Feb 27, 2013

Sunflower Sunrise by Camille Kruse

Last month I went to the library to do some research.  While there, I went into the gallery to look at the new arrivals.  The Fort Wayne Photography Club and some of its members displayed their work. As I was strolling along, I noticed a beautiful picture of a sunflower like I have never seen before. The angle was amazing. The sunflower glowed like the sun as it was beginning to rise in the morning. I looked at it several times. I want this picture, I told myself.  On the table behind me laid a book that had all of the names and numbers of the artists. I called her as soon as I got home. Camille Kruse is a self made photographer and has gone from novice to professional in about four years time.  She took a few Continuing Studies Courses at the college, which only took her about a year. Now she takes photographs like I want to be able to take. 

Do you know what the secret to great photography is?  It is not necessarily the body but the lense. The lense is your eye and with a good lense you can take wonderful pictures. She used a D60 Canon to take the picture.  I have been looking at a Nikon D90 and I am hoping very soon to buy one. 

Here is it above the mantel and against the red walls it looks wonderful.  If you are interested in one of these you can call Camille at 260-385-4377 or contact her at bycamille@aol.com She will only be selling 29 of the pictures above. I bought the first one.

Feb 24, 2013

With Love, Jerry Lee Lewis

My fathers favorite singer was Jerry Lee Lewis. There wasn't an albumn out there that my father didn't have. He was called a rockabilly back in the day. Whenever Jerry Lee came anywhere close to where we lived, my dad was right there to see him.  One year he came to a place called Buck Lake Ranch here in Indiana.  My dad wanted to get his autograph so badly.  Since he was a bit shy, dad had me to come with him so that he could stand in awe of the singer while I asked for Jerry Lee's signature.  I think that he had his shirt open as I approached. I was very impressionable back then and he was so handsome!


Feb 21, 2013

Old Pictures, Scrapbooking, and Memories

Like many people, as I glanced through my photograph albums, I realized that not many pictures have dates on the back. Sometimes, I cannot remember the person in the picture. I have even brought a picture or two to a relative hoping to find out the name, alas, sometimes with no luck. What a mess! Some people have presence of mind to label as they go when new photographs are added to their collection, but, sadly that is not the case for most of us, especially me. In my mind, I thought that I would always remember the name of the person in the picture. Sadly, the mind files those names with other unnecessary things that are not needed so often. 

So, it is my goal to begin scrap booking all of my family pictures.  I started last year and have done a couple of books so far.  But the process has been slow due to working overtime and odd hours that even prevented me from cooking a decent meal. In the end, I think that it will be worth all of the effort. 

I am not just labelling the pictures, but putting stories or small blurbs with them as well. It is more interesting with a history behind the picture.  Some people say that scrap booking is expensive.  It can be if you let it.  When I started I had just gotten a bonus of $150.00.  But you can start with $10 or $20 and build from there. I saw a scrap book that all the pages were white with lots of pictures and detail about the people in the pictures. The book was very lovely.  Cost should never be a deterrent for writing your history.  You're family is worth writing about.

Feb 19, 2013

Oven Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Not very long ago I had spaghetti squash in a restaurant.  It was sauteed with oil and spices.  I thought that it was superb.  Then I went home and thought about the spices I like and here is my version.

1 spaghetti squash, cut in half and take the seeds out
salt/pepper to taste
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tbs Italian parsley, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbs olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 cup of Italian blend cheese, or Parmesan

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the squash in half.  Take out all of the seeds and the strings.   Place on a large pan that has been covered with aluminum foil.  I put a bit of oil on the foil so that the squash wouldn't stick.

Then place the squash face down. Rub a bit of oil on the skin and put into the oven.

Allow it to cook for about 50-60 minutes, or when a fork or knife is inserted into the skin and it is soft.

With two forks, one for holding and one for scraping, remove the spaghetti like strands from the squash bowls.  Place a large non stick pan on medium heat.  Add 2-3 tbs of oil, when hot, add the garlic and lightly toast.  Then add the parsley, squash, cumin cheese, salt and pepper.  Toss so that it is evenly coated with the oil and spices.  Sprinkle a little more cheese over the top and serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Feb 17, 2013

Teacher is it testicle or stethoscope?

True Story:

A pre-school teacher was giving a lesson about Veterinary doctors and what that they did for animals. She raised her book and pointed at a picture of a doctor. 

"What is this that is around the doctor's neck?", the teacher asked her class. 

"A testicle", said a little girl in the back. 

"No, no, children. It is a stethoscope." stressed the teacher while trying very hard to keep her composure.

 As the other children began to think about the thing around the doctor's neck, they agreed with the little girl. Of course, it sounded correct to them. Besides, stethoscope sounds like testicle to the untrained ear of a child. (maybe even a grown up too) 

"It is a testicle", they cried in unison.

"Now listen to me say it, steth-o- scope" she said.  The teacher deliberately sounding out the word for the children, hoping that they will eventually get it.  

It took a while, but the children finally believed that it was a stethoscope. Most importantly, they had the correct word for the instrument.

How would you do in this slightly embarrassing situation?

Feb 15, 2013

A tale about a brother, a sister, and a little dog too

“Randall?” was all I could say before I burst into tears when my brother answered the phone. “I have lost Chevy and I cannot find her anywhere.” Still sobbing, I tried to explain how long I thought she had been missing and that I had been trying to find her. On the other end of the line my brother tried to remain calm, but I could tell that he was on the verge of becoming frantic.  By the time I had called him the dog had been missing for several hours. I was beside myself and dreaded calling him with the news. That dog means more to my brother than I do, even though he says that I mean the world to him.  At that moment, I knew the truth, Chevy is his world.  If we cannot find that dog then I have no choice but to move to Siberia and I don’t know where it is.

Randall rescued Chevy from an abusive man in 1998. The owner bragged about trying to poison a two month old puppy with anti-freeze while at a party. My brother caught wind of it and tried to beat the man up for mistreating an innocent animal. Somehow Randall found the puppy and took her under his wings. He came to love his little golden Chihuahua\Spitz mixture of a dog like you would a child. She grew up to be a good natured little thing and if she liked you then she would try to lick you to death.  She was my brother’s constant companion and went with him everywhere.  

My brother asked me to dog sit Chevy while he and his girlfriend went to a retreat over the weekend.  I watched Chevy one other time and I tried my best to take good care of her. It was April 2, 2005 when this nightmare happened. I got up early to run some errands before I was to talk to Aziz on line later.  I had been in and out of the house several times that morning. Actually, I went out to buy the dog some bacon. My brother told me how much she loved it and I wanted to be a good dog sitter. I was anxious to talk to Aziz, a man that I met on the internet, and wanted to get all of my running around out of the way so that I could spend as much time talking to him as he had time for.  After we had been chatting for a couple of hours, I noticed that the dog wasn’t in the room with me.  I asked Aziz to hold on so that I could look for Chevy in the house.  She was no where to be found.  I panicked.  “Where could she be?” I asked myself.  I looked in every crook and cranny. I even looked in the dryer more than once.  Chevy was gone.  I came back on line and told Aziz that the dog was missing. He felt bad for me and blamed himself. I told Aziz that I was responsible for the dog, not him.  I said that I had to go and turned off the computer. I put on my jacket and went outside to look for her in the neighborhood. Up and down the streets I went, stopping people and asking them if they had seen a little golden dog.  I walked until I was exhausted, then headed back home to rest for a bit only to go back out again.  Once inside the house, I burst into tears.  Feelings of failure overwhelmed me. During the course of the day my brother called me several times. At 7:20 pm, my brother called again to see if I had found the dog.  During the conversation he tried to comfort me and said that everything will work out alright.  I tried to believe him. At that point, finding the dog seemed hopeless. The longer that she was gone the less likelihood we had of finding her.

I tried to sleep, but couldn’t.  I tossed and turned all night.  When I woke up the next morning, my eyelids were swollen from all of the crying. My brother came over around 8:30 that morning. He told me that he, too, couldn’t sleep the night before. I cried yet again. We walked around the neighborhood until at least one o’clock. Then he went back home to make posters, hoping that someone may have seen his dog.  I tried to talk to Aziz while Randall was home making posters, but I was too upset and worried about the fate of my relationship with my brother. Randall came back with the posters and we put them up all around the neighborhood, hoping that someone may have seen her. We walked until it was dark. As each day passed, I grew more and more frantic about his dog. He tried to comfort me, but I knew that deep down he wanted his dog back more than anything.  Again, I had another sleepless night. 

I called in sick the next day to work.  My mind was so distracted that I couldn’t concentrate on anything. My brother came over at 4pm and again we walked the neighborhood. Up and down the streets we went, calling out Chevy’s name. On the last leg of our walk we turned down Violet Street and there she was on a leash being led by a Mexican girl to a van. “Chevy” Randall shouted and the dog turned her head towards the voice calling her name. She tried to come towards her owner but was pulled back by the girl. “That’s my dog” Randall shouted, “You have my dog!” Chevy kept looking at us and her tail began to wag.  We both ran to the van and Randall demanded the return of his precious dog. Five men emerged from the van acting like they were going to do something if things got out of hand. Randall reached to his side making sure that his pistol was still there. Trust me; He would have taken out the whole city if he had to for his dog. He gave the girl $20.00 and she willingly gave up all rights to the dog. We noticed that Chevy’s collar and tags had been taken off and replaced with a different one. They meant to keep her with no intentions of looking for the rightful owner.  I have to admit that I thought we would never see the Chevy again. To me, it was a divine thing that we found her when we did.  In a matter of moments she would have been in a van going to some other part of town.  My brother says that he knew all along that he would find her. I am glad he thinks this, but I saw a little desperation in his actions to make me think otherwise. Most of all, I am just thankful that I didn’t have to move to Siberia.

Feb 12, 2013

Anisette Josephine Verte Liqueur Exquise

I have had this old bottle of liqueur for a long time. My father gave it to me a few years before he passed away in 1984.  I've not dared to open it because it might have some worth to it.   Once, I went to a liqueur store and they wrote down all of the information that was on the label and assured me that I would get a response from them.  Nothing ever happened. I used to keep it standing up and then found out that that was the wrong thing to do. I am not a drinker and didn't know the rules about storing alcohol.  Now there are small bits of cork on the bottom.

The label looks oh so ancient. I reminds me of old sheet music that I have from the early 1900's.  Does anyone know who I would take it to in order to find out more about this Liqueur from Bordeaux, France?

Feb 8, 2013

Polly the Pyromaniac

Run”, Polly shouted as she ran past me.  Out of the corner of my eye I could see an unnatural glow coming from the bottom of the lane.  When I turned to look, I noticed that the dried brush we passed earlier was on fire.  A truck drove by while we were running up the hill and Polly turned herself around so that the driver couldn’t see her face, while I remained fully exposed.  “I set the brush on fire in those people’s yard”, she said, “They get on my nerves by not cleaning it up, so, I thought that I would help them out.”  I was angry that she would put me in this kind of situation. “If you are going to set something on fire, then do it with someone who is not too fat to run up the hill”, I breathlessly shouted. “Besides, arson is a crime and I don’t want to go to jail while on vacation.”
 In the 1990’s, I worked at a van lines.  My position at the time was an Agent Coordinator for the Household Division. In short, I was a glorified data entry clerk who called agents from all over the country to pick up their customers household goods. Then bring the shipments back to the warehouse until the van lines was able to find a driver. I was assigned to the southern agents at the time that I got to know Polly.   She was very friendly on the phone and we chatted about all kinds of things after the official business part of the phone call was complete. Polly gave estimates for potential customers.  Daily, Polly would make her way from home to home providing the customer with a cost for moving their belongings from one state to another. Polly invited me to Knoxville, Tennessee for a visit.  I had never been to the city and was anxious to see it.  I accepted her invitation and made plans to visit. 
 It was April of 1999 when I arrived in Knoxville. The apple blossom trees were in bloom when I arrived.  Their tiny white flowers decorated the trees which lined each side of the streets downtown.  The air was still cool in the morning, but warmed up greatly towards mid-day so much so that we didn’t have to wear jackets. Polly’s small family lived in a large brick house located in the middle of a small forest like area.  The driveway was gravel and it winded its way down to the front of the house. Being surrounded by greenery was enchanting for me. Their little forest was perfectly manicured with lots of flowers and bushes scattered throughout the property.  The house was decorated in a comfortable style.  The living room was beige with green ivy vining its way around the top of the walls. From the living room window there was a picturesque view of the Appalachian Mountains. Even though it was still too early for the leaves of the trees to shoot forth, the mountains were still beautiful in their barrenness, each one a copy of the next. Situated in the middle of the room were a purple leather sofa and a matching chair.  The kitchen was large and would be considered a cooks dream, but rendered unusable because all of the cabinets had been torn out and there were no appliances either. New cabinets were ordered months before and still had not been built. Our meals were taken outside, which was okay with me.   The final room was the place where I was to sleep.  Polly’s daughter willingly gave up her bed so that I would have a place to myself. The walls were navy blue with stars glued to the ceiling, which glowed in the dark.  The light from the stars kept me awake that night for I am used to sleeping in a completely dark room.

 Groggily, I woke up early the next morning.  Polly and I went over to the office so that she could get her itinerary for the day.  She introduced me to her co-workers and then we headed out to meet her first customer.  I was excited to job shadow someone.  At each appointment, I was introduced as someone from corporate, which I was, and I silently followed while Polly did her job.  After about the third appointment of the day, the wind began to blow very hard.  Tumbleweeds blew across the street in front of us as we drove to the next appointment. This was the first time I had seen tumbleweed, and didn’t know that the weed existed in this area of the country.  Polly stopped the car, pulled some matches from her purse, and tried to set one of the weeds on fire.  Luckily, the gale was too strong and the fire blew out each time she tried to light a match. After about three tries she gave up. I was shocked that she would attempt to do something like that in front of me, since this is the first time that we have met.  I kept silent as I watched her attempt to do a very foolish act.  
For lunch, we drove to a small country city called Dandridge. Dandridge is the oldest city in the state of Tennessee. Many of my relatives came through there as they made their way further down south. I was thrilled to see this quaint little place.  Polly wanted to check on how the packing was going on a job for which she gave an estimate.  We stopped at a little café.  As we walked inside, I wondered what it would be like to live in a small city where everyone knew everyone else.  I saw an elderly couple sitting at a table chatting with each other as they had for 40 years or more.  The waitress hurriedly came to our table and took our order.  As I looked around, I saw old men dressed in overalls and the women were well coiffed with lots of makeup. I felt at home here.  These were my people.
After lunch, we drove to an old mansion located in a secluded part of the city. I cannot remember the color of the house now. But I do remember that it had huge white pillars in the front and a massive front door. It was a grand place that Scarlet O’Hara wouldn’t hesitate to reside in with or without Rhett Butler.  The circle drive was littered with vans, furniture and people.  We went in the back door and more people were inside.  Boxes were everywhere the eye could see. I admired the vastness of the rooms and the antique furniture as I wandered around the house; Dreamily, I imagined myself living in such a magnificent house. The master bedroom on the second floor had a four-poster bed.  All of my life I wanted one. The packers were still in the room when we came to check on them.  Apparently, the owner left a video in the VCR.  It was porn.  Polly wanted to watch a bit of the video, but I stepped out of the room as they turned on the video player. Afterwards, we went back to Polly’s house to pick up her daughter and husband, and then out for dinner. 
We ate at an Italian place for dinner.  I had rolls stuffed with pepperoni and cheese.  They were delicious. We ate until we were full. Once home, Polly and I decided to go for a walk.  It was a nice evening and the walk would do us some good. We wandered all over the neighborhood. Our journey took us up and down the small hills. We gazed at the stars in the sky, taking in the beauty of the place, at least I did.  While walking we went past a house that had dried brush at the edge of the yard near the street.  Polly made a comment that the dried branches had been in the yard for a long time. She went on to say that she called the city on the property owners several times but nothing was done.  This time Polly took matters into her own hands and set fire to the brush.   We watched from the top of the hill as the fire fighters put out the flaming branches.  I told myself that I was leaving in the morning.  This is too much drama for me.  The next day, I packed my things and said goodbye, never intending to visit again.  What a story I had for my co-workers when I returned on Monday.

A few weeks later, Polly called in to the van lines.  She apologized for her behavior.  Her husband told her that the both of us could have went to jail for what she did. But by this time it was too late for apologies.  She made a lasting first impression on me that I didn’t want to revisit ever again, even if it was a funny story to tell.

Feb 6, 2013

3114 14th Ave

My brother telling me to shut up
As we get older, it becomes harder to remember exact dates and locations from your past. The street that you imagined living on was not the one where you really lived, at least that was the case for me. I thought we lived on 13th Avenue but in actuality we lived on 14th Avenue in 1967 while living in Chattanooga.

It came to me over the weekend that I hadn't looked through the city directories at the library to try and find my parents. Plus, I would have all of our previous addresses. Why hadn't I thought of this before? Mom and Dad had a moving spree (mostly Dad wanting to move) early on in their marriage. One year, I found them in two city directories in different states. Several times they moved back and forth between Indiana and Tennessee.

My head was spinning just trying to find them in a directory somewhere. I still cannot find them from 1960-1963 and 1970-1971. I believe that they were living in a small city that may not have had a directory. I love the research, it is challenging, it is fulfilling...ah genealogy.

Feb 4, 2013

Downton Abbey...Lover of all things English

I have been a Masterpiece Theater fan ever since I was a teenager. I grew up watching Upstairs,DownstairsPoldark, Brideshead Revisited, Wives & Daughters, and now Downton Abbey.   

Joss Barratt/Carnival Film & Television

I am a bit slow when it came to watching Downton Abbey, more like 2 seasons too late.  However, once I watched the first episode, I was hooked.  Then I watched the first season on Netflix. The second season on Amazon. All this while watching the third season, which is currently on air.
Photograph: Carnival Films/ITV Photograph: Nick Briggs
 Maggie Smith's character makes me laugh all of the time with her great one liners.  "It seems a pity to miss such a good pudding."  Said the Dowager Countess as her son, Lord Grantham, stood in the doorway demanding that his family leave the house because the maid serving them had been a prostitute. Not a soul moves.  I laugh.
Joss Barratt/Carnival Film & Television

I think that I have a terrible crush on Mr. Bates. I, also, would like Cora to show enough emotion, being an American, that is note worthy enough to be seen on YouTube. For example: Shouting at her husband while in the parking lot at Wal-Mart. I'm just saying...