October 22, 2014

Sunny-Afternoon Reunion

Verona, Wisconsin, October 19, 2014. The sunshine sharpens the brilliant colors.

Short-Hike Fashions

Redwood Regional Park, California, April 1968. Mom wears the knitted coat as she and Dad tour the area around San Francisco.

Platform Shoes

Toronto, Ontario, Canada, about 1949 or 1950. My Dad's twin sister, Jonė, entertains friends in the backyard.

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

October 21, 2014

"A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody"

Near New Glarus, Wisconsin, October 19, 2014. We pulled over again to visit the Swiss Browns. This beauty belted out a note when we cooed to her.

A Good Mood

Glacier National Park, Montana, July 1972. Mom was in high spirits during that hike

"Both videos are set in Venice, but while the American singer rolled around sensually in a gondola, the nun sings in various landmarks wearing a habit."

Sister Cristina covers "Like a Virgin:"

Babos Receptai (Part 3)

My paternal Grandmother, Tatjana, was a Russian aristocrat. Her father, Pavel, served as one of Tsar Nicholas II's regional governors (Pavel also was a friend of Tolstoy's, but I'll leave that story for another day). Pavel was working in Omsk when Tatjana was born. Later, he served in Tambov. When the Russian Revolution erupted, the Bolsheviks executed Pavel and (we believe) one of Tatjana's brothers.

Tatjana's aristocratic roots crept through many corners of her life. She was proud of her lineage, and she drew sharp lines about what sort of behavior was appropriate for descendants of the noble class. For instance, before I went on my first "date" (an afternoon, picnic outing to Brookfield Zoo), she observed that only a prostitute would hold hands with a man in public.

Tatjana also, like other Russian aristocrats of her era, admired and monkeyed French culture. She insisted, for example, that I learn the French language, and she fluidly quoted French novels and poetry. Tatjana often spoke of Catherine the Great's mastery of French culture. Many years after Tatjana died, I worked with a fellow whose grandparents (or possibly great-grandparents) had found exile in Paris after the Russian Revolution. His experience made me wonder whether Tatjana wouldn't have been happier living in France.

Tatjana's love of French culture, however, did not influence her cooking. French food was rarely on the menu. The only French item Tatjana sometimes made was Pâte à Choux. When Tatjana made choux pastry, she usually filled the puffs with Jell-O Cook & Serve Vanilla pudding (because instant pudding is for unaccomplished cooks). When she made the filling from scratch, she used this recipe: 

Cooked Cream for "Petit Schout"
                        and for Napoleon

Melt one stick of butter with 2-1/2-3 tablespoons flour. Gradually pout in 1 cup milk and 1 cup half-and-half. Cook, mixing constantly (like you would for a white sauce), until everything is heated through and cooked.

Beat together 3 egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar. Slowly mix this with the cooked cream mixture, and cook again, as you would ice cream, just until the mixture starts to show blisters. Then cool the mixture over ice, mixing well, and then adding vanilla, or orange rind, or almond extract.

[At the bottom of the page—in lighter colored ink—Tatjana added the recipe for the choux pastry:] 

Slowly heat 1 stick of butter and 2 spoonfuls (tablespoons) sour cream with 4-1/2 cups flour. Mix until the dough starts to hold together. Remove from heat and, mixing with your hands, divide the mixture into six pieces. Place in the refrigerator, then back at 400oF until the pieces are cooked through.

October 20, 2014

At-Rest Reunion

Belleville, Wisconsin, October 19, 2014. It's a quiet place.

Autumn Walk

Morton Arboretum, Lisle Illinois, October 1973. Mom still wears those pants.


Near Vilnius, Lithuania, about 1930. This boy is a relativelikely a nephewof Suzanne. The photo is in bad shape; I post because I love the use of the Lithuanian weaving as a wall hanging. The textile's design is in the family of "apple patterns." I presently am adapting a woven apple pattern for a sweater design.

Thanks to Suzanne's Granddaughter—my Kaunas Cousin—for making this photo available to us.

October 19, 2014

Peak Reunion

Verona, Wisconsin, October 18, 2014. That Autumn-Purple Ash really looks purple now.

Weekend Work

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Door County, Wisconsin, Autumn 1975. Dad uses a chainsaw to speed the chopping chores.

I remember that hat! It was a deerskin number Dad bought from Norm Thompson. (You've already seen the London Fog windbreaker.)

Related by Marriage: Army Buddies (Part 27)

Camp Irwin, Barstow, California, 1952. In this "Army Buddies" snapshot, the mess-hall chef great Mr. Irene's Dad outside his barracks.

ADDED: The chef was Mr. Irene's Dad's best friend in the Army. This is the fellow who taught Mr. Irene's Dad the basics of the English language Mr. Irene's Dad brought to the Thanksgiving table.

October 18, 2014

A Quick Ending

Glacier National Park, Montana, July 1972. A Long-Tailed Weasel snatches dinner.

A Family Visit, in Three Takes

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Verona, Wisconsin, October 2014. This group frequents the neighborhood.

Trail Dance

Glacier National Park, Montana, July 1972. Mom's enjoying the hike.

October 17, 2014

A Closer Look (Part 9)

Tambov, Russia, 1910 or 1911. This is my paternal Grandmother Tatjana's younger sister, Natasha. She was eight years old when she sat for this photo. Here's the original post.


Near Vilnius, Lithuania, about 1930. A relativeperhaps a nieceof Suzanne balances for the camera.

Thanks to Suzanne's Granddaughter—my Kaunas Cousin—for making this photo available to us.

A Fancy Playsuit

Suburban Chicago, May 1960. I don't remember wearing sneakers (we called them "gym shoes") back then.

October 16, 2014

Dusted Reunion

Glacier National Park, Montana, July 1972. Don't complain about the chill; you could be in a place where it sometimes snows in July.

General Manners: Make new friends graciously.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada, about 1953. Kadis introduces his daughter—my Toronto Cousin—to his Goddaughter.

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

Related by Marriage: Church Steps

Nativity BVM, Marquette Park, Chicago, Illinois, about 1957 or 1958. It's nice to see the flower girl dressed as a bridesmaid. I dislike the custom of styling a flower girl as a miniature bride.

Knitted Toys

Anna Hrachovec knits many types of "mochi," including a vomiting robot.

ADDED: Madison fiber artist Susan B. Anderson also designs adorable knitted toys.

October 15, 2014

A New Honorary Consulate

On Monday, October 13, 2014, Lithuania opened an Honorary Consulate in Wisconsin. Mr. Irene and I attended the ceremony at the Wisconsin State Capitol.

The ceremony took place in the Senate Chamber. A Lithuanian flag stood with the Wisconsin and United States flags.

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The Lithuanian Consulate brought its insignia.

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The Lithuanian coat of arms, the Vytis, also draped the Speaker's podium.

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His Excellency Žygimantas Pavilionis, Lithuania's Ambassador to the United States, inadvertently photobombed this shot of the Senate Chamber murals.

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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Lithuania's Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius, and Honorary Consul Leslie Liautaud prepared for the ceremony.

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Governor Walker opened the event.

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Foreign Minister Linkevičius offered some thoughts before the investiture.

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Honorary Consul Liautaud received a Lithuanian flag during the ceremony.

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Ambassador Pavilionis addressed Wisconsin's ties to Lithuania.

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Honorary Consul Liautaud spoke for a few minutes.

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Everyone enjoyed the speeches.

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Well done!

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Lithuania's Honorary Consuls from other states arrived for the investiture ceremony.

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Although members of the media recorded the event, the ceremony got little attention in the news.

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After the ceremony, guests moved to the Senate Parlor for refreshments.

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Guests enjoyed catching up with old friends.

October 14, 2014

It will clear up.

Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Illinois, October 1973. We take a look from another angle.

A Guided Hike

Glacier National Park, Montana, July 1972. The group huddles around the park ranger.

A Disappointment

Near Hintertux, Austria, July 1971. One of the things my Parents and I didn't like about hiking in the European Alps was the lack of "wild" places. Even remote spots in Austria and Switzerland were cultivated and civilized. But I was happy to see a Swiss Brown.