Sunday, January 31, 2016

Shiny Brite Tree

I finally got all the Shiny Brite ornaments off the tree and packed away.  I am slow.  I had to get the ornaments off the tree before they got dusty. The Shiny Brite Tree Jan 29
Now the shorter tree stands there all naked waiting to be put in the bag and stuffed in the compartment under one of the twin beds.  I left that for another day…wouldn’t want to be an over achiever.

Kinda sad…but it was up for six weeks…plenty of time to enjoy it.

Adam was the only grand that noticed the new tree…he came downstairs at Christmas time and said “Where is the big tree ?  That one is so little.”  I explained that it was too tall…certainly nothing that he can identify with.

Since I sold the old too tall tree I now have room for all of the Shiny Brites inside the tree coffin….which should  probably be called a Shiny Brite coffin now. I actually feel kind of organized and it will be nice not to go on a scavenger hunt looking for boxes of ornaments tucked away here and there and notes in the tree coffin to the whereabouts of all the Shiny Brites…they are all in one spot now.
This is a ornament that Chance gave me one year.  It is painted yellow on the inside and has red stenciled skaters and snowflakes on the outside.  It is a one of a kind…since I only have one of them.

You probably don’t want to know how many hours I can waste looking at Shiny Brites on the net…between etsy and Ebay.  I find it educational and relaxing.
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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Odds and Ends

I finally got the Christmas Flag down and the Valentine’s Day Flag up.
Valentine Flag
Then again everyday might be valentines day around here…we already passed the card aisle in Wallyworld and I said we should look at the cards now while the selection is good.  Better yet… together we gazed down the chocolate aisle!

I spent one morning working on taxes and can go no further until all the W-2’s are here.  I kept the shredder going for a good long time.  I will be glad when it can be taken to the accountant. 
It rained some more and the snow at the snowstick is shrinking. Seven inches and lots of twigs
See all the leaves and twigs?  That is from the gale force winds we had for a few days.
I gave Chance a bit of a trim…feet and in between the pads of his feet. Trimmed his nails too…he really doesn’t like it but I felt he was a little ouchy.   Sometimes he even refuses to play ball…and since he is not running like he used to his nails are growing. He is having a hard time going up and down the stairs, his hind legs just don’t want to cooperate sometimes. Chance Jan29 
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Friday, January 29, 2016

A little sunshine

Yes the rain turned to ice and now the walk is slippery…but we had some sunshine.
We almost had some color near sunset too.

I scraped on the ice some…where the snow fell off the roof and scared Chance…that snow is like cement….if I had a pick axe I might be able to budge it.  I hope for a melt…and that rain can stay away it is nothing but a headache.

Nothing is new…no big projects have been completed lately.  Same old same old…laundry, dusting, wonder what to cook and do up the dishes. We might be in a bit of a rut.

Far Guy has his Neurologist’s permission to decrease his Tegretol…he is down to one tablet a day now with hopes to be Tegretol free in a month.   The Aralast that he is infused with every week for his Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency has made a difference in his Trigeminal Neuralgia pain OR his Trigeminal Neuralgia is in remission after eight years.  We wish we knew which one was responsible.  From my perspective, I think Aralast could be a cure for Trigeminal Neuralgia pain…but I am not a medical researcher or even a Doctor… I am just  an observer.  Recently I read about a study being done with Tegretol as a medication to fight off the liver damage in Alpha 1 Patients.  I have a cousin who is in Medical Research, he is working on trying to find a researcher or two that might be interested in researching a connection with these two rare disorders.
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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Dentist and Rain

I am done at the Dentist.  I told Chuck “I was dying to see you again, but I won’t be back for six months.”   Far Guy drove my miserable butt home…dosed me with some Aleve and I went to sleep almost immediately.  I woke up to some perfectly cooked Salmon.   By that time the Novocaine that went from my eyeball to my right boob had worn off.

It rained …just like summertime.   The wind blew…Mother Nature was not happy yesterday.  Chance was not happy either, wind moves the tree limbs and twigs might fall from the sky and the snow is shedding off the steel roof…all things that concern an ageing Border Collie who likes everything the same day after day.
Rain Jan 27
We had eight inches of snow at the snow stick.  After the rain I don’t know what it says…it was still raining when it got dark.
Snowstick shows 8 inches Jan 26
We saw the sun for a short time on Tuesday and the sunlight nearly blinded us.  Even Chance was squinting his eyes.

My positive thought for the day:  The sun doesn’t set until after 5 PM…even if we cannot see the sun through the clouds.
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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wistful Wednesday: Grandpa Sam’s Sisters

Growing up I knew my Paternal Grandfather had seven brothers…but I didn’t know he had five sisters.  Of course four sisters would die before I was born so maybe that had something to do with it…. that and not being interested in “old people” at the time. 

Greta “Maria”  Born Nov 16, 1886 and died December 10, 1886  (Probably from what we know today as a crib death)

Maria or Mary Born October 10, 1887 and died June 17, 1938  Maria was 15 years old when she got married. ( It was common to repeat a name, it was meant with the utmost respect…but it is a pain in the neck for relatives searching for family information.)

Ethel born June 2, 1901 and died June 29, 1931.  She drown in Toad Lake while swimming with her brother in law Arthur who had recently been widowed.  (He also drowned that day) It was reported that a family member heard spiritual singing that day…and yes I believe she did.

Ethyl Yliniemi (2)
Ethel G.
Esther was born December 9, 1903 and died December 23, 1930.  She was married to Arthur Larson.  They had a child named William who died and is buried supposedly in Leed South Dakota, I can find no record of his birth or death or a grave.  Another baby was born and died and is supposedly buried in Astoria Oregon but I cannot find that child’s records either.   Esther died from complications ( kidney poisoning) during a third pregnancy. Arthur returned her body to Minnesota for burial. (He drown with Ethel six months later.)
Esther Yliniemi Larson (2)
Esther and Arthur Larson

Ida Matilda was born September 29, 1905 and died January 21, 1983.  I remember her son Harold who was blind, but Ida herself…I cannot come up with one memory.

All the deaths must have been hard on my Great Grandmother Margaretta “Greta” before she died in 1944 at the age of 76 she would bury baby Greta in 1886, Esther in 1930, Ethel in 1931 and Maria (Mary) in 1938.  On December 9 1932 she would also prepare to bury her husband.
I bet she wished she could just by pass those first years in the 1930’s.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Unplanned Spring Cleaning

Late Sunday afternoon I was awakened by a commotion in the bathroom.  Far Guy was cussing the old plunger that we got back in the 1980’s.  I know it is not from the 1970’s as that one had a burned handle from the time it was used to roll a log in the wood furnace.  He went to the garage for bigger more impressive clog removing tools, snakes and a power driven whatchamacallit.

I had been very sound asleep…so I had a bit of a brain fog…but assisted him anyway…even calling for a new plunger which was swiftly delivered by my great niece and nephew, Anna and Mason next door. 

That plunger had no results either…something was really amuck.  Finally the water alarm went off in the furnace/laundry room as water came backwards through the floor drain.  The kids left with their plunger and reported back to their Dad ( My Nephew) that we had real problems.  I called my other baby brother and as I was telling Far Guy how to by pass the float…Far Guy was recalling it himself…the lift station lifted…and the water receded down the floor drain.   The float was bad…I disinfected the floor once before supper and once after supper.

Monday morning my nephew Josh came over, then my other baby brother came over…they developed a plan and at the end of the day we had a working lift station again…complete with a new float. 

In order to have an area to work in the washer/dryer had to be moved, and in order to move it we removed the wire shelving unit from the wall…the kitchen was full of stuff.  Piece by piece I washed all the shelving whilst the guys were “fixing.” When they were done, I scrubbed the floor again…and we put the shelves together and all “the stuff” was put back in place.

On the positive side: 

Part of that room has been spring cleaned!

The lift station is only for the lower level of our home.  The upstairs bathroom has it’s own separate sewage line…so we were never without a bathroom or a shower.

After a full day I had a four hour nap, I am a good napper… stress makes me really sleepy.
Rose unsure of name
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Monday, January 25, 2016

Find A Grave

I am finally doing something with my Find A Grave Membership.  I figured it was about time, especially after I found two of my Uncles in the wrong Cemetery.  I now manage their graves online.   I also manage a number of my Mother’s relatives…most of a country cemetery.

If you are not familiar with Find A Grave you should be.  It is used to record locations of graves, with a photo of the grave site, obituaries, and possibly even a photo of the person when they were very much alive.  Thanks to many volunteers the site is growing by the day.  You too can be a volunteer…if you like, it is painless and simple.  At the very least you should check and make sure your deceased family members are in the right cemetery.  Corrections can be left as a message for the person who maintains the graves online…or by email…easy peasy.

I have a number of really old obituaries thanks to women before me that saved obituaries…it may seem like an odd thing to save…but what a treasure trove of information they are.  I will have to make a trip into the archives of our county newspaper for some of the really old obituaries.
Oak Grove Cemetery  Memorial Day 2013
For my relatives that read the blog, if you have a photo of a loved one that you would like me to scan and put online…send it to me either through snail mail or email or drop it off…I will scan it and return it to you.

I have started to keep a Find A Grave Notebook…so I can keep track of my progress.

On a side note I didn’t know much about my Great Grandmother Amanda who died in 1913.  Through Find A Grave I was able to find out the names of her siblings and her Father.  Interesting stuff.
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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Funeral Saturday

My cousins funeral was on Saturday morning.
One of those long Catholic services.   There were plenty of places to sit so we sat in the back of the church…not much perfume there although the candles burning and incense was a little hard to take.
The Priest had quite a cough and kept stopping to cough and blow his nose…I was thrilled that we were so far from the front of the church.

Immediately after the service we headed to the Cemetery.
Highway Patrol escort
We had an escort. 
Funeral procession
It was a dull gray day… the Cemetery is way north of town just outside of a little bump in the road village.
Cemetery Road
You know you are there when you see the street sign that says Cemetery Road.
Lyles Casket and flowers
The lopsided funeral spray bugged me, I guess I should have walked right up and straightened it out….but it reminded me that Lyle was a bit different all his life…and wonky flowers on his casket wouldn’t have bothered him.

The Deacon said a bunch of prayers while the wind roared through the tall pines behind us and the snow on the heavily laden trees went airborne….it was a tad chilly with fine snow landing on us.  Lyle’s grave site is just a little west and south of his sister’s grave and west and north of his parent’s graves.  I will visit in the spring to make sure there are some kind of flowers.

We headed to the Osage Community Center where a funeral lunch was waiting.  Sloppy Joes, ham sandwiches, potato chips, pickles and bars of all kinds…and coffee….Lyle’s favorite foods.  There was much visiting with cousins. Lyle was never married, but he had three nieces and a nephew that were very special to him.   

I remember when Lyle was born a bright eyed little guy! I remember him after he was brain damaged some of that light went out of his eyes.  I can only imagine how brightly those eyes must have lit up when he saw heaven all spread out before him…and his father, mother, sister and brother waiting for him there…I can only imagine.
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Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Simple Feeder

Far Guy made this peanut butter feeder.
Peanut Butter Feeder
He drilled a hole in the plastic peanut butter cover and inserted a wire that he tied into a knot on the underside….that wire then became the hanger on the top side.  He cut two X marks on each side near the bottom and inserted a small dowel for a perch.  Then he marked and cut out feeding holes on each side with a knife.

The little Chickadees love this feeder.  Yesterday I watched them as it swung to and fro…they are quite the aerial acrobats.

Soon we will fill the holes with more peanut butter so it is easier for the birds to eat. They almost have it tunneled out on both sides. I have another “for the birds” 99 cent jar of peanut butter waiting.
So there you have it…a simple feeder!  I know there is some controversy about birds and straight peanut butter…add some sunflower seeds or corn meal if you like. 

We only use this feeder during the dead of winter…otherwise it might attract skunks!
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Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday already?

Where did the week go…and what did I get accomplished?  Not much…I better get a move on.  So many projects in between naps! The days just whip on by…one by one.  Why is it time seems to be moving faster and faster…there is still the same amount of minutes in a week. More carvings to paint
More odd ball carvings that were rolling around in my carving bag.
Carvings painted
Painted and sealed.   The Loon was a left over from the big ornament project, I borrowed it to a fellow carver for a pattern.  I still have one more snowman in my carving bag…uncarved. One time I THOUGHT about carving these snowmen as “the ornaments” way…it takes me several hours to carve just one.
I tried to do a plaid scarf…they key word is TRIED.  I should have sketched the pattern out instead of just painting it.  AND he has a funny nose…oh well.

We cleaned out the box of paints and then went shopping for the colors that had gone bad and for the ones we used up.  There is 69 cents difference between stores in town on paints.  One store has them for 50 cents and one for $1.19  go figure where we shopped.  Two fer the price of one works for me. 
Gas prices
Here are gas prices in a town 33 miles away.  A good 20 cents cheaper than our town 14 miles away.  These are the lowest prices we have seen in a long time.  Yes the days are still gray and frosty…but above zero!
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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Frosty Trip

Yesterday it was frosty and foggy.  It warmed up to 19F or –7C eh!  A warm front moved in.  There were patches of freezing rain. 
Wonderful time to have to drive to a big city for a Doctors appointment.  Especially an early morning appointment.
Frosty Wires
The highline wires lead the frosty way.
Crappy Gray weather
The roads were actually pretty decent and sanding/salt trucks were out.  We made our appointment in plenty of time and were called in earlier than our appointment…no waiting.   The new Pulmonary Dr K.  is going to be alright I think, he explained some test results and prescribed two doses of antibiotics to be kept on hand.    The liver scan showed some liver damage because of the Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency…not a surprise.  We got to see the MRI of Far Guy’s lungs…and where his port was placed.

He answered all our questions about Far Guys port.  We have been having problems with the port.  We were taught at the infusion center to check for a blood return before giving the infusion.  Lately blood returns have been few and far between.  Two weeks ago when I was gone Far Guy went to the infusion center where the gals checked his port for a blood return and couldn’t get one either, he received a medication called Cathflow.   It is a potent blood thinner…it usually takes a half hour to break through a clot or fibers at the inside end of a part…well it took an hour to finally get a blood return.  Since then we have not had a blood return….even though Far Guy is well hydrated (think floating away)and he does everything but stand on his head.  Dr.K said “What is the intention of your port?  To check for blood flow or to administer medication?   If it is to administer medications and they still flow through the port then everything is okay. IF at some point we cannot get anything to flow through the port then we will get a Radiologist to feed a wire through and clean it out.”  Alrighty then…we are supposed to keep keeping on. 

Far Guy can do his infusion from start to finish, both with me sitting across the room         ( when I was ill and germy) and then when I was taking care of Jen he did it all by himself and Facetimed me to show me that it was going okay other than he got no blood return. 
The infusions are given weekly on Thursdays…the protein only lasts 5.9 days in your system.  He had more lung function tests yesterday, he is holding at 21% function.   That is good news…not that the 21% is anything to celebrate but the fact that it is holding means that the infusions are doing what they are supposed to do = protect the lungs.

We were both really discouraged yesterday when the CDC came out with the blanket statement about antibiotics and how they are over used.  To a person with undiagnosed Alpha 1 and bronchitis…without antibiotics to fight the infection your lungs will be destroyed bit by bit…part by part…that is what happened to Far Guy…the medical community failed him. If he had been properly diagnosed even three months before he was it would have made a difference…a diagnosis a year sooner and perhaps he wouldn’t be on oxygen.

Bottom line, if you know someone with Emphysema, Asthma or COPD…they should be tested for Alpha 1…it is a free test…and can save someones life.

Far Guy’s funny for the day was as we were driving away…his Oxygen Bottle slid around in the back seat, making the oxygen tubing pull at his nose…he said bad word a couple of times right out loud and ripped the nasal cannula off.  I told him to calm down…he said no one realizes that where the hose goes so does the nose.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Wistful Wednesday: Cousin Lyle

My cousin Lyle died last week.  Lyle was the third son of my Uncle Andrew and Aunt Joan.  They would have three more children later…for a total of six.  My Aunt Joan died in 1987 and my Uncle Andrew in 1997.
Joan and Andrew
Aunt Joan and Uncle Andrew
Before my Uncle Andrew got married he lived with us, and he worked construction with my Dad.  Anyways…then he got married. ( I was heartbroken that he didn’t pick a gorgeous blonde to marry….but no one would have been perfect for him in my eyes.)

When Lyle was little they lived at the edge of Ponsford in a house way in the back.  ( Mary Ann my Aunt Joan’s sister lived on that property most recently but now she is gone too.)  Anyways…Lyle suffered some brain damage…from a plastic bib or a dry cleaners bag…depending on what version of the story you recall, I have heard both.   Shortly after that incident they moved to the farm kitty corner from us…on Far Guy’s Maternal Grandparent’s old farm. 

Lyle was just a little younger than my other baby brother Jody.  Lyle’s speech was damaged by the lack of oxygen, he was hard to understand. It was frustrating for him.  He was in the Special Education class in School…I think he was mainstreamed a few times…and he graduated from High School. 

Lyle was a farmer and a fisherman, he often stopped by with his Dad for coffee after a day of fishing in the winter. My Uncle took good care of him, then my Uncle died…Lyle lived on the farm with his brother Mark ( they called it a bachelor pad), when Mark died Lyle went to live with another brother.  Eventually Lyle entered the nursing home…that is where he was when he got pneumonia and was taken to the Emergency Room and died in Intensive Care.

I remember how he struggled when he was little to keep up with the other kids his age,  I remember when he was older and the Doctors told him he had to walk…you would see him walking back and forth on the dirt road east of the farm.   He loved the farm but he was wary of all animals.  He didn’t like my dogs at all.

I had 46 cousins on that side of my family, 5 are gone that leaves 41 of us. Leonard died in 1958 he was 15 years old, Randolph died in 1961 he was just 36 days old, Mark in 2008 he was 49 years old, Rosemarie or “Rosie” died in 2012 she was 41 years old and now Lyle in 2016 at the age of 54.
Connie Carey Lyle April 12 1991 (2)
Me, my baby brother and cousin Lyle
April 12, 1991.
The photo was taken at my parents resort on the north end of the lake, my baby brother flew in for my Uncle Arnold’s Funeral.  We were gathered for coffee later that day or the next, Uncle Andrew was there with Lyle when someone said “take a photo of the cousins.”

I am sad, I think that is normal when a relative younger than you dies.  I can only imagine how happy my Uncle Andrew, Aunt Joan, Mark and Rosie were to see him again.  Half their children are left on earth and half of them are in heaven.
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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Bark Carving Finished

I took a class in 2012 to make a larger bark carving.  It was two pieces of bark glued together with hot glue.  The idea was to carve it and then heat it in the microwave and the hot glue would get mushy and you could separate the pieces to drill out some of your windows…doors whatever you carved…then the two pieces could be permanently glued together.
Alrighty then!
June 4 2012 Hunk of wood
June 2012
Got a vision yet?   Neither did I but sometimes you have to let the wood talk to you.  Although sometimes I think it is speaking a foreign language.
June 11 2012 Carving
I saw a tree and a house and a chimney…maybe.
Bark Carving three 2012
June 2012 Making progress!
Then the class ended and I carted that piece of wood around in my carving bag for a long time…I would pick it, up carve something off of it and shove it back in my bag.

I finally got it far enough along to separate it…well the doggone thing warped…I left it out in the greenhouse/woodshop…I nearly threw it away.  One day last summer I picked it up and got the pieces to meet together somewhat close enough.
Bark Carving ready to paint january 2016
It is not perfect but sometimes you just have to go with the flow. I worked on it a little more and declared it ready to paint.
Tree side
The tree side.  January 18, 2016
Hut side
The hut side.  Here you can clearly see where it was two pieces at one time.

Cross one unfinished project off the list!  For now I put it up on the mantle, I have to remember to take it to carving next week to show it off..otherwise those guys think I never finish anything…I do, it just took me three years and seven months.  This is not my oldest project…I have others that may or may not be unearthed.
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Monday, January 18, 2016

Chance: Turdy Below

Yes, you heard right…it is my turn.  Finally when was the last time you heard from me anyway?  TOO long ago.

Anyways I am here to report it was turdy below F, that might be about turdy four below C.  It is cold.  I have embraced that mysterious cold weather phenom that makes a dog go outside to sniff the cold air three different times before doing “the duty.”

In and out the old people get exercise going up and down the stairs.

Far Side snowblowed me a path along the woods and everything…boy if that wasn’t a circus …that machine has lots of bells and whistles and levers and she had to stop to read the directions twice…finally she got it done…it isn’t perfect but it will do.  Did you guess she has a big zero for a mechanical aptitude?
Snowy Chance
They both have taken to walking laps around inside the house, sometimes I follow for awhile, then I rest.  Oh boy when Far Side gets on the stationary bike I know it is time to play ball, she can throw decent with her left hand. (That would be the hand that I deposit the ball into.)  She won’t quit to retrieve a wayward ball if it accidentally gets under the couch…so I have to lay there and whine until she is done going nowhere.

They asked Steve and Jo to come play cards one afternoon…boy was it fun to see someone else for a change, even if they didn’t bring Odda.

I am not allowed to go to town during a cold spell unless the stops are short…even though I have a lot of hair…enough for two dogs according to someone…I might get cold.  Ya think?  Sometimes they take turns and one stays with me guarding the car whilst the other runs the errand.

I hope you are staying warm where ever you live!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

For the Birds

We bought 25 pounds of Niger Thistle Seed the other day.  The thistle feeders are filled once a day.  The little Red Polls are hungry.   I saw one finch amongst the bunch …a close relative no doubt….maybe an in-law.

I will guess that there are 60 plus birds feeding at once…maybe more. Sometimes it looks like that Hitchcock movie in our yard.  The day I was shoveling the patio all the birds flew but one.  Poor thing was walking around looking for seeds, one of his wings looked funny…perhaps a clash with a tree or a window.  He walked around as I shoveled, one time I almost covered him up with snow…I was torn …what to do…what to do.  He jumped up and struggled out of the avalanche…I told him I was sorry.  Then I started carrying shovels of snow way away from him.  I finally decided to let nature takes it’s course, I got real up close and personal with him while clearing off the tops of the solar lights.  He flew into the thistle feeder and just rested there, panting heavily. Poor thing.
Sick Red Poll
When we got home from town he was gone…possibly totally recovered…some things just take time.  Perhaps he flew off into the woods and died…but I hope he lived to see another day.
Red Poll
Maybe this is him…maybe not…
If you don’t have Red Polls at your house rest assured they are being fed well in Northern Minnesota where it is colder than a witches titty on the shady side of an iceberg.
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