Category Archives: Media

Bonding over Books

This morning at the library, as I was picking up my held books, I overheard a budding friendship in the next aisle over. Two five-year olds had an extended conversation about what books they were getting, visiting their grandparents, puppies and like all good Minnesotans, the weather.

I met my best friend on April 16, 1983, in a small room 4 floors below the IDS Center. It was my first day at the soon-to-be-opened B. Dalton IDS. Since I was new to B. Dalton, there were several training modules that I had to read through and then take corresponding tests. Sara was transferring over from another store and needed to do some paperwork as well.  We talked while we worked, about books and pets and husbands and boyfriends – probably the weather as well.  Then we went to lunch across the street at Eddingtons where we discovered we also shared a deep love of bread and cheese.

We’ve been friends ever since, through weddings, divorces, parents’ deaths, kids, home purchases, health issues, money issues – you name it. I can only hope that the kids at the library this morning can continue a friendship that started with books!

Where did you meet your BFF?

Anger Management

My husband is a gentle, scholarly person somewhat lacking in manual dexterity and mechanical know-how.  He married into a family of impatient, dexterous, mechanically inclined hot-heads. The Boomgaardens are famous for their tempers.  I have a farmer cousin noted for throwing tools. I have great aunts who had hair pulling fights in ditches. I have great uncles who shot at each other with rifles.  I manage to keep my temper pretty well, but last weekend was a challenge for me. I am thankful no one got hurt.

It was hot last weekend. We did a lot of outside work in the yard over a four day period. It involved planting seeds and shrubs, spreading mulch, laying out soaker hoses and sprinklers, digging holes, and maneuvering around piles of bagged topsoil, composted manure, and bales of peat moss with tools and wheel barrows. For each task I saw clearly how we had to do it, in what order, and what physical and mechanical actions had to be taken. I was pretty driven to get it done as fast as we could before the heat of the day made it unbearable to work outside.  When I get like that, I forget my theory of mind, and assume that everyone around me sees the tasks and the procedures that need to be accomplished exactly the same way I see it. I get impatient when the people I am working with don’t seem to get it the way I get it, when they fumble around and look ineffectual and dithering.  As Husband said “You do things and you don’t explain what you are doing until afterwards.”  Why should I have to explain what I am doing if it is plain what has to be done?!! Why can’t you think like I think?!!

A very alarming ear worm took hold last Friday as I became increasingly frustrated with Husband and his inability to read my mind.  I decided I had better sit down and have glass of water and reel in my temper. I have no idea from what odd recess of my brain I dredged this up:

The chorus from this went through my head all weekend.  It made me laugh at myself and my irrational assumptions, and forced me to see how unreasonable I can be.  Perhaps all anger management classes should include Broadway musical soundtracks.

How do you manage your temper? What is the angriest you have been? What is your favorite Broadway song at the moment?

How Come I’m Getting This?

We are finally getting a new refrigerator. Turns out Excel Energy has a rebate for getting a new one, and will come and pick up our old one as long as it’s still operational. (We’ll see if it’s quieter than the one that I yell at.)

So in making our decision, I first went online to gauge how many cubic feet our Frigidaire is (18). The next day I noticed a refrigerator ad when I got on the internet. I don’t ordinarily pay ANY mind to what ads are there, but the fridge ones caught me, and I’ve started paying attention. Here are some examples of what shows up:

  • solar panels
  • Lincoln Continental
  • Hulu
  • John Deere
  • Walgreens Rewards
  • (refrig)
  • Sears (refrig)

and ironically enough, a box that says:

  • Click Here to Start Blocking Ads

And then of course there are the Suggested Posts on Facebook…

  • Viking River Cruises
  • a home safety equipment place with Grippers for bathtub
  • Toyota USA
  • etee (apparently an alternative to plastic wrap)

to name a few.

For some of them, I can imagine how they came to be part of my internet experience, but Lincoln Continental? Do any of you bloggers know the ins and outs of this?

What kind of ads show up on YOUR computer threads?

Escape Artists

Photo Credit: Texas Biomedical Research Institute

Baboons were making the news again yesterday – escaping from a facility in San Antonio.

Per CNN, “Four baboons, having clearly read too much dystopian fiction, escaped a biomedical research lab in San Antonio by climbing a 55-gallon barrel and jumping out of their enclosure.  The institute says the three baboons and their turncloak co-conspirator are all “doing well.”  The blue barrels they used to escape, however, have been removed from the enclosure and will be evaluated. Perhaps they enriched too much.”

What would you like for a little enrichment?



Too Much of a Good Thing

Two years ago, husband and I bought cow pots (containers made from cow manure), in which to start our vegetable seedlings. It certainly made sense, since they were advertised to fertilize the plants while they were getting started. Then the plants could be put  in the garden pot and all, so they would continue to be  fertilized as they grew outside.

They sure didn’t work the way the ads said they would. We had the most pitiful seedlings the last two years.  (It didn’t help that last year the cat ate all the pepper seedlings before we could get them in the ground.) The seedlings started out fine, but  6 weeks after of germination their growth came to a stand still as the roots made contact with the pot, and they languished until we got them out of the pots and into the ground.  It dawned on us that the manure that made up the pots was too rich and “hot” for the seedlings to tolerate. We should have known, since we put composted manure on the garden in the fall so it has a chance to really rot and cool down over the winter.  The cow pots were too much of a good thing. This year we used plastic pots to start the seedlings, and they are the best we have ever started.

When have you experienced too much of a good thing?  When has a product (or person) not lived up you your expectations?

Saints Preserve Us

I really enjoy reading about the lives of the saints.  I am fascinated by their histories, and I am also fascinated by the veneration of the saints by many Christians.  Lawrence Durrell writes in his book The Greek Islands that he observed the Greeks to have an intensely personal relationship with their saints, often chastising them for not coming across with answers to prayers. He heard one person angrily refer to their saint as “that stinking old cuckold in the niche” after being particularly disappointed by him.  I am Lutheran, a member of a church not typically associated with the saints.  I understand, though, how important the saints are to many people, and how comforting and reassuring it is to know that someone who was human and not perfect but really, really special,  has our interests at heart.

It is interesting to see  references to the saints in modern day life. Unless you know about St. Apollonia, for example, you might not understand why the new dentist office in town is called Apollonia Dental Services.

Many of the saints died horrible and violent deaths for their faith. Many are exlemplars of Christian charity.  Some saints are more difficult to fathom.  St. Christina the Astonishing is one of the patron saints of mental health workers.  Born in 1150, she was a rather alarming  Belgian woman who died of a massive seizure at the age of 20, and arose out of her casket at her funeral and floated to the rafters of the church complaining that she couldn’t bear the smell of all the sinful people in the congregation. She went on to behave in very alarming ways until she died again at the age of 74.  I don’t know if I would want her to intercede on my behalf.  She was pretty odd. I would rather rely on Isidore of Seville, who wrote the first encyclopedia compiled in the post-classical world, and who probably knows a lot about  everything there is to know.

Even if you are not a believer, who would you want to be your patron saint? 



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?