Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wistful Wednesday: 1953

I was two years old in 1953.  I was still an only child.  Spoiled. The center of attention. It was my last year of being an only child. 

I used to go along to the barn. I liked being in the barn. I had to go along to do chores. If both of my parents were in the barn..then that is where I was.  Dad made a pen for me to play in, it was made out of straw bales...I loved the kittens..the Banty roosters and hens not so much.

In the winter when it is cold outside it is cozy and warm and aromatic in the barn…wet straw with a slight ammonia smell..fresh cow pies plopping into the gutter…steaming…very odiferous.  The smell of silage thawing out.. a little fermented. 

The nails in the walls of the barn covered in frost. The hay dust gleaming in the sunlight as the hay is thrown down from the hay mow.  The cobwebs hanging in the windows.

The sounds..the cattle munching their ration of grain, shuffling their feet..mooing softly or sometimes not so softly.  The swish swish of the milk hitting the bucket..making bubbles on the surface.  The sound of milk being poured into the strainer that sat on top of the milk can. The kittens meowing for milk in their dish.

My parents trying to carry milk in buckets while the barn kittens swirled around their legs.  Hollering at the Banty’s to leave me alone.

The terror of being pecked by a mean old Banty Rooster that was flapping his wings ninety miles an hour while pecking my legs!  Crying..

Walking back to the house.

Connie Boots are too big 1953

My boots must have been too large for my little feet.  The dogs..I think one was Frosty..and the other was maybe.. Fido?  My Maternal Grandparents were always bringing me a dog..cause they knew I liked dogs!

Connie Winter 1953

Smiling for the camera:)

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Aubrey Smiles

Last night I called over to Katie’s and asked if Aubrey was awake and If she was and I came over would she talk to me or not? ( Sometimes she will not say a word.) She  will be four later this spring. She is my Great Niece and she lives next door with her older twin brothers.

I was delivering a gift from Jo down the road.  Jo had been making tutus and thought of Aubrey and made her a multi colored one.  Aubrey was thrilled!

The huge smile says it all!   She posed for photos and then asked to see them!  She is a doll:)

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Chance: Snowy Day

It snowed yesterday.  I made tracks in the new fallen snow.

snow Feb 26

My black was almost white.

Chance in the snow

The snowflakes were huge.

Sprinkled with snow

Just another fine day in Minnesota.

In the afternoon I had to stay home whilst they went out to lunch and to play cards..I know where they went without me too.  I could smell Odda all over them when they got back home.


I heard all about her embracing the snow..well duh..she is a snow dog.  Yesterday was her kinda weather.

I overheard that we are headed for some supplies, bread and milk and more sunflower hearts for the birds.  It could be a stormy week:)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Treasures in the Trunk: Silk Clothing

I was born while my Dad was in Korea..fighting in the Korean War.
Dad in Tokyo 1951
That is my Dad on the left.
That might be where these clothes came from.  They are mine.
Jacket and Pants from Japan
I believe they are silk.
Clothing from Japan
A jacket with long sleeves and a pair of pants.
It is interesting the things I am finding in our old trunk. I feel a connection to the things I have worn and to the things I can verify as mine through photos.  These silky treasures came from a place far away and as far as I know I never wore them.  They were most likely too large for me when my Dad brought them home.  They were probably tucked away for a special day or time.  I wonder if they are pajamas..or dress up clothes?  What do you think?  :)
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Update:  My Dad purchased these for me while he was on R and R in Japan.  So they are Japanese.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Our Friday morning began with an early wake up call from Jen.  Can you and Dad run south to get the Trophies for todays tournament and bring them up to us in Thief River?  Sure I was only going to dust and wash clothes anyway.  We left within a half an hour of her call..I ate my toast in the car.  Chance was a bit confused we hardly ever leave home that early in the morning.

One of the tournament volunteers who was in charge of bringing the Trophies forgot them in St Cloud..the head of the Department in St Cloud headed for Wadena ( One hour south of us. We met there within 2 minutes of each other.)  We headed three hours North..and the roads were yucky..icy in spots with blowing snow.  Jen talked us in to the College at Thief River..we had never been to that campus before.  She was like our own personal GPS system and even had a parking spot for us…all via cellphone.

We delivered the Trophies..and were applauded!

Andy teaches Robotics.  This was his baby.  Jen was his Field Manager today.

A Vex Gateway Competition is all about two teams making an alliance and competing against  another alliance.  Red vs. Blue.  They try to outscore each other..I never caught on how the scoring system went..I am too old to remember everything.

Robots getting ready

Getting ready..

Robots ready



Go robots

Go robots!  Each “match” was 2 minutes and 20 it is a fast paced competition, with many qualifying rounds. 

This competition was for Middle School and High School Students. There were teams with fact there was one two person girl team.   Being part of a robotics team teaches teamwork, leadership and problem solving..not to mention some Science, Math and who knows what all.  Noah would have been competing today..but he had to decide between robotics and basketball because they started at the same time last fall and met at the same Noah could not do both. Noah chose basketball. Noah’s best friend Evan was competing with his robotic team today.

Andy is in charge of the Electronic Technology/Automated Systems fact he is the Department Head and tail because he is the only member. It was a fun day, and now I understand more about Andy going to work and playing all day.

Kickin some bots shirt

One of the coaches was wearing this T Shirt..he let me take his photo..he told me “I do big bots, my girls one a Freshman and one a Senior do these little bots.”:)

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Almost Normal

We are almost back to normal.  After having a bad cold for a week I am finally feeling better and have refrained from one of those healing naps for a whole day now.

I have  been enjoying the colorful dreams I was having..fever induced no doubt..I won jackpots at the casino, I was robbed in a casino, I was aboard a pontoon that was racing around during an art festival that was projecting it’s art in such a beautiful array of colors on the mirror like surface of a lake, and I went swimming with a whole bunch of dead relatives ( they weren’t dead and swimming but alive and swimming), I smoked a whole pack of cigarettes, I got a new job as a nanny for “19 kids and counting”..and poor Jim Bob had a heart attack.  I was in a war and hiding behind some kind of bullet proof curtain that was blue..except I forgot to cover up my feet ( I had a charley horse).  I could not for the life of me remember where I lived, someone asked me..I could not remember..I asked Far Guy and he wouldn’t tell me cause I should know..well I didn’t..really made me angry so I started to cry and woke up.  And that was just part of one night and what I can remember.  I am a fairly active dreamer when I am ill.

Far Guy had a Colonoscopy the other day..he says he will never be able to drink Gatorade ever again.  They snipped off and lassoed some polyps.  He is recovering nicely most likely due to the excellent care that he has been receiving by Chance and me! He has been having peanut butter withdrawal..and I think Chance has joined him in the throes of that withdrawal.  Today will be a good day for them because they are off of a restricted diet.  The 24 hours that Far Guy spent on a liquid diet was hell..he said even the dog food smelled that is bad.

I have a mountain of laundry to conquer because it has been over a week since I washed clothes..and a week has passed without dusting or scrubbing floors. I need to disinfect a whole bunch of hard surfaces and get out a new toothbrush. I will have a busy day.

Feb 23 snow

We got some new snow.  Better late than never..and we are supposed to have a winter storm coming in over the weekend.  Good thing we can stay home this weekend and hunker down and get caught up:)

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fire and Ice

Fire and Ice roses are a favorite of Jen’s.   She had a dozen in a large vase last weekend.  I asked the boys if they knew the name of the roses.  Of course they didn’t. What 10 and 12 year old boys would?

Fire and Ice Roses

The upper petals are red, and the underside of the petals are white.

Outer Petals Fire and Ice Roses

I gave them the lesson and told them it might come in handy some day.  Just in case they ever wanted to send their Mother flowers.  They both smiled at me and said “Yah sure Grandma.”

They are easy boys to watch, they just need an adult or two in the house to keep one eye on them.  Noah watches out for his brother, he feels very responsible for him.

Adam is grounded from all video games for two weeks…he woke up Saturday morning and said “I dreamt that I was ungrounded and I was playing video games again.”  His Grandpa said “I bet that was a great dream! “  Adam said “It sure was.”   Tomorrow he gets ungrounded..his two weeks are up. I asked him if he learned his lesson, he replied “kinda”  and then “Grandma could we just not talk about it?”

I felt sorry for Adam but I guess the punishment fit the crime.  I was tempted to let him play games on my Kindle Fire..I point blank asked his Mother is he was specifically grounded from Games on Grandma’s Kindle..the answer was “No.”   I decided that I would abide by his parents rules.  Even if part of me did not agree with them.  I was just feeling sorry for the little boy with the huge blue eyes who always makes me smile:)

Adam at the Becker County Fair

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wistful Wednesday : 1887

This is a photo of Far Guy with his relatives.  This beautiful old photo belongs to Cousin Jay now.

Far Guy and His GReat Grandmothers family 

A number of years ago Uncle Jimmy gave our daughter Jennifer a copy of the photo.

Xaver Aleck Family

Recently Jen brought it over so I could scan it on the large bed scanner.  I took the photo into my scrapbook program and identified everyone.

Martha Jane is Far Guys Great Grandmother, Xaver and Christiane are his Great Great Grandparents.

In 1903 Xaver died, Christiane fell apart she was so used to him telling her what to do she could not function on her own.  She was put into a hospital and died a few months later.

Xaver’s Obituary:

Xaver Aleck, the son of Lorenz and Agatha Aleck was born in the Grand-Duchy of Baden, Germany on March 13, 1828.

He migrated to America in 1852 settling for a time in Philadelphia.  He came to Iowa in 1856 and served a home in Harrison County.  After a sojourn of two years he returned to Philadelphia and worked at his trade of tailoring.  In 1860 he entered upon his lifetime occupation of farming in Harrison County.  He continued for 40 years to cultivate his farm and then removed to Logan, Iowa where he has since resided.

He died at 9 a. m. on June 28, 1903.  He was married to Christiane Geiger in Philadelphia on February 18, 1860. To them were born twelve children.

He called no man “Master” and assumed no obligation he could not conscientiously fulfill.  He would not countenance double dealing or subterfuge, nor lend his influence for mercenary gain.  He united in himself the best elements of the land of his birth and the land of his adoption.  He was successful in acquiring a competence.  In attaining his ideal of manhood and in all things did well that which he was called upon to do.  His name shall long be honored, his memory cherished, and his influence unimpaired.

His life was gentle and the elements so mixed in him that Nature might stand up and say to all the world, “THIS WAS A MAN!”

We have been to the Cemetery in Logan, Iowa where he is buried.  He has a magnificent tombstone.  Perhaps the largest marker in the whole cemetery.

Xaver Aleck Grave Marker

I know that he was a good father..he made provisions for Martha Jane to always have a home.  Martha Jane did not choose wisely when she married..but that is a story for yet another day:)

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I caught a cold..a sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, ache all over, headache kinda cold. I have taken up residence on the couch.  I stayed in my jammies all day yesterday. I watched old movies..never all of them just bits and pieces in between sleeps.  I had my stupid flu shot so it cannot be the flu can it?  Jen and Noah both had a cold a week ago when they were here..I guess they must have shared.

Chance comes to check on me every so often, shoving his cold wet nose into my face ..checking on me to make sure I am still breathing. I have a bit of a temperature so hopefully whatever it is will burn itself out.  I went to sauna to kill all the extra germs.

The Sauna

The sauna

I am sure I will be over this in a day or two..or three:)

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Quilt Square Finished

I finished the quilt square!  It is done is plenty of time!

Ready to Backstitch

Here it is ready to backstitch.

Back stitching is just that.. sewing backwards stitches with one or two threads.


Back stitching complete and the work of art was signed.

The next step requires that you cut the excess of the waste fabric away.

Cut away the extra waste canvas

Then you soak the whole thing in warm softens up the waste cloth that must be removed.

Far Guy pulling threads

Far Guy loves to pull the stitches..he pulls them one at a time with a tweezers.  The stitches are exposed one by took him about an hour of gentle tugging to get all the waste cloth removed.

Completed square

I am so glad it is more project off the list.  No more cross stitching for me for awhile. It will be interesting to see what birds my other cousins have come up with!  This quilt will be put together and hand quilted and given away at the Family Picnic in 2013.  The girls decided that having a picnic every year was getting old so they will skip the usual picnic this year:)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chance: Watching

Hi ya!  It is me Chance.  We were watching Miney and Little Elvis and the grand boys whilst their parents were off playing with some robots.  We did some shopping, lots of ball playing and some watching.  I went along shopping because I get separation anxiety and serenade the entire neighborhood while they are gone.  Sometimes Far Guy will drive all around a parking lot so I can be parked next to another dog and we can entertain each other.


I watched Far Guy watching Hockey, while a wild game of Bay Blades was happening in the dining room.  Far Side has already been wounded..she said they could be weapons. Bay Blades are some kind of a spinner that spins a top like toy. Later they confessed it is usually played in an arena and not in a dining room. Boys play really loudly sometimes.


They kept their grandmother entertained. While I kept one eye on them all from the safety of the living room.Elvis Chance and Miney

Later we had a howling good time when the boys played their recorders. I love to visit..but is it always good to go back home:)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Winnie The Bear

Last fall we visited Winnipeg Manitoba Canada.  We had a fantastic day at the Assiniboine Zoo.  I looked back at some of those photos and wanted to share a few today.

Winnie the Bear at winnipeg zoo

This is a wonderful sculpture.

Sculpture at the winnipeg zoo

I did get one not so great photo of the plaque.

Winnie The Bear

It says:

On August 24, 1914 while enroute overseas during World War I Lieutenant Harry Colebourn V.S.of the 34th Fort Garry Horse Regiment of Manitoba purchased a black Canadian bear cub at White River Ontario and named him Winnie after his home town. The bear became the pet of the soldiers. While Lieutenant Colebourn served in France she was left in care of the London Zoo.  In 1919 he gave her to the zoo where she was visited and loved by many, including the author A.A. Milne and his son Christopher.

In 1926 A. A. Milne gave the fictional character Winnie The Pooh named after Lieutenant Colebourn’s bear to Christopher Robin and his friends for posterity.  Winnie died at the London Zoo on May 12, 1934.

“Winnie the Bear”.  By Sculptor William Epp was donated  to the children of the world August 6, 1992.

It is rumored that the bear was orphaned and purchased from a hunter for 10 dollars.  Lieutenant Colebourn was a Veterinarian, apparently the bear was smuggled into France aboard a troop ship. What fun it must have been for those soldiers headed off to war. 

I love art with a story:)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Boxes and Balls

I read someplace..who knows where anymore..that men’s minds were like boxes.  They stay inside their boxes and finish up everything in the box before moving on to the next box. Women’s minds are like balls of thought runs into another and another and get the picture.

I now understand that I have to program the box that Far Guy is in.  If I want to do multiple things in town I say “I am going to town and I am going  to the post office, the dime store and the grocery store and I might even stop at the antique shop or for a cherry coke downtown. If you want to go along you are welcome to come.”  As long as he puts my complicated wire in his box..we get along just fine.  The same thing goes for making a list.  We make a list of things we need in town..his items are all neatly written down in the proper box..some of mine are there but some are still in my mind dangling on one of those wires.  Sometimes on the way to town I add my things to his list.

I hear many women say that their husbands won’t stop to let them take photographs.  Well then drive yourself and stop where you want. OR as you are leaving you could say “If I see something I want to photograph I would like to stop.”  He will say “Yes” and put it in his box…easy peasy.

On the other hand, if men have only one thing on their mind… or in their should not go along to town with them with all your complicated wires.  Sometimes men should be left alone to conquer what is in their box.  If they only need one thing to finish up a project and they are bouncing off of the four walls in their box because they want to get to the next box..then you should roll up your wire and not get involved.
Frosty tree
Blogger now has a very complicated word verification system.  I do not use the word verification.  Blogger has a decent spam catcher and very few spam comments get through.  If you use word verification  on your blog you may be getting less comments from now on.  It is a very frustrating system..the words are all wavy and have crazy numbers..often times it takes two or three tries to get it right…it is in my opinion a waste of time.  If you are afraid of spam then enable comment approval.  I have comment approval enabled on posts over three days old. To change your settings go to your Dashboard then Settings then Comments:)
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Quilt Squares

Well the past 15 days of lollygagging sure did go by fast.  I made another list of things to do before March 1st.  It is a long list..I hope I have not defeated myself before I begin.

The quilt square for “Cousins” is coming along.  Jen grabbed it over the weekend and stitched away on the bird.
Jen worked on the bird
I reminded myself that Nancy at Wyoming Breezes makes Quilts of Valor..and I said I would try to send her a couple of quilt squares.  I will get into my stash and see what kinds of red, white and blue fabrics I have to work with and then wash them up…and then figure out a simple pattern that I can do.  I have some old quilt patterns someplace.  Perhaps there are more of you that want to join in! If so pop over to Nancy’s and get the details.
That will be enough sewing for this non sewing person for the winter. I can sew..but it is not one of my talents and I do not enjoy it like some people do.  If someone said “Take the whole day off to sew.”  I would be bored and most likely get so sleepy I would need an extended nap. 
My progress is slow
That is what happens with the Cross Stitching..I stitch and I get sleepy. So progress is slow..I still have a few more days.  Tuesday noon is the deadline..I am not sure what happens if you are late with your square..but I would just as soon get it out of my hair and crossed off my list:)
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wistful Wednesday: Birthday!

Yes-sir-ee someone is getting older today.  Someone who missed being a valentine gift by only a few hours.

Someone who is older than me..someone who might be old enough to get a Social Security check sometime soon.

Gene 2years (2)

Someone with beautiful eyes and eyelashes that all the girls envy.  Someone with a wonderful smile.  Someone who was cuter than a bugs ear in his bow tie and suspender pants back in 1952.  Look at that blond without even a hint of the curls to come..or the baldness either.

Someone who said last night “how did we get so fast?”:)

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Understanding Love: she said he said

The kind where she says “I have very painful stye in my eye and I will surely die.”  He said “You will live, I will run to town and get some “stuff” for your eye.” And she lived to SEE another day. ( Last Sunday) She had the tombstone all pictured in her minds big eyeball..and it would say “She died, from a stye, in her eye.”

The kind where when she broke her ankle so seriously the Doctors didn’t know if they could save her they wheeled her away for a final stab at a surgery that might work..she said “Goodbye, I am going to die now..have a good life.”  He said “I am going to go get a haircut and I will see you later.” And he did. ( 1980) The Doctors were all idiots and said she would only walk ten years ..fifteen years tops..what do they know anyway..but she still has the crutches in the closet..just in case.

The kind where she said “Just drop me off at the Funeral Home, roll me out on their driveway and then it won’t be so far for them to pick me up when I succumb to the flu.”  He said tomorrow will be a better day..and it was. ( 2008)

I think she is a little bit drama and he hardly ever takes her seriously.  Yet they have been an almost perfect match for the better part of 44 years.

Connie and Gene 1968 1968

He just said “I hope you didn’t buy me a card, I was going to buy you one but I decided to buy Vitamins instead.”  She said “I didn’t buy you a Valentines Card either..I will kiss you instead.”  He said “Sounds good to me.” :)

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