Category Archives: Grandma

After While Crocodile

On Christmas Day, my family was sitting around Carla and Jason’s basement digesting a delicious meal, letting DIE HARD play in the background, playing pool, and discussing one of Amanda’s latest real estate projects.

It was not going to be a joyous Christmas. About a week before Christmas, my last living grandparent was put into hospice care at the Boone County Hospital. Grandma Paris.

Grandma had 7 children and they had been taking shifts around the clock to make sure she was never alone. My Mom’s shift was from 3:30 to 7. Mom was about an hour away from going to cover her shift when the call came that she should come immediately. The time was here.

Teresa drove the Mom to the hospital. About 10 minutes later my phone rang and it was Teresa. Grandma was gone.

She was 94 years old and while she had been suffering from the symptoms of dementia for several years, she had never lost her wit. Just a few weeks earlier, one of my aunts was grousing about family conflict and asked Grandma, “Why did you have to have all of these kids?”

Grandma shot back, “Which one of them do you think I shouldn’t have had?”

My aunt had no response.

That was Grandma.

Her obituary:

Obituary for Doris Paris
Doris Paris
August 20, 1925 – December 25, 2019

Doris Irene (Majors) Paris, 94, died peacefully on Wednesday, December 25, 2019 at the Boone County Hospital in Boone, Iowa.

Doris, the daughter of Robert Lee and Goldie Faye (Patterson) Majors was born in Old Centerville, Iowa, August 20, 1925. She attended Hickory Grove School and received her GED from Des Moines Area Community College.

On March 7, 1942, she married Lyle R. Paris in Bethany, Missouri. She retired following 29 years of service with Bourns, Inc. located in Ames.

In 1937 she was baptized at the Central Christian Church and served as deacon, member of Christian Women’s Fellowship Group #1, Home Builder’s Sunday School class and choir. She also served many years as the church’s kitchen leader for its Annual Harvest Dinner, funeral luncheons and monthly lunches for senior church members. In addition to her church work, she actively participated in two quilt clubs and Jill’s craft club.

She is preceded in death by her husband of 60 years, Lyle R. Paris and by four sisters: Margaret Lykens, Gladys Paris, Betty Walker and Marjorie Lau; six brothers: Donald, Harold, James, Robert, Raymond, and Thomas; daughter-in-law Charlene Paris; two sons-in-law: Gerald Bennett and Dean Walter; granddaughter-in-law Olivia Bennett and great grandson Samuel Bennett.

Survivors include five daughters and three sons-in-law. Charlotte Bennett, Delores (Dee) and Richard VanDePol, Sheryl (Sherry) and Terry Johnson, Dianna (Annie) Walter and Lori and Roger Sebring; two sons: Lyle (Butch) Paris and Gary Paris; three sisters-in-law: Denise Majors of Ankeny, Mary Jo Woodard and Jan Pulver both of Boone; 15 grandchildren; 29 great grandchildren and 7 great-great grandchildren.

Doris’ love of God, family, sense of humor, sweet spirit, gentle nature, hard work ethic, good cooking and the kindness she showed to others will truly be missed, but never forgotten.

The family will be present to greet friends at a visitation from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Saturday, January 4, 2020 at Schroeder-Stark-Welin Funeral Home, 609 7th Street, Boone, Iowa. A private family burial will be held at Linwood Park Cemetery in Boone, Iowa at a later date.

Memorials are suggested to the family to be determined at a later date. Online condolences may be left at

To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Doris Paris please visit our Sympathy Store.

I was mercifully out of the state while the details were worked out, but I believe that memorial will go to hospice and the American Heart Association.

I’d like to share a few pictures of Grandma with you:

Mom and Grandma

Grandma's Kids

Mom's Family

Old - Alternate

Stensland Family Photo Shoot - 2016

Majors Family Reunion - 2008

Stensland Family Photo Shoot - 2016

Photo Journal - Page 117

Photo Journal - Page 117

May 12, 2019

Grandma was a great gardener and I often would go over to her house and photograph her flowers. Here are some of her flowers:


One last thing I want to share about Grandma before I close. Grandma was an avid collector of garden statues. She had them all over the yard. Many other people in our family have shown the same affinity. My Mom does it. Teresa does it. Carla does it. You may have noticed the large collection of frog statues (and other things) strewn across my yard.

There are times that this trait is somewhat derogatorily referred to in the family as “The Doris Gene”. However, I never took it to be a negative. I actually consider it to be a blessing. The first time I buy a new statue for the yard in 2020 (and I already have my eye on one from a shop in Minnesota) and every time I buy a stature after, I will think about Grandma.

I hope you have things that you do to that help you to remember the people that you love. They are some of the greatest blessings.


Happy Thanksgiving! Every year on Thanksgiving I like to think about my many, many blessings. I know, real original. You should feel free to try it sometime. But make sure you let everybody know that I invented gratitude.

I am thankful for my family, no matter how family is defined:

April 9, 2019

May 18, 2019

May 25, 2019

August 24, 2019

September 19, 2019

October 26, 2019

January 26, 2019

February 25, 2019

June 29, 2019

July 6, 2019

August 4, 2019

April 6, 2019

May 12, 2019

I am thankful for my friends:

January 16, 2019

March 12, 2019


Photo Journal - Page 56 Reject

March 21, 2019

May 6, 2019

May 17, 2019

June 1, 2019

June 6, 2019

August 25, 2019

July 12, 2019

August 10, 2019

August 13, 2019

August 18, 2019

September 7, 2019

September 20, 2019

September 21, 2019

October 5, 2019

October 21, 2019

April 27, 2017

Selfie Project - January 21

March 3, 2019

I am blessed with an amazing church family:

April 7, 2019

Selfie Project - January 27

April 17, 2019

May 1, 2019

June 15, 2019

June 23, 2019

June 24, 2019

June 25, 2019

June 27, 2019

July 13, 2019

September 25, 2019

October 27, 2019

June 28, 2017

I am blessed with a decent job and work friends that I don’t mind seeing more than 40 hours a week:

January 12, 2019

August 30, 2019

May 2, 2017

Selfie Project - March 27

Iowa State vs. Northern Iowa

I’m blessed to share my house with Naima:

January 10, 2019

October 6, 2019

July 9, 2019


This is only a small sampling of my blessings, but I feel to go on much longer would sound like boasting. Thank all of you for choosing to be part of my life!

A Photo Journal – Page 117

I recently went over to my Grandma’s house with my Mom to take a picture for Page 117 of THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT. I don’t usually explain what the directions for the page before I unleash the picture on the world, but I’m going to explain the theme first this time.

The directions for Page 117 are “Freeze the frame exactly 57 minutes and 32 seconds into your favorite film. Take a picture inspired by what you see.”

I don’t have a favorite film 100%, but I do have at least a handful that I would say are in the conversation. There A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, KING KONG (1933), PSYCHO (1960), MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, and INHERIT THE WIND.

I actually went through all of these movies before deciding on INHERIT THE WIND. I know INHERIT THE WIND, so l’ll explain a big of it.

INHERIT THE WIND was directed by Stanley Kramer. Stanley Kramer was an underrated director who also directed THE DEFIANT ONES, ON THE BEACH, JUDGEMENT AT NUREMBERG, IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD, and GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER.

It is a dramatized telling of the Scopes Monkey Trial. The trial in Tennessee in 1925 where John Scopes was put on trial for teaching evolution.

INHERIT THE WIND stars Spencer Tracy as Henry Drummond, a dramatized version of Clarence Darrow, who was probably the greatest legal mind in our history. Darrow was Scopes’ defense attorney. Frederic March plays Matthew Harrison Brady, a dramatized version of William Jennings Bryan, who ran for president 3 times, and assisted the prosecutors. Gene Kelly played E.K. Hornbeck, a dramaitzed version of H.L. Mencken, who was a brilliant journalist that covered the trial.

The scene that happens right before the scene that is unfolding at 57 minute 32 second mark of the movie is a “prayer meeting” in the park where the local Pastor (who is also the father of the defendant’s girlfriend) preaches damnation for the defendant and his defenders. Brown is the pastor. Rachel is his daughter:


Do we call down hellfire on the man who has sinned against
the Word?





(Deliberately shattering the rhythm, to go into a frenzied

prayer , hands clasped together and lifted heavenward)

O Lord of the Tempest and the Thunder! O Lord of Right-
eousness and Wrath! We pray that Thou wilt make a sign
unto us! Strike down this sinner, as Thou didst Thine enemies
of old, in the days of the Pharaohs! (All lean forward, almost
expecting the heavens to open with a thunderbolt . rachel is
white. Brady shifts uncomfortably in his chair; this is pretty
strong stuff, even for him) Let him feel the terror of Thy
sword! For all eternity, let his soul writhe in anguish and


No! (She rushes to the platform) No, Father. Don’t pray
to destroy Bertl


Lord, we call down the same curse on those who ask grace
for this sinner— though they be blood of my blood, and flesh
of my flesh!

Brady stops him from going on and preaches a more forgiving brand of Christianity:


(Rising, grasping brown’s arm)

Reverend Brown, I know it is the great zeal of your faith
which makes you utter this prayer! But it is possible to be overzealous, to destroy that which you hope to save— so that
nothing is left but emptiness, (brown turns) Remember the
wisdom of Solomon in the Book of Proverbs— ( Softly ) “He
that troubleth his own house . . . shall inherit the wind.”
(braby leads brown to a chair, then turns to the townspeople)
The Bible also tells us that God forgives His children. And
we, the Children of God, should forgive each other, (rachel
slips off) My good friends, return to your homes. The bless-
ings of the Lord be with you all.

After this scene Brady and Drummond (who are old friends) are sitting on the front porch of the boarding house where they are both staying. They are discussing the prayer meeting. Drummond describes it as gilded. Glossy on the outside and hollow on the inside he compared it to a toy he wanted as a child:


There used to be a mutuality
of understanding and…
admiration between us, Henry.
Why is it, my old friend, that you’ve…
you’ve moved so far away from me


Well, all motion is relative, Matt.
Maybe it’s you who have
moved away by standing still.


If progress means abandoning God
abandoning the faith of our fathers…


I saw a demonstration of that faith tonight.
it’s a pretty deadly instrument, I’d say.


What you saw was a reflection
of the violence and hate
in the world around them,
Henry… your world
But they’re driven to it
because their faith was challenged.
These are simple people, Henry, poor people.
they work hard
and they need to believe in something…
something beautiful.
They’re seeking for something
more perfect than what they have


Window shopping for heaven.


why do you want to take it
away from them, Henry
it’s all they have…
like a golden chalice of hope.


Like my golden dancer.


Your what?


Golden dancer.
She stood in the big side window
in the general store in Wakeman, Ohio.
I’d stand out on the street
and say to myself,
“if I had golden dancer, I’d have
everything in the world I ever wanted. ”
I was about 7 years old at the time
and a great judge of rocking horses.
Golden dancer had a bright-red mane,
blue eyes,
and she was gold all over with purple spots.
And when the sun hit her stirrups,
She was a dazzling sight to behold.
But she was a week’s wages for my father,
So golden dancer and I
always had a big plate-glass window
between us.
And then…
Let’s see…
It couldn’t have been Christmas.
It must have been my birthday.
I woke in the morning,
and there was golden dancer
at the foot of my bed.
Mom had skimped on the groceries,
and my father had worked nights for a month.
I jumped into the saddle,
and I started to rock…
and it broke.




Split in 2. The wood was rotten.
The whole thing was put together
with spit and sealing wax.
All shine and no substance,
And that’s how I feel about that
demonstration I saw tonight, Matt…
All glitter and glamour.
You say you’re giving the people hope
I think you’re stealing their hope.


Oh no, Henry…


As long as the prerequisite
for that shining paradise
is ignorance, bigotry, and hate…
I say, “the hell with it. “

It is this scene of two old friends sitting on a front porch that inspired me to take this picture:

Photo Journal - Page 117
Page 117 – Freeze the frame exactly 57 minutes and 32 seconds into your favorite film. Take a picture inspired by what you see.

I did take a few more pictures that I like, but only one can be physically adhered into the physical PHOTO JOURNAL. Here are a few alternates:

Photo Journal - Page 117

Photo Journal - Page 117

Photo Journal - Page 117

This leaves only the following images left to capture before finally closing the book on THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT:

Page 18 – Shoot the other half of this picture by Jason Evans. – This is a profoundly stupid page, but I guess I’ll have to bite the bullet and do it at some point.
Page 28 – Recreate a famous photograph without looking it up.
Page 64 – Head out with a fellow photographer and play a game of photography dare.
PAGE 66-67 – Make a sequence of four pictures inspired by the rise and fall of Britney Spears (or another celebrity).
PAGE 101 – Find an object, close your eyes and compose your shot using touch rather than vision.
Page 106-107 – Email one of your pictures to your photography hero and ask them what they hate about it.
PAGE 121 – Show us that photography is a form of magic.
Page 123 – Don’t take any more photographs -none- until you see something that emotionally moves you. Only then pick up your camera.


This is your reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is RED!

WEEK 206 - RED

A RED photo is any picture that centers around a subject that is RED.

Happy photo harvesting!

Selfie Project – May

Now seems like as good of a time as any to check back in with THE SELFIE PROJECT and see what “amazing” things I did in the month of May. Some of these things I had already forgot about!

May 1, 2019
May 1

May 4, 2019
May 4

May 5, 2019
May 5

May 6, 2019
May 6

May 7, 2019
May 7

May 8, 2019
May 8

May 9, 2019
May 9

May 11, 2019
May 11

May 12, 2019
May 12

May 15, 2019
May 15

May 17, 2019
May 17

May 18, 2019
May 18

May 19, 2019
May 19

May 21, 2019
May 21

May 23, 2019
May 23

May 25, 2019
May 25

May 26

May 27

May 29, 2019
May 29

May 31, 2019
May 31

I think June is off to a decent start. I haven’t done anything amazing, besides see GODZILLA KING OF MONSTERS. But at least I’m 99% sure I’ll be leaving the state to go on a mission trip. So that’ll be something.


The images in the folder 09-21-08 run the gamut.

There are pictures from Steve’s garden, pictures of my Aunt Linda, pictures of Brandon from his Senior Pictures Photo Shoot, and a picture of the table that became my kitchen table, eventually.











Majors Family Reunion - 2008

Majors Family Reunion - 2008

Majors Family Reunion - 2008







The group pictures are from a Majors Family Reunion. Those don’t happen any longer. Although I can’t say that I particularly enjoyed going to them, I can say that I am kind of sad that they are gone. I guess I am part of the problem.

By adding these images to the Photography 139 Gallery, I was able to add the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” entries to their original glory:

Dear, Beloved, Precious

Senior Pictures

Majors Family Reunion

Next weekends walk down memory lane will involve Little White Lye Soap and it will also involve Alexis.

Zinnia Sale

A bit from the old backlog. These pictures were taken on July 20.

Zinnia - 2017

Zinnia - 2017

Zinnia - 2017

Zinnia - 2017

Zinnia - 2017

Zinnia - 2017

Grandma's Garage Sale

Grandma's Garage Sale

Grandma's Garage Sale

The zinnias were photographed in my very own Photography 139 Flower Garden.

The garage sale pictures were from my Grandma’s somewhat controversial garage sale. I think that is the spin doctor way to describe the garage sale. I wasn’t involved in an controversy, but there was some.

I did walk out of there with quite the collection of randoms. Some of the stuff might be used to hold drinks for a future birthday party. If I decided to have one. I’m starting to fall back on the side of not having one in 2018. I guess we’ll see.

Methodist Men NOT a Steak Fry – 2016

The 16th was The Event Formerly Known as the Methodist Men Steak Fry. I think it was an overall success. We served 51 smoked pork chops and 2 hot dogs. Our speaker was Jack Owens, the founder (more-or-less) of The Salt Company.

It was good food and good company and a good speaker. We didn’t even go broke doing it! Here are a few pictures I was able to snap (when I wasn’t working like a dog) of the event.

Hopefully, under the leadership of our poor schmuck president, we hand increase our attendance by like 25%.