Tuesday, July 20, 2010

a new shirt and a memory of buttons

I am just over the moon with my new John Wayne style cowboy shirt. I just love it. It's perfect. My sweetheart labored 2 days to make it and years to locate the pattern which she already had.

There are 24 buttons on it. It made me think back to my 2nd Youth Conference as a youth. John Delane Wiberg, my good friend, had a stylish sweater vest on with lots of buttons. The ice breaker prize was who had the most buttons...and naturally he won. The prize was a transistor radio and we stayed up later than we should have, listening to his transistor radio.
Some kid drove up to youth conference in a 1953 Starliner Studebaker, a model I always liked. He probably paid 50 bucks for it. One youth conference I went to showed 7 Brides for 7 Brothers on an old projector from a classroom. The brothers wore this same type shirt that I am wearing in the photo.

I have always liked this style shirt and am happy to now own one. As I struggled to button all the buttons in the new button holes, I remarked that this was a good birth control shirt. By the time you'd get this unbuttoned, the "moment" had passed and you might as well go home. Brigham Young considered buttons to be immoral because you could get undressed to quickly.

The purpose and need for this shirt now is the fact that in 2 days I leave for TREK...It's a spiritual experience in the woods that make us appreciate what the pioneers did for us, regardless of if it's for the spiritual heritage or the building of the nation/community. I will go as an adult child of a family. No, Susan is NOT going on the trek. I'll report back next week...but no pictures since we are not allowed to take any modern technology.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Today I am mudding the dining room walls. After over a week of removing the wallpaper and the horrible thick cement-like glue that remained after the paper was gone (and I ask, "You did want your wallpaper to stay up didn't you? Didn't you?"), it's finally time to make the walls as flat as I can. It was good to have Jordan and family come up the past weekend and really took on the bigger part of the paste removal. We were left with the fine removals.

I didn't grow up mudding walls. In my youth the walls had broken up almond shells added to the mix to make a very textured wall....and by the way, that's the kind of walls we had in 809. Linda Zuro taught Susan to mud one day but she was having too much fun so I made that be "not distaff" and I ended up mudding just about the whole main floor and down the hall to the basement.

My parents converted peaked-roof army barracks (which they bought whole and then floated it down the Columbia River and installed it in Kennewick, Washington) into an apartment house. It formed a U-shape. Our family lived at the whole base of the U, and the 2 sides were filled with apartments. When Susan and I were married, we lived in #1. So when an occupant left, I was always called on to paint. I got so that I could paint a whole apartment in a day. Obviously, that's how my painting ability developed. I also can claim to paint a very fine, very straight line between wall and ceiling with only my faithful, trusty brush, named? what else? My Old Trusty Brush. Somehow I lost him...but discovered his hiding place when we moved to 3830. He had fallen behind the old workbench in the old garage. I was a happy camper when I found it!

I love to paint. I do not love to strip wallpaper or the paste. But I think we are going to be ready to paint tomorrow. At least I hope so. The paint has been purchased so all is well.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

How to impress your mother-in-law

Each night, Susan will ask me what I want for breakfast. I had mentioned recently that I didn't like eggs much, whereas she does. That surprised her but now she's worried about what I haven't enjoyed. Last night was the discussion how she gets up to cook me breakfast and then packs me a huge lunch (this was the only request I made of her when we got married because for years I watched my dad rummage for something/anything to eat/pack because my mom didn't do this for him). And then she has to spend the day planning and making dinner. And we wondered how food controls our thoughts.

I remember my mom had this large cupboard. It was hinged to fall downward, at waist level and in our home it was filled with dry milk/powdered milk.
We would use the scoop to bring out a measure of the milk and then added a gallon of water. No, it wasn't nice-tasting milk but it was all we had. It tasted like chalk or variations thereof.

Years later when we had more money perhaps (or maybe this was just my mother's quirky way to economize) we graduated to Carnation dry milk in a box. That was high class. That was name brand! It didn't taste much better but it was more palatable. It did help to pour it over the mush we'd have almost every day. We were also given canned milk (evaporated) to pour over our mush.

For a real treat, in concert with my older siblings, we'd steal away with a can of sweetened condensed milk, sharing it to the full, slurping it straight til it was gone...and then we'd pass out in ecstasy.

In 1971, while visiting my future wife in Ohio, there was this tall, slender glass of ice cold milk at my place setting at the table. I put it to my lips. It was like heavenly choirs singing. I glugged it right down, and slammed the slender glass down hard on the table. My to-be mother-in-law was startled and before she even sat down saw that my glass was empty. She had offered me more and then I realized, "ohoh...faux pas". I looked around as if to say, "the cold mug made me do it!"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Employment History


Currently I am working Greg Dziadon's job because he is out on medical, recuperating from prostate cancer surgery. I am also his vacation replacement as well. My own boss, Angelo Ciu, has had medical problems and has dealt with them admirably.

I will probably have to work on Sunday again and Susan asked, "Again? Why?" I mentioned to Susan, that I hoped Greg and Angelo do, indeed, return to work. Otherwise, I may find myself in a job position I do not relish. I have been in the Bar Mill for all my days at the mill since 1973 so why would I want to go somewhere else.. I am doing the job of 6 guys right now in the Bloom Yard and the Billet Yard. But every job I have aspired to, I have not gotten, yet I still have remained employed.

As I've learned from these past experiences, things never work out the way I wish. After working there for 5 years, an older foreman retired and there was an opportunity to become a Straightener and Saws (finishing) foreman. I said to the division manager that I was interested in being considered for the job. He said, 'ahhhhh, you were actually never considered." And I said, "Oh, have a nice day." heheheh.

Then about the time of the strike (mid '80s), I said, "Hey I would like to be a maintenance manager (millright, electrician, welder, a fixer in other words)." And they said "No, you can go back to Finishing. At that point in time everyone was saying Finishing was caput, that it was going down the tubes, that there was no need for a manager there.

The more I think about it the more experiences I remember....same results.

Back when they started to put in the Rod Mill to replace the straightener and saws area, I applied for Inside Salesman, working out of the old YMCA building. Didn't get that job. Stayed with Inspection.

Then when George George was around and we were revamping things with retirements and cut backs, he asked me if I wanted to go to Shipping or stay with Inspection. I said, "No." It was my choice and as it turned out, the Inspection job was done away with so I ended up going to Shipping.

Then when I wanted to stay in Shipping, the world economy took a tumble about 18 months ago and I had to go back to Finishing. Then when I wanted to stay in Finishing they sent me to the Bloom Yard.

Is there a lesson to be learned from this? Yes, there is. Take what you get and don't throw a fit, to quote Connor and Dawn.

Who knows what path I will be on soon. But what I do know that I have been watched over and lead to so many areas within the mill that by now I can do many jobs. That has worked in my favor so far...but you just never know what the future holds. For now, I have a job and can provide for us, as I have been able to do with the kids were young. And for that I am so grateful.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tea with the Tudors

I've been reading this remarkable book about The Tudors (by G.J. Meyer). I've renewed it repeatedly. Then for my birthday, Marissa and Hank gave me this mug. Surprisingly it has Henry VIII on it as well as his wives printed on it. The fun part is when I drink 'tea' with the Tudors (or Hot Cocoa as is my case), the heat of the liquid will make the wives disappear as they did in Henry's time.

Other Tudors are: Henry VII, Edward VI, Mary Stewart, Elizabeth. Henry VIII was a very bloodthristy man...chopping people's heads off when he didn't like them. He changed the whole religious scene in England and inadvertently pushed along the Reformation.

My interested started back in 9th grade when I had to type a report. I was in Seattle visiting my sister, Julie. There was nothing for me to do other than listening to women talk. Julie had a book on monasticism and I started to read it. From then on, my interest in anything old, medieval, post medieval, European piqued my interest. Henry VIII is one of the most famous kings so when I saw this book at the library I picked it up and started reading it.

The mug is perfect! It has the same picture of Henry VIII on it as is on the mug. This is mug which I will be sure to keep and treasure...not to mention which I also intend to keep. Thanks Marissa and Hank.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rings n Things

Last night I was romantically remembering the first time Susan cuddled up under my arm and she remembered it as well, even to the coat I was wearing (tan corduroy winter one). I was living at Deseret Towers back then, before mission, and played on the floor's flag football intramurals. It was a cold day, not exactly raining but not really bright. While I played the games, Susan walked to town and came back to discover we had lost a tournament game. She was consoling me and I loved being able to put my arms around her as we walked back to the dorm, accompanied by Neil Henry, another floormate.

Susan surprised me that day with a leather ring...one for her and one for me.
Her's is the one on the left, in much better condition than my much loved, Velveteen Rabbit one on the right. Since then Susan has bought me all my rings....which basically I don't wear...except for one.
Here are my rings all lined up.
From the left...a silver ring Susan made for me in the lab at BYU using the disappearing Wax method. She melted down real silver quarters, etched in the Hebrew which I can't remember what it said and gave it to me before I left for my mission.

Next is my wedding band, more of an oval now rather than a circle since my job doesn't allow rings and so I have seldom worn it. I must have worn it more at the first because I know we took it in to have the rather Aztecian dodads re-colored.

The 3rd ring is a ring Susan had all her family contribute to when I graduated from BYU. Again...not worn and I AM A COUGAR! and happy to say so. I AM true to my school altho Susan is not.

The next ring is a very special ring. It was a ring Susan's father, Henry S. Czekala, gave to her grandfather, Richard James Holman. It is engraved on the inside with HSC to RJH. Certainly, it fits my initials and keeps the bond between her father, grandfather and me. Currently the ring resides in Susan's jewelry box cuz, again, I seldom wore it.

The next ring is still kept in the box. I got that ring for working at the mill for 25 years, specifically USS KOBE at the time of the ring. Diamond, no less...but not treasured at all.

And finally, the my favorite ring of all time is the one on the right. I saw that ring when Susan and I went to the Virgin Islands last summer. And I knew right off that this was a ring that I would wear often, and do.

I love to give Susan rings when we visit special places, or as a surprise, or for no reason at all. She wears them all at one time or another. Rings...interesting things, aren't they?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

French Onion Soup and the cemetery

Today Susan and I went to Hollo's Papercraft store in Brunswick, OH. We stopped at Petiti's Garden Center while making our way back to the turnpike. I could have purchased something of every kind there. We did buy 3 clematis...1 white, 1 red, and 2 purple....2 Bellisima in pink and red. and finally a Bleeding Heart. Pam and Ken Barlow had given Susan a Bleeding Heart plant when Bonpapa died but it didn't survive well OR it's surviving now with the new owners. This new plant will replace the old one and Bonpapa will continue to be kept alive in our hearts. I seem to remember the Barlows giving us an hydrangea plant when Gunner died and that we did transfer up here. Hopefully it will grow this year as well.

We had planned at eating in the MapleSide Inn but it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays so we continued on home and ate at the Applebee's at the mall in Elyria.

Mom ordered the Oriental Chicken Salad but when I saw the French Onion soup with the French Dip Roast Beef Sandwich I knew what I wanted. And it was very good. But I remember the first time I ever had French Onion Soup. It was the first time I had been out to my mom's newly acquired cemetery, I was about 14. I think it was in late summer and we had to turn off the water/sprinkling system. As we drove in we noticed a car was parked near the office. Two love birds were necking in the car and my mom stopped that activity quickly. But then she took me to a restaurant on the west side of the old Pasco Bridge. And that's when I had the soup. It is still enjoyable.

The 2nd time I went to the cemetery, my folks said I needed to mow the lawn...which had grown very tall. . .with a PUSH MOWER, no less. About 4 acres of lawn! I made it once around and nearly collapsed. That's when my folks said, "Well, it looks like we need to buy a riding mower."

Thank goodness! I was going to be the one who mowed the lawns and dug the graves and moved the sprinkling system (don't live in a desert) several times a day.

But the soup was good then and today as well. Last night Mom made me Macaroons, dipped in chocolate. They were better than the one I bought at Presti's Saturday when we were in Little Italy. Daphne came down today and she ate one and agreed. Well, she did say they were better than in any store but I am not sure she's ever had one at Presti's. Mom used the Alton Brown procedure....I sure do like Alton Brown. I might have to blog about him and the rib eye steaks Mom cooked on Sunday.

Friday, April 9, 2010


This morning we went to The New York Deli for breakfast. They made a very fine breakfast and Susan and I enjoy eating there. It seems like Susan always chooses the best meals, no matter which meal, which restaurant. So lately I have been ordering what she orders. Today it was the standard, favorite breakfast...eggs over easy with bacon and home fries and toast. I, of course, added a side of sausage gravy. The the plates arrived Susan mentioned that I should have ordered eggs over medium, not over easy, since I don't like runny eggs. Then she told me if I slid the eggs over the home fries the runnyness would seep to the potatoes and all would be good.

I told her why I have never cared for runny eggs and thus begins my Blogging experience.

When I was about 6 years old, there was a couple who lived in our apartments, Mr. and Mrs. Plowman. They lived in apartment #5. This couple REALLY liked me, probably because I was such a cute little munchkin. But the Plowmans were really old, old people. Mrs. Plowman walked with a cane, I remember.

One day she invited me in for breakfast and served me runny eggs. I had never seen runny eggs before let alone ate any. Suddenly my throat constricted and I said, "I can't eat these."

"Sure you can," Mrs. Plowman said. "Just try them."

"I don't like them," I again stated. And I never did eat them. But from that time on I have never cared much for runny eggs.

The Plowmans moved on after a time, on to Seattle as I recall. My parents kept in touch with them for awhile. But I so remember that morning and those runny eggs.