Monday, June 30, 2008

The Nest and Baseball and employment these days.

I watch “my” MLB baseball team on TV quite often. It is the only real justification I have for spending money on satellite TV. When we were out of town for a week in May, the team lost quite a few games. Now they are surging, winning something like 9 out of 10 games, mostly against the other league. And now I’m not watching. There is no picture on the TV from the satellite. No signal. No reason. It is not the TV, as I can pull in an NBC affiliate even though we no longer have an antenna. We are suspecting a broken cable due to a ground squirrel, but we haven’t found the cause yet.

Actually, this will probably do me some good, since I’m not vegetating in the chair in the evenings.

The Nest: The empty nest won't be so empty soon. I have one adult child who lost his job today, mostly for economic reasons. And one adult child who has been successfully self-employed but who is done with her job within a week. This might be a difficult summer for me, as I know that kids revert to childhood when they come home, and there is bound to be some jealousy between the two of them, although they usually get along just fine. I can tell myself all the right things about how to talk to them and how to treat them as adults, but I also find myself reverting to old behaviors when they are home.

But I am vowing to make it clear to them that if they are going to live here, they 1) have to pitch in and 2) it won't be free. We've already told them that we won't/can't put up with them coming and going at any time of night or day and then expecting peace and quiet during daylight hours. There is no way that they can come into the house in the middle of the night and not wake us. And the older one gets, the more precious (and rare) sleep becomes.

It may well be that not having a TV will be just the incentive they need for not staying here too long.

Regarding my son's situation:
He was working, for a year and a half, in a business at a low level job, but they had told him that they would help him get the necessary training and license to move up. They never did that, and their excuse may be legitimate because there had been a change in management and there is a downward swing in the economy. But he was getting increasingly disenchanted with the management there and the ethics. For example, he had figured that if he stuck it out for 1 1/2 years, he would get the bonus mentioned in the policy manual. Now they say it isn't a contract. He claims that he was never reprimanded for poor work and the only time they weren't happy with him is when he came in on a Sunday to do some extra assignment, but they refused to pay him overtime.

The real kicker was when, just over a week ago, they told him that he'd be out in a month, but that they were hiring a woman (lower wages!) to replace him and he'd have to train her. Well, today is her first day, but the boss realized that he had created an awkward situation, so today is my son's last day.

My advice to him is to find a line of work where his affinity for senior citizens and his good values would be appreciated. Too bad it is such a difficult time in the general economy.

Ill Timed

Our church had a healing service as part of the morning worship. You never know how these will turn out, which is to say, how many people will come forward. Sometimes we had people standing in line, waiting for prayer and laying on of hands. Today, the number was just enough to fill up about 10 or 15 minutes of time, with 4 "healing ministers" praying and laying on of hands.

My husband left church during that part of the service. He got sick. He is just completely wiped out with no energy. He hopes to be well enough to go to work tomorrow because his employer takes sick leave time away from vacation time.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

One use for Government stimulus checks that I wouldn't have thought of.

Gas prices hurt everyone. Who'd have thought?

I labeled this as Humor (?) except that it is true and not really funny. But I didn't know what other label to give it. I'm not sure it should be under "Politics that challenge us."

Why believe?

I commend John's blog post to you, called "I can not not believe."

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Friday, June 27, 2008

Pulpit for sale

I went to a giant rummage sale today run by the Lion’s club.  There is way too much stuff to be sold in three days.  One of the items is a used pulpit, $20. 


We've been following the progress of a (pair of?) pileated woodpecker who made a nest in a tree not far from my house. First we were seeing the bird(s) flying around more than usual this spring. We were hearing their call, which is sort of like the background sounds in an old Tarzan movie. Then we were realizing that they were spending a lot of time on the dead tree. There is a sizable hole in the trunk, facing west. Soon we were hearing the bird's call, as well as some other minor squawking noises from that direction. I could usually see one of the baby bird's heads peeking out of the hole. I could only wonder about how crowded that nest might be, since pileated woodpeckers are so large. There was certainly no room for the mama bird in there. I was able to get a picture confirming that there were at least two birds in the nest. Yesterday, I heard their call quite loudly while I was still in bed.

By afternoon, I realized that I was no longer hearing any noises from that tree and there were no heads peaking out. They must have fledged. I wish we had seen it.

There is another picture I took of a pileated woodpecker last year on this link, about halfway down.

You know, when my oldest went away to college, my husband and I talked about our own youth and we talked about how interesting it would be to be a fly on the wall and observe what she was doing. Well, maybe not. We've fledged our three children. One or two may come back home later this summer. Once fledged successfully, they are too big for the nest, if the parent wants some comfort in that nest.

It says what?

This joke is worth a look.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Discussion of the Dobson/Obama debate (?) in the news

Just as a disclaimer, I will say that I used to (28 or 30 years ago) listen to James Dobson on the radio and I read some of his early books. Even then, I thought that he had some good ideas, was Gospel centered, but also had a great tendency to over generalize and over state his opinions, even in areas where he was not an expert, such as medical information. He is called Dr. Dobson and he makes a point of stating in his bio that he was a member of the faculty in a medical school in California, but he is a PhD psychologist, not a medical doctor. Neither is he a theologian by training.

I found his child rearing advice helpful with my daughter but unhelpful with my son.

Currently he is in the news because his radio broadcast yesterday criticized a speech that Obama made two years ago. The commentators on both sides of the aisle seem to find his criticisms to be askew, even questioning what he meant or meant to do.

This article, by Jacques Berlinerblau, in Georgetown On Faith, seems to sum up the different ways that different groups use the scriptures in their arguments and addresses the current criticism of Obama by Dobson.

If you want some balance, check out Wallis . Also this Southern Baptist editorial. And here.
also here

Monday, June 23, 2008

For a Season: This week in Neverland

I enjoyed reading this pastor's reflections on attending the Upstate New York Synod Assembly. She reflects on a workshop lead by the Rev. Dr. Diana Butler Bass, among other things.

For a Season: This week in Neverland

Sunday, June 22, 2008


The computer is working great!

Friday, June 20, 2008

I may actually have fixed it!

The computer may be fixed, by YOURS TRULY.  Of course, knowing computers, I shouldn’t brag too soon.

Making things worse

The various scans and anti- spyware programs I ran did take out some malware, but the whole computer is messed up now. I'm lucky if I can get into my email program at all. It works when I can open it, but it usually doesn't open. Sometimes I can get into a program, such as the virus scan, and it runs at about 1/20th the speed as usual, ie, after the whole night, it hadn't finished running. I've learned that the malware I have supposedly isn't a virus, yet it morphs and hides and pops up again and again. This will take a major computer makeover to get rid of. Time to swear.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Being cleansed: Is it really Free?

I seem to know more about computers than many non-techy people, but I hate anything having to do with the working parts. But I have had some good expert advice on this computer problem, plus I've Googled the names of the malicious stuff on this hard drive. The main culprit is the trojan.win32. It seems to have come in on Tuesday afternoon and WAS caught by my AVG virus program. I clicked to put it in the virus vault, but apparently there was a jail break.

It makes all sorts of pop-ups show up which purport to be anti spyware programs (for $$) that will get rid of the problems. Some of them look like Microsoft pages, but a bit fuzzier. Researching this malware confirms that it seems to be associated with some online companies. I'm not going to give in to their coercion.

I've run AdAware, which I already have in my computer. It didn't get rid of (enough of) the malware.

I found a reference to SpyHunter by Enigma Software, which was listed as a FREE spyware detection program. I downloaded that. Hmmmm, yes, it did detect the malware for free, but if I wanted it removed, there was a $30 fee to sign up for the real version. I had been told that this might happen, but it would probably be worth the price. I paid the ransom. It worked. Sort of. I had to redownload the program and put in some codes (that didn't want to work at first), and then it DID REMOVE the malware and spyware. Except that after 15 mnutes it came back.

Now I'm downloading a free program called SpyBot. It really is free, except that they ask for a contribution. Sounds like church.

Well, if it washes the computer, it may be like free grace. But in this case, I'm dealing with downloading all this stuff on a slow dial up internet connection. Lets hope that this one works.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Virus Taking Over

I apparently have a virus in my computer. I'm getting all sorts of pop-ups warning me that I have spyware in the system. Apparently this virus is even interfering with my virus scan program, because it prevented the virus scan from finishing scanning yesterday. My virus program did detect the virus when it came it, but when I clicked on the appropriate button, that didn't help. I'm getting all sorts of pop ups warning me about the virus and telling me that I need to download some programs for $$ to deal with this. Well, I don't believe that because I'm sure that if they were real anti-virus programs, they wouldn't be so malicious. I guess they are wolves in sheep clothing, but the teeth are showing. The virus program is affecting IE more the Mozilla, so I can still use the 'net.

UPDATE: The wonderful man who usually works on my computer decided to go fishing in Canada for a week. Well, his son called me, so I was able to ask a lot of questions. Mostly I'm doing everything right but I still have the virus.

WARNING: Don't click on YES for pop-ups that say you are being attacked by spy ware. Whatever I have seems to be both a malicious spy ware program, but it is also the Trojan Horse downloader. Akkkk

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Spiders to Keep Her Company

I'm still in Wisconsin, but plan A is to drive home to Minnesota tomorrow. I'll have to check the forecast and news first thing in the morning because it is raining, actually, thundering and raining, right now. According to the TV news a few hours ago, many roads were already closed because the water in the rivers and streams was up to the bottoms of the bridges or over the bridges. There is no where for the water to go because most of the area had from 3 to 5 or more inches earlier this week.

I was in town visiting today, but before I left to go back to the old family home in a small town along the shore of Lake Michigan, I turned on the evening news. The counties here were under a tornado warning as well as a thunderstorm warning! I called my sister to inform her that this tiny town was specifically mentioned as in the path of the storm and that people were being warned to take shelter. She had just heard the sirens, so she already knew of the danger, but the TV wouldn't work, so she didn't know the details.

She told me later that she spent about an hour sitting on the basement steps reading. Grandma never called that part of the house the "basement." It was the cellar. Is there a difference implied in these two different words? When we go down these basement stairs, we take along a sort of dusting tool to brush the air in front of our faces, lest we walk into spider webs. And we don't breath too deeply in case there is the stench of a dead mouse or mold spores. Currently, the sump pump is running every few minutes, but even during a dry spell, there is water in several places on the basement floor. We also never dare stand straight up in this basement; well, at least I don't after hitting my head a couple of times hard enough to draw blood.

While Sis was hiding out with the spiders, I was waiting out the storm in a nearby city. I chose a less direct route home because I needed to avoid low spots that might have flooded. I also didn't want to chance driving off the cliff into Lake Michigan because the water has eroded much of the roadside in several places. There was limited visibility along the lake this evening.

The route I took went past several dozen farms. Nearly every farm had ponds in their fields or yards. This ground was already saturated and now there is just no where for the water to go. I can't help but wonder about the farmers' crops and finances after these watery setbacks. This is primarily dairy farm country, and I'm guessing that the primary field crop is corn for feed. The new plants are only a few inches high at most.

Time to tuck myself in, if I'm to make that long drive tomorrow. Dear God, Please send this rain to those areas with the fires and the droughts. Amen

Monday, June 09, 2008


Wisconsin is a lovely state to drive through if you like rolling hills and valleys, woods, and farms, which I do! However, we have too too too much rain, and even some tornadoes. My daughter actually saw a tornado on Saturday, in the direction they intended to drive, so they went back to the store they had just left.

Sheboygan and south and west of there was inundated with 2 - 10 inches of rain. Cars were in water up to the windows on Saturday evening on the south side of Milwaukee. Lake Delton disappeared due to the earthen dam completely washing out, taking 5 homes with the water. 30 resorts were left high and not so dry. [I'm only repeating what I heard. I don't know how there can be 30 resorts on a lake that is only about 250 acres. The owners of the stranded boats ought to head for God's country, ie Minnesota.]

I've been fortunate to only have seen the rain from behind windows. I just can't imagine how one restores a house that has been soaked with water. Lots of people need lots of help and your prayers.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The funeral

I drove 500 miles to attend a funeral.

Yesterday, after watching my daughter and her young boys leave, then getting my car, which wouldn't start, fixed by noon, I left my home to drive over 400 miles before tucking into a motel for the night. This morning, I was able to reach Milwaukee by about 11:00. Negotiating the interstate highways and the Milwaukee traffic went well, considering I probably hadn't driven on those roads since about 1968.

The funeral was for my half sister. We weren't close. It was hard, when I was a child, to feel close to someone so much older than I was. As an adult, I saw here infrequently, since I lived so far away. I saw her 15 years ago at an anniversary party, about 10 years ago, when we visited her condo, 5 years ago at our daughter's wedding, and 2 years ago when she and her husband drove to visit my mother, who was hospitalized.

My half sister had always gone out of her way to give us gifts when we were younger. She and her husband went our of their way to keep in close contact with my mother, who, obviously, wasn't her mother. I actually didn't realize until just 4 months ago, just how old they are, because they were still driving and they kept so busy. My sister actually had a job where she lived until this recent illness.

The funeral was held at the senior living facility where they lived, called Lutheran Manor. This is a place where seniors can live either independently in apartments, or in assisted living areas, or in areas with nursing home type of care. The facility has its own chapel and all the building are connected by skywalks.

The presiding pastor was not the chaplain of the facility, but rather, one of the pastors of the church that my half brother-in-law had attended for about 90 years. A pastoral assistant also helped. This church is in a city neighborhood that some might call "changing." Actually, it changed quite awhile ago, and many old time members moved out while other sorts of people moved in. The church stayed. My sister and brother-in-law stayed. They stayed as very active members even when they got too old to be in their house and they had quite a drive to that church. The pastor quoted my sister as saying that, "___ Lutheran Church will be here until Jesus himself comes again." Some of those church people who attended, including a little choir which sang two songs, were not hesitant to say Amen! as various times during the service.

It was evident from the pastor's sermon, that he knew my sister and her husband well, that he visited often, and that he was a warm, caring pastor. He talked about my sister's God given traits and how they led her to love people and serve others. He said that recently he had asked her what he should pray for and she said, "Pray for the children of the world and for the homeless people." The pastor choked up as he said this. He also said that in his 35 years as a pastor, he had never heard from any other person something my sister said to him about a month ago. She had said that she viewed death as a sort of vacation she would go on. This would be a vacation from the pain she was living with from her last illness.

The pastor concluded by gently suggesting that we could all learn from my sister's faith and example.

Thanks be to God for the life of my sister, her husband and family, and for the church that was such a great part of their life because of Jesus' Love.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

This season of my life

We’ve been to three weddings, a funeral, a daughter’s college concert, a baptism of a grandson, visiting elderly mothers and other relatives, a niece’s graduation, and our daughter’s college graduation over the course of the last month and a half. That’s about 3500 miles, plus lots of time and love.

Now we have our other daughter and our little grandsons here for a few days. Busy busy busy.

So that’s why I haven’t been blogging much, not because I haven’t been thinking much.

What I have been reflecting on is how I perceive the various churches where these events have taken place. Churches and church events certainly seem to have their own personalities.

I also heard just a few days ago, that my older half sister just died of cancer. I’ve been putting off making a decision about attending the funeral. My excuse has been that I didn’t know the details, yet that is just an excuse. My selfish reason for putting off the decision is that it would mean another 1000 mile round trip drive. Sigh.