Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Election Preparation

Got this in from a friend today---

The presidential election is just a few months away. And we've been hearing a lot of talk from both sides.

Unfortunately, it isn't always easy to judge a candidate's stance on issues. Statements can be taken out of context. Or, a candidate may not respond to questions. And if you listen to mainstream media only you have the most tainted view.

But GlassBooth.org can help you make sense of the candidates. It's a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. You can begin by exploring the candidates. You can get information on where a candidate stands on specific issues. The site even cites the sources of its information.

Or, you can take a different approach. Take a quiz on your positions. Select the issues that matter to you. Then answer questions on the issues. You'll be matched with a candidate.

I know what some of you are thinking. Your mind is already made up about the candidate you'll support. But it doesn't hurt to make sure you're voting for the right guy!

Go to: http://www.GlassBooth.org

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Jelly birds and frolicking foxes

Ah it's back to the two of us, nature shows and the Olympics. Is there anything better than watching the best athletes in the world? Takes my breath away. And the opening ceremonies. Each time I think they will never beat this and each time I'm proven wrong. But the Chinese have now set the mark so high, that I feel sorry for the next country--is it Britain? Who will ever top this? The only complaint I have is we have to stay up way too late to watch and when my eyes want to close at 10--10:30PM they are used to closing. Staying up till later hours doesn't do my psyche or body any good. Hooray Mike Phelps and Dora Torres--you go old gal! Well one more week. Even with the supposed 16 year old Chinese gymnasts it is a show. Inspiration to be the best--to win! The payoff for training and practice. Go for the gold nd silver is not that bad either! Just getting there is an accomplishment of a lifetime.

We go through a 32oz. jar of Welch's grape jelly every week to feed the Baltimore orioles which flock off our deck to eat their jelly of choice. They prefer the Welch's and that's what we provide. It seems this year there have been more babies; we've gone through more jelly, and they are hanging around longer. Last years they were all gone by August, I'm sure. But they provide entertainment right out our kitchen sink window or the sun room. I have noticed that when the jelly feeder gets low, the birds fight. Is this a lesson for humans--with scarcity comes trouble? When the jelly is plentiful they seem to get along better each one taking a spot at the feeder. Precious to watch when the parents bring the babies to the feeders and drop jelly into their open mouths. Nature lessons -- the adults don"t do this but a couple times then it's up to the youngens to figure it out.

Our back yard has become fox haven. I don't believe I ever really saw a fox until we moved to MN. This is my third year feeding foxes in the back--I'm the Fox Lady to all the neighbors or word on the street is "these are Pat's foxes." Never mind that foxes have lived here longer than me, by virtue of feeding I'm the fox lady! This started quite by accident. Three years ago I started to put out scraps for whatever animal, coon, possum might saunter up from the creek and hill below. I just hate throwing things out. Well I can't help it.

All our scraps now have a home, nothing is wasted. I love that. Even though we no longer have any domestic animals there are consumers out back. I buy a huge sack of breads and whatevers at the Bread store--used to be called the day old store. Sometimes I mess up and call it the "recycled bread store"--always good for a laugh. Costs only $2.25 for many loaves of squished bread. Weighs a ton and I have a challenge hoisting it into the back of my SUV. A loaf a day is all they need. I also purchase a big sack of dry Purina Cat Food for days when there is nothing else. I don't want to spoil these foxes from hunting which they need to do to survive, but feeding them has provided real cheap entertainment which we both watch out the door or windows.

The only thing so far the foxes have not eaten is raw carrots. Some got too rangy in the fridge so I gave them up to fox food. You could see the foxes sniff and look up at the house--as though, "Carrots? Carrots? We don't eat carrots!" And the next day there were carrots remaining scattered all over the lower lawn.

Last year I found an old pan as a fox dish. Now the foxes have their own dish. When we are out of town they don't get to eat unless jerry's cousin and friend clean out their fridge. But the very day we return so do they. They go right for their dish. They arrive at different times. Usually by 5:30--6:00PM. Sometimes though Mama is extra hungry and shows up at 3:30PM looking into Jerry's shop and up toward the house. One day I pedaled in on my bike and there she was--I told her "It's way too early." She just looked at me. All I have to do is take the food down and they seem to know my scent and voice, "Foxy, come and eat, come on Mama Fox."

We have noticed that by late fall Mama and Papa run the kids off--begone! On your own! Do it yourself! Also this past harsh winter there was no fox feeding. I suppose they had more sense than us and headed to Florida for the winter! But by spring they return. I'll never forget the first time a Mama grazed trough our back yard up to the bird feeders--"Jerry come look there's a dog!" Well remember I'm a city girl! All I knew of fox was the collar around my old jacket!

This year we have 2 fox families, we think. Mama and 3 babies which she birthed under the neighbor's deck and Mama and Papa and baby. Last year Mama had two wild ones who would jump and attack her as she brought them up the hill to feed. I could see the exhaustion on her face--these damn kids! Settle down! Dad had to help with the escort. We can always tell the babies--by size by redder coats and by laziness. They seem to tire and lay down in the yard while the old folks feed. Mama sometimes becomes the scout turning them loose and settling back to watch.

This year while the kids and grand daughter were visiting, they witnessed Squirrel Hunter Flat Tail, the name I've given one baby fox who is bound to catch some of the squirrels which help themselves to the back yard bird feeders. Squirrel Hunter slinks along and watches the squirrels. He has come close to pouncing right onto one or two. But the other night I was glad to have company witnesses. "Hurry and come look" I yelled. "Fox is climbing the tree!" No one would have believed this woman from CA.

Jerry moseyed on over and could not believe what he saw. Neither could the other 3 who high tailed it to the sun room. We all watched the fox climb the ash tree--about 8 feet straight up the trunk to the fork of the tree! Chasing squirrel. We have plenty head of squirrel in our back yard, so I would not mind him having a good dinner. Squirrel climbed higher and really touted the fox. Fox hung over the fork of the tree and surveyed. For a bit we thought he'd go higher. For a bit we wondered if he'd get stuck in the fork. Eventually Squirrel Hunter descended, "Darn no squirrel tonight! Guess I'll eat bread."

Now I don't know much about fox but the locals tell me fox don't normally climb trees. Jerry's cousin asked what I'd been feeding them. This particular night they had left over pizza from 2 nights before. Yes our fox are quite the showmen.

I will be writing a story soon about Squirrel Hunter and Scout. Like I've said, right out our back yard, birds, squirrel, foxes. Cheap entertainment.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Are we dealing with, dementia or plain meanness?

Back to our simple quietude which we do not appreciate until we have a week like this which was. While we loved every minute of their visit, tonight we crash--a week of son, DIL, and grand daughter took its toll. That with the late night Olympics broke our routine, especially mine.

Activity all week--starting Sunday with their arrival. That was the day Jerry's mother, 91 years old decided to act out. For a bit now she has been exhibiting very nasty tendencies toward me. Most of this happens when people are not around just her and me--sleers,nasty comments, insults, etc. I get annoyed but walk away. Sunday though after providing dinner and having her here to be part of the company, she began her laments about her Oceanside tribe. They are Jerry's dead sister's progeny--the ones who have done everything but assassinate a president. They are alums of every penal institution in and out of CA including Folsom prison; but in her eyes the cops have always picked on them. Yeah right--innocent druggies, robbers, etc.

Many years ago in CA as a favor for a friend who was at the CA Youth Authority, I chaired some promotional panels around the state to develop lists to promote managers (officers) within the Youth Authority System. In Chino, the warden of Chino prison served on the panel. As we chatted I told him that my nephews were alums of his institution; he knew them. Recidivistic grads. So far now 2 are dead from police related incidents--one shot by police swat team in Oceanside in the 70's at the age of 15 or so; one committed suicide in jail just last year. Anyway quite the group. But in their grandmother's eyes they're innocents. Believe that and we have a bridge to sell you cheap.

It is a sore subject in this house. Jerry has defended me from the old lady in the past who promptly forgets what she says. Since no one will push to have her tested for dementia, so that we know what we are dealing with, this behavior is ignored. Her adult children say, "that's just Mom." We need to know is she really crazy, can she be medicated, can she be committed to live where they see to her taking the right pills, is she just acting out for attention, is she manipulative?

I knew it would be tough with Aunt Marie gone. I was right. Aunt Marie kept Florence some what in check, till her last years of frailty.

So here we are having a good day to start off and here is the 91 year old talking about her tribe. And ain't' it awful what lives they have had. Ain't it awful how sad, etc. I heard enough. This makes everyone uncomfortable to say the least. And this never comes up around Jerry because he will not tolerate it! So it's me, DIL cleaning up after dinner in the kitchen and the old lady watching us. In my own home and feeling I can say something, I suggest to Florence that she talk about something pleasant. With that she (Jerry's mother )goes off on me: "Well this is MY FAMILY. We are not up to your class. You, Pat, live in your own little world where everything is perfect, everything is wonderful..... '' On she went snarling at me and throwing her arms about. You haven't seen anything till you have seen this 4'10" nasty old grey haired unattractive lady carry on.

Many in her family said she has always been nuts. She did time in the mental hospital in her 20's committed by one of her sisters. Not playing with a full deck and certainly not today. I say something again, like, "just talk about something pleasant, Rod, Sophia, Barb, " "Well" she yells I don't know anything pleasant. After all you go by every day and you never stop in to see if I need anything...." By this time I bite my tongue and walk away. And yet I know that if I attack back it will make me look worse. See she has an audience--DIL. This goes on and I walk off into my own living room, mumbling to Jerry. DIL takes old lady outside and calms her as a timeout. Before being taken to her own home, Florence tries to offer a bit of an apology quoting the Bible that the tongue will get her in trouble---I walk off again.

I don't know what she's up to this time, but I will have no more of it. I do not deserve this. This is not the first time I've taken such crap from her. After all, the reason she lives around us is no one else wanted the responsibility of her. In 1990father in law died: we got the old maid! No gratitude for all we have done and change that to me. Her 80th birthday party; her 90th birthday party, finding her mobile home in the Sr. Park in Newcastle; taking her to church; introducing her to folks. What to do. Descend to her level? Then again, in her demented mind she has pulled it off again. Jerry is more than fed up but what to do. He said after her 90th when she did not even thank me that "no more will you do these parties for her even if she lives to be 100."

Last night we take her to dinner with everyone, which is an inconvenience--having to take 2 cars and pick her up. At dinner she acted like she'd never been in the restaurant; I remind her she's been there many times. She snarls at me again. I order a Margarita and drink it and ignore her. DIL sits next to her and helps out. What an angel, Angel is! We take her to see the sand sculptures on the river and DIL as sweet as she is, holds her hand and walks with her. Old lady grins knowing she has a patsy.

Well after some rest, I do intend to tell her that I shall no longer be available. She can torment whomever she chooses, count me out. Maybe it's time she moves to CO with her daughter. Me thinks she knows what she's doing; and thinks folks will think,,,"such a sweet little old lady." NOT

But as my friend, Sandy, advised me today, "you do not like to lose and you do not like to be out of control. You will win this one too..And where was your bottle of vodka?."

This has taken time on my blog but someway I have got to stop this abuse. My mother is long dead and I would not tolerate this from her. We fought. There are only so many chances in this life and biting the hand that feeds soon cuts that hand off. Even if the biter is senile. I know that people can only make you feel bad if you allow their garbage into your head---now what's wrong with me? Our favorite old friend, adopted Mom, Helen Kiker who died at the age of 98 in NV the same day as Aunt Marie always said, "Old people just don't get to be crabby and nasty. They were crabby and nasty when they were younger. People just become more like what they are as they age."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Vintage Perception

We are enjoying a week's visit with son, DIL & grand daughter from CA this week. (The Morrison's of Rancho Murietta) Lest I forget, this revelation of vintage being in the eye of the beholder, I must record this on the blog.

Janine, grand daughter, will be 18 end of the month and just graduated from high school. This trip was a big graduation present for her and their first trip to MN. Well grandma figured this would cost some bucks, and after all look at all we have missed in contributing the last few years being here. So Sunday while Mom & Dad napped to recoup from the red eye overnight flight I decided it was time to take Janine to The Buckle. Well on Sunday in this area, most stores are closed but the Buckle which is a funky 20's something place is in the mall next to Macy's. We spent some time there and left with two funky tops which she can add to her collection. I said I would only buy 2 for her so she chose carefully from many strange looking things (in my vintage eyes.)

We were talking about clothing and I admitted to being old now because these ugly clothes and resurrections of psychedelics do not at all appeal to me. Janine said she loves sales--well I bet because the price of clothing would at least be tempered with sales. And she said she likes funky (isn't everything funky today) and really "loves vintage."

Vintage, now that's something I know about. I commented that the local college girls pick up 40's & 50's clothing from Goodwill or rummage sales and then have it altered to fit them. She got a strange look. She didn't say much. In a little bit she mentioned vintage again. So being the perceptive grandma that I am I could perceive a defining moment was in order.

Oh yes it was...Janine explained that vintage means stuff from the 70's. Well that was a real eye opener for me. Here I'm thinking 40's, maybe 50's are vintage. And here is the Kid who knows its the 70's.

Now I realize that we are Vintage People--which I commented on yesterday through our journey in the Niagara Caves some 260 feet underground, the hard way, steps down and then steps up. That's us including vintager grandma with cave phobia in the photo. It's the back up those same stairs that's a killer after walking around for nearly an hour. It was supposedly only a one mile walk, but felt like 20. Now, because I grew up in PA, land of coal mines and had grand fathers who were coal miners I've been disabused of any interest in underground. I do not do that--one could say I have a phobia about underground. I've had limited times venturing there, once in CA at the Grass Valley Empire Gold mine when my Mom & aunt visited where I shuddered the whole time. And this event yesterday. As if it were not enough, the venturesome folks on our walking tour group wanted all the lighting turned off----shudder. For the few seconds it lasted, I was not a happy spelunker! But here in Harmony, MN at the "world famous" Niagara caves, we had our experiences stretched. DIL, Angel, loves caves so this was a trip for her. And why didn't this vintage person stay on top where she is much happier.

Well, sometimes Vintage People need to have their experiences expanded and so we are this week. See what we miss without teenagers! Who would have thought that the 70's are vintage. I'm so glad Janine clarified for me! Off the blog, she has just advised me that she is now up (yeah I can see that) and ready to go.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Stuff and more stuff

Yesterday I browsed over to the local Catholic School's summerfest to buy two BBQ dinner tickets for us. The dinner was to honor the parish's two sisters (nuns) who are retiring to their convent order in Rochester, MN after many years in this community. I have met them both and especially enjoy Sister Marga, she is always bright with a smile. So I thought this would be a good way to avoid cooking and enjoy the evening with others. Being a Catholic event they had a beer tent too, so liquid refreshments were available.

I recite my mantra as I approach any rummage sale, estate sale, auction, silent auction, Goodwill or thrift store, etc. "NO MORE STUFF" I say this out loud and silently because I really mean it. I really do not need anymore STUFF!

But here I was chatting with the neighbor, enjoying the time, and intrigued by what might be around. First the silent auction where there was a tent full of different items. I have been cured of my CA tendency to bid up the prices to help raise $$. That's because I learned that here in MN they often will not outbid me. That results in my acquiring stuff for which I have no need. Often it's stuff I merely store until I can take it to the Goodwill store or until some other deserving organization has a rummage sale and requests donations. Oh now and then there is something that I just need to acquire, like my life size angel adorned with white mini lights and a golden mesh skirt. (Photo of she & me attached)

Angel graced the local Catholic church balcony until the Monsignor decided she must go. He said she was tacky and he could no longer abide her being suspended from their choir loft. So the ladies of the parish agreed to put her in their silent auction about two years ago during their community fall roast beef dinner. Well, I just cannot stand to see a perfectly good angel go to waste. I'd not added any new angels to my collection for a long time. And there she was, no bidders. Heck, she's worth at least $10, my bid. My bid was the only bid because how many people have room for her. The next day when I was called to come get her the ladies had teased the Msgr. that he'd won her. Right in the midst of this, I arrived to claim her to which he was so relieved that he said, "I am giving you a special blessing for taking her away from me." Ever since she has resided in various places in the house, upstairs, downstairs, bedroom and most recently out on our enclosed 4 Season Room. From there she has joined in and watched over many events including our neighborhood women's bunco night. She smiles as we roll our dice and drink our adult beverages of choice when I host the gals. I usually serve wine or Brandy slushes and she & I sample the drinks first to be sure that she agrees they are just right! Jerry greeted her with something like what the old Msgr. must have felt, "what in the world are you going to do with that!" To which I said, "Don't offend her, she brings a special Catholic blessing from the Msgr. himself." This stirs up my Catholic roots.

Well I just had to browse the rummage sale where they were taunting $1 per grocery sack. I acquired a neat small wooden knick knack shelf, just what I'd thought about the other day; it seems Divine that these things materialize at the Catholic church for me a lapsed Catholic. Sure wish I could chant my way to winning the lottery! But then as folks remind me, "Pat you first have to buy a ticket." Well just Friday as I was dusting in the bedroom my thought, "if I had a tiny knick knack shelf I could put these precious little figurines onto it and get them off my night stand." From my mouth to the angels' ears! There on the rummage tables was a tiny wooden shelf. Perfect, Divinely guided. It has two shelves and tiny spool and rim holders along each. Into my bag it went. I also found a little paperback book of scriptures and quotes, "What Gardening has taught me about God." Well you all know that I am a book addict. Here's one I could have written. And, in anticipation of arrival of one and only granddaughter in a week from CA I found a great beaded bag--old looking, maybe from the 50's beaded white mesh. She will love this. And if she by some stretch doesn't I can always use another bag, maybe, or pass it along. To my calculations these treasures were only 33 1/3 cents each! Now you just can't beat that.

Time to get on with the evening details, dinner, etc. More later in Part 2 of Stuff and more stuff.

Liberals, socialists, communists

Perennial Socialist Party presidential candidate Norman Thomas (the grandfather, incidentally, of Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas), echoed that sentiment: “The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”

It is really starting to bother me tremendously that people can't distinguish between socialism and what the leftists, extreme Democrat liberals are spewing. Maybe that's because there is no difference any longer. There used to be, I think in the days when there truly was a concern for the less fortunate of our nation.

I attribute this election year phenomena to the lack of real education in this country. Our public schools are no longer (for the most part) teaching, they ignore history. Most teachers don't understand history at all so how can they pass along lessons. What we have now is a result of probably one or two generations of declining education and increasing indoctrination.

Socialism, liberalism and communism, words that have amazing parallels today. Electorate beware "a fool and his money can be devious..."

I have a very radical right friend who has ranted about communism over the years I used to laugh at him and think, we'll never go there. Then one time I recall remarking to him that "the term communism is passe...it's no longer existing." He was smarter than me. What we are facing now is a resurrection of the communistic state here in this country disguised as toleration. Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev said of Roosevelt’s “New Deal” paradigm shift, “We can’t expect the American people to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism.” And then it will be too late for all of us.

This is the scariest national election I have ever encountered.

Friday, August 1, 2008

A new environmental term

Last night just for fun we attended a town hall meeting at the Legion about electrical power lines that are proposed from S Dakota (coal generated) to Minneapolis, down along the Mississippi through the hills and from the La Crescent township across the river to La Crosse and then on to Chicago. What entertainment. We went for information about this project and to learn why some are upset.

A troupe of falsalarmist environmentalists are trying to stop this. I said we went for information but this was indoctrination. They talked about electro magnetic fields. I asked what scientific data they had that indicated these were harmful to human beings as it is my understanding that one would have to be very adjacent to or under an exposed power line for more years than the human life span to be harmed. They admitted they had no data, but then one said, "well we didn't have data about second hand smoke either..." To which another man, a smoker, groused, "yeah and you still haven't proven that connection." Someone mentioned global warming and one of the old farmers in the audience said, "sure could have used that this past winter." (Now don't get this wrong, I hated being around smokers and so selfishly I'm glad for the smoke free environments.)

We sat for about an hour listening till we couldn't stand the humor any longer. Besides I was beginning to show my Pat-side--giggling uncontrollably which always causes Jerry to look at me. There was plenty to laugh about, like why are all these people afraid to cut their hair? Old guys with grey pony tails, receding hair and shiny bald heads really look funny. So do old ladies with long gray bushy hair, uncombed, too au naturel with no make up and dirty feet in bare sandals. I can understand when the young are involved in such a movement, but I guess I expect better from us more mature types. with age comes wisdom, supposedly. But not for a bunch of aging hippies.

One of their new catch phrases--"community based wind." I thought I'd heard everything in CA but this was new to me. Jerry came up with a good explanation of that--the entire town gathers at the parking lot of the hockey rink (aka our community center) and everybody farts on signal! Wish I could do a graphic artist's rendition of that cartoon.....a town bent over, drawers dropped, ready, aim, fire!

Evidently they don't want these nasty electricity lines--because they are generated in SD by coal! I asked what they thought might happen if everyone starts buying electric cars and plugs them in. I also mentioned that with people pollution (over population) and growth there is a complementary need for electricity which does not fall out of the sky. Ahh wind energy--that;the answer. Someone asked what happens when the wind doesn't blow.

In CA under Jerry Moonbeam Brown's governorship we built massive areas of windmills all along the Altamont pass. They still work, some, but I understand CA wants to shut those down because birds are flying into the blades. Well they only do that once.

Our DFL dumbocrat legislator was there to convene this meeting. It was funny to hear him praise the MN legislature for passing a law in 2007 that we will conserve. He says as a result our MN electricity use is declining(BS!) But it's not so in the states around us because they don't have these laws. I can just see it all now, all it takes is a law passed and immediately usage is decreased--please don't let congress find out. Oh no danger yet, they adjourned for vacation.

They talked about the power grids and some more mumbo jumbo. At the head of this agitation was (what else) an attorney for some "Concerned citizens." It was a cheap night out. We left and came home and finished the blue berry pie I'd made a couple days ago. I don't think I'll ever forget the term "community based wind!" I've laughed all day about it!