Tag Archives: Memories

Dad at His Best

Today is my Dad’s 76th birthday. This picture was taken this past summer on Big Birch Lake.  For as long as I can remember sailboats have been a part of my life. The first sailboat I remember was one that Mom gave Dad for a Christmas present and he built-in the dining room during the winter months after Christmas. They had to do some remodeling in the kitchen to get the boat out in the spring.

Next it was a bit larger version that he rebuilt in the backyard. It was an old wooden boat that needed much TLC. There were many trips to Johnson Boat Works that summer.  Dad had this boat when I was learning how to drive so I learned how to back the boat behind a large van down the boat ramp and into the water.  It’s a skill that my husband has come to appreciate over the years as we’ve launched our speedboat at the public access on our lake.

This sailboat we pulled on a trailer from Minnesota all the way to the South Padre Islands in Texas in the middle of winter so Dad could try sailing in the Gulf of Mexico.

After that it was the more adventurous stage in sailing when he bought a catamaran sailboat,  There were many wild rides on that boat. One ride in particular I remember well because it was the Fourth of July and we tipped the boat over and were bobbing in the lake for a while as boats passed us on all sides including the sheriff.

His current boat is the one in the picture. The past few years I haven’t gone sailing much but made a point to go one afternoon with Mom and Dad. Mom packed wine and cheese and crackers for our afternoon. A pleasant afternoon with many pleasant memories of past sailing adventures.

Happy Birthday Dad!



Posted by on February 25, 2012 in Family, Reflections, Sailing


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The Bicycle Gang and Childhood Destinations

This morning as I was looking for another photo I ran across this one. I took it a couple of weeks ago on a Saturday morning out my office window. At first it was only the two boys on the far right and they were quickly joined by the other five. They waited patiently as the one boy added air to his tire and then they were off as quickly as they came.

I was transported back to the 70’s when as a girl of 11 my friends and I would gather at one of my friends homes or mine just as the boys had done that Saturday morning.

We had important things to do. A trip to the mall was our destination. Now you may think that a trip to the mall was no big deal but it was. There weren’t many malls back then. In fact in our area of Minneapolis, this was the first. The mall was a mile and a half from our homes. We headed off with instructions from our Moms and Dads about safety along the busy roads with our bikes. There was no talk about being wary of strangers, it was a different time for sure.

We would head out first thing in the morning. The mall would open at 10 am. This was a whole day adventure. We didn’t plan on buying much, mostly looking but lunch was definitely part of the deal. Each of us would bring our hard-earned babysitting money or allowance if we got one. Saturday morning chores were done before we could go.

I still remember the wind blowing through my hair as we pedaled our bikes down the road. I loved then and still do now looking at all the different types of homes along the way and how the yards were landscaped. Once at the mall all the displays caught my eye which of course they were meant to do. As I look back now perhaps there was a different occupation other than teaching that I should have pursued, architecture or some type of design.

There is no mall for the boys to explore in our small town of 400. I imagine there are places just as exciting for a boy’s bicycle gang to explore in Tom Sawyer fashion with a small river and lakes nearby.


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It Doesn’t Get Much Better

Friday evening my husband and I took our daughter and her son with us to the racetrack. My husband hasn’t raced much this summer but he had his truck ready to go and we went.

When we arrived at the track after an hour and a half drive first thing on our list was to unload the truck and get something to eat.

My grandson’s favorite is a corn dog which I knew they had at the food stand. And yes, that little guy did eat the whole thing although it took him awhile.

















After we unloaded the truck we headed over to the pit grandstand to watch a couple of heat races before my husband’s turn to race.  Jack didn’t take his eyes off the track for a minute and was concerned when they had to send a tow truck out to take a car off the track that had spun out.

















Jack’s favorite movie is “Cars”.  This was like seeing “Cars” in person. He pointed at everything and talked in his two-year old jibberish about everything he saw and every other word that came out of his mouth was “race car”.

































Squeals of delight were heard as the racecars turned corner number four. Our night was cut short by storms rolling in. We ended up running to the truck in pouring rain and driving in torrential rains home. We will head back to the track on Thursday for  “King of the Dirt” night.  Hopefully he will get to see Grandpa race.




Posted by on August 14, 2011 in Family, Photography, Stock car racing


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Upsala Off to the State Boys BB Tournament


Upsala High School Boys BasketballSection 5A Champions!
BBB 5A Champions
The Upsala Boys Basketball Team won the Section game 

against McGregor in Crosby Friday night 92-54. 

It’s an exciting week in our small town of 400. Our boys basketball team won the section game on Friday evening which will send our team to the Minnesota High School Basketball State Tournament in the Twin Cities on Thursday, March 24, 2011 for the first time ever in boys basketball for our school.

I’ve taught a lot of the boys on the team in my nine years of  teaching in Upsala. Some of the boys I had as kindergarten students.  It’s so fun to see the fine young men that they have grown into since those early days in school.

There is nothing that swells the hearts with pride in a small town than to have one of our teams or students succeed beyond the boundaries of our local area. We love our kids here!

If your drive through our little town this week you will see the business windows painted with well wishes for the team and the coaches. The busses will be decorated for their departure to the tournaments and the filled with special treats for the team. Cars traveling to the tournaments will be decorated with well wishes too.

An action shot from an earlier game

There will be no school on Thursday so they can use the school busses to carry the fans from the area to the tournaments, it’s a two hour drive to the Twin Cities. The big game will be at 5 pm on Thursday. The joke in town is whoever is the last to leave to the tournaments don’t forget to turn the lights out.

Good Luck Upsala Boys Basketball Team and Coach Capelle at State!


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I’m Getting the Itch..

Last evening I was cleaning up the kitchen and opened the drawer that holds my leftover seeds from last year’s garden.

I pulled them out and started looking at the different envelopes. The watermelon looked delicious and the package of snap peas made me long for the days of standing in the garden, picking a snap pea and eating it where I stood.

When I think of gardening one person comes to mind, my husband’s grandma. She loved gardening. When Grandma was living gardening was her whole life. She was legally blind from macular degeneration and a widow since 1961. Her hands and feet were twisted from arthritis but she loved to garden.

 She would plan out her garden on pieces of paper. Her writing because of her poor eyesight was large and childlike printing. Each year she would pull out her plans from the last year and plan where she would plant this year’s crop. She would decide what seeds she needed to order and my mother-in-law would help her order. In the later years the garden became more of a joint project. I can still see her handwriting on paper if I close my eyes.

She would spend hours crawling on her hands and knees tending to her garden. This was no small garden but measured about 20′ by 30′. Each year there was always talk of making it a little smaller but it hasn’t happened yet. My husband said that he had his taste first salsa in his grandma’s kitchen long before it ever hit the grocery store shelves. She made her own in her little kitchen with ingredients fresh from her garden.

She was born in 1899 and live to be 90 years old. She worked in her garden until two years before her death she had a stroke and could no longer work the garden. She lived a frugal life. She lived in a small log cabin with a couple of additions on it. She ate what she raised in her garden with a few other items from the grocery store. After her stroke she longer to sit in a chair next to the garden with her sun hat on while my mother-in-law continued their tradition of gardening.

Last evening I found the above photo that I took in my garden of the bee on the sunflower and it brought back the memories of the warm days of summer wandering around in Grandma’s garden to check out the progress of everything growing.


Posted by on March 4, 2011 in Family, gardening, Nature, Reflections


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Tinkering Fathers…Growing Old Gracefully

Last evening my husband and I were working late and had to make a quick trip over to a neighboring town to the body shop.  My parents live near Grey Eagle so I called them and asked them to join us for a quick supper at the local bar.  It was Taco Night. 

While we were eating my dad asked if we had time to stop at his office on Main Street just two doors down from the bar he wanted to show us what he had worked on there.  My husband said he wouldn’t be able to but I could since we drove separate vehicles.  I could tell Dad was excited about his latest project so immediately after we finished eating, we paid for our dinners and walked over to the office, Dean headed back to work to meet a customer at our shop.

When we arrived I followed Dad back to one of the offices near the back of the building.  He has a desk with a laptop computer in the room.  As I looked around the room I noticed a piano keyboard, a tripod for a camera on the counter and a piece of paper with the words Happy Birthday Elise printed on it.  I thought who is Elise?  Then Dad explained that Elise is one of the girls in his confirmation class that he teaches at church. 

Dad started tinkering with his laptop to show me what he has worked on.  He pulled up a file on his laptop and opened it.  It was a Claymation animation file.  Dad has taught himself how to do animation on his computer at age 74, almost 75.  His reason for learning is to make his confirmation class more interesting for the students.  The Happy Birthday Elise paper is his present project and first attempt at animation. 

He has learned how to write the words a quarter-inch at a time, take a photo of each step and convert it into animation so it looks like Happy Birthday Elise is being written all by itself on his computer screen.  He told me that the finished project at this point in time is 172 frames for the animation to write Happy Birthday Elise.  Elise has a birthday coming up and the week of her birthday he would like to start class with the animation on the screen wishing her a Happy Birthday.

There have been times in my life when I looked back at my Dad and thought that he was never around when I was growing up and that he was always working, too busy.  I suppose feeling sorry for myself for one reason or another.  It wasn’t about him it was more about me.  I don’t know what I thought he should have done and hadn’t, but it wasn’t a fair evaluation of the situation.  Dad’s project last night brought back many memories of growing up and special things that Dad did that I had forgotten about.

My brother was in Boy Scouts growing up and each year they had the annual Pine Wood Derby.  No one else had a chance of winning if my Dad and brother were in the race.  Dad and my brother worked for months on the pine car.  They were constantly working on the weight distribution and the contours of the car for the least amount of friction through the air as it traveled down the track.  It was a big event at our home for each of my three brothers.

Science fairs were also a big deal at our home.  Mom and Dad would both get into the project with which ever one of us six kids had a science project to work on that year.  One project that they helped my brother build was an apparatus that would test the effects of alcohol on a task.  The task was to move a handle with an eye hook on the end around a wire that looked like a roller coaster path.  If you touched the eye hook to the wire as you went through the course it would light up a bulb.  They had measurements along the course to keep track of how far you made it through the course.  It was a hard course but not impossible. 

Next they started consuming glasses of wine, one each hour, Mom and Dad, not my brother.  It was his job to record the results of their paths through the course.  They did several runs of the course without alcohol and then tested once each hour after their consumption began.  They did this for several hours one evening while we were watching a movie on TV.   My brother received a blue ribbon for the project but it was truly a family affair. 

One of the observations that I have made in the past few years as I was approaching the age 50 and beyond is that there are two ways to grow old.  One is to sit and think of all that might have been and feel sorry for yourself about all the things that you perceive to have been failures in your life.  It is easy to sit home and not be involved in the lives of others.  Waiting at home for them to come to you. 

 The second way to grow old is to do it gracefully.  Don’t resign from life as you retire but embrace it.  Don’t be afraid to learn new things and interact with other people.  My Dad at age 74 isn’t afraid of junior high and high school students.  He wants to take part in life. If that means learning something new to interact with young people he delves head on into it. 

I’m a long way off from retiring and maybe financially I may never be able to but I know from my Dad’s example that I will never retire from life, maybe my current job, but not my life.


Posted by on January 11, 2011 in Family, Inspiration, Life Happens


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It’s never too late to be what you might have been!

Back in 1978 I was a new high school graduate heading off to college.  My chosen major was Medical Technology.  That was, of course, until I had trouble passing biology.  I decided to change my major to business.  I completed most of the business core classes and decided that I really didn’t like marketing or the hours of crunching numbers in the old-fashioned double-entry system of accounting.  I’m talking about the time before computers were in use for most of the everyday office uses they are now. 

What next?  I had all my general education requirements met and finally decided on an elementary education degree as my chosen profession and followed it through to completion and graduated from college in 1983.  All the while in the back of my mind was the desire to learn how to fly.  I was told that just wasn’t something girls did.

Fast forward to about 1989 and I was a married woman with two children and a third one on the way.  While attending church in our small town we had a visiting pastor who was a mission aviator.  He talked about his missionary work as a pilot.  After listening to him speak and his passion for flying I told my husband that I still wanted to learn how to fly.  He said “We need to raise our children first.”  He didn’t say “No” just not now.

Life goes on and I taught school for nine years and we had one more child.  I quit teaching and went to work for the family business as the bookkeeper.  Nothing you learn in college is wasted.  It eventually is put to use at some point in time.  I don’t mind doing bookkeeping with Quickbooks instead of the old paper and pencil method for accounting back in the 80’s. 

In the spring of 2008 I jumped off the deep end and decided it was finally time to pursue my life’s dream of learning how to fly.  It has been the ride of a lifetime.  I have been challenged to learn things I didn’t know I could.  I have studied aerodynamics and read everything I could get my hands on about flying in the past two years.  I’ve just touched the tip of the iceberg in learning about weather.  Who would think that maybe a pilot should know something about weather when they are learning to fly.  I never thought about it before I started pursuing my certificate.

I’ve learned how to navigate using charts,  ground references, and radio navigation.  There hasn’t been a more thrilling day than the day I flew myself from St. Cloud, MN to Duluth, MN , Brainerd, MN and back to St. Cloud by myself on my solo cross-country. 

Pilots are a fun bunch to be around.  I love hearing the stories of how each has achieved their goal of learning how to fly.  No two paths have been the same.  Every day is a new opportunity learn something new when it comes to flying.  CFI’s are awesome. 

I’m fifty years old and I have achieved one of my life goals.  Better later than never.  I wonder where I would be now if I had pursued it earlier.  It certainly would have been the road less traveled.  Whatever your dream is, it is not too late.


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I walked out on my computer on Friday and went to England and Australia for a change.

I knew this past weekend was going to be a busy one so on Friday afternoon as I headed off to the races I made a decision to have a computer free weekend.  I had a lot to accomplish and the lure of my keyboard would make my schedule tight if I was spending too much time on it instead the tasks I needed to accomplish.  It was amazing what I was able to accomplish over the weekend without my computer.  I’m not on my computer constantly but since I started my blog in January there has been a definite increase in my time spent on my computer.

Friday evening while I was at the races with my husband I thought “He has internet on his phone, I could just check my email and blog on that.”  “NO” , I told myself , ” This is a computer free weekend and that includes the phone!  No cheating.”  So I put down his phone and picked up the book I had brought with to read in between races and when I wasn’t doing that I visited with people at the track.

Saturday morning when I got up I got my coffee and headed straight for the computer.  “Not so fast, remember no computer this weekend.”  I changed my course and headed into the bathroom for my shower to get ready for the day.  But before I left the bathroom.  I cleaned it.  One thing done off my list.

Now for the second thing on my list.  That required a lot of time in the kitchen.  Sunday was my nephew’s graduation party and I promised my sister-in-law that I would make a double batch of my chicken salad that our family likes for the party.  I spent two hours in the kitchen preparing all the stuff for the salad and getting the various parts in the refrigerator so all I would have to do is mix it all together on Sunday before we headed to the party.  While I was in the kitchen I took a few minutes between different parts of the salad preparation and threw in a few loads of laundry which was my third thing on my list.

All around me I was surrounded by computers calling my name.  My husband was on his laptop in the livingroom.  My son was also on his laptop in the livingroom.  My daughter was in the sun porch on her computer working on homework for an online computer class and then when I went in the bedroom to put laundry away there was my computer sitting all alone in the corner just waiting for me.  Back to my list. 

My reward for not working on the computer this weekend was some time spent in a good book after a few things were off my list like my number 1 priority, the salad.  So I picked up my book “All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot” and my coffee and headed outside to my porch to read my book and watch it rain.  How relaxing and I started my vacation in the English countryside as depicted my James Herriot.  This was the fourth thing on my list and by far my favorite. 

Next it was off to my sister-in-laws to cut up fruit for the party for three hours which was task number 5.  We worked and talked together for three hours.  I hadn’t spent that much time visiting with her since our kids were young and played together on our beach when they were young.  Back then we had time for iced tea down by the lake while the kids played in the sand and swam.  Now all of our kids are grown and graduated except her youngest, a trailer five years behind the one who just graduated.  We live just 6 miles apart.  When did life get so busy?

When I got home around five I looked around the house and everyone was still busy on their computers and mine was still sitting in the corner in the bedroom looking forlorn.   I resisted the temptation and instead headed down into the basement where we are finishing a family room and my sewing room.  I had plenty of painting to keep me busy. I put the movie “Australia” in the DVD and took out my painting supplies and started painting the family room, then my sewing room and finally the walls as you go down the steps to the basement.  Six hours later and sore arms and legs,  I had a lot of painting done but the job is not quite finished.  I think I have another 3-4 hours to complete the task before I can start on the window trim and baseboard before we install it.  At least task number 6 was six hours closer to being done than it was before this weekend started.

Sunday morning I was up earlier for task number 7 which was to make some mixed nut bars for the graduation party before church and to put the finishing touches on the salad.  Off to church by 9:20 and sitting in church it was time for task number 8 but not at the time I had planned for it.  Task number 8 was to fit in a nap sometime this weekend.  I just didn’t plan on falling asleep in church and having my daughter keep elbowing me to keep me awake.  I wasn’t quite the restful nap I had desired.  So much for task 8, it was attempted but not completed satisfactorily.

Next it we were off to my sister-in-law’s for my nephew’s party.  I worked in the kitchen from one to six o’clock and visited with friends and relatives as they came to fill their plates.  It was the perfect place to be.  Close to the coffee pot and all the food.  The side benefit was I got to see everyone.  Task nine completed.

Now it was time for task ten.  I put on my pajamas when we got home after cleaning up from the party and I was in bed by nine with my book and it was back to England and a decent night’s sleep.  It’s Monday now and my computer doesn’t seem to have suffered any ill effects from my absence and the 33 messages in my email account were still there waiting this morning but this morning I am in a better place for having walked away from my computer on Friday.  I wonder where will I go next weekend?


Posted by on June 14, 2010 in Life Happens, New Challenges


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15 Minutes a Day

Just 15 minutes a day is what the website says to start getting a handle on my home. is my new favorite website.  It is loaded with daily ideas for cleaning, decluttering, and maintaining your home.  I found the website years ago when my kids were young and got pretty successful at keeping my home clean during the years I was home doing daycare.  I had daily routines that helped me keep a handle on my home.  Three years later and I was done with daycare and starting teaching full-time and then the trouble began.  Stuff started accumulating, habits were lost and the house slowly but surely became a mess.  It was CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome)  This is directly from the FlyLady.Net website.  I was never home and when I was I was exhausted and just did the bare minumum to clean.

Today one of the emails that I received talked about taking 15 minutes a day to make a memory.  I am a new grandma and it is so much fun to play with our grandson and watch our daughter play with her son.  She took him to the park and put him on the swing ( he’s 8 months old).  She said he was laughing and trying to eat the wind.  I hope she will continue to try and make memories with her son.  His latest funny face had my in-laws laughing until there were tears running down my mother-in-law’s face.  My husband said that he can’t remember the last time his Mom laughed that hard and his Dad too.  Take some time to make some memories tomorrow and the day after and the day after that………..

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Posted by on April 12, 2010 in New Challenges, Reflections