Monday, February 28, 2011

Letters from Roa S - Feb. 2004

On the back of this card is written: The Last Birthday Card I got from Grandma.

Grandma was in the last few months of her life by this point, and Grumpa Max had been out West staying with her at home. It is most likely through his efforts that this is one of the only birthday cards I have with Grandma and all three of her kids' handwriting on it. It seems appropriate to bring the birthday month reminiscences to a close with these wishes.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Auntie Nettie's Attic Merchandise 2011 - February

February wasn't such a productive month in terms of crafting for Auntie Nettie. Coding, combing through databases, compiling information, and concentrating on work either on the office or the studio computer were more of the priority this month, sadly.

I did occasionally look away from the tiny tiny series of numbers and flex another part of my brain, and remembered why the yarnarts like knitting and crochet are prescribed by therapists for their relaxing qualities. I can't wait until I drop hundreds (please, just 100s, not 1,000s) of letters in the mail and finish this big work project, so I can get back to things that don't stress me out so much.

Here's the February wrap-up, such as it is:

ANA 2011-07: Minty Green Chevron Lace Blanket
in a badly lit close-up:
ANA 2011-08: Lots of hearts for Valentine's Day "Secret Cupid" and other future projects
(not all of the hearts are pictured here)
ANA 2011-09: Violet Chevron Lace Blanket
(as of June 2011, no longer available)
in closeupStill in progress:
2010: Stuffed Animal/Multi-fiber chevron blanket
2011: Secret project

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

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Letters from Roa S - Feb. 2002

February 2002

[Ogden, Utah]

Bday Card Note:

This wont help much but Maby[sic] a cheap book. Don’t worry about the year. [writes someone who had seen 30, 40, 50, 60, and then 70 and 80 come and go.]

Lots of Love


Friday, February 25, 2011

Feb. Funks: I get by with little help from my friends

To quote some very wise Beatles, I get by with a little help from my friends -- who I "heart" very much.Just when I thought I was going to make it through my least favorite month without succumbing to the usual funk, it was truly bubbling over the last week or so. Even brief day of 66 degrees, the sun being out longer at night, Vitamin D and C supplements, gym attendance, and trying to ignore other triggers wasn't helping. Even knowing that I had scheduled a "mental health" day wasn't enough to boost me through. (I'm actually scared of what next year will be like ... 11 months in advance) ...

HOWEVER, last minute rescues a.k.a. dinner and transportation by the camera shy Cynthia, and a large care package and a Fairway Cafe lunch from Jane yesterday,
seem to have given me the lift to push me through until I could get some "game time" in with the girls. (seen here on the last "retreat" in October 2010.)Just a few more days until February is finally over and I can truly flash the VICTORY sign.

Thanks dear friends. Really. You just can't know ...

Letters from Roa S - Feb. 2001

If memory serves me right, this card had a cartoon of a kitty on it, more suitable for a 4-8 year old. But unlike some other people I know this year, at least she sent me a card!

February 2001

[Ogden, Utah]

Birthday Card Note:

I know you are older than this, but I needed a card.

Lots of Love


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Letters from Roa S - Feb. 2000

February 2000

[Ogden, Utah]

Bday Card Note:

My [illegible – probably narcisses] are going like mad & gave the lilys to Cora to put in her garden.

The others I’ll give to Cindy or Jerry.

I think it will be nice when J gets home. Not long now

Hope you have a good birthday


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Letters from Ollie J - Feb. 2000

February 2000

[The Trailer
Pikeville, NC]

Birthday Card Note:


Thanks so much for coming with your Mom and all the things you did.

I can do more For myself Now. Do tire easely[sic].

Oh we had snow enough the road were a mess. No School or Church.

Yesterday was a spring like day.

Aunt Shirley and uncle Preston was with me most a week. Good Visit.

Am sorting through my cloth and sewing up a quilt so as to clean out and use and throw some away. Makes more Room for other things. The Birds loved the Feader[sic] ring.

Take Care and Do have a good Birthday.

I love you very much so did your grand Pa

God Bless you



Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Letters from Ollie J - Feb. mid-1990s

February 1990s

The Farm?
Pikeville, NC

Birthday Card note:

Dear Granddaughter,

This will probably be late. Any way the wish is true.

Glad you enjoyed your Christmas visit with me. It was thoughtful.

I’m well and doing fine – quilted a quilt last week. Nothing fancy.

Did have time to cut out pattern for other quilts while snow and ice was here. Pretty but didn’t get out much. Fed birds. They slept under shelders[sic] trying to get out of Cold one died on a bench under shelder[sic] Dove.

Your mom sent pictures of snow up there. Knee deep or more. But nice.

We had a beautiful sunny Sunday for a change. Also had Stake Conference. I drove myself to church. Snow and ice all gone. Wind is up. May be cooler tomorrow. I have been reading this afternoon. Drag out your Book of Mormon and READ Alma Chapter 5. That’s what the theam[sic] of the Conference was. Big Crowd.

Oh am reading the new Readers Digest. Thanks a lot. You were very generous.

Expect will help the Ladies Group quilt some this week. Was to[sic] to get out last week. No school for a Couple days.

I had heat, lights and food so no problem there. Were long days. One day no mail Delivery. Don’t have road aquipment[sic] like you folks do to clear the roads.

Take Care

Love you


Monday, February 21, 2011

Photo of the Day: Kiboshed Kayak

Southern Utah; January 3, 2011
presented with this comment:
Another vacation and national holiday, and guess what I don't get to do?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Recipes from Grandmary -- Fudge Frosting

Cakes usually come with frosting. Especially my traditional birthday cake, which I remembered more for the frosting than for the cake. It was the one time of year I was actually allowed to eat fudge without too much guilt.

I was even more anxious to make this frosting than the cake. For the cake I only called Grandmary in Utah once. The frosting merited two phone calls. (Next cellphone I'm getting will have video conferencing abilities, to make these types of calls easier. Take a note Grandmary. Cellphone cameras/video-calling for recipe testing from New York/Utah! Also, a.v. guys -- how's that smell-o-vision coming along?)

As for this frosting experiment, I'm not too old or proud to admit that I burst into happy tears when I tasted the final results. Just as I remembered. All of my various childhood memories and associations bubbled up and over. Needless to say, I'm not waiting another 18 years to taste this. Who needs a cake? I'll eat it off the beaters like I used to as a kid.


2 cups white sugar
¼ cup white corn syrup
½ cup milk
½ cup shortening

1 ½ square unsweetened chocolate (cut-up)
¼ teaspoon salt

Boil 1 min.
Whip until good to spread.

Combine all in pot.
Bring to a rolling boil, and boil for 1
minute. Stirring constantly.
Remove from heat.
Whip until gets thicker and starts to come away from side of pan – at least 5 minutes with a mixer, MUCH longer if by hand. (Whipping will cool the mixture – if it cools too much it’s hard to spread). Pour on cake and spread quickly.
Or, even better, eat with a spoonful when cool.

Half Batch:

1 cup white sugar
1/8 cup white corn syrup
¼ cup milk
¼ cup shortening
¾ squares unsweetened chocolate (cut up)
1/8 teaspoon salt

Same direction as above.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Letters from Roa S - Feb. 1998/9?

February ?

Birthday Card Note:

I’m going to try & get to St. George while your folks are there. I’ll ride down with Clint in the car carryer[sic] & stay at a motel so I don’t be in the way at Jed's they will have a housefull[sic] & I’m sure they will have places to go & people they want to see. Maby[sic] we will get to see where Jed works. Maby[sic] you will get to come some other time.

They said it was 70 in St. George yesterday – of course it was 40 here for a change & it is sunny.

Jerry is doing dolls again she has been doing things to hang.

Cora has been going to Salt Lake twice a week for shots for a asmah[sic] clinic out of Boston its for people who are alargic[sic] to cats they have 2 of them so she is having problems they told me to keep the cats.

Cindy is OK DJ is a tipical[sic] boy full of it. Jackie is having a hard time she has asmha[sic] to[sic] She has a hard time breathing so she doesn’t get to go to school to[sic] much.



Friday, February 18, 2011

Letters from Ollie J - Feb. 1998

[Birthday] 1998

The Farm
Pikeville, NC

Birthday Card Note:

I remember you and your dad Coming to help me clean up some afte[sic] the storm FRAN. Thanks again.

We were dry then. Now we are soaked Rain & Rain.

Cloudy today. Hope the sun can come out.

I am fine and trying to quilt some for a lady.

Not put together good so not easy to quilt.

Do have fun on your trip and Visit West.

Take Care.



Thursday, February 17, 2011

Letters from Roa S - Feb. 1997

[Ogden, UT]

Bday Card Note:

I hope you have a good birthday. I’m glad you are going to try for your Masters. I had a card from Jed & Kelli they said they were going to try & buy a house. It will be good to see JJ if he gets here. Why don’t you drive over with him? It’s going to be a long way along & who knows what the weather will be.

Also enclosed:
Photo from her front door across the street to Aunt Jerry’s
“This is our first snow this year we have had a lot more. The weather is good today."

Photo of Cindy, DJ and Jackie at a birthday party

Photo of Uncle Jack, Cindy, DJ and Jackie

Photo from August 1996: Dad/Max’s 50th b-day/Jed and Kelli’s rehearsal Dinner,
Photo is of Aunt Cora razzing older brother
“I don’t know if you got a picture of your Dad’s Birthday. I’m not sure some of your relatives were impressed but it was sort of fun.”

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Amber!

Happy 5th Birthday my Amberkins!

This whole year has passed in quite a blur, hasn't it?
You have gotten so big, so fast.
It seems like just yesterday you were this little person.
Now you are this grown up elder sister, taking care of Elle, and leading the way,teaching her how to be a big sister to Nathan.Not only do your parents love you, but I know that GrumpaMax,
Uncle Max,and Grandmary love you very much.As you continue to explore the world, remember to point out what fascinates you,dance to the beat of your own drummer, explore your own fashion sense,eat well-rounded meals,and occasionally curl up to take a well-earned rest.I'm so glad we got to go painting over Christmas break.
You are quite an artist, my darling girl.I'm so grateful to be part ofHappy Birthday,
xo Auntie Nettie

P.S. Your presents are in the mail. I promise!

[Three photos (2-4) courtesy of her parental units.]

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

YouTube Tuesday: Criminally Excellent Cello Duet

Via the Huffington Post on Jan. 25, 2011:

"Stjepan Hauser and Luka Sulic- two very talented musicians- have turned a pop classic into an epic and beautiful classical duet with a hard core twist. The harmonies between the cellos are passionate and lively; Hauser and Sulic have created a conversation with their instruments, doing more than justice to Michael Jackson's 'Smooth Criminal.'"

Monday, February 14, 2011

Letters from Ollie J - Feb. 1993

February 1993

Birthday Card note:

Dear [Granddaughter],

Not sure you’ll get this on your birthday. But so what?

I have a quilt in and as I worked on it I listended[sic] to tapes one was you in first grade and Jed and Mama were chatting away and singing primary songs. Oh it is a presure[sic] to have this.

Thanks for the nice letter & card a while Back.

I feal[sic] fine. So good to feal[sic] fine again.

Uncle Hyrum has found his Blood Sugar is high.

We went down to see U. Henry Sunday after church came back Monday evening. They are doing well. He can walk much better using walker.

We got a garden planted or part of it. Grand[sic] is cold yet.

Be extra careful so as not to slip on the ice.

Take care of your self Take No chances. Who knows who is lurking in the shadow to do you harm.

Oh I found this picture, If you like it you may keep it. Your mom was one year old. I think.

Don’t take any wooden Nickles from any one a old saying.

1 fore[sic] each year – so 21 it is
Happy birthday



Sunday, February 13, 2011

Recipes from Grandmary -- Auntie Nettie's B-day Cake

You know how every family member has that one treat that is theirs and theirs alone, and it only comes out on big occasions? (I've recently mentioned Grandma Roa's Red Velvet Cake, and Grandma Ollie's holiday fruit cake is a superb antidote to the stereotype.)

Well. This is the cake that is traditionally associated with my birthday. Three layers of chocolate cake smothered in the most delectable fudge frosting you ever did taste. The cake was only made for my birthday. Not the younger brothers' birthdays ... MINE. It is prominently featured in many a childhood birthday picture, staying timeless no matter the hairstyle, housing decor, or adolescent morphing.

It is the centerpiece of family lore, i.e remember the time Mom ruined the frosting by using salt instead of sugar? (Yes, it was that puckeringly bad!) Remember how the first year after the move saw a slightly deformed cake because of the altitude adjustments. It even made an appearance during my freshman year of college, much to the delight of my roommates -- garnering younger brother J a kiss by the mysterious and beautiful Belen of South America. Sadly, I think the last time Grandmary made it for me was my 21st birthday, and that was a very long time ago. [And! Hello! Now that I think about it, I only got a hunk of it because by the time she came down to visit, the other occupants of her house had eaten into the cake (Um, thanks DAD!)]

I've been saving this one to try. It has been a lifetime since I've had my birthday cake. Frankly, I was afraid to try it. Would it live up to the nostalgia? Could I replicate the taste? How would the recipe work in one 13x9 sheet cake versus 3 8" rounds? Would it be everything I remembered? Would it be gluttonous to eat the whole thing myself?

Despite this being my birthday cake, it actually still is a Grandma recipe. I got it from Grandmary, and then I found it in Aunt Ruby's box last summer (that's her card below, mine is above). So, that's three generations, at the very least, that have made this cake.

Walter Baker’s Prize Chocolate Cake

3 cups sifted flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon salt

¾ cup boiling water

2 squares unsweetened chocolate

¾ cup shortening

2 cups white sugar

3 eggs (well beaten)

1 cup sour milk*

1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift flour once, measure, add soda, salt and sift 3 times. Set aside.

Add boiling water to chocolate. Stir until well-melted. Set aside.

Cream shortening. Add sugar gradually, and cream together until light and fluffy.

Add eggs and beat well. Add cocoa mix and blend.

Add flour alternatively with milk in small amounts, beating after each addition until smooth.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes in three 8” cake pans.

*Use 1 teaspoon vinegar to the milk to make sour milk.

I used a 13x9 pan, and ended up baking this closer to 50 minutes, until the center domed up. Sadly, after cooling, the dome collapsed. I let this sit for about four days, sealed in a lid, until I got around to frosting it. What the lid managed to do was keep in the moistness of the cake, and then the frosting helped. The frosting recipe -- actually my favorite part -- will be up next week.

I took it to work to share, without telling people the personal significance of the cake. They are so used to me baking by now, no one asks why I bring things anymore. It was gone in about 2 hours of me alerting various departments to come and share. I did manage to snag 2 pieces before it was gone. Next time, I'll be more greedy.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Letters from Ollie J - Feb. 1980s

Here we have two notes that came with my birthday cards during the 1980s. I'm guessing about the dates, based on content, address, types of birthday cards, postage, etc.

February 1980s?

The Farm
Pikeville, NC

Birthday Card note:

I sit here thinking of the day you were born and waiting for a phone call to say were here safe and sound. Oh happy we were and our love has grown as you have grown.

Take Care

Lots of Love and best wishes


Sometime later in the 1980s ...

February 1980s

The Farm
Pikeville, NC

Birthday Card note:

Dear one,

It is Cold and damp here today, No Snow.

Am trying to Finish a quilt but feal[six] sleepy so think I will go to bed a while. Did get up early so what.

Have had a cold a while it is better. Sure can keep it that way.

Take Care and Gold Bless you in all your righteous desires.



Friday, February 11, 2011

Letters from Ollie J - Feb. 11, 1986

In 1986 I was saving up to go on an Easter Break trip to the U.S.S.R.. I didn't go on many trips, but when opportunities like this one came up my parents worked with me to make sure I could go. I had multiple jobs. Birthday checks went into the trip fund. We all sacrificed.

The timing was good. In a few years, the Iron Curtain would come down and the U.S.S.R. would once again be Russia. I still have lots of Soviet era rubles, some pictures of Red Square, and have had a passport since my mid-teens. Grandma may not have traveled abroad but she made sure that her grandchildren had the chance to explore. The three of us have had some international adventures: Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, the U.S.S.R., Sweden, Denmark, Mexico, Honduras .. and bucket lists that are a mile long. (And J, before you chime in, I'm counting time spent in international airports even if we didn't leave the terminals!)

11 Feb. 1986

Temple Mission
Kensington, MD

Dear Granddaughter:

Hope you have a very lovely Birthday. Be nice to be with you. Guess that won’t be at least this time.

Every thing is white here. Snowed yesterday a while. Last night while I slept it snowed and was snowing when I got up and up to 11 AM. So it's pretty. The soft pretty kind. Haven’t been out but will go later and sweep it of[sic] the Car. Some one said we are supose[sic] to have more snow tonight. We’ll see.

Had the icey kind last week and cold weather the locks on the Car froze. Was some warmer when I had to go in to work. I did get door to Car open and No more problem.

I am fealing[sic] much better these days. A Cold sure can make on feal[sic] awful.

Well need to go home in early March to get N.C. Inspection sticker on Car.

Hope all are well and doing fine.

Be Happy and kind to your Brothers and Parents.

Love you lots,


PS. Have a very nice trip and then write and tell me about it sometime

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Letters from Ollie J - Feb. 10, 1992

Sometimes Grandma would get a little confused as to which of her family I had actually met, and who I hadn't. I didn't get to see Uncle Henry as often as Uncle Hyrum, but I had been down to the Carolina shore to see him and Aunt Virginia.

[And this may or may not have been my birthday or around my birthday. February is usually such a short and crappy month, I have adopted the WHOLE thing as my birthday. Thus all the notes this month.

But ... I must also say, that I am perverse about the whole birthday thing.
I want, er ... WOULD LIKE the presents. I want, er ... WOULD LIKE cards. I appreciate the calls. I want, er ... need the love and affection.

I just don't want a hoopla, a surprise party, any hint of a spectacle at which I must be present/the focus of attention/the hostess/sociable, etc. which extends to letting anyone but close friends/family know about the actual day, in order to preclude aforementioned celebrations and/or my colleagues making a fuss.

Got that?
Love/presents -- yes

Fuss/parties -- HELL TO THE NO!


(or strippers! -- but that's another post.)]

This is probably one of the only cases where we have a letter from grandma that references a letter that I sent her (see Jan. 24, 2011 post with Jan. 24, 1992 recovered letter.)

10 Feb 1992

[The Farm
Pikeville, NC]

Dear GrandDaughter,

Happy 20th Birthday. And may you have many more. Hope this one is special. Hope you are well and Happy.

I am doing fairly well. Doctor said my eyes are weaker. Hope can do something to help them from going so fast. Oh I can see big letters the small ones are weak.

The red flower your mom gave me for Christmas is Blooming has four blooms on one stalk.

So simple to take Care of your Mom Could have done that but she said she’d only kill it. I move it to front window in morning and to back Kitchen window after dinner so will be in sun. And water it twice a week.

Uncle Hyrum is doing fine. Uncle Henry (who you probily[sic] never seen) is doing well after a hip replacement. The operation was last Tuesday. Yes I was down there with him and his family so was Uncle Hyrum.

I have been quilting and my fingers are sore. I quilted one for myself and helped a friend do one.

To day I’m slow getting started.

Had a good Stake Conference yesterday.

Take Care of yourself.

Thanks lots for the Birthday Card.

Those grades were good. Keep it up. Don’t Over Load Yourself.

Love you


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Letters from Ollie J - Feb. 9, 1983, '91 & '94

This is a very rare instance of actually having three letters fall on one date. The last two are only three years a part, but you can begin to sense how much is occurring in a relatively short time frame.

1983: The Middle School years. Not much in the way of excitement. I was about to graduate from Primary in a year or so, so the Church magazine that Grandma got me to share was either the Friend or the New Era.

9 Feb 1983

[Temple Mission
Kensington, MD]

Dear [Granddaughter],

We had snow Sunday but not enough that we couldn’t get to Church. It’s cold outside and snow here still.

I sewed up a quilt top yesterday for the Relief Society. Had big blocks and the work went fast. Now to get it quilted. Think I’ll have some help for that.

Hope you are working very carefully and your music is coming along good. Practice and practice is important.

The Church magazine you should have received is to be shared. Do hope you enjoy it as much as you mom did “Jack and Jill” which she got as a girl – about like you.

Do hope you have a very very nice birthday.

Enjoy life – find pleasure in your work (church, home or school). Will make you a happer[sic] cheerful girl.

I enjoy my work here very very much. Sometime the job is new and I wonder if I can learn it. Well guess what? I do learn it and like it too.

Be good, loving, and God bless you.



1991: The College Years
I suspect that the chiding you read here is because I was working on the switchboard on Sunday mornings as part of my work-study financial aid package and NOT going to Church.

Historical context kids, before EVERYONE had mobile telecommunication devices, calls came into one main number via land-line. In a dormitory setting, that meant that the switchboard operator would buzz the appropriate dorm room to send the inhabitants scurrying down to the hall wall-phone to call the desk and the incoming call would be transferred upstairs to the person. You would take your call out in the middle of the dorm hallway. Not so much privacy, but somehow generations of people made it work. In the really "olden times," the operator could actually ease drop on those conversations ... but not when I was the operator. Also, I may or may not have abused my "buzzing" privileges to roost people out of bed after a night of their partying. If I liked you, or you bribed me, I may or may not have had fun with the buzzer.

9 Feb 1991

[The Farm
Pikeville, NC]

Dear Granddaughter,

I was slow so this want[sic] go off today. May even be late reaching you. But I did remember and get it ready. Haven’t decided to run out to Kenly and put it in post office. I feal[sic] sort of slugush[sic]. Just not the up and go should have. Did repair of couple of jeans[sic] – skirt and coveralls for Earl A--. He brought them over one day or so ago. Oh what a pretty warm day outside. But I stayed in.

We’ll go out about Five O’clock as we have a session of our Stake Conference[sic]. This evening. And I do plan to go.

… how about trying this plan. Go to Church and see how that works out. Hope you’d feal[sic] better Spiritually. Yes does make a difference no one to sort of push you go get up and go. I’d feal[sic] better to know you are in Church services on Sunday. Money don’t mean every thing.

Follow the example you have been taught all your life.

See if the Lord want[sic] bless you in many ways.

Should you need some extra for gas – Let me know.

Well I should sweep the house and soon get ready for church.

Love you lots.

May you have a good birthday. God bless you and help you in all your decisions[sic] I pray.


1994: The transition off-campus/transition college/work semester
The winters of 1994-95 and 1995-96 were the worst on record ... up until this year.
The winter of 1994 my poor car was parked on one-way streets and completely and totally buried, byt the snow plows driving by on the street, and then the snow blowers working on the sidewalks. I didn't find it for a week. Luckily everything else was impacted with due to the snow, so I didn't miss too much work or school. I perfected my technique for un-digging the car that winter, as well as how to "rock" the car in and out of spots without spinning my wheels too much. I watch and listen to people now, and just shake my head. I don't volunteer to help them, however. No thank you. The one blessing from the car accident/lawsuit/no-car situation is that I don't have to deal with my vehicle this winter, the unshoveling, the alternate side street parking, and the altercations that are arising from people fighting over cleared spots.

My roommates were nice -- but that dog, wasn't a dog so much as a pair of ferrets. NASTY creatures. I don't care what people say.

Grandma tried to keep up with technology - what with picture taking classes and later trying the computer, but it wasn't really her thing. As previously mentioned, she did get around to making her funeral arrangements, so those church preparation/enrichment classes did come in handy.

9 Feb 1994

[The Farm
Pikeville, NC]

Dear [Granddaughter],

So good to hear from you. Gosh how nice to know you are settled in a apartment and studies.

Hope you don’t have to[sic] much trouble getting to campus. Weather report don’t sound good up your way.

Warm for time of year here this morning put promised temperature would drop to night and tomorrow. With wind and rain. Will see.

Apartment sounds nice. Tell me some about your roommates Nice I hope and all will be happy. I could get along fine with out the Dog.

I have been helping some ladies quilt and I’m cleaning out some boxes. Make quilt tops. I enjoy staying on the move doing something.

Your studies sound good. Pleased you are finding some time to relax.

Learned Aunt Dorothy is moving into a condo. No yard work. Same town. She is excited.

Went to RS last night. Had a picturing[sic] taking class (how to). I went in and got class on Preprations[sic] or preparing your or mine Funeral. Nothing I didn’t know. Not sure if I’ll arrange mine. Will see.

Carol is in College with her 1st Daughter Emily. All’s well or seems to be.

Take Care and God bless you.



Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Letters from Ollie J - Feb. 8, 1985

I have so many little notes from years worth of birthday cards, I'm going to post them throughout the month. Hopefully it will make February go faster.

Don't put the clues together about the actual day and my actual age if you can possibly help it. Age is just a number. And a state of mind.

February 8, 1985

Temple Mission
Kensington, MD

Birthday Card note:

My[sic] you have a very nice birthday. And may you continue to grow to be a good helper of our Heavenly Father.

Love your family

Study hard and learn many things you will use as you grow older.

My[sic] God bless and guide you with his love.

Take care of your self.



YouTube Tuesday: a-ha Butterfly, Butterfly

Sadly, the ability to embed this video has been disabled.

To view it, please click

If it doesn't work, please go here:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Photos of the Day: "Give Me Your..."

New York Botanical Gardens, Holiday Train Show, December 2010
presented with this paraphrase*:

"Give me your tired, your cold,
Your frozen masses yearning to be warm,
The wretched survivors of snows ten-fold
Send these, the frostbitten ones, much care-worn.
The Gardens have spring inside, and many may we hold."

I'm done winter. I need spring.
Think I need to head to the Gardens STAT!

*With apologies to Emma Lazarus, and her sonnet:

New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Letters from Roa S - Feb. 6, 1992

You know, when BOTH of your grandmothers start telling you not to work so hard and not to "burn your self out," you would think I would listen!

During a certain point in college I had a fascination with calligraphy pens, and used the various inks to illustrate letters, draw on envelopes, and to procrastinate when I should have been working or studying. That's what Grandma is referring to here.

Even though Grandma "just hate[d] to try & write so you have to understand," it's wonderful to look back through the binders I have of her letters and appreciate how many I actually do have, and have saved. More than the birthday check that probably came with this correspondence, these are the actual presents that withstand the test of time.

Feb 6 1992

Ogden, Utah

Dear [Granddaughter],

I’m real proud of you doing so good in school. Keep it up but don’t burn your self out. You have a while yet to go. Try to have a little fun out of it to[sic]. I’m sure it comes to you quiet[sic] easy because you read so much. Are you taking a writing class? The envalope[sic] looks real neat.

I haven’t been working but 1 day a week for the last 3 weeks. But I guess that is OK every little bit helps.

Cora has had the flu but she went to work today. We have had so much junk in the air you could get any thing. Cora says its from dirty money maybe so.

Everyone else is OK just the everyday things. Kids fall down & mothers take care of them. Aren’t you glad you don’t have to worry about that sort of thing. I sure am.

… you know I just hate to try & write so you have to understand I don’t make much since[sic] & I don’t think I’ll try much more.

I’m going to send this with your Card. Dad said to send it to their address so I will. I hope you have a good birthday. The older you kids get the older I do to[sic] but I guess that’s the way things are & it won’t change.

Lots of Love


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Recipes from Grandmary/Roa -- Red Velvet (Cup)Cake

Since is is so close to Valentine's Day, I thought I would try out some Red Velvet cupcakes to show my love, once again, for the I.T. boys.

This is also a two-pronged Grandma recipe: Grandma Roa loved Red Velvet Cake. I remember that Grandmary/Mom always seemed to make one for Roa's birthday, back when we still lived in Utah.

Here's the recipe from Grandmary's box:

1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 tblspn cocoa
2 oz. red food coloring
1 tspn salt
1 tspn vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 shifted flour
1 tsp vinegar

Cream shortening, sugar, eggs. Made this paste of cocoa and food coloring. Add to cream mixture. Mix salt and vanilla in buttermilk. Add flour to cream mixture. Mix soda in vinegar. Alternate with flour. Fold in soda and vinegar to mixture.

38 inch cake pans. [three 8 inch pans]
30 minutes at 350 degrees.

After working my way through recipes for a year, I could tell just by looking at this that there are some things seriously mixed up in the directions. Plus, I think it should read three 8 inch pans, because it was always a layer cake. We lived at a much higher elevation in Utah -- and this recipe does not note that on the card.

So, I consulted some other cookbooks and internet sites to double check things. I also don't own circular cake pans, so from the outset these were destined to be cupcakes.

The closest recipe to the one above is the Joy of Baking Red Velvet Cake (found here).
Here's my/their edits to the above:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cocoa
2 1/2 shifted flour
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

In separate bowl, shift together salt, flour, and cocoa until well mixed. Set aside.
Cream butter until soft. Add in sugar, beat until well mixed. Add in eggs, beat well, and then add vanilla.

Mix buttermilk and food coloring.

Alternately add milk/food coloring and flour to sugar mixture, until well combined.

In separate bowl, add soda and vinegar and allow to fizz. Then beat into cake batter.

350 degrees for about 20-23 minutes.
About 2 dozen cupcakes.

After well cooled, frost with white buttercream or cream cheese frosting.

Another note: I used some of the ancient food coloring that I got from Grandmary's move - and I mean ancient. Glass jars, vintage labels, companies that don't exist anymore, the food coloring in the jars had evaporated into bricks at the bottle of the glass, kind of ancient. I added water to the jars and let them sit for a bit. Aside from getting food coloring everywhere, this method of salvaging the dye didn't seem to harm the batter (or me) any.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Letters from Ollie J - Feb. 4, 1984

Apparently the trend towards accidents runs in the family, skipping a generation or two along the way. I hope that means that Amber and Elle drive like Grandmary and not like their Auntie Nettie.

4 Feb 1984

[The Farm
Pikeville, NC]

Dear [Auntie Nettie],

Here goes your long awaited letter. I did appreciate the one you sent me. Thanks so much-

Grandma hasn’t been her self in a few months. Just felt bad (cold) then the accident – So please forgive me for not writting[sic].

I am here at home all alone now. All are gone to town or to Carl’s house. Don’t think they will do much there as it is raining.

My ribs are too sore for me to do much so don’t go down there – only to look.

Uncle Hyrum lets me keep his car but haven’t used it must. Just plain haven’t felt like it.

Hope you are fealing[sic] good. Cheerfull[sic] and Happy. Smile and the world smiles with you.

Grandma loves you

Thanks for the gifts you made and sent me

Went by and looked at my car yesterday. Yes it is in the shop. Took broken pieces off and wating for new parts to come. Looks bad but hope it will soon be OK again.

Tell boys I love them too.

By[sic] for now

Grandma [Ollie]

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Letters from Roa S - Feb. 2, 1993

This is actually a really chatty letter from Grandma Roa. So much news about my aunts and cousins. Aunt Jerry pulled through and hasn't had a recurrence, as far as I know. Aunt Cora is also around and kicking, though has had back issues. I think all of the cousins got their GEDs, eventually.

Feb 2 1993

[Ogden, Utah]

Dear [Granddaughter],

The rison[sic] I’m doing this so early is I’m going on a little trip next week & wont be back until the 12th so I have to send this before I go. I’m going on a bus trip with my Sister in Law & senior citizens to Death Valley & back down through Las Vages[sic] back home in 5 days. I didn’t think I should go I had a little pressure so I’m going. They had a storm down that way last week end In fact they are still digging out. We only had a little this time we still have it pilled[sic] up. We have had more snow this year than we have for a long time & its cold on top of it.

Jerry is doing pretty good she is still having Kemo[sic] once a week & will until May. Then she has to have 5 weeks of Radition[sic] every day. She is losing some of her hair but she says she can handle that.

Cora got over her galblader[sic] operation pretty good She had to have a tooth pulled last week & she is going for a mammogram[sic] Friday Jerry has been after her every since she had to have her operation. I sure hope she doesn’t have anything else.

Clint has gone back to school trying to get his G.E.D. Ray never did anything about school. Cindy has to take the GED Test. She doesn’t seem to be able to settle down. She has moved so I don’t see the kids very much I miss them but I’m sure I’ll be OK after awhile & they will be to[sic]. I talked to your mom & she said you are doing good & like you job but you wouldn’t be home for your birthday so I’ll send it to school.

Have a good birthday



Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Letters from Ollie J - Feb. 1, 1991

The night before I took my first college exams, the U.S. decided to start bombing -- what would become known as the first Gulf War aka Desert Storm. Needless to say, not much studying took place that night as we were all running around trying to get information. Remember, there was no Internet/Twitter/cell phones - so the lines for the land-line payphones were long and speculation ran rampant. Only a few people had tvs in their rooms, and even fewer had tvs with access to new fangled shows like CNN, so we were crammed into spaces glued to the tube, or running around the halls.

On top of that, a winter storm passed over Westchester, not with winter snows, but with freaky blue lightening and loud, scarey thunderstorms. (And I love thunderstorms, but these were creepy). Watching bombs fly on the tvs, illuminated via the eerie green light of nightscopes, along with a blue lightening crashing outside, will make anyone a little disconcerted. As college freshmen we were also young enough to start worrying about a draft
... and/or the end of the world.

20 years later. More unrest in the Middle East. How much, and yet how little, things have changed.

1 Feb 1991

The Farm
Pikeville, NC

Dear [Granddaughter],

Thanks so much for Birthday Card and a Note leting[sic] me know what you think and are doing.

You are right things have a eary[sic] fealing[sic]. War isn’t Pretty anytime. Then there is so much talk and show on TV. Keeps every one uneasy and sad.

I had intended to write earler[sic]. Had a cold and all wanted to do was sleep. Its cold here today.

Hope you can get your working hours changed. We all should be at church on Sunday. The Spirit of Gods love and our knowledge of Gospel will help take some of Gloom away.

Glad you got a good roommate Found other friends too.

Be careful driving around. Choose company carefully. Where you go is important too. Could cause trouble. No disgrace to say No - when you are prompted to do so. You will never really loose frinds[sic] by being honest.

So glad you are loving Collage[sic] and hope you can make good use of it. Makes a big difference being away from Home. Yes I know Parents can seem uncaring at time but really they are thinking of your good.

Honey I am glad I can help you fiance[sic] and the rest is up to with the Lords Help you can make it. Try to look on the bright side of Life.

This is something I want you to remember your grandpa Loved you. So I am sure he will be prompting you if he Can. This may sound weared[sic]. But could be comforting too. So Listen to good Promptings. And don’t Forget to pray especially when you are in doubt.

We all need to Thank our Blessing.

I have a new G-nephew He’s a cutie.

I have a Baby Shower gift to Finish. Put a cute hem in a receiving Blanket – a sister at church.

Write me your thoughts often that might help to decide what way to take.

I Love you and wish you will[sic] in all you choices in life.

Be Careful in your driving No law says you got to speed.

Share a Happiness
And it is doubled
Share a sorrow
And it Lessons[sic].

Love and God Bless you


YouTube Tuesday: Uplifting

Found here: