Thursday, March 29, 2007

Good Counsel

They brought in a counselor at work today to help us to communicate. The hour passed quickly and we heard several amazing claims. First, that communication is 55% body language, 38% voice tone, and only 7% the words spoken. I've wondered why my words so often go unheeded. I need a voice coach and a demeanor coach.
Next, she said that when a man hears something it must go through 16 places in the brain before it reaches the area that handles feelings, and most often it never makes it there. When a woman hears something it goes straight to the feelings dept. and usually stays there. If that's true, I just give up. I don't believe my brain has 16 places. And whereabouts is the feeling place? I want to give mine a rap, if I can find it.
The last part was about workplace gossip. Gossip is bad, especially for the victim. Her suggestion is to say to the one bringing us the tasty morsel, "Have you told the subject of the gossip about this?" If that's not clear enough, we should say, "I don't want to hear this."
"You are noble," I thought. "And righteous too."

Missed a Cog

Apologies to my blog reading public. I got home late last night. Teresa was there. We hobnobbed about her adventures in the Falls. About the creepiness of a late night motel exercise room. Give me a soft pillow and a good book anytime.
While she was gone I made a major breakthrough in my studies. I have been studying French off and on since I was 14 and have not broken the skin yet. I've gone through my little "Teach Yourself French" book several times and still comprends rien. Then this summer I decided the key to learning the language was to learn lots and lots of words. I went through my word frequency dictionary. This has the 7,000 most commonly used words in French. I copied the words I didn't know onto both sides of 46 sheets of loose leaf paper for a total of 2,760 words. This took a couple of months. I reviewed these words off and on all fall, putting the difficult words onto 3x5 index cards. We took a trip to New Orleans in January and I brought three quarters of the cards along to study in the car. I lost the cards in Nashville. I called the motel, but no one had turned them in. In February I went through my sheets again and filled up 46 cards with 1012 words. Just finished on Tuesday. Once I learn those of by heart I'll be in trouble. I'll know the 7,000 most common words in French, but I won't understand French. What to do? And why should I even care? That's for a future blog. Just grant that it's very important that I do this.
I have banned all reading in English (except Bill Bryson in bed) until I crack this nut. I'm only listening to the French language station in Winnipeg of which I understand about 4%. I'm not sure why I called this a major breakthrough. Just to encourage the troops I suppose.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Day Two

rolled out of bed at six a.m.

As my bowl of oatmeal boiled, I read the bible book. Ps. 141:10 Que les méchants tombent dans leur filets,... which means something like "Let the wicked fall into their (own) nets...That's what I like about the psalms, they're realistic. Jesus would say 'love the wicked...' OK, I wish the wicked well, but if they set a trap for me, I hope they drink a few beers while waiting for me to come along and trip and fall into their own trap. Just to teach them a lesson.

It was a frosty freezy morning this morning. On the gravel road leading to work I saw deers in the field, their backs coated with frost. On the blacktop a crow flew out of the ditch followed by a bald eagle. I had to take off the cruise control to avoid hitting the eagle. I took this as an omen. The eagle of course in the U.S. The crow is Iran. An owl would have been better but it was definitely a crow. They had both been feeding on roadkill in the ditch. That was Iraq.

Things were just fine and dandy over at the nursing home. Another day of no crises.
I like the new daylight savings timethat started a couple of weeks ago. Lots of sun in the evening. If that was a Bush initiative, then I say his time in office wasn't a total waste.

Teresa called from I-Falls. All is going well there. She was invited to a yoga class. Stretching covers arthritis. She'll be back tomorrow.

I heated up the chowder I prepared last night. It was ambrosial. You can only ingest it in appetizer sized portions. Ned came home and declined his portion, so I will bring his portion to the neighbor who used to sing for chowder in a fancy St Paul restaurant.

I'm so pathetic. I was still hungry after this savory dish. But then, so was Esau. So what I did was I cooked up some spaghetti, which I reserved in a sieve, while I heated some olive oil in the hot pot, threw in some crushed garlic, crushed red pepper, and salt. Just four ingredients, like Guiness. It made my nose run and killed off the viruses that had been hanging around.

I make bread with four ingredients too: flour, yeast, salt, and water. (good for you)

When I googled the name of my new blog "Joe's Place blog" I got more than a million hits. I went through the first 13 pages and saw some intersting stuff. Where is my blog, though? How do I get to number one? I don't want to spend too much money.

Good night.

Monday, March 26, 2007


I was born sixty years ago today. So this is a good day to blog. I awoke this morning to the sound of my alarm, a blatting ring. I popped out of bed and put the kettle on for coffee with lots of sugar and cream, followed by oatmeal. I read Psalm 140 en français. The psalms are obtuse to me in English. How much more so in French? "They sharpen the tongue like the serpent..." The evil men are ever out to get us... Only the Lord can preserve us from their designs...

It was dark in the early morning. The dawn was masked in fog. My wife sang me happy birthday, replacing my name with the word 'honey.' Then she packed her bag. She said she would be back by Weds. She's going to I-Falls to help the court system get their new computer program up and running.

I drove through the fog to Roseau to meet with my colleagues at the Guest House for breakfast. By the time I got to Greenbush, 20 odd miles to the west, the fog had lifted. After all, it was my birthday.

It was a quiet day at the nursing home. No major crises, just the little crises that litter every life.

The weather was soft. I drove home and when I got there I made clam chowder. To make chowder in the midland you need a bottle of clam juice. How many gallons of clam juice have I swilled and now I pay big bucks for a tiny cocktail's worth. But it's worth it. A most savory liquor. Boil small potatoes and onion in it, add pathetic minced clams, and heavy whipping cream, plus salt, freshly ground pepper, butter, flour [put the flour in a bowl, add some of the chowder, stir vigorously, and return to the main chowder], let sit overnight in the reefer.

What shall I eat this night. How about some thin spahetti. Set it aside when cooked and pour olive oil in the hot pot, with minced garlic, crushed red pepper, and kosher salt. Re-introduce the pasta and you have the most delicious dish you will ever taste.

Good night