Many of you have asked where in the world I've been.

All I know is that after 7 plus years of blogging and a different lappy, which I don’t like, I seem to have lost my blogging fervor.

Someday, when you least expect it, I will post again.

For those of you still waiting I say thank you.

Meanwhile, I am rather prolific on twitter. Find me: @KeethaB
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The Eclectic Company - Waitin' on a New Adventure!!
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Monday, February 27, 2012

On the Road With Fisherhubby

Several times in the past Sister Pam, Dad, and I traveled together.

It was amazing how we all three operated on the "same page" so to speak. We were neat, trim, and ship shape.

Wherever we "landed" we ran a tight ship. Everything had a place and everything was in its place.

Traveling with Fisherhuby? Ummmmmmm - - - not so much!

He thinks everything's place is right where he happens to drop it.

(Notice how his toes dig into the couch cushions! He thinks the ONLY way to sit on a couch is foot first.)

He is the king of rummaging.

Oh no, I do NOT mean going to yard sales - - -

I mean he is the king of rummaging through things I HAD organized. And he leaves them ransacked.

I keep telling him he needs to learn the rules of life.

He has no interest nor intention of learning them.

One would think that after nearly 37 years I would give up trying to "train" him.

By the way - - - whomever is in the room above us in this hotel is bumping and thumping and making a lot of noise on our ceiling. Fisherhubby says it's the Bears and the Packers having a scrimmage!


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday at the Birkie


The Birkie was actually held yesterday, but since this isn't "Saturday in my City" I have saved the story for today.

A long, long time ago, in the late 1100's there existed in Norway a political group called the Birkebeinars. They were so called because many of them were too poor to own shoes, so they bound birch bark to their feet instead, thus becoming known as birkebeinars.

A Birkebeinar woman had a two year old illegitimate son whom she claimed was the rightful heir to the throne. The king, whom she claimed to be the child's father, was dead. However, several of the dead king's closest supporters verified the woman's report and were dedicated to protecting both mother and son.

At one time both mother and child were in such mortal danger that the only method of escape was for two of the Birkebeinars to ski the babe many miles across country to safety.

Today this rescue is honored in Norway by several Birkebeiner skiing events. And now, the American Birkebeiner takes place in Hayward, Wisconsin every year at the end of February. The American Birkebeiner course is more than 50 kilometers long, beginning in Cable and ending in Hayward.

We vacation in Hayward, a tiny town population just over 2,600, every July but we couldn't IMAGINE how the 40,000 + people, skiers and observers, were going to FIT in this village. We had no idea how we would find parking.

Turns out, parking wasn't a problem if we were willing to walk a few blocks.

We were more than willing, so we parked in a "not nearly full to capacity" Lutheran Church parking lot and walked into town.

All the action was down on Main Street. I imagine nearly all the 31,000 observers were wandering around the Hayward streets, as were we. The other 9,000 were skiing in the event.

Everywhere we looked, Fisherhubby and I were blown away by the organization.

Skiers were shuttled in school buses to Cable and the start of the race. There they removed their street clothes and stored all their possessions in a white plastic draw string bag which had their ski bib number on it.

All these bags were shuttled back to Hayward where they awaited the skiers return in organized "ques" guarded zealously by several volunteers.

Near the finish line were these ski "stalls."

When we arrived around 10:30 AM, only a few skiers had "come in" thus the ski "stables" were just about empty.

At 10:30 AM only the "elite" skiers had finished. These are the skiers that participate in cross county ski events the world over. They came from many countries, including Norway, but as the finishers were announced - - - and they were ALL announced - - - I did hear a few Wisconsins in the bunch!!!

For the next many hours - - - stretching long into the afternoon - - - the sidewalks of Main Street were lined with people cheering in the skiers.

Many of us clanged our cowbells like the BEST of Mississippi State fans at a Bull Dog football game in Starkville.

Some got bored with the festivities and crawled under the restraining fence to rest on the packed snow. I guess their diminutive size gives them leeway.

These skiers are entering the "home stretch" of Main Street.

And these are already nearing the finish line at the top of the street.

I'm telling you, I ADMIRE their hard work. I couldn't walk that far in a day, much less ski it!!

There was even an Olympic style flame to welcome the skiers to the final "lap."

We saw one young father skier with his toddler son strapped to his chest - - - he had skied the entire course that way I presume. Now that I know the story upon which this race is based, I find that very touching.

By early afternoon so many skiers had come in that the stables were getting full.

Fisherhubby and I had only walked around, stood around, and watched around - - - yet by 1:30 we were pooped and ready for some lunch.

After lunch, we headed to our hotel where I observed this:

Part of the Birkie trail went right across frozen Lake Hayward - - -

Which is in the hotel "back yard." I was able to watch a few of the skiers as they passed by.

Then one skier, who had finished the race earlier, skied right back to the hotel door - - -

Where upon entry he gladly posed for my camera.

Goodness - - - his hair is WHITE, perhaps he is my senior??? Yet HE skied the Birkie like it was nothing and I can't even CARRY his skis!!

Thanks to Unknown Mami for hosting
"Sundays in My City"
To which I am linking this post.
My City today is Hayward, Wisconsin


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Birkie Rookies and Cowbells


When last I posted, Fisherhubby and I were headed into Hayward to OBSERVE our first ever Birkebeiner Cross Country Ski Race finish.

Please note, we only went as observers. While we have "dabbled" in cross country skiing, neither of us is anywhere close to ready to tackle a 30+ mile race.

No. Where. Near. Ready!!

Although Fisherhubby says he's going to enter next year.

Hmmmm, we'll see about that.

We were really excited to observe!

Out on the highways and byways coming into Hayward, we were plumb flabbergasted at the absence of ANY traffic. We wondered WHERE the crowds of 40,000+ were.

We FOUND them. They were ALL in Hayward ahead of us.

They were either in the race (9,200 of them raced in this portion today) or they were thronging the streets watching the finish of the race and ringing cowbells to cheer the skiers in.

We needed cowbells.

I had HOPED they would be easy to find/purchase on the streets.

Ummmm - - - not so much.

We began stopping in all the shops along the way asking if they had cowbells. NO.

Then we happened on this impromptu booth:

Meet Eric and Kevin.

No, they were NOT selling cowbells, but just look at those smiles!

Seems that LAST year Eric and Kevin decided, somewhat on a whim, to ENTER the Birkie - - - you know - - - as RACERS.

Neither of them were as yet cross country skiers.

In JANUARY they got skis and began to "learn" the sport. Because they were such novices, such rookies, they (and another friend who joined them, but whom I did not meet today) decided to create t-shirts for themselves. T-shirts which they PLANNED to wear in the race, being such novices they didn't REALIZE all entrants had to wear numbered ski bibs.

Nonetheless, they created themselves special t's to wear around the event.

They created exactly three t-shirts, one a piece.

They had SO MANY inquiries as to where they GOT the t's, that they decided to go into business. They had more of their infamous t-shirts created so they could sell them at this year's Birkie.

Such fun! Of COURSE I had to have one.



When I wear this, it will TOTALLY be as an imposter since I was merely a rookie OBSERVER and not a skier at all.

Still, with my total lack of athletic prowess it will be entirely possible I will be found face down in the snow AND I really SHOULD wear one of these slow moving vehicle caution triangles at all times.

Should you wish to purchase your own Birkie Rookie t-shirt, you may contact Eric and Kevin at birkierookie (at) gmail (dot) com.

Eric and Kevin had some pretty good ideas about where I could BUY a cowbell, even though they wouldn't sell me their one and only bell. Who knew they'd be SO attached to that one little bell!?

So, after just one more stop between the Rookie T-shirt booth and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, I was able to procure these:

Two Birkie cowbells.

I got them at Walgreens, and they were two of only four remaining bells.


Please tune in tomorrow for the end of the Birkie saga.


There might be 40,000 people in Hayward for the Birkie today, but out here just west of town you'd never know from THIS traffic jam.

What is wrong with this picture? Not much snow on the "frozen tundra" for a 52 km cross country ski race!!

Ya Think if the Manager Knows You By Name When You Walk in the Door You've Maybe Stayed There a Few Too Many Times???


We arrived in our hotel with time to spare. You know, time to sit back and relax.

Yes, Fisherhubby DOES haul that ginormous back pack all around all over the place everywhere he goes.

I was OVER back packs when I got out of school. In fact, come to think of it, I never even OWNED a back pack - - - they weren't "in" when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and I was in school.

I was certainly relieved and happy to find the bathroom waste basket right in the expected place. One case of the vanishing waste basket in this very hotel was probably one too many (Go ahead, follow the link - - - it's good for a chuckle or two!)


By supper time we were not only hungry, we were also READY to meet Dan and Cindy and get down to some SERIOUS visiting.

We only live an hour apart, so why in the WORLD has it been a whole year since we last met to visit????

Life does that, ya know?

I was totally right in my Friday Fragments prediction about what FH and I would order - - - except FH threw in ONE small wrench when he ordered his sammi HALF pork and the other HALF beef.

I did fail to predict that THREE of the above folks would order and eat pie for dessert.

One of them was very disciplined and didn't get a slice of pie - - - of course SHE ate every bite of that whole Denver Lefse Wrap smothered in EXTRA hollandaise sauce - - - I guess she wasn't very disciplined after all.

We sat and talked and laughed and shared tales until the place was trying to LOCK THE DOORS. Who knew they'd want to GO HOME at closing time????

And tomorrow - - - the Berkie!!!


Friday, February 24, 2012

Cross Country Friday Frags

Mrs. 4444, is it LEGAL to do a Friday Fragments post where ALL the fragments fit together into ONE story?

Hope so

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Tomorrow Fisherhubby and I are driving over to Eau Claire, Wisconsin where we will spend the night in one of my all time favorite hotels.

We've been here lots of times and it is always warm, always cozy, always inviting. I like to think of it as my home away from home.

I'm getting EXCITED!

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Tomorrow evening we'll be meeting my bloggy buddy Cindy of Applestone Cottage and her hubby (a fellow Badger football fan-atic) Dan for dinner.

This makes me even MORE excited!!!!

* * * * * * * * * * *

We're going to eat at Norske Nook, a great little Norwegian place.

I ALREADY know what I'll order - - - my FAVE - - - a Denver Lefse Wrap smothered in hollandaise sauce. Y.U.M.

(Can Norwegian food have "Denver" in its title?????)

Unless I miss my guess, Fisherhubby will have an open faced pork sandwich (on homemade bread) with a large scoop of mashed potatoes and the entire thing smothered in gravy.

I'm getting more and more excited as I share these fragments!

* * * * * * * * * *

Bright and early Saturday morning we will head on up to Hayward, Wisconsin where this will ALREADY have taken place:

Do you feel the excitement BUILDING???

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Birkebeiner | Climate Wisconsin from ECB on Vimeo.

Because, you see, Saturday is the American Birkebeiner in Hayward.

Fisherhubby and I have long DREAMED of standing on the sidewalks of Main Street ringing cow bells with the BEST of them to cheer the racers across the finish line.

No, we will NOT be racers ourselves. Goodness - - - they race for 52 kilometers!!!

To say we are EXCITED is a gross understatement.

* * * * * * * * * * *

And this, well THIS is like icing on the cake!!!!

Just a few minutes ago, I was able to secure a ROOM for Saturday night in THIS, our favorite Hayward Hotel.

What's the big deal you may well be asking.

THE BIG DEAL is that a mere 40,000 folks or so will be descending upon the little village of Hayward, population just over 2,000 for this event!!! I didn't think we'd be able to get a room anywhere NEAR the place.

I imagine there may be a few snowmobilers parked outside our windows again. It IS the northwoods after all!

* * * * * * * * * * *

Sunday morning we'll be able to attend "our" vacation church in Hayward. It will be so great to fellowship there with friends.

Who knows, maybe we'll even visit this northwoods Micky D's while we're there. Yes, this really is a McDonalds.

"Ain't" it a beauty?

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Now HURRY up! Go see what other people are fragmenting about.


Mommy's Idea

Head on over to Mrs. 4444's place
And check out all the other Friday Fragments.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"Were You Born in a Barn?" Charm


When you were young did your mother ever shout "Close the door! Were you born in a barn!?!"

Mine did.

Meet Sadie. (Name changed to protect the innocent, and Sadie is not my mom.)

Sadie was not born in a barn, but she did live in one for part of her life.

Sadie was one of ten children. While all ten of them were still at home, their house burned.

Fortunately for them, no one was hurt. Also fortunately for them, they lived on a farm - - - so they just moved lock, stock, and barrel into the barn until the house could be repaired/rebuilt.

Sadie says they thought it was fun - - - like camping. She said her mom figured out some way to cook their meals, though Sadie can't quite remember how she did it. They all slept up in the hay mow.

I forgot to ask her if they had to share their barn home with any livestock.

I took the photo of this beautiful red barn and silo in Vernon County, Wisconsin. It is not Sadie's barn home, but we can always pretend, can't we?

Linking today with "Barn Charm"
Please click over to Bluff Area Daily
To enjoy all the Barn Charm posts.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Augers and Plungers


Fisherhubby and his current ice fishing buddies are trying to beg me to buy them a

Gas powered ice auger because apparently they can't manage a hand operated one - - -

Even though this cute little GIRL seems to be handling it just fine.

They came home from their recent ice-capades using THIS as begging material for a gas powered auger:

"But Keetha, you can use it the next time you need to PLUNGE!!!"

Uh, yah - - - like THAT'S going to convince me!!

Photo credits: Top -, Bottom -


Sunday, February 19, 2012

If You Don't Want to Read Griping - - -


Then just toodle along to the NEXT blog in your follow list.

If you're still here, then here comes my current BIGGEST pet peeve:

Who dreamed these up??? Not only are they robot copy proof, they are ALMOST human proof too.

I HATE them.

Especially on a blogger blog. Blogger has this lovely anti-spam feature now which catches 99.999999999 percent of all spam so it never makes it onto your blog. (That little factoid is straight out of my head based on my own experience and on absolutely no other data.)

Since Blogger put up the anti-spam feature, nary a SINGLE spam has made it into my comments. Nary one.

If one DOES slip through, there's this handy dandy little trash can under it that can be clicked and VOILA - - - the comment is GONE.

If you don't want a spam in your comments even for a short time, you can go into your comment settings and check that you want to approve every single comment BEFORE it is published to your blog.

All these things make Word Veri nearly useless.

But, for those blogs still using word veri, instead of it being one slightly complex progression of letters, it is now this new two word monstrosity which is nearly impossible to deal with.

I simply cannot READ the word with the "blob" behind it.

I've been giving three attempts to publish my comments on blogs sporting this, and if all three fail then I leave them commentless.

BUT - - - my patience with it is getting really thin. I think from now on, if I see this nasty little piece of work I will just trundle along, leaving that blog commentless, without even ATTEMPTING a comment.

And I just KNOW that all of you really care about my comments and will shed huge alligator tears without them.

I just know it.

Evidently I'm not the ONLY one who feels this way, judging by what is being said in the comments of this post!

TEAR DOWN YOUR WORD VERI'S!!!! Pretty Please????

All words in this color font were a later addendum.