New Year's Eve Home Cooking

Did our traditional Mexican Shrimp Corn Chowder for New Year's Eve. Yummy…….one additional item over prior years is that I made Artisan Hearth Bread with the loaf pan I got at Java Depot in Lincoln City on a prior visit. Homemade bread is even more yummy. A really basic recipe and the loaf was wonderful with the chowder. Great flavor.

Beatrix Potter, Naughty and Mice

Many of us have been exposed to the stories of Beatrix Potter. Cute little stories of mice and rabbits. I can't say that I am knowledgable about her stories. I have seen the books and have some of the stories in children's book I own. My biggest exposure is visiting the Royal Doulton store in Vacaville, CA where they sold Beatrix Potter figurines as collectibles. I bought some of the ones that I found cute and cat related. Learn more about Beatrix Potter's life and stories here.

"No Christmas story is more charming than Beatrix Potter’s The Tailor of Gloucester, set in the Regency, “in the time of swords and periwigs and full-skirted coats with flowered lappets.” The author said that it was her favorite of all her tales for children. With an important commission due on Christmas day—the mayor is getting married, and needs his resplendent coat “of cherry-colored corded silk embroidered with pansies and roses”—the tailor falls ill. He is hungry, poor, old, and desperate. But he has always been kind to the mice who infest his house, much to the disgust of his servant Simpkin, a cat—and it is the mice who come to his aid in his illness, finishing his commission on Christmas Eve with their nimble sewing, singing cheerfully in their communal act of seasonal charity."

Doggie Transport

Adder enjoys his rides around the farm property when he can ride on the tractor or be hauled in the back of one of our trailers. Here he is waiting to follow the tractor another day.

Family Over 40 Years

I came across this interesting article about a man who photographed his wife and her 3 sisters every Christmas holiday for 40 years. Each picture with each year is chronicled in the article. We enjoy our families and photos are such memories. Many have shared these memories across the internet cloud through media like Facebook. It takes a lot of dedication and determination to maintain such a photo journal or history in such a manner. My hat is off to him for doing so. Check it out.

Dual Use Bike

Someone whose first name starts with a B now has no excuse to wish for a bike to ride around on his property and the nearby roads. He now has a new Trek bike to enjoy. May he live long and prosper.

Bastogne, 70 years ago

There have been a number of articles reminding us of the Battle of the Bulge and the relief of Bastogne during the Christmas holidays of 1944. American soldiers were surrounded by German troops. Their indomitable spirit and the arrival of Patton's troops helped save the dire situation. An article about what happened 70 years ago is found here.

Christmas Day, Round Two

More food, more presents for Christmas Day. Scott and Melissa made it out here for the second round. David and the boys joined to share the prime rib and more presents.
Ryan got to see what more goodies came from the other side of his family.
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Christmas Eve, Round One

The adults ate lots of good food with chants in the background of "I want to open my presents first". The Christmas wrap did not stand a chance of long survival. Nicolas tore into the paper with gusto for a "Spunky the Cat" debut and Ryan, our little builder, had a happy time pounding on his building blocks…when he wasn't racing Flaming Frankie the car and Donnie the Driver at the seat.



Christmas Presents 2014

The tree is all decorated, has been for awhile, and the stockings are not stuffed. Milk and cookies are not out for Santa, trying to watch the sweets. Ready for Christmas 2014, like it or not.

Moving Through Crowds

Brownian movement. Well, maybe, maybe not. I know as I move through crowds when I look to move around people, many of them seem to move right into my path and slow me down. I am not sure why they seem to find a way to block my movement. Maybe what I see is not what the study here found.

" In a study published last week in Physical Review Letters, physicists say they have found a principle at work in crowd motion. Rather than behaving like particles, people appear to move in a uniquely human but roughly predictable way—driven by precise but unconscious calculations that help us avoid collisions.

“People, as they move through crowds, are always extrapolating into the future and deciding how far they are from colliding,” says Brian Skinner, a condensed matter physicist at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois and one of the authors of the paper."

High Waters

A pineapple express came across the Pacific Ocean and also poured rain from the clouds over this weekend. The high water mark was supposed to occur on the South Santiam River this afternoon. We took a short ride down to the Waterloo area, especially the park to view the river. The river was rushing past high and fast. The water was swirling and eddying as it headed toward the small falls near the bridge. Here is an example of the river rising near the park.

Peter Pan Continues

I just wrote about how Bob Hope was part of my growing up. So was the yearly show of Mary Martin playing Peter Pan on TV, flying across the stage. There have been many renditions of the story of J.M. Barrie's. This is the visual that will stick with me through my days. While we have so many other new animated figures the young ones watch on TV, Peter Pan will be timeless. So much more of a story and imagination. This is what we miss so much in this day and age, imagination. So much is spoon-fed and simple, PC and poll tested for quick absorption. What we need are those times of reflection and time for us to let our thoughts blossom and fly along with Peter Pan.
Mary Martin as Peter Pan………..
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Bob Hope, Entertainer

Growing up and during many formative years, Bob Hope was the entertainer who signified entertaining for the military troops overseas or the MC of the Oscar night show. I also loved the earlier movies he did with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamarr. They were frequently shown on the few TV channels we would get out of Portland through the TV antenna. Could one call him the Entertainer of the Century? I would think so since he lived a long and productive life entertaining. A biography has been written of his life and accomplishments. To read the book review and learn a little more about him, it can be found here. He was a funny guy and could put you in stitches.

The Night Before Christmas

So who wrote The Night Before Christmas tale? There is some dispute about who was responsible. One fellow has been described as the most likely though a distant relative through his wife may be the author. At least his family claims so. It is certainly a story that is ingrained in our Christmas holiday culture. Many children have been raised looking for Santa to deliver the presents in a setting with the stockings hung with care and not a creature was stirring. Not even a mouse or if they did, our cats would get them. Read on about this lovely poem from 1823, so long ago it was just yesterday…….

Wave Mullet

One wave I got a photo of seems to be like a hair mullet or mohawk. Almost standing up like a curtain. The other wave portions are churning sand and making the wave colored brown. Interesting mix.

Rocks and Milk

How the waves foam over the rocks looks so cool, like foamy milk being poured over a dark surface. I love the patterns of how the water foams over the surface. This was taken with a telephoto lens down to the rocks at Depot Bay.

Bob Can Fly

Is Bob trying to mimic the seagulls that are close by on the Oregon beach near Lincoln City or is he just acting goofy for the camera? I will leave that for the viewer to decide…..


Wave Spouts

Depoe Bay on the Oregon Coast has some of the most intriguing and spectacular waves that hit the rocks along the bay. One phenomenon is where the wave hits so hard and at the right angle that there are wave spouts that merge upward. Fun to watch. Here is one….

2014 Holiday Donations

We had our 2014 Berlin holiday donation drive today. As usual, lots of good treats were available. Bob made his maple-apple crisp dessert that he found recently and finds very good to eat. We had about 12 people including ourselves come through and collected a number of good things for Safe Haven shelter, the military and toys for local children. Here is Mr. Thayer sitting quite comfortable and enjoying the afternoon.


I love to be able to travel and there are a number of places I would like to visit in this world. Traveling to Poland is one. Visiting Warsaw and Cracow would be top of the list. Due to their rich history and culture. Culture that that was deeply damaged and changed within the last 75 years. The first Jews arrived in the 10th century to the area that is Poland. They made up a large percentage of the population until nearly exterminated during World War II. Their story is the story of Poland too even though there are not large numbers there now. Poland has recently opened a new museum that looks at the History of Polish Jews over time since their arrival there. From reading this article and others, there is now additional reasons to visit the area. The museum is built in the heart of the Warsaw ghetto where so much loss of life and significance from World War II.

Our 2014 Christmas Tree

With Bob’s and grandson Nicolas’ help, we got our Christmas tree up and decorated. It isn’t as large or has as many ornaments as last year. They both did a super job and now the tree is on records for this year. Getting ready for Christmas is never an easy thing to accomplish for the Thayers.

Lincoln's Fathers

Lincoln once told her law partner that his mother's father was a "well-bred planter or farmer from Virginia". So Lincoln's roots may have been more upscale than originally though as humble. More information can be found in this review of a book, 'Founder's Son'.


So how did Xmas come about in our vocabulary. It isn’t just an abbreviation that is non-religious. X is the letter in the Greek alphabet that stands for “Chi” which in Greek is short for Christ. This information has been found and used in different style guides. Fun to know more about the origination of words that we think are just trivial. They actually have a deeper meaning. Check it out here.

Family and Friends

We went over to our friend’s and neighbor’s home, the Winterboers, for their annual holiday dinner for neighbors.  It was fun and good food as usual. The number of interesting stories from our lives made me wonder if we should have a Berlin Tales section to anything related to Berlin, on our Facebook page, etc. Hammy.

Meanwhile, back at the other Thayer’s homestead, some were gathered around the Christmas tree getting it decorated. We could use their help here. Happy

1927 Bristol Sessions

I bet most people have not heard of the 1927 Bristol Sessions. Not being a music student, I had not until recently. On our trip to Nashville recently, I wandered through the music store associated with the Country Music Hall of Fame. While I was contemplating purchasing an album of Emmy Lou Harris’ (fine voice), I decided on a CD compilation called the 1927 Recordings of the Bristol Sessions done in Bristol, TN. The artists feature were Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family. I got the inkling that this was a defining moment for country music and what I understand is called “root music’. These individuals were pioneers in bringing the music that traveled from the Scots/Irish areas to the Appalachian region into our awareness. A beautiful film that shows what this might mean is worth viewing, “Songcatcher”, starring Janet McAteer and Aidan Quinn. The 1927 Bristol Sessions is the first recording done of “root” music in the United States and it is interesting to listen to.
Now I see today that I was up with this interest since there is a New York Times Book Review on two books covering this phenomenon in American Music history.


PEZ and Instant Cake Mixes Related

What does PEZ and instant cake mixes have in common? They were invented by the same young man many years ago. The teenager felt the light baking powder his grandfather had to sell was better on a person’s digestion. Voila, it moved on to creating instant cake mixes. With the soul of an inventor, he went on to invent PEZ and hire someone to invent the dispenser which in different forms is very iconic. Read about it here.

“As a teenager, the inventor of the PEZ confectionery created one of the world’s first ready-made cake mixes, popularly selling it throughout the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The teenager was Eduard Haas III. Haas III’s grandfather, Eduard Haas I, was a doctor who invented a type of “light” baking powder which he advocated over yeast in recipes as he felt it was easier on people’s digestive systems. As a teen, Haas III began selling and promoting his grandfather’s baking powder at his father’s wholesale grocery store.”

Video Stores in These Times

In our small town, Blockbuster and Hollywood video stores closed a long time ago. They were pretty big stores here. There are no other video stores where there had been three. Netflix, Redbox, and Amazon or DISH Network streaming have taken their business model away.
Some video stores though have been able to survive by finding a niche market in these current times. This article describes how they are doing it. It probably is a version of an interesting video store that was located in Pleasant Hill CA when we lived down that way. The store was Einstein’s Video. They carried the New Releases but they also had a lot of lesser known cult or artistic videos. I liked going in there and finding a TV series or video series to watch that I did not want to purchase but did want to view. I don’t know if they are still in business yet I hope they are or their spirit of enterprise lives on.

Fat Cat

One week ago we all had a great Thanksgiving meal at David and Renee’s home. One always seems to feel stuffed with food at the end. I would have to say that I felt like the following picture after all was eaten.

Sand Creek Massacre

One of the sad episodes in American history is the Sand Creek Massacre in eastern Colorado in 1864. This article is written by a descendant of one of the U.S. cavalrymen there that day. He felt he needed to explore the history of that time and understand his ancestor’s involvement. This is a fascinating story and he eventually came across a Native American descendant from a child who survived the massacre (in a very unusual and strange way). In the end, the descendants have found some peace and forgiveness together. It was a black stain on our nation’s history of the West.

Jason and the Argonauts

When I was younger I enjoyed watching such movies as “Jason and the Argonauts”. The Ray Harryhausen special effects were cool and well done for that age of cinematography. They still show these movies often on the weekends on TNT or other movie channels.

There is a Greek poem called “Argonautica” and entertains much of this type of tale. More detail can be found here about this work and how it stimulates the imagination and story-telling of today.

“Back in the 1950s and early ’60s, there flourished a cinematic genre now sometimes called sword-and-sandal. Loosely speaking, this category included B-movies featuring Steve Reeves as Hercules, mighty epics such as “The Fall of the Roman Empire” and gorgeous fantasy swashbucklers, many with special effects by Ray Harryhausen, including “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.” What weary aging heart wouldn’t love to be 12 again on a Saturday afternoon, seated at the Palace Theatre waiting for the opening credits of “Jason and the Argonauts”? Remember the bronze giant Talos! The flying Harpies! The Clashing Rocks! The fight with the skeleton army!”

Cat Cafe

Well, the craze started overseas and now has come to the United States. There was a recent article in the local paper about a cat cafe opened in Oakland, CA. Now someone is opening one in Portland. It had to happen and it probably would be a hoot to visit. Part of me would love to start one but worrying about all the business headaches that go with it would not be fun. I wonder what all regulations the Health Dept. has developed for these. Read it here.
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