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Monday, January 21, 2013

Pictures from the drawer

The Thoe family has a drawer full of photos that has found its home in my grandma and grandpa Thoe's house (primarily because the photos never left the farm that has been run by Thoe's for five generations). Last year my sisters and I scanned in most of the photos and uploaded them to a shutterfly account. We labeled them with the help of Grandma, Grandpa and my Grandpa's sisters. Of course, this process involves a narrative that gives personality to the family members we have never met. Bonnie and I have developed theories about who was mischievous and who was a grump, based on their facial expressions in photos over the years.

I've tried to write down most of the stories that have been passed down to us, and match them with the corresponding pictures. Someday, when I feel that I've gotten the stories polished, I'll share them as well. In the meantime, I thought it'd be fun to share some of my favorite photos from the drawer- the photos that have no story. 

We've spent hours speculating the nameless folks in these photos. We've tried to match the architecture of the buildings in the background to a farm we know. We've tried to find anyone that resembles the people in these photos in any of the other photos in the drawer. We have a few theories, but overall, these are the orphan photos. 

First, there are two pictures of a beautiful and stylish young lady having what appears to be a very fun day. Grandpa thinks it might be his mother, Ethel Grovedahl; I choose to think it is.  (-: The third picture is one of my personal favorites; a young man in a business suit and another in overalls.  The fourth photo shows a young girl on her confirmation day in a beautiful dress, probably hand sewn. Grandpa thinks it could be his aunt Lorraine (Ethel's sister). The last picture is simply labeled 1921. We think it could be a picture of the old farm in Norway sent in the mail from relatives.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2012 Highlights and 2013 Predictions

This is the second year I'm trying to force everyone to join me in a new NYE tradition. We write down our predictions for the new year, five years from now and ten years from now. Then we put them away until the following New Year's, at which point we can laugh at our predictions. Oh.. .and we can gloat at the things we got right (I mean, I did predict the Katie/Tom, Kristen/Robert break-ups).

Drew pretty well summed up the highlights in our Christmas letter. As Drew wasn’t in South Africa with me, he omitted my favorite part of the trip. While we loved the landscape, the wildlife, and the wine, the highlight was the time we spent getting to know our hosts. We had such a nice time with our hosts, I hope to see those crazy boertjies again sometime!

So here it goes, my 2013 predictions:


Tax Reform: Say farewell to the mortgage interest deduction as we know it. I think it will be revised so it continues to be made available to the middle and lower class, but to a lesser extent. I also think the charitable contributions deduction will be curtailed. I also think it is likely that the exclusion of taxpayer paid health benefits will be phased out. The Corporate Research Credit will be repealed... Oh, who am I kidding? Scratch all that.

Congress will fail to do anything because despite widespread agreement that we need entitlement reform, budget cuts, and a serious look at gun control; Congress won’t actually propose any substantial plans because they would all be wildly unpopular.

As a result Congress will continue to demonstrate levels of compromise that would be considered deplorable in any preschool. 

Congress will pass legislation requiring online retailers to collect and remit sales tax, making my graduate thesis irrelevant.

Chris Coleman will continue to please St. Paulites by finding new ways to make the city even more endearing, enchanting, clean and exciting than it already is; hopefully he'll kick off 2013 by figuring out a clever way to entice a new business into the Macy's vacancy.


Best Buy & Barnes and Noble will kick the bucket. The economy will continue to slug along at a 1.5-2% growth rate.  

I think 2013 will be the year we turn the corner on fuel efficiency. Technological breakthroughs will lay the foundation for affordable, fuel-efficient transportation.


Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling will fall in love. <3

Kate and William will have a little baby girl named Elizabeth. She will be the most beautiful child the world has seen since Suri Cruise.
The series finale of 30 rock will suggest that Jack and Liz are going to end up together in the long-run... (wishful thinking, I know.)

Stephanie Meyers will write a fifth Twilight book involving the Cullen takeover of the Volturi. (I predicted this last year and it did not come to fruition, but here’s hoping for 2013.)

Leo DiCaprio, the only man capable of pulling off Jay Gatsby other than Robert Redford, will surprise no one by being amazing, as usual.

Personal Life

Drew will write a story that will be published in Budget Travel about our trip to California and Oregon.

We will somehow strike it rich and abscond to a little village in Croatia or Italy... sigh. Wishful thinking again.

Sorry these are a little weak, but it's all I could come up with!