Archives For Family

My Facebook Network

Matthew Bietz —  February 17, 2009 — Leave a comment

In response to Jude and Eric, I decided to check out my facebook friend network using Nexus.


Nothing too surprising here, except what isn’t shown. I have “real” friends who don’t use facebook, but actually serve as connections between clusters. I also have friends who would connect clusters, but only show up in one because they made a conscious decision not to accept friend requests from any high school classmates. The only obvious individual that stands out is my bee-you-tee-full sistore, who connects the fam, high school, and undergrad.


Matthew Bietz —  December 28, 2007 — Leave a comment

FruitcakeI’m quite sure that most people who say they dislike fruitcake haven’t had good fruitcake. And they definitely haven’t had my mother’s fruitcake. Little bits of candied fruit and nuts enveloped in a moist (because it’s been soaking in cream sherry) dense cake. Nummy.

Moving In

Matthew Bietz —  July 17, 2007 — Leave a comment
moving in

We’re moving into the house this week. It’s basically taken over my life – it’s hard to do anything else when everything you own is in boxes. But we’re making progress. And it has been wonderfully easy compared to some of our other moving experiences. Oscar didn’t even complain too much (although he did barf in the cat carrier – he gets the carsickness).


Matthew Bietz —  July 8, 2007 — Leave a comment

Uncle BobI got back from North Dakota earlier this week after Grandma Mary’s funeral. And, in another blow to our family, Uncle Bob (Grandma Mary’s brother) died 6 days after she did. My parents and I were on the way to visit him in the hospital in Langdon, but when we arrived, we found out that he had passed about 15 minutes earlier. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay for his funeral.

Getting to North Dakota was no fun either. I was supposed to fly up on Friday, June 29, but I woke up to discover that my flight had been canceled. The earliest I could get re-booked was Saturday afternoon. I’d still be able to get to Grandma’s prayer service and funeral, but I missed my Aunt Elsie’s ordination Saturday morning. On Saturday, my flight from San Diego to Minneapolis was fine, but then they canceled my Minneapolis to Grand Forks leg at the last minute. Luckily my Uncle Ross and Aunt Lila and their family had just flown in to Minneapolis from a wedding, and were driving to Walhalla (400+ miles), so I was able to catch a ride with them. We arrived in Walhalla around 5:30 Sunday morning.

The funeral and related events were intense and wonderful and overwhelmingly sad. For me, the most meaningful and memorable part of the weekend occurred after the visitation and prayer service Sunday night. We were still at the church, and Melanie and Dad started playing folk songs on violin and guitar in the sanctuary where Grandma was laying. Soon Mom joined in on one piano, and Aunt Elsie on the other. And the rest of the family and some friends joined in playing and dancing and singing old songs. Making music together has always been such a huge part of our family, and I couldn’t think of a more appropriate way to say goodbye to Grandma.

My family has a flair for pomp and circumstance, and Grandma’s funeral was no exception. The family and clergy processed to and into the church accompanied by a bagpiper, although Grandma would have been mad that as a result we started the funeral 20 minutes late. After the funeral, the bagpiper also led us from the church to the cemetery for the burial service.

4626 MissionAfter all of that, I’d love to have some time to recuperate, but life keeps coming. On my calendar:

  • Close on our new house on the 11th. Move in on the 16th.
  • Fly to cousin Nathan’s wedding in Fargo at the end of the month.
  • Draft of the dissertation by August 1.

Wish me luck!

Mary Blair, 1920-2007

Matthew Bietz —  June 25, 2007 — 1 Comment

Grandma MaryGrandma Mary had a very sudden massive cerebral hemorrhage yesterday morning. She never regained consciousness, and passed away this morning.

She was a great lady, and I’m going to miss her terribly.

I have to mention her sense of humor. Every time we talked on the phone, we had to share any dirty jokes we’d heard. One memory keeps sticking in my head: We were watching the news together at her house. It was during the whole Monica Lewinsky scandal, and the newscaster had just finished giving all the sordid “blow-by-blow” details. She shook her head, turned to me, and said, “Bah. If you’re gonna sleep with the president, you should at least do it right and go all the way.”

A highlight of any visit to her house was a meal of her tomato soup (always served with corn bread, of course). It’s hearty farm food – not fancy, but boy did it put Campbell’s to shame! I’m sure that part of the reason it was so good (and mine never tastes quite the same) is because she made it with home-canned tomatoes. Here’s the recipe if you want to remember Grandma too.

Grandma Mary’s Tomato Soup

1 qt. tomatoes
1 qt. water
1/2 cup rice
1 onion
2 tbsp (about) cornstarch
1 cup whipping cream
salt and pepper

  1. Cook onion and rice in tomatoes and water until tender.
  2. Mix cornstarch with water, add to soup.
  3. Add cream and bring to a boil. Season to taste.