Sunday, March 31, 2013

1968 Thunderbird

National Geographic, February 1968

French Azilum Marker, Route 6, Pennsylvania (Postcard Series)

Photo credit:  Wikipedia Commons

March 31, 1992

Why is it lately that any time like this that I spend home alone, I get caught up in doing household chores.  I haven't done a thing with my journal notes in weeks.

It's less than a productive day at the library.  I get a call from Eddie's daycare.  He has a temperature of 102, so I get to spend a little bonus time at home.  Most of the evening is taken up with a Committee of the Whole meeting, which extends beyond the library's 9 p.m. closing time.  And wouldn't you know it.  Somebody wants to get into the library's meeting room after the front doors are locked.  Worse yet, she has to sit down by me and kvetch about it.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Greetings from the Marie Antoinette, Wyalusing, PA (Postcard Series)

From The Marie Antoinette Lookout is and overlook that is located just off of US Route 6 near Wyalusing in Pennsylvania. It is located near the town of Towanda. It offers a scenic view of the Susquehanna River, the mountains, the French Azilum, and a French refugee settlement that was built sometime in the late 1700s or early 1800s. 

Between 1793 and 1803, French refugees established a settlement in the area. That settlement is now known as the French Azilum Historic Site. It is said that Marie Antoinette planned to settle in Towanda. Towanda began as a lumber town, and several of the town's buildings from the 1800s still stand and can be viewed. Many of these buildings are also listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings. It is believed that members of the French aristocracy bought land that was across the river from the lookout and built a house there for Marie Antoinette and the Dauphin. The architecture and detail of the house believed to be built for them can be seen from this area.

Shabby Marie.

Photo credit:  Adventure Rider

A panoramic view from Explore PA History.

March 30, 1992

I finish the LSCA grant reports.  Sharon returns my Friday call, but there's really nothing I need from her.  She still can't work up much enthusiasm about her job and then reacts cautiously when I tell her how well Eve is fitting in.  We all like to hear that we're indispensable, I suppose.

Today's the first day in weeks, if not months, I've been able to work, walk back home for lunch, walk to the library again and then home for dinner.  We don't have a babysitter so I can't accompany JoAnna to the caniddates' forum.  I spend a brain-dead evening watching the Academy Awards presentations on TV.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Donald Wood (1931-2013) Warren High School Class of 1949

David Heimann (1944-2013) Warren Area High School Class of 1962

Warren Area High School when it was brand-spankin' new

March 29, 1992

The weather turns cooler and Eddie has a fever of 102 so there is no outdoor activity today.  I'm a complete vegetable and not feeling so good myself although I have to admit that Andy doesn't show any signs of discomfort.  It's one of those days when you want to hum the Peggy Lee ditty "Is That All There Is?"  During the evening, I stretch out on on the bed, watch TV, and bounce back and forth between a couple of epics:  Spartacus and Ben-Hur.  I catch the chariot race.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Sorenson-Bakken Field at Lakeview Park, Middleton, WI

This year's Big 8 baseball and softball season is on hold.

March 28, 1992

Andy reminds me that we having sausage for breakfast.  I haven't forgotten.  Andy's steel-trap memory never ceases to amaze me.

Andy accompanies JoAnna to the Capitol for the final session of the legislature.  Eddie and I spend about a half hour in the back yard.  JoAnna focuses on a variety of campaign activities in the afternoon.  The boys and I spend some time outside, enjoying the relatively mild, though sunless, weather.

JoAnna and I go out to dinner with Larry and Martha at Crandall's.  It takes us three stops to find a place for some after-dinner conversation.  Branch Water is sporting Damon signs, the Club is too crowded, and from the look of the number of........

Plenty of Snow Cover at Madion's Vilas Park in Late March

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lower Manhattan Skyline (Postcard Series)

March 27, 1992

The weekend's top-grossing new movie.

Andy wants Eddie to stay home with him (and Kelly) but I don't want our babysitter to have her hands too full.  I veto the idea, and JoAnna doesn't argue in Andy's defense.

I spend a large portion of the morning with Sheila, reviewing her position description and discussing her performance evaluation.  She heartily seconds my suggestion of a halftime administrative assistant with no public service duties who would be responsible for bookkeeping, staff records, meeting room schedule, bulletin board.  Before the end of the workday, I share the idea with Liz and Chris, and they, too react enthusiastically.  All of a sudden, I have a major focus for this summer's budget preparations.

I leave the library at 4 and walk to Dunn's.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Downtown Miami from Miami River (Postcard Series)

March 26, 1992

The TV show that ruled its Thursday evening time slot for 8 years.

At first, I plan to work with Eve in the evening, but with school out and business at that time of day on the slow side, I decide that the following week will be better for reference instruction.  With Liz working all day and practicum student Bev at the reference desk all day, I'm able to spend the day working as as library administrator exclusively.  No wonder I feel curiously unproductive.

Andy is at home spending the day with Kelly.  Instead of taking a long afternoon break to eat lunch at Pasqual's and go shopping for clothes, I walk to what used to be Arneson's and chow down on a 1/3-pound cheeseburger and a mega-plate of done-to-perfection onion rings.  After work, I first stop at the house and then Andy and I drive to Steppingstone to pick up MundoPie.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Menu Planning: The Acorn Squash Edition

Like Mom, I'm not very good at planning meals in advance. Her letters are full of comments about procrastination and spur-of-the-moment preparations.

  • January 8, 2004. I even started working on a menu for the month. Just hope I keep it up. 
  • January 24, 2004. I'm still working on menus so I can have what I need on hand. I'm getting there "slow but sure". 
  • January 31, 2004. Just got supper into the oven. Could have put it in the crockpot but I put it off. So I used the oven bags & then I didn't have the onion soup mix needed. I told myself to check what is needed. for menus but guess I didn't listen. 
  • February 10, 2004. I just made a chicken-macaroni casserole tonite. Tomorrow we'll have a good meal. Good Lar & Kim come once a week as I try to have a good meal then. 
  • (Same letter) Dad & I always ate out Friday nite & I still find it hard to prepare a Friday nite meal. Last nite Dale had frozen pot pie & Barb had a frozen meal I fixed scrambled eggs for myself. 

On Sunday evening, I managed to put a two-day menu in place. (That's about as good as it gets for me.) Baked acorn squash on Monday, cabbage rolls on Tuesday. I went grocery shopping this afternoon, returning home with just enough time to spare to get two scooped-out halves of squash into a 400° oven for 75 minutes. After setting the controls, I removed a price code sticker from the acorn squash and immediately noticed that it had been covering a soft spot. (And this from Metcalfe's, chosen by Madison magazine readers as Madison's best grocery store.) Once I cut the squash in half, some of the fruit looked bruised, greenish, and thoroughly unappetizing. Compost material. I made a quick trip to the Willy Street Co-op two blocks away to buy a replacement and discovered, to my rapidly increasing irritation, they had no acorn squash in stock.

"We don't even have an ETA," -- estimated time of arrival -- an employee replied in answer to my question.

By now, the likelihood of having dinner ready when JoAnna returned home from work was quickly diminishing.

Nevertheless, I continued my quest, driving to Copps, Middleton's only other grocery store, if you don't count Costco, where I first found a selection of ginormous organic acorn squash just inside the main entrance. I continued my search until I found one of a standard size.

Now my irritation turns inward.

At the self-service checkout, I discovered that I'd left the house without my wallet. Hey, I have an excuse -- or sorts. On my way home from my first afternoon visit to a grocery store, I stopped at Klinke's to pick up JoAnna's dry cleaning.

"The transaction didn't go through," the clerk informed me from the other side of the drop-off and pick-up window.

"How can that be?" I said, exhibiting a slightly elevated, and completely unnecessary, level of annoyance. "I've used it three times in the last hour."

So I pulled out my wallet, retrieved the card, and then placed the wallet not in my pants pockets but on the passenger's seat of the car, next to my iPhone. When I returned home, I gathered everything up in my hands and arms and plopped it on the kitchen counter. Once I opened up the defective acorn squash, I left the house without screwing my head back on. It remained next to my wallet and phone.

And now that I think of it, I probably had enough change in the console of the car to purchase the squash. But by the time I reached the checkout line at Copps, I wasn't thinking too clearly.

Ever have one of these days?

And it's not quite over.

As a back-up meal was cooking on the stovetop -- pork chops, pan-fried potatoes, green beans -- I discovered that I couldn't access the Internet on my laptop via wireless. When I attempted to go online with the iPad, I didn't encounter any problems. At least I thought it was the wireless icon and not "3G" I saw displayed in the upper left-hand corner, but then things haven't been what they seem for a good portion of this day.

After supper, JoAnna discovered that she couldn't access our wireless on her iPhone. At this point, I had the presence of mind to unplug and reinsert the connections to the router.

I'm now happy to report that there have been no major incidents or minor setbacks for the past two hours.

Maybe I should "86" acorn squash from the Mayflower Diner menu.

Hollywood Beach Hotel, Hollywood-by-the-Sea, Florida (Postcard Series)

Art Deco hotel opened in 1926.

Photo credit:  get a room

 Not so hot as found on tripadvisor (R)

Yawner of a promo

March 25, 1992

JoAnna enjoyed watching this show.

Wrapping myself around a cliche, I feel as though the world has been lifted from my shoulders.  My summary comment to anyone who dared to listen:  "This commitment had been looming very large during the past two months."  As a result of its unqualified success, I feel a carryover exhilaration from yesterday and have a little difficulty focusing on any tasks today.

 Andy spends the day at Eddie's daycare, and again he's Mr. Sociable.  After a day and a half, he seems to like this place better than Little Red, which, to me, is cause for some slight concern.  I really think that Andy misses the presence of his little brother during the day.  At Kids Play, he obviously enjoyed the occasional contact with Eddie.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Excitement is Contagious When You Look Inside the Largest Selling Boiler

The Architectural Forum

On This Day in 1998: Tuesday, March 24

Beaty Field:  The Path

The boys and I stayed up last night to watch the entire Academy Awards telecast. As the evening progressed, the boys got into the spirit of rooting for “Titanic”. At one point, Eddie announced, “I’m going to see ‘Titanic’ the next time you go.”

Even though it extended beyond three hours, I really enjoyed the show. Billy Crystal is the perfect host. I enjoyed the clips of past award winners. I thought Stanley Donen’s lifetime achievement award was the highlight of the evening.

We had some sunshine yesterday afternoon, although the temperature remained in the 30s. The boys and I took a walk to Beaty Field, Andy and I shooting hoops, Eddie ambling over to the playground area and amusing himself on the equipment . The ground wasn’t nearly as soggy as I thought it would be, considering that it was recently under water. Before returning to the house, we strolled along “the path”, throwing sticks and stones into the creek. I didn’t find much in the way of “skipworthy” material.

Beaty Field panorama

The boys played with Scottie yesterday morning at his house. While they were gone, I took a walk – to no place in particular, and then cleaned out the debris in the car, some leftover cups of soda still sitting on the shelf behind the back seat, a scattering of French fries on the floor.

Dad spends most of the day slumped in his chair in the living room. His waking moments appear to be on the decline, his lucid moments even more so. His fading sense of reality is further clouded by television and, Mom suspects, dreams. It’s not like the rest of the family ignores him, but sometimes I wonder if they could try to engage him more. But now that speaking has become difficult for him, providing him a protective environment is the best that can be offered. Ironically, I sometimes feel uncomfortable asking questions about Dad’s condition, but unless I ask, very little information is ever forthcoming.

Allegheny River in Warren, Pennsylvania, looking west from Hickory Street Bridge

I worked on our federal and state tax forms earlier today. The preliminary results are about what I expected. Due to my additional income from the University last year, we are going to owe approximately $3,000 in federal taxes. Our refund from the state will amount to slightly less than $500. Mr. Procrastinator has not yet filled out the form to have a larger deduction taken from my biweekly paychecks, something I said I was going to do last year. Your deduction amounts to 17% of your gross pay. Mine is slightly under 12% I need to boost my federal deduction by $100 per paycheck.

Tomorrow morning we begin our trek home. I don’t have a motel reservation for our first night but I have an 800 number for Ramada Inn that I plan to call later today. I’m not too concerned. I would think a midweek stayover in South suburban Chicago is easy to find. The motel’s gotta have an indoor pool, though.

Allegheny River, Warren, Pennsylvania, looking east toward Hickory Street Bridge

Planning Ahead

The Cutlass Ciera Holiday Coupe

Esquire, June 1983

Smith Memorial Monument, Fairmount Park, Philaldephia

Under construction from 1887 to 1912.
Built to commemorate Pennsylvania's Civil War military and naval heroes.
Cost:  $500,000

Information on the Arch.
Philadelphia and the Countryside.
Philadelphia's Fairmount Park.
A photographic inventory.

March 24, 1992

However, staying asleep remains a major challenge.  In some ways, I'm more concerned about the second day's performance, since these are the notes I've barely had a chance to review, but after day one I have a much increased faith in my ability to ad lib effectively.  And fortunately, it turns out to be a well-placed one.

Lunchtime today is a bit more hectic.  Kim Olson is babysitting Andy in the morning, but I need to get him to Steppingstone for afternoon supervision.  Showing an extraordinary adaptability, he is actually very excited about getting into this new experience.  We arrive at naptime, and by the time I leave, a very aggressive young girl named Missy to share Andy's cot.  Suddenly I have no concerns about how he will adjust to his new surroundings.

At the end of the two-day workshop, I am basking in the glow of extremely positive remarks from many of the participants.  I just can't believe how well the workshop turned out.  What would have happened if I'd given it a major major effort?

Before picking up the boys, I stop at University Bookstore to look for something that will help me reattached the muffler to the bottom of the car.  The last time I took the Nissan in for a tune-up, Jeff told me about this likelihood.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Trinity Church, New York City (Postcard Series)

March 23, 1992

When it's time to throw off the covers, I feel like a wet washrag.  As if I haven't experienced enough tension over this 2-day workshop.  I feel as though preparation time has been cut to the bone due to domestic intensities, such things as the closing of Kids Play, the search for new daycare arrangements, JoAnna's campaigning for county board.  Time I should have been revising my notes, collecting materials, and smoothing out my delivery was spent keyboarding calendar squares and more generally avoiding any last-minute review.  What's the result?  Despite a few minor stumbles as I look at my notes for a hint of where to go, I am extremely pleased with my performance.  Had I been too rehearsed, I might not have been able to add the necessary note of spontaneity to the workshop.

Friday, March 22, 2013

On This Day in 1998: Monday, March 23

Considering the number of times Andy called you last night, I should probably offer to pay my folks’ new phone bill. He certainly was all fired up about the game. I knew the outcome without asking as soon as I heard his groan of disappointment at 11:05. What a heartbreaking loss, huh?

On Friday morning before I dropped the boys at school, Eddie’s thoughts were not yet completely focused on the trip. While taking care of my last-minute packing, I overheard him say to Andy, “ wish we could leave on Saturday.” Once he considered the full impact of leaving school early, he realized he’d be missing art class.

“But Eddie, if we left tomorrow, we wouldn't be able to stay in a motel,” I explained.

Suddenly art class wasn’t so important anymore.

Eddie repeatedly reminded me to bring along my Walkman. He didn't mention what music he wanted to listen to, so I offered, “Let’s take the Beatles tapes.” We listened to the early Beatles between Rockford and Chicago, the boys impressed with my ability to sing along with every song, rarely stumbling over the words.

During Saturday’s road trip, Eddie listened to the first side of the early Beatles tape three times. He bobbed his head in time to the music and sang the words to some of the choruses. “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah.” That bit of exuberance brought a quick cry of “Be quiet, Eddie” from his brother, who was quizzing Dad with questions from the newest edition of Trivial Pursuit.

The Holiday Inn where we stayed in South Bend is literally a flying leap from the Interstate. Due to he placement of the exit, we had to drive a circuitous two miles in a driving snow on slushy streets before reaching the front door to the motel.

The boys were so excited about getting to the swimming pool that they dashed away with the plastic card to open the door to our room before I had a chance to gather up the luggage I had dumped at my feet. They found their way to room 212 without incident, but I did have a talk with them about the importance of responsible behavior – not getting all wrapped up in the excitement of the moment. For the rest of the evening, I didn’t have a single problem with them.

The arrangement at the South Bend Holidome is similar to the one in Stevens Point, although where we stayed the pool was completely enclosed, separated by a glass wall from the arcade. Although I saw no signs to confirm this, it appeared that motel management preferred that guest not use the arcade area in their dripping wet or completely dry swimwear. I observed everyone there wearing street clothes.

The pool was 4’8” at its deepest, and the shallow end was indeed very shallow, so Eddie didn’t need to wear his floatation device. At this request, we had left it in the room anyway. After battling some of the ruggedest Chicago rush-hour traffic I’ve ever encountered and dealing with snowy and slippery condition during the last hour of the trip – we counted at least a half dozen cars that had skidded or spun off the road – I enjoyed the therapeutic effects of the warm pool water. I was ready to stretch out on a poolside chaise lounge when the boys announced that they were done with their swim.

I think that Andy was secretly hopig that the snow would keep us stranded in South Bend for an extra day. He and Eddie had made a few acquaintances Friday evening, which made our present location, in his mind, the best place to be. He exhibited some resistance as I pushed to get us on the road. You know the symptoms. The elongated, “Nooooo!” in answer to any question. Whining. A scowl upon his face. Fortunately, it was a short-lived performance.

We stopped at a Bob Evans for breakfast. Andy, of course, ordered lunch. Eddie inhaled his bacon but only nibbled at the edges of his silver dollar pancakes. My entrée was not quite a scramble, not quite an omelet, but included eggs, diced potatoes, sausage, gravy, and grated cheese. Not the healthy heart selection either.

Our Saturday road trip was uneventful. Andy slept for on hour. Traffic was surprisingly light.

The road trip continued.

Grandma greeted the boys with a shriek of delight, her day-long, pent-up expectations bursting forth like water breaking through a dam. Grandpa got up out of his chair in the dining room, shuffled to the edge of the carpet, and stood unsteadily in the doorway. Even though his eyes were teary, I had the strange, unsettling sensation that he wasn’t quite sure what all the commotion was about. I thought I heard him mumble something about “going to” rather than “coming from”. His confused condition, his obviously worsening case of Parkinson’s, put a damper on the initial moment of reunion for me.

Naturally, Grandma had the dining room table set and dinner just about ready to be served. She had prepared two casserole dishes: one mostly cubes of chicken with dressing pressed into a baking dish, the other a very tasty spinach-and-rice combination.

After supper most of us remained around the dining room table to play Trivial Pursuit, at Andy’s request. The Pennsylvania team beat Wisconsin.

Sunday morning I debated whether or not to be the dutiful son and attend church with Mom, but instead I took an hour-long walk, picking up a New York Times along the way. When I returned home, Dad was sitting alone, in silence, in the living room. I joined him there to read the paper, but the quite soon started to spook me. (Dad is very close to the point where he can no longer carry on a conversation.) I asked him if he wanted to watch TV. He surfed for awhile, demonstrating some remaining manual dexterity, but found nothing of interest. I offered to put on a CD. I selected a Mozart recording and that seemed to momentarily perk him up. I saw a hint of life in his face.

Lining Up

The Submarine Gardens, Santa Catalina (Postcard Series)

March 22, 1992

Biggest-grossing movie of the year to date.

I wait for the roof over the garage to collapse.  During the previous melt, I spotted at least four different sources of drips.  Even though the temperature reaches 40, there is no meltdown.  JoAnna does doors during the afternoon and Madison's Mel Gibson sits at the computer inputting constituent data.  I volunteer to make supper.  My oven-fried chicken gets rave reviews, as usual.  (I'm such a kitchen stud.)

Looking ahead to a long day tomorrow, I decide to go to bed early.  Just as I'm sawing some major z's, Andy joins me.  For the rest of the night, I feel like I'm counting the minutes until it's time to get up, get dressed, and get to the Wisconsin Center.  I'm sure I catch a few winks, but it feels like I've been up all night.  My dreams seem to segue with a very uncomfortable reality.

We'd Forget our Heads If They Weren't Screwed On

            Who's the more forgetful person in this picture?
            Andy left for Milwaukee around 12:30 on Wednesday, after spending three days in Middleton, hanging out at home with Dad, for the most part, as JoAnna had meetings on both Monday and Tuesday evenings.   (Some of that time he spent applying for jobs -- a total of 9.)
            As soon as he left, I headed for the living room couch to take a nap.  On the days that I teach, I always feel the need for an afternoon refresher.  The timing of my class (5:30 to 8:00 p.m.) doesn't fit into the natural flow and rhythm of my day.  I've been an early-riser kind of guy for most of my married life.  (I certainly didn't fit that pattern beforehand.)   Now I find that I'm freshest in the morning and at a low energy level during the evening.  Fortunately, I've made the necessary adjustments to keep me charged up throughout my 2 1/2 hour class.
            Following a half-hour snooze, I stripped the sheets from the bed in which Andy had slept and carried them to the utility room, where I was greeted by the sight of a basket filled with clean laundry.  Andy's.  I immediately called him on my cell phone.
            "You forgot your clothes," I announced, a sense of urgency in my voice.
            He seemed, at first, not to understand what I was talking about.
            "The clothes you brought home," I prompted. 
            "I'm almost to Johnson Creek," Andy explained, as if he had already reached teh point of no return.
            "Andy, you left behind a lot of clothes.  I'm sure you're going to need them before your next trip home."
            "OK, I'll come and get them," he conceded, a bit reluctantly, I thought.
            As he hefted the basket to bring to his car, he remembered the bag of goodies he'd purchased at Dollar Tree the previous day, the need for a dish drainer being the primary reason for this visit.
            There's more.
            Once I returned home after my evening class, I opened the refrigerator to select something to eat among the week's leftovers and spotted two plastic containers of food that I'd prepared for Andy:  beef stew from Monday and turkey breast and "trimmings" from Tuesday.
            What a pair of airheads.
            This series of incidents makes me wonder how the two of us get out of bed unassisted each morning.

Pancake Breakfast

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Flying Fish Trip, Santa Catalina, California (Postcard Series)

Attention Shoppers!

Has anyone tried this, i.e., going beyond Metcalfe's parking lot perimeter, to see if it actually works?

March 21, 1992

The weekend's top-grossing movie

JoAnna's day is pretty much booked, but we find a little time for a family breakfast outing at Perkins.  We drive there in separate vehicles as JoAnna will need to make an earlier-than-the-rest-of-us departure.  Having already scarfed down a peanut-butter-and-jelly English muffin a couple of hours earlier, I bypass the major chow and order potato pancakes.  Used to be, back in the seventies, this was the only thing I ordered off Perkins' menu.

Snow falls throughout the day.  By the early afternoon at least four inches accumulates.  JoAnna hesitates about going out, but I encourage her to keep to her schedule of doing doors.  She goes out for a couple of hours.  By the time she returns, there is 6 or 7 snow on the ground.

JoAnna makes Swedish meatballs for supper and then shovels the sidewalk and driveway.  I'm the one who should be outside getting exercise, but I continue to burn off calories in my dreams.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Paw Prints in the Snow

Boxer, our nocturnal cat, spends many early-morning hours sitting by this sliding glass door in the family room.  Looks like some of her buds get to go outside all year 'round.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Eyes of Texas on Formica!

Architectural Forum, the Magazine of Building
January 1956

Though I can't specifically recall, it's very likely I purchased this magazine in in the secondhand book department of Johnson's Bookstore in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts, sometime between April 1976 and July 1978.