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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Memorial Day

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My Grandfather, Arlo Taylor, Veteran of WWII.  In the photo above he’s posing after a dip in Mussolini’s Swimming Pool after they liberated Rome.

He was a Telephone Operator for the 151st Field Artillery Battalion and the 34th “Red Bull” Division.

A farm boy from Southeast Iowa.

He fought in Northern Africa and Italy.

He refused a Purple Heart for a shrapnel wound to the leg in Italy.

He told the officer in charge to “Give it to someone who deserved it more”.

He lived to return to Iowa, get married have two sons and one granddaughter.

We believe he was Bipolar, which worsened after his return from the war, his odd and erratic behavior clouding many memories we have of him.

However, he was kind to everyone, tolerant regardless of race or sexuality before it was socially accepted to do so.

When he died he had my school pictures in his wallet.

It wasn’t until high school that I found his photo albums from his time in the war.

These pictures gave me the first insight into the man my Grandfather really was, not what a mental disease turned him into.

My Grandfather, on the right, and two of his handsome buddies acting all serious in Italy.

Here are few more of my favorites –On the back my Grandfather (the one on the far right) wrote “Lined up to wash our mess kits just outside the kitchen. We line up to do everything. No, the sweater isn’t G.I. but I get by wearing it.”

I kind of want to make a sweater like that.

On the back was written.

“Oct. 42 “Tiger” Luther the smallest fellow in the Btry with gas mask, gas cape and brush knives, Jack cannon(?) on right”

Just goofin’ around.

“Sept 42 My afternoon off know my girl.”

The mystery is we don’t know who his sweetheart was in 1942.

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Quick Takes #3

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Thoughts and tidbits on the last week.

1) Though I think this everyday… my little boy is getting too big!  This needs to stop, he’s put the finishing touches on lifting his head while on his tummy (a big accomplishment for Megamind here) which means next week he’ll be walking and then off to college!

2) Well last weekend went off without a bang… no people being pulled up to heaven, no massive earthquakes and no zombie apocalypse.  Though I never believed it was going to happen, I’m a good little Catholic-light girl and believe that whole “no one will know” passage, I did think a lot about how I’m happy I’m here in Iowa, with my family, if a major catastrophe were to occur.

3) I always think of one of my favorite book series, The Emberverse Books by S.L. Stirling, when people are decrying the end of the world.  In them all technology stops working, taking humanity back to the dark ages.  Not only is there no electricity, etc., the is no gun powder; nothing that uses kinetic energy works.  In it there are two places in the U.S. that really survive well, though the majority of the world dies within a year, the first is the Willamette Valley in Oregon (which I lived at the end of during my stay in that state) and … drum roll please… Iowa.  Yup, because of our naturally fertile soil, easily maintained and traversed roads, access to water and relatively flat landscape, Iowa is the only State to really keep itself together.  Ben and I always joke that we’re in the right place if the worlds coming to an end.

4) Like I said I’m not an end of the world nutter, but I do take comfort in knowing that I have a good number of skills to use if something were ever to happen or even if my life were to change (perhaps a loss of a job or if gas gets to expensive or food prices soar, something more realistic than a zombie apocalypse) I have skills to get through rough patches.  I know how to grow my food, make compost, make healthy meals that don’t need boxes of stuff from a grocery store; I can make, care for and mend clothing for my family along with other skills.  It’s nice to know that if things got rough I’d have the skills to get through it a little better.

5) Anyways, the garden/pond is still underway.  I’ve decide to make my rows go the length of the plot with the hopes that if we have another big storm (which we will) the rain will irrigate instead of flood. So far I’ve dug a trench around the plot to (hopefully) divert some of the excess water in the future.   Cross your fingers

6) For my last two bits I’d like to share some articles I was shown this week that made me think.  This article on the “Quaterlife Crisis” suggests a lot of what I’ve thought about over the last few months, perhaps many of my feelings of inadequacy have come from a sense of entitlement… or at least comparing myself to those with the views of “I deserve it all, now”.  However, part of the article reinforces the reason I chose to leave behind my last career and really focus on family and a simpler life… sure I wish I had my own home, but other than that I’m pretty darn content with my simpler, dare I say it more traditional life.

7) I’m not really hippy-dippy, über liberal or anything like that and I’m only a transitioning Catholic-Light so I have to admit I don’t pay attention to a lot that comes out of the Vatican, but I do have to commend Pope Benedict for taking a stand on the climate and “green” issues.  Honestly I don’t care if you think the Earth is a gift to us from God, blah, blah, blah, and we don’t have worry about it because here’s my two cents about it all –  my mother taught me a few things about getting gifts… you say thank you and you show you’re thankful by treating those gifts well.

and as an extra here’s an opinion post in my local newspaper about the college/liberal arts education system.  They bring up a few good points that I ‘ve experienced myself.  I believe I’m better off for now have a “trade” or skilled labor ability under my belt and my experience with this has enforced an idea about making sure my children have a skill to rely on as well as a formal education if they choose to pursue it.

How was your week?  We’re you secretly holding your kids a little tighter last Saturday, just in case?  Any gardening advice?  What’s your two cents about my generation, earth saving and the value of a college education?

Fortunate

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Before you…

  • Complain about your job… remember there are thousands who would love to have a job to complain about and that you are fortunate to have one in this economy.
  • Complain about cleaning your house or making dinner … remember those who are the victims of nature this week and that you are fortunate to still have standing home and food to put on that table.
  • Complain about your kids being annoying or the time caring for them takes from your day … remember there are those who must live in the hospital and there are those that won’t ever get to come home and that you are fortunate to have them safe, healthy and at home.
  • And remember all it takes is one budget cut, one bad storm or one bad report from a doctor to make you really understand how fortunate you were.

Molly Makes {Baby Sweaters}

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One of the best things about getting ready for Henry last winter was planning things that I would make for him, and though he’d only get cold months at the beginning and end of his first year I still had plans!  Here are the two sweaters I made for him for his first couple of months, I have a third sweater I made for him for this fall so that will have to wait until he fits in it.  They were both made from yarn I already had, leftovers from past projects.

The first was his “Grandpa Sweater” – pattern HERE

This is him in it at about 3 weeks old (note the rolled up sleeves).

And this is him in it last week (note the now short sleeves).

Wooden buttons were a gift from his Grandma.  I plan on removing them and putting them on a bigger version of this I’ll make this fall.

And his Kimono sweater – pattern HERE

Button from a jar of buttons I got as a gift years ago.


I like the Kimono pattern, but love the Grandpa Sweater.  I have plans on making Henry a new one for this winter, along with one for his 2 boy cousins, one who will be almost 2 and one who will be arriving in September.  I think I’m going to go for a solid grey, red or brown this time around.

Garden-ology

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Rain, rain go away.

Come again…

A weekend I work.

On Saturday I asked Mother Nature to not rain on Sunday, as I hand a lot of gardening related plans.  Because she is sweet and understanding she gave me a Severe Thunderstorm, a Tornado Watch and TWO Tornado Warnings.

But between darting downstairs between Tornado sirens I did manage to get a good amount of planting completed.  Because time is at a premium this year I’m doing the majority of my plants in containers and bought them as small plants.  There are a few varieties of tomatoes, two types of peppers, strawberries, zucchini and cucumbers along with oregano, chives and basil.

We won’t be feeding ourselves through the winter with this harvest, but it’s a good start.

There’s also a black raspberry bush on the front stoop ready to be planted and hopefully joined by some blueberry bushes.

I’m also hoping to get some sweet corn, beans and pumpkins planted in the garden plot out back.  Plans of which are being re-evaluated at the moment.

I wonder why.   Oh well, I’m glad I didn’t get anything planted out there; so I’m thinking a raised bed on the higher ground to the right is in order.

Perhaps I should put a few catfish in my new “pond”.

Oh well, all in a good days work.

{This Moment}

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{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Wishing you a lovely weekend!  From www.soulemama.com

Quick Takes – Bits and Pieces

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Wow last weeks Quick Takes was popular!  Thank you Betty Beguiles for giving my post a little shout out!  I thought I’d try another go at the “quotes for an occasion” idea.  So here you have my 7 quotes for my children.

1.  I hope when my kids think of me when they hear this the way I think of my mother

2.  I hope I can teach them that

3.  I hope I can teach them to look a little deeper and to

4.  I hope that one day they find the perfect someone to say this to

5.  I hope they hope and dream and know that

6.  I hope that if nothing else they know to

7.  And when all else fails