Friday, September 30, 2011

Many Pictures, Few Words

Logan, looking good in the ninth grade, 2011 (the braces come off in October!)

School Picture, Ben, 2011 (So handsome and grown up!)

Logan, as he sees himself (at 6"1" - 180 pounds)

Valery and Logan ride bikes at the American RiverValery and the boys, Robby, Ben and Logan - this taken at Lake Tahoe.

A trio of car climbers at Rick and Kathy's Toad Ranch

Brother Rick and SIL Kathy celebrating her 65th birthday at Toad Ranch. I think they are starting to look alike.
Sister Valery at the Toad Ranch birthday celebration. Doesn't she look great in her pretty dress?
Thanks for all of these photos, Val, (except the school pix).

Monday, September 26, 2011

Down By the Old Mill Stream

I drive by every day and each time I wonder how I can capture the beauty of this spot. And of course, that's the joy of it -- I can't because it's always changing.
Here's quilt #38 which I call "Patience" because it has been in process for two years. It was a "Saturday Sampler" for October 2009-September 2010 sponsored by my local quilt shop. We attended a meeting and completed one block each month. That explains one of the two years this project was underway. The second year was because I just couldn't decide what I wanted to do with it. I never did really decide, but I finally got tired of having it sit in the unfinished pile and finished it up. Still don't know what I'm going to do with it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


According to Logan:
"Well, the butter was too hard so it wouldn't mix in very well, so I added a couple more eggs and then it mixed up pretty good, but it was too gooey, so I dumped in a bunch more flour and then I added the cinnamon and sugar you're supposed to roll them in."

And thus, Snickerbiscuits were born. Not bad.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Confessions of a Bag Lady

I save bags. There you have it, my terrible secret is out. Worse, I save bags and then I can't part with them; you might say I hoard them. I keep them for two main reasons:
  1. For sentimental reasons -- to remember some of the wonderful places I've been.
  2. Pure snobbism -- to tell you about the wonderful places I've been. And that's my purpose for this blog post.
Here are a few of my beauties:
Souvenirs of some of my favorite domestic spots: the Guggenheim Museum in New York which I have visited many times; the Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City where I attended a writer's workshop in 2000; and a bag from a conference in Yosemite (I did not attend that conference, and I have no idea where I got the bag, but I love Yosemite and have been there many times, so the bag stays!). I'm sparing you memories of the other 46 states I've visited.
When in London, I don't always go to Harrods, but on three occasions I did. (Notice how cleverly I alluded to the fact that I have been to London many times -- score one for snob value.) This I consider my ultimate snob trophy. It doesn't get much better than bagging a bag at the Mount Kenya Safari Club -- from a life-altering trip with friend Nancy in 1986.
A Nile cruise and we saw it all (except Alexandria). From Cairo to Aswan. Wow. Don't think I would do it today, somehow the world seemed a bit safer in 1992.
This one doesn't seem to make much sense until you see the back:
Brings back memories of that trip to Athens and three-day tour of the Peloponnesian Peninsula in the back seat of a Yellow Cab.

Now I'm moving into my sentimental collection. I got this bag on a trip to England, Ireland, and Scotland that Robin and I took together. I don't recall the year, but a drive (on the wrong side of the road) over the Grampians, a stay in Braemar, and a visit to Inverness were some of the high points of our Scottish sojourn.

I bought this for Aunt Helen at the Smithsonian. She loved and studied butterflies, so I thought it appropriate, but for some reason I never got around to giving it to her and now, of course, it's too late.
A token of my life today. No regrets -- it's been my privilege to go to many wonderful places and see amazing things. Today I have a life full of meaning and memories (of Hawaii, Alaska, Bermuda, Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, Spain, Andorra, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Finland, Russia, etc.)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Make Mine a Prince Rupert

Twelve cordial glasses, remnants of Blair family dinners, sit unused in my china cabinet. I'm torn between pressing them into service this Christmas and declaring them a family heirloom ready to be passed on to the next generation. The next generation, however, cannot possibly venerate them as I do, unless I tell the stories that go with them.

My maternal grandmother, Ruth Hatch Anderson (Mimi), (that's your great-great grandmother, Ben, Logan, Tom, Bill, Dan, and Robby) bought these for serving King Alphonses after family dinners (and after several high balls and free flowing wine). A king Alphonse is prepared by floating whipping cream on Creme de Cacao. Serving them was a big ritual -- the cream was floated by pouring it over the back of a spoon. If not done with a gentle steady hand, the cream would mix with the liqueur and "boil." This was considered a disaster and was to be avoided at all costs -- "accidents" were quickly tipped into the mouth of the host and a fresh drink prepared. When all the drinks were assembled, they were placed on a tray and passed around the table. For the kids, the ratio of cream to booze was reversed, but they were served, just as they had been served watered-down wine at dinner.

A part of the ritual included my father retelling the story ("here we go again") of trying to be a hot shot when ordering a drink at the bar in the San Francisco Opera House while an underage student at the University of California in Berkeley. Instead of asking for a King Alphonse, he requested a Prince Rupert, bewildering the bartender and humiliating himself.

Later, my mother took over the traditional dinners and the cordial glasses and eventually they passed down to me, although I don't think I've ever used them. The bases of four of the little glasses are chipped, probably because the dishwasher (a person, not a machine) had had a few too many and clunked them against the faucet. I don't think the glasses have been used in twenty years. I'm sure the grime in them comes from my mother's house.

They are tiny, holding 1/2 oz. if filled to the brim. If you want them, let me know (family members only, please). First to respond can have them.

Brown recluse or not? (I think not.)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

All's Well Including Robby

This photo of Robby was taken when he still had an appendix, was getting used to his new glasses, and had his mouth closed. It's a picture of a kid I miss very much and would love to see.
This past Wednesday Colleen called to tell me she was at UC Davis hospital and that Robby was on his way to surgery. I wanted to teleport and be there with her and with him. My heart stayed fastened to them all day, and the news was all good. The laproscopy went smoothly and by all reports he was great patient, brave and confident. By the end of the day he was craving Kentucky Fried Chicken!

Here's Robby as I see him in my mind, five years ago. I've seen him since, about four years ago, but I haven't been back to California in some time, and he's grown into a nearly teen-ager (12). I MISS YOU ROBBY and I'm so relieved that you are mending quickly.

Last night's football game was a thriller! Ozark beat state-ranked (whatever that means) Kearney in a game that had the local fans on their feet for nearly the entire fourth quarter, while Ozark took and maintained the lead. High school football is very big in this town. Lots of three generation families fill the stands whether or not they have kids in school. Ben played in the band and I did band uniform wardrobe mistress duty before and after the game.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Return of the Killer Turtle and Other Repetitive Events

The Killer Turtle flees to safety on the other side of the fence, escaping the Attack Miniature Schnauzer. The 6" box turtle has made two forays into the area of the back yard patrolled by Oreo who alerts us to the invasion by incessant barking of a particular pitch she reserves for announcing turtle invasions. Thanks to excellent reconnaissance work by the invincible grandma, and the superior rescue effort by co-hero Logan, we are all safe again. The neighbors are probably not very happy with this early morning service, but what can we do? The dog knows her purpose.
And it is the return of the killer Tiger Marching Band, playing at the first home game of the season. They successfully keep the Carthage team under control and propel the Tigers to a resounding victory. Too bad they didn't play at last week's away game when Webb City trounced Ozark something like 55-0.
And making it all happen, playing offensive line -- right end, is the star player, Ben!
Again this year, our circle is enlarged by the inclusion of a foreign exchange student. In this picture, Andrea from Rome is sitting at my left while we celebrate his arrival with a breakfast outing. Four days later, we celebrated his 17th birthday at Lamberts. The soccer coach welcomed him with great delight and is wondering how he can recruit more Italian exchange students. It is clear Andrea is a star. The girls are falling all over him, and he has several new friends among the soccer players. We will host him next weekend when his exchange mama, Kerri, takes a little break and runs off to Kansas City.