Monday, March 26, 2012
My great grandfather is Ward Verdi Croft. He was born in 1887 in Pennsylvania and died in 1975 in Oregon. I went to stay with my grandmother (his daughter) last week who is now 87 years old and she told me some stories about him before he met my great grandmother. I have his piano in our living room, a Trowbridge upright from Boston of the year 1908. I try to spend about 30 minutes a day (or at least a few times a week) playing it. Family members have told me he was an excellent musician. He could play many instruments, but my mother remembers him dancing his fingers on the piano keys to ragtime all day long during her childhood.Above is a picture of him and his mother, in the year 1919. I am in the process of scanning a 58 page photography album for my grandmother. I am going to put it all together in a digital copy and then make a book for my mom for Mother's Day. So, whoever is reading this- DO NOT TELL MY MOM I AM DOING THIS! The album goes through my grandfather's time from about 1910 to 1920. When he was about 16 years old he joined the Navy and boarded a ship for South America. He jumped ship and then spent about 10 years traveling throughout Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. He has photographs of the first ship that went through the Panama Canal in August 1914. He played piano in the bars for the people working on the Panama Canal. During the Prohibition days he delivered moonshine in glass milk jugs painted white.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Our plans for Spring Break are to hang out in Oregon and see family and friends. We plan on spending some time at home relaxing, a few days at the coast, and a weekend up in Portland. Today was our first day of Spring Break and we slept in, until a whopping 8am. Gordon made us a delicious breakfast- pancakes, sausage, hashbrowns, and grapefruit. I spent about an hour grading papers while he prepared the meal. We went horseback riding for a few hours with our friend Joe, just north of Corvallis in an OSU managed forest, and then went and shot some clay pigeons. We came home with take out from Burgerville, watched episodes of "How I Met Your Mother" while I spent about 5 more hours multi-tasking and grading papers.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
It has been a while since I have posted something on our blog. I wanted to share a few thoughts I have had lately. We have had three couples visit us from our past travels abroad just in the last two months. Bryan and Lana from Canada, Jordan and Jessica from Colorado, and Marcia from Portland. Two things I have noticed. Living in the USA is easy. Good Friends are nice to have. Here are some highlights of the last few months.Last weekend we went to MacDonald Forest north of Corvallis for a leisurely Saturday afternoon stroll. Gordon brought his camera stuff and we saw some big trees, some nice old growths, and sat on some cool benches (thanks to the OSU Forestry Club) just taking in the wilderness. Oregon is such a nice place to just be. I came home one afternoon a little earlier than Gordon expected me to, and I found him doing this to our garage wall- building a climbing wall (inspired by our friends Chris Borodenko and Lauren McCoy). We brought back five climbing holds from Nigeria that we made with these friends of ours, and then Gordon used up about four drill bits making more holds from granite rock and other stones collected from our local Santiam and Willamette Rivers. Oh yeah- and the motorcycle on the right side in this picture is new as well. Our newest toy. An R1100GS BMW touring bike, it was be awesome for this summer. Gordon bought me (us) an tasty vegetarian cook book for my birthday last November and we have been planning our weekly meals and grocery shopping. Above is an edimame fritata. We decided to make a fritata after watching the movie called Morning Glory, where Harrison Ford is a grumpy old man who makes a delicious signature fritata. Anyhow, the recipe turned out wonderfully. And, we even got to use this excellent cast iron skillet we picked up at a garage sale last summer. We are still waiting for our daffodils in our garden to look this good. Our friends Marcia and Geoff brought these down when they had lunch with us yesterday. Our daffodils were planted a little late. We dug them up from my mom's garden last summer. In February we went to my Dad's house a few weeks after a big storm to help him clean up his driveway and yard. He had two big trees fall across his road. If he had been one minute quicker, the trees may have fallen on him or his truck as he was going down to his shop to get the generator. Oregon has had some good storms this winter. Last weekend there was 10 inches of snow and they were out of electricity for five days because of 80 mile an hour winds. Gordon and I were very sore for days after splitting, loading, and stacking almost three cords of firewood. It was four pick up truck loads of wood and we did three loads on Saturday and one on Sunday. Gordon, me, and our friend John ran a few races together this winter. Just some 5km races, one at Cook Park in Tigard and the other at Mount Taber Park in SE Portland. We have registered for the Hood to Coast Relay Race in August, our team's name is Sneaker Wave. There are twelve people on our team and each person will be expected to run three legs of about four to eight miles each, with varying levels of difficulty. We are super excited about it. Every Saturday night my Dad and Debbie go play music up at a neighbors barn which has been converted into a nice sound room. The locals show up and bang and strum and hum for hours. When we go visit them, Gordon sometimes joins my Dad. We love making big breakfasts on Saturday mornings. Gordon is an expert pancake maker. Gordon's sister Lisa and brother-in-law Greg made some tasty grape juice which complemented our breakfast well. Some of our favorite toppings are homemade raspberry and blackberry jam, fresh ground natural peanut butter, and homemade apple sauce. Also for my birthday, Gordon bought me a decorative pie making kit. And, we froze about fifty pounds of apples this fall, so it has been a great winter of baking and eating. During Christmas Vacation we got to hang out with my niece and nephew for a few days. They were loving to use the apple peeler, and eating the peel at the same time. Stuffed bell peppers is one of our new favorite dishes we have been cooking. Not only are they colorful and visually pleasing, they are tasty as well. I have been digging through collections of photographs at my parent's houses. I found these in an old photo album and decided to begin scanning some of the best classics. I think this is my favorite one, and the most memorable. I love the outfits.