Monday, December 29, 2014

Dec 29 - Counting Calories

Have a handy app to keep track of my eating. Would like to buy the gadget that keeps track of one's exercise too. There are a few that you can use with the food diary and that would be pretty nice to have. Need to price them out and check out reviews.

Today was a tough day. Think I got a flu bug during the night. Guess it's been going around but usually I don't get the bug. Was with many. many people this past week so that might have had something to do with it. At least now I feel fine.

Earrings today need an outfit. Love polka dots but don't have any black/white or white/black. Maybe when I lose some weight I can look at blouses again.

Dec 28 - Train Ride

You know it's always nice to come home but I could have stayed a lot longer with my brother and his wife. We always run out of time and say "next time we'll..." Glad that we get along so well that there is a next time.

The train ride home was great. When I left home, there was no snow but it snowed while I was gone. Here are some pictures from the train ride:

The trees had big puffs of snow on them. Wanted to get some photos of that because it would be nice to use in my quilted wall hangings; however, the photos didn't turn out the way I wanted them.

Today's earrings

Wore all five - three in one ear and two in the other. Still want to get a couple more ear piercings but I'm not sure where and if I have enough patience for them to heal. Don't like to wear them all the time but like to wear multiples some of the time.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

December 27 Happy birthday Donna

Today would have been Donna's birthday. She was thought of all day long. It would have been nice to sit around the table and laugh with her. We used to sit around a campfire years ago and always stayed up until we couldn't stay awake.

Did something I've never done before...went to a movie at 10 am. Well, I guess that's not true. When we were kids mom would give us each ten cents and send us on our way to watch the movies every Saturday morning we were home.

We had to walk downtown to which was about three miles away. If it was raining, wed all pile into the car and dad would drive us. In winter, the weather didn't stop us. Often there were snowball fights on the way down and back. The grocery store a block away always had a big snow mound and we played king of the mountain. Usually the older boys would be at the top throwing snowballs at us. We usually went as a neighborhood group both to and from.

The movies always started with a clip usually showing the news of the week and was almost always kind of scary. It was always about the military involved airplanes, bombing, etc. Like with Cuba, Korea, Russia. That was followed by cartoons with my favorite as Mighty Mouse and also The Roadrunner. Then came the movie like Roy Rogers, Zorro, Spanky and our Gang to name a few.

Today's movie brought back the memories of going to a movie. The movie was Unbroken. Fantastic and morning movie. One I'd like to see again But in the privacy of my home.

By the way, my cat is doing fine with my sister. Guess she's been spending most of her time in my bedroom. Think she'll be happy to see me tomorrow.

Here's to Donna and my earrings

December 26 Sister-in-Law's Birthday

We had a wonderful day and it was almost midnight when we went to bed so I was too tired to write.

The day started out with my brother giving my sister-in-law a card they have been exchanging for years. My brother wrote beautiful words to honor and cherish her.

Then the three of us, my oldest brother, and a friend went to bingo. The friend won so that was nice. Then we went out to eat and back home. The night didn't end there. My sister-in-law and I went to bingo. We were hoping to win but that didn't happen.

We started the day out with tears from an heartfelt card and ended the day the tears and expressions of love. It was a day that would be hard to beat.

Today's earrings are my favorite earrings and I've been patiently waiting to wear them.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Dec 25 Merry Christmas

Today was spent with my brother and his wife, my nephew and his wife and son, and my nephew's mother-in-law. It was a wonderful day. Good food and my grand nephew was a joy to watch and be around. I went over my calorie intake but don't feel to bad because for the last three days I really watched my calories because of this day.
Tonight we looked at Christmas decorations. One place had a huge oak tree with 150,000 white lights. It was stunning. I treminded me of a sacred place because it was so illuminated. It took my breath away. Its times like this that I feel God is present.

Because I'm doing this writing on my phone I'm keeping this short (plus my battery is close  to being done).

Today's earrings - I have a feeling Donna liked these a lot

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Dec 24 Christmas Eve

One of my brothers and I were talking about Christmas Eve and how Santa Claus would come. Another brother couldn't remember it but it happened. Even my sister remembers Santa's visits to our home. We had two front entrances into our home; one entrance was to the kitchen and the other was to the formal living room. When Santa would come, he always came to the formal living room. He'd bring our gifts. I think that last time I remember Santa coming was 1964. I would have been 10 and my sister was 6. We moved the following summer and Santa didn't follow us (by then we knew why too).  Christmas Eve 1964: it's the first time that I knew Santa wasn't real but I had a surprise coming...I was the only one near the living room when there was a knock at the door. Even back then, I knew I wasn't supposed to open the door. I called to other family but no one came and the knocking continued.

Because I have a hard time resisting temptation, I opened the door. There stood Santa Claus in living color! It wasn't the person who usually dressed up as Santa (Santa has helpers because he has to be everywhere on Christmas Eve). But this was really Santa, really it was. I truly believed it and even now somewhere in my heart I believe it was Santa. No one from my family came to the living room even though I was excited and probably loud. I don't know why my sister came because she was the one who still believed in Santa. The funny thing is now I know my whole family was watching my festivities. What a wonderful experience.

Afterwards, I told my family that Santa had been there and then I said it was our neighbor all dressed up. So my family had me call the neighbor and she was home and said she had never left the house. She never did fess up nor did anyone from my family...maybe it was Santa.

Here's a funny website that reminds us of one of my sister's cats: The cat at the top of the tree could have just as well been my sister's cat.

Today's earrings

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Dec 23 Snowmen Earrings and Back to Gingerbread Houses and Hotdishes

Today's earrings
What are the odds of my coworker and I wearing the same earrings today? I guess these are common earrings but still, my coworker and I wearing the same ones!

A friend of mine sent me a photo on a gingerbread house. I tried looking for the credits for it but the closest I could come is
This is close to my kind of gingerbread house. I would prefer something like molasses cookies as the house instead of gingerbread cookies. Like the molasses cookies from Archway. Our local grocery store is eliminating a lot of varieties to make room for "Essentials" and there's no way I would even try one of their molasses cookies. Archway is the way to go but I'll have to go to Walmart or Hyvee to buy them. By the way, the main difference between molasses and gingerbread is gingerbread has the spice ginger in it. Pretty much they're the same though.

I'm beat tonight because I was figuring out calories in a hotdish that I had made earlier this week (hotdish = casserole). It was great and the calories per serving was only 283. Not only that, but it had organic peas, carrots, onion, and potatoes in it. Here's a good place to learn about Minnesota hotdishes. One note, we don't stir our tator tots into our hotdish; they're always on top of the rest of the ingredients.

That video led me to another one about Minnesotans and winter. The video is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. There's other videos about Minnesota and my sister and I watched a couple of them. I'll have to watch the rest of them!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Dec 22 - Back to Earrings but they're Christmas Earrings

These are full of glitter but you can barely see it in this photo. The earrings weren't the most fun to wear because they kept catching on everything and tried falling out because of that.
Tom BetGeorge probably has the best Christmas house show on YouTube: . Wish I was one of the lucky ones who could visit it in person. This week, when I go to Minneapolis area, we're going to look at some lights. I'm really excited about it. My hometown has a few nice homes with one in particular. It's the first time that I can recall they put up decorations and they did great. Think they might have bought the house this year. Hopefully they won't overdue it next year. So often people keep adding to what they have that things get over-crowded and then you can't see what they have because of confusion. 
I love Christmas lights and have ever since I can remember. Once during the Christmas season, mom and dad would get us all ready for bed (in our pajamas) and we would head out to look at the lights - as a family. There was one house that was always special. Don't know if my sister remembers this but the person who owned it was an insurance agent who our parents had insurance with. We would stop there and get a candy cane. When we moved to a smaller town, we didn't come back to our hometown to specifically look at lights. To this day, I make a special effort to continue the family tradition of looking at lights even if sometimes it's only me.
Our family life was wonderful and so we had many special memories. Wish I would have kept track of special events/memories. Thought that I would never forget so I didn't write things down. Well, now I know better.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Dec 21 - Shortest Day of the Year - Sunshine is coming back!

Packed a lot of different things into this day. Even though this is the shortest day of the year, I sure got a lot done. Tomorrow will be longer and when the sun decides to appear again, it will be for longer. Glad that we had the sun a few days ago. Found out later that day that both my sister and I did the same thing: we closed our eyes, put our faces to the sun, and basked for a few minutes soaking up the little sunlight we could. We are definitely sisters!

Had breakfast with my brother, went to church, rearranged my living room (three times), brought out my glider (exerciser) and used it for a few minutes (now it's in my living room and not on the cold, cold porch), took a nap (first time in a couple of months), went grocery shopping, sister and I went looking at Christmas lights around town, made supper, and ended the night with an hour long conversation with my sister-in-law. Great day, as usual.

Moved the one recliner and Sparky (sister's dog) likes to take naps on it. Here's a photo of Sparky and Bobbi.

Bobbi isn't too sure about Sparky yet but in time, I think they will be good friends or good housemates.

Today's pin:

This hot air balloon pin brought back a lot of memories of my older brother. He loved taking photos of hot air balloons. I'll have to scan some of his photos and post them. At one point, my ex and I were on a hot air balloon chase team. That was a lot of fun and we also got a lot of photos. Had more compliments on this pin than any of the others, even my youngest brother made a comment that he liked it. That surprised me because he usually doesn't say anything about clothes, hair, and other things. It is a nice pin.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Dec 20 Need to work on shoulds and coulds

I've been listening to what I consider life coaching at Eaglebrook Church in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. The topic has been on stress and our crazy behaviors, world, etc. What I walked away with is the fact that I've done a lot of coulds for the past few years. You know, shoulda, woulda, coulda. In order to have less stress, only do your shoulds and life gets much simpler. Don't really have regrets on working and going to school too much the last six years but now that I'm getting older (feeling it), now I wish that I would have done things a little different. I'm definitely doing things different than I was a year ago. In the next year, there are going to be a lot of changes that I am working on. It's exciting and these are all "shoulds". Yes, I coulda done this 20 years ago and things would be better now; however, I'm starting now and that counts a lot in my book. Much better than starting later.

Today's pin

Friday, December 19, 2014

Dec 19 Oh oh - it's a bracelet!

Today I wore a Christmas bracelet and it was intricate and beautiful. Can't forget my earrings this time - the bells are my earrings.

Had a very enjoyable time today. We gathered to celebrate Christmas as a group at work. Sang Christmas carols, nibbled on snacks and dessert and sang some more. I think we sang about 20 or more carols. One person played an accordion and was accompanied by two guitarists. Heard that next year there may be a flute and a violin. I work with very musically talented people. Hope I didn't sing too far off tune but then when you think about it, even a little off tune is bad. I was not blessed with a singing voice but when I get to heaven, I will sing with the best!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dec 18 - Philosophy on Happy Life - Sam Berns

Sam Berns’ “My philosophy for a happy life”

1.       Be OK with what you ultimately can’t do, because there is so much you CAN do

2.       Surround yourself with people you want to be around

3.       Keep moving forward

4.       Never miss a party if you can help it

Sam Berns is probably one of the smartest people on happiness. He sure has it together and I believe if you do the steps above, it can change your life around. In the video, Sam is a high schooler; he may be out now but I'm not sure. Sam developed his philosophy and it may have been done in order to cope with the genetic disorder he has, progeria. There are a lot of websites out there on the aging disorder. I have a lot of respect for Sam and I want to be like him; after all, life is too short.

Too often, I find myself not going to a party but maybe I need to force myself to go. Once at a party, it's usually a good time especially if it's with people you want to be around. Don't go to parties with people you don't want to be around unless you have to.

Today is the 24th anniversary of my dad's death. It was a hard day for me and I kept tearing up at weird times. It's hard to lose your parents but it's even harder when you lose them both in the month of December (different years though). My last words to dad were "Say hi to mom" and then he was gone. Someday maybe I'll find a man who is like my dad because most people fall in love with people similar to their parents. I could only wish to have someone like dad. My brothers are copies of dad in how they treat their spouses. Lucky sisters-in-law! I can almost smell my dad and his Old Spice aftershave. When he shaved, he'd let my sister and I run our hands over his face and then he'd make a funny noise that would make us laugh and we'd do it again and again until he got tired of doing it. When dad would get his haircut (a hiney), which is kind of like a crewcut but not quite. Then we'd run our hands over the top of his hair just touching the tips. It would tickle our hands and the giggling would just take over. Miss you dad.

Looked up "hiney" and came across a neat website "The Story Collector" with the story of "the history of hair." I can relate to this person and maybe it's because he knew what a hiney was and ended up, in all places, Minnesota.  The author is Bill Gurnon and he's a good writer. This website is a collection of stories written by different people and different topics.  Excited to have found this website - should be very interesting.

Today's pin


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dec 17 - Danish Almond Kringle and Solvang's Bakery

First time in over 40 years that I made almond kringle from my mom's recipe. My sister dug out (last time she made it was 10 years ago) mom's cookbook so we could make it. Was making it for work but one of the two pieces almost looked like a bowl instead of flat piece of kringle. It tasted good as the three of us sampled it last night. My sister and I disagreed about the bottom "crust"; she wanted to use a rolling pin but I wanted to press it out. Does it make a difference in the method or rolling or pressing, don't think so but I bet professionals would say otherwise. One of the websites had a similar recipe and they pricked the sides of the kringle after 10 minutes, which is something I might try next time - thinking it may make the kringle not curl like it did. Took the other piece to work and it was gone by noon so I guess that was a good sign.

For the history of almond kringle, I found a good website Solvang Bakery sounds like a good place to visit. Actually, I was surprised at the price of their gingerbread houses. However, considering mom's and my experience with making a gingerbread house, Solvang's gingerbread houses would be priceless. My mom loved decorating the gingerbread house but she loved decorating anything with frosting - and I hated it. My sister-in-law has taken about cake decorating and I wonder if she has ever made and decorated a gingerbread house (Please don't make me one; I'm positive there are others out there that would like it but not me).

The city of Solvang looks like a cool place to visit too especially if you live in California. It's definitely a place of destination and would be a good road trip.

Today's pin

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dec 16 - Ice and Snow

Last week, I posted a couple of ice formation photos. I've always been fascinated by ice and have taken a few photos over the years. The photo below is an ice formation and was taken in late April or early May - I know it's hard to see what it is. I called it "Ghosts of Winter."

Because of my fascination, I like to even look at photos others have taken. Came across "26 Ice and Snow Formations That Look Like Beautiful Art" and boy, do I agree!  Somewhere in my old photos, I have pictures of Minnehaha Falls frozen. Now  I want to try taking photos of frozen bubbles; might have to use Bobbi's bubbles.
Today's pin

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dec 15 - Taking Life to New Heights

From the time I can remember up until about ten years ago, I was afraid of heights. Thought I was going to fall so I didn't go on high places. That changed a little but ten years ago it changed drastically. We had a painting business and I needed to climb a ladder to the second story. Well, I prayed and decided that when it's my time, it's my time. Since then I love high places. I get a rush thinking about venturing out to these places. Wanted to bungee jump but didn't think my body could handle it. Now there's all these zip lines that you can take. Be still my heart.

You can probably tell that I like the Weather Channel's links. Here is my all-time favorite It's "50 Amazing Vertigo-Inducing Attractions." All I want to do now is go out on a ledge somewhere!

Close to home is House on the Rock's Infinity Room in which you call walk out this area and look at the hills below you. There was a time I couldn't go out on it but not anymore. It's kind of spooky because when you walk out the room shakes.  Wikipedia has a good photo of it.,_visible_from_Highway_23.jpg

Maybe in a year from now, I'll be more agile and have the ability to go to new heights. It's a great goal!

Today's pin (sorry about the shadow)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dec 14 Optical Illusions

These are great optical illusions. Had to pause a few times to catch them but both my sister and I caught them. Some of them are funny and you'll see why. Sorry that there's commercials attached to YouTube but that's life. The reason we even went to this site was because we were watching "20 Mysterious Photos That Should Not Exist." The guys that did the optical illusions explained #19 and as much as I wanted to believe the photo was real, I know it's not. I'm still interested in the woman in the Kennedy photo.

Spent the day with my brother and sister. We had a good time. My brother has a great sense of humor and likes to tease a lot. Clearly, we are related.

Today's pin

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dec 13 - Only rain showers here; no Geminid shower tonight

This is exactly what happened in August - fog! Totally unexpected for December but anything happens when it comes to weather. Darn!

My brother-in-law told me about the geometric shapes puffer fish make. It's pretty cool - It's so amazing that a small fish like that could make a beautiful nest.

Bobbi found a new hiding place

That's the three-drawer stand next to my chair in the living room. I had to take the drawer out because I was looking for something. It only took seconds for Bobbi to hop in. Of course, Sparky could actually see her so Bobbi's better hiding place was worse than a table with the sides all open. Go figure.

Today's pin

Friday, December 12, 2014

Dec 12 Tongariro National Park to Gryfino, Poland to Banpo Bridge in Seoul, SK to Zhangye, Province of Gansu

This site has some amazing photos. The title of this post are my favorites of the photos. I think I like the Banpo Bridge in Seoul, South Korea so much because I see it in my Korean dramas all of the time. The architect of that bridge did a phenomenal job by bringing nature and concrete together to form a masterpiece. I want to walk the Chinese Danxia landforms. When I'm all done seeing these things, I want to end up on the water in a warm country like the photo of the Isle of Lamu.

Reality check. Glad that I'm able to look at the photos. Maybe in my next life...

Since my sister and I are living together, her dog and my cat are also living together. They're getting along great now. Not sleeping with each other or even friendly but getting along. Here's my sister's dog at rest while I'm trying to rest too (he's laying on the foot of my recliner and sure blends in with my blanket):

Today's pin is a large picture because I wanted you to see what it is - it's not your typical wreath pin. The pin is about 2 inches in diameter so it's not too big. Didn't realize that these were angels until about three hours after wearing the  pin. Isn't this a lovely pin.

this is how it looks not blown up. Wow,  Donna, I think this is going to be one of my all-time favorites even more than my earrings.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Dec 11 Geminids Meteor Shower

Wow, a meteor shower in December. Where have I been all of these years. I think after the meteor shower in August that I give up. This year the peak will be Saturday night at 2 a.m. (actually morning). It's interesting that two planets affect these meteors: Earth and Jupiter. Sounds like my sister and I will be getting up early to go see the shower unless weather prevents it. I know we're suppose to have rain showers. I'd rather have the meteor showers. Wonder if my camera can take a photo of a meteor. Will have to wait and see. BTW Pluto will always be a planet to me.

My brother and sister-in-law came down for supper tonight. We had such a wonderful visit. We have so much in common that it's hard not to be together more. Plus, the two of them are nice people. I respect them both a lot and love them even more.

Today's pin

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dec 10 "Surreal Stars"

Love photos of space. I know a lot of them use special lenses so they may not be exactly the color that you see. However, they're beautiful. My favorite one used to be #4, which we used to call "The Eye of God". With new photos always coming, it's hard to decide which is my one favorite. I like #9 which reminds me of an angel. #34 looks like a hand opening and releasing stars. You can really let your imagination go. Can you imagine seeing these with your own eyes? As often as possible, I look up to the stars. Someday...

Today's pin

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dec 9 "16 Fancy Eggs from Bento Lunch Boxes"

These eggs are winners ( and bring back memories. Mom used to make penguin eggs whenever she got a chance. We never grew tired of it either. Even though I should be making Tamagoyaki eggs, I might try some of the fancy eggs first. Tamagoyaki eggs are scrambled eggs slowly into a frying pan and rolled into a log as they cook - adding more egg mixture as you go. Then you trim them up. Usually they contain soy sauce and sugar. I know there's other ingredients that you can add but I know I have the soy sauce. Might try to soak a couple of eggs in a soy sauce mixture before I make my fancy eggs.

Today's pin

Monday, December 8, 2014

Dec 8 Cat-Shaped Marshmellows

Had my first reader from Japan today. As a quick tribute, you have to go this site:

A company in Japan, Yawahada, is a confectionary company that makes cat-shaped marshmallows. They're the cutest thing. My sister discovered them on her Facebook page somehow. Yawahada also has an international web shite Can't wait for these to make it to the United States.

Already, I have an idea about my Japanese eggs to make. Will have to check it out some more.

Today's pin

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Dec 7 Road Trip and Eagles

Here are a few of the photos of today's road trip with my sister.

When we started taking pictures, my sister jokingly said something about taking photos of elephants. So I had to get a photo from a camera onsite in Africa that I've had for a few years but at least I had one to entertain her.

Today's actual photos of eagles and the ice in the river

Very silly but we called these ice ducks

There were a lot of eagles flying today. Great day to see them but it was so grey out that it was not the best day to take photos. It took us three hours to drive under 70 miles. Had a great time. So many photos didn't turn out but at least a few did.

Today's pin

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Dec 6 More on Snowbirds - Eagles

Went for a drive today and on the way home, I counted about 12 eagles. It was dusk so I'm sure it was feeding time. Think I saw the smallest eagle I've ever seen. It only looked about a foot or so tall. It was a mature eagle (means that it has a white head and tail) so I know it was an eagle. Don't know why I don't bring my camera with me when I'm going out of town. Always miss good shots. Another photo that I missed was an eagle swooping alongside the road. Couldn't figure out if it was chasing something or maybe there was water where the eagle was flying. It seemed like the eagle would swoop and turn and swoop and turn and all in a pretty small area.

The weather is supposed to be really nice next weekend so I may have to plan a little road trip for eagle watching. Typically, this is the weekend eagles migrate through for their summer break. Guess that's why I call them snowbirds. They come through here in December, fly down south (we saw a lot of eagles in Florida in January), and then fly back through here in March/April. Some mature adults come back as early as late January/early February but you don't see many immature adults until March/April.

Earlier I was listening to "A Prairie Home Companion" with Garrison Keillor who mentioned tonight's full moon is called long nights moon. Looked it up at and found that it's really full long nights moon or full cold moon. I like Garrison's version better. It's a beautiful, huge moon tonight. I can't see it from my living room but will be able to see it again in the morning.

Garrison Keillor is one of my favorite entertainers. Maybe it's because he can understand being Norwegian and Minnesotan. Someone sent him a post about a conflict and his final response was so Minnesotan "You deal with it as Minnesotans have always dealt with thorny issues — we ignore them." I can totally relate to that. Under that same line of ignoring thorny issues is part of always being right. OOPS, did I really say that, let alone in print and publish it??? Here's the website of "Prairie Home Companion"
He had a guest on his New York show tonight who sang wonderfully. I'm going to have to figure who she was and see if she has anything on YouTube.

Today's pin
Isn't this pin a little scary? Can't quite figure out why Donna had two of these. Maybe she wore them on coats or something but it's still kind of scary to me.

Dec 5 Snowbirds

Read an article on Florida's snowbirds from Canada. One winter, I got brave and became a snowbird. That was the winter of 2005/2006. By the end of April, I was ready to come home because it was getting too hot and humid for me. Glad that I did it and I think going to Florida is something I would love to do when I retire (which gets closer and closer each year). It was fun the winter I was in Florida; however, the freeways were sometimes nightmarish with all of the senior drivers. Often you went from 70 to 0 in seconds and just as often as not, the stop was for some unknown reason - there weren't any cars alongside the road, no highway patrol. You'd stop and then go about a mile or two and then it was clear sailing again. Never figured it out especially since no traffic was getting off. 

Here's the link to the article which was very interesting and I learned a lot. Had a lot of fun with the Canadians that I met when I used to go out on a gambling ship.

Today's pin