Ask Dr. Babooner

Dear Dr. Babooner,

The last few days have been glorious for the middle of March in a northern climate. I’m absolutely giddy with good feelings about warm sun, comfortable air, moist Earth and the fragrance of growing things that aren’t moldy or cancerous.

But my husband says I should be distressed about this warm spell because it is a sure sign of climate change! “Our planet is dying,” he says, “and you go around grinning like it’s some garden party.”

He tells me to get angry about our addiction to fossil fuels and insists that I should ride my bike to Inver Grove Heights to protest in front of the Koch Brothers refinery because they and their cronies are obstacles to the kind of change we need if we’ll have any hope of saving our planet.

He’s probably right, Dr. Babooner, but on such a beautiful day I just want to put the top down and go for a ride in my convertible. Is that so wrong?

Sincerely,
Guilty About Feeling Fine

I told GAFF that her husband is a fool. You can’t harangue people into feeling differently than they do, especially when it’s about something we take as personally as the weather. Climate change is real, but no Minnesota human can win a popularity contest against a 70 degree day in March. Although he has a point about the driving addiction, she should continue to feel fine. What’s wrong with putting the top down on the convertible and sitting in the driveway with a picnic dinner and a bottle of wine?

But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?

81 thoughts on “Ask Dr. Babooner”

  1. Morning all. I admit I am enjoying the weather as well. On Saturday I word my zorries/flip flops all day and have taken the dogs on longer walks because the weather is nicer.

    As a Minnesotan, part of me feels guilty — did we suffer enough this past winter to deserve this nice weather so soon? And it makes me worry — if it’s this warm now, what will it be like in July and August????

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    1. I’m with you, VS. I can’t help but enjoy the weather – and the past winter which was hardly worthy to be called winter in Minnesota – BUT the hot weather last summer made me want to die. What is this summer going to be like??? 100 degree days the norm with 115 a hot day and 90 a cool day? And it’s been so dry, I worry about all the trees and other plants that need precipitation to survive.

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      1. Same here, Edith. I HATE hot weather and last year was miserable. The neighbors have taken down the tree that was shading part of the west side of the house, so it’ll probably be like an oven in the apartment this summer–we’re talking about foregoing a replacement microwave in favor of a window AC for the living room. Worse yet, this year I’m plunging into gardening for reals (four people will, in theory anyway, be eating my produce!) and I’m really worried about rain on top of all the other things a new gardener freaks out about.

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      2. I’m pretty sure I gained 10 (or more) pounds last year because all I did was sit around and eat ice cream. No energy to move when it’s so hot.

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      3. Remembering the quality of past seasons must be like remembering (forgetting) the pain of childbirth. I have no recollection of last summer being hot, cold or indifferent.
        I agree that super hot weather makes me just want to sit around like a slug. I now have central AC, thanks to the airport commission but I still like to use it as little as possible.
        Aha! It must have been the central AC that made me forget about last summer’s heat!

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    2. Yes, the sunshine has been a tonic the last few days and I’ve walked “the loop” between and over the Lake St and Franklin bridges several times. Dug the summer clothes and sandals out of the basement and dreamed about getting a pedicure, my big summer indulgence. Is there anything quite as heavenly and indulgent as a foot massage?

      OK slightly OT, but . . . The zori/flip flop thing reminds me of a senior moment. Not only do I have a deep culture gap (50’s and 60’s TV/advert references are a black hole) but words keep changing meaning faster than I can keep up. I went into a Walgreens a few years back to get some zori/flip flops for myself and couldn’t locate them so I asked a nice young teen age clerk where to find the “thongs”, “you know those ones made of rubber that you wear in the summer”. I’m sorry to say I did use those words and he had to consult another teenage clerk at great length with much whispering and snickering. I’m sure I made their day. I’m so, SO out of it, but I’m over 60 and am past caring any more. Just trying to keep my head above water 

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      1. What is that little thingy at the end of my paragraph that stole my smiley face? I don’t even know the word for that.

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      2. It is easy to remember what a “thong” is. Legend has it that when former president Bill Clinton met a group of junior staffers, Lewinsky snapped or flashed the straps of her thong underwear. Suddenly the president understood that this was a gifted and interesting young woman. Or at least, that’s how I remember “thong.”

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      3. That’s priceless, Robin… hope you don’t mind me laughing at your expense 🙂
        … and, yes, it looks like a square to me as well.

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        1. Not at all, my family does it all the time 🙂 Culture gap, generational gap. . . one more strike and I’m out!

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    3. No guilt here… I remember the HUGE dues we paid last winter and think we all earned whatever reprieve and enjoyment we can get out of the deal. Maybe, instead of being a state inhabited by snow birds, we’ll become a state of “sun birds”… all heading north during the summer months!

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  2. Rise and Revel in the Day Baboons!

    Dearest GAFF: Your husband must be descended from Iowa farmers. With this weather dependent group it is chronic complaints and hand wringing.
    It’s too wet.
    It’s too dry.
    It’s too warm
    It’s too cool.
    I’ll get hailed out, an early frost, a late frost, it will rain too late and the grain won’t dry.
    Or the most frustrating: It is just too perfect and it won’t last.

    We have plenty of crummy weather here, so enjoy the lovely day and join a climate-change activism group to address the long term concerns.

    OT–BTW–The sling came off yesterday. They do not cast elbows because a cast causes too many long term range of motion issues. So now it’s off to Physical Therapy, ice and Ibuprofen. I can again type with two hands, so now you get my usual mistakes, not the one-handed variety!

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    1. That’s great, you’re on your way, Jacque! I hope PJ has a window that opens so she can enjoy the fresh air, too.

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  3. Well said, Jacque. As she seems to know, sherrillee’s second paragraph is classically Minnesotan: she worries about good weather because she anticipates paying for it with lousy weather in the future. My attitude is that of an old frog sitting on a lily pad in the middle of a weedy bay. Gee, the sun feels good, and I’m sure if I keep still here a nice fat bug will fly within range soon. We don’t pay for pleasant weather with future pain or anything else. It is a gift, and the appropriate response is to enjoy it.

    Congratulations on having two hands to create typos now instead of one! Have fun Sunday.

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    1. Exactly what I have planned for this beautiful day, SiSP… just looking forward to the next big fat bug unlucky enough to fly by! Enjoy 🙂

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  4. We are expecting a high of 80 today. The building where I work has hot water heat provided by a boiler in a completely different building on campus.The boiler is not turned off until May 1. We can’t control the heat in our offices. Even if the fan is turned off, the heater radiates warmth. I expect to have a very toasty place to work today. I know that if they turn off the boiler too soon, we will have a cold snap and then we will freeze until the boiler heats up again. I am worried about the trees coming out of dormancy too early. We also have to worry about range fires, and I see we have Fire Weather Warning and Red flag watches today. I agree with Jacque about the farmer thing, They say the same things out here.

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  5. word press was trying its own little way that i needed to do something differently. it took a couple days but here i am. i missed out on making contributions that i am sure would have changed all you lives but i dont remember what thye were now so youll have to muddle on. the mesage kept coming up, you are not signed in to your word press account. i tried and tried but word press wouldnt hear of it. remember when you were a kid and you were in trouble for something and your mom madeyou sit in the house asa punishment. all the other kids out runninng and playing and having fun. i have been listening to the baboons having fun and i have been stuck behind a mute keyboard. no fun. glad to be back.
    80 degrees? i think maybe getting out side would be a good idea. worry about the sky falling. sure what the heck. newt was on this morning telling me how he’d fix that rotten obama world out there and if mitt and newt and rick can come up with obama probles and the world climate change can be traced to obamas lack of decicive action then i say take it away answer boys. show us your stuff. they will certainy know how to tap into north dakota and get enough gas to furnish new jobs al the homeless in the country and we can also get gas prices down to 1.18 is newts new mojo. 187,000 backers cant be wrong on the old newt.
    enjoy the day top down, window down, on a walk, in a field in a parking lot wherever the sun finds you on the most glorious friday before st patricks in the history of the universe. me and the polar bears are going to enjoy it. bliss is in the eye of the beholder. dont let your rolling stone gatehr any moss and luck of the irish to ya.

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    1. It’s what happens when you misbehave in moderated Chat rooms as well, tim… they put you in a Time Out. You can see the conversations flying by, you can even type and see what you’ve typed in the Chat box… but no one else can. I received a 5 minute ban in an Occupy chat room and caught myself talking to myself, wondering why no one was responding to me any longer… like an unrealized dropped phone call. I highly doubt Dale would have banished you from the Trail, though… hmmm, or would he? 😉

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  6. Sounds like you need to get your husband outside, GAFF. You could compromise, ride in the convertible to someplace nearby with a picnic, take a walk in the glorious weather… many people “come to their senses” once their senses get outdoors.

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  7. I have felt like a sunflower turning my face toward the sun these last few days. Like I good Minnesotan, I fret about what summer will bring if it’s already in the 70s now, but like the frog on the lily pad, I will enjoy what is here and not fret too much about what I cannot control.

    Jacque – glad you are out of the sling.
    Renee – I hope it doesn’t get too hot in your office today.
    PJ – if you are lurking, i hope you are near a window that you can open (or at least get the sunshine on your face through the window).

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    1. Wonderful images, the sunflower and the frog on the lily pad 🙂 I’m right with you, Anna. A little sunshine lifts us all this time of year!

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  8. I have hardly had time to notice the weather for the last couple of weeks! Wow! Yes! It’s really nice out there – warmer than normal for March, isn’t it? How many St Patricks Days can you remember when it was over 70 degrees? I don’t know if I remember one.

    It’s so warm, in fact, that the ice has left all of the lakes (here in the south) already and that means that the fish hatchery has swung into high gear two to three weeks earlier than usual. The ten men have been out on the lakes (yes, in boats) capturing northern pike that are already full of eggs and milt. The pike will be brought back to the hatchery in tanks later this morning. The fish are removed one by one from the tank and held over a metal bowl. The eggs are gently squeezed out of the females and the milt is gently squeezed from the males into the bowl and the mixture is stirred with a feather. This fertilizes the eggs and improves the chances for survival. The eggs are put up in large hatching jars and cold water is run gently through them from the time they are jarred until they hatch. The hatching season is usually mainly in April and the first couple of weeks of May. Northern pike spawn first, then walleyes. Muskies follow the walleyes and catfish follow in late June (they like it hot). After the eggs hatch, they are called fry. By May, we will have hatched about 35 million walleye fry here. They are taken out to walleye rearing ponds. We have three large rearing ponds here and many others scattered about Le Sueur and Rice Counties. They are allowed to grow over the summer and then we return in the fall, net them out of the ponds and stock them in lakes all over southern Minnesota. When northern pike eggs hatch, the fry are immediately put into 5-gallon jugs and taken to the headwaters of streams or wetlands and stocked. They will make it to the lakes on their own.

    I hope to get some sun on my pale skin this weekend! Enjoy, babooners! Enjoy!

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    1. Krista: thanks for that lovely detailed description of the spawn and how your office works with it. Nicely described. I have a little story that might be appropriate here.

      The DNR maintains walleye rearing ponds all over the state, including at least one rather obscure little lake on the Fort Ripley military area. A DNR crew went out to check on the walleye fry and in their nets they turned up a strange metal object that looked like a sort of rocket with fins. It was obviously some kind of ordinance fired by the military. The question was whether it was a threat to explode if touched. So a DNR guy called some colonel at Fort Ripley and described what they had turned up. He asked what they should do.

      Colonel: “Oh, you got no problem! Describe it again.”
      DNR Guy: “Like I said, it is silver, about 14 inches long, and it has fins.”
      Colonel: “No problem! The DNR uses that lake as a rearing pond. That thing is a walleye. You don’t have to worry about touching it.”
      DNR Guy (roaring now): I am an (effing) employee of the Minnesota DNR, and I know what an (effing) walleye looks like! This thing is metal and it looks like a (effing) bomb! Nobody on my crew would touch this thing with a 20-foot net, and I expect you to do something about it!”

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  9. I always feel a bit out of place discussing seasonal/unseasonal weather changes, as we in Florida don’t have “seasons” per se. We have “Semi-Warm” (October-January), “Warm” (Feb.- April), and “Oh My God, I Can’t Believe It’s So Freakin’ Hot” (May – September). Not to mention hurricane season which runs from June to the end of November each year, turning that period into “Oh My God, It’s So Freakin’ Hot AND My Roof Just Blew Off”.

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  10. To the original question – I think you just hold those opposing thoughts in different brain compartments, the frolicking-in-the-fields compartment and the fretting-hand-wringing compartment.
    Fretting about climate change today won’t change anything but frolicking will improve your outlook on life and maybe give you the strength to do what you can about CC.

    I’d certainly rather be frolicking than sitting at this computer all day!

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  11. I have a nice sunny room with lots of windows that don’t open. At least I get to view the sunrise every morning and enjoy the sun most of the day. A little fresh air would smell and feel good right about now, but I’m not going home probably until next weekend. Walking remains a challenge that causes great pain, but it is getting better. Also, still no weight bearing tolerated or allowed on right shoulder/arm, so still very limited in what I can do.

    As to the weather, sorry that I’m an indoor spectator to this incredible spring weather, would much rather be outside poking in the dirt. When I get home, I’ll be using a wheel chair to get around, so husband will have to build a mini ramp so I can get out into the garden.

    Jacque, glad you’re on the mend and don’t have a lot of pain. Happy St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow everyone. Will have to find a way to make it festive within these confines.

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    1. PJ, I’m so happy to get a post from you – really been missing your voice. It’s so ridiculous that these places have un-openable windows.

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  12. FYI – I also had WordPress issues this morning… it kept telling me I couldn’t be part of the group, made me log in. But you all know me, I don’t like to be told what I can and can’t do, so I just kept trying different ways to get in and finally it worked. WordPress must be having a bad week!

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    1. I had to renew my log-in and user id twice. Then I copied everything out of the comment window, closed the blog, re-opened it, pasted the text back into the comment box and it finally let me post. It seems to really want to know who we are….

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  13. Greetings! Great weather, but it does seem a guilty pleasure for mid-March. OT, but important. Anyone looking for something fun to watch, my boys are graduating to 1st and 2nd degree black belts tomorrow (Sat 3/17) at 12 noon at the Minneapolis Convention Center, Room M100. Lots of exciting karate action and sparring — FREE and open to anybody. Come if you are able. Thanks! Glad to see Jacque and PJ back typing on the Trail.

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  14. I have a week off from school. I am happy. I don’t have to go anywhere or do anything. People, I am going to play around in my garden and do some music and maybe even write a song. I am going to cook good food and visit interesting places nearby. I am going to spend quality time with my husband and my friends. If the weather is going to get bad, fine. I will enjoy the good weather today, tomorrow, and as long as it lasts.

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    1. Wonderful, Holly! I hope your time off is relaxing and you get a chance to do everything on your list. I hope your mom stays well!

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    1. That is definitely a drawback to this weather that so many are blissfully enjoying. More annoying, buzzing little insects that suck our blood for more months of the year. Mosquitoes in March? It boggles my mind.

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    2. Barbara, I’m afraid that a corollary to that might be an early allergy season. I saw a hornet crawling on my front doorstep yesterday and iris shoots are 2 inches high already. Grandbabies and cat Bella are twitching with spring fever, and all this sunshine only highlights my dirty windows, but that will have to wait. Is anyone else having a hard time reading “Hound of the Baskervilles” on a day like this?

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  15. OT: Blevins Book Club meets tomorrow at 2:00 at Jacques… “Hound of the Baskervilles” (though not reading the book shouldn’t stop anyone, it’s mostly an excuse to get together. 🙂

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  16. Happy St. Patrick Day. No Irish in my or my husband’s backgrounds. Not too many Irish people out here, either. Perhaps Ben will appreciate this, though. Our high school theater director has been having lots of trouble with the ancient light board he has to use in the auditorium, aptly made by the Leprechaun company. The Leprechaun light board has been playing tricks during shows, shutting down all the lights at random intervals, usually during the latter half of productions. He is hoping for a new light system.

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  17. PJ, if you are open to it, and if you live in or near Mpls/St Paul, I’d be happy to come over some time in April or May, when it’s safe to navigate in the garden, and do some spring set up work for you–raking, pruning back, transplanting, shoveling mulch–whatever you need. You could sit on your patio and be the director. I have many years of gardening under my belt and a pick up truck, a wheelbarrow, and a strong back (so far, knock on wood!). Also, I live near Kern and could get you some plant mulch/compost if needed. Once we have the beds sorted, it will be normal weeding/maintenance, but it’s helpful to get things off to a good start in the spring/early summer. And Baboons would like you to enjoy your garden since you’ll be around home more for the next few months. I realize we’ve never met and I’ve made some huge assumptions here — so much depends on your healing pace, and if this feels intrusive or too much too soon, whether you live in or fairly close to Mpls/St. Paul, and don’t have 10 acres or more to “farm”. But if it works on any level. . . And if anyone else wants to join in, we could probably get lots done in even one day.

    My sister has just come through 6 months of a horrible foot injury/surgery/reconstruction and I’ve seen how frustrating it has been for her to navigate and carry things. She’s been very creative, but still. . . it’s been difficult. And gardening is one area where I know I could be useful.

    Anyway, just think about it. Hope you’re having some better days here and there. 🙂

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        1. That’s great, Lisa. It will be a few weeks till it’s safe to do much in the garden anyway. PJ, we’ll just wait and take our cue from you, see how you’re doing mid-April or so? This will be fun!

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