Friday, December 2, 2011

Not to be forgotten!

Tis the season to be jolly... (or not).

My mom died many years ago. So I’m over it, right? And most of the time, I am.
But as I walked through a grocery store recently I saw the new addition of special holiday treats. And tears started flowing down my cheeks.
Just arrived on the shelves were German Christmas breads... directly from Germany too.

And they reminded me of Christmases long ago.
Those were the times my mother would delight us with all her baking and the treats of that exciting time of the year. (It’s not a tradition that I have carried on, alas.)

Mom had been an orphan in europe before the first World War. She told us some of her tragic experiences.
But she also shared her German traditions and she really knew how to bake German Christmas cookies and sweets!

Actually, I didn’t care for some of them that much - except for the Spritz cookies! Made with real butter. You see, I was a little kid during World War II and we appreciated real butter.
Anyway, when I saw these German delights on the store’s shelves... through my tears... I knew I wanted to taste them once again.

Then I considered that maybe the breads would go best with a glass of wine or a cup of coffee. As a kid I didn’t get wine. Nor much coffee either. Only a taste once in a while because I was told it might stunt your growth.
And then I wondered: does anyone “dunk” anymore? I mean dipping your slice of bread or roll in your coffee. I can’t remember when I’ve seen anyone do this recently.
Did we just do it because years ago the rolls dried out since we didn’t have airtight containers or freezers to keep them soft?

So many memories... but finally, later in the evening, with the snow falling lightly outside and a glass of wine for a toast inside, I cut open the festive breads and we tasted them once again.
And, you know... I still didn’t like them that much!
But I loved the memories that came with them.

So let’s take courage from the advice given by others who are missing loved ones... “Try not to think of what you have lost, but the joy you had.”

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

When we don’t know what’s going on!

“Sudden acceleration problems”. This was the wording used in the media when a car was described as speeding out of control.

I was looking to buy a car made by the same company that was under suspicion for having this problem in one of their other vehicles. It was explained to me that the problem was probably a floor mat moving out of position, driver error, conspiracy theory, etc.

Whatever... I decided I liked this car and my husband and I bought it. It “cornered” nicely and it was so much fun to press all those buttons on the control panel. Keep in mind my mentioning these “buttons”.

A couple of months later, I was cruising along without any concerns in the fast lane on a six lane freeway. All of a sudden my passenger leaned over to adjust one of the buttons on the dash probably for the temperature. And... all of a sudden I didn’t have any power!

This was the opposite reaction that had been publicized about some of the company’s products, remember?

Did I say that every lane on my side of the highway was filled with speeding cars?

I didn’t know what was happening but I knew I wasn’t speeding out of control... actually I wasn’t speeding at all.

I put on my turn signals and tried to change lanes before I would come to a complete stop. But it didn’t seem like anyone wanted to let me in their lane. I got honked at but I just kept trying to move over as I kept slowing down. I finally made it across the lanes and pulled onto the shoulder.

I sat there waiting until I felt good enough to try starting the car again. It purred back to life and we drove home safely. My passenger thought they might have accidentally touched a button that caused the problem but we still don’t know why the power went off. It’s been a few months since then and I’ve enjoyed driving it.

But this memory might have been lurking in my mind when I recently parked outside Cannon Falls’ city hall. I pulled in next to a large black SUV. I was sitting so low compared to it that I couldn’t see in its windows.

I pressed the button to turn off my engine.

But I didn’t stop moving!

I still had my foot on the brake pedal so I jammed it harder.

I still didn’t stop!

I realized I would be on the grass if I didn’t do something and a sudden wave of nausea hit me as I kept rolling.

But at the same time - out of the corner of my eye I realized that the big SUV next to me wasn’t staying in place. It was backing out of its parking spot. So I wasn’t really moving at all!

It was just from my perspective of not seeing that the higher vehicle next to me had a driver in it and the perfect timing of their car moving backwards - that I had thought that I was the one who was moving!

I got out of my sweet parked car... and since then have pondered how much our “perception” influences our belief in what “reality” really is in everyday life.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Saturday, June 18, 2011

“Country folks are OK!”

Her “whim” turned out great!

She applied “on a whim”... actually she was content in her job and it was a “stretch” to think about going from a small station in Iowa to CBS affiliate WCCO in Minneapolis. But after about nine weeks of intense interviews, e-mails, etc. she was informed she got the job.Samantha Smith, daughter of Mike and Lynn Gronlund of Randolph explained, “I was really excited... my mom cried... and dad keeps me grounded.”

Samantha had been working as news director at KNIA/KRLS radio in Knoxville, Iowa. This meant a 70 hour work week where she was on call 24/7 in case there was an accident to be covered. But she also won many awards from the Iowa Broadcast News Association including “Overall Excellence in Anchoring” and helped the station earn top honors in the small market radio division.

Now Samantha is the Anchor/Reporter for WCCO radio from Wednesday through Sunday. In this position she “stacks the news stories”, researches and writes them and it’s her voice you hear bringing you up-to-date on the news every hour during her shift.

Samantha believes having had the opportunity to do many things in high school allowed her to learn a lot. Also, the principal let her to design her own project in journalism for credit.

Samantha at Randolph, MN high school

But keep in mind that Samantha came from the “country”. So how is that going to fit in the “big city”? Plus, the folks back home like to “take care of our own” so I headed up to ‘CCO to check things out.

Now you may remember there have been many movies made about country folkswho go to visit the big city. There was an old movie series called Ma and Pa Kettle. If you don’t remember that one you might recall the TV series, The Beverly Hillbillies.

And if you don’t know that one... now you can watch: “Paul and Rosie go to the Big City!” I had the idea to add a second meeting to this trip. The other was to say “Hi” to the little brother of my girlfriend who was a bridesmaid in my wedding so many years ago. As teenage girls we had mainly ignored this ten year old kid. But when I met him after he had grown up, he gave me one of the nicest hugs I’ve ever received.

It’s been at least five years since then, so I figured I needed a hug again.

I e-mailed Dave Mona at WCCO and he responded that he would be on the air with his show, the Sports Huddle with Dave and Sid (Hartman) when I got therebut just to “buzz” them and they’d let me in.

So here’s the result... even with my panicky backseat driving suggestions, Paul drove unscathed to the downtown location.

We came to the locked door of WCCO and pressed the button to ask to be admitted. A familiar but unknown male voice told us the door was now open and we walked in.

The elevator door stood ajar and I went in and started pressing buttons. Nothing happened. I finally got on my cell phone and called the station and told them, “I’m inside but I can’t get the elevator to work.” Well, they would come get me because the door to the stairs was locked.

Remember the familiar sounding voice? It turned out to be Bruce Hagevik who I’ve heard on the air for years. He previously had been on KDHL in Faribault and worked with Rod Johnson of Cannon Falls.

In a few minutes we were sitting in the studio while Dave and Sid bantered with their callers on the air. I finally got my hug from Dave and then met the delightful Samantha. It was later, when Paul and I tried to find the way out of the building by ourselves, that we ran into difficulty. We should just be able to follow the EXIT signs, right? Not!

Paul had become interested in the Twins shirt in the glass frame on the wall and then some more pictures. But these led in the wrong direction.

I found a door that looked like a possibility. But it led to an out-of-order freight elevator. Paul asked me to step back into the hallway to test the door in case it would lock us out. It did. I was tempted to leave Paul in there but decided to open it for him.

After other wrong turns I found my way back to Samantha’s studio and Bruce headed us in the right direction.

Guess I’ll just have to wonder where that freight elevator would have gone!


(More video from the Beacon and our interview will be on the Cannon Falls Cable/Internet Channel 12 -

or on Youtube - Along the way by Rosie)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What is stupid?

Why do we think a particular lesson is stupid? Or rather, why do we think we are stupid because we took so long to learn the lesson?
At least we finally learned it!

I’m talking to myself of course.
I could have a pretty simple way of life if I just wasn’t so curious.

By my age I have learned a lot of things... some not so much fun but a lot of them have made life sweeter and more comfortable.

Although I’ve got to admit that having a computer has been a mixed blessing!
If I would just stay with the things I’ve learned to do on it I think it would be very fulfilling. I can write up my stories... e-mail friends... gab on
Facebook, etc.

But not me.
I got fascinated making my own videos... and then sharing them with the world.
The problem is that I don’t always understand the books that explain how to do it... and I don’t remember what I was taught at the classes I took and I can’t understand my own notes on how to do these things. (I may have oversimplified this... but you get my mindset.)

And maybe this isn’t just about the computer.
Maybe it’s more about life...

Maybe there are still things to “conquer”.
You see, I was told back in junior high school by an adviser that I was too shy to be a journalist. I should pick another profession.
But I thought maybe “
shy” people could be more sensitive when writing up a story.

Although 50 years later I found I was still dealing with some of the same fears I had as a teenager.
I had thought I could “tough it through”... and that works sometimes.

Like when I was reading my columns on a twin cities radio station a couple years ago. I had to shorten my stories to fit in the 120 second time frame they offered. (Although I hope newspaper readers take more time to enjoy the full column!)
But while reading on the air I was so nervous I thought I would throw up. Since I was doing the show by telephone from home, I realized I didn’t want to throw up on my carpet. So I put an empty ice cream bucket next to the phone. (Wouldn’t that have been an interesting audio for the station’s listeners to hear?)

But I didn’t have to use it.
And after a while I didn’t even have the bucket near the phone.

But recently I was heading to video a group of people and 90 seconds of pure anxiety hit me. Well, it's down to 90 seconds sometimes. I reconciled this fear with the fact that I knew when I got to the “shoot”, I would go into action and really enjoy the process. And I did.

The next day I was heading to another interview and as the fear hit me again I had another thought. I recognized that the fear was valid (I know the mistakes I've made) but just as valid was the thought that I would enjoy the session. And the people would too.

So I chose to skip the fear and smile at my
new thought. This worked. And I'll do it again.

It seems like a good lesson... and I guess that any time we can learn one, we’re not stupid.

Now back to my questions about my computer...


Friday, May 13, 2011

Sometimes we just need to remember the good things we learned as children...

Actually - all the time.

Adult Version:

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

As I lay me down to sleep,

Golden Memories do I keep.

Set aside, I make it clear,

Are worry, anger, pain and fear.

Bitter thoughts and words and deeds

Cancelled out by Godly seeds...

Of love, joy, peace, prosperity—

Promises God gave to me.

Lord, when I sleep I rest in you,

When I wake I’m born anew.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Is the “Wonder” missing?

The ‘awe in a relationship”... have you lost it?

Do you catch yourself taking them for granted? Familiarity can lead to dullness. Not disrespect, but just missing the enjoyment of the honor and specialness of a person or a place.

This was brought to my attention at a funeral of a friend as I watched the priest go through his usual role leading his congregation through the rituals they were used to.
I have talked to Father Jay Kythe of St. Pius Catholic Church in Cannon Falls before. I am not a member of his faith. But that does not limit his graciousness to me.

But he’s not the first priest to be kind to me. I remember another one years ago who was always available to explain a ritual to me. One time I came in asking for the meaning behind the stained glass windows. He motioned me to follow him across the sanctuary.
I wanted to be careful that I didn’t step anywhere that might be considered holy to his faith and that I was ignorant of. So I made sure I followed him very closely.
It turned out... almost too closely!
You see, I didn’t know he was going to genuflect (drop to one knee) as we crossed behind the altar... and so I had to make a quick stop while trying to balance myself so I didn’t topple right over on him! He never knew (I don’t think!), but I’m still chuckling to this day!

So with this history I watched Father Jay during the service.

Each time he made a reference to God I was fascinated by the awe and reverence he showed. And I wondered how many hundreds of times he must have said the same words... made the same gestures at the altar... and yet he could still express such honor to his creator.

You see, I also follow his creator. And I have a feeling of closeness with God.

But unlike Jay, I realized that I had somehow lost the feeling of awe.
As Jay explains: “My relationship with Jesus is that He is my brother and a close friend, someone whom I love very much.... Not only do I choose to love Him, but I try to see how He loves me in small and big ways every day.

“I thank Him for those acts of love He does for me. It could be something as small as the sunlight filtering in through the window to seeing the charity in the heart of someone I meet...

“The way I do my acts of love for Him is by praying every day, reading the Scriptures, and simply just talking to Him daily.

“Also whenever I extend a hand of charity towards someone else, I extend it to Him ("Whatever you did to the least of these little ones, you do for me").

So you see, thanks to the example of Father Jay... the awe is back for me too.
The kind of awe and wonder that I see again in a new baby... a flower... a sunrise... a friend... and God.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

The “Good” and “Bad”
about a small town...

Growing up in the “Big” city was good. Although I really didn’t have anything to compare it to. It was all I knew.
The prevailing idea was that you had more advantages in the “Big” city than in a small town.
After some 30 years living here, I am questioning that concept a bit.

Surprisingly, by growing up in a small town you can be more confident in public affairs. You see, in a small town you may grow up next door to the mayor or a bank president. And you know a lot about your neighbors in a small town!
(It seems like in a small town they either know what I’ve been doing or they think they know... and the latter might be a lot more interesting!)

Anyway... the result is that you’re not going to be in too much awe of someone’s title because you’ve already seen them cleaning up dog droppings in their back yard!

So I’ve jotted down some of the “Good” and “Bad” things about living in a small town.

The “Good” is that you have easy access to public meetings to get basic knowledge on government and parliamentary procedure. I saw a teenager speak to the local city council and do a fine job. When I had to present my concerns another time I didn’t do as well. I found my right arm was shaking so much that I thought everyone could see it. In talking with my friend the mayor afterwards, he grinned and said he saw it!
I decided I would have to practice. The council allows public input for two minutes at the beginning of their meeting. What better place to get a grip on public speaking than in front of friends? I didn’t do it... but the opportunity is there, or so I tell myself.

To continue:
The “Good” is that a small town can have special opportunities compared to a big city. Like our own cable/internet TV channel with its programming highlighting the local area.
The “Bad” is that they didn’t have anyone who wanted to do it.

The “Good” is that when a job needs to be done in a small town, you have a good opportunity to be the one to do it.
The “Bad” is that although you have been taking computer/video lessons you don’t have the equipment to do the job you would like to.

The “Good” is that the whole world will be seeing your videos anyway.
The “Bad” is that... I can’t think of anything bad. My friends are already forced to watch my videos on Youtube!

The “Good” is that in this process, I have taken advantage of some opportunities that probably wouldn’t be available in a big city.
The “Good” is that I can highlight local musicians and artists and just friendly folks who make this planet a good place.
The “Good” is that there is opportunity here for others too.
The “Good” is that I have been finding that there sure is a lot of “Good” in a small town.!

(Watch "Along the way... with Rosie" on both Channel 12 and on the internet at