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.


Friday, June 26, 2009


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


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


© 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

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!


© 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


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.


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


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.