Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Eve.......

I really didn't think about it, New Year's Eve, until now as I had started to blog this afternoon.  It has been a busy week with a visit to Chicago and twice doing semi rescues for the neighbor lady.  I was over to the neighbor's house on Tuesday morning as she took a very hard fall.  She had me bandage her up to stop two bleeding wounds and cleaned up the mess that was caused by the fall.  Thursday night I was again over to her house as she had summoned an ambulance to take her to the hospital. She wanted company until they arrived and to keep track of her little dog. Her fall really had caused lasting pain.  Tuesday afternoon, my wife and I made some decisions that will eftect our future changing things to a new direction.  I will share that later.

After this week and all that took place, going to the bookstore today made our lives seem a little bit normal again.  Thinking about how fast things can change in an instant, I am not taking the moving into the new year so lightly.  I hope the past week doesn't repeat with so many things happening all in five days. My focus on the new year is a lot more clearer as we start it out tomorrow.

The poster on the wall at the bookstore seemed a little bit troublesome even though the book has nothing to do with my life. It is an interesting choice of decor for the store.

This appears to be a cozy place to sit and drink coffee.  It was a good place to preview magazines and books finding things that we could buy.  We did get a magazine but our peace was disturbed a while before we decided to just leave.  A man sat down to our left with another older gentleman. He was so mad about the election results that he was reliving it and yelling most of the time.  We got up and moved to the other side of the coffeeshop and then we finally left.  I would think a manager could have addressed it to have him talk quietly or get out.

An inspiring book that helps plan the spring planting.  It had stated in the book that when the artist  Monet died that the gardens faded away. He didn't have workers while he was alive and no one cared to keep it going.  The book showed the entire garden being rebuilt, maybe to a better stage than what it was originally. It showed the digging deeper ponds and a new bridge engineered for perfection making it look so wonderful.

A reposted photo of the packages we took to Chicago for a late Christmas.  Our oldest grandson was certain the Christmas had passed but he enjoyed his presents.  When he opened up his monster truck he streaked for joy. I do have one of the light fixtures hung but I will wait to hang the second one as I will start soon to remodel the gallery room.  I don't need to break a light fixture with the kinds of things I will be doing in there.

I have worked all day on this posting and finally I have completed it by 7:30 this evening.  I knew I needed to get it done before the new year and I have.  I wish you all a very great new year evening and I will see you on the net next year. Thanks for stopping by today or tomorrow.

Friday, December 30, 2016


It always happens that your camera batteries are shot and you birds are lining up to have their photos taken.  I had a large red bellied woodpecker feeding and I went to find the camera.  When I returned, a bluejay had run off the woodpecker.  I haven't had a shot of a bluejay for quite a while so I pointed to shoot.  I didn't shoot, as the batteries were dead. Well, at this point I could lie and tell of all the birds that I saw and I wouldn't have evidence.  We bought two batches of batteries yesterday.  If my schedule ever clears from busy work I will take photos again.

Our poinsettia is starting to decline from its living inside with our heating system.  I really like the tradition of the flower and our son buys us one each year.  I heard the story that the plant originates from Mexico.  It was told that the country has always considered it a Christmas plant and use it to decorate showing the blood of Christ at the bases of their statures. It does grow wild there.  I remember that it grows well also as an outdoor plant in California.

The last frame job for the year and for our business went out today.  While I blogged this in the past months, one of my followers commented that he was related to the person of the name shown in the framing.  He followed me anonymously for some time and then wrote to me about the person who owned it.  My email has changed so if he wants to write me again you can catch me at The woman wants to meet you by email as you both are related to her as a great aunt.  I need to change my email on the blogger but it tends to not want me to do it. I have to get on that and figure it out as Yahoo has failed me too many time.

While saying that the frame job was the last; we plan to remodel the art gallery area and remove all the counters and storage units that we used for our framing business.  Hopefully it will look more like a family room with a new ceiling, light fixtures and a new floor.  We are keeping on with the art studio part but the open area from the lost of business things will be a welcomed space addition to the room. I plan to make it a retired person's project and do it a few hours a day until it is done.

It was a good day, visiting with my wife's friend and having a meal together.  We bought her a dvd player for Christmas and we needed to return to install it.  Every company labels things differently on the remotes, so it was a challenge.  I decided to not use my rush, rush attitude and just took my time doing the job.  "Source" is a great word for "Menu" and I did find it in the directions.  Once I found the "Source", things became so much easier.   My wife was a great help with the process as we bounce back and forth the intent  of their words.  The connection of the wires was again difficult but I did discover that the only hole left on the back of the tv must be where the yellow cord has to be inserted. When we left, the friend had been tested a number of times to be sure she could start watching her Downton Abbey.  She was so excited to see the first three seasons as she didn't own a tv at the time when it first started to broadcast.

It was a warmer day today and the winds died down to a lower speed.  It made it almost comfortable while wearing a winter coat.  I hope everyone is well and thank you for stopping by today.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

A Visit.....

Our son took the top two photos and I took the bottom two. It is always a pleasure to see our grandsons.  They are growing up fast.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Wednesday's Visuals.......

We had a busy Tuesday and today will be busier.  We are headed east to visit our family there. Christmas packages are packed in the car and we will take off early.  Our grandson says Christmas is over now but I bet he will receive presents with his name marked on them.

As we head for the new year, it is time to rework those things that didn't work out in the past.  The good things of last year need to be repeated and new good things should be happening.  I appreciate your stopping by today.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Tuesday's Things..........

The fruit basket that we gave to a neighbor was a hit.  We included some homemade fudge also with crackers and cheese. The little oranges are so easy to peel and do taste good during this time of the year.

It really is not a Christmas angel as it is holding a rabbit.  My wife has various kinds of angels for many different seasons. When our tree fell, it fell forward, so no angel was harmed.  I am going to start throwing away any artificial tree that has a failed support system at the base. The newer trees have solid construction with good design to prevent the tree from falling over in the middle of the night.

We did get to see the PBS broadcast of the "Nutcracker" the day of Christmas. Some of us slept through some of it but I saw most of it.  A local Iowa ballet group presented it a couple of years ago and the rebroadcast of it has become a  tradition each Christmas time.

A busy day ahead of us with things to do and people to see. It has been really chilly outside but today it is to get into the lower 40s temperature wise. Normal temperatures will be welcomed. I receive a new winter coat with a hood for Christmas.  It is intended for me to survive walking Barney outside in this winter weather.  I can leave off one of the layers of clothing now.

I installed yesterday the first of the two new light fixtures in the one gallery. It was easy compared to the second one which  will hang from a ten foot part of the ceiling. I have a step ladder that was my brother's which will fit the bill for being the right height.  I will trudge through that installation as I will have to do it in slow motion because of the height and because of the weight of the fixture.

Time to close this blog down for the day.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Monday's Moose...........

I have a new shirt with a moose on it.  My son and daughter-in-law live in Maine, near Bar Harbor.  It is a wonderful area that sits on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. I bought shirts from the area when we were out there few years ago and like wearing them.  I once  wore a sweat shirt with Maine written across the front of it and a guy at a Burger King said that I was a long way from home being here in Iowa. I assured him that I am home, that only the shirt was from Maine.

Having spent many summers in Minnesota in my past, I have seen many a "moose crossing" signs. I saw a live moose at the zoo once in the "Cities" area but I have never seen a moose out loose in nature. I have been told that it isn't a safe experience to be around moose.  I do think that our kids in Maine have seen one in the area where they live. It does seem to be a safer bet for me to just wear pictures of moose and that is what I will do.

The snowman sitting at the base of this tree is one of our newer decorations that we have in our collection.  My wife gets together with a woman and paints.  The woman gave the snowman to us one Christmas.

Avis is the woman's name.  She created the piece from seeing the pieces of rose vases at a store. She found paint to cover the glass and she bought a single lightbulb setup to place inside of the snowman.  Adding a hat and scarf and painting on a face helped finish it off.  I guess too, that there are real buttons on his belly.

As I was taking photos on Christmas eve of items on the angel tree, the tree fell over.  The cheap stand at the base was so wimpy that the metal just gave away and let it fall over.  It was really lucky to be there at the time because I caught it.  I did not touch the tree but maybe the wind currents from my huge body caused it to fall.

Solutions to the problem were to remove all of the ornaments and go to Wally World and buy a new tree.  They were not on sale but I am sure they are today.  Twenty bucks later and a half hour of time made the tree be restored to better than ever. The experience at Wally World on Christmas eve is a whole essay of writing in its own.  It was a weird experience.

The new tree is taller and more compact making the ornaments show off better.  One time when we were sitting along the shoreline of Lake Superior, a birch tree decided to just fall down right next to us. The   fall in our dining room was, on a much smaller scale, but it was just as weird as this happening.  One crystal ornament out of all of all of the ones you see here on the tree was broken.

Going to Walmart in the middle of getting things done for Christmas seems difficult but it all worked out.  We grabbed a sandwich while we were out and came home and kept up the same pace as before our interruption.

Our plans also changed in the going to the Chicago area.  Instead of going today, we will be driving out on Wednesday.  Weather conditions should be better and the traffic congestion should be less. We had a brunch  meal with my wife's brother and wife Christmas day. It was very crowded at Perkins by the time we left but it was good while we were there. I tipped the waitress a larger amount and thanked her for working on Christmas day.

We had rain yesterday and today we have clear skies with the sun shining.  We may journey off to see a movie today and have a restful day in the afternoon.  I hope all are doing well out there.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve.......

The sun is coming up to the farthest distance to our south now. It is starting its change as the earth is tiling back starting the past  three days.  We have a frosty and foggy morning today. The fog changes the color of everything with the light being diffused and by having to look through all that moisture.

The ones wrapped with Christmas paper are to be taken to the Arlington Heights area.  The light fixtures were purchased to replace the old one in our art studio.  The fixtures that hang there for 30 years, now have decided to short out and continually blow light bulbs.  The replacement of the fixtures  will now have to be an after Christmas project. I really needed to get one up as I had to shut down one of them. I kept having sparks fly while putting in a bulb.  I am hoping the new fixtures will be of a better quality. Those who are not familiar with the room, the ceiling is an open slant ceiling. The fixtures on the west side of the room hangs on a two foot chain and the one to the right of that hangs on a five foot chain because of the height of the ceiling.  We like to have lots of light in the art space and the old two really work well for that purpose.

I always have great memories of my Grandmother Brooks making her fruitcakes.  I would see her make them up every December,r baking them in empty metal coffee cans.  I once spent a couple of weeks with her while school was going on and my parents were in Arizona. As I had breakfast she would throw her ingredients together and pour the dry batter into greased coffee cans that were also lined with wax paper. The process requires them to bake for a very long time.

Another woman, marred to my dad's cousin, use to also make it.  She made a big deal of telling people she made them way in advance.  She would pour the rum or whatever over it for a few months to get it ready to eat and I do remember her cake was delicious.

This is a commercially made cake and only one of us likes to eat it.  I know it will last me a good month. I like having it with coffee in the afternoons and, yes, in the evenings too. My wife did make them for a while when we were first married and she still would do that if I asked her.  I don't ask, as it is something beyond the normal routine to make during a very busy season.  I use to pick up the small rectangular slabs of them. They were sold that way, hidden over in the corner somewhere in the store, as most people don't like to eat fruitcake.

We threw together a basket for our neighbor lady this morning and I will have to deliver it later today.  My wife made her world famous fudge and some of that will go with the basket.  Our weather is going to change plans in our area as it seems do around Christmastime. We may not make it into church this evening nor even on Christmas day.  Freezing mist is predicted whenever and wherever for the next couple of days.  Staying home is not a bad thing but we would have liked to go to one of the events this weekend.

I do wish everyone to have a safe holiday and a Merry Christmas.  Thanks for checking in today on my blog.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Friday's a Go........

Along the Lake Superior shore in Northern Minnesota is a park area that you can drive onto from the highway.  I do think it is a state park but I am not certain.  When you visit the area you are required to get on trails to see what is along the shoreline.  This area is called Shovel Point.  My wife  and I would stop there and find places to paint.  The wedge of granite stone is large.  One can follow a trail along the edge of the cliff and end up down to the shore.

We chose to take a steep trail down off of the area and set up on a penisuala made up of boulders.  It isn't the best place to set up things in order to paint but it gives us this view of the stone wedge. This painting has been in storage for a while, as we needed to use the glass that was on it for a quick frame job.  The painting is still matted but was upstairs leaning against a lot of other unframed works.  Anyone who is in the art world knows about the medium, oil pastel.  I did the work, rubbing the oil-like sticks of color onto paper. I like to describe the process to be like using lipstick only there isn't a metal or plastic tube around it. The paper helps a little to keep the oil crayon from melting in my hand.

I saw, while shopping today, different ornaments that portrayed stockings with presents inside. I took a little time to look at them in a high end store but I didn't buy any of them.  The shapes and kinds of modern decorations seem to be evolving into strange things now that they make them our of cast plastic.  Pink flamingos, cactus, hamburgers and green frogs are a few of the different new kinds of ornaments. I would like the ornaments to be more traditional and maybe even follow with a true Christmas-like theme.

Another vies of the village shows a house with a Queen Anne tower attached to the Victorian house. When the lights are on at night it is a very picturesque scene.

The big and small nutcracker guys guard the edge of the couch and teddy bear tree. I see that the market has decided to stock up on hundreds of them for sale. I am not a collector but I guess two makes a collection  I do appreciate them and their use as a decoration is good.

I shared another penguin ornament earlier this week and this one is my fancier girl.  A sister-in-law gave this to me one
Christmas a few years back when we were still exchanging presents at the time.  Life is sure easier now that we don't do that. The penguin has eyeshadow and rosy cheeks. I known of the items she holds is a purse but I don't know what the other item is, maybe a symbol for an umbrella. I think she has earmuffs on to keep her ears warm.

It is snowing right now this Friday morning but that will probably change to rain.  We need to make a trip to see my wife's friend today.  We may be driving through snowy roads at first but as we keep traveling south it will turn into rain. Our shopping is all done even though I need to return for one more thing that I forgot to buy for my wife.  I may get that done as we return home.

We have lots of wrapping to do, but the two of us can put large dents into the pile of items in quick time. The gifts we take to the kids in Illinois can be wrapped in the next two days. I will work at mailing out cards later today.  We never have our cards arrive on time and there has never been a complaint from anyone about them being late. We will just stay on status quo and keep on keeping on.  I hope everyone is doing well at this time and everyone is staying safe.  I thank you again for stopping by my post today.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Wandering through........

It has been a busy day of shopping.  We are not completely done but we still have time.  All packages that had to be shipped have been shipped.  Our relief from severe cold temperatures is so welcomed. The temperatures we are having now, I am told, are our normal winter temperatures. Barney and I are having better times of walking with puddles here and there to dodge.  Our ground is still very much frozen but the sun helps to melt some loose snow drifts.

We will have a lot of wrapping to do and my wife will make her perfect tasting fudge candy.  We are still strong and ready to get things done.  I hope all are well in the states of my bogland followers.  Thank you for stopping by today.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tuesday's Things........

Our big tree is loaded with memory ornaments and some new decorative ones too.  We found a set of six red balls that had to be put on the tree after we thought we were done.

It is a meager attempt to having an outside decorated tree. I put out my reindeer figures with white lights wrapped around their frames and then wrapped this Austrian Pine tree with all the leftover lights that I found in the basement. I took the shot thorough a window and the back side doesn't look so good.  I have a set of those icicle lights on it as the wires don't show when it is dark.

I enjoy this silly set of snowmen.  I tend to think they are drunk but maybe it is just the silly faces make them look too friendly. I had this as a leftover item when my art kids would sell items for a fundraiser.

Another house in our village.  The hiding of the cords to the lights are difficult to do.  I really haven't worried too much about it as they do blend in with the fake snow.

We attended the visitation for Robert last night.  It was so cold to be out with a strong wind but we were glad that we attended it. Robert had lived to be 100 years old plus a few months.  His family honored him well with story telling and memories for all. My sister-in-law and brother will leave this morning and return to Arizona, where they live. It was such a drastic change for them to be in Iowa at the coldest ever time.  We will warm up today. We had seen them during the summer when they had a 100th birthday party for Robert,  so it was so different to be able to see them again a few months later.  It was for a sad reason but it was good to see them one more time.

We returned from the visitation around 8 o'clock, traveling home an hour and a half.  We stopped for milk shakes and coffee at McD's and enjoyed them as we drove home. They had to make fresh coffee ant that time of the day but it was still on the menu.  I had a minor pipe freeze and break right before we left so I returned to figure out what I have to do to fix that this morning. It was good timing for me, to get the water main shut off before we traveled south.

I need to shut this blog down for the day.   I appreciate your stopping by today.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Starting a New Week.........

I share this ornament every year because of its good design.  I like that it replicates the early American time period of child's riding horse on wheels.  The little bear on its back tends to blend in with the horse but he is used to hold a gold ring for the hanger.  Hallmark did a great job with this one.  I didn't live the era of the wooden riding horses but I have seen enough of them to appreciate their memory.

My wife's village is up on display now.  It is a fun village with all the details that makes each building special.  There are people in the window singing around a piano in the white church building.

Fireman are sitting together have a hot coffee while another guy is running off to deal with a small fire. I like the two story building with a bay window. Inside is an old fashion fire wagon on wheels.

Barney is busy catching up on his sleep.  He has had problems with the weather as his front paws get frosted from the severe cold.  He wants to walk his longer distances and then realizes halfway out the his front paws are burning.  I deal with his stubborn habits and force him to take shorter trips. I still had to get him up last night as he decided he couldn't walk any farther and just laid down in the front yard. I encourage him to run back to the house and he does do it.  I know he has lost some weight but I don't really want to carry home a half a block away.  Today we will warm up to 27 degrees F.  I am hoping his paws can tolerate those temps.

We have our day filled with things to do. Shopping and mailing things are on the list.  My brother's father-in-law passed away this past week. We attended Robert's 100th birthday party a few months ago.  We will go to a visitation tonight and then get ourselves home.  It is over an hour away so we will be out late for us.

It is Monday, so the week is a fresh new slate.  We will write things down and get this holiday done.  I heard a person say on tv that the good people can get twice as much done in a short period and still survive. I hope we are good enough. By Wednesday thing should look better and maybe we can relax by Friday.   I hope everyone in the central United States will now warm up to normal temps.  It will be welcomed to get back up above freezing.   Thank you all for stopping by today.