Because it’s dangerously cold outside, Ted and I took our three-mile walk in the mall today. We walked through Penney’s to enter the mall and saw this awesome (?) cap that’s good for cold-weather walking.

Wow! Removable wireless headphones built into the cap!
I could be this happy if I had this cap, right? (I wasn’t even tempted to buy it.)

Last February, I posted this cartoon.

This year, we in the Midwest called it “Wednesday.” It was cold in St. Peters.

It was even colder at my brother Tom’s house in St. Charles, IL (west of Chicago).

From inside his house, where he said he was enjoying the furnace, Tom texted me this photo.

Anyone can throw a cup of boiling water into frigid air to watch it freeze instantly. This girl was more creative–she froze her hair.

All the local K-12 schools closed today because of the cold, but we’re Midwesterners, so Tom and JoEllen went to an appointment and Ted and I went to our morning Pilates class. The rest of the class was there too, so we all warmed up with a good workout. It’s practically summer!

In December, Ted and I tried to book flights to Hawai’i as our consolation prize for needing to cancel our trip to Bali, Australia, and New Zealand. The only available seats in both directions were either in first class or on flights that required an overnight layover on the West Coast. We decided to spend the winter in St. Louis.

For no particular reason, I suggested to Ted last night that we check again to see if we could go to Hawai’i later in the spring. What a surprise! There were lots of flights with the overnight West Coast layover, but there were also two flights available in each direction in February, with lots of empty seats, and with no overnight layover!!! We looked at each other and said, “Shall we book them?” The answer was “yes,” so we are going to Hawai’i after all, departing on February 27.

There were no empty frequent flier seats available nine weeks in advance of our trip, but more than one-third of the main cabin is available five weeks later. Hmmm. Methinks the airline must hold the frequent flier seats back, hoping to sell them at full price. When the plane doesn’t fill up, they later make seats available. Ted and I don’t care. We’re excited to be going to Hawai’i in four weeks.

The Lego Movie 2 will be released on February 8. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has become such a public icon that she has a small part in the movie as a Lego figure. The RGB Lego character will be available for purchase, and I bet it will be a big seller for Lego.

Jonathan Haidt developed 27 non-political questions that can help identify if your brain is more Republican or Democratic. If you want to discover your brain’s political stance, go to Answer the questions truthfully, and don’t read the explanation at the end of this post until you’ve finished.

It’s very cold outside, so I’ll think about spring while you take the quiz. When you’re ready, scroll down past this photo.

As you might have guessed from the nature of the questions, Haidt developed a “disgust scale.” A scientific study showed that this trait (disgust) can help determine if you are politically more conservative or more liberal. Conservatives tend to be more prone to disgust.

Some scientists think disgust might be an ancestral reaction that protected more primitive people from contamination and disease. (Think drinking water vs. pond scum.) There are probably more accurate tests if you need a test to determine your political leanings, but this one was kind of fun.

Here are my results: 39% conservative and 61% liberal. I guess I’m less affected by disgusting things than I thought.

Tonight’s super wolf blood moon eclipse was beautiful. After a cloudy day, the skies cleared in time for Ted and me to see the eclipse. It was only 10 degrees outside, so we just checked it about every half hour and then went back indoors to warm up. The reality was much better than my phone pictures.

We could see the beginning of the eclipse from the front porch. Nearly half of the moon is already in the earth’s shadow.
The moon is entering the umbra and is already turning red.
Here’s my photo of the total eclipse. With the moon in shadow, the stars were unusually bright and we could see more of them than usual, even in our suburban ambient light.
NASA’s telescopic camera takes better pictures than my phone does. Awesome! I’m looking forward to the next total lunar eclipse in 2021.

I thought my chances of eventually dying were 100 percent, but USA Today recently reported that, if I eat more fiber and grains, I can reduce that risk by nearly 30 percent.

I assume the World Health Organization used better grammar than this reporter, but maybe not. Unless fiber has become a true miracle drug, it would be more accurate to report that a high-fiber diet can contribute to longevity by reducing the risk of premature death.

Just in case, let’s all eat more oatmeal and go for immortality.

Yesterday was Sefton’s second birthday. Thom and Katie had some activities planned for the day and they didn’t think Sefton would mind waiting until today to celebrate with us. We shared a video call tonight and were able to watch Sefton open his birthday gifts from us. We also heard him say “Grandma” and “Grandpa,” practice his alphabet, identify colors, and read the numbers on the toy cell phone we gave him. Obviously, he’s one of the world’s eight smartest grandchildren. (Do I need to mention that Ted and I have eight grandchildren?)

After celebrating with Sefton, Thom and Katie took us on a video tour of their new house, and it was fun to see where they’re living and what everything looks like. Ted and I are eager to see it in person, but this was the next best thing.

While we were video chatting, I discovered that I could take screen shots, so here are some pictures I took of Sefton while we were talking with him.

This picture is blurred, but you can tell he’s having fun with his birthday balloons.
Happy second birthday, Sefton.

Oh, happy day! Today we had a snow day with a total of 11+ inches of snow. At 33 degrees, the snow was too deep and soft for sledding, it was too wet for snow angels, and it packed too hard to have a snowball fight (it made ice balls), so snowblowing was my choice of outdoor play.

This was the view from the kitchen window when we got up this morning.
The holly bushes were snow-covered.
It’s time for me to get to work.
Happiness is . . . . Notice that it’s still snowing.
Once I cut a path, we could use our official NWS “Snow? How Much?” ruler to measure it.
When I finished, it was still snowing. We had another inch+ before the storm moved east of us, but the temperature was above freezing, so the additional snow melted on the cleared concrete.
Then it was Ted’s turn to play. He took the snowblower across the street to clear our neighbor’s driveway. Jim has difficulty walking, so we’re glad to play in his yard too.
Meanwhile, the kids across the street built a giant snowman. There was plenty of snow for it!
I built a snowman too, but on a smaller scale.

This was the fifth heaviest snowfall in St. Louis weather history, and next weekend might include another snow day. Yea!

We better put an extra blanket on the bed. It looks like we’ll set a record low tonight.

During one of Kari’s holiday shifts at Great Skate, there was a private party. Kari said it was an unusual group because all the adults skated. Most of the time, she said, the kids skate and the adults watch.

As a surprise for their dad, the family asked if the DJ could play some Elvis songs in memory of their mom, an Elvis fan, preferably near the end of the party so the family wouldn’t feel too sad during the rest of the evening. They had an Elvis costume and asked the DJ to wear it and to skate with the family in memory of their mom.

The costume was too small for the DJ, and the two teenagers on shift with Kari didn’t know any Elvis songs. Kari, however, grew up listening to the Elvis records I played on the stereo (what can I say?–he’ll always be The King). As the only viable Elvis impersonator in the house, she put on the costume and skated around the rink with the family following her. As part of her act, she lip-synced “Hound Dog,” playing air guitar during the instrumental portions. What a ham!

Kari’s impersonation was such a hit that the family videographed her performance and took group pictures with her. The only picture Kari herself has is below.

Here’s Elvis (Kari) backstage in the Great Skate kitchen. Uh, thankyou, thankyouverymuch.