Monday, November 28, 2011


Apparently not read in time!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Here's another Camera Critter!!

To see other camera critters, click here.  (If you haven't already seen it, check my post yesterday for a canine camera critter)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Camera Critters:The Eyes Have It

When I have to pull up a photo from the archives that is 4 years old, I know that I need to go out on a photo shoot.  I recall this dog quite well because of his eyes.  I had a Siberian Husky with the same trait of one blue eye and one brown eye...a dog that I wouldn't wish on anyone.  Our Misha was a runner and always got out of the backyard, regardless of how we redesigned the fence to keep him in. I actually saw our dog climb a cyclone fence, topped by barbed wire (built on one end of St. Kate's college) to get inside the inviting green expanse of the campus. What a dog!

To see more camera critters posted by bloggers throughout the world, click here.

Friday, November 25, 2011

My handiwork!

For the full story, my post on November 23.  It is SO much fun!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


We have neighbors who decorate their house MUCH too early.  Thought I'd beat them to the draw this year.

Although most of our neighbors are friendly, helpful and considerate of one another, we have one family who is uncharacteristically quite reserved and keep to themselves to a degree which is almost antisocial. This baffles those of us who are more gregarious.  At the bottom of their porch steps they have two lion statues, which I amusingly consider a bit ostentatious for our neighborhood.  Three years ago, in the dead of night I tied two huge red ribbons around the lions' necks.  The year after that I placed two green Christmas wreaths over the lions' heads and around their necks.  Not a word was said to us but to their credit, the middle-of-the-night secret offerings remained for the season.  Last year I waited too long so they attached the wreaths before I had a chance to devise something new.  But, AHA, this year I visited Goodwill and I found two red Santa Claus hats that I recently attached at 4 am--a very late night is necessary to avoid detection because of their very bright yard light.   I have more plans...wait until Mardi Gras!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Towe Royal originally hails from Arvika Värmland, Sweden. She has been in the United States for 21 years and has worked at REI for the past 5. At first she lived in Indiana, but claims that she likes Minnesota much better. Good thing because she has been skiing since she entered kindergarten and although our hills might not be as great as the Rockies or other mountainous ski areas, they're fun to navigate during the winter. I thought that Gene's  advice was helpful when I consulted with him at Joe's Sporting Goods recently, but I bought my Christmas present to myself from Towe instead. The package was on sale, I liked the boots much better, plus I get points for future purchases at REI.  I will think of her often when I'm on the trails in my new Fischer skis.
To learn more about the 100 Strangers project, click here:
To see more ABC photos from around the world, click here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

"Silent Night"

Jim and I attended one of the performances of the world premier opera, Silent Night,  recounting the Christmas Eve truce of 1914 during World War I. "Based on Christian Carlon's screenplay for  his 2005 film, "Joyeux Noel," it tells the parallel and eventually intersecting stories of opposing soldiers who step out of Belgian trenches to celebrate Christmas together in 1914." The Opera was spectacular and I have never been part of a more enthusiastic audience...anywhere, even at the Santa Fe Opera!  The third performance which we saw was totally sold out, based upon well-deserved reviews.   The composer, a very young and very handsome Kevin Puts, has created a sizeable body of works for orchestra, but this is his first opera. Mark Campbell, the librettist, is described as "one of the most in-demand librettist in opera today."

The lobby of the beautiful Ordway Center for the Performing Arts had show cases that displayed  authentic uniforms and artifacts of the French, German, and British (Scottish troops) Armies of World War I.

Click here and here (this one is a fascinating article on Puts, the composer) to read reviews of "Silent Night" in one of our local newspapers. Read the background and fascinating account of the Christmas Truce here at

Sunday, November 20, 2011

In Memorial


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Roofing: Final Stage!

It took five men ten hours to roof both our house and garage.
Our new roof, ready for winter ... one hopes!! (With no ice dams or wind damage, which was the culprit on the former roof.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Roofing: Dos Amigos

 Two of the hard-working men who roofed our house.  The supervisor willingly told us that the reason so many of the roofing companies use Hispanic immigrants is that the men have a good work ethic and that they "are cheaper." He assured me that they are treated "fairly." I don't think that a two-tier pay scale is terribly fair! I'm going to have to check to see why unions have not interceded. Perhaps because some (many?) of the workers are illegal? The boss man assured me that all of his workers are legal.  Time to stir things up...I shall suggest that our local paper do a feature on roofing. Wouldn't hurt to contact the Attorney General's office either.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Roofing: Phase One: ABC WEDNESDAY - "R"

1) Arrival of the insurance adjuster, with clipboard in hand, 
2) Figures for repair of wind-damaged shingles on 10-year-old roof,
3) Interview and select roofing company, making sure that the immigrants are treated and paid fairly,
4) Wait forever for date of roofing,
5) Arrival of shingles deposited in driveway.  Unable to use garage,
6) Dumpster takes up the rest of the driveway.  Car is parked in street,
7) Hispanic workers arrive to rip off old shingles and affix new ones,
8) Dog is terrorized by the noise,
9) Leaving the house to get away from the noise.

To see more ABC Wednesday posts, click here.

Friday, November 11, 2011

F. Scott's hangout

When F. Scott Fitzgerald lived in St. Paul, Minnesota the University Club at the top of Ramsey Hill was a favorite hangout.  Years ago I did a theme of the houses where F. Scott lived and aspects of his life in this fair city, and I think that I will do it again in the future. Probably in spring when the Midwest world is again in full colour.  In the basement of this club resides a very long mahogany bar with thousands of names of local revelers carved  in the surface.  On a hunt to find F. Scott's signature I discovered it after several tries, and,  much to my delight, next to it was the name of my now-deceased very proper mother-in-law.  I wish that I had found it when she was still alive so I could have teased her about it. Ah, local lore--how fun it is!!

PS.  Years ago during a F. Scott Fitgerald conference there, I met his daughter Scotty, a very gracious woman who gladly autographed a book for my students.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Too many choices

When our kids were younger and we were all enjoying Alpine Skiing, we made many trips to Joe's Sporting Goods and got excellent service.  It's been about 20 years since I've been on downshill skis, but decided that instead I'd give Cross Country skis a whirl again, esp since my original skis are way outmoded.  A visit to Joe's in its new location (established 8 years! it's been a long time since I've skied anywhere!!) was a revelation in new designs and equipment.  With so many dizzying choices, I relied on Gene, a knowledgeable salesman and an active retiree who decided that retirement was not for him.  Despite numerous hobbies and interests (biking, gardening, skiing), he has been working at Joe's for 8 years, right after the store's new location opened. I think he'll guide me to the right package for my Christmas present....Now the camera store...

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

What's a Potter to Do?!

I introduced you before to one of my former colleagues here and here and here.  I think he's out of commission for awhile.  Somehow I feel that he'd rather be throwing pots.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Monday, November 07, 2011

Packers 8-0

Packer Fans come in all sizes and ages!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Special Sunday

During the school year, students at St. Catherine's University are involved with the Sunday services, usually with their many musical talents.  The instruments and their voices fill the chapel, but on one special Sunday, we were treated to a medley of dances at various points of the service.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Karl and Lexie-Camera Critters

Even though I have this photo on my sidebar I thought that you should know more about my grand-dog Lexie
 who is a canine Shiba Inu, a breed which originated in Japan.  Son Karl adopted her about two years ago
from an animal rescue shelter.  Lexie had been abandoned as a puppy, and lived in the dump on the
Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.  Before she was one year old, she had given birth to puppies;
all but one died.  Some kind soul picked her up and Lexie was taken to an animal shelter in the Twin Cities where
she was checked by a veterinarian and spayed. Karl found her image on an internet site.  He met Lexie and her
foster mother at a dog park in Minneapolis, fell in love with Lexie and adopted her.  She has been a part of our
family ever since and spends an inordinate and happy time with our much older Maggi, our own rescue dog.  Lexie
is a loving, often mischievous dog but has her fears, one of which is a terrified reaction to cameras.  Who knows?!

Our first dog, Loki, was a Norweigan Elkhound (still my favorite breed), but being animal lovers we made a
conscious decision only to adopt and own abandoned or neglected dogs.  We've even fostered some (with
 hilarious results)...Maggi was our first foster dog, but we couldn't part with her.  Long story short...have a  heart
and adopt one of these many, many animals that need a good home.  I guarantee that you will never regret it!!

To see more camera critters, go here.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Halloween at Lunds!

Some people remain young at heart, regardless of age.  Heidi, working the cash register at Lund's Food Market in Highland Village in St. Paul, MN. is one of them!  She has worked at the store for 4 years and dresses up for Halloween. Heidi grew up in Stillwater, Mn but now resides in St. Paul. Although she wasn't familiar with photo blogs, she readily agreed to have me take and post her photo. Heidi is #51/100 in my Strangers Project.

To learn more about the 100 Strangers project, click here:

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Halloween at Starbucks

This group of friends meet every weekday morning for coffee and conversation.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Día de los Muertos!

Día de los Muertos is an important event in many cultures.  I wish that we honoured death in this way, too.  We seem to have lost some of our own traditions regarding this part of end-of-life.  As a young person, it was obligatory in our family to visit gravesites to decorate the headstones with fresh flowers on Memorial Day.  No more...cemeteries often limit the kinds of decorations allowed to facilitate upkeep.  I like the cemeteries in New Mexico as an example of families that still visit their deceased loved ones.

To learn more about the importance of November 1st and 2nd in honoring the dead, visit the blog of  Carraol in Mexico City for a full explanation.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

November, 2011 Theme Day-"Fences"

In "The Mending Wall" Robert Frost
did not agree that...

"Good fences make good neightbors."

Instead Frost's poem declared

"Something there is that doesn't love a wall..." 

To see more fences, Click here to view thumbnails for all participants