Friday, June 30, 2006

The Price of Fuel

Today I "bit the bullet" and filled up my car tank with gasoline. I have never spent $35.45 to fill up any car I have owned before! On Tuesday, when the tank was about 1/2 full and gas was costing $2.69/gallon, I thought about filling it up. But then - I procrastinated. Big mistake! The very next day it rose to $2.99. Well, today the price dropped to $2.89 and the needle on my dash was about to "beep" with the warning that I'd have only one gallon remaining.

Now, I realize that other parts of the country (and world) are paying much more than we, but somehow that didn't make me feel any better. I'm curious - - what is the going price where you live?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Back to the 50's Hot-Rod Show

Today my brother, sister, her son-in-law and grandson enjoyed the Back to the 50's car show in St. Paul. Can you imagine 11,000 gorgeous (well, not all were gorgeous - some were a "work in progress") restored autos that are all older than 1964? While most vehicles are parked along the by-ways of the State Fair Grounds, many are driving slowly through the crowds (easily 50,000+ people), revving their engines, causing many to "back-fire", which the crowds love! The men - and lots of women, are all smiling, taking pictures, and reminiscing about the car they once had that looked like this one or that one. I'm standing next to the copper-tone '57 Chevy that looks identical to the one our family once had. (photo #6)

I personally like the ones that are restored to their original look - right down to the original motor horsepower. My nephew and great-nephew like the ones that are really "beefed up" - with lots and lots of chrome. They also like the flames and lots of pin-striping.

This year there was a '38 Packard that took my breath away. It is the beautiful beige convertible shown here. (photo #5)

I saw only one VW - and the owner had drastically changed it. It's looks to be half the height of a "real" beetle, plus it has something "strange" done to the engine (in the back of the car). I think it looks hideous! (photo #4)

My friends Sandra and Jim show their vehicles there each year. Here is their '49 Ford pickup. It is painted beautifully. (photo #3)

Each time I attend this event, I tell those with me at the start that they can choose one car to "take home." This year I decided to take home this "Jaguar!" (photo #2)

It was a fun time - seeing so many quality automobiles - and eating a corn dog and greasy fresh-cut French fries and a real Coke (not Diet-Coke today, thank-you)! Oh, we ate at a table outside a shop - not from our car as you can see by the tray attached to a car window. (top photo) Another great element is the 50's music being played all over the fair grounds. If you like old cars, you ought to try to come to this event sometime.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

My Daughter Makes Me Proud

All of my kids make me very proud, but today I would like to highlight Heidi, as she is about to take an incredible walk that will help many, many women who are cursed with that horrible disease - breast cancer. She has been training for over 10 weeks, along with her dear friend, Janelle, and many times, Brian, her beautiful Golden Retriever. Many people have helped her raise the required amount of money needed for her to be eligible to participate, and to you I say: "Thank you." Thank you for helping a very needy cause, and thank you for having faith in my daughter, of whom I am extremely proud. Thank you, Heidi. I will be cheering you on all the way from Minnesota.

The Robins Have Flown the Coop

I came home for lunch today, so anxious to see the little baby robins once more, and what did I discover? They have flown the nest! All I could see was one little one, and he was hovering under my window. One of his parent's was over-head and was cheeping and cheeping at me - or maybe he was cheeping at Junior. At any rate, once again I grabbed my camera and got this photo. He is sooooo cute!

Tonight he is gone. There is no sign of any of the family that lived outside my cottage for a little over a week. I had no idea they would grow up and leave so suddenly. But at least I got to see one of them one more time.

It reminds me of my kids. It seems like they were little, and all of a sudden they live in Japan, Seattle, and near downtown Minneapolis - - married to wonderful people, and one of them has given me two darling angels. I know just what Mr. and Mrs. Robin are feeling tonight.

My Babies Are Really Growing

While leaving my home this morning and passing the bush that supports the nest with my baby robins, I noticed they had grown so much that not only their heads were above the nest, but also their shoulders. They were packed in tighter than the folks flying "economy." I hurried back into my home and got my camera and took this photo. (Double click on photo to enlarge.)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Peder & Sarah's 1st Wedding Anniversary

One of my very favorite things to be doing is spending time with my kids. Last night was such an occasion - Peder and Sarah came to my home to have dinner and dessert. We had such a good time together - reminiscing about that special day, June 12th, a year ago when we gathered for what we thought was an "engagement brunch" but which turned out to be a ploy to get us together for their "surprise wedding!"

Last night they shared with me the details they had to accomplish well before the 11th of June, which was the big day for Heidi and Chad who were throwing a big family barbecue in celebration of their elopement in Hawaii in February last year. Peder and Sarah certainly didn't want to take away any of the attention due to Heidi and Chad, but knowing that the entire family would be gathered for this weekend, they thought "Why not? Let's just throw in a 'surprise wedding' that no one will have to get all stressed about. This way, all of our family can be in attendance." And so the plot thickened. The "surprise wedding" was just perfect! And now we can all laugh about it. Best wishes, Sarah and Peder!!!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Another Extraordinary Discovery

Sometimes it pays to take a different route home. Such a decision brought this treat to my eyes - 48 egrets in one marshy pond. The most I have ever seen in one place up to now is 2. I don't know if this happens to be an ideal place for nesting, or if they are migrating, but I do know the sight was beautiful. I have driven past this location for 4 days now and they are still there.

Wind, Rain, and Thunder

Last night we had torrential rain and strong winds, with lots of thunder. "Will my baby robins be safe? Will their mom and daddy be able to give them adequate protection? Should I go outside and stand with an umbrella over the shrub that supports their nest? What should I do?" Those were some of the questions that I mulled over and over last night. I went to bed, asking God to watch over the little family outside. The first thing I did this morning was open the blinds to check on them. God is good - my little family survived!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Delightful Discovery

Today I discovered a little family of Robins just outside my cottage window. There are 3 little ones and the mom and dad. I am just delighted that they chose to build their home so close to mine. :-)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

50 Things turning 50 this year

1. My Fair Lady
2. Doris Day's "Que Sera, Sera"
3. Invasion of the Body Snatchers
4. The Hermes "kelly bag" (inspired by Grace Kelly)
5. The Interstate Highway System
6. Yahtzee
7. Colo, the first gorilla born in captivity
8. Plymouth Fury car (the star of Stephen King's Christine)
9. The Wizard of Oz on TV
10. Masters Tournament on TV
11. Jif peanut butter
12. Artificial intelligence
13. "In God We Trust" as our national motto
14. Elvis's hit "Heartbreak Hotel"
15. Pampers
16. Cytogenetics (look it up!)
17. First hard disk drive (from IBM)
18. "Dear Abby"
19. The Hundred and One Dalmations (the book)
20. Kim Cattrall
21. Toaster ovens
22. Peyton Place (the book)
23. First climate-controlled shopping mall in the world (Southdale Center, Edina, MN)
24. Queen for a Day
25. Mel Gibson
26. Certs
27. Transatlantic phone cable
28. Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line"
29. Battery-run watches
30. Uncle Milton's Ant Farm
31. As the World Turns
32. Diorissimo perfume
33. First wireless remote control
34. Isolation of human growth hormone
35. Godzilla (U.S. version)
36. Martina Navratilova
37. The Hungarian Revolution
38. Pop art
39. Profiles in Courage
40. Four basic food groups
41. Tom Hanks
42. The Price Is Right
43. Videotape recorder
44. Nonstick frying pan
45. Chuck Berry's "duck walk"
46. The King and I (the movie)
47. NBC's Ann Curry
48. Scotchgard
49. Do-it-yourself haircolor
50. Play-Doh

Sunday, June 11, 2006

2nd Viewing of "A Prairie Home Companion"

This afternoon I viewed the movie A Prairie Home Companion, for the second time, knowing I would be able to look at more details of the film. This time was magic - - I saw myself! Granted, the camera was not doing a close-up of me, but I saw not only my aqua sweater, but my face. A few seconds later, I saw myself clapping. This was so much fun!

Once again, I really enjoyed the film! I caught lines and actions that I missed at the first viewing. It was interesting listening to a different audience - just like when our choir sings the same numbers for two different services at church. Even when we sing them identically, one audience will erupt in applause at the completion of a number, the other sits like "stones." At the completion of yesterday's viewing, most of the audience applauded. This afternoon's crowd laughed at many more jokes and comments, but did not clap at the conclusion. Go figure.

The reviews I have read have been positive. They are from around the country - not just the prejudiced Minnesotans. :-)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A Prairie Home Companion - the movie

Yesterday I went to see the movie "A Prairie Home Companion" in which I was an "extra" during the filming in two of the audience scenes, and my review is: very, very entertaining! I was tapping my foot along with all of the songs, laughing at most of the jokes, and learning along with everyone else in the theater the story going on "back stage" during the final radio broadcast (which is a fictional story, I might add. The actual show which is broadcast on NPR on Saturday evenings is by no means ready to come to an end! Not to worry.).

Here are some of the things I loved about the movie: I loved that no "fake" buildings or backdrops were used. The famous Mickey's Diner in downtown St. Paul is the location used in the opening and in the closing scenes. The same little house with a front porch that one sees on the stage if attending a live broadcast is in its place. And most importantly, to me at least, is the use of the beautiful Fitzgerald Theater in downtown St. Paul, again - the location of most of the live broadcasts.

I was amazed at the singing ability of Meryl Streep- this was my first time hearing her. I looked forward to the few scenes of which I played a small part - (1) Garrison's opening of the live broadcast; (2) the death angel walking invisibly through the audience; (3) the singing of the song "Bad Jokes" by the singing cowboys, played by Woody Harrrelson and John C. Reilly; and (4) the scene with Tommy Lee Jones (the Axeman) conversing with Kevin Kline (Guy Noir) and Virginia Madsen (the death angel). It was really fun to see Garrison Keillor acting with such big name stars. During the couple of days that I witnessed the filming, Garrison pretty much stayed "in the shadows," often in the back of the theater within ear shot of the director Robert Altman, but NEVER interrupting him with suggestions or comments. Yesterday (in the film) I saw him singing and chatting with them. It was great!

I loved the way Robert Altman wove the story back and forth - from the "ON THE AIR" scenes to the sad reminiscing going on with the regulars who were in their dressing rooms or in the side-wings waiting to go on. Oh, and watching the "sound man" doing his "thing" during one of the numbers - well, you'll just have to go and see it for yourself!

Monday, June 05, 2006

My dear friend Cassie

will be 13 years on July 24th that I first met Cassie. The occasion was her 80th birthday. I went as a guest of a friend and was delighted to listen to her talk - her sweet Norwegian accent and her funny idioms. I can't recall how our friendship flourished, but I can tell you this - I am so glad it did.

Here's a little of her background: she was born the eldest of three children to a poor farmer and his wife who lived in Wisconsin. They attended a Lutheran church. Cassie's job on the farm was to stay in the house to help her mother with the cooking, baking, and laundry. Consequently, I have been treated to some of the best sugar cookies and apple pies imaginable! As a young woman, her favorite thing was going to community dances. It was at one such event that she tapped Warren on the shoulder during a "tag dance." That tap blossomed into marriage. The marriage came to a shocking end about 14 years later when Warren died suddenly of a brain hemorrhage.

Cassie had mourned Warren's death about 9 months or so when one morning she heard a knock at the door. She opened the door to see Warren's cousin, Russell, who asked, "How would you like some company for breakfast?" Cassie thought to herself: What could I serve him? So she asked him if he liked pancakes. "Do you have Log Cabin Syrup?" he asked. "I sure do!" she replied. You guessed it, Cassie and Russell were married not long after. If I have heard Cassie tell that story once, I have heard her tell it 100 times, and I never tire of it. Her face just beams!

A few years after Russell and Cassie celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary, Russell became very ill with emphysema. Cassie nursed him the best she could, but in 1988 he passed into glory. [I didn't meet her until 1993 - so I never met him, though I think I would have liked him.]

Cassie has been a wonderful role model for me. I have only met a few others that are as generous as she - both with material things and compliments and encouragement. I have always admired her positive attitude. When her sister (age 91) is crabby to her, she says, "I just let it go over my head because she probably doesn't feel good." She loves the Lord and is always saying "God was with me..." She'll always have a special place in my heart.

I don't get to see her as often as I used to as she had to move from the twin cities about a year ago to an assisted living facility in Rochester to be nearer to her niece. We talk on the phone a couple of times a week, but it isn't the same.

About 3 weeks ago she had a nasty fall and broke her arm in two places. Now she wears a cast and is having to deal with eating with her left hand. But she is a trooper and doing the best she can.

If you get a chance to have an elderly person become your friend - take it. I am so blessed to have Cassie as one of my "girlfriends"!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Carlsen Twins

I have been watching what I deem a "miracle" in the news story of the sucessful separation of the conjoined Carlsen twins, Abigail and Isabelle, 5 month old little girls from Fargo, North Dakota young parents have shown a strong faith in God, never giving up, wanting only for their little girls to have a normal life. The latest report is the prospect of them returning to their home next week - two beautiful little girls with a great future. I want to add, "Thank you, Lord."