Friday, December 28, 2007

Ignoring Travel Warnings...

Yup, we were one of those that ignored the travel warnings as we ventured out into the snow storm, early Sunday morning. We had planned to go to church, but realized this trip was going to take longer than the normal three hours to get there.

Knowing the Lord understood, we took an earlier exit, heading up to Minocqua, instead. The way things were going, we knew Christmas with family wouldn't happen for us if we didn't head east--and north to the land of snow--without stopping.

This is typical of life up in the north. Memories of traveling around through Maine in the dead of winter came to mind as we drove.

The way the snow was flying--and blowing--on the roads, many times we couldn't even see the highway! Still, I felt strangely peaceful--puzzling since white-knuckling is how I usually travel, and what my normally calm hubby was experiencing!

The snow
was dry along 29, the first part of this trip. I'm posting a lot of pictures to show how the snow and the roads changed as we traveled.

It wasn't until we passed Wausau and were north of Merrill that I started getting anxious. This is where 51 suddenly has head-on traffic. Slippery wet slushy snow now replaced the dry stuff we had left behind. This heavier snow weighed boughs of green down onto already tall white banks.
It was picturesque!

Shooting shots through foggy car windows doesn't do any of these scenes justice. But, I never gave serious thought to rolling down windows to get clearer shots. Nor was I ever tempted to traipse around in the cold, wet snow (like I had planned--what was I thinking?!?), even when we reached our destination! But I wanted to share them with you all, just the same.

It took us all but five hours to reach Minocqua from Eau Claire. The time with family, and the beautiful, striking displays from my favorite Artist were well worth it! --LKR

It's kind of ironic to me, but in Eau Claire, we have giant statues of Paul Bunyon and Babe in Carson Park. Maybe this pair is just more common up north. Anyone know???

Friday, December 21, 2007

Mary Pierce Is Coming To Town

Have you seen this lady? No, no, no. She's not missing--this is on a library return drop box. Mary Pierce will be speaking and signing her books at our local library, among many other places.

If you can't see or hear her in person, go get one of her books and read! Or read her fabulous blog! You can listen, too. It's a real treat! --LKR

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Beware So-Called "Gluten-Free" Items!!!

Today, while at Sam's Club, I avoided all of the sampling at the demo stations, as usual. Living gluten-free is not easy with gluten hidden in so many prepared foods.

One of the ladies providing these tempting treats excitedly pointed out her sampling of seasonal, gluten-free crackers. I was ecstatic and tried one with and without a (GF) salmon topping.

Suddenly, I got the funny sensation I get immediately after ingesting any gluten. Checking the box, again, I again saw it was made in the same facility where wheat is used. I continued shopping, but the sensation and discomfort only grew stronger and stronger.

Checking the box yet again, I noticed a tiny asterisk and followed it to the message it lead to. There, it declared that these crackers were made with a small amount of gluten!!! One of my doctors told me long ago that it only takes a trace amount of mere molecules to have a reaction to gluten. Molecules. But it's okay to label something gluten-free if it only has small amounts added that will make people sick. Crazy, huh? But it's legal!

At the very least, this company was honest enough to have an asterisk that pointed this truth out. Fortunately for me, I could immediately tell something was wrong and not buy the product, even if it was already too late and was reacting to it. Unfortunately, other companies may not be as gracious.

A super, reliable, well researched source on gluten sensitivity (Celiac and gluten sensitivity) that my friend has on her website can be found here:

If you're looking for a GF cookbook with really good GF recipes, check out Sueson Vess' book,
Special Eats Simple, Delicious Solutions for Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Cooking. I recently had the pleasure of feasting on her fine cuisine at a friend's wedding. Everyone I spoke to truly enjoyed the gluten-free food, even my finicky kids! Sueson, also a speaker, chef, and consultant, is located in the Chicagoland area. Her website can be found at:


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

No Cancellations!!!

The snow didn't really start flying 'til closer to 10AM. Thankfully the kids did not have a snow day, today. I personally would have been crushed! I don't know what Lizabeth, my oldest, would have done, either, if they had called off school!

Today was her field trip to the Guthrie Theater in MN. They went to see "A Christmas Carol", and were going out for fast food for a late lunch before heading home. It's about a 2 hour drive under ideal driving conditions. With all this snow, and I'm sure traffic, it's going to make for one loooong day! Fortunately, tomorrow is a day off for them!

They had a fun day at school, yesterday. Several of the teachers got dressed up as the various ghosts. Her English teacher was dressed as the Ghost of Christmas Present, carrying around boxes of food. I would have loved to have been there to see this!

If we had stayed in the Chicago area, Lizabeth would have gone into the Windy City for cultural events such as this. Growing up 45 minutes from NYC, my sister and I were also fortunate enough to have access to many museums and theaters. Even after graduating from high school and college, it was so much fun bringing visitors from all over into the city. My all time favorite haunt was the MMA (Metropolitan Museum or Art). A day was not quite enough time to see everything, especially if you wanted to spend quality time there! --LKR

Saturday, December 1, 2007

More White Fluffy Fun Stuff!

Mom was in for quite a surprise, she was. Running out the door in her shoes, holding me by my collar, she shrieked. "Waaaaait! Wait a minute! We're going back in! I need my boots!"

Well, we needed more than her boots, we did! My chain was buried under about 2 1/2" of snow, it was, so she slipped what Mom says Nagypapa called "necklaces" over my head, attached to my leash, and off we went. She grabbed her camera, of course, she did, and out into the white fluffy fun stuff we went.

Even at her age, Mom ran around the yard with me, she did. But she didn't want to for long. She does like the white fluffy fun stuff, she does, when it's falling and looks so clean and pure, she said. But not when it's mucky sloshy and slushy, or black or gray like it gets in NYC, NJ, and Chicago, she said.

It's the cold that really bothers her, it does. She told me if we ever move, she's praying it's to the tropics, she said. Wherever that is, I say.
Mom spoiled us when we got back inside, she did. After putting up water for hot chocolate, she gave me leftover rice stuffing from Thanksgiving that "needed to be eaten or thrown away", she did. I ate and was filled. I had been snacking all day, I had!

Turning on the gas fireplace, she handed me my bony bone, she did. I chewed chewed chewed, while she sipped her hot chocolatey drink. It was fun with me and Mom together until my kitty sister Rocky came out of hiding, jumping into Mom's lap. I had to one-up her, I did! I can't let my social order slip in my pack, I can't, so I tried to get into Mom's lap, too!

But I am too big, and Mom won't allow it, she won't. My brother Charlie used to curl up in her lap, he did, even when she was eight months pregnant with my sister Lizabeth. I'm only slightly larger than Charlie, I am, but Mom insists I don't know my size and am not mindful of my paws like all her other poochies.

Other poochies? She's comparing me to other poochies? Excuse me, please. I have to work on one-upping them too, I do! --Mister Poochie

White Fluffy Fun Stuff

Hi, It's me, Mister Poochie!

Alpha took my siblings to his mom's for the day, he did. They're going to help set up her Christmas tree. I want one of my very own, I do, so I don't have to go out on those really cold days and nights to water things.

Mom hasn't put any of the pretty stuff I knock around and down with my tail of cedar, she hasn't, because they celebrated Thanksgiving late, they did. Alpha was 13 hours away from home with his mom, he was, and Mom didn't want anyone to feel they missed out on what she calls a very important Christian Holiday.

But she's told me she's going to do it soon, she said, because of the long northern winters. And the cold. And that white fluffy fun stuff you all call snow. Mom sometimes refers to it as yet another four letter word, she does. I don't think she likes the white fluffy fun stuff, but I do, I do!

As a puppy, I used to run free and play in it with my puppy pals Cosmo and Cinnamon. Old timers like Louie and my older brother Charlie sometimes joined in, although Charlie would flop over, he would, sometimes.

I started getting in trouble when I began chasing cars up and down the road, I did. I also became known as "Puppy Thug" when I started stealing gloves, mittens, hats, and scarves off of my siblings, the neighborhood young ones, and people Mom always refers to as "leave it joggers". She sure knows how to spoil fun, she does!

So now I go out on my chain, and bark bark bark. I bark at the neighbor's rooster I hear in the distance. I also get a conversation going with my puppy pals. I bark at cars, bikes, and the lone skier as he goes up the big hill. And when the wind is blowing just right and I can hear them, I bark at the cows that are out grazing in their big fenced-in yard a mile away. I'd love to go play with them, I would, but Mom's never gotten me a play date, she hasn't.

Well, the white fluffy fun stuff is flying, and I need to go water something, I do. If we had an indoor tree, this wouldn't be a problem, now, would it?! --Mister Poochie