Category Archives: Activities

Niilo Celebrates 82nd Birthday at Home

Niilo spent half the day at home on Saturday, March 6, celebrating his 82nd birthday with family. He ate heartily of pulla (Finnish cardamom bread)made by Joan, shrimp, gardenpotato salad, pulla birthday ‘cake’, ice cream, and orange chocolate sticks – his favorite foods.

Joan enjoyed preparing for the event, and went ahead and had old friends Robin and Pauline over for supper today, very much enjoying the visit. Pauline intends to come again to knit with Joan.

It has been blustery and chilly lately, a little below zero degrees F. Very little snow around Fairbanks!

Heather

Niilo turns 82

Niilo celebrated his 82nd birthday at the homestead with his Fairbanks family (Chena, Gary, Ben, Heather, Joan, Alex, and Dane, photos above L. to R.). Heather cooked up a fine spread. Niilo certainly enjoyed the dinner and the dessert even more. Finnish pulla bread made by Joan topped with ice cream and a side dish of tapioca.  Birthday presents included chocolate orange and raspberry sticks, music CDs and a CD player for his room at Pioneer’s Home.  If anyone has music they think he would enjoy, feel free to send on.

Gary

Play Ball!

Activities Coordinator Jessica had told me that Niilo has been kicking a ball this winter, and Aide Erica told me that he also catches and throws the ball, answers questions about memorabilia in his room, and sometimes tells stories.  So today Dad and  Dane and I played 3-way catch and kickball and catch for 20-25 minutes.  Dad enjoyed this more than chocolates, even tossing his chocolate when we set the ball down!

Heather.   Clear and -25F on Feb 4.  A cow & twin calf moose nearby recently.

2010 starts out crisp & bright

With temperatures from 0 to -33 F, and the sun rising only a few degrees above the mountains in the south, the golden glitter of sunshine in the snow crystals adorning the tree branches is stunning. Daylight is increasing at a rate of almost 2 minutes/day, now almost up to 4 hours a day. The beauty is certainly something to be thankful for.

From where she sits at the dining table, Joan sees this and the many chickadees, redpoles, and occasional woodpeckers that come to her birdfeeders outside the window.

Joan continues to knit, cook, bowl, enjoy movies and games of Scrabble, Equine Trivia, Go To the Head of the Class, and Boggle, walk out to fetch and then read her mail, play cards* with friend Nancy E and family, and visit Niilo at the Pioneers Home. *Joan has found that Rummy is even more fun with the inclusion of jokers as wild cards that can be taken by another player who has the card for which they were substituted.

Niilo has seemed less alert when family have visited lately, but Activities Coordinator Jessica tells us he plays kickball with her, using one foot, the other, or both as directed. We have found that the best way to perk him up at visits is to bring ice cream, but perhaps we will now try out family games of kickball.

Chena & family are visiting Gary’s mother Theda (hello, Theda!) for her 90th birthday. We hope she enjoys reasonably good health for the coming year.

Thank you for the cards and letters, friends. If you have not yet received a reply from Koponens, you will eventually!

Heather

Ice Cream Socials and Singing

The Fairbanks Pioneers Home hosts an Ice Cream Social for residents and guests every Saturday evening, usually accompanied by some singing and occasionally other diversion as well. It is a popular activity in which Niilo and Joan have been participating ever since we found out about it a month or two ago.

Joan and Heather join Niilo for supper at the Home before the Ice Cream Social. The main dining hall is spacious and cheerful, with tables for 4-6, seasonal decoration, a magnificent large painting of walruses, and window views of crabapple trees. We usually converse with some others there as well.

After supper, we go to a table where there are jigsaw puzzles and Joan works on one of these while I find newspaper articles that might be interesting to Niilo & Joan. Niilo usually watches and listens, only occasionally lending a hand or a comment.

The Ice Cream Social in the Home’s library is usually at 7 pm. Activities Coordinator Jessica and volunteers serve a choice of rootbeer float or vanilla ice cream with toppings. And there is some singing. Tonight it was led by a delightful couple, 74 & 85 years old and still wonderfully musical, playing guitars and harmonica. Joan joined in on most songs, including a couple I had never heard before and she doesn’t think she has sung since she was a schoolgirl.

We have had only a third the average snowfall for this time of year, and it’s fairly mild out: zero to -10F.

Heather

Re-Joy-Sing! early November 2009

. It was clearly a treat for Niilo to attend the Re-Joy-Sing! choir performance last night at the beautiful local Unitarian Fellowship. The spirited performance brought smiles, and afterward various attendees and choir members told Niilo how happy they were to see him.
. Old friend Jane W. called to say hello and ask who did Niilo’s portrait for the old campaign poster she has. Who knows the answer?
. Despite below-zero weather, Niilo continues making it to Quaker meeting weeks out of 4, but evenings are clearly the more lively times of day.
. Joan continues to visit Niilo several times a week, joining him for meals sometimes, and enjoying Ice Cream Socials best.
. At home, Joan delights in the numerous chickadees that frequent the bird feeders, as well as occasional grouse in the crab-apple tree, and fresh moose tracks in the yard.
. The 7-8-inch snowfall recently brought more beauty and quiet, and with this (and Chena’s guidance several days a week), Joan is cooking more again. Yum!

Heather

Niilo honored at Democratic State Central Committee gala

Niilo, Fred Brown and Barry Jackson were honored at the Democratic State Central Committee gala held last weekend at the Morris Thompson Center. There was a good turnout, including Sen. Mark Begich.

Colleen Redman was very busy before and during, having gathered lots of historic photos and even taking a few hundred at the event.

Niilo had a good time, enjoying the prime rib with Heather, Chena, Gary and the throngs of friends and colleagues from past decades.

Chena and Niilo

Chena and Niilo

–gary

Niilo honored at Democratic State Central Committee gala

Niilo, Fred Brown and Barry Jackson were honored at the Democratic State Central Committee gala held last weekend at the Morris Thompson Center. There was a good turnout, including Sen. Mark Begich. http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=159744619746

Colleen Redman was very busy before and during, having gathered lots of historic photos and even taking a few hundred at the event.

Niilo had a good time, enjoying the prime rib with Heather, Chena, Gary and the throngs of friends and colleagues from past decades.

Joan & Niilo Pizza Party

Joan is back from a month in New England which she says was very nice. The best part was going on frequent carriage rides with the super driving horse of Sanni’s, a 17-hand Clydesdale with pizzazz and good manners. She also went on frequent walks and had a wonderful visit with her lifelong friend Nancy.

Niilo is glad to see Joan back, and they have eaten together at the Pioneers Home several times since. Last night it was the monthly “Liz Berry Pizza Potluck” in the Ptarmigan Room, along with Sherry, Nancy, Nancy, Ed, Larry, Alex, Heather, and a number of others. Ed & Larry played & sang “The Winner” and a couple of other tunes. Niilo didn’t want to leave ’til everyone else was gone.

It snowed this week and the leaves are falling. Joan & Heather harvested all but a few potatoes – a good crop, the last of this summer’s garden in the ground. Lots in the freezer and fridge.

We’ll bring Niilo home for supper again this weekend.

Heather

Labor Day 2009 & Engine 1

Niilo joined the throngs of workers out enjoying the day at Pioneers Park for Labor Day. He, Heather, and Rob were joined at the picnic table by Will & Joyce, Nancy & Ryan, and enjoyed differing amounts of conversation with numerous others, including 100+ yr-old Engine 1 conductor Dan and fellow Friend Lea Ann. He was again given VIP treatment on the train, and by various veteran union supporters who appreciated his support over the years.
Dad also obviously enjoyed a guitar player in the park, and the steamboat Nenana dioramas, and the ice cream cone.
Returning to the Pioneers Home, he was cheerfully greeted by aide Ron, who calls him his Democrat buddy.

Heather