This is where I go out on a limb and ponder a while.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving.  It's all about family.  And specifically in our family, it's all about the littles!  I look forward to seeing all of them and my kids look forward to seeing all of their nieces and nephews together.  There is nothing better than cousins getting together for holidays.  When I was a child, I remember holidays with my cousins - I had something like 35 cousins, last time I counted.  And we didn't see each other sometimes for half a year or longer, but it didn't matter how long - we just picked up where we left off.  There was never an uncomfortable, get-to-know-each-other-again period.  That's the beauty of cousins.  It's like siblings, only without the baggage :)  My older four children didn't have cousins to hang out with when they were growing up.  They see the value of keeping their own children in touch with their cousins, though, and that is a blessing.  I haven't posted pics of my family in a long time, so I thought I would post some today.

Sugar works for Goldfish crackers :)

He loves his 'Scout'.

I keep one cupboard in the dining room empty for the Littles to play in.  They call it "The Mousehole"  :)

Lighting the candles on E's "Birthday Pie"

Yeah, this is me cutting the pie, E., the birthday girl, my oldest daughter with the video camera, and my oldest son, along with several of the Littles at the table, waiting for pie.  All five of my kids were here with their families, but the rest of them were too camera-shy, I guess.

"I want this one"


Getting sleepy with Papa John.

Switching over to Uncle's lap.

I hope yours was a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  Take a peek at my food blog I just started -
Tasteful Regards at  I posted my instructions for turkey soup.  It's very cold and snowy here in MN and I'm in the mood for lots of comfort food, how about you?

Stay Warm!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Warm Wishes

Here is a 'warm fuzzy' for you on this chilly Monday morning.  This is Olive.  We adopted her from the shelter several months ago and she is such a blessing.  She's one of those rare social cats that greets everyone who comes to the door and hasn't met a single person she doesn't like.  Nothing seems to faze her, not dogs, vacuum cleaners, kitchen appliances, small children, whatever.  Just having her around makes a person feel relaxed.  I think I'll make this my desktop background.  
 Happy Monday!


Thursday, November 21, 2013

November Skies

What is it about November skies that makes them so beautiful?  Nearly every sunrise and sunset this past month has been breathtakingly beautiful and photo-worthy.

I have many, many photos of the sunrise while waiting for the bus, and my guess is people grow weary of my posting the same scene over and over.  But to me, it is so fresh and new every day that I can't help myself.  
It takes my breath away every time.

I am so grateful for the gift of a beautiful sunrise.  And the benefit of being able to walk my daughter to the bus stop every morning, no matter what the weather.  It's all good.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Beautiful Jewel

This morning as I was paying bills at my kitchen table, I looked up and saw a flash of brilliant blue.  

An Indigo Bunting!  I rarely get to see one of these.  I grabbed my phone from the table and snapped a couple of photos.  They are not the best quality photos - a bit blurry.  But if I had gone to get my Nikon, it would have been too late, because within seconds, he was gone.

Nevertheless, my day is made :)


Friday, May 10, 2013

Mending My Ways

I have to confess I get a lot of satisfaction out of mending.  I have a hate-hate relationship with machines (I hate them and they seem to hate me, because they consistently break down when I use them).  So I don't like to sew new things with the sewing machine.  But I do like to do needlework.  And that includes mending and hemming, along with craftwork, such as cross-stitching.  Yesterday I decided to take care of a little project that's been nagging at me for a while.  The curtain by the patio door needed hemming.  A certain little kitty had apparently noticed a stray thread and decided to remove it for me, and the whole hem came along with it.  My mother taught me how to do a blind hem when I was a child, and it has come in handy.  The sewing machine, of course, has a blind hem stitch on it, but my hand stitch is better, I believe.

This is one of the other panels, viewing from the front side.  You can clearly see the factory hem stitches.

This is the panel I just hemmed, viewing from the front side.  The stitches are not so easily seen.  My mom taught me well.  :)

This is how I do it.  I put in a piece of white thread so you could see it against the dark background. I just barely catch a few threads on the panel and then again on the hem, using a single thread.  It goes fairly quickly, and I think the finished results are worth the effort.

Mending is becoming a lost art, I think.  But I look at it as a form of recycling.  I've found a lot of items at the thrift shop that just need a little TLC with a needle and thread and they're as good as new.  Not only that, but it makes them original :)  

If you're not comfortable with stitching and mending, I found this cute and fun book with tons of ideas.  It's eye candy for someone like me who loves to stitch!


Sunday, May 5, 2013

My new favorite photo.

Joy.  Exuberance.  Exhilaration.  Zest.  Abandon.  

I am so grateful to have the chance to experience this all through her eyes again.

I don't intend to miss one minute.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Left Behind

Normally, when my husband leaves for work in the morning, Sugar pays little attention.  It's just the usual routine.  But today, he put on his hunting clothes and got out his hunting pack.  He took the day off and was going 'wheeling'.  Sugar knows what the hunting pack is all about.  She was following him all around the house this morning, panting, in a high state of excitement.  Then...this happened.

He left.  Without her.

Just about the saddest pup in the world this morning.  

Don't worry, Sugar.  I'll take you up to the ranch after E. gets home from school :)

Gonna be a great weekend - high temps in the 60's - yeah!!!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It's Coming!

Spring is coming!   No really, it is coming for sure this time, I know it.  We had another dumping of snow last Sunday, but we're being promised temps in the 60's over the next weekend.

I thought it was ironic to see an icicle forming on the branch right next to the new buds on this maple tree.  I took this photo early this morning while waiting for the bus with E.

We have a rooster pheasant who has declared our yard as his territory this spring. I like how you can see where his long tail feather drags in the snow wherever his tracks show up.

Just thought I would throw this one in.  Everyone loves pictures of deer.  There are a few that tend to wander into our back yard occasionally.  They have little fear of us, so I can usually get a few photos of them before they leave.  Last year E. was able to walk up to within 6 feet of a couple of them.

I'm seeing lots of birds that should be here at this time of year, but may be going hungry because of the unusual weather.  If they're insect eaters, they have to struggle for a while.   We also have swans, geese, and ducks here waiting for open water.

And there is a lot of talk about the fishing opener.  That's a big deal here in Minnesota.  Fishing Opener is a serious holiday here and generates a lot of revenue for resort owners, bait shops, etc.  Not to mention all of the fishermen/women who make reservations months ahead of time for that weekend.  So the DNR will not likely change the date of the Opener.  If the ice isn't off the lakes it makes it tough to go fishing.  And the ice is usually not safe for ice fishing anymore at that point either.  So, it will be interesting, to say the least.   It's not actually the first time this has happened.  It also happened in 1950.

What's happening where you are this Spring?  Is it a normal Spring, or are you seeing things that you haven't seen in past years?  Do you keep track of events on a calendar?

Have a great day!


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Lookin' at the Bright Side

 I don't know what's happening in your part of the world, but as you can see, Mother Nature has forgotten to look at the calendar here in our neck of the woods :)

I decided I may as well make the best of it and appreciate the beauty.  

 The swings have not seen any action in a long time :(

When I look at this pine tree, it seems to me as if it also feels a bit depressed.

Just like the look of these saplings against the fence.

E. wanted me to take a photo of this bird house before she left for school - she likes the way it looks.  I think she has an eye for a good photo.

I made this my cover photo for my facebook page this morning. I like the perspective.

My garden has an eery, dramatic look to it.  By this afternoon, it will just be drab and brown again.


This marsh willow looks like it has been whipped around in a wind storm.  Normally, the branches are upright. 

Another photo E. requested.  This weeping willow is her favorite tree.  You can see it has 2 large trunks that are almost horizontal, making tree climbing a snap!  If I can't find her, she'll be hiding out in this tree ;)

Enjoy your day wherever you are, no matter what the weather!


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Early Dismissal

"Good morning", I whispered, as I gently touched E.'s arm - the same way I wake her up every morning.  She is not a morning person and I try to ease her into wakefulness each morning.  

"Nooo!" she says into pillow quietly.  "I was hoping for a snow day".

No such luck.  The sky is light and there is no sign of any precipitation whatsoever.

An hour later we walk up to the bus stop and still, no snow. 

Two minutes later, it's as if somebody has flipped a switch, and we have an instant snowstorm.  The ground is almost instantly white.  "Maybe you'll have an early dismissal today", I say, jokingly.

"What's that?", E. asks.  There has never been an early closing here, so she doesn't know what I'm talking about, so I explain.  

"I was just kidding, that won't happen", I tell her.

21/2 hours later, I have a robocall on my cell phone notifying me of an early dismissal.  

E. is going to be SO HAPPY!!! :)

This is my deck after only 2 hours of snow.  How much have you gotten so far?

I'm off to make fudge :)


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Deny, Deny, Deny!

The yard is almost void of snow.

We've got robins, sandhill cranes, swans, killdeers, mourning doves, geese.

The puddles are still liquid when E. and I go out to the bus in the morning.

When we went to the ranch this past weekend to prune the apple trees, they had buds on them, and sap running.

And now we're expecting 8-12 inches of snow over the next 24 hours???

It's almost too much to bear :(

So E. and I have devised a plan.  You've heard of it - it's called Denial!

We brought some sunshine into the house.

We got the ingredients for comfort food, and some reading material.

So, we'll close the blinds, ignore the weather, and I believe we're set :)

This weather front looks as though it covers a good portion of the upper Midwest.  How do you plan on sitting out the storm?  That is, if it affects you?  If it doesn't affect you, send a little sympathy my way, lol!


Monday, April 1, 2013

Sick Day - Maybe

Thinking about taking a sick day today.  Why would anyone write a post about taking a sick day?  If you're a mom - you know.

Today I woke up early with a wicked sore throat and my head feels like a balloon that's been blown up just a wee bit too far.  And staying in bed with my trusty laptop, tea with honey, and a good book sounds pretty good to me.

Once in a while, there comes that dreaded day when my husband will turn off his alarm and not get up.

"Um, what?"

Outer calm, inner panic.

"Do you have a fever, are you throwing up?"

"No, I have a cold.  I'm going to stay home and rest."


On the outside, I just say ok, and roll out of bed, close the bedroom door and let him sleep for a few hours more.  I resign myself to spending the day working around the big baby in the living room who has the tv on all day turned up really loud and leaves kleenex all over the floor and wants to eat every 2 hours.  Is this how it is in your house???

Why do we not take a sick day for ourselves when we need it?  I know I'm not the only one who just keeps on keeping on - I find it nearly impossible to just take a day off and stay in bed.

I think I'll give it a try today for a change.

I'll let you know how it goes :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Fun App.

I love birding.  And I love anything techie.  So I'm excited when I can combine the two.  Here's a great deal on an app I love and have been using for 2 years now.  Pretty sure I paid full price for it, but it was worth it.  It has a pretty extensive list of birds, photos, maps, and even several recorded bird calls for each species, which is a real bonus.  How many times have you heard a bird and wondered  which bird was making that sound?  Amazon is offering their Audobon Guides for half price until March 25.  Besides the bird app, they have one for identifying trees, flowers, mushrooms, insects, butterflies, and mammals.  Fun!

Here's the link to the apps:

Amazon Guides


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Who Will You Be?

When you get to the end of your life, what will be the sum of it?  Who will you be?  

Some days I'm not sure who I am.  Being unemployed, I have the freedom to re-invent myself often.  Perhaps I have too much time to think.  

But once in a while I think it's a good idea to take a spiritual inventory.  Ask yourself that question:  What do you want to be remembered for?  I think your answer should give you a pretty clear view of what is important to you.  

When I get too far off the spiritual path, this is the question I ask myself.  And then I remember where I want to be and I can shift my focus onto what is truly important to me. 

And this is is it for me.

Find your path and stay on it.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Tablets, anyone?

Sooo, I've been off my computer for a while, but NOT by choice.  The stupid thing won't turn on most of the time.  I took it in to the repair shop, and of course, the expert could not find any reason for it doing so.  No fix.  I want to buy a tablet to replace it.  But I don't know which one I want.  There are a lot of choices, and there's something to love about all of them, depending on what you're looking for.  I think blogging requires a bit of tech-knowledge (is that a word? - well I like the sound of it).  So I'm asking if any of you have any experience with a tablet and could recommend one for me.  My requirements are that it has to be Android - I love that operating system - and I need to be able to download photos, so it should have a slot for an sd card.  I've noticed not all of them have that capability.   I hope to hear from a few of you at least!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Your Place in the World

I have to share my friend Jill's blog post from today.  She has got it all together!  She knows that what she is doing is worth while and she values her work.  Please try to remember that the people you work with and live with are impacted by the things you do and say every day.  You are important that way.  It doesn't matter if you are a CEO of a big corporation, a teacher in a classroom, or if you are a mother taking care of little ones inside your home.  In all situations, you are in contact with human beings and your reactions to them can either give them light or darken their day.  Jill is obviously someone who brings light to her students.  Check out her post for today:

Monday, February 25, 2013

Good-Bye Buddy

My youngest son with Buddy at the ranch this past Fall.

We had to say good-bye to our beloved Buddy today.  It was his time to go.  He would be 14 this Spring.  He couldn't stand up anymore and he had stopped eating.  So we took him in to the vet and let him go to sleep gently and peacefully in our arms.  My tears soaked the top of his head as my husband closed his eyes for the last time.  

On the way home from the vet clinic, my husband declared angrily "This is the part I hate!  It makes me never want another dog!"

"It makes me ache for another dog to take his place," I said quietly.

After a pause, he sighed and said,  "I'll probably feel differently after a couple of weeks".

But I do understand how he feels.  It is painful, and it makes you want to avoid the possibility of ever being hurt again.  But I need my furry friends - they give me comfort.  It's worth the risk.

At least we still have our sweet Sugar.

And curmudgeon cat Ted.

We love them :)


Friday, February 22, 2013

Valentine's Day - Huh?

We were on vacation on Valentine's Day, so of course, my sweet husband forgot.  I didn't expect him to remember, and it didn't bother me.  After all, when a Minnesota girl is in a beautiful hotel resort on the warm sandy beaches in February, Valentines are not a priority.  When he realized what day it was, he took me to the store and offered to buy me flowers, which I declined - where would I keep them?  I settled for chocolates, of course!  I am not one to ever turn down a good chocolate :)

What did you-all do for Valentine's Day?  Have we given up the romantic Valentine's Day rituals?  Maybe so.  There certainly is not the pressure to impress anymore.  We've settled in to a very comfortable, sweet lovey-ness and I don't mind it a bit.

Today I read the cutest post on a blog that I wanted to share with you.  It struck a chord with me because it would be the kind of Valentine's evening we would have in our house.  She's also sponsoring a give-away you might be interested in!  Check it out, I think you'll enjoy it:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Birds of Paradise

When I went on vacation I was hoping to see different birds as birding is one of my favorite pastimes.  I didn't really see too many different species since we pretty much stayed within the resort area.  Some day I will talk my husband into a trip to Sanabel Island, which is widely known as a birding mecca.  Nonetheless, I did have fun watching the birds that were there, and did manage to get a few photos.  
One thing that surprised me, although I should have expected it, was the number of birds there that we have here in the summer.  We were sitting outside one afternoon at a beachside cafe and red-winged blackbirds were landing on the tables!  They were a serious pest and there were signs posted that read:                             "Please Don't Feed The Birds!"

Of course, there are gulls everywhere.  This one is a bit angry with me for parking my beach chair in his prime hunting spot.

One day we went on a fishing excursion, and the birds at the dock put on quite a show.

These pelicans wait around the fish cleaning table for scraps.   There are several species of pelicans in the Keys and they all mingle together.

This is an immature Snowy Egret.  He's standing over the fish cleaning table, pretending to ignore the gentleman cleaning fish.  But when he tosses up a fish scrap, the little guy is quick to catch it in midair and gobble it up!

This big boy seems to be too dignified to beg for fish and stays above the fray :)
This is a Great Egret.  We came upon him while beach combing one day and he just froze.  I was only about 6 feet away from him, but he posed for me for about a minute so I could take a good picture without needing a zoom lens.  Then I quietly sneaked away.  I wonder if he thought I couldn't see him if he didn't move.
The Cormorants - not an attractive bird at all, and I neglected to take a picture of one because we have thousands of them at home.  Now I wish I had taken one because maybe some people have never seen one.  But I did take this photo, because I think they look silly when they do this.  They are divers, so they sit and hold their wings out to dry their wing feathers.  One sunny afternoon we were looking down into the water at some tropical fish swimming around a reef and suddenly a huge dark fish bolted into the school of fish and scattered them in all directions.  But it wasn't a big fish, it was a cormorant.  He wasn't fast enough to catch any of the pretty fish, though.

This was a real treat for me - I have never seen an Ibis before and here was a whole flock of them right on our beach.

But now I am back in the frozen tundra watching my beloved chickadees at the feeder :)