Category Archives: What Is On My Mind Today

What Is On My Mind Today? Spring Preparedness: Divining Rods,Weather Sticks, and Field Checks


Before the days of well-educated folks providing weather reports over the air waves, that often conflict with the view out of your window, knowing how to find water, predict weather weather and test soil was essential information passed on from generation to generation.  In our farm family that meant mastering divining rods, the weather stick and field checking protocol.

The most important topographical feature to a pioneer picking out a homestead site was an accessible nearby water source.  Here in the land of ten-thousand lakes you would think that a visual inspection of your immediate surroundings would suffice. After all, few Minnesota farmsteads rest far from a standing body of water.  Therefore, it seems to me that one could assume that the water table is high and that well locating and digging, even for the novice, could only end in success.

There are many ways to find sources of ground water.  I just finished reading a handbook for pioneers that was published in 1859.  The writer dedicated a whole chapter to signs in nature indicating ground water. Apparently my great uncles never got their hands on a copy of this fellow’s book, because to the absolute horror of my Christian grandma, they searched for ground water using, “Divining Rods”.

Divining rods are either thin metal wires or a “Y” shaped branch cut off of willow trees.  The wire ones are about 20 inches of straight with a right angle for a handle at one end.  With a rod held loosely in each hand, the operator slowly walks forward.  When the rods detect water, they quickly swing together of their own accord and cross.  As you walk away from that area, they immediately swing wide apart again.   The willow works similarly, except the pointed end will point down when over water.

luther's small catechism

Divining rods are used by a “Diviner”.  Since neither term is included in the catechism of Martin Luther and nobody can explain how these mysterious rods work, they were immediately labeled by my grandma as conscience stimulating instruments of the dark side. Of course, none of us knew how electricity worked or how roosters got hens pregnant either, yet electricity and poultry products were consumed guilt-free.

So when my great uncles, grandma’s brothers, showed up on our farm with those divining rods they were about as welcome as a horribly itchy, gland swelling, stomach emptying, body annihilating  communicable disease.  It was disconcerting to her that none of the adult males on the premises had moral sense enough to have a healthy aversion to self-motivating wires or sticks. However, since hope springs eternal, the children were warned not to go near them as they were suspect.  The divining rods, not the great uncles.

The idea that these rods could find water right out the blue smacked too much of magic or chance for grandma. Both works of the devil.  The only power she gave credence too, was God.  And rightly so. If it wasn’t God inspired, it was suspect. Grandma felt that there was nothing divinely inspired about divining rods. Moreover, she felt very strongly that expecting something from nothing was gambling.  Gambling at best was foolishness, at worst a vice. Vices were the root of all moral decay. Therefore, the divining rod pointed to sin not water.

Now, many people would bet that in a small church-going farm community like Swede Grove, in a state where games of chance were outlawed, that the fear of acquiring a gambling addiction from divining rods would be against the odds. Maybe, even irrational. If I was a wagering woman, I might agree, but I am a Swedish farmer’s daughter. There is logic to grandma’s concerns.  Sin, just like redemption, requires a first step. It’s sort of like her sex before marriage analogy.  Sex is like ice cream, if you have never tasted it, you aren’t going to miss it.

Besides, the farmers I knew were are all gambling addicts from the get go.

There were wagers on which neighbor spent the most time eavesdropping on the telephone party line, if Mennonite ladies wore underwear, how long any member of the family would stay in the outhouse, how many green apples could be consumed before you couldn’t leave the outhouse, which sow would farrow first, which cow would have the biggest calf, what ornery rooster would go next into the soup pot and on and on.  I suppose that some of the chronic wagering could be attributed to weakness of character, but I’d like to think it was because we did not have a television set.

When you really think about it. In reality, the whole enterprise of agriculture was, is and always will be one big gamble. Farming is a crap shoot, all over the place.

I think that is why the menfolk enjoyed using the divining rods. It was a small gamble in their world of constant big gambles.  Eventually, of course, we all took our turns learning to use the wires or sticks to find water.  I have used them and tested them by walking over a water pipe and they did work.

Now, learning to using a weather stick is not nearly as complicated or morally questionable as divining rods.  Weather stick usage is fairly straight forward.  The value of weather stick use is based solely on the presentation of its applications.

yard stick

A weather stick is usually the size and shape of a yard stick.  The kind you get for free at the Minnesota State Fair.  However it is painted completely white.  To predict accurate weather, the stick must first be planted about three inches into the ground.   If you cannot dig a three-inch hole in the ground, you know that your stick’s predicting powers have already begun to work as it is telling you the ground is still frozen. Should water fill the hole you have dug for your weather stick, you can be assured that grandma’s prayers have been answered and no further use of divining rods will be necessary.

Once planted the stick really works its magic.  If you can see it…it is daylight.  If you cannot see it…you need to get your eyes checked, because you should be able to see a white stick in the dark.  If nobody can see the stick…it is foggy. Should the stick cast a shadow…it is sunny outside. If there is no shadow….it is overcast.  If the stick is is raining.  If it is floating…you are experiencing a flood. If it disappears…it is snowing. Should it blow over…it is windy.  If it turns green…you need to cut your grass. And,  if it turns yellow…you need to holler at your dog.

Once you have found water and can use your weather stick, it is time for field checking.  Field checks always taken place after the snow has melted, but before all of the standing water has disappeared.

farm fields

When the time is right, usually during a chore shortage, or before or shortly after a round of food consumption, someone of driving age, between the ages of 6 and 86, will announce they are going to go check fields and start a tractor.

Tractor choice can be a poser. Sometimes, the tractor is chosen because it’s the closest to the field checker. Other times it is picked, because it already has fuel.  Most often though, it is chosen because it is the biggest and fastest.

Once the tractor is started, the field checker invites guests to ride along by hollering for volunteers over the loud revving diesel motor.  The guests, never more than two, stand on the wagon hitch behind the driver. The vehicle then roars down the farm lane.  It races down a county gravel road until the breaks are slammed down hard as its operator rudely cranks on the steering wheel attempting to make the sharp turn into the field’s landing.

Once the all important traditional pause and moment of silence on the landing has been completed.  The tractor, driver and guests brace themselves for a rigorous field testing experience.

The clutch is slowly let out as the throttle is simultaneously thrust to full.  The tractor leaps onto the rich black soil. The deep tread of its large rear tires catapults dirt clogs high into the air.  The driver jams the stick shift into a higher gear to gain speed in an attempt to outrun the dirt clog shower raining down on unprotected heads.

The tractor races across the field, with its passengers’ shirt tails flapping in the spring breeze. It slows as it crests a hill.  The tractor pauses before yawning loudly and taking a deep breath.  Then, with a loud roar, it charges down the hill with its driver enthusiastically yelling, “Hang on!”.

The passengers behind the driver hang onto the tractor’s fenders white-knuckled. They stand on their toes and loosen their knee joints to act as shock absorbers to prepare for impact.  Valiantly the tractor hurls itself towards the flooded valley beneath the hill’s summit while silently screaming, “I am not a boat!.”

stuck tractor2

The splash of water and mud created by several tons of tractor hitting open water at road speed is spectacular! Physics does not lie. For every action there IS an equal and opposite reaction.  As muddy spray shoots heavenward, the tractor’s great rear tires furiously spin.  There is a slide one way, and then a slip the other way before the tractor  just sinks straight down.

Swedish farmers by nature are pessimistic optimists.  They know things can and do go wrong. However, all is not lost if you can find even a little bit of good in it.  Therefore, you only really lose if you give up.

stuck tractor

It is this innate positive attitude to never give in, that can be misconstrued by the non-Swedish as stubbornness, that makes the driver continue rock the tractor back and forth until such a time as it becomes clear to God, nature and humankind that the tractor is going nowhere. This point of cosmic consensus is reached when the tractor’s trailer hitch is underwater and the axles have settled below the mud line.  When these hallmarks are met, the field test is assessed as successful and the field officially declared…not ready.

farmer scratching head

Then, the tractor’s driver and guests slowly survey the scene, while figuratively and actually scratching their heads.

After a historical recitation of infamous past spring field checks and an exchange of situational observations, conclusions are reached.  The tractor is stuck.  They should not have chosen their biggest tractor.  Calls will have to be made to neighbors for assistance. There will be a mandatory re-telling of the best stuck tractor tales.  And, they are going to have to walk home….again.




What Is On My Mind Today? Cabin Fever, Perfect Hashbrowns and Baked Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

Good morning!  It is beautiful this morning with all of the white snow, blue skies, sunshine and the promise of forty degree temperatures this afternoon. The only thing more beautiful, would be anything to do with spring!

In the interest of that, this is a day that the Lord has made and I will rejoice, be happy and not waste it, I will be going outside later.

Going outside this time of year, not freezing and actually seeing the sun shine is a great gift.  Between the flu epidemic and all of the winter slipperiness, except for an occasional rare trip to the store for groceries and doctor appointments, I have not left the house since Christmas.  For a woman who loves being with people and outdoors, winters can become very long.

So, what do I do everyday?

Well, I set aside time to read from the Bible.  I have read the whole Bible and have just started re-reading the New Testament. I keep on tackling reading books from my “unread” pile.  I have read several historical slave diaries, women’s diaries and works written by former President Theodore Roosevelt.  He is a great author.  I have read biographies of the Rothschild and Medici. I just finished reading a book on western historical figure fallacies and am currently reading a book written in 1859 that was the actual handbook pioneers used to plan their prairie expeditions.  “The Best-Selling Handbook for America’s Pioneers,  The Prairie Traveler”, was written by Randolph B. Marcy, Captain, U.S. Army.

All I can say about the handbook is,  wow!  Who would have thought that for trip in a covered wagon, that would take months, all you need to pack is two pairs of woolen socks and a change of woolen underwear.  And, I am now well versed in the care, control and feeding of mules.  Information that would have been greatly helpful during my many years of working in politics.

In addition to reading, I work on my artwork.  I have completed several paintings this winter.  I have shown paintings in several art shows and even though, my paintings are like my children and I really hate the idea of them not being in my home,  it is time to let them go.  I need to start selling some artwork.

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I blog.

When I physically have to rest my much damaged spine to relieve pain, which means lying down.  I watch YouTube videos.

Tornado Chasing 
Pecos Hank Channel.  Hank has great storm chasing videos and plays in a band.  Great storms and music.


Sabino Canyon, Tucson, AZ
Madeira Canyon, Tucson, AZ
Glacier Park, MT

Beach Foraging, 

Coastal Foraging With Craig Evans Channel. Craig’s knowledge of tide pool editable’s and outdoor cooking is amazing.

Abandoned Mine Exploration,
Exploring Abandoned Mines Channel. Frank is good-natured, happy, real piece of work.  He is Canadian. This guy knows absolutely no fear, rarely seems well-washed, and has no common sense whatsoever.  He had a dog for a while, but let’s just say that he didn’t believe in leashes and the dog got the shaft.  In his last video he was exploring mines in Mexico with two young Mexican boys who spoke no English, and Frank, of course, speaks no Spanish.  Oh, the boys brought along their three-legged dog.  I can’t make this stuff up.

Urban Exploration
Hell On Earth Channel. These boys, well they just remind me of cousins.  These lads hail from England and have some unique adventures.

Bros of Decay Channel.  Leslie and his brother Jordy are…adorable, very polite and from Belgium. They explore really neat abandoned places.

Travel Troll Channel with Deep Digger Dan.  Deep Digger Dan is traveling through every county in Great Britain.  You get to see the out of the way places with a creative perspective.

Metal Detecting
Aquachigger Channel. Beau metal detects on land and under water for historical artifacts.  Lots of Civil War artifacts.  He doesn’t like poison ivy.

Nuggetnoggin Channel.  Nuggetnoggin is a young man that knows Jesus and his historical artifacts.  I love the bible verses he posts. He gold mines, metal detects, and magnet fishes.

Gigmaster Channel.  The Gig is a former Navy Seal.  He metal detects, skin dives and pans for gold.

Chill Bill Channel.  Chill Bill metal detects and mud-larks mostly in Europe.  The coins he finds are very old…very old indeed!

Oh, I know that some of these things I watch on Youtube, I will never do or do again, but at least for a short time I can escape winter, the house and my cancer battle.

I play a lot with my dogs, because I love them and they love me.

The same applies to my husband.

And, I have spent a considerable amount of time experimenting with new recipes.

I have perfected how to make crisp fluffy hash browns from real potatoes.  The secret is rinsing all the starch off of the grated potatoes with very cold water.  This usually takes about four rinses. Drain after each rinse.  When the water in the bowl remains clear, drain again. Then dry them thoroughly with a cheese cloth towel or paper towels.  Fry in hot oil with two tablespoons of butter on medium high heat covered for 5 minutes, or until browned.  Uncover, turn and fry other side until browned.  Do not put the cover on again.  Having them covered at first, steams the potatoes so that they cook through while remaining fluffy in the middle. Putting it back on will soften your crust.  Nobody want that.

My greatest culinary discovery so far this winter is a baked cake donut.  My husband loves donuts.  I hate deep frying.  So, I have been trying to find a baked recipe for cake donuts that would meet my husband’s high standards. It has taken me awhile, but this recipe for Cinnamon Sugar Baked Donut Muffins meets and beats all expectations.

I will warn you that they are easy to make, delicious, addicting and definitely a waistline expansion threat.  However, they freeze perfectly and when reheated in the microwave taste like they are fresh out of the oven or from a bakery.

The recipe only yields about nine regularly-sized muffins.  So, if you have a large family, tall husband or are taking them to share at the office, I would recommend making more than one batch.

Cinnamon Sugar Baked Donut Muffins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Thoroughly, grease muffin tins with soft butter.  Do not use paper muffin cups. 

In a large bowl combine:

1-1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

With a mixing spoon, stir the dry ingredients together.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add:

1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup melted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir until just combined. Do not over beat.

Fill greased muffin tins two-thirds full and bake for 20 minutes.  The muffins will be very slightly browned.  Do not over bake.  A toothpick inserted in middle of the muffin will come out clean when they are done.

Remove from oven.  Cool for 5 minutes and remove from pan.

In a small bowl.  Melt five tablespoons of butter.  Lightly coat muffins with the butter.  I just roll them in the bowl.

Place butter coated muffins, three at a time, into a gallon-sized zip lock plastic bag that contains:  1/3 cup of granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.  Seal bag and shake until muffins are coated with the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Remove and repeat with remaining muffins.  Serve immediately.






What Is On My Mind Today? Ash Wednesday/Valentine’s Day Love


Jesus heart

What is on my mind today?  Love.

Today is a day to think about love and those we love.  And, perhaps pray for a few that we don’t.

As it would happen this year Valentine’s Day is the same day as Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Christian observance of Lent.

Ash Wednesday is more than a time to stand in line and get black ashes in the shape of a cross temporarily tattooed on our foreheads. Or, a time to make fun of people who wear the mark of their Christian faith in public.

On Ash Wednesday, we acknowledge that our God given human lives on this earth are just a wisp in time. From dust we were made and to dust our bodies will return.  Lent and death are serious business.

Lent is not the time to invest in fish and tofu futures or McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish stock.  Most of us know someone who observes Lent by giving up doing or eating something they enjoy or who do not consume meat on Fridays. However, I believe that Lent is not so much of a time to do without, as it is a season to seriously feed the soul.

Lent is a time to walk with Jesus the Christ and experience the love, mercy, acceptance and forgiveness of his ministry.  It is a time ponder the suffering and death on the cross of a truly innocent and just man.  It is a time to feel the devastating despair and disappointment of his disciples when they fear all is lost as Jesus’s breathes his last and his pale blood-spattered lifeless cold corpse is taken down from the cross and placed in a tomb.

Lent is about being human. One of the most amazing things about the Bible is the humanity of its humans.  Good, bad, warts and all. Jesus’s chosen disciples were absolutely and imperfectly human. No heroes here. In his time of need, they deserted Jesus and scattered like frightened sheep.

Have you ever wondered why these normal cowardly people changed and courageously, without compromise spent the rest of their lives, most dying very nasty deaths, proclaiming the divinity of the risen Christ? What steeled their spines?

After all, they had seen Jesus flogged and beaten to hamburger, hung on a cross with spikes through his hands and feet, breathe his last, his dead body put into a solid rock tomb, the only door of the tomb sealed by the authorities with a huge boulder and guarded by soldiers. The authorities were determined to end, once and for always, the heresy of this man who proclaimed himself the Messiah, Son of God…Jesus of Nazareth.

Reality oftentimes is a very dark thing and so it must have been for the followers of Christ immediately following the Crucifixion. At that moment in time those men and women were surrounded by darkness. Darkness of the heart, mind and soul.

They had to be questioning everything. Had they been betrayed by a smooth talking impostor? Lunatic? Or, worse yet an evil magician?  Jesus had died!  Where was their eternal king?  Where was his kingdom? Dead kings can’t rule! Why didn’t God send angels to save Jesus? He just let him die on that cross!

Jesus was gone!  His comfort was gone, his miracles were gone, his strength was gone, his love was gone! Death! Yes, they were well acquainted with death and their Jesus was dead!  And, now their very lives were in danger.

Would anyone who valued their lives as much as you and I, give up their lives for a liar? Fake?  Madman?  Magician?  I wouldn’t. I bet you wouldn’t either. And, neither would those men and women who personally knew Jesus.

What was it then that changed them into courageous lions for God?

They actually, and really, saw the risen Christ!  Been there!  Done that!

Nothing short of that could have created such great change in ordinary frightened powerless people. His early followers preached, were persecuted, tortured and often died violent deaths, because they had personally witnessed Christ’s resurrection from the grave.

I think it is sad that the disciples did not truly believe he was the Son of God until they saw him alive after death!  Sad, but true.  However, it would have been the human thing to do. It is probably what I would have done, in those same circumstances.

It is obvious to me that they did not fully believe when they lived with him, walked with him, were taught by him and were told by him that he was the Son of God. If they had understood that he truly was the Messiah, they would not have mourned his death.

Jesus spent his time with his disciples planting seeds of faith.  So many parables. So, many little tiny mustard seeds. His resurrection was the disciples “AH HA” moment.  The arrival of the Holy Spirit nourished all of those seedlings of faith Jesus planted to maturity.  Preparing the disciples, minds, hearts and souls to fearlessly spread the Gospel and harvest for heaven.

Some of the disciples, just like so many of us, were skeptics. Even seeing Jesus alive again, was not enough.  So he spoke with them, walked with them, ate with them, let them touched him where the nails from the cross had pierced his hands and feet, appeared to additional multitudes of people so that there were hundreds of witnesses to the resurrection.  Then, they even watched Jesus ascend into heaven.

Regardless of the vast amount of persecution of those early Christian believers the Gospel spread and the church grew. It grew without social media, the internet, television, radio or even printing presses.  It was over a thousand years after Christ’s death before a man in Germany in 1440, named Johannes Gutenberg, invented the “Gutenberg Press” and made God’s holy word, the Bible, available to the public.

Lent is a time to get those Bibles out, if necessary dust them off, and read about these very ordinary people who were chosen by Jesus to be his followers.  It is also a time to anticipate the joy felt by the women who came to embalm a dead body only to find an open tomb and a living Jesus on that first Easter morning.

It is good that today is both Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day. The message of the whole Bible can be condensed into one word…love.  Our love of God and his undying, merciful, forgiving, love for us. So, why did Jesus die on the cross?  It was for love.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,” John 15:13. 

We will never know a greater love than the love of God.

Today and everyday is the perfect time to celebrate and share love.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13:34-35. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!
Love to you all!!

What Is On My Mind Today? Happy Birthday Abraham Lincoln!


lincoln19Yeah, it is Lincoln’s birthday! I know you all have special plans to honor this tall dark quiet man who put country before self and despite all odds, won the Civil War, kept our nation whole and took a bullet to the head because John Wilkes Booth, knew that Lincoln would eventually give the vote to former slaves.

Maybe we could use him as an example of a hero instead of the Kardashians. Just saying…..

Lincoln, Lincoln I’ve been think’n you’re so sad and I’ve been drink’n…..

What Is On My Mind Today? Demise of the Last Childhood Tooth Filling


dentist office

This household has started out the New Year with a bang!  My quarterly cancer tests showed a cancer marker had returned.  So, I will get re-tested in six weeks.  My husband was diagnosed with his first cataract.  And, the very next day while eating, of all things, meat loaf, I lost a tooth filling.

Now, for most people getting a filling replaced is not a big deal. But, for this gal, with all of the bone hardening drugs that I have to take for my cancer damaged bones, going to the dentist could end up with complications that could give the most stoic of souls nightmares.

After my tongue found and fell in love with the sharp hollow crater, I  immediately reported the loss to my dentist.  An appointment time was set for the next day.  It wasn’t too long before the dentist’s office called me back to ask if I could come in a half hour earlier.  No problem!

When I got to my dentist’s office there wasn’t even time to get my new insurance card back into my purse before I was called back.  My dentist of many years came in and informed me that the filling I had lost was a very old one. She acknowledged that it had done very good service, but it was now time for a crown.

It was show time.  Needles delivered pain, then numbness and sun glasses went on.  The high whine of the drill, the only sound more obnoxious than finger nails on a chalk board, resounded throughout the office and my brain.

As the drilling commenced in earnest, I tried to mentally focus on my favorite place, the Trail of the Cedars in Glacier National park.  I could see the the water falls cascading hundreds of feet straight down into the icy cold crystal clear glacier lake.  I could almost hear wind whistling through the craggy mountains peaks.  Almost, but not quite.

Dentist drills are hard to ignore.  I started thinking about that old tooth filling.  My last from childhood? Instantly, I slipped away from peaceful mountain meadows right into an over-sized antique dentist chair in Litchfield, Minnesota.


Dr. Farish was our family dentist.  He had curly grey hair, wore glasses and a white lab coat, and seemed to be always leaning over me with a drill bit the size of a car jack clutched in his fist of enormously fat fingers as he threatened, “If you don’t sit still, you will get Novocaine”.

dentist drill 2

Somehow trips to a medical doctor in those days always ended in shots….in your end.  A successful trip to the dentist was not the absence of cavities. It was avoiding a Novocaine shot to the head.

dentist drill

It was an experience sitting beneath the well-oiled cables and spinning pulleys that sprang into action when the drill began its work. The drill was so big and slow that your whole face shook as it came into contact with the offending cavity.  You knew the dentist was getting somewhere when you could smell the putrid smoke of your burning teeth.

There you sat with your tiny hands clutched to the arms of the dentist chair as if your life depended on it. Your focus centered on the prevention of wiggling, grimacing or groaning.  Wiggling, grimacing or groaning was to be avoided at all costs as it sent you straight to the head of the line for the dreaded Novocain shot.

Many a sin was repented in that chair.  Hoping a loving God would prevent your demise by drowning in your own spit or the perspiration dripping off of the dentist’s forehead.  As your mouth overflowed with juices, the good doctor shouted above the whine of the drill that if he stops for spitting, it is only going to take longer.

dentist sink

Prayers were said for courage so that you wouldn’t shame yourself by crying, as your siblings were usually watching in the doorway. Going to the dentist was an officially sanctioned farm family group activity and was considered a form of entertainment in the spectator sport category.

Visiting, a long lost communications art form where people politely talk to each other face to face, was widely practiced during my youth. Even, in a dentist chair.  With a mouth full of huge dentist fingers and equipment, a nod or well-timed grunt sufficed to keep the conversation going.

During each visit my dentist would retell the story of his heart attack while on the local golf course. More details were included with every appointment.

The basics of the story were that my dentist was golfing with his good friend who was a surgeon.  This surgeon not only practiced at our local clinic, but he had written a book about making a surgeon that had topped some list that impressed adults.  He was a local celebrity to be sure.

There my dentist was, golf club in hand when he was dropped right to the ground. Not by lightening, but by a heart attack. As he laid on the green drifting between life and death, his golfing buddy, the surgeon, began screaming, “Somebody get a doctor!”

Once the heart attack story was completed and after the last of the squeaky metal filling had be pushed into your tooth with the same tool grandma used to get walnuts out of their shells, the aqua blue paper drool bib held together with alligator clips was removed.

Your reward for “being a good little girl”  was picking a plastic gemstone ring out of the little square orange box, that would break before you got home. Or, a colored animal shaped pencil eraser that smeared more than it erased.

Off you’d go, happily skipping away with your hard earned prize and a new tooth brushing kit.

Of course you’d have to try out that tooth brushing kit as soon as you got home.  Into the bathroom you’d go excited to use the little kid’s sized tube of toothpaste on the new toothbrush.

Then, after you gave your pearly whites a rigorous going over.  After a quick inspection in the mirror of your glowing smile, it was time to put the pink pill that came with tooth brushing kit in your mouth and chew it.

dentist plaque-tablet-1

When you opened your mouth the red dye from the pill made it look like you’d bit your tongue off and were bleeding to death.  I am convinced that whoever invented that pink pill had no intention of ever having any child successfully pass the toothbrushing test.

The day’s adventures ended as an exhausted youngster said her bedtime prayers with pink teeth. Or in this case, with a new crown.




What Is On My Mind Today? Buying a Bomb at a Garage Sale

This story from Foxnews about a live World War II shell in an Oregon’s women’s shed  reminds me of when I bought the bomb at the garage sale.

Yup, I bought a 90 mm solid brass artillery shell at a garage sale in Shoreview for $3.25 to use as an umbrella holder in my entry way.

It looked like a huge solid brass 22 shell. The fellow had brought it home from WWII. The shell had been in his living room for over 60 years.

When I got it home, transported of course in my red Corolla with my daughter in the car, a neighbor boy looked in it and said, “Pat, there is shit in there!.”

So, we got a flash light and sure enough, the detonator was still in there and when I flipped it over the percussion cap was still intact on the bottom.

My neighbor, the one who has the brain tumor now who is a veteran, happened to be outside and hollered to keep that thing away from his house.

That was when I realized, I was $3.25 and a bang away from paradise.

I went indoors and called an army surplus store to see if it was dangerous. The nice fellow that answered the phone gently and calmly explained that explosives explode. Large explosives explode largely.

So I called the police, who called the bomb squad. It’s just how things go some days.

They told us it was safe as long as it was laying on its side. We all took a step back.

A discussion commenced. It was pointed out that I had no fear of the thing when I was driving all over with it in the trunk of my car.

Reality changes perspectives.

I tend not to lose arguments, if I decide to take one on. As former Secretary Mark Ritchie once complimented me after I learned that I was too short to be a Civil War soldier, without missing a beat and with a big smile on his face, he responded, “Oh, they’d take you, you’re a fighter.”

Recognizing when a cause is truly lost is a gift. The gifted officer, a true credit to his department, demonstrated an exemplary commitment to public service and bravely, and as soft as a feather, laid it on its side. He put it into the trunk of his car and hauled it away.

I arrived back in the house just in time to hear a television news station announce that a woman in Centerville had bought a bomb at a garage sale. My ever dignified and quiet husband said he was going to his room as the phone rang. It was his grandmother from Pine City who just said, “It was you, wasn’t it!”

The bomb squad had to blow it up and I never got back a single piece of brass. A shame! It was a nice piece of brass. It had 3-5 dynamite blasting caps worth of powder still in it.

After that I did see more bombs for sale at garage sales in Shoreview,. People had stolen them from the Arden Hills arsenal. I never purchased any more, not even the homemade dumb bells made with large live artillery shells, much like the one pictured below, duct taped to each end. A situation that clearly illustrated the difference between a dumb bell and a dumb ass.

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but DAMN!



What Is On My Mind Today? International Bread Recipe War: Swede vs French

What is on my mind today?

The difference between being a Swede and French.

I have just spent the past 24 hours making Brioche bread. I wanted to see how different it was from a buttery rich Swedish Egg Bread.

This process was very reaffirming for me and I learned a very important lesson.

Apparently, I like people the same way I like a good bread recipe….the more pragmatic…the better.