Sunday, November 22, 2015

Why whining in the internet age is not allowed

My father-in-law spent about 80 percent of his time doing things that take little effort today. Here's an entry from his journal, dated February 27, 1971:

"I wrote Mrs. Sterna a letter last evening and so, since Arlene has to mail her package to her mother, a cotton embroidered dressing gown, because the U.S. has just put an embargo on cotton goods and the stores can't mail them, we went to the post office on Calle Independencia and Belen. The process of mailing the gown, though cumbersome, was not as bad as Spain. We first went to the postal aduana, which is luckily located in the same building as the post office, and there got the package weighed and told, how much postage would be required (weight seven tenths of a kilogram and postage, airmail of 23 pesos, or just under two dollars). We had to go next to the post office to buy the stamps. Then we were sent back to the same man at the aduana again with a small green declaration ship, asking the contents of the package, its weight, and its value. We filled that out, but had, first, to go to a specialist who has glue and sticks the green form on the package since the form has no glue on it. Then to our first man again, who laboriously filled out a form giving both addresses, the nature of the contents their value, etc., and then he gave us a stub. The mind boggles at what one would have to go through in case the package got lost and one tried to trace it or to get a refund for its value."

Monday, November 9, 2015

More bad photos -- the dashboard series

My mom took these, as Dad was always the driver. Mom was legally blind (childhood bout with scarlet fever), but that didn't stop her from doing anything, including taking photos of a clean dashboard, the second one to show off the compass that Dad always had mounted so he wouldn't get lost.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Family Photo Legacy

My 90+ father recently joined the assisted living crowd. We are cleaning out his old place, and I've been tasked with sorting through his snapshot collection.

Innocently clothed in drugstore processor envelopes are images of holidays, vacations, weddings, reunions, new babies, funerals, and my mother's apparent favorites: Dimly lit church basement dinners depicting unknown seniors as they tuck into meatballs and jello.

Nowadays we delete bad photos from digital cameras and smartphones soon after they are taken. Back in the day you paid for processing (and my dad always took the discount double print deal), and depression mentality meant that every picture was precious and saved.

Overexposed? You can still see Aunt Louella's body shape.

Heads cut off? You can identify Uncle Joe by his shoes.

Out of focus? It's impressionist art.

Clearly, my parents never met a photo they didn't like.

Anyone up for a "mass quantities of bad photos" challenge? I'm so there.

See the examples (of some of the better photos, I might add) below. Was the pic of the beautiful red brick on the side of the store ruined when those people ran in and lined up? Can you find the bull in the shadow at this bullfight?

Friday, October 30, 2015

Tiger Mother circa 1970

Warning: Sad story. This is an entry my husband just showed me from his father's journal. In 1970 my father-in-law was stationed in San Jose, Costa Rica. His wife, Arlene, was teaching senior high school English classes at an American school that served ex pats' kids, diplomat families, etc.

10/27/70 – Arlene calls the wife of the Chinese Ambassador to tell her that their children have to turn in some homework. She expresses surprise and said the children studied at home a great deal. 30 minutes later she grabs a gun from a guard and kills herself.

I can't find a reference to this online.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Family Research Reveals

The following letter is addressed to William Murray, from E. Gordon Bill, Dartmouth College, November 26, 1929:

My dear Bill:

You can imagine my extraordinary personal pleasure in informing you that Donald has just been reported as showing "outstanding promise" in no less than four out of five freshman freshman courses: Chemistry 1, Latin 7, Evolution and French 11.

There was only one other member of the freshman class with such a brilliant mid-semester report and we can all look ahead with confidence to Donald's future. He has got brains and industry, neither of which is much good without the other.

Sincerely yours,

E. Gordon Bill

Donald Murray is the subject of Soft Snap, available on Amazon.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Baseball and Knitting

I'm looking for small 9-inning projects to take along when we go to the St. Paul Saints games.

This season I've made about twenty of these dishcloths.

Last night I took a bag of beads and crochet hook to make necklaces for the kids sitting around us. Here's a pic of the girl in front of me playing with her necklace. Her mother chose the beads and preloaded them onto the yarn. You can make a necklace in less than one inning, so I made several.