Our New Excursion Coach notice what they call a shade tree!

Our New Excursion Coach notice what they call a shade tree!
Excursion & HHR tow car in Tucson

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Happy birthday Granpap

1945  Teofil
While doing some of the never ending work on Ancestry.com I noticed that today is my maternal grandfather's 129th birthday.  Teofil Kochanowski, whom I called Pap because my Mom & aunt did and Granpap, was born in Zarsyn Austria, now Poland in 1887.  Yes, he was a character who spent most all his life as a coal miner after immigrating to this country in 1904.  I remember some of his stories about stealing a cow from a farmer to sell to get passage to this country. He told me many times how he regretted that he never repaid that farmer for his cow and "so never steal no matter what, Paruhka."  He always called me the Polish for Patricia, Paruhka, I am unsure of the spelling. I would tell him after I received my first holy communion and learned about confession that if he would just go to confession he would feel better about it.  He would laugh and tell me, "yes, I did that years ago.  I did my penance, but I still regret.  That man worked for his farm and it was not right of me to steal that cow."

 I look over his naturalization papers, and notice the statements he signed, "I am not an anarchist."  But I suppose he might have been considered a criminal, a thief back in the old country.  So today when we have yet more concerns, rightfully so, about immigrants and who should come into our country, who should not, on and on, I think of my own Granpap.  He was so very proud of his citizenship.  Mom told me how they as kids teased Granpap while he would be practicing for his citizenship test and he would get very angry with them. He told them it was so very important and they did not know how lucky they were to be born here.  "Don't you never laugh about me."  Three of my grandparents were immigrants and the fourth, my maternal grandmother born to immigrant parents.  In a way this makes me ever sympathetic to those who wish o migrate here.  But yet, do it the right way and for heaven's sake, do not get charity the moment you enter the country.  It was a different time,  workers, laborers were needed in the mines, the factories.  Yet today, many of the immigrants provide labor for jobs that Americans will not do.  Maybe things are not so very different as they seem.  What worked then doesn't now?  Why

Teofil told me how he rode the rails as a young guy, hobo style, looking for work.  All his life he kept that soft spot for hobos and  I remember my grandparents would give them a meal.  I have written some  stories about Granpap elsewhere on this blog, I wish I had someone today to talk to about the missing links in that family. 
1954 Charles Krolicki visits Rose & Teofil

 He had a half or step  brother, Charles,  who lived near Chicago, but the brother's last name was Krolicki. It could have been through a series of misspellings and immigration and census takers, who knows why the names  differed.   I do not remember him at all and yet I have a photo of when he visited my grandparents sitting in their living room.  Because I spent more of my time with them than at my own home, I am surprised I did not know about Charles' visit.  Some research on Ancestry has been helpful but so many unanswered questions.  Then again, what difference does it make, the line stops here with me and so will the stories.  I guess that is why I take them to the blog, someday, somewhere out  and off this cyberspace, someone might be researching years from now.  Who knows.  

For today, though, Happy birthday, Granpap. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

The weight of the world lifted and the sun shone even brighter.

The last few years in particular, well OK for about 9 years now, I have seriously pondered returning to the religion and faith of my raising, the Catholic church.  Oh one thing and another always had me putting it off.  I admit, I was so very worried about what the priest might say to me, I am married to a non-Catholic for it will be 49 years this October.  Jerry is not a church goer and he has listened to me ponder and wonder over the years.  He has said so many times,  "well just go find out already".  It was as Father shared in our talk, "like avoiding a dentist until you have a major toothache and then you imagine they will have to pull all your teeth, you will need dentures, you will suffer....we build things up in our mind and imagine the very worst situation.  

On this blog previously, October 10, 2011  at this link, I wrote about my  anxiety.  What to do?  So this has not been a spur of the moment decision.  Not just a whim.  Indeed I have wondered and wandered over this for so long, stewing would be a good description.  

And so it has dragged on and on.  I have not attended the former UMC here in town for almost a year now.  I just could not abide going to church and encountering myself in the midst of a community center gathering.  I missed the liturgy.  So I started going to mass routinely not just on the days I always attend like Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, etc.  So in this Year of Jubilee, so proclaimed by Pope Francis, a man for whom I have deep admiration I finally did it.   

Yesterday two weeks  after running into Father Havel at a cousin's bedside, a cousin on Jerry's side who is awaiting death in a local nursing home, I had an appointment to go talk with the priest privately.  I waited a week to make the appointment and then talked to myself once again, "well wait until next week,  maybe later,"  The doubting voice began to intimidate me. And time can continue.  In the nursing home hallway I told Father that I am a very lapsed Catholic and needed to talk.  He assured me, "when you are ready, just call, anytime."  I quickly told him how unsure I was and that I had been attending mass for sometime, but still.   I could hear my grandma Rose's voice laughing at me as she said so long ago, "Don't talk crazy, Patty.  Once a Catholic always a Catholic.  You don't just decide you are not."  Father smiled knowingly.  Indulgently, he assured me, "there is nothing that cannot be fixed, Just  come talk to me when you are ready."

Yesterday was my day!  After  our long discussion and his listening to how I thought I was doing well enough but that I missed taking communion.  When I attend mass, I  always hang back and do not go forward, although I also shared that there have been times at funerals for loved ones where the priests and Monsignors have told me to partake.  I told him about my Grandma again and he laughed.  I told him about my late friend Roberta who tried to encourage my return fully to the faith on our attendance at mass in CA, how her  husband tried to facilitate the process with me with their Irish priest, Father O'Brien.  How many times I avoided, wondering, after all I had been lapsed for so long.  

He listened patiently to my stories, my trials, my struggles, he answered my questions (I had many), he counseled me with some scripture and offered that I might consider taking some of their ongoing faith classes.  He asked me, "who told you that you are no longer Catholic?"  I stammered, "uh, I guess myself."    He shared how when he meets with an ecumenical group and the Protestant  pastors discuss their church rolls and  rules and when someone is no longer a member of their church he is amazed.  They ask him what he does and he said, "nothing.  Once a Catholic always a Catholic." 

 I opened my mouth and he smiled, "yes, your grandmother was right.  Once a Catholic always a Catholic."  He asked me if I thought I was excommunicated?  I stammered again, "well I haven't been faithful, ah  um,uh  but..."  He laughed and  admitted to teasing me, then asked me if I was ready for Reconciliation.  My mouth fell open again, "Right now?  Right here?"  He said, "yes, here now unless you are not ready."  So with my continued  amazement, we  proceeded.  My following his words, my Act of Contrition and Confession( my first  in about 40+ years).  I felt tears of relief.  I will not go into detail for my own privacy, but when it was all over I beamed and could only say , "WOW."  Why had I waited so long?  

I had read online about Catholics returning: "If you haven’t been to Confession in a while, the Catholic Church wants to welcome you back, and invites you to participate in this beautiful sacrament of healing. Take a step in faith. You’ll be surprised about how free you feel after taking part in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. So many Catholics describe incredible feelings of peace, joy, relief, and love that they never expected. Jesus is calling you to experience His mercy in this way too."

I share here that I have never felt lighter, better. I couldn't stop smiling.  So much was lifted, I never appreciated confession more ever.  I never felt better, more blessed even though I have been blessed many times. Such glorious feeling, nothing ever compared.   Not even when following my heart attack a year ago, the  cardiologist told me I would need no surgery, treatment, etc because there was no damage to my heart and that my guardian angels came through.  I truly felt lifted, blessed, so relieved, so happy that I can now fully participate and receive communion.  I fairly floated home as I had walked up town for the meeting.  I am still in amazement today.  I know my Grandma is smiling from Heaven with my late friend Roberta. 

I will write more later sometime but I wanted to be sure to document and share this day. Yesterday will always be another birthday for me, my true home coming. And Saturday when I attend mass I will be receiving communion!  Thank you Father!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Warm weather abounds

Front shrubs, snowball tree, barberries trimmed thanks to Lucas 
We have turned the corner into a lovely spring, it's been in the 80's all weekend, perfect for me although some days it  felt a bit too warm too fast, but I am not complaining.  The sun's rays here in unfiltered clean skies of MN do tend to scorch me a little,  despite sunblock, then again I prefer a  little coloring to pale winter white skin.  It's time for shorts, tanks, sandals, my kind of weather. 

   I  spent most of Friday, Saturday working outside, clearing the rose beds of winter mulch and  trimming and clipping. We were able to hire someone from a Landscaping service to trim some of the shrubs and I was very pleased with Lucas'  work which saved me a couple days, well worth the $$ spent.  With his power equipment he was done in less than an hour, I was in awe.  
Apple Jack Rose bush is already filling out with leaves
As I do each year once I start, I cannot quit, so I overdid it and by Sunday I decided my bones needed a break that they were demanding.  Despite weight toning that I do twice weekly at the Y,  those long  hours of gardening labor had my body protesting with vehemence.  Cartloads of mulch, at 50 some gallons a load up and down the hill to our side  dumping ground, back and forth in addition to the trimming and pulling are a way to add a nice few miles and  over 6000 steps to my GearFit measuring watch.  

One small pile of limbs to drag up the hill to shredder
On Thursday  I spent a good hour and half dragging huge downed tree limbs to where Jerry was operating the shredder,  making wood chips for the garden beds. He had done some serious pole trimming but left  the big limbs laying there.  No one took them over night, so, that was another project the next day.    It was easy to give in to my body and bones that yelled out, "would you  puleeze stop for a day" by Sunday morning  

 I love this outside physical work, the smells and the ground and am thankful I can do it, but I suppose I could learn the art of pacing myself. Still one of my cousin's reminded me that as her mom, my aunt said, "If you do your own housework and yard work, you will be strong, healthy and never need to go to a gym."  I do though maintain my Y membership and  spend my quality time there, zumba, weights, toning, yoga, then I come home and hit the grounds for free workouts.  

Clear blue MN skies  above our tall pines out back
It's the most wonderful time of the year and love especially the grilling that is underway on the back deck.It keeps  Jerry busy too making good use of that gas grill.  .    As always more detail as it happens on Facebook, look for me there. 
Grill Master at it, side table hold his Busch,
 which is not for pouring on the burgers these were the first this year, winners.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

RIP Sandy

Me with Sandy October 14, 2015
My heart tore off another piece of itself yesterday, after Jennie's phone call, "I have sad news."  My reply, "Yes, I have been expecting this."  My last very close friend in California died Friday evening, April 8.  She had not been well for years. I am thankful we were able to visit for a bit when we were in CA in October.  This picture is me with Sandy at her home in Woodland.  As we left to drive back to  our motor home I told Jerry, "She's not going to last long.  I will never see her alive again."  He agreed.  And yet, she looked better than I was expecting, but I knew in my heart where we know beyond doubt. 
She was 78 years old if I am correct and had she made lifestyle changes years ago along the way, I would not be writing this today.  

 In our lives, we meet many people, some we call friends but those who really become friends take time to grow the relationships from acquaintance into full "framily", my word for those closer than family to me, very dear friends.    These are the rare ones  of life.  Once I was blessed with 3 now there is only me.  She was a sister I never had. 

Sandy was never one I could have foreseen becoming so close to.  I met her at the CA State Employment Development Department (EDD)  in career days,  in 1991 when I was managing the establishment of a group to guide quality improvement through the entire behemoth organization.  We were interviewing candidates to work with on a team that would be known as Leading the Quality Team.  That effort would take multiple pages to explain, suffice that it was new and daring, in an overly bureaucratic traditional state agency as was EDD.  In came our next candidate, a white haired "old lady" I thought, when I first saw Sandy who was only 6 years older than me, but she had lived hard and large and was a devoted EDD staff person venturing up  from one of their field offices into headquarters.  It was not a typical interview because we wanted extra ordinary staff.  Sandy blew us away with her demonstration removing any doubt I had that she had the stuff to "train" and present to management above her pay level.  We hired her and that began in what I never expected to happen, the growth of a deep friendship for the rest of our lives.  

Here is just a bit  from a letter I wrote to surprise her on her embracing the faith and taking the Walk to Emmaus in 2007, I frequently think of all the spiritual activities that you are now so fully embracing and am more than amazed.  Sometimes I feel like a proud mama.  Sometimes I feel like a teacher whose student has far surpassed expectations.  Sometimes I feel like I helped create a Frankenstein!   But overall I am so thankful that God placed me in your life or you in my life.  What a joy to have played a small part in your journey back to the God who never left you even when you didn’t pay much attention to Him!  From your joining the Woodland church to your studies and your Emmaus walk, you are growing in faith and learning more and more about our amazing God and Jesus.     

I recall that white haired lady who had the nerve to interview to be a facilitator back those many years ago at EDD. (Well that’s the note I made on my interview sheet “white haired lady” to distinguish you from the rest!  Back then I thought I might not remember you from the rest of the crowd!)  Little did I suspect that through many years, miles, tears and smiles you would become a dearest friend, an extra ordinary link in my life.  It’s been a long time since ’91. 

I recall that same white haired lady who took her sewing machine along to Santa Rosa training; I thought that was an odd thing to bring. For me who was far more interested in clothes and matching shoes with outfits I couldn’t imagine what would a person do with a sewing machine and how/why carry such a thing around?  Little did I know then of your passion for art and quilting.  I learned how you would retreat within yourself while stitching away and recharge your spirit. 

 Sandy "found religion" at my and her sister, Jennie's example as Methodists", and then Sandy became almost addicted to that for years taking every class she could, questioning and researching.  We were friends through thick and thin, past retirement which she began and enjoyed ahead of me, and with me in the tragedy of my life, the loss of our son Steve, with me even though we moved from CA to MN.  We talked on the phone almost daily for years. She  thought she would come to visit us for several weeks, I would take her around this area to different quilt shops,  and she would take in the Midwest,  but that never happened, her illnesses began to prohibit any travel, it became a pipe dream.

Sandy was an accomplished
Our "Salute of Roses" quilt by Sandy.  
artistic quilter  beyond excellence and  adored fabrics and working them into designs.  We have a beautiful handmade quilt on an antique bed.  It is a true interstate quilt, she worked on it in Woodland, CA, her renowned quilter friend in Washington designed the templates for her,  I sent her fabric from Wisconsin, she ordered fabric and batting from Paducah, Kentucky and it graces this patriotic bedroom on an antique sleigh bed in our home in MN today.  Sandy set about making this quilt when she knew I would inherit that bed and it was the last quilt she would make, as illnesses brought frailties to her.  It took over 2 years from the idea to the finality.  Here is  an excerpt from Sandy's documentation letter to me in 2010 upon its completion:  
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2010 11:11:31 EDT
Subject: Quilt related Info
Finally here is the letter I had penciled out on the 22nd!!!!!
Dear Pat, Well, the label is on. I had asked my friend Joan Mack in Sequim, WA( Sn award winning quilter and use to be neighbor) to make the label and her equipment couldn't do it, so she asked her friend in Seattle, WA to make it! Walla, a label was born! Just another wonderful reward of having friends during this earthly journey.
 As you know "Salute of Roses" went in to the big floor frame for hand quilting in March, 2008 after several months of searching for the perfect fabrics. It was the beginning of a new journey I was super excited to start. Since we had decided the fabrics were perfect via snail mail and telephone from CA to MN I prayed for perfection of my hands and needles.

But this is not about the quilt which could consume this posting, instead, I am saying farewell to my friend, Sandy.  As she  began to fail and suffered through hospitalizations and nursing home stays her world got  smaller and smaller.  She  spent her last few years rather confined to her home and was on oxygen 24/7.  The last year I noticed her dementia that she joked about was increasing, she repeated herself more and more she didn't remember.  I worried about her living alone, although she had an adult son who lived in what had been a garage and then her quilt  studio, under the guise of helping her, but how much help is a 50+ year old dependent unemployed. That is another tragic tale, his alcoholism, rehabilitation and  continued slip back into addiction and Sandy's enabling of the situation.  
Sandy 2010

In better days, Sandy had a bit of latent Phyllis Diller in her, the same coarse laughter, a consistent positive trait diffusing a remark with humor sometimes to the point of the macabre, Sandy enjoyed my writing and nagged me beyond belief to publish, it was her way to encourage, to nag.  She especially was fond on my blog and one reason why I started writing here. She scolded me for not keeping it up but I have substituted physical activity. 

I knew the time was coming but not when.  Her last bout with pneumonia would hospitalize her and then send her to the nursing home. This time like her other  SNF times I was sure she would not get out.  But she would prove me wrong, she would eventually return to her home and her isolation, if only briefly.  As she refused to eat she weighed only 86 pounds when she died, significantly less than her 130's pounds in her prime.  She refused therapy.  She  went back  again to smoking heavily on her porch.    I close with one last picture of Sandy from 2010, far better days in her life on this earth.  

Goodbye 'old friend, see you someday on the flip side.Later, much later, who knows?. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

One a Penny two a penny

Only a week until Easter so begins again my annual hunt for authentic hot cross buns, which apparently have gone out of fashion like so many things of memory. I remember this Mother Goose rhyme : 
Hot-cross buns!  Hot-cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny, Hot-cross buns!
If you have no daughters, Give them to your sons;
One a penny, two a penny, Hot-cross buns!
Wikipedia says "The earliest record of the rhyme is in Christmas Box, published in London in 1798.[1] However, there are earlier references to the rhyme as a street cry in London, for example in Poor Robin's Almanack for 1733,"  

Imagine that, a child in the 1950's grows up reciting a poem from the 1700's and remembers it today in 2016.  As I ponder many things of the past, I wonder, am I getting that old that I think back more and more?  Perhaps.    Here in  the tenuous Minnesota spring time weather which can bring sun one day and dust with snow overnight as t did last night I wonder about all sorts of things.  From my Facebook morning posting, two photos a week apart. 
Back deck with new bistro set covered, snow
dusting overnight March 19, 2016

Back deck Bistro set covered with tarp as Jerry insisted
March 11, 2016, to my protest, he cautioned, "It will
still have some winter weather could have snow." He was
right of course, I go for the sun as my long rooted in  California mind is fooled once again
 I like to go outdoors for a  walk of 4-5 miles, adopting the habit of young European mom's I saw in Germany and Austria who put their kiddies in strollers and off they push around town for a mid day breath of fresh air.  Good for the soul to be out there, as friend Lisa says. We live in a lovely small town that is very amenable to walking, so I can easily cover those miles.  If I want to stay closer to home I can trot 1/4 mile down the street to the high school quarter mile track where round and round I go getting in a few miles easily.  

The other day walking, I thought about my late aunt Jinx and a gallon jar filled with coins that she left behind with the label, "Money we have found walking."  When we cleared her house after she passed in 2009, we found her jar pushed back on a closet shelf with over $300 assorted coins, apparently found here and there by herself or late Uncle John, her husband on their walks or in parking lots, or wherever.  I too used to find money frequently sometimes even currency.  And somehow I began to think that  today in all the miles I walk I never find money, none, not even a penny.  Was it that long ago that I would stop and pick up a loose penny on the ground, recalling, "a penny saved is a penny earned."  as others might just walk by, leaving the copper coin there. 

This reflects how rare use of cash is today.  While Jerry remains "old school" and likes to pay with cash, I seldom carry more than a couple dollars, instead use my handy ATM debit card.  That was another annoyance in Europe to be using different cash currencies in the different towns.  Last October in California at a restaurant with cousins and aunt, Jerry pulled out cash to pay the bill to the astonishment of my 80 some year old Aunt Pearl who asked wide eyed, "Do people still use money today?" 

Think about it, cash is rarely used.  Many are addicted to "points" they accumulate from charging  everything on plastic cards.  They consider accumulating points wise, a rebate, a bargain, I find them  annoying. For example our Verizon points, over 300.000 and not a thing worth our cashing them.  Most of their offers require additional cash for something we would not buy anyway.   So the Verizon points sit and pile up, useless.  We have used some points on other cards for cash yet the $100 or even $10 is not nearly what we have spent. 

We have never been charge card type people, which has likely given us a much  easier lifestyle today in retirement.  Often we hear these adds about consolidating debts, stretching the finance payments out and I am grateful that we never got into that lifestyle.  Other than our home mortgages, we did not owe payments.  If we charged anything it was paid for fully the next month when the bill arrived. We were frugal, savers, we did not waste our hard earned money and did not live beyond our means.  How different were we from others?  Yet, our frugality has afforded us a debt free retirement, a nice life style. 

We used to save spare change, coins that accumulated in purse and pockets went into a basket and then  periodically Jerry would roll them up into the  distinct paper coin wrappers and take them to the bank.  Today that basket takes longer to fill, as I mentioned I admit to seldom using cash so I have  less change to dump and Jerry often leaves his along with the tip at the restaurant, or spends it.  Not too long ago when he took the last stack of rolled coins to the bank, they had to open each and dump into the coin machine to count, a sign of the times.  The teller said it was now the policy because some unscrupulous people used to plug the rolls with  fake currency.   

Money, yes, I always stooped to pick up a penny, coins.  And yet today, no spare change drops from pockets.  It's probably a good thing people do not drop their plastic cards, that would be a terrible find in the hands of the wrong person.  How different life is today from when we skipped along chanting and holding up and down our fingers,
"Two shiny quarters,
Before the day was done
One bought a sucker,
Then there was one.
One little quarter,
I heard it plainly say,
"I'm going in the piggy bank
For a rainy day!"
Pocket change

And that's it for today, when few anticipate the possibility of that rainy day.  We were raised differently in different times, when money was cash, one spent what they had or less.  And yes, tragic circumstances, misfortune can foil the best laid plans, but still saving money, planning was a good thing.  I am glad we did.  

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

March comes in like an albino lion

View out front from  living room this morning
Most all snow was melted by Saturday,
here my shadow taking photo out back
Oh, what a difference the MN weather makes in just four days, welcome to  the north where Mother Nature is not to be trusted. As these photos tell the story, from  a few days to today, things change.  Here is treachery recognized and accepted by long time locals who tell me, "it's early"  "not spring yet" and once more they are right.  This is tiresome to me having grown up in southwestern PA and then spending most of my life in northern California, where now trees and shrubs are already blooming to welcome spring.  While I do appreciate 4 seasons and yes, I know it hasn't been that long  nor tough a winter, I am already done with it.  I thought I was getting ready to pack away both my long tall and short Uggs, other boots, and all winter gear.  Because Saturday was glorious, the balmiest warm day, when I didn't even need a jacket as I logged in a few foot miles around the local nearby high school  track before we  drove down to Lansing Iowa.  As usual, the weather conned me.  And although we only had a couple inches  of snow, I find it amusing.  Snow was iffy, if we had been luckier with our river bluffs, this would have stayed south and swept east, but nope, we caught the white.  The snowfall though slight  meant I canceled my morning drive to the Y for my Tuesday pretzel class aka yoga workout, having to do so at home instead.  It was rather treacherous on the roads, several schools wee closed or delayed opening, as that voice tells me, "don't go out looking for trouble, stay in your safe warm home, nothing you need to do out there."  My intention with  remaining home this winter was to accomplish all sorts of projects, most of which remain in various pending states as of today because I can become easily distracted and  do  a little at a time, flitting as I see fit, not very disciplined because I don't have to be.  
Binders of recipes along with part of my
cookbook collection

One binder page open
At least, One task  nearly done now was to reorganize or finalize the filings in my collection of recipe binders, photo here of the collection with cook books.  I am an uncontrollable clipper of recipes as are many of my friends.  We talk about our shared affliction, especially those of us now at our "age."  WTH are we doing this for?  In my case, if I cooked one recipe a day from my collection I wouldn't finish in 40 years and I do not expect to survive that long.  Well at least they are in binders, still when I look for a recipe as I did yesterday in preparing chicken thighs, I cannot find it easily. I will end up using my trusty tablet and searching onto the Cook's or Cusine sight.  Turns out that particular recipe was not here but in a collection of my Cook's Illustrated and Cuisine magazines which are accumulating on our Four season Porch which serves as my walk in wine storage cooler in cold weather.

I sometimes ponder what in the world, why bother. And then I go on and toss some, rearrange others, and even go so far as to consider creating an index, a table of contents on a data base so I can readily find the recipe or tip I want when I want it.  But, as  happens I have more ideas than implementation efforts.  I always have been the idea person, the manager, the one who could think things up, I had staff to implement.  Ahh,shades of my career days, some of those skills are not so much in use today as I am my own staff.  

Which brings me to the meandering thoughts that circulate round my head with ever increasing frequency, why bother?   I have no descendants to enjoy nor be interested in my collections.  So when I am gone to the here after, this will all be tossed.  I'd like to think, someone will get some of these and find them useful, iconic, or who knows. I often do as I buy on impulse an old recipe book or two at an estate sale.  I wonder about the person who used it before, especially when they have noted something as good or added their modifications, or the page is dogeared, stained from years of use. I smile and remember that someone enjoyed this same recipe and well, here I have it now.  But reality is ,this just won't happen here with mine.  Which is where I could  get off into a pity party of poor us, no family to share with, and so on. Nope, not going to go there, would do no good, instead, I try to keep busy, now maybe I'll put this on the blog.Well, there more time has gone and now time to get to thinking about dinner, so it goes, a snow day and some minor tasks accomplished.  For this I am glad to be retired, time is all mine..  
Partial collection of my binders of clipped recipes
Feet happily clad in warm soft German socks from
Regensburg, my trip in Nov/Dec.  Ahhh, easy living. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine's Day 2016

Back yard squirrel pair
Valentines Day is here bringing a warming trend finally from our past couple weeks of arctic polar freezing sub zero temps which  had me lamenting,"remind me why I thought we should stay home this winter?"  Maybe now I have my lasting dose of winter and will be happier in Florida, in the motor home, even if it gets chilly in the south.  Meantime, today felt definitely warmer at 15 degrees when I went to get the Sunday Pioneer Press from Pump 4 Less.  It was already snowing though which is expected on and off all day.

Jerry blew most of the snow out of the driveway with the leaf blower already.  He is recuperating well from the sinus surgery and after this week when he returns to the ENT the last of the packing can be removed from his nose and perhaps he will be able once again to blow it.  Relief is expected from recurrent sinus infections which he endured too much of the last year. That's another thing, we stayed home and hopefully now  will have most of our medical appointments out of the way. As our late neighbor Frank said  years back, "good thing we are retired because we can go to all these doctor's appointments."  Still we are blessed that we have outstanding medical care here from Mayo where we live, many people do not enjoy that luxury. 

Valentine's roses
 .  Jerry took my car to the car wash Friday and returned with his traditional Valentine's dozen red roses.  I am not a chocolate person so he knows not to buy that for me.    They are lovely but opening fast and so will not last long, nevertheless, I love roses.  It took me less than an hour to notice them, he had even trimmed the stems, selected a vase, added the package of bloom stay and set them on the dining room table.  I noticed them after about 20 minutes, how easy it is for me to become oblivious to surroundings.  Paying no attention, otherwise absorbed, who knows why, but once again he sat back and got a chuckle at my expense.  

 I want to share this Valentine's poem that I found in 2011 and have updated to 2016 marking our years together, and our lifestyle.

"Reserved Seating for Valentine's Day"

It's all been said, It's all been done;
Forty eight + years of chocolates, flowers or "I forgots"
Find us seated in comfy recliners, feet up.  
Our eyes scan commercials that portend chocolate diamonds and open heart pendants 
Are the only perfect gifts to portray unending love.
When really it comes down to the comfy recliners
And we who remain happily seated there
Over the years.  

Candid shot of me moving the vase of roses.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Groundhog day and the voices in my head

About 8:35 this morning front drive
The weather warnings have been ominous, snow was on the way, a southern wind would blow it up this way and eastward.  Often the Mississippi River Bluffs here shield us from a lot of bad weather. This winter has been rather mild, in fact, all weekend I was able to get outside where the sun  was shining and  balmy  mid 40 degrees temps were refreshing.  It was nice to get in some walking miles.  So although the sun was not shining this morning it looked like I would be able to get across the rive to the Y for my yoga workout.  Jerry shrugged his shoulders and said, wait and see.  On yoga mornings I do not have to leave until 10 o'clock, so  I waited and did a load of laundry meantime.  Thinking that if the weather services predicted correctly this time and most of our snow was gone, melted the last few days, perhaps I should snap some before pictures.  All the while I was hoping the forecasters would be wrong.
Back deck, 8:30  this morning

Back yard down to shop and motor home house,
the white remnant of snow is slight about 9:00 AM

I had decided to go  to the Y and get my pretzel twisting weekly yoga fix; it's the class I will never fully master, always something of a challenge and yet one that I can gauge has tremendously benefited  my flexibility, strength and balance.  I really dislike missing my routines and after all, living here means winter sometimes.  By no means am I a native Minnesotan, more like a Californian though raised in western Pennsylvania.  And although I really like four seasons, too much winter is not a good thing.  Any weather that restricts my activities is not a good thing to me. So I  proceeded to proceed, got my yoga mat ready to go when the clamor started. I could hear a small voice in my head, you know those naggers, as it got louder, "Patty, you do not have to go looking for trouble, just stay home."  And Patty replied, " oh don't be a scaredy cat, a wimp."  "Don't go looking for trouble, Patty."  The voice became duet as I recalled these words told me often enough by Mom and later in my life by Aunt Jinx Mom's sister who survived her.  There is a Polish saying that if one will just  let trouble alone it will make it's way elsewhere, something like that, so they invoked their Americanized corollary, "don't go looking for trouble."  Today I sometimes say "I don't need to go looking for trouble" when I refuse an invitation to go out at night, I am not fond of driving after dark, especially in winter. It's not that we live in an unsafe area at all, actually here in the Mayberry like setting we are blessed.  I realized that here this morning, I was hearing advice from Mom and Aunt Jinx, was that just a deep phobia or a warning to heed.  While I mused about  this, I went to get my sweat pants. 

And then I looked outside and a few flurries had started.  Better to wait a second or two.  I know now it was a good thing to heed those voices.   Within 20 minutes the snow began in earnest and then picked up a kick.  Jerry said, it was coming from the south.  He pays unusual attention to weather, watches and streams the weather channel, and delights in the computer research and models of what's moving where in the air currents.


I posted these  and more of the rapid increase with this snowstorm onto Facebook earlier. The above photo is about 5 minutes into the start and the whitish stuff is coating our previously pristine front drive and walk and down the street.  Well, I'm thinking it might not be too bad, I can drive in this, and then, the clouds opened up and down came the  snow.  Within  twenty five minutes snow was accumulating, carpeting the grounds and  walks.  The following photo is our previously pristine back deck now getting carpeted. 


It didn't take long before it was a white out all around, making it  appear as though we lived inside one of those snow globes, you  have seen.  One like they make in Bavaria today and sell, I had learned on my Danube Christmas Markets tour in December that they invented the snow globes and the older ones are quite valuable.  Bavaria is a glass making are of renown in Germany/Austria and home of some of my ancestors. 

This next photo is taken from our front picture window out toward the front drive, now invisible, and compared to  90 minutes earlier, things are looking bleary.  I admit it is sometimes a good thing to listen to the voices.  Mom would be happy.

Speaking of Mom, today is/was her birthday, also posted on FB.  She would have been 92, but she left this earth at 80, in 2004, suddenly.  Helen was the baby of her family of siblings and the one who would die the youngest except for the infant brother.  It was a blessing though a shock, she had just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and the years ahead were not going to be good.  She was spared a debilitating long drawn out eking away of the  body although there was some dementia that was creating a havoc in her behavior.  I shared this photo of her at about 3 years  of age on FB too today, the only photo of her as a child of which I am aware, and retrieved from my late Uncle Carl, her brother. For some reason when I try to put the caption on these photos, Blogger moves them around to where I do not want them.  A pox on Blogger!  

The very last photo is the last time I saw Mom alive in Pennsylvania, taken at her kitchen, she was lecturing me about something, I think she might have been saying, "well, Patty you do not have to go looking for trouble!"
By the way the MN State Patrol has closed Interstate 90 here because of blizzard conditions and Highway 61 has some shut downs too.  Our city has not yet sent the snow plows out, so this really is  a mess and the worst snow storm this winter.  Our roads are normally all kept clear immediately.