Why so many photos ???

As part of  my de-cluttering goals, I am going through my photo files on  my computer. It quickly became obvious that I \take too many photos. Some of the folders contain hundreds of photos – many of which are very similar. Why do I do that? I \guess it is because it is so easy with digital photos to keep snapping.


So, you would think it would be easy to eliminate most of the duplicates or near duplicates. Ahh — not so quick. I still look at each one and often edit them – just to make sure they aren’t a ‘keeper.’


Of course, then there is the question of what I am going to do with the photos that I keep. Many of them are of the grand kids so each family will be receiving a zip drive with their photos. However, there are lots of other photos that remain – old buildings, flowers, scenery, etc. What do I do with them? I can’t just eliminate them – because, they are just like my yarn for knitting and crocheting. You can never have too much yarn. And, evidently, you can never have too many pictures. I just have io think of something to do with those photos. I’ve included a few of my favorites in this blog. There are hundreds more …




Now, back to editing photos …

Thanks for reading! I hope you will return!!

Snippet stories …

Snippet …  a small piece or brief extract.

From time to time, I will be sharing snippets of my life through this blog. The idea came to me while I was creating a list of items that I want to remember and include in a self-autobiography booklet. At first, I didn’t think there would be much on that list. However, as I thought of events and people, I started remembering more and more. As a result, it will take a long time to create the booklet. In the mean time, however, I will occasionally share a ‘snippet story.’

Snippet #1:  The Circus and Hula Hoops

I recently went to a locally presented circus with my lady friends and great-granddaughter. Most of the acts were trapeze, juggling and the like. The only animal acts were two gorgeous elephants and a few graceful horses. But what caught my attention was the woman who performed with hoops. She started with a few and ended up with many. Spectacular!



As she started to twirl the hoops around her slim body, I immediately went back to my teenage years. My favorite physical activity at that time was my hula hoops. I would twirl them around my arms,  up and down my body –  as many as three at a time. Three not many like the circus performer.  My hula hoops were plastic; the circus performer’s were metal. How I loved my hula hoops!! I would spend hours, outside on the back sidewalk – hopefully where no one was watching – and twirl away. Now I couldn’t keep one of them around my waist for even a few seconds!! Of course, my waist is not the same as it was then.

What was your favorite thing to do when you were a teenager?


Thanks for reading!! I hope you will return. 


Hang in there, folks …

Hang in there, folks! I am not able to publish any blogs for a while. My internet service is acting up – so much so that we are changing companies. I will be back to posting as soon as I can. And I will share this ordeal with you.

Thanks for your patience.

The Goose Call Escapade …

Recently we were sitting the deck, talking about my recent blog about my mother-in-laws autobiography booklet – (The Book of Edna … an idea for you). Her stories got us talking about our stories and remembering things we had long forgot. Silly and fun stories. We were also talking about Memorial Day and remembering family and friends who have passed. When you combine the two – silly and fun – and people who have passed – we remembered the goose call escapade.

Several years ago we went to the sprint car races in Knoxville, Iowa, with another couple who are long-time friends, Ron and Mary. Ron – at that time – was a local law enforcement officer; he also was a character. You could immediately tell by his sparkling green eyes.

The trip to Knoxville is a long drive from our homes in Princeton – especially with 4 people in the cab of a 1972 Chevrolet pickup. Even if you are friends. As side note – the pickup was affectionately called “Killer Truck” because it had a 427 chevy, big block engine in it.

For some reason, Ron decided to take out his goose call. (I am not sure why he had it with him.) Then he would randomly blow the call when we saw someone outside in their yard or walking on the street. Some people jumped; some people waved; and some others laughed. And we laughed a little.

Then we went by a woman who was bent over, working in her garden. (You know – bent over at the waist but standing.) Ron quickly blew the goose call. She did not wave. But she did jump. Actually, she tipped over in the garden. And we laughed – a lot harder than before. (She did get right up, but still … ) Now we wonder if she was the impetus for the garden signs that show the woman bent over.

Later, as we were driving in Mason City, Iowa, we had a motorcycle in front of us. Ron decided to blow the goose call again when we came to a stop. The  motorcycle in front of us tipped over !!!! but in slow motion. Then we really laughed. In fact, the motorcyclist laughed, too, once he had his cycle back up.  And we laughed some more. But then we decided we better quit blowing that goose call.

It used to be much easier to entertain ourselves.

Take a minute and think about what you have done in your life. I think you will be surprised how many good stories you have to tell.

Thanks for reading!! I hope you return.

Note: The picture in this blog shows up when you do a google search. I wasn’t able to trace where it came from. 

The Case of the Genealogical “Nuts” …

This story was written by my mother, Shirley Olene, as part of her Shirley’s Second Sampler column in the  Echoes (senior citizen) publication (March 1990). Keep in mind that this story was written almost 30 years ago and research methods have changed – to some extent – because they are available electronically. The records you need to review have not changed. What you will find when doing genealogy is a story. There is always an interesting story or stories. Every family has a story worth telling.


Once upon a time (actually January 20, 1990) , three normally quite same people set out on an expedition in search of genealogical information.

Following a well-prepared map and written instructions (and only missing the location of a dark blue house), they easily came to their destination — a beautiful cabin situated on Long Lake, north of Turtle Lake, Wisconsin.

Waiting to greet them was a fourth woman, an expert on the Fuecker/Fadden connection (to which they all belong), who just happens to be the librarian for the Minnesota Genealogical Society (have to brag a little), besides being a second cousin to the above mentioned trio (okay, okay, so one is a second cousin, once removed).

Upon entering her home, it became very apparent that the fourth person, hereafter referred to as ‘Ozzie,’ had anticipated a multitude of questions for there were stacks of documents and files of data o the kitchen counter, the buffet and the floor. The dining room table was cleared and out came the notebooks and pens with which the visitors had armed themselves. And the chatter began.


Pens began to move rapidly. Obituaries were checked (an excellent source of information or confirmation of facts). Newspaper clippings (or copies thereof) were reviewed, as were military records and “intention to become a citizen” documents.


Stories of our ancestors were revealed, some of which could best be described as “skeletons in the closet.” For instance, there was the one about a notorious horse thief, one Dick Fadden. As reported in the Grainery Gazetter (and originally noted in the Red River Star, Moorhead, Minnesota; August 3, 1872), this man was quite adept at avoiding his captors and was still at large when the item was published. Another concerned brothers, Aaron and John Fadden(s) and a couple of their friends who were captured at Crookston May 5, 1904 and who admitted that they had robbed stores in Rockville and Cold Spring and also the post office at Rockville. (This item was found in the History of Stearns County Minnesota, Volume II, 1915.)

We heard about on John Fadden, a sloopmaster from the Eastward, who was found frozen to death one and one-half miles from his ship on Cape Cod on March 24, 1755.

I heard again the story of how my Uncle George, age 4, was accidentally shot to death by his brother, age 7, while playing with a gun.

All present reacted with glee and delight at the enthusiasm of the youngest member of the group who is just starting on the never-ending journey of genealogical research.

“Lunch is ready,” so notebooks and pens were temporarily laid aside. The conversation was still basically “genealogical,” with questions flying and clarifications sought.

I should mention at this point that Ozzie’s very patient and understanding husband, Jerry, was carefully avoiding us, though he did check in from his basement vantage point from time to time to see what ‘condition’ we were in.

Digging for information only brought on more digging. Soon out came the cameras (another family condition) to record the scene (both inside and out).


At this point, don’t ask who is related to whom. There will have to be a good deal of compilation of facts before we get everything straight, if we ever do.

Perhaps you don’t know anyone afflicted with this particular malady, but those of you who are will know whereof I speak.

After a couple of hours more, notebooks closed, but it took another two hours or so of talk before the intrepid trio reluctantly set their course for home, after just one more cup of coffee for the road.

If you see any of these glassy-eyed people, do not disturb but point them in the direction of the nearest bed – and, PLEASE, no more coffee!!

And Ozzie poured. 


I came across this article as I was de-cluttering again today. And, yes, I was one of those ‘nuts.’ It’s been 28 years and I am still doing genealogical research – hoping to put my years of research together. But, yet, there is always more to find. I recently found that my seven-time great-grandfather murdered my seven-time great-grandmother and may have escaped to England before he could be put in prison!!! I must pursue this story!!


Shirley Fadden Olene (1921-2001) was a columnist for the Princeton Union Eagle (Princeton, MN) – with her column titled Shirley’s Sampler and later for the Senior Federation Echoes publication (MN) – with her column titled Shirley’s Second Sampler. She also worked for ECM as a proof reader and as a correspondent for the St. Cloud Times.


Thanks for reading!! I hope you return. 






The Book of Edna … an idea for you

I am back at de-cluttering, a little at a time. The target of the day – the spare bedroom where we found some things that my mother-in-law saved. (She lived with us for five years before she passed at the age of 98 1/2.)  In that collection of stuff, we found a wonderful treasure – something that you may want to replicate to help you remember and understand your loved ones.

On Edna’s 93rd birthday (Sept. 7, 2002), our daughter gave her a book entitled The Book of Myself: A Do-It=Yourself Autobiography in 201 QuestionsThe thought behind the book was to give her something to do – to pass the time. Each question had a space for her to enter a response. And, given the number of questions, it would take her quite some time to finish the book. However, she finished her book by Thanksgiving of that year. At that point, it was decided that her work was worth sharing with other family members by putting it in a booklet form and giving the booklets as Christmas presents.

Reading the booklet, I realized that this idea can be easily used for grandparents and friends – anyone you want to know more about or where you want to remember their stories. Not only does it give them something to work on, it helps you to know who they truly were, what they thought, what they wished for, what they dreamed. And the bonus – the person will think back and remember – and realize they have a story to tell!

table of colntents edna.jpg

This book was done over 15 years ago. Now you could generate a list of questions and provide a journal for the person answering the questions. Or you could send a computer file with the questions and let the person fill in the list. If they use a computer, you can take the finished questions, edit, add pictures and get the booklet printed. Potentially, it’s much easier to do this now but the old-fashioned way works, too. (You just have to do what our daughter did – and type it up.) You can also add other remembrances. For example, Edna’s booklet includes her favorite hymn Just as I am Without a Plea and a favorite German folk song that she would often sing: Du, Du LIegst Mir Im Hierzen.  

just as i am edna.jpg

You are only limited by your creativity. Edna’s book is broken down into chapters  — The Early Years, The Middle Years and the Later Years. Here, again, you can arrange the book any way you want. 

One of my favorite responses from Edna:

Question/Statement: This is how we usually ate dinner as a family:

Her response: We always gathered around the table. Pa said the prayer before we ate, and all of us kids had to say our little prayer. It was “Abba, lieber fater. Amen.” which meant “Abba, dear father, Amen.” 

The items were originally posed as questions; the statements below were used for her responses in the booklet. You can add or eliminate questions, based on the era of the person answering and some of their interests (if you know them ahead of time.) For example,  you might add:

  • What was your nickname as a child/
  • What is a family favorite food dish?
  • What is your favorite food from a restaurant?
  • What is your favorite vacation spot and why?
  • What is your favorite cousin story?

(from Edna’s book)


  1. One of Mom’s traits that I admired:
  2. If I had any trouble with my Mom growing up, it was in this area:
  3. One of Dad’s traits that I admired:
  4. It I had any trouble with my Dad growing up, it was in this area:
  5. I remember getting into trouble with my parents on this occasion:
  6. This is how we usually ate dinner as family:
  7. My parents felt strongly about passing on these lessons:
  8. This person in my family was more serious than the rest:
  9. The present I got from my parents that really sticks in my memory:
  10. What I remember about my first trip to the hospital:
  11. One of my most memorable toys was:
  12. This is how my family celebrated Christmas:
  13. This is what we usually did at Thanksgiving:
  14. I want you to know this about my Grandmother:
  15. If I remember anything about my great grandparents it is this:
  16. The country or countries of my ancestors came from is this:
  17. My hairstyles and natural hair color growing up where:
  18. My family’s first TV/computer was in the year:
  19. In the afternoon after school, I used to:
  20. Games I liked to play as a child and youth were:
  21. What I like about my siblings was:
  22. People described me as a child in this way:
  23. We had these pets or access to other animals growing up:
  24. This person significantly influenced my life growing up:
  25. My best friend during childhood was:
  26. I admired this friend because of the following:
  27. I was generally popular or unpopular because:
  28. I helped a person greatly on this occasion:
  29. I wanted this person to be my friend but the feeling was not mutual:
  30. I had a childhood crush on this person.
  31. What my friends and I like to do best was:
  32. If my parents had only known I did this forbidden thing with my friends:
  33. I really enjoyed this grade in elementary school:
  34. One of my most memorable teachers in elementary school was:
  35. I had a lot of fun with this subject in elementary school:
  36. I had some trouble with this subject in junior high or high school:
  37. When I was very young I thought I would be like this when I grew up:
  38. If I didn’t graduate from high school, it was because:
  39. This is why I didn’t go to college:
  40. This is one of the most important things about life I learned in school:
  41. This is how I got to school every morning in the early years:
  42. One of my earliest memories about school was:
  43. These were my favorite sports in school:
  44. One of my favorite kinds of homework was:
  45. My elementary and high schools could be described as:
  46. My teachers generally described me as this kind of student:
  47. My religious training growing up was:
  48. What I enjoyed most after school hours was:
  49. I remember these chores when growing up.
  50. My first job for pay was:
  51. I enjoyed this particular work assignment:
  52. I took care of this person or persons while growing up:
  53. I remember this about my Mother’s work and responsibilities:
  54. I remember this about my Father’s work and responsibilities:
  55. I hated this particular work assignment:
  56. This is the profession that I often mentioned when people asked me what I was going to be when I grew up:
  57. My memories of the biggest war or serious conflict during my early years are these;
  58. This is what war meant to me growing up:
  59. This was a big wartime event that marked a turning point in the world:
  60. I liked this kind of music and these musicians growing up:
  61. The clothes fashions of my childhood were:
  62. Some of my favorite Hollywood actors and actresses were:
  63. Some of my favorite movies from my childhood are:
  64. I remember when these technological advances were made:
  65. My parents felt this way about politics:
  66. My world consisted of this geographic area:


  1. For a while I thought I would marry this person, but I didn’t:
  2. My first serious romance was with:
  3. One of my Mom’s strongest characteristics was:
  4. One of my Dad’s strongest characteristics was:
  5. This issue caused a great rift between me and my parents:
  6. We (my parents and I) reconciled after this happened:
  7. My hairstyles and hair color during these years was;
  8. The story about how I became engaged is:
  9. I remember my wedding well for this:
  10. This is how we decided how many children to have:
  11. I remember the birth(s) of our children well:
  12. Some of the things I loved doing with my family were:
  13. This was a particularly memorable vacation with my loved ones:
  14. This health problem was very scary for me:
  15. This was a serious accident that I remember:
  16. We had these pets;
  17. My parents played this kind of role to my children:
  18. This is the part of my parenting that I am particularly proud of:
  19. This is the part of my parenting where I think I could have done better:
  20. My brother(s) and sister(s) and I acted this way towards each other:
  21. My best friend after I left home was:
  22. These people were my best friends in my middle years:
  23. True friendship to me means:
  24. One of the ways I used to entertain friends/guests was:
  25. When I think of compassion and goodness, I think of this person:
  26. One big understanding I had with a friend was:
  27. I learned to take myself less seriously through my friendship with:
  28. I have always felt that this person betrayed me even though I was always loyal to him/her:
  29. This is the sport that I enjoyed watching or attending with friends:
  30. The activity that I and my friends most engaged in was:
  31. These are the books that I most enjoy reading:
  32. One book that had a very strong impact on me was:
  33. One of my favorite magazines in my middle years was:
  34. The subjects that I always wanted to learn more about as an adult but never did was:
  35. A year in which I learned a lot of skills was:
  36. A seminar or workshop that really struck me was:
  37. The way I liked to learn best was:
  38. This is an area I was able to teach well to others:
  39. One thing that I regret that I never got to explore:
  40. One of my accomplishments I am most proud of us:
  41. This person was a mentor for me who really helped me in my career:
  42. Things I liked about my work included:
  43. If I could have changed professions in mid-stream I would have become a:
  44. I strived to be this kind of worker with these qualities:
  45. Some household chores that I enjoyed and some I didn’t included:
  46. If I could have changed the balance between work, home, family, and play, I would have done so in this way:
  47. My favorite hobby at this time was:
  48. I worked for these companies or institutions prior to retirement:
  49. These are the Presidents that I voted for:

The Later Years:

  1. The clothes fashions I wore during these adult years:
  2. Some of my favorite movie or TV stars were:
  3. This is what I was doing when this dramatic achievement occurred:
  4. I traveled outside my local environs to these places and remember these experiences:
  5. One of the national news events that most fascinated me was:
  6. This event raised my understanding of the larger world outside my immediate surroundings:
  7. I wish I have been more of this person during my elder years:
  8. This friend became like a member of my family in my later years:
  9. I depend on my family in this way:
  10. These deaths in my family affected me strongly:
  11. I remember when my grandchildren were born:
  12. A good time that I remember having with my grandchildren was:
  13. I am proud of my siblings for this reason:
  14. My predictions for each of my grandchildren are these:
  15. Of all my personality traits, I hope my family will remember this one about me:
  16. I think I have this trait more now than in earlier years:
  17. If I have a favorite period of my life it was this:
  18. The best part about marriage is:
  19. The hardest part about marriage is:
  20. A good family is one that:
  21. I learned that living a fulfilled life includes these important things:
  22. The strengths and characteristics of each of my children are:
  23. As I approach the end of my life my attitude toward death is:
  24. I was sad when I heard this dear friend died:
  25. This person has stayed with me through thick and thin over the years:
  26. New friends that I have made include:
  27. Things that I look for in a friend now are:
  28. What I like to do most with friends is:
  29. I am never too old to learn something new. The most recent new thing I learned was:
  30. This travel period was enlightening for me and my favorite place was:
  31. My current relationship to the church is this:
  32. This is one of my favorite games that are also educational:
  33. Even after I “officially” retired, I still did this kind of work:
  34. Some responsibilities never end:
  35. This is what I think about ‘money management’:
  36. Here is a habit I picked up during my working years and carried over into my retirement years:
  37. Some of my favorite meals and recipes include:
  38. I have always been interested in this hobby:
  39. This is an accomplishment that I have achieved:
  40. This President has done a good job for America:
  41. My hope for the nation is:
  42. My hope for the world is that:
  43. I am more/less tolerant of these ideas and lifestyles than I was when I was younger:

I hope you use this idea to document, and therefore remember, a person who is special to you.

Thanks for reading! I hope you return! 


Help ! … They’re multiplying …

As  you can tell, I’m on a bit of a ‘get rid of stuff’ binge, also known as decluttering. I think it started when I had to clean off my desk for the computer technician — after the lovely lightning bolt destroyed our computers, phones, modem, TV boxes, and who knows what we haven’t yet found. I really wish I would have been awake to see the whole show.

I’d started cleaning my desk the day of the storm. It tends to collect everything — mail, yarn, knitting needles, crochet hooks, books, studies (for work), documents, snack – along with typical office supplies.

But look at the photo above! Three containers with writing utensils.

There is no way I can use all of these writing utensils – at least,  not at one time. Of course, I have my favorite pen. As I looked further, however, I realized I have more than one favorite. So how does one decide which pen stays and which pen goes? Here’s my criteria:

  • Advertising pens go – unless they write nicely.
  • Ballograf pens stay. They are made in Sweden and are designed for people with arthritis. They write quite lovely. (Information on Ballograf)
  • Pilot razor point marker pens stay; they are my very favorite marker-style with a micro tip. When I use these, my printing looks more like an architect did it and it is actually legible.
  • Fine point sharpie permanent markers stay. I use them when I need  a wider tip.
  • Uniball Vision Elite Micro pens stay. Another favorite smooth-writing gel pen.
  • And then there are highlighters – which are often in use, so they must stay.
  • And then there are the calligraphy markers— oh vey!!!!!

Unfortunately, that means a lot of the pens will be staying (after a little reorganizing). And then what to do with the pencils? This may not be getting rid of much stuff!! I think I will go tackle a drawer so I’m a more productive declutterer.

For more posts on decluttering, check here:

For more posts about everything, visit my old blog site: https://carolynlbraun.svbtle.com/

Thanks for reading! I hope you return.