Category Archives: Uncategorized

Vintage birthday card

Found this at the Elgin house. Uncle Verne and Aunt Norma (my dad’s sister) gave it to my Grandpa Patrick.

My Favorite Veteran

Dad's Navy Photo My dad was in the US Navy during the Korean Conflict. His time in the Navy is what he tends to remember the most and he never tires talking about the places he saw while on his tours of duty.

Things I remember him telling me include:

  • Buying a pair of binoculars to spy on the women at the topless beach
  • Driving to and from Philadelphia in a car with a rumble seat.
  • Eating chipped beef (and liking it!)
  • Seeing the Rock of Gibraltar
  • Being offered a job and the option to inherit the family business if he’d marry someone’s daughter (someone he was not in love with)
  • The time he shook hands with Gary Cooper and gave him a cup of coffee. Cooper was on board my dad’s ship because it was being used in the film, You’re In the Navy Now.

Things I didn’t know, but learned today while going through a packet of his papers and photographs, were:

  • he was an associate member of the Thorland Club — a club in Haiti, if the few sources I found on the Internet can be believed


  • He crossed the Arctic Circle on November 12, 1949 and thus became a member of the Royal Order of Blue Noses.


  • That my dad was among the first crew on the ship when it was commissioned, making him eligible to be a Plank Owner.


Looking at the post cards my dad bought while on his various tours of duty makes it look like his time in the Navy was akin to being on a cruise ship, but I’m sure he just told me the good parts. He probably had to work hard at his job and I’m willing to bet he was pretty good at it.

My favorite mug

MugYears ago, when my kids were small, I used a consignment store in Alexandria to unload some gently used children’s clothes. That’s where I picked up a publication, called Mother’s Resource Guide. It gave advice and suggested resources to new mothers (mind you, this was before blogging and the Internet was very young). The publication is no longer around, but one thing that I purchased through the magazine is.

That’s it, in the picture, my “All in a Day’s Work” mug. It illustrates a stay-at-home mother’s day from waking up through falling, exhausted, into bed. I liked that the kids looked like mine and they seemed about the same age difference as my two. Most of the activities depicted on the mug were ones I carried out in a day — all but the bill paying which I left to my husband.

Several years ago I found Priscilla Burris, the artist of the mug, online and sent her an email. Today we became “friends’ on facebook and exchanged a few words.

What’s cool is that I look at this mug every day. I used to drink coffee from it in the morning, but when the handle fell off, I found another use for it — as a pencil holder. It’s fun to look at the mug and remember when the kids were small, especially now that one will be going off to college in 10 months and the youngest is learning how to drive. It reminds me of a different time in my life — a simpler one perhaps.

Anyway — I’d like to publicly thank Ms Burris for her artwork on my mug/pencil holder/icon of memories.

Happy 99th Grandma Green

My Grandma (Lois Elizabeth Koeser — or Elizabeth Lois Koeser — depending on who you believe) Green was born 99 years ago today. She was an unusual grandmother — I remember my brother saying something like, “Grandma doesn’t act like a grandma. She skips!” And he was telling the truth. She skipped (and sang about skipping) and did a lot of other things other grandmothers normally didn’t do when I was a kid.

She once told me about dancing the Charleston (and tried to teach me the steps) and going to speakeasys (speakeasies?) with my Grandfather.

On her birthday I cannot help thinking about her, remembering our times together and hoping that when I’m a grandmother (wait, she already was a grandmother several times over at my age) I hope I’m as fun to be around as she was.

She moved on to the next adventure in the late 1980’s. I was lucky to be around her during her final days.

Here she is in at a more traditional time — dressed up, ready to go out.

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck?

Ok, what’s going on with groundhogs? I’ve had over 60 people search for the term groundhog and end up on my site in the last two months. I noticed it around Mole Day and thought people were confusing groundhogs with moles.

However it is continuing — even more so since Mole Day as the above chart indicates.

If you search google images for the term groundhog, the first image that comes up is one that is on my server — one I blatantly stole from the Internet for a post about Groundhog Day (the day — not the movie), so I suppose people are just searching for images of groundhogs.

But why?

I think it is a conspiracy. Or groundhogs are going to take over the world. Or maybe we should invest in groundhogs. What do you think it means?

No worries

The last few days have had the potential to be worrisome ones. My daughter’s beloved computer exhibited the dreaded blue screen that indicated her registry was corrupted. I know something about computers, but not how to fix that issue (but that didn’t stop me from spending a whole day trying to fix it). Luckily I have a friend who knows about this kind of stuff who stopped by and fixed it for her (and charged me much less than the Geek Squad would have).

Then, when I swiveled in my chair to get up from my work computer I knocked the dvd tray askew. After trying to fix it, I concluded I needed to buy a new dvd reader/writer and install it. I expected to pay a fair bit of money for this — it had been years since I installed anything on my computers, and back in the olden days a dvd drive was well over $100.

Then, Monday night when I had computer guts all over the floor of my office, my daughter told me our female cat had dilated pupils that wouldn’t constrict and the cat was bumping into things and obviously couldn’t see. She consulted Dr. Internet who told her the cat was possibly going blind. I consulted Dr. Neighbor to see if we should rush the cat to the after hours animal clinic, but he said as long as she was acting ok otherwise, to wait until morning.

Through all this, however, I refused to worry. I’ve been a worrier and I’ve known worriers and I’ve concluded that worry is an unnecessary and harmful emotion. Computers can be fixed. Blind cats can adapt.

Tuesday morning I called our vet who suggested we bring our cat in for a visit.

Then I voted.

When I returned home from the polling place I took my son to get some clothes, stopping first at Micro Center to buy a new DVD drive and maybe a firewire port for my desktop. The Micro Center folks were very helpful and I found a better DVD drive then the one I broke for less than $30. I also bought a firewire/usb combo card. Now I have enough slots on my computer to run all my peripherals.

My son has been hoping for a laptop for his 16th birthday in January — but knows that desktops are actually better deals. I offhandedly remarked maybe he could build his own and he jumped at the idea. So now he and I are going to build a computer together. Something I’ve always wanted to do, and something he said he’d considered. He was pretty excited and wants to get going right away. (Yay — another geek in our family).

The day was looking up.

When I got back home my daughter said our cat’s eyes were back to normal. I kept the appointment with the vet anyway — to see if they could tell us why.

My son and I installed my dvd drive and firewire/usb ports with no problems (it took less than 30 minutes) then my daughter and I took our cat to the vet. $200+ later we still don’t know why she spent 12 hours visually impaired, but know she’s healthy enough for a senior cat.

So, except for some unexpected spending of money all is good.

Oh yeah, and then changed happened.