Thursday, December 29, 2011


I forgot to add on my previous post that we need news from other members of our family and also photos.   This keeps it a  Family Gazette.

 Chris took Brayden and me to dinner last night.  We asked Brayden how many uncles he knew.  His reply "Goldman and Mark Spreitler".    The boy doesn't realize how many relatives he has.  So true of many of our far-flung family.  Lots of the later generation - and friends - don't realize how many of us there are.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

After Christmas and several days in Louisville, Brayden and I are back in St. Louis after running into some snow on the trip.  Goldman took me and got here promptly at 9 A.M. on Christmas morning but, by the time we got to Louisville, Santa had already come and gone.  Remember though, Brayden knows there's no Santa because he googled Santa last year, deciding that Santa is really Dad.   He's 8 now, soon to be 9.

We get to keep Brayden until next week Monday (the 2nd).  Jalen wanted to stay home and do lots of teenage stuff with his friends.

I had my weekly visit with Pete and Janet on Saturday.  With the new set up for the blog, it seems we get fewer visitors since readers can update by e-mail automatically.  I think Joe and Dave will go to Kiwanis today since Dave is still on Christmas break.

Shirley's niece, Dena, and great niece, Layla, from Bloomington, Ind., are coming to visit this weekend.  Dena is a musician and teacher, and I'm hoping she can get Brayden to work on playing his electric guitar.  They've met before so perhaps she can further his musical inclination.

The Abbotts had Christmas dinner at Sabrina and Dave's.  I think Margaret spent the night at their house to help with dinner preparation.  I'm not sure what she did with the dog.  Donald and Vita must have been in Plattsburgh because they were leaving for California with their grandkids on the 26th.  Rose and Shirley and I had a lovely dinner, opened gifts, and then watched "The Christmas Story", our all-time favorite holiday flick.

Brayden. 12/27/11

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Favorite Xmas Present

Cup--side 2

Note that Jalen is wearing the shirt he got when he attended Apple Camp here last summer.  This guy thinks of everything!

Favorite Xmas Present

Cup Jalen made--side 1

What better gift for an Apple gadget nut than an iRose?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Mark and Karen came by yesterday afternoon, after running in Forest Park, accompanied by their Fitbits.  Now family members equipped with this fine little device include the two of them, Sue, Chris, Scott, Shelly, Stephanie, Catrina, Sabrina, some of our west coast family, and myself.  The new ones are equipped with an altimeter which allows for tracking of the flights of stairs you do everyday, in addition to all its other health-tracking features.  
Joe Felin sent the obituary for Ralph Johnston, widower of our cousin Nadine:

"Ralph Francis Johnston Services: Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011, in the Marshfield Cemetery under the direction of Fraker Funeral Home, Marshfield. Mr. Johnston, 85, Great Bend, Kan., died at 3 p.m. Monday, Nov. 29, in the St. Francis Hospital, Wichita, Kan. Ralph was preceded in death by his wife, Nadine. Survivors include many nephews and several other relatives and friends."

Ralph was devoted to Nadine who was eight months pregnant when she was killed in a car crash in the 60's.  Ralph lived with and cared for Nadine parents (our dad's brother Edward and his wife Lois) until their deaths.  He and Nadine's twin sister Pauline continued living together until Ralph's death late last month.  Pauline, as you may have read here, is now in an extended care facility in Great Bend, KS.

[Note:  I first posted this with Edward's wife as "Mary."  Thanks, Joe, for pointing out that her name was Lois, always "Aunt Lois," to us.]

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas is coming!

I'm back home again from the lake.  Cameron and I came home early today.  I'm again looking for a helper/companion.   He and I didn't make a compatible pair.    Perhaps I expect too much, whereas I think I'm pretty easygoing.  Anyway, I need someone to stay at the lake with me - I'm eager to spend most of my time there.

Rose is in session right now and then we have some errands to run.  Tomorrow night I'm going to Chris and Shelly's for dinner and then the two of them are going to do giftwrapping.  Sunday morning, Goldman and I are taking off early for Louisville and I will have to update later about Christmas in Louisville.

Be sure to send Christmas Happenings and Pictures.  Everyone loves them both!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

We've redesigned the blog and added some new elements.  Now, Dear Readers, you can sign up to receive new postings by e-mail, and you can link to Facebook or Twitter with a simple click.  You can also see the counter, that is the number of blog pages viewed over almost seven years.  Please, do let us know what you think.  Google's Blogger Site has many design options; this is just one.
Tried to post a comment about my error on NARVE and after several tries decided to just post.  NARVE is National Association of  Retired and Veteran Employees, Inc.  Right, Joe?  If I refer to it again, like Joe, I'll use NARVE.
It's raining again this morning so I hope Brother Joe uses his rain check soon but I already know it won't be this week.    He had  heart and vascular on Tuesday.  I'm not sure what that entails.  Today he is Dave's guest at a Kiawani luncheon. Dave is a member but seldom gets to go to these luncheons because his teaching conflicts with the scheduled luncheons but now OTC (where he teaches) is on Christmas break.  Today Brother Joe also had a meeting of NAVRE.  When I asked what that was his reply was:  National Association of Railroad Veteran Employees, Inc.   After he emailed me that big long name, he added 'you can see why I call it NAVRE'.

Does anyone know where my kindle might be down here?  Cameron and I have looked in all the possible places.  I can't remember when I last saw it.  I may have taken it home.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2011 Christmas at 905 Barnard College Lane

Looks like Kansas has a blizzard this morning. Brother Joe told me last night this was happening. Just a lot of rain here in Missouri. I wanted Joe to come up and see me this week but he's busy so I gave him a raincheck which could have been literal. He said I was using fancy words with 'literal'.

 Our Christmas brunch was a huge success. Everyone brought some additions for the menu and helped with the cleanup. The attendees were Scott, Beth, Jalen, Brayden, Shelly, Chris, Mark, Karen, Drew, Shirley, Rose and me. Santa brought Mark and Karen Fit Bits (which measures and clocks your daily exercise) and Mark spent some time on the stairs there checking his out. I kept an eye on him to make sure he wasn't using the stairlift.

 I was reading some old entries on the blog this morning. In 2009, Pete and Janet hosted Christmas breakfast for seven of their family. Nancy brought monkey bread. Rose and I figured back then that this was something else that Pete had deemed 'monkey bread'. On Sunday, Shelly brought monkey bread! I went in the kitchen for more after everyone left and there wasn't a morsel to be had. Janet, is this one of your delicious recipes and is that really the name of it?

Sandi and Monica

Bernie and Maudi's daughter and granddaughter. Great photo!

Monday, December 19, 2011



Granny and Brayden

Granny and Brayden


Chris aka Ding



Brayden and Shelly




Brayden and Shirley

Shirley, Brayden, Sue

I wanted to let readers the latest news about Mary Pauline. [Mary Pauline is the daughter of our father's brother, Edward.  She is the last of three.  Her older brother died in a car accident in the 40's.  Her twin sister died of a car accident in the 60's.]  She is now in an extended care facility in Great bend, Kansas, and when Margaret talked with her a couple days ago, Margaret said she seemed a bit like her old self. Margaret isn't sure that Mary (us kids always called her Pauline but I've noticed she also goes by Mary) knows what happened to Ralph so if anyone chooses to send her a card, send either a Get Well or a Christmas card in lieu of a sympathy card. I'll put her address at the end of this post. Ralph died on November 29 and was buried in Marshfield on December 17. The burial was handled by Fraker Funeral Home, I guess the one in Marshfield. Joe found the death notice in the Springfield News-Leader Press. There wasn't any more information, just the death notice. Send cards to: Mary Pauline Austin Great Bend Health and Rehab 1560 K-96 Highway Great Bend, KS 67530
I just want to make a correction in my previous post. We had our annual Christmas yesterday and called it a brunch because of those Rams tickets. The kids were both eager to finish brunch so they could open presents and then be off to the game. By the way, the Rams lost. Brayden told me they probably would. I thought that more of our brunch attendees were going to the game, but I think some of them sacrificed their tickets so the Louisville guys could go. Scott parked over in Illinois and they took the train to the game but I guess a lot of other people did too. They said they still hit a lot of traffic after they got to the car. More later and pictures.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I'm up early today, as usual, before every one else, but also went to bed first, also as usual. When Scott and the boys arrived Friday night around 9:30 they could see through the front window that I was still up. "That's surprising' was Brayden's retort. Soon after their arrival, I was down for the night. Santa brought Brayden an electric guitar, and Jalen got an iPhone. Jalen waited very patiently to go get his phone Saturday morning at the Apple store while the rest of us got serenaded by Brayden learning to play the electric guitar. He's learning quickly. Remember, he knows there's no Santa because he googled the idea last year, so it was okay for them to get presents early.

I had dinner at Chris and Shelly''s Friday evening, and they finished my gift wrapping for me. Beth is here from Kansas City. We're going to have a Christmas brunch today because Scott and the boys, Mark and Karen, and Drew are going to the Rams game, which begins at noon. Scott and boys park over in Illinois, take the Metrolink to the stadium, then leave directly from the game for Louisville. Pete and Janet called with their Saturday call. The call was a bit late, and Rose and I had just commented on that when my phone rang. They had overslept!

Cameron and I will leave for the lake house either this afternoon or in the morning. We will stay until Thursday or Friday and didn't discuss any times further in the future. Goldman will be off school some if I should need him.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Chris took me to finish Christmas shopping and to dinner last night. Mostly, we sat in traffic! Rose and I have a couple errands today, and then I'm going to Chris and Shelly's for dinner and they're going to do my gift wrapping for me. Scott and the boys will get here late tonight, and Beth will arrive in the morning. We're having our family Christmas Sunday morning since five of the guys are going to the Rams game. The game starts at noon, and Scott was reluctant about their going for fear it would offend us if they left early. We assured him that we would rather them do what they wanted to do. Thank you, Mark Lary and Drew, the donor of the tickets!

It was one year ago tomorrow that I broke my ankle. Mark Lary and I had gone to Evansville, IL., earlier that day. I spent the next three months in an extended care facility. The blog has all the details. I did make some nice friends and play many games of Bingo. I had faithful visitors too.

I talked to Margaret one day this week. She had been to her primary care physician for her checkup after her bout with pneumonia. She doesn't have to go back for six months. I also talked to Donald for a little while. He and Vita and the grandchildren are leaving Plattsburgh for California the day after Christmas. I guess that means they're spending Christmas in Missouri. Brother Joe and I talk (IM) quite often. When I get back to the lake (which will probably the 18th), I hope he will come see me.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cameron and I came back to St. Louis on Monday morning since I had doctors' appointments on both Monday and Wednesday afternoons. Shelly took me on Monday after which we did some Christmas shopping. Chris was feeling under the weather so he didn't join us. Shelly and I also had lunch out and she took him a burger. He says he's okay today.

Goldman came over yesterday after school and helped put up and decorate the Christmas tree and decorations. I'm not able to help much but it's sure fun watching. It's not nearly so impressive as Merri and Albert's as you look at the pictures neither did we go outside and cut it down but we do have the Christmas spirit.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Merri and Albert's House in Idaho

Merri is daughter of Pete and Janet
I slept until after 8 this morning and Cameron came in my room to see if I was okay. I just overslept more so because I'm here. I love Merri and Albert's Christmas tree. Janet sent it right after I asked in our weekly talk. The tree was chopped down right out of the woods and dragged several miles through the mountains on some sort of rig.

I got caught up on Leslie and Sam (that King boy) since I've been down here. Jeff, her older son, left on December 1 for a year in Afghanistan. His family will stay in the Seattle area. Chase, her other son, is back east right now but will be coming through December 15 and probably stay in Springfield for a short while and then he will go to Africa and after that Ghana. He assures Leslie he will be safe. He's a photographer and has done an internship which is what Chase is doing. I'm eager for them to meet.

Sam has to have a knee replaced next week. I don't know how long he will have to be off work but I hope they can get up here and he can perhaps do some fishing. I've seen two fishing boats out this morning so they may be biting.

A Christmas Tree

I took this photo from Merri's Facebook. This is one beautiful 16 foot tall tree. Merri is the daughter of Pete and Janet.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I talked with Joe on line yesterday and for a while couldn't access him, even though I could see he was on line. Finally he go to me and said he had been talking to Brother Donald. Donald and Vita are going to take their grandchildren to California over Christmas vacation. I hope the Santa Anna winds have died down by then. Joe said Donald is Birmingham right now. When I went to that wonderful dinner at JJ's (Jennifer's restaurant), the restaurant was in Cameron. Cameron has heard of it but isn't sure where it is.

Thanks for the news from out your way, Sandi. Keep it up. We like pictures too. I always have to have Rose post the pictures but perhaps that will be my New Year's Resolution. Some of you others, too.
Correction to original post.  I earlier neglected to add Monica to the cast.  See below.

Sandi Fellin (daughter of Maudie and our late brother Bernie) sent Sue this newsy e-mail from Portland yesterday:

"Hi Aunt Sue,

Thanks for the phone call today. I enjoyed getting the update from you
on the STL clan! We are all feeling the cold here - it's been clear and
cold here (for us). I'm glad to hear your Thanksgiving was nice. I
cooked for Tyson, Monica and some of their friends. Cyndi hosted
Thanksgiving for the rest of the family in Olympia. Mom drove over and
Glenn and Steve drove up from my area. Mom drove to Ellensburg and
picked up Kyle who then drove them over the mountain pass and through
Seattle and down to Olympia. Then they did the same thing in reverse.
Kyle is at school at Central Washington University so it worked out
great for them to ride together.

I got a Christmas Card from Mom today, (my first one!). She said they
will be cutting a tree from her property there for Christmas. How neat
is that?! We are having Christmas in Spokane at Mom's this year. I'm
really looking forward to it.

I have to run since I'm working tonight, so more later.
Thanks for the call!
Love to you and the rest of the Clan!

Thanks, Sandi!

We realize for any readers not familiar with our family that this Blog must seem like a Russian novel in which it is impossible to keep up with the characters.  And like a Russian novel, many of our far-flung family have nicknames that complicate.  Here is a guide for Sandi's post:

Tyson - Sandi's son
Monica - granddaughter of Maudie and Bernie, daughter of their second daughter, Peggy
Cyndi - Youngest daughter of Maudie and Bernie, sister to Sandi
Mom - Maudie, widow of brother Bernie
Glenn and Steve - Sons of Maudie and Bernie
Kyle - Son of Cyndi

Sorry that I can be of no help in understanding the geography of Oregon and Washington!


Thursday, December 08, 2011

I had some trouble getting on Safari and even with calling Rose for her help and with Cameron's assistance, I actually did it by myself. It's still a beautiful day here though cold. The sprinkling of snow is gone. I'm trying to persuade Joe to come up soon. I do hear from him but he hasn't said when he might do that. Cameron and I grocery shopped this morning and he's making hamburgers for dinner with some kind of potatoes. When the other guys are here they consider potatoes as their vegetables. I'm not sure about Cameron and other vegetables. It may be just potatoes too. I'm sure I'll like whatever he makes. He says he likes to cook.
I'm finally here at the lake this morning and there's sprinkling of snow on the ground but no accumulation. It is cold. Cameron is still sleeping. He did sleep on the sofa in case I needed anything this morning. I believe we will work out. I like him and hope he will like me. He does think I get up too early. When we get the one handed coffee cup pot figured out, I will let him sleep longer. Scott and Beth were here last and, unknown to me, turned off the hot water heater. I had a cold shower this morning. We also put the water in wrong place in the coffee pot but Cameron and I after a call from Goldman got it right. We're going grocery shopping today.

I think Margaret was going to her primary physician yesterday but haven't heard what he had to say. Rose was busy yesterday with clients and helping me pack. I've already heard from Scott, Goldman and Rose. Cameron has never been here before and I told him how much even better it is in hot weather.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Joe's granddaughter Lydia with her dad at a K C Chiefs game

It looks cold outside this morning. Pete said it was 14 in Idaho last Saturday, and it is only 31 here this morning. That's cold. Cameron is supposed to be here around noon, and we'll load up and head for the lake.

Bob Pfeiffer died on Sunday and the funeral is today in St. Clair followed by a luncheon and Brother Joe is going to attend. Depending on our schedules and connections, he may stop by the lake house. Cameron says he's a pretty good cook. We'll see, maybe even this evening.

..........I took a break from my typing to shower and finish packing and meanwhile Cameron called to firm up our time. I'll be ready when he gets here. Rose has a two hour client this morning and she'll be finished by the time he gets here so she and I can have lunch. Shirley has gone grocery shopping at Whole Foods and will probably be back before Cameron and I leave. We'll may miss connecting with Joe but Springfield's not too far away from the lake.

We're beginning to get into the Christmas Spirit here at Barnard College Lane. Rose and I have at least (or most, should I say) made a list though we don't have the tree up yet. The doorbell just rang and it is another delivery for Shirley. She shops a lot on line. I believe Mark Lary and Karen are sailing in the South Pacific but I'm not exactly sure where they are. They just better bring my great granddaughter to our Christmas get together. I haven't seen her yet - only pictures.

I wanted to relate an incident that happened at the Oakland house. Groves, Goldman and Mad Dog are living there now. The sprayer on the kitchen sink has never worked, even when Den and I lived there. One evening Mad Dog decided he would fix it. Pretty soon they had no water in the kitchen at all. The three of them fooled with it for a while and decided to call Doug for advice. Doug exclaimed "Don't touch another thing! I'll be right over." Within a few minutes Doug was there and had it fixed.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

First, I'd like to thank Jana for that lovely post and super pictures from Kansas. Jana came through just like she had promised she would. I believe this blog enables all of us, family and friends, to keep up with each other. I'll update now on what I hope will happen tomorrow. Cameron, my helper-companion, should be here around noon, and we'll try a few days together at the lake. Rose has a client until noon and wants to show him how to dress my wound, so we're waiting for her to finish her session so she can do that.

I had dinner at Chris and Shelly's twice over the past week. They are quite busy putting up Christmas decorations. Chris said the old candy canes that Brick used to put up along the driveway have probably rotted, but he's his father's son when it comes to Christmas decorating. Shelly's good help too and very creative, needless to say. One night when I was there for dinner, our dessert was what Chris called 'Pepto-Bismol' pie. It was cherry cream cheese pie and it was about the same color as Pepto-Bismol, but tasted delicious.

Scott, Jalen, and Brayden put up their "man" Christmas tree each year. I'm not sure just what that means but suspect it's about only masculine decorations.

On Sunday Chris took me over to Belleville to see Fat Jack. He's in a rehab facility over there. Jack and I used to work together at Midwest Recovery, and he is the one who sang Amazing Grace at Denny's funeral. On the way there we stopped at Crown Candy Company to get Jack and Chris milkshakes. This place is in the part of downtown St. Louis that is in the process of being restored but the restoration hadn't got to its block. It is still in the ghetto. Jack had introduced Chris to Crown Candy years ago so Chris parked me in the ghetto, left me in the car, but didn't forget my wallet, and off he went to get their treats. No one bothered me. I didn't know whether to be insulted or relieved. I was relieved.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Hello from Kansas.  I promised Aunt Sue I would update the blog and have been behind.  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving at Joe and Debbie's in St. John.  Everyone was there with the exception of a few.  They did a turkey that was so delicious - I couldn't stop from eating it as Joe was carving it up. Cathey made the stuffing and it was really good - from Grandma's recipe so I asked for the recipe and failed to write it down so I imagine I'll be better prepared at Christmas.  Sandy made the pies and the coconut cream was to die for - reminded me of my mom's coconut cream pie that she used to make for my dad.  All the young kids had fun playing on Joe's pool table, playing video games with JR and Joshua and just being kids.  Debbie's dogs, Roxie and Oliver were a hit with Kaitlyn and Ellie.  Ellie could have carried them around all night.  Rosie came with us and it took her and Roxie awhile to reacquaint (Roxie is Rosie's mother and Oliver is Rosie's brother).  Oliver and Rosie played like siblings throughout the evening.  Grandma Felin is doing really good - Ellie was so excited to see her.  I think Ellie asked me everyday for a month when we were going to see Grandma Felin.  Of course, both girls came home with a treat from Grandma's.   Kaitlyn is talking a lot more now and loves to do whatever Ellie is doing so she had a hard time keeping up with the big kids.  Uncle Gary is so good with the kids - as we were leaving, Uncle Gary was carrying Ellie and she asked him to take her to the car.  Kaitlyn is still afraid of Uncle Joe....Ellie was too at her age. 

Besides dinner at the Hearn's we did a lot of driving and lots of shopping on Black Friday.  We shopped from 730pm Thanksgiving night until about 730am the next morning.  The stores seem to open earlier and earlier and it seems as though people are not able to enjoy the day with their family as they are so worried about getting their place in line at the stores. I hope they change things up next year but I don't foresee that happening.  We got a lot of great deals and we finished up our shopping this past weekend.  The house is all decorated and John is finishing lights tonight.  I was sick with a few different ailments last week so we didn't get much done at all until recently. 

John got back from a trip to Germany for Hallmark.  He brought back a few goodies and gets to go to Detroit this Thursday.  I do a Detroit work trip every year and winter is definitely not the time to go.   As are some pictures.  Better start wrapping presents.  We are buying Christmas presents for 7 foster kids this year - it has been a good experience, especially for Ellie.  Happy Holidays!
Kaitlyn with headphones on the kitchen bar

 Ellie and Kaitlyn's Gingerbread house
 Ellie can clean a chicken leg - just like her daddy
 Ellie and Rosie on our way to St. John
 Ellie and Kaitlyn decorating their little tree
 Kaitlyn and Chloe playing pool with Uncle Gary
 Kendi and Grandma
 Scary Uncle Joe in his bar
 The 3 greatest Aunts in the world
 Sandy, Debbie, Grandma, Cathey
 The Great Grandkids and Grandma
Ryan, Ellie, Kaitlyn, Chloe, Fain
 The Moore's with Grandma
Ellie with Oliver, Rosie's Brother 
 Jarrod, Sandy, Cassandra
 Karen and Ryan with Grandma - Carson was sick
The Hearn's
JR, Debbie, Joe, Martesia, Sabrina, Briana, Joshua, Thad and Joshua's girlfriend 
 The Johnson's
Gary, Cathey, Fain, Chloe (Bill's daughter), Kendi and Clint