Category Archives: Stories

It Could Have Been Much, Much Worse!

Today’s post comes from Occasional Caroline.

My mother lives in South St. Paul, but goes to church about 25 miles away, in Hudson Wisconsin. The church has formed the “Driving Miss Daisy” ministry to take my mom and her friend, Dorothy (both in their 90s) to and from church on Sunday mornings. I have the “bring them home” shift every first and third week. This past Sunday, a new volunteer had been drafted to bring them home because the regularly scheduled driver has left the church; so this was Jane’s first time. She dropped Dorothy off and took Mom home. She helped her to the door, but when they opened it, a strong gas smell wafted out. Mom hurried in to find her husband and get him outside. He has completely lost his sense of smell, so resisted leaving the house, thinking she was over reacting. Jane discovered that one of the stove burner knobs was on with no flame. She turned it off, got everyone outside and called 911 (I’m not positive that was the exact order of events). Anyway, the fire fighters arrived, checked the house for any other gas sources, opened all the windows and allowed them to go back in.  And all is well. Thank goodness for Jane; what a dramatic start to a volunteer gig! Note: Mom’s husband, still unable to smell anything, starts closing windows to keep Sunday’s cool, fresh air from coming in! 

Have you ever had to call 911?

One-Way Market

On my trip to Madison last weekend, I went to the Dane County Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning. It is a four-block affair that rims the capital building.  You can enter the market from any of the incoming streets but my friends explained early on that you can only go one way at the market.

As we were there pretty early (6:30 a.m.) and it wasn’t very crowded I didn’t understand the rule about one-way. And it’s not a posted rule either, so that made me want to turn and go the other way very badly.

But after about an hour of very leisurely looking, tasting and shopping, it had gotten very crowded; that’s when I realized the intelligence of the one-way rule. At that point it would have been very awkward (and inefficient) to try to go against the crowd.  My friends told me that in another hour, it would be even worse!

It was a great market – all local folks, no re-sellers. I ended up with a purple cauliflower, a chili-cheese bread, a little tiny apple pie, cherry tomatoes that taste out of this world, squeaky cheese curds, another cheese w/ Kalamata olives and some multi-colored potatoes.  A real score!

When have you gone against the grain?

Long Lost Relations

I received an unexpected request for family tree information last week from a woman in Canada.  According to Ancestry. com, she and I are DNA matches and are likely 5th to 8th cousins. Her great grandmother and my Great Grandfather Lunzmann were siblings. I never knew he had siblings, but there he was on her tree, the youngest of about six children. I had never really ever looked for his siblings, and searched  instead for earlier ancestors.

I am very happy that my long lost relative contacted me, since I know very little about the Lunzmann family.  I know about my great grandfather’s life after 1900, but not in the 30 years before that and not his family life in the small village he came from in Mecklenburg , Germany.

This is one time that I welcome the intrusion of new technology in my life . I don’t always feel that way about it.

What about the latest technology do you find charming? What do you find alarming?

 

 

Not Feeling It

Today’s post comes from littlejailbird.

A couple weeks ago my friend from Vermont stayed a few days with me. The first full day she was here, she took the light rail over to the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul to do some research for a book she is writing, but the rest of the time (Tuesday mid-morning to Friday evening), we spent most of our time together.

Those of you who know me at all know that I have a strong tendency toward introversion, which means that I get tired out by spending lots of time with other people, even people I like. So you may not be surprised to learn that, after planning our activity for Friday, I went upstairs to bed and moaned to myself, “I really don’t feel like going anywhere tomorrow.”

But, because she is my friend and because one of the things we’ve always liked doing together is take walks, in the morning off we went to Wood Lake Nature Center. We saw some egrets and either two great blue herons or the same one twice, a turtle, a muskrat, and some egg masses that my friend got very excited about (one of the books she has written is about salamanders). So I ended up being glad I went, especially since one of the egrets was close enough that, even with my not-very-long telephoto lens, I was able to get a couple decent shots.

 

Also, the great blue heron flew in close enough that we got a good view of it in flight. I snapped some shots of it, not expecting to get anything very good, because I’ve never been able to catch birds in flight, but I just couldn’t not try and sometimes it’s fun to try even if you’re pretty sure you won’t succeed.

When have you been glad you went somewhere or did something when you didn’t really feel like it?

Chasing Tales

It is almost a year since our youngest cat came to live with us.  She was found by our son,  abandoned at about 8 weeks of age in his neighborhood.  She is one of the nicest cats I have ever met. She is loving, affectionate, and playful. She always thinks inside the litter box, and has excellent manners. She fetches paper balls and carries them back to us so we can throw them again.  She follows us around the house like a dog would. She is utterly charming. If she were a middle school girl, she would be the one who you hated because she was pretty, everyone liked her, and she seemed too perfect.

Daughter recently got a new kitten, a real terror, who was bottle fed after being found abandoned in Tacoma, and who demands constant attention and loves to attack and scratch. She even jumped into the bathtub with daughter one night.   Daughter won’t listen to tales of our kitten, and says “I know, mom. Luna is the perfect cat. Don’t remind me!”

One of Luna’s more endearing games is to sit on the arm of a dining room chair,  reach her paws under the chair arm, and try to catch her tail. She appears to derive a great deal of pleasure from this.   She is oblivious to the silliness of it, playing catch and release with her tail and then attempting to catch it again.

PG Wodehouse wrote some terribly funny stories about cats. Luna reminds me of one who Wodehouse described as being owned by a C of E bishop, and who liked to sit in the pools of light that streamed through the stained glass church windows and listen  to the organ play. Such perfection is always a sham in these stories, and the cat was eventually outed to reveal feet of clay.  I wonder how Luna will slip up and show us some imperfections.  I think I will find our Wodehouse compendium and read about some cats.

 

Tell some good cat stories.

 

RIP Michael Johnson

today’s post comes to us from tim.

http://www.rollingstone.com/country/news/bluer-than-blue-singer-michael-johnson-dead-at-72-w492020

i was a huge fan of michael johnson’s rooty toot toot to the moon and other on his there is a breeze album in 1972.

he encompassed all the attributes of the ideal performer. great ability, great artistic sense, very pleasant personality. I saw him play in a small auditorium at normandale jr college ( full house was probably 60.) ansd at the guthrie and then i think i saw him a time or two at orchestra hall the day after christmas in kind of a celebration of one more year and we are still here. even when he moved to nashville and was having reasonable success as a singer songwriter he considered minneapolis st paul his home

he was originally from denver but was so loved in the twin cities that he felt this was his true home. a year ago I saw him play at the dakota which is a wonderful small intimate club downtown and it was great. he forgot a few lines and was embarrassed by it but getting old is part of the deal. I saw him play at the hopkins theater ahttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYttaL_AHLwnd he was as much into telling stories about his life and observations as he was about playing the next song. I had told my daughter emma that i wanted to have her take classes from him at mcnalley smith in stage presence. i took a master class from him at mac phail and was very impressed with his gentle direction and basically the philosophy that when you perform you are offer your audience a gift. once i heard him say that i understood why i enjoyed his stage presence so much. that was it.

when I thought of how I would like to be seen when on stage he is what I came up with.

who are some role models you’d want to emulate?

 

Crutches!

A week ago Friday, Husband went, able-bodied, to play volleyball at the Y. He returned hobbling on a right leg that had sustained, as it turned out, the rupture of its Achilles tendon. One Urgent Care and three visits to Winona Health later, his leg is wrapped and he has been on crutches all week. Luckily the location of the tear means that he will not need surgery… just three months of not walking on said leg as it heals. SIGH.

As I prepare to mow our (admittedly miniscule) lawn, I recall the days (just a week ago) when I had only my tasks on my plate. (Poor me.)

Have you ever had to get around on crutches?

If you were on crutches, what activities would you have to give up?