Category Archives: What Is On My Mind Today

What Is On My Mind Today? Election Day: November 2, 1948

Aviary Photo_130940636797426988

About a month ago or so my cousin Bryan gave me a suitcase full of old letters we found in our family’s century farmhouse.  Many of them were written in Swedish. as was the one below, by my immigrant Grandmother Christina Larson.

November 2, 1948

Kara Allisamman

Far fosaka rila ihop nagrarader……

Most of this letter continues in her native Swedish language until the “so called wonderful pen” her son Oscar gave her quits working.  It is then, that she briefly switches to writing in English to complain about that crisis and to say,

“Here it is Election  Day and our radio is dead, isn’t that the berries?”

I hope that everyone who is eligible to vote exercises that right today! 




What Is On My Mind Today? Jeff Johnson For Governor!


Jeff Johnson.jpg

A few weeks ago the Star Tribune published my letter about living with cancer and mean people. I know for fact that Jeff Johnson is not one of those mean people. He will not take away health insurance coverage or make it too costly for people with pre-existing conditions such as mine…Multiple Myeloma (a blood cancer) thyroid cancer and asthma.

You see, I personally know Jeff Johnson, as a boss, co-worker and friend. I also know him as a devoted family man, a great father and a man who spends what little free time he has giving back to his community as a youth mentor.

I know him as a totally common-sense fiscal conservative.

I know him as a man who listens.

For almost two decades my professional life was spent working at the Minnesota State Capitol. I had the unique experience of being employed by both Republicans and Democrats, working in both bodies of the legislature and for a constitutional officer. From the most conservative to the most progressive.

I was employed by the Minnesota Republican Senate for almost five years, as legislative aide to former Senator Mady Reiter. Spent several years as a constituent services writer and committee administrator in the House of Representatives working with former Speaker Steve Swiggum. I have also worked for one of the most progressive members of the Democratic Party when I was the Press Secretary and Assistant Communications Director for former Secretary of State Mark Ritchie for almost five years. I was there for the Franken-Coleman recount.

Jeff Johnson is about people–not politics. As a legislator he had an open door policy. He welcomed multiple viewpoints and was committed to serving constituents regardless of their party affiliation, or personal or professional cost. Recent proof of that was evidenced this past summer when Republican political operatives and money men recruited and funded Tim Pawlenty to challenge Jeff Johnson in the primary. Tim has always worked for the “Good Ol’ Boys Club” and they know that Jeff Johnson is his own man.

As governor Jeff Johnson will work for Minnesotans not partisan politicos or special interests.

Do not let the current political narrative that Obama Care is the only way to protect those with preexisting conditions scare you. It is a just political scare tactic and is nothing but mularky.

I can assure you that Jeff Johnson has extensive experience tackling tough policy issues and understands that the best way to address concerns such as maintaining health insurance coverage for those with preexisting conditions is not to bury those provisions within huge omnibus bills, that no one has fully read, such as Obama Care, but to address those issues directly as stand alone legislation where advocates can clearly understand and have input into any law-making process that will impact their lives so directly.

Last week this woman, with multiple pre-existing health conditions, cast her vote, without reservation, for Jeff Johnson for Governor.  I encourage you all to do the same.

Vote for Jeff Johnson for Governor on Tuesday, November 6 and share this endorsement!!!!

Recipes: An Old-Fashioned Halloween and The Great Pumpkin Bar

Best Pumpkin Bar Recipe Ever!!!

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter


Halloween when I was young on the farm was so different than now…

First of all there were never any of those fancy haunted houses that people flock to today for an expensive scare. We did not need them, we lived in one. On a daily basis in our old farm house we had to deal with squeaky stairs, cobwebs, black cats, bats, lizards and the ghosts of ancestors who had died in the house from generations past.

Many a dare was made and accepted, just to see if you were brave enough to go upstairs alone in a old farm house. Going into an attic alone after dark was a feat accomplished by only a few of the most stout-hearted.  If memory serves me correctly, I believe success in this quest required a beard and that folk songs have been penned to herald such bravery. No one descended into the dark basement alone.  Not…

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Happy Halloween…and the 1,2,3’s of Food Allergy Safety!

Have a great time tonight Trick or Treating and be Safe!!!!

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter


Halloween fun of trick or treating can become a real life horror story very quickly for a child with peanut, nut or other food allergy.  Food allergies are life-threatening.  It only takes a very small amount of an allergen to start a dangerous allergic reaction. For example, shaking hands with a person who has just eaten shrimp, or someone who has nut oil residue on their hands can be a trigger. Yes, kissing someone who has just devoured a Snickers Bar, can  kill a person with a peanut allergy.   Even smelling brewing hazelnut coffee can cause a deadly reaction.

I saw on television that there is food allergy awareness and safety campaign involving teal pumpkins. Bully!!!   I hope many people will participate and have provided some useful tips to help you keep all of those little treat or treaters and party guests food allergy safe.

1.    For a food to be in fact “safe”…

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What Is On My Mind Today? Living with Cancer: Good Lab Results and Rewarding Myself With Some Online Shopping

Up at 5 a.m with the dogs and raring to go. I had chemo yesterday and with all those steroids they give me to help the chemo while preventing adverse reactions has me on a full charge.  My normal operating gear is usually wide open, so it is a real treat to see me all revved-up on steroids.

I am sorry that most of you will not have that experience.

The effects of the steroids will begin to wear off tomorrow afternoon and then I will have a couple of days where resting and crocheting hats and mittens for charity will look pretty good. I think I have finished about a dozen sets so far.  Last time I went through treatment, I donated over 50 sets.

I now get chemo every other week, instead of weekly so there are now more good days a week than two and a half.  The half day is the morning of my next chemo treatment.  I suspect that my blogging, oil painting and baking will begin to increase.


After months and months of chemo and radiation, my blood tests yesterday were fabulous. My oncologist was all smiles. So, I decided to reward myself this morning by shopping online for some winter tops.

This is how it goes.

No knits, the velcro on my brace destroys them instantly; too long, tripping hazard on the stairs and can get tangled in my cane; too short, back brace pushes them up to show too much Pat; too low-necked my push-up bra of back brace causes a major wenchy-look cleavage crisis for my major cleavage (if I get too much older this item could be moved to the tripping hazard category); fur trim on top or fringe on the bottom will only end in an immediate two German Shepherd dog attack, patterns that are too busy mess with my bi-focals; white tops have a history of short life spans; to be operational and to not create busty bulges all pockets must be below the back brace; AND the tops must still be fashionable per Pat requirements while complying with all of my husband’s laundry rules.

It is now after 8 a.m. and there have been very few winners.

What Is On My Mind Today? High School Boys are Stupid, but High School Girls are Vicious

I am not sure what the women’s movement represents anymore…well except for abortion.  Support for abortion seems to be their only serious agenda item.  Do not kid yourself this whole Judge Kavanaugh debacle is about one thing and one thing only…abortion.

It certainly is not about sex assault.

For if it were there would be consistency when it comes to protecting, supporting and believing women with sexual and domestic assault allegations.  All males would be held to the same standard as let’s say Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

If that were the case Keith Ellison would no longer be on the ballot for Attorney General for the State of Minnesota or remain second in charge of the national democratic party.  Nor, would there have ever been a Bill Clinton presidency or a Hillary Clinton candidacy.

Surely, the sisterhood could not have ever supported a man for president that had multiple women accusing him of sexual assault and rape no less.  Nor, could you support a woman, who for personal power and wealth accumulation, defended him and vilified his victims…time after time after time.  Right up until Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress showed up with Bill’s semen stain on it.  Even then, Hillary attacked the victimized woman.

Oh, I can just hear detractors of my opinion pine that, Bill Clinton’s sexual assault allegations were a long time ago and no longer relevant.  Yet, you are asking me to condemn a man for something he is accused of doing in high school over thirty years ago.  An accusation made without basic specifics such as when, where or why.

Apparently, women are much better with our long term memories, names mostly not so much on specifics, than our short term memories. That is why I am expected to believe without question Kavanaugh’s accuser, and not accept the veracity of the Keith Ellison’s accuser who has substantiated  domestic abuse allegations from 2017.  Ellison’s accuser just has not waited long enough for her memory to improve.

Hypocrisy at its finest and politics at its worst.

Then, this morning I learn that Kavanaugh’s accuser is making demands to the United States Senate regarding how and when she is willing to testify against the Judge.

One of her demands actually made me laugh aloud. She wants the accused, Judge Kavanaugh, to testify first.  Any rational person knows that there is no such thing as a defense without an offense. The very dictionary definition of the word defend is, “to take action against attack or challenge.”  The attack must come first.

In making this nonsensical political demand the accuser is self-damning her own credibility and announcing that her goal is political delay.  Making this ridiculous and impossible demand is a loud and clear declaration to supporters that the political dog and pony show, formerly known as Senate Judiciary hearings…..will go on and on.

This situation, if it wasn’t so serious, is almost comical.  Here we have an empowered  Lucy holding the game ending football triumphantly high above her head before our hapless leadershipless Charlie Brown of a U. S. Senate. Meanwhile, Charlie’s constituents ponder how many times Lucy will move the ball before Mr. Brown figures how to play her game.  Hopefully, there’s a Linus or Peppermint Patty in this situation somewhere watching the game clock.

Not only does this scenario bring Lucy and Charlie Brown to mind, but also a subject I remember well….high school girls.  My high school experience took place in the 1980’s.  It was a much different time than now.  The assault described by the accuser would not have been considered a law enforcement issue, but a father enforcement issue.

That not withstanding, what I vividly recall from those old high school days is the hurt caused by other girls.  Mean high school girls left much deeper scars than any healthy robust teenage male with wandering hands ever could.

Do not get me wrong, I am not condoning in any way, shape or form any male harming any female for any reason.   Teenage girls are the worst.  Where as high school boys may have tried go for my body, high school girls went for the soul.   They were manipulative, untruthful, mean, self-absorbed, self-promotional and without conscience. They enjoyed hurting others and laughed at their victims distress.  I knew kids who were tortured by mean high school girls to the point of suicide.  Those girls seemed to instinctively target nice kids.  In the hands of high school girls, bullying was elevated to seek and destroy missions.

Night after night on the news when I see all of these women stand up to deny due process to Judge Kavanaugh,  I don’t see his guilt or “her truth.”  All, I see are “mean girls.” And, remember that in high school boys were stupid, but girls were vicious.



What Is On My Mind Today: Culture Club, Victims and Earthly Angels

cancer infu

Seeing that Culture Club was playing at the State Fair brought back many memories.
Yes, I had several of their albums. Had being the operative word, I am pretty sure that my husband probably used them for target practice along with the Donny Osmond ones. 
My favorite Culture Club song probably was not played at the State Fair or been heard by many other people. The song is called, “Victims” it was released in 1983 the year that I lost the baby that would have been born the week of Thanksgiving. I always have thought that this child was another boy.
It was this pregnancy loss that spiraled me into the severe suicidal depression.
You see in 1983 AIDS was in the blood supply, but they still could not test for it. When I bled out from the in-uterine death, the doctors did not provide blood replacement as they did not want young mothers risking contracting AIDS from a transfusion. I ended up spending over a month in the young adult mental health ward at Abbott Northwestern Sister Kenny Institute. And, over a year on anti-depressants.
I was a participant in the trial for Xanax. And, I rode my exercise bike several thousand miles to make my body produce the endorphins needed to lift the depression. Ten miles every morning and ten miles every evening. Many times on that bike this song was playing in my headphones.  
I was off all meds for depression in just over a year.
Our daughter was born in 1988.
I  played this song a lot in 1983, and then again in 1989 when I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer. 
Whether it is a mental health ward or an cancer infusion room, “the victims we know so well.” And, it is still, “sink or swim, like its always been.”
No matter what we must love the victims of our world. Our heavenly Father provided us with a perfect world with no victims, we mucked it up, not him.  
For all of the times that I have been victim, God has never left me or forsaken me.  Even when I could not see him, always saw me.  He has sent earthly angels time and time again to help see me through the battle.  Whatever that battle may have been.
This morning I am again going to be administered to by earthly angels….cancer nurses and the many volunteers that make the cancer battle easier and bearable.
Now, I am off to the infusion room at Regions. I am going to hang out with the victims for a while….I know them so well……
Here is a video of Culture Club performing this song.

The victims we know so well
They shine in your eyes
When they kiss and tell
Strange places we never see
But you’re always there
Like a ghost in my dream
And I keep on telling you
Please don’t do the things you do
When you do those things
Pull my puppet strings
I have the strangest void for you
We love and we never tell
What places our hearts in the wishing well
Love leads us into the stream
And it’s sink or swim
Like it’s always been
And I keep on loving you
It’s the only thing to do
When the angel sings
There are greater things
Can I give them all to you
Oh, hmm
Pull the strings of emotion
Take a ride into unknown pleasure
Feel like a child on a dark night
Wishing there was some kind of heaven
I could be warm with you smiling
Hold out your hand for a while
The victims we know them so well
So well
Ah, ah
Ah, ah
The victims we know so well
They shine in your eyes when they kiss and tell
Strange places we never see
But you’re always there like a ghost in my dream
And I keep on telling you
Please don’t do the things you do
When you do those things, pull my puppet strings
I have the strangest void for you
Show my heart some devotion
Push aside those that whisper never
Feel like a child on a dark night
Wishing we could spend it together
I could be warm with you smiling
Hold out your hand for a while
The victims we know them so well, so well
May God open our eyes to the needs of the victims that touch our lives.  Let us see their need and make us earthly angels.
After all,  all of us will someday be a victim of something or someone and need an earthly angel.
Be an earthly angel.