Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ah! The Beauty of It

Say what you will, snow IS beautiful!  Yes! There is too much. Yes! We are tired of it.  But it’s still beautiful!

As of right now (9:30 am on Saturday), we have a fresh inch of snow but NO WIND (“Yet,” she says as she holds her breath, knowing the wind WILL come!).  And it is beautiful.  Almost Christmas Card perfect.

As others have said on their blogs, I know you are tired of snow pictures - but I just had to get these this morning.  I love my birds and it is nice to see that despite the cold (-3º) that they are taking advantage of the feeders.  I have Goldfinches (Norm calls them “Olivefinches” in the winter) and Woodpeckers, Nuthatches and Blue Jays — don’t know why others haven’t come - and I’m surprised that the Sparrows and Juncos have disappeared for most of the winter.  Norm goes out with feed on nasty days - I go out when I can hopefully walk to the feeders - to keep them coming.

So, I have some bird pictures to share and also the snow pictures to share.  I have been told that SOMEDAY the Spring will come and we will once again see green grass and be warm.  But until then, it IS beautiful.  You have a beautiful day.

Downy Woodpecker on the suet feeder
I love my Goldfinches

Snow coming down

And it KEEPS on coming down!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

George Washington

Today is George Washington's birthday.  I don't think I need to tell any of you anything about him.  He was the first president of our country; he was the leader of the Continental Army; he was a devoted husband; he loved farming better than politics or the Army.

George Washington was offered the kingship of the country.  Many of our founding fathers thought we should have a king; George refused, saying he'd rather go home to his farm than be king of the world.  He was the one who set the "four year" standard of being president by resigning at the end of his second term.  Until Franklin Roosevelt, everyone followed his standard.

"First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen."  Happy Birthday, George!

The day after

We made it through this storm (and are holding our breaths for the next one)!  It is hard to tell how much snow we have because we have very few places that the snow doesn’t blow and make drifts.  But Norm figures somewhere between 10" and 14" of that white stuff.  

We had over 36 hours of snowing - either hard stuff coming down fast (and sometimes sleet) and slow, flaky stuff coming down slowly.

But there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.  As I have said before, Mother Earth usually gives us some beautiful days after the storms and this was no exception.  We woke up to +2º, no wind and sunshine (yes, SUNSHINE!).

Because of the cold and no wind, we had frost - and it’s beautiful (if’n you don’t have to be out in it).  So I snapped some pictures to share with you.

Norm is amazed at the depth of some of the new drifts and the hardness of them.  Some of them are like trying to shovel or blow cement.

The weather people in the Cities are saying that this is the 10th snowiest winter and we have “only” 25" left to make it to the snowiest.  This last storm was February’s snowiest.  We have at least a month left of possible snow, if not more.  Sigh .....

So, now we have sun and warm-ish weather for awhile - but they are saying snow “showers” for the weekend - and who knows what that will turn out to be.  

I am watching the shadows fall on the bright snow, am weaving and reading my new Kindle (yup, I got one - yup, I love it!) and starting some hamburger buns for supper.  I finished our taxes, thanks to H&R Block on-line and niece Cookie’s assistance.  Peanut is sleeping in the sun and Norm’s resting after blowing snow this morning.

So all’s right in my beautiful world; you have a beautiful day.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Wet Cement

We have had about a week of warm, beautiful weather.  It got almost to 50º one day!  Sunshine, melting snow, few breezes, muddy roads and melting snow.  (Did I mention melting snow?)

All week, however, the weather people have been talking about the big snow storm that was coming.  They were sure enough about it so that Candy did not come home from Marshall for the weekend because she was worried that she couldn’t get back.

Each day the weather pattern shifted: wet rains; icy rains; wet snow; icy snow.  Where would it hit?  Who would suffer from this?  How much?  How little?  Last night the cute little weatherman on our favorite channel said that it would be like spitting wet cement on a wall - it would be wet and heavy and the winds would make it go sideways.

Well, yes, we have “wet cement” this morning.  It started snowing about 6:30 this morning and we had about half an inch by 7:30.  Peanut woke me up twice; I thought I heard the snowplow go by but Norm said it was thunder, which is why Peanut woke me up.  Thunder terrifies her.

The snow is coming down sideways and sticking to everything.  We have a little Goldfinch hanging onto the feeder for dear life as it sways in the “breeze.”  They are “promising” somewhere between 2" and 6" for today and who knows how much tomorrow. 

We went into town yesterday - first time in two weeks - specifically to shop.  Norm needed more gas for the snow blower and the tractor, I wanted more flour (I get certified organic enriched from the local Co-Op).  When we got to the grocery store, it was packed.  They had to open 3 more lanes to get everyone through in a timely manner.  Guess we weren’t the only ones who felt they needed things before the storm hit.

I got more yogurt for Peanut - I give her yogurt with her daily baby aspirin (she’s almost 9 and getting a little stiff in the joints) so she gets the plain yogurt and we were nearly out.  Norm was worried he’d run out of peanut butter so we had to get more of that!

So, it’s about 9:00 in the morning and we’ve already gotten over an inch of snow - it’s hard to tell because the wind is blowing it as it lands.

It’s a beautiful snowy day today (as long as we don’t have to go out).  You have a beautiful day.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Happy Birthday, Cara

Today would have been Cara's sixty-third birthday.  She was four years younger than me.

I have said before, but will mention it again.  We did a lot together and were a pretty tight "team" for games and play.

This first picture is of us at my high school graduation.  (My dad said he didn't think I'd make it but I graduated with a B- average! On the other hand, Cara graduated with honors!)

The next one is of Cara and Candy doing whatever they were doing - always together.

The third is in our parents' motor home playing a game.  The folks took us to Mitchell to the Corn Palace as a surprise to see Victor Borge, the Danish pianist / comedian; we grew up listening to his concerts on tape.

I love you, Cara; I wish you were here to celebrate with!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wistful Wednesday

This is my grandfather and grandmother Saueressig; Robert and Caroline.  We called her Nana, others called her "Lena."  My grandfather died when my mom was a young teenager, so I never met him.  

Nana went on and raised the remainder of the family of nine children by herself.  Back then there was no Social Security - if you lost your husband, you had to work to support yourself and any children that were dependent on you.  Nana cleaned houses and cared for children.

It was tough in those days.  However, you can see that Grandfather and Nana loved each other.  I'm not sure when this picture was taken. Perhaps Mom or Dad knows?

Post Script - I finally found a picture of my other grandparents ... Grandpa and Grandma Childs ... their wedding picture.  These are Adela and Henry Childs, married in 1906.  I never met my grandmother as she died when Dad was in his teens.  My Grandpa Childs was as an important part of my growing up as Nana was.

When I was a child, sometimes Nana and Grandpa would visit at the same time; they were friends but I thought the two of them should marry!!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Today is Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday!

Not “Presidents’ Day,” not two days before Valentine’s Day, not “just” the twelfth of February.   Because they have lumped all the presidents into one day (for more sales to be had), most people forget what has traditionally been celebrated.

Lincoln and Washington were the two presidents that had their birthdays celebrated because of their importance in history: Washington, as first president and Lincoln as the one who pulled the country through the War Between the States (as the Civil War was known).

But now, we have “Presidents’ Day,” lumping everyone together, good, bad, indifferent.  And can you name all the presidents that we are honoring on this day?  (I can’t but my granddaughter, Bitty, can!) 

I don’t mean to go on the bandwagon tonight, but I am going to briefly mention that history is “dead” to most of the modern generations.  History is not being taught and so few know of any important events that have happened in our past.  How many know about World War I, World War II, the Berlin Airlift, the Korean War?  And these are just a few of the events that have been forgotten.

Anyway, off the bandwagon ... happy birthday, Abe!  You would have been two hundred and two years old if you were able to live that long!

And the rest of you ... if you need to know more about him, look him up on the Biography website or just Google Abraham Lincoln.  A great man, a great president.


We had temperatures in the low forties today (PLUS forty!!) and sunshine and little wind.  A bloomin’ heat wave!  You have a beautiful day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It's been twelve years

And yet it feels like yesterday!  My sister Cara died on this date in 1999.  We got the call on Charles' birthday that she was in the hospital and we "flew" out there to be with her when she died.  She had heart failure and never regained consciousness after she collapsed.

Cara was the middle child - Charles, as the only boy was kind of exempt from the classic ranking of children - oldest (me), middle (Cara), baby (Candy).  They say the middle child is typically ignored, but Cara let us hear her loud and clear.  
I am holding Candy and Cara is to the right of the fireplace.

She was very talented in music - a beautiful voice, great piano skills, played the guitar and would have made it big in the music field if she had pushed to perform in public.
Cara also took ballet lessons, which kept her graceful in all her actions.
She and Candy were close - just three years apart - and spent a lot of their lives together.  But I felt very close to her, as well.  Once Cara was an adult, I actually looked to her as an adviser when I ran into problems in my life.
Friends for life - Candy and Cara
When she passed, she was still teaching me; I learned to be with someone who was dying - I've always avoided death; I learned what true heartache was like (and I don't like it).  But I learned how to go on and survive heartache and pain.  I learned how to live without a dearly beloved sister.

Like I said, it's been twelve years, but I still miss her.  We all still miss her - she was taken away from us way too soon.

I love you, Cara!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Wistful Wednesday

This was taken sometime between 1960 and 1962.  My dad took Christmas family photos every year that I remember.  The bush in Cara's hand is a small pine tree that we planted when we first moved to this house.

Candy, Cara and Charles are in front - Dad, me, Mom in the back.  Notice the planned three and three staggering!  

The Christmas photos were unhappy to live with - they were taken with Polaroid so you could instantly see how terrible someone looked, so we had to take a lot of pictures to make sure that EVERYONE was perfect. 

But the pain of the taking is forgotten with the pleasure of the memories and the actual photo that survived.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Happy Birthday, Charles!

Today would have been Charles’ 65th birthday.  In this picture, he is showing off his lack of teeth, but is smiling — most of the pictures taken of him, he was smiling.  From what I can decipher from the background wall-paper, this Christmas picture was probably taken in Portland, Oregon, in 1952.  

I have many memories of Charles, of course, because I was his ‘big’ sister and 2 years older.

There was the time that he ate sand in the sandbox (I think he was about 1 - I couldn’t have been older than 3).

From the time he was old enough for Little League, he played baseball and was usually catcher.  He was very good at catching and was a pretty good hitter, too.  He played in High School, too, on the High School team.  In those “olden times,” girls weren’t allowed to play on Little League teams.  But Charles’ coach was a great guy and he allowed me to play in their practices and allowed me to be “mascot,” so I got to ride to the games and sit on the bench.

In our family, we had two “separations,” so to speak.  Charles and I spent a lot of time together and Cara and Candy, as younger, spent their times together.  As we traveled a lot (Dad was in the Air Force), we had to depend on each other for friendship; we spent quite a bit of time together until we found friends in our new towns.  But Charles and I were always close (when we weren’t fighting).

In fact, twice, we claimed twin-ship.  We looked a lot alike and were nearly the same size.  Our birthdays are exactly 1 month apart (well, adding in 2 years), so when I was about 10 and Charles 8, we told our friends that we were twins.  The story was: we were born on January 8th, but when we were in 1st grade, I was put up a grade to second and Charles was held back.  So when I was in third grade, he was still in first grade.  Doesn’t make sense, but when you are 8 and 10, you don’t think clearly.  Of course our friends didn’t believe us, so they went running to our mom and asked her if we were twins.  Quick thinking Mom said yes with no hesitation (she later asked what we were doing!).

We spent a lot of time as “twins” until it got too boring and we let it slide away into memories.  But in Rapid City, while I was in High School and Charles was in Junior High, we brought that story back to life for a while, until it got boring again.  Because Mom was willing to back us up, our friends believed us.

I could tell you many, many (many) stories but will stop with this one: my folks are not very tall.  My dad was 5'6' so Charles was afraid that he’d be short when he grew up.  His favorite hobby was trying to reach the kitchen ceiling.  Every day while coming home from school, he’d jump and reach for the ceiling.  The day that he could touch was a great red-letter day for him.  After that, he’d touch the ceiling just to prove he could - and Mom made him wash that place, as he had fingerprints all over it.  I swear - Charles reached his great height of 6 feet just by determination!

My brother - we fought, as siblings always do, but he was always there for me - helping when I had problems, advising even when I was sure MY advice was best, supporting me when I needed support.

I miss you, Charles!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Which is colder looking?

My new header (above) or this one?

To get this picture, I had to open the back door and let snow in ... the angle of the sun was such that it was the only way I could get it.

The header one was colder for me .. I had to go out in my snowboots and jammies to get it.  I didn't want the garage to be in it, but the snow was too deep to go any further away from the house.

We went from +18º and a wind chill of +18º yesterday morning to a -6º and a wind chill of -30º this morning.  Norm had to cancel his dental appointment because we can't get out of our lane!  The snowplow hasn't come by yet, so even if we could get out of the lane, we couldn't get down the road.

But it is sunny (even though very windy) and brilliantly beautiful out.  You have a beautiful day.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Of Course!

When something is planned, it seems like it never happens.  Yesterday was supposed to be a nasty day so I canceled “Stitches in Time.”  Candy would be stuck in Marshall, Betty had a daughter coming home from Egypt, Brenda wanted to sit by the fire and Lois didn’t want to drive in the “promised” ice storm.

Yesterday was the second of the two nicest days we’ve had all year (well, all 35 of them).  Friday was sunny and hit 33º.  Yesterday was over-cast but got up to a steamy 40º!  And no wind!  I was even able to go to town on Friday for a dental appointment (I WAS praying for nasty weather that day) and shopping.

I kept looking out the window and thinking “We coulda!” So my plan was to have my own little “Stitches” event at home for me and myself alone.  However, that plan went by the way-side.  

The “simple” plan of baking 2 loaves of bread transposed itself into a hurried 3rd loaf.  The first one was a new way of baking and the crust burned (my oven’s thermostat doesn’t work quite right) so I had to make that 3rd unburned loaf.  The first Sunday of the month at Church is potluck Sunday and I bake bread for the potluck; Norm wants 2 loaves because they really go fast and the women fight over the left-overs.  (Makes my little ol’ heart go pitty-pat at that.)

Okay, thanks to my trusty breadmaker, I can start a loaf and leave it for a while.  But other wrenches were thrown into the works!

Niece Cookie does our taxes but the situation is complicated this year and she asked if I would work on them myself.  Me?  Math paranoid, dyslexic me?  Okay, I got H&R Block’s on-line program up and started.

First of all, I couldn’t remember my user name OR password.  So the program asked for Social Security number, birth date and some of last year’s information.  I had to dig that out, no problem, but it wouldn’t accept Norm’s information ... changed to mine ... wouldn’t accept it because Norm is the primary on this!  Struggled and struggled and finally realized that I was typing one wrong number in his SS#!!!!!  GAAAAAAAAA!!

Okay, got on ... texted Cookie several times, got as much as I could figure out and went to see how I was doing.  I had 5 (count them, FIVE) errors I needed to repair!!!  After 2 Cherry Cokes and 2 runs of Carmen (opera for those non-opera lovers) - my concentrating music, I gave up.  I emailed and pleaded with Cookie to help.  And she says she will try to help in a few weeks, after college finals.  Whew!

By then the 2nd loaf of bread was done and the 3rd was working in the breadmaker and I was too exhausted to even think about weaving.  Norm brought in a stool that he had cut down for me to use on Harriet Dare and I just took it up and tested it for height and promise Harriet Dare I’d see her today.

So, Norm is ready for church, the 2 loaves are wrapped and in their baskets, labeled, with a stick of butter to go with them.  I ended up with a yogurt / caraway rye and a buttermilk / dill-weed white.

The warm weather is starting to fade away.  We will end up back in the freezer by tonight and the first half of the week will be in the single digits, both minus and plus!  Brrr!  We got a fresh 3" of snow last night and the trees are covered, again.  It will be a beautiful day today ... you have a beautiful day.

 The wind does marvelous things to snow!

PS .. My reward for not killing Norm or myself?  I ordered my Kindle!  It will be here on Wednesday!!!  Candy and Cookie got theirs last week.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Wistful Wednesday

Hey, I remembered that today was Wednesday before it was Thursday!

This picture was taken at Jill's High School graduation in Chaska in 1992.  You can't see it, but Jill is wearing a knee brace.  She had collapsed with a knee problem on Practice Day for the Super Bowl in the Metro Dome and spent the actual Super Bowl watching the half-time show rather than participating in it.  At that time she played flute in the Minnesota Youth Symphonies and they had been invited to play in the half-time show. Soon after that, she had knee surgery and spent the rest of her senior year in a cast and on crutches.  

However, when she walked across the stage to get her diploma, she went without crutches, a major step for her!

Here, also, is a picture of Jill with her piccolo and her "uniform" for the Youth Symphony concerts.

The wind has dropped and the sun is shining on this bright cold Groundhog's Day.  It's a beautiful day despite the bitter cold wind chills.  You have a beautiful day.