Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Have you ever noticed the differences in the hands of people in your family - particularly those of the same gender? Here is my left hand at age 67. The little finger is already bent at the top knuckle, and you can see a faint redness around the top knuckles of all but my ring finger - the first signs of arthritis. I also notice minor stiffness in the joints of my index fingers on both hands. When I mentioned this to my mother last weekend, she said I can thank her mother for this. She's got it, too. Apparently, all my years of playing piano have not kept my fingers in great shape. On the other hand (yuk, yuk), maybe I would be in worse shape if I hadn't played so much.

The bigger difference that I've seen since I was a teenager who wanted beautiful hands, is that many of my fingernails are slightly splayed. My sisters show this same feature more or less. Long, oval nails with straight sides will never be mine. Now that fingernail polish in crazy shades with wild patterns is all the rage at the high school where I spend my time, good nails are a must. Luckily for me, no one thought much about that when I was in school.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Detroit Lakes Needs High School Missionaries?

I was reading my local weekly paper - news of new Eagle Scouts, church vendor fairs, etc. - when I came across an account of a nearby church sending a group of adult and teens to Detroit Lakes, MN, for a summer mission trip. The group "...painted 3 homes, 8 decks, 1 fence, 3 sheds, and several rooms. We worked in boys and girls clubs, shelters, and thrift stores. We also beautified several yards and gardens, built and repaired 4 decks, poured a sidewalk, framed a room, and made a lot of new friends, young and old."

Now I think it's great that all this work got done for grateful Detroit Lakers, but I have to ask myself how this location was selected. From years of hanging around this area in the summers when all my grandparents spent the time at their lake homes, I know that this is a prime tourist spot. I'm sure it was easier to sign people up to spend a week working in Detroit Lakes, than in, say, inner-city Chicago.

I'm also thinking maybe I haven't kept up with what's happening in this old town. My parents met and fell in love at a summer dance pavilion there. In those days, you got out of the stifling heat of towns like Fargo and headed for Detroit Lakes to kick up your heels and cool off. I don't remember hearing much about townspeople needing mission trips from city kids to get things cleaned up, but I've been gone for almost 50 years. Anybody been there lately?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Author of interest: Ann Patchett

The first thing I read by Ann Patchett was Truth and Beauty: A Friendship. I remember how much I was interested in the story of the author's friendship with another girl who was terribly disfigured. I thought Ann Patchett had many things to tell the rest of us about our own lives and friendships.

Since then, I've learned that the novel that really put her on the map, Bel Canto, is in the works to become an opera - to be given its world premiere right here in Chicago at Lyric Opera. Renee Fleming has been behind the commissioning of the opera from the start, although she will not be starring in it. The novel  - based on a real incident - takes place in Lima, Peru, where guests at a hotel, including a famous opera star, are taken as political hostages. The opera's composer, Jimmy Lopez, is also Peruvian, so it looks like this could be something great. I may have to save up to buy tickets!

Monday, June 23, 2014

State with the "worst weather"?

The weather page in last Sunday's Trib had an interesting Q&A section by Tom Skilling, resident weather guy.   
         Which state has the worst weather? Florida, maybe, because of hurricanes?
        There is no single, satisfying answer. To borrow from a cliche, bad weather is in the eye of the beholder. It is probably unfair to judge a state's climate based on just one kind of weather event when so many weather occurrences can be dangerous or just plain troublesome. It's true, though, that Florida experiences more hurricane activity than any other state. 
    However, taking into consideration the totality of dangerous, costly or merely inconvenient weather - hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, floods, blizzards, heat, cold, humidity, rain, snow, glaze, fog - one state leads all others in variety and frequency of nasty weather: Minnesota.

Having spent the majority of my formative years in that state, I believe I am a stronger, hardier person as a result of surviving all of the above. What say you?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Sewing Again

Here is the dress for an American Girl doll that I just finished sewing for the youngest granddaughter. She picked out the dress pattern and the blue fabric, and I did the rest. I have to admit, it was fun to lay out the pattern pieces, mark and cut them, then follow the sewing directions. I haven't used my machine for anything except repairs for a mighty long time.

Now she's showing the tulle slip that makes the long skirt stand out. Would Martha Washington have worn this for a morning dress?  :-)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Color Blind or Color Brave?

Here's Mellody Hobson, the TV personality, as I haven't seen her before, talking about race for TED. She went to the Jesuit high school near the Loop where my kids went. Don't think they knew her, though.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Crown Prince in the Onion

Yes, he has allowed his photo to be used for an Onion article today. As far as I know, he has never darkened the streets of Charlotte. Ten seconds of Onion fame?