Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jackmani Clematis…

This is the third year we’ve had our purple clematis growing on the tree at the head of our pond. It is loaded with blossoms and buds. This happens to be my favorite clematis although I do like all the others. I love the deep dark purple.

P1020418     P1020419   P1020425

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I was sitting here in front of my computer, my usual place, and looking through some photographs and I came upon the Gibbon photos I took when Kira was home over Easter. We ALWAYS go to the zoo because that is just what we do. I love it. No matter how many times I’ve been there, I can always see something new.
Animals at the Zoo
Tropics Trail
Venture into the world of the rain forest where lush, green foliage and beautiful orchids envelop guests along a winding path. Playful lemurs, inquisitive gibbons and agile tree kangaroos are just a few of the animals waiting to be discovered at each turn. Beauty and unique wildlife first attract you, but the Tropics Trail also showcases several of the world's  biodiversity "hotspots"—areas especially rich in species found nowhere else that are also at extreme risk of destruction.
Check out our newest additions in Faces of the African Forest.
Animals on the trail
Bali Mynah
Colobus Monkey, Black and White
Coral Reef
Crocodile, West African Dwarf
De Brazza's Monkey
Fruit Bat
Herps, Tropical
Hyrax, Rock
Komodo Monitor
Lemur, Red Ruffed
Lemur, Ring-tailed
Loris, Pygmy
Malay Great Argus
Otter, Asian small clawed
Red Panda
Red River Hog
Tamarin, Cotton-top
Tamarin, Golden Lion
Tree Kangaroo
Warty Pig
IMG_5680        IMG_5708
This is our favorite trail to visit mainly because of the Lemurs and the Gibbons. Every now and then the Lemurs will cling to the chain fencing covering their exhibit and rattle it while do their screamy yell. You just have to hear it. When they do that, they get the Gibbons whooping, although it doesn’t take the Lemurs rattling their cage to make the Gibbons whoop…
What They Do
Gibbons live in small family groups made up of a mated pair and their young offspring. Early in the morning, the group often “sings” in unison to claim their feeding area. Instead of physical conflict, the adult pair defends its territory with a loud vocal duet that can be heard for miles through the forest.
Kira made a recording of their “song”, I really can’t say that I would call this a song. I could be in the worst possible mood and this would make me giddy with laughter.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father’s Day…

I had the best Father’s Day this year, and I’m not even a father.

David and I got up and went to church. Five people gave short talks on what Father’s Day meant to them. One of them was a real tear jerker, the kind where you really don’t want to start blubbering in public, so you try to hold it back and all that does is make your neck muscles hurt and your mouth move all on its own, you don’t have a tissue, so you don’t want the tears to start falling and you try to blink, blink, blink them back. Good stories! We were going to stay and practice a song with our fellow Quivering Quartet singers, but our organist had to get home and finish packing, because he was heading to the airport for a month long trip to Sweden. He plays organ for a Swedish group of singers and as they were going there to perform, he sort of had to go along…gee, tough huh? I hope he has a wonderful time. I suggested going out to lunch, because I didn’t think our only child left at home would have planned anything to do with his father, and David was pondering this, but he wanted to stop at home first. We took the long way home and drove through some of the worst hit areas of the recent tornado. All I can say is, WOW!

I happened to be driving and as we got closer to home, I wanted to stop at my Mom’s and pick up her Sunday newspaper. She was at the cabin and she specifically asked if I would pick up her and her neighbors mail and newspapers. As we were approaching my Mom’s house, we noticed a car in her driveway, a black car, a black Nissan Altima to be exact. My thought was, OMG, there is a car in her driveway…who can that be?…should I go in?…why would there be a strange car in her driveway?…wouldn’t that be cool if it was Andy’s car?…maybe Gorm parked her car there and got a ride to the cabin. I Never for once thought it could really be Andy, because he was in Cincinnati working. We were planning to go for a visit this weekend and he asked if we could come the following weekend because he had some food thing going on and would be working the whole weekend, so we decided we would be all packed and ready to go so we could just hop in the car and start driving as soon as the Jethro Tull concert ended on Saturday the 25th. It takes approximately 12ish hours to drive there and we wanted to get there by noonish. So, you can see why I didn’t give a second thought to a black Nissan Altima parked in my Mom’s driveway as possibly belonging to my son. David just said, I’ll come get the paper later, let’s just go home. (Little did I know, he, Ethan and Ray all knew Andy was planning on coming for a visit and they kept it secret from me. They almost succeeded in keeping it secret from his friends too, but someone spilled the beans).

So we get home, leave the car in the driveway, as we were going to leave again, walk into the house and who should saunter down the hall but Andy…I kind of just stood there and thought…huh, Andy’s home, weird! It took a bit to actually register in my thick confused brain. I gave him a big hug (and he actually hugged back), and then it was sort of like he’d never left. It’s so strange when the kids come to visit, how after just a minute, it seems normal for them to be standing there. He had to see my new car and test it out a bit, so we drove back to my Mom’s and picked up the black Nissan Altima that really was my sons’ and I drove his back and he tested mine out a bit more. It seems there are a few envious people out there drooling over my new baby. I like her more every day!

We got his car unpacked, gazed at his golf clubs, all the different kinds of beer and a 13 yr old Bourbon in the trunk, chatted a bit and left him to try and take a little nap while we made a Cub run for hamburger, buns, cheese, chips, coleslaw, pickles, corn, baked beans and soda. Trying to eat up a little more time for him to nap, we also stopped off at Bachman’s to get a Clematis for David from Ethan. I could have sworn I saw an email stating that all perennials were 50% off (they were not) but we bought them anyway.

Andy put together the hamburger, adding: salt, pepper, garlic, garlic salt, onion, hot pepper flakes, A-1 Steak Sauce, Lowry’s Seasoning and a few other things. They grilled them up, added the cheese, toasted the buns while I got the other stuff all ready. Andy’s friend Ray made an appearance while we were preparing and when all was ready, we loaded up our plates with excellent food, carried them on the cool vintage trays I recently purchased and ate on the patio.  Yummy!  I always wonder why my burgers are boring, well, I just don’t take the time to add the right ingredients because it’s just too much trouble. Ha! I really should remember this next time I try to cut corners.

They started talking about golfing and decided to go to Centerbrook Golf Course, a Par 3 close to us. I got left behind to clean up and weed the flagstones, but it sounds like they had a great time, and I didn’t mind staying home, this was guy’s time.  David got a birdie and Ethan did really well for his first time ever golfing.

Now it was time for Andy to see all his other friends and the next destination was Psycho Suzie’s and I got to go along. We sat out on their new patio overlooking the Mississippi River and ended up with 14 or 15 people gathered around three tables. All the boys were drooling over our waitress, Theresa. I didn’t see the attraction, but I’m not a boy. She reminded me a little of Megan Fox, (well I just went to IMDB and looked her up, and I guess she looks a Whole lot like Megan Fox), Yeah, now I guess I can see why they were drooling. Anyway…A whole lot of alcohol was consumed and a little food was eaten and the noise just from our table was…LOUD! Janelle, Matt Schleppenbach’s fiancé was just amazed that our waitress was able to remember everyone's name. Poor Janelle, she was pretty amusing, the more she drinks, the more she talks, and she was doing a lot really fast talking. It seemed like we all had a lot of fun though, and I keep thinking that I would never in my life have gone out with a bunch of my friends and had my Mom and Dad along too. So a big Thank-you goes out to Andy and Ethan’s friends for making us old folk feel welcome. They have done this on more than one occasion and I think it is so cool. Actually, the friends of all my children and very nice and accepting. No one is into anything bad, they are polite, and I can honestly say I like them all.

Since we have a new patio and a built in fire pit, the logical next stop was our house, complete with fire, more alcohol and lots of really LOUD talking. I was getting a little nervous that the neighbors would call in the authorities, but thankfully no one did.  I’ll have to admit that they even did a fairly good job of keeping their mess contained, no one accidentally let a cat out and they made sure Annie wasn’t out to get her tail burned. I’m assuming they all made it home in one piece, I haven’t heard otherwise yet, and I know a bunch of them (the ones that could get a day off work) are together again, eating, drinking, and catching up with their lives.

So, I had a really great day and I’m so glad that David had the best Father’s Day yet.

Didn’t get a good picture of Andy, so I guess this one will have to do. this is right after we ate the wonderful burgers and before they went golfing. He’s soooo tired, but he just wasn’t able to sleep. He’s still got another nine or so hours to stay awake.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

W.A. Frost & Company…

Mmmm, yum, that’s it, no need to say anything more.

Thanks to a Christmas gift card, we were able to go someplace nice for our anniversary that we wouldn’t have gone to otherwise, because we-are-too-cheap!

This restaurant gave me hope that we could possibly go someplace nice again, because even without the gift card, I didn’t have a heart attack when the check arrived. hahaha !   We chose to eat on the patio and it was a little chilly, but David had a sport coat on and I grabbed my shawl on the way out the door so we were ok.  Our server was male and so calm and soft spoken and quite nice. I knew I wanted a glass of wine, but I know next to nothing about wine, so I told him I wanted something that was not dry. I didn’t care if it was red, white or rose, just so it wasn’t dry. He brought me a glass of  ‘Rudi Weist Reisling’ that was excellent. I could easily have consumed the entire bottle, although I would have needed quite a bit of help getting to the car. David had something dry enough to pucker you right up.


For an appetizer we had...

Steamed Blue Mussels
coconut-green curry broth, cilantro, celery, fresno chili, 
grilled Rustica Bakery sourdough



After these excellent mussels, David had a spicy soup (can’t remember the name of it) and I had

House Green Salad
fennel, cherry tomatoes, radish, cucumber,
saba, Wildflower Honey vinaigrette

I don’t usually like vinaigrette dressings, but this was really good.


For our entrees, David had

Pan Roasted Lake Superior Whitefish
caramelized artichokes, cipollini onions, English peas,
candied black olives, potato “sabayon

He said it was very tender and tasty and I thought I had a picture of it, but I do not.

My entrée was

Pan Roasted Wild Acres Half Chicken
caramelized oyster mushrooms, native ramps,
house made pancetta, chicken jus

Heavenly, I  wish I had some right this minute.


We ended with a trio of 

smaller tasting size portions
Classic Crème Brûlée , “Kit Kat Bar”, and Goat Cheese Panna Cotta 

These were okay, the Kit Kat Bar, which I didn’t eat, had a Chai ice cream that was really good. The Crème Brulee was okay also, but Andy makes it way better and the Panna Cotta was okay too.

I would like to go back again and eat in the bar instead of the restaurant,  a little more informal but still wonderful food.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Keeping appointments…

Last Friday, June 3, 2011, my 78 yr. old ex-mother-in law Florence, had an appointment at 5:15. She was in Hospice at North Memorial, and had been there since Sunday, May 29, 2011. There were multiple problems going on with her body and it was decided that there was nothing to do to help her, and she accepted this. She made a list of people she wanted to see, and I was fortunate enough to be on that list. I would have been very upset not getting a last chance to talk with her. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to make her wonderful caramel rolls together, but the next time I attempt to make caramel rolls, I will try my hardest to make them like she did, big and tall and tightly wound with caramel all through the layers, not just on top. Yum!!

On Thursday, the 2nd, she mentioned that she had an appointment at 5:15, more than once. Apparently no one thought too much of it, because 5:15 a.m. came and went without anything happening. A little after 5 p.m. the nurses came in to roll her onto her other side, straighten her bed and just tidy up a bit.  The family members on vigil left the room instead of staying as usual. At 5:17 the Doctor was called and at 5:30 she was pronounced dead, just like that!  I would say that she certainly made her appointment. I prefer to think it was the angels she had an appointment with because she said she was anxious to see them, but maybe she had already seen them, and her appointment was with their Boss! Pretty cool, I think. It’s very sad for everyone left that she is no longer on earth, but I think she is just happy as a clam in Heaven.

Nancy called me with the news and while we were talking, I asked if they had decided on some sort of clue so they would know for sure when she was ‘with’ them. She said they hadn’t specifically talked about that, but the whole family had this idea that when they saw an eagle, it was meant to be a family member watching over them. (I’m taking a little liberty here, because I’m not exactly sure of these details)

Yesterday, June 11, 2011 I was giving some loving care to my strawberry beds and I was talking to Florence in my head, apologizing to her for not staying for the luncheon following her funeral, thanking her for coming to my kids grad parties, taking the time to inform me when Laverne was in the hospital, etc.  I figured I had already made two family members uncomfortable enough with our bedside conversation and just about running them down at the funeral, and I decided she would understand if I just slipped out.  So as I was chatting away, I heard a screeching sound overhead that I have never heard outside of the MN Zoo and the Wabasha Eagle Center, a beautiful Bald Eagle and a hawk. Now this was just too weird, because although we have a few eagles near home, they usually stay nearer the river, and like I said, I’ve never heard them make a sound, I’ve just been lucky enough to be looking in the right direction when they fly by. I think it was Florence, in eagle form, letting me know that everything was A-Okay with everything.

This may sound a little sappy, I don’t care, I happen to believe that Anything is possible. I believe in God, ghosts, angels, the devil, aliens, UFOs…can’t think of anything else at the moment, but if it can be thought of, then I’ll believe it.  We were talking about seeing the angels the first day I visited her, and on the second day I asked if she had seen any angels yet and she said she hadn’t, but she couldn’t wait. Now where most people are afraid to die, she was really okay with it, anxious even, to see what it was like ‘up there’. She is pain free now, surrounded by many, many people, friends, family and her husband Laverne. Rest in peace Florence, you will be greatly missed by all of us left on earth. Please keep an eye out for my Mom and my mother-in law Marie, unless I get there before them.

P.S. Please give us a little heads up close to October 23, 2011. Is the world as we know it really going to end??

Andy's Grad Party 008

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New baby…

I finally got a new car. I’ve been thinking about it for more than a year, and the one thing that got me to go look at cars was the fact that David and I will be taking a road trip to Cincinnati to visit Andy. Flying was expensive, the Amtrak was expensive, we didn’t want to risk driving my Grand Am and David’s truck was not a choice, so I bought a car! I think that maybe the car is a little bit more expensive than either the flight or train, but…it sooo pretty.

I got a 2012 Ford Focus. It has a moon-roof, sport package, 17” fancy wheels, sync (which is so very cool) and a bunch of other things, but the most important thing is the color, RED. I’ve always wanted a red car, and now I have one.

My Grand Am was a 6 cyl and this is a 4 cyl which is not supposed to make much of a difference, but it really does. I think I will miss the power for awhile. I’m sure I’ll get used to the slower pick-up, but I do notice it now. Take a look at my new baby ____, hmm, I need to think of a name.