Monday, January 31, 2011

Photo of the Day: No Smoking

Saint George, Utah; December 2010
presented with this comment:
Actually, no there are no comments. I think this pretty much says everything.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Auntie Nettie's Attic Merchandise 2011 - January

Instead of doing periodic updates on my crafting this year, I thought I'd try end-of-the-month wrap-ups.

I came back from vacation with a large stash of yarn, and a resolution. I am NOT to purchase any more yarn this year until I work my way through the stash that is piled up on my bookshelves, tucked between furniture, put away in bins, or hidden in the closet with mothballs. (Gifts of yarn are exempt from this resolution ... It's the purchasing of the yarn that's the problem.)

In the unlikely event that I run out (HA!), I also have a stash of fabric that is crying out to be used. Of course that means dragging Grandma Ollie's sewing machine out from underneath the bed and hauling myself down to sewing classes in the Fashion District. One craft addiction at a time, please.

I'm trying to finish up the UFOs (UnFinished Objects) from 2010, but I still have scared myself with the amount of blankets already done, and it's only January.

Here's everything all piled up:#ANA 2010-163 & #ANA 2011-01 (as of 03/11, #163 not available/as of 09/11, #1 is no longer available): White Chevron Lace Blankets#ANA 2011-02: Light Pastels Crib Cover
In close-up:
#ANA 2011-03: Seafoam Waves Lap Throw
(as of 05/2012, no longer available)
#ANA 2011-04: Chenille Polar Bear
#ANA 2011-05: Pink Hoodie Blanket
(as of 03/2011 no longer available)
#ANA 2011-06: "Denim" Blankie (as of Feb. 2011, not available)
In close-up:

Still in progress:
2010: Stuffed Animal/Multi-fiber chevron blanket
2011: Green Lace chevron blanket

As ever, if you see anything you'd like, just contact me for sizes, availability, and costs.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Photo of the Day: Old Man in the Grotto

Snow Canyon, Utah, Hidden Pinyon Trail, c. January 1, 2011
presented with this comment:
Just when you think your ancestors aren't keeping an eye on you, their shadows seem to lurk around every corner.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Letters from Ollie J - Jan. 28, 1982 & 1996

I think this is the first time (at this point), where we have two letters on the same date - but more than a decade apart.

The first is from 1982, when I was about 10. We must have seen each other over the holidays and I must have been a brat, because I'm apologizing for being one.

28 Jan 1982

[probably from
The Farm
Pikeville, NC]

Dear [Granddaughter],

Your letter was welcomed and appreciated.

Surely I’ll forgive you. Your actions weren’t to[sic] [crossed out/illegible] nice Christmas. We all feal[sic] different[sic] at time. But don’t help to let it show.

Be happy and show it and the world will be a nicer place to live.

Love your work and it seems to get done quicker.

Take care of yourself.

I love you and think you are nice.


It's nice to see that some sort of personal progress had been made in the intervening years. Not quite such a brat if I'm suggesting going to see grandma instead of making her deal with airports and weather.

Sadly, I never did get the hang of making those biscuits, or the recipe.

28 Jan 1996

[The Farm
Pikeville, NC]

Dear GrandDaughter

Thank you so much for thinking of Me and sujesting[sic] coming t[sic] GrandMa’s For Christmas.

So proud to have you all. Was a big change for me. No Rush or scramble. Glad you enjoyed your short time here. Thanks for the Gifts etc.

So glad the gloves came in handy. Must have had inspiration.

Glad all got home Before the Blizard[sic] of 1996 Came. We had wind some snow and COLD so ice was added. Power lines and trees were covered. Like ferry[sic] land to look at But awful to get around on. Sun shine made it sparkle.

Then we have rain ever other day. High winds some too.

Thankful no accidents in Family.

I have sniffles No other Bug at present.

Helped Paint Kitchen in a Trailor[sic] Friday and No heat in it. Sure hope don’t get sick. Will ask more questions before accept another Job. Girl is trying to get a place to live before Baby arrives. Trailor[sic] looked fair to good on outside But What a mess in side. May even Leak when rains. Not sure is livable. But she is trying. Husband is in Drug Re hab place. So No help.

I Helped lady quilt part of two days last week. I love that work. No one has brought me a quilt this year. Some have ask but not got it here.

Need to get Mufler[sic] on car one on it is to[sic] noisy. Always something. If one Rides.

Wind has been cool today.

Your Mom said Jed’s Job wasn’t what he thought it was. You probelly[sic] heard that.

Am sure you can make biscutes[sic] after a Few triles[sic].

Thanks again for gifts and your visit made Christmas more enjoyable to share it with you.

You have probley[sic] cought[sic] up with your work by now.

Still keep being very careful with your driving.

Pictures were nice Thanks.

Thanks for Readers Digest The second one came yesterday. So this gift will last a long time.

Your mom was working over time too. Test to watch students take When I called yesterday. Will be exra[sic] pay though. Your dad was home said all was moving along well.

Take Care of Your self.



Thursday, January 27, 2011

Photo of the Day: Snowy Streets

Street scene, New York; around 11:40 p.m., January 26, 2011
presented with these comments:
It sure is pretty when viewed from the relative warmth of the fire escape, and when appreciating, once again, that you a) don't have to shovel the sidewalks, and b) don't have to fight for parking anymore.

Everyone seems to be home, tucked up in bed, asleep, except for me. I just had to grab the camera. I ducked my head out the attic window (in my jammies), turned the flash off, and hoped for the best. I love the rosy glow of the street light against the snow. Look how it shadows the mysterious tracks by the tree trunk and the footprints of the couple that just walked by, hand-in-hand under a pair of umbrellas.

5:00 a.m. update - The only time that texts are welcome at this pre-dawn hour is when they tell you you can go back to bed because YOU FINALLY HAVE A SNOW DAY. I may have been jipped earlier this month, but karma does balance out occasionally.

And no, even though I brought home with me, and could virtually access the office mainframe, I am not working today on my salaried/insured office paperwork. NOT in any way, shape or form.

Snow days mean, crafting, movies, and baking.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Happy 6th Birthday Drew!

Happy 6th Birthday Drew!

I can't believe how big you are getting.

I love that you are becoming a little gentleman. Here you are at your cousin Nathan's May 2010 blessing.
But I also love that you are a little goofy about being photographed, just like your aunt. What a face. Tell us how you really feel.Even though we didn't get to spend a lot of time together in August 2010, it was fun playing with you at Grandmary's new house, pretending to be Iron Man and hide-and-seek. You may wonder why I'm including these photos ... well, you so rarely seem to slow down, I had to document you getting sleepy, and showing your downward-facing-dog pose. (Also, you have a cute little behind my dear!)I hope you had fun staying with me at Grandmary's house for the holidays. Look at you, all snuggled up in your Cars sleeping bag, reading all those books.I do forgive you for beating me at Uno. You are a great card player. One day, little man ... we will have to have a rematch.You are getting so comfortable with technology. It was super cute how you were talking to your dad on the phone on New Year's Eve. Keep calling me as often as you want. I love your phone calls and your many voice messages. Do you know, I have some of yours saved from almost three years ago?!Now that Grandmary and GrumpMax BOTH have laptops with Skype on them, maybe you can talk to me on the computer t.v. more often. Wouldn't that be fun?It was also really fun to go hiking with you in Snow Canyon on New Year's Day. What a great way to start out 2011.I really love how fearless and energetic you are, you little mountain goat, even if you make me feel really old and out of shape. Never lose that joy of exploration. There are so many adventures for you, around every bend.Finally, even though sometimes you can seem like an Irritator dinosaur to them,know that your parents love you, so very very much. You are their blessing and their joy.

Happy Birthday, my Drewbug,


Auntie Nettie

p.s. I love these little videos.

c. May 2010, playing around in the backseat, you thought I was taking photos.

c. August 2010, reading your Primary talk to Grandmary and GrumpaMax

Monday, January 24, 2011

Letters to Ollie J - Jan. 24, 1992

This is a bonus letter.

One that I was fortunate to find.

It had been tucked away in Grandma Ollie J's 1943 Webster's Dictionary, and been packed away with her things since they had been packed up and put away in one move or other. Those boxes have seen been moved from North Carolina, maybe to Utah and then back to North Carolina, then up Connecticut, and then shipped from Connecticut to Utah.

The dictionary, along with a random assortment of vintage textbooks, religious books, aka Mormonalia, and other unique finds, were in box that GrumpaMax had me pull out and assess during my winter break. I guess I am the most qualified in the family, and had to put my M.L.S. to use at some point, right? All those years working with old music scores certainly came in handy in assessing whether a book was in good condition, needs to be conserved, or might be worth something to family members, or could possibly one day find a good home.

Anyway, while the books aren't overly valuable in a monetary sense, they were a treasure chest of family information. Along with this letter, I found other things when handling these volumes, some more than a 100 years old. I saw marginalia and other notations from my great, great-great grandparents, or other relatives. I found schoolgirl notes from my mother, c. 1958; receipts for a month of newspaper deliveries signed by my Grandpa Jack, c. 1964; an unsigned 1961 postcard sent to my great-grandfather Charlie, which Grandmary thinks was probably sent by his brother; genealogy notes on Grandpa Jack's side of the family; and probably the weirdest thing, notations in the back of the Webster's dictionary about Grandmary's blood type, as well as Great-grandma Bertha's. (What was Grandma Ollie J tracking?!)

While this letter isn't a gem, the fact that it was found at all, and by me, is amazing. Talk about divine influence! It's been retrieved from where it was placed last by my grandmother, and is now part of the archivally preserved collection of Grandma letters that I will get to pass down to the next generation.

Regarding the letter: This would have been sophomore year of college.

I was busy indeed. I remember that I HATED English IV. I never skipped a class more than I did that one. Mostly because the adjunct professor was horrible; he was not an interactive teacher, and he didn't accept answers or analysis that deviated from what he wanted to hear. Once we began to notice this and figure out what he wanted, my classmates and I banded together. We were all skipping on and off. Somehow we all managed to cover enough classes that someone had notes, and we created study groups where we taught each other the materials. We learned more from teaching each other, and frankly, did a better job than the instructor did. We lambasted him on the reviews at semester end, and he was not rehired. Go us. (Kids, don't learn from me here. Go to class, but talk to the dept. head if you have a problem with the teacher.)

The music classes weren't bad. There were just a lot of them to balance out with the lit. and history classes.

The other notable thing, and I'm almost ashamed to mention it, is how much lying is mixed in with the truth here. Church? Reading my Book of Mormon? I might have made some token efforts, but these were really to appease grandma. She was a smart lady. She probably knew. (Again, kids, don't learn from me here. Grandmas are smarter than they appear. Don't be fooled by the sweet, little old lady looks and grandmotherly ways. They are on to you!)



Dear Grandma,

How are you? Sorry it has taken me so long to get in touch with you. The first two weeks of school have just wizzed by and I suddenly realized how late it was. I got my grades during break and was very pleasantly surprised. I thought that I was taking a risk by taking seven classes. Instead it seems that the risk was justified. I managed to get a cumulative average of 3.89 out of a possible 4.0. So I get to go to another of those lovely, yet highly boring Dean’s List Dinners with others who made a 3.6 or better. It’s an honor I know but those things last so long and I have a great deal of work to do this semester. When we had to sign up for this semester’s classes last fall, I decided that since I wasn’t doing too poorly, I’d take another class. So I have eight now, which are: English IV, poetry of the 19th century; American Lit. III, Hemingway, Steinback, etc.; China in the Modern World; the 2nd half of the other class that I was taking, History of Jazz; Listening to Music, a semi history/music appreciation class; Piano; Choir; [and] Keyboard Harmony. So I’m a busy girl. Plus I still have my job in the library, and I’m looking for an internship this summer.

I have been going to church a little bit more than I was, and I’m trying to catch up on my tithing, and I’m reading my Book of Mormon … So I’m not neglecting that aspect like I was.

So basically life is back to some degree of normalcy. Never a dull moment here. So how are things on your end? Is every one surviving? Tell them I said hi! I write again soon when something exciting happens. Til then,

I love you,
[Auntie Nettie]

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Recipes from Ollie J -- Applesauce Cookies

It was interesting to find this one in Grandma Ollie J’s recipe box. She must have gotten it on a trip to Logan, Utah to visit one of her sisters and/or Grandmary.

When I was a little girl, we lived in Utah in the house pictured here (shown as of Aug. 2010 and NOT how it looked when I was little).

I call the eight years in Utah, B.C. -- Before Connecticut. I actually don’t have too many memories of B.C. I’ve mentioned Audrey before, my best friend, but I do remember some other things, like names or landmarks. I occasionally have B.C. dreams where I’m literally flying up and down the Canyon (ala Peter Pan), but that’s a whole other set of blog posts.

In the B.C. year, Sister* Hobbs and her family lived down the street a block or two. I used to play with one of her middle daughters, Tammy. She, along with Audrey, Jerry Don, and few other
kids comprised my year group. Because this was Utah, we did everything together; we were in the same church and school classes. There are pictures of birthday parties where we are all together in a horde of cuteness and innocence. We used to run in and out of each others' houses, and were a mass unit. It’s conceivable that had we not moved from Utah, I would have grown up and had most of my life milestones with that same group of people. For better or worse, our paths diverged when my father got a job at UCONN and we moved East the summer of 1980.

Fast forward to late summer 2010.

Grandmary, GrumpaMax, and I paid a visit to the Hobbs’ during our River Trip stopover in Logan in August. While Tammy is married and lives with her family somewhere else in the state, Jeannette and her husband still live in the same house. Many of their children and grandchildren were in and out while we were there. Grandmary and Sis. Hobbs picked up the conversational thread as if it hadn’t been 30 years since we lived down the street. (I’m assuming the menfolk also started talking as if it hadn’t been three decades, but men are different, and they were off in another room comparing notes about other things.)

Just thinking about the passage of all that time is weird. I hadn’t seen this woman in 30 years, since I was younger than some of her grandchildren that were also visiting. I was a cute kid, but it must have been as weird for her to look at me as an adult, the fat and flustered-after-traveling/rafting me, as it was for me to be there.

You hang out with your family and/or parents long enough, and you revert to childhood patterns of
behavior. If you don’t travel with your offspring/partner/spouse, and it’s even easier for them to treat you like a child, not as a functioning adult -- and worse -- for you to let them. You know that phrase; children should be seen and not heard? You end up doing that when you are tagging along with your parents and visiting your “older” relatives – esp. if the aunties call you “Little Mary.” If you are visiting your parents’ old friends, and you are awkward in social settings anyway ... well, you get the picture. Maybe in another 30 years I’ll make a better impression.

*Honorific used by Mormons, when referring to females. Males are “brothers” or “elders” if missionaries, or in other leadership positions can be called President. Women are always "sisters;" that's just the way things are.

Anyway, here is a recipe that was preserved in time/space, thanks to my Grandma Ollie J.

Applesauce Cookies (Jeanette Hobbs)

1 cup shortening
2 cups sugar (wh
2 eggs
2 cups applesauce

1 cup nuts, chopped
1 ½ cups raisins (boiled for a minute and then ground)*
4 cups flour
2 teaspoon soda (baking)

1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

350 degrees for 15 minutes
*Skipped this step

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Photo of the Day: On Thin Ice

Snow Canyon, Utah; January 1, 2011
presented with this comment:
I was all set to take more pictures of this, hopefully better photos, which would show how this this tiny bit of ice was floating over the pebbles. It was nestled in the shadows, behind a bit of the black lava rock you can see in the foreground.

I was circling around, crouching down, looking pretty funny, when Drew came over to see what I was looking at.

In typical 5-year-old fashion, he smashed it to bits as soon as he saw it.

Lesson of the day?: Carpe photo when you can. I only got the one.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Shushing Librarian and the Wintertime Blues - Part 1

The Shushing Librarian here again. Happy 2011.

Glad to be here once again guest posting for Auntie Nettie while she's off doing something or other. I don't know what exactly. She was last seen slogging through the January slush/snow/ice/rain mix toward a train, when she was engulfed in a person-sized wave of goop from the splashing of a passing car, so who knows where she'll wash up.

As for me, can I level with you?I'm having a hard time with the snow too. The drifts are burying me.It's driving me crazy.It's really ringing my bell.I'm a basket-case.Some days I get home from the office, feeling like I've been wrung out and hung up to dry.I've tried self-medicating with all kinds of things.
The old stand-by of chocolate,
mashed potatoes, and ice cream seemed to help ... a little. I decided to seek out some advice on how to deal with the winter blues.

My colleague, The Roaming Gnome,
predictably told me to go on a tropical vacation. Hate to tell you R.G., my excursion to the Dole pineapple farm didn't help.

I just managed to remember how much I hate pineapple,
and then I picked up another bug on the plane trips.

I had to resort to more drugs.

While I was in a NyQuil induced fog, I had visions of a wise
Jedi Master who gave me some unexpected advice:

But maybe that was the alcohol in the NyQuil talking?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Grandma Ollie!

Ollie Jane Maples
was borned [sic] Jan 20 1915
Pikeville N.C. RD 3

Ollie Jane Maples
was Blessed on Feb 7 1915
by Elder H.B. Aycock
of Pikeville N.C. RD3
and Elder M.A. Sullivan
of Kenly N.C. RD

Ollie Jane with her parents, Charlie and Bertha
date unknown
Photos courtesy of Aunt Betty's archives. Notations from Great-grandpa Charlie's little notebooks.

Happy Birthday Grandma!
Miss you,
Auntie Nettie

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Letters from Ollie J - Jan. 19, 1994

This letter alludes to a move from off-campus college housing into the first of many apartments, during what was my spring semester senior year.

The fall semester of my senior year was probably more difficult than it needed to be, with me having what I have to suspect was a mini-emotional breakdown, resulting in a multi-month cessation of communication with my parents for a reason I can't even remember, probably brought on by stress, definitely a chemical irregularity, finals, GREs, and the realization that it was time to think about adult matters like financing, jobs, moves, etc. I don't know how my roommates put up with me. This was prior to intervention teams being a regular part of campus life, but looking back, I definitely would have been one of those kids. I was, to put it lightly, a HOT mess.

I was also in denial that I was a hot mess. I think I just, and I mean, like 2 weeks ago, JUST realized what that whole episode was, and that's how many years later? (please don't actually do the math.)

It's probably important to note at this juncture that the stubborn gene is inherited, as is pride. Asking for help? of any kind? HA.

I'm sure that I was the subject of many conversations and prayers.

How did any of you guys put up with me? How do any of you still put up with me?

Gram? The advice has finally sunk into my thick skull. Thanks for all the guidance, even now. Keep it up. You know I need it.

19 Jan 1994

[The Farm
Pikeville, NC]

Dear [Granddaughter],

I’ll join you in the deep freeze. We had 9 degrees this morning and want[sic] get above freezing the day and probilly[sic] 5 degrees tonight. Promise of up to normal for time of year tomorrow and for a few days. My heater is doing fine but been so Cold not quite enough. I just sit close and put on a extra coat – or swetter[sic].

Hope Christmas went well with you. It was Cold on Christmas Eve but warmer on Christmas day. So I drove to Henry’s and at dinner with them. Came back same day. California is surely having time. Fire and now Earthquake. All these things are frightening. End of times getting closer. Have things to improve on to be ready.

The visit with Jed and your Dad was good as always. And they try to do so many things for me.

Yes Main[sic] and West Virginia surely have had snow.

Bet you have had snow by now.

Hope you are settled and have good roommates.

Would have been nice to been with all of you Thanksgiving. I felt it wise to come home. Can’t seem to be in but one place at the time.

Just reread your last letter. So not sure where to send this letter. Will use old address. Hope you get it.

Hope some of your problems have eased off. Oh yes new ones take it place.

You have let me know you were needing a loan. Maybe could have helped.

Oh well am sure you are learning more about life and its problems.

Take Care.

God bless and help you I pray



Tuesday, January 18, 2011

YouTube Tuesday: Dam Flood 2010

Every time I prepare to visit my family over the winter break, there seems to see some kind of weather "event." Temperatures drop, and snow falls in Vegas. (Yeah. Snow. In Vegas.)

Or, in this case, it rains. I can hear you saying, so what? It rains. Let me remind you, this is the southwest. It is a desert. A day of rain is a big deal. A week or more of torrential downpours? That's a problem.

In 2005, the area in and around the Virgin River in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada experienced major flooding. They called it the 100-year flood. Who would have thought that just five years later there would be more flooding?

Before my parents bought their most recent house in Utah, they purchased a vacation home in the Beaver Dam/Littlefield, Arizona area, where the most exciting thing was a place called "The Dam Bar."

Finally, a place where I could swear with impunity. Everything was "dam."

My parent's home was affectionately called "The Dam House." It was part of a cute little retirement community nestled next to a golf course and near (note the words NEAR) the banks of the Virgin River.

Given that Grandmary and GrumpaMax have a new house, The Dam House was on the market.

Until late December, it didn't have a river/water view.

The video below shows the house at the end of their street, as it takes off for parts unknown -- or as one person says on the video, Lake Mead.

Sadly, this house had been built by hand, by the owner, who had yet to move into it. He lost the house. The garage made it, for a little bit. But he lost that too.

The floods were right before Christmas. Because this was a flood plane, many people may or may not have had flood insurance. Many people weren't there because it was a retirement community and people were off visiting family. There wasn't a flood surge, just a steady rise of water that undercut ground, and washed away ancient cottonwoods, banks, and houses. Fortunately, no one lost their lives, but it was a hard Christmas. Recovery will be hampered by FEMA, insurance, government entities, and inevitable lawsuits.

This is a photo from the next day or so, looking down the street. You can see the garage still standing. The house next to it was marked "uninhabitable" because the back end of is hanging out over the undercut bank. The houses next to that were fine. Another day of rains, and all of those houses would have been uninhabitable too, include our Dam House.

These are a few days later. The garage has been razed. The houses that used to be on the streets behind it are gone. Heck. The STREETS are gone.
Here's the reverse view from another angle in the park. You can see the bulldozer near where the garage was. The houses in the foreground imploded inward, for lack of better words, when the ground underneath them washed away. They didn't float downstream. They sank where they were.
Obviously the road is closed. THERE IS NO ROAD.
So, anyone looking for a nice retirement house in Arizona with partial water views? I know of something on the market.