Monday, January 28, 2008

Stepping Out

Bing and I stepped out Saturday night. I guess in today's lingo you would say we went clubbing. Here's the scoop. A few weeks ago we were quietly gambling at the casino up the road apiece - it's in a northwoodsy Ojibwa reservation town by the name of Lac du Flambeau. That means Lake of the Torches and the name conjures images of birch bark canoes softly floating on a summer night long ago. But right now that soft rippling lake is solid ice down about two feet so the canoes are in dry dock and the torches lead to the casino doors. Well, my membership card was picked and I won a basket of goodies, 1000 credits on the card and two free tickets to the Bob Eubanks traveling extravaganza show with a chance to win $250,000. Eureka! Then last week when we were there, Bing's name was picked and he won too. The problem was that my tickets were for the 7:00 show and his were for the 3:00 show. We thunk awhile and decided to do the greedy thing and go to both. Now, what we could remember about Bob Eubanks was, that he ran the Dating Game and the Newly Wed game, so on the way there we checked with each other about favorite colors, where we met, favorite foods and anything that we might have to answer to win the big bucks. We also knew that the game shows usually pick people who are really eager to get up there so we were ready to be eager. The hopes dimmed a little when we realized there were about 498 other people ready to be eager too at each of the shows. And, boy oh boy, was I happy not to be picked for the first game because he picked four ladies who had to answer name, age and WEIGHT! Yeow! Then they brought a scale out to see who was telling the truth. The tall skinny girl won and the others were good naturedly mortified. Bob was pretty funny and interspersed clips from his shows that brought the house down and kept the crowd interested. He's seventy now. We were still trying to raise our hands pretty high again when he said we'd play the Newly Wed game cuz we thought we were ready. WRONG! So glad we weren't picked again because they asked things like how many lovers did you have and where was the strangest place you ever made whoopie. The folks again were good naturedly mortified and quite wrong with their answers just like the couples were on the TV show. They seemed to pick pretty happy laid back people who played along with the gags pretty well. They had four women dress up as disco dancers and dance individually and get the most applause from the audience and four guys dress up in tutus and dance ballet individually. A big square 350 pound guy captured our hearts with his earnest moves and an 86 year old woman who shimmied frontwards and backwards and flounced her feathery boa through her legs grabbed our hearts and applause. So they each won those games. Name that Tune was another game and it was pretty good that we weren't picked for that because the only two songs I knew were You Aint Nothin But a Hound Dog and Heartbreak Hotel and I don't think Dad knew any. There were some games that they just called out ticket stub numbers too but none of ours. Each show lasted only an hour and fifteen minutes so it was pretty easy to handle both. About ten people were called at the end of the show to try for the $250,000. They were eliminated till one was standing by calling red or black cards and the one left standing could pick three circles from a board of about twenty and if the money he picked on the circle added up to 1000, then he'd get the big prize. Otherwise they got to keep what their three circles added up to. Each of them got $850 so they were pretty happy. We didn't win but it was fun and that's what we usually say when we go to the casinos. And now we're clubbers!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Rising and Shining

Hi Folks,

In 1969, Bing and I got married and moved to Coralville, Iowa, where Bing pursued his master of social work degree and I became a stay at home wife. In those days it wasn't the norm that the wife worked as it is today and I used my time to develop my cooking and baking skills which were kind of in a neonatal state , and so , incidentally , was our firstborn son, Bernie, who happened to join the family about two days into the marriage. He was born nine months and two days after our wedding. Bing and I were living on a stipend he received from the state of Wisconsin so we started our longstanding habits of frugality. He had worked for a flour company in Milwaukee. He delivered 100 pound bags of flour to the bakeries around town and struck up some nice friendships with the full time flour deliverers. The men said to come in any time for flour and so we did. We'd take a hundred pound bag back with us whenever we ran out. I had taken an elective cooking class in my senior year at Mount Mary college and the Betty Crocker text book was my guide to learning how to bake bread. A Kitchen Aid mixer with a kneading hook was part of our wedding gifts so the job was relatively simple. We kept getting the free flour so our bread kept being homemade. Now we have to buy our flour but we like the bread better than storebought so the tradition goes on. Today Bernie brought Kayla and Jamie over and while Bernie showed Bing how to work the Christmas gift that he and Shelly gave us, Kayla and Jamie and I mixed up a batch of Italian bread. The accompanying pictures show the kids and Bing brushing the risen loaves with egg white and water to help the sesame seeds stick. The dough was divided into three and Kayla, Bing and a team of Jamie and Bernie each shaped their own creation. Kayla made a nice turtle, Bing, four plump breadsticks and Jamie/Bernie an "0" loaf. The picture of the kids sitting is them watching the oven as the loaves baked. Then. the finished products! Rise and shine in the glory of creation - quite a metaphor for our lives.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

The flowers are in our spa room. Every fall I can't bear to let the Impatiens, the Begonias and the Geraniums in our various patches freeze to death. So right before the first frost warning, I dig them up and put them in pots and bring them inside for the winter and early spring. Usually I've had to have them all over the living room but this year they have their own bedroom. Our whirlpool doesn't work anymore so we took a half top of our old ping pong table and put it over the whirlpool tub and we have our own redneck greenhouse. We have a hose with a watering wand attached to the whirlpool faucet. It's so easy to water them regularly so they are doing just fine. It's a very pleasant feeling to walk through there in the morning - to look out the windows and see the winter white world and have such a great reminder right in front of me - that hope and flowers spring eternal. Another great season is just around the corner.