Friday, January 29, 2010

Breathing Room!

Boy, talk about a dilemma. Sometimes it seems this house is just one dilemma after another!

Of course, there's the junk with the SIL and his work philosophy that I think needs to be totally revamped if ever he wants to qualify as really being a "Professional, Self-employed Businessman." Lots of change needs to take place in that area.

Then there's the kids and their problems from time to time -one of them being the allergy issues that little Kurtis seems to have. He has a prescription for Cingulair (I think that's how you spell it) plus every night, he gets a dose of melatonin to help him go to sleep and just in case that doesn't kick in completely, he also gets a dose of benadryl to help with the allergy issues and also adds to the melatonin's effects to get him to go to sleep -and stay asleep -better, longer, etc.

Mandy had talked to some of her friends about some of the issues with Kurtis and several people had suggested maybe we should get a dehumidifier that might help with his allergy issues.

Now I can see where this might be something to consider under some circumstances but I'm not so sure it would be the best thing to have in this house nor would it be the best thing for some other people here either.

You see, we have hot water heat -not steam heat -but those big old radiators and in the winter months especially, the air here is almost as dry as a bone or the Arizona desert.

That, plus the fact that my nasal passages are already over-dry -except when I get a head cold from Hell like I was dealing with for about the past 3 weeks -and I'm wondering if we got a dehumidifier in here, I'd have to figure out a way to get a window open in my bedroom -no easy task to do at this time of year since the SIL has that plastic film stuff tightly in place around the windows in my bedroom. That plus there isn't all that much heat in that room to begin with either so trying to sleep with a bit of "fresh air" with a tad of moisture in it, might just end up freezing my keester, don't 'cha think?

Always something, is it?

Lucky Star!

Ya'll have heard me talk about the monthly lunches four of the girls from my high school class and I have been having for the past two years now. Right?

Well today -or rather yesterday now since it's past midnight -was the day for our regular get-together.

However, this month, our lunch almost didn't come to be -thanks to the lovely (NOT) weather. It was snowing and blowing, very cold, really low temps to begin with and with the blowing snow and all that, the wind chill factor made it seem like it was way, way, way below zero! And about 11 a.m., my neighbor and good friend, Kate, who is part of this little group, called to tell me our friend Rose wasn't coming to lunch today because of the weather. Kate was wondering if I thought maybe we should cancel the meeting for today but I, in my infinite wisdom and good judge of snowfalls and possible road conditions that I am, said it doesn't bother me to drive on snowy roads -just freezing rain is the only thing that will stop me in my tracks!

So, we decided we would go to the restaurant where we meet and have lunch there and the weather be damned.

I left the house about 11:45 a.m. and headed out of town.

Now I have to add here that there is no way to get out of this little village but what you have to go up a hill and the road tends to be very curvy plus, since we are back off the beaten track a good bit, the state highway crew doesn't have our roads here in town as a high priority for clearing, cindering, salting, etc. And, there are a number of places where the snow tends to drift -a good bit at times too.

But why should I worry, after all, my little jeep has four-wheel drive ya know!

Anyway, I started up the first smaller hill in town but it is also rather steep although now that long a pull till you get to a small plateau and the rest of the way to the top it is a more gradual slant. And on the first hill, the jeep started to spin but before I could put it in four-wheel drive, I had reached a spot that was just wet and got traction again and made it the rest of the way to the top with no problems.

But about a mile further, there is yet another hill -not a steep one, a more gradual grade but this one often stays snow covered due to the trees on one side and fairly open field on the other that allows the snow to blow and yes, to drift.

As I started up that hill, I see a car coming around the curve towards me and I figured I probably should ease the jeep over as much as possible to the right. Now, I still hadn't put the jeep into four-wheel drive because it didn't look all that bad to me but when I touched the steering wheel I realized I had overlooked something.

The steering on the jeep is ultra sensitive and the least bit of movement at times can cause the little buggy to sort of swerve.

Which is exactly what happened when I started to move to the right side of the road.

The back end suddenly was trying to go in front of me!

I sashayed back and forth across the road, probably scared the person in the car coming towards me half out of their mind ya know. I kept trying to keep my mind on which way I was supposed to turn the steering wheel when the vehicle goes into a spin and finally made it up that hill and around the curve there.

But when I got around the curve, the jeep decided that it liked the idea of doing a really big circle for me and when it finally came to a stop, the right front tire was up against a smallish snowbank from the plowing earlier and the front end was point back towards home!

Okay, I admit I was more than a bit scared through that little ride and I thought about how if my son or ex-husband had been with me or driving, they would probably have been cackling like crazy and trying to see if they could get a couple more spins in to the ride too!

But I considered myself to be very lucky in that the other driver could have hit a spot and we could have collided either head-on or sideswiped or we both could have wiped out and hit a tree or a ditch or telephone pole or some such.

And I was able to get my nerves under control and get the jeep turned around so I was once again heading in the right direction -to the restaurant -and I even got there on time too -and obviously the jeep and I were both all in one piece as well!

So today, I'm counting this as my lucky star for the day and the fact that all's well that ends well makes it really and truly something befitting then for an "Only the Good Friday" post, don't 'cha think?

I sure do!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Reincarnation, Maybe?

When I was growing up here in this little village, there was an older couple who lived across the street from my family (my grandparents, my Mom and me) who had been close friends of my Grandpa's family for years. More like forever, I think.

Her name was Eleanor but everyone knew her as "Toodie" and her husband, Albert, was known around town -and was also pretty well-known in other little mine communities that sponsored baseball teams back in the early part of the 1900s. Albert worked the mines all his life and his two loves were baseball and ice skating.

I doubt there was anyone around town who didn't know him and most everyone knew him by his nickname though -"Chippy" but probably the majority of folks who knew his wife were those who lived on this street and a few others who knew her from church.

Chippy and the family friendship with him and Toodie went back before him even to his parents and my great-grandparents. Apparently they were acquainted back in the "old country" - Sweden -and when my great-grandparents came here, shortly after, Chippy's parents immigrated here too.

They came here though as single people and married here because, in Sweden, they were forbidden to marry. Reason being -they were first cousins. And, of course, where they lived in Sweden -or perhaps the record-keeping system there, which was actually quite extensive for the era -didn't allow them to marry and everyone around where they lived and the local minister too would have been aware of the family relationship, so they waited to marry until they came to this country where there were no records that would betray them as being that closely related.

I don't know for a fact that is the reason behind their marrying here and not in Sweden, but that is the story I learned as a child from my Grandma. And, we all know, "Grandmas don't lie" do we? (Well, rarely.)

But anyway -Albert was born in the 1890s -I think somewhere between 1892 and 1896. His parents and my Great-grandparents were such good, close friends, that after they decided to buy/build their own homes here in the village, they bought lots that were side-by-side and their friendship continued until Chippy's mother's death or my Great-Grandma's -not sure who died first but I think it was Chippy's mother.

According to a cousin of my Mom's, these two women were such close friends that not a day went by after their homes were completed (sometime around the turn of the century) but what they didn't take a break and have coffee and a bit of a snack -probably just bread and some cheese, maybe some coffee cake from time to time, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!

And they had their own private signal to each other too.

Once their morning chores -building a fire in the cookstove, packing lunch for the men of the family to take to work with them in the mines, feeding them their breakfast, getting the basics of the housework of the early morning hours completed and a fresh pot of coffee brewing, which ever woman finished that first, hung a dish towel out on her clothesline as a signal then to the other that the coffee was almost ready and to come over to that house then for a little break -a true "Coffee Klach" I guess you could say.

From that friendship though, things were in place then for Chippy and his brothers to become fast, firm friends with my grandparents, with my great-uncle and his family as well as all the others in my Mom's father's side of my family tree.

When, back in 1951, my grandparents and I left here that October to go to Jamestown, NY to spend the winter months with my older aunt there, it was Chippy who looked after our house here, making sure there was nothing going awry with the place. And years later, in 1966, when my Mom closed up the house to come down to live with me in Maryland and to care for my older daughter while I worked, once again, Chippy looked after the house as well as the grounds -seeing to it that the grass was mowed and all was fine and at a ready anytime Mom and I wanted to come back home for a weekend or for Mom and my daughter to come spend a couple weeks here during the summer. He also collected our mail that still arrived here plus, Mom would send him money to make sure that the electric bill and the water bills were all kept up to date too. He even took care to let her know when the taxes were due and she would send him the money for that and he would make the payment for her on them as well.

Yep, close friends -for sure! Like family. Yes, indeed, he and Toodie were that.

When I was a child though, if any of us kids were out playing and we saw Chippy heading up the road, it was not unusual for us to drop what we were doing and tag along with him.

Now, walking with him was something else again because the man never walked at a nice leisurely pace. Nope! He went at what was pretty much a very fast speed -more like a trot! No wonder the man never gained any weight because he walked at that pace whether it was early in the morning when he was on his way to work at the mines -and yes, he walked the distance whether it was up over the hillside behind his home, through the woods, past the old baseball diamond and beyond to the tipple on the upper end of town -at least a mile and a half walk there -or to church, or down to the old mines in Peale -about two miles -he always walked -or rather trotted -and the man was also notorious too in that he was NEVER, EVER late!

As a young man, he played on the old baseball team here in the village -sponsored by the Coal Company -and he held down the shortstop position there for many years. When he decided he was a bit too old for playing the game, he helped out with the management of the local team then too. For many years -at least 20 -this little village had one of the best baseball teams in the county and back in 1936, they even won their league title and from that, went on to take the state championship in their league's division and won second place in the championships held, I think, in Youngstown, Ohio -either there or in Cleveland! Not bad for a rinky-dink little coal mining town, ya know!

Here's a picture of that championship team back in 1936!

And, for anyone who knows/knew any of the players back then, here are the names of those in this photograph. (Photo supplied by Jeff Feldmeier of Allen Park, Michigan -grandson of Steve Sicora, who managed the team at that time.)
Back row: (L to R): William Force (SS), Harold Force (LF), Henry Force (CF), Emro Petrof (Wherever), Emory "Lefty" Gurbal (P), Bill Farr (3B), Steve Sicora (Manager, 2B).

Front row: (L to R): Bill Hill (OF), George Calderwood (2B), Steve Terry (inf./3B), Andy Terry (C). (The scoreboard says "Compliments of Andrew Frendberg." Mr. Frendberg having been the superintendent of the mines here in the village for many, many years -like from about 1888 until at least the late 30s, maybe even into the 40s. A very powerful man in the community, for sure.)

What got me to thinking about Chippy though stems from the walk I try to take most every day -if possible -with Sammy, our little dog.

Sammy is -in my opinion -perhaps Chippy, reincarnated!

He's small built -as was Chippy. A strong wind might have blown Chippy away! And Sammy does not "walk" with me but rather, he pulls me and at a very -VERY - brisk pace, much like a trot, akin to the way one would have to do some pretty fast stepping, punctuated by a few skips -more than a few skips -to keep up with Chippy if one was walking with him to the post office to pick up the daily mail, or up the hill to our church -or anyplace else around town too if you'd decided to tag along with him.

So I'm seriously thinking -will have to run this past Mandy to get her opinion on this -that we should change the dog's name from Sammy to "Chippy Werner Muttley!" (The dog's full name, in case you hadn't picked up on this in earlier posts is my concoction -"Samuel 'Sammy' J. Muttley. I have to be careful though about using that surname for him because at one point, Maya picked up on that and was questioning Mandy about Sammy's name. And she asked about the "Muttley" thing and was wanting to know if, since Sammy is considered to be Gram's dog, if "Muttley" is Gram's last name then too!)

I wish I could find a picture of Albert -AKA Chippy -to show you here but I can't locate any on my computer.

When my older daughter was baptized, Mom and I thought about who to ask to be her Godparents and to both of us, the logical choice was, of course, Albert "Chippy" and Eleanor "Toodie" Werner!

And every day when I manage to get out with our little dog -on his leash -and as he runs till the leash stops him suddenly and jerks me into picking up my pace again, I am reminded of "Chippy" and all the great memories I have stored away of him and his wife, Toodie and his brothers and their wives too.

Yep! The more I think about this, the more convinced I am that if there is actually reincarnation, then Chippy has returned to us in the form of this little guy!

Friday, January 22, 2010


It's Friday -Yay, Yay! TGIF time, once more. And also, that means it's time for an Only The Good Friday post too! (This theme-meme, whatever you care to call it, originated from the blog of Shelly Tucker's This Eclectic Life and although this post I am pointing you to isn't her "Only The Good Friday" post for today, it struck a big chord with me.

Why? Because for openers I have always -ALWAYS -enjoyed, usually loved, to read! Anything! Put me in some place where I have to wait -like a doctor's waiting room, the emergency room, anyplace, and I will look for something, anything, to read while I am waiting. I also always liked/loved to read at home too -often while waiting for the damned fairy godmother of housekeeping to arrive or another one who cooks fantastic meals for the family and for me, while I sit contentedly by, reading my book.

I have to confess too that for the past almost two years, I have read very little -other than other people's blog posts and ok, the daily newspaper, which I basically just scan cause there's rarely anything all that spellbinding in it. I have a stack of books I purchased almost two years ago now, sitting on the shelf in my bedroom, waiting for me to get around to reading them so I can then determine which one of my daughters, maybe my son, or perhaps my 12-year-old grandson, might appreciate and enjoy reading. (Yes, I tend to do that with books I plan to give as gifts -I read them first. My kids know I do that and they do -I think -understand that I do that so as to get a feel for which one would most appreciate this particular story line, who likes this or that author too maybe as well. I don't do that with books my Grandson has specifically put on his "wish list" of books but I do read more grown up type books and determine if I think it is of a topic he would enjoy and also, understand now or perhaps not for another year or two -or more.

Shelly talks in her post I linked you to here about words and also, about reading and then too, about censorship. And she asked if any of us -her readers -were censored by our parents or others in what we were expected or allowed to read.

Censorship -with respect to books -was a non-existent entity in my homelife as a child. My Mom only "censored" -if you will -my readings with respect to what she considered to be those "trashy" magazines such as True Story or True Romance and though she didn't forbid me to read them, she simply said she didn't like them, didn't care for them being tossed around in her home.

But when it came to books, anything was fair game as far as I was concerned!

When I was in the fourth grade -nine years old -I read the book (and it was the very first of many huge books I would tackle) "Not As A Stranger." For those unaware, this is a novel about a doctor who marries a nurse; of their love, their marriage -and all the things that accompany marriage as well as relationships outside of marriage (i.e. sex). Quite an undertaking for a nine-year-old to read just by sheer volume along but also, due to the topics often discussed in this book, for a kid like me -naive as all-get-out where relationships between the sexes of any type were concerned, I am still surprised I understood a thing written about in that book.

I read it again when I was around 12, maybe 13 and yet again, when I was 16-17 years old and it was absolutely amazing how much more I understood that was taking place in this story!

But the first time I brought that book into the house, my Mom -knowing full well what it was about -didn't say I couldn't read it, didn't bar me from that. Instead, she just made a comment about the size and did I think I'd be able to handle that big a book?

In my senior year in high school -or maybe it was the summer I graduated -I got a copy (paperback) of the big seller that year, "Peyton Place" by Grace Metalious. (Not sure of the spelling of her name) That book was notorious then as being totally filled with sex and all kinds of other scandalous behavior. Again, my Mom may have raised an eyebrow when she saw the title, but she never spoke out against it.

On the other hand, when I finished it, one of my best friends back then asked if she could borrow my copy so she could read it too. "Sure, no problem!" I'd said. (Loaning books has been something I did then, quite freely, and my daughter and I still maintain that a good book is best when shared to this day.)

So, anyway, my friend borrowed the book and within two days I think it was, she brought it back to me, saying her Mom wouldn't allow her to read this piece of filth. Okay. Suit yourself was my theory.

Fall of that year, things changed in that several of my high school friends left to go to college. I was left behind as there were no funds -no water in that well, as it were -for me to do that too -but at Christmas my friend -the one whose Mom wouldn't allow her to read Peyton Place came home on Christmas break and hurried down to my house to give me the most incredible news.

She was in the process of reading the book "The Chapman Report" (I don't recall the authors here and frankly, don't feel up to surfing for the information right now). I was dumbfounded by this bit of news! (Anyone who knows anything about this book and Peyton Place knows that The Chapman Report was reported to be even more explicit in talk about those big no-no's -sex, of course!

And not only was she reading it, but it was out in the open, with the book laying on top of the dining room table at her Mom and Dad's house!

Again, I was in a state of shock from that piece of news too!

"How in blazes did you manage to smuggle that book past your Mom?" I asked.

Laughing, my friend said it was easy as she had simply told her mom it was a book she had to read for some class or other and because of the title having the word "Report" in it, her Mom had bought that line.

Well, that lasted a couple of days until my friend's older brother arrived home from college too and upon seeing that book on the table, he questioned his mother as to whether or not she had perhaps lost her sanity or something by allowing a book like that to be brought into the family home. But, having bought her daughter's explanation that it was required for some college class, she repeated that to her son and he in turn, about went into hysterics, laughing!

I don't think it hurt me one iota, having been allowed to read whatever I chose from early on. I took the same tack with my own children too -allowing them to pick and choose what they wanted to read. (Granted, I was doing that with them more to give them some, ANY, incentive just to learn to read, to read better, to learn to love reading then in the process too.)

And, I do believe it helped them in all of those areas too as both my daughters do enjoy reading -a lot. My son -well, he's not so heavily into books as his Mom, sisters, even his Dad, all are, but he does really love any magazine that has anything in it at all involving CARS!

Truth be told though, I don't believe in censorship -not of books, magazines, newspapers, radio, television, movies either. I do however believe in self-censorship that if you or I decide we don't like a particular topic, genre, author, artist, whatever, then it is up to you, to me, to decline reading or viewing said thing.

It is not up to me to determine what things are enjoyable to others overall. That I do that with the books I purchase with the intent on giving them to one of my daughters or my son -well, that is simply to try to figure which one would enjoy reading it first because I know, if either of the other two has an interest in that book, topic, author, etc., they will request that they be given a chance then to read it as soon as the recipient has completed it! So, I'm not censoring them in the sense of telling them, "NO, you can't read this!" but rather, this person probably would be more interested in it than you right now.

And you know something else too -if my Mom had told me way back when that I was forbidden to read some such book, you can bet your bottom dollar it would have just increased my desire to read that book then and there!

And now, I have to confess that today, in order to get caught up again with my blog readings, I did read all 190 plus blogs sitting there, waiting for me, on my reader but because I'm also a bit bogged down right now -trying to finish the Christmas counted-cross stitch sampler as well as wanting to not put down the great find I came across last Saturday at one of the local Goodwill stores, I want to scrounge as much time as I can to read yet another masterpiece by James A. Michener!

Last Saturday, I came across two books by this great author -"Alaska" and "Chesapeake" -both in paperback versions and for less than a buck, I got both books. Then, on Tuesday, when I was in town with Mandy and we had stopped at another local Goodwill store, I came across a hard bound copy of "Texas" -also by the late, great Mr. Michener and got it for the grand sum of 89 cents!

Can you believe that luck?

I've already read "Alaska" and loved it but I bought it to pass it along to my kids as I doubt any of them have read anything as yet by Michener! They'll also benefit from my having found the other two books as well when I get through with them.

So it's really a good thing for me that I came across these books, that it spurred me back to wanting to read again too and that especially can be nothing BUT A darned good thing!

The only thing censoring me is the desire to read and embroider at the same time and that, I haven't yet figured out how to do unless I start buying books on cds or tapes!

Have a great weekend and remember too -"Reading IS Fundamental" for everything!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Finding a Match

The 18-year-old here is in her senior year in high school and judging by the amount of "junk mail" that's been flowing into the house, she has apparently been signing up for every type of higher educational place on the face of the earth.

Cards, invitations to open houses, booklets about this school and that -mostly all from universities and many of these, out-of-state, no less have been arriving at a clip of at least two, sometimes five or six a day, for the past several months now.

All addressed to her!

And most of them, she's requested information from, she's given no forethought as to the requirements of these schools -like decent grades, for openers, much less to the costs involved in them either.

Now, don't get me wrong here, as I am a big, VERY big in fact, proponent of higher education. Get as much of it as you possibly can. But I'd also prefer to see her -and others like her -avail themselves of the free education each has available to them that leads up to the lovely high school diploma too!

And that, well that's a sticking point here between her ideas and mine, for sure!

But be that as it may, the kid definitely isn't going to be able to get a job once she graduates from high school with an ambition level that is as close to "null and void" as I think one could possibly be and still pass a class and graduate.!

Definitely at the rate she's going, those big paychecks -often associated with jobs in IT, for example, definitely aren't going to be coming her way unless she does a total about face and gets some additional training!

Just getting into a university is going to be rough for her -grades aside -because she hasn't taken what is really a solid academic course load in high school. But, even though I've tried to stress the idea of getting as much as possible out of each class she's taken, I wasn't referring to a steady exchange of notes between herself and her classmates of a personal nature, but rather of taking good legible -and valid -notes in each class and actually opening the text book to do some serious reading and studying of each subject as well.

I'm thinking right now that if she does wrangle some school into accepting her, she's going to have one royal rude awakening once she realizes whether you are in a big college/university, a business school or just some rinky-dink-fly-by-night type school/educational program, there's going to have to be a complete about-face with respect to cracking open those books and not just using them to hold papers in place or for swatting at insects or trying to get the cat or the dog to move!

Should be interesting to watch -for sure. Also depressing too, in a way, because I have visions of a lot of money just racing down the drain then unless the above changes of pace and attitude first take place! (My Scottish ancestry as well as the conservative side of my Swedish roots will all be in total turmoil over the thought of wasted money in that way, ya know.)

Directions, Please?

Last night -or rather early this morning -I was online at my favorite craft supplies site and yes, I was ordering more crafts, more embroidery kits and such.

Not that I NEED more cause really, I don't "need" these things. But boy, do I ever want them anyway!

This week, my fave site has a big -and I do mean big, in my mind anyway -sale going on pertaining to table toppers, table cloths and pillowcases and I put my normal "let's skimp on the sales" notion aside and ordered a large number of items.

So far, I'm not in danger of having purchased EVERY possible kit they offer in the tabletopper or table cloth area -or pillow cases either for that matter. They've got a really huge assortment from which I can choose what I want to splurge on next.

But, I've got to admit I wish I had something -like a free web directory that listed all the crafting sales sites and broke them down too into categories of what type of items they have available -table cloths, table toppers, pictures, samplers, etc., so I could then avail my spending to maybe some other craft supply sites that would show the types of things each one retails and I'd have that available with just one click of my mouse! Easy peasy, ya know.

After all, I need to conserve the energy I have in my fingers for more important things -like stitching!

Laugh Lines?

This has been a bit of a rough two weeks since the first of the year.

Between the bitter cold, snow -then some more snow -then more cold temperatures down around zero and some days, when I take Sammy out, I really do look a bit like an Eskimo!

I normally "loll" around the house most days in sweat pants and a sweat shirt -geared that way to counter with any of the lovely little drafts one encounters in an old house. And when I go out with the dog, pull on the snow boots so I have fairly decent traction on the road in the event there's a little slippery spot that hasn't seen a cinder or salt to melt it down, my big heavy coat with the fur trimmed hood in place over the Nordic design helmet hat Mandy picked up for me at Goodwill last week -covers my ears, fits really snugly too, and to that I add a big thick boa scarf I knitted a couple years ago that covers the lower part of my face quite adequately.

Heck -it's enough of clothing that it can pass as a good costume, keeping my identity a bit of a secret apparently as one day I passed a neighbor guy walking home from being out tracking in the woods -a guy I've known almost my entire life -and he didn't recognize me with all these clothes on. (Not that he's ever seen me in the buff or anything like that. Just saying.)

But between the wind chill factors on my cheeks -the ones on my face, smart aleck -the new lines around my eyes coming from straining my eyes working on this current counted cross stitch project and the head cold/sinus infection that about has my nose raw from blowing it every ten seconds or so, there's a whole lot of chafing going on and probably gonna create more wrinkles than I had before. All of this means I'm gonna have to start thinking about some kind of anti aging face face creams next I suppose.

And then I think ah heck, why worry!

With as crazy as my life can be here at times, the silliness of the little kids, the joking around with my son and younger daughter here too and the overall all zaniness that has always often been a part of my life over the years, I think I'll just let these things as they are and if anyone says anything, I'll just tell 'em they're all just laugh lines!

Chef Requests!

Boy, the cooking directives in this house are constantly changing these days.

First, there's the taste buds -which are VERY selective -of the two youngest members of the family. These two could live on macaroni and cheese -most of the time, anyway. About the time I figure they should be really hungry and I definitely don't feel like fixing two separate entres for supper, and I make a big dish of homemade macaroni and cheese, that's about the time neither of them are actually hungry for that particular meal, or so it seems.

The son-in-law -with him and his odd hours of arriving home for supper, I try to plan items that will reheat easily and not taste totally like cardboard then in the process. Although, he generally will eat most anything I cook, his big thing is that he doesn't care for spicy foods and thinks I use too much seasoning in a lot of my cooking. And I think a meal without some zip to it is about like eating cardboard. Hmmm. Why worry then about the reheating issues turning things to cardboard then, when they're already going to taste like that to me?

The 18-year-old has now decided she wants to try to eat foods the would be a form of natural products for acne. Now this idea kind of has me a bit stumped as the subject was just brought forward last night at supper when I had made sweet and sour chicken over rice. If I know her though, this probably came from reading some high-faluting fashion magazine or some such that one of her friends at school probably had access to. If she doesn't show me something in black and white, detailing more of what she thinks she means, well that idea is going to go down the tubes with no further adieu.

I have enough issues right now in the kitchen trying to balance the menu with certain pastas the little ones will eat, stuff that can be reheated easily and also, my own concerns as I try to curb my intake on foods high in cholesterol, sugar, and my favorite things -pastas, of course!

Some days, I just try to fill up as much as I can on tossed salads with lots of extra fresh veggies in that -mushrooms, green peppers, onions -of course -and now and then, an occasional hard-boiled egg sliced up and on top of the mix. Then, I just eat much smaller portions of the stuff I think the kids might eat without too much of a fight. Unfortunately, that is usually those darned lovely pasta things though.

Oh well, I'm surviving as this is really not a starvation diet for me and there's always the need to take good old Sammy for a walk too!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Starlight Stroll.

Remember a few posts back I mentioned that I have been walking the dog -good old Sammy -as part of my exercise regime in coordination with my diet plan?

Well, normally I only walk him during the daylight hours. If I take him out after dark, I usually just have him on the leash and stay on the front stoop, letting him run about a bit in the front yard. It's not the most effective method much of the time -other than he will empty his bladder then but he seems to like and need to walk a good bit -or I should say, run or trot -before making any deposits of other matter.

My reason for not wanting to walk him along our road after dark are that it is, A) dark, very dark here and B) sometimes there are other animals around that I'm not all that keen on possibly encountering then either.

Well tonight, I decided since I didn't get a full walk in with him earlier today that I would get brave and take him for a stroll along our road.

Under normal circumstances, our road is, as I said above, dark -very dark. There are two street lights along our road. One is two houses down from our place and the other, well it's about seven houses up the street and around a curve too so it doesn't give much light down this way.

The nice thing about my walk tonight with Sammy though was some of our neighbors still have their Christmas lights up and burning. So, even though it was after 10 p.m. when I was out with him, there was a good bit of light shining down on the street enabling me to see fairly well -for most of our walk anyway.

One thing I noticed though -and this made me wish I'd brought my camera with me, although I don't know how well a picture would have turned out of this -is our neighbor about three doors up from us has a small picture window in the front of her house and she has her tree placed in front of that window, all light up with multi-color lights. Looks really pretty just with that. But what really caught my eye there was that on her wall, across from the picture window, she has a mirror hanging and the tree lights then of course were visible not just in the window, but kind of with a 3-D effect as you could see them in the mirror too. Really pretty, it was.

As we proceeded up the street, I saw that two houses up along the old railroad track, above and behind the houses on our street, have street lights by two of the houses there. And the light from those lights was streaming down alongside some of the homes along our road. Shining on the snow on the ground, crisp, crunchy snow that glistened in that light along with the little bit of light the stars shining provided, made for a very pretty stroll -albeit a pretty nippy one.

We made it up to the woods area along our street and I decided to turn around there and head back home.

As we got close to the curve in the road, Sammy suddenly went very tense. Stopped dead in his tracks, straining at the leash and growling. Then he began pulling me towards the opposite side of the road too and I was trying to reign him in a bit when I realized I saw some movement along the roadside too.

Kind of put my heart in my mouth right about then, that did!

As he strained harder and harder and growled all that much louder, I realized the form I saw was moving and finally it came to a point where some of these street lights and people's porch lights allowed me to figure out what was there besides just Sammy and me!

It was a man walking a very big -and I do mean, VERY BIG, dog! This dog looked to be about at least 6-8 times the size of our little Sammy and yet, here was this simple minded mutt of ours acting like he is king of the mountain, all ferocious and such with his bravado.

I guided Sammy past the other dog and we made our way home with no other "sightings."

After Mandy got home, I asked her if she knows anyone -a guy with a big dog who might be out late at night walking his dog too. She laughed as she told me that would be the husband of a good friend of hers who live over on the hill behind our house.

So, next time -if indeed there is a "next time" -that I am out walking Sir Samuel J. Muttley after dark and I encounter some guy walking this great big dog -(it's an Akita I think)- at least I will know who it is and can surprise him by saying, "Top of the evening to you, Jerry!"

Blast from the past?

So, tonight I'm sitting here, reading blogs, checking facebook, e-mail, etc., and the phone rings.

Here's how the conversation went:

CALLER: Jennifer. Frank, here.
ME: Yes.
CALLER: What's your address there?
ME: 1607 ..
CALLER -interrupting me - is there a name or avenue or something?
ME: Yes. Cooper Ave.
CALLER: Okay. 16839?
ME: Yes. Memory working pretty good there, Buddy?
CALLER: Yes, everyonce in a while.
ME -Okay...
CALLER -So what'cha doin'?
ME: Bitching.
CALLER: You doing anything else?
ME: Well been embroidering my fingers off for the past year and a half, occasionally some knitting.
CALLER: Well, okay. Gotta go. Bye.

This call took probably 60 to 90 seconds, max!

And the Caller? My ex-husband!!

And yes, Frank. I do still recognize your voice when I hear it.

The kids have a habit of timing any phone calls they get from him or that they make to him and then, they compare notes to see who kept him on the phone the longest. I think Mandy may have the record there as I think she actually had him engrossed in a conversation for around 10 minutes one day. Seven minutes is usually his top though in time spent per call.

Not exactly the world's best conversant is he?

I think maybe I hold the record for the shortest phone calls with him -aside from one when either he or I hung up on the other, but those were many years back.

Now I'm wondering what he's sending here that he needed our mailing address tonight.

But I'm sure as heck not gonna lose any sleep worrying about what it might be.

Git 'Er Done!

Ever watch the Comedy network or channel or whatever it's called?

If so, do you watch the specials on there with Larry the Cable Guy, Ron White, Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engval? (Is that the correct spelling of his name???)

Anyway these four comedians often have specials on the Comedy Channel and if you ever do watch them, you'll know that one of Larry's favorite lines is "Git 'er done!"

And that's what I'd like to say to someone in this household -"Git 'er done!"

We've been trying for months now to get certain things across to the adult male who resides here that if you are going to have your own business, YOU do have to be the one there, on time, at the time you have posted for your work hours too -not just show up at whatever time you decide you are going to go to work on any given day. Right?

That's just one aspect of what he does that really ticks me off.

I worry because I know he has not submitted anything to the IRS for his "payment"towards taxes on his income over the past year and he seems to be oblivious to the fact that if those G-men catch up with him, they don't take this lightly and yes, you can go to jail for income tax evasion, ya know!

Then there's his habit of releasing vehicles he's worked on without collecting full payment for his services too. And that one has back-fired on him on several occasions. Wonder why that is, don't you?

Or how about this one too -when he hasn't brought home any so-called income now in about three months or better and he decided that the way around that and the not showing up regularly at the early hour of 8:30 a.m. (which is what is posted on the door as his opening hour) that he will have a guy who is a friend of his and who hangs around the garage all the time, open up and be there till he arrives and stay until oh say, 4 p.m. and he'll pay him "under the table" then.

Excuse me but how does this resolve anything, especially the fact that you're putting in upteen hours there -or so you say -but not seeing any profit -or income -and yet, you want to pay some one under-the-table so you don't have to get up and go to work when you're supposed to be there?

I have been really disgusted with all these goings on and my mood and attitude haven't improved me about these things even though I have been trying to keep a very low key profile about this stuff.

But right now, I'm think what he needs is either a stick of dynamite or maybe just a plain good old colon cleanser would do the trick and get him off his duff and doing things according to Hoyle, the way he should have been doing all along!

It's all very frustrating for me to see my daughter worrying all the time about all the house expenses and such and her trying to juggle what little income she has every month to make ends meet and him, just still thinking he's some big time "professional businessman" ya know!

I know I've grumped about this in the past and nothing has changed with him except my trying to keep my nose out of this mess. And that's really pretty much what I'm doing now -grumping about the situation to keep me from really letting fly and watching my blood pressure skyrocket in the process then if I do that!

So thanks for letting me vent a bit cause I really don't want to go to jail for beating him severely about the head and body and I also don't know where to get that stick of dynamite I mentioned earlier either.

Modest Success

I know I mentioned this on my Facebook but I'm not sure if I said anything about it on my blog before this but last month, when I had to go see my family doctor about some blood work she'd requested I have done, I had a sneaking suspicion that things weren't quite right. Why else would her staff have called and had me set up an appointment to come in and "talk to her" about the test results anyway?

Well, I found out and truthfully, I wasn't very impressed with the findings of those tests.

Seems my cholesterol AND my sugar levels were all too high -along with something else too that was elevated a good bit more than my doctor -or I -really wanted it to be -my weight.

I know I have mentioned in the past that I do have some weight problems. Some may say "Oh no, you're not too heavy, Jeni," but they aren't the ones dealing with trying to find clothes that fit half-way decently and don't make me look like a big old stuffed sausage, ya know. That alone tells me that I should try to get at least a few of these ugly old pounds shed sometime in the near future -hopefully.

But my doctor is the one who really put this issue out there to me -lose weight, get the cholesterol and sugar levels down by March or else I could be looking at meds to control the cholesterol and possibly even insulin in the future if the sugar levels don't come into what she considered to be a decent range.

So to do this, I started out trying to find something that would be doable for me - some kind of diet plans that work -ya know. Not an easy thing to search for, not an easy thing to follow through on either.

So here's what I did in an effort to get a little bit in shape at least.

First off, because my doctor recommended some type of exercise (which is really a very dirty word in my book, ya see) and because of certain physical constraints I have -problems with my back and my legs too -I tried to figure out something that would be considered a form of exercise that I could utilize.

And I came up with this: I try to walk good old Sammy, our dog, every day if possible -meaning if it isn't pouring down rain or sleet or heaven forbid, freezing rain! I walk him up to the intersection in the middle of town and back which is roughly a distance of a mile and a half, round trip. No, I haven't managed to do this every single day, but I have given it the old college try to do this whenever I can.

Then I also resolved to cut back on my intake of food -particularly much much loved pastas! Now this is a tough one for me because the majority of our meals here involve pasta, mainly because that is usually a substance that Kurtis and Maya will eat -most of the time, anyway. And although I don't dislike cooking, I do hate the idea of fixing two different entrees for each supper we have here. When my kids were growing up, the standard rule for each meal was "Sit up, shut up and eat" followed by my re-informing them that "I am not running a freaking restaurant here, so you'll eat what I cook or go to bed hungry."

What to do now though when I need to cut back -a lot -on my pasta intake but yet, can't really cut back on preparing foods like that to get the kids to eat?

I've taken to eating a lot of salads! Sometimes, just a big old salad first and then a very small helping of the beloved pasta. Other times, depending on what I have in the fridge or what other foods I may be serving, I take and doctor up my tossed salad with pieces of chicken, sometimes plain flaked tuna fish and frequently, lots of other veggies, like chunks of red and green peppers, plenty of celery, hard-boiled eggs and a lot of fresh slices of mushrooms too! All are good for me, gives lots of extra roughage which my system also needs, and makes for a very filling meal for me too.

I can't really gauge very well at home if I've had any success with this program because our scale doesn't like to give true readings but today, I had a doctor's appointment (not with my family doctor, but with another physician I see from time to time) and when I was called to go back to the examining room, I was really anxious to see if any of my program had done anything for me with respect to weight loss.

And though this is a very modest loss, I'm really proud to say that I have taken five pounds off!

I am still a long way from having this situation totally under control but so far, I haven't found myself starving and I even made it through the holiday season without going overboard too on all the sweets and goodies that were often present in the house too!

Granted, this is just a start for me, but I have to say that even though I've made many of those walks with the dog when the temperatures have been really, REALLY, low and very cold, I still survived and actually felt better when I came back inside from those walks too!

If nothing else comes of this, by April when my family and I participate again in the Autism Walk, I should be in pretty decent shape for that then and that consists of walking almost two miles -one way!

Wish me luck, won't 'cha?

Searching...Always searching

I told you about my recent find with respect to my family tree research -about the cousin who found me several years ago via my posts on a bunch of different sites for this type of research but whose efforts to find me were all thwarted because by the time she had found my posts or queries and tried to respond to them, I had changed internet providers which then had rendered my e-mail address listed with my queries as useless.

Eventually, she had done a Google search for my name and had found my blog. From there, she sent me an e-mail which landed right where it was supposed to go -in my e-mail in-box!

I wonder now how many others may have made an attempt to contact me via those old family tree research sites but couldn't get through because my e-mail address connected with those queries is and has been outdated for several years now?

Wouldn't it be neat though if you could have some kind of seo optimization software available that would search through e-mail addresses -good, bad and indifferent, ya know -and come up showing whatever a person's current, good, valid e-mail address is?

Now, I know that isn't how that type of search stuff is normally used, but gee whiz, it does seem to me that it might have a lot of potential if it could be set up to be used in that manner.

Right now, a cousin of mine could be checking -if she and her husband used a tool like I think would be neat to have -and they would know then that an e-mail they sent me a couple days ago was going to an invalid e-mail address, one that is no longer in use.

How did I find out they were doing that? Because they had sent this particular e-mail -yeah, a forward but anyway -to my older daughter. who in turn, had sent it to her son and my grandson had forwarded it on to me.

I dunno -considering I've told them upteen times now -over the past two years since I last changed my internet provider, what my correct e-mail address really is -if it would make any difference after all.

Still have to rely on people to insert the correct thing into the address in the first place, don't we.

Just a little food for thought and by now, we all know how dangerous that can be in my hand, don't we?

Monday, January 11, 2010


There are -as always -things on my mind and some of them, I can't discuss here -or often, anywhere, for that matter.

Saturday night, some things happened that I'd love to talk about -openly -but for various reasons, I can't do that. Mainly because anyone who knows me would know immediately who/what I am referring to and there are things involved, people involved, that would be affected, possibly misunderstood, hurt, etc. So I won't go there.

And somehow, as I thought about the conversation I had then, it made me think about my current needlework project I'm working on -a sampler (Christmas themed) done in counted cross-stitching.

I've finished about 1/3 of said project now. My progress is pretty slow with it because I tend to get off track, counting stitches in one line on the pattern and then applying the stitches that line calls for but in the wrong line on the cloth. And then, when I get to a certain point where things should come together, I see there's a problem and begin to check back and forth from the project instructions to my work until I find the error of my stitching.

And if I wouldn't have had to do that so many times over the past 10 days now, I'd probably be over half-way done with this darned sampler!

Instead, I have ripped out stitches -again and again -and restitched the area only to see yet another error and ripped out more stitches yet again -and again!

Frustrating? Yes, you betcha!

But isn't that pretty much the way life can be with us at times too?

We do something that seems okay at the time and then, things get all discombobulated and we try to fix things, to make amends. Sometimes, the first repair works fine and other times -like with my counted cross-stitching -it has to be undone several times and reworked until it comes out the way it is supposed to be.

And isn't that also the way it is with raising children too? We put in some stitches and things look okay or good at first and then, a bit later, we see there's a problem so we go back and try to correct it. Maybe it's a good fix, maybe not, but if it's not a good fix, don't we try yet again to make it come out right? So that the finished product -the teen, then the adult -is able to withstand the rigors of life in general then from having had those stitches -as it where -replaced as needed, redone when necessary?

Life is very much like a cross-stitch sampler with all kinds of scenes in it, all kinds of stitches, threads, colors and such and like that sampler, it has to be dealt with in a correct manner -keep the stitch count on the fabric matching the required stitch count, stitch type, color as shown on the pattern guide.

And sometimes in life, as in counted cross-stitching, it does often seem like it is a vicious cycle of backtracking, ripping out bad stitches, incorrect placements and such, all in order to get ourselves back on the right row, with the right elements in play for us then.

And every once in a while, when things in life get too far off-track, that we can't see straight or are really fed up with going round and round with something, that we have to put that item into a little pile that is an I'll come back and deal with this later, when I can see straight, see my way through this once again.

That isn't always a giving up thing, but rather resting, getting reinforcements, re-energizing in order to get whatever the project or issue is completed and a job well done in the end then.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Calgon...Take Me Away!

Boy, talk about depressing!

I just glanced over at the 10-day forecast on the web and sometime next week -Wednesday, I think it said -the temperature here is gonna get really warm.

Clear up to a degree below freezing- 31 degrees!

Well, compared to today's high prediction of maybe 18 but with a "real feel" temp of 8 above zero, that will be a bit of a heat wave.

All this makes me think of other things -like how about maybe some Myrtle Beach Vacations?

Any place warmer would sound great to me right about now!

My new found relative -family tree connection -told me yesterday she's going to be heading out next week to San Diego. Now there's gonna be a big change for her since she lives in Boston and has been getting hit by a lot of snowfall lately. Go, take in some sunshine and get some extra while you're there for me.

Mandy's just biding her time here now, waiting for March to roll around and then, she plans on taking a short jaunt trip -out to Phoenix and from there, up to Laughlin, Nevada, to spend a day or two with her Dad and her new step-mother. Technically, the step-mother isn't exactly "new" since she and the kids Dad have been married over a year now I think it is. But she's "new" to Mandy since neither she nor Carrie has met her yet -except via Facebook. Clate and his girlfriend, Betty, were lucky to have been able to take a week and go out to Las Vegas and from there, down to Laughlin back in November and met her then.

The nice thing about this trip for Mandy is that her Dad is paying for her plane fare. I think it would be nice if he would consider adding in the kids too but then, what kind of break or vacation would that be for Mandy if she had to take them and worry about all the new, strange things they would encounter and could possibly send both kids into massive meltdowns?

So, the plan right now is that while she is gone -from a Thursday to the following Monday or Tuesday (not positive on the return date) that Maya will stay with Mandy's best friend and her family (Jen-Jen) and Kurtis will be here with Gram. That means, Gram will only have to worry about getting him ready and off to his school one day and yeah, I can manage that with no problem. And by separating the kids for that time, it will in essence, give me a big break too.

And, another neat thing about this trip is that Mandy's boss is going to be traveling to Phoenix then too so the two of them can hold each other's hands during take-off and have a good friend to chat with during the flight too.

Plus, Mandy will also get a chance to see a tiny bit of Phoenix too -a place I'd really LOVE to be visiting again!

Oh well, if I can make it through the next couple of months and the winter weather, who knows -maybe one of these days I'll figure out a way to get up and away from it all too!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Wrong Foot!

Well, although I am still very excited about the new family connection I was able to make and acquire a lot of good information from too in the past week, I'm thinking other wise, my New Year has kicked off on the wrong foot.

Why is that? Well, for openers, four out of the six people living in this house all have head colds -and yes, I am one of those four. I thought it was coming to get me over a week ago but that night, I took a Mucinex DM and the next morning, woke up completely symptom free. That was what -last Monday or Turesday I believe.

But by Friday nite, it had returned -graced its presence on my door step -and and has firmly lodged itself in my sinus and throat now, big time. Ever wonder how one's system can possible manufacture so much goop to make the eyes water, pester the hell out of a person with the sneezes and well, just constantly be like a fast-dripping water faucet? Where does this stuff live in our sinus cavities in between colds anyway?

That added to the fact both kids have this lovely cold and constant drainage too -and coughs -and neither of them has been sleeping very well the past couple of days so they've had Mandy up (who also has this lovely cold problem too) several times during the night with coughing/choking fits. Today, she decided not to send either Maya or Kurtis to school, called the doctor and has an appointment for both of them to be seen tomorrow in hopes of getting something to help them get rid of the extra drainage and the cough.

And since today -Wednesday -is the day Mandy works from 11 a.m. until between 8 and 9 p.m. -sometimes later if the kitchen is busy -that meant that there was going to be no rest for me today with both kids here and Maya determined to take over the ruling spot in the household to boot!

At one point today, when I threatened to put her in time out, she got angry (of course) with me and told me that I am the one in TIME OUT and that she put me there and that she was going upstairs to her room and I had better not move from the chair where I was sitting! Boy! Guess she told me didn't she?

And then there is Sammy -sweet, so cute little Sammy. Remember him? Here he is doing his best imitation of Elton John.

Ever since my doctor told me I needed to do some kind of exercise and also, try to diet, Sammy and I have been taking these nice walks -usually every day -up our road and back for a total of about 1 1/2 miles, round trip.

Now as you know too, we've had a fair amount of snow fallen here over the past two weeks -along with a little bit of meltage, then some freezing rain, a bit more snow, etc. Our road here isn't too bad right now but one day last week, when I had Sammy out for our little stroll, this is what it looked like that day.

Not a heavy coating -just enough of a skiff though to make the roads a tad slick. Just slick enough too that when some fool was out riding a motorcycle on our road (absurd for this kind of weather, in my opinion) and Sammy isn't the most disciplined dog on a leash where vehicles are concerned as he tends to pull towards them, I was really afraid this clown on the bike was gonna crash or slam into Sammy (and make him a grease spot, ya know). If something like that would have happened, that guy would have had to start looking for a darned good motorcycle accident lawyer because that really would have set my teeth on edge but good, if anything had happened to our sweet little Samuel J. Muttley here!

I've been busy working on a counted cross stitch project too this past week. It's a sampler type thing in a Christmas theme and I figure I need a whole lot of time to work on it if I am to finish it by next Christmas! Especially since the rate I seem to be ripping stitches out appears to be more than the rate with which I am putting stitches in. Why is that anyway?

And my communications with the newly found cousin -who found me -last week has been going along quite smoothly and swimmingly! It got me so inspired that the other day, I dug out a bunch of old, old -really old -pictures, scanned what ones I could and took digital pics of the rest of 'em and set up an album on Picasa as well as on my Facebook too with all those photos -all 57 of 'em!

That's what's been keeping me busy, making me go cross-eyed, trying to regulate and keep peace between the two kids and such ya know.

Now -time for Sir Sam to go out for a bit but Kate is going to take him this time. I couldn't take him for our usual walk today as I had no way to take him for a walk and leave these two kids alone then!

Now it's time to fix something for the family for supper. Dang, it just never ends does it!

Hope this cold bug isn't able to be transmitted in a blog post!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

New Year -- New Direction!

This week brought some new and really great, exciting things to my life. I've been meaning to blog about this bit of news since Monday but -well, you know how it is -busy with this, that and so many other things and I just didn't get around to it.

But it sure wasn't because I was upset or any bad things interfering with my doing this post. It was mainly because I wanted to think over the chain of events that went on before this week and since Monday and put it all together then here.

So now, that's just what I'm gonna try to do -to explain to you just how excited, totally blown away, I was when I got a certain, very special e-mail on Monday and how that excitement has continued for me all this week.

Those of you who know me -or who have followed my blog for any length of time now, may remember that one of my big interests, aside from the steady stream of embroidery stuff I love to do, has to do with Family Tree Research.

I've been interested in this subject for many years now but didn't really get moving actively on it until 1999, when I got my first computer.

Back then, I bought a copy of the Family Tree Maker software and went to work, recording information about my Mom's father's family using the documentation a cousin of my Mom's had done up and given copies of it to a member of each branch of the Eld family. Cousin Wendel had done a pretty darned good job compiling information back in the late 60s and early 70s and I'd managed to keep somewhat abreast of most of the members of that clan so I just added in the new stuff I had and voila, my Tree was done.

Well, it's not quite that simple because a Family Tree is NEVER done! It's a living, breathing entity that, as one's family expands and contracts, so does that tree.

Back in my beginning days with the computer and trying to do research online, I found numerous geneology sites and left queries galore all over the place pertaining to Eld family members as well as starting to put out inquiries too on the other three sides to my family -the Johnson group for my maternal grandmother and then, the Hill and Nelson sides for my Dad's family.

But my research tended to stop back in the late 1800s because all my ancestors were immigrants -Grandpa Eld from Sweden, Grandma Johnson Eld's family had also come from Sweden although she was born in this country and on my Dad's side, both my grandparents there had come over from Scotland so with their generations, my research sort of came to a bit of a screeching halt.

How to find this kind of data needed when I have no means to go to either Scotland or Sweden to try to look this stuff up? Lucky for me, with respect to the Eld family, a very good friend of mine up in Michigan, sent me the e-mail address for a lady in the region of Sweden where my ancestors had lived who does family tree research. I wrote to her and a short time later, she e-mailed me with copies of church records for my Grandpa's family. It took me over two years of working with those records to get it straight as to which person was the direct ancestor in each generation going back in time, but eventually I had it figured out, entered it into my family tree program and presto-magic, I had a lineage that I traced back to the early 1600s! I was elated, that's for sure.

Now, back when I first started out working on this project, as I mentioned above, I had posted queries all over the 'net, looking for information on folks from way back in this country, who are relatives. And I got no responses.

Then, I often forgot which sites I had posted queries to and also, I changed e-mail providers a couple of times too which made it difficult then to find all the sites where I had posted queries and get my e-mail changed on them so that if someone happened to read my posts, they could have e-mailed me with questions but now couldn't do that because so many of those queries had a dead e-mail address in them.

Eventually, I did get a little of that issue corrected, but not all. Still, a little is better than none, isn't it?

Well all of this brings me up to what happened to me this past Monday that really has put a completely new, different spin on my family tree and my research.

You see, on Monday I got an e-mail from a lady who had, back in 2000 and 2001, found my queries and tried to e-mail me but by that time, I was on my 3rd e-mail address and rarely checked in to most of those geneology sites any more either, so I didn't see her response to any of my queries back then.

This lady introduced herself to me in the e-mail, saying she was pretty sure that we had a family connection and that her great-grandmother was a sister to my great-grandmother and yes, as soon as I read the names she listed in her e-mail, the locations and dates, I knew I had finally found someone who could give me data on my Great-great Aunt Anna (Carlson/Till) Johnson, who had lived in Olean, NY from the 1880s until her death in the 20th century. What's more, this new-found cousin also had some information -including photos -of not just her great-grandmother but also, of her great-grandmother's twin sister, who had also lived in Olean, NY about the same time!

I suppose that only people who are into family tree research can get as excited as I did upon receiving this e-mail but think about the most exciting Christmas presents you've ever received, plus birthday gifts that maybe sent you over the edge with happiness, marriage, births of children and in my case, also grandchildren, etc., and roll all those exciting things into one and you might be able to comprehend then the level of my euphoria that day and since then.

You see, I wrote back to this lady and since then, we've begun a daily communique back and forth -sharing family stories, a few more photos here and there and just learning more and more information that way too to put in our family trees!

You see, the only information I had ever been able to get on my great-grandmother's family were the names of her three sisters and though I did get some information from family members of one sister (Aunt Selma/Sara) it was these other two where I was stymied. I could find census information up through 1930 on Aunt Stina(Kristina) but could only find a little census data on Aunt Anna up through 1900 -at which time my Grandpa was living with her, listed on that census from as a "boarder" in her home. I saw that she had a son, got his name as well as her husband's name, so I knew that much about her, but finding anything else on her or her husband and son, well that seemed to be my brickwall, for sure.

Until now, that is!

Iwish I could pull the photos off that this new cousin has posted on her tree of her great-grandmother and her twin sister and could include them here in this post as they both were very beautiful women. The photo my cousin has of Aunt Stina's two daughters is also very lovely as well. Maybe one of these days I'll have those photos in my possession on my computer and will be sure to put them up here in my blog for all to see then.

The nice thing is that this comes at a time when I was feeling rather bogged down about family tree stuff. Can't get my cousins to provide me with updates on their families so I'm not able to keep the tree up-to-date very well now and I knew too that my next step with this branch of my family was going to require that I get a subscription to the Swedish family tree research software called Genline in order to keep doing research on my lineage in Sweden. And now, sometime this spring, that's exactly what I'm going to do too -make at least a three-month purchase to Genline so I can start filling in more of the blanks on my Great-Grandmother's side of that tree!

So there you are! Now you know how much a little bit of information about my ancestors can truly make my socks go up and down and send me off in a delirious tizzy of happiness and excitement!

And that's the new direction my life is now taking me! All to find out the names of a bunch of damned dead people is how my Dad's baby sister used to think about my interest in this stuff and she couldn't fathom why I felt it was so important much less truly interesting.

But I do and I love it! Betcha you might too if you ever let yourself get involved and really engrossed in tracking down your family tree too.

So, Happy New Year for me and my cousin -Kyle Ingrid -as we continue to learn more about each other, about our closer relatives and those from way back in time too!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Vengence Is Ours!

Woo Hoo! They did it! And at the VERY last seconds of the game too!

How about those Lions, folks?

Due to some "conflicting interests" in the household, I sort of was forced to miss the first half of the game and didn't gain control of the remote till almost the end of the third quarter, but boy, am I ever glad I did eventually get to watch the Boys in Blue (and white) in action for at least the 4th quarter.

Although, towards the end of the 4th, I was really worried that this was going to end up being another heartbreaker like the Michigan game was a couple years ago when it looked, up to the very end, that we had it in the bag and then, those darned Wolverines snapped their big bad towels at us and we went down in defeat.

But that wasn't to be today! Nope! Today, after LSU had pulled from behind and then ahead by one -yes one (1) lousy little point, and with I think less than two minutes to go, Penn State struggled but managed to get a field goal, giving us thus a two point lead.

And then, in the very final SECONDS of the game, we were able to hold on to that narrow lead and leave the field victorious!

After a not very illustrious season, seeing them pull this win off really was redemption for the team -and yes, for JOEPA too!

The quarterback for Penn State ended up getting the "Player of the Game" award too and a well-deserved award that was for him.

And this post is especially for blogger buddy, Fermicat, down in Georgia way, who -since LSU trounced her Georgia boys last year in a bowl game, had come over to watch the Lions play today and as she said in her comment -and her apology to me too -shortly before the end of the game today when it looked like Penn State was gonna come up on the short end of the stick, she was feeling like maybe she brought bad mojo over to watch and root for my lovely Lions.

Nope, FERMIE, not that way at all! Maybe it was the note you sent that gave them the incentive -somehow -and they went back with a bit of a vengence to pull a victory out of the jaws of defeat!

I know, I said earlier that Win, Lose or Draw, they'd still be MY team, all the way.

But ya know, don't 'cha, that victory still is so damned much nicer, sweeter all the way!


and of course

WE ARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PENN STATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In Celebration of...


Welcome to 2010 and here's hoping it's a truly fantastic New Year too.

However, judging by the actions of certain small children -actually, just one of the two - it's starting out as a one filled with a lot of crying, whining, bad behavior too in general.

No one is quite sure exactly what time Maya got up this morning -other than that it must have been quite early. I know for a fact it was after 5 a.m. because that's what time I put the embroidery up and went to bed and she wasn't up and at 'em then.

But whatever time it was when she got up, she apparently rose on the wrong side of the bed though because she's been a busy little beaver this morning, getting into things!

At some time this morning, she decided to put her culinary talents -which are rather sparse -to work by making some concoction she calls "Chocolate Soup." Much as I do love chocolate, I maybe should have her mix this up daily and just looking at this mess makes me NOT want chocolate in my diet!

From that, she moved on to sloshing a lot of chocolate syrup in one small bowl and in another bowl of the same size, she filled the bottom of it with strawberry syrup -all because she wants to do some painting. Don't know what she planned on painting with these two items but I'm glad someone of the adults in the house apparently caught her in the nick of time and put a stop to that idea.

She's obviously working on not enough rest, in need of a little nap now in hopes that would curb the inability to sit quietly and behave. (OKAY, so I dream a lot too that a little rest will cure most anything. But, it could happen, ya know!)

The pork and sauerkraut - a traditional meal for New Year's Day - is in the crockpot, cooking away. Hopefully, it will be ready by 3 p.m. for dinner. I don't know if we'll have anyone else here for New Year's Day dinner or not as I can't get in touch with Clate and Betty -calls to their cell phones are going straight to their voicemail which apparently they aren't checking since they haven't returned Mandy's or my calls as yet. Carrie had to work last night and called this a.m. to say, weather permitting, she and Robert are hoping to be able to come up for dinner though.

New Year's Eve here was really quiet. Not just in this house, but apparently all around the village too. We watched the ball drop in Time's Square and when all the party people there began shouting "Happy New Year," Mandy turned from the computer and quietly spoke to Bill and me, saying simply "Happy New Year." I waited -and waited some more -expecting to hear some gunshots going off from one neighbor up the street as well as one down the road who ALWAYS go outside at midnight and fire a couple of shots into the air but last night either they were all in bed and not celebrating or they have decided to change from that traditional greeting -or "ringing in" if you will -of the New Year.

That was my first celebration for the New Year.

I fixed myself a little plate of cheese, crackers and some summer sausage to munch on and cracked myself open a nice cool can of Busch Lite (a pounder, no less) to have my own little food fest celebration of bringing in the New Year and after polishing that off, returned to my new, current embroidery project I started earlier this week. I'm working on a sampler, done in counted cross stitch, and the theme of this one is a Christmas one. I figure as slow as I am at counted cross stitch, as many times as I always have to remove stitches, redo them because I ALWAYS manage to get myself confused and mess up on the counting of those darned things ya know, that if I want to have this done by next Christmas, now was definitely the time to start working on it!

There's my second celebration for the New Year.

By 5 a.m., when I decided my eyes were getting too tired, starting to cross on me, I put it up for the night and went to bed. But at that time, I had finished one small block of the picture in the bottom left-hand corner anyway and hadn't had to rip any stitches out then either.

That was my third celebration.

But, by the time I had finished washing up the dishes this morning and moved to my comfy recliner to pick up on the cross stitching again while trying to enjoy the Rose Bowl parade, it became apparent the celebrations were going to be very short-lived.

Maya and her mood was not making it easy to try to enjoy the Rose Bowl parade and then, trying to get her to settle down and be quiet, I missed a stitch and didn't realize I was off on my counts until I had done almost half of one side of the small wreath item in the center of the bottom of this sampler. Thus began the ripping out of stitches and re-doing that part.

Bill finally got ready to burn the trash and in celebration of doing that, he decided he would take Maya and Kurtis outside with him so they could have some fun playing in the snow and watch as a fresh coating began to lay down a new blanket of snow then too! That idea of taking the kids out to play had a two-fold reason behind it -one, being that it was something the kids would enjoy and two, maybe it would tire them both out enough that when they came back inside, they'd both decide, on their own without major coaxing, to take a nap.

Looks like that plan was only successful in that the trash got burned -finally -and the kids did have fun playing in the snow. But now, the rumblings from Miss Maya are back to the argumentive side so the thought of a little nap is probably not going to happen. She's decided she doesn't want to "hear" anything, so the tv went off. Bill's trying to convince her and Kurtis to have lunch now -which will screw up any ideas I may have had that they might actually be hungry enough to break down and maybe at least eat some potatoes and a hot dog when we have dinner. Sure would be nice if he would think about things like that before fixing something, ya know, but that's something a bit much for him to do -"THINK" ya know! Oh well, what the hell! Just go with the flow and don't let the little things like that bug me -that's my new mantra for the New Year.

The head cold I thought I was getting the other night seems to have not had enough steam to develop fully into a cold -now there's something, for sure, to celebrate, isn't it. However, it seems that it's just a bit of sinus irritation -just enough to be a bit of an annoyance but not enough to really bother me. No need to go sign my life away then to get some kind of cold meds that the government says you can only buy so many of these at a time because it makes them think people who try to do that are going to use them to make some other concoction othat will provide them with some kind of illegal drugs they can use and/or sell! Sometimes, I think some factions do try to meddle just a tad too much with the "Big Brother knows best" routines ya know!

The snow has now stopped falling -at least for a while -but the forecast for the whole weekend is for snow showers, intermittently, with a possible accumulation of 2 to 4 inches more snow, over all, between today and Monday.

That kind of reminds me of the winter of 1994 when the snow began falling on January 2nd and didn't let up -it snowed (and blowed) a lot that year and we ended up not seeing the ground until the end of March! Snowfall was pretty much a constant, just about every single day I think it was, over that winter and into the beginning of spring. That also included getting hit with a blizzard in early March too then and I really don't want to see a re-run of weather like that!

Yesterday morning, I got word that a good friend of mine had passed away. If that is not a precursor of a lot more of that to come this year, then it will give a bit of a cause for a little celebration, wouldn't it? Although I'm sorry to lose the friend, considering the problems she'd been having for the past several months, that she has now been released from all that, well my faith is such that it is then actually something we should celebrate.

The diet is going -not easily, not showing major weight losses as yet but then, it's only been practiced, somewhat, for two weeks but according to my scale -which has a mind of its own and sometimes gives a correct reading, sometimes not (and you never know which way it's working at any given time either) it would appear that I have apparently lost about 3-4 pounds. So if that's a true reading -and I'm gonna take it as such at least for today -then that is a cause to celebrate at least a little bit, isn't it?

I've been trying to do some walking -mostly walking the dog -as much as possible. This week hasn't been all that great for doing that because on Monday and Tuesday, it was cold with rain -freezing rain off and on at that -and I'll be darned if I'm gonna venture out on the iced over roads to walk Sammy about a mile and a half, round trip! The last thing I need is to do that and in the process, slip and fall, breaking a leg, arm or worse yet, my hip! So Sammy and I have been able to only venture out and walk twice this week. Today, I should be able to manage a bit of that exercise -as long as the occasional output from the sky is only coming down in the form of pretty white snowflakes! But, I have to admit those walks do seem to be helping me considerably so that is something I am celebrating and hope I'm able to continue doing that as much as possible anyway.

Well, the peace that existed when I sat down to start this little post has totally disintegrated and now, we're all being "treated" to a bit of a meltdown! Wonderful. NOT! The wailing, though not pleasant, is something that may end quickly if she ever just puts her head down on a pillow for oh, say five minutes!

And if she does and that happens, you bet your bottom dollar I will definitely be celebrating -again!

Hope your New Year's Day is going smoothly for you. Things here will eventually calm down again and who knows, maybe I'll even be able to watch the Capitol Bowl Game and see the last appearance this season of my beloved Nittany Lions.

Win, lose or draw though, I'll still be saying "Go Lions! WE ARE! PENN STATE!"

And along with many, many others, who like me, are not "fair-weather fans" will enjoy the game and yes, we'll celebrate!

Because it is, after all, a New Year and that alone is reason enough to find the good things, isn't it?

And it is a Friday and time again, to celebrate that with an "Only The Good Friday" post!