Archive for December, 2009

2010 S.M.A.R.T. Goals (a.k.a. Specifying the “Bucket List” for 2010)

December 30, 2009

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Mona Majorowicz posted on her blog her personal 2009 Goals in Review. There she goes again, setting a good example for the rest of us.

In the ’80s, I facilitated training sessions stressing S.M.A.R.T. goal setting. Since then, when setting goals for myself I’ve had the S.M.A.R.T. strategy in the back of my mind; however, I’ve been better at telling others about the strategy than personally implementing it. Now, with reading Mona’s posting indicating her 2009 goals and her achievement related to them, and having an open-slate 2010 in front of me, I’m looking forward to setting goals for 2010. (Correction: I’m looking forward to meeting/exceeding goals, but not the effort involved in setting them.)

For any of you who are not aware of what S.M.A.R.T. (in relation to setting goals) stands for, I thought I’d research a bunch of web sites and then summarize. However, since there are so many variations and explanations of S.M.A.R.T., I’m basically acknowledging that I’m going to set goals for 2010, structuring them in such a way that I believe I can/will be accountable for them. (I.e., by setting S.M.A.R.T. goals.) Where I’m going to differ from Mona is that I’m not going to be brave enough to publish them!

The basic premise of S.M.A.R.T. goal setting, depending upon which source you look at, is goals should be:

S:  Specific

M:  Measurable

A:  Attainable/Achievable

R:  Realistic (I also like “relevant.”)

T:  Time Bound (I also like “trackable.”)

If you google “goals smart acronym” you’ll find a plethora of different perspectives on what the S.M.A.R.T. acronym letters stand for. Most sources agree on the basics, but have their own little twist.  To glean what details would resonate most with me, I looked at most of the first ten “hits” in the Google listing (at the link at the beginning of this paragraph).

To see variations of words used in the  S.M.A.R.T. acronym , click here. Then scroll down about 1/10th of the site where you will see a table with the bold heading “Smart Acronym Variations.”

In case you are interested in the background about S.M.A.R.T. goal setting, after scrolling down about 8/10ths of the way at the same link you’ll see the bold heading “History and Origins of the SMART Objectives Acronym.”

Hmmm…In the spirit of efficiency (which will be a part of my 2010 goals) I’ll abruptly end this post and tie up some unrelated loose ends.  Oh, my. “Tie up loose ends” is not specific.  Nor measurable.  I guess it is achievable…if I can figure out what the loose ends are.  Hmmm…It is realistic…if I know what the loose ends are.  Time Bound?  Yes, I guess bound by today…but, what are those loose ends?

Man…sigh…I guess I’d better go make a specific “to do” list so that I get off on a good S.M.A.R.T. foot for the day!

(Click here to go to Louise Shimon’s blog’s home page.)


An Orange POMANDER: The perfect gift for anyone to give to almost anyone.

December 20, 2009

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Nancy Martin’s Gumdrop Muffin recipe is 99% for certain being posted by the end of tomorrow. [It is now posted.  See the update below.]

  • UPDATE: One of Santa’s elves came through with the typed (instead of Nancy’s with my chicken scratches on it) version of the Gumdrop Muffin recipe.  Here is the Gumdrop Muffin recipe!

Some pomanders are simply made with just these ingredients and a ribbon. To watch how to make a pomander with these ingredients and a ribbon (or without a ribbon), scroll down to the "click here" link for a video demonstration. (Be sure to notice that you'll need whole cloves as opposed to ground cloves.)

Also, are you looking for the perfect gift for a child to give to an elderly person who doesn’t really need anything?  Or, actually, for the perfect item for anyone to give to anyone?

How about an orange pomander? Basically an orange pomander is an orange with whole cloves pushed into it.  It is used as an air freshener because it smells really, really, really good.  If you google “orange pomander” you’ll find many sets of directions for making one. Some directions call for a preservative called orris or sandalwood oil. Others use just an orange, whole cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon…and a ribbon.

I remember making a pomander for my grandmother when I was little. (I’m almost positive I didn’t use orris or sandalwood oil.) I was so proud to give it to her because I made it all by myself (and because it smelled so good).

Click here for a less-than-3-minute video of a young girl demonstrating how to make an orange pomander.

If you do google, you’ll find that some directions are for a “quick” making of a pomander that could be given right away.  Some versions are for a pomander that isn’t given until after three or four weeks of drying.  Either way, it is a gift from the heart, inexpensive, and smells so refreshing.

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

December 18, 2009

Posts between now and a couple of days after Christmas might be kind of slim.  Ham balls for Christmas dinner are cooking right now, and tomorrow I’ll be making a run to Rolfe to have some gift baskets made up at Busy B’s.  (The jams there are the draw for me.) While I’m in Rolfe, I  might be approving proofs of an additional watercolor. Within the next month, I’ll unveil the image of another of Mother’s watercolors that will be available.

Before Christmas I plan to post Nancy Martin’s (of Rolfe) Gumdrop Muffin recipe.  Before we left Rolfe 24 years ago, Nancy shared the recipe with me. My daughters have looked forward to the muffins every holiday season since.

“See” you in two or three days,


Cranberry Cotoneasters and Peace on Earth

December 16, 2009

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In front of our home. 4:04 PM, Sunday, December 13, 2009. (Click photo to enlarge.)

Years ago, Bill planted Cranberry Cotoneaster shrubs in front of our home. They died about three years ago, most likely due to some sort of disease. We liked the characteristics of those shrubs so much that two summers ago we took a chance by planting Cranberry Cotoneaster shrubs again. (Click here for the pronunciation of “Cotoneaster.”)

I’m such an amateur with my camera.  However, I’ve at least been going two steps forward for every step back in my photography learning curve. I had fun Sunday and Monday messing around with different ISO and exposure settings.  Yes, I want a great product (great photos), but for these photos of the lights melting the snow around them, the process of being outside in the elements was my…um…focus.

11:46 PM, Sunday, December 13, 2009. (Click photo to enlarge.)


11:54 PM, Sunday, December 13, 2009. Standing outside, facing the front of our house (facing north). (Click photo to enlarge.)

I was by myself when I took the midnight photos.  The air was crisp and, except for the crunch of snow under my boots and the sound of the shutter, there was no noise. As our military serves our country to defend our freedoms, I’m thankful for these Sunday night peaceful moments.

9:06 AM, Monday, December 14, 2009. From inside our home, facing south looking out over the Cranberry Cotoneaster shrubs.

(Click here to go to Louise Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

Marilyn Rickard, the Nativity, and our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

December 12, 2009

(Click here to go to this blog’s home page. This is a meandering post. Let’s just say it’s the nostalgia talking.)

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Tree decorating from a 3-year-old's perspective. (Click photo to enlarge.)

Last week Katie, Joe, Abby and Jackson (daughter, son-in-law, daughter and 3 1/2-year-old grandson) came out to help decorate Bill’s and my Christmas tree. This entailed lasagna for supper, a new Christmas CD, egg nog (after the lasagna settled), Christmas tree decorating and…family.

Switching gears…When I was little, Marilyn Rickard of Rolfe was my Sunday School teacher. I remember being disappointed when I learned the following year that I was going to have a different teacher. Wasn’t Marilyn going to be my teacher forever?

My creche ornament from Marilyn Rickard. (Click photo to enlarge.)

Marilyn’s personality had the perfect mix of smiling and caring and of being fun and gentle. I was fond of her as I am of the plastic creche ornament that she gave to me in the late ’50s or early ’60s.

Last week I ran across a creche ornament that reminded me of the creche Marilyn had given me.  It didn’t look all that great, but represented the true meaning of Christmas.  I purchased it and gave it to Jackson hoping that when he’s my age he has a fondness for his creche, just as I have a fondness for mine from Marilyn Rickard.

Our Charlie Brown tree. (Click photo to enlarge the "designer" ornament arrangement!)

Of course, the true meaning of Christmas revolves around the serious miracle of Jesus’ birth. But, after decorating the tree, we (except for Jackson) unsuccessfully tried to contain our laughter when we realized that most of the ornaments were hung at about…hmmm…a 28″ height. Jackson especially liked one small low-on-the-left-side-of-the-tree section where you can see (if you click on the photo to enlarge it) that his little hands clumped several ornaments. Our Charlie Brown tree.

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(Click here to go to Louise Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

Holiday in the Heartland and Rolfe’s RAM Event Center

December 8, 2009

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The Rolfe Public Library and Main Street on Sunday, December 6th, 2009. (Click photo to enlarge.)

Sunday in Rolfe was wonderful. Picture snow falling gently outside as daylight turns to dark, and inside, an intentionally dimly lit gym that used to be the home of Ram and Rammette basketball games. Can you hear the sound of the buzzer, the band playing the loyalty (“We’re loyal to you old Rolfe High…”), and the crowd chanting, “Ram Power — clap, clap — Ram Power”? And, Hank Baade booming, “BE THERE”?!

Only the gym is no longer used for school-sponsored basketball games. Instead it is what I think of as “saved” by hard-working (most likely spread-very-thinly with commitments) volunteers so that the gym can still exist and be used. It is now called the RAM Event Center.

On Sunday it was open for Rolfe’s Holiday in the Heartland. If you weren’t there, I wish you could have seen the line of children that stretched from one side of the tree-decorated stage as they waited their turns to talk with Santa, who was at the other side of the stage.

On Sunday, Roger Mumford purchased prints of two former Rolfe landmarks. (Click photo to enlarge.)

I was at the celebration on Sunday with two Rolfe Public Library board members. Our purpose was to display/sell prints of Mother’s watercolors, as well as to promote the oral history project.  But, what a gift for me.

Twinkling Christmas trees sprinkled around the gym provided the perfect backdrop. The late afternoon festivities kicked off with a performance by the Pocahontas Community Chorus. Later, as the children were on the stage waiting for Santa, community members mingled as they zig-zagged between vendors’ displays of crafts, art, baked goods, etc. Also, a meal was provided in what used to be the home ec room off the gym. There was also a live nativity.

As far as the “selling” side of the day, we sold over $350-worth of prints of Mother’s watercolors. The monetary revenue is gladly received to put toward the oral history project, and, of course, is important. The “revenue” that would have made Mother smile even more is that of knowing so many people want to display her artwork in their homes and/or give as gifts.

In addition, on Sunday a handful of oral history audiocassette tapes were sponsored. Yippee!

The spreadsheet and explanation sheet about the sponsorships at the “Oral Histories” link on this blog was updated today.  The spreadsheet at that “Oral Histories” link will continue to be updated as there are more sponsorships.  You can tell how recently the spreadsheet has been updated by looking at the top of the right-hand column on the spreadsheet. (Actually, the spreadsheet isn’t there quite yet, but will be within the next day, maybe within the next hour.)

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This is SO FUN! What is? Listening to and Reading the Rolfe, Iowa, 1980-81 Oral Histories.

December 5, 2009

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UPDATE 1/30/2013: This post was written in 2009. The oral history project is now complete via funds raised through private donations.

My eyes are twinkling as I write.  I’m so pleased with the response (i.e., purchases as well as ooohs and ahhhs) related to prints of Mother’s watercolors.  If you are tuning into this blog for the first time, the short version is that Mother, Marion Gunderson, painted watercolors from at least as early as 1933 and as recently as 2000.

Two of the eight boxes of Rolfe, Iowa, 1980-81 oral history audio cassette tapes. (Click photo to enlarge.)

Mother was also the librarian…a librarian very passionate about her work…at the Rolfe Public Library from 1963 until 1998.

During that time, 1980-1981 to be exact, she spearheaded the oral history project in which over 100 Rolfe, Iowa, community members were interviewed, mostly by other community members. Those oral histories were recorded on audiocassette tapes and also transcribed. Both the audiocassette recordings and the transcripts have been housed at the library since 1981.

The transcripts are available for reading at the library.  At some point they will be scanned before the quality of print fades more.

Because the quality of audiocassette tapes also diminishes over time, the need to digitize the recordings (i.e., putting them on audio CDs) has been recognized by the library board.  In conjunction with the board’s support for this digitizing project, the profits from sales of prints of Mother’s watercolors will go toward the cost of digitizing.

This is where the community’s and/or families’ and friends’ of the interviewers and interviewees (even if long ago) help is sought. Sponsorships are requested for digitizing specific tapes.

A sponsorship of one tape entails $29.96 (including sales tax). This provides two archival quality CDs for the library AND one CD for the sponsor.

In this portion of Mother’s oral history transcript, she “tells all” (well…part of the juice, anyway!) about being head librarian. (Click photo to enlarge.)

Not just for me, and not just for people like my dad, but for anyone interested in the history of Rolfe, or Iowa or Midwest history in general, I have no doubt you will be pleased if you sponsor one or more tapes. Donations to the project in general are also greatly appreciated.

A spreadsheet including the names of the interviewees, and of interviewers (if names of the latter were written on the tapes and/or transcripts) has been developed.

Also, an informational Q & A sheet explaining the sponsorships is available.  Both the spreadsheet and Q & A sheet are available at the “oral histories” link on this blog and at the library, including at tomorrow’s (Sunday, December 6th) 2:00 tea.  They will also be available at tomorrow’s Holiday in the Heartland at the RAM Event Center (former school) in Rolfe from 3:30 until 6:00.

If there’s something I didn’t explain well on the Q & A sheet and/or spreadsheet, of if you simply don’t want to mess with those sheets, you may obtain information from me at (515-465-2746).  Information is also available at the Rolfe Public Library (712-848-3143) and at Wild Faces Gallery (712-848-3399).

Thank you for your interest.

  • It is now Sunday, the 6th:  I had meant to have a link to an “order form” for sponsoring oral history tapes.  I also meant to update the “Oral Histories” link.  Our Internet access went down late last night until right before I’m leaving for Rolfe today, so…no link and no order form yet. Soon, though, or via email, phone, or in Rolfe today works, too.  Tally-ho!  I’m soon off to the festivities at Rolfe.

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Holiday Festivity in Rolfe this Sunday, December 6th

December 4, 2009

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This coming Sunday, December 6th, is Rolfe, Iowa’s, Holiday in the Heartland.  It will begin with a 2:00 tea at the library followed by separate festivities at the RAM Event Center (the former Rolfe school) running from 3:30 until 6:00 PM.

The Friends of the Library met this week at the Rolfe Public Library for decorating this tree, book discussion and dinner.

The day holds a little something for everyone including gift-giving ideas from vendors, choral singing, Santa arriving on a fire truck, a meal, a nativity and door prizes. more…