Monday, August 01, 2005

Nice weather for a vacation

Before going to work today I'm going to have to go out and water the gardens. We were supposed to get some long-awaited rain last night but nothing came but a bit of lightening. The crops are so dry that farmers will be taking a big loss on then. If my Dad was still around and farming it would be a bad year for him. It's very difficult to work so hard and see it all go to ruin. That happened one time when I was a child and although it was a long time ago, I remember it all too well.

The problem wasn't from drought but from a late freeze that killed all the blossoms, blossoms that would have turned into that year's crops. We had to cut back and curtail many activities, we drank powdered milk instead of regular milk. My parents talked gloom and doom.

The next year they bought an irrigation system to protect against freezing. Wish I had some photos of it, it was so cool! In the spring the temperature would drop and we would be rousted out of bed to check the lines. Half asleep with flashlights in hand, we would walk the acreage checking to make sure all the sprinklers were working properly. Sometimes one would get hung up and only cover a small area, it had to be fixed or the uncovered area would freeze. We could tell by the sound of each sprinkler whether it was working properly or not.

But the most exciting of all were the blowouts which happened on a fairly regular basis. The pipes were all cleverly hooked together but an animal could knock the pipe so the side so when the system started up it would blow the pipe out. Gophers especially would tunnel under the ground pushing up dirt that would move a pipe just enough to cause a blowout. Finding a blowout was like seeing Old Faithful in the dark! It was a huge, shining column of water forcefully spewing up in the air.

"Blowout! Blowout!" We'd start screaming and running as fast as our little legs would take us. Every once in a while we'd stop, catch our breath and try to signal Dad with our flashlight. Who ever had found the blowout would soon start running into the other kids checking the lines (we were three) and they would join in the running and screaming. Finally my Dad would get the word by flashlight signal usually because he couldn't hear our screaming over the pump noise. The pump would stop, the sprinklers diminish into a quiet "ssssss" and there would be an unearthly silence while we all accompanied my Dad to the scene to assess the damage, four flashlights bobbing over the fields.

A blowout causes a lot of damage to the garden area around it; it blows out a huge hole and all the plants with it. My Dad would direct the relaying of the pipe, we'd check it quickly, and he'd go all the way back to start up the pump again to protect the crop. On some nights we would have several blowouts, so it was always exciting and very busy. Being kids we weren't even that tired the next day after being up all night long.

The irrigation system would probably not help much for this drought though. My Dad needed a permit to take water from the creek "crick" and later we built a beautiful pond for irrigation. The pond wasn't within view of the house, it was in the back 40, the front 40 acres were where our house and most of the garden fields were. The back 40 had some gardens but was and still is hunting land for my brothers. The creek is really low this year and the DNR wouldn't let anyone take irrigation water from it! The pond is low too and wouldn't supply much. I feel bad for all the poor farmers and their families, so much work and a looming loss this year.

From my E-mail:
Clever Puns

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Yesterday was a Fair day

Well, I had a great day yesterday once I decided to not be (too much of) a party-pooper! Did chores and things around the house all morning, including blogging (but that’s certainly not a chore!). Then talked on the phone to a friend (not one from Friday night) who invited me to the Head of the Lakes Fair in Superior. I declined, had a few errands left to do, had gotten up far too early blah blah blah. An hour later I changed my mind and called them back but they were already gone. So I hurried over the bridge to the fair to try to find them.

The parking was just as I remembered (hadn’t been there for years) haphazardly in a rutted grassy field. But it was much easier to navigate with the jeep than with a car. Ever try to find friends at a fair? Well, I lucked out and went to the horse barns and there they were! I had hoped to find them looking at the horses because one is an avid horseback rider learning to jump her horse. Actually, this is quite a small fair and eventually I would have run into them anyway, but nicer to do it right away.

We toured the barns and saw horses, goats, chicken, sheep, pigs, cows, llamas, ponies and lots of rabbits. The poultry barn was particularly dangerous for me to go in to! They had the cutest chickens, all different breeds, bantams, fancy ones and some were for sale! But no, I didn’t buy any chickens or rabbits even though some only cost $5 and were quite tempting. I was disappointed to see very few ducks, but remember over-hearing one year that the fair was hard on them. Apparently ducks don’t do well confined to small cages and the barns were too hot even with fans set up.

Then we went into the 4-H building and looked at all the cute and funny exhibits that kids had entered. It brought back memories of 4-H competitions when I was a kid although I didn’t win much. Most of the fruits and vegetables we grew weren’t ready yet by fair time. There was some strange clothing in the sewing exhibits, including see-through shorts and weird boa things and also the requisite prom dresses. The woodworking was just as interesting except I couldn’t identify what many of the pieces were supposed to be. One prizewinning project looked like a cross between a mailbox and some shelving!

I quickly found out that it wasn’t a great idea to wear my favorite sandals to the fair! I will have to soak my feet and the sandals just to get all the dirt off, yuck! But when I had decided at the last moment to go to the fair, I was in too much of a hurry to change. The horsy friend bought a beautiful framed picture (of horses, of course!) for $5 just before we left. During the entire time we were tempted by the smells of all the many types of fair food but resisted and later stopped at the DQ for some Mocha Lattes. Yum yum it was worth the wait! Out of all the parking in that large field I had chosen a spot two cars down from where my friends had parked! They were driving a different car that I didn’t recognize.

They were headed to the Huskies baseball game after that but I declined and went home. I have seen the old Duluth Dukes play and also the Twins in the Cities and it was like watching paint dry, agonizing torture to sit for hours. I just don’t get into baseball even with the lure of having a couple of beers. Now if Duluth had a football team I’d go watch! We did have a polo team for one year or so a long time ago. I don’t really understand the game but it was a great spectator sport.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Maybe I can give up my job

I actually got up quite early this morning, as early as I normally get up during the work week. I starting writing this post and then got sidetracked doing other stuff online.

Last night we went to the bar/restaurant/laundramat "complex" right after work. My friends were planning to go to a coffee shop with a well-known local reggae band later. I used to know the lead singer of the band. I had worked with him as a temp a few years ago. My friends were trying to urge me to come with them but after two beers and a fish basket I was getting sleepy. Yes, I'm a party pooper! Just get up too early to be able to stay up late, had been awake and up a good 7-8 hours before my friends had gotten up so it's difficult for me to keep up with them. I had a very busy, but good day at work on Friday. Came up with a brilliant (brag brag) idea for a mailing. Plus, I doubt that singer would remember me, although last time I went to hear the band he hugged me enthusiastically and my celebrity points from my friends rocketed for that night, at least! Now I kinda regret not going, as I bet they had a good time and I won't get to even hear about it until Monday or so. I really love reggae as everyone gets up and dances, it's so fun.

(Imagine a cute picture here)

I don’t need this for the Jeepers:
Sprayonmud is a specially formulated spray-on product for anyone that wants to give friends, neighbours, colleagues or just anyone at all, the impression that they have been off-road or, at the very least, out in the country for the weekend.

If you’ve got a 4X4 or off-roader, Sprayonmud will send a message to anyone who disapproves or is just plain envious – you use your off-roader, off the road as well as on it.

Sprayonmud is NOT to be used to obscure number-plates or the lights on your vehicle. This, of course, is illegal and while it is not an endorsable offence, if your number plates cannot be read at a reasonable distance – or photographed by a speed camera – you could face a hefty fine.

Sprayonmud comes in an easy-to-use plastic bottle which is just the right size for hiding in a green Wellington boot. Keep it in your garage, in the boot, or anywhere you like. Sprayonmud can be applied to your vehicle in seconds, but just be careful the neighbours don’t catch you using it! And remember, you’ve been visiting friends in the country.

This ad gives me a great business idea! Maybe I can give up my job. I could have a little tollbooth at the beginning of my road. Anyone who “wants to give friends, neighbours, colleagues or just anyone at all, the impression that they have been off-road or, at the very least, out in the country for the weekend.” could pay me a toll and I would let them drive down my hilly dirty road to the dead end, and back.

Saturday in the summertime would be especially lucrative with all the rummage sale hunters out and about. I could catch tourists and motorists and anyone who wants some mud and dirty decorations on their vehicle! They would be quite satisfied with the great results! Even their windows and windshield will be coated with dust with just one easy trip up and down my road!

If they wanted to obscure their license plates (or plate, for tourists from Michigan and Florida) so they cannot be read, my road is the ticket. If they prefer to dim the lights on their vehicle, well, I have that covered too.

Speaking of covered, I will have clients sign a waiver for any damages caused from flying rocks or gravel, like chipped windows and nicked paint. That will just add to the realism anyway. Don’t you think my new business has great potential?

Obviously, my hidden talent is thinking up great business ideas (ha ha) but here's a quiz for it:
What’s Your Hidden Talent?

Your Hidden Talent
You are both very knowledgeable and creative.
You tend to be full of new ideas and potential - big potential.
Ideas like yours could change the world, if you build them.
As long as you don't stop working on your dreams, you'll get there.

What's Your Hidden Talent?
Well, this has certainly turned out to be a disappointing post! First the photo(s) I was trying to load didn't work (and I tried four different ones) and then the colored font-thingy only worked the first time, just bolded the rest. No wonder I was in no great hurry to finish and post....

Friday, July 29, 2005

Alone together, at last!

I’m so enjoying my new computer! I had a lot of chores to do first, after work last night, like break down all the boxes that the computer came in. Then there was all the Styrofoam-fitted stuff that I crumbled into bags and put into the garbage. I probably should have toted it all to work to use as box packing but I’m not quite that green. I’d have to carry the bags (although they were light-weight, of course!) for many blocks and then find somewhere to store them at work. It just seemed like far too much trouble.

I also had the ferrets outside while I cleaned their cage, did the garbage and recycling to be picked up tomorrow and cooked a dinner. Then, finally I sat down to play on my new computer and our phone line was dead! My son had left the phone off the hook and I had to scour the house looking for the phone. He seldom does anything like that. He must have been in a real hurry to get to work on time. Luckily the phone reconnected on its own (doesn’t always) and then I finally got to go online.

At first, of course, there were all sorts of intimidating set-up things to do with the computer. I hadn’t been feeling all that well yesterday and staring at the computer screen was making me feel even worse. I very seldom am sick, can usually manage to keep on doing all the things I need to do, take a few home-remedies, and start feeling better quickly. I’m just lucky that way. Although I’ve noticed that when I mention it, or brag about it—THAT’S when I really do get sick!

I did have an awesome day at work, though, meetings and phone calls and plenty of problem-solving—just what I like! At one point I laughed so hard at a client’s antics (after the phone conversation was done, of course) that I had tears streaming down my cheeks. Yep, people are pretty entertaining and interesting!

The one drawback to the new computer is that the screen can be read from across the room! (I have a very small house, remember?) That isn’t so good for blogging! Nobody in my real life reads my blog although a couple of them know about it. They don’t seem that interested in blogs after I didn’t give them an address to find “blue2going” Most people don’t really seem to know what blogs are and confuse them with chat rooms. Yuck, I’ve been in chat rooms a long time ago when we first got my old computer (back in 1995!). Even the better chat rooms on a particular topic drove me nuts with the {{{{{{huggies}}}}}} from everybody, to anyone they knew coming in—and people were coming and going constantly! Euwww, just euwwww, it was conversation-interrupting, sappy and just plain really annoying! I couldn’t stand it, came into the chat room for intelligent conversation not to see how “cute” I could be!

From my E-mail:
1. The first Ten Commandments are the hardest.

2. People who are wrapped up in themselves are overdressed.

3. An expert is someone called in at the last minute to share the blame.

4. A word of advice...don't give it.

5. If we made it illegal, do you think more people would vote?

6. I am logged in...therefore, I am.

7. A journey of a hundred miles starts with an argument over how to load the car.

8. Justice is blind and in some cases...deaf and dumb.

9. To belittle is to be little.

10. When fear knocks at the door, and you answer, there will be no one there.

11. Poverty is a condition with but one advantage, it doesn't take much to improve your lot.

12. The first rule of tinkering is to save all the parts.

13. Retire in Mexico. Sunny, affordable and no predatory reverse mortgages.

14. A pessimist is a man who looks both ways before crossing a one-way street.

15. Management's job is to keep you too busy to look for other jobs.

16. Heredity is what sets the parents of a teenager wondering about each other.

17. Why are lawyers not sworn to tell the truth like all the witnesses in a jury trial?

I don’t really get #10 but the rest are pretty funny. Have you ever been in a chat room? Like them? (yes, I know--admitting to chat room usage is kinda like admitting you like soaps or reality TV! Maybe "worse" because at least those two things are more current.)

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Oh what a wonderful day!

Oh what an exciting day! I received my birthday present last night! No, it’s not my birthday yet (end of August) and the delivery wasn’t due until the second week of August. I was afraid I’d be in Cleveland on a trip for work when it arrived. So what’s all the excitement? My new computer came last night! It’s been a long time coming. I’ve wanted a new one for …..years. It has a larger screen and SPREADSHEETS so I’m a very happy camper today! It also has a financial program and we were joking that the first thing it will show is that I shouldn’t have purchased a new computer!

Every year I buy myself something for my birthday. Usually it’s just a small thing, something I really like that I normally wouldn’t get for myself. I also take the day off from work as a vacation day and only do things that I want to do. Yeah, I spoil myself! But just for that one day per year.

Do you make your birthday special?
How do you celebrate it?

Found this on a blog:

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

And the week goes on

No epitaphs this Wednesday, as those tours are all done. I did find a cool website that offers a free bumper sticker:

Send Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope to:

Find A Grave Stickers
PO Box 522107
Salt Lake City, UT 84152-2107

There's a store at that same site:
"Let your friends and co-workers know about your enthusiasm for cemeteries!!! The Find a Grave Store" Includes a travel mug, baseball cap, T-shirts, lapel pin and Find a Grave greeting cards!

"See the graves of thousands of famous people from around the world.
Find the graves of ancestors, create virtual memorials, add 'virtual flowers' and a note to a loved one's grave, etc. " Find a Grave"

I did survive the staff retreat, but it was long and hard. At one point favorite co-worker and I, both fed up, were passing notes back and forth like "didn't I just SAY that?" and "How many times can she claim that she doesn't understand and ask for clarification?" It got us through the misery of long-winded people expounding for ten times on the same subject or deciding to start all over again at the beginning a few times. But when I asked for clarification on why my job was on the agenda there was an uneasy silence. No one would admit they had put it there, let alone the reason and the subject was dropped. So it was not resolved to my satisfaction yet nothing bad happened either (yet). Actually the less I say about the whole thing, probably the better.

OK, instead I'll say the good stuff about the retreat: I had an awesome steak salad with blue cheese dressing, warm wild rice and cranberry bread and all I could drink of a tea brand I've never tried before, Justin Lloyd. The meeting room was comfortable and had a lake view. I arrived early and opened the window for wonderful fresh lake air. Of course someone got cold and the window was soon shut but at least I could walk outside during the breaks and breathe.

My life has been rated:
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Created by bart666


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Retreat agressively

Today is our staff retreat, oh joy, I can't wait! The good thing is that they feed us. The bad thing is...well, I could list them starting with the dumb little "icebreaker" games we play at the beginning. It's not like we are strangers, most of us know and dislike the others! We have our own sets of alliances and enemies, we need negociation more than ice-breaking.

This should be a good retreat too, with two difference factions, each trying to think of ways to eliminate the other. We have that restructuring thing looming and it's making people nervous. I noticed that my job is specifically mentioned in the agenda so I'd better put on some armor today and some quick wits.

First I need to stop by the office and pick up the wall charts, markers and all the necessary items. That means I will have to pay for parking close enough to carry all of that to the car.

I had a weird dream about trying to get to the retreat, first on a bicycle and then in an old car (that I used to own). I was already two hours late and still had to stop and pick up the supplies.

Even though I drank but one cup of coffee (early in the day) and no cola I woke up at 1:00 and stayed awake several hours. Finally got up and read my new "Fast Company" magazine. The article about "Why We Hate HR" was very good. It reminded me of when I worked for the school district's HR department. We weren't well liked but were the largest department. Just about everyone started off working in there, worked a few years and then bid on jobs in other departments. Before working in that department, I had a naive view of HR work. I thought it would be fun to work with people, to help hire and train workers for the company. Once employed there I thought it was interesting to work with people, but fun would not have been quite the right word! People coming to HR WANT something, a job, justice, a raise, they want something and it makes them really angry to be told (no matter how nicely) "no". And HR people are a lot like those Capital One folks on TV. You know, the ones who say "no" to everything!

After those couple of hours awake, I figured out that I was COLD! The window was open, fans were blowing but it wasn't 80 or 90 degrees outside. After putting a blanket back on my bed, I did manage to sleep a little before the alarm rant at 5:30.

Which Neopet are you?
Which Neopet are you?"

If I were a Neopet... I'd be a Chia!

The Chia is a lovable little character who is full of joy.

Chias love exploring the land and making new friends.
Which Neopet are you?
Which Neopet are you? Visit to find out!

Of course I have no cemetery tour tonight, sniff. They're all done. Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Thinking Ahead to Christmas

So where was our famous lake air conditioning yesterday? It was 90 degrees in the country and 87 by the lake, and very humid in both places. What a huge refreshing difference! Ha ha.

I tied white plastic bags on the garden fence to scare the deer by flapping and crinkling in the wind. So far it's only made my (usually very quiet) dog bark every time we let her out. Bet my neighbors love the appearance of the flapping plastic bags too. But then my place has always been somewhat of an eyesore, along with the guy next door's place. I don't know what his excuse is but mine has been that I have no garage, attic or basement for storage. Lucky for us all that we're pretty spread out on this road and that country people generally have a live-and-let-live attitude! We all get along fine, even the two richy-rich families with fancy houses on the end of the road. Their portion of the road is blacktopped (probably they had to pay for that) while the rest of the road is dirt and gravel.

I've thought of taking a photo of this place and putting it on my Christmas cards! I just could not do it, for one thing, I don't want any visitors. People think they are being helpful with great ideas for fix-up and remodeling. I wouldn't mind as much if they were also donating THEIR money for it! Brainstorming ideas comes easy and cheap if you don't have to do the work or pay for them. I can keep most visitors away simply by mentioning that I have "pet" spiders loose in the house--it does the trick. Despite my occasional whining, I kinda like it up here just the way it is. I just finished moving a bunch of water around in the storage bottles using a funnel. I felt just like a chemist!

I have put a photo of my dog on my Christmas cards one year. It's in retaliation for the sappy-sweet little posed professional portraits of kids and family on Christmas cards! I think my family was rather appalled, it wasn't even a great shot, she looked like a devil dog. She had glowing red eyes, an elf hat and some tree garland around her neck. Ferrets would be great on a Christmas card, especially if they were playing with their fangs hanging out. I could have them playing with destroying Christmas decorations, maybe I'll do that this year.

I've always been interested in business, companies and brands. The first time I went to college I was a Business Major. Here is an interesting lineup for you:

Business Week's 100 Top International Brands (in approximate order)

1. Coca-Cola Coca-Cola U.S.
2. Microsoft Microsoft U.S.
3. IBM International Business Machines Corporation U.S.
4. GE GE U.S.
5. Nokia Nokia Finland
6. Intel Intel U.S.
7. Disney Walt Disney Company U.S.
8. Ford Ford U.S.
9. McDonald's McDonald's Corporation U.S.
10. Marlboro Altria Group U.S.
11. Mercedes-Benz DaimlerChrysler AG Germany
12. Citi Citigroup U.S.
13. Toyota Toyota Motor Corporation Japan
14. Hewlett-Packard Hewlett-Packard U.S.
15. Cisco Cisco U.S.
16. American Express American Express U.S.
17. Gillette Gillette U.S.
18. Merrill Lynch Merrill Lynch U.S.
19. Sony Sony Japan
20. Honda Honda Japan
21. BMW Bayerische Motoren Werke AG Germany
22. Nescafé Nestlé Switzerland
23. Oracle Oracle U.S.
24. Budweiser Anheuser-Busch U.S.
25. Morgan Stanley Morgan Stanley U.S.
26. Kodak Eastman Kodak Company U.S.
27. Nintendo Nintendo Co., Ltd. Japan
28. Pfizer Pfizer U.S.
29. JPMorgan JP Morgan Chase U.S.
30. Gap Gap U.S.
31. Dell Dell U.S.
32. UPS UPS U.S.
33. Goldman Sachs Goldman Sachs U.S.
34. Nike Nike U.S.
35. Volkswagen Volkswagen Germany
36. HSBC HSBC Britain
37. Heinz H. J. Heinz Company U.S.
38. Louis Vuitton France
39. Google Google U.S.
40. Kellogg's Kellogg's U.S.
41. MTV Viacom U.S.
42. Canon Canon Japan
43. Samsung S. Korea
44. SAP SAP Aktiengesellschaft Germany
45. Novartis Novartis Switzerland
46. Pepsi Pepsi U.S.
47. Harley-Davidson Harley-Davidson U.S.
48. UBS UBS Switzerland
49. Xerox Xerox Corporation U.S.
50. Ikea Ikea Sweden
51. Pizza Hut YUM! Brands, Inc.
52. Apple Apple U.S.
53. Gucci Gucci Group N.V. Italy
54. KFC YUM! Brands, Inc. U.S.
55. Reuters Reuters Group PLC Britain
56. Accenture Accenture Ltd. U.S.
57. Kleenex Kimberly-Clark Corporation U.S.
58. L'Oreal L'Oréal SA France
59. Philips Philips Netherlands
60. Colgate Colgate-Palmolive Company U.S.
61. Wrigley's Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company U.S.
62. Yahoo! Yahoo! Inc. U.S.
63. eBay eBay Inc. U.S.
64. Avon Avon Products, Inc. U.S.
65. Chanel Chanel S.A. France
66. Nestlé Nestlé S.A. Switzerland
67. Kraft Kraft Foods Inc. U.S.
68. Duracell The Gillette Company U.S
69. Danone Groupe Danone France
70. Motorola Motorola, Inc. U.S.
71. Levi's Levi Srauss & Co. U.S.
72. Rolex Montres Rolex S.A. Switzerland
73. adidas adidas-Salomon AG Germany
74. Hertz Ford Motor Company U.S.
75. Panasonic Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd Japan
76. Hermes Hermes International France
77. BP BP p.l.c. Britain
78. Tiffany & Co. Tiffany & Co. U.S.
79., Inc. U.S.
80. Porsche Dr. Ing. H.c. F. Porsche AG Germany
81. Zara Industria de Diseno Textil, S.A. Spain
82. Shell Royal Dutch Petroleum Company Brit./Neth.
83. Smirnoff Diageo plc Britain
84. Caterpillar Caterpillar Inc. U.S.
85. Moët & Chandon LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton France
86. Audi Volkswagen AG Germany
87. Hennessy LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton France
88. Hyundai Hyundai Corporation S. Korea
89. Johnson & Johnson Johnson & Johnson U.S.
90. Heineken Heineken N.V. Netherlands
91. Prada I Pellettieri d'Italia S.p.A. Italy
92. Nivea Beiersdorf AG Germany
93. ING ING Groep N.V. Netherlands
94. Starbucks Starbucks Corporation U.S.
95. Nissan Nissan Motor Co., Litd. Japan
96. Armani Giorgio Armani S.p.A. Italy
97. Cartier Compagnie Financiere Richemont SA France
98. Bulgari Bulgari S.p.A. Italy
99. LG LG Electronoics Inc. S. Korea
100. Siemens Siemens Germany

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Sins, for Sunday

I was walking in the downtown for postage stamps on Friday and saw a T-shirt "An Army of None" I really like reading T-shirts even though I don't wear them much anymore. The idea of walking around with graffiti is intriguing to me. In fact one of my deep dark secrets is that I used to write graffiti, and not on T-shirts either, if you know what I mean! I was college-aged and it was pretty fun to risk getting caught while doing the initial deed. And the going back later and reading revisions and comments about your graffiti--well, it was kind of like an early blog really but blogging is still legal! It was a great way to get one's opinions out there into the world. My favorite thing was to deface stupid signs. There are SO many signs just begging to be "revised" that I still twitch when I see them, but my graffiti days are done, sadly. I'm (sort of) an adult now, the signs and walls are private property and it's just not a nice thing to do, although it certainly was fun!

No, we didn't go to the "Rocky Horror Show" at the new playhouse last night. I was disappointed but not surprised, had the inkling that she wouldn't feel like going when the day rolled around. The good thing was that I found out by 8:00 p.m., just when I was going to nap for a couple of hours, so that part worked out well. I had gotten up the normal, work time on Saturday (5:30 a.m.) so was also tired the normal time, too. Watched SNL and then went to bed. That was my exciting Saturday night!

Some jokes (mostly oldies) for a Sunday

A Prayer for Dinner Parties
A woman invited some people to dinner. At the table, she turned to her six-year-old daughter and said, "Would you like to say the blessing?"

"I wouldn't know what to say," she replied.
"Just say what you hear Mommy say," the mother said.

The child bowed her head and said, "Dear Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?"

A Bad Gift for a Buddhist

Q: Why is a vacuum cleaner a bad gift for a Buddhist?

A: Because it comes with attachments.

Ancient Ancestry
The following was overheard at a recent 'high society' party:
"My ancestry goes back all the way to Alexander the Great," said Christine.
She then turned to Miriam and asked, "How far back does your family go?"
"I don't know," replied Miriam, "All of our records were lost in the flood."

Moving Testimony
Three buddies die in a car crash, and they go to heaven.
There, they are all asked, "When you are in your casket and friends and family are mourning, what would you like to hear them say about you?" The first guy says, "I would like to hear them say that I was a great doctor of my time, and a great family man."

The second guy says, "I would like to hear that I was a wonderful husband and school teacher who made a huge difference in our children of tomorrow."

The last guy replies, "I would like to hear them say, 'Look! He's moving!'"

Dividing Pecans
On the outskirts of town, there was a big old pecan tree by the cemetery fence. One day two boys filled up a bucketful of nuts and sat down by the tree, out of sight, and began dividing the nuts. "One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me," said one boy. Several were dropped and rolled down toward the fence.

Another boy came riding along the road on his bicycle. As he passed, he thought he heard voices from inside the cemetery. He slowed down to investigate. Sure enough, he heard, "One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me." He just knew what it was. "Oh my," he shuddered, it's Satan and the Lord dividing the souls at the cemetery. He jumped back on his bike and rode off. Just around the bend he met an old man with a cane, hobbling along.

"Come here quick," said the boy, "you won't believe what I heard. Satan and the Lord are down at the cemetery dividing up the souls."The man said, "Beat it kid, can't you see it's hard for me to walk." When the boy insisted, though, the man hobbled to the cemetery. Standing by the fence they heard, "One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me." The old man whispered, "Boy, you've been tellin' the truth. Let's see if we can see the devil himself."

Shaking with fear, they peered through the fence, yet were still unable to see anything. The old man and the boy gripped the wrought iron bars of the fence tighter and tighter as they tried to get a glimpse of Satan.

At last they heard, "One for you, one for me. And one last one for you. That's all. Now let's go get those nuts by the fence, and we'll be done."

They say the old guy made it back to town five minutes before the boy.

Hymns for Her
One Sunday a pastor told the congregation that the church needed some extra money and asked the people to prayerfully consider giving a little extra in the offering plate. He said that whoever gave the most would be able to pick out three hymns.

After the offering plates were passed, the pastor glanced down and noticed that someone had placed a $1,000 bill in offering. He was so excited that he immediately shared his joy with his congregation and said he'd like to personally thank the person who placed the money in the plate. A very quiet, elderly and saintly lady all the way in the back shyly raised her hand. The pastor asked her to come to the front. Slowly she made her way to the pastor. He told her how wonderful it was that she gave so much and in thanksgiving asked her to pick out three hymns.

Her eyes brightened as she looked over the congregation, pointed to the three handsomest men in the building and said, "I'll take him and him and him."

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Peas on Saturday

Finally! After the third time of trying, here's another photo from my boat trip last Saturday. It's a view of Duluth from the Harbor, the DECC is on the right and the Aquarium (blue and green colored squarish building) is on the left.

I'm out of bed early, as early as on a weekday, want to get those peas at the Farmer's Market. I also would like some salad fixings. It's overcast and looks like rain right now, which we could really use. It's been so dry that I've had to water the flowers and the garden every day. Last night I chased a deer away from leaning over my fence and munching on my bean plants. I had THOUGHT that was how the deer were reaching them! Didn't think they'd jump into such a little enclosure. Anyway, it's supposed to be even higher temps today, hope they're wrong.

Went to the Farmer's Market and bought 3 pounds of peas! They were expensive, though, at $2/pound. Also got a bunch of lettuce, some wild blueberry jelly, bread and butter pickles, carrots (with the tops, Ricky the Chinchilla likes carrot tops) and two cucumbers. The sky still appears dark and I'm hoping for rain. However, I may sit outside (and snack on peas) in the lawn chair and read until it does rain. The house is still very warm, especially the bedroom and my son is sleeping in the living room. He has to work later today again. So I need to be very quiet, there's really no place else to go in this house as this computer and the kitchen are in the same room. I have the lights all off, and because it's dark outside, it's not condusive to reading!

I've got lots of things to do today. The garden needs weeding, and grocery shopping and pet food shopping, and then there's the lunch at the Red Mug in Superior and maybe the "Rocky Horror Show" at 11:00 PM. Think I'll need a nap before then!

STILL LATER: I really better quit eating these peas! Have a pile of pods to give to Ricky. Also tried to add a photo to today's posting, with no success. I tried twice, it takes 15-minutes per try. I give up. It was just another picture of last Saturday's boat trip. I have still have most of the photos left to post! At this rate, they'll last for the rest of the year!

OK, I read outside for awhile, weeded the garden in the rain and finally added a photo to this post. Now it's time to go to Superior!

Brain Cramps

Question: If you could live forever, would you and why?
Answer: "I would not live forever, because we should not live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever."
--Miss Alabama in the 1994 Miss USA contest.

"Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can't help but cry. I mean I'd love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff." --Mariah Carey

"Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life." --Brooke Shields, during an interview to become Spokesperson for federal anti-smoking campaign.

"I've never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body,"--Winston Bennett, University of Kentucky basketball forward.

"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country." --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington, DC.

"I'm not going to have some reporters pawing through our papers. We are the president." --Hillary Clinton commenting on the release of subpoenaed documents.

"That lowdown scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I'm just the one to do it." --A congressional candidate in Texas.

"Half this game is ninety percent mental." --Philadelphia Phillies manager, Danny Ozark

"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it." --George W. Bush, President (DUH !)

"I love California. I practically grew up in Phoenix." --Dan Quayle

"We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"--Lee Iacocca

"The word 'genius" isn't applicable in football. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein." --Joe Theisman, NFL football quarterback & sports analyst.

"We don't necessarily discriminate. We simply exclude certain types of people."--Colonel Gerald Wellman, ROTC Instructor.

"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure." --George W. Bush, President

"We are ready for an unforeseen event that may or may not occur."
-- Geoge W. Bush, President (damn he's smart)

"Traditionally, most of Australia's imports come from overseas."--Keppel Enderbery

"Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances."
--Department of Social Services, Greenville, South Carolina

"If somebody has a bad heart, they can plug this jack in at night as they go to bed and it will monitor their heart throughout the night. And the next morning, when they wake up dead, there'll be a record." --Mark S. Fowler, FCC Chairman

....Feeling smarter yet?
Send it on to your brilliant friends. I just did!!

Obviously the above is from my E-mail, left the tagline on because it seems appropriate. Have a Super Saturday!

Friday, July 22, 2005


I'm so sorry to hear about the latest London bombings. The terrorists haven't succeeded in striking terror in the UK like they did over here. Some people were so panicked after 9-11 that we gave away some of our constitutional rights.

More on the "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" movie:

Golden ticket sales
On its first weekend, the movie "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" sold 3,496 tickets at the Omnimax Theatre from Friday through Monday, said Dennis Medjo, the attractions director at the Duluth Entertainment Complex Center.
He said the sales represented half of the film's business from surrounding theaters. Medjo advised people to arrive early to avoid sellouts of the film.
"It plays well to families," Medjo said. "Crowds were huge and very well-behaved."
Pat Albrecht, manager of Cinema Entertainment Corp. Superior 7 Theater, could not comment on the number of tickets sold last weekend, but said the crowds were pretty fair.

Resemblance to Jackson surprises Depp
Associated Press
NEW YORK - Johnny Depp, star of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," says he didn't base his Willy Wonka character on Michael Jackson - and is surprised that some people see a resemblance.
Depp's demure voice, pasty complexion, perfectly bobbed locks, neo-Victorian garb and androgynous air seem to present a reflection of pop singer Jackson, recently acquitted on child-molestation charges.
"A few people have mentioned it, and it kind of took me by surprise. I really didn't expect that," Depp told reporters recently, according to AP Radio. "Michael Jackson was not a sort of ingredient or inspiration for the character at all."

Depp said he based the way Wonka speaks on children's show hosts he remembers from his childhood. "How odd it was the way that they spoke," the 42-year-old actor said. "That bizarre, musical cadence to their speech pattern."
As for the bob, Depp said he figured Wonka had been a recluse for so long, he wouldn't know what a modern haircut looks like.

"I just did this sort of strange, almost like a Brian Jones' kind of bob and supershort bangs. His line of reference would be very, very dated," Depp said.
"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," Tim Burton's wildly imaginative take on Roald Dahl's beloved children's book, took in $56.2 million on its opening weekend.

I might actually get to see it again! The friend who was hosting Girl's Movie Night wants to go to the movie next Thursday! I'm looking forward to it.

I also might get to see the "Rocky Horror Show" as a play at the new Duluth Play Ground, located in our once-controversial Tech Center. I've never been to this new playhouse. SLA is scheduled to come with me for the 11:00 PM showing on Saturday night. Yes, that's starting just before midnight. She's a night owl so should have no problem with the time but I have a feeling she may cancel at the last moment.

I went to see her after work last night, calling first to make sure the invitation was still on. I brought an Erbert's and Gerbert's sub, the tuna one. That's not one of their better subs but I know she likes tuna and I wasn't sure what other subs might work. As it was, she ate only about half of her half and gave the rest to the dog. The cute little black and white kitties came out to play. The same kitten that fell asleep on my lap the last time did so again. She likes me! Unfortunately I can't have a cat, have been sneezing since then and break out into what I used to call "hives" until I saw the photo that Stacy, the Peanut Queen posted! What I get from cats is only a rash but itchy and uncomfortable. My nose runs and my throat stops up from being around cats, guess I've developed an allergy to them. It's just as well, because we already have more than enough animals in my tiny little house and my dog would be VERY jealous of a kitten!

A fun thing I found on a blog:

You Are 27 Years Old


Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.
13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.
20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.
30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!
40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

What Age Do You Act?

It's FRIDAY!!!!! Yay. I'm going to the Farmer's Market at 7:00 AM tomorrow. I heard a rumor that they have fresh garden peas! As you may remember, I had hopes of growing my own peas, but was too late in buying the seeds, they were sold out. Have a wonderful Friday!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

And I Thought My Fun was Done Tuesday Night!

Late in the day yesterday at work I received a call from a friend (HIR). She and a bunch of others were going to the early showing of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" at the IMax down on the Bayfront. I had walked by it all winter when I parked down there for work but had never gone inside or seen a movie there. We had discussed it before and I was dying to go there, especially for that movie, which I'd never seen but had heard much about. A local review called Johnny Depp, playing Willy Wonka a mix between Michael Jackson and Marilyn Manson. I'd agree on that! He was delightfully creepy. HIR asked me who Johnny Depp or Marilyn Manson were! She doesn't have a TV.

Director Tim Burton brings his vividly imaginative style to the Roald Dahl classic about eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp) and Charlie (Freddie Highmore), a good-hearted boy from a poor family who lives in the shadow of Wonka’s extraordinary factory. Long isolated from his own family, Wonka launches a worldwide contest to select an heir to his candy empire. Five lucky children, including Charlie, draw golden tickets from Wonka chocolate bars and win a guided tour of the legendary candy-making facility that no outsider has seen in 15 years. Dazzled by one amazing sight after another, Charlie is drawn into Wonka’s fantastic world.

Anyway, I agreed to meet them in the lobby at 4:45, I get off of work at 4:00. This would not give me enough time to go home but just grab a quick bite to eat first. The afternoon went by and another friend called. She sounded very down and wanted me to come over. I asked if tomorrow night would work, and with an almost imperceptible pause, she said "yes" Right then I decided I'd better go and see her. So I told her I would stop over for just a bit (still giving me time to hurry to the Imax, as I didn't want to miss my big chance to go there and see this movie).

I left work early, at 3:30 and had a long distance to walk to the car. The downtown temp was 90 degrees. I zipped through traffic and was soon surrounded by baby kitties and her dog when on her couch. SLA (She who Loves Animals) was depressed for a really good, or should I say BAD reason. She still hasn't found another job, her mortgage is overdue and they're foreclosing on her. She is the wonderful person who gave her estranged childhood friend a place to stay when she was leaving an abusive situation. Both of them live in the house now with their animals, one with a PT job and the other with no job at all. Things did not look good.

There wasn't much I could say, suggested a few things, like temp work that I've mentioned before. She has applied for 36 jobs and gone through 9 interviews so far with no hits. But depression can really get a person down just when they need to be energetic and positive. I do, and did understand. In fact I'm going there again after work today to hang out longer and will bring her something to eat. Or maybe I can coax her out if I pay.

Since it was showing so early, the movie was full of kids. They were all pretty subdued and quiet during the movie, though. That movie is pretty dark for little children. I absolutely loved it so much that I want to see it again or at least own the soundtrack. Wonder if SLA would go if I wanted to go again, can I lure her out of the house?

Have you seen that movie yet? What did you think of it?

From my E-mail
Necessary Information for the 40-and-older crowd
Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.

Going to church doesn't make you a Christian, any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you've never tried before.

Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program.

If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.

Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of checks.

Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Deal with it.

Opportunities always look bigger going than coming.

Junk is something you've kept for years and throw away three weeks before you need it.

There is always one more imbecile than you counted on.

Thou shalt not weigh more than thy refrigerator.

Someone who thinks logically provides a nice contrast to the real world.

It ain't the jeans that make your butt look fat.

One caller to our answering service gave me his name, number and message and then said, "You know my name. What's yours?"

"We're not allowed to give our names," I replied, "but my operator number is 4136"

Sounding disappointed, he said, "May I call you by your first digit, or would that be too personal?"

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Cemetery Tour #6, Epitaphs #6

Last night was the final cemetery tour, and it was a grand finale, we toured four different cemeteries! The first was Calvary Cemetery, the largest where we met up as a group. In the center was a ring of memorials to priests and bishops. It also had some cool crypts and statuary. My favorite was an angel clinging to a cross. I have to return and get a photo of that one and some of the others. We found Winston Churchill in this cemetery. He was a young soldier buried in the military section. Nobody fell for our instructor's joke about him being "the real Winston Churchill".

Then we drove to the next door Polish Catholic Cemetery, which also had nice statuary and plenty of interesting markers including a "baby" area. Many of the markers were written in Polish.

Then we drove to the Adas Israel Cemetery, a Jewish cemetery. It was VERY interesting. Many of the markers had little oval ceramic photos set in them. Some of the pictures were scratched, broken or missing but a large percentage of the grave markers had them. There was a line of boulders across the middle of the cemetery. Nearly all of the markers had Hebrew writing on them.

We hiked through the wood to another Jewish Cemetery, Tifereth Israel Cemetery. This one was very small and Bob Dylan's mother was supposed to be buried there. We looked at every marker and didn't find her (yes, we knew to look for "Zimmerman" not Dylan!). The far part of this cemetery also had a "baby" section but it was different than any other baby section we had seen so far. Each grave had a little marker and the gravesite area was outlined with a cement ridge, some were very small outlines! I've GOT to go back and try to get a photo of that section, too.

To return to our cars we had to hike back through the wood and through Adas Israel Cemetery again. Right in the corner, near the road and the fence was Beatrice and Abram Zimmerman--in plain sight! We just hadn't known to look in the first cemetery as our guide paper said they were in Tifereth Israel Cemetery. There were two large baskets of plants and fresh flowers in front of the stone. There were also a whole bunch of little rocks carefully laid on top. We had noticed many of the stones had little rocks or even seashells laid on top of them. Our instructor told us it was in remembrance, a mark of respect. So our class left a little rock on top of Beatrice and Abram's marker.

As we came back through, a caretaker was seasoning a brand new tombstone with water. She said that the boulders down the middle of the cemetery were to divide the old from the new sections.

Here are some photos from Cemetery Tour #4 to Forest Hill. The first is the Congdon family marker. There are a lot of graves around it, including murdered heiress Elizabeth Congdon. The marker was very tall but I had to face a fierce bright sun for the photo so it's hard to see the top.

The second photo is of a weird marker that had no other information but "Dowse" written on it. It looks fairly modern but still very interesting. The other couple of photos I snapped didn't even get developed, they must not have turned out.

Well, the class is done now. But my friends and I are going back to visit some of the cemeteries because they weren't in the class and want to see some of the stuff I've been talking about.

Epitaphs #6 (the final words….)

More advertisements

Here Lies Jane Smith
Wife of Thomas Smith
Marble Cutter:
This Monument Erected
By Her Husband
As A Tribute
To Her Memory.
Monuments of this style
are 250 Dollars.

Sacred To The Remains of
Jonathan Thompson
A Pious Christian and
Affectionate Husband.
His disconsolate widow
Continues to carry on
His grocery business
At the old stand on
Main Street: Cheapest
and best prices in town.

Effen Nyt
(translates into "Exactly Nothing." Put on stone by disappointed heirs) New Church, Amsterdam, Holland

Arthur C. Homan's epitaph:
Once I wasn't
Then I was
Now I ain't again.
Cleveland, Ohio

On babies graves:
Ope'd my eyes, took a peep;
Didn't like it, went to sleep.

It is so soon that I am done for
I wonder what I was begun for.
Lake Mills Cemetery, Wisconsin

Here lies Ned.
There is nothing more to be said--
Because we like to speak well of the dead.

I came into this world
Without my consent
And left in the same manner.
Chattanooga, Tennessee

In a cemetery in England:
Remember man, as you walk by,
As you are now, so once was I,
As I am now, so shall you be,
Remember this and follow me.

To which someone replied by writing on the tombstone:

To follow you I'll not consent,
Until I know which way you went.

Honey you don't know
What you did for me
Always playing the lottery.
The numbers you picked
Came in to play
Two days after you passed away.
For this a huge monument I do erect
For now a get a yearly check.
How I wish you were alive
For now we are worth 8.5.
Epitaph for Elizabeth Rich, Eufala, Alabama

In Durness Churchyard, Sutherlandshire.
Here doth lye the bodie
Of John Flye, who did die
By a stroke from a sky-rocket
Which hit him on the eye-socket.

Someone who found peas:
Here lies my wife
Here let her lie
Now she has peace
And so do I.
She caught a chill
While picking peas
In the rain
And died.

In Doncaster Churchyard.
Here lies 2 brothers by misfortune serounded,
One dy'd of his wounds, and the other was drownded.

Thomas Stagg's epitaph:
That is all
St. Giles Churchyard, London, England

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Another photo from the boat trip

OK, after trying to put four photos on this post and ending up with only one, I give up! It's almost time to go to work and I'm running out of time. The boat trip was only three hours but it's going to take me far longer than that to post even a few of them. Oh well.

Tonight is the last cemetery tour. Actually we're going to tour one large cemetery and two nearby smaller ones. It's been fun and thought-provoking and I'll be sad to have it end. Wish I'd signed up for the canoeing class but two nights per week for the summer seemed a bit much. After work activities always sound good but after a day of work I sometimes have to drag myself to them. Once there, I do enjoy them but it makes for a long day.

This photo is when we were following the flotilla out out the canal. The picture doesn't really show the crowds of people lining the side of the canal. The kayaks are at the top right of the photo.

A (rather terrible) joke from my E-mail
Bubba and Billy Bob
While Bubba and Billy Bob were in the local Wal-Mart, they decided to get in on the weekly charity raffle.

They bought five tickets each at a dollar a pop. The following week, when the raffle was drawn, each had won a prize.

Billy Bob won 1st place; a years supply of gourmet spaghetti sauce and extra long spaghetti.

Bubba won 6th prize; a toilet brush.

About a week or so had passed when the men met back at Wal-Mart. Bubba asked Billy Bob how he liked his prize, to which Billy Bob replied, "Great!, I love spaghetti!"

Billy Bob asked Bubba, "How 'bout you, how's the toilet brush? "Not so good," replied Bubba, "I reckon I'm gonna go back to paper."

Monday, July 18, 2005

A Three Hour Tour

Here's another photo of the boat. And yes, that's me in front of it in my favorite (but unflattering)shirt and jeans. I'm clutching two jackets and a bag. It was windy and chilly enough to put on the hoodie as soon as we got out onto the lakee, but not wet enough for the plastic jacket. My bag had a notebook, water bottle and two disposable cameras.

Lake Superior is no ocean, but it’s still impressive:
 Largest freshwater lake in the world.
 Is large enough to contain all the other Great Lakes, plus three additional lakes the size of Lake Erie.
 350 miles east to west, 160 miles north to south.
 31,280 square surface miles.
 Average depth: 483 feet.
 Deepest point: 1,279 feet.
 3 quadrillion gallons, or 2,900 cubic miles, of water.
 Elevation: 600 feet above sea level; not to exceed 602 feet, as ordered by the International Joint Commission.
 Large enough to dramatically affect weather patterns in surrounding areas; in Duluth, that means warmer winters and cooler summers (right next to the lake, not over the hill where I live).
 Final resting place for over 350 shipwrecks, including the famous Edmund Fitzgerald.
 Shoreline length, including islands: 2,726 miles.
 Empties into Lake Huron via the St. Mary’s River.
 Water flows into the lake from a drainage basin area of 49,300 square miles.
 It would take 191 years for the rivers in the drainage basin to refill the lake.
 Named by French explorers as “le lac superieur,” meaning “upper lake.”
 Known for its clear, cold water and agate beaches.
 Average water temp.: 40°F.
 Could cover all of North America in water three feet deep.
 Seasonal storms can lead to waves over 20 feet high.

As we were pulling away from shore with the boat on Saturday morning, there was a tiny little baby duck cheeping as it was being thrown up and down in the waves. (don't worry Fizzy this has a happy ending!). I was going to take a photo of the poor little thing but it didn't even show up in my viewfinder, too small.

The captain let us listen to him talking to the other boats on the radio. He asked the coast guard cutter captain, who was out in the water not far from us, what the commotion was in the bay. The coast guard told us that there was a man beginning a kayaking trip across Lake Superior and a flotilla of boats were going out with him, including several other kayaks, sailboats, motor boats and coast guard. We said that we would accompany them out for about five miles or so. The tooting of the various boats and the bridge began and the flotilla started going under the bridge. My photos don't show the other boats very clearly or the kayaks because I wasn't able to focus in on them.

It was very exciting to pass under the lift bridge. Cheering crowds waved to us (well, to the flotilla, actually) and we felt like celebrities! Media was there snapping photos and taking movie footage. The kayaks were really fast, I was surprised how swiftly they could move over the top of the water. But once we were away from the port entrance, the flotilla went towards the middle of the lake while we went up the shoreline to where the Lester River flows into the lake. There we stopped and took our measurements. Everything was in meters and centigrade because they were scientific measures. But we had a "translation" to temperature at least, but I don't know the footage amounts.

We took the lake's temperature at various depths. The top of the lake was far too warm at 70 F (Lake Superior is supposed to be cold) in fact this summer it's been the warmest those scientists have seen. Further down in the lake was appropriately cold, down to 40 F. We measured depth of clarity and oxygen levels. The oxygen levels went up as we tested further down. Apparently cold water can hold more oxygen so certain fishes, like trout can live there because they need more oxygen. We also learned that Lake Superior is not a productive lake, has little diversity and can't support many creatures. It's like a desert of a lake, the scientist from UWS told us. All of the other Great Lakes can support more life per sq. foot, mainly because they're smaller and warmer than our lake, which is very deep and cold. This also makes our lake far more fragile than the other Great Lakes even though right now it's in better shape than any of them.

I wish I had some photos of us taking the water quality tests, but we were too busy. Some others took samples which we all viewed under a microscope. It reminded me of the swamp water I used to look at under a microscope, full of interesting living little creatures.

There were just the normal touristy crowds lining the entry when we returned. A saltie was heading straight for us, low in the water, going out into the lake. We dodged around it and came back in to the docking area. The poor little duck was still there, three hours later with no mama duck or siblings in sight yet. It wasn't cheeping anymore, probably too tired from fighting the waves as duck families don't swim out in that part until the babies are much older and stronger. The biologists on the boat had been telling us about how the lake affects wildlife and they quickly discussed and then scooped the baby duck up in a soft sampling net. They told us that mallard ducks will accept foster babies so they were going to find another family for the baby duck among the many along the shore.

From my E-mail
McDonald's Job Application
This reportedly is an actual job application a 17-year-old boy submitted at a McDonald's fast-food establishment in Florida...and they hired him because he was so honest and funny!

NAME: Greg B. (Name withheld to protect the guilty)

SEX: Not yet.

DESIRED POSITION: Company's President or Vice President. But seriously, whatever's available. If I was in a position to be picky, I wouldn't be applying here in the first place.

DESIRED SALARY: $185,000 a year plus stock options and a Michael Ovitz style severance package. If that's not possible, make an offer and we can haggle.


LAST POSITION HELD: Target for middle management hostility.

SALARY: Less than I'm worth.

MOST NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT: My incredible collection of stolen pens and post-it notes.



PREFERRED HOURS: 1:30-3:30 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

MAY WE CONTACT YOUR CURRENT EMPLOYER?: If I had one, would I be here?


DO YOU HAVE A CAR?: I think the more appropriate question here would be "Do you have a car that runs?"

HAVE YOU RECEIVED ANY SPECIAL AWARDS OR RECOGNITION?: I may already be a winner of the Publishers Clearing house Sweepstakes.

DO YOU SMOKE?: On the job no, on my breaks yes.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE DOING IN FIVE YEARS?: Living in the Bahamas with a fabulously wealthy dumb sexy blonde super model who thinks I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread. Actually, I'd like to be doing that now.



The Writer
Once upon a time there was a young man who wanted to become a great writer. "I want to write things the whole world will read," he declared.

"Stuff that will elicit strong emotions from people in every walk of life. I want my writing to make them scream, cry, howl in pain and anger."

He now lives happily ever after in Redmond, Wash., writing error messages for Microsoft.

I wonder if the "job application" is really true, doubt it. I have some more photos of the trip but it took so long to post them that now I have to leave to go to work! Have a great day!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Fresh off the boat

Well, we went out on the boat and I took some photos. There were some really nice views of the shoreline but none look that great on film. It sure would be nice to have a decent camera (took these with a disposable) that could focus.

We met at the Aquarium for the trip and had to walk all the way through it twice because they had an orientation in the back. I looked at the exhibits briefly while passing through. The otters looked just like some large water ferrets! I have a photo of the ferrets that I'll post later. They are hard to snap because they go in two different directions and never stay still! I took the photo on my own with them, but next time I'll wait until my son can help. It will be much easier.

The boat trip was awesome and I'll tell more about it later. I have a lot of photos but most aren't that great, really too bad because the views from the boat were so good.

Here's two photos of the boat (these are the first photos on the blog that I've taken myself!).

Found this at Ms. Vile File)

You are dependable, popular, and observant.
Deep and thoughtful, you are prone to moodiness.
In fact, your emotions tend to influence everything you do.

You are unique, creative, and expressive.
You don't mind waving your freak flag every once and a while.
And lucky for you, most people find your weird ways charming!

The World's Shortest Personality Test

From my E-mail
Dough Robbery

Did you see the recent story in the Jewish Chronicle about the theft of egg-enriched dough from a north London warehouse?

Unfortunately, the theft happened just before Shabbos and it forced many local bakeries to bake their challas with plain, white flour. A leading rabbi was quoted as saying, "I’m appalled by the rise in white challa crimes."

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Lake Trip in Jeopardy?

I found a piece online about that fog I complain about:

Strange "Lake Effect" Phenomena
Visiting Lake Superior, I experienced a dangerous lake effect phenomena that I had never heard of before. Has anyone ever heard of this? We spent Friday in Duluth, MN where it was only 60 to 70 degrees all day. Everywhere else it was 90+ and high humidity. When we left for home the temp had fallen further as a thunderstorm was moving in. We were on the interstate surrounded by Friday, 65 mph+ traffic when everyone in front of us started hitting their brakes for no apparent reason. In the next instant we found out why as ALL of our windows turned white and impossible to see out. The only thing I could see was VERY faint brake lights VERY close ! I instinctively fumbled for the wiper controls while trying to stay on the road and avoid a crash. In the span of 5 seconds it was over. My view improved and we were on our way with a group of very cautious drivers. When we opened the side windows to clear them I instantly realized what had happened as the outside air had gone from 60 to 90+ in the space of a few feet. The hot, humid air had condensed on the cold vehicles, leaving a very thick layer of moisture. We have driven this same road at least 30 times and nothing similiar to this has ever happened. Is this rare? Or do the residents have to put up with this all the time? "
From: Greg Meier,"The Original Blue Hills Beast" Jack of Many Trades, Master of None"

It's neither common here nor rare, happens once in awhile. Mostly it depends on where you're going. I experience it quite a lot because I'm going up and down the hill every day to and from work, on Saturday to Superior and on Sunday to my Mom's--guess that makes EVERY day that I go up and down the hill!

About Lake Superior, from the same source as above:
"Experience oceangoing vessels 2000+ miles from the ocean!
Check out 1000ft+ Lakers as they pass under the Canal Park Lift Bridge.
Walk the longest freshwater sand bar in the world, twelve miles of sand, the north half in Minnesota, the south half in Wisconsin.
The Lakewalk has turned the downtown Duluth shore into a people place for walking, biking, skating and skipping rocks!"

Lake Superior is the largest, deepest, and cleanest of the five Great Lakes. You can see up to fifty feet to the bottom, although there aren't very many places where she is only 50 feet deep, and her deepest depth is 1333 feet.
The lake covers 31,820 square miles, and is 383 miles east to west and 160 miles north to south.
The average water temperature is 40F and 4.4C.
She also is one of the most dangerous of the Great Lakes, laying claim to many shipwrecks and close calls over the years.
One of the most famous wrecks was the Edmund Fitzgerald, which went down in a November Gale in 1975, losing all 29 crew members aboard. A few years ago, you may remember a Gordon Lightfoot song called "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" about the wreck."

That song was written QUITE a few years ago, in 1976 but maybe time went by quickly for him!

The weather doesn't look good today. I don't mind going out on the lake in less than sunny weather but I hear thunder once in awhile. I'm afraid the lake trip might be cancelled! And it's not like I can just switch to another day, all the trips are filled, you have to sign up early for them. Is my fun trip in jeopardy? I can just hear the little Jeopardy song as I wait and wonder.

"Zen" Oldies from my E-mail:
1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me, either; just Get Out Of The Way and leave me alone. 2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and a flat tire. 3. It's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.
4. Don't be irreplaceable; if you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.
5. No one is listening until you make a mistake.
6. Always remember you're unique, just like everyone else.
7. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.
8. It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
9. It is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help.
10. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

I finally watched the movie "Troy" last night. I liked it OK but think it's really a guy's type of movie, war, battles, fighting, swords all of that. My son would love it. Once he sees it, he'll want to OWN it to review the swordfighting.
Have a great weekend

Friday, July 15, 2005

Here's my Neopet, NattyLee507. Isn't she cute? She must be very bored, poor thing because I don't play with her :(
Katya told me about them and some day I'll get into the game.

Big Blue (Lake)

More Lake Superior Photos! (not mine, from various websites)

Interview by Katya Coldheart

Interview by Katya Coldheart one of my dearest blogging buddies who I read every morning before going to work. These are GREAT questions, I love them! And they were fun to answer.

1. If you could own any animal however exotic or unusual, what would it be and why?
A Tiger, but she/he would need lots of room to roam, I wouldn’t want him/her in a cage. I’d like a pet bat too, as a little animal.

2. What items would you save from your house if it were burning down (excluding people and pets)?
Old photos, the painting my Mom did and gave to me as a wedding gift.

3. What songs would you liked to be played at your funeral?
I like this question! Have thought of it off and on and my selections change but "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas would be one. Here are the lyrics:

"Dust in the Wind"
I close my eyes,Only for a moment and the moment's gone
All my dreams,Pass before my eyes, that curiosity
C: Dust in the wind, all they are is dust in the wind
Same old song,Just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do,Crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see

C: Dust in the wind, all they are is dust in the wind[2]
Don't hang on,Nothing last forever but the earth and sky
It slips away,And all your money won't another minute buy
C: Dust in the wind, all they are is dust in the wind
Dust in the wind, all they are is dust in the wind

4. What is your favourite night in/out?
Out with friends, joking, talking, laughing

5. What would be your dream job?
Temp work was great, but a facilitator for poor people looking to get their lives back together. I did that for three years and it was the best job ever! I researched and put together a curriculum, made handouts, did intake interviews, taught the class, helped clients with computer skills, resumes, computer research and such.

The Interview Rules
1. Leave me a comment saying 'interview me please'
2. I will respond by asking you five questions here on my blog (not the same questions you see here)
3. You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

From my E-mail
Life's Crazy Rules
* Lerman's Law of Technology: Any technical problem can be overcome given enough time and money. Corollary: You are never given enough time or money.

* Murphy's First Law for Wives: If you ask your husband to pick up five items at the store and then you add one more as an afterthought, he will forget two of the first five.

* Law of the Search: The first place to look for anything is the last place you would expect to find it. Corollary: It will not be in the last place you expect to find it.

* Kauffman's Paradox of the Corporation: The less important you are to the corporation, the more your tardiness or absence is noticed.

* The Salary Axiom: The pay raise is just large enough to increase your taxes and just small enough to have no effect on your take-home pay.

* Miller's Law of Insurance: Insurance covers everything except what happens.

* First Law of Living: As soon as you start doing what you always wanted to be doing, you'll want to be doing something else.

* Weiner's Law of Libraries: There are no answers, only cross-references.

* Isaac's Strange Rule of Staleness: Any food that starts out hard will soften when stale. Any food that starts out soft will harden when stale.

* Kenny's Law of Auto Repair: The part requiring the most consistent repair or replacement will be housed in the most inaccessible location.

* Second Law of Business Meetings: If there are two possible ways to spell a person's name, you will pick the wrong one. Corollary - If there is only one way to spell a name, you will spell it wrong anyway.

* The Grocery Bag Law: The candy bar you planned to eat on the way home from the market is hidden at the bottom of the grocery bag.

* Yeager's Law: Washing machines break down only during the wash cycle. Corollary: All breakdowns occur on the plumber's day off.

* Lampner's Law of Employment: When leaving work late, you will go unnoticed. When you leave work early, you will meet the boss in the parking lot.

* Quile's Consultation Law: The job that pays the most will be offered when there is no time to deliver the services.

* Loftus' Law: Some people manage by the book, even though they don't know who wrote the book or even which book it is.

* Lovka's Dilemma: You never get away, you only get someplace else.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Lake Superior

These photos are from touristy websites. Don't we have a nice view? It's nice and cool down here today, too, not like over the hill at home where we're still sweltering.


I just re-realized (if you can do such a thing) that I'm going out on Lake Superior in two days! It will be 3 1/2 hours on the LL Smith, a research vessel. We will help with running tests on water quality, aquatic life and who knows what else. It's going to be fun and I'm looking forward to it!

Now to figure out what to wear. My first instinct is to wear jeans, of course, but some friends said they'd be "too heavy" and that a light cotton would be better. But I really don't want to be wearing my work pants when we're monkeying around with water, fish and all. So I think it's going to stay jeans. And then the top, something with a hood, or maybe just carry a hooded waterproof jacket. That the toughest part of the trip, getting ready for it.

To God -- From, The Dog
Dear God: Why do humans smell the flowers, but seldom, if ever, smell one another?

Dear God: When we get to heaven, can we sit on your couch? Or is it still the same old story?

Dear God: Why are there cars named after the jaguar, the cougar, the mustang, the colt, the stingray, and the rabbit, but not ONE named for a dog? How often do you see a cougar riding around? We do love a nice ride! Would it be so hard to rename the "Chrysler Eagle" the " Chrysler Beagle"?

Dear God: If a dog barks his head off in the forest and no human hears him, is he still a bad dog?

Dear God: We dogs can understand human verbal instructions, hand signals, whistles, horns, clickers, beepers, scent ID's, electromagnetic energy fields, and Frisbee flight paths. What do humans understand?

Dear God: More meatballs, less spaghetti, please.

Dear God: Are there mailmen in Heaven? If there are, will I have to apologize?

Dear God: Let me recite you a list of just some of the things I must remember - to be a good dog, some dog commandments:

1. I will not eat the cats' food before they eat it or after they throw it up.

2. I will not roll on dead seagulls, fish, crabs, etc., just because I like the way they smell.

3. The sofa is not a 'face towel'.. neither are laps.

4. The garbage collector is not stealing our stuff.

5. My head does not belong in the refrigerator.

6. I will not bite the officer's hand when he reaches in for Mom's driver's license and registration.

7. I will not play tug-of-war with Dad's underwear when he's on the toilet.

8. I don't need to suddenly stand straight up when I'm under the coffee table.

9. I must shake the rainwater out of my fur before entering the house - not after.

10. I will not throw up in the car.

11. I will not come in from outside and immediately drag my butt.

12. The cat is not a 'squeaky toy' so when I play with him and he makes that noise, it's usually not a good thing.

And, finally, My last question . .
Dear God: When I get to Heaven may I have my testicles back?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Tower Hall, at The College of Saint Scholastica. The rock for this building was quarried from the hill behind it.

Cemetery Tour #5, Epitaphs #5

We toured two different cemeteries last night and our assignment was to compare and contrast them, an easy task as you will see.

The first cemetery we visited was hidden in the woods. In fact we were on a hill on "Cemetery Outlook" and could see no cemetery. We had to hike through the woods to get to it. I had gone home after work to cool off the poor animals and had changed into shorts, sandals and stripped down as much as possible, the temps were 95 F with a nice hot sun on top of that. After going down a hill, through the woods, we came to a field with waist-high grass. I was glad I'd carried my water bottle by that time, it was really hot in the woods! My feet and legs were burning. I think it was a combination of insect repellant, scratchy brush and grass and sweat. I am NOT an outdoors person at those temperatures and conditions! But Greenwood Cemetery was worth seeing, I just would have picked a more temperate day for it.

This cemetery was the Potter's Field for the Poor Farm, a TB Sanitarium and the county hospital from 1891 to 1947. In approximately the same acreage as Scania, which had 1,400 graves, Greenwood had 4,705 people buried there with tiny little flat cement markers about the size of a person's fist. They were difficult to find in that field with such tall grass but we found some of the rows, which made it easier. There weren't any names on most of them, just numbers. There was a monument overgrown in the middle of the field. When we had scouted around a bit, we had to walk uphill through the woods to get to the parking lot again.

It was great to catch a breeze while driving to The College of St. Scholastica, we weren't going to the college but to the monastery's cemetery, Gethsemane Cemetery. We went past the beautiful rock-built Tower Hall to the winding road up the back. This cemetery was in the woods too, but very different. You could drive or walk to it and it was very well kept, the best we've seen so far, although it's probably unfair to compare it to some of the huge cemeteries we'd seen. The markers were small, neat and except for the names and dates, all exactly the same. The cemetery had almost a military look to it because of the uniformity. But it had a feeling of serenity like none of the other cemeteries. Here is an article that two nuns wrote about it:

Another World
By Sister Linda Wiggins and Sister Margaret James Laughlin
"Located west of the Monastery, at the top of the hill, Gethsemane Cemetery reigns on high, providing a splendid view of Lake Superior. More than just a "place," Gethsemane is a world in itself. Slightly tilted on its axis, the "Sisters' cemetery" is circled by a roadway, marked at intervals with large wooden crosses representing the Stations of the Cross.

Rows of pristine gray stone markers identify the deceased Sisters. No extensive adornment will be found here—one lovely statue of the Pieta; an occasional modest bouquet will signify a friend or family member recently visited. Yet rarely will anyone come upon a more beautiful world than this one. Rows of fir trees whisper messages while wild flowers bask in pied sunlight along the road. Deer amble across the green in the early morning and evening. A mother fox might bring her young ones for a romp on a warm summer evening. In the fall the pungent scent of apples delights walkers, while the crackle of snow and tiny footprints indicate frequent visitors in winter.

Gethsemane is a world of paradox: perpetual activity amid quiet rest—the abundance of life blooming amid this simple pastoral setting. Nothing illustrates more the Benedictine ideal than this world where the assurances of Christ radiate in natural wonder: a crossroad of heaven and earth."

Guess I really can't add anything to that, about the cemetery anyway! After that we went to the Monastery. It was wonderfully cool and quiet and the place was subtly beautiful. A friendly, but crisp and correct nun gave us a little tour and told us about the history and answered our questions, like how she got her name (Mother Superior gave it to her) and if she really had to give up all her worldly possessions to be a nun (yes). I can't help but wonder what she thought of us, dirty, sweaty, ragtag people!

Then I came home, took care of the animals, took a shower to wash off whatever was stinging my feet and legs. Then I sat down to a dinner of a cold can of Coke and some ice-cold cherries. They helped cool me off but I ended up with a stomachache after that, guess all that cold stuff wasn't a good idea. I'm feeling OK now and really looking forward to going into work for that air conditioning!

More Epitaphs!

Some epitaphs were meant to warn the living from committing the same mistake as the deceased.

Beneath this stone a lump of clay
Lies Uncle Peter Dan'els
Who early in the month of May
Took off his winter flannels.
Edinburgh, Scotland

Here lies the body
of Jonathan Blake.
Stepped on the gas
Instead of the brake.
Uniontown, PA.

Reader, I've left this world, in which
I had a world to do;
Sweating and fretting to get rich:
Just such a fool as you.
Charleston, South Carolina

Ellen Shannon
age 26 years
Who was fatally burned
March 21, 1870
by the explosion of a lamp
filled with "R. E. Danforth's
Burning Fluid."
Girard, Pennsylvania

Harry Edsel Smith
Born 1903 - Died 1942
Looked up the elevator shaft
to see if the car
was on the way down.
It was.
near Albany, New York

Julia Newton
Died of thin shoes,
April 17th, 1839,
age 19 years.
In a New Jersey cemetery.

Here lies the body of Mary Ann Lowder
She burst while drinking a Seidlitz powder.
Called from this world to her heavenly rest,
She should have waited till it effervesced.
Burlington, Vermont

First a Cough
Carried Me Off
Then a Coffin
They Carried Me Off In
Boston, Massachusetts

Blown upward
out of sight:
He sought the leak
by candlelight
Wiltshire, England

(Spelling is exactly as written on the tombstone)
In memory of
Richard Fothergill
Who met vierlent death near this spot
18 hundred and 40 too.
He was shot by
his own pistill.
It was not one of the
new kind;
But an old fashioned brass barrell
Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Near Sparta Diggings, California

On Joseph Crapp:
His foot is slipt
and he did fall.
"Help; Help" he cried
and that was all.
Mylor Churchyard, Cornwall, England

Dinah had a little can
'Twas filled with kerosine
And soon among the twinkling stars
Dynamite Benzine. *
(* Dinah might been seen)

Here lies old Aunt Hannah Proctor
Who purged but didn't call the Doctor:
She couldn't stay, She had to go
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Just one more cemetery tour left, and one more batch of epitaphs (I sort of divided them to stretch the six weeks!)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A couple of creepy things

Yesterday was hot again, well over 90 degrees F at home, only 82-85 or so in downtown Duluth. My poor little animals were overheated by the time I got home from work. I had stopped to buy groceries, making my all-time record for food spending! But I had to get dog food, ferret food, laundry soap, spot cleaner, calcium vitamins plus all the food, so it added up.

Once I got home I took the ferrets outside in the shade and sprayed them with the garden hose. They really enjoyed that and came happily back to life. Poor Ricky (chinchilla) doesn't like to go outside so I moved his cage to right in front of a fan. It's SO warm in the house, unbearable. I also watered the garden and my flowers as soon as I got home and had put the groceries away. In fact I have the little ferrety guys outside right now to cool off before I go to work.

While I was carrying the groceries in from the car I saw a snake! It was the kind I had as pets when I was a child. It was almost as long as my arm and had a lump in the middle. It sure hope the lump wasn't that frog I had seen on the lawn a few weeks ago. I hadn't seen either frogs or snakes in my yard before. Both have become more rare since I was a kid.

Yesterday was the first day in quite a while that I could hardly wait to get in to work! And it was a Monday! Bet you can guess why--it's cooler downtown and there's a nice lake breeze, plus the office has AIR CONDITIONING!!!

Tonight is the cemetery tour of the "poor house" cemetery. It will be interesting. Speaking of interesting, yet ghoulish, follow this link to a really creepy sort of game/activity. It's called Never Ending Fall" You get to move a limp body that's falling by clicking and moving your mouse. Sound horrible? It is, but fascinating in a weird way, too. Give it a try when you're bored

There was yet another accident on the way to work yesterday. The freeway came to a standstill. I went out into the shoulder and to an exit, where I escaped. By the time I drove through a whole lot of nasty road construction and city buses stopping at every block, I think I would have been better off just staying in the car pack. At least I had good music! And I wasn't late to work.

Bird Calls
For forty years we have studied bird calls . There are so many different species , and to make it more difficult they have territorial accents just like people do.

The really amazing thing is, we have translated all of their calls. And the message is always they same . No matter the breed or the location, the message is always the same: "Yah yah yah! Cats can't fly!"

Marriage is Bliss...
At a cocktail party, one woman said to another, Aren't you wearing your wedding ring on the wrong finger?" Yes, I am. I married the wrong man."

A lady inserted an 'ad' in the classifieds: "Husband Wanted". Next day she received a hundred letters. They all said the same thing: You can have mine."

When a woman steals your husband, there is no better revenge than to let her keep him.

A woman is incomplete until she is married. Then she is finished.

A little boy asked his father, "Daddy, how much does it cost to get married?" Father replied, "I don't know son, I'm still paying."

Young son: "Is it true Dad, that in some parts of Africa a man doesn't know his wife until he marries her?" Dad: "That happens in every country, son."

Then there was a woman who said, "I never knew what real happiness was until I got married, and by then, it was too late."

Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Just think, if it weren't for marriage, men would go through life thinking they had no faults at all.

First guy: "My wife's an angel!" Second guy: "You're lucky, mine's still alive."

Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are attractive to the opposite sex.

If you want your spouse to listen and pay strict attention to every word you say, talk in your sleep.