Posts Tagged clouston

Grandma’s 102nd birthday in Seattle!

8 November 2016

Since Grandma was turning 102 and still loves big parties, we had another birthday party brunch for her at her house in Seattle this year, so I embellished a Costco cake into an impressive peacock-feathered creation, Glen accompanied me this time, and we even had a chance for a few hours of sightseeing in Seattle! Check out the full photo gallery at the end, too!

Glen did his best Shatner at the EMP museum Trek exhibit in Seattle…hahaha! While it rendered it had messages like “Please wait, rendering evil smugness…amplifying Shatnerosity…” Hilarious!

Click through to see the full gallery!

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Quick Visit with Grandma in Seattle

21 March 2016

Are plane selfies still a thing? Or was that just last year? Grandma has had a couple of bad weeks healthwise, so I’m taking a quick last-minute trip to cheer her up while she’s still stuck in rehab…

Are plane selfies still a thing? Or was that just last year? Grandma has had a couple of bad weeks healthwise, so I'm taking a quick last-minute trip to cheer her up while she's still stuck in rehab…

Posted by Britta Peterson on Saturday, March 19, 2016

I guess our plane was so early we circled wide since when we finally came out from clouds, the water was to our right flying south…then I saw my first aerial view of the Spaceneedle just before we passed it! We were still l so early that I was halfway to baggage claim by our scheduled landing time. Now I got lucky and instead of the shared van I booked, I’m the only passenger in a swanky town car…but Seattle traffic on Saturday is just as bad as the rest of the week so we are barely crawling along…

I guess our plane was so early we circled wide since when we finally came out from clouds, the water was to our right…

Posted by Britta Peterson on Saturday, March 19, 2016

The physical therapist says that Grandma is definitely moving much better than when she got here! If she keeps this up she might go home this coming week, as long as she agrees to help coming every day, sticks to the new low-salt diet, and keeps drinking more water. :)

The physical therapist says that Grandma is definitely moving much better than when she got here! If she keeps this up…

Posted by Britta Peterson on Saturday, March 19, 2016

Already on the way home, with my traditional bowl of Ivar’s smoked salmon chowder for lunch in the air after a Dungeness crab breakfast sandwich. A TSA agent and plane stewardess have gotten a big kick from my color matching, even my water bottle. When I left the plane, one laughed & said “Bye Miss Matchy-Matchy!” 😉

Already on the way home, with my traditional bowl of Ivar's smoked salmon chowder for lunch in the air after a Dungeness…

Posted by Britta Peterson on Sunday, March 20, 2016

Grandma’s 101st Birthday in Seattle

7 November 2015

We made it to Grandma’s house! Do you think I traveled with enough teal?

We made it to Grandma's house! Do you think I traveled with enough teal? 😉

Posted by Britta Peterson on Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Grandma wanted a margarita and an enchilada so we are having Margarita Tuesday. We told them she’s turning 101 tomorrow so they brought her a flaming layered tequila shot and sang!

Grandma wanted a margarita and an enchilada so we are having Margarita Tuesday. We told them she's turning 101 tomorrow so they brought her a flaming layered tequila shot and sang!

Posted by Britta Peterson on Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Kim brought her 10-month old puppy Guido and her year-old granddaughter to wish Grandma a happy birthday! That’s a 100-year age difference opening the presents together!

Kim brought her 10-month old puppy Guido and her year-old granddaughter to wish Grandma a happy birthday! That's a 100-year age difference opening the presents together!

Posted by Britta Peterson on Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Grandma was treated like royalty at Canlis tonight for a delicious fancy birthday dinner! Grandma & Mom were here for their opening night back in 1950, and the grandson Brian Canlis had to take a photo with her while hearing old stories about his grandfather.

Grandma was treated like royalty at Canlis tonight for a delicious fancy birthday dinner! Grandma & Mom were here for…

Posted by Britta Peterson on Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Grandma enjoyed her new birthday presents today!

Full disclosure: she bought the new computer herself but all the conversion from the old computer, setup, lessons, and tech support are some of my birthday gifts to her. The motorcycle is a joke since my rich cousin has so many cars at his house that his bike stays in Grandma’s garage. We keep walking past it so I wanted to take a photo.

Grandma enjoyed her new birthday presents today! 😉

Posted by Britta Peterson on Thursday, November 5, 2015

The celebrations continued tonight with my Peterson cousins, aunt & uncle coming over to wish Grandma a happy 101st birthday!

The celebrations continued tonight with my Peterson cousins, aunt & uncle coming over to wish Grandma a happy 101st birthday! :)

Posted by Britta Peterson on Saturday, November 7, 2015

Today’s brunch was the last of the parties for Grandma’s 101st birthday! Mom made a bunch of goodies and I made the entire three-layer cake, including the sculpted modeling chocolate, handpainted, double-sided 101 topper. Now we are already at the airport to fly home. Happy Birthday Grandma! So glad we could celebrate all week with you!

Today's brunch was the last of the parties for Grandma's 101st birthday! Mom made a bunch of goodies and I made the…

Posted by Britta Peterson on Saturday, November 7, 2015

Sunset somewhere over the clouds and downtown San Jose at night. Home again and looking forward to my own bed tonight. Onyx greeted me at the door of course, but I hope the other kitties forgive me for being gone!

Sunset somewhere over the clouds and downtown San Jose at night. Home again and looking forward to my own bed tonight….

Posted by Britta Peterson on Saturday, November 7, 2015

A Hundred Years of Helen

17 December 2014

The birthday girl and me at the pre-partyI have been working since 2006 on a biography project for my last surviving grandparent, and when she was turning 100 this year, I absolutely had to finish the project in time for her birthday! This has been a lot of work even before 2014, but this project has been about 140 hours of work in just the past 8 months. I hadn’t started counting when I reviewed & imported all the video interviews and scanned most of the old photos before then. I have taken about 800 media “assets” of interviews, old films, scanned vintage photos, digital photos, narrations, including my own singing & playing for the soundtrack, and compressed a chock-full interesting 100-year life into 2 hours 9 minutes running time.

Slideshow at the big partyEven with my day job, my eye surgery in the spring, hosting 4 summer movie nights, a 2-week Hawaiian vacation with Grandma, and giant Halloween The full video premiere at the after-partypreparations this year, I finished a single digital copy complete with all music and transitions in time for the party! I made a short slideshow with a couple video clips to show as large as possible on the wall during the big party, then I set up my projector in the living room back at her house to premiere the full video at the after-party, far enough away from competing with the football game on the TV in the family room. We had a decent dinnertime audience who really enjoyed hearing stories even close friends and family hadn’t heard before. :)

After the premiere, my cousin Stephen told me he had some of the missing photos my grandma couldn’t find, so he scanned those for me, I added in what I could to the video and mastered a DVD-ROM to include all the photos as files for other generations to use, plus I transcribed and formatted everything into a book to accompany the video. I couldn’t fit as many photos into the book, and I took a couple screenshots from the old family films, but that’s not the same as seeing them in motion. The hardback book is available on the Lulu Marketplace here, but the DVD is only available from me. :)

You can now watch the full video “A Hundred Years of Helen” online, broken into the five chapters. There are easy links at the end to click to view the next chapter. The full story is just over two hours long, and Chapter 3 is the longest section at 40 minutes. All the soundtrack songs are classics my grandfather used to play, performed by yours truly on vocals, steel-string guitar and baritone ukulele.


A Hundred Years of Helen
The Story of Helen Marie Bergstrom Clouston

Chapter 1: Childhood in Minnesota
Chapter 2: From the City to the Farm
Chapter 3: Starting in Seattle
Chapter 4: Travels Around the World
Chapter 5: A New Chapter

My mom beat me to blogging the pre-party with pizza and out-of-towners at the house, the big party with 101 guests to help the birthday girl celebrate, the after-party at the house with dinner, and the day-after Peterson cousin fun, so you can read what she said here:

Gary & Diane’s Adventures: A Hundred Years of Helen

I’ve added my own photo gallery here below, plus some videos my cousin’s husband took of my singing with the hired accordion player per the request of the birthday girl. Grandma said it isn’t a party without music, and she loves that I can carry on my grandfather’s musical tradition, so I obliged in belting out some classics my grandfather used to play. :)


You Are My Sunshine

Red River Valley

End of Don’t Fence Me In





Here’s one more bonus song because it’s too cute. My cousin’s kids sang Christmas carols last year with me, so little Abby was looking forward to singing with me again. Lo and behold she is a Frozen fan, so we sang our best “Let It Go” while I fumbled around try to play it on the old electric organ, and she was adorable! 😉

Abby & Britta Singing Let It Go


Christmas in Seattle again

27 December 2013

Airport selfie with Mom & DadWe spent Christmas 2013 in Seattle again by Grandma’s request, which required me driving to my parents’ house late Saturday night, then getting up at 4am to get to the Sac airport for our flight at dawn…ugh! I tried taking a family sunrise selfie, but Mom had to stand on her tiptoes and Dad had to scrunch down for us all to fit in the same photo! haha…

Some of the Peterson ClanMy grandma is the Clouston side of my family, but it was fun to some of the Peterson cousins on the 22nd, especially the kids who are growing up so fast. I played a couple carols on the electric organ while little Alan and Abby sang along, then they each insisted on a solo turn on Rudolph, with Abby even doing a Santa voice in the middle like I did. I think she might become a diva! 😉

Grandma insisted I make us pomegranate martinisIt wasn’t a full house, since Carol & Doug were in the desert, and Christine & her family were in California, but Monte’s family came from Bend for Christmas. I snapped some fun photos especially of 99-year-old Grandma having a great time, like insisting on having pomegranate martinis this year. I know I inherited my party proclivities from her! 😉

Mother & daughter making lefseChristmas Eve is the Scandinavian tradition, with opening presents after the big family dinner. Since my dad and grandma both love it, my grandma splurged on lutefisk for Christmas Eve. My mom and grandma spent the afternoon of the 23rd making fresh lefse to go with the lutefisk. For those of us who are not lutefisk fans, my parents hauled a frozen salmon in their luggage from my dad’s Alaska fishing trip last summer.

Dad making smelly lutefiskLutefisk is cod that was preserved in lye (usually sold these days with the lye already soaked out so no one accidentally poisons themselves), boiled to mush in cheesecloth while it stinks up the whole house, then served with melted butter. It’s a big joke that either you love it or hate it. My dad and grandma love it so we had it for Christmas Eve dinner. Even my dad agrees it stinks while boiling. 😉 The only flavor I taste is the butter, but the texture is like wet paper napkins or fish jello, so I only took a token portion on my plate. 😉 At least we all enjoy the lefse, like a thin potato tortilla eaten rolled up with butter and sugar.

Josh & Alex saved most of their presents to open Christmas morning so we watched them have a great time. Hope everyone enjoyed their holidays as much as we enjoyed ours!

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