Greetings from a sunny, yet frigid winter day in Iowa.

The weather has been cold and snowy the past few days.  Getting good at shoveling snow, but tired of winter in general.  Last week had to shovel at least six times due to snow that would come down most of the day.  Would clear them each morning and evening.  John felt sorry for me on Thursday morning and shoveled before heading to work.  I appreciated being able to stay in my warm bed and get an extra 30 minutes of sleep. 🙂



Last week had a new dishwasher installed.  Went with a low end Frigidaire model from Lowe’s that cost $295.00 – is the same one we purchased for the downstairs apartment.  Want to see for myself how well they work.  Paid an extra $109.00 to have it delivered, installed and the old one taken away.  It all went like clockwork – installer showed up on time, spent 45 minutes doing the installation, then spent 30 minutes showing me how it works, how to clean the filters in it and going over each feature on the control panel.  The installer was kinda cute and had nice eyes – so paid close attention to everything 🙂 So far it is working fine.  It is quieter then the previous one and cleans much better.  The old one I had to use the pot scrubbing cycle to get dishes clean at all.  The new one does the job with just the normal cycle.  Only criticism is that the washing cycle takes at least 90 minutes to finish – seems like a long time.  Don’t miss doing all of the dishes by hand and is handy to be able to put dirty dishes out of site after lunch, instead of in the sink.



 Spent lots of time working on the paint by number painting this last week.  Wanted to have it finished before going off on the upcoming cruise. Tonight I finished it.  Done.  No more.  Signed and ready to be framed.  It was much more work then I had anticipated – have at least 20 hours into it.  Painting each blob with the correct color seems simple enough, until there are 100’s of them.  I will probably do another one next winter – it did fulfill my goal of doing something fun away from the computer.  I did learn lots of little tricks and things I would do different next time.  Think next time I would start in the middle and work out to the edges instead of starting in the upper left hand corner and working out.  Also would not do all of the black areas first – would do them after other colors are in place so they have sharp lines.  Did take pictures of the painting after each painting session and will put them together into a time-lapse movie.  Not sure if I do this in iMovie or iPhoto but will figure it out.



 Today we went out clothes shopping for the cruise.  John power shopped JC Penny’s with the help of gift certificates my parents gave him for Christmas.  Ended up with a mixture of clothes for work and for vacation.  I then found some nice shirts at Gordman’s on the way back from my Sunday ice skating lesson.

The ice skating sessions I paid for in January are coming to a close at the various places.  So have to pay more money for the next round of sessions.  Can see improvement in my skating and I’m almost done with Adult level 4.  Will probably be able to test out of it after another round of 6 week sessions.  The upcoming session will be the last one outside at Brenton plaza since it usually warms up too much by the beginning of March to have ice.

At metro ice they have a practise area where you can warm up/practise for 30 minutes before your lesson starts.  It is really nice to have this so I can get my skating legs back before trying the more advanced stuff during lessons.  Only problem is that it is me, one other adult and 30 little kids on the ice.  Most are dressed up like little hockey players and are falling all over the ice.  Several kept running into me – think their hockey helmets blocked their vision.  Was kinda funny….

Not much else going on.  Have lots of packing, organizing, cleaning and getting things ready for the upcoming trip.  Think I will be all set in time, but sure I will forget something.  Still need to head to a local party supply store to get a few things for some theme parties – one is Pirates and another one is a Paparazzi event – guess we dress up like stars and get asked for autographs and photographs…


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