Saturday, December 29, 2018

Back Home For Janet and Jeanine

Two of Duane's aunts from his Dad's side of the family are coming to visit him on Sunday and will stop in here as well.  Duane's Dad's family lived on the same Minnesota farm since 1880, and in the middle of the 1950's, my Dad bought a small piece of it.  We had a big, old farmhouse on 20 acres.  We always referred to that place as 'The Farm,' even though it was only 9 acres of yard, garden and woods and 11 acres of field, which my Dad rented out to Duane's Grandpa every year in exchange for beef from the cattle he raised.

Duane's aunts visited him in the hospital and they got to talking about the old house my family lived in.  I found a few pictures on my computer that reference that place, so I decided to do a quick blog post.  It is easier to blog the photos than it is to email them.

This is the house Dad bought from a member of my kid's aunt's family.  It is the only picture I have of the house.

The house was huge.  In the front were the living room and dining room.  To the back of the house were the kitchen and a bedroom.  The bathroom and four bedrooms were upstairs.  I loved that old house even in the winter when it was drafty.  I often would sleep on the big screened porch in the summer.

These are my parents standing in front of the house.

I don't know the name of the bushes behind them, but they are the kind that are filled with tiny white flowers in the spring, typical of those planted in front of many farmhouses of that era.

Along the eastern edge of the yard was a long row of peonies.

I wish I had a color photo of them, for they were beautiful in full bloom with colors ranging from white to deep red.  Beyond them was a narrow farm road going through the woods and dividing the property, coming out on the field to the north.  Janet and Jeanine, if this picture extended further to the right, you would see your Mother's garden.  I remember seeing her out there, planting, weeding, harvesting.

Our garden was in front of the house, between the front yard and the road.

  I think this is where I learned to love gardening, working there with my Dad.

  There was a huge pine tree where the driveway split, going left to my house and right to your house.   This picture in front of it was the first day of school for my sister and me at the two room rural school called Sunnyside.

  Had to be about 1955.  I was in the fifth grade and my sister, first grade.  If you look close you can see a white building in the background.  That was your Dad's garage.

 When my family moved into the house, the kitchen left a lot to be desired.  This was the kitchen sink area.

  My uncle Ronnie and his Dad, Lawrence, came in and remodeled the kitchen.  This next picture is of me at age 15, feeding my baby brother, but if you look closely, you can see that same corner of the kitchen after the remodel.
This last picture is of my parents in front of the big bay windows on the east side of the house.  I have no idea why they are so sober looking, for as I am sure you remember, they smiled more than they frowned.
There was a shelf built in below the windows that you can't see because the couch sits in front of it.  Mother always had that shelf full of African Violets in pots.

 Janet and Jeanine - I hope you have enjoyed this little stroll down memory lane as much as I have.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018


Whenever I need a reason to smile, I go through some of my pictures of my Grands.  The smile turns into a big grin when the pictures include my Grandpuppy, Oreo.

I think Oreo probably has more toys than my kids had when they were small. 

The dog even has her very own Christmas sweater.

Boston emailed me these next two pictures.  She said that Oreo loves to sit like this with her and Maddie.

Grandkids and Grandpuppies - guaranteed to take Grandma to a happy place.  :)

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Merry Christmas

This Christmas promises to be more merry than I had anticipated.  Barring any unforeseen problems, it sounds like Duane will be coming home Monday.  He still faces a considerable amount of time with out-patient care, but he is really looking forward to getting home.

My heartfelt thanks for the good thoughts and prayers for his recovery.   They have meant so very much to both of us.

I want to wish all of you a happy and blessed Christmas.  I will be back right after the New Year.  God bless each and every one of you.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

This is What a Positive Attitude Looks Like

This is Duane the day after he was admitted to the hospital.

This is Duane today with his Aunt Jeanine, who works at the hospital where he is a patient.

He looks 100% better than when he left my apartment a week ago.

Duane is getting therapy every day.  He says they are working him.  I said, "Good."  He is out of the fashionable hospital  gowns and into his own clothes, which will raise anybodies spirits.  :)

There was a family meeting with hospital staff to let them know how he is doing and what he will need when he goes home.  His siblings are looking into options.  He will need physical therapy.  He will need grocery delivery until he can drive again.  I'm sure there are other services he will need, but the kids are taking care of all of that for now.  They keep me informed and I talk to Duane daily.

I just wanted to show you all what a positive attitude and prayer can do!

Monday, December 17, 2018

A Great Day Filled With Hope

My phone rang first thing this morning.  It was my son calling to tell me that he had just received a text from his Aunt telling him he had been accepted into the rehab program at the Sister Kenny Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.  It is not easy to get into this program.  Patients have to wait for an opening.  His Aunt is in a supervisory position at that hospital and even though she denies having anything to do with it, I have a sneaky suspicion that one or two strings were pulled to get him in.  Duane hasn't sounded this upbeat since this whole ordeal began.

There is no denying the power of prayer.  My heartfelt thanks to you all who have been praying and voicing your support.  I wonder if you have any idea how much this means to my family.

And most importantly - Thanks be to God.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Family Pictures For Kelly

When my brother was here we looked at old pictures of ancestors that I have saved on my computer.  He asked me to email them to him, but I decided to put them here so I could write better descriptions than I could via email.  Plus I seem to have a talent for screwing things up when I try to email pictures.  :)

Kelly - To enlarge each picture just click on it.  You can right click - Save image as, to save to your computer.   As a reference in case you didn't know, this is how the lineage works...

Our grandfather was Clifford Alton Matheny - grandmother was Rachel Alzora (Allie) Olmstead.
Our great-grandfather was Hiram King Matheny - great-grandmother was Aletha Zarade Smith.
Our great-great-grandfather was William Matheny - great-great-grandmother was Elizabeth Everhart.

Here are the pictures in no particular order:

Clifford and Allie on their wedding day - December 1879.

Clifford and Allie - date unknown.

Dad and Grandma in Blackduck, June, 1946.

Mom and Grandma, June 1946.

Grandma with 8 of her 9 children.  Veda was in California at the time and didn't make it home for Grandma's 80th birthday in 1950.  Taken in the front yard of the old home place.
Left to right:  Grandma, Lois, Ronald, Vera, Kenneth, Keith, Clarice, Bruce and Ralph.

Hiram King Matheny, taken in the mid-1930's.

Hiram and Aletha family.  The tall boy in the back is Grandpa Clifford and the small boy on the right is Harley.  The girls in front are Sarah on the left and Bertha in the middle.  The girls in back are Maude and Esther, but I'm not sure which is which.  Taken about 1890.

Family of Hiram and Aletha.   In the back Harley is on the left and Clifford on the right.  I think Bertha  is in front between her parents, but I am not sure of the identity of the others.

Our great-great great grandparents, William Matheny and Elizabeth Everhart.

Family of William and Elizabeth.  They are on the far right in front.  I think Hiram is on the far left in front.  I'm not sure who is who with the rest of them.  Their names are (oldest to youngest):  Mary Jane, George Leander, Hiram King,  Simon Peter, Hannah Anne, Jesse Newton, William Andrew, Sarah Elizabeth and Minnie Orrilla.

That's all the pictures I have for now, brother of mine.  Enjoy!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Family and Friends

The time we learn what family is all about is the time when life smacks us upside the head.

Duane's brother and sisters have been at the hospital with him off and on, sort of taking turns and keeping track of his progress.

His two aunts on his Dad's side, along with several of their family members visited him in the afternoon on Friday.  One of those aunts works at the Sister Kenny Rehab Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, and has started the ball rolling to try to get him in there.  The Sister Kenny centers are the premier centers for stroke rehabilitation.  We are praying that he qualifies for admittance  and that his insurance will not quibble over that treatment.  We should know Sunday or Monday if he will be transferred.

My brother drove the 230 miles one way from his home in northern Minnesota to here, and spent time with Duane.  He then came to see me and it was good to be able to spend a couple of hours with him.

I have a cousin living in Texas.  We haven't seen each other since we were children.  We 'message' on Facebook.  She has been in touch with Duane through FB, so I let her know what had happened.  She asked for the phone number of his room and she called him.  They had a nice phone visit and I think it cheered both of them up.  And it gave her a reason to tease a bit about our Minnesota/Scandinavian accent compared with her Texas drawl.  :)

When I talked with Duane this evening I asked how he was doing.  He said his main goal at present was to be able to stand without tipping over.  His sense of humor is alive and well.   When he first went to the hospital I think he thought he would maybe stay overnight, the doctors would sprinkle some fairy dust and he would be back at work  Monday.  He now knows that it will take time and hard work to recover.  If anyone can do it, it is my wonderfully stubborn and determined son.

My kids are keeping an eye on Mom, too.  They know how much of a help Duane has been to me.  Living next door, he has run errands, hauled out trash and brought me my mail, among many other things.  So they ask if I need anything.  David is stopping by tomorrow to do a trash run.  I said I wouldn't let him in unless there was ice cream involved and he allowed as to how that could happen.  :)

Everything is on hold over the weekend and then we will see what the next step is for Duane.  I can not begin to express my thanks for the positive thoughts and prayers you all have sent for us.  Duane was blown away when he saw all the comments with prayers and good wishes for his recovery.  God bless you all.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018


Duane's siblings have been with him at the hospital.  When the chips are down, they rally around.  Always have.

My youngest daughter called to tell me the tests show that Duane suffered a minor stroke yesterday afternoon.  Being stubborn like his mother, he waited until early this evening to do anything about it.  He will remain in the hospital for now and have more tests and therapy tomorrow.

I am humbled by the outpouring of concern and prayers from all of you.  There are still good people in this world and you are at the top of the list.  My heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you.

Prayers Please

To any of you who are of a mind to, prayers for my oldest son would be greatly appreciated.

He has weakness and numbness on the right side of his body.  The paramedics offered no diagnosis but took him by ambulance to the hospital.  Duane said he would call me when he knows what is wrong and his brother will be with him in a couple of hours.

I am praying and I am scared.  But we both believe in the power of prayer.  Thank you in advance and I will post when I know more.

Monday, December 10, 2018


I'm busy trying to finish Boston's afghan.  I finished the crochet work on the 144 granny squares.  There are 10 yarn ends per square that have been woven into the backs.  Now I am in the process of sewing the squares together.  After that there is a border to crochet all around.
I will be back with pictures when I am done.  And will then answer comments and emails.  Just wanted to let you know I really didn't fall off the edge of the earth.  :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Wednesday Ramble

There are workmen on the roof of my building.  I heard scraping sounds earlier in the week.  Yesterday there was a crash that rattled the dishes in the cupboard.  Thought for sure I would find an elephant had come through the ceiling and was sitting in the middle of my kitchen table.  Today more resounding crashes have occurred.   I don't know what they are doing up there.  I am sort of afraid to ask.

 I have decided that if God had wanted me to be able to bend down and touch my toes, He would have put them on my knees.

 Take several small pieces of venison steak.  Sprinkle with the contents of a package of onion soup mix.  Add just a splash of water.  Let the steak simmer in the crockpot all day.  Make gravy with the drippings.   Add potatoes and a veggie and you have a meal fit for a king.  Or a chubby grandma.  Your choice.

 I love it when I see the light bulb go on over the head of one of my children.  A while ago the power in our building was shut off most of the day.  A couple of days ago Duane said to me, 'I need to store more water.  I didn't realize just how many of those small bottles of water it takes to fill the coffeemaker.'  Nothing like priorities to change one's way of thinking.  :)

 Nothing exciting or earth-shattering going on here.  Crochet work, naps, reading, etc.  It is a simple life, but it is my simple life and I like it.  :)

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Yesterday Was a Good Day

Late yesterday morning David, my youngest, showed up at my door bearing gifts.  Now I love seeing my kids even when they come to see me empty handed.  But these gifts were really welcome.  He came through the door, hauling a large tote bag full of meat.

David buys a quarter beef every year and this year's order was ready.  He needed to make room in his freezer, so he brought two packages of steaks and a good sized roast.

He had gone deer hunting this fall and had brought down a nice sized buck.  The rest of the bag was packed with venison summer sausage, steaks, chops and roasts.  He made me promise to share with his brother and I said I would.

David had time to sit and visit for awhile.  I got caught up on what his wife and kids had been doing.  He told me he was leaving Sunday for a week-long seminar in Long Beach, California, for his work.  By the end of it, he hopes to get his irrigation certification.  He told me that he would have a view of the ocean from his hotel window.  He knows how much I loved being at the ocean, so he promised to call me from the beach so I could hear the surf again.  :)

I left a message for Duane to stop over after work because there was venison and beef in my freezer with his name on it.  When he arrived, he found me sitting at my living room window, watching a parade.

Every year my town has a huge Christmas tree set up in the middle of the old part of downtown, just a block away from my apartment.  The Friday a week after Thanksgiving, they have a tree lighting ceremony, followed by a parade.  I can't see the tree from my windows, but the parade goes by in the street right in front of my building.  Everything was decked out in Christmas lights, including the dancing elves and kids on bicycles doing stunts.  There were floats and a fire truck and all sorts of trucks with elves in them, tossing candy to the kids lined up watching.  Santa was in fine form with his own Christmas tree and a huge candy cane.  It was fun to watch.

Duane came in while I was watching the parade and then we sat and talked for a time before he raided my freezer.  It isn't all that often I get to spend time with both my boys on the same day.

After Duane left with his bounty, I had just settled in to do some crocheting when I heard a couple of loud 'Booms.'  I went to the window to see what was going on, only to discover the town had added fireworks to the celebration and I could see them perfectly.  It was a nice ending to a very good day.