Monday, September 23, 2019

Tom's 45th Class Reunion

Tom and I drove to Findlay on Saturday, 09/21, for his 45th class reunion. He graduated from Findlay High School in 1974. The day began with a tour of the high school at 10:30 am.

 This metal sculpture was presented to FHS by the Class of '74. It sits in a commons area outside. The school surrounds it on all four sides.

 These are a few of FHS's notable alumni.

 The auditorium ...

 The art room ...

 One of the music rooms. Here students compose music on computers ...

 The band room ...

 A few of the songs played by the marching band. The Beatles Birthday is among them.

 In the cafeteria large murals hang near the ceiling. Each class completes one of these. There isn't enough room for all of them so the displays are cycled.

 One of the two gyms...

 A separate building houses a training room with state-of-the-art exercise equipment ...

 We ended the day in a classroom where David Alvarado, one of the four associate high school principals, talked with us. He also led the two hour tour of the facility.

 Then, that evening we attended the reunion at the Findlay Country Club ...

 The bar area. Tom and I each had a Yingling beer.

Bill and Tom


Pam Beery 

 Pam and Tom have been lifelong friends. She and her husband, Don Hartsock, allowed us to stay at their home in Delaware that evening rather than drive back to Farmersville so late at night (over two hours away). Of course their wiener dog, Oscar, was an enticement for us, too.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Grandma's Embroideries

 They're  the work of a young person, certainly. But they're very crude and basic. And yet my mother apparently loved these small pieces of embroidery made by her own mother. Thus this note in a plastic bag along with four small pieces of fabric:

 I have seen the fabrics before but I didn't know what happened to them. With Mom gone now for nearly two years they might have languished hidden for the rest of my life. But last weekend I was looking in Tom's closet for a blanket when Tom opened a box and the plastic bag was lying on top of other handmade items.

 I've always known where one of the fabrics was - though I didn't know what it was. I just figured it was placed on a desk to prevent the decoration that stood on it from scratching the wood ...

 Mom must have especially liked this one with grapes. There is another in the plastic bag so they are a set ...

 And there are also two of this one ...

 And finally this one ...

 My grandmother, Katherine (Huesman) Paulsen was born on 10-12-1891 and married to John Paulsen on 4-25-1925. So since Mom thought the embroidery was done before she was married, they predate 1925.

 As I said, they are very crude but they are also precious for their connection to my young grandmother. They reach now across a century and teach both Tom and I a valuable lesson: value is not measured in skill but in the love it contains.

[Note: I have been told these are handkerchiefs]

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Snickerdoodle Cookies

 After making Snickerdoodle muffins a few days ago I still had some of the ingredients handy and thought I shroud make the cookies. So, with a cloudy day and time on my hands I tackled this recipe.

 They're pretty straightforward. I made the batter and refrigerated it for half an hour so it'd be less sticky and then I portioned it out with a small ice cream scoop. That's much easier - and more uniform - that using spoons.

 I made the cookies a little larger and had to bake them 12 minutes. Just got 31.

 A non-stick cookie sheet is a real plus. The cinnamon and sugar melts and would really gum up a regular sheet. With this it washed clean instantly. Parchment paper would work as well.

  Here's the finished batch. Ready to eat!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019


 Last year Tom was given seeds for the moonflower. This is another night-bloomer. Last weekend we saw that the first flower was about to open. I checked the next morning and this is what I found:

 The pure white flower is enormous and shaped like a trumpet (a common name for this plant is Devil's Trumpet). The plant itself is also quite striking with its soft green-blue leaves. But it is also deadly if ingested (particularly the seeds). Datura (the genus) causes respiratory depression, heart irregularities, hallucinations, psychosis and even death according to Wiki. It is perhaps not a good plant to have with children or pets.

It is called America's most toxic home-grown narcotic. It's also listed as "one of the top ten plants that can kill you".

 Here's a wider view of the flower in context with the size of the plant.

 The flowers open after the sun sets and stay open well into the next day. It's said that the sun must touch them before they wilt and I found this one stayed open until about 1:30 pm. That was just as the sun rounded the garage and began shining on the plant.

 The flower opens like the turning of a screw. It untwists. A YouTube video shows this action in real-time. Click here

 Back up one step and you'll see that the bud looks something like okra ...

More information can be found here.

I'll post a picture of the mature seed pod if one develops before our first frost (just about five weeks away).

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Snickerdoodle Muffins

 If you were a kid in the 1950's and 1960's, Snickerdoodles were one of the cookies you probably lusted after. My Grandma Schmidt was the first to bake them. But Snickerdoodles actually date to the nineteenth century and they're probably of German origin. There are even Snickerdoodle biscuits.

 I haven't had one in some time so when the recent issue of MyMagazine (Kroger) arrived in the mail, I was intrigued by a recipe for Snickerdoodle Muffins. I made a batch this afternoon. And while I wouldn't call the taste a direct knock-off of the cookie, they really are quite good in their own right.

 Not quite as dark as the ones pictured in MyMagazine, I had already baked the muffins three minutes longer than the longest time noted (or 23 minutes). [Note: Brother Bob finds them too dry. So perhaps this bake time was too long?] They tested done with a toothpick in the center so I took them out of the oven.

 I think they'd be good with a little extra cinnamon sprinkled on the top right before baking. Snickerdoodle cookies are often made that way.

 They're quite light and airy. I used bread flower because that's all I had. Perhaps that caused the longer baking time? I'd also say the brand of sour cream and half-and-half would have an effect, too (I used Kroger brand in both cases).

 They need a little cool-down time before consumption!

Snickerdoodle Muffins
Credit: Kroger Co,

 Click on the recipe posted above for a high-resolution version that can be printed.

Monday, September 2, 2019