A Sunday morning tour …

Today is a glorious bright, sunny day with a light breeze and warm – but not too warm – temperatures — one of those perfect days that you long for when snow banks are several feet deep in your yard. Thanks to our ‘gator,’ we took a tour of the yard this morning, checking out the beauty found everywhere.

Starting on the deck, here’s the view:


Before we can go, the chipmunks need some attention. The mini-munks are so soft …

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We also found this beautiful creature  …

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And saw lots of color …


Along with new baby trees … Tree collage.jpg

And a few vegetables …

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Ending the tour with the latest improvement project … a new fountain. The sound of the water is magical …

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Stay tuned for another tour in a few weeks.

Thanks for reading! 


Be careful what you play …

Are you, like me, one of those people who plays their favorite music in the car on the way to work or on extended trips (meaning more than 5-10 minutes)? Last week I decided to play my new Yanni – The Dream Concert CD on my way to work. I hadn’t played Yanni’s music for quite some time, instead listening to Sirius radio. In fact, I rarely buy CD’s any more, but I knew that it wasn’t likely that I would hear Yanni on Sirius.


From Yanni’s Facebook page – The Dream Concert at the Egyptian pyramids and Great Sphinx of Gaza

Now let me digress for a bit and tell you a little about Yanni —

I still remember the first time I heard Yanni’s music. My brother, Kevin, sold us a reel-to-reel tape player/recorder. Reel-to-reel players weren’t all that common, even at that time. Along with the recorder came some reels – and Yanni was on them. The music was from his first album – Optimystique and recorded at Cookhouse Studios & Sound 80 in Minneapolis. This was about 1980, four years after he received a B.A. degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota. (Yanni moved to Minnesota from  Greece to attend the U of M, speaking little English when he arrived. After graduating, he joined the Minneapolis-based rock group Chameleon.)

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This is reminiscent of our reel-to-reel player/recorder.

From the first moment I heard the music, I was hooked. His music has a way of drawing you in, making every other thought disappear, reaching your soul. I went to as many Yanni concerts as possible.  Now I go to concerts vicariously through Yanni’s DVD’s and am able to enjoy the wonders of the world. Yanni has performed concerts at the Acropolis in Greece, the Taj Mahal in India, China’s Forbidden City, Russia’s Kremlin, the El Morro Castle in Puerto Rico, the ancient city of Byblos in Lebanon, Tunisia’s Roman Theatre of Carthage, India’s Laxmi Vilas Palace, and the Egyptian pyramids and Great Sphinx of Gaza (and home of The Dream Concert.)  Yanni’s music blends jazz, classical, soft rock and world music into predominantly instrumental music, representing what has been called an eclectic fusion of ethnic sounds, making him a true global artist. While I love all of his music, Optimystique will always be my favorite, since it is that first album that drew me in.

(Note: This information was, in part, excerpted from this  ARTICLE, where you can also find more in-depth information on Yanni’s career.)

Now back to my story (and why it’s titled Be careful what you play) …

During the first song from The Dream Concert, I was listening, but also thinking about other things and watching the road. As the music played, I found myself totally lost in the music. I didn’t care when the traffic stopped; in fact, I was glad it stopped so I could continue listening. In what seemed to be a very quick trip, I soon found myself at City Hall in Anoka. But here is the moral of this story: Be careful what you play when you are driving. Quite honestly, I don’t really remember most of the trip to work that day because I was so into the music. And, of course, this is not attentive driving. It is distracted driving – perhaps at its finest – but distracted driving nonetheless. So, next time you are driving, perhaps you’ll want to listen to music you don’t like as well  – just to make sure you pay attention to your driving. Perhaps I will play some heavy metal – and turn it down; that should work!


Until next time, thanks for reading!

Chipmunk tales … 2016 version


This year’s family of chipmunks includes five chipmunks  (munks) –

Chippie, the chipmunk that allows petting while she is busily filling her mouth with peanuts, then scampering to her hole, only to return again just minutes later. Chippie rules over the other munks, often chasing them away from the peanuts or the sunflower seeds lying on the deck so she can get her fill first. We think Chippie is a girl and responsible for the increase in this year’s munk family.


Short-tail is a little nervous. Short-tail does not allow petting but ventures quite close to get those peanuts – if Chippie isn’t already there.

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And then we have the three mini-munks. They are very skittish – choosing to make stealth acquisitions of the peanuts or sunflower seeds lying on the deck. The mini’s are quite tiny – at least for now.

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One of the adventurous mini-munks decided to explore one of the bird feeders. The problem was, however, that the min-munk did not anticipate the distance to the ground. The munk looked around, surveying his options …

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Just as my husband reached to help the munk, it leaped to the ground and was gone in a flash. I bet the munk went back to the other mini-munks and told the story about the great leap he made to get away from the giant.

And the latest update: It seems the chipmunk family is larger than we thought — the latest count is five mini-munks. Hopefully the chicken hawk that landed in our yard  – as we sat on the nearby deck — will not return.

Thanks for reading!