Friday, December 22, 2017


MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone. I pray yours is filled with love, joy and peace. It is time for Friday Fotos.

I broke from tradition this year with the Christmas decorations. I figured since my family think I am nuts, because of all my flamingos. I would prove them right. The tree is flamingo filled.
 I have other flamingo decorations also. a Santa flamingo for outside. I have new outfit with flamingos on it. And flamingos decal on my nails. There is something about flamingos that just makes me smile.
Last week  I introduced you all to LuLu . You had to have known there would be more photos. I was trying to fold laundry, and she thought she was helping. Right in the basket!
 She likes to play Hide & Seek. I think that is what she was doing. Once again in the basket.
 Snow in the woods is always pretty. I just wish there was more contrast in colors lol. Like colors in the summer.

 Experimenting with filters.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Posted: 18 Dec 2017 09:34 PM PST
Ok, here are the questions for this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, then hop back here tomorrow to share answers with your friends and neighbors.

From this Side of the Pond
Merry Christmas everyone! I pray for peace and joy to each of you. Savor the season filled with love and miracles. Our Savior is about to be born. Sing a song for him.

1. Where have you found unexpected magic or delight this holiday season?
My family think I have gone over the top, because I like all things Flamingo. It's true I do. Maybe, I am over the top, but these silly pink things make me smile. It's important for me to find reasons to smile. This year I brought the flamingos into my Christmas decor.
Yes, my tree is decorated with flamingos. All different sorts. I have pink feathers and tulle around. And for a bit of tradition I have pink poinsettias on the tree too. I have a new outfit. A flamingo dress that I will wear with leggings. Flamingo socks. I have flamingos on my fingernails. I have a pair of fun flamingo glasses to wear. I even have some pink spray for my hair. Am I over the top? Maybe, but I don't care. It makes me smile. It fills me with joy. It makes me anticipation for the events even more so. I can't wait for my family to get here.

2. What's your favorite type of holiday gathering? Will you/have you gathered in your favorite way this month?
My favorite type of gathering is longer possible. I remember all together,  11 of us. There was commotion, laughter, excitement, loud noise, very loud noise. A joyful noise. All but 2 of us are spending Christmas in heaven. However, my joy in Christmas has not diminished. My son and GF are going to Illinois where her family lives. They will be with us on the 30th for Christmas. My cousin is coming here on Christmas Eve. We have a mellow relaxed Christmas now. It's fine. This year though I am going to dig out the karaoke machine and my cousin will sing Christmas songs. The old traditions have passed on, and I need to make new ones. My joy in Christmas is a two part issue. I enjoy all the preparations. The gift buying, the wrapping the tree decorating, and yes, even the house cleaning. My other joy is setting up the Nativity. This makes me take pause and reflect on what Christmas is really all about. Baby Jesus is going to be born to give us life. What a miracle!

3. Time has named 'The Silence Breakers' (women who came forward with stories of harassment)  'person of the year' for 2017. Would you agree? If not, who do you think deserves the title?
What an ever blanking shame! Soap box time? Just a little so bear with me. If these women were so traumatized by their so called harassment why did they wait years and years to come forward? Wouldn't they have reported it to someone immediately? How dare they use the excuse of a powerful man made them afraid to report it.. I say, so what? Report him, expose him for the lech, slime ball, pervert he must be. Don't wait! Do it now! Stop him from doing it to anyone else!
 Their waiting tells me they only want their 10 minutes of fame. Shame on them! And yet the worst perpetrator sits seemingly unfazed by any of this in MY white house. 
I am not saying these things didn't happen. They might have. All I am trying to get across is that it wasn't as horrifying to the women as they are now saying. Again Shame on them!
How insignificant a woman who was truly terrified by such an encounter and came forward right afterward must feel. She isn't looking for the headlines. She isn't looking for a paycheck from the tabloids. All she wants is to be acknowledged and understood. She handled it the way these things should always be handled. Immediately! Not years later, NOT!!
I speak from personal experience. A top executive in the company I worked for always managed to find a way to touch me whenever we happened to see each other. I repeatedly asked him not to touch me. Being respectful of his position. Eventually, I told him if he EVER touched me again I would report him. Well, he touched me again. We were in a very public area of the building when it happened for that last time. He touched me, I yelled at him with my loudest voice, "I told you not to ever touch me. Now you have, and I will have your job" I may have had a  few uncomplimentary names thrown in there. The president of the company came out of his office to see what the noise was about, the salesmen from downstairs came running up to help.  And, while he was not fired he did lose his VP job and was demoted to something with no power. Anything to keep it out of court. I was vindicated.  I am almost sure he will never make that mistake again. 
Power does not make this alright.  The power lays within the woman when she reports it. And that is why these women are full of cr**!
(I don't think I have used so many exclamation marks ever before. Can you tell this makes me hot under my collar?)

4. How did you spend your time this year? Are you happy about that? Elaborate
I did a lot of downsizing. I got rid of approximately 35 cookbooks. Five huge lawn bags filled with clothing. I got rid of books that won't be read again. I packed up glassware, kitchen items, DVDs, Cds, sheets, and towels. My house is still too crowded, but I am not finished yet.
5. Bid farewell to 2017 in ten words or less.
You weren't a bad year all things considered. Thank you.
6. Insert your own random thought here.
In October I visiting a local gift store. They were having a drawing to celebrate their 1 year in business anniversary. On December 1st they called to tell me I had won the grand prize! It is the Willow tree Nativity scene. I have loved this Nativity for many years. It feels me with peace every time I would look at it in the store. Knowing I would never be able to afford it. Their call, oh my, it made me cry. Tears of disbelief and joy.
Here it is:
Do you add Jesus on Christmas Day or when you first set your Nativity up? When do you put the Kings out? Immediately, or wait til until the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th?

Friday, December 15, 2017

Friday Foto Friends #109

A mishmash of photos today. Just because I have been gone for a few weeks.

In October I filled out a card for a drawing. A local gift shop was going to be celebrating their one year anniversary, and was giving away gifts. I won! The 1st prize! The complete Nativity from Willow Tree. I almost fainted when they called to tell me. I have always wanted this  Nativity Set, but it was beyond my limitations.

 A sunrise. I was actually a bit too early for the full color. It's pretty anyway.

I love the way the pinks are just sort of hovering.

 We have a new addition to our house. Her name is LuLu. She is a speed demon. Up and down the hallway, over the top of chairs. Many,many times. Then she drops and takes a nap.

Merry Christmas everyone! I pray that with this Oh so special season you find hope and peace, and happiness.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

An Almost Christmas Hodgepodge #333

From this Side of the Pond

1. 'Hurry less, worry less'...what's your strategy for making that happen this holiday season? How's it going so far?
I don't hurry, and I don't worry. Anymore. What gets done gets done and the rest can just wait. I learned a long time ago it just isn't worth it. To avoid those pitfalls I start my shopping in the spring. I listen all year to hints that people might drop and not even know they are doing it. By September I am finished with the larger gifts and can then concentrate on smaller fun things. I also start making Christmas lists in September. I do this so I can make plans, and budget out over the paydays, and not have everything trying to come out all at once. I rarely try a new recipe for Christmas Day, but will for Christmas Eve. Right now all I have left to do is wrap gifts, and grocery shop. No hurry, no worry.
2. Do you have a list of to-dos that need accomplishing in order to prepare your home and/or property for the winter season? What are some of the jobs on your list? Are you a do-it-yourselfer or do you hire someone to accomplish these tasks?
We do have things to to prepare for winter. We have to cover the a/c. I put up reflector sticks so when the snow gets deep we know where NOT to drive. There is a ditch on either side of the driveway entrance. Snow can and will cover the edges of the driveway so these are invaluable. It also helps the guy who does our winter plowing. Before I started doing this he drove off the edge. He had to call a tow truck to pull him out. In the fall we make sure the heat tape is still working. I tidy and organize under the kitchen sink. Weird right as a prep for winter? However, if the pipes are going freeze that is where they will. Cleaning beforehand makes it easier for me to deal with it when it happens. Oh! I also put dryer sheets all over the inside of my car and places in the engine. It keeps the mice from moving in.  The mice can do hundreds of dollars worth of damage. 
3. According to dietitians surveyed, the most popular health foods for 2018 will be -turmeric, sprouted foods (bean sprouts, breads with sprouted grains, etc), veggies in place of grains, dairy free milk, and pulses (lentils, chickpeas, etc).  What's the first thought that ran through your head when you read this list? Of the foods listed which one might you add to your regular diet? Also, can milk really be dairy free? Is it still milk?
My first thought.... How do they know? We already eat bean sprouts with some regularity. We have used sprouted bread for years. Ezekial bread. We eat lentils. Maybe we eat healthier than I thought. LOL. How can milk be dairy free,  and still be called milk. I get the whole soy, almond thing, but maybe milk isn't what it should be called.
4. The Pantone Color of the Year for 2018 is Ultra Violet. According to the Pantone site 'Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking pointing us to the future.' What say you? Do you like the color purple? Did you see the movie or read the book-ha!?  Is purple a color you wear often? Describe for us one purple item in your home without using the word purple.  If you were in charge of such things what color would you select for 2018?
I do like purple. It's not my favorite color, but I do wear it occasionally. I have never read the book OR seen the movie. What's wrong with me?
I collect old/antique Amethist Glass. The older glass was made with some gold put into the process to achieve the deep color. I have several pitchers, some glasses, a couple of ashtrays, and bottles. For some reason the bottles have ended up as decoration in the bathroom. The only thing in the bathroom of that color, but it works.
If I were in charge of such things the color would be YELLOW . The color of the sun. Without the sun nothing can live. We need the sun. We need Yellow.

5. Favorite book read this year?
Oh my! I read at least 2 books a week. Mostly fiction. Mostly mysteries. Mostly, but not all. This year I made an effort to branch out into other genres. I don't like his politics, but Bill O'Rielly's series "The killing of..." Is very good. But, still not my favorite book.  I have read Churchill's books leading up to and into WWII. But, again not my favorite. My favorite would be last year's Jan Karon Father Tim book "Come Rain or Come Shine" I have the newest one on the shelf, but not on the Kindle. If you have never read a Father Tim book, all I can say is where have you been? The series is truly a masterpiece. I love the characters, and feel like I actually know them.

6.  Insert your own random thought here, but.
A few weeks ago I mentioned that my kitty Boo  had crossed over the bridge. And while my heart still aches for her we have a new member of our family. My other cat Ozzy who is 17 missed Boo so much I was afraid she was actually going to die from a broken heart. She went through the house crying for Boo. Looking for her. I went to the local shelter and brought home what I thought would be a good match for OZ. Unfortunately,  I was wrong. Oz doesn't really care for the new kitty. I am trying to be patient. I am still hoping they will become friends. Photos of the new girl to follow. He name is LuLu. She was born in August, and is just a little bit of a thing. It is hard to get clear non blurry photos of her. She is always on the move.

Tuesday, December    12, 2017

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.