23 July 2014

Downsize dare

See more of my photos


Ready for a dare?
I dare you to walk into your garage (or barn, or storage area) and look around. How much is in there that you haven't used in a year -- or more?

I dare you to look into the rooms in your house where you rarely go (guest room, any formal dining or living areas) How much is in there that rarely gets used?

I dare you to look outside and evaluate what you do and do not use. Patio furniture (isn't that an Irish name?) gardens and lawn that you maintain but don't do anything else with?

Surprised?
I was surprised when I did this at our house and we have moved a lot since 2011 and downsized every time. Even with all that, I still had a lot of stuff that I don't use. How did  your tour work out?

Now look at what you do use
Everyday I'm in the bathroom using the shower, toilet, sink - yes, you may count a bathtub if that is your preference. In the kitchen I use the stove, oven, refrigerator, microwave, coffee pot, dishes, silverware. I have one chair I really like to sit in to read or watch television and I like the round kitchen table that doubles as work space by day and dinner space by night. I use the bed and it is tall and easy to get in and out of. What are your daily items?

How much are you using?
So here we are doing the math again. Are you using 20% of what you own or is it even less than that? I'm still working on less-is-more and I keep trying to find ways to help my brain let go of more and more things. This was an eye-opener and I see opportunities to let more things leave the constraints of our small house.





14 July 2014

Black Beauty Breed a documentary for dog lovers



Black Beauty Breed - Trailer 1 from Angie Ruiz on Vimeo.


Minnesota dog lovers get ready for a special one-night-only screening of Black Beauty Breed, a documentary for dog lovers on Thursday 17 July 2014. This documentary by filmmaker Angie Ruiz is being hosted by the Landmark Lagoon Cinema for the film’s Minneapolis Premiere.

Black Beauty Breed is a documentary about the Rottweiler, one of the oldest dog breeds with a heritage that can be traced back to ancient Roman times. Loyal, highly intelligent and courageous, the modern Rottweiler is often misunderstood and Black Beauty Breed aims to bring viewers closer to the dog behind the perceived and sometimes intimidating image of the dog. The film highlights the positive character traits and inherent working ability of the Rottweiler.

Heartwarming, inspiring and uplifting, the film articulates the universal themes of love, resilience and the deep connection that humans can form with their dogs. It is beautifully put together and is sure to open hearts and change minds about the wonderful breed.

The screening is open to the public and general admission tickets are $12.00. You may purchase your tickets on-line for the 7:30 PM showing on Thursday 17 July 2014 screening. The Landmark Lagoon Cinema is located at 1320 Lagoon Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55408

Check out the trailer at Vimeo

In addition to this documentary, Ruiz is an actress and producer, known for Flashbacks of a Fool (2008), La milonga (2008) and Surf School (2006). Her first time on the big screen was in a featured role with Minnesotan, Josh Hartnett, in the romantic comedy 40 Days and 40 Nights (2002). The scene was recently played in E! Entertainment's 101 Sexiest Movie Scenes of All Time.

08 July 2014

Foamy the rabid watermelon

Okay, it probably doesn't have a mouth, but it still looks pretty impressive -- almost enough for a really tacky B horror movie.

I bought the watermelon at a local fruit and vegetable stand and all looked well as I set it on the counter to be sliced into easy to eat cubes. Like always, we went to bed not expecting that in the morning the watermelon would have rabies.

This is not our first encounter with watermelons that have plans other than to be eaten. When heading to a dog show in Duluth Minnesota, we had one explode all over the counter -- that was referred to as The Watermelon Incident I think this one will be called Rabid watermelon. 

Foamy the rabid watermelon

Foamy the rabid watermelon

What causes watermelons to have rabies? It happens when they are out in the sun and they begin to ferment. Pressure then builds up and it has to go somewhere so it finds the weakest point and fissures appear allowing the pressure to escape.If you get a watermelon that foams, you should probably pass on eating it.

How do you pick a good watermelon? The Farmer's Almanac has some great tips on ripeness guide when to harvest pick.

Watermelon

A ripe watermelon should have a symmetrical body shape, a buttery yellow underbelly, and a skin that's neither too dull nor shiny. If you're harvesting from the garden, the watermelon's ready when the stem curls and turns brown and the place where the melon touches the ground turns yellow. Rap it with your knuckles and listen for a dull, hollow sound.
 Have you had a watermelon incident or your very own Foamy the Watermelon?




29 June 2014

Best Cities for Dog Friendly Vacations


Thank you so much GoPetFriendly for providing this great information! Where are you going with your pets?


Eight U.S. Cities Take Top Dog in 2014 Annual Reader Survey

June 20, 2014 – GoPetFriendly.com, the premier pet travel website, announced today the Top U.S. Cities for Dog Friendly Vacations, according to their annual reader survey. For dog lovers nothing is better than finding the perfect vacation spot - one that goes beyond just tolerating dogs, and instead welcomes them with open arms! According to GoPetFriendly.com users, these eight dog friendly destinations lead the pack.

“Our mission is to make traveling and vacationing with pets easier and more enjoyable,” said Amy Burkert, founder of GoPetFriendly.com. “By highlighting destinations that have proven themselves to be dog friendly, we hope to encourage more people to include their dogs in their vacation plans.”

Whether the ideal dog friendly vacation includes hiking in the mountains or lounging on the beach, each of the winning getaway locations provide plenty of canine-approved activities:


By land or sea, this quaint fishing village has something for everyone. See Acadia National Park from its 165 miles of dog friendly hiking trails and carriage roads, check out the huge dog park with a swimming pond, or climb aboard for a dog friendly schooner cruise or whale watch. No matter what you choose, this city is a dog lover’s dream!

The 51 miles of trails in town and thirteen off-leash areas give dogs plenty of space to romp. Dubbed “Beer Town USA” for its surprising abundance of world-class breweries, the 10 Barrel Brewing Company is a top choice for tasty pub food on the dog friendly patio. And at the end of the day, the welcome mat will be rolled out for the entire family at The Riverhouse Hotel.

Dog friendly beaches stretch for miles, and the paved Loggerhead Bike Trail running the length of the Cape is great for walking, jogging, or biking. For stunning views of the bay, stroll the BayWalk Trail, and water lovers can charter a dog friendly boat for a day of deep sea fishing. For more tips and things to do, stop by the Gulf County Welcome Center – it’s pet friendly, too!

With an off-leash, white sand beach that most dogs only dream about, top-notch pet friendly hotels, more than a dozen mouth-watering restaurants that welcome doggy diners, and an eclectic variety of shops and boutiques to peruse, what more could a dog ask for? It’s no wonder this was GoPetFriendly.com reader’s top choice in the 2013 Best City for Pet Travelers! 

Getting there may be half the fun on Cape Air, which welcomes pets in the cabin for just $10 each way – or take the ferry, where pets ride for free. No matter how you arrive, windswept beaches and blinking lighthouses await. All but two of the public beaches welcome dogs, but Steps Beach and Nobadeer Beach offer the perfect space for playing a game of fetch or frisbee! 

There are 26 dog bakeries in Portland! And when it’s time to burn those calories off, head over to Forest Park, flanking the hills on the west side of the city and boasting more than 70 miles of hiking and walking trails – or visit the International Rose Test Garden and walk amongst the 650 luscious rose varieties. Then relax at the extraordinarily dog friendly RiverPlace Hotel.

When it’s time to play, there are plenty of dog friendly beaches and off-leash dog parks to choose from. Decide to stay? The historic Hotel del Coronado now welcomes small pets, and for those with bigger dogs, the Loews Coronado Bay Resort will make your entire family feel right at home.

Vermont’s only national park, the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park offers 20 miles of dog friendly carriage roads and trails crisscrossing its 550 acres. For a sample of the award-winning cheddar and maple syrup that make Vermont famous, visit Sugarbush Farm, where dogs are welcome on leash to walk through the maple trees. And pet travelers are drawn to the area’s charming lodgings like the dog friendly Kendron Valley Inn, set on 11 idyllic acres.

When it comes to planning a pet-friendly trip, GoPetFriendly.com has it all. From pet-friendly hotels and campgrounds, to beaches and off-leash parks where your dog can run - even veterinarians, pet supply stores, restaurants, and wineries – you’ll get the scoop on more than 60,000 pet friendly locations across North America! All the information pet parents need while traveling across the US and Canada is here, including 20,000 consistent, detailed pet policies from hotels and campgrounds, nearly 200 dog friendly destination guides, and a pet-focused Road Trip Planner. Along with the essential advice provided by true pet travel experts, GoPetFriendly.com makes preparing for trips and traveling with pets easy, convenient, and fun. www.gopetfriendly.com

25 June 2014

We don't use 80% of what we own

The Cottage via iPhone after sunset


I'm guessing we are a little better than 80% in our house, but we've been working on it since 2006 when my father died and that motivated me to start going through my things. Once we came face-to-face with the Great American Deception of home ownership, I learned that we had way too much stuff.

Have you ever wondered if your house wasn't clean enough or organized enough? Well welcome to the USA! Apparently about 84% of people are worrying about the same thing.

One thing I've learned from living smaller and smaller is that less stuff means I'm less stressed. (Your experience may vary...)
  • I've found that getting rid of things makes me appreciate what I have left even more. Start by deciding why you are doing the declutter, it will help you get through the process. Really want to get serious about getting rid of things, try 100 Reasons to Get Rid of It - Recipes, Crafts, Home Décor and More | Martha Stewart
  • Don't organize it, get rid of it! Start by being brutally honest about what you need or don't need. Sort through and purge the unwanted and unused but don't get all mushy about things -- most things don't need to take up space in your life.
  • Decluttering forces us to confront our bad habits -- do you have unused things that still have tags on them? Be tough and get rid of anything that's no longer meaningful or necessary in your new reality. 
  •  Get a clutter buddy and let them physically handle the items while you decide. Yes, this actually works! If you hold things to decide, you'll end up wanting to keep them... weird I know, but it's science. 
  • Big pile first. Put all the things that are going into a big division first and then sort from there into give, sell, trash. (Remember even people that have very little don't want your worn out crap.) This is not a chance to bring things back into play, everything must go! Once that has happened, you can re-organize what is left. (Don't be afraid if there are empty spaces now, it really is okay.) 
  • Digital declutter. Now is your chance to unsubscribe from unwanted email newsletters, delete old documents that you no longer need and organize photos and important paperwork into labeled folders. Bloggers "The Minimalists" recommend deleting any files that you haven't used in six months. You can also further reduce physical clutter by digitizing CDs, DVDs, photo collections, important documents and more.(Notice I said "you" because I still struggle with some of this... genealogy junkie and photographer.)
  • This is a great time to change your perspective. Everything you own, how you choose to spend your time, your hobbies and pursuit of happiness will all reflect your choice to live more simply. I've found it wonderful and I hope you will too, and yes I will talk you through it. 

26 May 2014

Book Review: Michelin Cuba Like a Local

Michelin CubaMichelin Cuba by Michelin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My parents were on vacation in Cuba when Castro took over, and I have always wanted to get there to retrace their steps.

Good tips and information on how to travel like a local -- always a preferred way for me as I like to get to know and photograph the people, animals and places to fully experience the locales.

Written by Peter Greenberg, the information is presented in a logical and informative way with tips that will be helpful to enjoying more than just "touristy" destinations. Of course I would prefer LOTS of images, but I can forgo that for the great information provided.

View all my reviews

19 May 2014

Book Review: Michelin The Caribbean Like A Local

Michelin the Caribbean Port CitiesMichelin the Caribbean Port Cities by Michelin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love to read travel books and having been in the Caribbean on a number of occasions, I found this book to have some good tips and insights. The Michelin books in this series have images in the front and then lots of text to help you plan a trip the will be memorable.

Written by Peter Greenberg, the information is presented in a logical and informative way with tips that will be helpful to enjoying more than just "touristy" destinations.

View all my reviews

14 May 2014

Book review: Michelin New Orleans Like a Local

Michelin New OrleansMichelin New Orleans by Michelin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love to read travel books and then see how a trip will come together. There are images in the front of this book that are nice, then the information about what to see and do in the Crescent City. I would prefer to see more images, but I always prefer to see more images.

Although not written by a local, the tips are helpful and will give you a sense of what to do if you were a local. Combine this with other travel tips and chatting up the locals and you'll have a great trip.

View all my reviews

29 April 2014

You can't take it with you



What is this world all about? David Brooks shares some thoughts about living for your résumé or living for your eulogy.

I've been to some trainings where they ask you to imagine your funeral. Take a moment to imagine yours. Who do you see there? What is the mood of the room? Lots of people or very few people? What would be said in your eulogy? Will your eulogy cover your résumé skills or will it be about how you touched the lives of those around you?

If you haven't done this exercise, it may be a real eye-opener. Take a little time and write down how you would like to be remembered, not necessarily how someone else would write about you. Is your eulogy looking like you want your life remembered? If not, what changed do you need to make today so it looks like you want it to?






27 April 2014

What do I do with all my stuff?



I still thing I have too much stuff. Less than some and more than others, but still not quite to my Zen of Goldilocks "just right" amount. I'm continuing to work on paring down to the most beloved items and have some thoughts on getting there -- imagine that!

Emotional Ties
My downsizing came with steamer trunks full of baggage -- and actually probably all people have those same trunks, just filled with different baggage from different roads traveled. Are you attaching emotional meaning to material things? The tick may be to pare down while not assigning emotional value to material things. Yes, I'm still working on that piece!

Discriminating tastes
This is your chance to play curator of your collection. Hopefully that makes it feel a bit more exciting! Downsizing is different for everyone, and your baggage may be the size of a Baggie or a steamer trunk or a 5,000-square-foot-house. The piece to becoming successful may be reframing what you are seeing in your world.

Mirror, mirror on the wall... 
Now is your chance to look at yourself and consider your life -- yes, this can be challenging, but it will be worth it. (Don't be surprised if you see a need for change, that is not unusual.)
  • Is your stuff a reflection of who you are? (What labels are you portraying? Spouse, child, mother, cook, fill-in-the-blank...) 
  • Do you need your things to remind you of who you are? 
  • Are you keeping things to show other people who you want them to think you are? 
  • Is it time to change some assignments? If you are looking at donate/toss/keep are you also looking at removing emotional ties (sometimes baggage) from items?
This is hard!
It sure is! Downsizing involves working through a lot of emotions, and sorting through the steamer trunks in my life is still challenging. Every single time I sort through a new box is still challenging -- more now that I am getting down to the nitty gritty with mostly things that I really care about. Now is the time to decide how I will curate and display my most treasured possessions in a way that is a true reflection of my life and my relationships. Wish me luck!

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

25 April 2014

Book Review: White Cargo: The Forgotten History of Britain's White Slaves in America by Don Jordan

White Cargo: The Forgotten History of Britain's White Slaves in AmericaWhite Cargo: The Forgotten History of Britain's White Slaves in America by Don Jordan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

White Cargo: The Forgotten History of Britain's White Slaves in America was a good resource for my research into the connection between Britain and Barbados.

I'm currently piecing together the story of my 8th great-grandfather and his journey from Lord of the Manor to slave on a sugar plantation in Barbados to land owner in the USA. It was quite an adventure, and I am reading lots of books about the white slave trade.

As a child, I recall learning about slaves being kidnapped from their native lands, shipped in disease ridden cargo holds, traded and sold like animals, and then forced with brutality and whipping to work on plantations. It never crossed my mind that one of my ancestors would have the same fate and arrive at it from Great Britain. (Time for a learning moment: What is the difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and England?)

This book will help you understand the many layers of slavery and will likely surprise you -- for example, the slave trade was made to look good, and when more labor was needed, it expanded to include all kinds of people being shipped off. My ancestor would have been one of those, and he was one of the 25 people that lived through the cargo hold passage and when he emerged in Barbados was sold on the docks for sugar. The slave trade was a huge money maker.

Some of the "bad guys" include founders like George Washington, and they don't come out well in their portrayals, on the other side of the ocean, Sir John Popham and Oliver Cromwell come off worse. I was happy to see that Benjamin Franklin is one of the few good guys.

For my purposes there are lots of sources and footnotes that helped me find even more materials to use in my research. I liked the book, and appreciate the research the authors put into writing it. For some it may be a bit like eating sand -- dry. For history buffs and those with a passion for genealogy, it is full of helpful tidbits.




View all my reviews

23 April 2014

John Chilcote - Lord of the Manor, prisoner, slave, landowner

James Scott 1st Duke of Monmouth

What an interesting life my 8th great-grandfather lived. I am now piecing together information about the historical significance and collecting any documentation that I am able to track down. I am so thankful for the assistance of Andrea Stuart and her wonderful book Sugar in the Blood for starting me on the quest. (I posted about the book here: Riley Rants - Licking Calcutta: Sugar slavery and the Lord of the Manor)

I've always loved history and thought I had a pretty fair understanding of United States history, but as it turns out this newest information about John Chilcote has opened my eyes to an entirely new chapter in that history.

What happens when you discover that one of you ancestors was sold at dockside for sugar? You start researching like a crazy fool in every spare moment. You start reading books and searching for information about sugar plantations, Barbados, British uprisings, British prisons and prisoners, what it means to be Barbadosed, what slaves lived like in Barbados, how a Lord becomes a slave on a sugar plantation. Wow, there may be a film in this tale!

One thing I want to share with other Chilcote / Chilcoat family researchers is what it might have been like to live in Barbados working on a sugar plantation. Here's a little of what I have garnered so far.
  • Conditions were atrocious for both slaves and indentured servants 
  • Barbados was a penal colony, but was never called that at the time 
  • 1642 sugar can farming was up and running 
  • 1644 roller mills could turn 50% of weight cane into liquid 
  • Kill Devil is what rum was called 
  • African slaves weekly food portions consisted of a bunch of plantains 
  • Bond slaves fared a bit better and got potatoes, Indian corn and occasionally beans 
  • 1685 Monmouth's Rebellion
  • The term "Red-Legs" refers to the blistering sunburns the Irish field workers -- cannot imagine how bad that would have been
I found a great deal of information about what the island life might have been like in A True and Exact History of the Island of Barbadoes and you'll be able to do some snooping around for free if you click on the link.

Want to learn more about Barbados history and genealogy, check out The Barbados Museum & Historical Society

Thanks for stopping past and taking a moment to look at this blog.



21 April 2014

Book Review: Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte

Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the TimeOverwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this book, and really liked the Appendix: Do One Thing section, so many tips and thoughts to consider there.

The book is well written and documented and was easy to get through -- which is good because I got it from the library and there is a big waiting list so no leisurely reading.

Good for caretakers, parents and those that are always full-tilt busy. Time for a change, and this book is a great place to start.

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19 April 2014

Jesus was a radical man


Jesus wanted to reverse social order.

I listened to Reza Aslan on MPR this week and he calls Jesus 'most interesting person who ever lived' and he shared his scholarly insights on Minnesota Public Radio News.

Not certain Jesus was looking to reverse social order? Take a look at these Beatitudes, and then take a moment to think if this looks like modern Christianity.  

The text of St. Matthew runs as follows:
Thanks for stopping past.

Reza Aslan on The Daily Show


17 April 2014

Book Review: Non-Stop: A Turbulent History of Northwest Airlines by Jack El-Hai

Non-Stop: A Turbulent History of Northwest AirlinesNon-Stop: A Turbulent History of Northwest Airlines by Jack El-Hai
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Red Tails -- living in Minnesota, we all understood how those tails impacted our economy and airline pricing.

“Non-Stop: A Turbulent History of Northwest Airlines”, author Jack El-Hai gives an overview into the history of the Minnesota-based airline from the 1926 mail carrier days to the 2010 merger with Delta Airlines.

I wasn't sure where to categorize this book. It isn't all images, but it also isn't an in0depth history of the airlines. The images are wonderful and the brief stories are good at giving a little bit of the history without being as dry as eating sand.

This is not a promotional book to show how wonderful NWA was -- which is good, because the company had some less than stellar historical moments. Covered are crashes, labor issues (think of all those pickets on your way to get on a plane), bankruptcy (did they ever pay that back to the State of Minnesota), and one of my favorites that I had forgotten was tied to NWA, Dan D.B. Cooper hijacking one of their airplanes.

If you are looking for an interesting overview of the heydays of flying with a some historical information to flesh out the images, this is the book for you.



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16 April 2014

Is it worth it to show the dogs?


http://rileyphoto.zenfolio.com/

I love my dogs, and this collage is just one moment in so many joyful times I spend with the dogs. In addition to loving spending time with them, I like to show them too. The dogs enjoy going to shows too, but is it worth it?

In January 2014, Minnow earned his AKC Rally Obedience RN title and that was a great weekend. Now I am trying to decide if I want to show the dogs in conformation shows this year. (It may seem late to some folks, but we have crappy weather and very few shows after the big January show.)

So here are the questions
  1. Is it worth showing if these dogs will likely never earn a championship? There just aren't enough dogs out there showing and I don't have the right mix to create my own major points at an AKC dog show. 
  2. Do I really need more ribbons? When we were moving, and moving, and moving, I finally decided that most of the ribbons could go, and there is really no reason to have more ribbons. I did keep the Best in Show and High in Trial rosettes, but have no plan on keeping anything less than that unless I need them as proof of titles (see #1). 
  3. Is my expendable income best spent showing Chinooks? Let's imagine a two-day show where I would enter all three dogs. Entry fees roughly $75-90/day, $150-180 per weekend. Next show I'm looking at is in Minnesota and if gas doesn't increase too much it will cost me about $75 in fuel. Weekend of collecting ribbons = $225-255. Hmm. 
Would love your thoughts. 







15 April 2014

From the manor-born to sugar slavery

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/49/The_only_known_example_of_an_original_%27Monmouth_Cap%27%2Cdating_from_the_16th_century.jpg


Imagine yourself on a hot, tropical island working sugar cane fields in the blazing sun with only this wee woolen cap to protect you from the sun. My 8th-great-grandfather would likely have been wearing one of these -- if he were that fortunate -- as he toiled away in the cane fields of Barbados.

How did this Lord of the Manor end up being sold into slavery in Barbados? Well, there was that pesky business of not liking how the royals were lining up...

John Chilcote II participated in the 1685 Monmouth Rebellion in England against King James II. The Duke of Monmouth was an illegitimate son of English King Charles II and soon after his birth both Monmouth and his mother were banished from England. Later the Duke returned and became a prominent Protestant political figure--some believed he might inherit the English crown after his fathers' death. On July 6, 1685 Monmouth's Army was completely defeated on the Plain of Sedgemoor, Somerset. The Duke fled but was soon caught and beheaded. 

As a Monmouth follower, Chilcote was captured and his property confiscated. From there he went to Bridgewater Prison. Several hundred prisoners were executed and about eight hundred were deported to the West Indies to be sold as servants for a period of 10 years, more than twice the normal time period,  (mostly to work in the sugar plantations).

John Chilcote II was consigned to Sir William Booth on 25 Sep 1685 after being held in Bridgewater Prison. He was delivered to Captain William Stokes of the ship John Friggot of Bristol on 24 Oct 1685. Chilcote arrived at Barbados on 28 Jan. 1685. (Julian calender) Of the one hundred prisoners on this ship, only seventy-five survived the voyage.

Most likely, John Chilcote II, would have been auctioned in exchange for sugar as soon as he got off the ship, and was committed to the services of a windowed planter named Ann Gallop.

More to come as research continues to progress. Maybe there's a movie in there somewhere...




11 April 2014

Purge - 7 steps to reduce stress when moving

I was reading through my e-mails today and in there was this  article 7 Ways To Reduce Stress During A Move | Trulia Tips and I thought how do these things apply to me even if I'm not (hopefully) moving for a while. (P.S. the 7-steps are on the linked article, not here, we'll just be talking about how less is more and purging.)

One of the biggest things I have learned from the various moves over the years is how having less makes life much simpler. I've been subscribing to the sell, toss (or recycle), donate, keep theory for years, and keep trying to protect my skills. Now that we have been in the small house for 6-months, I am comfortable tackling some of the unpacked boxes from the move -- confident that we will be here at least 6 more months.

I'm finding it a little daunting to actually unpack some of the boxes because they contain things from my parent's house, and I'm having a harder time deciding what to do with those items than any other things I have gone through since 2008. Obviously they are only things, but it is challenging to let them go.

I've also got boxes and boxes and boxes of photos that should be sorted and scanned. Many to add to genealogy / family history information. As a history buff, I will now implore you to write the names of people and places in pencil on your images while someone still recalls the people. Here a tidbit from the National Archives Captioning Photographs Take a look at the links to the left on the page to see more preservation techniques.

Thank you for stopping past and taking a look at my blog, I really appreciate it and hope you are at least entertained.



09 April 2014

Book Review: Mash-up!: How to Use Your Multiple Skills to Give You an Edge, Make Money and Be Happier by Ian Sanders


Mash-up!: How to Use Your Multiple Skills to Give You an Edge, Make Money and Be HappierMash-up!: How to Use Your Multiple Skills to Give You an Edge, Make Money and Be Happier by Ian Sanders
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I had high hopes for this book, but it fell a little short. Lots of name dropping used to bring their mash-up, plural living thoughts into the pages, but really light on the actual implementation.

The authors attempt to give readers an understanding of what drives them, and how to use that information to create their story and present marketable skills to the world... again, they attempt this, but it falls short. The "interviews" are predictable and when the skills "communicating ideas" and "inspiring change" are pretty generic.

I write a fair amount about careers and how to brand yourself in the marketplace, and this book would not make it onto the recommended reading list.

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07 April 2014

Nothing but the best is really less


When I was in college, studying business, I had an image of how my life might look as I got older... boy was that off! Proof that life happens while we are busy making plans.

The vision was the BIG house and all the toys that go along with that lifestyle. Now we live in a small house that my sister owns, and are applying for a grant from the City of Champlin to plant native plants and reduce our upkeep efforts outside too.

I'm enjoying looking at the image with something other than piles of snow, and then piles of melting dirty snow. Did you notice my snazzy addition of gutters and downspouts and also some trim on the garage door?

One really important piece that I have come to appreciate is that I no longer need to get other people's approval, and I am able to enjoy life a lot more after embracing that.

What were your dreams in your early 20s versus what they are now?

Frank Sinatra - Nothing but the best

05 April 2014

Kathleen Riley Photo Full Session Giveaway!



Time for a special photo session giveaway!

Not only am I giving away a session, but I'm adding up to twenty five digital images as well.

How hard is it? Not very! Once you win, all you have to do is show up and then get ready to enjoy yourself!

This giveaway is going to be using a plug in called Rafflecopter, and all you have to do is follow the instructions below to enter, right in the Rafflecopter plug in. If you can’t see the widget here, try refreshing your web browser or enter or you may enter on Facebook too.

Rules: Not too many rules -- that works best for everyone! For the FREE session, you'll need to be in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota metro area, or willing to travel here. Additional options include dog or horse events that I am attending -- see, pretty easy. I can come to you too, but you'll be covering the cost for me to travel outside the Twin Cities metropolitan area. (Yes, I'm planning on being at AKC-Eukanuba Dog Show in December.)

The giveaway starts at 12:00 AM Saturday 5 April 2014 and run until Saturday 19 April 2014 at 12:00 AM. This giveaway is run by Rafflecopter and you must sign in with your personal Facebook to complete the mandatory steps -- it's how the Rafflecopter will know you have entered. 

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Book Review: Keep Yourself In Stitches Sewing Vintage 1940s Hats, Wraps, Skirts And AccessoriesKeep Yourself In Stitches Sewing Vintage 1940s Hats, Wraps, Skirts And Accessories by Dolores Boland

Keep Yourself In Stitches    Sewing Vintage 1940s Hats, Wraps, Skirts And AccessoriesKeep Yourself In Stitches Sewing Vintage 1940s Hats, Wraps, Skirts And Accessories by Dolores Boland
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was part of the research I was using to get the right styles for a 1940s transformation photo shoot.

There were lots of illustrations, however I was challenged on the hat portion much more than the wraps, skirts and accessories. There is one wrap that could easily be used in modern setting and it was quite lovely. We even discussed how it could be used to show dogs -- retro where everything old is new again...

We had fun going through the book and then heading to a fabric warehouse to buy some textiles to fit the shoot. From there the fun began and the subsequent images will be on my web site http://rileyphoto.zenfolio.com/ so you can see if the information was helpful to us.

Worth looking through and happy to have it easily accessible at the local library.

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03 April 2014

Beers you might like to try




I've had fun touring some breweries over the years, although I am not a big beer drinker by any stretch. I did the New Glarus Brewery tour solo when I was on the road selling church directories... that's a whole 'nother story! Anywho, the tour opened early so I went and wandered around, then bought some brewery logo items and some beer to bring home and it was fun -- never be afraid to try something new, even if you are on your own. Now off to some beers you might want to try. (Prices are what these cost in Minnesota.)


Brooklyn Dry Irish Stout is a traditional Irish Stout brewed without the addition of nitrogen.  A great looking pitch black pour with a nice tan head, this beer tastes of chocolate and coffee followed by a malty sweetness, and finishing with a chocolaty-molasses treat. With an ABV of 4.7%, Brooklyn Dry Irish Stout would pair well with Corned Beef and Cabbage or any traditional Irish fare. Type: Irish Dry Stout. Cost: $7.99 / 6-pack


Great Lakes Conway’s IrishAle is a malty Irish Red Ale with notably toasty flavor from lightly roasted malt.  It has an ABV of 6.5% and would pair nicely with traditional Irish fare, or a savory pot roast dinner.  Irish Red Ale is second only in popularity to Ireland’s dry stout.  When you drink this beer, expect a big caramel introduction that is nicely balanced with hops and a hint of lemon. This beer feels creamy in the mouth and is not overly carbonated. The finish is clean, sweet and caramely and your taste buds will enjoy the experience. Type: Irish Red Ale. Cost: $8.99 / 6-pack.


Founders Imperial Stout is brewed with a variety of barley, creating a smooth, complex beverage.  It has an ABV of 10.5% and is a solid stand-alone beer. This stout offered an enjoyable pouring experience too, with a dark black body, a creamy, dark tan head and lacing and trailing as it settled into the glass. Type: Russian Imperial Stout.  Cost:  $12.99 / 4-pack


Dead Guy Ale is a deep reddish honey amber beer that is lovely to look at. It offered up toasty and malty aromas and the hops helped give a rich, well-balanced finish. This is a moderately full-bodied beer created in the style of a German Maibock. With fruity accents and a long spicy hop finish, this beer was almost bitter, but in an oddly pleasant way.  This would be a good beer to pair up with pork, spicy foods or even better, spicy pork.  Type: Maibock/Helles Bock. Cost: $12.49 / 6-pack.

Are there beers you would suggest people try? 

German beer drinking song - Zigge zagge zigge zagge hoi hoi hoi


29 March 2014

Book Review: 1940s Hairstyles by Daniela Turudich

1940s Hairstyles1940s Hairstyles by Daniela Turudich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Found this book while researching for a 1940s transformation photo shoot and found the information helpful.

There were plenty of photos and illustrations to show how to create the various styles. The make-up-artists (MUA) that came to the shoot liked the information and used some of the tips while creating the styles.

The results from the 1940s transformation shoot will be up on my photography site http://rileyphoto.zenfolio.com/ take a look and see how the information helped.

A good reference, and happy the local library carries it.

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Swing - Best of The Big Bands

 

27 March 2014

Flat surface disease

Small house kitchen via iPhone

Eighty-three inches. Just a wee bit under 7-feet. That is the total space allocated to counter tops at the new pad. 

As you can see from the image taken while we were moving in, the kitchen here is small, really small. Add to that, the door goes to the backyard and the Chinooks go through the area to get outside and it becomes ever smaller.

If you have been burdened with flat surface disease, this is a fairly quick cure to that -- at least in the kitchen. I'm discovering that everything in the kitchen space needs to have multi-purposes and it has made me better (not perfect) at putting things away and reducing paper and stuff in the living area.

How do you know if you have flat surface disease? Well, if lots of flat surfaces in your house are covered with piles of paperwork, mail, and other items, you probably have flat surface disease. You know you've got it bad when any new flat surface immediately starts getting things put on it.

A huge downside of flat surface disease is putting things onto flat surfaces and then thinking that you know where they are a moment's notice. When you put the item onto the surface, you think you'll recall where it is, but when you really need it, you'll end up going through an entire process to track it down. Remember when company came and it went into a bag, then a box, then a bigger box, then into the guest room where you stacked it on top of some others boxes...

I've got a room of boxes from the move that need to be addressed, and yes, there are some with copious amount of papers in them... that is the blessing and the curse of genealogy. Some boxes are full of photographs that need to be sorted and scanned. Who are those people that are 50-yards away from the camera lens? One of my goals is to update the family histories and put them into PDF format for family members. We'll see how that goes.

Do you have flat surface disease or have tips to share on conquering it? Let me know.


Gavin DeGraw - I Don't Want to Be