April 27, 2015

We talk about the goose ...

... in Lithuanian:


Verona, Wisconsin, April 25, 2015. I say, "That goose is a problem." I hear my American accent when I listen to myself speak in Lithuanian.

Party Favors


Suburban Chicago, April 1961. My babysitter does a head count of the guests; she then helps my paternal Grandmother, Tatjana, prepare the party treats. I move from the kitchen into the living room to play with the toy piano and my friend's Slyvester-the-Cat doll.

Tatjana quickly adopted the American custom of birthday parties (in Lithuania, people celebrate name days, not birthdays). This clip also offers a glimpse of our dependable refrigerator, and it captures Tatjana tearing off sheets of waxed paper. She always relied on waxed paper. Waxed paper! Who uses that now? It was never really functional.

Oh: that vase with the carnations. It's still in use. 

A Recovered Image

My Mom's friend Joy sent this photo in the early 1990s.


Kaunas, Lithuania, 1923. This is my Mom.

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 On the back of the photo, Joy wrote:
 Dearest [Irene's Mom],
This is you!

This photo is historical. It was with me in Siberia in my photo album. It endured all of our sufferings along the shores of the Laptev Sea. It was there for all 17 years of the deportation. Then the photo returned with me to Lithuania in 1958, and now it is in America! 1991.

April 24, 2015

She checks the eggs again.


Verona, Wisconsin, April 2015. Mama Crane continues her routine.

Framed


Toronto, Ontario, Canada, July 1964. My Toronto Cousin is ready to make a Sunday social callhttp://amberreunion.blogspot.com/2012/10/were-invited-to-afternoon-coffee-party.html.

"She wanted students to see it all."

My beloved high school English teacher, Sister Angele, died last week. Some of the reflections at her wake stirred up memories. 

Although I don't share Sister Angele's love of travel, touring Greece with her was a great experience. She was a tolerant chaperone who left us on a long leash as we explored Greece and Turkey. We dodged serious trouble a couple of times. Our group also avoided some of our responsibilities. For instance, we all carried assignments overseas because we had homework. I was supposed to read Vanity Fair during that trip expressly for Sister Angele's class. I started reading the book on the plane ride home.

When we returned to school, Sister Angele pulled me aside into the hallway outside of her classroom. She warned me not to detail our "escapades" to classmates. Sister Angele's message and tone were stern, but her head posture and glint conveyed an appreciation of the mischief.


Santorini, Greece, April 1976. Sister Angele is the teacher who required us to memorize and recite the prologue to Canterbury Tales in Middle English. She taught me not to fear public speaking, and she introduced me to the study of the Middle Ages. She thereby started two threads that ran through my life.

April 23, 2015

The First View


Athens, Greece, April 1976. This was my first photo of Athens as we rode the bus from the airport to the hotel.

Related by Marriage: The Fort


Fort Popham, Phippsburg, Maine, about 1951. A friend of Mr. Irene's Dad visits a landmark.

Think Big.


River Forest, Illinois, November 1975. Here's another image from my stint as a high-school yearbook photographer. I took this in the office of the school's library. You likely notice the card catalog and typewriter. Did you see the film-strip canisters?

April 22, 2015

Dramatic Reunion


Verona, Wisconsin, April 22, 2015. A long-haired cat lurked around the pond this afternoon. Mama Crane grew rattled. And we had snow flurries.

(You can see the eggs during a few scenes here.)

An Old Friend


Kaunas, Lithuania, May 7, 1944. This fellow must have been a close friend of my Dad: when the friend wrote a note on the back of this photo, he addressed my Dad as "the little sparrow."

Neither this couple nor Dad predicted their lives would be disrupted in about two months.

Coo


Suburban Chicago, December 1983. My Mom's best friend, Donna, appreciates Meškė.

April 21, 2015

Side-Street Reunion


Athens, Greece, April 1976. There's not much to do here.

Hazard


Suburban Chicago, June 1960. I remember my Parents received that whirligig as a housewarming gift. It frightened me. I wasn't afraid of getting knocked in the head by it. Instead, the sharp edges spooked me.

A Closer Look (Part 30)


Kaunas, Lithuania, about 1923. My maternal Grandmother Jadzė lost one of the earrings she wears in this photo. The earring fell down the same well into which her bracelet tumbled.

Here's the original post.

April 20, 2015

April 19, 2015

Turning the Eggs, in Three* Takes


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Verona, Wisconsin, April 2105. Mama Crane does this several times a day.

Then she sits down:


*Plus one.

Supervision


Suburban Chicago, April 1958. My paternal Grandmother, Tatjana, oversees the party.

Related by Marriage: Thanks for the Big Bear


Los Angeles, California, about 1960. Mr. Irene's Los Angeles Cousin enjoys her new bear. (There's a copy of "Draugas" on the end of the couch.)

April 15, 2015

A Closer Look (Part 29)

I took a closer look last night at the first photo I had used in yesterday's crane post. I saw two eggs resting in Mama Crane's nest. Yes, the quality of the image deteriorated as I zoomed in on the photo, but perhaps you will see the eggs, too:


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Here are two more shots:



 Verona, Wisconsin, April 2015. We hope to see chicks in about a month.

A Different Angle


Russian Soviet Socialist Republic, June 6, 1969. Elena, one of the two younger sisters of my paternal Grandmother, Tatjana, writes, "To Tanjusha, my dear sister."

This photo was one of three publicity shots Elena sent to Tatjana.

Thanks to my friend D for translating the text from Russian to English.

Babos Receptai (Part 8)

My paternal Grandmother, Tatjana, sometimes added other people's recipes to her collection. She received a recipe for "Karališkas Mazurkas" (Royal Mazurka) from a friend; that recipe became a regular feature of our family's Easter menu.

Poles commonly bake Mazurkas, but I've not seen a recipe similar to this one.


Here is how I wrote up the recipe (Note: My Mom wrote "5 eggs, 1/4 pound butter, 3 cups flour, 2 cups sugar" in the margin): 

Karališkas Mazurkas

2-1/4 cups (1/2 pound) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder*

1 cup (1/2 pound; 2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (my addition)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (my addition)
5 eggs

4 ounces blanched, slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and adjust rack to the center position. Generously butter a 9 x 9-inch square baking pan (reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees if using a glass pan).

Sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter. Add the sugar very slowly, beating mixture until it is very thick and pale yellow, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract and the almond extract. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, gently fold in the dry ingredients (do not overmix or the cake will be dry). Stir in the blanched, slivered almonds. 

Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  

Cool in the pan and slice into squares. 
 
*A later version uses 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar, instead.

April 14, 2015

He takes off.


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Verona, Wisconsin, April 2015. We've seen Papa Crane land near the pond; here he flies off for his afternoon rounds.

"'Whew, people are nasty on the Internet'."

Driver who recorded Illinois tornado footage reacts to comments posted on YouTube.

It's warm enough for a walk.


Toronto, Ontario, Summer 1959. Yes, this image is not in focus, but somehow it captures the personalities of my Dad's twin sister, Jonė, and her husband Kadis.

Thanks to my Toronto Cousin for making this photo available to us.

Exploring the Gardens


Salzburg, Austria, July 1971. We're visiting Mirabell Gardens and Palace, where everything is smaller than it appears in the movies.

April 13, 2015

April 12, 2015

A Short Career


Madison, Wisconsin, April 2005. Baci briefly participated in agility classes.

A Good Spot


Door County, Wisconsin, March 1969. Mom stands in the area on which my Parents later built the cottage.

Spring Sunday


Suburban Chicago, April 1982. My friend Kris captures my Dad flirting with her Mom, Donna. Donna's brother, Uncle Al, and her Dad sit in the background. Dad holds his pipe.

Thanks to my friend Kris for making this photo available to us.