Katie put this composite picture together.  Sefton is on the left; Katie is at the top right; and Thom is at the lower right.


Thom was our least attractive baby at birth.  When they brought him to me for one of his first feedings in the hospital, I put out my arms and said, “Come here, you homely little guy.”  I said it with love, but the nurse didn’t leave the room.  I’ve always wondered if she put herself on guard duty in case I harmed my baby.  In less than two weeks, Thom’s face firmed up and he started to look like the handsome man he is today.  He’s the epitome of my Grandma Lorenzen’s saying:  “Homely in the cradle; handsome at the table.”  (What does that say about our other children who were prettier right after their births and are still handsome and beautiful?)

The reader . . .

The reader . . .

. . . and what she’s doing.

. . . and what she's doing.

I love to stare at marked slices of tree for hours on end, hallucinating vividly.  Thanks for pointing this out, Grammarly.

A few weeks ago, we had a private showing of the movie “Fences.”  Today, I was busy dealing with visa details for my upcoming trip to India, so Ted and I decided to go out for a late lunch.  It was late enough that we had the privilege of a private lunch.  Aren’t we special?!

Just is--and really good food and service.

Just us–and really good food and service.

Judy Schroeder Yadev included some old pictures of Ted’s dad with her family New Year’s letter.  It’s interesting to see him in a track suit instead of blue denim bib overalls and a long-sleeved blue chambray shirt with the sleeves rolled up.  (Once we bought him a blue short-sleeved shirt for Father’s Day, but he told us to return it because he never wore short sleeves.)  Another difference is his hair.  I never saw him with hair longer than a crewcut.

Paul was a track star and medaled in the sport.  He’s 14 in these pictures (born November 4, 1909).  Some of his medals were passed on to Kari.  She ran track and cross-country in high school and went to state in cross-country.  Ted also has the track gene.  He set a record in the 440-yard dash that stood for 26 years before Kiel had a faster runner on the team.

1923 Lincoln High School (Manitowoc) track team. Paul is third from the left in the first row.

1923 Lincoln High School (Manitowoc) track team.  Paul is second from the left in the first row.


He's 14 in this picture. I never saw him with hair longer than a crew cut either.

No individual photos in those days, I guess.  Just crop each boy out of the group shot.  No bib overalls or crewcut yet.

Every now and then, when Ted and I go out to lunch, we meet someone we know in the restaurant.  Yesterday, we selected the same restaurant as one of the 70 volunteers I used to supervise.  It was fun to see Cy (Cyril) again and to catch up with him for a few minutes.

This is usually the end of the story, but the weather was crummy, so Ted and I decided to walk our three miles in the mall.  Who else do you think decided to walk the mall after lunch?  Right.  Cy.  Two meetings in two venues in less than an hour after several years of not seeing each other deserved a photo memory, so Ted took pictures with Cy’s and my phones.


Teddy loves pigs.  I made a pig birthday cake for him, and we found a huge pig that Ted was sure his namesake would be excited to get for Christmas.  Frankly, I thought it was a little too big, but we bought it and it was a hit with Teddy.  He kept it at his side all day on Christmas, and fell asleep with it when he got home.


Now Kari’s family has a new kitten and Teddy is in love with the kitten too.  This makes it a tough choice when it’s time for a snuggle break, so Teddy relaxes with his two best buddies:  the pig and the kitten.


I spent the day working on my India training materials again.  I left the room to get something and when I came back, I noticed that it’s a good thing I have a big desk.  And a new desk chair.


If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.  ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.  ~Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

There is nothing more selfish than trying to change someone’s mind because they don’t think like you.  Just because something is different doesn’t mean it should not be respected.  ~Jodi Picoult, Small Great Things



The National Weather Service cancelled the ice storm warning at noon today.  In its place, the NWS has now issued a dense fog advisory from 10:41 pm tonight (the time it was posted) until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.  The cold ground and all the moisture from the melting ice and rain has us socked in.  Tomorrow’s forecast:  53 degrees with an 80 percent chance of thunderstorms.

I’m ready for some sunshine.

The freezing rain has moved out of our area and the ice storm warning has been lifted.  We were lucky to be on the northern edge of most of the freezing rain.  Springfield, MO had thunder ice–a rare meteorological event–resulting in many downed trees from the heavy ice accumulations.

Our forecast was for one-quarter to three-quarters inch of ice accumulation, and we had about one-half inch over the three days of the storm warning.  Each day, we had freezing rain after midnight and into the morning hours; then it stopped raining and warmed up just enough to make the ice drip and melt.  On Friday, we had a glazing; on Saturday, my meteorologist husband said we had 0.2 inches of ice; and today, we had about one-quarter inch of ice.  Total:  about one-half inch, but in three doses.  Much better than a single one-half inch accumulation!

I based my Saturday evening symphony attendance prediction on all the local closings over the weekend–many places just closed for 2-3 days right away–but I was (thankfully) wrong.  The roads were wet, but not icy, and we went to the concert for a wonderful performance of Dvořák’s New World Symphony.  The orchestra made it worth going out in the cold.

Saturday--ice on our hedge

Saturday–ice on our hedge and trees

Saturday's ice

Saturday’s ice–melted in the afternoon, then . . .

. . . followed by Sunday's ice

. . . followed by Sunday’s ice

Close-up view on Sunday

Close-up view on Saturday–already beginning to melt

The woods on Saturday

The woods on Saturday

New ice in the woods on Sunday

Repeat performance with fresh ice on Sunday

Yesterday we received New Year’s greetings from our (apparent) friends, Ron and Sarah.

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We’ve never seen or heard of these people!  They know us well enough to spell our last name correctly, and they included the S in the address so the card wouldn’t go to the folks who live at N.  They even got the ZIP code right, but they goofed on the city.   Maybe some day we’ll meet this nice-looking family.

The National Weather Service has issued an ice storm warning, effective from 9:00 am Friday (tomorrow) until noon Sunday.  Freezing rain with ice accumulations from 0.25-0.75 inches is forecast.  Damage to trees and power lines is expected.  It looks like we might find ourselves in the lower accumulation area, but the storm track could vary over time.  Even so, a quarter inch of ice is not good.

The evening TV news reported that MoDOT is busy treating roads in preparation for the freezing rain expected to arrive tomorrow morning, and citizens are flocking to the grocery stores.  According to the cancellations on the TV crawl, a lot of the area is shutting down from Friday through Sunday.  We have Saturday night symphony tickets.  I bet we won’t be going.

We are prepared to hunker down over the weekend.  We have some leftover meat from when the kids were here at Christmas, and are planning to eat it this weekend.  Ted went to the grocery store to buy a gallon of milk and some potatoes to go with the meat.  He said there was plenty of milk in stock, but this is what the bread aisle looks like.

"Then let them eat cake!" ~Marie Antoinette

Thom and Katie introduced Sefton Aron to us yesterday, January 11.  He weighed 8 lb. 4.5 oz. and was 21 in. long.  Mom, Dad, and baby are doing well.  Sefton is the patient type.  He was born nine days after his due date.  This gives us seven grandsons and still only one granddaughter.  Kyra retains her status as our favorite granddaughter.

I can’t wait to hold Sefton!  We’re going to Seattle February 1 to meet him. . . . and to see the rest of the family too–Julian, Thom, and Katie.

He's so cute!

He’s so cute!

Mommy loves him.

Mommy loves him.Daddy looks like he's got Sefton in an airplane.

Daddy and Sefton in an airplane?   (Or a birthing center.)Coming home.

Coming home.

Wehrenberg Theaters just started offering “$5 Movie Tuesdays.”  This might be in reaction to the long-running Regal Theater chain’s $5 Wednesday movies.  Wehrenberg, however, offers a bag of free popcorn for each ticket purchased, a perk not included at Regal.

Ted and I playfully wondered how the 46 oz. of popcorn would be measured.  Ounces can be a solid measure of weight (16 oz. = 1 lb.) or a liquid measure (16 oz. = 1 pint).  Since 46 oz. of liquid popcorn would be impossible, we assumed a measure of weight would be more likely and questioned whether the weight would be popped or unpopped corn–either being a huge amount of popcorn.  To cut the theater (and its advertising editors) a break, we decided it was probably reasonable to expect a container capable of holding 46 oz. of liquid (a little less than 1.5 quarts) to be filled with popcorn.

We would never eat that much popcorn together at a sitting, never mind one serving per ticket holder.  Still, imagine our surprise when we saw that the 46 oz. of free popcorn was handed to us in a bag with a volume slightly greater than that of a 12 oz. can!

46 oz? I think not.

46 ounces in that bag?  I think not.

I asked the server how they measured the 46 oz. and he told me that it’s a “new measurement” and is actually a “measure of value.”  So theaters can now set new measurement standards?  And what on earth is a “measure of value” in a food product?

Oh, well, the movie was good and that 46-ounce measure of value amount was plenty of popcorn for us to share as a snack.

Just wondering:  What if this is one of those ubiquitous editing errors I keep finding, and no one at Wehrenberg noticed it was supposed to read 4 point 6 oz. of free popcorn?  That certainly would have been closer to the actual measurement.

A few days ago, we almost had a private screening of Hidden Figures, but two people arrived just as the movie started.  Today, however, the theater was all ours for Fences, starring Denzel Washington.  Matinees are the way to go!

No one else in any of the seats

No one else in any of the seats

One year ago today, I posted my first blog.  Jeff helped me set up an account.  I asked him not to mention it to anyone until I tried it for a month, because I didn’t know if I’d want to keep doing it or not.  Over the past year, it has proved to be a good outlet for me.  I’m not a journal writer and I don’t want the whole world to read about my life on Facebook, but the blog format has been working well for me.  I’m really doing this for myself, but every now and then I get a comment or a compliment from one of my handful of readers.  It’s rewarding to know that they (you) enjoy at least some of what I post.

Thanks for giving me the idea, Thom; thanks for getting me set up, Jeff; and thanks to my readers for their feedback.  I’m started on Year Two.

Tonight we went to see Hidden Figures and almost had a private screening.  Just before the movie started, two other people joined us.  On a Sunday night, everyone else probably had to go to bed early to get up for work in the morning.

That's my scarf on the seat beside Ted.

That lump two seats left of Ted is my scarf.

The movie was excellent.  It was a true story about three African-American women working at NASA. These women served as the brains behind the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, crossing all gender and race lines in the 1960s.  I recommend the movie, but I can’t promise you an (almost) private screening like we had.

Ted stopped at Huck’s today and noticed that the bargain price of the Bigg Swigg has gone up $0.001.  It’s not such a bargain any more.

Still less than a penny, but it used to be only .79¢

Still less than a penny, but it used to be only .79¢

Seriously, Huck’s marketing department missed the editing error twice??  At least they saved money by not reprinting the entire sign.

Today, every natural language that has words for colors identifies two to twelve basic colors.  English identifies eleven.  Do you know what they are?  If you want to quiz yourself, do it now, before reading the text below.  Hint:  Indigo is not one of them.

In early times, the only colors that were identified were bright (white) and dark (black).  As time went on, red became a recognized color.  The next two identified colors were green and yellow (or yellow, then green), followed by blue.  All languages that distinguish colors have these six colors.  Interestingly, these six colors roughly correspond to the sensitivity of the retinal ganglion cells.  This indicates that development of color identification might be related to biology.

Brown, orange, pink, purple, and gray were the next colors to appear as color names, but not in any particular order.  People started identifying pink and purple as colors from pinks (dianthus flowers) and from Tyrian purple, the dye that became the royal color (wearing the purple).  Orange is a color mystery.  Was the fruit named for the color, or the color for the fruit?  At this point, there’s no way of knowing.

The eleven colors identified in English are black, white, red, green, yellow, blue, brown, orange, pink, purple, and gray.  Italy, Greece, and Russia name azure as the twelfth color.  Other color names may be used in a language, but they are considered to be derivatives of the basic colors.  Languages and cultures are selective when deciding which hues to split into different colors, based on how light or dark they are.

“I learned this from the Grammarly blog” said grammar-nerd Diane, wearing a teal-colored shirt (derived from blue).

It's just that easy


It’s just that easy!  I’ve been working hard the past two weeks to get my training materials in order for the Indian teacher training.  I’ve spent at least five ten-hour days at the computer, synthesizing the ideas in my head, the notes I’ve made, and my research-based materials and putting them into a form that I hope the Indian teachers will find useful, informative, and fun.

(Most of the time) I did a very good job (for me) of stepping away from the computer every few hours.  I used to tell my students that taking a break clears your mind and helps you do a better job when you get back to work.  Guess what:  I was right!  I really did feel fresher after a 10-15 minute break.  It’s kind of like when, for a change, you do what the doctor tells you to do and then find out the doctor was right.

This is the day I gave up my old desk chair for a new one.  Not only is the cushion of the old chair getting harder each year, but the chair’s creaks and squeaks are getting louder.  Ted can hear the chair squeaking at the other end of the house when I move, and his hearing isn’t that good!  It’s getting annoying and uncomfortable, so Ted and I went shopping today and picked out something softer and quieter.

Pay $12 for the store to assemble the chair??!!  No way!!  I love to put things together (maybe inherited from my dad), so when we got the chair home, I immediately went to work.

"This can't be too hard," said Diane.

“This can’t be too hard,” said Diane, Allen wrench at hand.

Ted helped hold the back and seat together while I bolted them, then he fixed dinner while I worked to save the $12 assembly charge.  I also told the cashier I’d pass on the $36 two-year buyer protection plan and just be very careful when I use the chair.  Now I’m set for a (careful) day at the computer tomorrow while it snows.

Question:  What shall I do with the $48 I saved?

All finished. Mmm, comfy! (And no squeaks.)

All finished.  Mmm, comfy!  (And no squeaks.)