Frozen Fun

Happy New Year! The last I wrote it was probably almost 100 degrees warmer (and in just a few days it will be 80 degrees warmer than it is now). Can you believe it? 100 degree difference? What a swing in temps! It is -50F with the wind chill now. Which lets us have some fun outside. Well…lets us have fun in 5 minute increments outside or we lose fingers and toes. Tonight we: loaded squirt guns repeatedly with boiling water and shot cool vapor trailed streams, froze a spoon straight up in an egg that had been cracked just minutes earlier (even with a broken yolk it worked), and hammered a nail through two boards using a frozen banana (it really worked!). Fun stuff!

Back in December we rang bells at the Mall of America with the Purdue Alumni Club. The weekend before Christopher and I could have rang bells with the scouts for 1.5 hours in negative temperatures outside of Walmart. We’ve done that before and the clock ticks sooooo slowly while your toes freeze soooo quickly. So…instead I signed us up for 2.5 hours of bell ringing in a somewhat enclosed entrance to Macy’s at the Mall of America – that cleared my conscience! It was great to see little kids so excited to put some coins in the bucket or watching teenagers pull out their pop-icon-wallets or purses and get a few wrinkled bills out to put in the bucket – those kids were raised right! But it was sad how many people would avoid eye contact at all costs and try to completely avoid you. I don’t care if you donate money or not but at least look us in the eye and know why you aren’t giving money. What are your values? What do you believe in? Why are you so afraid to look at us? Feeling guilty about something? I made it our family’s goal to get everyone to look up and smile at us. We cheerfully said “good morning” to everyone – and if you tried to avoid us we smiled bigger and yelled out to you even more cheerfully. I felt like we were a mini-brigade of Boston Samaritans on a campaign to spread happiness to everyone as they started their day. It wasn’t about the money – it was about spreading cheer and smiles and happiness! But we also made a lot of money on our shift 🙂

Here’s some randomness to go with many of the pictures. We went to St. Louis for Thanksgiving – saw the zoo there, visited the arch, ate at Gus’ Pretzels and had frozen custard at Ted Drewes. Megan did a planet presentation on Jupiter. I was recently going through my childhood scrapbook and saw that I also did Jupiter at about the same age. Guess I shouldn’t be surprised that in 35 years the fun facts about Jupiter haven’t changed at all between what she and I each came up with. The kids and Susana have had a lot of fun sledding. Susana and Irene (her friend from Spain who is at another immersion school nearby) made us some fantastic Spanish food. Nerf battles all over the basement. Ate some Greek food. Ate with Danny DeVito. Kids got bit by a turtle. I chilled in the backyard in the awesome chair and foot rest that the kids made. Watched Colleen dance some more. Christmas morning in rockin’ footy pj’s.

I went jogging on New Year’s Day. Ran 3.5 miles. It was a bit below zero. I figured everybody would be out running on New Year’s Day taking care of their resolutions on Day 1. Go figure – I didn’t pass anyone else out there. Shocker, huh? There’s a special spot I have on this run where I talk to Katherine for a bit. I ran more than I ever have that first year after she died – somehow I ended up having a special spot on the trail for a few hundred feet where I feel close to her. Glad I started my new year that way. Ok, when I came back from my run I had ice caked on my back…Megan thought that was cool and wrote her name in the ice on my running shirt. The run was great – I ran off a few of the pounds I gained from our fun New Year’s Eve randomly assigned spouse swap cooking fest 🙂

So what sounds worse…Nordic fare at the Taste of Scandinavia with items such as lefse, krumkake, sandbakkels, kjottboller, julekake, kringle, sot suppe, risengrynsgrot, flot brod, fattigmand, and egg coffee, or………Harry Potter Every Flavour Jelly Beans???? If you chose the Taste of Scandinavia you are wrong big time. The Scandinavian food was great – we got plates full of sweets of all kinds and meatballs and all sorts of yumminess. On the other hand…Megan got six boxes of Harry Potter Every Flavour Beans for Christmas. Flavors of jelly beans include the following: banana, black pepper, blue berry, booger, candy floss, cherry, cinnamon, dirt, earthworm, earwax, grass, green apple, marshmallow, rotten egg, sausage, lemon, soap, tutti-frutti, vomit, and watermelon. I thought they were a joke…uh…no…they taste exactly what they sound like…so nasty…but so much fun for Megan and friends 🙂

Happy New Year everyone! Good luck with those resolutions – or better yet…dreams!

2 Responses to “Frozen Fun”

  1. Dad & Grandpa T says:

    Better write at least a few lines or you may think your RSS isn’t working. (I never did get it to work on this end).

    Glad you aren’t letting a little winter weather keep you from enjoying MN. Is Susana looking forward to heading back to her home and warmer weather. She picked a good year to come to MN. Now she can say she has experienced real winter. So glad we were able to come out and visit in Nov. and meet her. Give her our best.

    Enjoyed all the pics and the update. I assume the pic of the camel was at the St. Louis zoo. I noticed the cool hairdo right away. Kind of makes me jealous. I thought all the people in MN were friendly. Maybe those who wouldn’t look you in the eye were visiting from elsewhere (maybe from New England). We have to admit we don’t always give as we pass a kettle, but we at least say “hi” as we appreciate their willingness to stand out in the cold and try to help others.

    Some of those jelly bean flavors don’t sound too appealing, but I can see why they would appeal to kids. Think I would be very selective as I picked candy from the bowl.

    Speaking of bowl, mom is down watching the S. Bowl. From the sound of things I don’t think things are going the way she would like. My friend, Dan the retired doctor out in CO, shared an observation about the two teams playing. Both teams are from the only 2 states that have legalized recreational use of pot. Hadn’t heard that in the news. Also, I know football can be brutal, but did you hear about the Browns coach who was let go after 16 hours on the job. The Browns mgr said “we thank Mike for everything he’s done during his nearly full day stay with our team.” I wonder if he was even able to unpack the stuff he brought in with him.

    Don’t know about you, but I think we are on the downhill side of winter. I’ve seen 2 robins so far and that’s a good enough sign for me.

    Will close for now. I’m going down to see how mom’s team is doing. She’s been fairly quiet so they’re either doing better or she’s given up on them. Stay warm and keep all the snow and cold weather you want.

  2. Dave says:

    Yes, the camel was at the St. Louis zoo. It was the ugliest animal I think I’ve ever seen – and he (she?) knew it too. But you couldn’t help but smile or laugh, so even ugly camels serve a good purpose 🙂

    I found that article on the Brown’s coach that was fired ( – that’s great – I like his quote on being asked to leave, “Can someone show me where the front door is again?”. Too funny.

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