Category Archives: Uncategorized

RIP Sir Sean

I knew it was coming but seeing the headline that Sean Connery had passed away still hit me hard.  I was only three when he played his first leading movie role in Darby O’Gill and the Little People but I remember seeing it in theatres when I was about eight and I was stricken.  I’m pretty sure I’ve seen everything he has starred in, good and bad.  I even watched Zardoz on purpose because he starred in it. 

As you can imagine, he was THE James Bond as far as I’m concerned.  I do like most of the others but Sean will always embody Bond for me.  I know the movies are seriously outdated at this point (well, what isn’t these days?) but I will still watch one if I come across it while channel surfing.

In fact, I’ve just gotten a notification that Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure in DVD has arrived for me at my library.  I’m not sure if I’ve seen it before, but I’ll be especially watching for Sean Connery playing one of the bad guys.  Then hopefully I can find a few more of his supportive roles in the next few weeks.

Any Sean Connery movies you’ve seen?  Anybody else who you’ve seen (or read) all their work?

Endings & Beginnings

A couple of weeks ago, Steve sent me an article about the most reviled book endings of all time – with lots of reader opinions and contributions.

I, of course, have opinions about this as well.   I cried for hours at the end of Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.  I know it probably had to end this way to have any impact, but it still broke my heart.  The same for A Separate Peace by John Knowles. 

The Silent Tower by Barbara Hambly got thrown across the room when I came to the end.  As I was getting closer and closer to finishing the book, it wasn’t coalescing like I thought it should be.  I realized at the last page that it was setting up for the next book.  I hadn’t known it was going to be a series and I was spitting mad.  Eventually I calmed down enough to read the rest of the series and I liked it fine enough but I’ve always remembered the book flinging.

I know several people who didn’t like the ending of Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell but it turned out that none of them have actually read the book; they’ve only seen the movie.  I contend that if you’ve read the book, then you know that by the end Rhett is completely done with Scarlett.  No going back for him.  This is the reason that I never read Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley – just so wrong.

Lots more, but it’s your turn.

Any book endings that you abhor?  Or that you particularly fancy?

Invent Your Own Covid Test

Last Friday I was on a MS Teams meeting in a weekly group supervision session I participate in with staff from another Human Service Center. The clinical director of that agency was really amused by the ingenuity of  one staff member and the young adult child of another staff member, both of whom accurately self- diagnosed themselves with Covid.

The staff member was suspicious of some symptoms,  and took a couple swigs of lemon juice, couldn’t taste it, and went for a formal test at the doctor and tested positive.  The young adult was out with friends drinking shots of Fireball whiskey, realized she couldn’t taste it, and went for a test and was positive.

The clinical director wryly suggested that perhaps we all needed to drink shots of Fireball whiskey throughout the day to self-monitor for Covid.  Cinnamon flavored whiskey isn’t my drink of choice, but I could think of other strong tasting things I wouldn’t mind monitoring with.

Make up your own Covid test.

Bikes & Bites

As Guinevere and I were walking along, I heard music behind me.  At first I thought it was a car with an open window but when I turned to look, I saw what looked like a parade of bikes.  But unlike most parades that include bikes, many of the bikers had carts attached to their bikes or they had kid carriers – all filled with toilet paper, paper towels, diapers and other “essentials”.  There were probably about 30 bikers and they were all very friendly.   Guinevere and I stood and watched as they all went by.

It didn’t take long for me to find information on like.  Brian Boyer started Bikes & Bites this summer after the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent unrest that followed.  It was clear that supplies were needed in the affected areas, as well as in the homeless camps in the city parks.  So he combined donating essential items with his love of biking.  Initially it was just one or two bikers with a handful of folks purchasing extras when they did their shopping.  Since August, it was clearly expanded to the bike parade that I witnessed. 

This kind of thing keeps a little of glimmer of hope alive for me during this awful year. 

Any new organizations that you’ve seen pop up in 2020?

The Lefse Purity League

Husband and I rolled out about 75 sheets of lefse on Halloween.  Husband considers us lefse purists. We would never use mashed potato  flakes, as many do, in our lefse. We try to use store-bought, ND grown russet potatoes along with white potatoes we grow in the garden. My recipe calls for lard, and we use our own home-rendered lard, as well as organic heavy cream, sugar,  and flour. We rice the dough twice.  The recipe is one I got from a local church member who got it in California  from a Jewish woman married to a man of Norwegian heritage. It doesn’t get much funkier than this.

I rolled out the dough and put it on the griddles. Husband fried and flipped and transferred the lefse to towels to cool.  We used two griddles. This year we realized that one of our griddles was defective, so that meant a quick trip to Ace Hardware for a new one, along with another flipping stick. ( I got tired of sharing the one we had with Husband as he fried and flipped.) We now have his and hers flipping sticks.

I have two pastry boards, three pastry board covers, and multiple cotton covers for my lefse rolling pin.  The pastry board and covers are great for rolling out pie crusts, too. You can’t let the cloth get damp or the dough sticks and you get holes in your lefse. It is really important to keep the dough as cold as possible before you roll it out. I know that I have rolled it thin enough when I can vaguely see through the dough the red letters imprinted on the pastry board cover that say Bethany Pastry Cloth. This is an Iowa company that sells everything you need for lefse making.

All my relatives identified as being of German heritage. None of my relatives  ever made lefse. I learned to make lefse here in ND, in a German church with very few people of Norwegian heritage, but many who insist on making lefse every year.  I am continually amused as  keeps reassessing my DNA  and now tells me my DNA is 17% Swedish.  I don’t know if Swedes make lefse, but I know what lefse is supposed to be like.  Mashed potato flakes indeed!

For what will you accept no substitutes? What equipment do you have that you consider essential?

The Calendar

Advent wasn’t a thing at my house growing up.  In fact, I didn’t really know what advent was all about until I was out on my own.  Of course, any thing that I can use to amp up the holiday season has my name all over it.

For many years I had an advent wreath with candles (until it caught the tablecloth on fire).  When YA was young, we had a window cling advent calendar (until she pulled all the pieces off the window – I still think that maybe some of the pieces may have gotten eaten by a dog or even flushed).  I made a big advent calendar out of little tins and lots of holiday paper; it was finally retired a couple of years ago when YA informed me that she didn’t really need to be “doing that” any more.

Two years ago a wine advent calendar hit the Aldis shelves for the first time.  I heard about it right before Christmas – too late.  So last year, I did some research and was dismayed when my friend who works at Aldi’s HQ here, said that the wine advent calendar isn’t sold in Minnesota due to the liquor laws here.  No alcohol sold in grocery stores.  I looked online and found a couple of other wine calendars but they were much more expensive than Aldis and then there was the shipping to Minnesota issue.  YA and I did score an Aldi’s cheese advent calendar and enjoyed it so I decided to try again this year for the wine.

I left the house yesterday at 6 a.m. and headed to River Falls (the closest Aldi’s carrying the calendars).  Arriving at 10 minutes to 7, I saw that four other folks were already there.  We all huddled in our cars until someone drove up at 10 after 7 and got out of her car.  At that point, we quickly started lining up outside the store.  Even though I had thought the process through a little bit, bringing a stadium chair, I neglected a coat, gloves or blanket.  I was VERY happy when the sun finally got above the tree line.  Store employees came out with “tickets” at 8 a.m.  There were wine advent calendars, beer advent calendars and hard seltzer calendars that required tickets and had limits.  It looked like the employees had about 50 of each type of ticket.  By the time the store opened at 9, there were probably 125 folks in line… all down the outside of the store, around the corner and down the whole parking lot.  I can’t speak for other parts of the line, but at the very front, we had a party vibe going right up until opening.  In addition to the wine, I also managed to get to the cheese calendars before they were gone.

Since we know we’ll be having a different kind of holiday season this year, at least we’ll have fun with our cheese and wine every night of advent.

When have you gone out of your way to get something you really wanted?

Crunch Time

This has been a great week to enjoy the leaves.  Everywhere I walk with the dog, there are leaves gathered up along edges of sidewalks and in many places folks have been raking so there are little piles all over.  Since it’s been dry for at least a week, it is marvelous to crunch through them as we walk.

During my first autumn at Carleton, one Saturday a bunch of us cut through the wooded area behind the library on the way to the football field.  There was a hollow that was completely filled up with leaves and on a lark, we jumped into the leaves and threw them around for a bit.  The following fall, three of us met up and created another leaf pile on the “bald spot” on campus.  That started a tradition that has continued through the years.  A few friends get together, make a big pile of leave and then jump in.  Normally YA and I scout out locations that morning and then afterwards, everybody adjourns to our house for potluck.  If the weather is bad (or has been bad and leaves are wet), then we skip the pile and go straight to the potluck.  There have only been a couple of years when my travel schedule has kept us from gathering. It’s almost a much fun at this dog has:


Of course, this year there was no leaf pile and no potluck (although YA still wants me to make my chili and leaf cookies) so I’m having to get as much enjoyment from walking through leaves with the dog!

Any spontaneous, impromptu gatherings in your past?

All Saints

Sunday was All Saints Day, a fairly solemn day in our church when we remember all our congregation members who died over the past year, as well as our own dear departed. I thought how nice it would be to hear my father’s jokes and teasing again, along with my mother’s keen observations and funny stories. I also thought how much fun it would be to scritch our two Welsh Terriers  behind the ears again, and see the trouble they might get into. I consider them departed saints, too, no matter how naughty they were.

Who are the departed saints  you might like to have a nice conversation with today?

A Day Without Candy….

Friends asked me.  Facebook folks asked me.  I saw the question online in multiple places.  Even Nonny asked me.  “What are you doing for Halloween this year?”  Nobody wants to just give up on Halloween but at the same time, nobody wants to be taking any chances either.

We decided to do a slightly modified evening.  Normally the kids come up on the steps, I stand just inside the porch (with a dog gate up) and put two or three pieces of candy in each child’s bag.  But somehow that didn’t seem quite right for me to handling candy that I’ve just touched.

I found some cute orange and white bags online and I filled them with four pieces of candy each and some inexpensive Halloween stickers that I found last month at Michaels.  I tied them up with orange ribbon that I had on hand.  The bags have been “quarantining” (or should it be “sheltering in place”) in my closet in a bag for the last three weeks.  Tonight I will dump all the bags into a big orange bowl and when (if?) the kids come up I will hold out the bowl and say “take one”. 

I don’t even know if we will have trick-or-treaters.  For the past 10 years I’ve had between 20-24 visitors; I made 30 little bags because that’s how much candy I had.  The big change this year is that I only used candy that I like so that if we have bags leftover, at least it will what I like!

Are you giving out candy this year?  Do you give out what you like or don’t like?  Anything special you like on Halloween?