Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Florida at Christmastime

It's been nice to spend time with Andrea, Haylie and Stefan. We're trying our best to keep up the pace that Haylie sets!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

We're having a great time together - it's so nice to be together again.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Happy 5th Birthday Haylie!

Grandpa and Grandma wish you a very happy 5th birthday!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Rigorous Physical Therapy Continues for Delores

Mom continues to improve with on-site physical therapy.

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Lutefisk and Lefse, Rommegrot and Cream

Chuck and I went to the Viking Plaza Mall today to get some books for a nice cozy read, and there was a kiosk selling lefse, flatbread, rosettes and some really good almond cookies. Needless to say, we had a nice coffee time at home this afternoon, with rosettes. And lefse for supper. And flatbread. And the cookies for dessert. Yum.

Lutefisk and Lefse, Rommegrot and Cream,
All for Alex, stand up and scream.

My mom remembers all sorts of things that are in her long term memory. This was a cheer from her high school days. Lots of Scandinavians in Alexandria.

Delores, Taryn and Tracy

Grandma Dee Dee in Action!

She is just precious, and we are so happy she is doing much better. She's enjoying life, and glad to be in a cozy, safe place for the winter.

She never was one to exercise, and I get a kick out of how strenuous she makes it sound. Feel the burn.

I'm Dreamin' of a White Christmas

New haircut, ready to swim in Florida with Haylie!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Decorations, Swedish Style

We aren't doing much decorating, but we do have our Swedish Christmas lights.  We're excited to be in Florida for Christmas this year!
The candelabra and paper window star decorations:

Sunset in December - Lake Ida

Sunset was about 4:30, and then a very cold clear night with moonlight.  Ice crystals in
the cold air created this effect.

The lake was still open, although the pond behind Bedman's froze over last weekend. Just a little ice around the edges today, but maybe by tomorrow . . .

There is the landing to the dock.  Wish it was July!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Happy Virtual Halloween

Soon almost all of life's experiences will be available online. If you don't want the mess of carving a pumpkin, or if you want to experiment with different expressions, try them out on this website:


Or if you just want the pumpkin to do all the work itself:


Happy Halloween!

And Happy Birthday Stefan!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

When women over 50 ride a bicycle in America

Today the sun came out and the temps got above 63 degrees, so I rode my bike to the store to do a quick errand. In Sweden I'm sure it's as common as anything to do that, but not so common here in Minnesota. Luckily there were no tornado warnings. I made it safely this time. As you can see, I am still without a camera. There are just so many to choose from. (using Minnesota/Scandinavian word order) or There are just so many from which to choose.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dancing or Wrestling?

I went to the Swedish Institute to see a Swedish folk dance group from Umeå, Björkstalaget. They had musicians, mostly fiddlers, who played the traditional music for the dancers. It was a good show. After an hour of music and the dancers, there was a break, and then everyone could dance. We did some large group line-dance style dances, circle dances, other things. Mostly at a walk, or slow skip. It was fun, and everyone could dance. (The average age at the Swedish institute is about 85.) Then the fiddlers started playing the more complicated polska, and one of the Umeåans asked me to dance. I had been paying attention and thought I could do it. The amount of spinning was incredible and I couldn't get my feet quite right as I orbited around my partner. He'd make these involuntary sounds and the end of each revolution as my feet got tangled up, "argh!" in English, "ärgh" in Swedish. I just could NOT quite get it right, and got dizzier and dizzier. I'm sure the polska is part of the training for the Swedish astronaut program. Then another one of the dancers invited me to schottische. Piece of cake, I thought. Miss Feldman had taught the whole class of 7th grade girls in ill-fitting blue gym suits to schottische, and I could remember the basics. One, two, three hop. One, two, three hop. Ha! More spinning! I was hanging on for dear life, and I'm sure my partner felt like he was Tarzan wrestling an alligator in death roll.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wine, Women and Capri Pants

This weekend was the Carlos Creek Winery Grape Stomp. The photo shows the winery in the middle of the picture, surrounded by the white fence, and in the background is Lake Ida, so it's just a hop, skip and a jump away from our place. But not within crawling distance. Thousands (no kidding!) of middle aged women in capri pants descend on the place for live music, shopping craft booths, eating and drinking wine. Lots of them are yelling "Whoo Hoo" at random times during the day. I'm not sure why, besides the effects of the wine. We ended the evening next door, with a potluck and some more fun with the neighbors and friends. I haven't posted much lately because: A. My camera is on the fritz, and B. School started.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Mellow Day

Chuck's been grilling and putting Caribbean Jerk sauce on everything lately. Here he's grilling chicken and some banana peppers I'm growing this year. The cat actually doesn't mind a little jerk sauce on her share, although we try to avoid giving any to her - I read somewhere that cats don't feel spicy food because they are carnivores, and peppers developed their heat to keep away the herbivores. We had a Lake Ida day today - took a long walk, deflated all the floaties, organized the garage, enjoyed a long boat ride around the lake, kayaked, put the paddle boat away. It seems we spent half the summer getting ready to play on the lake, and those hot days never came. No, there were 2 of them. Now we're putting the lake toys away. Here's some video taken on the north side of Pilgrim's Point. We'd just gone around the sandbar into the bigger part of the lake. It was a relaxing day.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Late Summer

We went for a walk down Sahara Lane this morning, and it was a cold clean Canadian wind coming off of the lake. Goldenrod is blooming everywhere, so allergy sufferers are in misery.

But not the bees.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Acorn Season

We've been shoveling acorns at home, swept from the patio and driveway. It was a bumper crop this year. That's supposed to predict a hard winter, but probably just is an indication that the pollinization of the acorns last spring went well.

Here at Lake Ida, I was watching this little squirrel go around the yard and bury acorns for later in the winter. It's so cute how they pat down the soil with their little paws after they finish burying one.

Friday, August 21, 2009


It's fun to walk through the yard now, with all this rain, the frogs are hopping everywhere. There was a big Northern Leopard Frog that I tried to chase down, just to take its photo for Haylie - she loves frogs. But as I chased it through the yard, and down the hill, it beat me to the lake, and disappeared into the rocks. The neighbor asked what I was doing. All of this year's tadpoles are over by the little settling pond on the other side of the road, now little frogs. I'll have to try to photograph them tomorrow maybe.
But here's a photo of a leopard frog from the internet. (When my niece Jessie was little, she thought we were calling them Leprechauns. It was so cute.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Douglas County Fair, Alexandria

The Douglas County Fair is this week. I found this great photo on the internet, showing the fairgrounds, the racetrack, at the top, Lake Cowdry on the right with Taylor and Stoney, Lake Latoka on the left, the tank farm. It's the same every year, but still fun to go and see the exhibits I've seen since I was a kid - the giant water tap under the grandstand, 4H exhibits, even the "baby rattlers" in the Viking Sportsmen's building. They are something like this, where you look into the box and see: baby rattlers. I like to stand there and watch other people fall for it.

Lake Ida August Sunset

I went out in my Hobie kayak at sunset. After two days of very windy weather, it was so quiet on the the lake. Just a few fisherman, including my neighbor Duane and his kids.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bass Fishing and Boat Safety

We've always been more inclined to feed fish from the end of the dock than to catch them. All those odd hot dog buns and bread crusts work fine for that. Leftover leeches (that white styrofoam container in the fridge after a fishing weekend) worked great when the bass came around to see why the sunnies were so excited. So we get a little irritated when the bass boats come quietly cruising by with their electric motors, getting their lines and lures tangled in the boat lift, trying to catch our fish friends.

When we were kids, the strict rule was, SIT DOWN IN THE BOAT. The Minnesota state quarter design was criticized when it was selected because it broke two rules of safe boating. Sit down and wear a life jacket. I agree. Here's a boat going by today. One of them did catch a nice bass underneath Duane and Betty's willow tree that overhangs the water. But they released it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

August Sunrise

This is one of those days that Andrea and I used to get up and just put on our swimsuits. No point in picking out any other outfit, until we were waterlogged and sun-soaked. It's coffee time on the dock.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Taryn's Class Reunion

Chuck and I never seem to be in a photo together, so before the class reunion, since we were presentable, was a good opportunity.

Jody and I greeted people at the door. It was a fun time.

Friday, August 7, 2009


The great thing about being at Lake Ida is that there are always new nature things to see. My Wildlife of North America book really gets a workout. I woke up to this bird yesterday morning. I had never seen this type of bird up close before, and thought it was so strange - it sat there with its wings open to the morning sun. Later I went down on the dock, and my kayak and the platform were covered in bird ock (as my mother used to call it). Then I find these two quotes online:
"The cormorant's feathers lack oil for waterproofing, which enables it to swim underwater, propelled by its webbed feet. Because its feathers get wet, cormorants are frequently seen sunning on rocks with their wings outspread."
But this one was the clincher for identifying it:
"Just look for the white crap covering everything and killing the trees and you will likely find cormorants."
I had just washed my kayaks the day before. Yuck.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


The cool summer (which continues this week) has been good for the flowers. Here are some astilbe from my yard, petunias, and Canada thistle, not from my yard!

Alexandria Lake Cottages Tour

Yesterday was a field trip day. Pam, Betty and I, neighbors here at Lake Ida, went to the Lake Cottages tour, a fundraiser for Elder Network. We saw so many cute ideas and interesting things, that it's hard to remember all of them. Here was one garden idea - you'd have to have a very tolerant neighbor if this was your idea of a fence. Betty and I looked at each other and laughed. It won't be happening between our yards.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Fun at Lake Ida

We had an action-packed two weeks when the kids were here at Lake Ida!

A Rescue Mission

When Haylie was here we found a hummingbird in the grass below our little pine tree. We all looked and looked for a nest, but couldn't see any in the boughs. It must have fallen out of the nest/tree? When we found it, the poor thing could barely move. I tipped some nectar out of my neighbor's hummingbird feeder into a cup, got a straw, put some nectar in it, with my finger over the other end of the straw to keep it there. The hummingbird ate and ate, it was so interesting to see its little tongue and beak at work, just like in a flower. It perked right up, and seemed revived. We put it back in the pine tree, hoping the mother could take over, or Mother Nature. I hope Mother Nature was at her gentle best that day.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Turtle Nests and Egg Robbers

At Itasca, on the walk from the parking lot/interpretive center to the headwaters, we saw two turtle nests (snapper or painted?) right next to the path that had been robbed by??? Raccoon? Skunk? Something else?

Leaves of Three, Leave Them Be!

We went to Itasca State Park on Monday, one of our favorite Minnesota places. The Minnesota state flower, Showy Lady Slipper were in bloom - I have NEVER seen one before, and there at the bottom of the steps down to the lake from Douglas Lodge, was a nice clump of them growing by the dock area. It also must be a good year for poison ivy. It was everywhere! We had to warn Odd, Helma and Roy about the dangers of it! It looks pretty benign, doesn't it? We walked across the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Here's Roy with the young Mississippi River in the background.

Friday, July 3, 2009

I'm running a chipmunk sanctuary . . .

My neighbors on each side of me have an unnatural fear of the little rodents and kill them at every opportunity, but I like chipmunks. It's really hard to keep my lip zipped.
Today I was sweeping my front step, and when I moved the decorative birdhouse Tracy gave me, I noticed that it was gnawed around the hole, leaves rustled inside, and a little chirp came from inside the hole. I peeked in and there was a little chipmunk living in there. I'll have to move it into the shade a bit more.