yes, camping

without a doubt, if I had to do real camping I would be eaten by a bear. I am completely without skills in this area. But the good thing is that I have no desire to acquire them. We went to a graduation, pig roast and camp out. And decided to be good sports and camp. After many iPhone photos and possibly 5 phone calls to the tent owners and some help the tent was up. John never tent camped and the last time I did it was a canvas tent with a pole in the center. I doubt I had anything to do with putting it up.

We did camp in comfort though with a fan, lamp, table, rug, queen sized blow up mattress, nice linens etc. It even got cool at night. It was a nice time great food, good tunes, fireworks... but in the future I think I'll stick to drawing tents.

(Thanks for the loan of the tent Lois, it was nice and big and very comfy.)


betty's alligator purse...

At least I have always thought it was alligator, but what would I know since I am not an animal hide aficionado. My Mom always dressed well. In her day she was a 'purse matches your shoes' kind of fashionista.

I always loved this purse. Normally it is on a bookshelf in the guest room. My friend Janette who was here recently asked why I don't use it. And I had no reason. We had a Valentine's cocktail party to go to and I did use this purse.

And that would have pleased Mom.

jackson ganahl

John and I are grandparents!!!!!!!!! Little Jackson arrived about noon on Monday. Everyone is doing well. They came home from the hospital Wednesday and we were going to go down Thursday. But I have a sinus infection and John has now come down with a cold. So we are going to have to wait. But we talk about him every minute of the day!

(Jackson, we are SO glad you finally got here. And I knew all along that you were a little boy. We can't wait to meet you! kisses, G Mom)

Big News!

Rae: I have some news, really exciting news and I have managed to do as I was told and kept it a secret... and so has old Loose Lips Ganahl. Or has he...? maybe everyone already knows...? maybe all of you out there in cyberspace already know and it is purely an afterthought that I share... John: Loose Lips? Just because I "outed" almost all, OK, all my gay friends???? I mean, it was totally an accident. But no, I have been a good secret keeper this time. I have told no one...

Rae:  ... that we we are going to be grandparents! Sometime in late January, Matt and Jen are going to have a baby!

John: I am thinking about a treehouse off our bedroom balcony... and all kinds of things I can teach the little one like golf, the farmer blow, using your body to make unusual sounds... and other stuff that maybe I shouldn't mention or Jen may never let the little one come visit us. But then again, she married Matt and he and Ryan are my direct descendants! So she should know first hand what kind of influence I have been.

Rae: I am more concerned with what I will be called. A friend years ago told me that this was something to give thought to. As she was known as Tractor Grandma, not to be confused with Packer Grandma. Yup, you guessed it. Sue's husband John has his uncle or dad's old tractor and the other grandparents are Packer fans.

So what do you all think? Grandma Kaiser was MY grandma and I don't have gray hair and wear black crepe dresses every day so that can't be it. My Mom was Mutti to the grandkids, so I can't be that or Nana or any grandma sounding name...

I want something fun.

John suggests Babs... but I am not a Babs. My friend Julie is a Babs but not me. I have a friend whose kids call her Cinderella so that one is taken too. Any thoughts?

John:  I hope to be "Papa G" which Ryan's pool playing buddies call me. (Cuz Ryan is just "G") I like it and hope the baby catches on. That said, I can be any old grunt or burp the baby chooses to assign to me.

Rae: I am serious about needing help here. Plz leave suggestions in the comments section... friends, family and total strangers are welcome to weight in. I don't want to end up Font Grandma.

John: First and foremost, I/we are SO happy for Matt and Jen. They will make wonderful parents. Let's hope Jen's good influence can counteract and questionable influences from Papa G, G, and the baby's father! (Gawd, I'm almost hoping it's a girl so the corruption can appear so...unexpected!)  :)  And one last serious note from me...I hope Jen knows, and I'm fairly certain she does, that this child will be in the best of hands with me. No worries, dear.

diy... mom's altaras... part 3

Mom's altaras are done, mailed and should be at their destinations. As you can see I added the little things at the bottom of the boxes. Nothing of great value but things Mom touched and used... little swan she put her rings in, a rosary in each one, a bobbin, some little hand blown animals... just little tiny things that make me smile and think of her.

My set sits on a little half wall ledge right next to my desk. I have very special things there. It is nice to have little bits of my parents life so close. I made these deliberately small so they could sit on a desk or bookshelf. I like them small because they are personal. Most people would overlook them but I get to see them daily and smile.

And today is the 1st anniversary of my Mom's passing. I am working on not being sad as it is also our Anniversary this weekend. Mom had Alzheimer's for a very long time. She spent the last year and a half in a hospital bed in the living room of my parents house with my Dad leaving before she was ready to go. I am thankful that my Mom could finally let go. I guess we are just never ready to lose our parents.

diy... mom's altaras... part 2

I start by choosing the photos that would be meaningful to each of my sibs. All of these have a black and white old photo on the top and a colored one on the bottom. I also pay attention to what photos went into my Dad's altaras. My sister who got the altara with my Dad in junior high gets a photo of my Mom at the same age. I am the oldest so my photos are of Mom and Dad and I.

If the photos are vertical and I don't want to crop them I wrap the photo on to one or both sides. After the photos are mod podged in place I fill in with other ephemera. I've added a knitting label because Mom knit, fabric swatch of stitches as Mom also sewed, a calling card from high school, the article from the paper on Mom winning the bowling tournament...

I put the holy card from the funeral on the right side of all of these boxes because I put Dad's on all the left side of his. That helps these be a unit if people choose to display them side by side.

OK... back to work now on adding the little 3 dimension things... must get to work as these all need to get in the mail very soon...

diy... mom's altaras... part 1

Over the Winter I worked on my Dad's altaras. I made one for each of my sibs and one for me. I sent them for the 1st anniversary of his leaving us. And now we are coming up on the anniversary of my Mom's passing and I need to get hers done and in the mail soon. I think these have been meaningful for us and I want to share with you my process so you can make one too if you wish.

As we were cleaning out their house I would collect little bits of their lives. You need paper things to mod podge on to the inside and outside of the boxes. You also need little things that are 3 dimensional. Since I am making 4 of these I am sorting these a bit by color of items. As I make the second set of boxes I am trying to make Mom's altara go with Dad's altara for each of the sets. I am also trying to make each set work together as a unit in case these all work their way home to my niece and nephew over the years. But they also need to be a stand alone piece too.

These are the outsides that are now done. For continuity I've put pages from Dad's old prayer book on the tops of all of Mom's and Dad's boxes and added a medal to each. All the outsides are the same and I used mod podge to affix all the paper items. I scanned this info because I would not have had 4 of these items. My Mom back in 1973 bowled in a tournament on TV and won. These are her winning scores from that game. The other side is a love note from my Dad to my Mom. Every child should find something like this after their parents are gone.

These are surprisingly time consuming. Lots of piecing things together like a puzzle plus everything you mod podge has to dry.

Part 2 soon...

If you have the directions...

Y ou can always go home. Pre GPS, pre maps on my iPhone, pre cell phone this is how I got places. (OK Nancy, Jane & Julie I can hear you laughing.) Anyone I have traveled with can attest to my absolute and complete lack of direction. Thankfully it didn't stop me from going places, often alone. I would just generally add in a half an hour or so because more than likely I would be lost.

All these pages were in a book in the glove compartment of the Miata.

And then I found this sweet set of directions. The top part is written by my Dad - how to get from home back to school. Then the bottom part is written by my Mom - how to get from school to home.

Now that they are both gone finding things like this that were tucked away somewhere are awfully nice to stumble upon.