Tradition, Guns and Country Folks

My husband grew up deep in the cowboy country of eastern Colorado, on a wheat-and-cattle farm/ranch on the high plains near the Kansas border, 15 miles from the nearest small town. His parents were warm, friendly, loving people. When I first joined their family, they were still raising their younger sons (who were in high …

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Helena’s Birth Story

This is Larissa’s story about her first childbirth experience. It is presented here, in a slightly edited form, by Marilyn. Sept 21, 2010 Around noon, I was putting away the dishes in the dishwasher, debating whether to have fish sticks or a Kaho-smuggled box of Annie’s Mac and Cheese or (more likely) both of them, …

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et tu, Levi? (Vanity sizing from an old friend)

JUNE 4, 2009 Controversy about women’s clothing sizes–and women’s body sizes–is well known to any woman, whether cute young fashionista or mall-shopping grandmother. Part of the shopping experience is the absolute necessity of trying on jeans and trousers before purchase. The occasional knit top might be bought on the fly, but a garment that has …

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Birdwatching in Texas

A visit from my sister (the dedicated birdwatcher) and her partner (the even more dedicated birdwatcher) has given us two days of trying to find birds in the dead of winter, and has taught us the following facts: 1. Of approximately 700 bird species in the United States, there are approximately 600 to be found …

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Picture of plumbing problems

Flood Day

Disaster today–of a small kind. An open tap, a clogged sink, some inattention, and a flood that covered the bathroom and progressed down the hallway. We’ve been saying for years that we need to replace the old carpeting. It was installed about 30 years ago, and has been looking increasingly shabby, but the thought of …

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Margutti family in Trieste, ca. 1892

The back side of this photo is marked 1892 by the photography studio, which probably indicates the year it was taken, for the photographer’s files. It was taken in Trieste, Italy, according to the photographer’s information. From left to right, I believe these folks are: Lisette (seated, with flowers in her lap), Louis (sitting on …

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Farewell to Billy Bob

MONDAY, AUGUST 18, 2008 Our beloved cat Billy Bob was put to sleep this afternoon. He had been slowly failing for several months (we see in retrospect), and reached the critical point on Saturday (two days ago). We took him into the Burnet Road Animal Hospital (where he has many fans), but the treatment he …

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Picture of Albert Margutti in dress uniform.

Cousin Albert von Margutti

Albert Margutti served in the court of the Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary for about 17 years, and in the court of the Emperor Karl until the Austrian-Hungarian Empire was dissolved at the end of World War I. He became one of Franz Joseph’s personal aides.

Aunt Carlotta and Uncle Enrico

Carlotta Gallo Margutti and Enrico Margutti, Venice 1907 Parents of Albert von Margutti This photo was found among Lisette’s things. The back is inscribed in French, “Best wishes from your Aunt Charlotte and your Uncle Henri.” This picture was taken in the 40th year of their marriage. Very rough translation of the wedding announcement (from …

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Letters from Louis: September 1908

Letters from Louis Margutti to his mother in France, immediately following the death of his brother Victor. Three years after his burial in California, Victor’s remains were returned to France to be reburied there.

Victor in America: Summer 1908

Letters from Victor Margutti, uncle and namesake of Victor M. Margutti, mentioned here as “Baby,” to his mother in France in the summer of 1908, when he came to California to live with his brother Louis. He died in a train accident in Fresno, California, on September 17, 1908. In my translations, I have followed …

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Family History: Victor Chartrey de Menetreux – Story

The following is translated from a typewritten copy in French, presumably prepared for the alumni yearbook mentioned in the title. I give the title of the article in the original French, and my translation after it. My explanatory notes are in square brackets, in italics. I have followed, as much as possible, the punctuation and …

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Family History: Laure Chartrey

Denise Laure Jenny ChartreyBorn April 30, 1863Died March 20, 1947 Grandmother of Victor Mario Marguttiand Victor Louis Alexander Margutti JANUARY 29, 2008

Billy Bob Makes a Friend

Billy Bob lived up to his reputation as one of mellowest dude-cats in town yesterday. Seth, the new neighbor across the street, and his little daughter Leila (aged 22 months) came over to our yard for a chat, on one of our first sunny days in ages. When Leila saw Billy, she was very enthusiastic. …

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Birding Links

Since my sister Elizabeth and her friend Tom got us interested in birding, I’m collecting links for beginning birders.

Hornsby Bend Bird Observatory

A visit to the Hornsby Bend Bird Observatory with Elizabeth, Tom and Marilyn. A chilly day, but sunny. We saw a number of ducks and some grebes: Eared Grebes, Northern Pintails, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Buffleheads, Ruddy Ducks, Coots. We also saw some turkey vultures and several sparrows we couldn’t identify.

nicholas, st nicholas day, christmas

How did St. Nicholas become Santa Claus?

St. Nicholas (ascetic Bishop of the early church in Asia Minor, feast day Dec. 6th, known as the patron saint and protector of children) became Santa Claus (jolly old elf with red suit, a big round tummy and a chuckling laugh, flying the world on Dec. 25th with 8 tiny reindeer)

calm sunny day in winter countryside

Winter Solstice

Last night the wind was blowing, the temperature was dropping, and I was thinking, “Thank goodness I don’t have to go out tomorrow!” Today the sun is shining, taking off that 27-degree chill quite rapidly, and it might actually become a nice day. But I still don’t have to go out if I don’t want …

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Marilyn Visits Larissa: Bristol, 1995

Larissa’s Study Abroad: University of Bristol Marilyn’s Version: In 1995, Larissa chose to attend the University of Bristol for her year of study abroad from Scripps College. Bristol was an English-speaking university, and she could easily transfer the credits to Scripps. Another student, whose name I don’t recall, was also going to Bristol. Larissa’s friend …

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Larissa meets her Mischievous Uncle Bruce

Marilyn remembers best about the photo with Uncle Bruce is that it was taken one afternoon when Larissa was extremely fussy (probably from those teeth coming in) and she absolutely, positively did not want to take a nap.