Tuesday, July 28, 2009


To quote the fat cyclist's team-mate, Levi Leipheimer:

"Check out this heart-wrenching blog, he's raised over $500K for Livestrong while his wife battles cancer. Go Elden."

No kidding. Check it out. Things are getting very difficult in the Nelson household. I am a member of Team Fat Cyclist - Fighting for Susan, in the Livestrong Philadelphia challenge. Read Elden's blog and find out why.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Happy happy happy

Today is my son's birthday. My bicentennial baby. We both felt a little unsure about this world at the beginning, but from the minute he was born, he has been a constant joy to me. On top of being smart and handsome and nice, he is a good son, a good father and, I am told, a good husband. He is, plain and simple, a good person. I could not be more proud.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Today is the anniversary of my dad's death. One of my aunts sent this to me:

"In remembrance, from Aunt Mary Jane

As I watch, and listen to, the recollections of the miraculous landing of the space craft Apollo on the moon on July 20, 1969, I recall the memory of one who contributed to that successful landing.

"Bill" was working for "SpeedRing" on Eleven Mile in Warren MI. He wasn't one to talk much about his work, but that week-end he was talking animatedly. He had seen the successful landing, of the USA spacecraft Apollo, on the moon. The entire country watched TV, apprehensively, as the craft was landing. When it touched down, and landed safely on it's spider-like legs, Bill shouted "Yes, Yes, We did it!!".

Many of us never knew the projects or work that Bill was involved in. That day in 1969, he explained that his department at SpeedRing had been developing, for NASA, a type of "stabilizer" for those spider legs in order to guarantee that the craft would not tip over. This was critical to a "safe" landing of the space craft. [I remember my dad explaining to me that it was a gyroscope, designed to stabilize the legs if one of them landed on a rock or in a dip on the surface. He was cleared by the FBI for the project, and authorized to carry a gun in the briefcase when he traveled, even on airplanes -- what a different world that was!]

The Sunday immediately following the Moon Mission, we were together at my sister's home for a one year birthday celebration for their son Matthew.

Bill died on July 23, 1969."

I watched the moon landing in Boston. I called home and talked to my mom, who said dad was excited about how well it went. I didn't talk to him because they decided it was too expensive for me to talk to both of them, long distance, and told me I could talk to him when I called back on his birthday, July 30. Of course, I never got to make that call.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hope isn't the only thing that floats

If you are ever tempted to feel stupid, think of this: at a party I went to this past weekend, a middle aged woman got drunk, walked to the edge of a swimming pool, and stepped onto a floating table. She later said that she believed she would balance herself and float into the middle of the pool. Instead, she predictably toppled over and hit her head on the paving blocks that formed the pool’s edge. Perhaps because of some divine protection of drunks and fools, she suffered a mild concussion but recovered. When I feel down on myself I have the comfort of knowing that I have never been either that drunk, or that foolish.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


It's one thing to BE a grandmother, which I love, it's an entirely different thing to FEEL like a grandmother --

Some time ago I set up accounts on Twitter and Facebook so that I could view some video I'd been sent. Then I forgot about them. But this week I got an email request from someone asking if he could be my Facebook friend -- who even knew I was so exclusive?! That led me to open up my Facebook account because gosh, now there was somebody who might actually look at my page and I should really tidy it up. When I got there, I discovered to my horror that I AM MY GRANDMOTHER and soooooo in over my head that it was unsettling. I wrote several profiles, only to lose them all, and have no idea how to add things I've seen on other (younger, cooler) pages.

And I haven't even dared look back into Twitter.

As my grandma used to say, when did the world start to spin so fast?

Add this to the list of things to master in my elusive spare time.

Monday, July 13, 2009

My glass is half full

Clearly I've been cyber-window shopping a lot lately, but what I've actually been buying is groceries -- shelf stable food to send to my daughter in New Orleans. Although she is eligible for food stamps, she simply has not been able to get to the food stamp office to apply, a fact with no logical explanation, one of those hard-to-swallow pills I have finally gulped down. After trying all my best ideas - going there myself to take her to apply, offering to pay one of her friends to take her to apply, and sending transportation money - I have resigned myself to simply sending groceries.,

She has a little microwave, but nothing else, so my staples include lots of canned fruit, tuna, ramen cups, microwave soup, and other micro-meals that don't need refrigeration. A flat-rate priority mail box of food costs about $14 to mail, plus the cost of the food, and I send about 3 boxes every two weeks.

Recently my daughter in law suggested that I try Amazon -- I never realized that they had groceries! - because they have supersaver free shipping, a huge savings for me. This week I sent, through Amazon, boxes of soup, crackers, and pudding, with just the click of my mouse. A truly modern convenience!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

cyber-window shopping

I love browsing Etsy. Some of the items that intrigue me are removable vinyl clings with little graphics and quotations that you can hang on your wall inside or out, and then remove when you are tired of looking at them. Many of the quotations are familiar ("one little monkey jumping on a bed;" "live, love, laugh") but one I'd never seen before is in a little shop by magically made --- "Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly." I also love the stamped metal jewelry by klacustomcreations, especially the one that reminds me, "the tide will turn."

Those are good reminders for me these days, when life seems too often to be spinning out of control.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I read this line in a love poem yesterday, by Pablo Neruda, and wondered why I had never seen it before. This is an image that will stay with me.

"I want to do to you what spring does to the cherry trees."

Friday, July 3, 2009

States of mind

Since the digital conversion, I have no television and now that my DVD player has broken, I'm forced to find amusement wherever it surfaces.The other day I saw this idea on Little Black Scrap Cat and the White House; the idea is to put an 'X' next to every state you've visited, and an 'O' by states where you've lived.

I don't think so but I'd love to see the coast!
Alaska ---X- and I want to go back. The bits I saw were amazing. Words can't describe how beautiful it is, or how many amazing things there are to see. I especially want to see more tidal pools, where the anemones, sea stars and jellies are enormous and the water is clear as glass. (and I am NOT saying a word about the governor resigning! it's too pretty a place to connect with politics.)
Arizona --XXX- My family traveled the western states a few times when I was a child. I would appreciate it more now -- especially in a car with air conditioning, which we didn't have back then! I was terrified of the Grand Canyon -- there were no fences or railings, and the depth of it was dizzying
Arkansas - not that I remember. Would I remember?
California - XXX- I've been to LA, San Francisco, and Crescent City (the most northern city and the only one on the mainland that was once wiped out by a tidal wave)
Colorado -XX- I've been to Boulder a couple times, it is a homey place but I'm not sure I would have ever outgrown college if I stayed there too long
Connecticut - I would love to go to Connecticut, it's on my list. When I was an undergrad, we had a guy from Connecticut and, whenever he tried to call home collect, the operator would say, "and what state is that in?"
Delaware - Nope. Might as well add it to my Connecticut list since they're both so tiny!
District of Columbia -XXX- My family went to DC when I was in high school, my first flight! It is awfully impressive. I've been twice since. It is an amazing place, even aside from the amazing museums.
Florida -XXXXXX XXX (lost count)- Oh Sanibel! I've been a few other places, but Sanibel is where my heart is.
Georgia -X -Drove through a few times. Stopped for pecans once, and once at a diner.
Hawaii - As if. The formerly Hawaiian Farmer Files is as close as I'll probably ever get!
Idaho - I've been to Yellowstone National Park a few times, and it dips into 3 states, but I'm not sure anymore how much of the Idaho part we saw. What I DO remember is how many wild animals there were in those days. We saw 96 bears in 3 days on one trip, and 3 grizzleys tore up our neighbors camp site. Hundreds of bison and elk and other critters.
Illinois -X- Chicago, of course
Indiana -X- Drove through
Iowa -X-Drove through
Kansas -X-Drove through as a kid, don't remember a thing
Kentucky -X- I've been to the Caves and coveted the horse farms
Louisiana -XXXXXX- Oh yeah, been there and then some, and sure to go back - stayed for over two months, but I wouldn't call it 'living' there.
Maine -X-Bar Harbour whale watching trip with my sister and (then) teen-aged daughter
Maryland - not yet
Massachusetts -XOXX- I lived there for a few months right before my father died, and went back a couple times.
Michigan -XO- Lived here my entire life, although I didn't mean to. From childhood, it was my plan to travel and live a variety of places. Now that my grandchildren are here, it has a greater hold on me, though.
Minnesota -X- drove through. When I was little, my mother would pack a bag when she was frustrated with us kids, announce that she was going to Minnesota, and walk out the door until the little ones (me for a long time) were hysterical enough to convince her to stay. I was shocked when I learned YEARS later that there really was such a place!
Mississippi - nope
Missouri - Drove through as a kid, don't remember a thing (does that count?). Might have been asleep!
Montana -X- awed by the wide open spaces and by Glacier National Park. My sister and I threw snowballs in July on one of the mountain passes
Nebraska -X- drove through, mostly slept through, as a kid
Nevada -X- saw Las Vegas as as 12 year old. My sister and I had to stand on the sidewalk while our parents went into a casino because we weren't allowed inside. It was 100 degrees in the shad, but that sidewalk was about 70 degrees because of the blasting air conditioning through the open door. And there was a slot machine in the ladies room at the gas station.
New Hampshire - no
New Jersey - no
New Mexico -X- we 'discovered' some cave dwellings - they are a museum now, but were just out in the open back then. My sister and I climbed up into one of the caves and were able to see the sooted walls and markings. It seemed to me a very holy place.
New York -X- I visited my daughter there a few times, and went once with Dr. Cranky. There's a whole lot more there that I haven't seen.
North Carolina - no
North Dakota -X- my family drove through during a drought, where 4-year old children had never seen more than a dishpan of water and where the road was so hot my mom got 4 flat tires all at once.
Ohio -XXX- drove through several times, and I spent an entire day in the airforce museum in Dayton.
Oklahoma -X-Drove through as a kid, don't remember a thing.
Oregon -X-Drove the beautiful coastline, found my first sand dollars, saw my first tidal pools, spent a night in a motel right on the ocean in Yachats. Absolutely gorgeous.
Pennsylvania -X- Drove through. Nearly fell asleep many times on the legendary Pennsylvania turnpike.
Rhode Island - Another place I need to get to. So much history in those little states.
South Carolina - no
South Dakota -X- Mount Rushmore, Lewis & Clark park, the Badlands - heard wolves howling at night and saw a million prairie dogs. My (then little) sister insisted on wearing flip flops and stepped on a cactus. She still hasn't gotten over it.
Tennessee -X- drove through
Texas -X- There were frogs in the motel swimming pool in Amarillo. Chlorine does not agree with them, and the motel was not good about cleaning them out. Ugh.
Utah - X - drove through a bit of it
Vermont -X-
Virginia -X- Ah yes, one of the loves of my life lived there and I spent time at his family home.
Washington -X-
West Virginia -X-
Wisconsin -
Wyoming -X- Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, amazing places that I still vividly recall even though I was a child when I was there. The stars were amazing and we saw a million critters.

I can see that too many of my Xs barely count as 'being there,' and lots more are older than dirt. I need to get out more! Daylight's burning.

P.S Snowbird, the answer is a NERVOUS WRECK! Hahahahah.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Breakfast of Champions

I found this gift from a coworker on my desk when I came in at 6:30 this morning. Okay, all you Laffy Taffy fans: what's at the bottom of the ocean and shakes?