punch brothers

We local Macys and one Williams had an adventure last night. It was a month-early celebration for Mauri’s 70th birthday. Sometimes you need to name a celebration to rationalize spending more than you would normally spend to do something you really, really want to do. I’ve retired from throwing parties, so I jumped at an opportunity to let someone else do the planning and cooking and cleaning and entertainment (not that Mauri ever even hints at wanting or expecting a party in his honor).

So learning the Punch Brothers, not-your-average bluegrass band, would be playing a benefit performance at a local winery was just too good an opportunity to pass up. That it benefited children’s cancer research only sweetened the pot. But who are the Punch Brothers? You’ve heard of Nickel Creek? You’ve heard of Garrison Keillor? Well, Chris Thile and Nickel Creek being regulars on Prairie Home Companion has led Garrison to name Chris as his successor on the show.

A full twenty-four hours after dropping bottles of frozen water in the cooler (it was hot!) and putting our low-back chairs in the car, we are still way up on a cloud over the evening.

Sharing the highlights . . .


That’s our beautiful valley right there.

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While we waited in line for our gourmet picnic dinner, we looked down into the winery to see Chris and some of the band members getting ready.

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Of course Penner-Ash Wine Cellars served Penner-Ash wine; these bottles were sold to individuals as part of the fundraiser, each signed by all five band members.


We each got two tickets as part of our entrance.

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We spent our tickets on this delicious blood orange juice. We’re not much into alcohol, as you know.

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This is me enjoying someone else’s cooking! You’re probably wondering what that mess is on my plate.

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Finishing our food and waiting for the main event.


John Macy’s panorama shot gets all seven of us in the pic but skews the perspective. We’re actually looking at the performers.

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I can’t overstate our joy over the music these guys produced. I didn’t shoot any video because I knew I could include this:

A whole concert at Kennedy Center a couple months ago.


The backdrop is so perfect it almost looks artificial.


Another John Macy shot.

Mauri smiled through the whole thing and came right home and bought their latest album. A new fan.

Here’s the whole album.

Posted in family matters, in the neighborhood | 1 Comment

two vacationing bloggers

Two bloggers I regularly follow posted vacation stories this week that caught my eye. One is a Portland resident who, with her husband and daughter, traveled by train to Chicago. I would love to do that some day, but that was only Part One of her story. Part Two takes us to Door County in Wisconsin, where Paul vacationed with his parents and grandparents way back when. It was also where we (Paul and I) honeymooned back in 1966.

So after thoroughly studying every picture of “Posie’s” post, I went hunting for old photos to thaw my own memories of that area. You might imagine I found a few.


Here’s the first of (only) three honeymoon shots. Of course we couldn’t pass this photo op.



The answer to your questions is yes. Yes, I would love to still own that car.

And even further back in time, . . .


. . . Paul with his mother and grandpa,


. . . older, with a different fish (though I can’t know that for sure),


. . . another vacation with his mother and his other grandpa, this time. Had to get the car in a shot, since that’s what really interests you.

Not that I expect you to care about this, but it’s entirely possible the previous photos from Paul’s childhood and youth were taken, not in Door County, but in Au Train, which is farther north through Wisconsin and into Michigan’s upper peninsula. Pollen was an enemy of Paul’s dad, so the family fled Chicago’s hay fever season every year by driving as far north as they could go.


This is Au Train, for reals. But it could be either place.

Warning: We’re taking another detour, back to Paul’s parents’ honeymoon in 1937.

1937-Frank Carlson on his honeymoon

Thumbing through my vast photo collection I found some that did offer identifiers. A Google search for Shady Rest Lodge took me to the very spot Florence took this picture of her brand new hubby, Frank Carlson.


I pulled this picture from their website.

1937-Florence on her honeymoon at Shady Rest Lodge

A quick reply from my email to the site’s contact confirmed this is indeed where the senior Carlsons honeymooned. Brad said they still have the windmill I described from this picture.

– – – –


We’ll get back to the topic, I promise, but first can you indulge me one more detour? (You’re so good to me, not that I gave you a choice.) See those chairs? Guess who loves them and continues to use both of them!

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One is used daily in my home office.

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Just this morning a sales rep (nicknamed “Hoss,” so you can picture his size) sat here in my church office.

Can life get any more fun than that?

– – – –

Back on track now, I’ll remind you I started this post referring to two bloggers I follow. Donald Miller linked to the birth story of Nella, who was born with Down syndrome to Kelle and Brett Hampton six years ago, and I’ve followed her ever since. She posts beautiful photography, and long ago she showed me how to make books online, not using the provided templates but designing each page in InDesign on my computer and uploading the individual pages as JPGs into Shutterfly. I’ve made many books using her method.

This week Kelle published this post about their time at Big Canoe! It was so fun to recognize the various spots (not the fabulous inflated water playground, though) and remember our family reunion at Big Canoe, Georgia, in 2012.


Did you scroll through Kelle’s pictures? Here’s our family enjoying those very spots.


We loved the red canoes too.


And the water slide carved out of the rock.


Just passing by.


There’s just nothing quite like family togetherness, as Kelle notes in her post about Big Canoe.




Know this guy?

You have your share of summer vacation stories too. I hope you find serendipities like these to bring them back to your present.

Posted in family matters, nostalgia | Leave a comment

and so we wait

Mauri and I have stayed put this summer rather than finding adventure away from home. That’s mostly because we’ve had projects involving our house or we were w.a.i.t.i.n.g for them to get started. Once all our stuff was put back in place (or given away) after the paint and flooring project, we were eager to get on with our backyard redo. We had a wonderful plan in place, but it involved others doing the actual work. A fence builder was lined up and the yard guy thought they could get started the first of July. A three-week delay while the fence builder took a vacation? OK. Then a two-week delay while he finished another project? OK.

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Meanwhile, our yard looked like this. It’s been only five years since we had our backyard totally redone, but the grass didn’t hold up and other factors make another redo necessary.

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You see that dog run? Years ago Mauri and his backdoor neighbor had near-matching dogs, yellow Labs. So the neighbors decided to build a dog run that extended across the property lines.


(approx. 1989) Aren’t they cute? Mauri managed to get this picture during the one minute they actually used their dog house. Turned out Champ and Liz weren’t such close friends after all.

Meanwhile I came to live at 514, and now 22 years later and a with different backdoor neighbor we decided to reclaim that space for our backyard.

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Terry and Mauri took out the chainlink fence.

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Yay! for progress!

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Here’s how it looks now while we wait for a callback from the stump grinder.

Backing up the timeline . . .

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. . . to the day we had Pete’s tree* taken down. these pics show the removal of Pete’s tree in an effort to give our soon-to-be new grass a better look at the sun. (*Pete planted this Douglas fir on Arbor Day in the first grade!)

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You can see how tall his tree grew.

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Down it comes, one branch at a time.


So what’s holding up the progress now? The stump grinder needs to do some more work on that tenacious root system.

Patience is a virtue, so we’re told.

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pee boy

You’re well aware of my love for the photo series. Lately I’ve wondered if I’ve chosen the right term when I have only two photos that match. My computer defines a series as “a number of things, events, or people of a similar kind or related nature coming one after another.” So a number can be two, right? If not, what I’m about to share is a photo pair.


I’ve held this series/pair close to my heart but never had a good “excuse” to share it. It dates back to the 1980s; that’s my mother reacting to what Paul demonstrated with that toy boy. See, you put water in a little reservoir and when you lower his pants he “pees.” Yes, it’s a little crude but also funny and that explains my mother’s face.


A number of years later we pulled out the pee boy to see how Mauri’s mom would react. Similarly, would you say? Clearly a series/pair!

These pictures came out of the file because of a news story. Did you see it?

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brass players


This morning I got to listen to these brothers express their appreciation for parents who made it a priority to provide them with quality instruments. Each one still plays and enjoys the trombone (Mauri) and cornet (Howard) their folks bought them lo those many years ago.

All these many years later the brothers M still play together along with three other brass players who make up “Newberg Brass.” They rehearse every Tuesday evening and get to play on a semi-regular basis. Their next gig happens next Tuesday night at Bauman Auditorium for the evening session of Northwest Yearly Meeting.

But my real purpose here is to show you what I came across at a nearby thrift store. It appears to be an original watercolor. $3. Sold!

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Mauri notices “it’s not on the mark racially, but our physicalities are well represented.”

Posted in family matters, nostalgia | 1 Comment

hodgepodge limited

I’m glad I didn’t make any promises on regularity or content when I started posting Hodgepodge. I have collected a whole file of ideas for fun videos, but my attention span for the researching the links fell very short. I haven’t dismissed the idea that it could just be commonplace laziness.

If the latter possibility is true, here’s a short Hodgepodge of easy-to-share JPGs I find entertaining.

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Is icon the right word for what Mickey Mouse is to Paul Carlson? Maybe trademark is a better descriptor. Whatever is the right word, all these years later we can’t think of one without the other.


For years we gave him Mickey Mouse stuff, and he was never seen without his Mickey Mouse watch.


We finally had to dedicate a room to display all the Mickey stuff.



We still have these.

MickeyMousecake copy

I wish I knew who baked and decorated this cake for Paul’s memorial reception.

DionnaMickeyMouse copy

Dionna dressed appropriately for the day.


Ben wore Mickey cufflinks when Quinn got married. Their dad was represented.


And Taylor gave all his groomsmen Mickey watches.

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Beth gave T this Mickey cake.


Bailey knows how to make his mama happy honoring Grandpa Paul’s memory.


Declan . . .

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And again Bailey. Life just keeps moving forward as it should, but Mickey helps us keep Paul’s memory alive.


Ben saw this post and sent me this picture with the note: “This guy sits on my desk at work.”


Posted in nostalgia | 1 Comment