Sunday, December 30, 2007

Reading, writing and coloring....just what the doctor ordered

What a wonderful day! Finally, my day to do what I want. My goal, as I mentioned yesterday, was to color.

I started my day quietly avoiding my laptop. I rejoiced at my reserve. I sipped my coffee and read one of my Christmas gifts, the new Shirley MacLaine book, Sage-ing while Age-ing. As the proud owner of all of Shirley's previous books, I was delighted to sit back and start her latest venture. Her insight on the interconnectedness and synchronicity of life mirror my unexpressed thoughts. More on the book another day.

As a break from my book, I succumbed to check my email. This quote by Joan Hiatt Harlow was my daily quote from NAWW.

"Talent is one thing, the drive to express it another."

The quote certainly spoke to me. How many people say they could do so and so, but can't find the time? Don't we all have 24 hours in a day? Why do some people accomplish it, while others shrug it off? The drive and the choice to express is the key.

Now I was ready to color. (If you are not familiar with the health benefits of coloring, please be sure to review Stop! And smell the crayons at

I choose to color Catherine the Great. I selected my colors carefully from my daughter's new 64 count Crayola box. As I checked the label for the skin tone color I used, I wondered why the color name was so long. It wasn't until I picked out the blue, that I realized why. The crayon was labeled blue, azul and bleu. Not only were the Crayola people wise enough to write the color in English, they included the Spanish and French colors on every crayon.

From a marketing perspective, this is a stroke of genius. Children around the world can learn the basics of a foreign language when they color. Crayola only needs one label to cover three major languages. Crayons manufactured here can be used globally. What a fabulous way to demonstrate international diversity and build interconnectedness. So, as I color my picture of a famous world leader born in Germany, ruled in Russia, I used these colors:

  • Hair--Chestnut, Castana, Marron
  • Skin--Peach, Durazno, Peche
  • Lips-Carnation Pink, Rosado Clavel, Rose Ceillet
  • Sash--Pacific Blue, Azula Pacifico, Bleu Pacifique
  • Bodice--Purple Mountain Majesty, Montanas purpuras Majestuosas, Majestueuses Montagnes pour pres
  • Background-Mauvelous, Malvavilloso, Mauveilleux

If that does not give one a sense of interconnectedness, what does? Something as simple as a crayon expresses what we often forget. It is a small, interconnected world.

One more check on the email. My other quote for the day has arrived.

The purpose in life, then, is not the gratifying of appetites nor of any selfish desires, but it is that the entity, the soul, may make the earth, where the entity finds its consciousness, a better place in which to live. Edgar Cayce Reading 4047-2

Nothing the doctor prescribes could ever be as good as this day.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Creativity in progress....

Christmas Day passed quickly. My week was filled with family, however a good portion of my time was devoted to following through on a prior commitment. I committed to edit and publish the 30 year anniversary book for the Arizona Sun Chapter of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia. While I enjoyed the process and value the end result, I really wanted to goof off and do whatever I wanted during this break from my day job. I really wanted to color and draw.

So, I was a bit of a grump after the excitement of Christmas Day. I tried to enjoy the days, but instead I focused on section breaks, page numbers and photo captions. I barely took the time away from my laptop to visit the Jim Henson Fantastic World exhibit at the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa, but I was glad I did.

What an awe inspiring exhibit. I loved the drawings and doodles Jim did all of his life. He used legal lined paper or napkins to make some of his creations. Did you know he ran a poster service during his college years? The exhibit was outstanding and a hit with kids and adults. My oldest daughter is a fanatic Muppet fan from Sesame Street to the Muppets Take Manhattan to the the Muppets Christmas Carol (which we watched on Dec. 26th). Jim died when she was only four years old, however to this day I remember how I shared the news with her. The exhibit sparked memories, family history and respect for the wonderful process of creativity. Jim's life is a beautiful example of how one's creations, small or large, move you to the next phase of your life.

Tonight, I finished the book and now await my proof copy. Thank goodness! My creativity on this project is complete and I am ready to move on to the next project. Now I have 3 days which I can devote to my new choices....playing tennis, cleaning my room, coloring and drawing.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas and Coloring

The two C's of December converge as we get closer and closer to Christmas break. I am almost ready to leave my work life behind, only one more day left (or so I hope...I should be on vacation starting tomorrow, but the demands of corporate life beckon me for one more day).

I bask in the glow of the holiday lights and visions of holiday time filled with wrapping the presents, finalizing food preparation to be followed by the wonderful relaxation. I will imbibe in a glass or two of holiday cheer, get to some of those "I've been meaning to's" on my list, and set aside some time for drawing and coloring, the ultimate relaxation. What could be better than looking forward to it?

Plus, I was thrilled to find my latest Maggie Visits Grandpa coloring book on the North Dakota Library site. Thanks to Michael Miller who has been such an advocate for research and information on Germans from Russia. To check out the site yourself, please visit There is such thorough information here, you could be caught until Christmas, so set the timer so you still have time to relax and color.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Private caller....

So, I was checking my email last night and the phone rang. It said private caller, so I almost didn't answer. Maybe it was exhaustion after a long work week, but I decided to answer.

Someone asked for me by name and I asked who was calling? He started to talk about Germans from Russia so I knew he had the right person.

After a few minutes, I discovered my new friend grew up in Sheboygan, Wisconsin (just like me) and knew my grandmother. His mother was her good friend and knew her pre-1925 when my grandfather lived in Sheboygan.

I learned that Sheboygan was the ideal place for Germans from Russia to settle because in the spring and summer they would grow and harvest the beets, then in the winter they would work at Kohler. In those days, Kohler would stock up on inventory in the winter months and needed winter workers. I know when my grandmother came to the United States she traveled to Fresno, Flint, and many other areas to work the fields so the story made sense to me.

Kohler is a small village outside of Sheboygan. My father, uncles and aunt worked there for many years so again the story is very realistic since both the Dalhaimers and the Herzogs worked there. Kohler was a small, company-owned village which has evolved into a beautiful, picturesque corporate town. I loved it as a young child so much that when I visited Sheboygan last April, I ate dinner at the Horse and Plow. restaurant in the heart of the American Club. For more information, visit and The gorgeous web sites are exquisitely done which gives you true insight into the Kohler family. The history of the village merits another story on another day.

My new contact, Ray, was a friend of my Uncle Freddy and they played basketball in the alley behind the house. Ray said he remembered my Uncle John, who he called Johnny, as the best looking of the athletic Dalhaimer boys. John was well known for his "horrible temper." (I could probably write a book on the Dalhaimer temper at some point, with most of the evidence coming from my Uncle Zeaman, Uncle Fred and myself, not necessarily in that order).

If the kids were playing basketball and they saw John coming, they left the area until John was done with whatever John was doing. My friend knew John was killed in World War II, as was another good friend named Klunk. I know I have a picture of of Klunk with my Dad in their military uniforms, but I had assumed Klunk was a nickname. John hung out with Huntzie Klunk and Kaiser, both of whom were killed in the war.

Ray described German Russian weddings at the 99 Hall, ties with Reimers, Ruppels, Bruder Reimer and how he knew the Knaubs (Jacob, John, Gottlieb known as Ace, Emily and Gubby).

His mother and my grandmother were members of the Volga Aid Society group. As a young girl, I remember my grandmother quilting in her living room with these women. I remember how important those meetings were to her and I could not disturb her during those times. Ray said this group was a focal point of their lives. They had coffee together, met often and marched in 4th of July parades in uniforms with zorro style capes and tams. Apparently my grandmother knew how to have a good time with some of the stunts she did with this group.

His mother also knew why my grandmother married Gottlieb Bauer, her second husband, who was Lutheran. Many of the German Russians who settled in Sheboygan were from Reinwald, which was a Lutheran village. My grandmother was from Mariental, which was Catholic, and Catholics were the German Russian minority in Sheboygan. Unfortunately, there was not another German Russian Catholic in the entire town, so my grandmother married Gottlieb.

Ray also knew Herman Schneider who was the brother of my mother's best friend, Lydia. There were many more anecdotes we shared during our hour on the telephone. Some of the best news was that Ray attended the AHSGR conference in Hays, Kansas, as I did, and will attend the next conference in Casper, Wyoming. For updates on the convention, visit I look forward to meeting him. When I answered the phone last night, little did I know what private information this caller would bring. Private and fascinating.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Grab your crayons and join Maggie's Coloring Contest

Too much holiday stress? Countdown to the holiday coming too quickly?

Stop! And smell the crayons. What can compare to a new crayon box…the aroma, the freshly sharpened points of each crayon, the aligned organization of the brand new colors. Your unique coloring talent can bring you wonderful rewards when you join Maggie's Coloring Contest.

As part of the celebration of my latest book, Maggie Visits Grandpa, I am sponsoring a coloring contest for kids from age 2 to 102. It’s proven that coloring reduces stress, so it makes sense to have a coloring contest overlap with one of the more stressful times of year. And, part of Maggie's adventure is hearing about her family history.

Here are some of the details:

Entry Procedure

1. Each artist may submit one entry

2. Each entry form must be filled in completely and include the parent’s name and signature for entrants under age 18.

3. Entry form needs to include:
  • Name of artist
  • Address
  • City, State, Zip,
  • Telephone number
  • E-mail address (optional for contest updates)
  • Age of artist (on Feb. 9, 2008)
  • If under age 18, Parent’s Name and Signature

4. Drawings will be returned if a self-addressed, stamped envelope for first class mail is included.

5. Incomplete submissions will be disqualified.
6. Entry forms are available at the following locations in Chandler, Arizona
· Way 2 Play CafĂ©, 940 E. Riggs Road, Chandler, Chandler, AZ 85249, NE corner of Riggs and McQueen,

· Java Spot, 1915 E Chandler Blvd. Chandler, AZ 85225.

· Mind over Splatter, Historic Downtown Chandler, 64 South San Marcos Place, Chandler, AZ,

· T’z Marketplace, Historic Downtown Chandler, 58 San Marcos Pl. Chandler, AZ 85225,· Michaels, The Arts & Crafts Store, 3771 S. Gilbert Rd., Gilbert, AZ 85296,

*Signs by Tomorrow, 1929 E. Ray Rd. - Suite 4, Chandler, AZ 85225.

7. Also, the entry form can be downloaded from this site.


Six first-place awards will be given for entries in the following age brackets:

Ages 2-5, Ages 6-9, Ages 10-14, Ages 15-18, Ages 18-25, over 25

First place winners will receive a $25 Michael’s gift card and a copy of the new coloring book, Maggie Visits Grandpa by Anna Dalhaimer Bartkowski. One runner-up in each age bracket will receive a copy of Maggie Visits Grandpa. Winning artwork will be posted on The judges’ decisions are final.

Winners will be notified by telephone.


The deadline for receipt of entries is 5 p.m. February 9, 2008. Entries received after this time and date will not be entered in the contest. Send all entries to: Infinite Adventure, 6043 S. Danielson Way, Chandler, AZ 85249 or scan and email drawing and entry form to No purchase necessary to enter or to win.
More information on Maggie Visits Grandpa to come. Or, visit the Web site at

Saturday, December 01, 2007

December 1st...only 24 days til Christmas!*@!!

Rabbit, Rabbit! Ok, I had to say that first. Now onto our real topic of the day.

I like to think I am in control of my life. So, how did I let it get to be December 1st? I really do plan and have many things done for the holidays, but I have no idea how December 1st came so quickly.

November 1 was on a Thursday which made Thanksgiving on the earliest possible date it can be. So I actually had more time than usual between turkey and the first. I fear the countdown of days will continue to pass quickly.

Perhaps the time has flown past because I have just finished my second book. I am doing all of the things a writer needs to do to get the word out about it. One of my fun ways of sharing the publishing news will be introduced on this blog tomorrow so stay tuned. With that and all of the other holiday plans, I may have entered a time warp and sped forward by accident.

Since my Seven Habits training and Sacramento trip in November, I plan better, I prioritize better, and I have eliminated all Quadrant IV activities. So, I am in control of my life. However, I still cannot control the date on the calendar.