Wednesday, June 29, 2011


When I asked my sweet Thomas what he thought the best ten gadgets ever, he had to have more information. The did a broad brush, that is, all electricity was lumped together, all computer like gadgets were lumped together. He wanted to hear combustion engine was in the top ten.

It made for a lively discussion that went bump somewhere. Maybe I should say belly up.

Because to him the light bulb, (10) was part of electricity. Cell phones and computer (numbers 1 and 5), were lumped together.

And what was the deal with the alarm clock, (9) even being on the list?

The rotary telephone (7) didn't belong on the list.

How could radio (2) be higher than TV (3)?

He did agree much of the southwest did come to be populated because of air conditioning (6).

There was no comment about the syringe (4) being on the list.

He was certain the people who did the list must be very young. But they weren't honest. The program went on to explain there is a trend toward phonograph (8) records returning. The alarm clock was on the list because for the first time, people had a way of getting up and to work on time.

As for the radio being more rel event than TV, it stated people listen to the radio in their cars.

The smart phones which began just a few years ago with the applications are deserving number one. On any given day, whether it is someone walking past our house or someone sitting on a dock at the lake, phones are in use. People use them in the cafe while eating; as that couple talking to one another OR are they talking to different people.

How many man hours are spent at work with people having private conversations, including texting? How many people are checking messages on company computer?

I don't mean to sound like I came over on the Mayflower but when I hired on at a durable medical company I asked in the interview if my son could call to check in when he got home from school and the owner did not answer right away.

Is it instant life? What is your gadget status?


Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Recently an aroma triggered the site of the lunch room in the old Washington Grade School. It was in the basement. The odor was of wax paper and old milk. Bleck. I can see that dingy room with desks as tables in a not so straight row. Years later, we would have our lockers in that room and it still smelled the same. Perhaps it wasn't the lunch room at all, rather, just a basement.

I thought about the lunch box and how the sandwich was wrapped in wax paper with the fold at the bottom in the bottom of the lunch box. Insulated bottles may have started the year but one forlorn day, many of us would hear the clinking of the glass liner in our not so cold milk.

I didn't thinking packing a sandwich in the bottom was efficient. Why not wrap it in such a way that it could be placed on the top above the apple which, when on top of the sandwich squished the bread?

And how long had wax paper been around anyway? Did Grandma's grandma use it? Perhaps. It is said that Thomas Edison invented it but then, doesn't he get credit for everything anyway?

I suspect that Grandma's grandma did use it. Most likely over and over. Lunch pails were tin then and just the idea of the lid sealed in the moisture. Now, I imagine if one opened that pail it was a full aroma of yeast on a warm day.

Is it wise to reuse any sort of food wrapping? I am thinking about a family down the street when the children were young. Sack lunch. Reuses the sack and the food bags over and over. With all the information out there on food born illnesses, it is simply amazing these kids never got sick. Maybe our bags were too clean.

Making lunches day after day is a pain. We had a plan. Pack a week's worth of lunches at a time and freeze them. Just grab your sack out of the freezer in the morning add fruit and go. Doesn't that sound like a great plan? Have the kids help! Meat and cheese on the sandwich, chips, and a cookie; bag it up. Except one of the children grabbed a bag AFTER school as well as FOR school.

When Grandpa was working he most certainly would have brought lunch. What I remember was quart jars with coffee. OR nectar. Root beer nectar. How odd for us, who have provisions to heat coffee or make it in less than five minutes OR to put it in a insulated container and keep it warm for hours to know people actually drank air temperature coffee.

Yet I do know someone who drinks air temperature soda. After all, if one is fishing on a hot day, that open soda is not going to stay cold very long. So there is a point. After all, the purpose is to hydrate. Well, then, water, perhaps.

I tried the room temperature soda for one summer and went back to a small cooler with an ice pack. My soda at home is in the fridge. I dare say I haven't bought much ice. A guest once asked if he could have ice and a glass. There was no ice. I since learned that many out there still use ice and buy a small bag for company. The last over night guests never used it. Most likely it is still in the big freezer in the basement.

What about an ice maker, you say? Well, the old fridge had one. Fargo's water does not make good clear ice cubes. I spent more time cleaning out the tray and lines than using it so the new fridge is simply a box with no frills.

So how do we wrap a sandwich? We have basket lunch on the way to the lake each week. A room temperature soda, a cold soda, and a container of milk go to the side. Fruit goes on the bottom followed by a cookie. The sandwiches are in zipper bags. One is marked, "T" because "T" likes more mayonnaise. MORE? Slathered is more like it. All of this is covered with a railroad hank, which goes on Tom's knee. We do not reuse bags for food.

It does not smell like wax paper
It does not smell like old milk
And the truck does not smell like Washington Grade School lunchroom.


Sunday, June 19, 2011


You may not have favored a parent; I did. It was Daddy.

A friend recently asked why people hadn't put their dad's picture on Face book like they did their mother's photograph. I adore this lady and she deserves to know it was hard to do.

How do you post a picture of someone when you are flooded with memories to the point of tears? How can you not post one of him making Diamond sit on the lawn mower? How about him on the back of Suntan when he rode in the Dairy Day Parade? How about him scratching the back of the Hereford's? How well could you see him in the picture of him and I on Christmas Day in the cutter?

Last Sunday when we came home from the lake, I took the time to look at the pictures of Daddy from when he was just standing to the summer of 1981 when we celebrated, what would be his last birthday--the was 67 and Rachel baked and decorated his cake.

Every picture shares a tie. Something sparked at each picture and a learned lesson.

Stan wasn't a handsome man. He didn't have a sexy look about him. He was short and in his work clothes with his hanky sticking out of his back pocket, he looked like any other working man in our town.

Yet, he was handsome to me. He was kind and good to me. We had a good relationship. I was lucky, his alcoholism didn't get in the way. I was able to separate the disease from the person.

Perhaps I find good fortune in the good, the bad, and the ugly. What amazes me is what I remember is the good.

On this Father's Day, I honor him. I am listening for his laughter and his voice. Let's hope you can do the same.


Saturday, June 11, 2011


Recently I watched a 1932 film called So Big starring Barbara Stanwyck. I had only known the film by the same name made in 1953 starring Jane Wyman.

We know books, in this case, Edna Ferber's, called So Big was made into movies. including a silent version in the mid twenties. But only twenty years between the last two?

My question is: How many movies are repeat performances? Better yet, how many repeat performances in life.


Friday, June 10, 2011


The article stated that 67 percent of 1000 people polled had customer service issues.

Although I am of the age to have grown up watching customer service happen to my parents, children were not recognized as customers. It wasn't they were rude, we just weren't recognized even if our 10 cent purchase was money spent.

After all, if Mrs. Anderson could go to Penney's and spend a nickel on a spool of thread and be treated with please and thank you, why couldn't a group of happy girls get that sort of treatment at the Fountain Cafe for Cokes all around? Hey if Evonne was along, there was even a bill for French Fries--bring the mustard. Yvonne?

And no matter what we are told, we are still responsible for every nit nit we do. And small towns don't forget or don't let you whereas, one should not be held liable for decades. Regardless if it is good or bad.

Manners, whether I meant them or not, were drilled into me. DRILLED. You WILL say please and thank you. And so I did. And decades later, at my mother's funeral, a lady who worked at the Fountain came up to me and said, "Oh, Elodee, I am so sorry your mother has passed". She went on to say she remembered me from the Fountain and I was always nice to her.

And the funny thing about it is, she glared at us. She appeared to glare at us. Who knows what was going through her mind. But we were not privileged to full citizenship. And, as a teen, I didn't give any thought to what she may be going through. I don't think I wondered anything except glaring, or appear to be glaring was certainly not part of being a waitress.

It was many years before the DRILLED came back to me in the form of a German Baptist owner. Customer Service was top billing and all of his staff would be loving that person regardless. It wasn't hard, the people where worth it. My private life was not at work. I was not paid to bring it to work.

The biggest complaint in the survey I read was about tech support. I am inclined to believe we can blame a runny BM on them. It is all their fault. It is all the computer's fault. And, it may be but where is the follow up?

I tend to chew on things awhile before I spit it out. But when I went to have a physical and someone had keyed in the information on a new computer system saying my dad died because of heart surgery, it really pissed me off. He died because they gave him blood with the AIDS virus in it. The nurse didn't have a pen so she wrote numbers in a magic marker. The doctor couldn't access the computer to write RX. There was no follow up to squelch damage control. It was all the fault of the computer, right? WRONG!

But customer service is coming back! Employees are saying please and thank you. Why? Why is it that after shopping for greater than 10 years at a up scale department store in FM area I have only once been asked if they could help me? Bucks. Someone had caught on that servicing your customers is not a novel idea, it is what service is all about.

I am enlightened. I am aglow. A man who is retired fixes rods. He is customer oriented. FINALLY.


Thursday, June 9, 2011


Sounds like a huff and puff, doesn't it? Well, with a 20 pound hammer, my brother did do it. He was strong and when focused drove a nail and laid wood flooring faster than anyone. When focused.

Old Trunks comes from a long line of nail bangers. Grandpa Benhard built barns all around a sixty mile radius from Rosewood. He used to tell me, "I built that one--and that one---" Perhaps that is the foundation for me wanting to build a house that looked like a barn. Perhaps that is why I am sad when I see a barn caved in.

A story in the Rosewood News talks about how he and his buddy moved a school across country. They used logs. Roll, move logs, Roll, move logs. Talk about physical! More like brute strength, don't you think?

His son, Stanley was also a carpenter. Later, he would not swing the hammer, rather have the right to draw the plans, hire the sub contractors, and watch his crew make the dream a reality. I can still go to my home town and whisper, "Daddy built that". Unlike Grandpa's barns, most of Daddy's work still stands.

Why am I writing about this today? In a storm about 10 days ago, a tree fell on the roof of a house just two houses to the west. Today, the workers are installing new rafters. But the crew doesn't swing the hammer anymore, so there isn't the bang, bang, bang rather a caw-thunk as the electric equipment drives in the nail.

Let's hope all of them know how to handle the electric nail gun. Someone I knew didn't. While kneeling, the gun went off in the side of his knee and caught the meat of the long leg bone. They took him to the hospital in the back of a pick up because his leg 'nailed' into position.

Whether your day is caw-thunk or bang, bang, bang, hope you accomplish your mission.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Projects get started, often times laid aside because of weather, time, or 'other'.

Grandpa used to say, "Gittin' on da band vagon". I supposed it meant, being inspired to do or help. He used it in conjunction with planting a garden. "Come on Ma, get on da vagon". Help.

Old Trunks wonders if jumping on the band wagon is more like I wanna do it too!?

So instead of 'gittin' like Grandpa, let's say JUMP!

We have a 9' chain sawed bear in front of our garage. His name is Howard, because that means protector. Howard is one of three bears carved out of a white pine. We have had him awhile, he came home on the bunk trailer for the Warrior and was stood up with an engine puller. He is rough cut and had no finish on him. He came with a fish, which he held high over his head.

Well, the Johnson's would rather fish in the summer than do maintenance at home so for the few days we are here, we work on what needs to be done. But this spring, I asked Tom to take the pike off the bear so I could repaint him. Perhaps I would finish the project before fishing season. Perhaps.

It has been a cold spring, and the pike lay in wait on a cardboard covered table in the garage. The little boat had been towed to the lake and there was plenty of room. With the Honda out of the garage during the day, I could spray in that direction without getting it on the sunshine truck.

And I waited until a reasonable day and started to spray. Nothing. Pike too dry. Paint didn't have any gloss to it as it all soaked in. We went to Menard's for items and since they sell a brand of paint that I think sticks to anything, I picked up a quart for the pike. Not a water wolf color but after all, someone else thought it was a muskie so a little fish fantasy might do!

The weather turned nice and I did a coat of the olive front and back. Then did the white, and detailed the body fanning another color of green and yellow. All I had left was the red in the gills and the iris. Tom did find the red paint I had purchased in an ice cream bucket, so one side got done.

And then, the most interesting thing happened. Tom jumped on the band wagon. It was too hot to mow but guess it wasn't too hot to stain Howard. We are two eyes and a gill plate from finishing the project!

Jump! You might find it is fabulous. And remember to praise the jumper.


Saturday, June 4, 2011


Another spin off from 6/2 mentioned crepe flowers for the office.

Think about this: Isn't making acquaintances based on something mutual? I would, for example, blend with someone who fished. Or someone that liked to take pictures. Because I might meet them as I did those things. If one is in a quilt shop, the mutual discussion is quilting. Are you with me?

One of the things that has always bothered me about professional offices is there professional decor. Stiff. Not at home. Nothing to attach to. And maybe it is there for a reason. Yet, I have come to believe we HIRE these folks and I think our radar is looking for a hook up before we are eye to eye with the 'hired man'. Or to some, a woman.

It doesn't have to please me over all, it just has to identify. Certainly I am not the only one that feels this way. How about you?

When Tom bought the optical shop I wanted to warm it up. I wanted others to come in to the shop and identify with some thing. Didn't have to be huge, they didn't even have to mention it but I wanted a connection for them. Homey. Is that a word?

This is lake country. This is fishing country. This is snow country. Tom said nothing. He just put the tackle box, the old lures, the nets, along with a straw hat and old rods and reels. He hung the old window with only one pane left from the ceiling. He put the berry swags on it and mounted seasonal pictures in the waiting room. He clustered bird houses together and put sunglasses on Nard, the chain saw bear. In the winter, he would wrap a wool scarf around his neck and stand him by the evergreen. The idea was to be seasonal. We actually do have more than three days of summer, tough sledding, and snow. Really.

At first nothing. I told him to wait. People would not say anything because the idea of home-like in a business was 'new' to them. We made a loon book so they could look at something else while waiting for their glasses fitting. And when they came back, most certainly, they made mention of something. For one lady, it was try to buy the cast iron fish. For many it was "where did you get that"? But for most, it was, "I fished when I was younger, my husband and I had a cabin", Men say they had decoys like that for hunting. Some come back for an adjustment to say, "Oh, you have something new". They are looking for more common identifiers.

In the fall, he can say 'we' took that pictures at Pickerel Lake. We couldn't believe there were two trees arched over making a frame for that old barn.

Now? Frogs. Lots and lots of frogs. One bought and gold leafed in green to make him shine and a crown added. It is probably the most time spent to get him to have a personality. Now he is touched. People like to touch. They feel with their soul. If, by sight they can not determine if something is real or silk, they touch. Comfort. Iris will be added the first of the week because that is when they bloom around here. It is a touch thing.

Our mission is accomplished. It is all about being comfortable in ones surroundings, isn't it?

Your mission is go to a professional office and look about. Do you identify? Is in cozy so you feel you may touch? And then, why not.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Grandma's Mae's gifts were always wrapped in white tissue paper and tied with red, grained paper ribbon which was curled on the end of the bow. Sometimes there were stickers. The only boxed gift I ever received was when she crocheted little clothes for Bobby and Betty. Yes, I still have the clothes and Betty. Bobby wandered off.

I am not saying there is anything wrong with tissue wrapping. On the contrary, it is a wonderful memory and tissue paper and Grandma Mae will always be united. And other than a watch my Dad wrapped in butcher style for me for Christmas one year, I don't really remember the outside of the gift.

To clarify the watch wrapping, I was about six. Daddy put the box in the corner of the paper, and wrapped and rolled. I told him it wasn't wrapped very well, and he said, "It isn't how it is wrapped that counts, it is what is inside". Well, what does a six year old know anyway. :)

Although I loved him dearly, I can not agree. Something has to be said about the mystery of what is inside of the box by the outside. Besides, I dearly like to wrap and always have. I like the package to be a treat in itself. I like to use boxes. I like to use tissue to wrap a wear able garment. And there is somewhat of a game because one of the Christmas guests, takes all the tissue from the opened gifts, so you see, it is recycled.

I do not wrap in tissue for one reason: You can't crease the corners. I like the edges of the boxed item to be, as Tom says, "So crisp I could cut my finger". It is a thing with me. Saving the paper for scrap book pages is also recycling!

I am thinking about MST. On an occasion where a gift is presented, he know he will have to have his pocket knife to break the seal of tape on the box. But I am going to fool him! I am going to start using a glue gun! Why? Because the flour, water, and salt paste the other grandmother used never worked. :)

Tissue. Nice and won't cut your fingers!


Thursday, June 2, 2011


It is an old project soon to come back to life. For years, I could not keep two things straight:

1 Crepe paper verses tissue paper

2. Lettuce verses cabbage

Don't ask and I won't have to tell.

Then, when Bud was in kindergarten, he wanted to give his teacher a flower--his favorite--a dandelion. And I learned about crepe paper, the kind that you can flounce, whereas tissue paper was just a rich man's way of wrapping a shirt to be put in a box and then wrapped even if Grandma Mae always wrapped the outside of the gift with white tissue paper. Always and never in a box.

So it came to be you could buy crepe paper at the dime store and I found bright yellow. I suppose it was about 20" wide and who know how long. I just know that I cut slits to make it look like dandelions and made a HUGE dandelion for him to present to her.

I had not thought about crepe paper until the other day. A friend's mother has dementia and when she sees the dandelions in the grass at the nursing home, she is happy. Could I still make them? Couldn't be that hard, could it? Aren't old buried in our minds crafts nothing more than letting the spirit flow?

When I looked on line, the first hit was for a large chain store. First item listed? Crepe dress. Second: Crepe pan. Looking down the line of hits, I did find a pure crepe site. Real crepe. Also real tissue paper. Yes, I did know the difference.

In a few days, when the package arrives, I will make dandelions and send to my friend to bring to her mother. After all, nursing home rooms need some bright yellow, bright pink, and bright red, don't you think? Doesn't every where?

And since I was ordering anyway, why not pick up some gold and wine for fall at the office? After all, isn't it all about homey, even if it is a business? But that is another subject for another day.

And to you, Soozi, Crepe Suzette!