Hair Donation

To catch up on all the news in the past two months would be impossible, so I’ll try to just post the highlights:

As some of you know, I’ve been growing out my hair for several years. A few months ago, I decided to donate it, but it took a while to figure out which organization and what the requirements were, etc.

I ended up going with Pantene Beautiful Lengths because they are more focused on providing wigs for adults (and it seemed that many people were doing the “Locks of Love” thing for kids).

Finally, on August 22nd, I took the plunge. The before and after pics are below.

So now you know that the picture at the top of these pages is rather old (about 15 years old) . . .

My next post will deal with some of the craziness related to the recent Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota . . .

Fireworks

My July 4th traditions include reading the Declaration of Independence and going to the fireworks show at the local park. Occasionally I’ll go to “the big show” down by the river (which includes a soundtrack on the radio), but most of the time I prefer to walk the few blocks to Powderhorn Park with my little beach chair and sit with all the neighbor families and their kids going “oooo” “ahhh” as the fireworks explode right over our heads. It reminds me of going to Doerhoefer Park in Downers Grove, IL when I was growing up.

Unfortunately, two of my most vivid fireworks memories involved screaming frightened children. One year we went with the neighbors, including two very young girls, maybe 5 or 6 years old?, to the Doerhoefer Park fireworks. This was back in the 70s when they still shot the fireworks right over the crowd. Inevitably there are a few duds in the bunch of fireworks and this time one landed right on our blanket by these two little girls. Very frightening for all! The dud didn’t explode, but I’m not sure if those two girls ever wanted to see fireworks again. (Jenny or Leslie if you see this, let me know if you ever recovered . . . 🙂

Another year I went with a friend and her four children to fireworks in Indiana that were shot off over an old quarry. Unfortunately, it was a very windy night. We all ended up covered in ash. At least one of the children was so frightened by the noise, ash, etc. that he started screaming. Several of us were crying from ash in our eyes. We’re lucky nothing caught on fire and no permanent damage was done. Needless to say, not a very happy Fourth (though my memory is that we had yummy food before heading out to the fireworks).

So, be forewarned–if you invite me to accompany you and your children to any fireworks, it might not be a fun experience.

Nowadays safety seems to be a bigger consideration at the displays. At Powderhorn they shoot off the fireworks from the north shore of the Lake so that the ash, debris, and any duds should fall into the Lake. I always sit along the east side of the lake; most of the explosions end up just overhead in front of me. There was one scary moment last night when one of the fireworks exploded right on the ground, but as far as we could tell, no one was injured. The wind also seemed to blow some of the fireworks back north towards the workers rather than out over the lake, but all-in-all it was a pretty good show. I believe at one time they may have shot the fireworks off from an island in the middle of the Lake (any old-timers out there? leave a comment to let us know), but I suppose that wasn’t very safe for the workers (being trapped on an exploding island if anything went wrong!).

Enjoy the rest of the Holiday Weekend!

Summer Eating & The Greatest Spectacle in Racing

Now that Memorial Day has ushered in the unofficial summer season, I’ve added a few summer recipes to the collection. My Minnesota garden contains more rhubarb than I know what to do with, but I love Strawberry Rhubarb Pie and have included my recipe here. Summer also means Egg Salad Sandwiches, which reminded me to write up instructions for how to cook soft- and hard-cooked eggs.

Yesterday was the Indianapolis 500 (aka The Greatest Spectacle in Racing) or “an intimate gathering with half a million of your closest friends” as I like to call it. I miss not being in Indiana during the month of May–practice, time trials, qualifying, race day. This year’s field was filled with too many rookies, newcomers, and idiots, many of whom had difficulty turning corners and entering/exiting pit row. Danica was knocked out by one such knucklehead. Not the most exciting Indy 500 ever raced, but not the most boring either.

My Cubbies are holding on to first place in their division, but just barely. Lou keeps making excuses for Soriano’s miserable outfield performance. Easier to listen to when he is on a hitting streak, but when he’s not it’s more annoying than all the other annoying things Lou says . . .

The Adorable Redhead is Back!

No, not me.

MATT MURTON, my favorite Chicago Cub. Resurrected from the minors due to Soriano’s calf strain/sprain/pull/tear . . . . Matty is only 1 for 8 in two games, but yesterday he had two very “productive outs” producing 2 RBI. I’m sure he’ll do better once/if the Cubs stop playing head games with him. (When Soriano went down, they first brought up Eric Patterson who went 0 for 6 in 3 games—possible publicity stunt so they could play up the Corey/Eric Patterson matchup.) I will resist the urge to rant about how Soriano has been a big waste of money, but you might notice that the Cubs scored 53 runs in the 6 games since he’s been injured compared to 59 runs in the 12 games he played (his average .175) 🙂

BTW—if you didn’t get the “adorable redhead” reference, see
Are You Smarter than A Cubs Fan? #3

In other exciting sports news, Danica Patrick is the first woman to win an Indy Car Race (the Indy Japan 300)! This news brought back memories of cheering for Janet Guthrie in the ’70s and watching Lyn St. James at the Indy 500, especially the one year (I believe it was 1992) it was about 35°F. My parents and I had seats on the backstretch bleachers. Cars were dropping like flies due to cold tires and driver stupidity, so lots of yellow light racing. Eventually mom & dad gave up and went to wait in the car. I stayed to watch Lyn finish 11th (okay, there were only 12 cars that finished, but on a day like that, just staying on the course was a victory!). A long cold day.

Snowy Opening Day

Been away for awhile. Lots to report, but probably won’t try to do it all at once.

This past weekend was a busy one. Nephew Sean was in town on Wheaton Academy’s “Instrumental Tour 2008: Phil. 2:3-4”. Went to hear them play at Bethel University on Friday and at the Salvation Army on Saturday morning. The highlight was the Percussion Ensemble, especially their “Jam” with the clients at the Salvation Army. WOW–very powerful and moving.

On Sunday poet Mary Oliver read at the State Theater. Lovely. And I got to see three of my favorite writers on the same stage (thought not at the same time): Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew had the honor of introducing Mary, and Mary Rose O’Reilley moderated the question and answer period.

To top off the weekend, Monday brought the Home Opener for both the Chicago Cubs and the Minnesota Twins. At 10 am the Cubs held a ceremony to unveil the new statue of Ernie Banks. Even the rain and a cold couldn’t keep Ernie under the weather. Unfortunately, the rain did delay the game by about an hour, but just before 2 pm, Wayne Messmer sang The National Anthem and things got underway. A pitchers’ duel through 8 innings, the game broke open in the ninth with each team scoring three runs. Our new outfielder Hosuke Fukudome was the star of the day. Unfortunately, the Brewer’s came back in the 10th and the game ended with the Cubs losing 4-3. But “it’s a long season and you gotta trust it” as they say in the movies.

Due to a mid-Cubs-game rain delay, there was just enough time to change channels and catch the start of the Twins Home Opener at 6 pm.

Heavy wet snow had been falling all day, so the question of the day was “Can anybody say ‘Retractable Roof’?” If this were 2010, the game would have been scheduled in the new outdoor ballpark (sans roof). The Twins organization, cheapskates that they are, and MLB, get all the revenue from the stadium, but it is being paid for primarily by the taxpayers of Hennepin County. When it was clear that the voters had no interest in paying for a new stadium, the County just decided to go around the law and not put it to a vote. But they knew there would be an absolute revolt if the price included the extra $150 million for a retractable roof, so they went ahead and (stupidly) started building without one. They’ve promised not to come asking for more money for a roof later, but I’m not putting any money on that promise. [Am I bitter? YES!]

Okay, back to the game. Another good start for a new outfielder: Carlos Gomez (who Burt Blyleven renamed Gonzales 🙂
Thanks to him, the Twins won over the Angels 3-2.

Unfortunately, last night’s Twins game was too painful to watch. The Angels won 9-1, hammering Boof Bonser pretty hard.

On the food front, more recipes soon; I was on a rice kick for a while and have several of my favorites to add. Of course, Opening Day is all hot dogs and brats and root/beer.

Enough for now. Enjoy the season.