Thursday, June 30, 2016


Paper: In the Fall I will be “a certain age.”  I have proof of that…my Medicare Card came in the mail four months early.  Since then I get almost daily mail about secondary insurance.   I swear a whole log of paper has darkened our mail box since then…everyone has the perfect solution.  Here a shiny thing, there a shiny thing…it must be a gazillion dollar a year business.   I have what I want and the price is perfect…save the freaking paper.   How in the world is that flimsy piece of paper that is the medicare card supposed to last the rest of my life however long or short that may be?  I scanned it so I would have a record.  I think there should be some kind of NO Mail list to avoid all the junk mail.

Time:  Some foreign gal called to warn me that my computer needed fixing.  I said “What?” she repeated that she was here to help fix my windows.  I told her I didn’t have a computer and she hung up on me…how is that for help?

I received a hospital bill for the year 2014. I was confused…we always meet our out of pocket maximum.  How could I owe more?   That bill came on a Saturday, on Monday we got three yes count them three refund checks from the same hospital. I was confused even more. So I gave them a call.  They could not find out why I owed them money, and in fact said I might have a credit on my account…why then did I get a bill…she didn’t know.  I asked her to please note the date and time that I called in reference to the bill…just incase someone wants to charge finance charges.  I spent an hour on the phone with her.  When I asked her to check my husbands account…of course she couldn’t tell me a thing…fine… I handed him the phone…he doesn’t owe anything either.

I am allergic to yellow dye, it makes me itch.  I cannot get potassium pills without yellow dye…yet there is one available so I had to switch BP meds.  I am stuck taking a Blood Pressure pill that has yellow dye because the insurance won’t okay the one that doesn’t have yellow dye.  I sent in the necessary paperwork for them to evaluate the appeal…in 60-90 days I may hear back from them.
So that is my bitch session for today…paper and time wasted.  Oh well I am getting older, what else would I do with my time anyway. Read, take photos and nap come to mind.
Pretty bud
Centaurea montana in bud.
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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wistful Wednesday: Aunt Skip

Not all my Mother’s sisters had nicknames…but Vivian did…she was Skippy or Skip for short.

Skip and Madeline Bikes 1949 (2)

Someone took this photo of Skip and me (My Mom) in 1949. My Mom was four years older than Aunt Skip.

Skip #1 (2)

Aunt Skip

She married my Uncle Theron, he was a wonderful kind man, a Korean War Veteran and he drove a Buick (red and white).  I do not recall their wedding, I think it was a private ceremony.

Aunt Skip and Uncle Theron would have three children together and he ran a very successful business until he developed a brain tumor.  Sometimes I would visit at meal times in the hospital because he couldn’t feed himself or speak so that you could understand.  He always knew who I was I could tell by the smile in his eyes.  Eventually he was moved to a Nursing Home where he would spend the rest of his days unable to care for himself. He suffered for two years before he died when he was 49 years old.


The funeral was held in this church on a very cold November day.  I did not recall this church until I saw it last week.

When my Aunt Skip died 30 years years later I attended the wake and not the funeral.  She had remarried…twice I think…one husband was a gold digger.   She was real keen on spiritual drawings and felt the spirit moved her to draw…maybe so…but I remained skeptical.  Some people need to cling to something when they have lost most everything.

Aunt Skip was a wonderful baker, she could have opened her own bakery.  She made the best white frosting covered in coconut fried roll you have ever tasted…even half frozen out of her freezer they were delicious.   She also made our wedding cake.

I wanted to find her gravesite.  Aunt Skip was 73 years old and had some kind of cancer when she died in 2007.


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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Water Tower

Some water towers are prettier than others, but they all become part of the skyline.

This water tower has been vacant since 1978.  At one time a developer thought he would put a relvolving resturaunt on top…that never panned out…the City Council has asked for demolition bids…so soon it may be gone…forever.

Park Rapids

We were in town last night doing an errand and after that we decided to get some water tower shots.

Water Tower from the alley

The view from Far Guys alley, behind the house he grew up in.

The water tower was just a block away from his house.  It was a place for neighbor kids to play…or whatever else kids do.  I know as teens some talked about kisses exchanged at the water tower. Water tower from the jail

The view from the New Law Enforcement Center…or in the olden days the site of The Ringer Building.

Water Tower

Water Tower Park Rapids Minnesota June 27 2016

The water tower was constructed in 1930, it contains 2 million pounds of concrete, it took a crew of 15 to complete the tower.  The tower cost $16,600. One worked fell to his death and three others were seriously injured in accidents during the building of the tower.   The water tower is 135 feet tall.

The projected cost for demolition is around $100,000.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

June Yard Report

The last week in June.

Already?  I so like the daylight in the evenings…. and now we lose some evening light every day.

I mowed the lawn…dressed like a monk so I didn’t sun burn my sunburn… it is better today.  But when people look at you and wince you know they are thinking “What a stupid broad.”


The dragonflies will give way to a more patriotic theme.  I have two free days this week…just for me to get caught up..or relax…or read the day away….or change the wreath next to the door and the flags.


My little garden out front,  I have since moved the red glass flower as the squirrels were using it for a jumping platform.  The small Marigolds are blooming.  One of the Salvia has a bloom but so far it is too small to see.  The squirrels took out two plants with their leaping.

I mow the yard about every five days, and I mow it quite short, between Far Guy and I we get all the trimming done before it is time to start over again.

I try to scrub the bird baths every week or so…no need having a mosquito hatchery in the yard.

I need to do some trimming while on the lawn mower, some branches are just in the way, no amount of ducking keeps them away from my head.

I also need to attack some more Poison Ivy…

See already the jobs are piling up for my free days.

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Too Much Sun

Remember when you were little and you spent too much time in the sun and the water?

Remember how your skin hurt when it was touched?

Well I wasn’t in the water, but I got too much sun.   I had an umbrella too, I would have been fried without it.

I recall we used to put Noxema on our sunburn…it helped.  I lotioned up with something else.

Can your eyeballs get sunburned?  Just a thought.


Has anyone ever croaked from a sunburn?   Not likely is it? 

I watched the weather report, partly cloudy and 79 degrees was the forecast…it hovered near 90 where I was and was mostly sunny…could have fried an egg on the concrete or my face.

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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Quiet Day

Friday was a quiet day spent at home, working on projects and going for a drive in the evening.

I saw a Mayfly on the window screen. 


Such a dainty bug.

On our drive we saw Showy Lady’s Slippers that are coming to an end.

Ladys Slippers coming to an end

Not nearly as pretty as they are in bud.

The small farmers are haying.

Slow Traffic

Makes for some slow traffic in our neighborhood.

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Busy Week

Three Doctor’s appointments, errands and suppers with friends and playing cards has kept us busy this week.  Our friend Barry is here from Oklahoma.  Steve and Jo hosted supper one night; pork burgers, potato salad and corn.  We brought brownies to enjoy after a couple of games of Golf (a card game.)

Rainbow June 22 2016

I took this photo on Wednesday evening after it rained.

Just like that another week is behind us.  It has been a fun week, with lots of laughter and remember whens.  We hosted supper last night, coleslaw, pizza and cheesy bread were on the menu.  Jo brought over a dessert in a cast iron skillet, a pie of sorts, with a crust and peaches, topped with raspberries…it was really yummy.

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Thursday, June 23, 2016


Far Guy and I were wandering around in a cemetery, filling some grave photo requests on our way back from Fargo ND.

Far Guy said “Why are all those stones the same?” 

eleven graves

They were all graves of children in the early 1900’s.   The large stone in the background told the story “ Orphan’s Home. ”

I did a little research…curiosity got the best of me….imagine that.

In 1895 The Norwegian Lutheran Chirch of America started an Orphanage in Lake Park Minnesota.  Later it would become a Lutheran Social Services Orphanage.

From the 1900 Census I learned that 31 orphans lived in the home, there was also a Superintendent, Teacher, a laborer and four servants.  The children that were in the orphanage were mainly children of Norwegian families but a few parents were born in Minnesota and France.  The children ranged in age from 3 to 14 and were born in Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota and Norway.


I never knew about an orphanage in this area of Minnesota….I thought they were all down in “The Cities.”

Yes there are some words on this memorial…but they are in Norwegian.

I read some accounts…one mentioned a young Father not having the slightest idea what to do with his children after his wife died…so he dropped them off at the orphanage. 

There was another Orphanage called Wild Rice Orphanage ( near Twin Valley) a little further north….that burned down and many children were sent to Lake Park.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wistful Wednesday: Aunt Toots

I had an Aunt Toots.  She married Uncle Ray back in 1956.

Toots Wedding (2)

Here she is, that is my Aunt Marion in the background.

Toots and Ray Wedding (2)

June of 1956 Aunt Toots would have been 17 and Ray 22 years old. He was five years older than she was.  They were parents to four children, two girls and two boys. The last time I saw my cousins was at their fathers funeral. The girls were older than the boys, one is retired from the Army and lives in Kentucky, the other changed her name and may or may not live in the cities.  One of the boys lives nearby and the other way up north.

My Aunt and Uncle had a tumultuous relationship, it had it’s ups and downs.  They both died young.

Aunt Toots Gravemarker

Her real name was Esther but hardly anyone called her that.  She was 57 years old and died of complications after surgery and liver cancer.

Uncle ray Yitalo Gravemarker

Uncle Ray lived a bit longer, he was 70 years old when he died.  I believe his liver gave out.

I learned to never visit in the late afternoon or evening.  Mornings shortly before noon was the best time to visit. 

My Aunt was a wonderful cook and baker.  When she opened a cafe I asked her why? and she said “OH I needed a few throw rugs.”  The cafe had a bar…and an empty stool to fill after the cafe closed.  My Uncle ran the bar after he closed  his repair business for the day…their whole world revolved around a beer bottle.   It was sad to see.

I was an obsertvant child/young adult/adult.  What I saw, I didn’t like.  I especially felt sorry for the children.  Many times my Aunt would have a black eye, although I heard she packed a heck of a punch herself.  I am not quite sure why she stayed with her husband?  She was pretty and she was a talented baker and cook…perhaps it was for the children. But then I remember one time when they had beer in the fridge but no milk.  Sometimes it is a miracle that small children survive their upbringing. ( Now a days Social Services would have been called.)

I was not able to attend her funeral….I believe we closed on our home in North Dakota that day and were moving in.

I knew where she was buried and the grave was easy to find as the cemetery is not real large, a simple cemetery on the edge of town, right behind the site of the little cafe and bar…of course the cafe and bar are long gone…I believe a Firehall has taken it’s place.

When I returned to pick up my flowers, I was happy to see that there were more flowers there.

My Aunt had a rough life.  How much she brought on herself…I am not sure.  She was certainly my Mother’s only real spunky sister…perhaps that is why I liked her so much.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Lady’s Slippers 75 and counting

Dave invited us down to see the Lady’s Slippers.  He lives on the property that we used to own…Pine Springs Resort…it is no longer a resort but a private home.

Far Guy found these Lady Slippers in June way back in about 1987, there were two blooms that year, peaking up around a log on the log pile.

Lady Slippers at the old resort

We built a fence to protect them and from then on we have enjoyed seeing the clump get larger and larger.

Lady Slipper clump June 20 2016


I counted at least 75 blooms this year.  2 blooms that first year and 29 years later there are over 75…amazing!

Lady Slippers June 20 2016

They are just beautiful!  Her real name is Cypripedium reginae or Showy Lady’s Slipper the State Flower of Minnesota.

Here is one view of the lake.

Lake View

I kinda miss living on the lake, Far Guy does not.  We met many wonderful people from all walks of life and it was a good place to raise teenage girls.  Neither of us miss cleaning  cottages, and Far Guy doesn’t miss the 90 mile one way compute to work.  He commuted daily for just about ten years.

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Lucy and Ann: Twined Rag Rugs

Lucy is my friend Ann’s sister.  Lucy collects old t-shirts and cuts them to use in her Twining.
She uses a simple loom that can lean against a wall.  Lucy and Ann’s Mom made this simple loom…the girls are not certain why the nails are staggered.
Lucy Twinning
The white strips were some kind of linen and the red is t-shirt material cut into strips.
Some twined rugs.
Lucy and Ann
Ann and Lucy.  They are having a blast with their looms this summer.
This is Ann’s favorite loom over at Bruce’s Weaving Place.  But recently Lucy helped Ann thread her loom at home and they have been busy as bees.
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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father’s Day!

My fathers 89th year has been a good one so far.  He is still walking and talking and knows who most people are.

Dad at the WW2 Memorial

This photo was taken by my other baby brother in May when they were in Washinton DC at the World War II Memorial.

This trip remains the highlight of my fathers 89th year….he is still talking about it.

His vegetable garden is growing.  He likes to garden, he takes his Cadillac (walker) out to the garden with him.

He loves to go to Bingo and most Thursday nights you can find him down at The American Legion playing Bingo.

Both Dad and Mom have been asked to be the Grand Marshall’s of The 4th of July Parade in town.  So that will be another fun day for them.


Father’s Day wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Far Guy’s father who died in 1994, he was 80 years old when he died.  Alpha One Antitrypsin Deficiency most likely lead to his death and also the death of two of his brothers.  If we only knew then what we know now.

Marvin #2 (2)

Here is Marvin most likely in 1937 in Louisiana, he was 23 years old.

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there!

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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Rain and Lupines

We were supposed to have severe weather, first the phone rang with one daughter saying a storm is headed your way…then the other told me on facebook. 

We had heavy rain and hail the size of a pea.  The wind never arrived here.


I took this photo through the dining room window.

We got about 3/4 of an inch of rain, I won’t have to water my flower bed for a few days.

We headed out to an Estate Sale and along the way I spotted some Lupines, on the way back we stopped for photos.

Patch of Lupines


Lupines June 17

I bought a few pieces of glass for glass flowers.  Far Guy ended up with nothing and the sale was supposed to have antique toys. We came home, it was still spitting rain so Far Guy went to straighten up his garage and Chance and I settled in for a movie and a nap… The Movie was Jackass 2 and I promptly fell asleep. ( I think if you were drunk that movie might be funny…sober and sleepy not so much.)

I awakened to help with supper preparations…Lasagna!

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Walk along the driveway

Come along for a walk!  It is June and there many new things to see along the driveway!Smooth Solomons Seal Polygonatum biflorum Native

Smooth Solomon’s Seal or Polygonatum biflorum a Native Plant

Raspberries are looking good

The wild raspberries are looking good, we should have a good crop if we can stand to fight the skeeters.

Yellow honeysuckle Trumpet Vine

This is Lonicera sempervirens a yellow variety, I sold this plant at the greenhouse and planted one out around the grain bin…mine died but it seems the birds have carried it all over the woods.

Yellow Lady Slipper

The yellow Lady’s Slipper was showing off.  Her real name is Cypripedium parviflorum.  She is perhaps my favorite flower…but you all probably know that.

We have seven Yellow Lady’s Slippers along the back driveway this year…so far…there may be a few more in a day or two.

Josh and Missys rock 

This is a new addition to the driveway.  Josh and Missy put up a flat stone with a small flower bed.  The grass he seeded around it is coming up nicely.  Josh is my nephew and he lives next door.

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