Thursday, January 31, 2008

Dog Sled Races - Part Deux

The winners are in! Bios from the Beargrease website; emphasis mine.

2008 Marathon Winner
JASON BARRON - Lincoln, Montana

Jason has a 30 year history with dog mushing starting as a five year old. He and his wife, Harmony, started their Kanabear Enterprises in 2000 and now have 45 [!] dogs in their kennel. Jason has finished 7 Iditarods [!] and Harmony has finished 3, winning the most improved musher in 2005. Their 13 month old daughter, Oksana, is already a dog lover just like mom and dad.

2008 Mid Distance Winner

Don shares a kennel with partner and wife August Galloway, who he met working at a sled dog business eleven years ago. Don works full time as a health practitioner in Virginia/Cherry, MN.

333 note cuteness!

Can't outgive a giver

Great gifts can catch one unawares.

I was given this award by Melanie at Tea Leaves and urged to pass it on. First let me tell you that Melanie is a fearless knitter, a librarian so she loves to read, and drinks tea with abandon but she raises the bar for me because she thinks and speaks and cares about the world around her. Visiting one or the other of her two blogs Tea Reads and Tea Leaves makes me happy and better for the visit. So I'm passing this on to some more bloggers who light up cyber space:

Cat at Shabby~Chic Cat's Gardening 44great photographer, Dallas Cowboy's fan and gardener in Virginia

JenLemon 44who shares her 'Journal' with inspiration, peace and photos to savor. . .plus she offered the Be Brave Project which has helped me turn over a new leaf

Tammy 44 who has a Queen-Size Funny Bone, a lovely fellow Italian, brave, funny and dog lover

Chris 44whose writing is deep and wonderful, and who is no idiot

Beatriz 44a talented expat living in Italy who shares her Suitcase Contents, the loves in her life, art, cooking and the immigrant experience

Happy to share this gift with you because you make my day!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

It only hurts when I laugh.

Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance.
yoko ono

We are in the d-e-e-p freeze here in Minnesota. As I write this afternoon the windchill temperature is -25. Regarding the first photo above, when I took Pashka out that morning it was only -13 at 7 a.m. I couldn't get my key to the building to work in the outside locks so I had to keep going around the building until I found a door that would work. In the meantime, call me a mouth breather, but even my tongue was starting to feel as if I'd burned it on some soup. Frozen nose hairs and ice cream headache weather!

Good day to stay in and watch a movie. I can now recommend another: The Namesake. This is based on the novel of the same name written by Jhumpa Lahiri about a [arranged marriage] Bengali couple who move from Calcutta to the U.S., raise their children here and the conflict therein. Lahir said about her characters' themes of alienation and displacement: “Things for which it was impossible to prepare for but which one spent a lifetime looking back at … things that should never have happened, that seemed out of place and wrong, these were what prevailed, what endured, in the end.”
Watch for the 'bridges' motif and remember, 'the greatest journeys are the ones that bring you home.'

Monday, January 28, 2008

Mush-- its not just for breakfast anymore!

Sunday we went north to Duluth to see the start of the three-day, 411 mile long John Beargrease Sled dog Marathon starting in Duluth and running three days to Grand Portage, Minnesota and back. This was the 25th running of the race (they had to cancel last year for the 1st time due to lack of snow.) The race honors the memory and spirit of Ojibwe native John Beargrease, who with his brothers was the winter mail carrier (by dog sled & row boat) between Two Harbors and Grand Marais, Minnesota during the last two decades of the nineteenth century. He was the link to the outside world to the settlements along the north shore of Lake Superior.

We were especially excited to see the dogs and the mushers, some of whom will be competing at the Iditerod in March. There were sledders from the U.S., Canada, Australia, Ireland and Finland. We saw many Siberian Huskies that resembled our Pashka so closely. We found out listening to the announcer--who had been a musher for 45 years--that the breed of Siberian came from crossing wolves with the Spitz breed. Not all dogs were pure Husky but various mixes of hounds with Alaskan Huskies.

The dogs are very eager to get going when they see the ropes and harness equipment appear. Lots of jumping and yapping!

This fashionable dog could have been our Pashka about 12 years ago; same markings and same beautiful face.

The new generation of lightweight sleds.

Flags flew for the U.S. Austrailia, Canada, Finland and Ireland. The temp was in the mid-30's with plenty of sunshine and snow.

'Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace.' - Milan Kundera

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sunday Scribblings


Sagging shoebox, size 9 Capezio flats
I know the contents by heart:
The detritus from my scavenger-hunt life.
Tiny brass safety pins and
Matchbooks with addresses, no zip codes
Folded paper placemat from a Chinese restaurant
Carpet the bottom of the box.

Brown braid loosely tied with plaid ribbon,
next layer:
Valentine card, plastic raindrop on single rose
Empty fountain pen cartridge
John Sebastian autograph
Barbie stilettos
Grease pencil from my mom’s uniform pocket.

Class ring for smaller knuckles
Indian head nickel, no date, no use
Blue crystal beads from Budapest
Yo-yo with twisted cord
Frank Church campaign button
My dad’s shoehorn
One dime, one nickel, two pennies**
But no shoes.

**In 1988, when Erica was in first grade and Audrey in third, we left Idaho for Pennsylvania. On their last day of school I visited their classrooms to say goodbye to their teachers. Erica was cleaning out her little desk while I thanked her teacher. Looking around her room my eyes filled with tears. When I looked down there she stood holding something in her hand. In my palm Erica placed 17 cents she’d squirreled away in her desk. She said, ‘Here, Mom. Take this and go buy yourself some milk.’

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I get by

with a little help from my friends.
My new agenda I follow to ward off the long winter syndrome most days, after the usual duties, includes a couple more simple and very satisfying endeavors: a little baking, a little knitting and some movie watching.

First the baking: this is Inland Empire Girl's yummy recipe for spicey Pumpkin-Chip Bread. Hers includes chocolate chips and walnuts, is moist and keeps well. Seemed to make the holiday season stick around awhile longer. I loved grating the whole nutmeg for this too.

I'm embarrassed to admit how long it has taken me to finish this dear little 'Cupcake' hat I first heard about from my friend, the other Marianne, who's just Knotminding. She got it from her friend Norma at Now Norma Knits. Let's just say it has been a challenge that involved not reading the instructions carefully or completely. Does the word 'chopsticks' make you think of anything besides Chinese food? In the spirit of all things snowman I must say that the cupcake was delicious!
The indie film Once is one I can't quit recommending to everyone, even if they don't like movies involving music, because it is somehow unforgettable. A Sundance winner it has a simple plot about two musicians in Ireland--he plays on the street and works in his dad's vacuum cleaner repair shop. She is a Czech immigrant who drops a dime in his open guitar case on the ground while he plays one evening. The soundtrack is amazingly original and haunting. My advice: run out and rent it, stay with it until the end and remember the piano.

Here's what Steven Spielberg said about it:
'A little movie called Once gave me enough inspiration to last the rest of the year.'
I agree with Schpiel, as I like to call him, and I say, "Raise your hopeful voice."

Saturday, January 19, 2008

So, cold enough for ya?

I took this picture on Friday when the moon was still out and the sun was coming up on a really cold day, below zero after factoring in the wind chill. Today has dawned another picture perfect Minnesota day: clear blue sky, plenty of snow and -16 when Pashka took her morning constitutional. Frozen nose hair and ice cream headache weather. Only the bravest little Juncos and Chickadees flit from branch to branch.

Today kicks off the 2008 U. S. 2008 Figure Skating Championships in St. Paul that run through next Sunday. This is how the event is described:
Saint Paul is proud to be the host city for the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in January 2008. The event, held annually since 1914, is the nation’s most prestigious figure skating event. Over the course of a week the event will crown 12 national champions in ladies, men’s, pairs and ice dancing on the senior, junior and novice levels.

And Twin Cities fans are holding their breath to see how their local phenom Eliot Halverson, national junior men’s champion, will fare this week.
Dave with his usual impeccable timing has gone to San Jose for the week but I'm hoping we might be able to get tickets for some of the events next weekend. This is pretty heady stuff for a girl from the dusty southeastern Idaho potato fields.

A new week, new possibilities. . .

'So onward we go. Sometimes in circles, but more or less forward.' Garrison Keillor

Friday, January 18, 2008

Bus fumes and cheese curds!

The bus station lobby smelled of the end of a long August workweek. I had turned off my typewriter and left the law office early to catch the bus soon leaving Spokane. I had ample time to catch my breath and absorb my surroundings. I knew it would be noisy and there’d be no place to sit.

I could pick out the airmen leaving the base for the weekend even though they wore civilian clothes. They looked eager in spite of their pale ears protruding from their regulation haircuts. Overtired children with their spent parents pushed and pulled against each other. Long skirted hippie girls sat on the floor. Pop cans dropped down shoots in machines. Pay phones buzzed while I watched the faces of the callers—some slack jawed, eyebrows raised and others with the phone cradled on their shoulders lighting a cigarette. For sure everyone was sweating when the afternoon sun met the handprints on the windows as I was inched my way to the door hoping for a good seat on the shady side of the bus.

Black curls divided by a faded bandana fought for position on his head. Resting against a tie-dyed backpack with a large duffle at his feet, he was alone as he leaned against the wall. He could easily have been part of any of the clusters of the hippies scattered around the station. I could see him watching me even though he might have been mistaken for a hitchhiker who stopped for a nap in a bus station. As I moved into the makeshift line I smelled patchouli mixed with clover and warm milk. He was standing behind me. We appeared to be a very civilized line of travelers, each followed the one in front, climbed the steps, expeditiously navigated the narrow aisle and plopped down in the first available bus seat. A seat by the window was mine and I began unfolding myself when I heard the zipper of a backpack. He had taken the seat next to me and began stuffing his belongings under and around himself. Then he pulled off his bandana and ruffled up his matted hair. He produced something yellow from another pocket. Offering me a bite of cheddar he laughingly said he was a ‘cheese freak.’ Any kind of cheese made him happy. He wasn’t particular, as long as he could travel and eat cheese. From his bloodshot eyes I suspected that a bit of grass made him happy too.

By the time the bus had crossed the border we had shared enough details about our lives for him to ask me to rest my head on his shoulder. My gypsy heart pleaded with my highly developed brain to just ease up enough to find rest from the race I ran each day. As predicted, my brain won and my head stayed upright. After all, I had to do what was right and proper. It was safer that way. So he rested his head on my shoulder until it was time for me to get off.

Turning to wave goodbye at the bus terminal, I saw that he had fallen asleep with his head on the window by where I had just been sitting. Seemingly his road continued on across the mountains. My road took its own direction. This many years later I still wonder about life and its myriad possibilities. Can we recognize the right road by strolling down the cheese aisle?

'Life is neither a romance nor an invitation to dinner.'

I've written these words for Sunday Scribbling's prompt 'fellow travelers.' Read about more travelers here.
The quote above was repeated by a friend who was a professor in Poland. Denied by the government from leaving Poland he did move to Canada in the early 90's. This is what his uncle told him.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

Monday's brew

By popular demand,
who gave me a free cup of coffee
last week and saved me from myself. Life is good, eh?

Also in the cute department, my friend Marianne who is 'Knotminding' had a birthday on Saturday--how sly to have a birthday on a weekend--mine always falls on a Tuesday. Slip on over and wish her a happy day in spite of the fact that its now Monday. Besides having the same name as me she is a wonderful friend to everyone who knows her, generous, funny, courageous knitter and will never let you down. Plus you will be able to find out what kind of birthday cake, sandwich, yarn or flower you would be if asked. Sort of a multasker, she is.

I received an You Make My Day Award from dear Julie Marie my North Dakota neighbor who also goes by Noni (Noani). This award is for 'people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel so happy about blogland.' I'm blushing. . .and enthusiastically pass this on to a few of those bloggers who make MY day, each day:

alphawoman -- a writer with a lot to say, a gracious and feisty woman whose writing always stretches me to want to write more

Wiggers World -- Tom and Jane live in the UK, great photography, great sense of humor and greatly appreciated

Inland Empire Girl --a teacher on a Reservation in the Northwest, prolific photographer and cook, dog lover and such a 'readable' writer, no ego just beauty

Julie Schuler @at House of Kewpie -- an incredible artist, mom and lovely young woman, who is Building a New and Accurate Map of the World

Yolanda -- you will see lovely photographs and learn something about yourself every time you go to her blog

Kris @Gardens By The Lake-- who lives practically next door to me in Minneapolis, a gardener and cook extraordinaire; did I mention she loves Standard Poodles?

Marianne -- brave, funny, crazyknitter, pie-lover, wise and wonderful (see above)!

Granny Smith --brimming with talent, kindness; an inspiration and dear friend

Please add this icon for your sideboards and know it is shared because you share with me!

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another:
"What! You, too? Thought I was the only one."
C.S. Lewis

Friday, January 11, 2008

March winds

The date hadn’t been set except I was two weeks overdue. I had been able to balance the book I was reading on the hard lump under my ribs for a month by then. Weekly visits for a sonogram doubled. As unpredictable as March could be, that day was definitely bleak and damp, and as windy as any other day of the year.
First one doctor did the sonogram, left the room and in walked the other. Then they both left me deeply concentrating on the pattern of the ceiling tiles. Returning in tandem the doctors filled the room. One thought the other had told me. What I hadn’t been told was that they were leaving town in the morning. One of their young friends from medical school who was soon joining their practice had instead died from a heart attack while doing surgery. My doctors were leaving for his funeral. Usually they presented kind and cheerful countenances but today the skin was drawn tightly on their faces. They wanted to induce labor and both agreed that they’d be doing surgery in the long run. Only it had to be done today. They were concerned about many issues I’d faced during the term and both wanted to be present for the delivery. Tonight.
In a shiny, dim operating room I listened to the local radio station piped into the room. Each doctor, one tall and blond and the other short and dark stood on either side of the gurney. The anesthetist was subdued, listening and charting the event. Sweet Audrey, as cool as a thawed turkey, was placed next to my face, her black eyes searching the lights. Later in my room, flat on my back, waiting out the spinal’s slow retreat from my body only one doctor came to see me. He said the other was on his way home to pack. He sat on my bed sounding cheerful once again but looking forlorn and exhausted.
The day our children are born is never forgotten. Likely these doctors still remember their friend who was almost their partner on that day in March.

From a prompt for Sunday Scribblings.
[painting entited Peasants Bringing Home a Calf Born in the Fields / Jean François Millet French, 1814-1875]

Part-time pain with a side of nuts, please.

Yesterday was a day of misgivings, disharmony and way too much dog poop. Pashka's senility continues at breakneck speed . . .so I found myself picking up after her in the house three times in one day--a record. Then Dave unwittingly e-mailed me a photo taken at his Christmas party this year. It was a group picture taken of his co-workers and spouses and me looking like I'd been given a pass from the 'home' for the evening.
I'm not photogenic, o.k.! And now it is apparent I've seen better days too.
I thought eating two York Peppermint Patties would help which only backfired because then I was able to use my rolls and chins as ammo against my already smarting self-respect. I tried filling my house with beautiful music, thus yesterday's poem and Cecilia Bartoli's voice-over. It worked--for awhile. Maybe my anti-depressant pills had expired or the moon was approaching full or it was just 'part-time pain.'

Leaving out the boring details of the rest of the day, suffice it to say that by bedtime I was feeling very much like the dog logs I'd picked up all day, only stepped on and needing a big stick to clean out the grooves in the soles of my shoes. Soles=soul and mine was grateful to just turn off the flippin' light on the nightstand and call it a day.

Eight hours later, I woke up to not one but two marks on my nose from my sleep apnea face mask. This is never a good sign. But my fingers flew to the keyboard to record what happened next so I wouldn't forget (see earlier paragraph about the 'home.')
Its difficult to rate these, so I'll just say that

a. My e-mail inbox showed I'd received a message from a dearly-loved and long-lost niece, Colette. She'd been given my blog address by my Erica and I was over-joyed to know she still cared for me and was happy to write to me.

b. When I checked out a few friends' blogs, I found that Julie had given me an award called 'You Make My Day.' So while I was writing my own obituary and stuffing my face to ease the pain, Julie had me in mind.

c. I stopped by Caribou Coffee and not only was there an empty chair by the fireplace (which usually doesn't happen) but the cute barrista gave me my coffee free. When I opened my mouth to say he'd not charged me enough, I got as far as 'Umm, I think you...' when he gave me a thumbs-up and said, 'I hope you'll make this a good day.' okey-dokey

d. Lastly, the washing machine in the laundry room gave me a free wash. I don't know. .

Notes to self:

While sipping my (free) coffee I overheard the mother of little Jackson tell her friend across the table the cutest thing Jackson had said yesterday. At first I rolled my eyes and then I heard her say: 'I was saying that I thought I was nuts. Jackson came up to me and said, 'Mom, you're not nuts, you just eat nuts, that's all.'

Whew! we're both safe.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Serendipity in unlikely places

Silhouetted flight feathers
Black fingers spread and tilt

Bowing, burnished satin sweeps the parquet
Glowing embers light her face

Cream smooth raven’s updraft
Icy air whistles
Threatening the sky.

Resined palms applaud
Powder flies off bows
Her voice is still.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008



I rest my case!

Monday, January 7, 2008

'We went to see the ocean. . .'

Nobska Light House--Wood's Hole, MA
Dave and I spent the first 8 months after we were married living on Cape Cod while he finished up his time in the Air Force, stationed at Otis AFB in Falmouth. For me it was a dream come true because I had been carrying on a minor love affair with anything New England ever since I read the first page of Little Women. It seemed to me that I had maybe been there before, the pull was so strong. Who knows. . .but those months spent there were some of the best of my life. We lived in an old house that had been divided into apartments right on the Old Falmouth Highway. I had a break from my job and was free to explore. We ran the tires off our new blue Chevy blazer driving to and fro,Boston and up and down the Cape. The trip to Wood's Hole was a favorite. Since it was off-season, the beaches along the Cape Cod National Seashore were fairly deserted. Speaking of the beaches starting in Provincetown, Thoreau said:
"There was nothing but that savage ocean between us and Europe."

I first laced up ice skates I bought in an old-fashioned hardware store in North Falmouth so we could skate on the frozen cranberry bogs. And I tried out this recipe in our tiny apartment-size oven.
Today I leveled off the last cup of flour from my December baking frenzy when I baked this quick bread. I got the recipe in a Ocean Spray shop in Buzzard's Bay where you cross the Bourne Bridge onto the Cape. I have tried to bake it every holiday season since 1970 with quite a few exceptions.


2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 tablespoons shortening (I use 1/4 c. canola oil instead)
1 egg, well beaten
1 1/2 cups Ocean Spray® Fresh or Frozen Cranberries, coarsely chopped (I leave them whole because they are prettier when you cut into the loaf)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in orange juice, orange peel, shortening and egg. Mix until well blended. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Spread evenly in loaf pan. Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely. Wrap and store overnight. Makes 1 loaf (16 slices).

It is deep January. The sky is hard.The stalks are firmly rooted in ice.

Wallace Stevens

Friday, January 4, 2008

the find of a lifetime

Elizabeth II was crowned queen of England on June 2, 1953 when I was only two years old living with my grandmother in the western United States. Growing up in the 50's I was shamelessly enthralled by pictures of a young queen in a flowing gown, crown on her head, riding in a gold encrusted carriage pulled by horses. No doubt all the color and pageantry fueled my daydreams of possibly becoming a princess myself someday. My granny must have known me pretty well in spite of a court order that sent me to live with my parents when I five. On one of her visits to my new 'home' she brought me a tin with the likeness of the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth. Not long after I found the tin in the ash can in the alley behind our house, charred and peeling. My recollections remain intact about this treasure: I thought the Queen was the most beautiful woman in the world, and my dear Grandmother had given me something she knew would make me feel like a princess. Only I didn't know that at the time. I never knew how a candy tin that was a souvenir of the Coronation had found its way to an old lady in Blackfoot, Idaho, nor why it ended up in the trash and furthermore, why my mother was so adamant that it remain there. I have been looking for that tin ever since.

Over the years I've picked up other Coronation tins from yard sales, antique shops and e-Bay but they were never the 'one.' This fall while I was poking around a shop in Minnesota the face of the young queen jumped out at me from a low table. And this is what I saw:

As if someone had lovingly kept this bit of memorabilia in a dresser drawer, it is in perfect condition. Each side has a crown emblem or EIIR or 'A Souvenir of The Coronation of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II 1953.' Once filled with toffee, the bottom of the tin reads:

Made in England by George W. Horner & Co. Ltd, Chester-Le-Street, County of Durham.

When I tearfully asked to put it on lay-away I told my story to the owner of the booth. She hugged me and said she'd found it on a trip to Seattle, so near to Canada, and was equally happy it had found me.

The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time. Friedrich Nietzsche

My ownership of this elusive tin comes at the beginning of a new chapter in my life--long gone from Idaho with an empty nest, older, wiser, free-er, battle scarred but hopeful. Most importantly I know how it feels to be a princess.

These are my 'new' thoughts for Sunday Scribblings.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd.

We all practice a finely honed skill

Expecting life to reside in an event or experience or occasion other than the one we are in right now.

While waiting for perfect, we pass on ordinary.

While waiting for better, we don’t give our best effort to good.

While waiting for new and improved, we leach the joy right out of the old and reliable.

These are not my words, but could be my thoughts as the new year is already in full swing before I had a chance to decide how I want it to be. They came from writer Terry Hershey and his thoughts on bliss. I like Flannery Conner's title quote because I've always wanted things straight up, knowing I can cope the best when I know the score, but inevitably get caught up in wanting more and better and perfect. These qualities do not usually reside in the now.

Scores are for baseball games.

So I raise my cup of coffee to the 'now' however ordinary, scary and blissful it can be!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

First you put the mallow on the graham. . .

Happy New Year, friends, near and far!
Ahhh, the holidays, when a great time was had by all at our house and it was said more than once that we were all very glad to be together again. Erica was home from school but was ill with a bad cold for 8 of her 9 day stay. Audrey's stay was 4 days too short as well. Pashka-dog lived to see another Christmas too. Blessed we are!

So, a couple of days before Christmas I had a little angina/heart palpitation thing happen while I was walking on the track. Erica forced me to go to see a doctor the next day. . .long story short. . . involving a couple of EKGs and a trip to the emergency room. I was placed in a large room in case of heart attack and had the usual blood work, missed veins, waiting for tests, etc. before I was released 3 hours later with no signs of a heart attack but scout's honor that a visit to the cardiologist about my irregular heartbeat was in my future. Oh goody!

While I'm waiting to be discharged, I see the boots and overcoat of a firefighter pass in front on the curtain to my room. Then lots of feet flew by, the 'code blue' alarm sounded and emergency procedures could be heard in the room next to me. I lost count of how many times I heard the code blue alarm go off and the voice of one person in particular repeating, "Come back, John. I don't want to lose you. John, stay with me. We're not ready to let you go-- stay with us!" This unnerving and frantic litany continued while I signed my own discharge papers, had all the machines disconnected and gathered my belongings to leave. I was elated that I didn't have to spend the night, that my blood levels showed no residue of recent heart damage, that the day was still young. . .and I was alive. Right next door someone was fighting for his life. When I walked out of the emergency room I saw a burly EMT guy filling out a report and policemen pacing up and down the hallway. The irony of this situation stopped me in my tracks.

I told this story because I want to remember how unpredictable and fragile life is, even if the old saws about life being like a flame seem trite, they are exceedingly true. My goal is to try to remember that 'this is it' for now and be grateful for what I do have. Being a little lazy, I'm sure I'll lapse but I have a lot of images to remind me.

Now for the fun part!
red lights for Erica

our favorite candy bars from 'back home'

yummy 'smores
my very own copy of Ratatouille

and you know the rest!