Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Hodge Podge Time

From this Side of the Pond

1. What title would you give this current chapter of your life?
The title of my chapter would have to be "Making Time for Yourself." I try to get out of the house every couple of weeks for a few hours. I need to. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. I know it is important, but....
2. December 6 is National Microwave Oven Day. Who knew? Besides popcorn and coffee reheats, what's the most common thing you microwave? Could you get along without a microwave?
I make my oatmeal in it. Quicker than the stove. I use it to cook our vegetable we're having with dinner. I use it to melt chocolate. We have very bad electrical in the kitchen. One plug! My microwave was too big to go where the plug was. I went a couple of years without one, and hated being without a microwave. . Finally I bought a small one for very cheap. I am happy, ecstatic really to have one again. Oh, and I never reheat coffee.

3. If you could insert yourself into any Christmas carol and experience the lyrics in real life, which Christmas carol lyric would you choose and why?
My carol would be "Do You Hear What I Hear."  I love this carol, because I would be experiencing the birth of our Lord and Savior.  The child shivers in the cold. I would need to give him a blanket. The last verse..."Pray for peace everywhere", is more true today than 2017 years ago. But, the last line brings comfort and hope..."He will bring us goodness and light." Peace everywhere, plus goodness and light? What more could I ask for?

4. Describe the most beautiful drive you've ever taken.
Lombard St, San Francisco is a marvel. Twisty turny. No speed demo there. I was fortunate that all the flowers were in bloom while I was there.Not very good quality photos, but there is no stopping along the street.

File:Sanfran 61 bg 032605.jpg

 The drive to Napa is also beautiful. I loved seeing the grape vines.
This is also a big crop of Napa Valley. Kiwi!

There are many beautiful places to drive in Minnesota, but I love SF.

5. What's something on your Christmas list this year? (an actual list or figuratively speaking, either one)
Schwinn Meridian Adult 26-Inch 3-Wheel Bike (Black Cherry)This is what I want. My balance is horrible, but with three wheels I could manage bike riding for exercise.
6. Insert your own random thought here.
I mentioned that one of my cats had crossed over the bridge, My other cat, Ozzy, cried all the time. Loudly. She was looking for Boo. There was no sleep, because her cries didn't stop just because it was bedtime. She stopped eating. I mean how could she eat? She was crying. Last week, being sleep deprived, I made the decision to bring her a new friend. Ozzy hates the new one! But, she quit crying.

I am pleased to introduce Lulu. Ozzy might not care for her, but we think she is great fun. It's been a long time since we had a kitten in the house. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Being Thankful

From this Side of the Pond
1. tightly do you cling to tradition when it comes to holiday gatherings and celebrations? For instance do you always do the cooking, never eat at home, always go to grandma's, never miss the parade, always watch football, never change the menu, always eat at 2 PM, etc.? Have you ever celebrated Christmas or Thanksgiving away from hearth, home, and family? How did that feel?
Over the years our traditions have changed. My brother and his wife would come from the city for Thanksgiving. They are now an over the road truck driving team. My son mostly comes home, but occasionally not. I ALWAYS do the cooking. Up until this year the menu was always the same. Being a chef school graduate you'd think I would be able to make a turkey. WRONG!. My turkeys have always been a disaster. Under-cooked (eww), burnt (eww), a soggy nasty mess at one time or another my turkey was all of those things. . This year a new tradition is being made. My husband makes THE worlds BEST porcupine meatballs. That is our main course. 
I used to ALWAYS watch the Macy's parade. However, now it seems that it is mostly  about the stars. 
 I have NEVER watched football. Well, I need to take that back. If the Vikings were playing, and Fran Tarkenton was not retired I watched. When Fran retired I quit watching football. The game lost all meaning when he retired. I went into mourning. 
When we still lived in the city, and my mom was alive we would go out to dinner. Usually to the Rosewood Room in downtown Minneapolis. It is in the North Star hotel. They always did a perfect buffet, and gave you some to take home.
 I have never been away from home for any major holiday. One year I was going to spend Christmas with my BF and family, but God put me in my bed as a way of telling me to stay home.
P.S. Heard from my son yesterday. His girlfriend has been put to bed by her doctor. She has pneumonia. The contagious type. William wanted to know if he should come up alone. I told him NO! He might be contagious also. If those type of germs come in contact with me I am down for the count. I would just be getting over it by Christmas. Our meatballs have changed into meatloaf. I had the burger thawed when I got the call. 

2. it easy for you to ask for help or are you a do-it-yourselfer? How is that a good/bad thing?
What is the meaning of help? I don't recognize the word. I have hurt myself more times than I can count because I don't ask for help. Usually lifting something way too heavy for me to lift. In that way it is a very bad thing. I ask for help in the kitchen when something is on a high shelf in the cupboard. However, I mostly do things myself. I think probably because I want it done now and don't want to wait for someone else to do it. It could also be because I want things done a certain way and am afraid someone else might not do it my way. Geesh, maybe this is a bad thing. I do stop and ask for directions though!

3. Abundance...what is there an abundance of in your kitchen?
Utensils! Oh my gosh! Utensils are everywhere. I have a huge basket full by the stove. I also have 2 drawers full. You know those gadgets that seem to be a lifesaver, but really aren't? I have them all. And really how many rubber spatulas, wooden spoons, and pancake turners does one kitchen need?

4. Name...the smallest thing you're thankful for? the biggest?
Smallest for sentimental reasons is my aunt's wedding rings. I loved her so much, and her me. When she and my uncle had been married 25 years they got matching wedding rings. When my uncle died she took her band and her engagement ring to the jewelers. She had the setting for the engagement ring mounted to her band. My cousin gave them to me. She died the day after Christmas 3 years ago. Kind of a melancholy time of year now. I keep the birth of our Lord in front of me and I am able to get through it all.  I still look for things to buy her for Christmas. Fortunately, I have remembered before actually purchasing something.
I am thankful to not live in the city. I love to visit the city, and do miss it, but I wouldn't live there again. 
The largest in size and the other way that I am thankful for is my husband. Yes, he is difficult. Yes, he has mostly bad days. Yes, he can be hateful. Yes, the fun has gone out of him. Yes, he is delusional. However, once in a while the man I married shows up, and I remember why I married him. He was funny, he was charming, he was handsome, he was gentle. Those times I remember how safe he made me feel. However fleeting those times are now I am thankful for the glimpses of his old self.

5. Key...What do you think is the key to living a more grateful life?
The key to living a more grateful life is to never take what you have for granted. Give thanks to God  for your life as it is everyday. Even in the bad things there are things to be grateful/thankful for. You might have to look hard for them, but they are there. Even if it is just God shaping you. But, the secret is to never take your life for granted.,

6. State your own random thought here.
I haven't been here for a few weeks. I was busy nursing a sick kitty. My Boo kitty. She was diabetic, but quit eating and therefore could not get her insulin shots. This started on a Thursday, and I took her to the vet on Monday morning. Her glucose was way too high. And her blood tests showed liver failure. My vet and his staff did everything they knew to do, but I eventually brought Boo home to die. I could not put her down.
 Having her home was the right decision. She always knew she was loved, but we felt it important she be with us. Tom (the vet) told me there would be no pain. I had her home 5 days. There were times when I wanted to take her and end it all. Not for her so much, but for me. I loved that girl so , and a piece of my heart broke every single day. 
She was a funny little creature. Bossy, opinionated, loving, demanding, very vocal. Those are all good qualities because they made her who she was.
She is also in answer to question 4. My life was much fuller because of her.

 Boo did not like her picture taken. She usually looked like a crabby cat. She wasn't though.
She was a bright shining personality in our lives.

 She was a scamp. Dust covered, but a scamp. This cabinet she is on is only 5 inches from the ceiling. She would climb onto the top of the tread mill, and then jump across to the cabinet. A distance of about 4 feet. To get down she would jump down to the back of husband's chair.
 She did not like the Christmas hats I made for her and Ozzy.

She hated modeling this sweater and hat. She must have known they were made for a dog.
She was gentle. Her love for us was always evident.

 She was beautiful. I miss her, and my heart aches for her. I know she is shaking things up on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Hodgepodge 326

With snow predicted for Minnesota this week I predict the end of fall. Parts of NW Minnesota are under a Blizzard Watch. So far, where I am at the forecast is  a rain and snow mix. With this in mind I am joining in on the fun with Joyce and the Wednesday Hodgepodge.

From this Side of the Pond
1. What's surprised you most about your life or life in general? 
A couple of things that my mom always said...that losing weight after 30 is difficult, after 50 almost impossible, and after 60 well why bother? She also always told me not to rely on anyone else for my happiness, and to find it wherever I could. In the small everyday things. To look for it in unusual places. But, to always find it for ME.
2.  Sweet potato fries, sweet potato casserole, a baked sweet potato, a bowl of butternut squash soup, a caramel apple or a slice of pumpkin have to order one thing on this list right now. Which one do you go for?
I love a baked sweet potato with butter, and salt & pepper. If the soup is made correctly it is heavenly. And pumpkin pie, oh my? May I have the 3 I listed? No? Well then, I would go for the baked sweet potato. It is a healthier choice of the 3 I like and will fill the sweet need of the pumpkin pie.
3. What's a famous book set in your home state? Have you read it? On a scale of 1-5 (5 is fantastic) how many stars does it rate?
There are several books from my state. However, my favorites are from William Kent Krueger. He writers a series of books.  Cork O'Connor is the main character. He is/was the sheriff of a small town in northern Minnesota. So far there are 16 books in the series. They are mysteries, but not so full of the grizzly details that many authors seem to think we need or want. 
He has written a couple of other books unrelated to Cork O'Connor. "Ordinary Grace" is a stand alone book that came out a couple of years ago. It is wonderful.
 He writes about Minnesota as if he were born here, and new it inside and out. He is not originally from here, but his first visit here with his wife convinced them this is where they wanted to live.  
Two years ago he came for an evening in support of the local library. He spoke for about 2 1/2 hours and then answered questions. He was amusing. Entertaining. Real.
If you should decide to pick up a Cork book I highly recommend you start with the first book "Iron Lake", and read them in order after that. They follow a timeline.
Here is a link to all of his books in order:

And one to his web site:

I guess you can tell that I give these books a great big 5.
4. There are 60 days until Christmas...have you started your shopping? How do you stay organized for the holidays?
I started my shopping back in June. I start early buying small fun things for everyone. As we get closer to Christmas (September) I focus on the main gift. After I am finished with that I fill in with more fun things. I don't have many to buy for and shopping is much easier for me than for some. I buy for 5 people. I like to start early, because it is easier to spread out the money a little at a time. I only use cash. The last few years I have installed the English tradition of poppers. They are great fun, and lead to very silly photos. For those of you who might not know what a popper is I will  try and explain...A popper is pretty paper rolled in a tube shape and about the size of a TP roll. Inside is a  prize, a hat, a joke or riddle, and a piece of candy. The object is almost like breaking of a wish bone. Two people pull on either end and whoever get the largest half wins the prizes. Inside the middle of the popper is a small thing that when broken (by the pulling) makes a popping noise. Because I want us all to have the fun I get a popper for each of us. I haven't purchased ours for this year yet, but they are on the list.
To stay organized I start making my Christmas to do lists early June. They change of course along the way as my mind changes as to what we will have or do or eat. I do not decorate early. Nothing goes up until the week before Christmas. That week is a flurry of activity for me. But, I love it all!
5. October 26th is National Tennessee Day. Have you ever lived or spent any time in Tennessee? Is this a state you'd like to visit one day? The top rated tourist attractions in Tennessee are-
I would like to visit Tennessee one day.
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park (Gatlinburg area), Elvis's Graceland (Memphis), Birth of the Music Biz (Memphis and Nashville), Dollywood (Pigeon Forge), Tennessee's Military Heritage (many battlefields), The Hermitage (Andrew Jackson's home), The Parthenon (Nashville), Oak Ridge American Museum of Science and Energy, Chattagnooa and the Tennessee Valley Railroad, Downtown Knoxville, Lookout Mountain, The Titanic Museum (Pigeon Forge), The Museum of Appalachia (Clinton), and The Lost Sea Adventure (Sweetwater)

How many on this list have you seen? Which one on the list would you most like to see?
I haven't seen any on the list.  However, if the opportunity arose where I could see something I would choose The Great Smokey Mountain National Park. I can only imagine how beautiful it is. I would also like to visit The Museum of Appalachia.
6.  Insert your own random thought here.

The St. Croix River. My favorite local water.
 This what I saw when the leaves came down.
 Fall decorating. Please meet Anna, Franz, Crow and Victor the dog.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Fall's Finale For Friday Foto Friends

Joining everyone at Debbie's for Friday Foto Friends.

My favorite piece of water. Locally, that is.
The St. Croix. Last weekend I got right down to the water's edge. No editing on this photo.
I tried to get creative with my editing. Almost black and white, but not quite.

This isn't at the river. It is out of order. I think the way the colors blend it looks like a painting.
This is the same as the second photo with different editing.

It was a glorious day!
I really don'e like seeing this in the tree after the leaves are all gone.
I have never ever ever decorated for fall. My first attempt. 
Please meet Anna, Franz, and Crow.
The dog's name if Victor. And, please ignore the propane tank.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Joining in the fun this Fantastically Fall Friday at Friday Foto Friends.

I might not like fall, because winter is soon to follow, but I do enjoy the colors. The sumac a beautiful.
 We have had so much rain this last week that the river is very high. I tried something different with this photo.
 I don't know if you can see or tell how deep the water is, but the trees are in it. This is the overflow for the river. The overflow is almost overflowing.

 The overflow in the other side of the river.
I have put away all of the summer plants. All except this petunia pot. It just keeps on blooming. There are even some new buds on it.
 It is fun to see bird nests in the trees once the leaves are gone. I did not like to see this though.

Does anyone know how to keep the CLOUD from getting the photos? They seem to go there and not my computer, and then I can't edit them.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

After the events that started out our week we need a break from the news reports, the tears, the horror. The Hodgepodge will get us least for a little while, away from those things.

From this Side of the Pond

1.  Have you ever spent time on a farm? Tell us a little bit about it. Have you ever grown your own pumpkin? Been on a hayride? Driven a tractor? Milked a cow?
The summer  I was 10 we went to Washington state to visit my uncle. He had a dairy farm. Yes, while there I did milk a cow just so I could say I had. The milking was done by machine. I remember seeing the HUGE stainless steel vats that held the milk until the milkman came. This should have been a good memory for a 10 year old, and most of it is, but some parts a truly scary. I saw my first skunk.  Being a city kid I started to chase it. One of the farm hands snatched me up before any damage could be done. My brother and I were told many times not to play in the hay barn. MANY. But, who could resist? Not us. We climbed up into the loft, saw a long rope hanging from a nail. We decided it would be great fun to swing on the rope to the other side of the loft. A space of about 30 feet. My brother who was 6 at the time went first. He swung over as if he were Tarzan. He swung back to me.  My Turn! I swung. And I stopped. In the middle. Hanging in the middle of this 30 foot span. Probably 75 feet off the ground. There I stayed. Brother cried, I cried. I finally, after what seemed like hours, moved my body which moved the rope. Eventually I was able to get enough momentum so my brother could grab the end and pull me to safety. And another reason I am afraid of heights was born. On the way out of the barn I told my brother we could not tell anyone, because we weren't supposed to be in there. What was the first thing he did when we got to the house? Squealed just like a brother would! "Mom, guess what Trudy did?" We did go see to the ocean for a couple of days. Went salmon fishing in the Columbia River. I experienced my first camping adventure.
I did grow a pumpkin once. Sort of. It was very small. It was not of the tiny variety just a very small pumpkin.
When we first moved to the country we tried to get our son into 4H. I say tried, because will it didn't work out. Long sad, horrible story, with a victorious ending. Anyway, yes we went on a hayride that fall with members of the 4H group.
I  don't think I have actually ever driven a tractor. However, I have ridden with the driver.

2. What's something younger you would like about you now? 
For the most part I have to say I am the same person I was when I was younger. I don't think my beliefs have changed any. Fight for the underdog, fight for what is right, and true, and just, fight for children, fight for the freedom of people. Those are things I still do. One thing I would like about myself from younger days was my weight. I was a tiny little thing. I didn't have to worry about what I ate. I never gained. This is until I started to gain. Now I can't get it off.
3. What are three things you'd like to do more often? Three things you'd like to do less often?
1. I would like to go to the city more often. I like living in the country, but I miss the city. I miss my friends, I miss the convenience, the noise, the beauty of Minneapolis, all of it. 2. I would like to go fishing more often. I haven't been fishing since about 1997. 3. I would like to go to church more often. I haven't been able to find a church here that I am comfortable in. 
Less often? 1. Dishes 2. Laundry 3. Deciding what's for dinner

4. What's on your nachos?
The basics. Burger, jalapeno peppers, lots of cheese, onions, tomatoes,  guac, sour cream, and salsa.

5. What's the most random thing in your purse or wallet? Does it need to stay there?
HMMMM. I have a small tape measure, because you never know when you will need to measure something. In my make-up bag I have my eyebrow tweezers, because I can't find it anywhere else. In the bag I also have the tool I use when making rugs. I lose it if it isn't in my purse.  I purposely have a VERY large purse. It is tote bag overnight size. This is so I can carry my camera everywhere I go. Because, well you know, just in case a photo op comes along, Are those random even though they each have a reason for being in the purse?
6.  Insert your own random thought here.
I know that after the horrifying event in Las Vegas many people will wonder when it will end.  I know that evil does not win. God does. God, and all his goodness and all his love. Many people will wonder where God was on that evening. He was there, but he wasn't doing the shooting. A man overcome, overpowered by Satan was. God was there to bring the victims home to Him. I am sure He cried throughout the entire time. We can not barricade ourselves in our homes. We can not live in fear. We must continue on knowing that nothing will happen to us until God calls us home. If we forget that and do become fearful Satan and his minions win. 
And just because we need some beauty...

My driveway. I think it is beautiful. It 450 feet from the road.

God shines His grace on Thee.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Hodgepodge September 27, 2017

Joining the Hodge Podge this week. Great fun for all!

From this Side of the Pond

1. What pets did you have while growing up? Tell us a little something about them.
There were always pets. We had those little tiny turtles that could be purchased from Woolworth's. They always managed to get out of their bowl. Somehow. We had cats and dogs and gerbils and hamsters. Mostly cats and dogs though. I brought them home. My brother brought them home. Even my mom brought then home. We always joked that it was a good thing we didn't live in the country or we would be bringing home chickens, cows, and horses.

Me and Ginger. She liked to have her kittens on my mom's bed.

 Me and Teddy.  Teddy would jump up onto the piano bench, and press on the keys. His treats were on top of the piano.

2. What is one thing you absolutely must accomplish today?
I MUST wash a load of towels. How can a household of 2 people run out of clean towels? I have tons of towels. However, it seems that they are all dirty. I used a face cloth to dry my hands this morning.
3. Where were you ten years ago? What were you doing there?
I was probably right where I am today. Wondering how in the world 2 people have run out of clean towels. Not much changes here.
4. September 26th is National Dumpling Day. Did you celebrate? Apple dumpling, xiao long bao (steamed Chinese dumpling), chicken and dumplings, pirogi, matzoh balls, or gnocchi...which dumpling on this list would be your dumpling of choice? Have you ever made homemade dumplings of any kind?
If apple dumplings are baked I would enjoy making them. If they are fried I wouldn't even try. I don't fry things because of the mess frying creates. Occasionally in the winter for lunch I will make some matzo ball soup. It fills our tummies and tastes oh so good. Every once in a while I do make chicken and dumplings.  I have a new recipe that takes almost all the work out of the dumplings. I make it more often now.
5. 'There are two kinds of adventurers: those who go truly hoping to find an adventure and those who go secretly hoping they don't.' William Trogdon
So which kind are you?
I am hoping for adventure. Even a trip to the corner gas station could provide me with an adventure. Seeing people, talking to people, learning something new. All adventures. Especially new places can give adventure. Oh, and being lost somewhere isn't so bad if you think of it as a grand adventure.
6. Insert your own random thought here.
The rain goes on and on and on. For days now. I should say nights. It rains at night and leaves the gloom behind for the daytime. I need some sun! I have things outside that need attending to, but it is just too wet to even try. 

Mr. Toad is contemplating the world conditions. Everything. Crazy people in charge of countries, why there is so much rain here, why we ALL need health insurance, why it is OK to quietly protest, while a crazy man can't keep his mouth shut and his nose out of what isn't his business. Why doesn't he just do what he said he was going to do?  

Ok, so Toad decided on a couple of things. Crazy men in charge of countries because too many people have gone away from God. This is the result. Too much rain? For whatever reason God says we need it. Health insurance? Because we all get sick once in a while. Sometimes seriously so.  A loud mouth opinionated person not doing his job? Because he is a fake.

Have a good week everyone! 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

What is your hometown known for? In other words, what makes it special?
I think Robbinsdale is known for it's small town quality while being right next door to a large city. There is a business on the "main street" that has been there since I was a kid. A fresh meat butcher shop. It is family run with generations of the same family running it. On a corner there is still a bakery from my childhood. That bakery has changed hands over the years, but it has always been a bakery. The hardware store of my childhood is still there, but under a different franchise. Things don't change too very much, and that is a good thing.

 Does your hometown experience all four seasons? If not, which ones does it skip over?
Oh my yes. In Minnesota you better believe there are 4 seasons. 
Spring is my favorite. Everything is new and fresh. The birds come back to nest for the next few months. The trees begin greening up. The ice is out of the lakes to allow us to see the beautiful water.
Winter can be harsh here. I remember as a kid not knowing that the winter was bad or difficult. Why would I ? All I cared about is if the snow was sticky enough to build a snowman or snowballs. Or to go sledding. Or to build a snow fort. I would stay outside til my fingers and toes were numb from the cold. I would go into the house to warm up, put on dry mittens and socks and head back out.
Today? Winter and I don't get along. The first year out of the city on October 31 we had the blizzard of the century. The snow started about 1 PM, and by the time it stopped we had 37 inches of snow! The next day we were physically on our roof shoveling it off. Our neighbor always plowed for us, but it took him 2 days just to get from his house to ours 1/4 miles away. It was quite the deal.
I like all 4 seasons, and would miss then if I lived somewhere that didn't have them. However, there are parts of each one that don't thrill me at all.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Are you ever homesick for your hometown?
I think what I miss most about the hometown is the way of life. I was younger and things moved more slowly. Now it seems everyday just whizzes by, and I never have accomplished anything. Most of the people I knew when I lived there have moved on so that would not be the reason I missed it. I do miss the feeling of small town living. You'd think that living where I do now I would get the small town vibe, but I don't. I have been here 20+ years and still feel like an outsider. I guess maybe I do miss my hometown.
How's that for a clear and concise thought? Clear as mud.

 Does your hometown have a website? Please share the link.
I didn't know if Robbinsdale had a website or not. I found it, and enjoyed watching the videos provided, and learning some new things about my town.
Watching the videos brought back so many memories.