Friday, December 31, 2010

Well, 2010 was worse that 2009, so do we dare give 2011 a chance?

So, is this gonna be a better year? I'm afraid I will have to insist upon it!

Unfortunately, I've done my darndest to cancel snowstorms this past month and we all know how well that turned out. The truth is, I have a pathetic lack of influence over the universe--even my tiny little part of it.

However, I had a wonderful family Christmas. All of my kids, most of my grandkids and my three great-granddaughters were there plus several family friends. It was hectic and lively we had lots of good things to eat.

My problem is that for most of my life, I have suffered with a kind of post-event insecurity. I always fear that I may have inadvertantly ignored someone, or did or said something that offended someone or was too bossy or overbearing, etc, etc. This really detracts from the warm memories and makes me feel guilty for those "sins" that I'm oblivious of. 

One cheery memory I took away from Christmas was 7-year-old GGD coming over to thank us for the big 24-pack of AA batteries. She was carrying the heavy package high and exulting how now they could play with all their toys and video games. I got such a kick out of seeing how such an utilitarian gift made her day.

I think I must make an effort to post more often and talk about upbeat things.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thank Heaven for little girls...

The latest picture of my three great grand-daughters. They are so much fun!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Have a nice Thanksgiving Day

I also love having a house full of kids, grandkids and friends.  So, bring it on!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Anyway, the weather was nice

The migrating robins are still passing through from the far northern regions. The berries and crabapples are all gone from the trees, and all the insects are dead so the latecomers will have to subsist on other foods. We've had several hard frosts and all the outdoor plants are dead, as well. 

With the time change over the weekend, the kitties are still demanding to be fed at the time their biological clock goes off, so I got up ridiculously early today. I had the Sunday paper all read before the CBS Sunday Morning show was even over.

We are in the midst of changing two rooms around which necessitated taking all the books out of the bookcases. It's overwhelming to decide which to keep and which to get rid of. I worry about donating them to Goodwill because once when I took some old paperbacks there, one of the guys unloading them told the other guy, "These will just go right in the trash". If the books aren't useful, I would hope they'd certainly recycle them!

So, where do they recycle books?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ms Sparrow commits insurance fraud!

Yesterday, I went to my Cub Pharmacy to pick up a prescription for blood pressure medication. My doctor prescribed it over a year ago. At the time, she ordered me to take one pill a day but to start out with half a pill a day. If my blood pressure exceeded 130/80, I should take a whole pill, otherwise continue with one half.

The half dose worked fine, so I kept splitting pills. I was getting a three-month supply of 90 pills for my three-month insurance copay of $30 a month or $90. That was a dollar a pill. When I split the pills, it actually provided medication for six months.

Three months ago, the pharmacy tech asked to verify the information in their system and I explained that I was splitting the pills per doctor's orders. She corrected the dosage information they had shown.

When I picked up my new bottle of meds, I had only 45 pills but the copay was still $90. I said that wasn't right as I was now paying $2 a pill. The pharmacist explained that the copay applied to the daily dosage not the number of pills. She said splitting the pills actually constituted insurance fraud!


I don't know when that changed, but I remember that doctors used to prescribe higher doses so patients could save money by splitting pills. There's no more compassion for people on fixed incomes, I guess. While the cost of meds goes up, Social Security benefits are frozen for yet another year. That wouldn't be so bad if the electric bill didn't jump $24 a month and gas prices at the pump are at an all-time high (and on and on).

So anyway, I am now on the straight and narrow path with Health Partners and a little poorer for it,

Monday, October 25, 2010

Soaking up nature all over the place

I thought the bear at the picnic table was so cute, but I watched an Animal Planet show about people who feed wild animals. This elderly woman had fed bears until she had hordes of them coming to her wilderness home. Finally, one of them killed and ate her--so don't start feeding your neighborhood bears!

I also watched a PBS Nature show about crows last night. I knew they were intelligent, but was still surprised at all the things they can figure out. They are watching us and can even recognize individuals. I had once jokingly told a friend that all the crows chattering in the trees in the block around us were talking about her--now I'm not so sure they weren't!

The robin migration seems to have ended. I haven't seen any for a few days. In fact, it's eerily silent outside.
Even the squirrels have slowed down in their fall harvest. All the black walnuts are gone from the tree and they've gone back to raiding the neighbor's garbage pail.

There's a church several miles from here that sells pumpkins in their parking lot every year. After Halloween, there are always some broken ones remaining. We stop and pick up a few to toss into the wooded lot for our resident squirrels. (We used to feed them on our patio but the Condo Assn fined us for it.)  I'm just so grateful for that lovely lot in so many different ways.

I snitched this picture from a blog last year because it was so cute. Crows and squirrels are fairly tolerant of each other, but the crow in the picture is a fake.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Stoking up for winter

Could I have some service please?

I haven't turned the heat on yet but the days are definitely getting colder. The squirrels are dashing madly about burying and reburying their little treasures. We haven't had any wild turkeys hanging around and there's been only one possum so far. (Happily, no bears!)

Flocks of migrating robins stop by to plunder the tiny crabapples on the trees by my patio. Most of them seem to be young ones on their first migration. They're giddy with the adventure of traveling to new places.  They flutter back and forth playfully chirping about all the fruit and fun.

My favorite bird, the cedar waxwing, has also arrived, but the flock is smaller than usual this fall. They descend on the trees timidly since they are smaller than the robins. I often hear them before I see them--they make a high-pitched keening sound that alerts me. With their muted colors they'd be easy to miss otherwise.

We had a kestrel (aka sparrow hawk) haunting the wooded lot next door this summer. I had seen it once, but really took notice when it killed a sparrow right outside my "office" window. I heard a strange bird sound and looked out to see a flurry of sparrow feathers from beneath the larger bird. It was gone in a flash. That explained why there aren't a huge number of sparrows around. There's a pair of prolific sparrows who are brooding in a nest under the overhang of the garage roof all summer long. It's kinda sad that they're going to all that trouble just to produce offspring for the kestrel to eat.

Of course, we'd be overrun with sparrows if the weren't eaten. I'm just thankful there aren't any human "sparrow hawks" to prey on plump bloggers like me! LOL

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Of laughing and loving

I lost my mojo several months ago and have been slogging along trying to get it back. Thanks for all your inquiries and good wishes. It means a lot to me.

In this morning's Sunday paper, I read a quote from Ricky Martin (boy singer). He said that his mother thinks LOL means "Lots of Love". She tweeted him recently that his grandmother had died--lol.

It made me laugh.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Now that I've got 'um, what do I do with 'um?

I'm talking about birthday cards! I got a lot of cute, funny or schmaltzy birthday cards in the last few weeks. But, I'm always stumped about what to do with them after the event has passed.

Should I save them for posterity?
OK, let's be reasonable--who is going to want them? I mean really!

Will I spend my declining years rereading them and reliving the past?
I sincerely hope that I don't turn into a sentimental old fool with nothing better to do!

Should I save them, just in case?
I am the kind of person who does that. I'm excessively burdened with boxes of stuff I saved "just in case". In fact, I have an email folder with that label. When does a person actually have a reason to use stuff they saved "just in case"? It is probably a fraction of 1%, if that!

Should I throw all of them away?
I can do that! I've done it before..., and I can do it again..., I guess. After all, I can't imagine a situation where someone will ask me it I still have the card they gave me for my 70th birthday.

So, why do I feel so darn guilty about it?

Friday, August 13, 2010

And now for something completely different...

There are so many happy, lovely and funny things going on around us. It's great to get out and see all the little creatures who populate the real world. I sometimes wonder how the birds and animals are able to grow up so fast and survive without help. I always want to feed them, or provide nesting materials or watering places.

And yet, these animals are amazingly adapted to survival. When I see squirrels leaping from branch to branch in rapid succession, I'm realize that their tiny little brains can plot a trajectory in split seconds.

A young neighbor boy got a small remote-controlled helicopter for his birthday. We all watched as he flew it around the backyard. A large dragonfly suddenly came flying toward it and circled around inspecting it in midair. It flew away but came back a little while later. Who knew that dragonflies were territorial?

Another neighbor has a big garden next door. She planted squash so there are lots of big yellow blossoms brightening  the area. A gal at my Curves was talking about how she had so many squash blossoms that she picked and fried them! This was another revelation.

The old saying, "You learn something new every day" is so true!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Yesterday, I made it to 70!

When I was a little kid, I used to contemplate the year 2000 when I would be 60. I wondered if I would even reach such an advanced old age. (I would also stand on a chair and contemplate what it would be like to be tall like a grownup.) As it turned out, I needn't have been concerned--I didn't grow to be that tall, and turning 60 was great!

However, turning 70 gives me pause. I see my image in the mirror and wonder, am I really as old as I look? I wince when I'm treated as elderly but there's no denying it now...I am over 70!

Don't get me wrong, I am content with my life. I have four great kids of whom I am tremendously proud, not to mention the grandkids and great-grandkids. But there is more to life than producing descendants. So, I now contemplate Grandma Moses and others who managed to flourish in their later years. It's time I gave myself a kick in the butt and got back to my writing.

I just hope that old lady in the mirror doesn't take the wind out of my sails!

Friday, August 6, 2010

August and time for fresh fruit

I am a Leo. I don't take that very seriously, however. The one thing in this August graphic that actually applies to me is that I tend to overthink everything. As a result, I often can't make a decision because I don't have enough facts. I dither and sigh as I try to get my brain to muddle its way through the confusion.

Whenever I read a Horoscope for Leos, it is laughably wrong.  So, do you read your Horoscope? Do you ever think it applies to you and your life? 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Eating my way to a different car

Well, the Impala was totalled. It only had 81,000 miles on it so it was really too young to die.  The damage didn't look that bad but the repair estimate was three pages long. Who knew there was so much stuff inside?

I was really impressed with the quick service I got from State Farm. They gave me a check on Friday. We have rented a car to use for car shopping for a different car (which is almost as bad as job-hunting!).  There are so many ways we could get a bad deal, thank goodness my son-in-law is helping. The guy loves looking for cars--go figure!

I had managed to get my weight down to 197, but with all the hassle, I'm back over 200 again. I have belonged to TOPS (among many other weight-loss groups) and their creed is. "I am an intelligent person, I will control my emotions and not let my emotions control me." Much as I may try, I can't remain that detached. I was in TOPS during 9/11 and gained 10 pounds in one week.

Thanks for all your kind words and support. I really appreciate you all!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


On this past Saturday, I had my very first car accident--I rear-ended a car stopped for a left turn on Larpenteur.  The back end of the girl's car was smashed in and it wouldn't run. It just sat on the median in the rain as she cried.

One month ago, my granddaughter of the same age was rear-ended at a stop sign. Sonja also cried as the information was exchanged and her car towed away. The woman who ran into her didn't have insurance and tried to blame it on Sonja. The car was totalled and it was a nightmare for her.

As a result, I was extra sympathetic to the girl whose car I hit. She said it was her only car and she needed it to get to work. I hugged her and offered to take her to work as we stood there in the pouring rain and passing cars stopped to ask if they should call the cops. Several people who had witnessed the accident had pulled over to give statements to the cops.

When the first officer asked me for details, the girl's mother arrived and rushed over yelling and accused me of trying to kill her daughter. The sweet young girl just sobbed as the cop tried to calm the mother down. I admitted the accident was my fault (which I learned later you should never do) and that I had good insurance. That made the mother back off, however, she insisted that her daughter was in shock and needed to go to the hospital. Several other cops had arrived and called for a ambulance and a tow truck.

It wasn't until later that I thought to check my own car. The hood, bumper and fender were all badly dented but the engine started OK. Except, the fender had been pushed back to the front tire so it rubbed against it. I wasn't far from home so I managed to get back. Yesterday, they towed my car to a body shop and I'm waiting to hear what the damage is. I'm afraid they might total out the car, a 2000 Chevy Impala.

I have no way of knowing how the girl in the other car is doing. I truly hope she's doing OK. I thought I was doing really well until yesterday when I woke up with my mouth covered in cold sores. This is a stress reaction I've had before but never this severe. Maybe it's my body's way of punishing me?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

So, anyway...

I dropped out of the blogging scene for a month solely out of frustration with my computer. It took hours to read other blogs and I lost heart for continuing the battle.

But then, I made a surprising discovery. Last year, the neighbor guy in the unit above us was unemployed. He was concerned because his son needed the internet to keep up with his schoolwork but he couldn't afford it.
Since my roomie and I shared an internet connection via a router, we told him he could sign onto our signal and use it for free. Were naively oblivious as our internet service became worse and worse.

Then several weeks ago, it suddenly improved tremendously--we could sign on in minutes. The neighbor kid was away at camp that week but when he returned, the service was back to terrible. It was obvious that the problem was with the neighbors. I told my granddaughter's boyfriend about it and he told me that computer games and downloads "suck up a lot of bandwidth".  Thankfully, the guy has a good job now and he's going to get his own internet service.

My sister was visiting all last week and we had a really good time. We did all the thrift stores and favorite area restaurants, like Keys Cafe, Snuffy's Malt Shop, The Good Earth and Mai Village. I think the highlight was when we went to the Pavilion over at Como Park for a community production of the musical, "Oliver". This is her all-time favorite musical (mine is "Fiddler on the Roof"). What was the most fun for her was that there were four songs in the stage version that weren't in the movie version.

During the busy week, we found that our oldest cat, Snuffy was failing. He was holing up under a bed and had messed himself--neither of which he had ever done before. We realized that this was the end of the road for him and took him to a vet to be put down. We brought him home again so the other three cats could see he was dead. I'm not sure how much they understand about the loss, but it just seemed that they needed to know what happened to their companion.

Rest in Peace, little fella.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Resurfacing after an ice cream bender

I'm back after an unusually busy several weeks. This included a lot of family activities and houseguests. Anyway, things are back to normal and I have some peace and quiet.

It has been cloudy or raining every day. All the petunias my little great-granddaughters potted on the patio are constantly soaked and haven't grown an inch. It's like they're holding back waiting for some sun. I don't really mind this weather (which I understand is much like England's) and really prefer it to the usual hot, muggy summer weather we have this time of year.

There have been a lot of ice cream specials at local grocery stores lately. I've been keeping stocked with treats for all my company and (of course) sampled all of them.

Here's my review:
Blue Bunny has sugar-free, low fat ice cream that is waaay better than Edys! I tried both the chocolate and vanilla and will stick to Blue Bunny from now on. Blue Bunny also has a bigger variety of flavors that the kids really like--Birthday Party flavor and Chocolate Fudge Brownie went over big.
Edys has a new flavor of slow-churned ice cream called Lemonade Swirl that was also a hit.
Somebody brought over some Kemps vanilla ice cream and it was really inferior to both Blue Bunny and Edys. I never buy Kemps.

So what are you favorite ice creams?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I hate summer!

Summer has arrived as if someone opened the doors to a blast furnace! It was 95 degrees in St Paul yesterday. The temps are going to be in the 80's for the next seven days.

While some folks love the hot days, I am totally miserable. The humidity is high and the sun is scorching, so I have the windows closed, the drapes all drawn and the fans blowing in every room. It's not even noon and I'm sweating.

We have air conditioners in several rooms, but to conserve energy, we don't turn them on until the heat build-up becomes intolerable. At this rate, it won't be long until we reach that point.

Days like this make me long for the lovely days of winter when you can regulate your bodily comfort by merely adding or subtracting clothing. When it's this hot, however, you can't minimize clothing past naked to cool off, yet you have to go on trying to live your daily life.

So, I will suffer another "beastly hot" summer (as my mother used to say). I will feel "blah" and lethargic and most likely, crabby.

I think I'm pretty crabby today, in fact!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Seven Challenge

On May 10th, BLissed Out Grandma posted a list of seven Historical or Literary characters she'd like to meet and why. I've been thinking about it ever since and could not think of a single character from literature I'd like to meet, but I have my list of seven historical figures:

L. Ron Hubbard--"What were you thinking when you dreamed up the Scientology religion? It was a huge joke that got out of hand, right?

Nostrodamus--"When you were writing your prognostications, were you really seeing future world events or just basing your predictions on the past? Do you think you accomplished anything good with your writings?

Queen Elizabeth I--"Didn't you despise your father for cutting off your mother's head? What was it like to be around him? What was it like to be Bloody Mary's little sister?

Isaac Asimov--"You were such a great thinker, brilliant scientist, prolific writer and jovial personality. Is there some way you could transfer some of that talent to me?"

Jane Goodall--"To me, you are a saint for protecting wildlife and the environment. May you live to be 100!"

Johanna Lee and Martha Just (my two grandmothers)--"You both died when I was young and I never got to know your stories. What was it like to emigrate to America? What did you do to survive in a foreign land when you didn't speak the language? I am in awe of you and I dearly wish I could have known you both."

Now, who are your Seven?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Of old friends and pizza

On Friday, out of the blue, I got a call from some old friends, Ardella and Ralph. Ardella was bridesmaid at my wedding in 1958. She and her husband both grew up on the old gravel country road where my family lived in the 50's. The two of them married in the same church my Ex and I did and we had our kids around the same time.

When we met at an Olive Garden for lunch on Saturday, it was just like old times. We caught up on each others siblings and kids and shared pictures. Then we got to talking about our pizza nights. Ralph started laughing about the disastrous first time we made pizza. Here is the way I tell it in my cookbook:
The first time I made pizza was soon after RW and I started dating in 1957. He was just out of the Navy and raved about this great stuff called pizza he had in Norfolk VA. He wanted me to make some. I finally found directions on the side of a Betty Crocker Hot Roll Mix box. It had a recipe for making pizza crust and pizza sauce and suggested different toppings you could use. One of them was blue cheese. Since RW liked blue cheese salad dressing, I bought a chunk of blue cheese and covered a whole pizza with it! Take my word for it--blue cheese on pizza is baaad!
As Ralph related it, we had gathered to make the pizza with him and Ardella and another couple. I had the pizza crust and sauce going and sliced the pepperoni, but didn't have the right cheese. So Ralph and my Ex went to a store to get cheese. As unsophisticated as we all were, they came back with blue cheese. Ralph laughed about how awful it smelled when it was in the oven. (It was a revelation because all these years, I thought I had bought the blue cheese.)

Once we all caught onto Mozzerella cheese, however, we were off and running with pizza-making. For many years, we and our kids would get together at each other's homes on the weekends for pizza. It was a lot of trouble to make so Ardella and I took turns making the pizza.

Nowadays, there are a dozen places within a one-mile radius where I can get a pizza, but it will never be as much fun as those long-ago pizza nights.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Losing Friends

I just learned yesterday that another blogger friend has died. He called himself  Bevie and blogged under A Voice in the Wind among other names. The most wrenching thing about his untimely death is that he died solely because of poverty. His requests for help from the State of Minnesota and the county resulted in only food stamps. He had no medical coverage of any kind.

Bevie had once been well-employed and he, his wife and son lived in a nice home. As his health began to fail, he could no longer work and they fell behind in house payments. The mortgage lender, in their heartless, hard-nosed rectitude, foreclosed and the family moved out of the house last August. They sold most of their belongings and moved into a small, third floor apartment.

Months later, Bevie and his son took a drive back to the still-vacant house. It was fast falling into disrepair with nobody living there. The pointlessness of it all saddened him greatly.

The family struggled with living on only his wife's income. Getting-by meant that they went to the food shelf when possible and every expense was major. Yet, amongst all this, he was determined that his son should have a saxophone to enrich his life. In spite of his own needs, he insisted that his son would not go without.

Bevie died in his sleep one week ago. His selflessness very likely shortened his life, but maybe that's not such a bad legacy. Rest in peace, Bevie.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Another Mother's Day

Every year my kids come over for Mother's Day dinner. I really look forward to feeding them just like when they were young. They always appreciate the meal too.

Each year daughter number 2 brings me a Mandevilla plant. They are always so heathy and bloom beautifully (see above). My son always brings me a hanging plant for the patio, and daughter number 3 gives me money to buy whatever else I need.

Daughter number 1 bought me an electric can opener. With my hands getting stiff and painful off and on, I thought it would be a big help. She told me that she has never had good luck with electric can openers lasting very long or working really well.

What has been your experience with electric can openers?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Chirps from the sparrow tree

One of the things that always makes me smile is driving past a "sparrow tree" in the early evening and hearing the loud chirps of all the young birds assembled there. It's almost like they're talking excitedly about their day.

The first time I noticed this was years ago by the old Roseville Theater. There were trees along the side street where flocks of sparrows would gather.  It always reminded me of a friendly neighborhood pub where folks would gather at the end of the day to chat. (I have thought that The Sparrow Tree would be a great name for a pub.)

Anyway, that theater and a few other businesses were torn down a few years ago and the sparrow trees were cut down. (The indiscriminate carnage of trees by construction companies is one of my pet peeves!) I felt really bad at the loss of the roosting trees and the friendly chirping.

I have since discovered that the sparrows moved to the big shrubs along Larpenteur Street by the California Drive apartments near Lexington. If you're looking for a lively "evensong", check it out around suppertime.

I have an affinity for sparrows. Like me, they are descended from immigrants and have unintentionally crowded out the natives. They are lowly, common birds but very resourceful. Sparrows will occupy urban niches where few other birds can live. In fact, for many urban children, the only birds they ever encounter are sparrows and pigeons.

Sparrows are hardy and prolific and now flourish all over the world. In the process, they are slowly evolving according to the climate and food resources available. So, I guess the future of the lowly sparrow is a story in progress whether we like it or not!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Who ever heard of a 200-lb sparrow?

Because of my shoulder impingement, my orthopedist has me going to physical therapy twice a week. When the PT gal took me into the big room where all the equipment is, I found it had an entire floor to ceiling mirrored wall. I was shocked and disgusted at what I looked like! I badly need to lose weight and Curves hasn't helped at all.

I have a terrible problem with my appetite after supper. I spend the entire evening prowling around in hunter mode..."Now, what can I eat?"  It's downright obsessive--if I watch a TV show, I keep mulling over what I'm going to eat during the next commercial break.

I decided that maybe it would help to eliminate carbohydrates from supper since they seem to trigger the eating binges. So last night, I only had a piece of salmon for supper (the No-Name brand marinated frozen portions). It tasted great and I didn't get hungry all evening! I had a bowl of cereal before bed but that was it--no ice cream, no popcorn or munchies, no crackers and cheese, nothing!

I think I might be onto something. I know this smacks of the Dr Atkins diet but I'm only doing this in the evening. I will eat my carbs during the day because I love carbs a lot.

My goal for now is to get the numbers on the scale under 200. Sometimes I wonder if the scale even goes under 200 as it has bounced around between 200 and 210 for years.

You can be sure that if this works for me, I'll be letting you know in the big red letters!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What you should know...

I enjoy reading a wide variety of blogs. All of them offer humor or sharing, different slants on the world and often provide real facts and knowledge.

The writer is a consumer advocate and activist. She has written several recent articles on the scandal of unnecessary hysterectomies and the devastating after-effects it can have on women's health and happiness.

I was shocked at what she has to say.

Monday, April 26, 2010


I was away at the Celebrate Yourself arts retreat over the weekend. It's always a humbling experience to be around so many beautiful, talented women.  I'm not talking about appearance and glamorous clothes. I'm referring to those deeper resources of womanhood that, despite physical attributes or limitations, continue to give birth to wonderful, creative art.  It's in our bones--this need to create. We get together and paint, draw, write, dance, sing and celebrate. It's a gestalt of collective energy that defies explanation. 

I attended a writing class with the poet and author Wendy Brown-Baez. She is such a marvelous talent that I'm double humbled. Wendy is a fascinating woman who has lived in Israel and Oaxaca, Mexico and traveled the back roads of the world. Check out her blog for an entrancing read.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Just in case you've been wondering:
(Yes, I am a Ms. Piggy fan!)

I called the Census Bureau and had them send me a form. It's going out in today's mail.

I finally found the lost pictures of my three great-granddaughters that I put away before Christmas. They were in a dresser drawer hidden under gift wrap and stuff. I felt like a dork for not finding them in such an obvious place, not to mention all the time I wasted looking!

I haven't gotten any more strange comments from Anonymous.

My computer continues to be balky. A computer-savvy friend suggested that I switch from Internet Explorer to Mozilla Firefox for better service. I'm in the throes of getting that done. It's really tough for computer-putzes like me!

My car still has the big dent, but a friend was able to get the passenger-side door to open almost all the way, so things are good.

My shoulder is still sore off and on, but the cortisone shots have helped. The orthopedist now has me going to Physical Therapy to strengthen that shoulder. I will see my other orthopedist for the sciatica on Thursday and find out where my spine "stands".

As I read back through my old posts, I realize that I complain waaay too much. I will try to do better--if only for my own sake!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Tuesday evening I went to a meeting. When I was driving home on I-94 afterwards, I was nearly sideswiped by a car in the next lane. It had a bumper sticker:


Monday, April 12, 2010

I want to be meee...

Once upon a time I was a Girl Scout. I even had the green dress to prove it.
It was made out of heavy twill and had buttons all the way down the front.

I really liked Girl Scouts because we made interesting things. My friend, Geraldine, was in 4H (Head, Heart, Hands & Health) which was a group sponsored through the county extension office. She wanted me to join too. I didn't want to be in 4H because I didn't want to be a farm wife.

I had already made that decision in the 4th grade. In fact, I didn't even want to be called a "Mrs." I had already formed the opinion that a girl lost her identity because married women were always referred to by their husband's name. Even the church cookbook credited the recipes to a man's wife--eg. Mrs. George Good, not Mary Ann Good. (In other words, any woman who is married to George Good.)

I wonder how many generations of women felt as I did at the injustice of being an auxiliary person. I'm so lucky to have been born in an era when we were all becoming enlightened about human rights issues. I'm not an ardent feminist (I am a Minnesotan after all.) Nevertheless, I have arrived at a place where I'm just me--a whole person in my own right!

By the way, I saw Geraldine at our 50th class reunion last year and she's happily married to a farmer.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ms. Sparrow moans and groans

It's been a full week since I last posted. I'm really disappointed in myself--I meant to do better but you know how life gets in the way. One reason is that I joined Curves two months ago under a program where my health insurance pays half of the fees if I go at least three times a week.

I had hopes that this would build up my muscle strength and relieve my creaky joints in the process. The program was carefully designed to prevent the exercises from making any conditions worse, but the only benefit so far is increased stamina. The joints are still giving me grief.

I've had sciatica for some years and I've been getting periodic spinal epicdurals to relieve the pain. I had planned to get another one last week but after the MRI and visit to the doctor who does the injection, I was told that the spinal changes are worse. I can't have another steroid injection until I go back to the orthopedic surgeon.

Now I must tell you that I have a cousin and a sister-in-law who were really loused up by having spinal surgery. They are both quite disabled and feel that the surgery only made them worse. I'm told the the laminectomy surgery for sciatica is 85% effective. I'm not yet disabled to any great extent and I'm not taking pain medication on a regular basis. So, it appears that I'm faced with risking the surgery or putting up with the pain and inconvenience from now on.

Besides running to the doctor, I went out of town for the weekend, I got my taxes done and had my son over for a few more odd jobs.

Plus, I read all of your blogs. That, my dear friends, keeps my life on track! You are a great bunch to follow!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Hershey's Better Basket Blog Hop

I posted recently about the wonderful chocolate-covered Peeps chicks I got at Candyland. I decided they couldn't too hard to make so I bought a bunch of Peeps and three large Hershey bars. I melted the chocolate in a double boiler and cut apart the rows of the Peeps. That's when I discovered that they are not all created equal. Some were skinny, some were lopsided and some were just plain funny-looking. Nevertheless, I proceeded and used a pair of tongs to dip each little pink Peep-type thing in chocolate up to the neck. I quickly plopped them onto waxed paper on a chilled cookie sheet.

The first ones looked pretty good but as I got farther down in the chocolate, it got more difficult to handle the tongs so they got sloppier and messier. Some wound up with chocolate splattered on their heads and some are swimming in puddles of chocolate. But darn, do they taste good!

I got the "Hershey's Easter Basket Blog Hop" from Cheryl K . This is to raise $7,000 for the Children's Miracle Network.


•Copy and paste these rules to your blog post.
•Create a blog post giving a virtual Easter Basket to another blogger – you can give as many Virtual Baskets as you want.
•Link back to person who gave you an Easter Basket
•Let each person you are giving a Virtual Easter Basket know you have given them a Basket.
•Leave your link at comment section.
You can also find the official rules of this betterbasket blog hop, and more information about Better Basket with Hershey’s there.

I'm giving a Better Basket to Gayle at Gramme's Blog and Buttercup in New York.

Have a nice Easter, everyone!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Who's got the census?

This will be the first Easter in memory that I haven't cooked a big dinner for my family and friends. This really didn't hit me until several days ago when I was reading through the grocery store ads. There were all the things that I was rarin' to shop for, and no reason to do it. It was the first time I fully realized how much I enjoy cooking for others.

This probably explains why I frequently have dreams where I'm frantically trying to get a meal together to feed a bunch of strangers. It's always a different setting and indistinct people who ignore me, yet I'm rushing around in my attempts to create order and feed the throng. It's kinda sad when you think about it--my deepest need is to cook!

I will be going out of town to spend Easter with my daughter and her family, including my three great-granddaughters. So, it will still be a very special Easter.

BTW: This morning's paper said that today is the deadline to mail back census forms. No forms ever came to my house, so now what? Will the Feds be coming after me?

Monday, March 29, 2010


I've been ambivalent about taking a position on accepting awards. This actually hadn't been a consideration until recently when Kittie at The Block gave me an award soon after Nancy at Blissed Out Grandma gave me one.

When Corgi Dog Mama posted this graphic on her blog, something in me said, "Amen Sister!" So I lifted the graphic from her and now I'm assuming the same position.

I don't wish to be ungracious or insult the generosity of Kittie and Nancy, but I don't feel like blogging is a competitive sport. Every blog has it own unique qualities and appeals to different tastes. In the scope of things, my blog is nothing special.

This is certainly not meant to disparage anyone who gives or receives awards. I'm just opting out of the awards scene as I'm sorta embarrassed by it all. Thanks for understanding.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Anticipating the glorious green

From a letter to the editor in today's Minneapolis StarTribune, Sandy Stryker writes about driving down a quiet residential street:

"The atmosphere was charged. The branches of elm and oak seemed to tremble with anticipation. I felt sure that, inches underground, albino seedlings were pushing up, starving for sun, desperate to commit photosynthesis."

Don't you just love it? Even though there's not a sign of any plants popping up yet and piles of dirty snow still exist by parking lots, Spring is in the air! So, let's have a shout-out for photosynthesis!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The wonderful world of Peeps

I went on Google Images to pick up a few casual Peeps photos to use. I was bowled over by the amazing variety of stuff and the degree to which Peeps have permeated our society. They aren't just for eating anymore!

They are the subject of games, art and decor in dozens of ways. Among the posted photos are dioramas, posters, cakes and even a car covered in Peeps.

I really, really love Peeps. A dear friend who knew about my weakness once gave me a string of lighted plastic Peeps chicks for Easter. This past weekend, she took me to the Candyland shop in downtown St. Paul. To a candy lover like me, Candyland is Shangri la! The tiny shop (located right around the corner from the Children's Museum) is wall to wall old-fashioned glass display cases filled with candies of every kind. They even have the "burnt peanuts" and "Boston baked beans" my Dad always loved, plus one of those nostalgic lighted fresh nut displays like department stores used to have.

As I entered the always crowded little shop, I headed straight for the chocolates but my friend called me over to the corner production area. There, sitting behind the glass partition was a tray of chocolate-covered Peeps! Nirvana! She quickly asked an employee to bring some out. The multi-colored Peeps had been hand-dipped in milk chocolate up to their little necks, then individually wrapped in plastic bags. We each bought a bag of them. I also got two of the caramel-dipped marshmallows covered in chocolate and topped with a sour ball...they are to die for!

It's good that I don't get downtown very often because I would be drawn like a magnet to Candyland and indulge myself to death!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Household Ants are back

At the risk of coming across as some kind of weirdo, I'm going to explain the agreement that I have with my household ants.

First of all I must tell you, they're the nice kind of ants. They aren't the nasty big black ones that crawl all over the walls and into the waste basket. And, they're not the icky little grease ants that get up on the cupboards and into the dishwasher. These are the regular brown ants that forage for food and stick to business.

After I moved into my ground level condo, the ants showed up one day and took over one dish of canned cat food. But, only one. I thought this was very polite of them. So in a Zen moment, I struck an agreement with them. Whenever they showed up hungry, I would feed them if they kept to their little area.

Their "ant hill" is under the concrete floor of my kitchen. The ants come up by way of a small crack under the carpet in the doorway between the dining room and the kitchen floor. They create a little highway as they cross in a line past the metal strip that holds the carpet down. At the other side, I leave them to the designated dish of cat food so they can finish it off. This takes several days depending on the degree of interest they have generated back at the Hill. Sometimes they get hordes of helpers, this time, not so much. Ants leave a scent trail for others to follow. Apparently, the degree of scent tells the others how much help is needed.

The cats will not touch food the ants have been eating because of the odor of formica. So, I can safely put down bits of food for the ants in that corner. That way the ants can replenish their food stores quickly and go away. This arrangement has been working splendidly for many years now.

I don't really believe there's anything special about my household ants. I doubt that they hold me in high regard, but nevertheless, I take pleasure in coexisting amicably with them.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Blogs keep you connected to other's hearts

I have been following a blog called Heartbeat Diaries for over a year. It was written by a 37-year-old Canadian named Euan B. Sharp who posted about his lifelong journey toward getting a heart transplant.

I left him a comment message yesterday. This morning, a friend of his left a message in my blog comments that he died last night in the process of getting a new heart. I feel so bad that all his struggles ended this way.

If you have a few minutes, you might stop by his blog and read his last post dated March 16, 2010.

What a wonderful writer we have lost!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Facebook is OK in my book

I've been on Facebook for a while now. At first, I didn't really see much point to it but as time went by, I found it to be really useful. That's because Facebook is where my grandkids hang out!

I'm able to stay in touch with my 21-year old grandson down in Phoenix who recently got married. While I haven't met his new wife yet, I've chatted with her on Facebook several times so we're no longer strangers. His older brother who lives on the other side of North Dakota has a girlfriend and friends that he loves to photograph. This keeps me posted on how things are going in his life. At the same time, I keep up with two granddaughters in college on Facebook. Plus, my oldest granddaughter frequently posts pictures of her family and talks about what she's been up to. (Tonight she's packing up Girl Scout cookies to deliver.)

The fact is, I would have almost no contact with any of them if not for Facebook! This way I can keep up with them without intruding and we always have something to talk about. Win/win. So, Woohoo for Facebook!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Minnetonka Arts on 7 is hiding from us

My son plays the string bass with a community orchestra. Last night they had a concert out at a school in Minnetonka and I really wanted to go see it.

Now, I live on the opposite side of the Twin Cities--I don't do Minnetonka. I went on Mapquest to find out how to get there. Unfortunately, Mapquest didn't quite know how to get me there either.

After about an hour of finagling around, I had some really weird directions. I tried a variety of methods to get them clarified and finally figured I was OK.

So I took off an hour early and drove and drove until I got on Hwy 7. Then I drove and drove west until I got to the intersection where I was supposed to do a U-turn. I zoomed east again per instructions, but couldn't find an entrance to the school from the highway. I turned south at the next intersection, then west and north and finally got on a frontage heading west again. At last, I arrived a a huge high school and arts complex with multiple entrances and parking lots. I tried several before locating the correct one. I arrived with barely five minutes to spare.

No wonder Mapquest couldn't give good directions! Who designs crazy entrances to public buildings like that? Well, anyway, it was a wonderful concert.

Thanks to Kittie Howard for the "Over the Top" Blogger Award. Check out her wonderful stories

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Somebody out there bugs me

Over the past several weeks I've been getting erratic comments from that universal coward, Anonymous. Some comments are shopping links, some are porn links and the one from today is just plain nonsense.

It reads verbatim:
"Genial brief and this post helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank
you you on your information."

It's dated 3/14 at 6:20 am DST. I might add that this comment was posted on the blog of my granddaughter's family picture!

I have been regularly deleting these comments. However, I'm becoming worried and confused about it--not to mention annoyed. Does anyone have a handle on where these come from and how to stop it? Has my blog been compromised in some way? Does anyone else have a problem with this?

I'd appreciate comments from everybody except *&%!#! Anonymous!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Proud Grandma moment

My granddaughter sent me this family picture and I love it so much I just had to share it. These are a bunch of dear, dear people!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Awards Sunday

Here it is Oscars Sunday and I have won my own special award! BLissed-Out Grandma has given me the GLOB award. (Although the BLOB award might actually be more appropriate.) She credits me with seeing the beauty in others, which is a really nice thing for her to say.

Blissed is a fellow Minnesotan and grandma who not only blogs about how her grandkids brighten her life. She also has a solid position in Twin Cities history--check out her blog from last Saturday for her "MN-street creds".

I was looking forward to the Oscars tonight but it turns out I won't be home. I'm not overly sad although it will be the first Academy Awards show I've ever missed.
From all the press, it seems that tonight's awards are just a foregone conclusion. There won't be much suspense or excitement. Since I'm not into who-wears-what or who's hanging on whose arm, I guess I won't miss much.

My computer seems to be working better after some self-help fixes. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Happiness is Hot Water!

Yesterday my son came over and did a repair job on my ailing hot water heater. Who knew the things were so darn complicated? It turned out that one of the two elements had burned out and the old dip tube had disintegrated. We replaced the dip tube but bits of the old one were floating around inside. It took a lot of man-handling for him to get it cleaned out and to replace the elements. But, we now have oodles of lovely hot water.

This all cost around $100. Not bad when you consider a new one would have cost around $500. We also installed some energy-saving features. Heat traps--the pipes going into the top of the water heater can waste heat by conducting heat away from it. The traps will prevent that. Energy Blanket--this cost $35 but is supposed to cut down on energy consumption by keeping the water hot longer so it doesn't run as much. I'm hoping this will cut down on our electric bills!

Well, enough of flaunting my newly acquired knowledge!

They announced the name chosen for Lily's cub--they are calling it Hope. I'm a little disappointed because there seems to be something rather fatalistic in that choice. Frankly, I liked your suggestions a lot better!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lily the Bear

Several weeks ago, I posted about Lily's den-watch up in northern Minnesota near Ely (pronounced E-lee). Lily was in labor and gave birth to a single cub. My daughter, her daughter and I were all following the events as they were shown on a video camera that was set up inside the bear's den. Lily soon had thousands of followers online.

The North American Bear Center sold a few Lily the Bear items on their website. Last week I got a package in the mail from my granddaughter. Inside was a very nice tan Lily T-Shirt for me.
When I told my daughter about it, she said she had ordered the very same shirt for me! We had a laugh over how we all think alike! (Only, I never ordered it for myself because I don't buy new things.)

They've had a contest to name the baby bear (a female) sponsored by a large grocery store chain. They received thousands of entries, the winner to get $500. It will be interesting to see what kind name they choose--will it be a Native American name, a cutesy name, an historical name or area name? We'll soon know. I didn't enter, but I would name the little black bear "Teddy". What name would you choose?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Smiling while I stew

I spent most of yesterday trying to get my aging Dell computer to behave itself. I bought it back in 2005 used and reconditioned from a computer store so I don't know how old it really is. But, it's acting like a crabby old lady--stubborn and slow.

I was trying to catch up with everyone else's blogs but the Dell would lock up. I plugged along working through several reboots and long time lags waiting for sites to open. Because of this, I never had time to post anything yesterday. It's becoming so time-consuming that I'm thinking maybe I will stop checking everyone's blogs everyday. Sadly, I'm at the point of having to choose between my getting my computer repaired, the water heater fixed or the big dent blocking the passenger side door on the car.

I recently noticed that the labels on my recent posts are "Rambling or Brooding" etc. It seems I really need an attitude adjustment. I do have happy things going on in my life, such as:

I just got a Facebook message from my 19-year-old granddaughter that she's getting all A's in her classes in Veterinary Technology. She is a dear, sweet girl but has always struggled in school. Her older sister and younger brother both did well in sports, academics and piano, but she didn't do well in any of those fields.

However, she's had a strong affinity for animals since she was little girl. She wanted to be a vet tech so bad that she volunteered for a year at a vet's clinic. The only problem with being a vet tech is that it doesn't pay very well and the program at Argosy is quite expensive. She struggled through a year of Community College until her parents figured out a plan to pay for school while her older sister is at St. Cate's University.

Now she is on top of the world! And that makes me feel really, really good!