Thursday, April 29, 2010

Let's Make It A Very Good Day

I'm at the dental office where I work today. I arrived fifteen minutes ago and so far it's been a good day; time will tell if that's to continue. Actually, I can take control and, at least within my own mind, make it a great day.

What are you doing today and how is it going?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Dad Plus Six Plus Ten

The first picture is Dad in his early twenties.
The second photo includes Dad, Mom, my four brothers, me and our families.

I recalled this morning that my father’s birthday is either the 24th or 26th of this month, April. I never could keep that straight without looking at a calendar notation. The exact date isn’t important to me but his memory is.

Dad's mother died when he was young and his life was hard. He struggled through, married my mother and the family grew to include four boys and me. We lived a simple life. Dad worked hard to support all of us and we never lacked the things we needed.

When I had my first job, I bought Dad a gift for his birthday. I gave it to him and after opening it, he cried. I was surprised and yet pleased that it meant so much to him. I noticed this emotional side of my father quite often over the years. He never asked or expected anything but was touched when he felt loved.

Dad was always eager and ready to help out if any of us kids needed help. He helped my two younger brothers and my husband and I when we built our houses. Once he started a project, he kept at it until it was completed. He often said, “You have to make hay while the sun shines.”

Dad appreciated the little things in life and was most happy when he was doing simple things like working in his garden or on woodworking projects.
Dad evolved from appearing to be a rather intimidating and quiet man in my husband’s eyes when we first started dating to being a wonderful father-in-law. Lon loved my dad’s warm welcomes followed by a bottle of beer from him whenever we visited. Lon enjoyed the time he spent with my dad. He appreciated his easy going ways and down to earth conversation topics. Lon reminds me frequently of Dad’s words, "Perfect, Lon, perfect,” whenever Lon asked for his opinion regarding a task he had undertaken.

Yes, Dad was proud of us as we grew up and he enjoyed our families as they also grew.

Dad spent his last years, learning to live with the results of colon cancer. He died in his sleep in 2000. When I remember him now, I remember his warm smile and manner when I pulled in the driveway. He loved to show me his garden and flowers and woodworking projects. He’d load my car up with vegetables and things he’d made.
I remember that he loved his home, being there and living simply. I remember the relationship he had with my son. Jared has fond memories of hanging out with his grandpa. I remember how Dad liked to tease, tell jokes and make us laugh.

I remember the things I loved about Dad. Looking back, I love everything about him.
(In the group photo, Dad and Mom are in the middle of the back row. My four brothers are in that same row while I'm in front in the peach-colored suit and a smile that reminds me of a horse. Jared and Lon are on my right).

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chippers & Cracker Flats

Yesterday, a patient of the dentist I work for brought us a box of CHIPPERS (chocolate covered potato chips made in North Dakota) as a thank you for squeezing her into our schedule on Thursday. They're wonderful, but then what isn't when its coated with especially good chocolate!

I picked up the box of CRACKER FLATS at T.J. Maxx in Janesville a couple of weeks ago. A small section of the mainly clothing and home decor store is devoted to unique foods. These crackers were good. I hope I'll find them there again next time I stop to shop. Please note the expiration date. I have nothing to fear; they're already gone. I wolfed them down in no time FLAT!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

From the Fire Into the Frying Pan?

I couldn't go on. I dug hard to extract the gems from Tristram Shandy. The excavating process wore me down and my eyes grew bloodshot as I read and reread paragraph after paragraph in search of the meaning behind Lawrence Sterne's words. I crawled slowly across page after page, laughing fairly often, but not nearly enough. At page 207, since I was already on my knees, I closed the book for the last time and buried it.
What now? I thought. I recalled that a fellow blogger was reading Ayn Rand's book, Atlas Shrugged. With that in mind, I drove to the library and located the PRA-SEN section of bookshelves in the fiction area. Rand's earlier book, Fountainhead, sat elbow to elbow with her aforementioned volume. I can't recall my reasoning as I stood with both books before me, but I chose Fountainhead. Perhaps it had something to do with a desire to read the books in the order they were written. Yes, I believe that thought crossed my mind and directed me.
So far, I'm sailing along without the consternation I endured with that "other" book. My current book choice isn't exactly a walk in the park considering it claims 727 pages. Since I'm not participating in a triathlon this year, reading Fountainhead will be my 2010 endurance test.
Why, why can't I read like a normal person? Why can't I pick up a lightweight recent bestseller and totally enjoy the time I spend with it?
Don't be honest with your answers; please spare me the truth. I tend to be quite fragile and sensitive.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Will I Expire Too?

As I was adding wheat germ to my yogurt yesterday, I got to thinking. I couldn't remember when I'd purchased the jar of wheat germ I was spooning from. I realized it had been quite a while ago so I searched for the expiration date. BEST BEFORE SEP 09 09 glared accusingly from the glass container. All I could think was yikes!!
I sat down quickly as my life flashed before me. I contemplated the state of my health and ruminated over my gross error. After accessing my sense of wellness, I decided confidently that I'd been feeling fine in spite of consuming this deadly wheat germ on a daily basis for quite some time. Even today, I feel fine.
After eating food long past its intended longevity, do you think I'll be the next thing to expire? Will it happen later today or have I a bit longer to enjoy life?
Should this be my last blog post, I must say, "It's been marvelous, simply marvelous."

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Stump's Practically Our Neighbor

Just a few miles from Beloit, lies Afton, Wisconsin, home of the creator of all these Stump's foods.
As the label reveals, Jim (Stump) Haakinson's hunger for food with a "kick" prompted him to experiment in his kitchen. The result of some of his work is here for you to see.
We received a few jars of Stump's hot stuff as a gift recently. Lon and I are enjoying everything as long as we eat of it sparingly. The olives aren't terribly spicy but one or two with a meal is usually enough. The pickles are something else again. Two small bites of one spear go a long way.
I'm saving the Bloody Mary Mix to use for a pot of chili this fall. Doesn't that recipe look good?
I haven't used the minced garlic in oil yet either, but I will eventually. I'm not a devoted cook so such things sit a spell before I get around to using them. Quoting my oldest brother, "I don't want to rush into it."
Stump's stuff is available online at . Let me warn you though. Go easy until you know what you're getting into.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

An Old Passion

Welcome to Shaddy's Stamp Presentation.
Please refrain from applauding until after the last item is shown. :)

A detailed description of my stamp collection follows these photos.

These stamped and decorated envelopes are FDCs, First Day Covers.

I purchased a number of my collection of FDCs from individuals who offered them for sale in stamp collection publications.

Most of my first day covers are simply plain envelopes which I addressed to the Postmaster of the post office which was designated for that first day issue postmark. They postmarked my envelope and returned it to me in my self-addressed envelope. I didn't include a photo since these with cachets are more fun to look at.

You can click on the images to enlarge them for closer examination.

I think you'll like these old cars, Tom.

I personally added the decorated areas, known as cachets, on the Vermont, Common Dolphin, Killer Whale, Flower and Greetings envelopes.

This is a First Day Ceremony Program. They are given to those who attend first day ceremonies. They contain a list of participants, information on the stamp subject and the actual stamp attached and postmarked.
This is the cover of the program designed in honor of Ernest Hemingway's stamp.

The inside of the program is pictured here.

This is the cover of another item in my collection, the Desert Postal Card ceremony program.

I also collected "plate blocks." Found on sheet stamps, plate blocks are the stamps--usually a group of 4--that have the printing plate numbers in the adjoining selvage or margin.

I'm not sure if these are FDCs since they don't have a first day issue postmark on them. I do like the unique postmarks they do have.

In the late 80s and early 90s, I enjoyed a type of stamp collecting that focuses on FDCs or First Day Covers. I subscribed to a publication that told me when the newly designed U.S. stamps were going to be issued. Every new stamp is initially issued at one specific United States Post Office, one which has some connection with the subject of the stamp. A ceremony is held at that post office. This newly issued stamp isn’t sold anywhere else in the U.S. until the following day.
Collecting envelopes with the “First Day of Issue” postmark was my hobby for quite a few years. Why would I want to spend time in that way? I’m not sure. I didn’t have a blog so this pastime drew me in. Perhaps I did it so I'd have something to blog about when I became a writer. Right! (in jest).
All of the binders shown at the top of this post are filled the various items which I collected during my days as a philatelist. Until today, I can't remember when I last pulled the binders from their cases. It was great fun going through everything and I hope you also get a kick out of some of my "stuff."