Monday, March 28, 2011


Tom pulled the truck into the parking lot near Lake Sally. I glanced for open water and there they were! Actually, I said, THERE THEY ARE!!!!

We don't see a lot of swans in this area. It has only been the last few years that we have seen them as well as taken a picture. It isn't that Canada Geese aren't impressive it is just we see them everywhere in all stages of growth. So the swans, somewhat mystic to me, are a huge treat to see.

After all, most of the swans I had ever seen where on wallpaper and shower curtains and knew little of them but loved the what they could curl that long neck. After lunch, we had gone to a shop in Detroit Lakes called the Red Willow. We have been there before. It is an old house filled to the rafters with stuff. She has gone into pots and knives now but in the last room, I saw a wooded swan with a curled neck. It looks old but it isn't. She reminded us of someone named Bonnie with a skin condition so we call her Bonnie the Swanny. When we left the store, (after a long discussion about knives), I was certain it was the only swan I would see that day.

We had hoped to see open water. We expected to see geese, and of course ducks. There were no loons, although at first glance on the edge of the open water, we did see white breasted something 'walking on the water'. They turned out to be Buffleheads trying to get away from the eagle who was swooping near them.

We drove back roads until we found ourselves in the middle of the Hamden Slough Refuge. How pretty that will be when the wild flowers bloom in the summer. It is about 6,000 acres of grassland and wet lands with the hope to draw shore birds, waterfowl, and song birds. We saw greater than a dozen song bird houses in one small area. In Kansas, at the Girl Scout Camp, there are blue bird houses, that is what these looked like.

I had noticed that the internal winter within myself had lifted a few days ago. Why else would I hear myself saying, "Oh I can hardly wait to taste the coffee in the morning". And now, the geese are back in great numbers and so are the swans!

This weekend, a day trip SE to a migration pattern and hopefully, more water fowl to admire.

No hissing allowed.

No hollering, "THERE THEY ARE!!!"


Sunday, March 27, 2011


In the late fifties, it took 7-10 days to get pictures back from the processing plant. It took 10 days to two weeks to get an 8 x 10 enlargement. And what you thought you took, wasn't always what you got. I don't remember the price. I do know many people used black and white only and sent the film, often pronounced fill-um away to be processed to a place called Brown's. I mostly just pestered Mabel at Ekeren Drug. Fast forward a half a century into a photographer's paradise when what you see is what you get but FAST! The story isn't that I saw a frog at the department store and passed on it because I had to figure out how I could jazz him up. It isn't about going back for the frog and polishing him with emerald gold left, (which is like shoe polish in paste form). It isn't even about MST turning the frog so I could put primer on the crown make it ready for painting it gold. What it is about is before and after pictures. Something people nearly always did before remodeling or refurbishing a room. This is about a frog picture. Something I would not do if it wasn't for digital. And it is about trying to explain putting the French doors back on the sun room even if they are always open. Because if you haven't been to our money pit, how would you have a clue. So it is before and after. But what started the thought process for this note was based on a stair rail we had installed. Because someone I know and love asked me to send a picture of it. Now, I want you think about this. Keep yourself at the age you are. If it was the mid 50's, you wouldn't be doing a play by play letter as it is with email. If it was the mid 50's, most likely you would not take pictures of a frog, stair rail, or door in production, if you took a picture at all. Most likely you would save the fill-um for Christmas, Easter, Birthdays, or Halloween. Are you with me? Think about if you did take those photos, Take, finished the roll, because NO ONE ever took at few and sent it in with pictures without finishing the roll. (Although I was known to do that simply because the process charge was the same for 1 or 12--forget about 24). OR take 8 pictures of the same thing to use up the roll. Like the dog standing in the sun and the shadow blotting him out. And now, the pictures are back and if you didn't get doubles, you either send the picture and ask for it back or go without. Asking for it back was a big thing. By the time you get the pictures back, the stair rail, frog, or doors are old news. So you probably won't send it anyway and now you have double prints of something you did but never wrote on the back of it so generations beyond aren't going to have a clue as to what it represented and when they sift through all your pictures, they are going to toss it because there is no person in it. It today's marvelous world of digital, one can snap, email or process the picture. If you are married in April, you don't have to wait until December to put it on a Christmas card. Huzzah for digital and email friends who want pictures of frogs, stairs, and doors. Why? Mostly because they humor me. Joy to you on your stairway to the stars to dance on the Milky Way in your top hat and tails or in your long shimmering gown. Be sure to get a picture! e

Friday, March 25, 2011


The case of the crater is closed. MST biopsy was negative. Now all that has to happen is the crater fills in, since the dentist wouldn't do it.

Since I am here.........are you a bingo player? I thought about going to the senior center this winter but I am not ready for bingo. Actually, it is a passionate sport to elders and if you don't think so, get between two of them when they are gunning for a prize!

I went to see my mother one day and she wanted to take me to the senior center for a lunch of hamburger gravy followed by bingo. I bought her nine cards to play all at once. I wanted to see how she would do. Oh, she kept up and then, before the game was over, she said that was enough and left to have a smoke. Mrs. Morbin who was a watcher, stood over me while I played mother's 9 and my one. We didn't win.

But for today, B-9 means celebrate MST nose.


Thursday, March 24, 2011


The off brand adhesive strips didn't stick. MST went back to the drugstore and got the real thing. Band Aid brand. WHAT WAS IN THE BOAT BAG? WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN CUT DOWN? Band Aid brand.

Last night, after supper, NOT during, I had my evening peek a poo. The dried blood which made it look like a black hole was being pushed out of the crater by lava. Well, not really but I had to get the line in somewhere. A watery like substance was nature's cleaning.

When I was little, I always imagined that there were little delivery like trucks in my body hauling healing properties where they needed to be. All the trucks were either red or blue. I suppose the blue trucks were taking out the trash but I didn't think about being trash filled. Therefore, I only had red trucks.

So the little blue trucks took the old stuff away from the crater and little red trucks brought in the good.

Nevertheless, MST is off to the dentist this morning. He thought he would ask Dr. J if, while filling the cavity in his tooth, he could fill the crater too.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011


We left off yesterday wondering about circle adhesive strips. MST did go to the drugstore. He bought a box of Band Aids. One of those mixed boxes, you know, the kind that has all the worthless little strips in it. Because that is the only way you can get the circle size he wanted.

And then...........................

The circles were too big. (Why does this sound like a nursery rhyme)?

So he used a little worthless one.

Now, yesterday was a wild weather day. We had wind, (of course), rain, snow, sleet, thunder and lightening. And yes, it rained on the clean windows.

And...when Tom finally did get home. (giggle, giggle) one side of the worthless strip was no longer stuck down. He said the wind blew it loose. Now if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell.

Tomorrow, we find out if the crater is cancerous OR NOT. I wonder if he will call before or after his dentist appointment.

Stay tuned.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011


The man wears a hat and uses sunscreen. What else is there? A veil? But even MST had to have a doctor-who-does-biopsies have his work on his whiffer.

He called me after it was over to tell me how it was done. Of course, he had to tell me about the long needle to deaden his nose, followed by the orange disinfectant, and then, the plunger like cutter the doctor use to take a sample.

But what he didn't tell me was he was going to come home with a adhesive bandage across his nose which made his glasses sit a kilter. Now, all of us who are married, KNOW our husband's are the most handsome man in the universe. Okay, Soozi, Elvis in his prime is the all time winner. And MST, (My Sweet Thomas) even out ranks him because he is alive. :)

After supper, he took the tape off and offered to let me look. Well, I wanted the 50 yard line so I got out my double magnifying head gear with a light to look at it. I think the doctor must have burned it shut because I couldn't see just why he had it covered. After all, the client he fits with glasses all have had it done or knew someone who had it done and it was a perfectly round little crater that looked like a mini black hole. Honest.

The doctor said if he felt any pain, he could take Tylenol.

Now, there is a pharmacy in the building where Tom has the business. What does a pharmacy sell? Tylenol.

And, for those of you who are unaware, they also sell Band Aids.

And the drugstore is open all day.

So last night, about 8P, MST says, "Do we have any round bandages"? I looked in the linen closet, the store-all-don't-know-what-is-in-here-basket, and in the boat bag. No round bandages. To me, if you are going to bleed, go big. Use 4x4 gauze with tape or better yet, a sanitary napkin. So, no, we had NO round bandages.

Then he says, (you can see this coming, right?) "Do we have any Tylenol"? No, we didn't have that either. Well, we had some Tylenol with codeine and a bottle of Tylenol for arthritis but that was out of date by three years. (I told you that bast had stuff in it that we didn't know about).

"Are you in pain"?, I asked

"No", he said

"Then why are you asking about Tylenol"?

"Just in case", he said.

I suggested he not dress his nose for the night. I suggested he NOT cover it during the day. It was sealed and nothing was going to leak out. A covering would draw more attention
than his skin gap.

He left for work with his crater exposed.

The question is, will he buy Tylenol and round Band Aids today?

And no, it is not on the tip of his nose, oh my, I would even have vanity with that.

And no, it isn't so big I could fall in!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Reading the Sunday paper is a Sunday thing and when it came and went because of a priority project, I didn't lament. I could, after all, read my favorite cartoon on line.

Yet, yesterday, while using newspaper to fill in a box, the mid section front page caption was


It had nothing to do with Shakespeare or Miss Barzen. This was a real live blizzard that hit on Saturday, March 15 in 1941.

The In-forum had looked back on the blizzard and the cost of lives on this surprise storm. The day started out sunny and 30 degrees. Around six in the evening, wind speeds at Grand Forks were 85 mph. Seventy-two people died, most of them frozen. One little boy actually died when the strong winds took the breath right out of him as his dad carried him home.

It tells of four brothers who went to town to go roller skating. The oldest two, 17 and 15 where found the next day. A short distance away, the searchers found a waving hand. Although the twin waving his hand died, his brother survived.

Another group of seven where stranded in the ditch on Highway 75 south of Moorhead. The stayed with the car and all survived as did a man of 60 and his son who buried themselves in the snow and kept kicking their feet to stay awake and warm.

In today's standard's the mechanics of weather watching and public notice have come a long way since then. Recently, a friend wrote to say we were in a blizzard. I looked out all windows and didn't see a thing. The paper was saying BLIZZARD. Cancellations abound. It must have been much like that day in 1941, clear sky, mild temperatures. The only thing different is they kept harping about the blizzard.

Yet, although informed, more than 800 people where rescued from stuck vehicles. Most of the cars where within 75 miles of Bismarck, which is central North Dakota. It is said it settled in quickly. And yes, I am going to think those stranded folks thought they could beat it out. Makes you wonder if they went around those 700 miles of roads that where closed.

Although it sounds like a crime scene scenario, they actually did use a helicopter with a heat sensing unit to find people stranded in their vehicles.

I was telling someone recently that if my mother got wind of a storm coming it, she had to make a trip to town to get 12 loaves of bread at the bakery so we would have enough, even though none of us ate much bread, except for toast.

So there is, in real life, a story about the Ides of March, right here in North Dakota.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011


.......and the only thing I remember about it is we learned that line in Ms. Barzen's class and said it because it was in the play.

The one thing I do remember, however, is Kay handing out avocado pits and telling us to put tooth picks in them to hold them out of the water except for the bottom because it would make it root.

Well, mine never rooted, most likely from the softened water it was standing in. But someone's did. It seemed to grow straight up with one leaf at the top. I wonder if it ever had the fruit? Maybe it needed a mate to do that.

We never tasted the fruit. All we saw was the pit. Actually, I wonder where she got them because I never saw anything like it in the markets in our city. And when I was introduced to them later, I didn't make up my mind as approved right away. That is until someone I worked along side brought it as dip and it was a hit. At least with chips there is some crunch!

So beware the Ides of March and plant a pit and watch it grow!


Friday, March 11, 2011


Out of the window in the sun room to the east, is a row of icicles. My favorite, one that looked like a rooster claw fell the other day at 10:06 AM. I had been watching that one for some time.

This morning I thought, maybe I should wade in the snow up to my buttocks and get a picture of it from below. Then I remembered as episode of Grey's Anatomy where Christina had a icicle fall from the building and stab her in the chest. So, forget that, besides the wader's are in the boat.

Old Trunks is remembering Wednesday School. But what she doesn't remember if it was during Lenten season every Wednesday except Lent. From Knox School to Zion Lutheran Church was quite a hike. Nearly everyone went to Wednesday School. The question is, for those who didn't go, where they not affiliated with a church in town or where they non believers?

Oh yea, icicles. On the way to the church, there was grocer that had the biggest icicle in town. It was stuck tight to the building. I always thought if I lived closer, maybe I would check on that every day and see how long it took to completely disappear. Alas, I did not.

Which brings me to the modern day world of sun room and icicles. Look! They are clear and the sun is shining through them! Will they naturally fall today or shall I open the top of the window and give them a hard whack with a broom?

Safe. No stabbing allowed.


Monday, March 7, 2011

JAYHAWKS!!! don't know who the Jayhawks are....It is the name of the University of Kansas mascot.

And today, the Jayhawks won the Big Twelve Championship. They will be in the March Madness count down starting on St. Patrick's Day.

The University of Kansas is located in Lawrence, KS. A lovely city about 50 miles west of Kansas City, KS and its twin sister, Kansas City, MO.

I lived there for 35 years. My children were all educated there.

Wave at the Hawks if you drive by.


Oh, and P is for Prowlers pep. The Thief River Falls high school team is going to state in hockey!

Be a sport, what ever the sport, even if there is no sport at all.


Friday, March 4, 2011


Mixing cookie dough is hard work. WHEW. Glad that part of it is finished. I was thinking about Mother's counter top Hamilton Beach mixer and how it would drone when the batter was heavy. Perhaps I listened carefully because the beaters would be ready to lick and I had to be quick to get one before Greg got two.

It isn't that I can't have a counter top mixer, it is just that it is a space taker when one doesn't bake anymore often than I do. But it is hard on the arthritic hands when you are squeezing the dough between your fingers. Well, maybe it is really good for them but it doesn't feel like it.

I was also thinking about those big Hobart floor standing mixers the school system used and how they would mix the dough for a few hundred buns at a time. And it seemed so easy! Why? Because they had the right tools.

And isn't it that way about most things? Have the equipment one needs to make the task pleasurable?

And what about upgrading? How does that work? Does an appliance quit or does it serve its purpose and is replaced by a much better product? And is the product much better or do we learn to use it for its full function?

Take the case of an iron. Seems simple enough. Grandma used one hot off the stove. We have a gas iron in the basement. Mother had a dry iron for years but it didn't matter because she sprinkled everything, rolled it up and ironed the next day. My iron quit. DONE. And I bought a professional iron to replace it. GLIDES who ever knew ironing could be so easy.

Now when it comes to knives most of us have tried the electric knife route and found the only thing it is really great for is angel food cake and bread. We have a drawer full of old knives, yours, mine, ours, Erna's and Ella's. That is, until Tom bought me two wonderful paring knives with a great handle that works for these old hands. This signaled a replacement for all the old stuff and a time to retire the fillet knives.

We went on a hunt to find a big, mean butcher knife in the same style and brand of the paring knives and can't find one. So we ordered a set from a well known retailer. It seemed like a great buy and if they were that good, we would buy another as a gift.

And the box arrived. And instead of knives.....IT WAS A POT!!! Now, we can't use those sort of pots on our glass top stoves so I sent it back. And when I got the notice the item had been shipped, it did not say POT RETURNED, KNIVES IN SHIPMENT. It said knives returned and knives in shipment. And I growled.

And then, MST stated they probably did it that way because they didn't have a line which read WRONG ITEM sent. So, now we wait, will we get a pot or knives?

Maybe it will be a counter top mixer and the dough rounded up on the cabinet can get tossed in for good measure!

Where is Hamilton Beach and the two white glass bowls when you need them?


Thursday, March 3, 2011


He sent out an email stating the Prowlers play Warroad in the section eight championship at 7P tonight at the local arena. He went on to say that they have met several times in the last years, always to go away without the trophy.

And so it is, the local high school in Thief River Falls go to this marvelous arena and all who remember high school hockey cheer.

It isn't like it was eons ago. No one is beating on the side of the boards with cow bells. Mr. Wennberg doesn't stand on the bench against the icy cold wall in his long wool coat, fur hat, and clap loudly with leather gloved hands. The new arena has artificial ice, the bricked walls are not seeping ice crystals. The men of the old world have been replaced by men the same age. They just don't wear long coats and fur caps.

Yet, I am hopeful the youth of today have the same respect for the Wennberg-like guys.

Let's hope the hot chocolate served is not burnt, as it was in my day. Let's hope one doesn't need hot chocolate in this grand building.

Yet, the building doesn't matter

Nor does the cocoa

What we all hope is, the jitters and butterflies turn into focus on the game and the players, who have worked so hard, have the magic about them and at the end of the third period, they are waving their sticks and hugging each other.

Let's hope we see a photo of them holding up the trophy and move on to state.

Can a city of 8,557 win over a city of 1,722?

Let's hope so.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Today's venture is to find our what I might about the Ostgaard's.

Her name was Corina Ranum, my grand father's sister. She married Severt Ostgaard and they had Mildred.

We know that in
1905 Severt lived in Roseau
1910 Ostgaard's lived in New Solum Township, Marshall County, MN
1917 When Severt applied to serve the USA, he was a bank cashier in Gatzke, MN
1920 They lived in Rollis, Marshall County, MN

Their only child, Mildred, was born on 7/30/1911 and deceased on 11/13/1992 In St. Paul.

As I combed through archives looking for additional information, I had a hit in California. Alas, it was not MY Ostgaard's.

It was about two workmen hurt by electric trains.

February 13, 1912

Two men were injured by electric trains at the Southern Pacific mole today. Chris Ostgaard of San Francisco fell 15 feet when a ladder was knocked from beneath him while at work by a passing train. He suffered two fractured ribs and was badly bruised. Sam Buntain of the signal department, to avoid a train, stepped directly in front of another train. The fact that the train was running slowly saved him from serious injuries. He was cut about the scalp and his arm was severely wrenched.

Obviously not Mildred--But I did have an uncle that got run over by a street car!

Such as it is with genealogy, chase your leads!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011


A couple of weeks ago, Tom and I sat at the dining room table brainstorming about website information. We worked on it until Tom crossed his arms. Body English. He was done; cooked and fried done. It was fascinating listening to this old world craftsman answer my questions. It wasn't that everything that old silver tongue said was going to be used. I just wanted to get a feel for what all is involved. After all, I just get the script and head to my trusty store for spectacles. How about you?

It is known that some colors look better than others based on skin tone. We know that traditional might be best but retro is 'in'. We know that face shape makes a difference. Another factor is how you use them. It has to be frustrating to walk into optical with more than a thousand frames and find a pair that you adore and adores you. What I do know is the best decision is based on over all balance. I waved an RX stating I wanted red. AH HA! It was the color of the red that made a difference and to date, they are still my favorite frames.

We went on to discuss lenses. After all, that is really what glasses are all about. SIGHT. The page regarding lenses had sticky notes on top of sticky notes. In the end, the answer really was there are thousand upon thousands of different combinations and your occupation and prime usage need to be taken into consideration.

This is how he explained it. Two men. One a farmer and the other an accountant. Both have the same prescription. The farmer's primary usage is from a tractor seat. An accountant's primary usage is in front of a computer screen. The type of lens for each is based on primary usage.

If I did a testimonial for Tom, it would be this: Before I moved to Fargo, I did not have glasses that would stay where they belonged. In frustration, I had the bi-focal moved up to account for the slide. The lenses were coated with anti scratch, it peeled off. The first pair he had made for me actually fit. I told him to just pick out want he wanted to take care of on a regular basis. Why should I trust he could do it better, after all, no one else had.

He brought the glasses home. They where feather light and I could fall asleep with them on without them bending out of shape. He put the nose pads on up side down to keep them sitting properly on my way too narrow bridge. I did not give up the frames until they were no longer available.

It is really all about getting frames and lenses for YOU. It is not getting what the box stores sell for 2 for $99. It isn't about selling high end expensive frames. It is about being exceptional at what you do to make that person see the very best they can.

Give it some thought, won't you?