Monday, August 27, 2018


The heat is still with us.  The humidity, too.  But the weather guy tells us that cooler temps will visit us by the end of the week.  They will be welcome!  But I suppose if we were having weather like Rev. Paul is seeing in Alaska, we would be complaining about that, too.  :)

I did manage last week to get some ham and bean soup canned.  I did a cannerful of quarts, being seven of them.  One jar didn't seal so I had lunches of bean soup for a couple of days.  Two jars broke in the canner.  I'm not sure why.  Sometimes jars just break.  Sometimes a scratch in the glass can turn into a break under pressure.  And sometimes jars will break if the canner is heated too quickly.  I'm thinking the latter operator error might have been the cause.  At any rate, I put four more quarts of ready-to-eat food on the shelf, so it wasn't a total loss.

Today is not a high energy day.  Even when I am indoors the humidity seems to bother my breathing some.  The nebulizer helps more than I ever thought it would.  My youngest son gave it to me so I didn't have to go buy one.  He had it for one of his kids when they were younger.  It is shaped like a penguin.  It makes me smile.  Takes about 20 minutes to use up the medicine that helps open my airway.  I keep my Kindle alongside my penguin and indulge in a bit of reading while I wait for the process to complete.  Right now I am in the middle of a mystery that has not one, but two murders to solve.  I just love a good who-done-it.  :)

So today I am just puttering around, doing little chores that require little energy output.  Fall is nearly upon us, so it is time to make a batch of hot chocolate mix.  I dearly love a cup of cocoa in the cool of an evening.  Usually I use that universal recipe calling for Nestle's Quick, but this time I am using the following recipe that tastes like the cocoa Mother used to make with milk, cocoa powder and sugar, heated on the stove. 


5 cups nonfat dry powdered milk
3 cups powdered sugar (more or less according to your taste)
1 1/2 cups dry cocoa
1 cup nondairy coffee creamer
pinch of salt

Mix powdered milk, creamer, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Sift in cocoa and powdered sugar. Mix well. Store in a airtight container.
When ready to use, add approximately 1/3 cup to a mug of boiling water. Stir until cool enough to drink.

You might want to try some of these variations. The recipe is very flexible.
* crushed peppermint sticks
* cinnamon
* malted milk powder

I found this recipe at 'katz kradle' YouTube channel.  It has been several months since she posted anything, but she has a wealth of information on preparedness, recipes, etc.

Looks like there may be a thunderstorm or two headed my way.   The weather reporters always make it sound like the storm of the century is headed directly for us.  I will be happy if we get a little rain.  We need it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Answer to a Comment

Someone asked me a question in the comment section of my last post.  For a couple of reasons I declined giving an answer.  Later I found this person has commented before, very nicely, as a matter of fact.  So upon reflection, I decided to answer here.

I was asked my opinion on the growing Muslim population in my state.

First let me say that I am all for legal immigration.  I understand
why people from all over the world want to come here.  I have ancestors who came from France, Germany, England, Scotland. Some came as far back as 1635.  Others before and during World War I, fleeing war torn Europe.  All of them followed the laws of the day and became citizens and earned their keep.

I have zero tolerance or patience for those who think it is OK to jump the border and immediately collect benefits, paid for with my taxes and the taxes of my family.  Every one of my children and the older of my grands hold down jobs, pay their own rent, buy their own food and pay for their medical care, whether it be insurance or out of pocket.  It would not cross their minds to expect a handout.

I am also totally against open borders.  The reasons should be clear after the news stories of crimes committed by illegals including the Iowa college student who has been missing for a month and whose body was found yesterday, murdered by a man who has lived in the area for several years - illegally.  One has to wonder just how many terrorists have entered our borders illegally.

As far as the Muslim population goes, I understand that there are some who are peaceful and just want to live out their lives.  Sadly, we only hear of the ones who would like to eliminate all who do not believe as they do.  We hear of the ones who want nothing better than to turn America into a Muslim nation.  They make no secret of wanting the nation to be governed by Shariah Law.  And many have no intention of assimilating into our culture.

Here in Minnesota, the Somali Muslims have been welcomed with open arms by Left leaning groups.  Some have been convicted for having ties to terrorist groups.  Others have amused themselves by chasing locals from parks and lakeside beaches and by going into affluent neighborhoods to harass residents.  Many have stayed in the Minneapolis area, settling in a neighborhood now known as 'Little Mogadishu.'  The effect on the area depends on who you talk to.  Those on the Left will tout the diversity of the area, waxing rapturously about the community.  Those on the Right will point out that non-Muslims take a great risk in entering there.  I find it interesting that many crimes in that area of Minneapolis that I hear about listening to the police scanner never make the local news.

Other immigrants have been dispersed throughout the state, many to smaller farming towns and communities.  As I no longer travel, I can not speak from experience.  But I can relate what has been told me from friends who live in those communities.  Some say that places like the public swimming pools or recreational facilities are no longer safe for local kids.  Other female friends tell me that they cannot walk in the downtown areas of their hometown without being harassed or threatened.

Considering that some of the most horrific terrorist acts here and overseas have been carried out in the name of Allah, it seems to me that political correctness needs to go into the trash bin where it belongs and truth should be told.  We are so afraid of offending anyone that we ignore the obvious.

The thing is, those in power here in Minnesota don't give a rodent's behind if I am offended.  And I am offended by people who demonstrate by shouting 'Death to America.'  I am offended by those who wish to change the culture in my state.  I am offended by those who don't want to obey our laws but want their own form of law to be the law of the land.  And I am offended by those who insist their religious laws concerning food and prayer be adhered to, here in the land of Lutherans and Catholics, who practice their religions without fanfare and without insisting others do as they do.  And I am particularly offended by those who consider a woman without a head scarf to be fair game.

To the person who posed the question, I am sorry I didn't recognize you.  I hope this post adequately answers it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

They Bring Me Food

Sunday afternoon my youngest son and his family stopped in to see me.  They had been at the horse racing track in the town where I live.  They weren't watching a horse race.  It was a Basset Hound race.

The track will sometimes hold special races.  I have heard of ostrich races and camel races, but this is the first time I heard of Basset Hound races.  A neighbor of theirs was entering his two Basset Hounds in the race and had invited my son and his family to go watch.  David took a short video of the race and it was hysterical.  The winning dog made a beeline down the track to the owner who was urging him on.  The other dogs sort of did their own thing, from trotting to ambling along like a walk in the park.  One kept tripping over his ears.  A fun time was had by all.

Before they came here, David called to see if I needed anything.  As I had just received my groceries a couple of days before, I didn't need anything, so they brought me a Blizzard from Dairy Queen.  I kind of think the kids picked out the flavor as it contained Pop Rocks candy.  It tasted good and the grands laughed at me when the little candy bits started exploding on my tongue!

We had a good time getting caught up on what the kids had been doing over the summer.  But the best part was the hugs when they arrived and the hugs when they departed.

Duane's workplace frowns upon personal phone calls during working hours.  So sometimes he will Facebook Message me to see if I need anything.  Today he messaged to ask if I would like a deli chicken dinner tonight.  Not being one to turn down a hot meal that somebody else cooked on a hot evening, my reply was, "Oh, Yes.  Please!  A good son you are!"

And then Jeri let me know that their fish from Alaska had not yet arrived, but when it did, she would deliver some to me.   I am already drooling in anticipation.  Fish is one of my favorites.

Looks like my family is going to make sure I don't want for good things to eat.  :)

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Where Does the Time Go...

It seems like just yesterday I held a tiny boy child in my arms - my third grandchild, the only son of my oldest daughter and her husband.  He was no bigger than a minute and I fiercely loved him from the moment I laid eyes on him.  When he was a little older, whenever I would go to his house, he would come running to give me a hug. 

Now that he towers over me in height, he hasn't forgotten that grandmas still need hugs from grandkids.

Over the weekend his parents turned him over to North Dakota State University. 

How can this be?  Wasn't it just last week he started Kindergarten?

Zach is enrolled in the Aviation program.  He has been taking flying lessons since he needed to sit on a cushion to see out the windshield of a small plane.

These two pictures were taken in 2009 when he was taking his first flying lesson at age 9.

And this is a picture of my "Joe Cool" grandson, taken in 2014, looking like a pilot!

My daughter once told me that Zach was happiest when flying.  His goal is to become either a commercial pilot or a corporate pilot.  There is no doubt that he will achieve his goal.

Grandma loves you, Zach.  You do me proud.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Same Song - Second Verse

More heat.  More humidity.  Doesn't seem to be going away any time soon. 

I did manage to can 22 half pints of corn last week.  The rest is going to wait for cooler temps.  Just that small bit of canning heated up my apartment and it took hours for it to become comfortable again.

I have to admit that I have caved when it comes to cooking.  Usually I cook from scratch or I use my home canned food for meals.  But my grocery order this week includes a variety of microwavable stuff.  I just can't make myself use my oven or even the burners on my stove for fear of adding more heat to my small apartment.  I hang my head in shame.  On the up side, I don't suppose that a couple of weeks of processed food will kill me off.  The heat might.  To redeem myself just a little bit, I did order lots of fresh fruit to counter the frozen sausage, egg and cheese breakfast biscuits and the frozen White Castle sliders.  (I love the sliders!)

I have tried unsuccessfully to come up with a way to share my genealogy research with interested family members.  I can enter all the information into a genealogy program on my computer, but the only way someone can access it is to have the same program.  I have tried using online websites for that purpose, but there are limitations with them unless I pay a lot of money for a full featured setup.  I have started a couple of blogs for that purpose only to delete them when they didn't work as well as I hoped.  But over the weekend I think I have found a blog setup that will suit my purposes.  I spent most of the weekend working on it and will continue until I have enough data entered to see if it works.  It is too hot to do much of what I usually do to occupy my time so this is a good chance to work on my sadly neglected family tree. 

Jeri called last evening.  They arrived home from their Alaska vacation Sunday morning, tired but happy.  They took time to drive the coast highway from Astoria to San Francisco.

The bridge at Astoria, Washington

Redwoods in California

And I get some halibut!!  I forgot to ask her if they caught any salmon.

That's all the excitement here.  Hope you all are well and staying cool.  :)

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Sibling Love

Recently I connected with a cousin of mine.  She has lived for many years on the other side of the country from me, and I don't think we have ever met in person.  That doesn't matter.  We are family.

My father and her grandmother were brother and sister.  I have a story or two about them I want to share with my cousin.  Messaging isn't adequate - hence this post for her and for anyone else who might find it interesting.

My Dad and his sister Clarice had a love for one another that one doesn't often see these days.  I have no doubt that each would have moved Heaven and Earth for the other.

Clarice was born in 1908, the seventh child in a family of nine children.  Dad was born in 1911, being number nine.  Dad often told his siblings that their parents saved the best for last.  :)

The earliest photo of my Dad was taken in front of the first log cabin my Grandfather built in northern Minnesota.  He is in the arms of his sister, Clarice.

Clarice was in charge of watching over her baby brother.

And yes, Dad is wearing a dress.  At that time it was common practice for little boys to wear dresses until they were old enough to manage the fly buttons on their long pants.

I was lucky enough to be born into a loving family.  I knew that I would be welcomed with open arms, hugs and kisses no matter which aunt or uncle I went to visit.  But a visit with Aunt Clarice was just special.  She had a sweetness about her that was beyond compare.  That being said, she could give as good as she got.  Those two liked to tease one another.  It was never mean.  Dad might remark that Clarice was getting a bit broad in the beam and she would tell him he wouldn't be so chunky if only he wasn't so darned short.

When both were in their 90's they were in the same nursing home in the small town near where they grew up.  The two of them would be side by side in their wheelchairs, doing their upper body exercises led by one of the staff.  After a while Dad's arm would reach over and lightly cuff his sister on the back of her head.  More exercise - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4.  And Clarice would double up her fist and punch Dad on his arm.  After a couple more swats between them, the aide would say, "Now you two Matheny kids behave yourselves."   And they would - for maybe 5 minutes.

Sadly, Clarice had a form of memory loss that didn't allow her to retain the spoken word for more than a minute or so.  I witnessed the following conversation between them.

Clarice:  "How is Mom doing"
Dad:  "Mom died in 1955."
Clarice:  "Who is living on the home place"
Dad:  'Nobody.  The house burned down."

That conversation was repeated again and again.  Dad showed no sign of impatience with her.  I later asked Dad if it drove him a bit crazy to answer those same questions over and over.  His reply was, "Why should it?  She is still my sister and I still love her."

Dad died in 2004.  At his funeral I was holding it together pretty well right up to the time Clarice was wheeled up to Dad's coffin to say her last goodbye.  In a moment of complete clarity she said, "Oh, Ralph."   Her hand reached out and gently caressed his face.

Clarice followed her brother to Heaven shortly thereafter.  I like to think they are together, laughing and teasing and hugging as they did all of their lives.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Clean Apartment Again

Yep.  New cleaning lady.  Started today.  Did a great job.  My apartment is old and will never sparkle, but she came close.  Seems like a nice lady.

Funny how things turn out sometimes.  I am perfectly content to live alone and to see nobody except family.  Now I have nurses coming in three days a week and a cleaning lady once a week.  I thought I would hate having people come and go but I find I really don't mind.  Everybody is pleasant and all seem to have a working sense of humor.   It helps that they all do such a good job.

The heat wave continues.  The humidity was over 90% early this morning, but has gotten better as the day progresses.  Heat and humidity aside, I have canning to do.  Several bags of frozen corn and peas are waiting.  There are several bags of ham bones ready to cook down for ham and bean soup.  I would like to get those canned up by Monday when my next grocery order goes out for Thursday delivery.  Duane set up my big electric roaster for the ham bones and I hope that it won't heat up the kitchen as much as cooking them on top of the stove would.

I am having one more lazy evening, messing about with some genealogy research for a cousin of mine and then no more excuses.  Time to hit the preps.  I fear if all the hate and discontent that seems to be growing in our country keeps ramping up as it has been, it won't take much to ignite a firestorm of violence.  Whatever happens, we need to be as ready as possible.

Friday, August 3, 2018


and humid.  Too hot to cook.  Too hot to do any canning. 

A thunderstorm rolled through this morning.  A little rain and lots of thunder booming lightning.  More of the same forecast for tonight.  And then more heat.

I shall be found in my recliner with plenty of iced tea and a mystery novel.  Big box fan is helping the air conditioned air move about the apartment.  I will surface when things cool down some.