Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gabe prepared a snack for Santa; a glass of milk and chocolate chip cookies. Santa was very happy to have a little break at Gabe's house, leaving a personal letter for Gabe telling him that he had been a good boy this year.
Here's Tony.
Grandma with Scarlett. She's a really cuddly and sweet child.
Cathy and Sasha
Steve and Marta: they are really busy right now preparing for their move to Florida where Steve will soon begin a new job. Also their baby girl is expected in about 6 weeks.

It was a wonderful holiday!
More pictures are here.

It's Christmas Eve and 4 year old Gabe is so excited about Santa's visit that he can't stand still!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Here's Scarlett at her church's Christmas program.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Just a couple of weeks ago I got a new washing machine, a front loader, and I started thinking about how women's work has changed in my lifetime. I have memories of Mondays at my childhood home, my mother's washday, and laundry was done with a wringer washing machine. Hot water was run into the tank of the machine, the agitator was turned on so the clothes swirled for a few minutes, then rinsed in a tub of clean water, and the wet clothes were put through the wringers at the top of the machine, coming out damp and ready to be hung on the clothes line in the back yard. It was a badge of honor if a housewife could be the first in her neighborhood to have her laundry out on the line on a Monday morning.

A wringer washer was considered dangerous because little fingers could get caught in the rollers, could be smashed as the water was wrung out of the wet clothes. I don't remember ever being asked to help with this work even though there were several steps and it took much of my mother's attention for the Mondays of my youth.

In the basement of my childhood home could be found a washboard, a rough rectangular flat board that previous generations would have used to hand scrub clothes resulting in rough red hands, I'm sure. Perhaps a generation or so before that, women would have carried the family's dirty laundry to an outdoor well or riverside for hand washing. I'm sure that's done in many parts of the world to this day. Women's work has always been labor intensive.

My new washing machine replaces a machine that has served me well for 28 years. In fact, the old machine is still quite functional so I am passing it on so to be used in a friend's house. The improvements over 28 years are amazing! The new machine has a many choices of settings so that clothes can be washed to my exact specifications. A delay option enables the washer to start at my convenience. Tumbling the clothes around and around results in a more gentle process with minimal energy use. Removing the clothes at the end of the process, they are clean, sweet smelling, and barely damp with very little effort on my part.

What are the inventions of the future? Will the next generations have even greater improvements in their lives?

We can only wonder.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Winter Storm

This is the view in front of our house this morning as Tony cleared the snow. The storm began during the night so we awoke to a white world. As the snow falls there is a stillness that is sometimes broken by the sound of snowplows and other machinery being used in the neighborhood to clear the snow. Everyone has lots to do especially in these last few days before the holiday so we're all hoping the storm doesn't last too long. In the meantime I will stay inside, cleaning my house, maybe doing some baking, and just enjoying the quiet day.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Preparing the Thanksgiving TurkeyThe chefs consulting on the turkey. How much wine???

Tony enjoys preparing the Thanksgiving turkey and in the last couple of years Steve has become a turkey chef as well. One of the best things about Thanksgiving day is the aroma of the turkey roasting in the oven.
Marta prepared green beans with Spanish ham.
This will be Steve and Marta's last holiday season in their present house because a move is in their future. Steve will soon begin an exciting new job in Florida. Tony and I wish them well and plan trips to Florida in our future!

Happy Memories of Thanksgiving at Steve and Marta's House
Marta prepares the tables.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Here are my two beautiful daughters in law. Marta, on the left, will have her baby girl early in February. Kelly, on the right, will have her baby in the middle of March. Kelly and Tom will learn if the baby is a boy or a girl on Christmas Day.

Watch my three little elves dance!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Gabe checks out the Lego Exhibit at the Library

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Crafty Grandma in Times Square: 11-03-08

Monday, November 10, 2008

Last Week at the Lake House
Here are some memories from last weekend. We enjoyed breakfast at the diner in Maplewood.

Here is Matthew ready for breakfast.

Matthew was snug as a bug in a rug after his bath.

He has a cute rocking chair that just fits him. (I think it was Kelly's mom's chair!)

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Walking Daddy Home

Little Elephant Discovers Halloween Candy

(The Maplewood Community Halloween Party is going on in the background.)

Halloween in Maplewood, New Jersey

Last week we spent a few days with Tom, Kelly, and Matthew in New Jersey and New York. We had wonderful days with everyone and the weather was beautiful.
Maplewood has an excellent tradition: a community wide Halloween party is held downtown on Halloween afternoon.

Above are Tony, Kelly, and a Baby Elephant ready to go to the party.

The Baby Elephant was very happy in his costume, surveying the scene from his comfortable stroller seat.

Adults as well as children enjoyed the festive atmosphere; here was a "gorilla carrying a caged man" costume we especially enjoyed.

Kelly with her friend who lives on a nearby street. They are members of a playgroup for toddlers.

The Baby Elephant with his friend The Rapper

Grandma and the Baby Elephant take a break in the middle of the party.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Here's Tom and Matt in Florida last weekend. Now we are having cold and often gloomy days in Michigan, so this weather looks pretty good. This coming weekend we're planning to drive to New Jersey to visit Tom, Kelly and Matthew. I can't wait to see the Little Guy!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Scarlett's Song

Two Dolls

I was a little girl in the early 1950's when my big brother Dean left for Korea and Japan. He was in the Air Force and went to Korea where a war was being fought. I didn't really understand the meaning of war but I remember my mother crying one day when she received Dean's will in the mail. I think writing a will was a normal part of a soldier's preparation for going overseas during war time but I'm sure it felt terrible to a mother to recognize the meaning of this document.

As part of Dean's Air Force assignment, he also spent some time in Japan. He was gone a couple of years but thankfully he safely returned home. I remember the day when he got off the Greyhound bus in front of our house.

My brother Jack was fifteen and Dean was fourteen when I was born. They left home to go to college before I even started kindergarten. They were both very important to me and I was always overjoyed when they were home. I followed them everywhere they went, talking to them, and probably being a pest.

Jack was in the Navy and brought me dolls from European countries that he visited. Dean brought me the Japanese doll that you can see in the above picture. I still have all my dolls and love them still. When I met little Sachiho, my students' beautiful child in the picture, I recognized my childhood doll had come to life.

My student Austin whose wife Chizuko is visiting from Japan for a couple of weeks came to see us yesterday. We had a very nice chat over cups of tea and then had our picture taken. It is amazing to live in our small town and yet have international friends. We enjoyed ourselves very much.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tony and Me: October 18, 2008
Autumn Weekend

We enjoyed some beautiful and busy days with Steve, Marta, and Gabe this weekend. Saturday morning Gabe and I went to the park; Saturday evening Steve and Marta went to an elegant restaurant to have some grown up time and to celebrate their good news: a baby girl will arrive early in February. Tony, Gabe, and I went to Culver's where Gabe entertained us with his interesting conversation and cheerful personality. Here are some pictures:
Gabe checking out the John Deere tractor at the park.

Happy family.

My favorite picture of Marta and Gabe.

Gabe and Grandpa in their caps and jackets at Culver's.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Scarlett's First Pony Ride

Scarlett Visits the Apple Farm

Cathy, Sasha, and Scarlett were with us on Sunday so we all went to Flavor Fruit Farms to enjoy the autumn festival atmosphere, animals, and apples.

Scarlett went on her first pony ride:

Here she is with her daddy:

On the horse with Mommy:

Enjoying a balloon hat:
It was a beautiful day and we had a really good time. Videos will be coming up!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Here I am with a little friend!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Saturday at Flavor Fruit Farm, Gabe went for a pony ride. The pony walked slowly and Gabe seemed very comfortable riding. It was a beautiful day with lots of kids enjoying the animals and apple related activities.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Scarlett with a New Haircut
Here is Scarlett at work in the family business today, sporting a new haircut given by her father.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Birthday Girl
Today is Cathy's birthday! I don't know if she'd like to have me tell her age here, but I can say that it feels like I should be her age and she should be Scarlett's age. The years fly by so fast. Cathy is different from me in lots of ways but she's like me in some: she likes to read, knit, run, and blog. If you haven't seen her blog about her life with her husband and little girl please check it out here.
Autumn Weekend

This was a perfect October weekend--cool, sunny, and beautiful. Steve, Marta, and Gabe came for the weekend as Steve had a reunion with university friends at MSU. Marta, Gabe, and I had a nice time together. (Tony was watching the same football game on TV that Steve was attending in person.)

Here's Gabe with the mums in front of my house.

Gabe is studying pyramids at school so here is his version made with family room items:

Gabe enjoyed playing with Legos that were last used by his dad, Uncle Tom, and Aunt Cathy many years ago.

We went to Flavorfruit Farms where Gabe and I were so happy to see Ann Marie and Mary Jo. Everyone loved the autumn festival atmosphere and enjoyed pony rides and a hayride.

Gabe on horseback with Marta. This was Gabe's first horseback ride; the horse was pretty big and Gabe was brave!