Grey-Haired Coed

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Water Conservation...

So here's the plan:
  • Use the laundromat for washing clothes, bring them home to dry (do you know how heavy a load of laundry is when it is wet and you have to lift the whole load at once?)
  • Ask husband and son if they can wear jeans/slacks twice before throwing them into laundry area. (half-hearted response to this suggestion)
  • Found dishpan for doing dishes. Empty it into a pail, then toss outside. (not in the area known as the dog's 'potty place'. They tend to slip on ice)
  • Showers - wet down, turn water off, soap up and scrub, turn water back on and rinse. (Husband says he got used to that in the Navy.)
  • Toilets - use the upstairs one, it has a 'low-flow' tank. (only flush when absolutely necessary... sorry if that grosses anyone out)
  • Brushing teeth - wet brush, turn off water, brush teeth, spit, turn water on briefly to rinse.
  • Washing hands - see 'brushing teeth'
  • Pray for an early spring...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

And More Snow...

Well, there is more snow coming. The weatherman is saying we will get even more than before. Golly gee, how fun... NOT! If we had only had this amount of snow earlier in the season, our drain field wouldn't have frozen, and we wouldn't have had to spend $310 to have our tank pumped TWICE already!!! We have learned that our washer uses WAY too much water... so tomorrow I make a trip into town to the laundromat. Such fun.

Another Example...

Sometimes I really wonder about the youth in our country. Young people who think this is funny really worry me. What will they do when they get older? Set old people on fire?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Middle School Drug Dealers?

Now this is REALLY disturbing! Middle school students dealing drugs... What in God's green earth is happening to our country?


Well, it's here, it's coming down and blowing around and it actually looks like winter around here! I shopped for groceries yesterday, so we are good to go. We can just 'hunker down' and do indoor stuff till it's over.

So I've been at my sewing machine, embroidering quilt squares to sell on eBay. Sounds exciting, right? Not...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Michelle's Son...

Michelle Hawkins sent me this picture of her new son - Raistlin Michael Hawkins. I thought it was sweet that she posed him on the baby quilt I made for him!

I Need a KEEPER!!!

OK, I had my homework done, coffee cup ready, keys, and in my tote bag, text, notebook, pen, tissue and small bottle of hand lotion... for the 70 mile round trip to my class at BSU. Made it to class just fine, then went to do some shopping. NO PURSE! That means no money, no driver's license, no credit card, and apparently NO BRAINS! I was sure happy to see it sitting on my desk when I got home...

Yes, I need a keeper, alright!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Walker archaeological find!

Our town is definitely on the map! Apparently, there were were Cro-Magnun humans in this area about 15,000 years ago.

During a street project, several artifacts were found. Further study by archaeologists have confirmed that the objects were over 15,000 years old. Possibly the oldest evidence of human habitation in North America! This is exciting!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sign of Spring Coming?

This pileated woodpecker showed up at our suet feeder yesterday. By the time I found my camera, he had moved to a tree. We've never seen one in the winter before, so I'm hoping that this is a sign of spring coming!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Septic Update...

Now THAT'S a title you don't see often on a blog!
Well, the guy didn't actually thaw out our septic system... he thawed out PART of it and pumped out the tank.
The drain field is still frozen and will be probably until spring! So we have to have a long stick, and periodically, stick it in the tank. When it reaches 44 inches of yueck in there, we call him to have it pumped out again...
Can anyone say 'SEWER GAS'?

Help is Here!

The man is here right now, working on thawing out our septic system!!!! Thank heavens there are people who know how to do that and have the equipment! I am SO happy!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ah, Winter ...

Well, folks, it's happened. We have lived in this house for 28 years now and for the very first time our septic system is frozen! That's what you get when there is only about an inch of snow on the ground and you have almost two weeks of -20 degree temperatures!

I have a call in to the only (apparently) business in the area who thaws them out. In the meantime, no showers, laundry and flushing only if absolutely necessary!

As Froyd would say, "Good Times!"

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Latest Project...



This is a small tote, 10" by12" for a friend. The outer pockets are pictures of her two dogs, edged with piping, layered with quilt batting, and lined with the same material I lined the inside of the tote with. I also included a zippered pocket on the inside.
I took the pictures with my digital camera and printed them on special computer printer fabric.

Amazing Lady...

I enjoy sharing stories of times gone by, and I also love hearing about other's experiences. This amazing lady has a wealth of personal stories from her early years in Germany. I was able to meet her not too long ago when she came to Bemidji. She is Natasha's grandmother, so I have come to learn where Natasha gets much of her determination and strength.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Hair Today...

Hair... long, short... curly, straight... thick, thin... extensions, dyes, permanents, you name it. The trends come and go.
When I was small, my mother spent a lot of time curling and/or braiding my hair.

<--I'm about 3 years old here. She said that my hair was so thick, she curled about 2/3 of it into ringlets, and the rest she pulled into a braid at the top of my head (with a ribbon of course). I can still remember sitting on the kitchen table while she did my hair each day. At night, she would wind my hair around her finger and tie each ringlet with a piece of cloth. Much easier to sleep on than the rollers I used during college! When my brothers came along, Mom didn't have as much time to fix my hair, so I was in braids a lot. However, for special occasions such as a portrait, she again fixed it into ringlets. See the braid? Much of my hair was cut into bangs, also! That was a really thick head of hair!

In this picture, I am 7, my brother Jim was 3 and Mick was 2. Isn't Mick the cutest little guy? He had VERY curly hair and it was usually all in ringlets all over his head. He even won a 'Most Beautiful Baby' contest! For this picture, Mom slicked it down with water. When he was in junior high he hated his curly hair, so went to the barber to have a VERY short haircut! He was really disappointed that it was curly again when it grew out!

More on hair later...

PS...I am wearing a 100% light wool dress, hand-made by my great grandmother

Saturday, February 10, 2007

I Have An Idea...

Actually, Loralee gave me an idea. She asked where I was when Kennedy was killed, so I posted about that day.
Because I am old enough to be the GRANDmother of many who read my blog, I thought I would post about other events I lived through so many, many years ago... just in case they are of interest to anyone. You know, people studying history, wondering what it was like in the 'Dark Ages', etc....
Keep in mind as you read any of these posts, they are MY recollections and experiences.

^Mom and I (I'm about 3 years old here)

So with that introduction, here are my thoughts on children and winter:

Today children go outside and play in the snow. We did that when I was young, too. There are a few differences, however.

Today children have jackets, 'snow' pants, mittens and gloves made of nylon with polyester batting inside. Very warm, moisture repelling, very light-weight, and easily 'wash and dry' type of outfits.

When I was young, (in the late 1940's and early 1950's), I wore thick woolen snow pants held up with suspenders, and buttons at the waist. Then a heavy wool or corduory coat, lined with cotton flannel, and in between these layers was wool batting. Usually the coat had a row of buttons down the front.

Then came knitted woolen mittens with a long crocheted string that went up a sleeve of the coat, across your back and down the other sleeve. This was in case you wanted to take a mitten off for any reason, it wouldn't get lost!

On my feet were regular socks, usually cotton that went up to my thighs and were held up with garters (yes, garters!). I would wear my regular shoes, leather of course, then stick my feet into overshoes. They were called 'four-buckle' overshoes. Easy enough to get on, but when the buckles were all caked with snow and ice from playing outside, they were a trial to get off!

To top off this fetching ensemble was a knitted stocking hat (wool), and a knitted scarf (also wool) that was tied around my face, (I can still remember how scratchy and itchy it was!).

It took a while to get this outfit on, so I can remember my mother reminding me to 'go potty' before she started 'suiting me up' for the great outdoors!

I especially remember one time playing outside and having so much fun...until...I had to 'go potty'! I ran back to the house. I needed help getting all this 'outdoor stuff' off, and my mother wasn't there! She had gone down the block to visit my grandmother. Only my dad was home. He wasn't used to all the buttons and straps and buckles, and his fingers were larger than my mother's... I had to GO! He struggled and struggled, but it was too late! I wet my pants! I wet through my underpants, the cotton stockings, the woolen snow pants! I was SO embarrassed! My poor father felt so bad. He kept telling me, "It's not your fault, Sharon. My fingers are too big for these little buttons."

Now wet wool does not smell very good, but wool that is wet from snow AND pee smells REALLY bad!

Dad rinsed the pants in cold water and hung them over a wooden drying rack in front of our oil burner. It took them over 24 hours to dry out.

MORAL: Today's children and parents have it SO much easier!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Where Was I When Kennedy Was Killed?

Loralee asked the question.

It was November 22, 1963. I was a senior at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. I lived off-campus with a lovely, wealthy Jewish family in southern Minneapolis. I was the nanny for their two young school-age daughters. At that time, Augsburg did not allow female students to live off-campus unless they were living at home. Mrs. Fischbein invited the Dean of Women of the college out to the house to get her approval for my living there while going to school!

I took the city bus each day to and from the campus. I studied during the long ride, with one change of buses in downtown Minneapolis. (for a young girl from a VERY small town, that was an experience!)

The day before Kennedy was killed, my parents had called me to let me know that my grandmother had passed away. She had been very ill and I had taken a bus home (120 miles) to see her in the hospital the weekend before. I was her very first grandchild (out of 32 grandchildren) to attend college, and she was SO proud of me. So I went to school that day, letting all my professors know that I would not be in class the next day because of her funeral.

On the morning of the 22nd, I was in the library at the college, studying for a test. Suddenly, everyone was talking... crying...hugging. President Kennedy had been killed! Now you must remember this was before cell phones, computers, email... Word spread across campus like a wild fire. Somehow, everyone just KNEW we had to assemble. Students and professors streamed silently across the commons area toward the gymnasium. This was a Lutheran college, we took classes in religion in addition to our other studies. We had 'chapel' every day. When the gymnasium was full, the president of the college spoke to us about what had happened. We prayed, we cried, we hugged each other. We just couldn't believe what had happened.

Classes were cancelled for the rest of the day. I still needed to let one professor know that I would be gone the following day for my grandmother's funeral. I found him sitting alone in the hallway outside his classroom. This was my German professor. A serious, 'all-business' type of teacher. He was sitting in one of those student desks, with his elbows on the desk portion, his head in his hands, and he was sobbing! This image has stayed with me so clearly all these years. I paused, not knowing if I should approach him or not. He sensed someone was near and looked up, tears streaming down his face. I said, "Excuse me, I just wanted to let you know...." and I told him of my grandmother's death and upcoming funeral. He nodded and again dropped his head, his shoulders shaking with sobs.

I left the building, tears streaming down my face...crying for our poor President, for my grandmother, for myself, but oddly I think most of my tears were for my German professor and the wrenching pain he was experiencing in his adopted country...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Number 400!

This is my 400th post! Guess it's more than just a hobby now!

I am getting really, really bored just being at home. Laundry, cooking, cleaning only takes up so much of the day. Any ideas?

Monday, February 05, 2007


At 10 am today, the temperature was -27! Now THAT'S cold!
I am home alone today, so it's up to me to keep the Wilkening fireplace going. We have electric baseboard heat throughout the house. However, we are on the 'off-peak' plan. When the electric company has a heavy load, they can turn OFF our heat for up to 6 hours at a time! Because of this plan, our cost for electric heat is at a much lower rate. So the fireplace is ESSENTIAL during weather like this!

Thoughts on Insomnia...

I can't get to sleep. I've tried.
So many things go through my mind as I try to fall asleep:
  • what did I accomplish today?
  • what do I need to do tomorrow?
  • did I remember to turn off the iron?
  • what is 128 x 42?
  • who was the actor who played the father on the Donna Reed show?
  • why can't I go to sleep?
  • what should I make for supper tomorrow (today)?
  • I should clean the bathroom(again)
  • how many times do you need to use hand lotion to get rid of dry skin?
Oh well, I'll try again...(to go to sleep)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

I'm Angry!

Some people just shouldn't be allowed to have children in my opinion!

Mother could face charges after toddler left in cold car

Sunday February 04, 2007

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) A Duluth mother is facing child endangerment charges after police said she left her 14-month-old child in a parked car for half an hour on one of the coldest days of the year.

The toddler was treated at St. Luke's Hospital Saturday for early signs of frostbite. Both the toddler and a 3-year-old sibling were taken into protective custody.

Police found the child around 9 a.m., at a time when the National Weather Service reported the temperature at 20 degrees below zero. The car was not running, and police said the child was ``inappropriately dressed'' for the weather.

Police said the incident is still under investigation.

Information from: Duluth News Tribune,

Saturday, February 03, 2007


This morning the temperature was -25 degrees. Yes, MINUS 25 degrees below ZERO! Now THAT is COLD!
But we are tough here in northern Minnesota. Yes we are! I can remember not too many years ago when 30 and 40 below zero was pretty common during January and February. Then when you figure in the wind chill factor, the weatherman would be talking about -70... Everyone still went to work and school. OK, maybe a few cars wouldn't start, but you could always get a 'jump' from a neighbor.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Mother and Son in Class Together...

Well, here we are. Thanks to Eric Kuha, who brought his camera to class on Tuesday. And Colin is thinking, "OK, she promised she wouldn't embarrass me..."