Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Retrospect

2009 is the year most everyone would rather forget.  We're in a recession, folks are losing jobs, famous movie stars were dropping like rain, and the rest of us are getting older by the minute.  

2010 is something from the twilight zone if one remembers 1955 clearly.  And I do!  OK, I don't remember every minute, but I remember bits of it, because Mom brought home the first of three new babies I was to meet in our family.

This is the year I got my new camera and photo editing software.  They have opened whole new worlds for me. I have more than the usual opportunities to take pictures through my work.  I've been worried lately that I'm losing that bonus, but this week I sent about 30 pictures for the Mayor to use in her State of the City address.  

In the spring, Sisters and I went on a sheepherder's convention.  The three of us went all over town taking pictures and mocking ourselves.  It was so much fun we are going to make it a habit of it.  This picture of Hubby has supernatural powers.  It reduces Sister's honey into a chortling puddle from which it takes him days and weeks to recover.  It's a keeper.


We got to see Sis for the first time in way too long.  She came for a week's visit, so we had another photo op.  That was the day someone called the cops on us because we were taking pictures in the cemetery.  I haven't been on the business end of a cop since I was a teenager.


 Another super photo op came around through my work.  After getting some really good shots, I asked if I could come back the next Saturday with Sisters to do it again.  One boss didn't care, so that was good enough for me.  The three of us have a really good time together.  We are lucky to be sisters and friends.


The time came when cousins had to part.  Boo Boo was heading back to Tennessee to stay with his mom, and hearts were broken.  These boys are closer than brothers, and the poor little sausages weren't as much parted from each other as amputated.

One last photo op in Mantua gave me a cheating opportunity.  I was supposed to be taking pictures of finished bathrooms, but how could I pass this up?  There were two does on the far side of the reservoir, but the other went the wrong direction and this one walked into the sun.

I suppose we  could take that as guidance, couldn't we?  There are cold, dark spots in every year.  Bad comes with the good.  Much has to do with choices, and I here resolve this New Year's Eve day to make every effort in the coming year to walk in the sun.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas is Coming -- Damn It!

I'm not into Christmas.  I haven't been into Christmas for many years.  Face it - I'm just not a holiday person at any time of the year.

T is our holiday kid, and even she is having trouble this year.  The fact that there are children in the house makes our feelings of no significance. Christmas is coming, and so is that rotter Santa Clause.

T is cooking zuccini bread and peanut brittle and Roger Whitaker is singing Christmas carols on the CD player.  Actually, he just whistled Brahm's Lullaby, bringing my father to my mind as clear as can be.  Dad has been gone for going on 37 years, but it still makes a catch in my chest to hear beautiful whistling.  I took a little side trip here, didn't I?

This is my candy pan.  I've only ever made peanut brittle and fudge in it, but they are the best you ever tasted.  Grandma Madsen gave me this pan when I married Alan in 1970 and it was old then.  I'm guessing it's a good 80 years old now.  It is a good, heavy aluminum pan that is perfect for candy.  I don't use the thermometer, but T is a light-weight.  (Hawk, spit!)


 It isn't as if she doesn't have help.  You would never find a more willing accomplice, er . . . . helper.  Little Man is devoted to his mommy, and where she is, he is.  


He might be just a little feller, but he knows all about secrets.  He knows how to tell secrets and he knows how to keep secrets. Mostly.  Isn't Christmas all about secrets?  

Do you want me to spill my Christmas secret? I haven't done any shopping.  OK, I got Hubby's, and I do a lot of cash for the kids because they are getting older and I don't have any idea what they would like.  Now I'm stuck.

I don't know about you, but Maggie and I are just saying that if Burl Ives doesn't soon get SOME. SNOW. FOR. JOHNNY. SO. HE. CAN. BUILD. 

A. BIG. SNOW. MAN.  We're going to gnaw him off at the ankles.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Old Pictures, Old Camera, Old Memories

My first digital camera wasn't even mine.  I got it to use at work, and it belonged to them.  Before that we had been using film and Polaroid, and this was a revolution!  I think we paid $800 for  it back in 1996. It took very adequate pictures, and it opened up a whole new world for me.  Mine was the second digital camera owned by the City. 

As time went on, I had to have one of my own.  The grandkids were still little, and I had a computer at home.  I bought an Epson something. Then I upgraded to my Canon Rebel, then later my Canon D50. These pictures were taken with the Rebel.

The weather has been colder than a well digger's . . . . nose in the Klondike for the last week or so.  We haven't had snow to speak of, but every flake that fell is still out there. If you walk out and breathe, which folks tend to do, your nose hairs freeze, and shortly after that, your fingers fall off.

It is supposed to snow this weekend, so I can get new snow pictures, but for now, these from 2004 will have to do. I was a very casual photographer in those days. You will notice that the pictures don't look much different than the ones I take now with all the added effort.  On top of that, these are SOOC pictures, straight out of the camera.  No editing has been done on these pictures.  Help me out here!  I'm trying to make excuses.  

The thing is, you can't go wrong with snow pictures. Besides, I love the snow.  

Rex is very particular about his yard, summer and winter.  It is watered, mowed, and trimmed in the summer, and the snow is shoveled to specification in the winter.  I bought him a new snow blower last year (or was it the year before?) that Bubby and I use. 

This year will be easy duty, because we will only be doing our house.  Other years we have done Mr. Wilson's because his hip was bad and he was alone.  Mrs. C on the other side was an elderly widow who has since gone to her reward. She couldn't do her own, and her handicapped son wasn't able to shovel either.  The new neighbors living in their house are a young couple with little children and lots of energy.

 Frost is good.  Frost is really pretty.  When I'm at work, I see all kinds of frost and snow things that I need to take pictures of.  Of which I need. . . . you get the idea.

Look! There he is, my little man in the snow!  He shoveled his heart out in those days, not so very long ago.  Now he blows the snow once in a while.  We have big galoot Bubby and Nana to hop in there and help.  Grandpa's knees aren't what they once were.  Now they're titanium!


 At any rate, there's no place like home in the winter. . . or in the spring . . . or summer or fall.  

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Holiday Things

The place doesn't look ready for Christmas, does it?  Look in the upper left corner though, and you will see the Santa wreath that's been hanging there since last Christmas.

We have lots of Christmas stuff to put around, when the mood strikes.  It's funny that we didn't miss having so many little pretties when we were kids.  We would put up the huge tree with only blue lights on it, and the old ornaments, and tinsel and icicles. I couldn't help for a lot of years because I would get hives everywhere the tree touched me.


Sarah is our holiday kid.  She went to her storage bay to get the tree, came home and pulled it out from under the stairs.  Well, you forget things in a year.  I bought this tree some years ago because it was fake, pre-lit, and small.  

Maggie wasn't happy with the proceedings because Mom put the stupid tree right in her sunbeam!  She tried a few times to push it out of the way, and finally compromised.  She let the tree stay, but she crawled partly under it to get in the sun.  Sarah had to step over her at every turn, because she refused to move.

I'm not blessed with an abundance of Christmas spirit, and if it weren't for the kids, we wouldn't have anything at all.  Here she is balancing on her poor, sore, recently bunion removed feet to do the whole thing.  Child Abuse - we give at home!

This year she got out their family ornaments instead of the Nana ornaments.  It works for me, and the kids had fun remembering each ornament as it was unboxed.  The kids get an ornament for themselves each Christmas, and when they are grown with their own homes, they will have a tree full to take with them.  It is a very eclectic collection ranging from princesses to Homer Simpson to the evil emperor from Star Wars. Oddly enough, they all look good together on the tree.  It's a riot to hear four year old Little Man remember when he was a baby.  

He did his duty manfully, for a few minutes at a time.  He had other things to think about, like the huge box of Legos that Bubby brought home from the storage bay.  

"Pleathe, Nana! Pleathe, pleathe, pleathe put it togeda foy me!"  Too bad Nana is Lego impaired, a total Lego retard. He was much more interested in the Lego battle ship than he was in the Christmas tree.

Former princess, current teenager helped pretty good, then even she took a break.  She is much more cooperative than I was at the same age.  Of course her sweet mother has instilled the fear of Parent into her that my mom tried, but could never accomplish.

One Christmas tree made to order. Little Man was looking at his mommy on the couch when I said, "Look at Nana!"  His head will turn to Nana, but if you think for one minute that he is taking his eyes off Mommy, you have another think coming. The girls, however, are becoming more immune to the camera.  They see me with it enough that they have given in gracefully to the batty old gal snapping pictures every other minute.


Bubby really was going to help, but he hasn't seen his Legos in over a year, and he was simply giddy.  He built the ship for Little Man and a medievel battle ground for himself, and the war was on.

So, in the end, the tree was decorated, the battle waged, and here we are.  Didn't we just do Christmas last week?

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Our house was built in 1957.  I don't think any kind of remodeling has been done since that day, except sometime in the 70s when a blasphemy occured.  Some infidel put shag carpet in two rooms over oak hardwood floors.  I know.  It burned my fingertips to even write it.  The sum total of my work since the day we moved in is the removal of said disgrace, and Sisters and I put wallpaper in the front bedroom.  I loved it.  I know I wouldn't have with dirty, worn out, bright blue shag carpet in it.

The outside of the house is a thing of beauty.  It is neat as a pin and looks lovely.  The inside doesn't.  Worse, it has not only cosmetic, but electrical and plumbing problems.  The toilet in the upstairs bathroom is scabbed together with mismatched pieces, and the downstairs throne isn't even attached to the floor.  If you hit it running, it will rock from side to side.

Son-in-law didn't have enough to keep himself occupied with working full time, pampering his wife, helping take care of the four children, cooking and cleaning, so he agreed to replace the toilets.  He took Grandpa with him to the home store and they bought two toilets extrordinaire. They are extra tall to help us old farts who don't go down and back up as easily as we once did.  

They are crappers from heaven.  The only problem is that now when I sit down on inferior crappers I feel like I'm falling into doom and flail about like a baby bird on it's first flight.  Thank goodness for booths. They are the only thing that preserves my dignity.

Having achieved success with the toilet replacements, and not having any  more time on his hands, Son-in-law agreed to do a complete makeover on the downstairs bathroom.  Around the new toilet, of course.  He knocked out the old shower to make room for a new one.  Keep in mind here that the bathrooms in this house are approximately 16 square feet.  

After much work, more cursing, lots of hammering, outright swearing, and a tad bit of throwing things, he was ready for the tub.  Voting cancelled a shower in favor of a Jacuzi tub. It only seemed logical.

The tub was in, but not hooked up.  Naturally, Son-in-law had to make sure there were no leaks in the plumbing, so he hauled buckets of water to fill it.  Who's going to pass up a chance like that?  Since the wall is out, and there was sure to be onlookers, the swim suits seemed appropriate.  After these two got out, the other two got in to play for a while in the bubbles.  Success! So far.

Like I said earlier, there are still problems with the electric, and much work to be done, but I'm feeling pretty good about this.  We'll have to count our shekels and see what he can do next -- in his spare time. 

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Brain Toot

 November reminds me of Aunt Leona.  She stopped by our house one gloomy, gray, blustery day after she got off work at Sonoma's, kicked off her shoes, and ran into the front room onto Mom's brand new bright blue carpet. Her coat flapped open and she danced around the room, singing, "The north wind doth blow and we shall have snow! What shall the robin do then, poor thing?"

I have loved gloomy, gray, blustery days ever since that one.

Do you suppose the people who have died know when we think of them?  Do they even care?  They know what we don't, after all. 


Do you know who this person looks like?  Think carefully.  Look at the hair, the face shape, the whole package.  Did you figure it out?  She looks just like . . . . . Missy!

I'm having some serious writer's block going on here.  Could you tell?  Sometimes I post something on here, and an hour later I think of something else.  Most times that is not the case.  This must be an exercise to ward off Old Timer's Disease, because it makes me think.  Correction -- it makes me try to think.

That is the reason for the random pictures. I didn't know what to write, and considering all the thousand or so pictures I've taken, there aren't any that are particularly usable for the blog.  The barn/house is in Mantua, like so many pictures I've taken lately, and I really liked it.

I'll put us all out of our misery now, and say good night.

Peace, man.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Granny and the Pooch

Mom liked dogs. Sisters have, or have had, dogs for 30+ years. I don't like dogs. I don't like any animals to speak of. They are . . . .well, they are animals. I have always liked Sisters' dogs. I play with them, pet them, and then I go home. I have never allowed animals in my home. We tried cockatoos for a while, but it didn't work out.

Two years ago, Son-in-law was deployed, Daughter had had surgery that didn't go well, so she and the four children came home. The cat and the dog did not. She was lucky enough to have neighbors that took care of the animals for quite a while. Son-in-law came home to their house, but worked most of the day. Daughter and children went home to spend the summer there before they all came back.

Long story short - Daughter wanted to bring the animals back with her, because they were moving home. Dood Dod! NO cat will live in my house. I'm allergic to the little beasts, although truth to be known, I like them better than dogs.

The dog. She is AKC registered, Duchess Margaret something or another. She cost them $2,500. She's a huge English bull dog. Semper Fi. She's a dog. Dogs gross me out. I hate dogs.

Uh . . . she saved my little girl's life. She took two hits from a copperhead snake that got her instead of my baby. Damn! We have a dog.

I hate to admit that she is a good dog. She doesn't chew, bark, or relieve herself in the house. She doesn't slobber, either. Unless she and Grandpa are harrassing each other, she's usually asleep. OK, she doesn't sleep when Little Man rides her like a horse either. She mostly likes to sleep in her sunbeam that comes through the front door.

She's figured out how to get the best out of her sunbeam. She can sleep sitting up facing her sunbeam to get full toasting action for the best quality nap.

If she gets disturbed or her sunbeam moves, she has to rearrange. Strangely enough, I think I get this view more often than anyone else in the house. She loves to stretch. She does it every time she wakes up and before she goes outside.

One can only take so much sun in one's face without damaging delicate skin. Sunbeam is getting smaller though, and every particle must be enjoyed.

One day she sat at the end of the china closet, leaned up against the side, and went sound asleep. It must have been 85 degrees out! She gets so hot in her sunbeam that she pants, but refuses to move.

Sunbeam goes away every afternoon about this time. Maggie does everything possible to keep that from happening. She wrings every moment of Sunbeam contact out of the day that she can, even if it means sticking her paw clear up to the doors and smooshing her flat nose in it.

She sheds, she snores, she snuffles, grunts and farts. She stares at me while I eat. She lays on the floor by my chair in the evenings and waits. She waits to move over to lay under the table. She waits for Grandpa to come play tug-o-war. She's surprisingly gentle, but goes idiotic when company comes. She never nips or bites and she is so mild that the little one can take food away from her and she will just walk away.

Look at that face! I'm still not an animal person, but she isn't a half bad pooch.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Day in the Life

Today was the day the two restrooms were set at the Mantua Trail project. I was supposed to be there bright and early to get pictures. I was there bright enough, but not early enough to watch the first crapper placed. Luckily, they had two of them. Two flatbed semis were carrying the pieces. One had two concrete poopie catchers and the second one had the whole concrete bathroom. Interesting.

I followed behind them in my little Jeep, watching how they eased around some of the tighter corners. When they reached the second gate, the truck with the poopie catchers wiggled and squiggled through the gate posts. The second truck wiggled and squiggled. It went back and forward. It tried sneaking and creeping. Nothing worked. While they were doing all this, I sat in the earliest morning sunlight and looked around me. It was pretty boring.

Then I noticed something interesting. I rolled down my filthy passenger side window to get a better look.

The baby teasels got old! With the morning sun bright behind them, they looked like they were surrounded in light. The sun shone on the spider webs between this little bunch and it looked neat.

The sun shone behind a larger group of the teasels looking cooler and cooler. The truck was not making any progress at this point to get through the gate and make the curve at the same time. No problem. Teasels are good entertainment.

Just about the time they brought in a little skid loader and knocked the gate posts over, I leaned way over to the passenger window and got a picture of the sun shining on the whole teasel family reunion. They were dancing and swaying and having a good old time.

The posts went over, the truck went through, the poopie containers and building were put up, and I went back to town. I had another assignment.

It was pretty nervy of me, but the guys were cutting down trees again. These trees were just around the corner from home. I missed the first one, got pictures of the second, and went back to work.

The third tree has had a huge burl on it for about a million years. A burl is basically a tree wart. I've been watching it for the 18 years we've lived here. I always wonder about burls, if you could carve a bowl out of them like that Hawiian one on the Antiques Road Show. Well, before they cut down the second tree, they lopped off the burl. It was gone before I could even get a look at it. That was18 years shot right in the arse!

What was left after the burlectomy was fascinating. It doesn't look like it would have made much of a bowl, but I still wish I'd had a chance to get a look at it. They chopped the second tree down. I got pictures of it going over and yellow leaves fluffing up in the air as it toppled. Then I went back to work.

At about 10 minutes to lunch, I got another call to come back with the camera. Boss wasn't happy about it, so I waited for lunch and did it on my own time. The third tree was 90% hollow (it seems they all are lately) but not hollow at all. It was a 20 foot high bee hive!

By the time I got there, they had opened it up pretty good. The bees were working away like mad still. They were flying around, but not aggressive in the least. A lot of them landed on me while I was taking pictures, and I never got stung.

There was new hive and old hive and bees! The honey was dripping out all over the ground. Mitch Cochran was there, but he said there really wasn't anything he could do about moving the bees.

This is a slice of the trunk the guys cut out, going the long way. Click on it and you can see the bees working like nothing ever happened.

This chunk of trunk was FULL of new honeycomb, soft and drippy with honey. Naturally Scott had to dig a stick into it.

Not bad, huh? We'd drawn a crowd by then. People were coming from all over the neighborhood to see what everyone was getting goofy about.

Lots of honeycomb, huh?

This part didn't have any honey or bees in it. It was the same kind of dirt we saw in the tree trunk at the old house by the park. I just thought it looked really cool.

What photo op would be complete without the ham? It was a very entertaining day, and now I'm tired.

Good night.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sheepherders Unleashed

What did we do before we had digital cameras? If one had a Polaroid, one could take instant pictures, about 10 at a time. If one had a 35mm film camera, one could take as many pictures as one had rolls of films to expose. Then one could wait 10 days for them to be developed and get one good one out of the batch of a zallion.

Now? I can take hundreds of pictures, scan through them on the camera, get rid of stinkers and duplicates, download them, and select a little further, and then do all sorts of things with them. It's like magic! I'm telling you, my camera is the best toy (in conjunction with the computer, of course) I have ever owned. The only thing that makes it better is the photo editing software, which is another story altogether.

I had such an adventure at the old house that I took the sisters back with me on the weekend.

It is still an awesome house, but I looked more closely this time. The floors are NOT all linoleum tile. The middle room has carpet that looks like it came from the 30s, and some of the other floors had regular linoleum.

The poop room has a door leading out to an area enclosed with chicken wire. The door has one part of the lower panel kicked out where a small dog could go in and out at its leisure.

The little jutting-out room has the lovely double windows on the west and south, but it also has a tiny window on the east. Could a room be any better than having windows on three sides? I think not. This little window was decorated in the same way many of the other walls were: it had ivy growing in from outside. The windows were not broken; the ivy crept in through the dried window frame.

On the north side of the house . . . what? How did I know it was the north side? Silly! because that's where the moss was growing under the edge of the shingles on the low little roof, and the grass was growing in the angles. How did I know it was north! I mean, really.

Artsy-fartsy pictures are all well and good, but I like people in my photographs. I don't know who will want to scan through my10 zallion photos when I am dead to try to find anything worth keeping, but people pictures are usually keepers. Unawares poses are always good.

Oh, look. An artsy-fartsy picture. Who'da thunk it? Come on, bobwire (that's rusty barbwire) is always classic. You can even trim it to use as a frame for another picture.

We were having too good of a time to go home when we finished the first photo op, so we decided to go to Corinne and see what we could scare up there. How about the old haunted Corinne bridge? The story goes that the ghost of a young Chinese girl who was murdered walks the bridge at night. Many of the locals swear to it.

This is another of those pictures that will be lost to the ages in a very short time. This is a season kind of adventure. We came here in early spring, mid summer, mid autumn, and we will give it a try come winter to get the same stuff in snow. And may I just say here, who gives a rat's ass? Really, as far as pictures go, they are really a waste of time, but as far as spending the day with people you love having a good time? Priceless!

Oh look. It's the people I love! Give a click on it -- they are both pulling funky faces. What's not to love? Hell, that was a good day.

By the time we headed out towards Perry to see how the orchards were looking, we decided that since we'd come that far, we might as well go on to Ogden and hit The
Needlepoint Joint. Yarn! Give me yarn, then get out of the way!

Did you know that The Needlepoint Joint is only a few blocks away from the best ice cream in the world? We thought about that, and then talked about how Farr's Ice Cream is always crowded, no matter when you go there. It is absolutely worth the wait.

We ate ice cream on the way home, cackling like the hens we are. We were tired, full of ice cream, had our pictures and spend a pleasurable day with the sisters. Sisters rock.