January 31, 2014


Suburban Chicago, January 1983. I carried this photo of Meškė with me when I moved to Venice.

Watch your step.

Suburban Chicago, January 1959. My Mom and my paternal Grandmother, Tatjana, return from a shopping trip. Back then, people thought sixty-year-olds were "old," and stores sent you home with "brown paper packages tied up with string."

The Frozen Lake, in Three Takes

Ice today covers 62% of Lake Michigan. The lake experienced similar conditions in 1979.

Don't panic. Instead, relax and embrace the normal.

*     *     *     *     * 

*     *     *     *     *

Door County, Wisconsin, February 1979. Mom skis the Lake-Michigan shoreline along Sand Bay.


Toronto, Ontario, Canada, about 1950. Thanks to Vladas's son—Toronto Al—for making this photo available to us.

January 30, 2014

Tastes change.

When I finished my first year of grad school, I left Sherman Hall and moved into an apartment. The apartment was a few miles from campus, and I most often biked or walked to classes. I chose the unit primarily because it was furnished. Back then, I didn't think the furniture was nice.

*     *     *     *     *

Urbana, Illinois, June 1981. Now, I wouldn't mind having that dinette set.

Another Round

Suburban Chicago, December 1980. Mom usually did the shoveling. I must not have been home when Dad took this snapshot.

"Rather than wash her hair down the plughole, retired teacher Xiang Renxian collected all the strands of her 'wonderful long hair' and knitted it into a coat and cap."


Related by Marriage: Army Buddies (Part 21)

Camp Irwin, Barstow, California, 1951 or 1952. In this "Army Buddies" snapshot, Mr. Irene's Dad (left) shares a laugh with a fellow tank instructor.

Do you own sweaters knitted in delicate fibers like cashmere or alpaca?

Do you find that the garments wear out quickly? If so, then check out these tips.

How much snow must fall before school districts cancel classes?

A regional map.

Chicago is an exceptional pocket. Maybe it's because the city is accustomed to lake-effect snow. Or maybe it's the school district. Or maybe Chicagoans are "flinty."

UPDATE: Updated links and edits added.

January 29, 2014

Back-Outside Reunion

Verona, Wisconsin, January 2014. By late afternoon, even the horses came outside.


Suburban Chicago, July 1960. Mom gives me a footwork lesson.

ADDED: Notice at 0:22 how Mom catches me pushing my feet against the coffee table. She likely thought I'd slide the marble top off its base.

Casa Loma

Toronto, Ontario, Canada, July 1960. My Toronto Cousin visits Casa Loma.

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

UPDATE: I originally thought this building was Toronto's Old City Hall. My Toronto Cousin notified me that it's Casa Loma, and I've edited this post to reflect the correct location.

"The potatoes are wrung dry."

The key to good Cepelinai is the potato processing.

The Life Box (Part 16)

After I'd watched Dad whittle wood, I asked him to craft something for me. He made a little boat that floated in the bathtub. He named the boat "Irene," and I assigned the number "165" to it (I don't remember why I chose "165"). The boat had a peg on which I placed a sail.

*     *     *     *     *

Dad made the dinghy in 1963 or 1964. I stood with him in the bathroom waiting for the paint to dry so I could see how it did in the tub.

January 28, 2014

It's colder than it looks.

Verona, Wisconsin, January 2014. We ran a few errands today, and it wasn't too bad.

Related by Marriage: A Warmer Day

Carter, Wisconsin, 1938. The family of Mr. Irene's Mom visits his Mom's Godmother. Seated, left to right, are Mr. Irene's Mom, Aunt Petra, and his maternal Aunt Martha. Standing, left to right, are the Godmother, Cousin O's daughter, and Mr. Irene's maternal Grandfather Stanley.

"Ah, so not everything that comes from Russia is bad then."

A commenter reacts to a "Get Lucky" cover.

A Conversation about "First Wavers"

Chicago's WBEZ interviews Lithuanian Americans about Upton Sinclair's The Jungle.

"He who would catch fish must not mind getting wet."

Yesterday's post about a Russian proverb sparked a search about other expressions (there's a particular, family favorite, I want to find, but it's not appearing yet). The saying about the fish is one of the proverbs illustrated here.

There's also a drawing there depicting Pushkin's Fisherman and the Fish.

Start the day.

Suburban Chicago, January 1960. My paternal Grandmother, Tatjana, serves breakfast before we head outside.

January 27, 2014

"The name of the film will be changed in order to avoid confusion with the upcoming adaptation of EL James' Fifty Shades of Gray."

A movie based on Ruta Sepetys's novel, Between Shades of Gray, will be filmed this year.

A Destination

Verona, Wisconsin, January 2014. The deer know where to go.

The 1967 Blizzard

I almost missed the anniversary of Chicago's 1967 blizzard. I later linked in that post to footage of my neighborhood after the storm.

The father of a grade-school classmate, Bob, shot the film. Bob writes, "The first street was 13th and Division in front of my parents' house. then my dad went over to North Ave. I think the only thing that hasn't changed on North Ave is the race track."

Thanks, Bob, for sharing it: