Friday, October 31, 2008

Sticker Shock

It's been about 2 years since I've gone to a mainstream movie theater. I usually frequent the family owned, single screen theater in a nearby town that shows new movies for a $3.00 ticket. For an additional $1.75 I can buy a medium buttered popcorn and a large soda.

Last week, a friend and I went to see "The Secret Life of Bees." I thoroughly enjoyed the book and had heard good things about the film. I was not disappointed. When reading the words and forming pictures in my head, they were so similar to the film makers interpretations - it was uncanny. The screen writers stuck to the book and it didn't feel like much was dropped from the story. The acting was exceptional.

I was disappointed in one thing - the prices. We went to a 4:00 pm showing so got the discounted mattinee rate of $5.75 per ticket. I think I saw $9.00 for a regular ticket price. Yikes. Then on to the snack counter. A small popcorn was $5.10! A SMALL popcorn. I had to check it three times because I thought I was reading it wrong. Nope, $5.10 for a small popcorn. I wondered why the .10 at the end bit when I saw the price of the small soda, it made sense. A small fountain soda was $3.90! And after all that, with the small army of teenagers working at the theater, the bathrooms were atrocious. All I could think about was for $4.75, less than a small popcorn at this 12+ screen behemoth, I could get a ticket, a medium popcorn, a large soda, see a neighbor or two, a clean bathroom and a good feeling knowing that I'm keeping my money in the community. I'll stick to my local theater.

The next day I heard on the news that Jennifer Hudson's family members were killed. She was in the movie, "The Secret Life of Bees" and I had thought how much her life must have changed in the few years she's been in the public eye since being on "American Idol." My heart goes out to her and her family, what an unimaginable loss they've suffered.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Never Thought I'd Miss These

I never thought I'd miss TV commercials. At least the non-political genre advertisements. I'm so tired of the political jabbing ads and the fake sentimental ads of one senator holding the hand of a boy who suffered from a rare disease or another candidate apologizing for "getting her words wrong" and calling her fellow politicians anti-American. Or candidates mispronouncing nuclear and purposefully dumbing down their language skills by forgetting the "g" in words ending with "ing." Listen up you political handlers, I want someone smarter than me running the show - not a dumbed down version of the average Joe or Josephine out to run our government. Hey, I can pronounce nuclear and words ending in "ing", maybe I should run?

I heard someone had an idea to limit the amount of political TV advertisements allowed in a 24 hour period and only starting 6 months before elections. I'm all for government censorship in that case. Think that bill would get passed? Maybe if it had 140 billion dollars of pork tacked on.

Five days. Only five more days until it's back to the good old Pillsbury dough boy giggling, bears using Charmin in the woods, Mothers washing their soccer playing kids clothes in Tide, Diet Coke artistically bubbling into the surreal sky, super mega shrimp specials at Red Lobster, iPhone commercials making me drool and the list goes on and on and on.

So, next time you're cussing out the large amount of commercials plugging their goods before Drew Carey tells you who won the showcase showdown, remember those political ads of 2008. Or, better yet, turn the damn thing off.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fashion faux pas?

Photo by Max Whittaker/Getty Images

I couldn't decide on the caption so choose your favorite or add your own:

1. I think there's probably an opening for a Republican power shopper.

2. Looks like there's an infiltrator in the Republican personal shopper brigade.

3. I think we know who Sarah's secretly votin' for. She's a maverick.

4. On sale now at a Goodwill near you.

Here's a little more info on the scarf from Newsweek blog.

Monday, October 27, 2008

"Words of my Heart" by Irene Kennedy

I recently ordered this book of poetry and am so glad I did. The author, Irene Kennedy, is the ninety-something year old grandmother of one of my graphic designer friends. Clint worked with his grandmother, gathered her wonderful poetry which she's been writing as a hobby since the 1940's, and designed a book that's available for purchase on (link below.) What a talented wordsmith she is. Here are a few examples:

(below are copyright Irene Kennedy)

Step by Irene Kennedy

Part way up the stair

On that step

That is neither here nor there

She squats.

Topaz-colored head

Presses against the spindles

That the small hands grasp.

I do not say a word
But smile into those

Blue-green eyes staring down.

There's something about that step
Part way up the stair

That's neither here nor there.

Her thought brings forth a sigh
from that sturdy little chest,
"Mother, do cows cry?"


I Sit Beside You
by Irene Kennedy

I sit beside you,

Your hand in mine,

And watch you breathing

Shallow and slow.

I felt your tired spirit

Tugging to let go.

For one precious moment

I held your life to mine;

And your great love

Burst around me,

For all time.

When we at the altar

Said our "I Do's"

You were very much aware.

When our babies were born,

You were there.

When they went out on their own,

You were there.

When they returned,

Their ventures to tell,

You were there.

You rejoiced with me

In all our happiness,

And comforted me in sorrow.

When at times, my anger did unfurl,

You were there,

Saying in your quiet voice,
"Down Girl."
You laughed at all my schemes and quirks.

But at the same time

Helped me to make them work.

Now as your hand slides

Slowly out of mine,

I see you through a fallen tear.

Your spirit says to mine,

"I am always here."


Lydia "Rangar's Wife" by Irene Kennedy

Oh, Lydia's tall and handsome

Of lovely eye and hair

But she can wield the woodman's axe

And shoot the eye of a bear.

Oh, Lydia's cakes are fluffy

Her sewing even and fine

But she can portage her own canoe

And cast a good trout line.

Oh, Lydia's like a forest tree

Sturdy and straight and strong

But she can dance like a gypsy

And sing a glorious song.


I greatly admire people with the talent to use words so eloquently to paint the picture of an emotion, person, experience or place. There are over a hundred other poems in the book. The website,, is a self publishing service and you'd be buying direct from the author. Here's a link:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Karen Armstrong - TED Talks

I subscribe to a podcast from TED is short for Technology, Entertainment and Design. These TED talks are inspiring, educating, new idea generating, studies on humanity, thought provoking and the list goes on. I thoroughly enjoy listening to the speakers and their ideas worth spreading. Every year TED talks awards prizes to visionaries. One of the three 2008 TED Prize winners is Karen Armstrong.

Karen Armstrong, a former nun, has written many books on the major monotheistic religions; Islam, Judaism and Christianity. She is a visionary who is observing their common grounds and how they can work together for a common world peace. An idea worth spreading.

I do not belong to one religious group as I don't think one group is right and another group is wrong. Her speech struck home with me as I've always thought there must be similarities in religious doctrines/beliefs and those are what we should focus on, not the differences. I do believe there is something beyond this life but I do not know what it is and do not believe one book or group of people know what it is. I'm content in being surprised when/if I ever find out. In the meantime I'll treat others as I would want to be treated, be compassionate and have an open mind.

You can watch Karen Armstrong's speech here:

Mankind is No Island

This beautiful video titled “Mankind is No Island” recently won first prize at Tropfest NY. Directed by Jason van Genderen, it was shot entirely on a cell phone with a budget of $57.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ron Howard Video

OK, so I haven't talked about politics on here. I had chose to abstain from the political viewpoints as I don't think letting you know who I am voting for will change anyone's choice. But I had to share the video below that Riley over at Licking Calcutta posted.

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dream a little debt free dream

Three years after we moved here, we purchased an additional 20 acres directly behind our property. We were able to purchase it with the equity in our home so we own it free and clear and have the deed in hand. It always felt good to have that piece of land. We baled hay on it for 4 years and have rented it to a local farmer since. There are about 6 acres of woods on one side along the dry run and a 3 acre spot that we call the balloonport where we launch the hot air balloons. This spot is mowed and groomed and perfect for a building site.

We decided to put it up for sale in this crazy real estate market. Who knows if it will sell. It's a beautiful, private spot on a quiet road so it has it's advantages. And then there's the awesome neighbors they'd have ;). If it does sell, we plan on using the proceeds to pay off our mortgage. A little be debt free. In these unsettling economic times, it makes a lot of sense to us.

Hubby is 53 and has been with the same company for 24 years. His company is directly involved with the construction industry so things are slowing down. What would we do if he was laid off or let go? It's unfortunately not unheard of for companies to think of their bottom line and let the older, higher paid employees go. My sister is a prime example of this having been let go for a minor infraction after 30+ years at the same employer. We need to be prepared for the worst.

I have a friend that has been unemployed since February. A talented sales person who has an average of 2 interviews a week and hasn't been hired. Finding work right now is not an easy task. The unemployment percentages are hugely inaccurate. They don't count the people that are still unemployed after their unemployment benefits run out. I wouldn't doubt that the numbers are double what you hear on the news.

So the thought of not having that mortgage payment looming overhead is occupying our minds right now. Send us some good "real estate selling vibes" and let's hope someone out there is ready to buy.

(Note: This is the 200th post on born a girl. Who knew I had all these words inside of me?)

TFD Cracks me up

toothpaste for dinner

Monday, October 20, 2008

Make a Wish

Have a wish that needs to be made? Over the next few nights, the Orionids meteor shower, second of the year, will be producing the most shooting stars October 20-22. For us in the Northern Hemisphere, we'll see about 20 meteors per hour in the Southern Hemisphere, 40 per hour. They will be most visible in the Eastern/Southeastern night time skies. 20 per hour? Hmmm. I better go get started on my wish list.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Around the Yard

Before all the leaves drop to the ground, thought I'd get a few shots around the yard of the changing foilage. And then there's that creative bit that dwells within...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Letter to Aunt Lorraine

Dear Aunt Lorraine,

I knew the last time I saw you, you were not much longer for this world. It's still hard to fathom that you are gone forever. I have so many good memories, those will never leave.

I've been thinking of you all day. Reminiscing and remembering little things; facial gestures, your hairstyle that never changed, the way you'd grab onto my hand and hold it for a long time, that funny wiggle walk you'd do sometimes and sticking your tongue out when you laughed. But it's the laughter. I will always hear the laughter when I think of you.

Will love you always,


Goodbye Flowers

We had a hard frost last night as can be seen on our zinnias. So, no more pretty flowers & foilage until next spring. *le sigh*

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Catholics have all the fun

As a young child, I attended the Methodist church with my family. Even though I currently choose not to be part of an organized religion, I am most familiar with the Methodist church when it comes to such things.

I can remember growing up being a bit jealous of the Catholics in my small town. They had the fanciest church. Most of the popular kids attended the Catholic church. They also had the most population of kids (duh), with the Lutherans close behind. Then there was the little white Methodist church with maybe 10 kids in total. It's just a fact, when you're a kid, you want to be around other kids.

I used to spend some time with a neighbor friend who's family was Catholic. They were a large family (duh) and when they gathered for a meal, it was an impressive crowd. This was also the first place I saw people recite a prayer, all together, and perform strange, synchronized hand movements. I remember feeling very awkward and out of place. I think it was my first culture shock. In our small, very caucasion community, religion, income, townies or farmers were pretty much the only differences among us.

Later, as I learned more about religions and the Catholic practices and rituals, I thought the Methodists were even more uninteresting. We only talked about Mary around Christmas. We didn't have rituals or synchronized prayers during our service. I take that back, the Methodists recite the Lord's prayer together and I guess their ritual was passing the donation plate; just not as fascinating as the Catholics. Then there was the Catholic stuff: the saints, the necklaces/rosaries, the cards, the statues on the dashboards, the swinging smoke thing and lighting candles. The Methodists didn't have any cool stuff.

Now, after all these years, those old "Catholics are cool" thoughts came streaming back. And it was because of the bowling ball rosary story from Herald & Review in Central Illinois...

Monday, October 2, 2006 8:43 AM CDT

1,000-pound rosary sends heavy message:
By TONY REID - H&R Staff Writer

Photo by Herald & Review/Kelly J. Huff

NOKOMIS, ILLINOIS - Hail Mary, full of grace ? and if you sinners out there try to pray this particular rosary, you are going to need a back brace.

Not that fingering the 59 beads is the point here, of course. The rosary that retired quarry worker Bernard "Chub" Clark has created in his rural three acre yard near Nokomis is made of old bowling balls and probably weighs close to 1,000 pounds, give or take.

Behind the rosary is a cautionary sign, stark black letters against a white backdrop: "You know not the hour Jesus will come - please pray." Clark hopes the message rather than the rosary will weigh heavily on the conscience of rubber-necking motorists passing by on Hillside Avenue. Clark believes mankind has strayed further and further into the gutter and our Father, who art displeased in heaven, is getting ready to bowl us over for our wickedness.

"People have got no respect for themselves or anybody else," laments Clark, 73, a faithful Catholic. "And I do think, if we don't change the ways of the world, then the good Lord one of these days is going to say 'The hell with you' and stick a match to it."

He's convinced his 65-year-old Lutheran wife, Wilma, who has a 500-plus collection of angel figurines and thinks her husband is on to something: "The signs aren't good," she says. "Things just seem to be getting worse and worse all the time."

So, what to do? Her husband took the view, supported by his wife, that if people aren't taking much notice of God, you can at least remind them that he's out there in the great alley of sin, keeping score. Clark, who has bowled a fair bit in his time and fingered a personal rosary so fervently over the years he had to replace the worn-out beads with lead shot fishing weights, decided he could combine bowling and the rosary to make a striking statement about salvation.

He got it all done four years ago, linking each ball by 1/4-inch log chain and attaching a 2-foot by 16-inch cross hewn from 4-by-4 treated lumber at the center. Word of his creation has gradually spread among the multitude, and various priests have dropped by for a visitation, too. In July, it made the front page of the Catholic Times, the official newspaper for the Catholic Diocese of Springfield, no less.

"After it came out in the Catholic Times, I don't know how many phone calls we got about it," says Wilma. "We've had a lot of people coming out here to take pictures of it."

Her husband even encountered a passer-by who confessed up front he was an atheist but, despite himself, couldn't hide his admiration for the bold handiwork wrought by a true believer. "He said he thought the rosary was really neat," recalls Clark, smiling. "So maybe it might be turning him around a little bit towards God, I don't know. It can't hurt, though, can it?"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fall Colors Drive

The hubby and I took the convertible out last Saturday (October 12th) and drove around in the hills in Buffalo County, Wisconsin. The colors were not quite peak but we were able to cruise around with the top down so it was close enough. We had a fun day. Enjoy the slideshow...

Monday, October 13, 2008

You Just Never Know #2

You just never know what's going to come up in an iTunes search involving the word "concertina"...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

You Just Never Know #1

You just never know what you're going to find when you Google Christopher Walken...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Strange Tastes

I wonder why it is I like the foods that most people wrinkle their noses at? Is it some sort of genetic thing? I know my love for stinky fish comes from my family. We all love a good smoked whitefish and pickled herring. Oyster stew is also a family holiday tradition. It's the good Norwegian in us don'tchya know.

When shopping for groceries, I can't seem to pass up the smoked oysters or the kipper snacks. I was strangely excited while at Trader Joe's the other day I found smoked oysters and smoked herring at a better price than my local store! See? Even now when I'm writing about it I want to use an exclamation point! That's weird isn't it? And when I discovered they were of much better quality than my local stores' options, I was beyond myself ecstatic! I wanted to call someone with my great news but knew no one that would appreciate it.

I also love cooked spinach, brussel sprouts, liver and onions (with mustard) and blue cheese. I've never tried it but I'm guessing I would love that stinkiest of cheeses, Limburger. And then there's my spicy factor...I love spicy foods too. Anything with Szechuan in front of it is my choice at Asian restaurants. Chili, the spicier the better. Although I have to calm down my chili since the hubby doesn't have the same love of spicy foods. I have brought tears to his eyes a few times with my chili.

What strange food tastes do you have?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Hubby sent an email with this snippet about the word "UP"....

There is a two-letter word in English that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that word is 'UP.' It is listed in the dictionary as being used as an [adv], [prep], [adj], [n] or [v].

It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP ? Why do we speak UP, and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report? We call UP our friends and we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, we warm-up the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car. At other times the little word has a real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.

To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special.

And this up is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.

We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP !

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP , look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions

If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it wets UP the earth. When it does not rain for awhile, things dry UP.

One could go on & on, but I'll wrap it UP, for time is UP,so time to shut UP!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Psychic, Clue or Pumpkin

Hubby read my mind this past Saturday. He did! Really! It's actually not such an unusual event in our household. The guy has some extra receptors in his brain that tune him in to things. I admit though, I did help this one along a bit. I made a grocery store run earlier in the day and left the convertible parked in the driveway rather than putting it in the garage. I hoped hubby would see it and suggest a drive. It was a beautiful, cool but sunny day. With too few of these days left before the snow flies, he "read my mind" and we hopped into the convertible and put the top down and started wandering around the back country roads.

We are blessed here in Western Wisconsin with mostly paved back roads. We drove along and decided to go to a little town called Elmwood. North of Elmwood is County Road P. It's a gorgeous drive surrounded by tree covered hills jutting up around the river valley. The sugar maple trees are just on the verge of showing us their true, glorious colors. This area will be dazzling with hills of color in a week or two. We still enjoyed our ride and found some cool smaller back roads.

Along the way we came upon a trailer loaded with giant pumpkins some skilled gardeners had grown over the summer. I've always wondered how they do this. I'm sure it takes a great deal of TLC and even more fertilizer. Then I wondered...maybe it wasn't the hubbies psychic abilities, or even my subtle clue that initiated our afternoon drive...rather, I'm thinking it might have been the gravitational pull of those gargantuan gourds that drew us out that day.

Left to right: 533 lbs./126" circumference, 492 lbs./124" circ. and 642 lbs./142" circ. If you're in the area, these are located at County Road G and County Road C in Pierce County, Wisconsin (east of El Paso and west of Elmwood.) These folks have a large pumpkin field and have larger than normal pumpkins for sale.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Shhhh...tomatoes are sleeping.

You know winter is coming when we have to snuggle up our plants and flowers for the evening frost. You can see in the hill behind us the fall colors are just starting to show themselves. I hope we have a long autumn.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Twenty Years Ago

Today was our 20th Wedding Anniversary. Man, where has the time gone? Hubby said we beat the odds and I think we're still good together after all this time. I couldn't have found a better match.

I went looking through wedding photos this morning with my coffee and walked down memory lane. When I watch my nieces and nephews getting married, I wonder how we pulled off our wedding. The details that go into their weddings today are amazing. I look back at our wedding and I can't remember doing any of those things. Was I clueless or is more expected of weddings today? I have come to the conclusion that my florist was amazing and covered my taffeta covered butt on a lot of details. She basically decorated the church and the restaurant where we had our reception. The details may not have been covered but we had a wonderful wedding day and night all around with great memories.