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The Commute


Fri, May 18th, 2001
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Monday, May 21, 2001

Commuting any distance to work in Minnesota is an "iffy" proposition. Add to that being the parent of small children, and you are dancing on the edge of a sharp knife daily.

There are any number of variables each day that could throw you into a tail-spin. It seems to me these potential disasters fall under three general categories: illness, weather, mechanical malfunction.

My car, an eight-year-old front wheel drive, made it through all combinations of weather this past winter, only to be side-lined in March by a leaky oil gasket. That leak caused the engine to "freeze up." A new engine was in my and my Visa card’s future. But that wasn’t my biggest concern.

The "permanent stall" happened on a Saturday, and I spent the next 48 hours worrying about—Monday Morning. It wasn’t that we had no car. My husband’s car was functioning fine. His car, which I secretly refer to as "The Beast", has lots of miles, lots of "character”, but it runs.

Monday Morning. Four people going four different places. One car.

By 4:00 a.m. Monday, I’d hatched a plan that I was pretty sure would work. We would all get into my husband’s car at 7:15 with our respective "gear" for the day: heavy winter-wear for my husband who will most likely be working outside; the signed "Friday Folder", overdue library book and pet ladybug (show and tell) for my daughter; a pack of one hundred forty four diapers for my son; and the folder of freshman composition papers I didn’t finish grading.

Like many famous athletes, most mothers I know use "visualization" in their drive toward greatness. I visualized myself Monday morning making use of my favorite household gadget, my crockpot. I’ve collected recipes, all of them remarkably similar. You throw in some type of protein, a pasta, at least one can of soup (undiluted), hit the switch, and eight hours later—wow! Hot supper! It’s the closest I ever come to "magic" in the kitchen.

So the next morning, things went pretty much as planned. As I bent to hit the switch on the crockpot on my way out the door, I felt a funny pain in my chest. I was pretty sure it was indigestion from all the coffee I’d had, but I stopped by the medicine cabinet and popped a couple of aspirin before leaving, just in case it was my heart. (And my mom thinks I don’t take care of my health!)

My husband was dropped off at work 30 seconds early. Child One was deposited cheerfully at kindergarten, .....
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Ready for Collegeitis

Fri, May 18th, 2001
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Monday, May 21, 2001

I have a confession to make: In the last two weeks I have twice done what some would call "skipped school." The first absolutely devious act was joining eight of my top classmates after a three and a half hour grueling exa ..... 
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Genetic Genie

Fri, May 18th, 2001
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Monday, May 14, 2001

Nature provides for genetic exchanges through natural selection. Humans have long manipulated genetic inheritance through crossbreeding of plants and animals. But, in recent years, scientists have learned how to manipulate ..... 
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Return to Weaver - Field Report

Fri, May 18th, 2001
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Monday, April 30, 2001

Early Spring 2001

Regular readers may recall my article on the Blanding’s Turtle research project at Weaver Dunes near Wabasha, Minnesota, which appeared in the August 14, 2000 issue of the Fillmore C ..... 
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All About Strawberries

Fri, May 18th, 2001
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Virginia CooperMonday, May 21, 2001

Even if you have a small garden you can still have a few strawberry plants. There is nothing like eating ripe, fresh berries right out of the garden. It will make you think twice about eating store bought be ..... 
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Take This Until It Hurts

Fri, May 18th, 2001
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Monday, May 21, 2001

I don’t know why I do this to myself. My birthday is in the spring and so is my semi-annual run-in with my dentist. I could simply make the dental appointment later in the year. That way I would be spared the double-whammy ..... 
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“It’s all about roads”

Fri, May 18th, 2001
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Monday, April 30, 2001

“The only thing the county board is concerned about are roads,” one person commented to me a few weeks ago.

And the way in which she said this implied that this was not necessarily a good thing.

About th ..... 
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Booster seats can save lives

Fri, May 11th, 2001
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Monday, May 14, 2001

Booster seats save lives. It’s as simple as that. The law requires, and common sense dictates, that infants and toddlers need a special seat in the car to protect them in case of an accident.

Minnesota law states that ..... 
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Journal Interview

Fri, May 11th, 2001
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Former Engineer Voight speaks outBy John TorgrimsonMonday, May 14, 2001

Today, Monday, May 14, is Steve Voigt’s last day on the job as Fillmore County Highway Engineer. In March, the Fillmore County Board voted unanimously to advertise ..... 
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