Welcome !

Hi, I started this new site recently to combine my love of photography and my ongoing journal entries related to my family history.  So I kinda created two sites into one.  This new site collects and helps me catalog and sell some of my archived and special photos I captured from my travels around the world and new photos as I continue to add new snapshots from my travels.  Through this site you can easily pick and purchase a unique photos via a number of photo labs around the world.  I also have archive some of my posts from my original site ‘Grandfathers Cooking’ that I started this year related to my grandfather Ed Ladner and some of our family anecdotes.

So from now on this journal is going to be a bit more on my journey as photographer (certainly armature for now) plus insights on new places, family recipes, and do-it-yourself things for you to review. And of course the occasional story from my family’s history and the characters I met along my journey… Hope you enjoy it!


King Salmon, around 25lbs, I caught in Samish Bay, WA (2015)




My Walkabout…Manhattan, New York


A professional photographer friend of mine whom has given me some sage advice, recently told me that the life of a photographer, in this day and age of everyone who owns a phone has a camera, is just well tough. And of course, no one buys! photos anymore, …well some folks still do thankfully, very thankfully.

The key I am finding as an amateur…maybe pro someday…, and the one thing my friend relayed to me, is the need to ‘diversify and find your niche’. I am still searching for that niche and working hard at diversifying my craft. So, I kinda of plunged in recently on one diverse project and created a short book of photos of interesting bikes and street scenes from a recent trip to New York city.

Below is my ‘Forward’ from my new book, ‘Bikes of New York! : Images of bikes from…Manhattan, NY (Volume 1) ,

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1720986657/ref=cm_sw_r_em_taa_gfOvBbWV73AST} .

Soon, I’ll be in your city creating my new Bikes of …! Or just showing a new project, who know gotta keep working my craft! I hope you enjoy my new book, its available in paperback or kindle versions, please share the link with your bicycle friends too, I appreciate it!

‘My Walkabout’

Well, I did not start to write a book but hope you enjoy a new series I am creating called ‘Bikes of…! I got the idea recently while on a birthday trip to New York City. Walking through the streets of Manhattan over a long weekend plus a day or two I began to see into the vibe of the street life of the city.

On the first few days I took the normal tourist photos and we saw many of the key sites around Manhattan but as we walk the city I began to see something else through my lens.

From Times Square, Central Park, Chelsea, Greenwich, Hell’s Kitchen, Wall Street and countless other interesting places along our sightseeing I began to see the most interesting bikes. New, old, ancient, and abandoned. All types in all types of conditions and everywhere within the city.

From messengers speeding along to their next drop off to bikes abandoned long ago these mechanical beings began to take on a life of their own and tell their stories if we just stopped and looked. It was fun to see the many ’walk’s’ of life these bikes have taken.

Thanks again and check my site for New York street scenes !

‘Bikes of New York! : images of bikes from… Manhattan, New York‘  Now available from Amazon books, Barnes and Noble and many other book sellers.  Thanks !

Little Readers – Bookshelf for Grand kids!

December 7, 2017


Welcome back!  Today’s journal note is a bit of a departure from the MPLowell Photography activities, it’s kinda in the vein of ‘Grandfathers Cooking’ site I originally started and migrated to my current photo website.  I will continue to mix it up a bit for those brave souls that actually read my journal, you all do, right?

Anyway, I thought I would share a quick note on a little Christmas project I did this week for some of our smaller grandkids.  We have a bunch of grandkids, ranging from adults to little ones, they are all special of course!  It’s a bit, how to, Grandpa’s activities and some photos thrown in to show a few steps in case you may want to create one for your little ones.

So, my father was always building something in his spare time mostly on weekends to stay out of the way of us six kids running all over the place.  Dad did lots of projects, mostly woodworking ones for our home.  I would help him now and then as I grew up, so I guess some of his knowledge and teaching actually rubbed off a bit.  Thanks Dad.

The idea from the better half the other day was to create a small bookshelf ( small kids size) that they could keep and use for their books they have here at our place when they visit.  It gets the books out of a dresser and down to their level for them to hopefully interact with and access easier to help as they gain more reading skills.

I had a few red oak boards laying about in my little shop, so the other day I went to work to create a small book shelf for them.  I have most of the tools needed and only had to buy one more oak board (1x3x6) to make up for what I could not salvage from my shop wood stock.

The dimensions are approximately 24” high x 20“ wide by 12” deep.  Just enough space for some of the books we have in the ‘spare / grandkids sleep over’ room, with space to add more books along the way.  The 1×12” pieces are set at 4” from top and 4” from bottom with a 1×6” added to the top to create a little cubby that kids like to put things in at times.




Measure, Cut, Glue, Peg and Final Assembly

As I mentioned I used red oak boards, 1”x3”x6’ (qty 2); 1”x 6” x 6’ (qty 1); 1”x 12” x 6’ (qty 1) available at your local lumber store or in your own shop wood shop stock.  They can be somewhat pricey (select good clean warp free boards) but using these select boards will ensure this project lasts for a good long time.

On this project I did not use any nails or screws, yup went old school!  Just used wood glue and wood pegs, channeling Dad and ‘Norm on this Old House’ I guess, plus I had never done that process before so thought this was an easy test and it worked just fine.  For the 1×12” and 1×6” pieces I used 1/4” doweling and for the 1×3 boards I used 3/16” doweling. Those pegs and regular wood glue made a real strong bookshelf.  Three dowels about 2” long for holding the 1×6” (qty 6) and 1×12” (qty 12) pieces, two dowels about 1 1/5” for the 1×3” (qty 16) pieces.


NOTE: For this project (and many countless others mind you) I used my wood clamps (sliding  photo) of varying sizes.  If you don’t have any add them to your Christmas wish list!  Four footers are good all-around use, maybe a few shorter ones too if you can manage.  They are a good investment and are a must when working on any kinda project in your shop or garage or home.  Be careful in cutting and sanding all the pieces and always use safety glasses!

Measured out your cut list depending on the size you want to use, reference the pictures and keep it fairly symmetrical then align and clamp your 1×12”s and 1×6” boards in place to your dimensions, check squareness and final check before drilling.  Drill using a ¼” bit three holes spaced evenly through the 1×6” board into the 1/12” shelf board.  I use a piece of tape wound around the drill bit, so you know how deep your needing to drill, not too far in or your doweling will get lost!

It’s also good idea at this point to mark each board so you’ll know what side they match up too once your ready to glue and peg, also pick a front and back and mark those too. Just a small pencil mark works, you’ll sand it away once final assembled.  Once you get them drilled unclamp and clean out any sawdust in the holes, rough areas by the holes and then get your pegs and glue ready.

Align your boards back up, matching your marks and once your sure of the alignment take off one side, add wood glue to the areas and assemble again.  I then use an awl or a drill bit to make sure all the holes are aligned then add the wood pegs.  Pound them in, then saw off flush with the board face.  Repeat for the other side.

Now align the 1×3” boards the same way, making sure they are flush and straight and drill two 3/16” holes spaced evenly into the 1×12” shelf boards, both sides, top and bottom.  Again, mark the boards before disassembling.  Repeat the clean, realign, clamp, glue, peg like you did prior as noted above.  Finally align the 1×6” board for the top and drill, then clean, realign, clamp, glue, peg.  I then re-clamp the bookshelf along the main surfaces to ensure a good hold for everything and to squeeze out any excess glue.  Clean up glue as needed, trim any remaining pegs flush and then let sit overnight to cure.

Sanding and Finishing

Take off your clamps from last night and inspect your work, if it’s all good start sanding!  If you used good ‘select’ or ‘choice’ red oak the boards you won’t need too much sanding.  I used my belt sander (80 grit) to quickly sand pegs surfaces on sides and top, also the legs bottom to ensure its all level, just a few swipes, not too much, belt sanders have a mind of their own at times.  Then I use my small orbital sander with 100 grit, then 150 grit, then 220 grit as needed to get a nice smooth sanded surface.  I also rounded all the edges and corners in addition, to ensure smoothness for the little ones.

I then wiped the entire bookshelf to remove dust, I used paint thinner and cotton cloth, (tack rags are better, but I did not have any laying around the shop.  I did get some more the other day!)   I let it dry overnight to let the fumes dissipate.  Next day, I used 440 grit to finish it off, then wiped it down again to remove any remaining dust.

For this project since I used red oak which I like the red wood color, I decided not to stain or use any sealer or varnish.  Instead I used ‘Butchers Block’ conditioner which is a natural grade food mineral oil and natural carnauba and beeswax product you can find at any hardware or lumber store.  Its natural and safe for everyday use.

I usually have this around in my shop to treat and condition our wood cutting boards.  (If you have not done this to your cutting boards try it soon, it’s a great product and will keep your cutting boards in very good shape and free from contaminants.  I’ll add a link in a few days on doing this DIY process).

The ‘Butches Block’ conditioner works like any oil sealer and it lightly allows the true red oak wood grain to remain and preserves naturally the bookshelf.  Add it liberally and let it soak in for a while then rub off excess.

You can certainly use your choice of oil, stain, sealer, or varnish. If you do stain use a light one to preserve the nice red oak patina of the wood.  Same goes with varnish or sealer, use a non-colored one.  Also, if you do the following wood burning step, do this work before you stain or use any varnish!


Here is my result with just the butchers block oil used, it adds a nice color and protection for a long time and if it every looks old or dry I can reapply anytime but the should last a long time.   As shown in the final picture, I went ahead and also used a wood burning iron to carve ‘Grandkids Books’ on the top.  Do this work before you stain or use any varnish! It’s a nice touch and makes it a bit more homemade, if your kids / grandkids are helping you at this stage let them design it.

When using wood burning irons (available at any hobby store) try a couple of times on a scrap piece of wood and use some glove to protect yourself.  When you’re ready, write the phase or names on a piece of masking tape.  Align the tape where you want on the shelf (I did the top) to use as a simple template for your memento phase.  Press through the tape and burn the wood once you’re sure you have the outline at least remove the tape and finish off any spots that need additional wood burning.

Let dry completely for a day or so and then place in your grandkid / kid’s room and load up the books!   Enjoy, use good safety practices and have fun !

Succumbing to the holiday sales ! Buy Local!

MPLowell Photography !!    Black Friday Sale !!
Till Monday ! – 50 % OFF all Photos ! 

End of the Season Sale!!  Buy now for your Holidays

(‘yes I know but hey gotta try to make a buck now and then hug?!!’ )

Great photos of the USA and many Global Travel Sites !

Including Great Pacific Northwest Locations !

From Thursday November 23rd to Monday November 27th!

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

And so it begins.  Alas the 45 day or so march to the holiday shopping quagmire.  Every year is gets more crazy, ‘Black Friday’ sales now beginning on ‘can’t wait Thursdays’ no less.  Onward the commercials will come till December 24th, then the ‘after Christmas sales’ begin don’t ya know.  Big sigh…

Not sure when they started ‘Black Friday’ sales.  I think it started back in the late 70’s or 80’s, probably during one of our recessions or during  one of those years where everyone got to experience ‘run out of gas day’ while waiting in line for gas only to find out your on the wrong day kinda season.  You old folks remember don’t ya…yup.

So my figuring is the retail stores likely thought everyone would keep buying up all the toys, cloths, nonsense gifts, barbie dolls, GI Joe, Six Million Dollar Man lunchboxes, etc, forever, forever.  I liked the Tonka toys, they lasted till summer at least.  But ya know consumers didn’t have that much to spend, they didn’t have so some much credit to use back then.  Ya, we had Sears and Penny’s maybe a few more local places like Kmart or such.  You had lay away,…you made payments. You had to actually go out to a store and look, touch, feel and then buy, cash or credit – ‘Put it on our account Floyd…’

Now a-days any company that wants, can and does, provides their own brand of credit card.  Black Friday was created just to erase ‘RED rest of the year‘.  Where consumers spend the next ten months or so paying the stuff off.

Anyway I know everyone has heard it before.  Pretty hard to change it now.  This note tonight is not about the 70’s or 80’s or the Gas shortages, or the banking and credit crises or whatever else, including online commercialization we have lived through these many years

No, maybe it is about the little guy or gal that has that nice little store, shop, gallery, market, or kiosk in your local town.  Just trying to make a buck or two like they did back then, before the internet took over.  These nice people offer those unique gifts and items hard to find online.  Small Businesses too few and its a tough job these days .

Its harder and harder to compete when you can buy anything, anytime, anywhere and shipped to your doorstep, even when your in your pajamas.  Yes its not easy to go down to the local store, galleries, wineries, craftsman, artist, or the nice place around the corner or so that sells those hand made items.  Or is it?   Try it.  Try it soon. Try it this weekend, Saturday maybe?

Remember while your sitting in your pajamas this weekend maybe buying a nice photograph from a local photographer or something… Its ‘Small Business Saturday’ this Saturday November 25th!  A new (what was old) American Tradition!  They take cash and credit cards…

So enjoy the shopping madness this year, relax don’t stress.  Go shop and actually talk to the local storekeepers, artists and vendors.  And when your back home after a good day of shopping finding that unique local gift, please take a look at my website ! 🙂

I’m having a BIG sale ya know.  Seriously 50% off !

Enjoy, find a nice photo to make you smile at life !

Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Hanukkah and may you have a very Merry Christmas.

Fishings over, heading back to Edmonds - MPL 05212015 -72 PPI

All the best to you and may you enjoy the holidays!



Where have I been?? Oh my what a summer!

October 2017

Okay summer is officially over, last week the first day of fall fell upon us.  I have not written or loaded up the website with photos as I kinda took the summer off…being retired and all why not?  Yes, I know you’ve all waited breathlessly for my latest journal news, I’ll bet…OK maybe a few?  Ok so hold on, since is been a while I am going to try to catch up a bit with ya all before Halloween …

Anyway, this summer was just too great here in Washington to pass up indoors.  Many days of sunshine (sunshine records set this year!)  Imagine that here in Seattle area no rain for the whole summer.  My water bill and of course the local water district thanks us I’m sure, my grass and garden did appreciate it.  I worked on my golf game pretty much every week, sometimes twice in a week.  Played many a different golf course around western Washington, with family and friends, lots of sunshine, fun and misery trying to improve my golf game.  Still a double-digit handicap (I won’t say which digits until we are back on the course) but all in all the first summer ever, that I played so much golf.

Through the summer meant more time with youngest grandkids, they graduated you know, from preschool / daycare/ they do that now, it’s called ‘moving up’.  (I bet your humming the ‘Jefferson’s’ tune, now right? J ) Fun to watch them in actual cap and gowns, it was very special for them.  So many summer days spent at parks, beach, children’s museum, aquarium and anyplace in between.   We have many grandchildren but this time at their younger age we are retired so it’s a different time, nice.   It takes a village ya know.

We did experience lots of smoke from the many forest fires going on this year, comes from all this nice sunshine we had in the region.  We had many fires round the Cascade mountains a few miles away but even more over in Eastern Washington.  There were even days where smoke clouds drifting along and down Puget Sound to us from Vancouver B.C., Canada, thick as a backed-up chimney at times.  Some days we even had ash dropping around the Seattle area like muted snow.  Reminded us all of Mount St Helens…

July 4th, we enjoyed a very nice time at my sister’s place, she and her husband took over the 4th of July duties for the family this year.  My wife and I used to put on a big 4th of July party in our house in Edmonds, WA which we sold a year or so ago to move closer to all the kids and grandkids.  The city had parades, fun runs and late-night fireworks and more.  We lived across the street where the city provided big fireworks for the all the residents, it usually had thousands venture into the civic stadium area to enjoy the show.  My wife and I for the last nineteen years or so pulled together and prepped for three days before and a few days after, for everyone to come down and enjoy family, friend’s, BBQ and the fireworks show.  Our house was affectionately called the ‘Fireworks house’.  We don’t miss all that work.  Thanks Pati and Glen!

As the lazy days of summer moved along, we had more time with family, more outings, gardening and just settling into sunshine filled summer routines.  My wife and I took some special day trips to the county fair, places of interest, small wineries and our annual La Conner, WA visit.

We normally go to La Conner every year, sometimes during the Tulip days of spring or sometimes more than once, like this year we took off for a nice summer day strolling around and had lunch along the channel waterfront.  It’s a great little city up north of us in Skagit County, about 40 to 50 minutes from Seattle or so.  Walked the many quaint shops, antique stores or checked out the many restaurants then picked one to watch the boats navigate through the Swinomish Channel up to Anacortes probably heading into the San Juan Islands.

See my photo site for more visions of La Conner, (http://www.mplowellphotography.com/The-Sea/La-Conner-Washington ) or you can also read more about it at ( http://lovelaconner.com/ ).

So now its early fall, in a few days I will be bringing in the lawn and patio furniture before the cold rains and winter snows start falling.  Halloween is right around the corner.  Leaves here are turning bright colors already, hope it’s not a sign of a too cold of a winter.

I’ll try to keep better tabs on this journal, I know everyone is waiting for the next wondrous posting and more words or my wisdom, OK stop laughing!

Lastly, just a comment or two.  As we all know, we have had a tough year in our world.  Politics, divided peoples, issues that make us stop and think of days gone by.  Lots of things happening that none of us seem to be able to accept or understand readily.  May take more time than we all want or think but well make it through to the other side.  Just remember to smile, be nice to your neighbors, hug you kids and kiss your spouse.

I heard these words the other day, pretty relevant these last few weeks.  Remember Mister Rogers words, yes him he was a pretty savvy guy.  In this turbulent time now, they seem even more insightful –

‘”When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers–so many caring people in this world.” … Mister Rogers

How true these words.

That’s all for now, hope your all caught up. Got to get dinner started for daughters and older grandkids coming over, will be nice.  God bless, and God bless the helpers everywhere.

Thanks for reading, see ya!


Of Valentines, Creole Cooking and Family Matters

Hi its been a few months since I last wrote.  I had signed off in February and wished you all a happy St. Valentines day.  Little did I know that it would be a turning point in our family, my education on the perils of old age and understanding of a persons resilience and determination.  I did get a short respite from the winter wetness of Northwestern Washington back in the South region of the US, but I’ll save that story for the end…

So first let me share a tough story, this may be a bit blunt for a bit.  One that our family has been dealing, working, caring and getting educated on…since Valentines Day.   My sweet mother of 85 years had a stroke on St Valentines day.  Damn. She may not like that I am telling you this but in the end I know she would like to let other’s know of the challenges least it occurs in your family or god forbid you.  Its one reason I really have not been in the mood to write or reminisce.  To say it was a ‘good stroke or a bad stoke’ is a bit perplexing.  From where we began, the then and now, there really is not a ‘good stroke’.  They all suck.

My mom, Sue, was in Arizona at her place in Apache Junction.  As she was getting ready for a visit from two of my sisters she had a stroke.  I was not there.  That was the worse. Miles away, I get a call.  Thank god, my sister Mary had installed a ‘First Alert’ system at her place.  Thank god, a neighbor just happened to be taking her daily stroll pass mom’s park model in the resort.  Thank god she just happened to be a care giver and recognized the First Alert alarm.  Thank you Patty, you are a true life saver!  Thank God.

Ok, I must admit, when you get a call in Washington from the First Alert folks letting you know something (not good, it never is…) that has happened 1448 miles away, 24 hours by car about 3 hours by air of course not counting the TSA maze; its quite alarming.  But thanks for mom’s friends whom within minutes were by her side, the Fire Department as well, thankfully they were only a few blocks away.

So as luck would have it mom was able to be transported to the local hospital quickly.  There they asked her if she wanted to have the TPA drug – ‘clot buster’ – she had had an Ischemic Stroke, the drug could do two things for her, help her or kill her.  Mom is a ‘Greatest Generation’ kind of gal, she said the hell with it give it to me.

Thank God, it worked.

So now, three months later, mom has done the rehab in Arizona, family surrounded her like wings of mother hens, my sisters and I spent time in Arizona as she went through rehab, daily struggles and a few doctors that said she may not walk or use her left hand.  But our heartfelt thanks to all her caregivers there in Arizona and here in Washington, whom do a great service to folks recovering from all sort of ailments.  I was amazed of all the patience and caring they provided to mom and the many others at the many facilities.  Mom worked with them every day, and got herself well enough to come back to her home town of Edmonds, Washington.  More work, more rehab.  More struggles.  But alas as some of you know my mom is a bit of a fighter, she was determined to work hard to recover.  And she did.

For us kids it settled into a routine and an education.  Understanding the differences from Post Rehab to a Skilled Nursing Facility, Medicare will cover this but not that, wow what we have learned.  Note to all, educate yourselves now on the challenges of old age and the ins and outs of insurance, medicare and how to care for an elderly parent.

I know I am not the first to tell you all this, and know many of you have gone down this road already but they really did not teach us this back in school did they?  Maybe they should.  We are living longer and more active lifestyles.  I hope my kids read this as some day, I hope not, but the time may come for me as well.  Maybe, maybe not.

Mom will be released later this month to go back to her home here.  Joy is not an adequate term for our family to to see her back at her own home.  We are all very proud of her efforts and determination.  It could have been a very different road.  Yes its gonna be different for her now, not quite the same but as she likes to say, “life is like a bowl of chocolates, ya never know what your gonna get’!  You go girl! 🙂

Oh yeah, about the south.  We are lucky to have a big family, all of us could take a break away from hospital rooms, rehab facilities and challenges of moms recovery to take a short break to refresh.  For my wife and I we had planned last year to explore the south and tour the ‘ Music Cities of America’, visiting New Orleans, Memphis and Nashville.  Visiting the roots of Jazz, Soul, Rock and Roll and Country Music.  It was a great tour and we got a short break from things back home and our wet winter.

I have added a few photos and comments on my website of our travels.  I will keep a bit more up to date for you as I continue the journey.  So for now, as usual I like to add a bit of cooking into my journal, this time its in the form of a treat we had in New Orleans.  We spent a fun night in NOLA learning and eating real New Orleans cooking, courtesy of the ‘New Orleans Cooking School of Cooking’,  (524 St Louis Street, New Orleans).  We were treated to Gumbo, Chicken Etouffee, Pralines and an New Orleans original desert; Bananas Foster.

So if you have time make this for your family and friends (originally made at “Brennan’s’ Restaurant in New Orleans, made there since the 1950’s) please do its a fun treat, remember the ‘voodoo’ spice!

And if you lucky enough to still have mom or dad around make it for them and savor the times, if not invite the kids or friends over.  And give them a big hug.   Ya’ll take care !

‘Bananas Foster’


1/4 lb. butter (1 stick)
1/2 lb. dark brown sugar
2 bananas ( mushy ones work better, more flavor)
2 oz. banana liqueur
4 oz dark rum
ground cinnamon
good vanilla ice cream


Melt butter and add brown sugar to form a creamy paste.  Let this mixture caramelize over medium heat for approximately five (5) minutes.

Stir in the banana liqueur, bananas, and rum.  Heat and using a long neck lighter, light the mixture (CAREFULLY) for a flambe.  Agitate (move briskly) the pan to keep the flame burning and while the family is watching, sprinkle some voodoo magic ( ha! the cinnamon ) to the flame! (don’t worry about a mess it will clean up just fine)

Let the flame go out, serve hot over the cold ice cream and enjoy family times.

So thanks for keeping with me, sorry for the long pause, ya all know why now.  Take care and we love ya mom!


MP Lowell











Back at ya – 2017!


* History is a wonderful thing…

Sorry it’s been a while since I have written a note of two.  It’s been one of those times when too many things came at you and life in general catches you by the tail and won’t let go.  With the holidays, more hectic last year since the wife and I decided to take a long cruise to the Southern Caribbean Islands it complicated things for sure.  Leaving for the cruise the weekend after Thanksgiving, so right during the most hectic days for the remaining year we said the hell with it and took off.

When we got back from our extended cruise we had less than two weeks to get the Christmas decorations down from the garage, put the house lights up, decorate the interior of the house, decorate the tree and oh yea go shopping!  We could have gotten those special T-shirts for the kids and grandkids of course – you know – ‘Grandma and Grandpa went on a cruise and all we got were these T-shirts’…but we didn’t think that would go over very well!

Yes, it was a scramble and lessons learned for sure.  Well it was planned for about a year in advance but ya know it kinda snuck up on us.  So, Halloween came and went, then the spooky election activities, then Thanksgiving turned to Christmas and so the year ended quickly and I just didn’t have time to write.

Also, I had a sort of writer’s block so there’s that too I guess…

There were lots of things to write about of course, the election, the protests, ah I don’t think so.

How about our Seattle Seahawks marching to the Superbowl?  Oh, wait that didn’t happen, did it?

So, I took some time to go through all the thousands of Caribbean photos that I took, well maybe not thousands but at least hundreds.  My wife continued to point out we really did not need the dozens of shots of the ship or the questionable shots of beach attire that folks wore, what me?

So, it took a bit longer than usual and then I got a bit burnt out from all the photos of sun, beaches and sunsets while sitting in my home office looking at cold, grey and raining Pacific Northwest very winter days.  But today I am looking out at the heavy dump of snow the region got, its still with us but at least its clear today with none in the forecast and maybe even a bit of sun to help melt it away.

And so, I began again to get the spark of winters writer’s energy and thoughts of history came to mind.

Maybe it was watching the LI Superbowl, wow what a game. We all saw history last Sunday night.  An unreal comeback, a unreal loss, a first ever Superbowl tied game that went into the first ever overtime win.  And a quarterback, that while most of us in Seahawks country love to hate, gained some respect (ok, for about fifteen minutes or so…) for his fifth Superbowl win and his teams unreal performance in the last quarter of the game.

The rest of the story I will leave to our nations sportswriters.  At least now they can talk about the poor Falcons’ loss and not about the Seahawks passing fiasco during their last play at the 2015 Superbowl.  And yes, they should have given it to Marshawn…

I also spent some of the winter months going through one of my Grandfathers old baking cookbooks, circa 1935, to scan it for my family and his descendants.  The picture above is one of his cookbooks that caused me to begin all this journal writing.  It’s his ‘workbook’ if you will from his 1935 General Mill’s bakery school.  ‘Sweetex’ was a brand of ‘high ratio’ (tasted better than Crisco I guess) shortening P&G developed back in the day.  The scanned book is rather large (73MB) so I will not be posting it – sorry fans.  But if you know one of Grandpa Ed’s descendants look them up, I sent them all a ecopy!

It’s funny but I think history is something we all need to keep in front us. When we believe in our rights or things that are wrong, history happens.  We saw a lady run for president and loose surprisingly.  We see the winner of that election take the country into new areas we thought were behind us.  Yes, have a new president, and we must all respect the office he holds. We pray he leads us correctly.  We all must continue to stand up for what we believe is right, we may not agree but we remember we all have the freedom to say it.  That’s what America’s history is all about.

As 2017 begins, (its February already!) we see our country look towards our Constitution, itself two hundred and forty years old, for answers and hopefully direction.

That’s our most important piece of history we all need to keep in front of us.

Ok enough of the soapbox suds.  Now, take some time as we begin the year – go through those old photos, mementos and memories of your family’s past. Share them with your new generation, tell them your favorite stories, make them some cookies or a cake.

Let them remember their ancestor’s past, their history.

I’ll keep writing but in case I’m a bit lagging this month – Happy Valentine’s Day!

(Sugar Cookies!)


* Sweetex Shortening was a premium solid shortening developed for use in hi-ratio cakes. Cakes made with Sweetex have outstanding flavor and texture. Brilliant white icings made with Sweetex have superior spreadability and excellent mouthfeel.  It still can be found in specialty stores or online.