Thursday, January 31, 2013

Waterhole #3

Do you remember that movie?  It is one of my favorite westerns.  It stars James Coburn and Carroll O'Conner (All in the Family).  A wonderfully funny, PG rated, family movie.  They don't make those anymore.


I was just reminded of it because I am posting a photo of Watercolor #4.

I learned that I should have painted my pale yellow wash, showing the light from the sunset first, then let it dry and add the mastik, so that the sunlight reflects on the edge of the trees.  

The Essential - in January.

January is the month to start new things.  Why not?   There's nothing else to do.  This morning I transplanted my four Red Robin tomatoes into 8' pots as they are starting to bloom.


I decided to eliminate my Last Chance Diet blog as I don't want to spend that much time on the Internet.  I also deactivated my Facebook page.  I am working on eliminating the non-essential things in my life.   Whoa!

This means that I may really bore you from time to time with some of my healthy eating, watercolor painting, exercise logs, playing music with the band, or gardening posts.

To help promote my goal of  lowering my high blood pressure and cholesterol, my focus for the last three weeks has been positive thinking.  The plan was to only have one goal to focus on at a time.  The reasoning here is that if you set too many goals, you will give up.

"Success is getting what you want.  Happiness is wanting what you get."
Dale Carnegie

With that in mind I will tell you that I am on Day 2 of something called the DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).  This healthy eating diet is promoted by the American Heart Association.  It is their new low-carb version of  eating healthy, which is exactly what I was looking for.  I am a protein girl!  What Nebraskan is not?  I am trying to eat less meat, but I have had no luck becoming a vegetarian.  "Where's the beef?"

Exercise. Ugh! OK now.  Think positive.  Exercise is awesome.  It feels great once you are done.  It's a good thing! 

I am very fortunate that Mandolin Ann has lent me her extra Nordic Track.

I don't know if I told you, but I am not athletic.  That means I have have no athletic ability.  None. Zip.  Zero.  Will fall down and look stupid attempting any sport.  It has taken me a week of getting on the Nordic Track to be able to actually use both my arms and legs at the same time.  Thank God there is no video.  These are not positive thoughts, but I turned them around and kept trying.  I told myself every day, "You can do this".

Notice that I published this photo very small.

What else?

The Krewe of Cougar Creek has been practicing like crazy every Sunday to get ready for our Mardi Gras gigs.  We are really looking forward to playing at the Outskirts Marketplace Cafe and of course, our own Mardi Gras event on Old Cougar Road.

One last thing.  Where else could you live and be so lucky as to have a place to go practice drawing and learn to paint?  On Friday mornings, Kallie, at the Outskirts, hosts a drawing session.  Anyone can join in.  Plus our very talented neighbor, Kathy, has been teaching us how to paint with watercolors.

This is my latest watercolor project.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

It's White Here!

Eight inches of fresh snow yesterday.  It snowed all day long and into the evening.  Yes, we had to get plowed out.  We had to shovel the porch, the walk, and the path to the basement.  OKC Malcom was here to help.  The temperature in OKC yesterday was 70 degrees.  Shoveling the snow was a real treat for him.

Retired Mountain Man had to go clean the snow off of the satellite dishes.  On his snow shoes.

Monday, January 28, 2013

It's Still January?

I'm not sure why but this month has seemed like a long one.  Maybe it's the snow.  I woke up to more snow this morning.  The heavy, wet kind and wished it would all melt. 

This photo of the Flathead River in Montana shows just a dusting of snow.  That would be nice.  There is no dusting of snow here.  We have the kind that is here to stay.  

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Happy 89th Birthday to Griz Eileen!

 Anyone who is celebrating an 89th birthday should have a flaming Baked Alaska for dessert!

You should know that she started her day with 20 minutes of aerobic exercise, which she does four days a week.  She also walks a mile every day.  I think she could keep up with her Rocket Man, great-grandchild.  He raced around this train for more than an hour.  Up and down the train slide and all over it as the rest of us sat and ate lunch.

We went to the Blue Canyon for dinner and yes, it was a very nice meal and evening!

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hoar Frost

If you enlarge this photo, you can see the hoar crystals.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Our first press!

Whoo hoo!  Our gig at the Outskirts Market Place in Hope made The River Journal

Kathleen Huntley wrote the story and took the photos.  We are all very excited to officially be a "band".  After all, once you are in the newspaper, you are real, and it is true?  Correct?

Dancing Mandolin Gal and Mandolin Ann singing Sister Kate.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thank you, Elton John.

Yesterday I received a package in the mail from the Hamilton Burkharts and there they were!  The most beautiful pair of sunglasses I have every seen.  I have always wanted a pair of these (or something similar).  They are perfect!

Every keyboard player should have a pair of these sunglasses.  How do you think they look with my purple boa? 

When you to  New Orleans.........There is one problem and that is, I can't whistle worth a hoot or a  "whttttt"!

This is a song by Professor Longhair, "Go To the Mardi Gras".

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Painting in watercolor is like walking a tight-rope; one must achieve a perfect balance between what the paint wants to do and what the artist wants to do, or all is lost.
Mary C. Taylor, Watercolor Bold and Free
This quote is exactly how I feel about painting with watercolor.  I had previously thought that painting should be a relaxing hobby, but it is not.  I find that I have a very intense focus the entire time I am painting.  The house could be burning down and I wouldn't notice.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Frosty the friendly ghost.

It's snowing like crazy this morning.  The temperature is little bit warmer.  20.8.

This is what's left of Frosty.

The bad news is the forecast predicts the cold to hang around here for at least a week.  Bummer!  The good news, I will have more time for music and art and reading good books. (and exercise)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Brrr! It's too cold!

 Low of 18.5 degrees!

Yes, I know it's colder than that in Wisconsin, but anytime the temperature falls below 25 degrees, it's too cold for me.  I want warm.  Plus, the fire burned down to a few coals and I am having to rebuild it this morning.   On positive side of things, our wood furnace that would keep a Walmart store warm, will heat up the house soon.  Actually, the fan just came on as I am typing this blog.  That means the fire is blazing and the house will be warm in a few minutes.

Let's dream of summertime.  How about a photo of the falls in the summer?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Green's Falls 2010

Three years ago on January 15, 2010 (  updated, thanks to OKC Malcom :)  ), we hiked to Greens's Falls with Neil and Ann.  The winter had been so warm that there wasn't much snow.  The last three winters have been fairly mild although we did have snow and very cold temperatures at times.  This weekend we are at the beginning of a cold snap that is supposed to give us a low temperature of 12 tonight. 

I think there is enough snow on the ground this year that it would be very difficult to hike to the falls this year. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

It's time to snuggle up! It's going to get very cold here!

I posted a few days ago about our chimney fire.  It happened the day after New Year's Day.   We called the chimney cleaners and the man on the phone explained that when you have a chimney fire, the creosote on the chimney walls burn like one of those "snakes" that kids burn on the 4th of July.  It puffs up and expands and blocks the chimney, which is exactly what happened to us. 

That meant we had to heat the house with electricity for 5 days before they could get us on their schedule.  Poor Retired Mountain Man.  He could see the meter spinning as fast as it could go and he had $$$$$$$ signs in his head every night when he went to bed. 

Well,  we were finally rescued on Monday afternoon.  The All About Chimneys guys are very good at their work and very helpful.  I am so glad that Retired Mountain Man does not have to get on the roof.    Yes, there is snow up there.

 It's slippery. 

The final report was that there was no damage to the chimney.  No cracks and the chimney was the cleanest they had ever seen it.   We are happy.  We have our warm wood heat back. 

It's time to snuggle up.  Whoo hoo!

New Year's Resolutions. Do you have one?

Yes, I have one.   My resolution was to continue working on lowering my cholesterol and blood pressure to normal range levels. This has meant a major change in what I eat.  I have been doing more research on the subject and found that to increase my HDL I need to lose weight.  For approximately every 6 pounds lost you can increase your good cholesterol, HDL, by 1 point.  To lower the bad cholesterol I just need to continue to eliminate fat from my diet and increase the whole grains and fiber.

Yes, I know this is a very boring subject.  I promise this will be the only post about it on this blog.  I have started another blog for that purpose.  Actually, I started the other blog over a year ago and quit posting to it. 

So what's the point here?  Well, I have never been successful losing weight.  How the heck am I going to increase my HDL?  Diet?  Exercise?  Motivation? Discipline? I have failed in every attempt.  That is not to say that I haven't lost weight.  I have.  I am one of those people who can lose twenty pounds and then that's it!  I stop.  I exercise my brains out.  I do it every day.  It seems to take an immense amount of effort.  So, I stop doing it!  I gain it all back!  It is sooooooo frustrating.  Why is that?

I have been looking for that answer and I have decided that my New Year's Resolution is the wrong one.  I am going to make a different New Year's Resolution and put the first one on hold for 30 days.

My new resolution:  Develop Positive Thinking

I have decided that my negative thinking is what has been derailing me every time.  So I am preparing to meet this goal.  I am going to focus on this goal for 30 days and will post about it on my new/old blog.   I am hoping that after 30 days of totally focusing on this one goal, that I can then begin to focus on my next goal.

One more thing.  I am looking for someone else who might also be interested in working on this goal.   Anyone interested?


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Ah, the sweet January blah days......

The past month is now a blur.  The Christmas tree is bare and moved outside to RMN's burn pile.  I have most of the decorations in their boxes in storage until next year.  The place is almost back to normal mode.

There was so much excitement and fun this holiday.  We opened many packages, some with a lot of laughter, some were homemade goodies that we are looking forward to enjoying, and some which were practical, but needed.   All of them thoughtful gifts from family and friends. 

 Retired Mountain Man and I are lucky enough to enjoy two Christmas's.  I like to call them First Christmas and Second Christmas.  Our Second Christmas is near New Year's when the Kalispell Burkharts and the Hamilton Burkharts are here.  We draw names and have a White Elephant gift exchange which is the event we look forward to all year.   I was the lucky winner of the Rick Santorum sign.    It still had the scotch tape stuck to it so there is a good chance it was stolen from the Rick Santorum headquarters somewhere in Montana.  It's probably one of the reason's he lost the election.

Thanks to my grandson, Dylan, I also became the proud owner of a Lady Gaga singing toothbrush.

which then became the door prize at the New Year's Eve Party.  It now has a new home with the Heisel family.    (How could someone with the name, "Gaga", be called a lady?)

 We are now in the middle of what I call the "blah days".  The excitement is over.  No more Euchre hands, Settlers of Catan board games, sledding, singing, getting up early in the morning with all of my grandchildren (without mom and dad), as it's grandma time, and watching the three-year-old running around the room nonstop for..... how long can he do that without stopping? 

 No Dylan (the college student grandson), you don't have to get up with the younger ones.

That is not to say that I don't like the Blah Days.  I have time to read my new books, play my guitar and piano, bake bread, play with my watercolors and plan for the next event which is not far off.

Mardi Gras will be here on Feb. 10th.  The band has a gig on Feb. 8th at the Hope Cafe which is just over a month away.  Practice, practice, practice.  Plus, there's time to enjoy the sunrise on the mountain each morning.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Old Cougar Road Fun!

Ben's first run.

The screams and push offs!

The crash.

Oreo cookie face.
We had a wonderful time with all of the kids and our grandkids. They spent one afternoon on the sled run.  Up and down and up and down.  We warmed up by the bonfire and drank hot chocolate and ate Oreo cookies. 

Ben learned to catch a ride back up the hill.  He would lay on his back and try to catch snowflakes on his tongue, and said, "I love you snow, I love you trees, I love you sky!"  I think he liked his first time on Grandpa and Grandma's sledding hill.

Baby It's Cold Outside!

Brrr!  The temperature this morning is 12.6.  Unfortunately, we had a chimney fire yesterday and now the chimney is clogged with burnt creosote.  We are hoping that the chimney sweep will be here today to clean it out so that we can build a fire in our wood furnace.  In the meantime we are heating the house with electric heat.  It is just not the same.  It is not "warm" like wood heat is.

I am patiently waiting for our January thaw.