Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I have more blogs to add to my list

There is Shannon who works at Historic Murphy’s Landing (now called “The Landing” – how boring!). She has pictures of the houses at Folkways and notes about how each ethnic group celebrated Christmas in the 1800s.

Look at the Swedish post – she has pictures that were taken in “my” house. The curtains on the windows are some that I wove several years ago. The warp on the loom is the one that I left when we left in 2005. The tablecloth is one that I had purchased and donated to the house – I have fond memories of that tablecloth! It made me homesick to see the pictures of the house and remember good times I had there. However, not homesick enough to go BACK. I am enjoying being here and doing my crafts in a modern environment, warm and cozy.

And also Dream River Farm. I discovered this blog while looking at Jody’s blog. The Dream River Farm is about two hours from us, to the east. We have been down there occasionally, and it is a beautiful area! The farm carries Babydoll Sheep (so cute) and Dexter cattle. Before Norm injured his neck, we had plans for Dexter cattle here.

It’s enjoyable to see the pictures and read the stories about someone else who is trying to live greenly and with animals around her.

On the same note (but different), have you stopped over to Good Shepherd Farm? There are new puppies to see!

And Bill Fisher has some llama pictures up for you to enjoy.

It will be a beautiful day today – you have a beautiful day!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Too quiet on the Western Front!

All have left and only Norm, Peanut and I are here, at home. It was a great, busy, hectic, fun time for the last few days.

Joy and family arrived about 1:00 in the morning on “Boxing Day.” Norm took a nap while waiting, but I worked on the Australian loom, “Matilda.” (Yes, Jody, your spinning wheel is Matilda, but I had my loom named before you even saw your wheel! So THERE!) I am making a blue table runner (or table cloth, depending on what I decide when the runner is done) with “Wall of Troy” for a pattern. I made some mistakes but decided to keep them so I would remember the time I was waiting for the family to arrive.

Boxing Day is a holiday that is celebrated in the Great British countries, for the most part. It is usually the day after Christmas and is a bank holiday (in these modern times – well, since 1871). It is also considered St Stephen’s Day in other countries.

We were babysitting Buttons, niece Cookie’s wire-haired mini-doxie and the 2 were spending a lot of time wrestling and having races in the living room, much to the dismay of the rugs on the floor. There were way too many people and dogs at Candy’s for the comfort of all, so we took Buttons here. (At Candy’s, there were 3 dogs and 6 people.)

So, anyway, the family arrived, and when they drove up, Buttons ran down to the basement and jumped on Norm’s stomach to wake him up!


Grand-puppy Tasha came with (sorry, no pictures of her – don’t know why!), so for a while we had great excitement and noise with 3 dogs, 2 excited grand-girls and 4 excited adults.

We finally got settled and in to bed about 2:30 and slept a short night.

The next morning (or was it later in the morning?) we had breakfast and then opened presents. I got more socks (thank you, Joy!) and Norm got a lovely pair of suspenders!

Mom and Dad as well as Cookie and Binni came over to spend time with Joy and family. And a great time was had by all!

After Mom and Dad headed back to Candy’s, where they were sleeping, it seemed to quiet down. Cookie and Binni spent the night; Ken set up the girls’ new Christmas present, the Wii, and everyone trucked downstairs to play or watch someone else play.

The next morning (after another late night), we had a late breakfast and Cookie, Binni and Buttons headed home. Okay, it was “quiet” now!!! The girls went with Norm to the Farm as he was doing chores this weekend, and the rest of us took naps.

We had leftovers and played on the Wii, again. Then fell into bed. Sunday morning was another late breakfast; the girls went to the Farm with Norm, again, and Ken started watching “THE” game – the Vikings were playing for the chance to be in the finals so it was very, very important (to some people, anyway!).

A late lunch, with the requisite macaroni and cheese, which has to be at 1 meal, at least and more leftovers. After the victorious game, then everyone started packing. Since Ken and Joy were in the Kia, there was limited space.

The discussion was to leave Tasha or 1 of the girls to make more room but that fell through when Ken said that NO ONE would stay here – he couldn’t get on without any of them!

However, Bubba had to leave her most precious gift of the year – her new loom; we will mail it to Florida in the next few days so she can continue to weave. As you will see in the pictures, she was rarely without it and had already done about 18” on her first project. This loom is a small 12” demonstration model that I felt I didn’t need any more. She has been begging for a loom for over a year and was so excited when she finally got one. I am the “best grandma ever!!” As I am the only living grandma she has, there isn’t much competition, but I took the compliment anyway!

The only things missing were Jill and Eric, at home in Washington. Jill had to work the day after Christmas!! If they had been here, my joy would have been complete! They were missed! And, yes, Jill, we DID talk about you! Were your ears burning?

So, here are the pictures – enjoy them! We enjoyed making them!!! It is a beautiful day today – you have a beautiful day!



Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas at Candy's

We went to Candy's to spend last night and today. Now a brief rest before Joy and family arrive late tonight for a few days here.

Cookie and Binni and my folks will come over tomorrow to spend the day. Candy and Wayne will pop in for a short while but need the break from all the company.

So, here are the pictures from the last two days.

I hope your Christmas was beautiful.



Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas from the land of snow

We have more snow, now, than we have had for years. It is looking like we might hit the record for snow in December.


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So, from our house to yours, whether you have snow or no, we wish you a blessed Christmas, a Happy Hanukah, Blessed Solstice or whatever holiday you celebrate at this time.

May you enjoy a time with loved ones and friends, safe and warm surrounded by love and peace.


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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bite my tongue!

Don't ever brag or laugh at something.

When I had Kari and her mother here the other weekend, I was bragging about my treadle sewing machine. “You can't break them!” I said; “The only thing needed for these machines is oil and a new belt!”

Well, the other day I was trying to put a patch on one of Norm's most very favorite shirts and broke a needle on a snap. I switched to a new needle and it won't WORK!!! It won't pick up the threads from the bobbin. Nada! I have tried another needle (I only have 2 intact needles in the house) and switched back and forth. But nothing works. So I have given up and will have Norm look at it sometime, when he has time.

And then …....... the other day I was laughing with (not at) Yarn Harlot and her husband's problem with getting his pickup stuck.

Now, Norm is a fantastic driver in snow, careful and sure and he knows how to keep out of trouble.

Well, yesterday morning the snow was coming pretty steady and it was getting pretty deep. Norm put water in the trunk of the Buick, which helped give it weight. He was going over to Jody's to water the animals while Jody and Don were gone to the Cities for their family Christmas. However, the wind picked up about the time he set out, which made visibility pretty nasty. The window fogged up, so he stopped to clean the window off and when he started again, he drove right into the ditch!

The snow is so deep in the ditches that unless there are tracks, you can't tell where the road is and where the ditch is. The snowplow had not gone through, yet, so he was stucker than stuck.

He called me to see if I would drive over in the Van to pull him out. Nu-uh!!! No way, hosay! But as he thought about it, he realized it was a foolish idea. If HE got stuck, think of what I would do?

He dumped the water out and put the buckets in the toboggan (he has a box built to attach to the toboggan in which he can put water or wood – a throw-back from when we lived at Historic Murphy's Landing) to pull home. But on his way home, he stopped at our closest neighbor, Arnie, to catch his breath. Arnie insisted on starting up his 4xdrive truck and driving Norm home.

By then the snowplow had gone part way down our road (but not all the way to the highway), so Arnie could see the road / ditch division.

So, now, on a snowy Sunday, Norm was outside in -35° chill factor weather, driving the tractor around. He cleared the lane up to the county road (which still has not gotten plowed since the wind closed the road again). The wind was very nasty and cold, but was letting up a little bit so that the visibility had gotten a little better. We could see about half a mile this afternoon!


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Sundogs come out in bitter cold

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I'm glad it's not me out there!

We were hoping that the snow plow would come through this afternoon so that Norm could drive the van over to Jody's to water the animals. They have plenty of feed but they are probably pretty thirsty – there are no tank heaters to keep water from freezing for the animals. However, it never happened.

Jody and Don will be home tonight or tomorrow, but if not, we hopefully will have the plow do the road so that Norm can get over there in the morning.

Despite the cold and wind, it was a beautiful day. First day of winter, Solstice – you all have a beautiful day!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's that time of year, again - the annual Christmas Letter

Skip over this if you wish - I won't have my feelings hurt. Most of what is in the letter is what has been on my blog for the past year.



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Well, another year has flown by! And flown it certainly has! As everyone is probably saying, "I can’t believe it’s that time of year, again!"

This January saw Norm and I in Brookings for the Living History Fair. The Fair is planned around education, so we had children come on Friday to learn from everyone who was there. I demonstrate spinning and weaving, Norm demonstrates carving spoons, as well as sells the spoons and spatulas he makes.

March found us in New Ulm, as always. I call it the "Great Minnesota Sleepover." This is a Trade Fair, not an educational fair, where we meet a lot of our friends, do a lot of visiting and hopefully do some selling, as well.

In April, we drove down to Los Alamos to spend a week with Joy and family. Ken was working as an advisor to a construction company on "The Hill," as Los Alamos is called. We spent a lot of time traveling to different places and seeing as much as we could within that time.

In June we went out to South Dakota for a Peterson family reunion. We saw cousins of Norm’s that we have not seen for years. As most reunions are, it was a lot of fun. We have Norm’s sister, Eileen, to thank for the organizing - and a great job she did, so!

Norm and I keep saying we are going to cut down on our demonstration events, but in June we were invited to attend the Sons of Norway convention in Mankato. That was a great place to make new friends.

As July came around, things started to "heat up." We went to Walnut Grove to demonstrate for two weekends for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Days. Then on to Decorah, Iowa, the last weekend for the Nordic Fest at the Vesterheim museum.

We were even busier in August as we went to Wisconsin for a sesquicentennial celebration and spent the weekend with friends in Pepin, just up the road from the celebrating town.

Then was the State Fair. I worked with friend Katie for the twelve days of the fair without him around, and Norm came the last weekend to demonstrate, play and help tear down. We were fortunate to have Joy and family come out for a day, which also happened to be her birthday.

After the State Fair, we were into September and went to Pepin, Wisconsin, for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Days. This is a "family" event. We have become very close to those who are regulars there. We have a section that is only "period" craftspeople; we all (mostly) camp in our "period" tents. Others stayed at friends’ homes or in the motel just across the road.

October had only one event, our last event of the year – "Big Island" in Albert Lea. This is a four-day event that is educational for two days and is open to the public for the other two days.
We enjoy visiting friends and having some come for supper. Because it is in October, the chances of warm weather are slight, so we prepare for cold weather and have the wood stove in the tent for the cold nights. When we returned home, we took a deep breath to consider if we wanted to continue for another year.

I was "bee free" for the entire year, and so hope springs eternal that I will not have to end up in the emergency room next year, as well. Two years in a row are enough, thank you very much!

Other than working demonstrations and educational days, Norm has been busy at Shalom Hill Farm, the church retreat farm just three miles east of us. He works four afternoons a week, doing maintenance and farm chores. They have cut down on the amount of sheep and goats this year, due to Norm’s insistence; they also have rented a ram (male sheep) and a buck (male goat) so that timing for lambing and kidding season will be much better this next year. Last winter, we had lambs and kids popping out in the most horrendous weather; I ended up fostering several babies because mommas couldn’t or wouldn’t care for them.

I have been staying home, as usual. Just a trip a month to Mankato to do Sam’s Club shopping with sister Candy or going to Westbrook, ten miles away, to exercise. My knee has really gone caput this year and I will need knee replacement. So I quite often used the mobility scooter that I purchased last year. I am waiting for Medicare to "kick in" this next year so that the operation will (hopefully) be covered.

Family-wise, the family has spread out all over the nation.
Joy and Ken returned home from Port St. Lucie, Florida but did not spend much time in the Cities before moving to Los Alamos, New Mexico for about seven months. Ken got a job as a construction trouble-shooter and the plan was to send him to trouble spots around the country. But his boss likes him so much that he has been transferred to the main office to train other troubleshooters. And the main office? Miami, Florida!!!! However, Norm and I got a chance to drive down to Los Alamos for a week before they left – that is an awesome place to go, visit, live. I want to go back someday and spend more time! Ken, Joy and the girls spent every weekend doing something really neat.

Jill and Eric are still in Federal Way, Washington, very close to Seattle. We went by Amtrak out to see them in November. The trip, itself, was worth the time and money. But the time spent with Jill and Eric was wonderful. It was full of surprises and wonderful views.

So, a wonderful year has passed again. Full of fun and new experiences, full of "busy-ness," full of love.

May you have a wonderful, love-filled, experience-filled year next year!


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Moving

Not only does Daughter Joy move often in her life, she has chosen to move her blog, as well. She has moved from Homeschool Blogger to Blogspot. No, she has not given up homeschooling. It's just that it's easier to do the things she wants to do on Blogspot.

For instance, she can take a picture on her camera and send it directly to her blog. Handy, that. Someday I will get a photo-phone and flood you with MY pictures.

But until then, here is one that is very dear to my heart!


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It is a beautifully sunny day - it may be only +7 in the shade, but in the sun, it's a balmy +15. Very little wind (in fact, almost NO wind!) and lovely, lovely snow. You have a beautiful day!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A movie of Kari, singing

Here is a short clip of Kari singing and using her stav for rhythm. I hope you enjoy.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A magic day!

On Friday, my friend, Kari, and her mother, Grace, came to visit for a short weekend. I met Kari at Mankato, at the Sons of Norway convention. She joined us at Decorah, Iowa, for the Nordic Fest there.

When they came, they brought Kari’s great-grandmother’s spinning wheel. This was built in 1906, I believe, in Norway. Her great-grandmother then brought it over when she moved here.


They got here in time for supper and a chat before bedtime.

On Saturday (was it only yesterday?) we had a great time!

Kari remembers great-grandmother spinning on the before she died in 1950 (or so). It has not been used, since. Grace told me that her mother got the wheel when great-grandmother died and then gave it to Grace to “store.” It’s been sitting in Grace’s living room since the middle 1970s. There was even yarn left on two bobbins. Kari and I took off the yarn, which she is going to display in a safe archival way.


Correction! Grace remembers her grandmother spinning. Great-Grandma died before Kari was born! Kari has seen her great-grandmother in 8 mm. film spinning on the wheel.

I oiled the wheel, and then showed Grace that the oil would make the wheel shine, so she spent a part of the day shining the whole wheel, underneath as well as above. Then I spun on it, had Kari spin (she has learned how to spin on a spindle, so had little problem), and had Grace spin, as well. Grace had done some spinning under great-grandma’s tutelage so sort-of knew how. Once she gets a chance to spin at home, alone, with no pressures, I’m sure she will do well.

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The wheel itself was made by a master craftsman and is still in excellent condition. I have never seen such a beautiful wheel that spins so smoothly.

Jody came over to join us for lunch (turkey sandwiches) and meet Kari and Grace. Candy came over later, as she was running late, but got in at the tail end of lunch, so was able to join us eating.

Candy sat in front of the wheel, but was not sure that she could spin on a single treadle, as she has taught herself to spin most excellently on her double treadle Fiona. However, this wheel is so fantastic and she was able to spin most excellently on it, matching the yarn that great-grandma had spun (that we had all drooled over).

After the fiber fix, Kari sang for us. She gave Jody and Candy a history / mythology lesson about the Nordic gods and goddess (and gave me a refresher), then read the runes for all of us.

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All too soon, everyone had to head home. Kari and Grace insisted on taking the wheel, even though I promised I’d give her a good home. However, it was wonderful to watch Grace’s face when she realized that her wheel was something special and it was in still great working order after 102 years!

Kari is a very special friend – I am honored to have her come here and enjoy herself. We hope to have her come again.


It was a beautiful day, yesterday! The weather was in the 30s, the sun was shining and snow was melting. Today is a different story. It's about 5 degrees out right now with nasty winds and fog, sleet and snow. Things have been cancelled everywhere! But it still is a beautiful day, despite the weather. You have a beautiful day.

Monday, December 08, 2008

A recovered friend

I had somehow missed putting Leslie from Squirrel Spur on my list of favorite friends. How could this have happened?

Leslie has been one of my oldest blog friends. She lives in a wonderful area in the Blue Ridge Mountains, in Virginia. Leslie raises Angora bunnies and spins their fiber. She is involved with many craft happenings in the Mountain area that she lives. She is a very active, very special person.

Leslie, I’m sorry I “lost” you – thank you for commenting so that I was reminded about you.
The rest of you, go visit her blogs (yes, she has many) and see her crafty things. And enjoy a beautiful day in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Do you know what today is (was)?

Today, December 7th, is a “day that will live in infamy.” If you want to read or listen, go here. Or just read what came into my mailbox this morning, thanks to History.com.

The day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, President Roosevelt appeared before a joint session of Congress and declared, "Yesterday, December 7, 1941--a date which will live in infamy--the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan." After a brief and forceful speech, he asked Congress to approve a resolution recognizing the state of war between the United States and Japan. The Senate voted for war against Japan by 82 to 0, and the House of Representatives approved the resolution by a vote of 388 to 1. The sole dissenter was Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana, a devout pacifist who had also cast a dissenting vote against the U.S. entrance into World War I. Three days later, Germany and Italy declared war against the United States, and the U.S. government responded in kind.The American contribution to the successful Allied war effort spanned four long years and cost more than 400,000 American lives.

Of course, I can’t remember the day, because I was not here, but my parents do. My Dad joined the Army (soon to be transferred to the Army / Air Corp – which was later turned into the Air Force) in 1940, and his training was speeded up after Pearl Harbor was attacked.

Because of the war, Dad was sent down to Florida for training. Mom followed him down and they married the day after he got his wings. That was July 4th, 1942. Then Dad was in the war. I have a book that he wrote about being in the war. If you are interested, email me and I will send you a PDF copy of that book. He flew bombers in Europe while Mom and I waited at home.

Back to Pear Harbor! How many remember the reason that this day is so “special” and so remembered by the older generation. Is this being taught in the schools? I wonder. For the modern generation, “history” is something that happened yesterday or last year!

Let’s all take a few minutes today to think of the happenings 67 years ago today. Japan’s actions brought the United States into a terrible war. But because of “us” entering the war, Britain was more than likely saved from being over-run by the Nazis and Germany (as well as the rest of Europe) was rescued from a dictator that was evil incarnate.


I hate war, but sometimes it is necessary. Let’s remember the men and women that died in that war to keep the world safe from evil. But let us continue to pray for peace throughout the world.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Another new blog

Sharon from Sweet Repose has become a new friend. She is down across the border in Iowa. (Did you know that "true" Minnesotans and "true" Iowans bicker like the North Dakota / South Dakota people do?)

She is an antique buff - and has many for sale, as well. Also, she writes poetry. How wonderful to find another new friend. What a wonderful blessing the Internet can be if you use it to the good!

She has a picture on her blog, today, that looks like my place. But I'm too chicken to go outside - it's -9 for a chill factor and I'm a wimp when it comes to cold like that.

But the sun is shining so it's beautiful to LOOK at. You have a beautiful day!

What a beautiful day!

Thursday, Jody and I went over to Candy’s for a craft day. And it WAS a beautiful day – outside as well as inside.

Candy’s house is so “cool” – she is so artistic with her decorating and is so tidy in her cleaning. Now, my house is a helter-skelter house – I have waaaay too much stuff, haven’t found (even after three years) places to store that stuff and don’t clean like I should anyway.

But if (IF, I say!) my house was tidy and clean, it would never look as coolly decorated as Candy’s. She just has that FLAIR!!

But the greatest, coolest, most beautiful part of the day was that the three of us sat upstairs in Candy’s workroom, doing THINGS and talking. I took my new spinning wheel, “Bonnie.” Candy came out, all bundled up, to help carry her to the house and then carried her upstairs. She has “Fiona,” Bonnie’s big sister, so we sat spinning and comparing wheels. Jody brought crocheting, as she has a Christmas project that needs to be done.


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Fiona is about six feet tall at the highest


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Bonnie is only about three feet tall
I was able to help Candy with some minor things on the wheel, but not much. Candy is doing VERY well with her spinning, considering the fact that she hadn’t learned that well before she got Fiona last winter. With these too wheels, it’s nearly impossible to spin a heavy yarn, as they are such beautifully working wheels. I had to work hard on teaching my body and myself a new way of spinning, as double treadles machines work a little bit differently than single treadles.

Candy had a very yummy, warm lunch and offered several cups of tea. We listened to lovely music – seems we all prefer the same type of music! The dogs were in and out, up and down the stairs, but spent most of their time with us. It led to sleight of hand to spin with little Cricket on my lap, but she is not a ‘cuddler’ so she didn’t stay, just popped on and off. Ren tried to get tangled in my wool and Noah wanted to sit with his head in my lap. Thankfully, I was not the only one to get attention, as the dogs wandered from person to person until finally settling down and sleeping in corners.

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Candy has this picture on her wall. I LOVE it!

Wayne helped me take Bonnie downstairs, and then Jody carried her to the van, so I didn’t have to struggle with her very much. She is not too heavy, but so squarish that she is clumsy. She is harder to carry than my other wheels, which I can carry under one arm because of their shapes.

We plan on doing this craft day thing again – next time at my house. I will enjoy being here, as I won’t have to move, but it certainly won’t be as “cool” as at Candy’s!!!

This morning (Saturday) is a cool morning with a brisk wind that makes the chill factor below zero, Fahrenheit. Norm went to work yesterday, promising to be careful, as he was. This morning he bundled up to go hunting but only saw tracks. The sun is shining and it will be a great day to stay inside and work on Christmas projects and do some baking. You have a beautiful day.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

And .... he's a fast healer!

Well, Norm has been a good boy and been taking pills and resting and doing some stretching – at least a little bit. He is now able to walk easier, get out of the chair easier and do a few things around the house, easier. He even went outside this morning and brushed the snow off the car (not the roof, though) and broomed the driveway off of the two inches of snow we got overnight.

This evening he went out to the barn to do chores – his choice, as he wanted some fresh air. He also went to church with neighbor Jody tonight.

His shoulder is SOMEWHAT better. He can raise his arm up to the level of his shoulder with less pain than even yesterday and it doesn’t hurt as much to breath deeply. (The doctor told him to make sure he took deep breaths, as it’s easy to get pneumonia when the chest or ribs hurt badly.)

If he can lift his arm about his shoulder by Monday, he won’t have to go back to the doctor. If not, he will have to go to a specialist to see if he has done BIG damage to it. But at this time, it looks like it’s “just” muscle and tendon damage.

Norm has read all of your good wishes and wishes to thank you for your prayers and good thoughts. I will keep you updated with his progress. Right now he’s in the kitchen, dishing up some ice cream ….. that’s the best medicine in the world, he says.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Here we go, again!

Norm, in his all his glory! The man is jinxed, I tell you, jinxed!!! This month is his third anniversary of surviving a broken neck. Is he careful? No! Does he think ahead? No!

Yesterday afternoon, Norm was working at the Farm and putting hay bales on the little automated ramp that carries them up to the barn loft. He was doing this all by himself, as usual, and as he is NOT supposed to do. He is supposed to ask the office manager to help him. He was standing on the hay bales in the hay wagon and stepped on the edge of one of the bales that was on the edge of the wagon. The bale flipped off and so did Norm. (He said, later, that he found he cannot fly and cannot bounce anymore!)

He called me from the Farm to ask me to pick him up, and scared the living daylights out of me because of the way he was sounding and talking. He handed the phone to one of the office girls who told me what happened.

I drove down, picked him up with a worker's comp slip with the Farm's information on it and took him to Westbrook. The boss / owner wanted to take him to Windom, but it's closer to Westbrook and I've gotten a nice relationship with people there. It's smaller and friendlier, too, than the Windom hospital / clinic.

Norm saw Dr. Cassle, who is an "old farm boy" like Norm and they discussed the pleasures of horses over goats ("Horses don't climb on your car," quotes the good doctor!). After x-rays and more poking than Norm wanted, the decision was that no bones broken. He will be recliner bound for a while with good STRONG pain pills that I had to fight him to take two of, rather than just one, and we will wait and see.


If (IF) he can raise his left arm up to and above his shoulder by Monday, he will be fine, eventually. If he can NOT raise that arm, then he will see a shoulder specialist. He could have "just" torn tendons and bruised muscles or he could have torn the rotor cuff in that left shoulder.

Two good things – it's his left arm and workers' comp will pay for it! Oh! A third ---- he did NOT hurt that sensitive neck!!! Just left his brains in his hat on the ground! Or left his brains at home yesterday!


So all projects are on a hold. I was up two times for pills last night. Peanut spent most of the night with Norm, keeping his lap warm and making him feel loved. I told him I would forgive him for being stupid if I didn't have to fight him to take the pills.

Now Norm is sitting by the picture window, watching the birds and bundled up, taking naps most of the day. Peanut, again, is keeping his lap warmed (she loves it when someone sits in a recliner for a very long time). I am working on chili and corn bread for supper, as Candy and Wayne are coming for their weekly get-together. Jody is coming, as well. She’s going to go out to the barn with me and help me collect the egg that our “Hawk” chicken keeps insisting on laying way UP in the haystack where I can’t reach it! She is also bringing me some chili powder as I found I was out of it and had forgotten to put it on the grocery list (duh!).

It’s a beautiful day – warmish – the wind has dropped considerably and the sun is shining part-time. Norm is well, thank all the good gods, and we are both warm and comfortable (within reason). You have a beautiful day!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

What about you?

Did you go shopping on “Black Friday”? I never do. Well, take that back. About fifteen years ago, when I first visited Minneapolis, I was convinced by a friend that it was “fun” to go shopping on that day – it was the only thing to do after Thanksgiving. Of course, that was before shops started opening at four or five am or even midnight.

But that time was enough for my lifetime. I avoid that day. Actually, to be totally honest, I avoid as much shopping as possible. If I could get groceries delivered out here, I wouldn’t even do grocery shopping!

But the horrible news that filtered down to me yesterday (okay, I’m slow at hearing the news) about the death at the Wal-Mart back east was horrifying. What kind of people are we that we would trample someone just to get a bargain?

I read a blog with hundreds of comments on this tragedy. Many blamed Wal-Mart for the problem. Many blamed the shoppers - “but not me! I wouldn’t do that! I wasn’t there!” Many blamed the economy – “we need to take advantage of the sales because our finances are so shaky.” Some even blamed the man for “being in the way.”

I was watching the news on Thursday (yes, I watch it once in a while) and the Cities had the sales that the rest of the nation did. There were lines outside many of the stores. A man that was interviewed said he had been in line since seven am that morning for a midnight opening. But he did admit that his friends who were NOT there had “a real life.”

If our economy is so bad, why do we buy “things?” If I’m worried about my job, my health insurance, my house payment, the food on my table, is buying a new electronic toy on sale what I need to do?

Yes, I will admit that I am one of those that love to buy toys. I have more than I need (according, especially, to my mother) and could probably pay more bills if I didn’t buy so much.

But in my defense, I only spend MY money. The money I make at events, the money from the State Fair, and the money from my writing. And I only spend a certain amount a month – I DO have a limit of what I will spend. And what I buy, I use! (Or play with, often.) And I do not go shopping in stores on busy days for these items. Most of what I get, I get on-line. I am willing to pay the shipping (or find free shipping) rather than drive somewhere and spend time and gas money (which would probably be more than shipping) to buy what I want or “need.”

Am I the kind of person that would trample another in the need to get something cheap? Are you? I pray that neither you nor I were the ones that trampled this poor man and the others that got in their way.

I witness crowd mania while in college. Teddy Kennedy came to speak on Bobby’s behalf at the college. When he came down the stairs, everyone wanted to touch him! I was caught in the crowd that surged towards Teddy and (although I said I was “above” this action) I got caught up in the feeling and wanted to TOUCH him, too!

So, if I was in a crowd like that, perhaps I would have been caught up and surged forward unknowing, uncaring. I know that once in a crowd like that, the back people will push forward so that the front people have no choice but to go forward or go under. I do not think it was totally the first people through the door that caused the accident. If there are two thousand people behind you, pushing and shoving, could you stop?

Is it the fault of the stores, with their search for the almighty dollar? Is it the fault of the shoppers, in their search for the almighty sales? Who can say?

I feel that it is the fault of all of us. We should all take the blame. In the same circumstances, would we have done differently? Would we (I) have stopped our frenzied shopping to mourn for a fellow human being who died because of our (my) greed? Or would we (I) have continued to attempt to shop, as most did (so I read), complaining about the store closing because we (I) deserve it?

Who is to say? Let us pray that some good will come from this and it doesn’t happen again. Let’s all, stores managers and owners, shoppers and non-shoppers, take time to think and see if something can be changed.


America should NOT be like this – in search of bargains at the cost of human dignity and life. America must come to its (our) senses and change for the better. All of us!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I was a fool!

I went to Candy’s lovely Thanksgiving dinner without my camera! DUH!!! So I didn’t capture on “film” the beautiful table, the lovely food, the wonderful guests.

The turkey was not only beautiful to behold, it was a pleasure and joy to eat! Cookie brought some lovely sweet wine to add to the meal; it was not hard to drink two glasses (which is my limit!).

After dinner, Cookie and I went into the living room to rest while Candy picked up (refused help, which I honestly DID offer!) and the boys and Binni played cribbage. I cuddled down in the recliner with Cricket and started to knit, but didn’t make it very far. When I woke up, it was because Cricket jumped off my lap to go have supper. Everyone insisted that I had been sleeping for over two hours, but I doubt it! I think that it was less than an hour – maybe only about half an hour, but it WAS dark when I woke up and it wasn’t when I went to sleep!

So, we had pie (they waited for me, thankfully) and then we four girls played “Taboo” and the boys played another couple of hands of cribbage.

Candy sent home a lot of leftover turkey, so we had hot turkey sandwiches for supper last night (yummmmm!).

Now, this morning, Norm went out hunting, as it’s “black powder” season. I said he could hunt in our grove (I haven’t let him, before), as we know there are quite a few deer, including young bucks, sleeping there nearly every night. His “bird dog,” Jody, joined him. She walked from north to south and he sat on the southwest corner, but they didn’t see anything. I feel they were both too late going out this morning. Oh, well, another day he’ll try again. I don’t “approve” of hunting, except in the case of planning to put the meat in the freezer (or to can it). And I don’t like Norm hunting in our grove, but we do need the meat!

Okay, so since I did not get a cool Thanksgiving picture this year, I thought I’d put one on from my memory bank. This was in 1968. Any clue as to who these three girls are? (This actually is for family, ‘cause I’m sure my millions of fans wouldn’t know!)

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It’s a beautiful day, even though there is no sun, it’s almost forty degrees out and very little wind. You have a beautiful day!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all my friends in the US, I would like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. May your day be filled with loving friends and lots of good memories.



To all my friends who do not celebrate our Thanksgiving on THIS day, I would like to wish you a wonderful fall. May your day be filled with love and happiness.

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And may everyone have a beautiful day!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Slicker n’ snot!

Yesterday was garlic day for me. I used my new handy-dandy KitchenAid food processor but also used my garlic peeler. If you don’t have one of these, you should get one! Candy has a cute tube of yellow, but I have a flat rubber piece that works very well.

You lay your garlic (no more than 3 pieces at a time) on the rubber tool, and then roll them around with the palm of your hand. It zips the paper shell off and leaves a nice, shiny clove of garlic. I then took the cleaned, skinned garlic and chopped it up in the food processor, so nice and easy. My other processor is just a small one cup one, so I could only do a few cloves at a time. This way, I can do a whole bunch – about 2 pounds will be done when I finish.

I used my new discovery, cupcake papers, in a muffin tin to freeze the garlic, and then put the “cupcakes” into a separate bag that I vacuumed to help keep fresh. Now I will have garlic all winter without the worry of it going old and hard or having to take time to chop it up when I need it (and I do not chop very well, anyway).

If you don’t have a garlic peeler, then you should get one. It’s fantastic, whether you freeze a bunch like I do, or just chop what you need, like Candy does. (But then, she’s a better garlic chopper than I am.)

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While I was inside, enjoying the warmth of the house, Norm and Wayne were outside, putting his wall and door up on his shop.


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Then we had surprise visitors …. LeAnn and Art, our neighbors to the east, stopped by to see what the boys were doing, so we sat inside and had instant cappuccino and cookies that Norm had brought home from church. LeAnn is sister to Wayne’s very close friend, LaVerne.

And on a side note, I didn’t see anything about Kennedy’s assassination on the 22nd, did you?

And, on another note, today (45 years ago),
Jack Ruby killed Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who shot Kennedy.

It’s a beautiful day, today. Sun is shining, very little wind and almost 40º. You have a beautiful day!

A new blogger, an old friend

I just got back from my llama friend Bill's house after setting him up with a blog. He will be writing about his llama stories and posting pictures of his beautiful animals. Please go see his blog and post a message to him.

Bill breeds and shows his llamas and also has several for sale. If any of you in the area (or even further out) want some for guard animals, pets or fiber, be sure to contact him for animals and prices.

He has prize winning miniature llamas; they are much smaller and easier to handle (and cuter) than the bigger models. His pride and glory at this time is Wendy Darling. And rightfully so, as she is a real darling and a beautiful specimen. I was fortunate to see her at a very young age and take her picture (that's MY picture on his blog, by the way) and was also allowed to name her and her partner, Peter Pan. I believe that Bill will write about Wendy Darling's prizes in the near future.

Bill was one of my first friends that I made after we moved down here. He has been very generous with his time in teaching me (and Candy, too) about llamas. Unfortunately, neither of us is able to put a llama or two at our homes, but we can go over and see them any time we want.

I treasure Bill's friendship and hope you can get to know him through his blog. He and wife Shirley are wonderful people; a joy to know and it is a great honor to have them call me a friend.

Go visit him!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Where were you forty-five years ago today?

Today is the anniversary of John F Kennedy’s assassination. As with many all-important dates, most people remember where they were and what they were doing when the happening happened.

My mother and father remember where they were when the Pearl Harbor attack happened. I don’t remember that – I wasn’t here yet.

But I DO remember when Kennedy was assassinated. I was in college (yes, dears, I’m THAT old!), just finishing lunch on a Friday, and was sitting with friends in the lounge of the Commons Building, waiting for my next class. The receptionist was playing some music over the loudspeaker.

Then the music stopped and she turned the radio on; as we listened in disbelief, the announcer said that Kennedy had been shot and had just been rushed to the hospital; there was no information about whether he was alive or dying or even dead.

My next class was World History with a professor who prided himself on public speaking as well as his information of current events. He had the radio playing so we could hear the announcement of Kennedy’s death.

The professor said something that I am sure was momentous that we should remember to our graves, but I was crying so hard I didn’t register anything he said except “class dismissed.”

We had no classes for the rest of the day and so sat around the radios, listening. Some lucky enough to have access to TV were able to watch the news. But all of my friends and I got to a TV for the funeral.

This was also just a week before Thanksgiving, so everyone’s Thanksgiving that year was subdued, quiet and sad.

Norm was in the Army, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was in the mess hall, having lunch. He was put on alert, as all military bases were. Because the president had been assassinated, there was a possibility that it was a planned take-over of the government by some unknown powers or countries.

Many history books and many political people have differing opinions about how Kennedy ran his office and whether he was a great president or not, but he was MY president! He was the first one I was allowed to vote for. He was the president of my young adult years. He also was the first president in many, MANY years to be assassinated, so for us “moderns,” he WAS the first.

So on this day, I will take time to think of this great man and what he meant to me and to the country. Perhaps this is a time to think of other important dates in American History that we should all pause and say a brief prayer. Perhaps a prayer of thanksgiving that even though such terrible crimes do happen, this great country of ours still thrives, still grows, still goes on.


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Thursday, November 20, 2008

A new blog friend

Candy from New York sent me a link to another blog that is really interesting and a lot of fun to read.

This is Far Side from Fifty.

She is from Minnesota and is also a Connie - how cool to meet someone with the same name.

I have another friend who's name is Connie, as well. When I call her and get her answering machine, I always say "This is Connie for Connie." Sounds confusing, but fun to say.

So, Connie, this is Connie saying, welcome! I enjoy your blog and I'm putting you on my favorite list.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What can you use it for?

So, we were talking at lunch today – it was “girls’ day out.” Jody and Candy and I were in Mankato for our monthly (give or take) shopping trip to Sam’s and pet stores and fun places.

Lunch was at Panera, a lovely bakery and lunch counter. I had French Onion Soup and a Smoked Turkey sandwich; Candy had the same soup and a sandwich with spinach and artichokes (ewwww! Are we really related?); Jody had bagels with honey and walnut cream cheese.

I was telling Candy about using my brand new KitchenAid three-cup food processor. “You just used it for the first time yesterday?” says she. Say I, “I’ve been gone, you know, and I want to use it for garlic and don’t have any – yet.”

So, here I am telling her that I took cooked liver (boiled in water with garlic powder), a carrot, a potato and an apple and chopped them all up, then mixed them with yogurt for binding.

Jody leaned over and whispered “For Peanut!” And Candy’s faced cleared.

Now, Candy, do you actually think I would fix something like that for me, with liver? Ewwww, liver! That is one way the two of us are the same.

Candy leaned to Jody and said, “She spent a hundred dollars for a machine to chop liver for her dog???”

Actually, the food processor only cost about thirty dollars, as it is a small one and, no, it’s not just for Peanut. However, that was what was on my mind at the time.

Now I have gotten two pounds of garlic to chop and freeze as well as five pounds of onions to do the same (well almost all the onions). Makes it much easier to cook when you can just grab a few chopped garlic bulbs or onions rather than having to chop them up as I go.

Then Candy told me that she and niece Cookie made pie crusts in her new bigger KitchenAid food processor to make pie crusts. Cool! And maybe I could make noodle dough with it, as well? Hmmmm.

However, back to the liver, etc that I made for Peanut. While in Washington with Jill and Eric, I saw Jill take a hunk of meat out of the freezer for Remy. She buys commercial meat made for dogs with vitamins, vegetables, fruit, and other good stuff to supplement his food. Remy has allergies so has to eat grainless meals; the vet said this would help put oils into his body and some good things that could be missing in the dry dog food.

I decided that perhaps Peanut would appreciate this extra once a week, so mixed up my own concoction. I mixed it up, put it in the freezer and called Peanut to eat the leftover. She came running when I called, didn’t even SNIFF the bowl but INHALED what was there for her.

Jody asked for the recipe so here it is, to the best of my knowledge. If you wish to make something like this for your dog, you can put in anything you want.

I boiled about a pound of beef liver with a sprinkling of garlic powder. When it was cooked and cool, I cut it up into pieces to fit in my handy-dandy new food processor and chopped it until it was in shredded, tiny pieces. I then chopped up a carrot – washed but not peeled, with the ends cut off. I chopped up a medium potato, not peeled but washed and eyes and bad spots cut out. I cored an apple, small, washed but not peeled and chopped that up. I put it all together and mixed it with some plain yogurt for a binder.

Next time I might have some flax seeds or flax seed oil (open some of Norm’s pills) or even buy some powdered flax seed (saw some in the store today) to add that Omega Three that is supposed to be so good. I could put broccoli in, as well.

Then, the brilliant (to me) part. I took cupcake papers, put them in a muffin tin and put about a quarter cup of the mix in each paper and froze it. Then it went into bags. Once a week, I will take a “cupcake” out, thaw it out and feed it to Peanut. I already know she approves of it. I figured once a week, a quarter of a cup would not be too much but be a nice treat.

Remy also gets “pupsicles” – Jill makes yogurt and peanut butter cups, freezes them in dixie cups and gives one to him every once in awhile. He loves to lick them, frozen, and doesn’t even eat the paper. So I made some – I have some organic peanut butter and plain yogurt. I put about a quarter cup of that in cupcake papers and froze them, as well. I will rip the paper off of them and put them in her special treat bowl; we’ll see if she likes them frozen or if she waits until they thaw to eat.

So, two new treats for Peanut and a nice use for my new handy-dandy food processor.

However (Candy, are you listening?), tonight I used the food processor for something else. I purchased some Romano cheese at Sam’s. I cut it up into several pieces, food-savered three pieces and put one piece into the chopper. I ran it until the cheese was pulverized and just about as fine as the dried Parmesan cheese (that comes in the green cardboard boxes for pasta dishes). It should work and taste even better!

It was a great girls’ day out – lots of shopping (food, not the fun yarn and fiber stuff), but with great company.

You have a beautiful day!

This day in history

On this day in 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. That was 145 years ago! And the speech is still fresh in this day and age.

Go here for more details on the history of address, itself. And pay attention to the words!

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
November 19, 1863

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fun in Florida

Joy and family live in Miami, as I may have mentioned. Last night there was a premier for a Will Smith film and the family went to see the stars and see the movie.

I thought I would share with you some of the pictures that Joy took while there. She says the movie, "Seven Pounds" was good and everyone should go see it. The girls got autographs and spoke to Will and Rosario Dawson before the movie.

Here are MY two beautiful movie stars!


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And the other two movie stars


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Monday, November 17, 2008

Last ones

Okay, here are the last pictures. Thank you for your patience!


These are of the last day in Seattle, at the Pike Market (lousy pictures, I'm sorry - I had my camera on the wrong setting and never checked!) and then on the train.


If anyone (anyone!) has a chance, take a ride on the railroad! It's fantastic!


Have a beautiful day!




Tagged!

I have been tagged by “City Mouse” for a meme. I am going to take a little bit of time between pictures of Seattle and the trip to do this. (It takes sooooooo long to post pictures on slide.com!)

The rules of this Meme are:1. Link to the person who tagged you.2. Post the rules on your blog.3. Write six random things about yourself.4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Thing #1 – I own a harp but cannot play very well, and don’t play very often.
Thing #2 – I hate cold but love snow (to look at). It feels colder when there is no snow.
Thing #3 – I am lazy! Bone-deep lazy. I will work hard to find an easy way to do anything!
Thing #4 – I love to travel but I hate to leave home.
Thing #5 – I don’t spin or weave as much as people think – I spend way too much time on the computer.
Thing #6 – I am shrinking! Yes, boys and girls, I have lost a whole inch of my body (such as it is) in the last five years!

Now, for those of you that I chose to tag. I will copy City Mouse and go all over the nation (and world).

Linda from Australia
(Remote Tree Changer)

Fran from Scotland (Maid My Own)


Tammie from Ohio (Unusually Unusual Farmchick)


Candy from New York (Country Life)


Chris from Brazil (Country Patch)

And, closest to home,

Jody from Minnesota (Good Shepherd Farm)


Okay, now back to Seattle (and train) pictures – they will be on, then I promise not to fill your eyes and head with them any more!

It’s a beautiful day today – sunshine and warmish weather. You have a beautiful day!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pictures

Okay, here are some pictures of the trip to the Space Needle. Some of them have rotated but I don't know how or how to fix them, so you might have to stand on your head to see them. Sorry about that!

I will put more on later - I don't want to clog up your computer!

It's a beautiful sunny but cold day. You have a beautiful day.

Friday, November 14, 2008

In retrospect

After our lovely trip, I thought I’d mention things that I learned, saw and found out about the Seattle area and the Amtrak train ride, itself.

As far as the Amtrak ride, it’s definitely worth the extra money to ride in a sleeper. As I mentioned, we took the deluxe room this time, with the bathroom (and shower) but we would be almost as comfortable in the economy “roomette;” there is a bathroom (no shower) on the same level as the rooms. And everyone is treated the same, no matter which sleeper room you reserve.

When you figure in the meals (4 of them for our trip, each way) it cuts the cost down. We have room to spread out, privately. I have a lap table and electricity so that I can write this comfortably (and listen to my music – Les Miserables this time). We have wide windows so that we can view almost as much as if we were in the viewing lounge. Norm is stretched out, right now, taking a nap (and I took one this morning).

We would not have to bring blankets – in coach we have to bring blankets or rent from Amtrak. In the sleeper, the blankets and pillows are there (making a little less to carry on and off the train). We were greeted with bottles of water in the room when we got here. There is a coffee machine and fruit juices in the hall that we can have any time of day or night. The thought of a private or semi-private bathroom on the same level is very desirous to me.

When we first came in, our steward brought in champagne for us to drink. He did ask if we were over 21 --- silly man! He makes up our beds when we ask, then puts them away in the morning. Any time we want something, we can page him. If we so desire, we can have our meals in our room – they will deliver.

I love traveling by train. The worst part is no Peanut. The train system will take no dogs unless they are service dogs. Can I teach her to become a service dog for me and become official so I can bring her along? I do miss her a lot, but I also feel badly that I need to depend on my sister and brother-in-law to care for her when we are gone. After all, she is like another child and I shouldn’t separate her from me just for my pleasure, right?

As far as Seattle and that area – it’s a wonderful place. They are very green-minded – much more than Minnesota; our state prides itself on being “green” but doesn’t really do anything to merit that claim. I was talking to someone at breakfast this morning and she said that Washington is very fussy about new buildings – you can’t cut down certain trees and you have to fit in with all codes and rules that Washington has to fit being “green.”

I like the idea of not having snow or sleet (we have had snow at home while we have been gone and I am not really looking forward to coming back to it). But there are way too many people for me. I like my peace and quiet with few people, no trains, no planes and very few cars. I like going shopping at our small grocery store and recognizing people and being recognized.

But then, Jill’s bonsai that we got her for her birthday could not survive outside at home; the gardens that we missed seeing were outside – imagine bonsai plants growing outside all year round!!!

Jill enjoys not having to scrap ice off the windshield when she gets ready to drive her car. She has a medium weight winter coat that she wears most of the winter. We are heading home and I’m hoping that the winter coat I have is going to be warm enough for getting into the car when we get off the train.

Seattle has a lot more to offer than even Minneapolis (sorry, Minnesotans!). Especially seafood and fresh fruits and vegetables. When Eric bought the crab for us the other night, he fussed at the $11 a pound for King Crab!!!! I have NEVER even bought Snow Crab because the price is too expensive. When we went to the Fish Market, Jill got some “Grapples” – apples that have been crossed with grapes and have the apple texture and grape juice taste (smell like Welch’s grape juice). I got an Asian Pear – I learned about them as a child in Japan – we called them “Pear Apples” because they have a texture of an apple but the taste of a pear. Can’t afford them, on the whole, in Minnesota, even if we can find them. However, steak and other beef products are very expensive in Seattle and cheaper (and better) in Minnesota.

Such a difference between the 2 climates, 2 cultures. Washington has a lot of Orientals and Minnesota has very few. Minnesota has a lot of Mexicans (at least in our area), Washington has few.

I really enjoyed my trip there. People were very friendly. When we were looking for a way to get from where we were parked to the Pike Fish Market, we decided that we would have to do stairs. I would climb slowly and Norm and Eric would carry the empty wheel chair. We had two men stop and say, “Take the elevator! Don’t do the stairs!” They told us the way to the elevator, so we headed there. But missed it. There was another man (as we were starting to take another set of stairs) who led us to the elevator!!!! Blessed men! Thank you to all of them!

We ended up doing a lot of circles, turn-arounds and confusing driving. Jill would write down the directions but would miss the turn or think another way was easier. But then, what is a trip to us without turn-arounds and going in circles? Norm and I have NEVER done a trip without at least one. That way, we got to see different areas of the cities with interesting and beautiful houses.

I love the Sound – I am very happy near the ocean or large bodies of water. I have found that I can be happy nearly anywhere we have settled (as long as I have land to have animals of some kind and no close neighbors) but I feel more “myself” and more expanded around the large bodies of water. For someone who hates to be wet (am I a cat?) unless I am in a shower, bath or am swimming, I don’t object to water, rain, mist or spray when I am close to big water.

But now we are going home. Home is a wonderful place, too! I will have my Peanut – we will cuddle in the recliner with my knee up (finally) and talk about things that have happened while we were separated. I will go see my chickens, have ‘real” eggs to cook for Norm – perhaps make a custard for us for desert this weekend, talk to the sheep and ask them how they survived their first snowfall.

And Saturday is coming, with Prairie Home Companion (have I mentioned I love Saturdays?). I have a plan for another table runner that I need to start and finish before Christmas, so I will need to spend Saturday warping that to see if it will work (of COURSE it will work).

Thank you for joining us on our trip. I promise that pictures will come in just a few days – once I organize the more than 250 pictures I have taken since Tuesday evening!!!


It has been a beautiful trip. My beautiful daughter and her wonderfully caring husband made our trip very memorable. You have a beautiful day!

Here we go!

We are on the train, on Thursday morning, heading home. It’s been a very busy few days since last I wrote.

On Sunday, as I said, we went to the wildlife park. Monday was the day we went to the Space Needle. Now, that is an awesome building! It’s about 650 feet to the very tip of the needle. The viewing platform is about 500 feet high. It took us about 43 seconds to go, by elevator, from the bottom to the top.

We stopped on the way and rented another wheelchair for the week so that I didn’t have to walk very far. Jill (who was driving most of the time) dropped Norm and I off at a convenient spot then Eric took the car and parked it while Jill and Norm got the wheelchair set up.

Between the 3 of them, they treated me very well and pushed me all over the place, wherever I wanted to go. I was not “allowed” to walk anywhere unless there were stairs. And they avoided stairs with a passion!

When we got our tickets for the Space Needle, we started to the elevator we were supposed to go to when the ticket attendant called us back. He hadn’t seen that I was with them, in the wheelchair. Because of the chair, we got a discount on my ticket (about 50%) and were taken to a special elevator where I didn’t have to wait as long.

When we were ready to go back down, the elevator attendant took us to the beginning of the line!

At the top, we were able to walk 360º around. They had interactive screens with live action camera and also screens where you could push an icon to see a certain section of the area with information for that area.

After we got down, I thought we would be going to the Pike Fish Market. But No! Eric had a surprise for me! We went to the Science Fiction Museum! What an awesome place THAT was!! It had music, uniforms, masks, weapons, storylines, bunches of stuff! Eric was so excited to surprise me and I enjoyed it thoroughly (thank you, again, Eric!). I finally took control of the wheelchair and rolled myself around – Norm never went where I wanted to go and Eric was having so much fun looking at what he wanted to see. That way I could look at things as long as I wanted and not get anyone impatient to move on to something else.

Then it was time to head home for supper and conversation until bedtime. We took Jill to a “road house” for supper for her birthday, which was the next day.

Each day seemed to work out the same – we had a breakfast, then headed to the place we were going, didn’t eat lunch and were ravenous by suppertime! Although the day we went to the wildlife park we took sandwiches but didn’t eat them until almost 5:00!

Tuesday, I thought we would be going to the fish market, but no … another surprise! We went to a winery – the Chateau St. Michelle. It was a rather short tour, as they were not bottling, yet, but very interesting. We got to taste 3 different wines and I fell in love with a nice sweet desert wine (I love sweets). Eric and Jill got several different wines, we got a bottle of the sweet stuff.

Then headed home for supper (without lunch, again!). Because this was Jill’s birthday, she chose a Sushi bar. This one is very interesting (have I used that word before?); the chefs were in the middle, forming all kinds of sushi and putting the plates on a conveyor belt to go around the room. People sat at bars or in booths and grabbed whatever they wanted to eat. There were, of course, no utensils except chopsticks. I haven’t used them for a long time but had not forgotten how. Norm used his fingers most of the time, but I did get him to try the chopsticks for a little bit. I have always not wanted to try sushi, but was assured that it is not always raw fish! There are cooked things, too. It’s just the way things are cooked, I think.

I never ate anything raw, but I did have pork wontons (special name, can’t remember), battered shrimp, and shrimp that was filleted and put on rice so that it looked like a real shrimp. Now, I like terryaki, but they didn’t have that sauce; the waiter brought me some sauce they use on eels (euwww!) that was very much like terriayki and if I forgot it was for eels, I could use that. Shrimp, rice and that sauce was very good. We had very finely sliced cucumbers in a vinegar / sugar dressing that was good.

I ate too much, even though I thought I’d have to take Eric’s way out. He offered to take me to McDonalds if I didn’t find anything I could eat at the Sushi Bar. Didn’t happen! They also had cream puffs for dessert.

The way this bar works, you pick up the plates you want, stack them in a corner and the waiter comes by and counts plates. The plates are colored coded as to price, running from $1.50 to $4.00 a plate. Because you are eating a little bit at a time, you don’t realize you are full until it’s too late!

When we got home, the kids put out shrimp and crab for an evening snack. The seafood is really cheap, compared to what we pay in Minnesota!

Okay, Beanie’s birthday was over – she is called Beanie because when she was tiny, she was so silly that Norm called her Jilly Bean. It went on to Beans or Beanie. The grand-girls call her Auntie Bean. We moved on to Wednesday, our last day.

Norm and I got up early and packed. We took Eric to an interview with his school counselor about job hunting; while he was there, we planned on visiting a Bonsai (outdoor) garden.
However, it was too wet to go, so we grabbed some bungie cords from Home Depot, picked him up, and headed home for lunch.

Eric and Norm packed the car and put the wheelchair on the top with the bungie cords. Even though it was raining, the wheelchair was not that wet; plus we had brought towels along to dry the seat.

NOW we went to the Pike Fish Market. This is the world-famous spot where the vendors through fish across the way. If you want a salmon, someone will pick it up and shout “Salmon going to Minnesota!” and through it to the guy who wraps it. I didn’t get to see it but Norm did (but didn’t have the camera with him).

The market also has vendors of all kinds. Tourist goods, fruit, vegetables, baked goods, other fish stands. We made it only through the top level; there are two levels of vendors. I found what I was looking for to give to Jody for babysitting, again. Jody, come get it quickly so I can show others!

After we finished there, we put the wheelchair back on the top. (I say “we” – I am a good supervisor!) Then headed to the train station to check in. Jill and Eric stayed until they called us to board, and then headed home. Jill claimed she was going to take the wheelchair to work today (Thursday) for fun. It was rented for a week, so she had no hurry getting it back.

When we upgraded from couch to sleeper, I decided to spend the extra and get the deluxe accommodations – with a bathroom (and shower) in the room. We got to our room (upper level) and settled in. The steward came by with champagne for us!!! There were bottles of water sitting in beverage containers waiting for us.

Going by sleeper is more expensive, but it is worth it (I speak with one night under my belt). We get 4 meals (and the dinner last night was steak!) and even a wine and cheese tasting event this afternoon. Our steward came by last night after our movie (I borrowed Seabiscuit from Jill and put it on the computer) to make the bed. In the deluxe suit, the bottom bed opens into a double bed, so we didn’t use the upper bunk.

It was pretty comfortable sleeping last night. I had a restless night only because of the noise of the train and the rocking motion. It will take some time to get use to that. However, there is a full moon and when the clouds were scattered, I could see some of the mountains and scenery.

This morning we got dressed and went to breakfast, then had the steward put the bed up for sitting as a lounge. I am now sitting on the chair with the tray down to hold the computer – I am listening to Beethoven’s 5th, which is a fitting piece of music to have for the scenery we are watching. As I am writing, we have just passed the Continental Divide, which is about 5200 feet high, so we are now heading down the mountain. The Rocky Mountains are awesome! We have had some sun but not much. It is snowing right now, so the pictures I am taking have drops of water from the window in them.

We will head down to the plains of Montana, which are not quite as awesome, but still pretty.

We have had, besides our meals (which are wonderful in themselves) a wine tasting fun event. We had cheese, crackers and wine. The wine steward (called himself King Louie and I will not dispute that – he knows a lot about wine) would talk about the wines (we had four) and what cheeses to eat with them. At the end of the tasting, we had a trivia contest and the winners got a bottle of wine, as the staff doesn’t like throwing away good wine. We had 2 passengers at the table with me and I’ve forgotten their names already (sorry, guys!) because of the flush of wine in my system. One was a man who lives in Rochester, MN and travels with his father (or father-in-law) when he wants to travel from one place to the other. He and Norm have a lot in common in their coffee tastes. The other was a lovely young woman who lives in Seattle and was traveling to Chicago to visit relatives. We all agreed that the sleeping cars is the ONLY way to go. The gal said “Yes, it’s more expensive, but it’s a vacation onto itself!” I agree.

Of all the people we have shared a table with for meals, they were the most delightful.

I will post this when we get home, Friday morning, then put the pictures on later – the slide show I use sometimes takes a long time to get organized, depending on the amount of pictures I have, and there are A LOT!!!


It is a beautiful snowy day right now; the visibility is rather poor, most of the time, but still fun to watch. You have a beautiful day!