Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year in Review 2013

I started a review of what I felt was important back in 2008, I have continued the same format every year.
2008 is in regular type, 2009 in BOLD, 2010 thoughts are in Red, 2011 thoughts are in blue, 2012 will be in purple. 2013 will be in GREEN.

The children are all employed, and reasonably healthy. Trica our oldest daughter still struggles with Pancreatitis. Ditto..Trica is still struggling..she might just be a tad more cranky too. She has pancreatitis from a Gall Bladder surgery years ago. Trica is on  temporary medical leave from her job as an RN.  She had a very scary episode in October which we now believe was a direct result of a prescribed medication that was taken off of the market in November. She still struggles with Pancreatitis. Everyone still has jobs, Trica is enrolled at UND and in three years she will be a Nurse Practitioner.  She still struggles with Pancreatitis. Everyone still has jobs, Trica is still studying to become a Nurse Practitioner..she is half done. Trica still struggles with Pancreatitis. Everyone still has jobs, Trica will graduate from UND as a Nurse Practitioner in the spring.  Andy got a Master’s Degree.  Jennifer had surgery for kidney stones.

We still struggle with Doctors and Far Guys Trigeminal Neuralgia. We are comfortable with Dr. P he seems adequate. There are no miracle cures..Trigeminal Neuralgia is a rare disorder that you must just learn to live with...easy for me to say..Far Guy is the one with continual pain. Dr. P is still taking good care of Far Guy…nothing is new with TN, it is still one of the most painful disorders known to mankind. Dr. P is still taking good care of Far Guy..no great discoveries are forthcoming to fight this rare disorder. With Dr. P’s blessing Far Guy had several steroid injections in his Trigeminal Nerve.  The results are mixed..some were not so good and made the pain worse..others took the pain away completely for six weeks. Far Guy says I like his Doctor more than he does and perhaps I should just go to the appointments by myself.

No new Grand-babies..No divorces..a few deaths (two cousins and a very dear friend) This year five friends died.. Rhonda, Jim, Sam, Charles and Pat. Two family members, my Uncle Delbert, and my cousins fiancĂ©e. No Grandbabies ( I think the baby years are over).  Deaths we had a few..My Aunt Marie and Far Guys Aunt Esther. No new grandbabies and no divorces. Deaths we had a few.. Aunt Violet, friends Ardith and Elsie both from Indiana and friend Tammy succumbed to breast cancer. No Grandbabies..I guess I should really give up on this since our baby turned eleven:) Deaths..My Cousin Rosemarie and Far Guy’s Uncle Willard. No new grandbabies…no divorces… two deaths; my Aunt Senia ( old age) and a dear friend Joan from ALS.

No new pets, and no pet deaths. In 2009 Madison got a new kitten that she named Ziggy. Trica found a new home for her Pomeranian Daphne or "Daffy". Daffy now gets to be the Queen of her castle and no longer has to tremble in fear and hide under the couch to escape her terrorist companion Dakota who had a stroke a number of years ago and has an ongoing thyroid problem and is just not right in the head. I miss Daffy..she loved me. When they all lived with us..she was my constant companion. Paige got a kitty that she named Skittles and Savannah got a  pitch black kitty that she named Luna.  Andy went out and got himself a Sheltie puppy who is named Little Elvis. No new pets and no pet deaths.  No New pets or pet deaths..although Dakota is not looking real good.  Dakota died in May she was ready to go the The Rainbow Bridge…she lost most her hair and was very confused.  Jade is a new Black Lab puppy that belongs to Savannah and her beau. Chaucer is not looking real good some days, he has tumors (he belongs to Jen, Andy, Noah and Adam…although who really owns a cat?)

Biggest Adjustment..Far Guy's Trigeminal Neuralgia and how it affects our day to day life.Ditto..we must always be flexible.... it just may not be a good day, or a good week.Ditto. Ditto. Ditto. Ditto.

Biggest Change..Closing the Greenhouse business, a very wise decision. I miss it, but I am getting over it. Well I am way over this one..this years biggest changes..lifestyle..healthier eating..more exercise. Biggest change this year..being able to see without glasses after my cataract surgery. Biggest change this year was leaving Far Guy and Chance on their own while I went to work at the Museum…they can survive without me!  Biggest change this year..hmm..Chance and I having one day a week off while Far Guy works at the Museum..we love our day off! 2013 biggest change, no more outdoor woodstove.  It was sold and a new high efficiency LP furnace was the replacement. We are still adjusting to the cooler temperatures and missing our wood heat.

Biggest Frustration.. Doctors that don't know their butt from a hole in the ground, and the phone ringing. Ditto.. and gaining weight because I quit a nasty habit..that I enjoyed..but now my metabolism is all out of whack.  For now and since July I have been an ex-smoker.  It ain't easy..it has been one of the hardest things I have ever done in my entire life.  I have however curbed the desire to lick every ash tray I see..and those smokers outside freezing their skinny butts off..I envy them..perhaps I will get over that with time..old habits die hard..I began to smoke as a teenager..that was well over forty years ago.  My daughter said "Mom we would rather have you alive and healthy looking and a little fat, than dead and skinny." The phone ringing still irritates me..and now that Far Guy has a cell phone sometimes they both ring at the same time. We are still non smokers..fatter ones.. Ditto..Still non smokers..still fat too. Ditto..still non smokers..still fat too. I still hate the phone ringing and most Doctors irritate the heck out of me. Ditto…still fat non smokers.  Stupid people who don’t know their butt from a hole in the ground, this would include our mailman and most delivery drivers.

Happiest Moment..a very nostalgic Ferris Wheel Ride last August with Far Guy. Playing a little "kissy face" stopped at the top! I had to think on this for quite some time.. I had many happiest moments this year and if I had to pin it down to just one moment it would be watching Chance and Far Guy on the lake shore of Lake Superior..watching Chance run between us. The happiest moment this year: When our oldest daughter Trica woke up after being unconscious for more than 24 hours..and she knew who we were. The happiest moment this year was finding out that Far Guy made the Emergency Life Flight to Fargo alive and that he had no Heart blockages..he had treatable pericarditis.  The happiest moments this year were spent with the Grands..at Guitar Concerts, Hockey Games and out on the lake. 2013 happiest moments…our evening rides watching for rainbows and sunsets and watching the Perseid Meteor Showers with Jennifer at the local cemetery before dawn.

2012 Notes:  Chance is in good health, he takes a baby aspirin every day to help with his stiff joints.  He is as spoiled as ever…and rarely is left alone.   I am not sure who is most forgetful Far Guy or Chance.  Chance feigns forgetfulness every evening after his first treat..and more often than not Far Guy forgets and gives him a second treat.  They are quite a pair.

2013 Notes: Chance is still very spoiled.  Far Guy is still forgetful ( a side effect from his medication).  I am more forgetful too and I don’t take medications.  I have no excuse…just getting older.  I struggle with exhaustion from time to time most likely old age.
Happy New Year’s Eve..stay safe..use a designated driver or call for a ride..or  don’t drink alcohol..have a soda instead! :)
RIP Dakota 2002 to 2013
Savannah and Jade and the beau
Jade, Savannah and her beau.  2013

Blog Signature

Monday, December 30, 2013

It is a tad chilly

It was –29 F or –33 C at 9 PM last night.  Just thought I would share.

December 29th

And that is the thermometer that runs on the warm side.   It sits on the window ledge in the kitchen and receives a transmission from a device in a tree outside. Brrrr…

We had the downstairs Christmas tree de decorated in no time flat.  Why is it that it takes more time going up than down?  The room seems larger now.

The Shiny Brite tree is still upstairs, I am not ready to take that one down yet.  I enjoy it too much!

We started organizing military “stuff” for the scrapbook.  Some of the old stuff was rescued from one of those terribly sticky old photo albums.  Whoever invented them should have been shot.  With patience and a gentle hand and sometimes the hair dryer most everything was saved.  Everything is now on my desk….so we have to work on it!

We decided to sign Chance up for a Intro to Fly ball Class…just to see how he might do.  It would be a great winter activity for him and us too.  He is a little bored in the cold weather…a few squirrels kept him busy for a short time yesterday.


We have one black squirrel, he lives south of here across the road…and comes for a snack ( bird seed on the ground).  Since I greased the bird feeder poles with Crisco they stay out of the feeders.  I might have to re-grease them on a warmer day but for now they are just fine.  Yes I have laughed evilly as the buggers slide down the poles!

We had a blast last night watching Destination America and a search for Log Homes, they featured a home near Park Rapids and another up on Boot Lake…it is fun to see some of the places back in the boonies.  The lady looking at the log home on Boot Lake said “Well this is practically nowhere.”  Yup we live near practically nowhere.

Blog Signature

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Loose ends

I am kinda at loose ends these days after Christmas.  I cleaned out the fridge, and cleaned out a Christmas ornament box that I had not seen the bottom of in years.  I also had a meeting to attend…I hate meetings…much ado about nothing.

Far Guy started gathering “stuff” for me, we hope to put his Military career in a scrapbook. I have the book and the pages and papers galore. I started a folder for photos.  Gathering is the first step.

I need to make a list of all the things I want to accomplish in the next few months.

IMG_5811 Big Bluestem in the snow

It is too cold to venture out of the house/yard.  The wind came up yesterday late in the afternoon and the artic blast arrived. Friday it was almost 30 degrees and felt like spring could come any moment and now we are plunged back into the deep freeze. Old Man Winter will do that to you…give you one marvelous winter day and then a week of bone chilling cold just to remind you Minnesnowda weather is not for sissies. Besides that it keeps out the riff raff.

We have gotten about 35 inches of snow so far this winter ( She who sees robins first is keeping track).  It has snowed a little every day for many days.  The snow stick shows about 11 inches.  Snow settles.  Chance even found one of his lost balls on Friday in the warm up.  Up here in da nort even a ball found in a snow bank is good news.


We will probably de-decorate the downstairs tree for a bonding indoor activity today.

The Rachael and Chad ornament

This is our Rachael and Chad Ornament.  Rachael had all the supplies out on a table at the wedding reception and Far Guy made an ornament for our tree.  There is red and silver tinsel and a slip of paper inside that says:  “So they are no longer two but one flesh, what God has joined together no man can separate.”  It was a nice activity for people indoors whilst everyone else was tubing or taking photosSmile

Blog Signature

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Six Year Journey

Six years ago I began this blogging journey.  It has been an experience…good, bad, sad, happy and everything in-between.  I have met many wonderful bloggers from all over the world.  It has been a pleasure.

I write at night instead of watching TV, I use a program called Live Writer.  I don’t have an index of my blogs … sometimes I think I may be re telling a story I already told.  I am getting old what do you expect?

When I began blogging we still had our Greenhouse business ( I closed it in the winter of 2008 a very hard decision), Far Guy had just been diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia, Chance was three years old, I had a 2 megapixel camera and I was younger.

Why Blog?  To leave some small part of me behind for my Grands.  Just like a diary and they are in it!  Some things will fade in their memories as they get older and they may have some questions about their family history…well they might find that info in the blog.

Selfishly I also wanted to collect enough photos and blooming information about the wildflowers in our area to write a book.  The blog was a great place to collect some of that information.  It is also a good place to document the things that happen in our area.

I also enjoy sharing old photos and memories and just a bit about our part of Minnesota.

I think I may have a few stories left to tell and possibly just a few things to whine about so I will keep on keeping on.


Morning skies on December 24, 2013

Blog Signature

Friday, December 27, 2013

Neighbors Then and Now

Last year after Christmas neighbor Edie gave me a special Shiny Brite ornament.From Edie from Zauches Auction Sale

It had a bit of a story.  Carl (Edie’s husband) went to a neighbors(Norman and Minnie Zauche’s) auction sale and purchased some Christmas ornaments.  She asked me to write something about them.  Edie is originally from Park Rapids and all the information Carl could share was “Minnie was a teacher.”

Well I knew a tad more than that.  I called my Mother to fill in some blanks.   Some things she could remember and some things she couldn’t.

Carl and Edie’s sons got some of those auction sale Shiny Brites this past Christmas and some history as I recalled it and some facts which I researched online.

Minnie S. Flugner (Fliegner) Zauche was born in Idaho in 1906.  She lived in Wyoming and is found in the US Census as a boarder in 1930, more than likely a teacher.    She married Norman O Zauche on June 1, 1944 in Washington DC.  Norman was a Iowa boy that moved to Minnesota, Lake of the Woods County and is found there in the 1930 Census with his family.

They had one adopted daughter.  Becky Joan born in 1945.

Norman  was a Forest Ranger and he and Minnie made their home in the cabins at the Smoky Hills Ranger Station.  Later they built a new home on what was formerly Dezelle's Lake/Chilton's Lake,  which became known to neighborhood kids as Zauche's Lake ( Lady Slipper Bed and Breakfast is located there now.)

Mrs. Zauche was the second grade teacher at the Osage Elementary School.  Her first teaching  year there was 1958.  She was my second grade teacher that same year.    She was a wonderful teacher, patient and kind to all the students.  She would remain known to me as Mrs. Zauche all of her life.

Being a neighborhood kid with a bike, we were always welcome at the Zauche house.   Mrs. Zauche would go out on the small lake and holler "fishy fishy" and throw bread crumbs to the sunfish.  She always had cookies or something freshly baked for a treat for visitors.  She would often hold an impromptu class in her flower garden, telling me the name of all the flowers.  She and Norman had huge flower beds, most of which were landscaped and raised with really good dirt and edged with rock.  They grew dahlias, roses and many other perennials.  On the north east side of their property they had an orchard.  I often wonder how many of those trees have survived.   A small creek ran out of the small lake and through a culvert under their driveway, where the creek became swamp in the woods was where the Lady Slippers grew.   Norman would monitor the water levels flowing from Chilton Lake into Zauche's Lake, there was a ditch that connected the two lakes and there were wood boards that kept the water at whatever level he wanted it.  There was a very narrow path along the north side of Zauche's Lake that led to Chilton's Lake.

The Zauche's donated the land for the building of  St. Pauls Lutheran Church.  They are both buried in the cemetery there.

Norman and Minnie were well respected members of the community.  They went Square Dancing in Detroit Lakes.  Soon they began a square dancing club in Osage called The Friendly  Squares.  Norman did the calling.

Minnie was older than Norman but she would never reveal her age.  She was born in 1906 and he was born in 1913.

When Mrs. Zauche retired from teaching, the PTA had a going away party for her.  Each class she taught would present her with a rose.  I was last in line that day in the kitchen waiting to go into the gym to present her with a red rose and a hug.  She was a truly wonderful lady who touched many young lives.   I cannot remember what year that was...most likely 1970 or 1971.

In late 1974 and early 1975 Norman became very ill, he doctored in Fargo.   Minnie was very concerned, right after she learned he would be okay she died on February 20 1975, she was 69 years old.   Norman would follow her eleven months later, he died on January 12, 1976 at the age of 62.

I will always remember them fondly,
Connie    November 15, 2013

Their daughter Becky was one of my favorite babysitters.  I have lost touch with her, I heard through the grapevine that she was recovering from Breast Cancer…I cannot help but think of her and her parents this holiday season.

Blog Signature

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 2013

Leftovers, too many cookies, boxes to recycle and a few bent spoons mark another Christmas.

At one point daughter Jen announced all electronic devices would be turned off for awhile.  The children complied although several asked “What if I get a call?”

They survived.

After church on Christmas Eve we enjoyed a wonderful meal of smoked ribs (Andy smoked them in his smoker), cooked carrots, corn (frozen from last summer), baked beans and cornbread (Jen’s specialty).  Steve and Jo joined us and my parents stopped by later. Dessert was served: Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake, Tiramisu Cheesecake, Pumpkin Bread, Cookies and Mexican Mud Balls. Uffda.

We played Quelf and then the Grandgirls requested SPOONS.  Spoons is played with a deck of cards, you put one less spoon than players in the center of the table, players are dealt four cards, the dealer picks up a card from the remaining deck looks at it and can switch it out to make four of a kind.  The cards the dealer doesn’t want are passed as fast as they can be around the table.  The first person to get four cards the same grabs a spoon, which is a signal to the rest of the players to grab a spoon, the person with out a spoon gets an S then a P etc… to spell SPOONS when you have spelled SPOONS you are out of the game.  I was forced out after my husband dived for a spoon across the table…Maddie sustained a sore toe and a scrape on her foot from a spoon fight.  One spoon was bent beyond recognition.  It was a loud and rousing game with lots of giggling and hollering.

The stockings

The stockings were loaded before lights out.

Christmas morning breakfast was eggs, bacon, sausage patties, peach french toast and Far Guys famous caramel rolls.

Birth Order DEcember 25v 2013

Youngest to oldest.

Tallest to shortest December 25 2013

Shortest to tallest.

After the stockings we exchanged a few gifts.  Then we did a “White Elephant” gift exchange which was great fun!

After everyone left for other gatherings we had a nap including Chance who was exhausted.

I am glad it is over.  More memories were made.

Blog Signature

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wistful Wednesday: Christmas in Korea 1951 and a Quilt of Valor 62 Years Later

I was born in 1951, my first Christmas was spent at my Grandparents farm with my Mom.

My Dad was in Korea for Christmas in 1951.  He was 25 years old.

Jake Korea 1951

Sign on the Christmas Tree 1951 Korea

Season Greeting To CO.B. 5th RCT

Yuletide Greeting From Korea

Land of Lice and Diarrhea

From Murky Shores We Half Mastered

Merry Christmas You Lucky Bastard

Luckily my Dad came home in one piece, he had a shrapnel wound on his head and on his arm.

It was a tough time over there in Korea.  My Dad thinks of his experiences often especially during the wintertime.  He says some of the images are still stuck in his head after all these years.  I remember that Mom used to complain that he would wiggle his toes all night long in his sleep, he learned to do that in a foxhole in Korea during the winter to keep his toes from being frost bitten.

62 years later my Dad finally got some recognition for his time served in Korea.

I read a blog called Wyoming Breezes written by my friend Nancy.  Nancy puts together tops of quilts for the Quilt of Valor Program.  She suggested that I nominate my Dad for a quilt.  I went to the website and filled out the paperwork.

One Sunday afternoon the phone rang, it was a gal by the name of Rende…she was part of a quilting group and would be presenting the quilt to my Dad! She wanted to present it about 4 PM on the 19th of December.

I called my parents and asked them to be home and have the coffee pot on. If I could manage it then it would be a surprise for both of them.  I also called my Aunt Anna and asked her to go over and make sure they were at home that afternoon.  Mother was very curious, Dad was a little curious also especially after I asked him to change his shirt!

It was a wonderful surprise.  Aunt Anna and few of my cousins showed up and my other baby brother and his wife.  My sister and my baby brother live too far away to attend.

Rende presented the Quilt to Dad.


It is a beautiful work of art.

Quilt of Valor

I also invited my friend Anna who is a reporter for the local newspaper, she wrote an article about my Dad and the photo made it above the fold. 


Dad told us all “That’s the first thing I’ve gotten in 60 years.”

62 years actually.

It is never too late to say Thank You to a Veteran.  My Dad was thrilled to tears with his quilt,  I think he feels a little bit like a celebrity with all the attention…it is about time!

On this Christmas Day in 2013, I am thankful for Nancy and all the other quilters that piece together and stitch the quilts for these very deserving veterans.  I thank you on behalf of my father and all the other veterans you have honored with your stitching.

Merry Christmas!

Blog Signature

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

An old friend

A long long time ago ..oh not that long it was about 1960.  I guess that makes it more than 50 years ago…back to the long long time ago.  I was 9 or 10 and in the 3rd or 4th grade riding Ivan Siegford’s bus to school.  Sandy was the last stop. She was  a real looker.  Blonde hair and a nice smile, on “Dress Up Days” at the high school she would wear heels, long dangly earrings and beautiful necklaces that matched whatever outfit she was wearing.  Sometimes she would sit with me, being the last person to board the bus seating was limited.  She must have been a freshman that year.  Then the bus route changed and she rode a different bus.

Years later she would find our Greenhouse and we would have wonderful visits about the school bus and life back in the 1960’s.  She loved dogs and always brought at least two of hers along with her when she got flowers.  She had no children. I shared with her how I admired her choices on Dress Up Days…she said she enjoyed those special days at school too and felt so grown up wearing high heels to school.

Then one spring she didn’t show up.  Somehow I had missed her obituary in the newspaper.  I never met her husband, but it would have been good to attend the funeral.  She died ten years ago in 2003 from some kind of cancer she was 57 years old.  Her husband died last winter.

There was an estate sale.  I was running on time to work and could not stop in the morning.  After work I stopped.  I saw a lady carrying two boxes of Shiny Brites..darn..too late.  I asked her if she was going to buy them, she replied “Oh no they were just sold I am holding them for a fellow.”

Sandys estate box one

Turns out the fellow was Far Guy.

Box two close up Sandys Estate

This is the first year my “Sandy” ornaments will join the Shiny Brite tree.

Box two from Sandys estate

Dangly earrings, high heels, flowers, dogs and now Shiny Brites…all things that remind me of a friend so long agoSmile

Monday, December 23, 2013

Shiny Brite Tree

The Shiny Brite tree has been done a few days.  I finally had time to take some photos of it.

It is a huge project…I suppose mostly because it is a huge tree.

It takes a few days to decorate.  I love the way the Shiny Brites catch the light.

Shiny Brite Tree and Chance

Chance was getting a tad bored with me, this is his best shot in between yawns.

Shiny Brite Tree 2013

Shiny Brite Tree 2013

Oh ya, this is a confession of a Shiny Brite hoarder.  They are hidden everywhere upstairs, in the tree coffin, in the trunk, in the drawers. I think and I stress think there are just about 500 of them …maybe more. That is a lot of blown glass ornaments to keep safe.

I collect Shiny Brites, Polish and German Ornaments.  This is an ornament made in Germany and it is marked as such.  I think it was part of a set.  I have one other ornament just like this one but a different color.  I found this one in a high end antique shop where they didn’t know the value of their ornaments.  It was in a bowl of ornaments marked $4.00 each.  This was the only really old ornament in the entire bowl.  I even asked for a magnifying glass to give it a good once over…they asked whatever are you looking for?  I was looking for in very tiny letters Germany.

IMG_5138I am pleased as punch to add it to my collection.  It’s value would be $25 to $60 depending on condition.  It was  a good buy. $4.00 is the most I have spent for one ornament.  I find most of the old ornaments at garage or estate sales…and I love it when they are in their original boxes.

This tree is one of my guilty pleasures.  After Christmas I hope to have a few gals over who appreciate the old Shiny Brites as much as I do.

Blog Signature

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Winter Wedding

Yesterday we attended the wedding of our niece Rachael.  She has been praying for snow for the wedding.  There was a fair amount of snow….and many of the outside photos show snowflakes.


Rachael and Chad were married in front of the fireplace in a lovely ceremony.  Guests were seated at round tables, a brunch followed the 9:45 AM nuptials.

The newlyweds

I took outdoor photos from the balcony.

Chad and Rachael

The bride was beautiful. It seems like only yesterday when she was born. Now she is all grown up, graduated from College and  married.


Lets gosledding

Can you guess what they did to celebrate?

IMG_5595 (2)

Chad and Rachael sledding



They celebrated by joining their guests in some tubing down the big hill in front of the hall where the wedding took place.   The guests especially the younger ones had a blast!  Far Guy said “Go ahead and sled with the kids, I will visit you in the hospital.”  I declined and was more than happy just to take photos.

The hill

The high yesterday was 11 F or –11C.  Just another balmy day in MinnesnowdaSmile

Blog Signature

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Ready or Not!

Ready I think!  The last of the gifts arrived in the mail.  That last gift caused Far Guy a few sleepless nights. Everything is wrapped! Whoo Hoo…we are moving right along.

The stockings are hung.


A new ornament is in place.


It is a beauty!

The Grand boys will come and go..doing fun things.


This tall one likes the new ottoman that I bought for the love seat. $15.00 at a thrift store and it matches  perfectly!

The other tall one.


Eating popcorn to gain sustenance to grow a few more inches this week.  Those are Miney’s ears…she likes popcorn too.

Building airplanes out of Legos.

lego Plane

I now know the finer points of this creation…it is wonderful what can be built with Legos.

The Shiny Brite Tree was finished yesterday. The rest of the Christmas decorations found their spots.  I still have one gift I am working on…it might be finished in time…or not.

I have dusted and straightened and put all the Christmas bins away.  I still have a bit of baking to do for Christmas morning but I have plenty of time to accomplish that.

Now let the fun begin.

Blog Signature