Friday, December 31, 2010

BEST OF 2010

I was reading a forum about what the best thing that happened to a person in 2010.

What would you say?

Most of the answers were either a quest or a new person, whether it be baby or daughter/son-in-law. One person said that made it through it. Gotta think about it? :)

When I asked Tom, he said, "My wife got up every morning to go fishing." I was certain he would say he bought the optical shop. He stated although it made working much wasn't the high light. I am grinning because the first thing I thought about was catching a small mouth bass.

Many friends have taken trips, not only in the states but to Europe and beyond. Is that your case?

Surgeries? Certainly, for many, life changing.

Think about it. And I will too.

Happy New Year.


Friday, December 24, 2010


If you are not a person who watches LIFETIME channel and sat for hours watching soppy movies about Christmas, this post is not for you.

There is no blood and guts, no shootum down, roundum up. No horror, mini mun discussion about DNA and hardly a cell phone ringing with a new clue to some gruesome task. No one is on a slab in the morgue being cut open.

But they are in hospital beds
They are mending broken relationships
Santa in some form helps a little kid
Old people kiss without falling out of wheelchairs
Cooking is a family affair
There is always the prettiest tree, regardless of how ugly.

And then, there is the miracle. Regardless of where the story takes place, it always snows on Christmas Eve.

Now Kansas had mild winters. Sure we had ice and snow--just wait a few days. The parking downtown was saw tooth and wasn't cleaned out. I think the city had a teaspoon to clean all the streets. If you had a slope on your drive way, most likely your car would slide back into the street. Sometimes you couldn't get your car in the driveway, so you parked on the lawn were it would stay put.

I remember one year, before there were children in our household, my parents and grand parents all came for Christmas. There was no snow. And it gets pretty dirty looking on a cloudy day. I always said my family brought the snow and believe it or not, it seemed like a miracle.

Grandpa Benhard was getting up in age. I suppose he was 95 or 96 when he sent $5 to be spent on the two children. We bought a saucer sled. But there was no snow.

In North Dakota there is always snow on the ground at Christmas. The sledding hill near the dike is open for sledding and the warming shed is available at normal hours.

So if you live in a balmy sunny place like AZ, FL, or CA, maybe a miracle will happen and you will have snow this Christmas Eve.


Thursday, December 23, 2010


It is so important for all of us to realize that we gift to others with more than something physical. Two things happened in one day. One received and one blessing.

Before I go on, let's remember this: The one who receives gets the gift; the one who gives the gift gets the blessing. Let's not break the circle.

I rant and then, I rant some more. If a professional doesn't answer my question, I will stew about it.

So I went back to the eye doctor today. I already knew glaucoma was looming. No big deal to take eye drops at bed time and grow long eye lashes. But I have asked and asked "Why can't I see better out of my left eye"? I even beat my Sweet Thomas up about it. No one answered.

But this morning, I got the answer. The reason Tom could keep pushing the lenses to see better before cataract surgery was because he had a different kind of cataract. Okay. Now I know. Walk on.

I went to the pharmacy to get a prescription. While there, I saw a scrap booking lady. We were talking about die cuts, cameras, cell phone pictures and why people fill up camera cards without down loading them. Since she works with groups, she already knew the answer. Takes too long to delete them once on your computer. And I told her what I do.

Load the photos
Inside that folder (the are generally dated)
Make three folders
1. great
2. good
3. bad

Move pictures accordingly. Delete the bad folder. Keep the good to look at again. And you know the great ones caught your eye when you saw them, print time or put them on a disk. Her eyes got wide. Odd, isn't it, I have been doing that so long, I didn't give it a thought.

This is idea gifts. Try it, you will like it.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Yesterday, we talked about the supper on Christmas Eve.

Today, let's talk again about giving out of one's necessities not out of one's luxuries.

My grand parents saved there pennies. Grandma said of her husband Benhard, he could squeeze a penny so hard it turned into a nickel. I can hear her as I keyboard.

Their were five grand children: Greg, Bruce, Judy, myself, and Jim. Each of us got 200 pennies. I can't remember how they were presented.

Now, I am not a big fan of giving money as gifts but I am a great fan of appreciating what you get.

Which brings me to a friend in MI who is house bound. SHe gives money to her children, their spouses, and her grand children. She has found several clever ways to present the gift.

I adore this women. I wish I lived next door to her. [[I have a really hard time tooting my own horn]] but thought, I could make cards for her to put the cash in as a gift to her. When I asked, she accepted after a little wellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll oh my. I tossed out another idea for next year!

The fun began. I asked her what they did, liked, or collected. Once the cards were finished, I mailed them to her. She wrote to say she knew who each of the cards were for. I had listened. And besides, when else would I have a chance to say, NYUK, NYUK, NYUK for the son in law who likes the Three Stooges.

It was a way to give a gift of 200 pennies. And by that, I mean, something given in love.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010


A long time friend in Texas wrote to say they were hosting family for dinner during the holidays. He will cook.

He said he was having meatloaf and scalloped potatoes. He would use his mother's recipe. I felt a shiver as I read it, as that is what grandma always had for Christmas Eve supper. Her meatloaf was bits and pieces of meat and potatoes she had frozen and saved to make enough to have meatloaf for eleven. Daddy said she cut it so thin, you could see through it. The plate was passed once with only enough for one slice and passed again when everyone had cleaned their plate.

The point I want to share is this: It was a feast. They not only fed us, but waited on us and ate AFTER we were finished. They were the pure hosting couple.

They gave out of their necessities not out of their luxuries.


Monday, December 20, 2010

I SHOULD NOT BE BLOGGING....................

..................rather, I should be running in circles and screaming.


Well, it is like this, for generations, if you wanted to give someone a photo, you sent it in and had copies made. Same with slides. No problem, except for the wait. Many times you could get a two for one deal and have that extra print without the price of the additional processing.

It all started when My Sweet Thomas was cleaning the basement and I helped. Now, you have to understand that cleaning the basement appears to be more than dust and sweep. For us, it turned into a major sorting project. That is when we found two radiator keys, an unknown key, a bolt for the French doors, and a tiny box of slides.

What sildes, you ask? Assorted. But two of Tom's pink Lincoln, and one of a mounted Wood Duck, which was a gift to Darrel, he brother.

Now some grown ups, when they have been together for awhile, say Christmas is for children and forget everyone has a child like heart, it just depends on just where or how deep it is buried. Tom's shows up and I grab the chance to go with it.

Oh, how he talked about that pink Lincoln. I thought about how much teasing grief he gave me about a yellow truck-- now I can get him good. TEEHEE

Of course, I have to get the slide into a photo to print. I own a marvelous Epston Scanner which does pictures, negatives, and slides. Of course, this is all electronic crap ola and has to be installed. It was installed in a lap top computer which has come and gone, rather given away.

I got the slides out and the scanner out and all of the lights came on but when I tried to plug and play into the mini lap, it didn't work. It was going to require software, where was that?

I rummaged about for well over an hour, looking in places I normally put it. I did not find it so I went up stairs again to see how we were doing on virus scan and Window updates. My mind cleared and I remembered that all software that came with an item was stored in the folder with the directions on how to run it.

In the big desk, filed under scanner was the software.


The mini lap, as some of you know, does not have a DVD drawer. Now where was that DVD Memorax thing? There are three bags, or cases, if you will: One is lime green and has the Mini lap in it, and the other two are black. I didn't see black 2 when I pulled black one off the shelf. Nope, that wasn't it, that was a portable DVD player I bought to use at the nursing home. So, I brought it down stairs and there was a small bag--indeed, it was the Memorax unit I needed to load the soft ware into the mini to run the scanner. Let's hope it works because it is not blug and play.

Once on the mini, I will flash drive it to an external unit and print it on the big printer.

Keep in mind that the only reason I would do this is because Tom needs a little child like junk in his life, too. We all do, in fact, it brings magic to me, as well and I hope I am never married long enough to him not to find something that makes him smile. And I hope that for all of you, as well.

I put the bolt on the French door, the radiator keys are in the drawer in this big honkin' desk, and when finished with the slides, I will put them in one of the boxes marked TOM'S SLIDES.

Friday, December 17, 2010


In defensive of myself, there are many things I know how to do. And then, there are other things that Tom does and I haven't paid attention. Like I said, he was tired last night and the dish machine didn't get done. SO this morning, it was on my mental list to do. It is a portable and although I am not found of portables, this one only has to be run every few days and since I don't do it, it doesn't really matter does it? Have I lost you yet? Well, I put in the detergent, I plugged it in, and I turned on the water. On the front panel, three lights were blinking; light wash and heated dry, and the start button. Okay, something was not right. Instead of reading the directions, I called Tom. No answer. I called Tom. No answer. I turned off the water. Read the directions. I called Tom. I had already read the instructions, unplugged and re-plugged in case there was a glitch. I had to press cancel, he said. Well, he wasn't all knowing either, because, as we all know, when we do something automatically, we don't think about how we do it, we just do it.

By this time my brain was remembering telling oxygen patients to unplug the machine, count to 20 and plug it back in. So we started over. Tech support for computers tell me to turn the phone line around. :)

"Press: Light wash", he said
(I was following him to the letter--not trying to be a poop). Nothing.
SO he says, "What lights are on"?
And I say, "Light wash".
And the phone is very quiet.
So I asked him, "Do I press start NOW"?
"Yes", he said.
Dishes are washed.

Tom had asked me a month ago, did I want a new camera, a flat screen, a very nice rod and reel? I could not commit. So the other day, he gave me a 'bonus' and told me not to spend it on anyone but myself. That is really hard for me to do.

I actually made my decision based on what I could do better if I had better tools. Not that it would make me more creative, if it isn't there, it just isn't there. I feel the camera has a couple more good years in it. I am not ready to up grade, I prefer not to spend that much time watching TV, I am not a reader unless I am looking for information. I thought about a bigger computer screen but mine is big already and it took a while to adjust to it. I don't need a new computer or another computer. I am not interested in a fancy cell phone with huge charges because I don't talk on the phone that much. But what I like to do, that is, what I get lost in, is scrap booking and card making and that sort of stuff. Last summer, Circut© came out with a new unit that puts texture into the paper. It can and will color the display. One can design and get some depth to the look. And I knew I was craving that when some of the cards got so fat this year I had to put them in padded envelopes. :).

So yesterday I spent time on line reviewing videos about the product and making notes on what it could do. Reviewing sights and learning what I could. It seems like a good bonus for me. Because the cartridges are so costly, I spent a lot of time on EBAY bidding on units, which, in the end, where 75% less than the highest price I saw. The idea is to build an inventory at the least amount of cost. The machine also allows the use of the cartridges I have for the little unit, which in its day was the top of the line. The bottom line is always, "What is it going to cost"? I would like to have it in place so I can make the first card for Tom in late January.

Oh, and another thing I couldn't do was read the old thermostat. But we put one in that makes sense and has big numbers. It won't be so bad if the old one wasn't so high on the wall and so tucked in behind something. Even though I can read it, I leave it alone. I know that at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, it is going to be cool. That is just the way it has always been.

Until a few months ago, that is, until I was trained, I could never get the 1.2.3 of just how Venetian blinds worked either. Tom showed me in a ring master type big movement way, so I know how now. :). It isn't the opening and closing, it isn't the going UP , the problem was in the coming down.

And those are my true confessions for the day.

Loving thoughts.

PS For those of you who are on a first marriage, you most likely did not negotiate house assignments. I cook, Tom does the dishes. One doesn't spend 25,000 minutes on the phone before you are together without some sort 'who does it'.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


One of the conversations Tom and I have this time of the year is about putting tinsel on the tree. Every year we talk about our mother's and how it was a one strand at a time whereas we, that is the partnership of ET liked to throw it across the room to the tree. Even Shirley talks about keeping the tinsel away from her toss it on husband.

The difference? Erna took it off strand by strand and saved it.

Our tree is finished! It is looking a little weary this year. Just can't bend those branches any which way but loose anymore. What is the first aid? Stick silk poinsettia flowers in the holes to stop the eye at the red instead of looking, looking at the holes. Does that mean we have a holy tree? Probably not.

This morning, while it was still dark, we put the 2010 ornaments on the tree. I just got a note from my daughter-in-law and they are too busy for a tree. My youngest uses a plant. But never the less, ornaments will be sent.

I am thinking about angel hair. We could do that this year but what a mess it would be to clean up! The only time we worked with spun glass was she we did a 24' mantle at the farm. It was pretty because the lights were buried in the angel hair.

Off to wrap stocking stuffers, wanna help?


Sunday, December 12, 2010


Old Trunks never did decorate a tree with popcorn and cranberries. Have you?

Our home tree never had paper cut in strips of red and green and pasted together loop by loop to form a chain, did yours? In grade school, the paper chains were draped everywhere. It was like a race to see just how many miles of chain one could make with paper, scissors, and glue.

When I was very little, we had a few glass balls which I remember so very well. Each of them was a pastel base color with a snow message attached. I loved to look into them. Looking at them and into them, as if I could see Christmas from the image.

It was the Christmas of 1952 when the last of the beautiful balls was broken. How, you ask. We were living in the 900 block of Arnold Avenue North. There was a huge picture window, which to preserve the heat, was covered with a thermo lined drapery, which was drawn at night. We had gotten a television that fall and that took the best place to put a tree. SO, we didn't have a tree, instead, a plan was in place to section off the picture window with hockey tape, (black stick to itself like tape used to tape hockey sticks on the part used to move the puck).

The edges of the window would be sprayed with canned snow, the perimeter of the window would have outside lights, (outside, of course), and from each of the pretend panes an ornament would hang with the use of another type of tape. In its glory, it was right out of the Victorian era.

And then............the draperies were drawn..AND then..............the window got cold and THEN the tape holding the balls let go.................and then, they fell, one by one and all the beautiful ornaments I had gazed into were broken.

And mother replaced them with plastic balls, and they fell off and BOUNCED.

And then, we gave up on the tape and put them directly into the hockey tape. Because the balls were so heavy, they pulled the tape to make it ~~~~~~~~~~~ wavy. Since it all looked like crap already, I learned that writing in the spray snow was fun. It was the end of the window decor. The next year we would have a tree with outside lights on it, ugly green balls and lots of tinsel....but that is a another story for another day.

Thanks to Shirley, the tree we had when we had children, had an ornament for each year. Shirley came to see us when Rachel was just a couple of months old and brought along a mini stocking which was hung on the tree and probably is hung on the adult tree of Rachel's now.

That started, and continues to be a tradition. Each year, although the three of them are grown and gone, an ornament is made or bought and sent. Tom and I started ornaments for the two of us, as well. This year, we needed ten ornaments for those we gift ornaments. For Tom and I, we start with the ornament from 1998 and work forward, hanging this year's bangle on last.

To me, it seems like a tree is a must have, for many, the concept has gone away.

I am thinking about someone I know that recently had a death in the family. They are not putting up a tree this year. From what I know of the person who deceased, I am certain he would reach down and pop them. Yet, they think it is out of respect to him not to have a tree.

What's you call on that?


Friday, December 10, 2010


Grandparents had candles on their tree. Can you believe it? What a fire hazard but that is what they did!

Flash forward to the seven strand lights if one goes out they all go out. Christmas eve was, for some years, spent looking for the bad bulb, even if they were all changed and checked and brand new at the beginning.

Daddy hung the lights. He was of the mind that lights should be somewhat hidden, certainly others liked them right on the outside. But he did not hunt for the missing bulb. In fact, it came to be that all the lights on our tree where outdoor lights, which all stayed lit when one or more went out.

Our lights were all multi color, until the year mother decided we would have all pink lights on a pink tree with pink bulbs. She got away with it but we were not allowed to touch the tree, in fear the flocking would fall off. One of the things that led her to this is simple: She bought a vacuum cleaner from a door to door salesperson, who used to be a boyfriend. Part of the hype was you could flock trees with it. I so do remember daddy trying to get her into the kitchen to talk with her about better sweepers for less money but she was determined.

Where our lights a tangled mess? Never. Why, because mother took the tree down when everyone was either at school or at work. Tree one morning, no tree in the afternoon. And you can bet everything was neatly packed for the next holiday.

When the 100 strand mini lights in white came out, I was in heaven. A chance to have hundreds of lights without heat! And hundreds we did have.

Then......I moved to Fargo and Tom was of the belief of less lights and multi colored. It has been resolved with all green and nothing flashing. To make up the difference we have white mini lights year around on an arrangement on the entertainment center and an artificial plant by the door. I am looking around for yet another place to put some! :)

Oh how grand to remember the bubbling lights which never stood up straight!


Thursday, December 9, 2010


For many of us, artificial trees, unless they were aluminum with a rotating stroke set to make the tree colors change, was not an option. I suppose in a city like we lived most people had a tree, one that had been alive at one time. As a child, I just assumed everyone had a tree. I am thinking maybe some people could choose a tree or a gift.

Ours came from a man that dug the basements for the houses my dad built as well as commerical buildings. Our tree was free. Well sort of. Another thing I didn't know is these trees were really tops of trees hauled out of Canada. I wonder if they spoke French?

Most of us remember a frozen tree, filled with snow and ice and it had to be placed in a warm environment to thaw. They always looked different once the branches had relaxed. It was Daddy's job to find the 'front', that is, the fullest side, most branches. It was also his job to cut it off, especially if the tree had a big knot on the base where it went into the stand.

Although I thought every tree was the very best. I do know there were bald spots and odd branches. I was told once we get the decorations on it, you won't be able to see it.

And so the tree stood for a few days filling the air with the aroma of evergreen. It would stand until an adult said it was time.

As a parent myself, Thanksgiving afternoon was set aside to go to the tree farm, at least for a few years. The children rotated in choosing the tree. Maybe we did too, I don't remember for sure as if I did have a choice I would have wanted a Scotch Pine~~You know, the kind where you get the last of the needles out of the shag carpet around Easter!

Now, when you go to a tree farm, these trees have been trimmed as they grew so you had a pretty straight and full tree before you took the saw and cut it down. But not always. More than one year we tied the tree to the wall to keep it straight.

I was sad that my grandparents did not have a real tree. They had an aluminum one which stood in the corner of their little living room. It was moved from in front of the picture window so there would be room for all of us to visit and have supper with them on Christmas Eve.

My other grandparents had a tree that was about a foot and a half tall. I wonder how long they had that tree. The branches were pulled forward to decorate, and pushed back for storage. Each branch end had a little red berry, many long since gone.

When Ryen and I bought the house and moved back, we had all white carpeting on the floors. When we went to do the tree, I thought we should do it in the kitchen for easier clean up. We are still laughing about having this tree beautifully decorated only to NOT be able to get it through the opening in the living room! Yes, we had to take it apart!

And it came to pass that Christmas would happen in 1998 in Fargo, North Dakota. I had tubs of stuff and Tom had boxes of stuff. I did not know, when I told the two of them to go through the directions there had been no tree in the house since his wife had died. I will tell you it was hard to breathe in the room as the two of them looked at each item. Suffering.

Tom and I where at Menard's looking around after Christmas early in our marriage. We came across these three trees mounted together on a common plate. It isn't very fat and it doesn't cover the Seth Thomas clock, either.

Although the decor is taken off, the tree stays on the main floor. It moves from the dining room to the living room at Christmas time and back to the dining room after the holidays. There are two decorations on it year around; two red birds, one for Bud and the other for his wife, Shilpa. At the base is a Chinese good luck cat, a gift to Tom from Ryen.

Next time, we will discuss lights! Do you have yours untangled yet?


Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Old Trunks is looking at the list of gifts/tips to consider to be the norm.

Let's talk about it.

Cost of one hair cut. So if cuts are twenty and the tip matches that, $40 is the normal.

A weeks salary and a small gift. It is said this is one profession that has really been hit hard by the recession.

Cost of one session

Now, this can be pricey. If you spend $100 on a trip to the shop are you really going to tip that much? How about doubling the regular tip?

When we had our trash picked up by real people instead of the automatic can lifter, Tom used to set out a case of beer for them. We never see them anymore. One guy drives the truck, if there is trash around the can, they do not pick it up. If your can is so full the lid won't close, the place a shame on you sticker on the can. If you set the can where they can not pick it up automatically, you get another shame on sticker. Thirty dollars is considered average.

Those of you who have it hired out, fifty dollars per person is the normal tip.

The price of one month's subscription regardless of how many times it is 'lost' or not delivered. I have to say the people who received their paper from one of my children where more than generous on a monthly basis. Now we get an envelope from the newspaper to put the money in.

A gift from you and a gift from your child. And the survey said, teacher's like gift cards. Mrs. Shaw retired. She had a garage sale. She sold hundreds of hankies and bottles of Cologne. I do have a mental rule about gifts: When you gift someone, it is now their property and they can do whatever they want with it. A lesson learned the hard way when mother put a turtle pin out for the garage sale for 25 cents. It was a gift I had given her the Christmas past.

Old Trunks is certain that is why I always encouraged my children to give me little stuff. I have a standing jewelry box and a curio cabinet full of little treasures from them. Would you like to come and look? I will happily share the treasures of their youth

There was to be a twist in the gifting this year. I decided last year, since I do not see my children often, and am clueless as to their desires, I would do money. Yet, I still can not do it. I can not, in good faith, fold any sort of cash and put it in an envelope and call it gifting. Perhaps it won't be 'just what they wished for' like when they wanted bicycles and sleds but at least they know they were thought about and imagination tried to find something unique as they are.

What's your take on this?


Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Why is it that magically the sun shines on the first day of December? November is a gloomy lot and it seems to be that way regards of where I have lived.

But November this year flew by. Perhaps it was because we were able to fish the first weekend. Maybe it is because most of the days fly by. It must be a sign of getting older. A nurse told my friend that if you talk about going to the bathroom, it is a sign of old age.

That reminded me of one of the most well read gentlemen I will ever meet. He was a newspaper man. He and his wife enjoyed traveling to the far corners. I will tell you if you knew him, you would adore him, too.

He had gone for coffee with other retired gentleman for several months and discussed the topics of the day. When his wife took a dementia like diagnosis, he decided they should move into a retirement village. As far as he knew, the topics of the day would be discussed with fellow retired folks. Alas, it did not happen. They were not there a week when he announced they would be moving. I asked him why and he told me even the males only talked about the number of pills and prunes, and of course, how big their elimination was.

His wife fell and was wheelchair bound shortly after moving into the apartment. It would only be a few weeks before she needed the kind of care he physically could not provide. He hired help and watched his retirement account dwindle.

He died

His wife went to the nursing home and did not have a clue as to how she had spent her life.

So, maybe, just maybe, I should shut my mouth about the lack of sunshine in November and whether or not the currants eaten at Thanksgiving have been current.

Maybe I should, and perhaps you as well, should be grateful.

Make a pack.

Have days of sunshine, even on cloudy days OR is that even when you are in a cloudy daze?


Friday, November 26, 2010


The plan was to have Thanksgiving dinner at a buffet. It seemed like a grand thing to do until it started to storm. Although the storm stopped, it was going to be cold and windy. We decided to eat at home, both of us would man the kitchen, dividing the jobs and helping each other as needed.

Before I go any farther, I must say there are two things I always have on hand. One is brownie mix and frosting and the other is makings for pumpkin pie. Sometimes I even have brownies in the freezer. And so when the plan changed, all I thought was needed was cranberries and croutons. Yes, I know, I should have checked.

The cranberries were popping in the kettle and the celery and onions were cooking in a little olive oil when I went to the pantry for pumpkin stuff. Much to my surprise, there was no pumpkin stuff!!! Now there are two days one must have pie. One is Tom's birthday and the other is Thanksgiving!

Okay, so, what DID we have? WE HAD CURRANTS!!! Maybe we could convert a recipe for old fashion raisin pie using currants.

One crust or two? ONE
Ice cream or whipping cream? Whipping cream.

WHAT? It calls for corn starch
WHAT? It calls for brown sugar

SUB flour for corn starch.
HOPE the brown sugar, double wrapped in bags was not a piece of a rock.

Tom kept watch on the boiling currants and water. The blender whirled the flour, cinnamon, brown sugar. We added the ingredients together.

THEN we looked at each other and questioned what the stick together ingredient was. We knew it had to cook because the crust was raw. The method and recipe off the Internet was not complete. We would find another recipe which called for eggs. If it calls for two eggs, three is even better, don't you think? The pie went in the oven and after opening the shutting the oven door a few times, it was ready! It really was pretty good. I know that because I just had a piece for breakfast.

Now let's talk about the turkey. Remember it was only a side of breast, bought a few weeks ago to 'have on hand'. And so Tom said, "I need something to get the turkey off the bottom of the roaster". The roaster he was using was mini and all the racks we had didn't fit. We rummaged through all the cupboards and cabinets looking for something. WHAT did we use? Metal cookie cutters; a star, a Santa, a gingerbread man! I love ingenuity, don't you? Yes, I know, we could have used a bigger roaster.

THEN there was the potato thing. Now when I do mashed potatoes, I use the same kettle and measure the number I cook by how it fills the bottom of the kettle. That gives us two servings plus a little more. Has anyone ever asked you how many potatoes to peel? What did you say? Tom wanted to allow for peeling so he added more. Well, we have some extra potatoes here! I use the mixer to whip them. He uses a masher. I add whipping cream and butter and danged if he didn't use skim milk. But since he was in charge of the potatoes, isn't it fair and right we could do them as he wished? Yes, it is fair.

Two hours from start to finish to prep and bake and boil and 10 minutes to eat. Sounds about right, doesn't it?

In regards to the pie: Next time, use brandy for the water to cook the currants. That is, if there is another time!

Now the question is, when will the current currants crap out? Or will they get stuck in pitted areas of our old intestines? BUT, there is a pill for that!

And how was your Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Ever since the bull crashed the fence at Joppru's during a rodeo when I was a kid, I haven't liked being in the stands during the bull riding, except I really like to watch it from the safety of the house. I saw on the news this morning that some bull jumped the fence and some folks got hurt. ALSO at a bull fight in some far away country, a black bull JUMPED the wall and got into the place where the matadors wait. I mean this bull was running hard when he cleared the fence. I did not know bulls could jump like that!

Joppru's was a meat market/sales barn in my home town. The rodeo area was fence with sheep fence; not very protective. The 'stands' were nail crates with 12 x 12's. How do I know all this? My grandfather set up the area every fall for the rodeo. Joppru was quite the promoter. He also added a pie and coffee counter in the sales barn, then later, served chili. (The chili was always burned).

It was a family operation and still is! Did his two sons, Don and Dean become butchers? If so, where were they trained? It was a great place to party and if the inspectors ever knew kids were making out between the swinging sides of beef, well, let's just say, the making out was Grade A.

The operation was out of the city limits and there was always one Sheriff car sitting on the road next to the entrance trying to nab curfew and kids who were drinking. Didn't happen, everyone would just curl up on a cutting counter, take a nap, and go home when curfew lifted at 6A.

I wonder what my folks though when I came home smelling like rancid animal fat and saw dust? They never asked and I never said, "Hey, I have been out at Joppru's making out in the swinging sides"!

Would you?


Sunday, November 14, 2010

DECIDED ON.................

The little cylinder which held the erasers has been adopted for a use.

Many replied.

Belly button lint
Pizza cheese
Nose hairs

The best use: Fill it with sunshine for a cloudy day.


Saturday, November 13, 2010


There was the Sherman Anti Trust Act. When learning about it, it seemed to mean corporations could not gobble up corporations. And so it was in my youth, that the Dine-A-Mite was independently owned and not bought out by Rex Cafe` which in turn bought out Kief's. There were separate of each other.

But now we have conglomerates.

This thought track started because of an article in Consumer Reports about people knowing they get much better glasses and service from independent optical dispensers than from 'box store glasses" Not a week goes by the Tom doesn't hear the story from someone who has bought cut rate glasses which just don't work and don't fit right.

The sad thing about it is, big companies are buying little optical companies not buy the spoon fulls but rather, by truck loads and what happens is the laboratories are being gobbled up too, making it difficult to get that really great new lens without being part of it.

Old Trunks is not going to throw around names of frame manufacturers, but what she is going to do is hand everyone a tissue because that 1890 Sherman Anti-Trust Act no longer seems to apply.

Think about this: Pepsi drinker? Brad's Drink, as it was called in 1890 is now a part of Frito-Lay, General Mills, Tropicana, and Quaker Oats. Aren't Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC part of this too? Is that why they serve Pepsi instead of Coke?

Does it matter to you?


Thursday, November 11, 2010


Old Trunks processes memories according the the sections in her life. And just what does that mean?

We all have eras in our life. For folks that move about, they may store their memories in, let's say...........New York, Ohio, California, all before college, college. Or maybe one does it by marriages, or best friends. Old Trunks clearly sees four, although with much discussion, perhaps it is really eight or even twelve. As I think about it, my childhood memories are stored with the many houses we lived in.

Nevertheless, like loaves of bread, there is something buttered on each slice during that era.

It makes a person wonder, if you could only have, let's say three great stories, or memories from each era, which would you choose? Perhaps we need five.

It makes one think about a story I heard from a friend lately. Now, the lady has a lot of color in her writing, the kind that you can picture each movement, know what I mean?

She shared about her Aunt coming to visit while her house was being painted. Aunt Shirley was allergic to paint. She used the reference, "when Bob and I lived @........... See, she was splitting off. Bob carved in his office. He also had a huge selection of all running chime clocks in his office as well as a stuffed raccoon with a snarl. This is where Aunt Shirley was to sleep. In the morning, two clocks and the coon where outside the door and the cuckoo clock had been stopped.

Now Old Trunks is wondering, how do people capture memories? Are people who remember the best grasping with all senses? If you can not taste or smell, does that cut back on how much you can remember?

Me thinks I am having a Mrs. Spock moment, pointed ears and all.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Can someone explain to me how a grown man driving a combine can run over a bear in a corn field?

Yes, it really did happen in Southern Minnesota recently.

I think the guy was talking on his cell phone. Who could miss a 320 pound bear?

Imagine that!


Monday, November 8, 2010


You know how you wake up in the morning and your mouth is all warm and fuzzy inside and you say, MORN NING to someone? Ever do that?

Well, I started to think, is that what they say on the social network called NING? Do they say, "MORE NING" or do the owners or creators say, "Let's have more ning"?

That reminded me of a booklet I made for my daughter when she was little. I took construction paper and printed, for example: ATE. These sheets were covered with something she could write on with a crayon.

ATE Now, tell me, what words can you make out of ATE by putting a letter in front of it?

A B C D E F G H I J K L are you running it through your head?

That got me thinking. If NING is a word are A E I O U?


NING: Social Network
NONG: Foolish person
NANG: Excellent
NUNG: Tai Language

Now remember, you heard it here FIRST!


Sunday, November 7, 2010


I may have laughed at Grandma Mae when she wrote the weather on the calendar every day. But I take it all back as I retire the 'fishing record' book which started as a way to find a caught and loss record of fishing for top water bass on Leech Lake while on vacation. As well as where the bass where.

The first entry is 8-9-08 on Leech at Black Duck. Followed by the letters T and E, circles, numbers with inches, species, and size.

Not that it means anything to the reader but:

East side of big rice
North side of big rice
Flat tree
Geese in the rice
Picture: Eagle flying
Cat tails

T: 10 E: 12

Yesterday, November 5, I retired the book.

Snow patches in ditches
40 degrees
Water Temperature 48
T: 2 E 3

How fun!!!


Thursday, November 4, 2010


a picture posted by Old Trunks came back to haunt us. It isn't about sheets but it is about what about sheets?

The photo was of a large family, standing in front of a need-to-be-painted two story house. There was a sleigh and even more people. I suppose to get everyone into the picture, the photographer stepped into the next county. That is the way it was done, yet wouldn't it be great if one could SEE the people's faces? Let that be a lesson to all. Please.

Now what tickled me so was LLA posted the picture as her icon on Facebook. I have no problem with that because it wasn't my photograph to begin with and since I don't copyright, I am out of luck anyway, unless, of course, I screw up the picture with a stamp.

Now, I am not certain why LLA posted a notice that she liked Wamsetta sheets but it struck me funny that it was posted next to a picture of a zillion kids, a sleigh and a need-of-paint house. We may have to leave that in the mystery box.

My question was: Did those people have sheets? And when did sheets start, anyway? I could not imagine living in a Soddy in NW MN and having a loom big enough to weave them, besides cotton isn't grown this far north.

Old Trunks has since learned the first mention of sheets was for the wealthy back in the mid sixteen hundreds. It was learned that, once again, wealthy people had them on the east coast. The articles talked about the pillow cases being embroidered and were part of the hope chest. When is the last time you slept on a pillow case with fancy stitching and crocheting, for that matter?

It is wondered if these folks even had sheets, rather slept between quilts and by the looks of the house several quilts. OR perhaps someone gave them sheets--that is--handed them down. Maybe they where on the third set of users. Maybe they were really thin. Maybe they were patched.

There is nothing that smells better than sheets have been hung on the line in the winter and freeze dried then brought in and hung over clothes drying racks. Oh, can you smell that?

Personally, sheets have always been a part of my history. They were all flat then. The beds were changed on Friday--every Friday. The sheets were mangled, (ironed). Until I left home, I never slept on a sheet that wasn't ironed. What a shocker! Imagine, not ironed sheets? I am smiling because it really was a treat!


Sunday, October 31, 2010


A couple of weeks ago, I made a couple of pizzas. I placed each of them in an 8x8 pan. We ate one, and I froze the other in the pan. It would be our supper last night. I had figured, since it was frozen, I could turn the pan over and bang on it, forcing it to fall out on a piece of foil, which it did.

Since we like crust that is crispy, the idea was to place the pizza directly on the rack. That is what is recommended by commercial pizza places that you buy and freeze as well as ones you buy at the market.

We waited for the minutes to tick by, Tom said he could smell it much earlier than I so I got up to check. The timer had not yet gone off.

The center of the pizza had fallen through the grate and landed on a drip pan previously used for pie. All the crust from the edges was stuck to the rack! It was really funny but it was also pretty sad looking. It looked like we had already eaten it!

Tom was laughing so hard as the two of us picked the crust off the rack, mainly because I present food that looks good as well as tastes good. We scraped it all on to a bread board and set it on the table and ate it with a fork. I did not offer a different meal and we ate every bit of it!

That is my scary Halloween story and I am sticking to it, just like the pizza stuck to the rack!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


ONE: 'You shall have no other gods before Me.'

TWO: 'You shall not make for yourself a carved image--any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth

THREE: 'You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.'

FOUR: 'Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.'

FIVE: 'Honor your father and your mother.'

SIX: 'You shall not murder.'

SEVEN: 'You shall not commit adultery.'

EIGHT: 'You shall not steal.'

NINE: 'You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.'

TEN: 'You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.'

Friday, October 29, 2010




Helpful to others

Friend and sister to other scouts


Friend to animals

Obeys orders



Clean in thought, word, and deed.
(Exception: While fishing I say shit when the fish throws the hook).

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Most of us interact in some way with several people a day. Perhaps it is family, others at occupations, and for many retirees, it is game playing on line. I get annoyed at times by people who do not accept gifts graciously. Well, I do that in real life, too.

But I had a dream last night and got up and moved around after so I could remember.

Let's say My Sweet Thomas and I go to a buffet for dinner. Ya, sure, ya betcha, Tom is going to be long on meat and potatoes and short on veggies. And that is okay. I am going to be long on the veggies and short on the meat, well, not that short, but you get the drift, we both pick different things to put on our plate although the general agreement is the establishment is okay to both of us.

Even when we fast food we eat different sandwiches. But I am not harping on him because he eats a club while I am enjoying a BLT.

And such as it is in life and certainly on Internet games, where people threaten one another if they send them one more thing called a special delivery. Threaten? Yes, YOU WILL BE IGNORED. So? The other person doesn't know if you have ignored it, so why waste energy being a bully?

Why be a poop and tell something they have too many chickens?

Why tell poor little old G that she has to stop writing Bible verses? Why not tell her to spell check her verses?

Sometime in each of our lives we learned a few rules. For some, rather, many, it may be the Ten Commandments. For me, the best working list was the Girl Scout Law. That covers a more realistic life style for me. After that we tweak according to what life throws at us.

So, what is on your plate? I can tell you I have NO LIVER or LUTEFISK. But that doesn't mean all of you can eat it; just don't force it down my throat even if it is Thursday, which as a child meant liver and onions fried in bacon grease with boiled potatoes and carrots, bleck.


Sunday, October 24, 2010


The next night, which is maid's day off, we went to supper and stopped at another department store. Now he is looking for trousers. He is not pleased with the weight of the fabric, it has gotten lighter and in thirty below zero weather it is darn cold on the bottom. He is too big to buy a boys size, which have less seat. A brand he really likes has made their pants roomier. But we did find a store brand which has a fabric he thinks is okay. I asked him to please try on something with a shorter inseam. I know he likes his trousers to break above the shoe but that is different than blousing at the shoe. He is wearing his pants to long because he doesn't have any hips or buttocks to fill them up.

We had gone to a high end store before but nothing in wash and wear. Only wool. Wool wears out if you have it dry cleaned too much. Our problem is that wash and wear slacks come pre-creased and if you alter the legs the crease is in the wrong place. Another problem is, I don't have vision for remodeling clothes. He knows someone who will tailor and I think that is what he should do....of course, it will be his nickel.


Saturday, October 23, 2010


And the next night came and off we went with the spreadsheet, the picture of the shirts and the photograph of all the ties. On the back of the ping of shirts, it listed five stores and the brands they carried. I had spent the morning looking at the web sites.

Now, we all know, because we have had to wear clothes for years, that some brands fit better than others. Odd, isn't it, that one brand that was at an upscale store when I was growing up is now a box store brand? Another brand, sold only at sport stores, is now available at a farm store and that has happen in the last few years. I suppose it is all about getting one's product out.

Back to the caper. Tom knew the first thing to do is find the shirts. Collars are important. He stays away from button downs because he thinks it adds minutes to the ironing....or maybe it is because he has Raynard's Syndrome and he can't button the teeny buttons......or maybe both. Personally, button downs look like one is choking. I would not pick it for him.

Now, he trusts me, and that is scary. When he picked up a shirt, the first thing he did was put it under his chin. Even in store light, it was not his color. He has learned that colors that are muddy are just not suitable for him. One of the reasons he looks so healthy is because of the colors he wears. And, if you have a problem with believing this, stand in front of a mirror and put garments under YOUR chin and look at yourself. You will soon learn some make you look, as grandma used to say, "poorly".

He picked another light blue, perhaps as a replacement, as well as a forest green, a clean dark gray, a stripe, and agreed on the raspberry, which I had found the night before. Why didn't we buy it the night before? Well, we were clueless as to what he really needed and the night we went, well, buy $50 and get a $10 coupon. I am thinking Kohl's is one of the few stores that are making it in this recession because they are giving the customer a reason to come back with the coupon~of course, that means the longer you are there, the more you will buy.

The ties were next, I had already picked up the one to match the raspberry. He worked on the others, going first to a diagonal strip in blue. I showed him the picture so he could see just how many like that he already had. It is like me, when I shop for him, I always manage to come home with something with purple. Maybe because lil ol ladies love it, me included, of course.

We got down to the stripe shirt. It is white with a brown stripe and an aqua stripe. This is where the color blind comes in. He could not pick up the color and when he did, he did not see it for what it was. We twirled a lot of tie racks before we found a few that would work, although of the 50+ ties he has in his closet, there may have been something.

The spreadsheet was worth it and so where the pictures. It took us a half a hour to pick out five and five. He did not stray to the belts or underwear, he stayed on task, although we did not find a clear dark purple with a dress shirt collar in fitted nor did we find a yellow fitted.

Let me see, how does this work? I spent most of the morning getting ready and we spend 30 minutes in the store. Does that make the time I spent getting ready profitable? Yes. Why? Because he could shop with knowledge and do it a man's way, in a hurry. Oh, if he only took the time with buying clothes like he does looking for fishing lures.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Grandpa Phil worked for the county. He wore chambre shirts. They were greatly used because they were washed in hot water. To touch them was the softest of fabric.

Daddy wore khaki pants and short sleeve shirts, mostly with a small pattern. His hanky was stuffed in his back pocket with the corners sticking up. I can still see him walking to the garage.

Odd, isn't it, how we dress. A friend told me that her husband is retired and chooses to wear shorts, sandals, and a T shirt. She remembers him dressing to the nines in a shirt, tie, and sport coat. We are about the same age; men dressed in freshly ironed shirts and ties are part of the business world we saw growing up.

My sweet Thomas dresses in a dress shirt and tie to go to his hobby every day. He likes being an owner; he likes the people, he likes the business of service. I think he likes the elders telling him they like purple and like his tie.

I don't know about you folks, but bodies change in shape and clothes need to fit the person. And so it came to pass that instead of regular cut, Tom needed the modern cut. Ties moved from 4" to 3 1/2" and are on there way to 3".

Since he is color blind and I like spoiling him, I lay out his clothes. Well, actually hang out his clothes. I do a couple of weeks at a time to get a good rotation. It would be too easy to put him in shades of purple every day! It is his color. No kidding.

The other day he was looking at the ads for garments in the newspaper and announced he needed to get some new shirts and ties. Hey, I am all for it. He asked the difference between the fabrics and the maintenance involved in each on. I don't like 100% cotton because it creases at the elbows.

Welllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll......last night we ran errands. We went to a department store. The idea was Tom was going to look at shirts and ties. It didn't go so well. He was off looking at belts and didn't seem to be as interested in what the mission was, although it was his idea.

Since I had already missed NCIS and NCIS LA was half over, we went upstairs and looked in his closet. I asked him to pull what he didn't like in shirts and ties. One shirt and 3 ties later, he was done.

So this morning, I made a spread sheet with all his shirts, the kind of fabric, the brand, and the fit(cut). Then, I took a picture of all of them. Next was to group ties into color groups and take a picture of those. Now all I have to do is count the ties and put them on the sheet. After that, put all of it in an envelope and we will be ready to shop.

As he wears the garments, and decides they are over the hill or the ties are done, he can get rid of them and take them off the list. Tonight we are going shopping again and I will be combat ready. You can bet your diamond earrings on that.
Time to count ties.
Tie one on.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010


When my sweet Thomas was young, he had a saying on his bedroom wall. We found it again in the big old desk that belonged to his dad. It was in the basement of the house in Moorhead. We also have the desk, it is one of those clunkers with a top big enough to sleep on!

The saying meant a lot to him so I had it framed for Christmas in 1998 and it hangs on the wall in our living room.

"He ariseth early in the morning and distrubith the whole household. He maketh mighty preparations and goes forth with hope. He returnth late, smelling of strong drink and the truth is not in him" author unknown.

Tom didn't come home smelling of strong drink, he came home smelling like he had been doing rock a bye fish. Clutching, if you will, to his jacket to trap them to get the hook out.

The jacket had popped a button. Since he does all lake and play clothes buttons, he put it on his deck chair. The odor floated through the air. At first, I thought it was him, my nose assured it it was not. It was the jacket.

Yesterday, I sewed on the button, washed the jacket, to which vinegar had been added. I just finished pressing it and I will assure you, there is no aroma of small mouth bass.

Now, what you have to realize is, that jacket never smelled like that before. Why? Because he picks up large mouth by the lip and pike by the gill. Smallies, on the other hand are the wiggle and thrashers and getting them still is a mission in itself.

The jacket doesn't look new but it sure does smell clean!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Now, Old Trunks doesn't have anyone young enough to watch this Sponge Bob, however, the freaky thing about it is; the news crawler on AOL yesterday talked about learning how to do well in business by following the advice of this animated character.

As for the cartoon, much of the series' events take place in Bikini Bottom, an underwater city located in the Pacific Ocean beneath the real life tropical isle of Bikini A Toll. Stephen Hillenburg has stated that much of Bikini Bottom was based on the real life city of Seattle Much of this is supported within the context of the episodes themselves; however, despite implications of the city's location as well as analogies to real life, Hillenburg has stated that he wishes to leave the city isolated from the real world.

It is said that it appeals to adults and children alike and that much of the program is over the heads of children, (that is the adult part).

What does that have to do with business? Integrity.

Oh sponge! Imagine the creator, a marine biologist, changing his career to do animation. Interesting, don't you think?




Monday, October 11, 2010


Think about this, are comics or funny papers as they were called, truthful? Do you see the truth in the humor?

Did you ever see your father lay on the couch like Dagwood? Did you, when young, see him as a lazy person or did you wonder if he had TB? My mother slept a lot so I thought, sleeping Dagwood might had TB too.

And what about Little Lulu? Did there games inspire you to do those antics?

Didn't everyone want a Dick Tracy watch?

Although have many that I 'read' on Sunday, the only one I follow through out the week is Pickles. If you haven't seen it, it is about Opal and Earl, an elderly couple who happen to have a grand son named Nelson. The daughter must live close and there is no mention of a husband. It isn't anything like Dennis the Menace, it is better humor and Nelson would be a great child to have.

Now since I was raised by my grand parents on two occasions, I can identify with the things Opal and Earl do and say to Nelson. I can understand the conversations between the elders amongst themselves because they do, indeed, have their own patterns, just like Benhard and Julia did.

We live in a society much different than how I was raised. There are several items or things that kids have now that weren't invented yet. The idea of learning the QWERTY keyboard at such a young age is wonderful but I better not touch the Remington Rand typewriter or the adding machine.

Now, when I say adding machine, I mean basically just that. Add or subtract. ticka-ticka-ticka went the keys followed by a vrrrumpa when Daddy pulled the level on the side to input the number.

And so this morning, I was reading Pickles. Nelson is on the sofa and his grandpa asks him what he has. Nelson tells him it is his Mom's old cell phone. Grandpa asks, who is he going to call, Sponge Bob?

That makes Nelson a child of this era. He is exposed to cell phones, computers, and all the modern marvels of the world. But Nelson is never seen playing outside.

And I wonder if something is missing. I am so grateful my kids spent time outdoors with friends doing what they did best--being kids. And, I suppose in this busy world of everyone working, a cell phone is necessary. I do think the communication is wonderful for those who need to be in the know 24/7.