Blog #174




38th Annual Christmas Kelly Bash


   Last night we hosted the 38th annual Christmas Kelly Bash.  Thirty six people attended the party this year.  View fifty plus pictures with captions on this page.  Links to all bash pages can be found on our homepage.



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Blog #173



Merry Christmas!

   Christmas Day - 2007





Nana reacts to Annika's comment about her new nightgown, "It's your new wedding dress Nana!"













Mega Sled Complete

   I finished the big trail grooming sled today.  It weighs 130 pounds, has an aluminum skin and four downhill skies.  All we need now is snow....

   I finally broke down and bought new cross country skate skies, boots and bindings today.  I don't think that there are any stores in our part of Ohio so I ended up buying online from REI.  The gear that I have been using for the past 15 years was given to me and showed much wear.  My boots were a size and a half too small; I've been meaning to replace them for years.  All we need now is snow....


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Blog #172

David & Joan



Merry Christmas!

   Christmas Eve - 2007



The Silly One


The Night Before Christmas...


First Skate!

  This picture was taken on Friday, after school.  The girls got to skate for a half an hour before the ice cracked.  They were basically skating on a three inch thick iceberg that was floating on three inches of water.  As they skated around one side of the ice would rise and sink over an inch.  Things had already been melting all day and we knew that we were in for a major thaw; everything melted by Saturday.  Monday night saw freezing temperatures again and the ice is re-freezing.  I'm not sure that it will be thick enough to skate on today however.


Anni Pours - Svea Reacts


The Ski Doo Lives

   Last Sunday I cleaned the garage, scraped the heavy rust and crud off of the Ski Doo and treated the rust with a neutralizer. This stuff stops the rusting process and primes the metal. This is far from a professional method, but it takes a fraction of the effort, cost and time of properly sanding down to bare metal and repainting. The next day I gave it a quick spray paint job and got to work on replacing the ignition switch and cleaning/rebuilding the carburetor. The carburetor adjustment got the motor to fire, but it still wouldnít run for more than a few seconds and needed either to fire. Papa suspected that the gas was old; it did look pretty nasty so I removed the tank and cleaned it. With fresh gas and two-cycle oil it still didnít want to run. The pull start also had a very nasty condition of only catching on perhaps one out of four pulls and it wouldnít retract properly. I removed the pull cord assembly, cleaned it and refilled the catch spines. They had been rounded smooth; it was a wonder they could catch at all. About this time I decided to buy a 5$ downloadable PDF manual. I printed all 200+ pages and used the information to reset ignition points and timing within the magneto. I also reset the spark plug gap. I donít have the tools needed to accurately measure the top dead center of the motor and ignition timing within 1/64th of an inch, but I must have been close enough because it now starts within a few pulls. I replaced the light switch and Papa rigged an auto headlight lamp in place of the burnt out original; it works well enough.  After we got it running late Tuesday night, I took it for a spin around the house. It has been over a quarter century since Iíve ridden a snowmachine; what a blast! The tracks it makes should be great for skate skiing. There were scattered high spots that could use some mashing down. For those Iím building a four foot wide by eight foot long tow sled; I think it will hold a bunch of little kids.


Svea's Shoe Box Diorama 

  Svea made this Alaskan woodlands diorama for a school project.  She made the eagle, muskrat, lodge, porcupine, cattails and hollow log out of polymer clay, and colored the background with pastels.


Liesl - South Pole Station Manager

   My old friend, Liesl Schernthanner, works for the National Science Foundation and is the "Acting Ops Manager" for the South Pole Station.  South Pole Station in the middle of Antarctica at an elevation of 9,000 feet.  I knew that she had been promoted, but I didn't quite realize how big the station and job has become.  Since receiving a holiday email from her I've researched life at South Pole Station and am absolutely amazed.  The old station primarily was a dome with several buildings inside; decades of blowing ice has nearly buried it.  Typically, less than 20 people would "winter over" at the old station dome.  A new South Pole Station has been constructed; work could only be done during the warm 100 days of summer when it's only 20 below.  Now, about 70 people winter over.  In the picture below the old dome can be seen on the left and the large new station can be seen while it was still under construction.  Ironically, my father had just told me that he met the person who ran the station before Liesl.  Be sure to watch Liesl and the lead scientist describe what South Pole Station is all about in this Real Player Video.


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Blog #171

David & Joan


Happy Birthday Brigitta!

   We have decided to limit large birthday parties to every other year.  This is not one of those years.  Brigitta was allowed to invite our neighbors over to share her birthday blueberry pie - no games, no treat bags, just pie.  It was great, at least from this parent's point of view. 


Brigitta was able to dictate breakfast food, lunch and dinner as well as choosing a homemade blueberry pie over cake.  She opened our presents with glee, but enjoyed having a few friends over to help celebrate.



Freeze Baby Freeze!

   Friday night I rototilled the garden and the girls helped me build a dirt dike around the perimeter of the south garden.  I had previously surveyed the land and determined that the side furthest from the house was about five inches higher and the garden also sloped south a bit.  We used dirt from the south side to make the walls.  Saturday morning I rototilled the rough pitted garden again since the surface was frozen somewhat.  After raking it smooth Papa and I spread out a 20' by 30' tarp provided, as a Christmas present, by Uncle Mark.  We finished as the five girls and I were supposed to be leaving for the ballet.  Papa was going to fill the ice rink but the spigot broke off.  Papa fixed it while we were gone and had water running into the rink by the time we got home.  It hasn't been super cold, but I think by now (Monday night) the ice is thick enough to support a cat...  It's supposed to warm up on Wednesday; I'm hoping the girls will be able to skate on it by Christmas.  Since I finished this project, I've been working on getting the Ski Doo running.  So far, everything looks fairly good, but it just won't run.  I'd like to be able to have it running so I can use it to pack down my cross country ski trail by Christmas as well. 



A Day at the Ballet

   On Brigitta's birthday we saw the Cuyahoga Youth Ballet's original production of the "Nutcracker Swings".  This was the Nutcracker Suite set to 1940's swing music in a soda shop and high school prom setting.  It was absolutely fabulous; the dancing, music choreography and costumes were all fun and entertaining.



Georgia Wilstermans Head Home

Last Sunday and Monday, the Georgia Wilstermans headed home.  We had a great weekend visit.


We exchanged gifts on Sunday.  Kira asked for and received an recycled owl clock made by Papa.  She teaches at a school whose mascot is the owl and she is obviously thrilled with the gift.


Joan and Brigitta discuss the finer points of magic.


John, Jean and Brigitta with Jean's small vase.


GFS Christmas Program

German Family Society's annual Christmas Program features the Kindergruppe singing songs in both German and English.


See, sometimes they really ARE angels.


The girls with Santa.


Happy Birthday Website!

   It just occurred to me that our family website is now two years old today.  As of this post the homepage has had 9,158 hits and the blog has received 6,386 hits.  My Fake Dioramas page is very popular and has received 1,515 visits from different computers. 


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Blog #170




Welcome Wilstermans!

   Kira, Luke, Marian, John and Jean are visiting us this weekend.  We managed to squeeze all twelve of us around the dinner table Friday and Saturday nights.


 Brigitta, Marian and Annika laugh it up on the couch.


Annika goes for a ride on Jean's knee.


Brigitta beats everyone in arm wrestling, even Luke.


Kira tucked the girls in on Friday night.


Traditional Wilsterman Ammonia Cookie Decorating

On Saturday morning we decorated ammonia cookies.

Brigitta applies buttons to her cookie man.


Kira contemplates alternate possibilities of a peculiar cookie.


Annika has her own style of decorating. 

Only she knows how good they were because she ate every one.


Kira was the official ammonia cookie layer-outer.


Joan shows off a broken something - turned dog.


Brigitta is particularly proud of her candy cane cookie.


Svea examines the cookie drying table.


Svea  displays her "rafting ginger bread man".


Ice Skating at Kent State

On Saturday afternoon some of us went ice skating at Kent State.

Brigitta skates with dad.


Still happy, after all these years.  It's nice to have another photographer so David gets in some pictures; thanks John.


Everyone wants to skate with Mom


Kira and Luke


Kira and Marian...wave like "queens of the ice rink"


I don't think anyone had more fun than Brigitta


Happy Skaters


Svea and Joan


What IS Joan looking at?  David see it, too.


Happy Skater.


Kent State University - Taylor hall Visit

On May fourth 1970 members of the National Guard killed four people and wounded nine at Kent State University.  Marian, Luke and Kira stand in front of a sculpture that was hit during the shooting.


A close up of the bullet hole.


John was a student at KSU and was on campus at the time; here he is explaining the events of that day, seen through the bullet hole.


Luke and Kira listen to his story while Brigitta make snowballs.


Taylor Hall - where the KSU massacre occurred, where Joan studied architecture and where the youthful members of our party sledded.  Students had left behind a lunch tray and inflatable sled which we borrowed for the occasion.  John took this picture from where he stood on May 4, 1970.


Svea, Brigitta and Marian - sledders no matter the conditions.


Marian clips the jump.


Kira watches the sledders while Joan suddenly realizes that her nephew, Luke, is really the Unabomber and David remains ignorant and tries to start a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors.


We ended our KSU visit with a massacre of different sorts.


Brigitta and Svea ganged up on dad. 


Brigitta nails dad.



This series of pictures is from last week; I'm way behind in my blogging but not all that much has happened since mid-november.








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