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Friday, October 31, 2014



***How are you celebrating Halloween this year?

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Samhain (prounced SOW-an) is also known as All Hallows Eve and Halloween.  Coming from the Celtic tradition, it is the last of three harvest festivals, and is the start of winter.  It is also the beginning of their new year – actually it’s both the end of the old year, as well as the beginning of the new year all at once.  Because of the slim space between that overlap, this is known as a “thin time”.

Samhain was also the time of year when the Celts would remember and celebrate their loved ones who had died.  They believed that during this thin time, the spirits of their ancestors could walk the earth and move among us.  To celebrate this event they would carve lanterns and place them outside their homes with candles in them, to light the path for these spirits as they traveled.  They would also set out food for the ancestors to nourish them on their journey.  Sound familiar?  Maybe a little bit like what we do on Halloween as we carve Jack-O-Lanterns and put they outside our homes, and hand out treats to all of the costumed “spirits” who show up at our door?  Of all of the festivals we celebrate today, our Halloween observation is the most authentic to how it was originally celebrated in ancient times.

I love the photo above, of a monument at Lakewood Cemetery, because it’s a wonderful representation of how we merge the final harvest festival, and the remembering of ancestors. Note the sheath of wheat alongside the figure on the top of the monument. 

I have a great love for genealogy, family, ancestors and history, so this is one of my favorite times of year.  It gives me a deep sense of connectedness to those who have gone before me, and is a reminder of the responsibility I have to those who will come after.


***What are some of  your favorite Halloween traditions?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


It's time to fall back.  Daylights Savings Time ends this Sunday at 2:00 am.  Don't forget to set your clocks back one hour.

***Do you like the time changes twice a year, or do you think it should         stay the same all year long?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


This has been a spectacular fall in Minneapolis.  We aren’t always this fortunate, as cold temperatures and snow can arrive early in Minnesota.  Not losing sight of what’s to come, I've been taking advantage of this glorious weather, so when my friend Alan invited me to accompany him and his family on a visit to the Minnesota Zoological Garden (the Minnesota Zoo) I jumped at the opportunity.   It had been a number of years since I had been there.

Statues of animals, cute . . . 

. . . And not so cute, greeted us at the entrance.

The penguins are always fun to watch.

Visioning for the zoo began in the 1960’s, but planning really began to take off when Dakota County donated a parcel of land near Apple Valley in 1970.  Space was now available to build the large, expanded, outdoor exhibits that they had envisioned – complete with an overhead monorail.  This was a radical concept to say the least, but the experience worked so well, that many zoos have since followed suit.

Can you find Nemo and Dory?

Busy beavers.

Conservation has been at the core of the zoo’s vision from the beginning, and they are internationally know for their work, not only in helping to maintain populations in their natural environment, but also for the care they take with their own collection.  As we know, zoos are often the last line of defense in preserving species.

"Hakuna Matata."

A trip to the Minnesota Zoological garden was the perfect way to spend a sunny, fall afternoon.  If you have the chance I encourage you to check them out.

***Where is your favorite Zoo located?

Friday, October 24, 2014


For today only, Brooks Brothers downtown, is hosting its annual Made To Measure Trunk Show!  This is just such a great event for so many reasons.  First, in addition to the dozens of fabric books Brooks Brothers normally offers, you have the opportunity to choose from ten additional specialty fabric books that are only available there today, and let me tell the choices are amazing. 

If these limited time fabrics aren’t enough to entice you, you also receive 20% off on your purchase!  Who doesn’t like that?  As always, Brooks Brothers specialists will be on hand with their expert advice to make sure that you receive the best fit possible.  That goes for sport coats and slacks, as well as suits, topcoats, and shirts. 

Ten addition specialty fabric books that are only available at the store today.

The process takes roughly six weeks from measuring to first fitting.  From there on it’s just a matter of fine-tuning the fit to create your best look.  The trunk show goes until 6:00 pm tonight so don’t waste any time getting there.  You’ll regret it if you do.

The Trunk Show gave me the chance to check out some of the new fall clothing at brooks Brothers.

Two of my weaknesses.  Socks . . .

. . . And KJP bracelets.

I really love this sweater!

***Have you ever been to a Brooks Brothers Trunk Show Event?


It’s the mid-1800’s, just before the Civil War, and we’ve just arrived up the river from St. Louis on The Gypsy steamboat.  We are the last boat that will arrive until next May, and we will be staying at Fort Snelling during that time.  On the evening of our arrival, we are being entertained by Colonel Snelling at his home, a two story house in the fort, when our evening is interrupted as the Colonel receives a note. The note informs the Colonel that Captain Griffin, the captain of The Gypsy, has been murdered.  Because of our familiarity with the Captain, we are all invited to help solve the murder.

The Adventure begins!

We met our small tour group . . .

. . . And headed towards the Colonel's house.

Colonel Snelling invites us to help solve the murder.

Residents of the fort provided information as we searched for clues.

Thus began a wonderful evening of sleuthery as we worked to solve the Murder Mystery at Historic Fort Snelling.  For the next hour or so, we were able to meet and interact with several residents of the fort as we investigated the crime, trying to solve it by the evening’s end.  (I’m pleased to say that I was the one in our group who correctly identified the murder.)

Finally, we were able to view the body.

"Who do you think committed the murder?"

The real history behind the characters and the murder is explained to us.

After solving the crime, we enjoyed warm cider around the fires. . . 

 . . . While listening to music.

Finally is was time to say good night to the fort.

No trip to Historic Fort Snelling is complete without visiting Whiskey's grave.

CSI: Fort Snelling is still going on tonight and tomorrow night, so if your looking for a fun October event, I highly suggest that you check it out. It was great way to spend an evening with friends, and was definitely a lot of fun.

The obligatory "selfie" at the fort.

***Have you ever been to a Murder Mystery event?

Thursday, October 23, 2014


I pass this wonderful, whimsical, wall on my way to work each day. 
I love how the Humpty Dumpty sculptures always manage to cheer me up, even on a cloudy, rainy, morning like today.

***What things cheer you up on your way to work?