Thursday, October 22, 2009

mighty oaks

copyright grace albaugh 2009

If I look out any one of the windows in my new house I can see beautiful Oak trees. They are different shapes and sizes. Some are very large and old with branches that reach in all directions. Others are younger and thin trying hard to follow the example of their elders, but knowing they have about one hundred years to mature. They are wise and steady and sink their roots deep into the soil. They give me a sense of strength in myself when I am amongst them. I am grateful to be surrounded by such majesty.



I'm sure it was the dozens of Oaks that grew in our yard that rooted and strengthened me when I was growing up. We moved to 106 River when I was 4 years old. I was just about a minute in size with skinny little legs and arms. My blue eyes devoured all of the wonderful, natural surroundings that were part of our property. Beautiful perennial flower beds, lush green grass, and these giant oak trees were the landscape for my soul. I think we all have something that makes us feel alive and nature is my breath.
These trees provided endless days of make believe play for the neighbor girls and me. One day they would be the place where we swung on the one seat swing daddy hung from a high branch. This tree was in the front north corner of the yard and the view as we swung was the bluffs across the Mississippi river. It was spectacular in Autumn. The color was as though the entire stretch of bluff was on fire. As far as the eye could see it was red, yellow, orange, green and brown. One color intertwined with another. All supported by the jagged rock cliff cut out by the flow of the river over the last thousand years or so. If that doesn't give you strength and breath I don't know what else does?
At other times the oaks were chosen, one by each girl, to be our pioneer homes. We loved to play pioneer. The entire quarter acre yard was portioned out with the driveway as the river. The north garden was the prairie (or several other things). The general store was sometimes on the front porch or back in the dog run. The details changed every time we played depending on every one's mood. We stayed open to new ideas and if nobody wanted to run the general store then an imaginary person suited us just fine. It was always an improvisational play time to keep it fresh and interesting. Of course there were those days when someone was cranky and spoiled the fun, but for the most part we had a blast. We even made long calico skirts and bonnets to wear. That was another fun afternoon taking turns at Mrs. Bacon's treadle sewing machine down in Lisa and Linda's basement. But that's another story.
The base of our oaks is where Anne and her friend poured a "magic potion" of baking soda and vinegar to bring us treasure. It was where I sat on cool summer days to read a book. It was where I stood and stooped watching intently as the ants and spiders ran all over the rough bark looking for food and homes to build. These trees were part of me in a way that the people in my life are a part of me. I'm sure that sounds a bit dramatic but it's true. I love those trees!


And now I have oaks in my life again. What a sweet feeling. To be among new old friends. To walk amongst them and feel their strength and wisdom. To recall the sweet memories my old friends shared. It is a new blessing in my life and I'm so glad of it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

snow

copyright grace albaugh - snow falling from trees this morning


I hope everyone who lives near me is taking the time to enjoy the beautiful symphony being
played outside this morning. The way it sounds is soul filling but the way it looks is amazing. It's one of those first snows where the branches become heavy laden. So heavy that the snow gives way and falls in wonderful cascades like powdered sugar being sifted through a sieve. First here, then over there. And occasionally it ripples through the trees in succession.
My heart soars with delight when this happens. It's a though I'm having my own private performance.
I remember standing in the middle of the front yard. I must have been about seven or so. I stood in the middle of the front yard where the six Oak trees came together, face tilted to the sky and waited for the thrill I knew was coming. First I heard it, that unmistakable swoosh of the snow letting go. Then I felt if, the shower of snow covering me. My mouth open wide to catch as much as I could. I can hear myself laughing and see myself turning in circles with my arms spread wide. I love these memories and am grateful for this mornings snow to remind me.

Happy first real snow day everyone!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It will all straighten out

We are having a time with inter net for a bit. Moving from one house to another is taking it's toll in several ways. I'll post when possible between now and Oct. 5th.

Just a short image to share, as I'm writing at work instead of working at the moment.
I drove down to Hastings on Monday for my bi-weekly visit with my parents and had the pleasure of watching several hawks riding the wind. This is when they spread their wings very wide and just let the wind dance them around in subtle movements. I can feel myself up there when I see this beautiful sight. I feel myself being lifted by the wind like a kite. My eyes are closed and I'm pillowed on the airstream. My neck outstretched and my face reaching for the sun, floating there with the hawks. One of them looks over to me with a knowing smile on it's beak. We share the moment and then I'm back on the ground. I'm moved by this image and imaginary experience. Content as I drive through this farmland with no one else in sight. Alone with the hawks.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

back to nature

copyright Grace Albaugh - our new lake house view from the patio


I'm having a melancholy morning. Now and then I wake up and for no apparent reason I just feel melancholy. Nothing has happened. There is nothing bad or negative around me. I'm not anticipating anything going wrong. I'm just melancholy. I find this interesting. Wondering what it is that creates this in me. I go into my armchair psychologist mode and try to analyse myself. Then I realize it's useless and just go with the melancholy. Let it take me where ever it wants to go.
When I had a melancholy day as a girl I headed for the woods that surrounded our house. I headed down the hill through the trees and wandered along the lake shore of Lake Rebbecca. It is a quiet lake with only nature surrounding it. No houses in sight and rarely any people.
I spent many hours down there after my father died. I felt close to him there. He was a naturalist at heart and spent much of his own time in the woods all over Minnesota. It was a place where I could converse with him and no one would hear me. I talked to the birds and squirls and rabbits too. Every once in awhile I'd catch a glimpse of a deer or see a fish jump in the water. I could loose myself for hours in the beauty and human silence. I had the freedom to roam as much as I wanted to and it was a huge part of what formed me as a human being.
We are moving in two weeks to a house on a small lake. I'll be able to sit on the back deck in the mornings and listen to earth waken and the water fowl start their day. I'm grateful for this gift. It's been many years since I've had a slice of nature at my back door. Its in my blood and I've felt nature anemic for a long time.
I'm thankful to my Heavenly Father for this blessing and I know it will feed and fill my soul.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A heart felt return

Ahhhhhhh. It feels good to be writing something here again. I've gotten life under control for now at least and I'm looking forward to getting back into the writing swing. It's been hanging right there in the tree just waiting for me to jump back on. Thanks for the much needed rest and I hope you haven't all gone away. See you very soon for a proper post.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Mom! Bill's trying to lock me out of the house again!"

OK, no he isn't. I feel like someone is trying to lock me out of blog time though. Between my son's wedding next week, getting my house ready to list by August 15 and normal everyday craziness that is going on right now, I've decided to take a few weeks of blog vacation until things are under control. (Are they ever under control?) OK at least until the house is on the market and I have time to breath again. So in the mean time stay well and I look forward to your sweet comments and friendship when I return.

PS Sorry Bill, not trying to give anyone the wrong impression about you. Even though MOOOOM was the most common thing that came out of my mouth for years.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Welcome Jennifer. It's nice to have you here. Enjoy!

garage

copyright Grace Albaugh


I was cleaning in the garage yesterday and, as always, was amazed at the amount of stuff and filth that had ac culminated. I sorted through things I haven't seen in years and other things I didn't even know we had. I threw a lot of things out that I'm crossing my fingers my husband won't notice and things I have not noticed in years either. There were car parts that were so old and dried out they fell apart. Garden pots that were cracked. I even found three bike helmets I wish I would have known about before I bought a new one just last year. I bought it to go with my bike that is still sitting in the garage never ridden this year. (see previous post)
When daddy was alive we had garage spring cleaning outside just as we had house spring cleaning inside. He had a method and the entire family participated. First Bill, Anne and I would start by emptying all of the small items from their fallen places and put them in whatever pile daddy dictated. As we were getting the small things, he and mother got the big things. Daddy was a very organized man so things moved along a a good clip.
It never took long before Bill started up with his shenanigans though. He was a master of bothering Anne and I in this stealth kind of way. Whispering something in our ear that annoyed us while passing us from behind. Poking me with the end of his ice fishing spear. Putting the thunder mug on his head and making a terrible face. (The thunder mug is a porcelain covered metal pot with a lid that was made to be a portable toilet for camping.) He did all of these things so quickly that mother and daddy never saw him, but they knew he was up to something by the response it got from Anne and I. We were either in tears or laughing ourselves silly by the time we were half way through our tasks. It would be at about this time that daddy had just about enough. We all got yelled at. Bill for being a nuisance and Anne and I for being so loud. After a stern talking to and a few threats of one thing or another, we got back to work until Bill got bored and started things all over again.
By the end of things, Bill got sent to his room and Anne and I had to finish the sweeping and loading of items back into the garage. Bill didn't care because it meant he didn't have to work any more and we got so mad that we were left to finish up, we swore we would get Bill back. Back with what we didn't know but we would think of something. We rarely did. And we always swore that next year, no matter what he did, we would just ignore him. Make him stick it out to the end with the rest of us. We never did. We couldn't control it no matter how hard we tried. We were hopeless and Bill was the master. It was his calling to be the very best at making our lives miserable with all kinds of nonsense. But it was all in good fun and I love him to this day. He still makes faces behind every ones back and I still crack up until can't stand it anymore. I hope this part of my life never changes and I'm pretty confident it won't.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Welcome Strawberry girl. It's nice to have you visiting with us.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

summer posting

Just wanted to let my sweet little following know that as with many of us, the summer is full of a million things to do. Sorry for the spattering of posts but it looks like I'll just get around to one or two posts a week for awhile. Thanks for your interest and dear comments. Have a wonderful summer too.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

recovery

The tea post 2 posts down is back. Blogspot ate it the other day so I had to recreate it. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Thank you Delwyn


The Premio Meme Award


One of the unexpected pleasures I've received from blogging is the friendships I'm developing around the world. I don't really know what I expected when I started all of this other than having a place to post my spiritual journal on A Touch Of Grace and to create an art collection of my photos, fine art projects and crafts on Through My Hands. And here on this blog I just wanted to share stories I'm reminded of from the simple things that happen in my daily life and get a feeling of whether or not anyone would want to read them.
What has transpired though are lovely comments from amazing people around the world and a community I wasn't prepared for. It has been a sweet experience and I thank all of you who visit me at my spaces.
I stopped in at Delwyn's place at A Hazy Moon and she has sent me a lovely award. It comes with the request to share 7 things about myself so here goes:

1. I love people - Everyone, really. We all have a story and a life to live. Some are doing better than others with this but we have all arrived here with possibilities and I think it's amazing how we make choices and create the lives we lead. (wow, that was long for me)

2. I love food - One of life's greatest pleasures.

3. Babies are the greatest - nuf said

4. I like it best living in a place where I can experience the seasons to the extreme - That's why I'm in Minnesota.

5. I don't however like the mosquitoes.

6. anything creative in the world of art is an invitation in my book.

7. I love to feel mud as it squishes through my toes.

Well there are a few new tidbits for you. Hope they were enlightening. Now I will have to think on who to pass this over to. I'll get back to that. Right now I have a lot of reading (and writing, oh I have a lot of writing to do. The book is crying in the corner) to do.

Cheers!

Friday, June 26, 2009

tea

copyright Grace Albaugh

The tea is in! I've been missing it for quite some time. I settled for herb teas I got at the grocery store but it just isn't the same. My tea is special. It comes in wonderfully hand packed foil pouches. The aroma that wafts out when you open it is amazing. My tea is sold with passion and love by a woman who offers easy conversation. My tea is an entire experience not just something to drink.
I went to choose some new tea varieties one day a few months ago only to find out my tea shop was gone. An empty space was all that was left. I felt deflated and sad. I asked the woman who also had a shop in the same building where my tea went. Apparently it moved to Minneapolis in the sky way system. A good move for the tea but it may as well be on Mars for me. I don't drive into downtown Minneapolis unless my life depends on it. I'm sure if you live there it all makes perfect sense to you but I lovingly call it the city that lets you in but never lets you out. I have to be feeling very brave to venture into the Minneapolis experience. So I did what anyone would do and headed for my computer instead. I googled Northern Lights Tea and there it was. Their web address. I clicked on it and wonders of wonders, not only was it the right tea shop but they had on line ordering.
I quickly devoured all of the tea descriptions and chose about six of them, placed my order, and added a little note. Then I waited. It only took about four days and then, the tea arrived! I was so excited to open that package and tear the tops of the foil pouches. Stick my nose right inside and breath deeply. Aaaah, that's the aroma I remember. I'm back in tea heaven.
Mother made the best iced tea I ever had. The ingredients were simple and the process was the same every time. First she had me fetch the large clear glass pitcher. It lived on the top shelf in the kitchen cupboard. I pulled up a chair, climbed up on the counter and reached for the handle. It was heavy but I managed it and handed it off to mother before I got down.
Next came the sugar. We kept a small porcelain cup in the sugar canister, about a half cup in size. Four scoops went into the pitcher. Then two lemons cut into six wedges squeezed on top of the sugar. They lived together like that for about ten minutes as the water in the pan came to a boil. Then went in the good old Lipton tea bags, I think four of them, and as soon as the tea was really strong, mother removed the bags and poured the tea over the sugar and lemon. I loved to watch as the sugar swirled around in the dark liquid until it melted. Then came the ice, half a pitcher full to cool it all down. That's why the tea had to be so strong. When the pitcher was empty of all it's tea I reached down in and plucked out the lemon wedges. This was the best part. They were devoid of almost all their juice after having been squeezed, but I loved to peel what remained of it's fruit and taste the sweet/sour flavor with a hint of tea.
Mother always served the iced tea when we had fried chicken and fruit salad for dinner on a hot summer day. That was the only time. Don't ask me why. Don't ask mother either, she doesn't remember, but that was the way it was.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

late in coming

copyright Grace Albaugh 2009

You may want to get comfortable and pour a cup of tea. I have no idea how long this will be so I apologise in advance if you weren't planning on staying the whole day. Several weeks ago my blog friend Kathleen over at easy for me to say tagged me with a meme. She was very sweet and said not to worry if I didn't want to participate. I was pleased that she thought of me and I'm sorry it's taken so long to get to it.
As a fairly new blogger I have been spending a lot of time getting used to a lot of things that are new. I don't spend time in chat rooms and I have never sent a text over my cell phone so I'm not acquainted with things like BTW and LOL. I am fairly sure I have them figured out by now and then someone will leave letters on my screen that leave me totally baffled. This was the case the first couple of times I read reference to meme. Meme, what on earth are they talking about? After paying quite close attention I finally figured out it's like a little game although I still don't know the meaning of the word or if it is even a real word to begin with.
So, Kathleen sent me a meme about answering 15 questions related to getting to know us all better. There were simple instructions that for a normal person with basic computer knowledge would have been a piece of cake. I repeat, I am not your normal person with normal computer knowledge (see previous post. I would link you to it but...) I trip all over myself while sitting here typing away trying to figure out how to copy and paste, link and heaven knows what else required to master this thing called blogging. Also I'm supposed to tag other people, eight I think it was, and invite them to participate as well. I have some lovely people who have left many lovely comments on my blogs but I noticed some of them have already been tagged by others or they are not interested in participating in memes. This leaves me in a bit of a quandary so, I have decided to simply say a few words to you all and leave the tagging to others.

I'm a simple woman with simple needs.

I don't have favorite anythings because there are too many wonderful things in this world to leave anything out.

I love stupid jokes and laugh at things like Monte Python and Carol Burnette.

I read all kinds of books and belong to a book group where the ages of our members range from 26 to 82. We have great discussions.

I love to travel everywhere and hope to get there someday.

Anyone who gets up in the morning and lives their life is my hero.

I don't like horror movies, or thrillers, or anything that throws around profanity just for the fun of it, or has excessive nudity. (OK I'm a bit of a prude.)

I think I'm a lot of fun as long as you appreciate a silly sense of humor, not being afraid to make a fool out of yourself, and being brave enough to continue to do things like ride the Merry-go-round at the park. Not bad for a grandmother of 4.

I think I will always remain young at heart. At least I hope so.

And last but not least, I love my family as much as life itself. My parents and sibs, my husband, my four children and their husbands and wife, and my four grandchildren. They are fine and remarkable people and I feel honored to be part of them.

So there you are. It's not the real meme that Kathleen sent me, sorry darling girl, but it gives you most of what it asked and maybe a bit of what it didn't. I won't be tagging anyone but I think that's OK. Good luck to anyone else that is a bit mystified over much of this blogging business. Just keep working at it. Will get most of it figured out eventually.




Saturday, June 20, 2009

breakfast at the park

copyright Grace Albaugh 2009

Central Park - Roseville, MN


I was at one of our local parks here in Roseville yesterday wandering around and taking pictures of things that are metal for my art blog. I love spending time in any park. It feels good to be surrounded by nature and the people watching is always great. Yesterday was warm, almost hot and the sky was blue with just a wisp of clouds.

Every once in awhile on a Sunday morning daddy would decide we needed to skip church, pack up the cooler and camping stove, and head up the highway to Battle Creek Park. It took about fifteen minutes to drive there and the closer we got the more excited we became. When we pulled into the gravel parking lot daddy would say "everybody carries something", and we scrambled to grab the first thing we laid our hands on. There was a picnic table we liked the best and always hoped it was available. Situated right in the middle of the park, it allowed for the best access to all of our favorite places. While daddy cooked breakfast my brother Bill, sister Anne, and I ran down to the crick. (I say crick to drive my mother wild because we all know it is creek and mother is fanatical about grammar.) The water is just deep enough to come to my five or so year old knees. It is cold and rushes by causing me to fight a little bit for my balance. We search for beautiful rocks and salamanders. The rocks are easy but the salamanders are few and hard to find. We play amongst the laughter and antics of the other children there. All too soon we hear mother and daddy calling us over for eggs and bacon, orange juice and fruit. Food always tastes better when you cook and eat it outside.

After we are filled to capacity we clean up our mess and head for the hill. The hill is very steep, high, and wooded but what waits at the top is worth the climb. As we get about three quarters of the way up we can see the top of the prize poking it's head out above the trees. Huffing and puffing we drag ourselves the rest of the way and yell "race you to the top"! The top? I thought we were at the top? Yes we were at the top of the hill, but on top of it was an old ski jump. It was hardly ever used in the winter anymore but you could still make the climb up the stairway/ladder and reach the top for the best view ever. At least that's what I was told. I don't think I ever made it to the top. I was/am so afraid of heights I was just terrified. No enjoyment there for me.

I wish now that I could have somehow overcome that fear. I'll never know how thrilling it feels to look out over St Paul from the top of the ski jump. It got too old and rickety and they tore it down. A lost opportunity. A shame really.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

baptism


copyright Grace Albaugh 2009

Saturday, hubby and I attended the baptism of a mother and her two sons at our church. It was a wonderfully spiritual event and it lifted my heart to see this sweet woman want to live her life connected to our Father in Heaven and his son Jesus Christ.
Mother and daddy never had me baptised when I was an infant. I don't know why? My brother and sister who are older than I were. This created much fear in the hearts of my dear neighbor friends. When daddy died I was only eight years old. Poor Linda and Lisa, who were good Catholic girls, were convinced that I would never see my father again because I was not baptised. We sat in their bedroom as they cried for me and my loss. Needless to say I ran home and told mother we needed to rectify this immediately. She could see how troubled I was so she called our Pastor at St Phillips Lutheran Church and arranged for me to be baptised the next Saturday. It was a private affair attended by my mother, siblings, and a few family friends.
About an hour before the little service took place mother called me in from playing outside and asked me to wash up and change my clothes. I did the same "good" job of washing up that any eight year old would do and got into my dress and patten leather shoes. Off to the church we went and Pastor Bob had gentle and loving words for me. He bathed my forehead in sacred baptismal waters and took a linen napkin embroidered with a cross to dry it. He gently wiped underneath my bangs and what emerged was a beautiful linen cloth smudged with a days worth of dirt. Mother was mortified but our dear friends and Pastor Bob thought it was perfect. What else would you expect at the baptism of an active eight year old?

(this picture is the linen napkin from my baptism. Mother had it framed dirt and all)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

flowers


© photograph Grace Albaugh 2009
the north garden at 106 River

Things are really starting to bloom in the garden. The fragrance in the back yard is heady and I go out often to fill my nose with it. The perfume changes as I walk from one end of the yard to the next. Stopping for a moment here and there, taking it all in. I can't decide where to pause the longest. It all smells so good. I cut and brought in some Columbine. They are so delicate and sweet to look at.
The gardens at 106 River were many and large. Mother or I were always snipping and bringing in an array of flowers throughout the garden months. At this time of year it was apple blossom, Violets, or Iris. We arranged them in vases of all sizes, all over the house. It was like strolling through my back yard. As you passed from one room to the other it was a whole new aromatic experience. Hmmm, the thought of it makes my head swoon.

I love cut flowers in the house.

© 2009

just a trim

© photograph Grace Albaugh 2009
kindergarten


I had my bangs trimmed today. This is something I do three weeks after I get my hair cut. Then, three weeks after that I get my hair cut again. That's the routine. Back to the salon every three weeks. I would complain about the fact that my hair grows faster than any other hair on earth but then I would hear from all of the poor women out there who's hair grows slower than molasses. I am grateful for the Olympian growth when I get daring with the cut and decide it was a mistake. I'm able to grow it quite quickly and amend the error.
When I was a little girl mother always trimmed my bang herself. Now I love my mother with all of my heart, but the woman couldn't cut a straight line if her life depended on it. If you look closely at the picture above you will see the jagged cutting across my forehead. In fact, there is a gouge taken out of the left hand side. (you may have to click and enlarge it to see) There was a time when I was in 2nd grade that I talked mother into cutting my hair about six inches. It would have sat between my shoulder blades and still be long enough to put in braids. By the time she finally called our neighbor to come help her get it straight it was up above my shoulders. Thank goodness for Mary. She quickly got it nicely trimmed and sitting pretty. I wound up with a little page boy cut and mother wound up in tears. But not to worry dear. My hair grew quickly then too.

© 2009

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Welcome Kim! Nice to see you here. I look forward to seeing your work every week on your blog.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

birthday celebration

© photograph Grace Albaugh 2009

birthday - age 11

It is our grandson C's birthday on Sunday and he turns 8. This is the fun stage in life for boys because they want to learn about everything. Hubby and I decided to give the grandchildren experiences for their birthday's instead of just buying more stuff, with the exception of one book as well. The children have really enjoyed these gifts and they create memories they will have forever.
We always had very simple birthdays and gifts in my family. Mother and daddy were not poor but we were not well off either. Solid middle class with a certain bit of style I like to say. Birthday parties were small and included the best of family friends. We had no extended family that lived near us. Grandma and Grandpa Hall were the closest and they lived several thousand miles away. I loved these parties. The food was simple and the gifts were small and meaningful. I've never been a "stuff" person. My physical needs are few and so these gifts were perfect.
I'm thankful for the simple way of life we lived. Mother and daddy were wise to give us an abundance of what we needed the most, love. We were rich with that.

© 2009

Friday, June 5, 2009

Gracie who

New picture on my header bar. This darling girl writing in her Pj's is me. I have no idea who took this picture, nor why, but I was glad to find it. I kind of love that it is a bit blurry and old. It adds to the mystique of exactly who is this Gracie?

Just me!

Porch

© photograph Grace Albaugh 2009

the porch at 106 River


I spent the afternoon at my dear friend Lisa's house yesterday. She has a beautiful spot with about five acres of land that includes a pond. I love sitting on her front porch and visiting. Yesterday there was a goose family on the lake, just taking a leisurely swim. Gliding along the water. The day was perfect, about 78 degrees and sunny. The best part is that the bugs aren't out yet. We had lunch and strolled through the yard. Our talk was effortless and comfortable. This is always how it is with us. We have been friends forever and I can't help but believe that it truly is forever. That we were dears to each other even before we were born. Laughing and having a wonderful time in spirit.
106 River has a wonderful screened porch that we lived on in the summer time. We ate out there. We read our books and sat and talked. Company would visit and we sipped lemonade on the porch. Just a few times mother even let me sleep out on the porch. It was furnished with patio furniture that mother and daddy got at Gaberts in 1966. Iron framed with thick cushioned seats. I remember vividly the night we went to pick out the furniture. I had never been in a furniture store before and this one was huge. We drove all the up to the cities- that's what we called it when we went to St Paul or Minneapolis. I remember being enthralled with everything I saw. There was even a water feature in the patio furniture section. Imagine that. A small waterfall inside a building. I couldn't believe it.
We chose our furniture, arranged to have it delivered and went home. I looked for that delivery truck everyday and finally it came. The men set up the pieces on the porch and that was the beginning of the best room in the house. Our beloved summer porch.

© 2009

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

pictures!!!!!




Grace Albaugh 2009


Viola in the garden

copyright Grace Albaugh 2009

candy tuft in the garden

I finally got my new camera so I ran outside and snapped a few photos.

I thought I would then try my hand at transfering them onto my computer.

After that success I attempted to load one onto my post.

As you can plainly see I was successful!

Only one glitch. The pretty Viola on the top is supposed to be situated right above this line of text. Still working on how to place photos intermingled with the text. But I have to say up until this point it was a breeze. Didn't even need to read any directions in my camera manual. Perhaps I will wind up being a computer master after all.

Side note:
I fixed the finicky touch pad problem on the laptop by connecting a mouse. Found that out through my brilliant daughter E. Thanks sweetie for your great suggestion. What would I do without you?

I have added some pictures to some of my previous posts. Check them out if you want to see things like my turtle pool and the cat's whiskers.

Enjoy!

P.S. I was trying to edit this a bit and lost the picture of the viola, so please don't strain your eyes or your brain trying to find it. It was lost in cyberspace. Guess I still have a little way to go.


Welcome Crystal! So good to see you here. I've been enjoying your blog for awhile now. Good to have you with us.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

uninspired

I'm feeling quite uninspired today but also knowing that it's important for me to keep writing on a regular basis and the blog is easier than working on the book. What a cop out huh? I've been spending most of my time out in the gardens because it's the beginning of garden season and there is always a ton of work to do cleaning, clearing and planting. It has a tendency to take most of my creative brain power and leaves little for writing and art projects. I know the garden will be at manageable level in a week or two but I still feel like I'm cheating the other parts of my life.
I have been getting to know my new camera a bit though and that's been fun. Pictures to come on the blog hopefully by next week sometime.
No childhood story at this post but some good stuff for later. After the garden stops being so selfish.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Welcome to my blog Marvin. Good to see you here.

Friday, May 29, 2009

My camera arrived today! Wish me luck on figuring out how to post some photos. I'll take good thoughts and prayers from anyone willing to share.

clearing my head




Hubby and I have a small fire pit in our back yard. When we have enough sticks and branches gathered from the yard we treat ourselves to a nice fire on pleasant evenings. The last couple of weeks we have cleaned out some well aged dead lilac branches that have needed to come out for some time. This gave us enough wood for a really good fire last night. It was a perfect evening and the soft sounds of the birds and the crackle of the fire were soothing and restful.
By the time the fire was down to embers it was
dark and hubby was ready to call it a night, but for me we were just at the best part. I have a real thing for sitting in the dark watching fire embers. I stirred them all up and sat close to feel the heat on my face. I was there with just the company of little critters I could hear in the leaves behind me and a few cricket. I could hear the soft sound of traffic in the distance and an occasional airplane fly overhead winking at me with it's blinking lights. Ember staring gives me time to just sit and clear my head. The living glow of shades of orange and red are mesmerizing and thoughts and ideas flow like crazy. I receive more inspiration in this kind of atmosphere. Everything goes away and I'm surrounded by calm and clarity.
We didn't have fires at home when I was little. Only if we went to a state park or camping or something. I have always been a person that needs to clear my head however, so I ran for the woods. We lived on a dead end street on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi river and lake Rebecca. There are woods surrounding the whole lake and I spent countless hours there through my childhood. So when things got to be too much for me I headed for the woods where it was quiet and easy. I'd find a good walking stick and just meander until I found the spot that called to me that day and sit and just soak it in. Wild life was everywhere and once in a while I could hear a fish jump in the lake. The best part was that there were rarely ever any other people around. It wasn't park space so there wasn't any reason for people to be in our woods. We had the space all to ourselves.I had a lot of freedom to wander. I was a good girl and didn't give my mother reason to worry. Also it was a more innocent time and we weren't concerned with things happening at the hands of others unless it was just mischief my brother or one of the neighbor boys was up to.
I loved our woods. They spoke to me and were my best friend. I still long to get back to a place where I have space to roam away from the eyes of humans. Someday I hope to have that space again. Perhaps I will.

© 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

turtles


© photograph Grace Albaugh 2009

This is actually the wash basin I used. Mother still had it in the garage.

I have a beautiful perennial garden in my back yard. Nestled in amongst the Lamium - sitting on a low pedestal - is my bird bath. It is a shallow dish about 15" across that is glazed in muted tones of brown, gold, and green. There is a little iron frog that lives in it and keeps vigil while the birds come and go. Whenever I'm out in the garden and see this frog it reminds me of the turtles Lisa (my neighbor friend) and I had when we were girls.
There was a time when you could buy little tiny turtles at the pet store. They've since been outlawed because of a condition called soft shell disease that could be passed on to humans. But when we were girls we had several turtles. Our turtles were the luckiest alive. We spent hours creating wonderful living quarters for these guys. I had an old 10 gal. fish tank my brother wasn't using at the moment and turned it into turtle heaven. I loaded it with rocks of all sizes and put enough water in the bottom so there was swimming pools and sunning rocks. Morticia (my turtle) and Mable (Lisa's turtle) had a wonderful time in there. I bought a plastic palm tree that was the perfect size to create a tropical feeling. It was class. These turtles were living the life.

As if the tank weren't enough we decided to create a recreation spot for them too. Mother had an old metal wash basin. The kind with two handles on it fixed on each side. It was fairly low, only about 8 inches deep and about 15 inches across. We found a piece of driftwood down by the lake that was the perfect size and shape for a diving board and affixed it to one of the handles with some twine. After filling the basin about half way full we placed the girls, one at a time, on the "board" and off they went. Running toward the water and off the end of the driftwood. Plop into the water they went. We thought it was great and they must have too because each time we placed them on the board they took off running. It was great fun! We were easily entertained. That's what I love the most about my childhood. We truly were easy to entertain. We found everything amazing and a gift.
Hours of fun with turtles. They did come down with soft shell disease eventually and died. Of course we had a funeral and marked their little graves. They died about a week apart. WE were sad but knew that one would be lonely without the other. Even at our young ages we were compassionate beings. We knew that animals had feelings too.
Here's to you Morticia and Mable. Hope you are having as much fun in turtle heaven!

© 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

memorial day

Today is Memorial Day. The day we set aside to honor those who have fought and continue to fight for our freedom. My fathers fought in WWII. My son in law served in the Navy for 6 years and is now in the reserves. There are other family members sprinkled on both sides of my family that have served our country and I am grateful to them for their sacrifice.
There is no official ceremony or service of any kind taking place in my town today. There are many families flying their flags on their homes. One street down there are miniature flags lining the curb on both sides of the street for a solid block. People doing their part to commemorate the day.
All my years growing up in Hastings we had the same tradition. The war veterans and their family and friends, gathered at Roadside Park in the middle of town for a commemoration speech in front of the war memorial. Wreaths were placed there and then the high school marching band lined up and marched down Pine Street along with our men and women in uniform and the Mayor. There were always a few vintage cars to carry the oldest of the participants and they waved proudly as the people gathered along the streets to watch them pass by.
When the parade reached the end of Pine Street it headed west on 2nd Street. It was at this point that we could hear the drums in the band moving things along. All the neighbor kids and our parents emerged from our homes like little ants and converged mid way up our block. We made our way together up to the corner where we could see the parade approaching. There we waved our little flags and waved our hands back at those who were waving to us. We got a special treat because right as they approached us was the predetermined spot where the band played a patriotic song. We ran along side the parade all the way to the veterans cemetery two blocks up the road. At this point we staked out our favorite spot to watch the short ceremony as the veterans payed respects to those who died at war. At the end of the ceremony there was a three gun salute. We were in awe of the whole thing and it was a tradition that I cherished until I moved away at age 20.
If I close my eyes I can still hear those drum beats coming up the road. I can see the smiles on all of the children's faces and the pride on those of their parents. I can feel the spirit of our small town and the wonderful men and women who participated on this special day.
Thank you to all those who guard and protect us.
Thank you.

© 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

windy

Our weather the last several months has been really up and down. Cold then hot, wet then dry. Just can't seem to make up it's mind. Wednesday we had 94 degrees and gusting winds up to 50 miles and hour. I was walking across a parking lot when the wind whipped up and it felt like little bullets hitting the back of my legs. Long pants would have been a better choice than short ones that's for sure. It looked like the days of the dust bowl. We haven't had any real rain for awhile and the dust in the air was incredible.
As I was being blown around all day it reminded me of a night I spent in South Dakota out on the plains when I was 11 years old. I had the rare experience of taking an authentic wagon train ride for seven days across those plains in July of 1972. Now the North Dakota plains in July can be hot and dry and boy was it. We started out in our train of apx. 24 wagons, and at least that many men and women just on horseback, at about 9:00 in the morning and traveled until 5:00 in the evening stopping for lunch mid day. It was a commemorative ride celebrating the birthday of one of the historic forts in the area. We walked more than we sat in the wagon that jostled and swayed like crazy. We wore our long cotton skirts, sun bonnets and walking boots to protect us from the elements. It really was stepping into the past and getting a taste of what our pioneer ancestors experienced moving across this northern part of this huge country. Dinner at the end of the day cooked over an open fire was delicious even if it was a little burned or undercooked.
The fourth night we were out we could see big storm clouds brewing in the distance.By about 9:00 as darkness was closing in and we were getting ready for bed in our tent the wind picked up. There were 4 girls including myself, just getting into our sleeping bags when all of a sudden the tent roof was on top of us. We scrambled to find the tent opening and could hear loud voices and horses getting really excited. By the time we crawled out the rain was coming down and one of the men from a neighboring tent was waving us over for protection in theirs. These people were our neighbors from back home who also came on the trail ride and it was comforting to weather this storm with them.
We must have packed ten children and four women in this 6 man tent and four men were outside holding it up. They could see several small tornadoes in the distance and kept a close eye on them in case they got close. There was a large ditch about 50 yards from our tent if we needed to have better protection but it was covered with poison ivy so it was there as a last ditch (no pun intended) effort. Being inside that tent was like something out of a movie. the sides were thrashing about wildly and we could hear the men shouting over the wind and rain. The horses were at the point of hysteria and one even ran off. All of this lasted for about two hours and it was an experience that is etched securely into my mind. Wind, rain, horses, and people all wild and in for the long ride. I am so grateful for those men that were beaten with rain and wind holding up that tent to keep us all safe.
As will happen many times in this kind of storm, when it was over, it was over. Everything died down. The rain completely stopped. The air was still. People started coming out of their protected areas and wandered around to see if everyone was alright. We didn't see until the next morning when it got light just how fierce the storm was. Many of the tents were down and strewn all over camp. Trees and bushes were torn up. Wagon covers were in varying degrees of disrepair. The blessing was that the cooks got to work making breakfast and everyone else just got to work cleaning up and repairing what needed to be done. It was harmonious and natural and a sight that left a huge impression on an 11 year old girl.
The local authorities came out to make sure we were all right and the horse that ran off was found and safely returned. We hung things out to dry until it was time to pack up and move on. We had miles to cover that day and no time to rest. We picked ourselves up and moved forward. Just like the pioneers would have done. I think I did a lot of internal growing that week. I'm glad for the experience.

© 2009

What kind of experiences helped to form you?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cat Whiskers

copyright Grace Albaugh 2009

Whiskers of all the cats that graced our home


Mother and dad are getting well into their senior years. I shared in an earlier post that Daddy died when I was eight, but when I was 10 my mother remarried. He is a wonderful man who has been my dad ever since. I make the rather small trek (40 min) from Roseville to Hastings every other Monday to spend the afternoon and evening with them. I help mother with things like sorting the family pictures, making up a new address book that is current and going through and sorting out her closets. It gives her a sense of accomplishment and gives me a chance to keep an eye on her. I have a feeling this will be the year they need to make some sort of move to better address their needs. I'm sure that will be a future post.
When I was there last week I noticed a tiny pottery vase on one of the bookshelves. I could see there was something in it and as I got closer I realized that there were cat whiskers in it. Now you can imagine how small this vase is if cat whiskers are sticking half way out. This little vase used to live in the corner china hutch in the dining room of my childhood home at 106 River St. I haven't seen it for at least 15 years. Mother had it tucked away and recently brought it out.
We had many, many animals in the house over the years of my growing up. At one time we counted 26 non human lives existing in our presence. There were cats, dogs, birds, fish and reptiles. At one point there was even a blind chip monk, living in a hamster cage, that one of the cats had gotten but didn't kill.
Over the years we had five cats. Our first cat was Maude McFuzz. She was a present to me on my 6th birthday. She and I were great friends but she literally hated everyone else. We had to put her away in an upstairs bedroom when ever company came over. If she was left out to roam around she inevitably climbed up on the back of the couch and attacked the head of whoever chose to sit there. She was mean. She was also pregnant when we got her and when those dear little kittens were born she smothered two of them and only two survived. We had to bottle feed them because Maude would not feed them. Maude went back to the farm where we had gotten her and we raised the kittens. Flopsy and Daisy were sweet Little things and grew quickly as cats do but they were wild like their mother and tore up everything in the house. They too met with life on the farm. I'm sure they were happy there.
Our next cat was one my brother had mistaken for a baby skunk down in the woods and tried to hit it with his slingshot. I know, not a very bright idea. But he realized it was a kitten at the last moment when he heard her meow. It was raining and she was soaked and hungry. No mother in sight, so he brought her home. Another kitten to bottle feed and she too grew up strong. We had Pricilla for many years. She was our cat with nine lives surviving one of them after being crushed by a car.
Our final cat was found about a year after we got Pricilla. Mother was visiting a friend who lived out on the edge of town when she heard meowing coming from the back yard. There was a kitten stuck up in a small tree. She was all fur and ears. The woman said just to let her go. They had lots of Ferrel cats that wondered in and out of the area. Well that wouldn't do for mother so after going door to door to inquire, and fining out she was really a stray, she brought her home. She was old enough for solids so no bottles this time. We named her Caroline and she grew to be 16 lbs. It was like animals could smell our soft hearts and just put themselves in our path. I'll tell you about our dog Jack another time.
So all this information and nothing about the whiskers. The whiskers were mothers thing. Every once in awhile a cat's whiskers will fall out. When mother found one on the floor or furniture she picked it up and put it in this tiny vase in the china hutch. I think it was her way of holding on to a connection with these cats. They just pulled at her heart and she kept them. So now there are cat whiskers from all of our cats still around to remind us of them. A small whisker bouquet. Sitting on the bookshelf in the living room. I have to say I'm glad they are there. They pull at my heart too.

copyright 2009

What are your pet memories?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Oh The Joy

I sing in a 34 voice chorale. Our season runs from September through May and we just wrapped things up on Friday with our final concert. It is such a privilege to sing with this group of men and women. Our directors and accompanists are so talented that it makes rehearsals inspired and enriching. I stand in the center so I am able to have the music surround me as we perform. At times I get so emotional with the music that we are creating I can hardly sing for the lump in my throat. It is a true blessing in my life.

My singing career started really early, at about age 4. I sang on many stages in many places. None of them were famous but I thought they were impressive. My favorite stage was the ramp at the top of our driveway in front of the garage. I could ride my tricycle and sing at the same time. Another favorite place was sitting in front of our console stereo and using the front rim like a piano keyboard. That way I could put an album on and sing and "play" to the music. My favorite song to sing was "Belly Up To The Bar Boys" from the soundtrack to the movie "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" starring Debbie Reynolds. And of course there was the bathroom. The way my voice resonated in there was amazing! I sang about everything and anything. The neighbor girls would join in too and we wrote our own songs that we sang while we played our guitars. It was lovely and our parents enjoyed the little concerts we put on.

I gradually advanced to real choirs starting in 5th grade at Tilden school. Then on to Jr. and Sr. High School in both girls and mixed choir. I even had the honor of receiving a few awards at music contest in High School. Needless to say, music has been a part of my life forever. I actually think that I must have started singing in the womb. It has always been part of my life. And always will be.

copyright 2009

Is there anything in your life that has always been there?
Welcome Stephen! It's nice to have you join us. I hope you enjoy your visits.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I tell ya

I don't know why I'm sharing this but you need to know what a big deal this blog is for me. I've been around since before computers. At least before they were in regular people's homes. I was using punch cards when I was in junior high (many of you won't even know what those are). So when I sit down to the computer it is a big deal for me.

I seem to carry some sort of vibe that entices the computer to misbehave when I approach. Honesty, it's almost evil. But I press on. I try to make friends every time I sit at the key board. I send it love and good energy vibes. I can only imagine what would go wrong if I were sending out the evil thoughts it really deserves. So when I sat down at the laptop to do a little blogging at home this morning I hit the touch pad a little too hard at just the right spot and everything turned to Arabic. There I was staring at a language I couldn't read and had no idea how to navigate out of it because I was looking at letters that made no sense.

So I quietly shut down the computer and walked away and got into the shower instead and let the sadness wash down the drain. Yes sadness. It makes me sad and sort of hurts my feelings that my computer doesn't like me. I'm a likable gal, really! As I stood in the shower I thought maybe by the time I got to work the problem would have somehow worked itself out on it's own. Yes I really thought that, but as I'm sure all of you people that know something about computers know that it did not work itself out by the time I got to work and there they were. Those foreign letters still staring at me on my dashboard.

So I sat and remembered that before I logged in I saw in the upper right hand corner that you can choose the language. Then I noticed on my dashboard page in the upper left hand corner that there was a drop down window so I clicked on it and sure enough there it was. The language choices. Hallelujah! Success! I felt a warm glow in my bosom and got a little teary. I did it. I figured it out and with no other human help. Someone upstairs took pity on me this morning and walked me through it.

So for now I will stick to using my regular computer with the regular keyboard at work and stay away from the laptop. We just aren't friends. Nothing I can do about it. My boss doesn't mind if I blog at work. Those are the perks when you are basically your own boss.

Well that's it. My confession of ineptness. I give myself an A for effort though.

Blog on Grace!

P.S. Now I just have to figure out how I erased the layout tab on my other blog (again using the laptop at home) so I can get back to add some gadgets. Ugh!


copyright 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

thanks

I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to everyone that has left comments on my blog. I enjoy writing these memories but it makes it so much more enjoyable when I know they are bringing back sweet memories for others. That's why I write here. That's the whole point.

To and From School

On my way to work in the morning I pass by a boy and his dad waiting for the school bus. The boy looks to be about six or seven and he and his dad play catch in the driveway as they wait. We have gotten used to seeing each other and exchange a smile and a wave as I pass by. It makes for a sweet morning. For some reason though I have not seen them in a couple of weeks and I hope everything is all right. Perhaps they have moved or something. I keep them in my prayers.
When I was in Kindergarten I walked home from school with my sister who was in 5th grade. We only lived two blocks from the school but there was one fairly busy street we had to cross. One day in Spring we were waiting at the corner for a good time to cross. Anne was very attentive and responsible. She judged the cars distances and knew when it was safe to cross over. I never doubted her. This particular day however, she misjudged and said "run Gracie" and I ran. The car was coming from the right and traveling in the far lane, so by the time we met in the middle of the street I actually hit the side of the car. The back bumper caught my right thigh and spun me like a top to the curb where I fell unconscious. All I remember before everything went black was my sister screaming. When I "woke up" I was in my mother's arms on the ground next to the curb. As you can imagine everyone was very concerned. Mother heard my sister scream and came running. The woman who was driving the car was terribly shaken and I heard her saying "They were waiting so patiently". The interesting thing about this memory is that it's one of love and concern. I never have frightening feelings about this experience. Everyone else was horrified, especially my sister. It took her a long time to get over the guilt. Amazingly enough they took an x-ray of my leg and it was just badly bruised. Just a bruise and a great story for the rest of my life. That's what I got the day I hit the car.

copyright 2009

Do you have any memories that have left a surprising response?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The mug

copyright Grace Albaugh 2009

This is daddy's mug.


I have on my desk at work a small mug with a broken handle. It's sides are thick and have what look to be an Indian designs on it. American Indian that is. If I think back and guess as closely as I can I would have to say that this cup is about 45 or 47 years old. It pulls double duty for me. It keeps my tea and hands warm as I drink my tea but more importantly it warms my heart as I look at it. It is one of the few things I have left of my dads'.
Daddy passed away from a painful bout with lung and kidney cancer in 1968. He was in and out of the hospital having surgery and who knows what else for over a year. I was 7 when we found out he was terminal and he quietly slipped away in his own bed at home one morning four days after my 8th birthday.
This particular mug was daddy's work mug as well. It sat on his desk everyday and I looked for it when I went to visit him at the office with my mother. Daddy always said it was the perfect coffee mug because it was small enough and thick enough to keep the coffee hot from the first drink to the last. The handle has been broken for as long as I can remember but neither dad nor I could give it up. It is the perfect mug.


copyright 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

Welcome Kathleen. Good to see you here. I hope you enjoy your visits.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Stopping For A Bite

There is this wonderful little Thai place right next door to the salon where I get my hair cut. I purposely go an hour early so I can stop for lunch before hand. The place is small and has a warm and wonderful atmosphere. I order the same thing every time I go (which is really out of character for me) - the coconut noodles! I can conjure up the their fabulous flavor in my mind and my mouth literally waters. It is like an explosion of pure delight. It has become my very favorite thing to eat (which is also out of character. I never have favorites.). It does bring back a memory of routine however.

In the town of Hastings where I grew up there was a little cafe down on 2nd Street. This is the main street of the old downtown area. Our house was just up the hill on River Street. On nice Saturday afternoons in the summertime I rounded up my best friend Lisa, who lived behind us, and we walked downtown with our books in hand. The walk was about ten blocks long and the sidewalk ran along the small cliff that overlooks the Mississippi River and Lake Rebecca. Our plan was to sprawl out on the grass down at the levy and read the afternoon away. By the time we got all the way down the hill we were bushed and thirsty. The cafe was on the way to our final destination so we stopped in for a bag of onion and garlic potato chips and a coke. Always onion and garlic potato chips and a coke. For a girl who likes to mix things up it was odd to have this ritual but I think it was just because it was a part of this activity. Reading at the river and a stop at the cafe. We didn't do this more than a few times a summer and for only about a three year span of time. But we felt so grown up at 10 to 12 years old. It was a time of innocense and safty in a small river town. I miss those days

copyright 2009

What have become your rituals?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

freedom on a bike

I was driving down the street last evening and saw a young lady on her bike. She was coasting down a gentle slope on a bike path and was steering in that gentle back and forth meandering way. As though she didn't have a care in the world and all the time she needed.
Not more than a few blocks from this spot is where I rode my bike when I was a girl. It was the most lovely place in the whole town. Narrow dirt roads that wound amongst huge Oak trees. Fragrant flowers everywhere. The grass always beautifully manicured. It was quiet and the wind spoke to me as it rushed past my face while I rode. It was the cemetery.
I know it must sound a little weird for a girl to spend so much time in the cemetery, but honestly it was my favorite place to be. And it wasn't just the things that I've already mentioned. I actually like being amongst all of the souls that reside there. There were a few people I knew like Mr. Ganfield our next door neighbor, but most of them were strangers. It was peaceful and I felt peaceful being there. It was a great place to ride our bikes because there were hardly ever any cars. And because the roads were dirt there were dips and ruts from the tree branches that were oh so fun to ride over. I knew where every one of them was and when I came to the longest dip, that happened to be on a curve, I closed my eyes and navigated it perfecty. It was thrilling to feel my stomach go woozie and be able to do it all with my eyes closed. I'd done it one hundred times I'm sure. I knew just how much and when to turn the handle bars. It was one of the best 30 minutes of the day that bike time in the cemetery. Oh how I miss it. Maybe someone in the neighborhood has a bike I could borrow (I don't live there any more) and I'll take another ride.

copyright 2009

What are your biking memories?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Heat Glorious Heat

Yesterday was one of those Spring days where the sun is warm but the air is cool. Tried it's best to nudge out of the 50's but not making it. As I stepped out the door the cool breeze gave me a little kiss and I shivered. I love these Spring days that give me the promise of warmer days to come. I headed for the car and as I opened the door I could feel the warmth of it's interior. This is one of my most favorite things in the world, getting into the car when it has been sitting in the sun. It's like getting into my own personal sauna. I slid into my seat and closed the door, shut my eyes and soaked it all in. This incredible heat! It sank all the way into my bones. I have always loved these heat baths in the car. My daughter E loves them too. One of the many things we have in common.

When I was in grade school, neighbor girl friends and I went to the beach on hot summer days when we could talk our mothers into it. Our beach was a small sandy spot along the St Croix river which is just a hop across the Wisconsin border. We spent all afternoon playing in the water and building castles in the wet sand. As the afternoon lazed away there would inevitably come the call "last swim girls". This was our cue to get into the water one last time before we packed it in for the day. The water was always cold and when we were done we were covered in goose bumps. We got out of the water, gathered our beach towels and flip flops and ran for the car. We knew what was waiting. The car sauna. We all piled into the back seat, huddled all together for body warmth. No seat belts kept us apart. They were an optional feature back in the day and our parents were far too frugal with the finances to spend money on seat belts. We were grateful because it meant we could entwine ourselves together. Our teeth chattered like crazy but we settled down in no time. Blissful in each others arms and the glorious heat of the car.

copyright 2009

What gives you the most wonderful feelings?

Monday, April 27, 2009

special spot to drop into

I stopped by one of my favorite spots to have lunch today. The soup was warm and rich. The sandwich was piled high on wonderful home made bread. I sat at a window seat so I could watch the world go by as I ate. I love to sit and imagine where people are going and what they are thinking about as they saunter past. There is a couple holding hands going into a shoe store next door. Now that's love when a young man will subject himself to a shoe store with his lady. Perhaps they are looking for shoes for a special occasion, maybe even a wedding. Isn't that a fun thought.

When I was very little my dad always went down to the local cafe on Saturday mornings for breakfast with his buddies. They would spend about 45 minutes there eating their eggs, toast and coffee and catching up on the weeks news. They didn't stay long because everyone had errands to run and chores waiting at home, but they still made it a point to gather. I had the privilege of joining them one time. I thought I was something special and if you had asked my dad he would tell you I really was. Daddy passed away from cancer when I was 8 years old so these memories are close to my heart. It was always the most simple things I remember like a breakfast with dad and his buddies that are tender to me. We were two peas in a pod my dad and I. We didn't need for life to be grand. Just warm with those we love and a lot of nature thrown in. I miss his dearly but I'm glad to have had even the little time I had with him. He was the greatest in my eyes. Still is, and I take him with me often to quiet spots and feel of his spirit.
I love you still daddy.

copyright 2009

What are your fond memories with your father?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Silly" flowers

I saw the first of the "Silly" flowers today. I was on my way to work and there they were with their smiling faces reaching for the morning sun. Their bright blue calling out to me "good morning my dear". It put such a smile on my face.
When I was in grade school I anticipated the walk up the driveway every afternoon as soon as it started to get the least bit warm. I knew that the day would come when I neared the spot under the dining room window and there they would be. The sign that Spring had really come to stay-the "Silly" flowers were in bloom. I must admit that I've called them this for so long that I'm not even sure of their real name. I believe they are Sillia but I would have to search that out to be sure. Mother and I call them silly because they come up so early here in MN. Sometimes it would even snow after their bloom and there they were, trying to keep their heads above the unwelcome blanket. Their little yellow noses pointed straight up. The first "Silly" flower day was honored with a bright giggle and a skip in my step. As I entered the house I shouted "the silly flower are up". My mother joined my in my exuberance and looked out the window to confirm my discovery. I suspect she already knew but she never spoiled my being the first to know it.

copyright 2009

What are your first signs of Spring?
welcome crystal jigsaw! I've been following your blog and have enjoyed it so much.Glad to have you on board.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Trips Out East

My husband and I went to Salem MA to visit our son and his fiance' this past weekend. We spent four wonderful days with them. The temps were warming up and we did a lot of walking around Salem and also went on up to Maine. It was refreshing to feel and smell the sea air and hear the seagulls and waves on the shore. We have a lot of water in MN too but it smells like lake water and it just is not the same as sea water smell. Good, but different.
When I was a girl I went out east with my parents but we went to West Virginia to visit my grandparents. I have fond memories of those visits. My most treasured memories are of night time. My grandparents had an empty lot next to their house and on warm summer evenings after it finally got dark I asked my grandmother for an empty jar and headed outside. This is when the magic started. Armed with my jar, lid off, I stood very quietly waiting. Waiting for the tiny illuminations that blinked through the air around me. It never took very long and I was surrounded with fireflies. The air would become so thick with them at times I felt like I was floating in the air amongst them. For me this was heaven. The quiet night and these soft glowing beacons. What a gift. It was my hope to be able to catch at least a few of these little beauties and keep them in my jar. The first time I collected my little jar full I put small holes in the top of the lid and placed them beside my bed. It was the most glorious night light I had ever seen. You can imagine my distress when I woke up in the morning, all ready to greet my little wards and found them lifeless on the bottom of the jar. I was heart broken. I was a murderer. From then on when I needed to catch fireflies I brought them in and watched them in the darkness of my room for an hour or so. Then I took them back outside and let them go free out into the night. It was at least a magical pleasure for a short time. Well worth it. I loved those nights.

copyright 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sorry I have been absent from the blog for a bit. I've been out of town. Will give you something new on Monday. Promise!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Seedplanter, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I have a quilt of my great grandmothers and I'm sure the pieces have similar stories to those in your daddy's quilt. I have hand quilted a few quilts in my lifetime and love the way the needle feels in my fingers and am grateful for the callouses that remind of the love that went into them when I'm done.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Grandchildren

I spent part of the day yesterday with my grandchildren Abe and Everett. I love living close enough to them that I can visit nearly any time. Abe decided to start talking with English words a few months ago. He was speaking a perfect version of Abeese up until then. He could tell you entire stories including hand gestures and facial expressions but it was all in a made up language only Abe could speak or understand. Yesterday was all about being outside and shoveling rocks. He loves to be busy every minute of the day and if you have a job to be done you want Abe working for you. He is tireless. Everett is still to new and sleepy to join in but I'm sure in a year or two he will be keeping up with big brother.
I have fond memories of my grandmother coming to visit from out east. We only saw her a handful of times but I can still recall the sweetness of her spirit. She was a quiet woman with much strength. She also loved to work and asked my mother to have the cleaning supplies ready so she could jump in on spring or fall cleaning while she was here. We washed windows and curtains, polished silver, beat area rugs slung over the clothesline and a number of other chores. The house shone like a new penny when we were done. She only stayed a week but we accomplished much in that short amount of time. I miss her when I do my own deep cleaning now. I would love to have her here to chat with and soak in her wisdom while the smell of vinegar wafts through the air.Those were the days.

copyright 2009

What are your grandmother memories?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dresses

copyright Grace Albaugh 209

Mother-ready for the ball


I bought a dress today to wear to my son's wedding in July. He and his lovely bride to be are being married at a historic farm in Massachusetts. It is no easy task finding a dress with short sleeves and age appropriate, but I think I finally found the right one today. It is a beautiful royal blue, Evan Picone. Simple and classic. I think I might make a very delicate beaded pin to embellish the front just a bit. Just a hint though, I don't want it to be noticed very much. Just enough to add a hint of interest.
This dress made me think of the dress my mother wore to our Governor's inaugural ball. It would have been around 1970. I would have to look it up to be sure. Her dress was the same color as the one I just bought. It was a royal blue strapless A-line dress with a chiffon, long sleeved overlay with a rounded neck line.It was umpire waisted with a 6 inch band encrusted with jewel toned crystals. Mother looked spectacular. Her hair was done 1970's style in a teased flip brushed over to one side with the other side tucked behind her ear. I think she felt like a princess. She certainly looked like one.

copyright 2009

What beautiful mother memories do you have?
Welcome seedplanter. It's nice to have you join me. Please feel free to answer my questions at the end of my posts. I would love to hear your childhood stories too.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Birthdays

We celebrated two birthdays in our family this past week. One was long distance and the other local. Tara is our soon to be daughter-in-law and she lives in Salem MA. We had fun sending her birthday wishes via our family website that our daughter Kate set up for us. The other birthday was our grandson Abe's. He turned two and we were able to gather at his house and have a party. It is always interesting having a party for Abe. He doesn't like to have attention on himself so when it's time to open presents he gets through one and then has had enough. Our daughter Maggie winds up opening the rest while Abe is out of the room completely. He's not easily impressed.
I remember my own birthday parties when I was a girl. We didn't have any family that lived close enough to celebrate with us so we invited family friends instead. Two or three families came over for cake and ice cream after dinner and I opened presents and enjoyed their company. Board games were popular at the time and we always wound up playing one before the evening was over. I can hear the laughter and see all of the smiling faces in my mind as I remember these wonderful memories. We have a picture of my 5th birthday playing the "Felix the Cat" game. I have on a pretty party dress and my hair is pulled back with a bow.

coptright 2009

What are your birthday memories?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Rising Waters

There is news this week of flood waters rising in the north of Minnesota and North Dakota. What a difficult time for the folks that are dealing with this. It creates fear and uncertainty that can be hard to cope with. I hope there are people for each one of these families to turn to for support and help.
I was caught in a flood when I was a girl. I must have been about 3 or 4 years old and a friend of my mothers was watching me as mom was busy making sandwiches for the sand baggers. I remember JoAnn making controlled frantic calls on the telephone in hushed tones and soon there was a man at the door wearing hip boots. I put my jacket on and the man picked me up from the front stoop and carried me about a block up the street to where the street was higher. It was at this time that I realized there was water all around us. It was up to Joann's front steps by the time they got to us and it nearly topped the mans boots when we were walking up the street to higher ground. It happened so quickly. Just earlier that morning there seemed to be no threat of flooding in JoAnn's neighborhood but by lunch time it was another story.
Our lives can change in such a short time. It seems that much more important to live in a manner of readiness. To make a few efforts to be prepared for the unexpected so if and when it happens we have security in what we have in place.

copyright 2009

Was there ever a time you were caught off guard or in an emergency?