Sunday, January 25, 2015

Outdoor Fun in the Land of Ice

Minnesota in January. You can either hole up in your house like last winter when it was far too cold to venture outdoors. Or you can revel in the ice, snow, and moderate (for Minnesota in January) temperatures. Minnesota is the home of ice—skating, fishing, bars, castles, caves, hockey. And the latest rage—downhill cross ice, featuring the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Tournament.

Most of these activities can be enjoyed by the average Minnesotan. However unless you enjoy hurling yourself down the Cathedral Hill track you may want to watch Crashed Ice instead of attempting. This is one sport that you must qualify for before racing full throttle down the ice course, and the Red Bull tournament runs through tomorrow. In case you don't make over to the St. Paul cathedral to watch, this video gives you an idea of ice cross: 2015 Red Bull Crashed Ice.

For a somewhat quieter ice experience head over to the southwest metro to the Eden Prairie Ice Castle that is open through March 7 (if the ice does not melt) and features the sprawling castle, ice skating, performances by Frozen Sisters, and even star watching parties.

When and if they open up for the 2015 season visit the Apostle Island Ice Caves. Last year's record cold winter created ideal ice cave conditions along Lake Superior; the caves are not open yet for the 2015 season but check the link above for all details.

If you would rather stay in the Twin Cities, the St. Paul Winter Carnival is on from now until February 1, featuring a treasure hunt, parades, ice golf, and much more.

Might as well get out there and enjoy January in Minnesota. That or escape to Florida!

Friday, January 9, 2015

An Act of War

Wednesday latest terror attack in Paris, where masked gunmen murdered 12 cartoonists, writers, and staff at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, marks the latest attack on Western culture. Charlie Hebdo joins the growing list of attacks on normal life by Islamic extremists who have no sense of humor or regard for life.

  • 132 school children killed by the Taliban at the Army Public School in Peshwar, Pakistan in December. Innocent children attending school.
  • 37 people killed by an al Qaeda suicide-bomber in Yemen at the same time as the Charlie Hebdo massacre on Wednesday.
  • Lashkar-e-Taiba's four-day attack in Mumbai in 2008.
  • ISIS' charge through Iraq, Syria, and approach on Lebannon, leaving a wake of chaos and terror.
  • al-Shabaab's 2013 attack on a Nairobi shopping mall.
  • Boko Haram's kidnapping of 276 girls that continues today, out of control kidnappings.
These are Islamic extremists acts of war.

An extreme label? Yes, but these people are extremists. Islamic extremists. I'm just calling it what it is, and how these terrorists view these acts against humanity. War against Western values, culture, and freedom of speech and press. When will the West recognize this and take action stronger than signing a condolence book?

Islam is not a religion of hate, killing, and war in the name of the prophet Muhammad. Most people recognize that. Whether you are Islam, Christian, atheist, Jew, Buddhist, we are all in this together. We may not be afraid, but we do not have to live with terror. Action by a world leader must be taken soon to restore peace and sanity to this terrorized world.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Five Tips for a Happier and Healthier 2015

Want to start off 2015 happier and healthier? So do I. After giving this some thought, here are my five tips to start off the New Year with less stress, fewer pounds clinging to my frame, and a happier outlook on life in 2015. 
  1. Do one thing you love each day. Take time for yourself every day. If you are not happy, no one else around you will be happy either. Read a chapter of your book at the end of the day, climb out of bed 20 minutes early to squeeze in a quick workout before starting your day, or hop on your bike for a ride before dinner. Whatever you love, do it each day.
  2. You are only ONE person. This lesson has taken me 46 years to learn. You cannot do it all, nor should you try. Learn to say no and know your own limitations. Life is too short to spend it as an exhausted bundle of short-tempered nerves.
  3. Don't let the days turn into weeks, the weeks to months, and the months turn into years. Stop putting off what you need to do or who you need to connect with. Do the project, maintain that relationship, and do it today. Don't let tomorrow turn into July.
  4. Put down your device. I know how much you love your phone, but the real world is out there. Look up, unplug, and ask those around you to do the same. Spend time with someone you love sans your devices.
  5. The chic blogger with her loving family
    at the Washington Monument
  6. Be good to yourself. Take care of yourself, spend time with those you love, and strive to lower stress in your life. If you have resolutions for 2015 try to stick to them. I have three simple ways to be good to myself this year: don't indulge with food and drink (moderation is a good thing), don't worry if the house is not completely clean all of the time, and exercise body and soul every day.
Wishing you a happier and healthier 2015!