Saturday, June 30, 2012

Steve Berg and father Marvin

Sisters, Verna Johnson & Junetta Ranta

Wally's son Cade is 4th from the right...getting ready!

  1. Cade coming in way ahead of the rest

Rosie getting ready to run, 2nd from left...carl & beth's daughter

JENNY'S MARATHON: June 3, 50+ runners. 32 ran the 26 miles, and the rest jumped in for half or part of it.

 I think i was given the wrong sequence of names....but there's two Frantti's, two Moyryla's  and one Rajala in here...So. Dakota men, from Walt.
Portable sauna in No. Dakota...Norm Harmala and Jeff Pietila
from Walt.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Now get this:  Here is Poker, Schmave and Fuzzy!.  Whew!

Lunch at Angie Junttila's in Traverse in May:
Me, Anna, Angie, Carol, Nancy, Marge, Lana and Joyce

My gr/kids, Carl & Beth's kids:  Carjie, Mallory, Marisa and Pam Torola

Lance & Larissa (Poyhonen) Looukus recently married.

Me and my buddy, Uncle Wes Kangas

Monday, June 25, 2012

Annie Heinonen & son Danny


Eva Storm, Janet Storm, Katie Pennala, Lorraine Torola, Betty Witt

  1. Bunch of Bob's & Lorraine's   and kids and grandkids.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

And so ends a wonderful, happy, historic trip.
May, 2012
A better snap of the Genocide Museum area...the round low structure is the eternal flame, and the tall one, a monumet for those who died in the genocide in 1915 from the Turks.
A bunch of wreaths on the eternal flame structure, i don't know what the occasion was.
This is ARAGOG from Harry Potter, don't you think?  That's what Joyce thinks of this neat sculpture!

Now ain't we a bunch of sad sacks!  The taxi man came to get us, and we found we were locked in!   It was thought that the people upstairs of us took off in the middle of the night without paying their rent and simply locked the gates.  They knew we were there because Evelyn talked to them the night before.  The girls were wondering how we could get this old lady over the fence plus all of our luggage.  But then Ev called the people who owned this apartment where we stayed (Peace Corps people, as I mentioned before), who then called the landlord.  The landlord came finally, and we were off!

So that was our last stop, and we were on our way back to Yerevan for two nights before we headed back to the states.  We noticed that there were many police cars going the other way, and they were stopping all the cars to the side of the road.  Then four black vans came, escorted by other was the President himself.  
Me and some old men in Dillijan.

We went to an art museum, and of course, it was very interesting, being i am an artist.  The boss was very gracious to us, got an english speaking lady to guide us around.  Then, surprisingly, he had the lady bring us on a lower level not open to the public, where they prepare future showings.  In this room and the picture below, are artifacts that have been dug up in recent years.  They were from the soviet era, and are said to be about 3000 years old.

There were these four instruments which were many hundreds of years old.  The bass is for you, Betsy, and the rest is for Edney and Bob.
Some facts:  After the thousands of cows we have seen in Armenia, it was a surprise to find that most Armenia people don't drink milk.  They make cheeses, a kind of yogurt, and butter.  Many people do not have refrigeration till recently, so perhaps that's why they don't usually drink milk.

We heard  beeping constantly.  One beep means, "hi", to a friend,  if you hear more than one beep, it means, "move it buddy".  The police have their lights flashing all the time when they drive.

Up to 10 years ago, the car fuel was benzine, which was cheap.  Now it is gas, and it's almost $5 a gallon.

One of the reasons that Armenia is such a poor country is because most borders are closed to them.  They can only get goods from Iran and Georgia.  The Peace Corps are only allowed into Georgia.

The most recent name of their religion, which used to be Apostolic Lutheran only, is now The One Holy Catholic Apostolic Orthodox Armenian Church. (Now if that ain't confusing!)  Most Armenians  identify themselves as "christian" and have their own leader.  Most don't attend church, but go to funerals and weddings, baptisms, and to light a candle for a prayer.  There are a few Prostestant Evangelical Armenians.
Honey production is big in the valleys.  The hives seem to be 4 times the size of what we have in America.  For some families, this is their living.  These next few pictures are in Dillijan where we spent two nights.

This hunk of tree and an ax are the tools of a butcher that we saw many times.  The customer tells you what cut of meat you want, and where to cut it, so the butcher brings it to the block and hacks it off with his hatchet.  I couldn't get my camera out in time to show the piece of meat he hacked for his customer, but it looked very good.  It seems like you have to know your anatomy of a cow.

After climbing down to the town down many steps, we had to climb back up.  We found this great cafe that served  americanized food.  Several other peace corps kids joined us for lunch.

Nice view of the valley of Dillijan...on our way down (or up?) many steps.

An outdoor ampitheater, seemed to be in good condition, so it most likely was used for concerts,   etc.

This old truck was just left to rot when the Russians left Armenia.

This is the front yard of the place we stayed in Dillijan.  The apartment was being used by another peace corps  married couple, who very generously gave us the use of it for the two days we were there.  The gates are locked at night.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

This is their broom...only 3 feet high!

Evelyn is talking to this lady

There are over 300,000 farms in Armenia.  The farmers can't afford good equipment,  many use old russian  farm machines, which break down frequently.  Fertilizer and seeds cost a fortune.  By the time produce is ready to sell, they are in debt.  So they borrow for the next year's crop.  And it goes on and on.

I don't know if I posted this particular church, but just in case I didn't:  This is the church that apostoles  Thaddeus and Bartholomew came to preach in.  It may be that our gospel was here at that time.

This is the Drama Queen of the cafe.  When she found out that I have 65 grandchildren, she went ballistic and fell on the floor, still yammering about it!  We laughed.   And many couldn't believe that Margie has 15 children.  In Armenia, if you have four kids, the government gives you a cow for each child.  Wow, Margie, you could have had a whole herd!  You could sell milk and cheese!   Sheeesh!

We are at the tombstone artists house where i again met my grandma.  The lady of the house
gave us each a tulip from her garden.

This old lady was picking greens to eat in a park in Vardenis.  She had on an old bathrobe, and
seemed to talk to everyone.  We were eating our lunch here in the park.

Clothes sometimes were hung several stories up.  One day, Margie asked, what
is that lady doing?   It looked like she was pulling a rope up to her (on the top
floor).  So we watched.  She had dropped a piece of laundry, and
called down to the lady on the ground floor to pin it on her rope so she could
pull it up to her.  No elevators, so it saved going down stairs and returning.

We met this grandma and kids bring the cow home in the evening.
Vardenis was very dusty, and didn't have many trees.

We went to this store to buy some tape for my art class.  The man wanted american
money.  It cost two dollars, and this is what he did with them.  He folded them just so they would
show and he was proud of the dollars. (right below the red pkgs. on top)

We visited the Vardenis outdoor market, and what a colorful sight.  Here
this man is buying a live chicken from the wire cage.

Another view of the outdoor market

The flower seller at the market.

I am examining one of the tombstones that Hayk most likely created.

The cemetery, with large rocks for markers for the people who couldn't afford a monument.
Another Hayk tombstone of a baby

We decided to use a bed & brkfst in Vardenis, so called the owner of one.  He came to meet us, we took off in a taxi, and on the way he told us that his B&B is getting remodeled, so he will take us to another place.  We were going toward a "residential district", down a gravel, potholed, cow crap lane, and I said to Margie, "I'm getting nervous! Where is he taking us?"  We pulled up at this house, and this is where we stayed.  The people were related to this man, and took in travelers from other countries.  I was freezing all the while we were there, and even tho the toilet was a regular one, we had to go thru the house in the night to us it...I had ev's head lamp.  The bathroom was right off the toilet room, and most of the time you washed in cold water.  To take a shower would have been a major project, so we "made do" while we were there.  We had 2 bedrooms so it was private in that part of the house.

This is the grampa and granddaughter of the house.  He was planting his garden.  The little girl's name is Mari.

Here is the living room, with margie and joyce at the table.  They also had two good looking pianos in the room, both really out of tune.  The parents, son and dau-in-law, grand child, and another daughter living here.

Mari finally warmed up to Margie...even tho' they couldn't really talk to each other!