Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Some of me...

I'm taking a great risk and joining a self portrait project with a whole bunch of women over here.
Like a lot of women, I do not like having my picture taken, never have, but hopefully, I won't hate it forever. Now that I'm "OLD", everything has changed on my body. My skin is dry, and saggy, I have jowls and my neck is wrinkly. My face is getting that soft, fuzzy look that older women have. It's frightening...I do not feel my age at all, I feel so much younger. I was talking with my mother-in-law a few years ago, when she was a young 92 yrs old and she was complaining about the wrinkles on her face. I thought she was being crazy, because geez, she was 92 for gosh sake, she deserves to have wrinkles. I asked how old she felt and she replied she felt 30 yrs old. Wow! I'm starting to see what she means.
Hopefully this project will help me feel better about myself, or take some needed steps to accomplish that. I believe it will help me see myself as others do. I do believe it will be an eye opening project, and I have to admit that I an looking forward to it.

I took a bunch of photos of myself, looked them over and found a few a liked. This is the one I liked best.

This is just straight out of the camera, I didn't do anything to it, I tried, but I liked it better this way. After looking at all the photos from other women posted on flickr, I now have a whole bunch of new ideas for future photo sessions.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Missing Mom...

Ever since we got back from our week in Florida, Annie has been hanging around me more than usual.
I believe one of two things:
1. My sister (who Annie stayed with while we were gone) and my mother spoiled her by paying too much attention to her.
2. She missed me and is afraid I'll leave again if she turns her back.

Well, she may have missed me, but I actually think she got spoiled...my sister is real good at spoiling. Annie got a treat each time she came in from being outside, (not necessary, she comes very well), she went through a whole large container of yogurt (if she only got a large spoonful each meal, there would have been some left), and they just plain baby her.

So now, she won't leave me alone...and she stares at me...it's a strange feeling when she just stares at me.

When I eat dinner, when I watch television, when I'm in the bathroom and most of the time I was reading my book, there was her head, peering at me. She is so intense! Sometimes I really wish they could talk.

Linked 52-Tired

This winter season has been very mild in Minnesota, seems like it's been very mild everywhere. Last year we had so much snow, there was no place to throw it. I would throw a shovel full and it would slide down the pile and I would have to shovel it up again and try to throw it higher. It really did feel like winter though, the kind of winter Minnesota is known for, the kind that us die hard Minnesotans live for. All that snow makes spring so exciting and refreshing and green.

This winter is getting old real fast. I'm tired of all the brown, I'm tired of waiting for the big storm, I'm tired of having to wait to get in my garden, I'm tired of waiting for green and buds and warm, and the smell of dirt and decaying leaves and fresh spring air. I'm tired of not getting the kind of exercise I need. If I can't get exercise by shoveling and snowshoeing, then I'd like to get it by digging and hoeing and planting.
Right now, this odd winter we're having, makes me tired!

Click on Linked 52 in the bar above to see what others have to share about Tired!

Monday, January 23, 2012


Our kids had gone back home, Kira to Phoenix Arizona and Andy to Springfield Missouri and we had one day left in Florida before we boarded Southwest Airlines to Minnesota.
I Googled free and inexpensive things to do in Orlando Florida. Seems like all the free things were farther away than we wanted to drive, so I looked up the admission price for SeaWorld, YIKES! It's more than Universal Studios. We didn't want to go that badly, besides, we had to clean up and re-pack all of our stuff, and if we go someplace with a high admission price, we stay the whole day. It's just what we do, (remember...I'm cheap!)

Ever since we've been going to Florida, which has been about 13 years (odd years only) I've been seeing adds for Everglade airboat rides. I thought it looked pretty cheesy and I never wanted to pay that much for five of us to do something that cheesy. Well, my hubby and I decided to give it a try. It was close by, didn't involve a lot of time, and the price was okay for two of us. There are a lot of adds for Boggy Creek Airboat Rides, which are the most expensive, so I made sure I picked a different one.

We decided on Wild Willy's Airboat Tours, the only one on the east side of the lake, an hour tour and the best price. Just what I look for!

This is one of the airboats they own, although it isn't used for group tours, because it only seats two people.

We had an hour long tour that took us into different areas of Lake Tohopekaliga. We saw a 13' female surrounded by babies of varying ages. Those babies are just cute! The female ignored us, but I believe if we had been stupid enough to set foot on the bog, she would have made her presence quite known to us.

He got us really close to a 14' male too.

Here's a second female.

She was NOT happy with us, she hissed VERY loudly. Look at those teeth!!

Here is another large male.

He guided the boat through flocks of birds that flapped their wings and ran on the water to get out of the way. There were several different kinds of birds...ducks, herons, cormorants. We also saw a snake, although I can't remember what kind it was.

At the end he let anyone that wanted, hold a baby alligator. My hubby and  Imissed our reserved tour because someone doesn't know his directions, so we had some time to kill before the next tour.  A woman that worked there asked if we wanted to hold an alligator and my hubby jumped at the chance. I wasn't going to do it, but they both ganged up on me (I'm a push over) and I am so glad I did. I thought it was going to feel like a snake, warm and firm and smooth, but while it was warm, it was sort of squishy and soft.

How cute is this??? 

So what I thought was going to be a cheesy thing to do, turned out to be really cool, and very informative. I would definitely do this again.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Linked 52: Breakfast...

I'm on vacation this week with my husband, in sunny, warm, beautiful Orlando Florida.
My daughter and oldest son flew down for a few days to vacation with us...unfortunately, they have now both gone home.
I always find it so strange that it takes only moments to feel like they have never been gone and once they get back on that plane to fly home, it feels like they were never here with me. I KNOW they were here though. I can always tell when they have been with me. I can tell because the pain of loss I feel in my chest seems to be getting worse each time I have to say goodbye. Tonight I physically ache when I walk by the rooms they stayed in. So...to any of you out there with young children, wondering if you will worry less, or miss them less when they are grown up, the answer is...

No, it doesn't get any better when they grow up. 

And NO, they really never grow up!

It was wonderful to have them with us, even if it was only for a few days. We spent two glorious days at Universal Studios and Universal Studios Island of Adventure, and went on a lot of rides multiple times. One good thing about going in January, besides the obvious, if you live in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, is that you can actually get on a ride without having to wait in line for 45 minutes to more than an hour. 

Oops, sorry, this is about breakfast, right??

Well, breakfast does enter in to the vacation scenario because of the kind of breakfast I eat when I'm on vacation. 
I normally eat the same thing everyday, (boring, but my innards are happy with the arrangement) which would be a bowl of cereal, milk and hopefully, a cut-up banana, blueberries, strawberries or raspberries.
But, when I'm on vacation, I end up eating big breakfasts, hoping they keep me filled a little longer while I  walk a million miles around a theme park.
The first morning the kids were here, Andy made a breakfast of 
cinnamon swirl french toast, 
grapes and OJ
The next day I let him catch up on his sleep (which he never seems to get enough of) and I made
cheese covered scrambled eggs,
the rest of the cinnamon swirl toast,
the rest of the bacon, 
grapes and OJ

Next came
over easy fried eggs,
white toast with strawberry jam,
grapes and OJ

Today I got back to normal
Special K, 
sliced banana,
milk and OJ.

We always rent a hotel, villa or apartment that has a kitchen specifically so we can make some meals and save a little money. Unfortunately, this means we end up doubling up on foods because we can't take it home with us in our bags. 

Have fun seeing what the rest of the Linked 52 group has to say and show in their post about Breakfast...


If I forgot anyone, I'm very sorry, I'm posting this from my phone  :-)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Universal Studios, 2012...

We started our day at Universal Studios, Island of Adventure, by heading straight for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, along with just about everyone else in the park. We waited about 20 minutes to get on the ride. It was pretty darn cool, and we'll go again tomorrow. Next on the agenda was The Dragon Challenge, also known as The Dueling Dragons. Apparently the coasters aren't run together any longer because of a freak accident between two riders with long legs...I hear it didn't turn out too well. We went on both of them, then had to lay off the roller coasters for a while.
We went on several other rides, then decided to check out the other park.
As we were walking up to the Universal Studios globe, I had my daughter take this photo if us.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Bags are packed.
Floors vacuumed.
Dishes washed and put away.
Pets taken care of.
House sitter on his way.
Argument done and over with/
Ride is here.
Must mean we are
Ready to go!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Universal Studios...


I can hardly stand it, I am officially On Vacation! 

I have 11 glorious day off work. 

Sunday, Southwest Airlines will fly us to Orlando, and on Saturday, it will bring us back home.
Kira and Andy are meeting us down there for a few days and we are going to
 Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. 
Just like the Chicago Airshow, 
Universal Studios just does not get old for me. 
I revert to a child in both places and that is just fine with me.

Universal Studios...Here we come!

Linked 52: Cold

I thought long and hard about what cold meant to me.
I thought of all the usual, snow, ice, rain, winter, being sick, but I kept coming back to cold being a feeling.
Such as when you get a phone call in the middle of the night and you know your child is out with friends,
you get the sick, cold feeling of dread. If you haven’t had the bad fortune to be on the receiving end of one of those phone calls, pray that you never will be.
I just couldn’t figure out how to capture that feeling in a photograph, so I decided to take a nice
long soak in my tub and think it over.

The temperature here in Minnesota, has finally dropped to more normal winter weather and is now in the teens, perfect cold temperatures for a soothing, warming soak in my tub. Anytime I’m cold and just can’t get warm, I fill my tub with hot water and warm myself up.
I’m the only bath taker in the family and I have always loved the idea of soaking in an ‘old fashioned’ tub, so ten years ago when we had to replace our fiberglass, whirlpool monstrosity, after a house fire, I was able to get my dream tub, so this is the reason I call it my tub.

The thing you need to know about a cast iron clawfoot, is that the cast iron is cold. It takes HOT water to heat the iron in the winter, and the water will be just slightly warm if I don’t start filling with hot water only for a while, and that makes for a very uncomfortable bath in the cold winter.
On the other hand, on a hot humid summer day, that same slightly warm water is a life saver…I am able to cool myself off without having to put on a swimsuit.
My clawfoot tub is the most comfortable place in the whole house, and I can fall asleep within minutes. I can add some bath salts and my sore muscles melt away.  If I have some thinking to do, I just turn on the hot water, add some cold, maybe some bubbles, lay back with the water covering me entirely, shut my eyes
and I will get some of my best brainstorming done while soaking.


Check out the Links below for the rest of the blogs participating in Linked.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

49 degrees...

What a gorgeous day. January 10, 2012 and it is 49 degrees at 5:30 pm. Too strange! 

Tonight the temperature is supposed to drop and we have a chance of some snow, 
then by Thursday the high will be 18 degrees. 
I wonder what Spring will be like? 

This seems to be a favorite tree and branch for this eagle, I've seen him twice in the last three days.

The Magnolia bush that was allowed to stay when the Mississippi Trail was put in, is loaded with buds. 
I can't wait to see all the flowers in the Spring, unless the weather stays strange and 
Mother Nature feels cranky.

I promised Annie a walk yesterday, then got busy with something so I made sure we went today. 
I even have proof!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Linked 52: Newness...

This bird's nest is not a new nest, as you can see by the hatched eggs inside, or maybe they weren't hatched at all...well, I'll just believe they hatched and grew and flew away to start a family of their own in a brand new nest.
This nest is symbolic of my life right now. My youngest child moved into an apartment with some friends a few months ago, but on January 1st, he and his girlfriend moved into a house that they are renting.
I believe I can now say I am officially an empty nester.
I'm liking it!
I've listened to so many women say how depressed they were when their youngest moved out. They didn't know what to do with themselves anymore.
I believe that if I did my Mom job correctly, they should want to move out, because they are ready and able to face the world without me being by their side.
They know tbat they will always be welcomed back at the nest, should a problem ever arise.
They know Dad and I will always be here for them.
They know, (I hope anyway), that they are loved.
So, this empty nest is new, but OK.


Does anyone have snow this year???

I'm reading blogs from all over the place and it seems that we're all having the same weather.
I hear people at work comment that they are happy the season has been so mild. They are happy they have no snow to shovel. They are happy they don't have to bundle up like the abominable snowman.

Well, I'm not happy about it at all. I like winter!

Sure, it's nice to take a walk on dry pavement, and not have to worry about making Annie wear her booties (which she hates). It's nice to be able to get in my car in the morning and drive to work without the worry of getting stuck in the snow, or sliding off the road into a curb or pole, or getting rear-ended because someone needs new tires. It's nice to not have a backache from shoveling the deck, and patio, and sidewalk, and driveway (because we don't have a snow blower...which is my fault...I just don't want one).
What isn't nice about this mild winter is the fact that we are not getting any moisture. We walk by the Mississippi River, and this spring, the water was so high, the big concrete dock by 694 was nearly under water.
Now we can see sandbars, or maybe they are islands, that I don't remember ever seeing  before. David said he remembers them, but...I don't always believe him...he likes to take the opposite view of whatever I am talking about.
Ducks, several kinds, geese and our resident pair of eagles are congregating in the open water. A couple of days after our New Year's Eve snowfall, ice chunks were floating down the river, but the next day they were gone. Last evening, the water was perfectly still, odd for a river of its magnitude, but never the less, it was still. I would have been able to get a great eagle picture if I would have had my camera with me, and if I would have had the lens that Kate http://chroniclesofacountrygirl.blogspot.com has. He or she, how does one tell the sex of an eagle, was sitting on his favorite branch, just looking around. I'm assuming the other one was hunting for dinner, or maybe she just needed some time alone. ha! We are able to get quite close to him...maybe I should just start bringing my camera with me, hmm, what a concept!!

I love mild winter nights when it's snowing huge flakes. It's so quiet, and still, no wind to whip those flakes around, so they just slowly drift down into piles. I love going for walks in the winter, my boots crunching the hardened snow, not having to worry about slipping on ice. I love having blizzards, as long as I get to stay home and don't have to get up to go to work the next day. Those days are perfect days to have a fire in the stove, curl up in the chair with Oliver, or even Little-Bit if he's feeling in the mood, with a cup of coffee and a good book. I love hearing the snowplows go by. I love hearing the neighbor day-care kids playing outside, trying to wade through the snow with their snowsuits and boots and little short legs. I even love like shoveling the driveway. Actually, I really do like shoveling the driveway, it's the deck that I can't stand shoveling, because the shovel always hits the screws that are sticking up from the wood. Those screws ruin the edge of the shovel and jar my arms when I run into them.

It is only January 7 today and we have a good three months of winter left, and we all know how much snow can accumulate in three months. I want a chance to wear my new winter (snow) boots and I want to go snowshoeing. I have been saying for the past three years, that we are going to go up north in January or February and go snowshoeing. We were going to get snowshoes for each other for Christmas this year but decided to wait for a sale, since there wasn't any snow at the time. Now...we might not get a chance to go at all. But, we might be able to get a deal on those snowshoes in preparation for next winter (which is really only a few months away).

Friday, January 6, 2012


I want to be the proud owner of a tablet. I like the MotorolaXoom the best so far. It seems to have everything I want and need. The price is ok too, although I am searching very hard for the best possible deal I can find. I keep hoping some fantastic deal will just pop out at me. I look everyday, and I just bet that the day after I finally give in and make that purchase will be the day of the fantastic deal. Ah well, that would be Murphy's Law working it's magic. I believe the fantastic deal day is going to be tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Remembering my word...

I picked my word to center myself with and I've already forgotten to use it.

Believe..I need to believe that this pup will be okay in his new home. That his new brother will accept him and not dominate him. I need to believe that he will learn, he is so very smart, that he will thrive, that he will continue to be a very nice, loving little pup. I need to believe that his new brother will have a little surgery done so he too can be a happy, calm, loving dog. I need to believe in my son and his girlfriend, that they actually know what they are doing and will be able to handle any problems that may arise. I need to believe that I can keep my nose out of their lives and let them live them as they see fit. Oh my, it is soooo very hard to be a mom to adult children. I still want to tell them what to do and how to do it. I try to keep it down to suggestions, many, many suggestions. 
We got to know this little guy while he stayed with us for a few days. It was a little touch and go the first day, but we quickly got used to each other. With my daughter's training tips, we found out just how smart he is. He is a quick learner, he loves to play catch, he got used to our cats, and stopped pulling Annie's neck fur. We were working on the word 'leave it', and another day or two would be all he needs, but he won't be learning that from us now, he'll have to learn that from his dad. I believe I'll wait until my son has his next couple of days off before I go see him. 

Maybe we can all go for a walk.
Kilo could wear his new jacket!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


This is my word for 2012, Believe.
Some of the bloggers I follow, choose a new word every year to center their lives around. They write inspiring posts, including fabulous photos. I can neither write anything inspiring, witty, or even well, and my talent does not include photography. I believe I can work a little harder during this fresh New Year of 2012, by putting more effort into writing (although, I believe ya either got it or ya don't) and hopefully with lots more practice, I'll be able to SEE better photos before I take them.

I'm fairly new to blogging, and I
believe that pretty much everyone has used my word before, and why not, I believe it's a powerful word.

I can honestly say that I believe  Anything is possible.

Just for starters...I am going to believe in myself this year. Ooh, scary!