30 December 2011

"A Queer Case"

From The Holley Standard, Holley, N. Y., Thursday, November 20, 1879:
"'A Queer Case
'Our usually quiet community is much excited over a new development in a case which has caused much speculation during the summer. The facts are something like these: Mrs. Jesse Mann and her daughter Hannah, living alone on a farm west of Martin's Corners, have been annoyed and at times greatly alarmed by some parties coming to their house and throwing stones in the windows, destroying house plants, cutting doors, and even carrying fence posts into neighbors' yards, and in harvest time pulling down shocks of wheat and scattering them in the highway. These demonstrations have been so persistent as to injure the health of Mrs. Mann through fear of personal injury. Her son Gad and others have repeatedly staid (sic) in the house all night, but never on these occasions have the parties been heard or seen, until Saturday, the 3rd, about midnight, when Gad Mann and Geo. Odell, his brother-in-law, once more secreted themselves about the house and succeeded in capturing a lady, who has admitted participation in the whole series of attacks on the peace of the family but refuses to reveal any accomplice. She was detained until Sunday morning, when a warrant was procured for her arrest. Upon being taken before Justice Fowler at Two Bridges, she plead not guilty, and examination being waived she was bailed in the sum of $550 to appear in court. We withhold the name of the guilty party, thinking it well from the nature of the case to ask a suspension of public opinion.' - East Carlton Correspondence Orleans Republican."

I found this article while conducting research, but have not yet found anything further about the case - yet. Mrs. Jesse Mann is the former Nancy Standish, my second great grandmother, who was a direct descendant of Myles Standish, who we all know as the Captain of the Pilgrims' militia.

22 December 2011

The Miller Challenge

The challenge is to find when George Miller (Müller) immigrated to the United States.
This is information about George:
He was born 5 July 1815 in Lembach, Bas-Rhin, France to George Müller and Sophie Catharina Guthöhrel. He was naturalized on 22 October 1851 in Lyons, Wayne County, New York. He belonged to the First Lutheran Church, where the records of his children’s births are recorded. His wife was Magdalena Rössel, born 15 December 1820, in Lembach. He first appears in the US census in 1850 as George Mills in Lyons. His oldest child, Magdalena was born 22 June 1843 in Lyons, so he must have immigrated before that. In the 1900 census, the first year the question was asked, Magdalena said she had immigrated in 1855, which is obviously incorrect.

16 December 2011

Early Morning Plan

I woke up this morning with a plan for legalizing marijuana, don't ask me why, I don't know. So here's the essence of the plan:
First, pass federal legislation to treat marijuana the same as any and all tobacco products. That would allow tobacco companies to start producing marijuana cigarettes, and would include collecting import taxes for all marijuana coming across our borders.
Second, include a 30 to 90 day amnesty program, to be managed by the tobacco companies, during which people could turn in their supply of marijuana for coupons to be used in exchange for marijuana cigarettes. That would include credit for all living plants, which could be used to start legalized farms. After the amnesty program expires, the same protections and penalties that currently exist for tobacco products would be applied to marijuana products.

04 December 2011


If you go on Google Earth and search around Prague, Oklahoma, to the west, you can find quite a few earthquake records. Look between Prague and Meeker, both sides of highway US 62. The largest I found is 5.7, stronger than I'd like to feel. About 6 or 8 years ago, there was a quake in California that rolled through Arizona. Our house felt as though it was on a small roller coaster, and our dining room light was swaying. Fortunately, there was no damage. But it sure was a strange sensation.

27 November 2011

Just In Case

Just in case you were wondering, Grandma and I did not partake of the Black Friday activities. We need our rest.

26 November 2011

Didya Hear?

Didya hear about the young fella who sold his business because he heard that Congress was going to give him "some help" and he decided to get out before they could?

07 November 2011

The Holiday Season

We made it past Halloween, so all the ghosts and goblins are back in the attic or under the bed for another year. Next up is Thanksgiving, which some think began with the Pilgrims back in the 1620's. The fourth Thursday in November, after a series of changes, was officially set as THE date by federal legislation in December 1941. I don't know what kind of celebration was held in the early years, but it probably didn't involve one day of over-indulgence followed by three days of bicarbonate of soda and ice bags. Or was that New Years Eve?

Once we get past Thanksgiving, we look toward Christmas, even though the merchants have been reminding us since Labor Day.

25 October 2011

Joe and Petey

We lived in Rochester, New York, and I was in high school at the time. The family next door were from Ireland and had two sons, Joe and Jim, Joe being the oldest, three years younger than me. Joe introduced me to Petey. But first, a little background.

Joe was curious by nature. As an example, his mother came home from shopping one day with an archery set for Joe, who promptly took it out in the backyard where Jim was playing. Trying to find out what might happen, Joe took aim at the sky and let an arrow fly. He learned that what goes up must come down, and come down it did - right onto his brother’s head. Fortunately, the arrow had a blunt point so no physical damage was done to Jim, but Joe couldn’t sit down for a while. There are other examples, like the time he sneaked his father’s pistol out of the house, went into the woods and accidentally shot himself in the hand, requiring the fire department to bring him home. And there was that other time… Well, I did say a
little background.

Our neighbor across the street was raising a Cooper’s hawk and a Peregrine Falcon. The falcon’s name was Petey, but I don’t remember the name of the hawk (probably Cooper). The owner was going on vacation and asked Joe to feed and water his birds. Everything went well for a day or two until Joe decided to find out if he could let Petey out and call him back to the cage. Well, Petey didn’t come back to Joe, instead flying around a bit before alighting onto a chimney down the street. Joe was frantic that the bird was going to disappear. He called to me and explained the situation, so I took a piece of raw beef and the leather glove that Joe had and walked down the street to where Petey could see me. I waved the meat back and forth and whistled to call him down, and, lo and behold, he did. He landed on my gloved hand and went for the meat. I took hold of the straps on his legs (there’s a name for them which you probably all know) and made sure he couldn’t fly away, then walked up the street and put him back in his cage. Joe swore me to secrecy. As far as I can tell, the owner never did find out about Petey‘s freedom flight. And Joe went on to other days of infamy.

22 October 2011

Hmm, just wonderin'

I don't know what it's like in your area, but we seem to be in the midst of the monarch butterfly migration. The air is filled with them. We have a bog garden and they love one of the plants that is now in bloom. Do you think that the word "butterfly" might be a Spoonerism for their original word - flutter-by - that is more descriptive? Just askin'.

14 October 2011

Found Wood

There is an exhibit at the Desert Botanical Garden of big bugs created out of found wood. The artist uses different types of wood that he picks up here and there to make sculptures such as this giant Praying Mantis.

10 October 2011


A book of essays can try the patience of a saint. Whenever I pick one up, I set as a goal to read one each day. That gives me the opportunity to mull over the author's moral point, if there is one, or to enjoy the humorous incident related, or just to revel in the choices of words. However - and you knew there'd be a "however" - sometimes it just isn't possible to wait the twenty-four hours for the next experience. So I've been almost racing through this new book from the local library, because my patience took a hike. The book is "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" by Bill Bryson, who spent twenty years in England before moving back to America, specifically, Hanover, New Hampshire. Yesterday, I zipped through three - THREE - before I even realized that my goal had been much surpassed. Now the dilemma is, should I not read any more for the next two days, or just press on while attempting to maintain my daily ration? Sometimes life is just a series of hard decisions.

23 September 2011

Goodbye Facebook

I had said a few months ago that I was cancelling my Facebook account, but found out that it was not that easy. Every photo had to be individually deleted and it was so bothersome that I stopped and decided I was too lazy to finish. Then, this week when I logged on, I was confronted with a screen that was alien to me. Facebook changed! And so did I. So I checked out the process for cancelling my account once again and found it only takes one click. So one click I did. The next message said I would be given 14 days to change my mind after which my account would be permanently erased. By now, I've forgotten when the 14 days started, so I'll just let it go.

09 September 2011


Yesterday, Grandma and I ran a few errands then went to the Musical Instruments Museum in Phoenix. We spent about 2 hours walking through the exhibits, which are amazing. There are instruments from almost every country in the world, with accompanying audio of them. Among the missing countries is North Korea. There is a space reserved, so if anyone knows how or where to find any, please contact them at www.themim.com. We had a sandwich in the Cafe before we left. A nice place to spend time. There is one area where the instruments can be played - a great place for children. Gongs, drums, xylophones, mandolins, etc. A great display of player pianos, player woodwinds, including an exhibit that tells how the piano rolls are created. They have one of the machines that converts the pianist's music into holes in paper, quite an amazing invention. Two of Elvis's jump suits are on display, along with some Hank Snow items, among others. One area displayed bagpipes from the many countries where they are played; some are as primitive as a calf skin, others as elaborate as the Scottish instrument. And they have a schedule of concerts in their auditorium which is said to have perfect acoustics (would you expect anything less?). So next time you find yourself in the Valley of the Sun with some time on your hands, drop in at the MIM.

15 August 2011


One of the new features added to Ancestry.com shows the relationship of everyone in the file to the primary entry - me, in my file. As I was cleaning up some records, I found one line that goes back to my 21st great grandfather. The shortest line ends at a 3rd great grandfather, Thomas J. Patterson, and a 3rd great grandmother, Martha Conklin, who married Thomas. They lived in Hanover, NY before moving to Batavia, NY; anyone have any information to share? Using the Fulton Newspaper site - fultonhistory.com - I've been able to find articles about other relatives; such items as marriages, obituaries, travels, travails, etc. Also, I've been contacted by distant cousins who have found a common relative and have provided additional information about that family line. The nice thing is that there is a way to keep living people's information private, which I do. My family came from England, France and Germany to western New York state, and now grandchildren reside all over the United States.

03 August 2011

Stealing Great-granddaughters

William Wordsworth wrote a poem that started:
“My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky;
So it was when my life began;
So is it now I am a man”

Upon the birth of his daughter, Ogden Nash wrote a poem that starts:
“My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky;
Contrariwise, my blood runs cold
When little boys go by.”

His lament is that some boy will grow up and marry his daughter and carry her away, when she has just entered his life. And that thought crosses my mind when I hold my great-granddaughters and they smile up at me: Who will be the lucky one who steals their heart away as they have stolen mine.

01 August 2011

26 July 2011

The Debt "Crisis"

Anyone care to solve the debt "crisis"? My own view is that our politicians aren't willing to apply sound, honest business principles to running our federal government. How many corporations can stay in business by spending more than they earn year after year? At the first sign of declining profits, they would initiate cost-cutting strategies, such as reducing spending and reductions in staff. Think any of our politicians are willing to give up any of their staff or reduce their spending? So how will they reach a compromise? First off, increase income by raising taxes, exempting themselves, of course. Next, announce a "reduction in spending"; translated, that means reducing the rate of planned spending increases. Isn't it time we stopped voting for politicians and elected some businessmen/women to better manage this country's finances? I'm ready.

23 July 2011

The NFL Brouhaha

What's the big deal with the NFL controversy? It's just a bunch of millionaires fighting over how to split up billions of dollars. None of which will ever find it's way back to the fans who contributed to the pile in the first place. Most likely, after the dust settles, the fans will have to pay more to go to a game. Which means another brouhaha over the profits looms in the future. Unless the fans wise up and boycott the games. No money, no argument.

19 July 2011


Sorry to have been so quiet lately. Grandma and I have been on a driving trip to upstate New York via Las Vegas, NV, that took 28 days out of our lives. Will write more after I recover.

21 June 2011

This 'n That

The results are in and the By-laws changes we proposed have been accepted overwhelmingly by the residents. So that's one less thing to worry about.

We're in the final stages of packing for our trip. I hope to have everything in the car by tonight, except for the things we need every day. We pack one small case for the things we need during the trip, and one large case for the days in Rochester. The final items go in tomorrow just before we head out. Cell phones and cameras are charged and ready to go. The Tom-Tom has been updated, too. After we leave Las Vegas, we have a reservation in Grand Junction, Colorado, after which we're free-wheeling until we reach Rochester.

Today, we're meeting our friend, Jonteel, and her special friend, Charlie, for a mid-morning pastry and cuppa, then plan to attend the Residents' Birthday Party at 2 p.m. It's always a temptation when they start serving ice cream and cake; I can usually pass up the cake, but the ice cream gets me every time. I was born with a strong love for ice cream, and it has never diminished.
Have a great day!

16 June 2011


We're starting to get things together for our BIG TRIP. To Las Vegas to visit granddaughter, Jeana, and her family. Then off to Rochester, NY to visit the rest of the family. For my 80th birthday party. And Shirley has a cousin and husband, whom we've never met, coming over from England. Should be a great time. This time, we're taking the northern route through Colorado, just south of Chicago, Toledo, etc. Routes 15, 70, 80 and 90. We've driven the route through Oklahoma City so many times, we could make it blindfolded (but we won't try!). I just hope the Escape will hold everything we plan to take.

07 June 2011


Yesterday, the receptionist called to tell me there was a gift waiting for me, so I rushed down to find a guitar waiting, along with a very nice note. HAPPY! The note and guitar were from Laura, who was one of our teachers at ASU (see a previous blog entry); she is packing up to move to Seattle and thought that I would appreciate having the first guitar she ever owned, as it would be too much to take with her. HAPPY/SAD; it's wonderful that she thought of me, but sad because she had to say goodbye to her guitar. HAPPY that we will still be in touch after she gets settled and is back up on the Internet. SAD that I won't be able to give her a hug for this wonderful gift. Now I have no excuse to practice and "make it sing" (Laura's words). Thank you, Laura, and God speed.

02 June 2011


I was just reading Rick and Jilda Watson's blogs about they can't seem to find anything to write about. Well, today is Art Workshop here at Westminster Village and I suddenly find myself wondering just what the heck I'm going to work on. Haven't a clue. It's still a few hours away, so maybe the Art Gods will send down an inspirational message. Time will tell. Have a good day, wherever you are.

24 May 2011

Rose in Black and White

Here's the latest ink drawing. I like this medium almost as much as watercolor.

20 May 2011

Songs My Father Sang

My father used to like to sing. Most of the songs were from the First World War, like "Give My Regards to Broadway", "Over There" and "Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag". But the one that I remember because it was a humorous ditty went like this:

I run the old mill over here to Reuben's-ville
My nane's Joshua Ebenezer Frye.
I know a thing or two,
You can bet your life I do,
They don't ketch me for I'm too darn sly.

I've seen Bunco men, allus got the best o' them,
Once I met a couple on the Boston train.
They says, "How be you!"
I says, "That'll do!
Travel right along with your darn skin game.

Wal, I swan!
I mus' be gittin' on!
Giddyup, Napoleon! It looks like rain.
Wal, I'll be switched!
The hay ain't pitched!
Come in when you're over to the farm again.

There were a lot of verses to it, and I've heard it on the radio only once in my life, back in the 70's, by some folk singer whose name I never did learn. If you ever hear the number, let me know.

17 May 2011

Our "Band"

Here we are, "The Lovely Bunch of Coconuts" in all our glory. In the foreground are Gina from Taiwan and Laura. Back from left to right are Michelle, Michael, me, Jonteel, Dorothy and Lou. Gina and Laura were the student instructors, Michael their supervisor. Laura has graduated and is on her way to Seattle; Gina is going to Chicago. Lou is holding the guitar his wife bought him a few years ago. At the time, he said he would wait until he was 90 to take lessons because he was just too busy. When the opportunity came for the ASU sessions, he signed up, even though he's a year shy of 90, just to have someone tune his guitar. Jonteel was so taken with the first couple of sessions with drums that her son bought her a snare drum; she has since been taking lessons from a professional drummer. One of these days, I'll look into buying a guitar; right now I'm too busy with other activities. But I do know all the notes to "Love Me Tender"!

15 May 2011


I've been thinking of my father a lot lately. He was quite a craftsman. He made desks for my brother and me as well as our children. Bookcases and storage cabinets. A train table for me. Tools for building model airplanes. In his later years, he worked on some projects at his church, including building a new set of steps. He was a mason/bricklayer by trade, having worked with his father and brothers since he was 13. He lost his mother when he was 8 and quit school at age 13 to help the family - his father and 7 siblings. He suffered from a form of pemphagus, which caused large sores to form on his neck and under his arms. Treatments in those days, before it was diagnosed correctly, included radiation, boric acid salves, zinc oxide ointments, all to no avail. It was difficult to work because he couldn't always raise his arms to plaster ceilings. But he always managed to live through the attacks. He took time off from work to build houses for my brother and me after we married. He collected books on the West and Spiritualism; he belonged the the Spiritualist Church in Rochester, NY, and was active in Lily Dale, NY. He died recovering from prostate cancer surgery; the surgery was successful, but the cause was a pulmonary embolism.

03 May 2011

Music Therapy Finished

Monday was the last in a series of classes at Arizona State University Music Department, and it was sad/happy. Sad because it was the end and we would probably not see the student teachers again. Laura would graduate this month and move on to the Seattle area; Gina (from Taiwan) would be spending her summer in Chicago. Michael, their supervisor, will stay in the Valley to teach and play in drum circles, so we might run into him from time to time.
Happy because we got to record a song we wrote the lyrics to, had photos taken of the group, and had a CD cut of us singing our song. Laura, Gina and Michael put together the CD with some of their favorites, along with Jonteel reading a poem she had written thanking them, as well as "The Lovely Bunch of Coconuts" singing our song.
We did also have time to play all of "Love Me Tender" on guitars, so we are ready to go out into the world and serenade. Are you ready, world?

24 April 2011

22 April 2011

Musical Therapy Class

Back in February, the Activities Department said that the Arizona State University Music Department was going to conduct a program in which we could learn how to play a variety of musical instruments, so I signed up. We went every Monday afternoon for an hour. The sessions were (and still are for two more weeks) conducted by two students studying Therapy By Music - or something like it. They were supervised by a graduate. One of the teachers is from Taiwan, her name is Jeana (but probably with a more Asian spelling - I'll ask next week) and, since I have a granddaughter named Jeana, I told her to call me "Grandpa", which always comes out as "Grandfather".
We started out with a drum circle, in order for them to get to know us better. The initial group was 12 residents, but dwindled to 4 regulars plus someone from the Activities Dept. Drums for 3 weeks, followed by xylophones for 3 weeks, then on the keyboards for 3 more. We learned the first few bars of "My Wild Irish Rose", since it was getting close to St. Patrick's Day; have you ever heard an Irish song sung in English with a strong Taiwanese brogue? One day was spent trying out a variety of percussion instruments, whose names I can't recall and couldn't spell even if I knew.
Finally - finally, we started on the guitar, which the real reason I signed up. The rest was interesting, but I really REALLY wanted to find out if I had the ability to play a guitar. Well, that day, I learned the first two lines of "Love Me Tender"! Now I'm hooked! I can't wait to go back to class for more. And I'll be looking around for guitar stores. Who knows, maybe I'll be serenading the neighbors by Labor Day. Wish me luck.

10 April 2011

Olympics Fun and Frolic

It's been a busy two weeks here. We just finished the 2011 Westminster Village Olympics games. Registration took place Sunday, Monday and Tuesday (the 27th, 28th & 29th), followed by two days of Contract Bridge. Duplicate Bridge finished out the first week. On Monday, the Torch was escorted from the front gate into the building, where all in attendance were treated to a hearty breakfast. The day continued with the Bocci preliminary games, Table Tennis preliminary games, ending with the Indoor games. The Indoor games included Ladder Golf, Horseracing, Bean-bag Toss and something with Table Tennis balls and glasses of water. Tuesday, the activities were: a Walking contest; Bocci playoffs; Table Tennis playoffs; Croquet and games in the Assisted Living complex. Wednesday: Watersports; Lap Swimming (if a third person had signed up, they would have automatically received third prize!); Putting; Whiffle Golf; Trivia-rama; Home Run Derby fot the Staff and Wii Bowling. Thursday started with Indoor Games in the Health Care unit, followed by the Electric Cart "Rumble" (in which electric cart users were timed through a twisting course); next were Billiards, Basketball for the Staff; Lawn Bowling; the last activity was Outdoor Games in the Health Care Center. All in all, a very busy week for the volunteers who coordinated and conducted the games. And a very fun-filled week.
Shirley and I volunteered to help with registration, the Indoor Games and the Walkers. Also, I was tapped to take photos of the Walkers, Putters, Billiards players, Horseshoe throwers and the Contract Bridge players.
On Friday, all the photos of all the events were continuously projected on two screens in the main auditorium during the Awards ceremony (yours truly won a gold medal for Billiards). Needless to say, Saturday and today are days of well-needed rest.

27 March 2011

Ink Work

I've been trying my hand at ink drawing, so here are the latest.

20 March 2011


After five mornings on the roof, scraping old paint, patching stucco, putting on a sealant and finally adding the top coat, the parapets are finished. That should last for 5 or 10 years or until the next damaging hailstorm. Last October, the hailstones were as big as golf balls - some even larger - and they did a great deal of damage here in the Valley of the Sun. Car dealers were selling new cars at record low prices as is because of the dents and damaged glass. Roofing contractors are still trying to get to all the repair jobs. One contractor said his company had enough work for the next two years. Here at Westminster Village, 67 skylights needed to be replaced along with numerous window screens. Fortunately, our cars are under cover, so there was no damage there. So, no more mornings on the roof! Hooray!

12 March 2011

Roof Repair

I spent half the day on the roof of our house - it's flat - repairing the parapets from the damage caused by the hail storm last October. The main roof had been repaired by a local roofing company, and when they completed their final inspection a week or so ago, they informed me of the problems they didn't repair. It involved stucco damage, which they don't do. So, following the advice of a neighbor, I hied myself off to Home Depot for the necessary materials and proceeded to set to work. Most of the time was spent scraping and cleaning out the problem areas. I was able to clean and apply the sealant coat to about a third of the complete area. So tomorrow, if you're looking for me, I'll be back on the roof. Some neighbors stopped to talk as I was cleaning up, and I told them I was getting to the age when I don't want to go up and down ladders anymore. I think that's one wish for my 80th birthday in July - no more ladders, please. It's not that I don't like ladders, they've been very good to me. It's just that I'd rather keep at least one foot on the ground when climbing them.

05 March 2011


When the children were young, we recited this verse:
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear.
Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.
Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t fuzzy,
Was he.

My grandfather, William Francis Miller, Sr., was called Fuzzy because he always had his hair trimmed close to the skin. (In his older years, his youngest son, Uncle Bill, would trim it for him.) He was born in Lyons, New York but spent most of his life in Batavia, where he raised his family. There were 10 children, 7 of whom grew to adulthood. His wife, Lennie, died from complications during childbirth of the 10th child, Thomas, who was stillborn; daughter Rachel died at 4 months from cholera; their first daughter, Violet, died in her first year also. He was a lather, said to be the fastest in that area. Before plaster board, lath strips (about 1 inch by ¼ inch) were attached to the studs of a building to hold the plaster. The laths were spaced about 1/2 inch apart so the mason could force the plaster through the spaces, which allowed the plaster to stick to the wall. I can imagine it was difficult to keep the family together in those days while working throughout the county. His sister-in-law wanted to take some of the children but he refused. The family grew up relying on one another for support. In 1893, he was kicked in the leg by a horse; the break was not set properly and caused him to limp and use a cane. In 1905, he made the newspaper by defending his 16-year old daughter from the unwanted attentions of a stonemason; he was fined and his revolver confiscated. In his elder years, Fuzzy lived with his oldest daughter in Rochester where he passed away at age 93.

The photo at the top shows Fuzzy eating a slice of home-made pie; the other, in Rochester, returning from a local saloon where he enjoyed a glass of beer and a cigar when in his 90's.

24 February 2011


We have a "reflecting pool" here and I was looking into the possibility of turning it into a goldfish pond. So I wrote up a plan and gave it to our Director who said we would do that. He also wants to install an aquarium in the wall between the living room and meeting hall so it is visible from both sides. Plus a koi pond outside. Looks like we're going fishing. And the nice thing is that I now have an illuminated keyboard for my computer so I can see which key my finger is aiming at. Should make a difference in my spelling, I hope.

18 February 2011

12 February 2011

Hot Air Success

Well, the hot air balloon rides went off Friday morning and yours truly was one of the fortunate ones. I was #13 in line and went up and came down without a hitch. The tethers let us ascend about 40 feet, which was enough to take a shot or two of the surrounding mountains. Several people took photos while I was on the way up, but I haven't been able to get my mitts on any of them. So here are some shots I took of the affair.

10 February 2011

A Missed Anniversary Ride

We were scheduled for a tethered hot air balloon ride this morning in our front driveway, but the event was canceled due to a forecast of high winds. So our anniversary ride was not to be. If all goes well, we will try again in the morning. As we understand it, the balloon is owned and operated by the only licensed parapalegic in the world. There is no gondola, we will be in a chair of some sort, one rider and the operator going up together. Should be fun! We will try to post photographs of the affair.

07 February 2011

Drumming and Learning

If I could take my computer into the shower in the morning, I'd have some interesting things to write, as that's where my mind tends to wander. So how long before some enterprising individual markets such a device? Anyhow...
I was down to ASU this afternoon for a music program. There are several students learning how to apply music to group therapy and I volunteered to participate. There were 11 of us from Westminster Village with a wide range of interests. One fellow brought his guitar; his wife had bought it for him 3 years ago and he was waiting for his 90th birthday to begin lessons (next year), as he is too busy these days. One person has Parkinson's disease; most were curious about the program. I wanted to find out if I have the ability to learn to play the guitar. Today was a get-to-know-each-other session. We formed a circle and beat on some drums, sang some songs, talked and beat on some drums. I enjoyed it! Our bus took us there and brought us back, there is no charge for the program, so whatever happens will be a wonderful experience. Of course, if I find a natural skill for playing the guitar, there will be the expense of the purchase of one guitar, but I'm willing to take the chance. After all, we are helping the students, right?

01 February 2011

Some Personal Statistics

It occurred to me this morning that Grandma and I have been living in Scottsdale, Arizona for 21 years, having moved here in February 1990. That’s over 25% of my life, 26.25 to be exact. So I started figuring out the other places by percentile. I lived in Batavia, New York for my first 10 years, which is 12.5% (I’ll be 80 in July, so I’ve assumed the full 80 for these calculations, in case anyone wants to check my arithmetic). College in Stillwater, Oklahoma for 4 years comes to 5%. After Grandma and I were married, we lived in Ontario, New York for 12 years, which calculates to 15%. The rest of my life was in Rochester, New York and suburbs, which accounts for 41.25%. So now when anyone asks where I came from I can safely say Rochester for about 41% of my life. How do your statistics add up?

29 January 2011


Don't you just love similes? As nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. As easy as pie (is pie really that easy?). As black as coal. As soft as a newborn baby's skin. As smooth as glass. As stiff as starched Levi's (from Life 101). I'm sure you have favorites.

22 January 2011

More About Art

I thought I'd try to clarify some things from my last post about art before anyone is turned off from trying watercolor painting. First off, it IS possible to correct some "mistakes." Mistakes in quotes because sometimes they turn out to be better than what the artist wanted. You see, watercolor paints have a life of their own - left to dry, they will do whatever they want, and the end result is usually very pretty. The problem I created for myself was that I became impatient and tried to make a correction before the paper was dry. The result was that I damaged the paper surface so that I couldn't paint over the area without making it worse. Not just once, but twice! So the obvious lesson is to have more patience than I had. I'm trying to remember that for the future.

20 January 2011

Ain't Art Wunnerful!

I've been struggling with a painting of a bouquet of sunflowers based on a photo I took last summer when we met Rick and Jilda Watson for the first time. The first attempt had some things I didn't like, so I tried to do some erasures and wound up damaging the surface of the paper. The second attempt used a slightly different perspective, but I'm still not happy with one area. I will press forward, though, trying to avoid the earlier corrective mistake. I'm also working on a watercolor for our newest great-grandson, Roman, born last December 24th, which I hope to get to him sometime before his teen years. Assuming there aren't too many corrections.

17 January 2011

An Adventure

The first school trimester at Michigan State College ended in the middle of December (1948), so Bill Cass, one of my 13 roommates, and I decided to hitchhike home. Bill was from Frewsburg, in southwest New York state, and I was from Rochester, so we could travel together to Buffalo before going our separate ways. Because of the cold winter weather, I was wearing a sweater, my ROTC winter coat covered by a top coat, with a scarf wrapped around my neck. As was the custom in those days, neither of us wore a hat.
We started out in East Lansing by riding with a family as far as Port Huron. Our good fortune continued as we were picked up by a trucker who took us to Hamilton, Ontario. It was early evening when he let us off. Shortly thereafter, we were picked up by a hockey player who was going as far as Buffalo. Bill hopped into the front seat and I settled into the back seat and promptly fell asleep, expecting to be awakened in Buffalo. Imagine my surprise when I woke up to a pleasant female voice telling me to wake up for breakfast. More surprise when I opened my eyes to find it was a nurse in the St. Catherine‘s Hospital. And I with my right arm taped to my chest. Bill was in an adjacent bed.
The story, as I found out later, was that the car skidded on some ice and slid into a steel light post, hitting about where my knees were. The ambulance crew thought at first that I was dead because of all the blood - caused by numerous cuts from window glass when my head hit. I suffered a broken collar bone; more severe injury was avoided probably because of all the padding I was wearing. I was asleep, then probably knocked unconscious by the blow, then sound asleep again in the hospital bed. I did have the sensation that I saw the lamp post coming at us, but it’s a very vague impression. The driver had a bump on his forehead and Bill had gravel in his hands as the result of being thrown out of the car when the door was flung open from the momentum.
My parents were notified and came to bring me home, where I went to visit the doctor for further treatment. He checked the x-rays, noting that the bones had shattered at the break, then left the room. I heard the sound from the basement of someone sawing wood, wondering what remodeling he was having done, when he walked back into the room carrying a piece of plywood. He had sawed it into the shape of a T and taped it to both shoulders and across my belly. “There,” he said, “that should hold it while the bones knit.”
I wore the brace for a bunch of months, including a train trip back to East Lansing to turn in my ROTC uniform and pack up my clothes. Believe me, it’s not very comfortable to wander through life with a piece of plywood taped to one’s back. It eventually came off, and the break did knit, but to this day there’s a bump at the break.

15 January 2011

Saturday Livin'

Grandma and I finished our 30 minute walk after breakfast, then showered and got down to important stuff. Grandma composed a confirmation letter for some donations to the Westminster Village Foundation, then had some planting and harvesting to do on her Facebook farm, while I rewrote an article for our newsletter about our mascot alligator. After it gets to the final stage I'll post it here. My plans are to settle back and watch some football this afternoon and evening. Hope you have a great day!

08 January 2011

Red Cellophane?

Last night, I had a dream about making red cellophane. Now I have no idea where that came from. Is there any significance? Can anyone help me here?

02 January 2011

Happy New Year

I hope you all had a great 2010 and that the new year brings you good health and financial security. May all your resolutions be fulfilled and please don't send your shed weight my way.