Archive for October, 2009

It Isn’t Halloween Without The Hallo-Wiener!

October 30, 2009

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Bill, Jackson, and The Hallo-Wiener (Click photo to enlarge.)

Not to forget a Halloween essential at our house, we just had to pull out The Hallo-Wiener.  Although some of the adult (um…make that adolescent) humor goes right over a 3-year-old’s head, there’s still plenty of emotion and story in the illustrations and text to envelop a little tyke’s heart.

But, for the adolescent humor…here are examples of lines that crack me up every time.

*** When Oscar (the Hallo-Wiener) went off to obedience school, his mother stood in the front doorway waving and calling out to him, “Farewell, my little Vienna sausage!”  With the other dogs watching.  (Poor, poor Oscar.)

*** When Oscar was feeling bad he was “looking quite frank.”

*** And, my favorite…when Oscar got in trouble at school, he had to write on the blackboard 100-or-so times, “I will not sniff my neighbor.  I will not sniff my neighbor.  I will not sniff…..”  (You probably need to “be there” reading this book to fully appreciate this last excerpt!)

When The Hallo-Wiener was first published, School Library Journal reviewed it proclaiming, “This may be the funniest Halloween story ever written, and it’s definitely got the most lovable hero.”  My sentiments, exactly.

Enjoy.  And, Happy Halloween (er).


“Church Yard” Watercolor — Deliciously Creepy!

October 18, 2009

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September 22, 2010 update: Instead of including a space in the name of this painting Church Yard (two words), with help from the dictionary, it is now referred to as Churchyard (one word).

"Church Yard" displayed with Mr. Black's Secret by Cathrine Barr. (Click photo to enlarge.)

"Church Yard" displayed with Mr. Black's Secret by Cathrine Barr. (~20" W x ~14" H) Click photo to enlarge.

Last summer I spoke to a group about Mother’s (Marion Gunderson) watercolors. From Mother’s portfolio, I pulled out several that I ooohed and ahhhhed over. Then I pulled out this one of the cemetery. (Actually on the back of it Mother wrote, “Church Yard.” There is no indication of the exact location.)  I told the group that I love how Mother created an eerie feeling with her technique, colors and subject matter. Then I said, “But, WHO would EVER want to display this painting in his or her home?!”

"Church Yard" as it was cropped and matted by Mother (Marion Gunderson). (Click photo to enlarge.)

"Church Yard" (1954) as it was cropped and matted by Mother (Marion Gunderson). Click photo to enlarge.

That’s still how I felt until about two weeks ago when I was decorating for Halloween. Hmmm…the wheels in my brain were rolling.  What could I use to decorate that doesn’t look cheesy, has colors that I love, looks good in my home, and creates a deliciously creepy yet fun ambience?

My brain clicked and sent me directly to Mother’s portfolio.  The next morning I went to Wild Faces Gallery in Rolfe where Mona just happened to have this standard-sized 18″ x 24″ black frame and also the not-typical-orange mat (in the top photo) in stock.  That same morning, Mona had the matted and framed Church Yard ready to go.

My next stop was about a twentieth-of-a-block from the gallery at Ropa’s Cafe in Rolfe.  I was so excited about Church Yard that I took it inside Ropa’s to show to family.  To my surprise and excitement, a non-family member in the cafe took a look at it and immediately said, “I WANT a print of THAT PAINTING.”  Whoop-dee-doo!  Since it is an initial investment to have prints made (due to being labor-intensive and requiring specialized skill, equipment and materials) hopefully I’ll get another pre-order or two to tip the scale to actually have prints made of Church Yard.

I cannot think of a more deliciously creepy piece of art.  I love it, I love it, I love it.  I’ll display it until the day after Thanksgiving when I’ll transition to Christmas decorating, including Mother’s Santa watercolor original.

By the way, Cathrine Barr dedicated Mr. Black’s Secret (the children’s book in the top photo) to Mother.  How perfect that the cloth cover is almost the same orange as the mat.  (Do you notice the little mouse bookmark sticking out the top of Mr. Black’s Secret?!)

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(Click here to go to this blog’s home page.  Slowly but surely there will be more about Bill’s and my Oregon trip and also about Mr. Spaulding.  I need to talk with Mr. Spaulding about  additional topics before another transcript is developed.)

Cy’s Favorite Alum With His 11.5-foot-tall Cy Sculpture

October 12, 2009

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Deane Gunderson, Cy and Jackson in Rolfe, Iowa near the Bud Barn.  (Click photo to enlarge.)

Deane Gunderson, Cy (the statue made by Deane) and Jackson in Rolfe, Iowa, near the Bud Barn. The “rest-of-the-story” about Cy is below. (Click photo to enlarge.)

Today Jackson (my grandson) and I went to just outside of Rolfe, Iowa, where my 91-year-old father, Deane Gunderson lives. Dan and Rog Allen, loyal friends of my father, saw to it that my dad took Jackson and me for a drive in one of their tractors (John Deere, of course).

Jackson, my dad and I also went into Rolfe to see the Cy that my dad built in 1975. Cy now resides near Rog’s and Dan’s Bud Barn in Rolfe, where there is also their “World’s Largest Clydesdale Hobby Horse.” Lastly, the three of us visited the Rolfe Public Library with which Mother was so deeply involved for thirty-five years.

In the photo above, if you were looking down from an airplane, you’d see that the boulders design (created single-handedly by Dan) is in the shape of a cyclone.  You’d also see that there are steps on the far side, behind Cy.  Also, on the right side of the point boulder, nature has created its own red cyclone-shaped image.  In case you didn’t already notice it, this natural image is more easily visible if you enlarge the above photo.

Immediately below is one story about Cy.  This article was prepared for RAGBRAI’s 2007 ride through Rolfe.  It is a sweetheart of a story. Clicking on the photo will provide “large print” sized text.

Microsoft Word - D.C.G. RAGBRAI Cy doc for FedEx Kinkos[1].doc

(Click photo to enlarge.)

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My dad passed away in 2010, approximately eight months after this post was published. His obituary is here.

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Oregon: Day #4 — The Natural Bridges (and a little of Day #5)

October 11, 2009

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Click map to enlarge.

Click map to enlarge.

On the map at the left, the green marker line shows our day #4 route from Oregon’s Brookings to Gold Beach and then back to Brookings. We spent night #3 and night #4 (July 19th and 20th) in Brookings.





Click photo to enlarge.

Click photo to enlarge.

In the photo at the left I believe Bill and I are at the Pistol River State Park near the mouth of the Pistol River.  It was quite foggy on our day #4 drive, making it difficult to have a clear view of many of the sights, but still very worth the drive.  On day #5 (July 21st) we backtracked, once again driving north from Brookings on a much clearer day. more…

Packers, Vikings … and Beer Making

October 5, 2009

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Jim, Bill and Scott divying up the fruits of their labors.  (Click to enlarge photo.)

Jim, Bill and Scott divvying up the fruits of their labors. (Click to enlarge photo.)

Tonight while the Packers went up against the Vikings, Scott Finneseth, Jim Eaton and Bill were brew meisters once again. more…

Etsy? What? I’m doing what with Marion the Librarian’s watercolors?

October 3, 2009

My intent was to have completed two more posts about Oregon by now.  Then I got the flu last Tuesday through Thursday and worked yesterday (i.e., was a substitute fifth grade teacher).

What I’ve R-E-A-L-L-Y been spending time on last night and all of today is working to list/sell prints of Mother’s (Marion Gunderson) watercolors on Etsy.  I’ll put the profits toward funding the giclee printing expenses of the Rolfe (Iowa) Public Library fundraiser. more…