it as the "Birthplace of Minnesota" because it was in this Minnesota / Wisconsin border town that early
pioneers met to plan for statehood. Our deed shows the land originally being in the Wisconsin territories. Abraham Lincoln signed off on the land.

The beautiful St. Croix river forms the border between states. Residents living on the opposite bank mostly work and shop on our side of the river. They cross the historic lift bridge, dealing with slow rush hour traffic that stops at a red light and when the bridge is lifted for boats. Plans to built a bigger bridge has been going on since the early 60's. I am not hopeful I will ever see it built in my lifetime. The river is designated as a national scenic river and anything constructed must comply with restrictions.

The fight goes on. The Sierra Club had held up construction with a lawsuit. Numerous other challenges were raised. It will now take an act of congress to build it. Literally and I mean LITERALLY, it will take an act of congress. Frankly I don't see them spending 2/3 of a billion on a new bridge anytime soon, do you? It doesn't personally affect me. Maybe we should just let everyone drive six miles downriver to cross.

For years some ingenious brave folks have found a way to cope with the congested bridge. In winter months there is an ice road that some employees of Andersen Windows in nearby Bayport, Mn use as a shortcut to work from Wisconsin. It's been cold enough to make thick ice this year. You don't see any "ice road truckers" on this road, only personal vehicles saving a few minutes on their commute. Another advantage of this road is that it is easier to fix potholes than on a blacktopped highway.

You haven't seen me doing this and you won't. I cringe just watching the TV show about the truckers.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Stirring Vivaldi

Just heard David Garrett perform on the Today Show. Wow. Rock and classic violin. Love it.

Stillwater, Mn is 26 Below Zero This A.M.

It's cold enough to make your hair stand on end. It is colder "up north". When did you say global warming would start? Never mind. We are hearty people. Tomorrow when it is a little warmer, Stillwater is having an ice cream social in Lowell park. Free ice cream and coffee for adventurous souls. Chili for sale at a nominal fee. I am considering it. I think my brain has frozen.

Photo: credit to son Andy. Stole it from his Facebook site without his permission.

Hanging Out With Oprah in Australia

I admit it. I like Oprah. I tune in from time to time. I don't subscribe to all of her philosophy or bent toward new agey spirituality, but she is likeable. People identify with her honesty and she genuinely seems to care about people. I disagree with her on some of her social positions.

This week Oprah is airing the shows taped in Australia before Christmas. Australia is fascinating. The land down under. Population living mostly on the coast. Strange animals.
Beautiful buildings. Penal colony for the Brits when it was colonized. Aboriginal people who still live in the outback. Crocodile Dundee and dingos. Breathtaking natural beauty and that Great Barrier Reef.

Yesterday Oprah and her entourage were shown climbing to the top of that famous Sydney Harbour Bridge. She made headlines by bringing everyone in one of her TV audiences with her on the trip. If I had been in that audience, I might have been the only one who didn't want to climb the bridge. It is higher than the Golden Gate or the Mackinaw bridge. I have seen those structures and don't think I would climb them. Not only are they high, chances are it is windy up there.

If one manages to reach the summit, you must then turn around and go down. I don't like down either. I also don't like diving in reefs or hunting for crocodiles in the wild. I do like vicarious adventures and will tune in today to see what else I can "experience".

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Thinker

Husband Jon has been busy scanning old negatives into the computer. Images long hidden are coming to life on his monitor. For years we felt guilty that we had taken so few snapshots of our only daughter. The older boys and our youngest are well represented in our photo albums. Mary's picture is found less often.
We were vindicated when Jon began scanning his old negatives. He had taken pictures of her on black and white film, probably developed the film himself and not many got printed. Our precious daughter's baby and toddler pictures are a joy to fine.

Today I snuck a peek to see what else he had found. Wasn't I happy to find one of myself (much younger me) sitting in an outhouse. Jon thinks it was posed and I seem to be fully clothed so I would agree.

I am sitting in an old wooden outhouse, probably at Joy Park on Silver Lake in North St, Paul. Rodan's sculpture of "The Thinker" comes to mind. I wasn't a great scholar or a contemplative person in my early 20's. Perhaps I was following Jon's directive to get the shot he wanted. I hope so.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Guess Hu's Coming to Dinner?

Hu Jintao, China's president is coming for an official visit this week. Not here. He will visit the White House. There will be an official black tie state dinner in his honor on Tuesday. The night before he will dine privately with President Obama in the old family dining room. That is what I read in the paper. I have never heard of the "old family dining room". I didn't even know there was an old family living there.

I wonder what will be on the menu. The Chinese don't like cheese or uncooked lettuce or uncooked vegetables. Their president is certainly coached in proper etiquette and would probably eat what is served anyway. Our son's Chinese exchange partner cringed when she saw we ate raw lettuce and vegetables. She said they were better for you cooked. I'm thinking they cook everything to prevent food born illness. President Hu Jintao should just relax. We don't have that problem, do we?

Why do I not feel optimistic that the US will come out ahead with this meeting. While there was excitement by some in the 70's when diplomatic channels opened with China, we seem to be in decline while they thrive. We envisioned great business opportunities and markets opening to us. We got imported goods that put our factories out of business. We have become debtors as they finance our overspending. I should be more positive. Could we sell them some GM cars assembled in Detroit or a Florida condo?

If we don't make headway with getting them to revalue their juan (currency) we better learn to eat our lettuce cooked..... that and our goose. We can fix these in our hot pots that are manufactured in China.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Hope Springs Eternal

It's only 63 days until spring. Actually, it's only 63 days until the vernal equinox. The arrival of spring weather varies. Last year it was early, other years we have had significant snowfalls in late April.

I threw out the poinsettas and jumpstarted spring at our house. Iris on the entry table greet you. Silk pansies and bluebirds adorn the dining room table. We may be digging out from the almost daily snowfalls, but indoors the season has changed. It is snowing this morning. More is predicted tomorrow.

Rule 17 and the Wearing of the Green (and gold)

Today's email brought this: A list of 45 Lessons for Life, attributed to 90 yr. old Regina Brett of Cleveland. I have seen it before but read it again. Sage advice. Smell the roses type of advice.
Rule 17 caught my eye. "Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful, or joyful" it says.
I am not yet 90, but respect the wisdom of age. It got me thinking. Take stock.

I will keep my husband who is useful, beautiful and joyful. I will not make a big life change, travel, write and book and be on Oprah.

When I pondered the Vikings and the deflated Metrodome (AKA Hubert H. Humphreydome at Mall of America Field) I wasn't so sure that package was useful, beautiful, or joyful. They break our hearts year after year. Allegiance to a bunch of well paid athletes gathered from around the country to wear purple? Allegiance to a billionaire owner? Love lost on that Pillsbury Doughboy building?

Don't tell my sons, but I am considering becoming a Packer fan. I would have to watch the games at a border bar in Wisconsin. We will see. I was glad to see them win big last night.
Go Pack.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Do Blogs Have Infommercials?

I have been known to purchase a thing or two on eBay. I have succumbed to sales pitches and called in to order products pitched while sleepily watching infommercials in the wee hours. I have even gone to the As Seen on TV Store at the Mall of America to buy one of those vacuum bags to store pillows and blankets. You may want to remember that because I am about to do a product endorsement. You judge if I am credible.

Mary good friend Mary gave me a Christmas present that I love. She has listened to my whining about trying to keep my windows clean. When the late afternoon sun shines through the dining room windows all the streaks show. In warmer months they need cleaning at least monthly. I use a long poled sponge / squeegee and a solution made with rubbing alcohol, ammonia, Dawn and water. It works pretty well but not perfectly. I hate doing it in cold months because the solution runs down the pole and I get cold and wet.
Mary gave me something called " My amazing cloth". I was skeptical. Then I tried it. Viola. Windows, mirrors, and the glass shower doors cleaned up easily with just that damp cloth. No soap. No squeege. No streaks. No problem. I love it. Thanks Mary.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Time Flies

Today is the 25th birthday of our youngest.
Like moms everywhere, I paused to remember the birth of this son on a very cold January day.
He arrived at 8:30 am at Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater, MN.
He is an only child with two brothers and a sister. Most of his childhood he was an "only" child but when we brought him home as a newborn he was the adorable baby brother of very loving siblings.
Sister, Mary, was thirteen and got some concerned looks from strangers when she pushed his stroller. Brother Dave, fifteen, was very patient trying to soothe Andy when he cried. He would rock him or push in the stroller until he quieted. Older brother Dan, then seventeen, was also very close and when he left home for college he missed you the most.
Andy. Our unplanned but much loved son has grown up, married his sweetheart and most recently become a home-owner. Congratulations and Happy Birthday.
Photo: Laura & Andy on move in day.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Price of Peace

I just left the house as bullets were flying and "the" war was raging. Jon was watching a DVD of "The Pacific", a miniseries done by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. Jon wasn't actually watching as I left, he was snoozing in his recliner. This is a man who gets up very early, sometimes at one or two am. When he sits to watch a movie he rarely sees more than the first fifteen minutes. There are ten episodes in this miniseries. I figure it will take Jon until summer to see all of them.

Eventually I will probably watch the series with him. I don't like war movies much. I don't like the violence or the audio at ear-deafening levels with the surround sound system. That is pretty shallow thinking. War is loud and messy. I was moved when I watched the first Spielberg / Hanks production about WW2 called "Band of Brothers".

Band of Brothers was based on real individuals, a group of men from Easy Company lead by Capt. Dick Winters. Dick Winters just died in January at the age of 92. He survived the hell of

that great war and lived a long life. He will be remembered kindly as a hero. So many others died with less acclaim and did not live long lives. We are indebted to them forever. May they remain forever young.

Justice Delay-ed

I cannot speak with any expertise about Tom Delay or his politics. I don't feel strongly about him or the charges that convicted him of money laundering. I am not sure I am against money laundering. I have heard most of our currency is contaminated with traces of cocaine. Go ahead. Launder the money. I don't care.

Looking at the former politician, my impression is that he is guilty of something. Bad clothes? Too much Botox? A facelift? The worst contestant on Dancing With the Stars?

Mr. DeLay's attorneys will appeal his recent conviction. They cite trumped up charges and trying him in a liberal Texas county. That surprised me. There is a liberal county in Texas?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cool Date 2

1 - 11 - 11

Weather, You Like It or Not

We've made a dent in January and February is a short month. These are things a northerner tells oneself to cope with a harsh winter. After almost a decade of less than normal winter weather, Minnesota is experiencing a return to our regular climate. It started abruptly in November with an early heavy wet 8 in. blanket of snow weeks before Thanksgiving. We had not had snowy day of thanks in years.

December was cold and we had record breaking amounts of snow. Weather statistics have been kept for about a hundred and thirty years. Overcoverage on TV news had us almost cheering for that extra inch of snow to break the old record leading me to believe that cold, snowy weather causes madness.

Hear we go. Old and crazy and cacooning. Better plan a winter get-away. We looked at our options and I began to campaign for a road trip to the gulf states. Go south to Louisiana and eat crawdads in Cajun country. Explore the coast along Mississippi and Alabama. Perhaps a nice ocean side rental in the Florida panhandle for a few weeks. I solicited friends from New Hampshire to join us. I found nice pictures on the internet of white sandy beaches to try to convince my husband. It had possibilities.

Everything changed this weekend when the second big winter ice / snowstorm hit that region.
Six southern states are hunkered down waiting for the ice and foot of snow to melt. They don't have our fleet of snowplows or our enormous stashes of salt and sand. They just stay indoors until it disappears. Only the children are thrilled with snow days that cancel school and let them go sledding.
Some Minnesotans handle winter better than others. They ski, slide, ice fish or snowmobile. The rest are at risk for cabin fever. At risk for delusions of snowmen peeking in their windows.
Maybe that is how Minnesota will solve it's fiscal problems. We can sell snowmobiles, parkas and skis in the south. They may need our advice to handle difficult winters and learn to enjoy the snow. They better watch out if they start wishing for that extra inch of snow to set new records.
Photo: credit to son Andy who built this with his college buddies a few years ago.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Going Home to Glory

My review of the book in blog titled "I Like Ike" on January 9th, 2011.

I Like Ike

Last month I heard David Eisenhower on a radio interview discussing his latest book, "Going Home to Glory" , a memoir of his granddad's final years. His granddad was former President Dwight D. Eisenhower. I enjoy a good memoir and decided to read the book.

When I told my sister, Carolyn, I was in queue at the library for this current release, she reminded me that she had always been an Eisenhower supporter. I remember it well. When Ike ran in 1952, Carolyn sported an "I Like Ike" campaign button which she says she still has and has occasionally worn when she doesn't particularly like the party's candidate. My parents always voted Democrat and being a mewing conformist who was inclined to sit on daddy's lap and say "I love you daddy", I liked Adlai Stevenson in 1952. Cut me some slack. We were too poor to be Republicans and it was 1952. I was seven years old. David Eisenhower would have been four.

David is the only grandson of the former WW2 hero and fifties president. Ike had two sons. One died at age three leaving David's father John the only surviving child. The family was very close and John Eisenhower was also a West Point Army man who worked with his father during and after the White House years. The family then lived on a house on the property of the Gettysbury farm where Ike & Mamie retired.

David grew up around powerful people. He tells of writing his first story and having granddad's secretary type it up so he could sit outside Ike's Oval Office selling copies for a small sum. Before reading the book, the only thing I remembered about David was that he married President Nixon's daughter Julie. She is listed as co-author of the memoir. In the book there is a cute photo of them as children standing with the Eisenhowers and Nixons as David steals a glance at Julie.

I was born in the waning days of WW2 and President Eisenhower was in office during my school years. My memories of him are mostly that he was a war hero, commanding the invading allies push to overthrow Nazism in Europe. I don't think I knew much about the man except he liked to play golf and warned about a "military-industrial complex" as he left office. That was a strategic warning and I am not sure we heeded it. As I read the book my esteem for the late president would grow.

David writes with the discipline of the historian he is and the love of a grandson. His affection shows but it doesn't come across as a white-wash. He recalls his granddad's temper. He was a general and didn't tolerate incompetence. He was a general and after leaving office declined to be called "Mr. President". He requested JFK restore his General rank and wanted to be addressed as General instead of Mr. President. He had spent his lifetime earning that title.

I had not thought of Eisenhower as championing civil rights, but wasn't he the one who sent federal troops to the Mississippi and Little Rock? During his presidency he had tried to stop Lyndon Johnson's opposition to civil rights legislation. Lyndon's heart would later change.
I didn't know he opposed the John Birch society. I didn't know of his counsel to Lyndon Johnson during the Vietnam War and Lyndon's great esteem for him. Perhaps that war would have had a different outcome if they had followed Ike's advice.

He was a man of faith and belief in a moral standard based on the bible. He was opposed to supreme court rulings that stopped the practice of teaching biblical principles to school kids.

He didn't criticize his successors similar to the position President George W. Bush has held.

He didn't talk about the war. He did tour Europe in the early sixties bringing his young grandson David and granddaughter Anne. That esteem of European heads of state left an impression on young David. Ike gave the eulogy at Winston Churchill's funeral at the invitation of the queen. He was a close friend of Winstons.

I didn't know the memoir he wrote about his presidency is called "Waging Peace" and he was very proud that no American soldiers had died on his watch.

I have not quite finished the book. The final chapter waits for me because I know the end. It spans the years after leaving offiice until his death. I am not quite ready to say goodbye to this good man.

I wish I had an "I Like Ike" button. I would wear it too. Farewell General Eisenhower.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Minnesota, Hothouse For the Political Candidate

Speculation was stirred recently when Michele Bachmann indicated she had left every option on
the table regarding a run for president. She is going to travel for a couple of months, no doubt testing the waters.

Michele is our Congresswoman. She won a hot contest for re-election last fall. It was the most expensive, well-financed bid for congress in the country. Both parties watched and out of state people sent money.

Bachmann stepped up to the plate to lead the Tea Party Caucus which previous to her volunteering, did not seem to have one leader.

Like Sarah Palin, the camera and media buzz around her. Like Palin, she is a fierce warrior...not intimidated and sure of what she supports. Like Palin she is not afraid to "go rogue" which delights her supporters and infuriates her detractors. She has said a few things that made even people who like her cringe. When Pres. Bush gave one of his state of the union speeches a few years back, there was our Congresswoman pushing to grab him and give him an on camera kiss.
I cringed that time. I cringed when she talked about not filling out the census forms and defended BP as the Gulf well was gushing. Oh, well.

Now I am wondering about how a possible Bachmann for President move would affect others.
Do you think Minnesota's former Governor, Tim Pawlenty, cheered? Two candidates from Minnesota might be a bit much. Guess which one has better name recognition.

Did Sarah Palin feel threatened? They would split the vote, wouldn't they?

Is Barach Obama worried about running against someone who only has four years of national
legislative experience? Maybe he should be. He had four years of national experience and won.

How about John Boehner? Do you think he cried? Were they tears of joy or anguish?
It was reported poor John Boehner teared up three times the day he was sworn in as speaker.
He had already asssigned Michele Bachmann to the Intelligence Committee, a job whose proceedings she is obligated to keep secret. I wonder if that was intentional on his part. He did not grant her request for a position of power in the party. Maybe Michele cried that day instead of John Boehner. Maybe not. We will have to watch and see. Don't count her out.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Governor Dayton Targets Minnesota Jobs

Mark Dayton was sworn in yesterday as Minnesota Governor. In his inaugural speech, he championed creating more jobs for Minnesotans. He spoke of working together to solve the states' financial problems and stated he is governor of all the people, not just those who voted for him. Since he won by a small margin, that was a reasonable appeal. I didn't vote for him but will give him the benefit of the doubt and see how he does.

I don't understand politics. I don't understand Minnesota politics. Mainly we tip toward the liberal side in state politics, yet we have sent Michele Bachmann to Washington. Dayton is the first Democrat governor in twenty years and the electorate gave him a solidly Republican legislature to work with. Last term we had a Republican governor and a Democrat legislature.

Something tells me all will not be peaceful. However, we have a budget deficit similar to California. We have a 6.5 billion $$$ deficit. Match that with a smaller population than California and it is proportionately similar. We have to fix it. States can't print $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

Californians who are coping with floods, mudslides followed by snow in southern CA which will soon enough be followed by firestorms, have decided to recycle. They resurrected Jerry Brown who was governor decades ago. This is a progressive state known for supporting "green" technology and they recycled their governor. Is that innovative? I don't know. I am a Minnesotan who humbley recalls we sent a boa-clad wrestler to our state house a few years back. The only similar thing Californians did was terminate Gov. Gray (Davis) and replace him with an actor.
Can't disparage them for that. Another California actor did pretty well for himself in the White House in the 80's.

Good luck to all the Governors and legislators and leaders out there. I hope they remember to say their prayers and proceed carefully. We need all the help we can get.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Drawing a Line in the Driveway

When the snow season began, I called the circulation department of a local paper asking them not to have their carrier drop a copy at the end of my driveway each week. Since we already receive a copy via US mail, we don't need two. Nicely, I expressed my appreciation for this free circular which is mostly ads but also lists local events and news. These papers are often covered by snow. It can snow a little every day in January. I ran over one with a snowblower a previous year. Not good. They get frozen in the melting snow and ice. I don't need two. Does anyone appreciate the drop at the end of their driveways in the winter? These are the reasons I gave when I called. Please stop.
Next week I had another paper generating another call. With duplicate papers in front of me, I called the circulation department. Bet they love me. She claimed to have told the carrier and would follow up. Next week I still got my drop. I called again. Still politely, I asked if they remembered me and my request. Yup. He is one of my best carriers, she answered. High praise, I thought.
The following week I didn't get my driveway copy of The St. Croix Valley Press. Yeah. We are making progress. As we backed out of the driveway Sunday to go to church, my heart sank. At the end of the driveway in a thin orange plastic wrapper was a paper. When we drove through the neighborhood I noted none of our neighbors had one. Great, I thought. I have put a bullseye on our house for a vindictive paperguy. Show the crabby lady who is boss.
This blog was my revenge. I actually walked out to the end of the driveway in robe and slippers at 4:00am to retreive the paper... in the cold, and it is a good thing I did before making another call to the circulation department of the St. Croix Valley Press. The paper in the driveway was the weekend (free) edition of the Stillwater Gazette. Another day. Another battle. It's hell to be retired.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Lose Weight With This Amazing Exercise

I am in a friendly competition with husband Jon to see who can get more hits on their blog. Being a low tech person, I was surprised when daughter Mary showed me how to check the "stats" on blog hits. I had no idea. I began blogging in 2006 and by Oct. 2010 thought this was an exercise in narcissism. I was out of ideas. I don't lead that interesting a life. There are millions of bloggers in the world. Most are read by their moms. My mom is dead. Who cared if I blogged? Narcissism.
I started again when I realized I was becoming annoying on Facebook. Too many comments. I have a need to talk. Even if it is electronic chatter.
Jon and I looked at our stats. I had one entry that has over 2500 hits. His top number was 6. He only had a couple dozen entries. I have a lot more over four years. You can't tell who clicked on the blog, but you can tell country of origin. I have Russians, Latvians, Japanese. Some of them are computers who send me comments in languages and characters I don't understand except for the word Viagra.
Mentioning the blue pill will probably generate more. Thank God for Spam blockers.
Most hits are probably random by clicking on "next blog" or word search by Google.
As I write, Jon is blogging about Justin Beiber. He might win today if nine year old girls search that name. I think there are a lot of repentant overweight people out there who will be drawn to my title.
This is narcissistic, isn't it. Good luck Jon.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cool Date

1 – 1 - 11

Having a Ball With The New Year's Bat

We went with Mary, Mike & the twins to Ikea yesterday. They were checking out closet storage units for the kids room. Before shopping, we hit the cafeteria. This is an inexpensive, family friendly place to eat. Swedish meatballs are good kid food and during the holidays they are feeding children under 12 free. Thanks Ikea.

The twins were enamored by a child's room display. Toy furniture. A properly sized kitchen stove, sink, table set and bed. Stuffed animals and play food. A pink room that fascinated Zoe. I kept watch while Mike and Mary shopped closeby.

As we were about to check out, Mike spotted the buy of the day; bins of glove bat puppets. Of course he bought one. Who could resist the "New Year's Bat". The children were thrilled when daddy demonstrated the critter's ability to fly.

Bats. I like the kind from the store better than the real ones.