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Afternoon Delight

Each spring we help my Mom and Dad put in their Catalina sailboat in the lake for the season and then in the fall we reverse the process.

Life has been full the past few years so we haven’t had time to actually go for a sailboat ride during the summer, just partake in the launching process.

This spring we vowed that this summer would be different we would actually go for a ride on the boat. Several years ago we went for a ride on Dad’s last sailboat, a catamaran. It was a beautiful Fourth of July weekend. We turtled the boat and ended up spending a bit of time floating in the lake with lots of boats zipping around us until another boat stopped to help us. We formulated a plan to upright the boat and were on our way again. I was hoping we wouldn’t have a repeat of the previous experience.

Summer has come and gone here in Minnesota and no sailboat ride until yesterday. While at a birthday party for my sister on Saturday evening my husband made plans with my Dad for our sailboat ride. Yesterday afternoon after church we headed over to Mom and Dad’s for our ride. It was just a quick ten minute ride to their home.

When we arrived Mom was already had treats ready for our ride, a bottle of wine, cheese and crackers. We walked down to the dock and started getting ready for the ride. we motored away from the dock and about a hundred feet from shore and Dad started putting up the sails. First the main sail then the jib and we were off.

We tacked back and forth across the lake with the sails full under clear blue skies. It was a perfect not too windy day. We could see seagulls gathered on the lake as well as the loons as we sailed with fishing boats here and there.

The afternoon brought back many wonderful memories of Dad at the helm and family times spent together on the boat.

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Posted by on September 26, 2011 in Fall, Family, Photography, Sailing

 

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Easter Sunrise

 

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen!”

 Luke 24:5-6

 

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Haircare: “The Gods Must Be Crazy” Style

Last Sunday at church I was talking to a young mom and mentioned the fact that when I was in junior high we didn’t have hairdryers or blow dryers as some people call them. Her mouth dropped wide open in disbelief. 

I know I’m dating myself when I say that in the 70’s I was in junior high. My first job with a paycheck other than babysitting was a newspaper route. I was excited to have some money of my own to spend on some discretionary items. 

In 1973 I went to get my haircut and the stylist used a handheld hair dryer. I was impressed with its convenience. The thought of not racing out the door in the morning to school with wet hair was enticing. I was never much for taking a bath the night before school. I always took a shower in the morning but never quite early enough for my hair to be completely dry.

I asked the stylist where I could find one of those hair dryers and she told me which store I could find one. It was within walking distance so I took some money out of my savings account and went to the store and purchased one. I was so excited to use it that I went home, took a shower and tried out my new dryer. 

In our home we only had one bathroom with a tub/shower for a family of eight. In the morning we were like a well-oiled machine. We each had our appointed time in the shower and then we would head to our rooms to finish getting ready. I left my hair dryer in the bathroom the night before after my shower.  

The next morning when I went to use my hairdryer it was gone. My sister had it in her room. I retrieved it. I put it back in the bathroom after using it and the following morning the dryer was gone from the bathroom once again. This time I found it in my brother’s room. It seems that he found it useful as well. 

Over the following weeks each and every member of my family found use for my hairdryer. I was so surprised one morning when I came down from my attic bedroom to the sound of the hairdryer in the bathroom during my Dad’s shower time. Not Dad too….

In the movie “The Gods Must Be Crazy” an empty coke bottle is dropped from an airplane into an isolated tribe. The tribe members all found uses for the newfound item. Each member “needed” the coke bottle even though they had never seen or used one before.

Finally the tribe leader who was tired of all the fighting that the coke bottle caused within the tribe decides to walk and throw the Coke bottle off the end of the earth to bring peace back to the tribe.

After several weeks of chasing after my hair dryer to retrieve it so I could use it, I was ready to throw it out our window because I never got to use it when I wanted to dry my hair. I was still leaving for school with wet hair. So much for new technology, what good is it if you never get to use it?

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2011 in Family, Humor, Life Happens

 

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Ingredients for a Great Saturday Night

When I was growing up there weren’t many perks around home.  We had everything that we needed but not much extra.  One thing that was rarely in our home was pop or ice cream unless Dad and Mom decided to make a special Saturday night treat.

We used to have game nights long before it was the thing that everyone recommended for a closer family.  Dad and Mom would take out the Monopoly, Trouble, or Scrabble game and we would play for a few hours.  The closer it got to bedtime Mom and Dad would say we needed to finish up our game and then we would have a bedtime treat.  They would make Root Beer Floats.  They were the best way to end a perfect family evening.

Last evening my husband and I were in town picking up some new works shoes for my husband and a few other necessities.  While we were eating our dinner I saw a stack of stainless steel glasses and I remembered what I had in my basement.  It was something my sister gave me a few years ago that I had forgotten about.  I told my husband that I wanted to stop by a grocery store to pick up a few ingredients to make something special for the girls, grandson Jack and the new boyfriend who was over for a visit.

When we got home I headed to the basement passed the family room where they were all watching a movie and asked if they were up for a treat.  They said yes and I proceeded gather my ingredients for the treat.

One of my early jobs in my life time was working at a Bridgeman’s Ice Cream shop as a cook, waitress and soda jerk so I am qualified to operate one of these machines.  I began to get a bit nervous and feared ice cream sprayed all over my kitchen as my husband began turning the knobs on the top that adjust the speed.  Of course for him, the race car driver, faster is better for everything.  Not so with malts. 

I began mixing the ingredients for the Chocolate Malts.  Here is the end to my perfect Saturday Night.

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2011 in Family, Favorite Recipes, 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.

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

 

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My New Morning Coffee Klatsch

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Horses on a Winter’s Day

This past week I was on my way home from flying when I went past this pair of horses.  I stopped my car and backed up to take a picture of the two.  I sat for a long time and watched to two horses and they stood and watched me.  While I sat in my car and watched I thought back to my junior year in college.

Shortly after Christmas my Mom told me that she would be sending me some money to do something fun.  She said that she didn’t want me to spend it on school.  I thought about for a few days and I finally decided that I would sign up for riding lessons at a nearby college.  I had never been on a horse in my life.  I lived in the city growing up and always thought that it would be exciting to learn how to ride a horse. 

I researched when the classes would be and signed up for riding lessons.  It came time for the first riding lesson.  It was on a Saturday morning at 8 am.  What college student in their right mind signs up for a class at 8 am on a Saturday morning.  I usually worked as a prep cook at an Italian restaurant until 2 am on Friday and Saturday evenings.  I got myself out of bed and drove a half hour to my lesson and arrived about 10 minutes early. 

I asked for directions to where my class was and they directed me to the stable and said I would find my instructor there.  I walked over to the stable and walked inside.  There must be some mistake I thought as I looked around the room.  I was the only adult in the room except for the instructor.  The rest of the students were all elementary age students.  I thought that the class would be beginning college age students not elementary age students.  So much for asking all the right questions.  I pride myself on being prepared.  I wasn’t ready for this.  Once we started the class the age difference didn’t seem to be important.  We were all learning to do something we wanted to do from someone who wanted to teach us about horses.

Learning about saddling a horse was all new to me.  I had one advantage over the younger students, my height.  I could lift my saddle up on the horse without help while the younger students struggled to hoist their saddles up.    My instructor taught us about English riding.  It was fun learning to do something I had always wanted to do.  Each Saturday morning for twelve weeks I got up and headed over for my lesson.  It was rough after working so late but the fresh air was wonderful.  My lessons were in the winter time and many mornings we rode in the indoor arena but the best lessons were when we bundled up and headed outside and rode on the nearby wooded trails. 

I haven’t been on a horse since my lessons in nearly 28 years but I can still remember the feeling of accomplishment having learned something new.  There is a new horse back riding arena just outside of town.  Seeing those horses this past week have ignited a desire in me to ride again but not wait 28 years for the one after that.

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2010 in Nature, New Challenges, Reflections

 

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