Archive for September, 2012

Usually called Bo….He is my very good canine companion and ten years old this year…….So perhaps a bit older than I am, if that seven years rule still holds, but I think it doesn’t.

Bo came to live with us in 2002, a few months after our second poodle Csapi died. (pronounced Chuppy and rhymes with puppy). Bo is the third poodle Paul and I owned together. My first poodle was Jacques and he was really my parents’ dog when I was in junior high and high school.

I am allergic to most dogs, but poodle hair is like human hair, doesn’t shed and is hypoallergenic.

Before Csapi we had a lovely poodle named Csali  (Chawli) who was run over by a car on a terrible afternoon while I was having a girl scout meeting at my home. Everyone was pretty upset. Not a good memory, but the memory of Csali is a dear one.

We had decided that our children were going to have a dog for Christmas in 1987, and one of their presents was a letter (written by Csali himself) that told that he was a living gift, hidden in the house, and they would have to come and find him and then take very good care of him and be their friend. Such excitement! They ran all through the house before the heard a mysterious little barking sound from the basement and discovered him beneath the laundry chute. Such joy!

He was only three years old when he died, but had a great personality and would sit on my lap, look me in the eye,  and “talk” to me for ten minutes at a time, with inflections so like human speech that I felt there was something wrong with me for being unable to understand him! He is buried in our back yard by the Tupelo tree with a stone over his resting place.

All our dogs are related. Csali came to us from the man who is still our vet 25 years later. The others were bought from different breeders, but from the same family of poodles.

Bogancs is pronounced Beau’ gahnch. It is a Hungarian word and means thistle, but more importantly it is the name of the Hungarian dog who is rather Lassie in English. He was a Hungarian Puli, a sheep herding dog who was separated from his master and went through many adventures on his journey to return home, which he did successfully, finally. Our son Andy saw the movie called Bogancs when we were living in Hungary in 1992 and when we told him that he could name the new puppy he knew immediately what he wanted to call him.

When Paul was becoming more and more ill, he walked Bo many times a day and told me that he could tell his troubles to the dog and was sure he understood.

I feel the same. I don’t really have many problems, but anyone with children and grandchildren will always have something to talk about.

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An anniversary

We were all at Moore’s Chapel Cemetery in Bath, this afternoon. Alice planted chrysanthemum’s on Paul’s grave. It is the fifth anniversary of the death of a wonderful man whom we will never forget.

Alice was here with her uncle Franz earlier in the week. And today she laid these sunflowers across my name because she doesn’t like to see it there. But I don’t mind at all.

Perhaps the funniest thing about this gravestone – aside from the fact that it was first mistakenly laid on someone else’s grave and I had to call the sexton to have it moved to the right one – is that we chose “Blessed are the Peacemakers” for the inscription on the bottom. Paul was a true peacemaker in every area of his life. And a kind and skilled one, at that. But I told the company which was making the stone that I felt strange when I saw it and realized that it seemed to include me too. And the woman snapped back with, “Well, I’ve never seen a stone that said, “Blessed is the Peacemaker and his wife”.  I had to laugh at that. It sounded so silly.

Here are some pictures of Paul from happier days:

At the head of the table during a family dinner at Chautauqua……







Skiing out west….a moment before disaster!







kayaking at the lake………

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Guests for dinner

Tonight I had a small dinner party for my sister and brother in law, Aniko and Gyuri who live nearby, and my bil Franz who lives in Germany. My son Andy was there too, and Alice, Mike, Nathan and Stephen came over for dessert. I did invite them for dinner too, but they thought they couldn’t make it.

In Hungarian a common greeting is “Isten Hozott” which means “God brought you”! And a guest used to be called a “szent vendeg”, which means not only a guest but a holy guest. Hospitality is a fine and heart felt art which I have not been practicing for too long.

Of course I didn’t think about my camera until the actual dinner was over and we were beginning dessert! And then, I was quickly distracted from photography to conversation.

Feri is a vegetarian and so is my son Andy, so we had a simple vegetarian meal. I baked a large vegetable pot pie (with onion, carrots, celery, Portabella mushrooms (with the gills removed –  a tip from the Food Wishes blog), parsley, yellow wax beans, and green peas and a quite simple bechamel sauce seasoned with salt, pepper, parsley, marjoram and Parisian Bonnes Herbs from Penzey’s  – http://www.penzeys.com/) which turned out quite well, and I served only creamed spinach and pickled beets as side dishes to the main course.  The menu sounds like an acknowledgement that the weather is changing to something quite a bit cooler these days! Andy brought out one of the jars of pickles he made earlier and presented it to Aniko, my sister in law. We talked about things we used to make or can and no longer do. Aniko made a wonderful pickle consisting of Hungarian medium hot block peppers stuffed with finely shredded cabbage and seasoned with mustard seed and (sometimes) tiny hot peppers, salt and a very small amount of sugar. I miss this and am thinking I should try to make some while I can still get the right peppers.

Being rather lazy, for dessert I bought some small quick breads from the little farm at the end of the road where I buy my eggs. The farmer’s wife bakes her own and sells them from coolers. Sometimes she has fabulous Russian tea cakes, but not today, alas….

I bought instead some mini loaves of  zucchini bread and cranberry nut bread. Alice brought some chocolate chip cookies and some far too decadent brownies left over from her party last Saturday. We drank water with the meal, but later some enjoyed a good merlot and some drank herb tea and some had both.
Alice helped me with cleaning on Wednesday and I did a lot of organizing and am now  fired with ambition to donate more things to Goodwill. I’ve got to have fewer things! It’s so funny how when we are younger we acquire more and more things we think we need or want, and when we are older we want to get rid of so much of it all.

I was quite amused that part of the dinner conversation was a discussion about our hearing, how bad it was, when we first realized we had a problem, etc. I remember in 1992 when Paul and I took his mother to visit her cousin Ditke and they discussed health issues the entire time. (How are your legs? How is your stomach, how are your eyes, do you hear well? And more of the same.)

Well, they were both 90 years old at the time, but we swore we would never reach this state of decrepitude! Right!

Now Paul has been gone for nearly five years and I am thinking I should perhaps ask to have my hearing tested at my next appointment with my doctor. But actually, I think I will wait a while. It’s not such a problem yet. When my mother in law was my age she still had three more years of teaching sixth grade before retiring.

Tomorrow Franz or Feri (it sounds almost  like Fedi with the trilled r)  as he is called in the family flies back to Frankfurt where someone will meet him and drive him to the retreat house in Gries, near Coburg and even closer to Kronach if you have a map. I asked him if he would rest a little now after his long journey, but learned that the day after he returns he will begin a new retreat. He is  85 years old, and I wish I had his energy. I remember when his mother (who lived to be 104) was 85, and would manage my vegetable garden which she had to drive a half and hour each way to get to, and harvest it, and box it up and send it to us in the summer with whichever relative was coming to visit us at Chautauqua. His 86 year old sister in Budapest still gets up sometimes at 6am to attend  political rallies.

The conversation was excellent and lasted til almost ten o’clock.  I was sad when they left because I know there is a good chance that I may never see Feri again. I don’t go to Europe that often and he doesn’t come to the States more than once a decade or so. And what does that mean when one is 85? He is such a special person, full of wisdom and kindness and a decided twinkle in his eye. His sense of humor reminds me of Paul’s.

And later I came upstairs to the computer and read Alice’s comment on facebook, “Nothing like coming home from dinner to find that in a moment before leaving, your two year-old closed the drain and started the water in your sink! Good thing it was above the unfinished side of the basement….”

Life is so interesting, isn’t it.

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Rocket Boys

A few weeks ago my son gave his nephew Nathan a model of the SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket  which he and his Dad made together. Today Andy was over for the successful launch. Well, on one imaginative level perhaps not totally successful.  To quote Andy: ” It was a success, but sadly the crew/cargo perished because I folded the Dragon capsule parachute too tightly.”

There is a video of this which Alice posted on facebook. It shows the impressive launch with Nathan saying, “launching at ten, nine, eight, etc. and pushing the switch,  and toward the end I could hear Alice’s voice in the background saying, ” Oh great, it’s going into our neighbor’s house!” But that did not happen……

It did bring to mind a memory from 35 years ago when I dropped Alice off at the computer lab where my husband taught. He was going to baby sit for her while I did some volunteer work. As I walked out the door I heard him saying, “No, Alice, don’t push THOSE buttons”. Greater minds than mine can figure out why I remembered this at that moment.

This picture shows the Rocket Boys doing the last minute weather and wire checks.

And on the right, the Rocket Boys with the Rocket.

I would say something about men and boys and their toys, but I have quite a lot of toys myself, just different ones….

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My oldest brother-in-law, Father Franz Jalics, S.J., is here in Ohio for a visit. He will be 85 in November, and before arriving in Ohio he was on a tour of giving retreats in Hungary, Germany, Belgium, France, Argentina, Uruguay and Mexico. And after that he stopped in San Francisco to see his sister Maria and her husband and other west coast relatives.  I saw him in Hungary in May, but before that he had not been in Ohio since my niece Susie was married in August of 2006.  Eight of the ten siblings are still alive and very well. The youngest is 70 years old.

My daughter Alice wanted to have a family get together and that happened yesterday. She was ready for rain and bad weather, but we were blessed with a day that was sunny and cool, way too much delicious food, and three generations enjoying time together. Lots of little kids to keep things lively! Five of the original ten brothers and sisters were here. Three couldn’t make it because they live in San Francisco, Germany and Hungary. I’m in the middle row (ok, there were two middle rows, I guess) and am wearing a light kerchief around my neck. My visiting bil is in the middle of the top row. His hair is white. His shirt is blue and he’s wearing a black sweater over it.

Alice was able to buy a lot of sunflowers from a farm just down the road and they certainly made the tables feel cheerful!

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Steamless in the Valley


This was the post I had originally planned for last Monday – before Ingmar sent me the pictures of Sofia the shorn lamb…

We live near the Cuyahoga Valley National Park  ( http://www.nps.gov/cuva/index.htm)   and every summer they have a “Steam in the Valley” festival. It is going on now. You can read about it at


Or watch a video of the train running in 2007, here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpzrkAet3Ks&feature=em-share_video_user

We have done this before, I think in 2008 or 2009 with Alice and Nathan.

The picture is the DIESEL train approaching. Andy is on the left. He had bought tickets for us to take a two hour brunch expedition, from Brecksville to the north Akron station, but the night before the steam engine broke down. We still had a very nice trip, but pulled by diesel.  However, the steam engine is now fixed and supposed to be running this weekend and arrangements are supposed to be made for the people who were not able to ride a train pulled by a steam engine last week, to have a ride during the rest of the month while the engine is here. I hope that works out!


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History Repeats Itself

During our first sabbatical year in Hungary, in 1984, once morning my eight year old daughter Alice arrived at the breakfast table wearing a knit cap more suitable for the depths of winter than our mild spring like weather. “What’s the matter,” I joked, “Are you freezing to death or did you just cut all your hair off?”

After looking at me for a few seconds with tragic eyes,  Alice burst into tears. Yes, She had cut her hair, cut it very badly, close to the scalp all across the front and in very jagged clumps everywhere else….Rescue was difficult and not entirely successful. But the blessing of hair is that is does grow out.

My dear son in law Ingmar whose photos these are, sent me some news about one of his daughter’s  latest activities.

Saturday, my oldest granddaughter Sofia had her fifth birthday. And the next day she expressed her pleasure in hands on activity by cutting  her lovely golden hair. In her defence, she is very artistic and does love to cut paper. And she didn’t do as hopeless a job as Alice had. I am willing to bet that many of us gave ourselves rather bad haircuts when we were younger. At least I never dyed my hair or my nose green as Anne Shirley did in the Green Gables books.

Emily did some rescue work. At least, I assume it was Em, but perhaps Sofia’s Papa helped. I think she looks very cute now and it will grow into something a bit better, but in the meantime, I think it will be much easier to care for.

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A Short Journey South

A very short journey south, with my daughter Alice and grandson Stephen, to Holmes County, Ohio, a place we visit every few months at the very least. These pictures are all taken through my car window, so please excuse them. But since I’m not sure I do much of a better job when they are taken without a somewhat dirty window  in view, perhaps it doesn’t matter that much.

Perhaps worse than the dirty window is the fact that the car is moving, my camera is slow, and cars suddenly come down a driveway!

Some of my blog readers live near Amish areas and this will not be so interesting to them. But I think it may be to others, and a future post will be about a visit to Stan Hywet Hall, much more interesting to  people from rural Pennsylvania or Ohio.

I tried to crop this, unsuccessfully, as you see. I wanted to show the rolling hills of this part of Ohio.

Alice and I made a mistake planning this trip. We came on a Thursday, the main market day in Kidron, the day of the horse auction. It’s a big draw for tourists. We wanted to visit Lehman’s Hardware, but even their always expanding parking lot seemed to have no little corner for us at all.

There are many other places and routes through this area, but Alice and I have been taking the same one for quite a time. We drive to Kidron to the Mennonite Central Committee Thrift Shop, then down to Lehman’s and the Thousand Villages shop. Slowly we wend our way to Mrs. Yoder’s Kitchen in Mount Hope for their nice buffet.

The picture of the Amish girl with the trays of food is not mine, and usually Amish do not like to have their picture taken. But it is not so for all of them, and I hope it did not disturb this young woman to have her picture taken….

Along the way we sometimes stop at The Ashery, a well known bulk food store, or at one of the farm stands or green houses along the way, depending on the time of year.

And by that time, we often begin the hour drive home. I stay longer if I am alone or with a quilting friend. Then we often find our way down to Berlin (Bur’ lin) or Charm for the great fabrics at Miller’s Dry Goods. There is also a very large lumberyard with a store said to be more along the lines of Lehman’s which is nearby. I’ve never stopped there, but there’s always, “someday” to do it.

I’ve been driving down to this area since the early 80s when I already thought parts were too commercial, and it has become more and more so. I try to avoid the main drag between Berlin and Sugar Creek. Not at all authentic anymore, I’d say. But Kidron is not that crazy, even on auction day.

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My Favorite Day

I hope I can use this image which I borrowed from a friend’s facebook post.
It expresses my philosophy of life, even on days such as this one when I seem to have a late summer cold. It’s still my favorite day, because at the moment, it’s the only day I have.

My pictures began working again, mysteriously, about the same time that my inspiration went on a fairly long vacation.

I hope it is on the return journey to me, though I’m not yet certain. Nothing much has been happening. Andy went with his team to Johnson Space Center in Houston for a week and returned with the cold he generously gave to me. But I think I’m having a rather milder version of it than he did, for which mercy much thanks.

We’ve gotten rain from Isaac, but we NEEDED rain, very much, so I am not complaining. I’ve just been reading a lot of mysteries and spending too much time on the computer.  Yesterday and today my car has been away having brakes worked on and other things done. I truly hope it returns today because I have many library books to be picked up.

That’s most of the thrilling local news this favorite day, and I hope I have more to offer you soon!

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