Archive for July, 2016

Our really HOT SPELL seems over for the time…We’ve set a lot of records, here and all over the country, for number of days with over 90degree temperatures so far this year. I love that it is cooler. I love that I bought one of those free standing air conditioners for the upstairs. I had an old one in my bedroom, but it was not enough BTUs for the area I wanted to cool and didn’t work well. This is wonderful! Andy installed it for me. AC is a real blessing.

Speaking of Andy – he had five days off in a row last week and worked mightily on his pontoon steam launch, the Nyitra, every day, often with friends helping. The boiler is on the boat, but there is lots left to do.

Andy july 2016 moving boiler onto trailer

I was a bit worried about this work with the chain hoist. But all went well.



And speaking of anticipation – Tomorrow I am driving to the cottage  on Lake Chautauqua. We are having a reprise of sorts. In 2014 on the way to our D.E. Stevenson gathering in Toronto, three friends joined me at the cottage and we drove from there up to our wonderful meeting of kindred spirits. Karen, Betty and Linda enjoyed some time at the lake as well as the “symposium” by another lake.

This year, Karen, Betty and Linda as well as my friend Susan who had organized the Toronto event as well as fellow Dessie, Perry from Maine, will be meeting at the cottage again. I admit to a bit of trepidation; that’s just my nature. I’m usually a bit of a worrywort until the moment when we are all together. But Stevenson fans are really kindred spirits and very pleasant guests. Honestly, I cannot wait to gather together. The first arrivals will be together for lunch on Tuesday and the last departures are after lunch on Saturday and may joy reign in between.

Internet access is limited up there so I don’t know what I will be able to share until we are all back.  And I don’t expect to miss it either with such a group of friends gathered all around.


I had published this already when I learned that my great niece Ari and her team just won back to back National Championships for soccer for her age group. In San Antonio. Ari is second from left. They won in 2015, too.

FnF Jalics Ari second from left 2016 champshps San Antonio TX



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An Adventure!

Yesterday was the birthday of my sil Mike, Alice’s husband. It is one of those weighty birthdays whose number ends in a zero. There are some parties planned, but on the day itself Mike, Alice and their sons Nathan and Stephen went off on an adventure which they enjoyed very much.

Cleveland, the big city (though in population much smaller than it used to be, alas) north of us, from which we all “sprang” has been changing a lot in recent years and they decided to spend a day being tourists in Cleveland. It was a great success!

Alice july 2016 mikes bday in cle pic 1

They visited the Soldiers and Sailors Monument  where I was sad to learn that the names inscribed within are only the soldiers and sailors who served in the Civil War from Cuyahoga County, Ohio. My gggrandfather Ruben Cole and his brother John were in the 15th OVI from Richland County and so, their names were not to be seen. I always thought they would be there.

Alice july 2016 mike bday 4

They got library cards for the wonderful Cleveland  Public Library. (Of course they already had library cards for closer libraries.)

Besides newly redesigned and built Public Square they walked to the nearby Mall.



Alice july 2016 mike bday 5Alice july 2016 mikes bday 2

alice july 2016 mikes bday 3

They had a great lunch in Heinen’s, an upscale grocery store which operates in the beautiful old Cleveland Trust Bank Building and toured the renovated Flats area and came home exhausted but very happy.

I don’t believe they visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nor the Great Lakes Science Center which they visit often anyway.

Alice july 2016 mikes bday 7

Alice july 2016 mikes bday 9

Alice july 2016 mikes bday 10

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Is  blue!

Blue flowers and white flowers are my favorites.

I always wanted to grow blue hydrangeas and have tried a number of times. They just didn’t live, alas. I know all about acid and basic soil additions to influence the color, but they just didn’t live for me.

But now, my dear son in law Ingmar has had success at the cottage and this is the third or fourth year of lovely blue hydrangeas! Lots of beautiful blue blooms!

Chautauqua july 2016 flowers

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Alice’s Work!

Alice has been busy making a sign for the cottage. We still don’t have the final “Fern Lodge” sign made but she made one which says something Paul used to tell us all and our guests, too: GO JUMP IN THE LAKE!

Alice july 2016 her jump in the lake sign

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Rather quiet days just now, outside of doctor’s appointments and tests. But the weekend was a sweet one – Clara had a lovely birthday party with so many cakes! Ingmar baked a Black Forest Torte and two Swiss Rolls – one with raspberry filling and one with blueberry. And he and his mother baked several other desserts – one with a wafer in it, a delicious nut roll, and one with poppy seed and Greek yogurt as some of the ingredients.

Clara july 2016 Papa and Oma with the million cakes

But there was nothing left at the end….There were a lot of guests, including  a dozen children…..Later on there was a buffet dinner with lots of salads and different kinds of meat (chicken, pork, hot dogs, bratwurst, etc.) which Ingmar grilled out on the deck. The German grandmother made a delicious carrot salad I’ve never eaten before, as well as a German potato salad. I made a quinoa salad with lots of vegetables, there was a huge tossed green salad and  a pasta salad. I’d been over for Kaffee and Kuchen the day before the party and all of us had a little chopping party to help get all these carrots, onions, and pickles chopped up. Lots of fun doing this together.

Clara july 2016 party

The picture above is from the family party on Friday  morning. These parties are celebrated at breakfast and always feature the train with the candles and the paper roses my sil Alice made for Emily’s bridal shower in 2003. They live in a cardboard box between celebrations.

Clara july 2016 bday when your first gift is a book

Clara loves books for presents! Sometimes it is hard to pry her out of them and back to opening the rest of the gifts!

Clara July 2016 family bday

This week the girls are going to Art Camp, about two hours a day of ceramics, and also swimming classes for a half an hour four days a week. Their sweet Oma flew back to Germany yesterday and now Emily is very busy working on two grant proposals due by the 21s of July.

Next week the Republican National Convention comes to Cleveland and Cleveland State University  does not want any students or faculty in the city. So Emily will be teaching online from home. I’m glad she won’t be downtown though I hope everything will be peaceful. So, perhaps these days are not as quiet as I began this post saying they were.

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Nathan’s baseball team is in the playoffs!

Nathan july 2016 maybe last game of the year....they are in the playoffs

Stephen wants to be on American Ninja Warrior and I must say, it seems to be part of his character from his earliest days….When he was just two years old he dragged a case of beer over to the gate from the kitchen to the mudroom and tried to escape! And now he tries to climb everything he can! This is not the craziest thing he has done!

Stephen July 2016 ninja Stephen

And he went on his first family bike ride with no training wheels.

Stephen july 2016 first real no training wheels bike ride

And on that bike ride, by the Cuyahoga River, they saw something very strange….A snake was trying to eat a fish which was just too big for it, so it eventually stopped trying and left.

Stephen july 2016 first bike ride snake tries to eat a fish and gives up

Sorry if this photo seems a little too gross….It’s actually quite interesting, too.


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Almost here.

It’s the time of year I think about ancestors who fought for this country. I think about what it meant when I was growing up. About the good and bad ways things have changed since then. I come to no conclusions, really. I know I love this land and wish it well. I wish every country well and am so sad by all the suffering in the world at the moment. This is not a new thing but the scale seems disheartening. But we can’t spend our time obsessing about the evil in the world.

I will just try to do whatever good I can and focus on what is good. What else is there?

And there is so much that is good.

America the beautiful

This is what it looks like south of me. Alice and I are planning a trip to Amish country soon. It’s been too long.

I love the song America the Beautiful and especially love the way Beyonce sang it at President Obama’s 2008 Inauguration.


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