28 May 2006


When my mother's maternal grandmother emigrated from Germany in the late 1800s, she settled in Rochester, New York. She was a widow with three small daughters, but soon remarried, and had several more children. Her family attended the local Evangelical and Reformed Church, which my mother, brother and I also joined. I believe it was in the 1950s that the church burned down; by then, I had married and moved on.
Some years ago, I was busy tracing my ancestry, and wrote to the church for any applicable records. Fortunately, the birth and death records were available, so I was able to find some information, but I was informed that the marriage records had been lost in the fire. As it turns out, one of my cousins saved the Bible and the birth/death records book. He and his father, who was a fireman, heard the alarm and raced to the church. Buddy ran into the church and rescued the books just before the place went up in an inferno.

I had asked my father to write down what information he knew about his parents and grandparents, and were there any photographs of the family. His oldest brother, Gene, had been given the family Bible and the photo albums, but they were lost when Gene's house burned down. He was able to save photos of his father and mother, which he willed to me. The photo of his mother is the only know photo of her that exists; I have had the photos restored, copied and the copies given to my aunts and uncles. I've also digitized them and given copies of them, family albums and records to my brother and my children.

My message to one and all is to place a high value on family photos, letters, diaries, documents, records, Bibles, etc. and do everything in your power to keep them from disappearing. It's the history of your family. Don't lose any part of it.

25 May 2006


Here is a photo that nobody took while Grandma and I were in Germany in 2002. We visited cousins who live in the house my grandfather lived in before he emigrated to America. While we were there, we celebrated Grandma's birthday; one of her gifts was a visit to Wartburg, which is where this photo wasn't taken.

The photo wasn't taken because it's a composite of two photos, one with Grandma and our cousins, and one with me and our cousins. Using digital magic, I added Grandma to the second photo. So now we have a nice photo of the four of us that nobody took. Or is it a photo that two people took? Anyway, I've framed it and it rests in my "studio" where I look at it every day and remember the wonderful time we had with our German cousins.


Sometime after he left the navy and before he married my mother, my father owned a Harley-Davidson motorcycle - a HOG. While digitizing their photo album, I ran across a photo of him with it, so copied it and have it in a frame on my dresser.
My daughter, Chris, and her husband, Randy, now own a HOG, which they ride every opportunity they are given. It rested over winter in their garage, covered by a blanket. There was a short discussion about whether or not it was acceptable to cover a HOG with a PINK blanket; think of it! A HOG covered in pink! I cringe at the thought of it.
However that may be, a few Sundays ago, I suddenly had the urge to send Chris and Randy a copy of the photo of my father posed proudly next to his Harley. So off it went via e-mail. Shortly after, I talked with Chris and she said she was pleasantly surprised to receive the photo. She and Randy had been talking about the Harley on Sunday - the same Sunday - and she remarked that she'd love to have a copy of her grandfather with his Harley, and the next day, there it was.
Who do you suppose whispered in my ear telling me to send the photo?

24 May 2006


Here's one of my rose paintings, all framed and ready for the big sale in November.

The Blues Sisters

This was taken when the girls were much younger. It took us about 25 or 30 shots before we had the right one.

18 May 2006

Apple Pancakes

Yesterday, Grandma decided to make a double batch of apple pancake - double the ingredients in one pan. The problem was that her hives were acting up and she didn't want to face the agony of peeling all those apples (about 8). I had offered to peel and core them, but that would have taken all of the afternoon and most of the evening, being as how I'm left handed and all the knives are right handed. Fortunately, Grandma had a great idea. Searching the Internet, she found that the local Linens and Things store had an apple peeler and corer. So off I went to buy the wonderful invention.
We couldn't believe how easy it was to peel and core apples with the contraption. It even slices them!
I went through those apples in jig time, Grandma had the frying pan ready to go, and soon the smell of hot apple pancake permeated the walls. It's amazing how hungry one can become by merely inhaling the odor of apple pancake.
We each had a larger-than-usual portion for supper and now we're cutting back today as the penalty for over indulging. Oh, but it was good while it lasted. And the best part is that there is more in the freezer for another day - or two. I can't wait!

15 May 2006

Camping Today

While we were waiting for our wives to finish shopping for beads, Dick P. and I wandered around the REI store next door. They have just about everything anyone would need from bicycling to rock climbing to kayaking. Canoes, bicycle locks, hiking boots, walking shorts, $5,000 backpacks, GPS devices, freeze dried chili, und so wieder. But the thing that struck me was a device one would use with a small burner to make one cup of cappaccino. My gosh, where have we got to?
When my brother, Fred, and I started camping, we had a surplus Army tent that could sleep four compatible adults or lots of sleepy children. We went trout fishing in the Adirondacks with his, then, father-in-law, Les, who seemed to know where every trout stream was in the Northeast. We had a Coleman stove, a cast iron frying pan, a coffee pot, and some Boy Scout eating utinsels that folded up into a compact carrying satchel, plus a cooler to store our meager supply of perishable food. Cans of beans and roast beef hash, eggs, butter, bacon, coffee, beer and bread is my recollection of the contents of our larder. We relied on a good catch to supplement the menu. Plus soap and toilet paper.
We usually drove up to the "campsite" in a station wagon - this was in the 50s - on dirt logging roads. The campsite was merely an almost flat spot under some trees just a few yards from the stream. The State maintained the area, so there was a primitive outhouse across the road (bring your own paper), with a catch on the outside of the door to keep the animals out when it was not in use.
One of the first times we fished there, we had a good catch, so had fresh trout cooked in lots of butter for supper. Being late, we left the frying pan on the picnic table overnight. Well, the raccoons cleaned the pan sometime during the night, so it was just a matter of rinsing it out before breakfast. After that, we were more careful about leaving edibles out in the open.
But cappaccino and camping? It just doesn't seem right.

14 May 2006

My Studio

Here's a photo of my "studio" and my latest watercolor. Pepper, my constant companion, is right there. The painting of the Angelfish passed inspection by my instructor and classmates.

09 May 2006

Corgi Report

This was written in 2004 when Grandma and I were in England:

Pembroke Welsh Corgis

Red and white,
Can’t stand to be together,
Yet can’t bear to be apart.

Pepper bounces along ahead,
Stopping to berate her sister
For lagging behind,
But warning her not to try to lead.
She has the authority to be first
To each spot,
To check for the odor of other breeds.
Ginger doesn’t mind.
She plods along at her own pace,
Knowing full well the scent will wait for her.

They both limp now.
Not enough to keep them from their walk,
But just enough to elicit our sympathy.

True companions.
We are happy that they welcomed us to their pack.

Well, that was then and this is now; they're both 10 years old - 70 in human years (?). Pepper is showing her age, graying around her muzzle, and her limp is much more noticable. But she stills wants her daily walk, which doesn't always happen and which is shorter now. Despite both hind legs having been operated on for torn ACLs (Anterior Cruciate Ligaments) when she was still growing, she can dance for her supper (no, we don't make her do that, she just does it to show her impatience). She's my shadow; I have to keep looking around to make sure she's not under my feet.

Ginger suffers from arthritis. She can't always walk, so scoots along on one hip. We've put down rugs and runners to help her get traction to be able to get up, but she doesn't always try. Her left front paw is swollen, which makes it harder for her to get up. Grandma carries her out in the morning, then goes in to start fixing their breakfast; sometimes that's enough of an incentive to get her to walk into the house. Not always. She was Grandma's shadow and still keeps her eye on Grandma; she wants to be close, but can't always arrange it.

How can we be so lucky to have such loyal companions?

05 May 2006

Another View Of The Fifth Of May

From today's Arizona Republic editorial page, by Linda Chavez:

"I suppose Cinco de Mayo fiestas are no worse than St. Patrick's or Columbus Day parades. . . .(But helping newcomers) learn about the Battle of Lexington and Concord is certainly more important to their understanding of what it means to be an American than teaching them about Gen. Zaragoza's victory at Puebla."

04 May 2006

TheFifth of May

The Fifth of May, or as our Mexican legal and illegal immigrants like to call it, Cinco de Mayo, will not be celebrated in my house. I don't plan on celebrating a battle in which Mexican troops won (but lost the war), any more than they will be celebrating events from the countries of my ancestors; events such as the Council of Trent, or Bastille Day, or the Reunification of Germany. Until these are celebrated with the same gusto as the Fifth of May, I shall refrain from firing pisols in the air and waving Mexican flags at all passers-by.

Are you with me, Americans?