Young Frankenstein Top Ten Quotes

The Gravel Road Gene Wilder retrospective wraps up the memories with a tidy bow made of 10 favorite Young Frankenstein quotes.Gravel Road’s Gene Wilder memorial screening of Young Frankenstein was a great success this weekend. The movie was as funny in 2016 as it was in 1974, thanks to these top ten quotes, at least in my humble opinion.

10. Inspector Kemp: Need a hand?
Dr. Frankenstein: No, I have one. Thanks.

9.  Inga: Dear, what is it exactly that you do do?

8.  Dr. Frankenstein: Yes, I did read something of that incident when I was a student, but you have to remember that a worm… with very few exceptions… is not a human being.

7.  Dr. Frankenstein: Perhaps I can help you with that hump?
Igor: What hump?

6.  Almost Everyone in the Cast at Some Time in the Movie: …Frau Blucher.
Horses: Neigh

5.  Igor: Wait, Master, it may be dangerous…you go first.

4.  Dr. Frankenstein: What knockers!
Inga: Thank you, Doctor.

3.  Igor: Walk this way.

2.  Elizabeth and Inga: (when in the throes of passion) Oh, sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found you!

1.  Igor: It could be worse.
Dr. Frankenstein: How?
Igor: It could be raining. (Insert downpour here.)

What’s your favorite Young Frankenstein quote? Leave a comment.



Top Ten Reasons to Take a Walk in September

The Man of Steel and I went a little wild and crazy celebrating Labor Day, 2016. Not only did we visit the health food store and then order our favorite drinks at our favorite coffee shop, but we also took an early morning walk the High Trestle Trail. Here are 10 reasons for central Iowans to consider a September walk on the trail. For those of you who live far, far from the most beautiful spot in the world, many of the reasons apply to a walk in the woods anywhere.

10.  Why take a walk during September? Here are 10 good reasons.Walkers who have horse phobias have no reason to be paranoid on the High Trestle Bridge.

9.  Why take a walk during September? Here are 10 good reasons.This is a proper Iowa trail paved with smooth cement, and benches are strategically placed along the way for those who need to rest now and then.

8.  Why take a walk during September? Here are 10 good reasons.Signs along the way let you know how many of the optimum-for-health daily 10,000 steps you have walked.

7.  Why take a walk during September? Here are 10 good reasons.Wildflowers along the way will put you in a good mood.

6.  Why take a walk during September? Here are 10 good reasons.Someone created the coolest bike racks ever along the path, too.

5.  Why take a walk during September? Here are 10 good reasons.Fall colors are beginning to peek through with the enticing promise of spectacular autumn foliage.

4.  Why take a walk during September? Here are 10 good reasons.If you stay alert, you might see late summer fawns with their mommies.

3.  Why take a walk during September? Here are 10 good reasons.The sumac, oh, the sumac.

2.  Why take a walk during September? Here are 10 good reasons.The view of the Des Moines River from the bridge is breathtaking.

1.  Why take a walk during September? Here are 10 good reasons.The High Trestle Bridge is a beautiful work of art.

Where do you like to walk in the fall? Leave a comment.


Top Ten Reasons There’s No Place Like Home

Ten reasons weary travelers look forward to coming home.My spring and summer gallivanting ended a month ago, and so far, staying put is all I want to do. Here are ten reasons there’s no place like home.

10. The people at here speak my language. Not just English. But midwestern English. As in talk about sweet corn, State Fair, heat, humidity, sleeping weather, and knowing how many miles you’ve driven by the number of gravel roads passed.

9.  When something is misplaced, I know it’s somewhere in the house rather than in another state, another country, or snuggled up next to the dirty underwear in my suitcase.

8.  It’s easier to stay organized at home than on the road because…

7. …everything is in its proper place. Except when #9 occurs, which is far too often.

6.  Iowa in August and September is so beautiful, I can hardly stand the thought of being gone for even a minute of it.

5.  Sunday worship with believers in other parts of the world is a blessing, but Sunday worship with our local church family is a blessing and a comfort.

4.  Cooking in our kitchen means being able to eat everything on the table, including dessert, without asking if it’s dairy-free.

3.  At home, when #7 rather than #9 is in effect, there’s time to think deeply and do what I like to do best–get lost in writing.

2.  Home is where I can Facetime often with two of my grandkids, play with the other one whenever we want, and share the day with our daughter and son-in-law.

1.  For 39 years, whenever I’ve had to travel without the Man of Steel, he’s the one who makes the house feel like home when I return.

What makes you say, “There’s no place like home?” Leave a comment.


Top Ten Iowa State Fair Tips

Top ten Iowa State Fair survival tips for hot and humid summer days.Our son, his friend, the Man of Steel and I spent an afternoon at the Iowa State Fair. While there, I compiled these top ten tips for fair goers silly enough to schedule their visits when the temperature hovers around 90° and the humidity is nearly 100%.

10.  A ride on the tram lifts passengers high enough to enjoy whatever slight breeze is blowing. However, passengers who are afraid of heights will get hot and bothered enough to cancel out the benefits of a cooling breeze.

9.  Stroll through the Varied Industries Building for two reasons: First, the air conditioning is heavenly. Secondly, you can visit the De Vries Woodcrafting booth and admire their beautiful furniture while testing their chairs and surreptitiously rest your tired feet.

8.  Women are well-advised to wear shorts, a skirt, or sundress when the temperature is near 90° and humidity is high. Capris will be too hot.

7.  You know the people that use big sticks to direct cars to the $5 parking spots on their lawns? I think they do that to keep the air moving. So put a collapsible yard stick in your fanny pack so you can cool down whenever you want. And bonk annoying people if need be. It’s a win-win!

6.  It is perfectly acceptable to join the children cooling off at the spray fountain. Just don’t knock them out of the way or strip down to your underwear. Even if your bra and panties are more generously than the uniforms worn by the women’s beach volleyball teams at the Olympics, you could get arrested for indecent exposure.

5.  If you watch the breeding swine auction in the Hall of Champions, stand directly under the giant ceiling fan. If possible stand next to someone with swine breeding expertise so you have some idea of what’s going on.

4.  If you go to the meat goat judging, repeat #5. But stand next to someone with meat goat expertise because pigs and goats are totally different breeds of cats.

3.  While walking by the butter cow, imagine standing beside Bessie in her 40° cooler just in case the power of suggestion actually works.

2.  Stop by the horse expo arena between shows when you are hot and tired. It’s free, it’s air conditioned, the seats are comfy, and you can watch a tractor go round and round and round watering and preparing the dirt. It’s mesmerizing.

1. When you’re drenched with sweat, a raspberry-cider slushy from the Agriculture Building tastes divine. It also turns your tongue bright red. So you can put in your Dracula teeth and look highly authentic.

Bonus Tip: No matter how hot it is, you must stand in the heat and take pictures for your young grandchildren obsessed with large machinery. Because that’s what’s grandparents do.


Top Ten Lessons Learned from a 16 Month Old

Grammy and Papoo have been learning a lot from the 16 month old who lives at their house. Here are a few recent lessons. Every day is an educational adventure with a sixteen-month-old in the house. Here’s what he’s been teaching us lately.

10.  Clothespins are fascinating, so a wise grammy learn to check for them in her shoes before going for a morning walk.

9.  Grammy’s walking shoes are also fascinating, so when the shoes aren’t on the rug by the door, they are most likely in the empty spot on a low kitchen shelf. With a clothespin cleverly hidden inside one shoe.

8.  There’s nothing better than a rousing game of “I’m gonna get you.”

7.  There’s nothing worse than being told “No!” Even and especially when it’s for your own good.

6.  Baby gates are an invitation to start climbing.

5.  Being allowed in Grammy and Papoo’s bedroom to feel the soft, blue blanket on their bed is enough to make a grown 16-month-old quiver with delight.

4.  All food tastes better after it’s been thrown on the floor and sniffed by the dog.

3.  Making loud noises and screeching is oodles of fun for a baby. But when a grown up makes the same sounds, it’s very scary.

2.  The days when Papoo uses big machines right outside the living room window are very good days.

1.  Receiving a big hug and a slobbery kiss from a sixteen-month-old is a precious gift from God.

What lessons have you learned from a wee one lately? Leave a message.



Top Ten Effects of Digging a Trench Around the Basement

A project to correct drainage issues around an old house can do more than dry out a basement as this list shows.An old house, even one that’s been kept in excellent repair, is a series of fix it projects. The summer project at this old house involves correcting some basement drainage issues. Step one in the project was to dig a trench to expose the basement walls around most of the house, which has resulted in these top ten effects.

10. The exterminator had dollar signs in his eyes when he gave a quote for termite barrier protection.

9.  This project, like all home repairs, will cost more than expected. See #10 to learn why.

8.  Someone sweeps up tracked in dirt several times a day. That someone is not the same person who tracks in the dirt.

7.  The heavy duty cycle on the washing machine is seeing heavy use.

6.  We prefer to think of the dirt piles around the house as creative landscaping.

5.  A trench where flowerbeds used to live means much less summer weeding.

4.  From the waist up, the Man of Steel is now very tan. Yes, that includes the top of his head.

3.  The basement feels drier already.

2.  The adults in the house stay alert when the 16-month-old is outdoors because large holes and towering dirt piles are kid magnets.

1.  A video of Papoo (aka: Man of Steel) operating an excavator elevates an ordinary grandpa to superhero status in the eyes of a 3 1/2 year old, machine and tool-obsessed grandson.

Are you doing home repairs this summer? What unexpected effects have you observed? leave a comment.



Top 10 Down to Earth Moments Since Arriving Home

Life's getting back to normal now that I've been home for over a week. Here's what's bringing me down to earth.10.  Grocery shopping.

9.  And hot on the heels of #10…cooking. Every. Single. Day.

8.  No one follows me down the street yelling “La-dee, hey, La-dee, want to buy a purse? A rug? A scarf? Natural Viagra tea?” like they did at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.

7.  Meals no longer include Latvian coffee (delicious), Turkish tea (fruity and sweet), or six kinds of olives on the breakfast buffet (my taste buds must have originated in the Mediterranian).

6. When the microwave, range, lawn mower, clothes dryer, vacuum, or anything else we own that hasn’t already broken down this summer breaks down, I can’t just report it to the front desk and expect them to fix it.

5.  I can no longer use there-was-no-iron-in-our-motel-room as an excuse for wearing wrinkled clothes.

4.  If I don’t replace the toilet paper roll and clean the bathrooms, nobody does.

3.  My family considers it perfectly normal when I join them for breakfast. My Latvian friends thought eating breakfast with an American was a special event.

2.  I realize that contacting all the people I promised to touch base in August–once I got home and had time to catch up–will take until the end of September or possibly until Christmas. If you’re one of those people, please be patient!

1.  Handsome as he is, the Man of Steel does not look like the Istanbul to Chicago flight attendant, who I’m pretty sure was the actor who plays Michel Gerard on Gilmore Girls. Then again, the Man of Steel doesn’t act like the character Michel Gerard either. For which I am eternally grateful.

What brings you down to earth after being away from home? Leave a comment.


Top Ten Reasons I Don’t Mind Turning 60

What's to love about turning 60? In my opinion, a whole lot of things.Tomorrow’s my 60th birthday, and I’m looking forward to it. Really I am, and for these 10 good reasons.

10. Ordering off the 55+ menu at IHOP will be easier. Five years ago, doing so made me feel like an imposter. Now I feel like I’ve earned it.

9.  The AARP has lowered their annual membership price to $12 in honor of my birthday. Thoughtful as the gesture is, I’m not taking them up on it.

8.  Tomorrow morning, I will be grateful for the ability to walk 6 miles pain free…even at my age.

7.  German Chocolate Birthday Cake! Need I say more?

6.  When people inquire about my age, and I tell them, with suitable self-effacement that I am 60, they will have all the more reason to respond, “You certainly don’t look your age.” (And this would be your cue to type something similar in the comment box.)

5.  Being 60 makes the fact that my mystery novel, set in the decade when I was in my 20s, is considered historical fiction a little easier to swallow. Mainly because I can wash it down with birthday cake. (See #7)

4.  On my official birthday, all those early Facebook birthday wishes will no longer feel like being pushed into old age.

3.  Once I’m 60, the Man of Steel, who hit the same milestone waaaay back in March, will no longer feel as though he robbed the cradle.

2.  The day will remind me of Mom’s 60th in 1988. Our son was 6, and our daughter was a newborn when the sibs and I hosted a gigantic surprise birthday shindig at her church in Le Mars. She was clueless, and the many friends and family members who gathered to honor her, was a glorious tribute.

1.  I’ll be celebrating my birthday with my family. What could be better?

I’d love to hear bout your 60th birthday memories in the comment box. If you don’t have any, see #6.

Top Ten Differences Between Latvia, Istanbul, and Idaho

Travels to Latvia, Istanbul and Idaho led to these top 10 comparisons about 3 very different places in the world.Thanks to 2016 summer travels I have set a globe-trotting personal record which quite possibly will stand for the rest of my life. In the past 2 weeks I have sojourned in Latvia for a special needs family camp, in Istanbul during a 24 hour lay over, and in Idaho for our annual Shadow Valley Family Reunion Camp. Below are the top ten differences observed in the three places recently visited.

10.  In Latvia, the coffee is delicious. In Istanbul, the teas are delicious. At Shadow Valley, anything on a cool, mountain morning tastes heavenly.

9.  The Soviet-era accommodations at the Latvian special needs camp were adequate. The small, newly renovated, family hotel in Istanbul where we stayed was a beautiful jewel. Our pop-up camper on the side of an Idaho mountain feels like home.

8.  The streets in the old city of Riga, Latvia are immaculate and populated by tourists. The streets of Istanbul are filled with people and garbage. The mountains of Idaho are reached by winding along gravel roads traveled by very few people.

7.  The Latvian countryside sports the biggest snails I’ve ever seen. Cats swarm the streets of Istanbul. Giant slugs slime any Idaho gravel road that skirts a river or stream.

6.  In Riga and Istanbul, there’s no lack of pigeon poop. Deer poop rules the roost in Idaho.

5.  Latvian vistas are Narnia-like. Ocean vistas are breathtaking in Istanbul. Mountain vistas stretch deep, long, and wide in Idaho.

4.  In Latvia, I answered to “Jolee” because most people there dropped the final “n.” In the Istanbul Grand Bazaar, I was called “La-dee, La-dee” but rarely answered because my suitcases wouldn’t hold the carpets, purses, scarves, and trinkets street hustlers were selling. At Family Camp I answer to whatever I’m called: “Jo,” “Jolene,” “Aunt Jolene” or “Miss Jolene” depending on the age of whoever is speaking.

3.  Most Latvian food was an adventure in unfamiliarity. Kabobs in Istanbul were amazing. Food at the Idaho camp is a parade of yummy family favorites.

2.  In Old Riga, there are churches everywhere. In Istanbul, there are mosques everywhere…though the Armenian Orthodox Church was across the street from our hotel. At Idaho Family Camp, church is a gathering of people rather than a place.

1.  The special needs family camp in Latvia provided the blessing of time to talk to moms. The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul offered the blessing of time to walk and drink in a foreign culture. Shadow Valley Family Camp gives the blessing of time to connect with family and to think and dream and write.

Where have travels taken you this summer? Leave a comment.



Top Ten Thoughts While Preparing for a Trip to Latvia

Only 2 days until my friend and I board a plane to fly overseas. My mind is spinning with packing thoughts.In a few short days, a friend and I will drive to Chicago, and board a Turkish Airline flight bound for Istambul. After a 36 hour lay over, we’ll catch another Turkish Airlines flight to our final destination–Riga, Latvia–where we’ll spend a week ministering to moms at a special needs family camp. Here are 10 thoughts swirling in my head while packing for the trip.

10. Where’s my passport? In the lock box at the bank. Better get it and put it in the Latvia trip file.

9.  I sure hope the Turkish Airline customer service representative understood me better than I understood her while asking for a dairy-free menu and getting seat assignments.

8.  How much cash should I take? Where’s my debit card?

7.  Oh, I probably need to buy an adapter for my computer and phone chargers.

6.  What? My blow dryer won’t work even with an adapter? What am I going to do?

5.  Where’s my passport? In the Latvia trip file. Better move it to my nifty money and document purse.

4.  Hmm…what’s the weather like in Latvia this time of year?

3.  How many books can be packed in 1 suitcase without exceeding the weight limit?

2.  Where’s my passport? In my nifty money and document purse. Maybe I should just wear it until we leave.

1.  Clothes. I need to pack clothes. What kind? How many? Maybe a burka for Istambul?

What do you think about when packing for a big trip? Leave a comment.