Archive for the ‘elsie battaglia’ tag
As I have reported, my dear grandmother Elsie Battaglia turned 100 years old December 12, 2011. Her friends, Ron and Eleanor Highet, owners of the Original Pancake House, threw her a wonderful birthday party, attended by 75 of Battaglia’s friends and family.
Barbara Sherman, a reporter from the Tigard, Oregon USA newspaper the Regal Courier, was among the guests, and she wrote a amazingly wonderful article about the party and my grandmother’s fascinating life. I only learned about the newspaper article today, however, it was published December 29, 2011.
I learned from this article that my grandmother was proposed to on her first date after 15 minutes of conversation with the young man.
I have known for ages that Grandma was proposed to on the first date, but only today did I learn the proposal happened so quickly.
15 minutes! Think about that for 15 minutes.
[Important note: Since this blog will be around longer than the article will likely be available on the Regal Courier website, I made a screen capture of the story, presented here as a PDF format file:
Please read the article on the newspaper's website, and ignore the PDF screen captures until the newspaper's link no longer functions, or the newspaper no longer exists.
This blog will live on for centuries, thus this precaution against an important link getting broken.
It is critical you read the story at the newspaper's website, as that's how the newspaper makes money. If you read my PDF before the newspaper deactivates the link, you are stealing from the newspaper's bank account, which is not kind given how kind they were to feature my grandmother's birthday party.]
Last week when I was in Oregon, USA visiting my 100 year old grandmother Elsie Battaglia, I stayed in Eugene for two nights, once on the way to Tigard, Oregon where Battaglia lives, and once on my way back home to my house in San Francisco, California.
I stayed in Eugene for two reasons:
The first reason was that my girlfriend Teanna Keller from when I was about 23 years old was from Eugene, and I have always wondered what that city was like. I worked at Newell Color Laboratory (since closed) back then with Jennifer Viksten, who I’m still in touch with thanks to the wonders of Facebook. I also worked at Newell with Hershel Klein, Bobby Ulloa and Shawn Renee Roberts.
The second reason is I have wanted for some time now to see a Cabela’s store in person. Patrick Nolan, a fellow bus enthusiast, introduced me to the Cabela’s catalog, and I was super intrigued when he showed it to me. The Cabela’s catalog is the old school Sears Catalog of fishing, boating, hunting, shooting and camping equipment.
I knew there was a Cabela’s opening up in Eugene because on my last drive to Tigard, this summer, I saw the billboards advertising the upcoming grand opening. The store is now open and I spent some time looking around.
I was shocked at how many models of hand guns they have on display. There were dozens of hand guns in glass cases, some over USD $1,500. There was a sign by the door advising people to declare their weapons upon entry to the store. Weapons were not prohibited to be carried into the store — Cabela’s just wanted you to tell them about them up front.
The store was big and lush, but its dedication to so many hand guns ruined it for me. I don’t see why hunters need handguns. Even if they do need handguns, do they need dozens of handguns?
One product that really caught my eye I discovered on the Cabela’s website. Have a look at this window mount wood pellet stove. It mounts in a window like an air conditioner. You plug it in to electricity and fill it with 30 pounds of wood pellets and you then can get up to 28,000 BTUs of heat out of it.
This product has the power to change lives, in my mind.
Hacker Dojo was too far away for me to visit regularly, and my romantic partner at the time hated me going down there to work because I spent less time with her at home. I investigated Noisebridge, and it showed promise, but the space is unheated. There is no natural gas service to the space, and the space is too large and too poorly insulated to economically heat with electricity. In the winter it’s so cold in Noisebridge you can see your breath and you have to wear a parka and gloves. This made it impossible for me to productively program, so I made other plans.
However, I still love the idea of Noisebridge, and I’m toying with the idea of joining if I can persuade the organizers to heat the space when it’s cold, which could be in the summer given the cool weather San Francisco is known for.
This pellet heater is portable and requires no chimney. That makes me believe that it may be installed just when needed, and without a building permit. I can see it might be impossible to get a permit at Noisebridge to install a fixed wood burning stove, as I rarely see wood stoves in commercial spaces.
At 28,000 BTUs, it would probably only take one or two of these stoves to fully heat the space, perhaps one at each end, where the windows are. Pellets can be delivered in truck load quantities for prices that are much lower than it would cost in electricity to produce comparable heat through resistance heating.
Noisebridge has a large freight elevator and lots of space, so taking deliveries of even tons of pellets would be practical. Their membership should increase if the space is kept warm and inviting. The increased membership fees will pay for a heater or two plus the pellets to feed them. The electricity this heater requires is to run the automated feed mechanism, a trivial amount of power. I understand their lease prohibits space heaters, but I suspect this window mount unit is not legally a ‘space heater.’ Since it’s mounted and secured in a window opening, it can’t be accidentally tipped over, and since it’s not at floor level, it’s more protected than a space heater would be.
I am hopeful Noisebridge will warm up to installing these heaters.
This morning my young at heart grandmother Elsie Battaglia celebrated her 100th birthday party. She was born on this day in 1911! Seventy five of her friends and family joined her at The Original Pancake House. Battaglia has been friends with the proprietors of this business since 1950.
In the photo above, I’m sitting to the left of my grandmother.
Yesterday, November 21, 2011, I received a paper invitation from my beloved 99 year old grandmother Elsie Battaglia to her 100th birthday party, which is scheduled for December 12, 2011, next month. I scanned the invitation for you to see. I direct your attention to left side of the graphic, which is the front of the invitation. The right side of the graphic is the interior of the folded invitation.
The text on the left illustrates the strides the world has made in the last 100 years.
I love my grandmother Elsie so much. I’ll be at her birthday party, and I’ll share the highlights with my readers here on my blog.
If you’re having trouble reading the text, click on the invitation graphic to enlarge it dramatically.
Elsie is on Facebook. She had WebTV in 1997. Her now disabled and unused email address was email@example.com. She had her Volkswagon Bug in the mid 1950s. Her first son (my father) picked it up for her in Paris, France and had it shipped back to Portland, Oregon, where no doubt it was one of the first in the United States.
My grandmother Elsie Battaglia joined FaceBook today. She is 99 years old. I helped her with the signup process, but she pushed the buttons to create the account by herself. We uploaded about half of the pictures in her physical photo albums — some 1,300 pictures.
FaceBook is currently the most popular so-called ‘social network’ in the United States, and perhaps the world.
I decided to photograph grandma today for her FaceBook profile picture. She applied her own lipstick and I set up my studio light I had brought with me. I used my Canon 5D Mark II camera with the 135mm soft focus portrait lens set halfway between 0 and 1. I directed her poses like I was photographing a young fashion model, and the above picture is the result. I am very happy with the way it turned out, and I think she looks fantastic, especially since she isn’t wearing makeup other than lipstick, and the picture is not retouched.
My grandmother Elsie Battaglia is 99 years old.
Starting on April 1, 2011, she hasn’t been feeling well, and she sounds extremely tired on the phone. She’s had an array of tests completed by her doctors, and they can find nothing wrong. In fact, her doctor said she is ‘remarkably healthy’ and that there’s no reason for her to be at the hospital.
Even so, she sounds so lethargic on the phone that I am concerned. She is sleeping 12 hours a day, which is quite unusual for her.
Instead, I began driving my car north from San Francisco, California to Tigard, Oregon, which is a suburb of Portland, Oregon.
Note that I never sold my BMW even though I wrote a post in March 2010 advertising it. I didn’t get an offer over the lowest blue book value, so I had a change of heart, as I really love my car. I had wanted to sell it in order to buy a Volkswagon Golf TDI, which gets far better mileage. But Golf TDIs are in short supply and are very expensive on the used market. The new ones can’t run on biodiesel, so they were out of the question.
The drive to my grandmother’s house is 630 mile drive, which is far too much for me to drive in one day, particularly since I drive precisely at the speed limit to save fuel. I drove about 300 miles last evening and stayed at the Sis-Q-Inn Motel at 1825 Shastina Drive in Weed, California.
The drive today was tiring, as I hit Friday afternoon rush hour traffic as I approached Tigard.
I arrived at Elsie’s house around 5pm.
She was reclining in her brand new power activated recliner, similar to this one, that can nearly ‘stand up’ to help her get out of her chair easily. I had never seen such a chair in operation in person, and I was impressed. I saw ads on TV for such chairs when I was a kid — I didn’t understand then how critical a chair could be to someone.
Elsie’s dear friend Char, who has known my grandmother for some 40 years, came over this evening and made dinner for Elsie, Claudia and me. Claudia is Elsie’s friend who lives with her and helps her out. Claudia is an absolute delight, and I am so thankful she is here. She tells Elsie she loves her several times a day.
I am very close to my grandmother. I introduced my last girlfriend to Elsie before I introduced her to my parents.
Elsie got married when she was 16, and had my father when she was 18. Her husband died of a heart defect when she was 23. This was in about 1935, when the country was still in the Great Depression. Her husband’s father owned an apartment building in Portland, and Elsie went to work for him collecting the rent from mostly broke tenants. She describes the work as a tough assignment, but she was persistent and mostly succeeded. The apartment building is still there, and my father and brother went to visit it within the last two years.
I don’t know how long I am going to stay here in Tigard, which is why I drove. I have my laptop with me, and my grandmother has a fast WiFi connection, so I can work effectively from here.
My grandmother Elsie Battaglia is 99 years old.
One of her prized possessions is the wood sculpture dodo bird pictured below. It was carved by a young man with a chainsaw perhaps 40 years ago. Grandma loves telling the story of how she knew of this young man for years, and how he had not been motivated much in life, and hadn’t accomplished anything noteworthy. Then one day, someone gave him a chainsaw and some logs, and he taught himself to produce sculptures. He went into business for himself and did a brisk business selling his creations.
This dodo bird means a lot to me because it’s one of the few items that Grandma took from house to house with her as she’s moved over the years. I remember it from when I was a young child.
This picture was taken on March 9, 2004 when Grandma lived part of the year at her house she then owned in Desert Hot Springs, California.
My Grandmother is slowing down, and she recently stopped exercising regularly at Curves, the health club chain. I believe she only joined as a member at about age 93 or so. Her friends would pick her up and take her to Curves since she chose to no longer drive a car some years back.
On a recent visit, I made copies of all her photo albums, some 16 gigabytes, and she gave me permission to post them. There are thousands of pictures going back decades, and I’m not yet sure how to approach this big project. Stay tuned.
My grandmother was on the Internet daily with WebTV in 1997, and thankfully I saved all of her emails. She only signed off permanently years later because she was getting too much spam to handle. WebTV was slow and cumbersome, and I can understand her frustration with all the unsolicited email.
I love my grandmother, and I’m going to visit her next month.