All posts by Barbara in Rivertown

Faux Sacrifice

Today’s post comes from Barbara in Rivertown.

A few weeks ago I was laughing out loud at the following exchange on The Trail:

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NorthShorer

March 10, 2018 at 10:49 am

Another funny moment in my “annals of kindness” I often leave a loaf of bread hanging on the door of our next door neighbor when she comes home from teaching music all day. I left a loaf Thursday. I just found a note telling me very tactfully that she has given up bread for Lent. 🙂

PlainJane

March 10, 2018 at 12:41 pm

Guess she doesn’t want your wonderful bread to go to waste.

littlejailbird

March 10, 2018 at 2:28 pm

If I was your neighbor, I would never give up bread for Lent.

Of course, I’ve never given up anything for Lent, but if I did, I would give up something like liver or blue cheese.

PlainJane

March 10, 2018 at 2:46 pm

Tut, tut, ljb, it’s supposed to be a sacrifice.

littlejailbird

March 10, 2018 at 4:25 pm

how did you guess that it wasn’t?

PlainJane

March 11, 2018 at 9:56 am

Just a hunch.

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Although Lent has already come and gone, if you were going to give up something for Lent that was a true sacrifice, what would it be (knowing that it was just for a few weeks)?

What would be your faux sacrifice alternative, like ljb’s liver or blue cheese?

Another World

[Begun Friday past: ]

I am not turning on the TV till this evening.  I spent most of the past two days allowing myself to surf the tube: the limited stations we get with our basic cable, which you have to have to get any reception here in Winona, because of the bluffs. I am down – nay, flattened – with a virus, onset early Wed. morning. This hardly ever happens to me, and I’m a little out of my element. Of course I have several books/magazines I could be reading, but nnnooooh, my brain would rather veg out. So I started flipping channels.

If you’ve been “grounded” for any reason, you probably know about this:  daytime television is one of the strangest places on the planet. You have your soap operas, your game shows, your talk shows, your day-court shows, and your Dr. shows (Oz, Phil). And now thanks to Decades, we are treated once again to such gems as Donna Reed and Petticoat Junction. MeTV gives us Saved by the Bell, and Mama’s Family, which I didn’t watch, and Matlock and Diagnosis Murder, which I did. There are two or three channels full of all manner of Westerns (who knew there that many of them?). I saw a Gunsmoke and a Wild Wild West. Can’t recall where I ran into Real Stories of the Highway Patrol, but I’d much rather watch Broderick Crawford (Highway Patrol, late 50s)!

It’s probably just as well we don’t get any of the Movie channels.

There are a few bright spots – I can always watch an episode of I Love Lucy or M*A*S*H, and Laugh-in is still a hoot, but one a day is plenty. And for some reason I can still watch Dick Cavett… he was one classy interviewer. PBS has some episodes of Home Fires, one of my favorites, Last of the Summer Wine (for Clyde), plus cooking shows, some Rick Steves travel, some crafts like origami, and Paint This with Gary Yarnell, that I would watch any old time.

What do you do with your down time if you’re laid up for a while?

 

 

Hello, Spider

As I was waking up this morning and staring at the ceiling, I saw a brown spot start to move. I watched the spider crawl along, defying gravity with what I assumed were its eight “sticky paws”. Suddenly it wasn’t there, and I thought, “Uh-oh, now it’s on the floor and I have to kill it.” But I didn’t see it on the floor. I looked up and there it appeared on the ceiling again. I finally realized it was dropping down, either by accident or design, on a spinner thread, then crawling back up. It’s apparently building a web. Watched this until s/he went behind a blade of the ceiling fan, then I lost him/her. Now see it some days, not others.

You can tell it’s been a long winter when I’m so hungry for watching wildlife that a spider is a big deal. (I am, happily, not especially unnerved by them.) I started wondering:  how the heck do they stay up there, anyway? Went to the web, and found a site for kids under 10 years, called Ask a Grown-up:

“If you could take a really close look at a spider, then you would see that their feet are covered in tiny little triangular hairs. They look a little bit like paddles on the ends of stalks, and they give the spider a much bigger surface area. When the feet make contact with a wall or ceiling, they create a force – a temporary attraction between the bottom of the spider’s foot and whatever surface it’s on (the grown-up name for it is van der Waals forces).”

I see while searching that I’m not the only one curious about this. Here are other questions being looked up:

Can spiders die and still hang on the ceiling?

How do spiders walk on walls/ceilings without falling off?

Why would a spider spend days in the same place on the ceiling?

How do I get the spider off my ceiling?

How do you feel about sharing your home with critters?

What wild life are you looking forward to seeing as we edge (ever so slowly) toward spring?

My Favorite Maverick

, I don’t usually watch the Oscars, but decided to tune in Sunday night about 8:00. It’s fun to see all the gorgeous gowns (or non-gowns) and the antics of the host, et al. – like Jodie Foster blaming her crutches on Meryl Streep (they were reportedly due to a skiing accident). And this year I was curious to see what would transpire as a result of the “Time’s Up” movement.

But for me Frances McDormand, who won Best Actor for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, stole the show. She played the glamour game to a point, wearing a long dress and little if any make-up or jewelry. And Sunday night she was all business: “So I’m hyperventilating a little bit. So if I fall over, pick me up ‘cause I’ve got some things to say…”

After setting down Oscar on the floor beside her, she continued:  “And now I want to get some perspective. If I may be so honored, to have all the female nominees nominated in every category stand with me in this room tonight. Meryl, if you do, everyone else will… Ok, look around… ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell, and projects we need financed. Don’t talk to us about it tonight. Invite us into your office in a couple days or you can come to ours, whichever suits you best, and we’ll tell you all about them.”

From Variety.com: “She finished her speech by calling for contractually mandated inclusion across films: ‘I have two words to leave with you tonight: inclusion rider.’ Specifically, an inclusion rider is a clause in the contract of the top line talent on a film that requires a diverse crew to be hired around them.”  The article  continues with McDormand’s comments about how “trending” differs from what is really happening in Hollywood.

Frances McDormand has become my role model, and I plan to see Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, plus any of her other films I haven’t yet seen. She is my new favorite maverick. (Try and forget the Sarah Palin image that just entered your mind. I was going to call F.M. my favorite “renegade”, till I checked my definitions.)

Who is your favorite maverick, renegade, or iconoclast? 

Ice Cream for Breakfast

Today’s post comes from Barbara in Rivertown.

A friend has forwarded to me the information that (get ready) February 18 is “Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast” day. According to one story,  E.I.C.F.B. originated to increase awareness about childhood cancer, and to commemorate the short life of a little girl named Malia Grace, who lived from February 18, 2001 to Dec 7, 2010.  “First celebrated by a group of close friends to commemorate her life and creativity, Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day went on to become a day to honor all the children who have or are battling childhood cancer.  It exploded onto the scene, with thousands of people from all over the world taking part and spreading the message to thousands more.”

Happily, this year February 18 falls on a Sunday, when many of us have more time to hang out with our family, our pets, etc., and indulge.

I also came upon a different site:    This article relates that a mother named Florence started the trend to cope with the boredom experienced by her six children. The next year her kids remembered, and it got to be a tradition. And “thanks to Florence’s grandchildren, who have traveled extensively — Ice Cream for Breakfast Day has been celebrated in countries all over the world, from Germany, to Nepal, to as far as Namibia.”

Whichever story you relate to, enjoy! As the t-shirt says, “Life is short. Eat dessert first.”

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

What else should we have for breakfast that doesn’t usually come to mind?

Faulty Sidewalks

Today’s post comes from Barbara in Rivertown.

A couple of weeks ago our neighbor, while out walking her dog, went down on glare ice – that sort of fall where you are suddenly flat on your back staring at the sky, and don’t know how the he** you got there. This was worse than usual though, as she cracked her skull on the ice. Pamela actually passed out for a bit; there was a lot of bleeding, a trip to the ER, and a concussion. She’s almost back to normal now, but is taking an afternoon nap (which is tricky at work), and was told she must not hit her head again. Just saw her (carefully) walking the dog for the first time today.

Traveling on foot is particularly treacherous in this season, due to a lot of melting and freezing. And here in Winona, we keep getting a new dusting of snow, which is fine in some places but hides the ice in others. I fell last week after a concert, because of an uneven sidewalk that wasn’t really visible – “just” went down on my knees, but was OK mostly.

Have you had any really bad falls, either out- or indoors?

Got any tips for prevention?

Trail of Ice

I’ve written here before about my fond memory of ice skating on the Iowa River north of town, early in the winter before it became completely snow-covered. My dad would tell of following “their” creek for miles as a kid. Once you’ve skated a distance like that, a rink no longer seems very romantic.

Enter Minnesota’s first Ice Skating Trail, in the Northwest Minneapolis suburb of Maple Grove. From the December 2017 AAA Living magazine: “Lampposts offer a warm glow, and the surrounding trees’ white twinkle-lights brighten both trail and mood.” I imagine skating there at dusk, as the sun goes down.

One of only a few in North America (see also Chicago and Toronto), it’s an 810-foot loop that feels “more like a stroll in the park” than the laps you skate at a traditional ice rink, according to Minneapolis Northwest, a regional newsletter(For reference, a regular hockey rink has a 570’ lap.)

You can skate earlier in the season (and later) than most outdoor rinks, as the trail is refrigerated and maintained by a Zamboni. There is skate rental (and concessions like hot chocolate and popcorn) during Central Park’s warming pavilion open hours, but park benches are available anytime for putting on your own skates.

I would have loved to have this nearby when I was still skating.

What will get you out of doors this winter? 

Would you like to try driving a Zamboni, or some other heavy machinery?