On the Seventh Day of Christmas

I slept in, until six o’clock.  That’s an hour longer than I usually laze around in bed.  I knew I had two things to get done before long after waking up.  The first involved the annual dissemination of sticky buns to friends.  I started two batches of dough going, one in the bread machine and one via the mixer, with about fifteen minutes to spare before the sun rose at twenty of eight.

Since I had over an hour to wait for the dough to rise, I grabbed my camera bag and tripod and ran for the van.  I drove a block to my south and setup on the grounds of the Lansing City Hall cul-de-sac.  I experimented with the aperture priority setting so I can attempt to get a star like effect when the sun rose.  I succeeded (see below) but also forgot I had accidentally smudged my lens with my fingers a couple of days ago and forgot to clean it.  So some of the later photos with more star-five effect had to be trashed thanks to smudgy fingerprints obscuring the sunlight.

Last Sunrise of 2011

Click here for the slideshow of the rest of the photos.

I packed up the camera and gear as soon as the sun cleared the horizon.  I still had plenty of time before the dough needed to be rolled out and sweetened with brown sugar and cinnamon.  I made a quick run to the grocery store to buy the disposable aluminum lidded cake pans I needed to place the sticky buns in for delivery to our friends.  Once I returned home, I woke up Rachelle, who helped make the caramel glaze to pour into the pans and evenly distribute the individual rolls among the six pans.  This year we only made about sixty rolls, instead of the usual hundred or hundred and twenty.  We covered them with the clear plastic lids and attached the storage and baking directions to them.  Rachelle and I then left to deliver the rolls.

Once we returned home, Derek and Royna had also arrived back from their overnight visit with their friends.  I suggested that Rachelle, Royna and I drive to downtown Leavenworth to sample some of the loose tea available from the Queen’s Pantry.   Royna found three she liked and Rachelle found one.  We walked across the street to the antique mall where Rachelle found some jewelry and I found a paperweight for a coworker.  Our last stop downtown was the Kansas Country Store where I tried to find some rawhide treats for the Rotts, but found a half-price Rottweiler 2012 calendar instead. I dropped Rachelle off at her friend’s house and Royna and I returned home to while away the afternoon watching movies.

We decided on Mexican for a family dinner out and traveled to Zona Rosa to revisit Aubelos.  Terry and I had tried that restaurant back in October for my birthday.  Derek and Royna had also tried and liked it previously.  I called ahead and reserved a table for the five of us.  I missed the sunset at five o’clock because I was busy getting ready to leave for dinner.  I did step outside briefly, but the sky was so clear and devoid of haze or clouds that the sunset would have been ‘boring’ for me to photograph.  The drive to Zona Rosa via K-5 and MO-152 was uneventful and our dinner was delicious (and fast).  We were back home before half past seven.  Rachelle donned her excessively ugly Christmas sweater and left to spend New Year’s Eve with her friends.  Derek and Royna will start packing and get some rest before hitting the road southbound for North Texas tomorrow morning.

And so I come to my final paragraph of my final blog post for 2011.  I believe we’ve had a good year.  We had a couple of milestones (25th wedding anniversary and 15th year at my employer).  We started renovating our house, replacing the roof and the driveway and repairing the chimney.  I’m keeping the miles down on both our cars by participating in a vanpool, which also helps reduce my carbon footprint by taking at least four other vehicles off the roadways five days a week.  We spent the holidays with our kids, always the highlight of our year.  I hope and pray 2012 will bring all of us peace and prosperity, harmony and grace.

Have a very Happy New Year!

Movie Review: The Final Countdown (1980)

The Final Countdown (1980)

3.5 out of 5 stars

My daughter had not previously seen this movie, which my husband and I have watched several times.  Terry thinks he may have seen it in the theatre when it was released in 1980.  I don’t think I did, though; I think I have only seen it rebroadcast or on VHS.  Thanks to our Netflix streaming, we were able to revisit this interesting take on time travel and Pearl Harbor Day (somewhat fitting since we just celebrated the 70th anniversary of the original attack on Pearl Harbor earlier this month).

While the officers and crew of the USS Nimitz (a nuclear powered supercarrier) and our token civilian observer (a very young Martin Sheen) pondered taking on the entire Japanese fleet, taking full advantage of forty years of technological advancement in aircraft, weapons, radar and communications, I sat and wondered how dated everything looked from another thirty years in the future.  Crew members had a library of hardcover books to read, were putting together puzzles or playing board games or card games, listened to the radio (instead of plugging in to their iPad or iPod or iPhone), had no Internet, no cell phones (not that they would be of any use in the middle of the Pacific Ocean), no video games, no flat screen television screens or monitors, no personal computers or laptops of any kind.

I realized this time around that the story seemed a bit thin and most of the film seemed to be an advertisement for the capabilities of our Navy, demonstrating take offs, landings, emergency landings, emergency helicopter water rescues, reconnaissance, dog fighting (although not much of a dog fight between a Japanese Zero and a F-14 Tomcat).  Since this film was made ten years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, I assume the Cold War influenced some of this.

Despite these observations, I still enjoyed watching this movie.  Perhaps it’s time this one got a makeover similar to what happened with 3:10 to Yuma.  Maybe before the 75th anniversary rolls around.

A Few of My Favorite Things (My Best Books of 2011)

I met my self-imposed reading goal of seventy-five books read during 2011.  That’s approximately twenty-five fewer books than I read in the previous two years, but only about two thousand pages off my normal pace.

Click on this picture for further information and drill-down granularity

Seventy-five books seems to be the maximum number I can read and still squeeze in exercise and employment.

Some of my favorite reads included the following (click on the link to see my review … if there isn’t a link it’s because I haven’t written a review yet):

Printed Books:


  • Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper
  • Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  • Initiate’s Trial by Janny Wurts
  • Field of Dishonor by David Weber

I will set my reading goal for 2012 to 75 or 80 books.  I am also limiting myself to only purchasing ebooks for my Nook Color.  Another goal I’ve set for myself is to reduce the number of books I have in my house by reading and disposing of them (through donations most likely).