Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lemonde and Other Thoughts

My Mom with Hannah and Kelsey having a tea/lemonade party in 2002
In 1911 Frances Hodgson Burnett published The Secret Garden. In it he observed:

"One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts -- just mere thoughts -- are as powerful as electric batteries -- as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. To let a bad thought get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body."

Sunlight makes me happy. This time of year I will eat my lunch with my back facing the window in our eating area. Usually I like to look out at our yard, gardens, and fields. After winter and cold weather it is just great to soak up the sun on my back. The feel of the sun on my back creates a sense of warmth and comfort.

Thoughts have power to change. The saying”attitude is everything” does contain a lot of merit. Now I am not saying that when life gives you a lemon it is easy to make great tasting lemonade yet with the correct amount of sugar and water real lemonade is a great treat. When the grand girls and I make a pitcher of the real stuff and have a tea party together life is good.

Thinking about lemonade reminds me of one culinary habit I learned from my mother. I do not know of anyone except her ever doing it. When I make lemonade or use a lemon I confess I sometimes do this myself. It is ever so yummy and takes me back to my child hood. I always wash my lemons well in very hot water. I have been told this makes for more juice. After the lemon is juiced, sprinkle the inside with white sugar and then eat. The mix of the bitter, sour and sweet is a heavenly treat. Yep, eat the whole thing except for the little bit on the end. Maybe was a depression era thing or just a family thing but it is one unusual eating experience I love.

Mom also used to make an open faced peanut butter sandwich with either raisins or sliced carrots on top. Shortly after we were married I made peanut butter and carrots sandwiches. We were heading out of town and this was to be a light supper eaten in the car. When my husband of only a few months discovered what I wanted to feed him he balked at the idea. Then being the adventurous guy that he was to become he consented to trying the sandwich. Pleasantly surprised, he discovered a like for the combination. For him it will never replace grape jelly and peanut butter but it has its place. I on the other hand never liked my grape jelly and peanut butter mixed together.

One time when I was in kindergarten or first grade, I and a boy from my class were asked to be part of a high school concert. We were to eat a sandwich while the chorus sang some song. We were given peanut butter and jelly in our sandwich. I am not sure if we were supposed to be messy or what the song was about. Another one of those half memories I have floating around in my mind. I just know that this was the last peanut butter and jelly sandwich I ever ate.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Some things that make me happy

Some things I love - in no particular order.

The guy I married; a garden in bloom; stars; a lazy afternoon spent in my hammock; reading a great book; Chocolate; a baby’s soft head and skin; holding a little one in my arms; pictures of family; travel, especially England; going for walks; Mom’s pies; spending time with our children, their spouses and grand children; buying plants; riding my bike where it is not too hilly; the smell of saw dust makes me happy my Dad built our home when I was a young girl; Genealogy ; our home; home magazines; Friends; a clean house; Saturday at the book store; making things with the grand kids; learning something new; gardening; puzzles and games; shells; sayings; blue and more.

I found a picture of our kids and their kids but it is small in size.

Monday, March 16, 2009

More Books

Meg Ryan has a line in “You’ve Got Mail” when she’s talking to Joe Fox before she realizes he’s JOE FOX of the BIG BAD FOX BOOKS: “Because when you read a book as a child, it becomes part of your identity like nothing else does…”

Gosh, can I identify with that line. My collection of children’s books is always expanding. When I pursue the Newberry and Caldecott award books at the local book store I want one of each. This is definitely one of my down falls. It is great the most books written for kids are small in size. I think my two favorite ones are Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey and Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag. I am almost certain that my kindergarten teacher, Miss Emmons, introduced me to both. The top three would include The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by DuBose Heyward. When I came across that book a few years ago I immediately bought it to share with the two oldest granddaughters. It was a surprise to see it contained class and female issues. Not only is the bunny hero a female with children but she is an ordinary country bunny, not a fancy city rabbit. My young ears may not have picked up on all the lessons but my adult ones certainly did. I was all the more amazed when I realized that this book was written in 1939. At the time I was introduced to it in the mid 50’s it had already been around for a while.

While at the book store Saturday afternoon I picked up the book Sarah’s Key, found a big overstuffed chair and began to read. By the time we were ready to leave I was into the book. No choice but to purchased it and continued reading on the way home. I finished reading the novel about six thirty. Mr. Husband then said to me we should have bought me another drink and stayed until I finished the book as it would have cost us less. Yea, but now I can share the story. It is a novel about a historical event in WWII.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Genealogy Cleaning

A post card from Grandma Lucy's post card album. They cost a penny to send.
This one may have been put in an envelope as it is
written on the back but it seem to have never been stamped.
The Lucy is in glitter.

On Sunday I spent some time working on cleaning up some genealogy files. I did some little things to some older entries in the computer program I use. When I began my files I did not put in any sources. After a bit I put in sources, made notes about census records and began record keeping. Over time I have developed my preferred way of doing this task. Many names are misspelled or misinterpreted in the census records and transcription. I now put in the information obtained then add the way a name is spelled in the record. My maiden name is sometimes found correctly spelled as Hultman. I have also located records where it is spelled Haltman, Holtman and Huttman.

I have always been a bit intrigued by genealogy but it was not until my Aunt Betty wanted some help figuring out a computer genealogy program that I started doing my own work. She has now lost interest in doing more work as Betty is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s. Much of her work was done in the eight years they lived in Washington DC. She did all her work unaided by the explosion of Internet information. I enjoy doing courthouse work, visiting cemeteries, historical libraries, and historical societies but the Internet adds a dimension of research that was unavailable in the pass.

Growing up I recall my family talking about trying to find my great grandfather’s sister. If it had not been for some obscure birth information I would never have located records on her. The Internet community of persons working on genealogy is often friendly and helpful. One gentleman found this sister’s adoption record and without that information I would never have known who adopted her. It is only with this information that I was fairly certain I had found the right person when I located her in the state of Washington. She had not moved out east as our family stories had indicated. My best guess is that the state of Washington and Washington DC were confused by someone, and the Washington DC became the east. Finding this person and her family members has been my big “brick wall came tumbling down” experience. It was such an exciting happening. It took at least five years of on and off looking. As more sites and more information are available over the Internet the odds of this happening increase.

As I have told others what I would really like to know is what their lives were like, what kind of a person they were and what they believed. I am certain I would not have liked many of them. My guess is that some I would have found fun to be with, I suspect I would find some of their lives depressing and others awful individuals..... It is certainly a movie worth renting.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Books - Week Three

Often we give a book for a baby gift. Sometimes a copy ends up in my library shelf. I have a small collection of children's books. Some are ones I recall from my youth. I love to read them to our grandchildren. The great books of my youth are still great.

When Sam and Sage come we pick out one or more to read each night. I have such a fun time sharing the books I love with them. With the older grand girls we had our favorites that we would read over and over. Lars is a polar bear with adventures that we all enjoyed. Hannah would most often pick The Great Pig Escape because she found it so very funny. Kelsey would set on my lap and let me read to her a stack of books she had chosen. Most of the time before we were done she would have me read every book I had bought for her two year old mind.

Our daughter-in-law keeps a book list. Actually she has two; one is a list of the books she has read and the other of books she wants to read. Well if it is never too late, my list is now a work in progress. There is no way to ever recall all the books I have read but I can start a list. So just for fun and for my own enjoyment I have begun to make my lists. The books I want to read my never get any farther than random slips of paper but the list of books I have read is becoming a computer reality. I just do not know what to do with the half read books lying around the house. I can count at least half a dozen books that either may or may not ever get finished. These are not books that I have no interest in finishing. They are left incompletely read for a variety of reason but I have hopes of finishing them sometime.
Yesterday while doing one of our favorite things to do on a Saturday afternoon, also known as spending time at the local Barns and Nobel Bookstore, I wondered the store with a paper in hand writing down some book titles and authors of books that go on my list of book read. I get my books from three main sources. Our local library, book stores, and my sister Cindi are the three ways I come by the majority of books. Running behind my top three sources is my daughter-in-law. She almost always gives me a book for Christmas. As she is an avid reader of books, a college journalism major and former editor she has her senses in tuned to looking for good literature.
I do admit to being a wee bit taken back by her gift book this Christmas. It was the title that hit me a bit by surprise. Not everyone can give their mother-in-law a book with the title The Household Guide to Dying. The book is by an Australian writer Debra Adelaide. This book is a definite good read and I hope it jumps the pond. Debra writes well, has a good tale to tell, made me think about life and death, and I enjoyed catching some of the little things that make Australian life a bit different from our American ways.

I bought The Hundred Dresses last week. Last night I read it and now need to find more Eleanor Estes books. I think I read The Moffats.
One of my favorite college classes was a Children's Literature class. Our instructor read out load most class periods. She introduced me to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Sometimes we would beg her to read another chapter.