All posts by Barbara in Rivertown

Ice Cream for Breakfast

Today’s post comes from Barbara in Rivertown.

A friend has forwarded to me the information that (get ready) February 18 is “Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast” day. According to one story,  E.I.C.F.B. originated to increase awareness about childhood cancer, and to commemorate the short life of a little girl named Malia Grace, who lived from February 18, 2001 to Dec 7, 2010.  “First celebrated by a group of close friends to commemorate her life and creativity, Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day went on to become a day to honor all the children who have or are battling childhood cancer.  It exploded onto the scene, with thousands of people from all over the world taking part and spreading the message to thousands more.”

Happily, this year February 18 falls on a Sunday, when many of us have more time to hang out with our family, our pets, etc., and indulge.

I also came upon a different site:    This article relates that a mother named Florence started the trend to cope with the boredom experienced by her six children. The next year her kids remembered, and it got to be a tradition. And “thanks to Florence’s grandchildren, who have traveled extensively — Ice Cream for Breakfast Day has been celebrated in countries all over the world, from Germany, to Nepal, to as far as Namibia.”

Whichever story you relate to, enjoy! As the t-shirt says, “Life is short. Eat dessert first.”

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

What else should we have for breakfast that doesn’t usually come to mind?

Faulty Sidewalks

Today’s post comes from Barbara in Rivertown.

A couple of weeks ago our neighbor, while out walking her dog, went down on glare ice – that sort of fall where you are suddenly flat on your back staring at the sky, and don’t know how the he** you got there. This was worse than usual though, as she cracked her skull on the ice. Pamela actually passed out for a bit; there was a lot of bleeding, a trip to the ER, and a concussion. She’s almost back to normal now, but is taking an afternoon nap (which is tricky at work), and was told she must not hit her head again. Just saw her (carefully) walking the dog for the first time today.

Traveling on foot is particularly treacherous in this season, due to a lot of melting and freezing. And here in Winona, we keep getting a new dusting of snow, which is fine in some places but hides the ice in others. I fell last week after a concert, because of an uneven sidewalk that wasn’t really visible – “just” went down on my knees, but was OK mostly.

Have you had any really bad falls, either out- or indoors?

Got any tips for prevention?

Trail of Ice

I’ve written here before about my fond memory of ice skating on the Iowa River north of town, early in the winter before it became completely snow-covered. My dad would tell of following “their” creek for miles as a kid. Once you’ve skated a distance like that, a rink no longer seems very romantic.

Enter Minnesota’s first Ice Skating Trail, in the Northwest Minneapolis suburb of Maple Grove. From the December 2017 AAA Living magazine: “Lampposts offer a warm glow, and the surrounding trees’ white twinkle-lights brighten both trail and mood.” I imagine skating there at dusk, as the sun goes down.

One of only a few in North America (see also Chicago and Toronto), it’s an 810-foot loop that feels “more like a stroll in the park” than the laps you skate at a traditional ice rink, according to Minneapolis Northwest, a regional newsletter(For reference, a regular hockey rink has a 570’ lap.)

You can skate earlier in the season (and later) than most outdoor rinks, as the trail is refrigerated and maintained by a Zamboni. There is skate rental (and concessions like hot chocolate and popcorn) during Central Park’s warming pavilion open hours, but park benches are available anytime for putting on your own skates.

I would have loved to have this nearby when I was still skating.

What will get you out of doors this winter? 

Would you like to try driving a Zamboni, or some other heavy machinery?



Fond Memories

The Child I wrote about in “Child-Proofing” in December has come and gone (almost two weeks ago by now). Our schedule pretty much revolved around hers for 4 ½ days. We read stories, ate together, watched short videos my sister (her grandma) had brought, and she played with misc. items when sitting in the booster seat at the table, which was one of her favorite places – it was like her “office”. We got out the rhythm instruments and found she loved dancing to a good beat.

We tried to get things done while her daddy put her down for naps. She pretty much respected the boundaries I’d created (cloth hiding shelves, etc.), and we showed her which cupboards had the pans she could play with, and where “her” corner was, complete with a doll napping in a crate-bed – modeling behavior we hoped to see! She spent quite a lot of time at the kitchen sink “washing” dishes.

Unfortunately it was quite cold the entire time, so we didn’t do much outdoors. We bundled up for outings to visit Great-grandma Hope every day, and went out to eat once.

Although I am mostly relieved to have my life and my house back, I kind of miss the little tyke. But am glad we have some photos to show my mom, to jog her memory about who was here and why.

What’s your fondest memory of someone who has visited you?


Today’s post comes from Barbara in Rivertown

It’s time to child-proof the house. We have a 22-month-old child visiting between Christmas and New Years, with her grandma (my sis) and her dad (my nephew). Although they will be sleeping at an air.bnb nearby (bless their hearts), they will still spend much time here in our little house. I’ve been trying to look around the place with “toddler eyes” and have discovered several problematic spots where Lela Ann might have a field day (and/or be in danger).

Husband and I are very used to our adult, somewhat “open and cluttered” lifestyle. I like “see through” furniture that appears to take up less space than closed cabinets, and many of the open shelves are at toddler level. Here are some potential hazards…

So I’m trying to replace breakable things on lower shelves with soft and plastic toddler-friendly things. I’ll get out my toy box, my kids’ books (at least the stiff-paged board books), and the musical instrument basket. I hope to clear one corner so she can have one place to create and leave a “mess”. I’ll try camouflaging some problematic spaces with fabric, like this on the electronics shelf:


When have you had to kid proof your place?

Are you having any Christmas visitors (whether you have to child-proof or not) this year?

Elusive Darkness

Today’s post comes from Barbara in Rivertown

Just as “sound pollution” makes it difficult in most of our country to find a place where there is complete quiet, “light pollution” means it’s difficult to find a place that is totally dark. You may have seen a map like this of the United States, showing our light-polluted spaces. Some of the ramifications in my life:

– The only time I have really seen the Milky Way was on a trip to Utah in 1995.

– I’ve learned to use an eyeshade in the times of more daylight, allowing me to sleep better. And when I get up in middle lf night, I don’t really need a night-light to find my way to the bathroom.

A dancer friend writes a couple of blog posts a month, and her November 28 post is about what she calls “holy darkness”.    I quote:

– “Darkness is the absence of light but it is not the absence of the Divine.”

– “Years ago friends told me about a lecture exploring how electric lights have completely changed our relationship to night and experience with darkness. Our conversation inspired us to experiment with fasting from electric lights for an entire night. We call it our holy darkness practice. We bring out candles and get very cozy. “

I hope to find a night soon, at this darkest time of year, when I can spend at least a couple of hours with just candle light, and experience what I can of darkness. How long I will last without my lamps, lighted screens, and phones I cannot say. I might read a book by candle light, or find someone to tell stories with. I will be sure to do this AFTER supper… I don’t feel like cooking over a candle flame.

What would you do with an evening of “total” darkness, except for candle light?

Brain Exercise

My mom lives at St. Anne Extended Healthcare, the nursing care wing of St. Anne of Winona complex here in Winona. Added on later were the assisted living wings, Callista Court, where she lived briefly until her fall a year ago. Callista’s main entrance is clear at the other end of the block from her SAEH room, and even though they’re connected by a little skyway, we don’t often travel that far when I visit.

Because it was so warm the other day, I took Mom outside in her wheel chair to walk the block to Callista’s entrance, and we checked out the “café” inside. It was pretty full due to a craft  project, so we went on to the (quieter) Library and found a square table with decks of cards nearby. I thought, “What the heck, she taught me to play solitaire when I was a kid…” So I laid out a game of (Klondike) solitaire to see how much she would remember. We were both delighted to find that, although she probably could not have laid out the game, she still remembers basically how to play – i.e., that the rows of declining numbers alternate black and red. After seeing it done once, she could put the aces up top, and she caught some of the moves without prompting. When I laid down some cards in front of her, she asked “Is that The Pile?”

She said afterward that she liked doing that – it was good for her brain. I now have a deck of cards in the “mom bag”, and we’ll play whenever time permits, and we find an open table.

What do you do that’s good for your brain?