Thursday, December 23, 2010

"Seven Swans Asinging!"

Even though these swans were actually laughing at me, I knew that this photo would come in handy when I had absolutely nothing to post during the holidays. These birds are migrating to their wintering grounds on Chesapeake Bay. Migrating during the day and night, their trumpeting calls are heard at a great distance as they fly along in V-formation. The swans can achieve speeds up to 100 miles per hour with a tail wind. Enough factual stuff. This particular group actually sticks around the area through December performing at various Holiday events. On many evenings you can find these guys hanging out with a Partridge, some Colly Birds, French Hens, Geese and a couple of Turtle Doves at one of the local saloons on the Wisconsin side of The River. The dancing and milking chicks along with those leaping lords do their thing to the piping and drumming on the Minnesota side. The last time they all gathered in the same joint all hell broke loose. One of the leaping lords got goosed and a turtle dove got shelled while some of the maids got tangled up trying to milk the bagpipes. Since then they are only allowed to get together for performances of their signature song and then for no more than twelve days. Then it's "take your gold rings and get outta town!". With that explained I'll pack up my bag of goodies and head off to wonderland for a dose of hot chocolate and some of the leftover cookies Santa couldn't finish.

Easy to see how a mistake could be made in a dimly lit bar!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chex Mix Roasting on an Open Fire........

In our home nothing signals the start of the Holiday Season than the aroma of well seasoned Chex-Mix floating through the house on a crisp winter day. (Not counting adorning each and every window with candles) This year is no different. Except! That little wisp of aroma had a little more pungent flare to it. Like a good steak, Chex-Mix should not be cooked "well done". Seems that the new more powerful microwave is going through its first Holiday Season and doesn't quite know how to act in the face of good cheer. But have no fear all of you spicy finger tipped friends who hope to partake of the year's vintage. There is plenty of medium to medium well Mix to go around. Now, I'm not a big Chex-Mix snacker, (it don't mean a thing without that chocolate zing) but it does stir fine Holiday memories. Let me try to explain this. Experts may not agree on the accuracy of my account but, "who's telling this story?". Back around 1894 a couple of guys down in St. Louis introduced a hot wheat based breakfast cereal which was originally called Hot Ralstons. After some time people got lazy and didn't want to take the time and effort to heat up their morning mush so the guys at the St. Louis headquarters cooled things off by introducing an easier to prepare cold cereal that they called Shredded Ralston. In 1937 they changed the name to Wheat Chex. (a couple of years after I was named Ronald) The Chex name probably was derived from their St. Louis home, Checkerboard Square. About 10 years later the cousins, Rice Chex and Corn Chex arrived on the scene. As a kid I really liked Wheat Chex. That covers the Chex part of the story. Now the Mix. A major reason that I, and thousands of kids like me, gulped bowlful after bowlful of Wheat Chex was because of the endorsement of a great American cowboy hero of radio, movies and comic books, Tom Mix. Through ads in comic books and on his daily radio show Tom urged his loyal fans to eat Wheat Chex and grow up to fight evil like him. (The evil was mainly in the form of rustlers, bank robbers and ferocious injuns) And, as an incentive Tom offered numerous trinkets that could be obtained by merely sending in a few thousand Wheat Chex box tops and a dime or a quarter. Kids my age spent a great deal of time eating cereal and waiting by the mail box. So, that's the reason that the scent of Chex-Mix filling my home brings a tear to my eye. (expect this year when the smoke actually brought the tears) Chex that enabled me to keep our yard free of rustlers, bank robbers and ferocious injuns and the Mix in memory of my Ten Gallon Hatted Hero Tom. Here are a few pics to back up my story. And a little jingle that incouraged all us younguns.

Shredded Ralston for your breakfast Starts the day off shining bright;
Gives you lots of cowboy energy With a flavor that's just right!
It's delicious and nutritious, Bite sized, and ready to eat
Take a tip from Tom: Go and tell your mom:
"Shredded Ralston can't be beat!"

Checkerboard Square.
Oh! Did I mention that a lot of our four legged friends
grew up on Ralston Products?

Typical magazine ad for Shredded Ralston.

A man who needs no introduction!

Some of the fine, quality prizes that every
Red Blooded American boy could not live without.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Lighting of the Lights...

Although I had a completely different Blog planned for today, the arrival of an annual tradition in the Blume household interrupted my thought process. It was JoAnne's ceremonial lighting of the window candles. Each year, after an extensive search for the properly hidden (put away for convenient finding) box containing the candles, extension cords, timers, extra bulbs, and batteries, the master plan goes into effect. This is a signal for me to go to the store or run some factitious errand. (Once all of the elements are found) Bulbs are tested, cords untangled, timers are set and that master plan starts to take shape. NASA produces a less complicated wiring diagram than what Jo's would look like if she had one. We have, I think, nineteen windows and being a really old house we only have four electrical outlets. This makes for some real ingenious configurations in the art of electrical wiring. I must admit that year after year the task tends to fall into place with greater ease and less cussing than the year before. In years, BT (Before Timers) turning the nineteen or so candles on and off was nearly as exciting as the installation process itself. And, BC (Before Cords) when all candles were battery powered, the procedure of going from window to window to twist loose each hot little bulb was the equivalent to Marine Corp basic training maneuvers. In both cases (BT and BC) it involved crawling under furniture, squeezing behind cabinets, hanging by your knees from the ceiling fan or blindly groping in the dark for an escaped candle that had thrown itself off it's proper windowsill. So this Thanksgiving I would like to share a thankful prayer with all who, at one time or another, may experience the warm glow of Christmas Candles beckoning welcome in a small town in Wisconsin.
"Thanks Lord for the many blessings you've showered on us, thank you so much for putting us in a place where we can freely express our joy at this time of year and, thanks for bringing tranquility to our home by providing us with extension cords and timers as well as the patience to install them. Amen!"
I wanted in insert a photo of the finished product but we seem to have blown a fu.....

Friday, November 5, 2010

Just In . . .Randy Moss picked up by Chicago

Cubs that is! Wow! I didn't see this coming. Although once the shock is gone and you have a chance to think about it. Why not? The Cubs have been picking up high paid castoff, temperamental, malcontents from other teams for quite some time. Most of these "stars" never play up to their expectations but do retain their ability to upset any team chemistry. Milton Bradley did this to perfection and guys like Alfonso Soriano, with salaries the size of The Dominican Republic just show up every day and, usually, manage dress in the correct uniform. So, what are the Cubs going to do with Randy? In football he caught balls that someone would throw to him. In baseball there's a guy behind the batter that catches balls that someone throws to him. Catcher would seem like a appropriate position for him. (and remember the Cubs had pretty good luck with a catcher named Randy once before) As a catcher he would get to wear a sort of helmet with a face guard. He's used to that. And when running the bases, should he ever get on, he has a number of moves he could employ to avoid being tagged. (run ninty feet, cut left) One other benefit of him catching is that being relatively tall (6-4) he could possibly block the view of smaller, easily intimidated umpires while explaining how his foot was in bounds when he caught the ball for a strike. This should be a win, win situation for the Cubs as they have been losing a lot of high salaried players and can't use that as leverage to raise ticket prices again this year. Who knows with a little luck, they may be able to grab Favre after either his arm or foot fall off. With the possibility of his successive starts streak ending it seems only natural for him to become a "Closer". 2011 might be an interesting season after all.

Randy's charming demeanor should be a real asset on and off the field, Wrigley.

Ryno to Vikings
Not to be left out in the cold (ha ha) the Minnesota Vikings announced today that they were picking up Hall of Fame, All Star Secondbaseman, Minor League Manager of the Year, (supposed 2011 Cub's Manager) Ryne Sandberg as a designated fan. It seems to be an appropriate move as he has already been left out in the cold by the Cubs.

Because his number, 23, has been pulled by the Cubs
Ryno opted to pick one that should last for a long, long, long time.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sniff, Snort, Squirt

Last Monday night I had the pleasure of being entertained by a head full of ah . . . how shall I say . . . snot. It was my semiannual visit by Mr. Mucus and his Head Cold Gang. This phenomenon has always amazed me. Where does all that stuff come from? Where is it stored up for the rest of the year? In a four hour period that night I blew out and coughed up at least five gallons of some kind of semi-solid material. Now the last time I looked, it didn't seem like my head could hold five gallons of anything. I don't think any cavity in my body could contain the enormous amount of stuff that I expelled that night. During the day yesterday things kinda let up. Not much coughing or nose blowing although my voice turned into a device that could communicate with dolphins and sea lions. (I tried it on a Manatee, but he couldn't understand a sound I made) Last night Mr. Mucus and his buddies returned and the five or six gallons of their evil fluids were dispersed into dozens of Kleenexes strewn around the foot of the bed. In between gags and blows I amused myself playing Kleenex/waste basket basketball. (My left hand won by only seven points) This morning as I retrieved the errant shots, a chilling thought came to mind. I thought back to the days of my childhood (and a good part of childishhood) when each morning we would equip ourselves with a clean white handkerchief which was expected to contain all the nasal residue that one would encounter that day. Think about it, sneeze, cough, blow and stick back into your pocket only to pull it out again in a few minutes to repeat the routine. If you had the least bit of a cold, just putting your hand into your pocket was quite an adventure. I guess this fact alone should put Kleenex Tissues right near the top of "The Greatest Inventions of all Time" list. Once again, today the drippy, drooly, stuffiness has let up the voice isn't much better but I have no one to talk to anyway. I have considered making crank phone calls to various politicians who have been calling me for the past year. THis post probably isn't very interesting to most of you and there's nothing to be learned from it (Maybe you could tell your kids about how lucky they are that you don;t make them carry handkerchiefs) but, when you're laying around at night tossing wet Kleenexes the only other thing to do is come up with stupid subjects for a blog.
Gotta go, I have to head over to Walgreen's, they have Kleenex on sale.

I couldn't have said it better!

Hopefully I'll get some beneficial sleep the next couple of nights. I have about three dozen clocks to reset Saturday night. It's either that or move to Indiana. Speaking of time. As I surveyed the walls of clocks another thought came to mind. According to most of the clocks it was somewhere around 2:30. It dawned on me that next Thursday at this time it will be the same time. Now that's the stuff Nobel Prizes are given for.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

How Many Fingers Do You See???

I don't know if you've noticed the recent news frenzy dealing with concussions. Every newspaper sport section, every sport commentary on TV and even that new fangled internet thing has run some kind of report on the "Problem". I even heard today that Major League Baseball is thinking of instating a new shorter CDL (concussion disabled list) mainly for players who suffer from concussions. It seems that concussions, also known as Badly Bruised Banged-around Brain Syndrome (BBBS) has no boundaries. All of us are susceptible . Just a simple palm to the forehead with a verbal "DAH!" can cause a mild case of BBBS. Although the Media has made me very aware of danger of random head banging, it didn't touch home until last weekend as we visited Summer, Reid and Baby Eddie. Eddie, who is in the early stages of crawling 101, was working on his "come from behind, grab Sammy's tail" technique, when he misplaced his little hand (or it could have been his little knee) and bonked his little bean on the floor. It didn't seem to bother him too much but it did make Sammy aware of his intention. The total Bonk was pretty minor but, what if it had been Bonky enough to cause BBBS? The natural protective Grandpa juices started flowing. How can I keep my little Eddie from going on the CDL? I rushed off to my laboratory. (in this case, the upstairs john. I guess that would make it my lavatory) Fortunately I had my slide rule T-square, compass and forceps along on the trip. In no time at all I managed to develop a suitable solution to the infant BBBS problem . . . The Crawler's Cranium Cap. A relatively simple solution. Reid's mom, Rita, is a world class spinner, weaver and knitter so a suitably smartly styled cap could be produced with no problem. The real safety factor lies in the lining of the CCC . . . Bubble Wrap. This material would not only act as a cushion in Bonk situations but the popping sound of the bursting bubbles would alert a possibly snoozing parent that little Junior just had a chance meeting with the floor. The lining could be easily replaced after all of its pop is pooped and the cap could be handed down generation to generation considering the parents decided to extend their family after realizing the apparent dangers involved. As Seen on TV ads were put into the works, a Spokesperson was named, and a price was set - $19.95 RPSLP (Ron Popeil's Suggested List Price) "But Wait if you call now we'll double the offer!!!" Sorry I got a little carried away. And a little ahead of myself. Reid, who is a little more detail oriented than I, took the time to do some research on the net thing and discovered that the "so-called" head case was already covered. Once again blindsided by a bunch of cheap imitators who just wait around for a guy to come up with an ingenious idea and then steal it. This isn't going to discourage me, I will continue to do my best to protect mankind from hidden dangers and Grandkids from Bean Bonks.

CCC spokesperson Marty Feldman states,
"If I had worn a CCC as a child, I might not have become a movie star".

Now, here's one safe kid!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Best Friends Baking?

This past weekend we had the pleasure of taking another run up to "The Cities" to visit Grandkid Eddie and his folks. This is always a treat for Super Granny Jo and usually a multiple treat for me. Although I enjoy seeing and playing with Eddie, Sammy and family, I really love the ride along The River, and, usually, a real highlight is the stuff I find in Summer's kitchen. Summer and her best friend, Lisa, over in Seattle are involved in baking their way through a cookbook. (a dessert cookbook) Regularly they post results, accompanied by photos and commentary, of each project. ( Normally when we go up for a visit we are treated to one of the wonderful desserts that has already been tested on respective hubbies. Once again I wasn't disappointed, little "Molten Dark Chocolate Cakes" were the featured dessert Friday evening. (With a little leftover for an early morning snack) But the culinary world wouldn't be interesting without a well-wishing, good-natured, meddling old guy with a recipe that looked kinda good in the Shopping News. (I've always found that the best place for gourmet dining suggestions is The Shopping News or Neighborhood Advertiser) This particular (or peculiar) recipe was for a Ham and Almond Pastry Ring. At a glance, it looked pretty tasty. But once again, failing to read beyond "pastry ring" was my first mistake. To make a long bad tasting story short, it was awful! Reid, Summer and Jo only managed to down two or three fork fulls before giving up on it and Reid headed into the kitchen to whip up some edible scrambled eggs and toast. Determined to defend my epicurean discovery, I not only finished my first helping but eagerly chowed down on a second portion whereupon I admitted, "actually, the more of this you eat, the worse it tastes". Reid's eggs looked, and I was told, tasted great but, by this time, my appetite had not only left me but took off in the direction of Canada. Needless to say, from now on, I'll keep my recipe suggestions to myself and confine my breakfast menu selections to chocolate doughnuts, pecan rolls and chocolate cake and leave the fancy breakfast creations to ihop and Bob Evans. In the best interest for the health and well being of the family, their home and their belongings, we decided it would be best to vacate the premises long enough for the HAPR to clear through my system. The logical choice, the St Paul, Como Park Zoo. What better place to, shall we say, blend in with the environment. I managed to stay close to open cages and, every now and then point at one of the animals while pinching my nose and waving my hand. This really teed off a group of Howler Monkeys who were involved in some personal hygiene of their own and didn't care to be the butt of my little joke. After a couple of hours out in the fresh air, we felt it was safe to return home and prepare a little less exotic dinner.

Ham and Almond Pastry Ring being given a suitable sendoff.
(We tried sending it to "those starving kids overseas", they sent it back!)

The trip home on Sunday was fairly uneventful as I chose to take the route through the migrating swan feeding area only to find that they haven;t arrived yet. Maybe in a couple of weeks.

The geese are lining up, jockeying for good seats to watch the upcoming Swan Show.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wild Swan Chase

Last Monday I decided to take advantage of the beautiful Native American Summer weather by driving up The River to check on the annual Tundra Swan migration. Just south of La Crosse, Wisconsin on the west side of the Mississippi River is an area where thousands of Tundra Swans, and other migratory water fowl, stop to rest and carb up for their journey to their wintering grounds. I thought it might be a little early in the season and with the warm weather, the chances of large numbers of birds would be pretty slim. But, it was nearly eighty degrees and a good excuse for a car ride. I guess I wasn't the only one yearning for a road trip. On my little journey I saw more top down convertibles than I had seen all summer. Anyway, I was right! On the way "up" I drove the Wisconsin side of The River and saw no wild life other than a couple of elderly ladies dueling for the same handicap parking spot at Walmart. Proceeding "down" the Minnesota side I finally spotted a Blue Heron and then small groups of Canada Geese. (barely a gaggle) When I arrived at the area that Our Government has designated as an authorized Swan Rest Stop I could see three or four groups of swans out in the center of The River. Even my zoom lens didn't make it worth while to try shooting photos of them. As a matter of fact I'm not even sure if they were swans or not. They could have been pelicans or white rhinos for all I could tell. Can't consider the trip a complete waste of time. Because after arriving back home, while downloading my camera, I discovered that I had captured quite an interesting shot. As I drive up to The Cities this weekend you can be sure that I'll be a lot more aware of what's out in that river.

It's amazing that I didn't notice the fall color on the opposite shore.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Undercover Boss

Maybe you wonder where I've been for the past week. (Probably not, but so what. I needed a theme) Actually, intrigued by the TV show "Undercover Boss", I decided to go undercover in my company. I must admit that I really don't have a company. But, if I did, I would want to look into the inner workings of it. I started off by disguising myself so not to be recognized by my imaginary employees. (I fooled all but one of them) After just one day of performing the menial tasks that normally go undone, I discovered how tired I would get on a daily basis if I did all the stuff that needed doing. I must admit as I looked throughout my room...I mean company I found almost no disgruntled employees. As a matter of fact we are all very gruntled. As in any other company the size of mine there are always things and procedures that can and should be improved. Since returning to overcover I have instituted a few things that will make the company a better place to (pardon the expression) work. Bowls of chocolate, in some form, shall be placed throughout the plant. Pie will be served with most lunch entrees and plates of freshly baked cookies will be available for emergency munching. I am initiating extra coffee breaks for noncoffee drinkers. These will be know as Root Beer Float/Chocolate Malt breaks. And, lastly I am setting up a scholarship fund for all employees who wish to further their education by pursuing degrees in clock setting, battery replacement and pastry chefmanship. I am sure that if you should call into the "company" in the future you will encounter a holier, happier and probably fatter reception from a holier, happier and probably fatter me. I think that this has been a very successful undercover week and should be picked up by CBS to air on a TV near you. Now if I can get this stupid beard off, I'll get back to work.
(It gets all messy from the chocolate frosting on my triple chocolate cake.)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Little Girl Lost?

While on vacation earlier this month I came across a wonderful scene on the shore of Lake Michigan. As I moseyed along the beach (I do mosey from time to time) I found this little girless shoe among the stones. What joyful visions this stirred in my mind. A playful little tot prancing along the warm stones, the cool blue lake beckoning ahead, a mad dash to confront the breaking waves with such enthusiasm that the missing shoe doesn't faze her. The stones, the water, and the shoe remain but the little girl is gone. Or is she?

You can take the little girl out of the shoe,
but you can't take the little girl out of the little girl!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Back, Back, Back . . .

I just don't know. I go away for a week and the Cubs go nuts. During my absence I think they won forty or fifty games in a row. Then I get home just in time to see one of them get skewered with the sharp end of a broken bat.
Meanwhile back to the vacation stories. There was no one really far out occurrence (that spelling doesn't look right to me, but who's to argue with spellcheck?) We did do a lot of back road driving which gave me plenty of time to muse. I didn't use to muse but now I find myself musing all the time. (besides it's neat to say) One of my many musings involved people's need to give humorous names to their possessions, mainly vacation homes, boats and, the queen of them all, beauty shops. Unfortunately I didn't muse this muse in time to photograph a bunch of examples but there is no play on words that escapes these people. Jo and I tried our hand (or head) at coming up with a few names. I guess we're not meant have a boat to dock at our vacation home while we primp and perm at the shoppe because we couldn't come up with anything worthy of posting. (although I kinda like "Curls Night Out" for a salon name and "Richie Haven" for a cottage) But we did pass a sign outside a business (not a cottage, boat or salon) It was a store for yard ornaments called Ta Da . . . "Birdbaths and Beyond"
Enough musing for now. Most of you who know me know that I have strong yearning for chocolate, pie and ice cream. (and I throw in hamburgers for the nutritional value) At our lunch stop on Washington Island I wacked the entire food pyramid with one or two sweeps of my fork. A really dark chocolate ice cream provided the dairy portion, apple pie took care of the grain (wheat flour in the crust) and fruit. Just to cover all the basics I threw in a cup of chili for meat and veggies.

One other food note. On the way up to Door County we found a little burger joint in Two Rivers (pronounced Trivers), Wisconsin that ranks right up there with Petes in Prairie du Chien. (see "Make Mine Plain" - April 25, 2009)

Nuf said about food.
I'm still in the process of editing the hundreds of photos that Jo and I shot hoping to narrow them down to a few good examples of the beauty that we saw. Until then I'll leave you with a story of the photo we didn't take.
In our travels we run across deer fairly regularly. Normally we are either face to face with them or left with a view of their "white flag" (tail) disappearing into the woods. Last Tuesday we were driving down a nice quiet little road in Door County chuckling at the silly names at the end of driveways of vacation getaways when I noticed a deer up ahead. She was standing in the middle of the road not paying a bit of attention to us but rather staring in the opposite direction at an approaching bicyclist. She was completely oblivious to anything but that biker. Almost as oblivious as were the two tourist sitting in their Honda not taking pictures with any of the three cameras at hand. Finally the cyclist got fairly close and another deer, who was enjoying the whole thing from the edge of the woods, yelled (or whatever deer do to get each others attention) and they both took off into the forest. A day or two later a different deer did stop to pose for me. It actually started to approach the car but got scared off by another car zooming by.

And one Eagle for good measure!

Pictured Rocks, Lighthouses and waterfalls are up next!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bye for a while

Although my posts have become few and far between, I always intend to write more often. Normally I have two or three really interesting/funny stories bouncing around my head (usually in a sleepless period during the night) but, by the time I get to the computing machine, they have dissolved and run off to the land of lost stories. This coming week I have a legitimate excuse for not posting. We're going on vacation. This will provide Jo with a much needed rest away from work and other household responsibilities and give me an, even better than usual, excuse to take an unneeded rest from work and other household responsibilities. My job for the next week or so will consist of finding and shooting a whole bunch of outstanding photos. I still haven't found "The Photo of the Year" for 2010. And, maybe I'll even find a clock or two for my wall. The count is presently up to twenty one and I want to tell you that twenty one ticking clocks certainly provide plenty of "white noise" for what ever "white noise" is good for. Watching the preparations for a week long trip in the Blume house is somewhat like witnessing a circus ringmaster load up the VW with a thousand clowns. This season of year, especially when you're traveling "Up North", things become a little more exciting. Warm sunny days, cool crisp nights, possible rain, the chance of snow, earthquakes, forest fires and the occasional, dreaded tidal wave all give JoAnne the heebie jeebies, which is Spanish for, "I better pack this in case of that!". I have almost finished packing my Piggly Wiggly reusable shopping bag with my stuff and Jo, who promised to limit herself to one suitcase, is just about finished repacking for the _______eenth time. (our neighbor has been kind enough to offer the use of his brother's fork lift to help load the "one" suitcase into the car.) Now that we have selected and packed the necessary clothing, we can devote this afternoon to the gathering of the important supplies...snack stuff. Going on vacation is no excuse for going nuts and abandoning your normal, healthy diet. So, with that said, I'm personally attending to the food pyramid. Let's see, does chocolate go on top or create the base for all other nutrients? I've already covered all the essentials, stopped the mail and newspaper deliveries and stopped at the bakery to assure them that I was coming back so there would be no reason to panic if I didn't show up for a week. Well, all we have left is load the cooler(s), fill up with gas (which naturally went up a nickle a gallon while I was writing this), try to figure out which chargers go with which electronic device, wind the compass and hit the road early tomorrow morning. We'll be back in a week with great photos and even greater tales of the North Woods. (some even true).

As we used to say in the old country, "See Ya!"

Monday, August 30, 2010

Odds, more odds and a few ends...

Just a few scattered thoughts.
Here's an update on my, soon to be acquired, fortune. Saturday evening I received another call from my friends down in Jamaica. He inquired if I had received the package containing my two point five million dollars. A package, accompanied by two US Marshals to insure safe delivery. I told him that it hadn't arrived because if if had he would be talking to me in Hawaii. He was visually shaken (not stirred) and expressed his concern about the nondelivery. I agreed that I too was really worried about the situation. We exchanged, "oh nos" and "oh my Gods". I asked, "what can we do about this?" He assured me that he would personally look into this mishap and would personally instruct me in the procedures necessary for a smooth, safe transfer of my two point five million which, incidentally, would be delivered by UPS. Then for some reason he asked if I knew what UPS was. I quickly replied that I definitely did know that UPS stood for the "Under Pants Society". He agreed. At this point, I needed to get back to the Cubs' game so I told him to take care of things, send me the money and I would sponsor him for membership in UPS. Next call I'm planning on playing it straight and let him (or his cousin) explain the entire routine for me. It should be interesting to hear his response if I offer to save him UPS charges by flying down there to pick up my money in person.

This weekend I took part in an interesting experiment. I attended a birthday party for a toddler that didn't involve clowns, elephant rides, face painting or a Beatles reunion band. What an interesting concept, a couple of balloons, ice cream and cake. I'm sure, that with some therapy and the proper medication, the kid will survive being deprived the expected birthday extravaganza and not be inclined to run away with the circus.

I'm not sure if this is a sign of Fall approaching but, this morning Jo called to tell me that an eagle had just buzzed her car on the way to work. Although they hang around all year, you see quite a few less during the Summer months. It was kinda like seeing the first Robin.

Speaking of spotting birds, a week or so ago, on our way to Derek and Jeanna's new home, we spotted fifty or more Sandhill cranes feasting on something in a field. These birds have become more and more abundant. As a matter of fact, I recently read an article in a Minnesota newspaper that they were planning a hunting season for them and that they were extremely delicious to eat. I think I'll wait on trying some, but if any of you have or will try Sandhill steaks, let me know how they are. (Hold out for steaks or breasts. I don't think the legs are worth the trouble)

I normally write a lot about things that I encounter while driving around. This experience was quite a bit different from the usual scenic view or wildlife. We had driven about a block after bringing my Mother-In-Law to see Derek and Jeanna's new home. JoAnne looked back to ask her mom something only to find her unresponsive (out cold). I stopped the car and called 911 as Jo successfully revived her. The police and EMTs did their thing and reluctantly allowed us to be on our way. On arriving back in Dodgeville it was decided that a trip to the local hospital would ease everyone's concern. Between Jo, her Mom and I, we have a frequent flyer rating at Upland Hills Hospital. Jo's mom is doing just fine back at Crestridge.

One last thing. On the way home from Mineral Point Saturday afternoon I experienced another "first time ever" sight. I have a number of explanations for this image. Pick one.

What's this? Could it be my package from Jamaica?

Oh! It's just a Wisconsin "Porta-Potty".

Too much "Two" party.

Grandpa Blume shows Eddie proper patio fishing techniques
while daddy and grandpa Nimz chase Moby Dick in the wilds of Minnesota.

Nothing to say. Just a nice pic.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Easy Come...Easy Go!

For the third or fourth time in less than a month I have turned down millions of dollars. Just this afternoon, as I was not enjoying still another Cub loss, my displeasure was interrupted by a phone call from Kingston Jamaica. A voice in very broken English greeted me by name, Mr. Ronald Blume (with the accent on the "E"). He proceeded to inform me that while searching through some records his firm had discovered that I was owed two point five million dollars plus ten thousand dollars for something I couldn't understand. All I needed to do was verify my address and some other minor information and the bucks would start rolling in. The easy way would be for me to have them deposit it directly into my checking account. At the time I was distracted by the ball game where the Cubs were about to set a new record for striking out on wild pitches. I told the guy that I really didn't have time for him right now and two point five million was hardly worth the trouble and as long as he had my phone number he could probably dig up my address and just mail me a check. He insisted that this was a chance of a lifetime and I may never have an opportunity like this again. I replied that only two or three weeks ago one of his colleagues offered me a similar deal which I also turned down. I explained to him that such a large amount of money would put me in a higher tax bracket and create an awful lot of extra paperwork, besides I had just driven a trunk full of pop cans over to Michigan and collected the deposit for some big bucks. In my best broken Jamaican I suggested that he could have the money and maybe take his wife and family out for a nice dinner, I understood that the jerk chicken and escoveitch fish were real good this time of year. I told him that I had to hang up because three Cub runners were caught in a rundown between home and first base. (That only occurred twice before in this season) I thanked him for his time and concern for my well being. In closing told him to call back anytime he came across a more worthwhile amount. Not wanting to be a complete idiot, I gave him the names of all my Facebook "friends" and suggested he split up the money between them. So, when you get your cash, I'm free for lunch!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Fennimore Riviera?

Early last Sunday our area was hit with some powerful thunder storms that dropped between three and four inches of rain in less than an hour. After church Jo and I set out to do a little grocery shopping at our local Piggly Wiggly about ten miles down the road. As usual we were on the lookout for wildlife and other interesting sights along the way. The wildlife we spotted was in a small pasture set back a little off the road. A quick uturn (my specialty) and we were back to a vantage point to watch the action. The wildlife was of the two legged variety. A group of young (I think Mennonite) kids were frolicking in a flooded portion of their pasture. There was no fancy pool or sandy beach, an old stool served as a diving board, a flower pot and an old hat became water toys. Fortunately I had my backup camera in the glove compartment and managed to shoot a photo or two of the fun. Unfortunately as soon as the kids noticed us (and the camera) they started mugging and the spontaneity was lost. Even so, the splashing and laughter was still there and reminded me so much of steamy days back in the city where an open fire hydrant provided relief from the summer heat. It just goes to show that fun is where and when you find it. By the time we were returning from our shopping, the the pond, and the kids, were gone. The water had soaked into the ground and drained off into a nearby creek. The grasses of the pasture received a dose of nutrients, the creek had some fresh water for it's inhabitants (probably some happy Trout), the kids were toweling off and hanging their wet duds on the clothes line and Jo and I stored away one more memory of the wonders that occur around us every day.

I think the pictures speak for themselves.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Does Anybody Really Know What time It Is???

Does anybody really care? Not me. I could care less what time it really is. As a matter of fact, I've quit keeping track of time. No more deadlines, no more trains (or buses) to catch, no need to worry about rush hour traffic jams. (From now on it's strictly strawberry or raspberry jams.) I've got plenty of time on my hands, have had the time of my life, finished in no time, and got me to the church on time. Mildly put, "I laugh at time". I don't care about a two minute egg, a four minute mile or a New York second. I've been told time and time again and had "No Time for Sergeants ". There's no this time, that time, some time, next time or even any time. I've worked overtime to get paid time and a half. I've wasted time waiting for tee times at the course and, when my time is up, I'll be the first to find time for the last time. That's it. I'm out of time. Gotta go, it's just about supper time!

Like I always say, "there's no time like the present".

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fun at the New Ballyard

Still recovering from a great weekend. Drove up to the "Cities" to visit new grandkid, Eddie. Upon arriving Grandma Jo immediately took over "tending to Eddie" responsibilities. And I took over the responsibility of taste testing a flourless chocolate cake Summer had prepared. Actually the cake was supposed to be my prize for winning the "Guess the Baby Stuff" contest which I did in fact win with no public recognition or fanfare whatsoever. Saturday was a day of rest for me. I restricted myself to limited activities. In the morning, on a trip to the Richfield Farmers' Market, I limited my activity to arguing with a couple of "Master Gardener" ladies about the identification of a branch from a Mulberry tree in the kids' backyard. This allowed me to spend the remainder of the day gloating over my correct assessment. (Reid looked it up on the internet, of course) The women shopped and Reid went over hang out with some buddies while I prepared for a second round with that chocolate treat. As the evening went on we were bombarded with storm warnings, storm watches, tornado warnings and tornado watches. How harrowing! Jo and Summer tried to decide whether to wake Eddie and head for the safety of the basement while I made plans for a safe haven for the cake. The storms passed, Eddie and the cake both survived and Reid made it home intact.
Now the highlight of the weekend. (and the secondary reason for us being there) Off to Target Field, the newly constructed home of the Minnesota Twins. This would be Eddie's first baseball game (he had already attended a Viking's game shortly after birth) and the Twins were playnig the much hated (at least by me) White Sox. I've always said that I would rather see the Sox lose than the Cubs win. Yep that's what I always said. After explaining to Reid, an avid soccer player and fan, that when a foul ball comes your way, "don't try to hit it with your forehead". Fortunately there were no head shots AND the Twins managed to pull out a victory in the bottom of the ninth. One side note about the new stadium, there was weird stuff going on, something you don't see down at Wrigley (or even Sox park) the vendors were putting red stuff on the hot dogs. I believe they called it catsoup or cat something. Oh well, folks up here go ice fishing, kill the fish, soak them in lye and eat them. Probably just trying to get that catsup taste out of their mouths. A couple more bites of that chocolate cake and it was back home just in time to greet Jo's niece and four of her kids who came up to spend a few days in our neck of the woods. On their last visit they checked out the arm and shoulder of the woods.
Did I mention that the Sox lost?

Grandpa explains the finer points of soccer with Eddie.

"Dad! Dad! Dad!"

Monday, July 12, 2010


The World Cup Extravaganza is over and I have found a new appreciation of the sport. Up until yesterday I had never watched, played or, if possible not talked about, soccer. It was right near the top of my"List" along with hockey and liver. But yesterday, while visiting my sports expert son, I caught the final moments of "extra time". I guess I never really understood the nuances of the game before. I'm so impressed with these guys as kickers. Man, they are so accurate that almost every time they kick the ball far down the field, (or it may be called the pasture) they manage to hit one of the other guys in head with the ball. Sometimes they'll hit him in the chest but most of the time it's right on the old bean. No wonder so many soccer players become field goal kickers for the NFL. Luckily they can kick because they could never play any other position because if some one brushes against them they fall down and lay there until, either the games over or a referee gives them a note for their coach. An interesting thing that I noticed was the notes that the refs hand out. I'm not sure of the reason for writing little colored notes instead of using flags like in auto racing of nice hankies like the football (the real football) refs and umps use. Well maybe if they used those hankies, which are weighted they would probably hit some guy writhing around on the ground causing them more agony making it necessary to lay there even longer. After I realized that almost everyone at the game (match?) was from some other country I surmised this reason for the yellow and red notes (those are the only two colors I saw. Don't know if they come in different colors for different occasions or to match the uniforms being worn for that particular game) These notes are like citations and depending on the severity of the infraction, your note can send you home, have you stand front of a guy who's going kick the ball at you at close range, or, the most serious infraction (I guess a red card) you get sent to Arizona with only a sweaty jersey and a can of refried beans. Even though I came away with a whole new appreciation of soccer, it's still not coming off my "List". As I said I am no expert but I have a son, a couple of grandsons, a granddaughter and a son-in-law who are authentic soccer persons and will probably send me little red notes for my birthday. But, for real poop on the sport and most others, I have still another son who has most of the answers (and opinions). See -

A soccer guy about to take a direct hit by a ball that some one a quarter of a mile away just kicked at him. The other guy seems a little quicker and manages to get out of the way in time.

One of the most prestigious kicks in all of soccerdom, a doubleheader. Unlike baseball, it's still only one game but it can have extra time. Right after this kick the guy on the far right fell down and layed there until he got a colored card to take home to the wife. (it was a Hallmark) I think the kicker got a special lime seafoam green card for the two beaner.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Sound of Square Music

In my blog last year (July 23 - The Tip of a Hat) I talked about a Madison, Wisconsin event. Quote - "On Wednesdays during the Summer, hundreds (maybe thousands or millions) of music lovers, picnicers, patrons of the arts and a few winos gather on the lawn around the State Capital building . . . "The Square" to listen to a performance of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. You can pack a picnic basket with your dinner or purchase pretty good food from vendors in little tents around the venue OR if your among the privileged you get to sit at fancy table set up along the main sidewalk that leads to the Capital steps and have a fine dinner, complete with wine served by a formally dressed wait staff. These are reserved for sponsors, their friends, family, employees and anyone else that can come up with millions of dollars for dinner." This past Thursday, due to some really bad weather on Wednesday, seats at one of these tables (bought and paid for) were raffled off. Lo and behold, Mrs. Blume was the proud winner of two seats at a fairly far, upfront table for that nights concert. Food would be provided as long as we were acceptable to dinning on whatever the previous owner had ordered. We were joined by five other winners and settled in for an evening of food and music. Fortunately the "pre-picked" menu was quite tasty and went perfectly with the bottle of $2.79 Pinot Grigio that we brought from home. Last year I made note of the various head wear around the square and even took some photos of them. This year, being much more sophisticated, I left my camera in the car and only mentally analyzed the crowd around me. There were the tables with bosses treating some deserving employees, salespeople treating customers (or prospective customers), Moms and Dads trying to instill culture in their children, husbands showing their wives a good time and those folks that NEED to be there because that's where you NEED to be. I even saw, if there ever is such a show, candidates for "The Real Housewives of Madison". Time to time the "Table People" would acknowledge the "Lawn People" by casting a sorta smug smile their way. Some "Lawn People" would reply with a signal, that I think, meant "First Time?" The weather was beautiful and the music was a collection of patriotic tunes starting with the Star Spangled Banner and ending with a rousing version (is there any other kind of version?) of the 1812 Overture complete with the blasts from sixteen canons. The canon fire came from a rooftop across the street from the capitol and to make it more authentic, pre-selected "Lawn People" fell over as though they had been hit. What a great ending. In payment for their performances, the "canon fodder" were allowed to occupy seats at vacated tables as waiters and busboys cleaned up. All in all a very pleasant evening spoiled only by listening to the broadcast of another Cub's loss on the way home. As I said I left my camera in the car two weeks we are returning as "Lawn People". (Lands' End is a sponsor that night so we get to sit in a reserved "Lawn People" section close to the "Table People") In the mean time I'm practicing my "First Time?" signal. Hopefully I will get some photos of both the "Lawn" and Table People" that I can add some smartassed captions to.
Oops, did I mention the chocolate cake with raspberry sauce dessert?

Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra Music Director Andrew Sewell
doing that voodoo that he do sewell!

"Lawn People

"Table People"

These photos are only a poor representation of the real thing. I pulled these off other less created sites and will try to give you a more accurate depiction of "Concerts on the Square" in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned.