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Monday, August 31, 2009


The black and white television sat in a corner of our living room facing an old couch and two well-used parlor chairs.  I'm not quite sure which one of my parents advocated for its purchase or how they arranged for the financing.

My first recollection of its existence was my infatuation with  Wunda Wunda;  a lady clown puppeteer who made my mom grit her false teeth and blow air between them.  I don't think my mom approved of Wundas clingy tights and her silly skits; and moms teeth had been poorly designed.

One of the puppets always left me unsettled. It invariable got into trouble. Then, whimpering in a sad nasal voice, it would ask Wunda Wunda for help.

I outgrew the puppets when I became a big girl and attended school.  After which, my sister and I would rush home to watch The Mickey Mouse Club.  We each filled a widowed thermos top with dried oatmeal, powdered and brown sugar, and maybe some raisins. Then, while eating our own strange recipe for granola (before we even knew granola existed) we would sit on the floor and become Mousketeers.

"Annette, Bobby, Karen.....Pamela!"

At suppertime, Dad required one of us to run and flip the television on switch -- to give this new technological wonder an opportunity to warm up. Nightly he watched The Huntley-Brinkley report.  My favorite part was "Good Night David.  Good Night Chet." 

The Lawrence Welk Show on Saturday night meant for some special moments with my mama.  She sat quietly in her old rocker while I looked for errant hairs growing on her face and pulled them out with her tweezers.  Then, for an encore, I shuffled through her small collection of Avon samples and painted her face.

My oldest brother waited until someone called out that "The Lennon Sisters are next."   He set aside his book and leaned casually in the doorway during the performance.  He made little whistling sounds and remarks about Peggy's feminine wiles that caused me to make a very careful study of her persona. 

Television has changed dramatically, except for one thing.  You can still watch Lawrence Welk on Saturday night.  Those Lennon girls haven't changed a bit.

* * *

Jan, Life According to Jan and Jer, has asked us to write about our television habits for the Fun Monday project.

We have one in the family room and one in the bedroom.

The "ancient" Big Screen Television in my family room is an electronic dinosaur compared with the Big Picture LCD and plasma screens in all the show rooms.  My eyes roll when I consider how much wall space is wasted on something we rarely use. Then my eyes go crossed when I even contemplate spending more money to replace the monstrosity with something less ostentatious. How could I justify that kind of expenditure on something so blatantly otiose.  Except as a magnet for dust and cat hair.

The little dresser top TV in the bedroom provides background noise when we are beginning our day, or   company as we hop into bed.  It needs a little Pledge, too.

I admit to being swept up by Dancing With The Stars.  But I'm not beholding to TV for for a dancing fix, as I can watch any of the episodes on my lovely computer.

WR and I also indulged in Desperate Housewives, The Bachelor or Bacherlortte,  Deadliest Catch (which is about crabs, not bachelors... bwaa ha ha ha), an occasional NFL game, Cycling races, news, Numbers, and a few other shows.   We've been known to click one of the 389 remotes it takes to control the system and watch something totally irrelevant out of the corners of our eyes. 

I've threatened to throw any number of remotes through the screen as well.  They never work.

There are
times when
I think rather than TV,
I would prefer to
my begonias

They grow  slowly.

(WR is my Vanna White
for showing off the size and color of
a BIGonia.)

Please -- let me  encourage you to post about and link your television habits.
Sign up HERE!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Sting


No -- I didn't get up on a ladder.  I tried to use an old canon zoom lens from our old film camera -- but I couldn't get a good focus.

The colors are striking in the wasp paper.

Little venomous artists.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Rufous Fuss.

My three grandchildren (Jammin, Buttercup, and Caboose) had a visitor during dinner on Friday night.

This little female hummingbird invited herself into the sun porch and got trapped.

Luckily, her frantic buzzing at the window caught my attention and I was able to walk out there and snatch her. I felt so sorry for her when my hands closed in - she chirped so fearfully.

Jammin used my camera to snap this photo before we released her.

My guess is that this is a juvenile Rufous. I need a more seasoned birder to confirm that.

(My hands are very small -- so you can imagine how tiny she was.)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

8 Daze a Week

Still watching my grandchildren while Karmyn is in Hawaii. Her computer (and my being busy) doesn't allow for any blog time. It should be salvaged by droids. Buttercup would act it out and make me be C3Po if I even suggested it aloud. Shhhh...

She could be hooked up to a turbine and create electricity -- that almost six-year old girl is energy with a Capital E.

The Caboose has been a great little almost 15 month old boy. He's been sleeping as well as one could expect in this hot weather. My morning starts about 5:30 when he rouses and I change his diaper and snuggle him in my bed. His hair is so fluffy and soft that it sucks up my nose when I breathe and tickles my face. Not a great sleep for me -- but somehow sweet enough to manage.

Jammin (8) went to boy scout camp with his Uncle for three nights/four days. His first trip away from home without a parent. He toughed it out.

Jammin: We were the closest bunk to the lake Grandma. If you got up at 6:00 and ran down to the dock you could do the "Polar bear" swim.
Grandma: Did you do the "Polar bear" swim?
Jammin, looking up from his game: Nope, I didn't even shower.

He made a "noisemaker" using a rubber glove, some PVC pipe, and duct tape. It sounds like a sick goose and makes the dogs bark and run to the door. Makes me wonder what kind of door-to-door salesmen hang out on this street.

I'll be home by Monday. That means I'm going to miss The Wiggles.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Scar Face. Sort of.

Lil Mouse asked that we share our SCARS for entertainment on this Fun Monday. It is a true blessing that I'm away from home and am having computer problems. That makes it unlikely that I could take any photos and download them.

I'm more than happy to tell you about my battle etchings, though.

I have a scar in my eyebrow as a result of bending over and trying to scalp myself on a hose holder on the patio. It was late, I didn't flip the outdoor light. Fortunately I was able to find my way back in by the the shining of all the stars I was seeing. It bled a lot but I didn't get stitches. Now my eyebrow grows weird on that side.

I have several scars on my face. One from chicken pox. I think it's sort of lost significance in the last few years, or been superseded by an age spot.

My stomach has surgery scars. Twice I've gone under the knife there. Rather clever designs, really.

(sing along now: She once swept an Admiral clear off his feet. The ships on her hips made his heart skip a beat. Okay -- enough of Lydia the Tattooed Lady.)

The largest scar by far is on my left ankle and leg. Six plus years ago I broke the L out of my tibia and it is now held together by metal. It's ugly and you can actually see the bumpy screws and scar tissue just under the skin.

There are several scars on my feet, including between two toes where a surgeon also filleted me.

And last... but not least. Do stretch marks count as scars?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Grandma Laughs

Swinging with me in the hammock late Saturday evening, 5-year old Curlymop is suddenly entranced by my revealed tummy.

Before I even have the opportunity to ask if there is a wasp or an earwig on me, she stabs her finger into my belly-button and just as quickly removes it and sniffs.

Gwama: What..the....
Curlymop: I smelled your belly-button Gwama.
Gwama: Duh.........

Last night with almost 6-year old Buttercup.

Buttercup: Grandma can I sleep with you.
Grandma (reading in bed): Okay, crawl in. I'm only going to read for a few minutes then go to sleep.
After several minutes...
Grandma: Buttercup, you need to lie still and go to sleep.
Buttercup: Okay
After several more minutes of Buttercup squirming under the covers and making little clicking sounds.
Grandma: For heavens sake, Buttercup, what are you doing under there?
Buttercup: Clipping my toenails.

Then there is 14-month old Caboose. I've been smeared with oatmeal and bonked on the head. He screamed when I ended his mountain climbing adventure on the table and his death squeeze on the long-suffering cat. That is just the highlights.

Grandma: Hey lil' Caboose...what's happening?
Caboose: babadoolibbledeepoobameegoo.

He took the words right out of my mouth.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Apparitions in my Garden

Karmyn is the host of Fun Monday this week with a subject that is near and dear to her heart. Not to mention her knees and fingers. But I mentioned them anyway.

The subject? --- What's Growing In Your Garden.

As soon as I signed up I grabbed my camera and headed out the back door.

ghost1 Alyssum, lady's mantle,
gaillardia, Jupiter beard, and a bunch of other stuff
I can't remember is blooming in this photo. We didn't put
as many annuals in this year
so I miss all the yellows and
reds that we often enjoy.

But, something else showed
up in that surprised me.

Can it be that my yard is haunted?

Cheeky little ghost!


A shot from the deck near the hammock shows off some ornamental grass, petunias,
pond plants ... and that bold apparition that makes the hammock squeak and swing.

A wine barrel keeps the hose hidden - but not the green phantom. It moves through my photos in a blur.

I also see day lily, hosta, and coreopsis in this shot.

Strawberries, onions, kohlrabi, beets, chard, tomato, carrots, cucumber, peppers, and

And a little something else
that is growing like a weed.

This front entrance shot includes the Siberian snow pea beside the bird feeder, euonymus spreading beneath it along with some sedum, and a dwarf dogwood in the foreground.

Hey, I think I lost my playful shadow.

"No you didn't Grandma! I'm right here"

Along with Anemone, various grasses, lupine, and a lot of small blooming plants.


<-----(I can't remember what these
are either)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

A Great Grandmother

When I hear other people talk about time they spent with their grandparents, I feel deprived. I never met three of my grandparents, and Grandma Grace was somewhat feeble minded by the time I was old enough to know her. It never crossed my mind in the my early years to sit down and ask her questions about her life and her family.

I even failed to get my parents stories.

Now, I humor myself by seeking information through family photos, Internet ancestry sites, and hobnobbing with my brother Mike. He has spent hours and hours searching out distant relatives and constructing a family tree.

Great Grandmother Augusta (Augusta, Grace, Evelyn, Me) is one who intrigues me. I have possession of her personal photo album, which has tin types and some regular photos of her parents, her husbands, and her babies.

Augusta Travis#1
She was born May 16, 1855 somewhere in the state of New York.

Pictures of her as a young woman indicate she had thick and curly dark brown hair.

There doesn't appear to be much family resemblance that trickled down into my siblings or into my children.

Handsome young Chester Philey was her first husband.

He died in 1877 when Augusta was only 22.
Possibly acute appendicitis.

They were married a very short time and had no children. So sad.
chester Philley
castle 1877 Within 5 months she married Franklin Castle in Battle Creek, Michigan.

At first I wondered if she married my great-grandfather in a rebound of grief.

Much older than Augusta, he was also a widower and had lost two of his children. Deaths of spouses and children are common in the family tree search.

His 8-year old daughter, Hattie, needed a mother. ( That was not the case for the two sons who were about the same age as their new step-mother. Both were married and starting families of their own.)

One of Hattie's great grandchildren was gracious in sharing Hattie's diary with us. In it is a little insight into Augusta's personality:

My first acquaintance of my stepmother was one day he took her for a ride out to our old home, and he had a nice patch of onions there , and the first thing she did was to make a beeline for them, and gathered a bunch, then went to Eliza, who was living near, and got some fresh bread and butter and had a feed. I didn't know at that time she was to be my stepmother.

My Father then sold our home and bought a place in town and he run a livery outfit. My stepmother was always very good to me, but of course, she was very young and did things so much different than my Mother, that one day, I told her my Mother wouldn't have done that way, and she thought me sassy so she whipped me. Of course, I didn't think she had a right to do that, so I went right out to the barn and told Father. He just said, " You must mind her and not talk back." But he told her, if I didn't mind, to tell him, and he would see to me. But, we never had any more trouble, and as far as I can remember, he never did whip me.

Augusta gave birth to her first child in June of 1879, my grandmother Grace.

By the time her fourth one arrived in 1885, they were packing up their belongs and following their dreams to Colorado.

Hattie said:

Well, the summer before I was fifteen, my brother wrote, urging my Father to come to Colorado as up the Ute Indian Reservation to be settled and they were each taking a 160 acres joining each other and he could get one joining theirs if he came right away, so as he then had three boys growing, he thought he better get a place. So he sold out. We packed things to ship when we got settled, and we boarded the train bag and baggage, which meant quite a bit, with 4 little kids. So that was the way we left Michigan.

There they were blessed with two more.

My grandmother Grace would have been about 14 in this photo.

Augusta Travis Castle family

One week after Grace turned 16 she wed a man twenty-one years her senior.

There were no young men in Delta Colorado who shared the religious beliefs of the Castle Family.

Single and thirty-seven years old William drifted through the area and visited their little church gathering.

I can't confirm it, but I believe that Augusta took matters into her own hands and arranged Grace's marriage to my grandfather.

Their faces seem to be wearing stunned expressions in the wedding photo.

F C Castle obituary Augusta briefly carried the title of widow once more in Cambridge, Idaho. Her now 71 year old husband was killed in a freak wagon accident. They'd been married for 27 years and their youngest son was fourteen.

Grace's old photo album gifted us with an original copy of the obituary. It appears to have been torn from a newspaper.

Death was handled in a less sterile manner back in 1905. At least in this newspaper.

Augusta shed her tears quickly and headed back to the marriage market.

Rogers She didn't have to search very far this time.

She married George Rogers, the father of her son's wife.

I find it curious how much he resembled the previous husband.

Third time was not the charm for Augusta -- Rogers fell ill within several months, suffered renal failure, and was gone.

She remedied her single status in short order and found the fourth and final husband. Lewis Hedgepeth is the man that my mother mentioned several times when she referred to her "Grandpa and Grandma."

They made a fine looking couple.

I wonder if she bought life insurance.
Augusta Travis & Hedgepath2

My eighty-nine year old third cousin Lucille told me recently that she has vague memories of Augusta as a "crippled-up old woman." Her body was twisted and gnarled by arthritis.

That was probably not too long before Augusta died in 1937 at home in California.

I wish I knew more.

One important thing I do know is that her genes live on... in hundreds of descendants.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Wheat in Sunset

Picture taken northwest and then one to the southwest at the top of Minnick Hill tonight about 8 pm.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Perfect Zinnia

I got up at 6:45 am and ground some coffee and set the brew.

My favorite morning activity is drinking coffee while sitting on the patio in my pajamas. Old pajamas.
Really old.

This morning I decided to water all my potted plants while I waited for that first cup of Joe.

I have potted plants in the front entrance, too.

That was where I was when I heard my elderly neighbor Bill call.

"Hey Pam - I've got something to show you!"

I couldn't pretend I didn't hear him just because I was in my pajamas. Old pajamas. Really old.

AND... I had yet to brush my hair but it was covered by my ever present sun hat.

Before I crossed the street I looked both ways to make sure there wasn't any other neighbor out there getting the opportunity to see me in my pajamas. Old pajamas. Really old.

"Look!" Exclaimed Bill. "I have a perfect zinnia.

"Awwwww...," I responded when I saw it. "It truly is the perfect zinnia."

So I took a photo of it while I was wearing my pajamas. Old Pajamas. Really old.