Series of Sunrise photos

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYesterday morning I could see that there was going to be a beautiful sunrise.  If this were a time lapse sequence it would have taken about 10-15 minutes from the start of when I got my first picture to the last.  After that, it was a gloomy day while it rained almost two inches. We do NOT need the rain because it makes our gravel roads very sloppy.

I stayed home all day and got some things accomplished on my articles that I need to write, I’m actually getting paid for this.  I find many other things to distract me so that is why I am glad I didn’t go into town.  I need to get things organized before I go overseas for ten days starting next week.  Maybe during down time, in airports or on the planes while traveling, I can write what has been on my “to-do” list since last September. The deadline is this upcoming September but I want these six articles that are 700 words each to be done by May.

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So, kind of like a sunrise that takes time to happen, my writing is taking the same kind of time to evolve.  Mine isn’t like clockwork and it isn’t pretty like these shots are.  Also, I need to add something from the Expat Arrivals website…I hope this turns out after my last photo. Check out what I wrote about my time spent in Kazakhstan.  I’m far removed from that country now as of five years ago but I keep up with my Kazakh friends on Facebook.

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Delay and procrastinate…name of game

1954 Ameel with Ford pickup and presentsI took about three hours, maybe more to clean out my bay window of plants, clean the pots, transplant about four others that needed better planters and cleaned other things.  Now I have the debris out and I want to look at it from my table where I have my laptop set up.

However, I am delaying and procrastinating what clean up job needs to happen next.  I have my whole dining room table filled with pictures that I have sorted and also about 7-8 boxes worth of albums from both sides of the family waiting to be stored somewhere…Anywhere but where they are sitting now.

Unfortunately, that means I have to clean my upstairs closets in order to put these very old, vintage photos and pictures away.  I don’t have children to hand this down to so really I should have siblings with kids take on these pictures.  However, I LOVE old pictures and the stories they tell.  On Facebook I have different people looking at the cars and giving their opinions about the old type cars, never mind that they also show my dear grandpas from both sides.

After I do this blog, then I will turn to the inevitable and I will have the satisfying feeling of a clean, new room that is freshly cleaned and ready for company.  We will have some of my husband’s friends come in a month to visit him.  That means we have to get some of the newly inherited double beds up into the bedrooms upstairs that have a single bed and another small futon.

Domino affect, I have to clean out those closets in order to put the boxes I’m getting organized here in the dining room. NEVER ends!  Okay, that is why it is good to take a picture of the sunsets and that is what I did on the first day of spring. Many people on Facebook really liked one in particular.  1942 Glen on Trixie

Back to work…as much as I would love to continue with my delay and procrastinating ways.

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Spring forward to Day Light Savings

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADifficult to get used to every spring where we LOSE an hour of precious sleep. I’m grateful that we were able to make it to church this morning. That’s despite my not finding my curling iron to curl my hair, however, in our flurry to leave, I DID find my makeup so that was good.  I had to lead worship so when I arrived, all was peaceful and calm and our practice went well.

I would have liked to have my sister and nephew join us but they were intent on getting home along with other brother enroute to Wisconsin and the other south of the Twin Cities.  So, this weekend was a “family affair” with helping my Dad to clear out his shop that is full of inventory and other various things.  We filled a dumpster rolloff with no problem in one day…I think it will take another 3-4 of these to purge the large place of all its contents.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You can see by the photo what the building looks like, it is one of the older ones in our hometown. It used to be a brewery along the river. Many people are interested in it for different reasons. Some think of a classy restaurant, others think of a sports place for bikers or hikers or skiers in the winter time.  Whoever buys this place better have a LOT of money to put a new roof on and to also upgrade it for future customers.

In the meantime, we had a nice time working together as a family unit as my Dad was somewhat detached from it all.  He is almost 87 years old, afterall.  We have moved our folks to their new apartment and so now their house will be up for sale soon.  Many transitions.

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The major one for me this morning was to get myself put together after visiting with my siblings at a Mexican restaurant after a full day of work at the shop.  End of the first day of skipping an hour ahead.  The sun seemed to up sooner but our bodies felt like it was too early.  Tomorrow should be easier because we have a week off of teaching because of Spring Break!  Hurray!

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Happy Intl. Women’s Day

Or…what is left of this day that is so faithfully celebrated in all other countries of the globe. I told my students today that we as Americans celebrate many privileges that other women in other communist or former communist countries do not enjoy.  Every day is a holiday for most of us…while women who lived during the Soviet era needed a break like International Women’s Day.

I showed my students today a photo of many women at a Women’s Camp from 1950 and in this group of many ladies would be my Grandma Ellen.  I haven’t figured out which one she is but I have several guesses.

Woman's camp at NWSA around 1950

Last night we had howling winds that were raging almost to 50-60 mph. I woke up in the morning and I was happy to NOT hear that kind of wrathful wind.  This was basically the last class until after Spring break so that put me in a good mood too. I did not receive any candy, flowers or cards but on Facebook many of my former students or colleagues from other countries greeted me.

Indeed, happy international womens day!

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What?! March all ready???

We are half way through our semester and I have great students, one from Mongolia, another from India and two from Asia: China and Japan.  The last student has an interesting background, his grandfather went to Japan from his home of Korea.  I asked this student if he doesn’t consider himself part Korean…like we Americans think of our Nordic background or Italian or French ancestry.  No…he feel 100% Japanese which is puzzling to me.  I suppose because the Koreans and Japanese don’t like each other, especially after WWII, then you have to be distinctively one or the other, not a mix.  I love this student’s laugh, he is also a big guy for an Asian.

The Mongolian student is very quiet and is not too strong of a writing student. Based on where she has come from, I can understand why writing would not be her strongest suit.  She had a GREAT story about her grandparents.  Her grandfather fell in love with this woman but then he had to go serve in the Sino-Mongolian war.  He left behind this woman who had been promised in an arranged marriage to someone else.  She slipped away just before the wedding and lived in Ulan Baator for several years until she could meet up with her lover, my student’s grandfather after he had served his three years.  Her grandmother, as it turns out, had not let her family know where she was so she could marry the man she loved and NOT the one who was arranged for her.

I have another student from several years back who had a grandfather who fought in the Navy during WWII in the Pacific Ocean. He took sick and was brought over to a hospital ship but meanwhile when he was gone from his original fighting ship, it was attacked. Every single person died that he knew because of an explosion, he was the only person to survive that attack.  He lived with survivor’s guilt all his life but he did end up marrying the nurse who took care of him on the hospital ship.

Yes, I have wonderful students who are trying to learn APA formatting so that they can write more academic papers. The first assignment is always the easiest because I am asking them to describe someone they love and respect. Some don’t know their grandparents but have heard a LOT about them from others.  I feel privileged to be able to see into these lives of the GREAT Generation, no matter what country they come from.

The spring weather is very tempting to go out with not as much wraps on, I’ve been getting some great photos of sunsets and sunrises.  I’ll show off some of MY grandparents instead.  I have reason to be proud of both sides of my family. They were farmers and hard workers. These are both of my grandpas and my Dad on Father’s Day.

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Colorful Sundogs and Delayed Sunsets

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was able to capture the later sunset and colorful, rainbow like sundogs. The pictures will help explain that better. We are getting longer days for which we are all thankful. Today was negative 15 degrees F and it was a good thing I didn’t know that as I started my car to go to work.  I KNEW it was cold, but not THAT cold.  The day before there was a biting wind so the windchill was probably that or worse!

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We are into Week 5 of our semester with about ten more weeks to go. I am helping my folks clear out their place and burning the extra letters and other debris that they have been storing. My Mom has been a very prolific letter writer over the years and I want to “bless” people with some of the pictures I have found for each of the sibling’s families and my cousins and other more distant relatives.  I have created about 20 different piles of various density, mostly pictures.

My sister came up for the THIRD time from the Cities which is quite a sacrifice because she lives five hours away. She helped this last time combing through all the letters and pictures that were left. Now there are only boxes full of tax returns from ten years ago up to last year.  My Mom will plow through that.

So, when I got home last night I promptly started a bonfire, the third one so far and had the backdrop of the setting sun. On the way home through I was able to capture the colorful sundogs. Life is good…as long as I get enough sleep and keep one step ahead of my students.

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Unexpected turns

We are second day into February and it is Ground Hog Day, officially. Because the groundhog saw his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter.  That means for us in northern Minnesota that it will be that many more weeks of cold!  Today it is bright and sunny but that is not to fool us, it is still cold outside.

The unexpected turns is I just said goodbye to my youngest brother as he visited us for several days.  He and his family had been here just a month ago but things have changed quickly in our parents direction.  They are downsizing from a big two story house with a roomy basement into a two bedroom apartment.  They have a garage that has a lot of room for storage but it is about 60 years worth of living that is getting pared down to a small place.

My other sister (I have three) sees this change or “unexpected” turn as sending a kid off to college and getting ready for the dorm room size of things.  Yes, she has been up two weekends in a row to help with her big van. The first weekend we moved two beds and other big pieces with my dad’s van as well.

Next, my other brother will be here this weekend to look at my Dad’s shop and try to convince him to move out of that, inventory and all.  That is the tough part.  He has a LOT of things in this very old shop that he has to heat at about $600 a month.  He puts in wood for the fuel to cut down on the cost but he drives in the middle of the night with wood to stoke the fire.  He is nearly 87 years old and should not be doing this physical kind of labor.

The unexpected turn is that he has a young kind of energy and wants to do things, but my dad is not of sound mind anymore. That is the tough part to watch. I want to be optimistic and think of him as being ready to take on the challenges of life. Reality is what my 82 year old mom sees everyday…he is not capable anymore. I can’t see him sitting in one place but there may be a day where he will need to go to assisted care living.

All this transition into old age is difficult for me to observe and my siblings who live far away do not understand the sense of immediacy of getting the folks out of their established home.  Bewildering for all of us, especially my dad.

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