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Gymnastics Board Part II

gymnasticsboard2

So here it is.  The finished project with a slightly blurry picture to boot.  I ended up using 3M hooks rather then drill through this material.  I’m sure I could have done some digging to find out how to best drill through it, but I decided to take the easy road.  And I think it still looks pretty darn good!

I was going to put pictures of E doing gymnastics, or with her gymnast friends, but in collaboration with E, we decided to make a collage to put on on of her walls along with the medal board.

I think I am more proud of the fact that I actually finished a project!

Family Genealogy-the Fredrickson family

A few months ago, I jumped on board when asked if I would help out organizing a reunion for the Fredrickson family.  I love my family history, and there is so much I do know about it.  My dad was the one that asked me to help out, and of course I couldn’t say no because I can’t ever say no to anything.  But that is another story.

Anyway, I was given the task of putting together family trees for each of the 14 children that had families of their own.  There were four other boys; one that died in infancy, one that died as a child, one who had twin daughters that died in infancy, and one who never married or had children.

I was so excited to dig intot this project.  Fortunately, a third cousin of mine has done extensive research on the genealogy of the Fredrickson family and he was kind enough to let me use his material.  I had him send it to me as a hard copy, because, well, I am some what of an old school kind of gal.  When it came in the mail, our lovely mail lady had shoved the package so that it was wedged into my mailbox.  I wasn’t pleased.  Not only that, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many pages were in this family tree.

I am not joking when I say that it was at a minimum, 500 or more pages.  The thickness of the pile of paper, after I wrangled the package out of my mailbox, was more then a ream of paper.  Insane!

My third cousin, Jerry Trippe, is a retired lawyer who lives in Denver, CO.  I am ever grateful at the work he has done. 

At first, I leafed through the family genealogy, I was amazed to see familiar names.  There were several names that I did not know were relations to me.  People I had gone to high school with.  Craziness.

My Great Great Grandparent, Nels and Emelia Fredrickson, had a total of 18 children.  Sixteen of these children lived into adulthood.  Actually a majority of them lived well past their 80th birthdays.  Of the 18 children, only FOUR were girls.  Nuts, right?  My mom grew up with four sisters.  I’m sure that was enough to drive my grandpa crazy, but to have 14 brothers?  Whew.

Anyhoo, the brothers were all hard working Scandinavian boys who worked hard on the farm that was in Eidswold, MN, just outside of Lakeville, MN.  This is now about a thirty minute drive down the freeway from Minneapolis.

In the early 1900s, the brothers formed their very own baseball team, the Fredrickson Brother baseball team.  You can read more about them in the Jully 11, 1994 Sport’s Illustrated article titled “Oh, Brother, What A Team”http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1005374/index.htm .  A picture of the brothers baseball team is also seen in numerous descendents of the Fredrickson brothers, including mine.  Their picture is also on a wall outside of the Town Ball Tavern at Target Field.  Pretty amazing stuff.  What is really amazing, is that every time I have gone up to the picture, there is someone there who is either related to the Fredricksons or is shocked by the fact that their is an entire baseball team made up of brothers.  One thing that really stands out is the size of their forearms.  Check it out, it’s ridiculous.  And they didn’t even have P90X at the time (kidding).

Enough about those brothers, let’s get back to me.  I am laughing at myself here at the computer.  I started working on the genealogy towards the end of February.  It was pretty overwhelming to say the least.  There was a lot of information, and the more I read, the more I wanted to know.

Last night, I started really working on the first born, Hattie.  I think I put in about seven to eight hours on the computer searching, compling data, and updating files.  And all I could think was “One down, thirteen more to go”. 

Fortunately, there are several other individuals who are doing the legwork for me.  My job is to primarily update the files that Jerry has sent me.

I really can’t wait to see all of the family trees when they are completed.  I also can’t wait to meet all of these people in person, especially Jerry and his wife! 

At the last family reunion in 1988, there were over 500 family members in attendence.  It has been 24 years, and I can’t even tell you how much updating has been done in terms of adding people to our extensive tree.  There have been guesses that as many as 800 people could be there this August.

I pray that the weather will be wonderful that day so that we can celebrate the people who braved a cross-Atlantic journey to create a better life for themselve in Minnesota.  I pray that people will make the journey in August to meet relatives, share old stories, make new memories, and maintain connections. 

When I first started this post, I wanted to complain about how overwhelming this was.  How terribly frustrated I was at my inablity to make significant progress.  Instead, I find myself at the end of a 15 minute journey feeling much more refreshed, knowing that everything will work out in the end.

Cars and the lies they tell you

I think my husband and I have the worst luck when it comes to buying cars.  The last two cars we have bought have been headaches.  That is actually saying it gently.  They have been a serious source of frustration and deep disappointment.

In 2005, we bought a Dodge Grand Caravan.  It was all wheel drive, had everything we were looking for and the price seemed right.  Within a month, we had it in the shop because it wouldn’t start.  “Oh, you will need to replace the fuel pump” was the first thing the mechanic told us.  Two fuel pumps later, the car was still being a pain in the butt.  Sometimes it would stall while you were driving.  And it didn’t matter if you were going 10 or 55 mph.

The driver’s side window quit rolling down within six months.  I thought it wasn’t worth the 400 plus dollars to put into fixing the motor for the window, so I was stuck with a window that wouldn’t roll down.

About the same time, the windshield wipers quit working.

The first summer we had the van, the air conditioning went out.  I went to get it charged, but still no cold air.  I couldn’t roll down the window, I couldn’t sit in air conditioning.  I was stuck with a giant hot mess.

By now, you are probably thinking “Why didn’t you look for something else?”.  We were on the hook for this stupid van.  And every time I got it fixed, I said “You can’t buy a new car for —dollars”.  Seriously.  I should have traded it in before the next ball dropped.

I finally broke down and took the van to a Dodge dealership where I found out that it had been a computer problem all along.  Something had been amiss with the main computer and it had to be replaced.  $1000 to fix the main computer.  And this is after we had put in two fuel pumps, spark plugs, belts, recharged the air conditioning, and probably a list of other things that I can’t remember (or choose not to).

The van was great for the next two years.  It drove like a champ.  Pulled a small boat to several different destinations.  Brought home our third child from the hospital.  Last summer, the van took a turn for the worse.  The power steering was going out.  The van needed a new battery.  The tires were worn, especially on the left side-which meant that something else was wrong with the alignment or axles.

We started looking.  I really didn’t want to get another van.  I wanted to get something a little “cooler”.  Something a little more hip then a van.  Vans were so ten years ago.  Now it was time to upgrade to a crossover.

One of my dad’s friends was looking to get rid of his car at the same time we started looking for a new car, and it just happened to be a crossover.  It was a Chrysler Pacifica.  A beautiful car.  I told my husband that if the car was a man, he would be waaaaaaaay out of my league.  The car was stacked, chalked full of every extra Chrysler probably offered with the car.

So, I took the steps to buy the car.  I went and got a loan from the bank.  We got ready to say our good-byes to the beast (aka the van).  The van went on to greener pastures by being donated to the Courage Center.

Within a month, things began to go wrong.  The tailgate quit opening.  The motors used to operate the tailgate were worn out and needed to be replaced.  Guess what?  It was going to cost over $500 to get it fixed because they didn’t have to replace one motor, but two.  Then we started to notice that the gas pedal stuck.  When you pressed down on the gas pedal, there is a sudden jerk before you really get going.

I think that we didn’t really think through our purchase to begin with and were like deer in the headlight by all the glamour this car gave off when we were test driving it.  I really didn’t believe that we could drive a car like this.  It was above our league.  We were van people.  We were Chrysler Pacifica people.  I mean that car had commercials with Celine Dion in them.

Yesterday might be the straw that breaks the camels back.  A week ago, I started noticing that the car was making some weird sounds when I turned.  Then I noticed that the front end of the car, the bottom part, had come detached from the rest of the car.  It was stuck on with clips, almost like you could just snap it back into place.  Well, we did that.  Or so I thought.

I was driving my kids to the dentist when my son asks me about the panel that was falling off.  I told him “Oh, it will be fine.  As long as it doesn’t fall off while I am driving”.  I guess I should have knocked on the fake wood in the car because, and I am not joking, within 30 seconds, off it came.  One fog light flying in the air and the rest stuck miserably underneath the car.  I quickly stopped the car and went out to inspect.  Nothing seemed to be too damaged.  It was mostly cosmetic.  I pulled the part from under the car, stuck it in between all of the seats  and took the kids to their appointments.

Maybe I am an idiot when it comes to cars.  I don’t have this sense of when a car is about to puke.  I can’t go the dealership and buy a new car when one vomits all kinds of mechanic work on me.

Who knows what the future brings.  Maybe we will be blessed with a car that will last us until our youngest daughter can drive it.  I guess only time will tell.  Just don’t ask me.

Thursday, March 1st

A new month, a new blog.  I decided that my other blog, dyednaturally.wordpress.com, is a specialized blog dedicated to experiments in dyeing with natural elements.  However, I do make, create and do a lot more than just dye fibers with natural dye.  I also make artwork through punch needle designs, rug hook with my naturally dyed yarn/fabric, justify not working out of the house by taking care of a wonderful little boy named Lucas and my darling daughter Lanie.  Lucas’ parents are kind enough to allow me to watch him during the week.  The best part is that Lanie and Lucas get along better than my other children ever have gotten along.  I suppose it’s because they always have a break from each other every day and on the weekends.

Alas, I have gotten off track.  Well, that is to be expected.  My interests are varied.  I enjoy creating things in the kitchen, and I will often claim that I cannot bake, but the truth is I can bake, there are just a few things I am not all that successful in making-especially pie crust and cookies.  I love doing art projects with Lanie and Lucas.  It is so fun to see them paint without having to follow any lines and to get messy.

I am also a self-proclaimed readaholic.  I love to read books, although sometimes I think I read them too fast to really enjoy them.  I have trouble putting a book down.  Most of the time I read before I go to sleep, which helps.  Eventually my eyes begin to show signs that they are ready to close for the day, and I cannot read without them, so I give in, shut the light off and get some shut-eye.  I often wish that I could be a part of a book club, but the books that I have been reading lately are, lets say, a little different.  I haven’t read a novel in at least three months.  I am currently reading two books on the Civil War.

The one I am currently reading is Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson.  It has been so educational and has reminded me of things I learned in history classes that I put in the back of the file cabinet in my brain.  I had forgotten about the Second Great Awakening or the Transcendentalist movement.  I am currently reading about the nomination of Lincoln, but the information about what led to the Civil War has been so insightful.  It allows me to understand more fully the attitudes of people of the time.  I won’t get into the book any further than that, but it really is a wonderful book.

The other book that I am reading, and am currently taking a brief hiatus from is The Civil War, A Narrative Volume III by Shelby Foote.  This book has focused more on the battles and the military and political strategies of the Civil War.  I have so much respect and gratitude for the sacrifices that the soldiers and families of the Civil War era endured so that we could live in a country we live in today.  It is easy to forget how important this era was in American history because it has been 150 years.  But the Civil War and situations surrounding the Civil War really shaped our country into what it is today.  Well, maybe not what it is today, but….

The Civil War: A Narrative (3 Volume Set)

My hope is to show off some projects I have completed at home to inspire other people, or just to show relatives that I can do more than, then, I guess I don’t really know what they think I do.  Regardless, here is my place to share a part of my life with the world. Enjoy!