Monday, February 27, 2012

Modern technology and granddaughters

When our granddaughters were born, we lived twenty minutes from their house; we saw them often, sometimes once a week (or more).  Now we live three hours apart and it’s difficult for all of us to be separated that far.  The plan, when we moved, was that we would go up once a month and they would come down once a month, hence seeing each other twice a month.  Didn’t work!  Sometimes it’s almost three months (in the winter, especially) between visits.

Now, I realize that a lot of grandparents only see their grandchildren once or twice a year, but we are spoiled and won’t go through that again (as when the kids lived in Florida and it WAS once a year)!

Bitty is building a transporter and has been for a couple of years, but she keeps running into problems. First, she ran out of screws and these were special order ones, and she had to wait for more to be made.  Then she dropped the specialty wrench inside the machine and had to tear it apart to get the wrench out.  Now she has forgotten the password and is struggling to remember it.

But until she gets that transporter finished so the girls can pop over here for a special supper or to play with foster lambs, we had to figure out another way to communicate.  We talked on the phone but actually talked more why typing on Skype.

Thanks to my upgraded, up-speeded Internet server, I can now use my built-in webcam to video “conference” friends.  (Yes, children, I am still taking the wheels off my chair and using a seat-belt to keep myself from falling or spinning due to the speed I now have.)  But none of the kids’ computers had working webcams, except Ken’s, and he is always working on it, so we couldn’t kick him off his computer so we could talk.

So for Joy and Ken’s anniversary, we bought them a webcam to use with conditions.  I hate giving gifts with conditions, but this time I did ... the camera had to be used to talk to us at least once a week.

So now the talking and faces merge and it’s almost like being together, except for no hugs.  On Saturday I put the laptop on a TV tray so the girls could watch me feed lambs (we have fosters already this year); I then “took them” into the pantry to see the new shelves their grandpa was putting up for me.  We also figured out how to take pictures from what we were seeing on the screen.

I had the girls take a picture for my mother.  Then I had to explain to Mom how the technology worked.

This is a great way of communicating in these modern times.  My friend, Candy D from New York, got a webcam to talk to her daughter and grandson in Florida.  My friend, Jody, is moving down here this spring so got one to talk to her daughter and see her new-born granddaughter once she moves down.

It’s a beautiful day today as we wait for the “promised” storm coming tomorrow.  I hear the lambs calling for breakfast as I finish this post.  You have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wistful Wednesday

This is Norm's grandma Peterson.  Norm can't remember what her first name was (Eileen, do you know?); Betty or Lena, he thinks!

Anyway, this is Grandma with Teddy, Norm's oldest brother, and Bessie, his oldest sister.  Unfortunately, neither one of them are with us today. Bessie died of cancer and Teddy died of heart failure. 

This was taken at the home place for Grandma and Grandpa Peterson.  This was several miles west of the home ranch in western South Dakota; a friend of the family now owns the place.

The date on the picture is 1935.  It could have been taken at anytime during the year, except for winter; the 30s were very dry in South Dakota, as they were for the rest of the Plains States.

I never met either of Norm's grandparents as they were "long gone" (he says) before I met Norm.  I never bet Bessie ... she lived in California and never came to South Dakota after I met Norm.  I do remember Teddy, fondly.

Teddy got kicked in the head by a horse and also had thyroid problems as a child;  he never developed mentally after that.  He was also very large, partially due to Peterson genes (Norm's Dad was very large) and partially because of his thyroid problem. Teddy lived at home the rest of his life and devoted that life to making sure things ran well and were in place on the ranch. When someone lost something, we turned to Teddy to help find that object.  He paid attention to THINGS and always knew where lost things could be found.

One year in our early marriage, we lived on the ranch for a summer so that Norm could help his dad and brother with haying.  I had a young kitten and he got lost one time;  I was frantic, thinking a hawk or coyote had gotten him.  Teddy heard him in the hayloft where he had climbed up but couldn't figure out how to get down (you used a ladder attached to the wall to climb up through a trap door in the floor); Teddy climbed up and brought Snowball down.  I will always remember that big, gentle giant carrying a tiny white kitten in his hands, bringing him back to me!

PS .. that building behind them is not the house but a workshop.  Looks very much like the one that Norm's dad had on the ranch ... half workshop, half garage and an "attic" above for his mom to store "stuff."

Friday, February 17, 2012

Happy Birthday, Cara

Today would have been Cara's 64th birthday!  

I remember when she was born.  We lived in Tacoma, Washington; Charles went to stay with some friends of our folks while I went to stay with my mother's sister and her husband.  I can tell you, clearly, what area they lived in (well, what the area LOOKED like).  And Uncle Doc (a dentist) and Auntie Nute (Roberta - my relatives on my mother's side all had crazy nicknames, thanks to my grandfather).  They had 2 Boston Terriers .. I remember them well!

Mom says that Nana was upset because we lived in such a small place and my dad's father, Grandpa Childs, came to stay so there was no room for Nana.  She had been with us when I was born and when Charles was born and felt she should be there for Cara, too.  

Cara was named for Nana.  Nana's name was Caroline.  So Cara was Cara Lynn (close but no cigars, as far as Nana was concerned); all of we 4 children were named C. L.  Constance Lee, Charles LeRoy, Cara Lynn and Candace Laine.

We miss you, Cara! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It should have been two years!

Two years ago today was their wedding.  One day less than two months later, Charles left us.

This picture was taken in St. Joseph, Missouri.  When Charles told us he was engaged, he wanted us to meet Donna.  Candy and I drove down and spent the weekend with Donna and Charles and had a great time.  We were looking forward to having many years of visiting with the two of them.

None of us went to the wedding; it was during the winter, in dicey weather and Charles was nervous about us traveling.  

So this weekend was the last time that we saw Charles.  We saw Donna again in May when Candy, Norm and I met the folks in Oklahoma to be with Donna for Charles' memorial service.  We met his new family for the first time in this unfortunate time and fell in love with his new children.

Charles, we will never forget you.  You left too soon; I know that Donna misses you every day, and we do, as well.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Thirteen Years Ago

Our very beloved sister, Cara, left us on this day.  Thirteen years doesn't seem that long,yet when we think of how many times we think of her and miss her, it seems a very long time!

It's not fair (but then, life is not fair, is it?)!  She should be with us, enjoying life and letting us enjoy her.

Cara was my guide, my counselor.  I am four years older, but she was years and years wiser!  I can barely remember a time without her and dearly wish I didn't have to know of a time, now, without her.

I miss you, Cara, and love you!  Wish you were here!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Happy Birthday, Charles!

Today would have been my brother's sixty-sixth birthday!  He left us way, way too soon!

This picture was taken many years ago.  Charles and CJ had gone on some vacation and got this adorable portrait!

When I think of Charles, I have many memories -- he was two years younger than I was so we were together a lot.

One fun memory was "twins."  Charles was born exactly two years and one month after I was.  When we were younger, I was a "tomboy" and played boys' games, not girls' games.  Charles' friends were my friends.

We also looked quite a bit alike (a fallacy about boy / girl twins is that they need to look alike), so people would ask if we were twins.  

Finally we came up with this story:  "Yes, we are twins!  But in first grade, Charles was struggling with school and was held back a year while I was promoted mid-term.  To ease Charles' embarrassment, our mother told everyone that he was actually two years younger."

Non-believing friends then ran to our mother before we could warn her of the story.  They asked if we were really twins; with a straight face and no knowledge of the story, she said "Yes!"

We went with that story for awhile until it got boring.  Years later, while in high school, I was teasing some friends (non-related) that they had to have been twins.  And casually mentioned that Charles was actually my twin!  So the story went around again, until we got bored with it, again.

We did many things together, "twins" or not.  When Charles was in Little League, back in Japan, the coach let me practice with the team (girls weren't allowed to play, of course) and I was allowed to sit on the bench during games --- kind of a mascot.  Charles was a catcher (and a very good one, too) during his softball seasons.  He played until he graduated from high school, in many different leagues.

I miss you Charles --- I miss your jokes, I miss your big heart!  I love you!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Wistful Wednesday

 Clarence and Bessie DeWitt

This is a picture of Norm's grandparents on his mother's side.  I'm not sure when this picture was taken, but you can see the head of a child at the bottom of the picture, and they were pretty young at the time.

Norm was named after his two grandfathers, so I was confused.  He was named "John Norman" - John after John Lars Peterson, but where did the "Norman" come from?

Ah!  I have been enlightened ... his DeWitt grandfather was "Clarence Norman."  I'm so glad he wasn't named "John Clarence" ... I really don't like the idea of calling him "Clarence!"

Oh, and Norm was usually called Norm because there were so many Johns in the neighborhood when he was growing up.  My favorite John was John Spease, but that's another story!

It's already 27ยบ out, sunny and NO WIND.  A beautiful day coming up.  You have a beautiful day!