Monday, August 29, 2016

Pine Haven Christian Assembly


Saturday my friend Nancy and I drove up to northern Minnesota to see her cabin in the woods. On the way, we stopped by Pine Haven Christian Assembly to take a look. This is the church camp I attended each summer after 5th grade through the summer after my junior year in high school. My dear friends Judy and John Otto met us there and took us around the camp grounds and we had so much fun reminiscing the old times. Currently they have a cabin a little ways from the camp and in summer, Judy works in the camp office. Here are some of the photos:

L to R: yours truly, Tay (camp manager), John, and Judy

The entrance to the camp

Judy Kooy Otto with the Lodge in the background

Judy and I in the Naomi cabin. She and I stayed in this cabin as campers.


John and Nancy outside cabin Naomi
The Chapel



Inside the chapel, at my request, John sang "How Great Thou Art."  He has a beautiful voice.

The canteen is located inside this beautiful log cabin.
It was great to see the camp in such a beautiful state. Many people over the years have donated many wonderful things and hours and hours of labor. I sure enjoyed seeing it again.

Pine Haven Christian Assembly


Saturday my friend Nancy and I drove up to northern Minnesota to see her cabin in the woods. On the way, we stopped by Pine Haven Christian Assembly to take a look. This is the church camp I attended each summer after 5th grade through the summer after my junior year in high school. My dear friends Judy and John Otto met us there and took us around the camp grounds and we had so much fun reminiscing the old times. Currently they have a cabin a little ways from the camp and in summer, Judy works in the camp office. Here are some of the photos:

L to R: yours truly, Tay (camp manager), John, and Judy

The entrance to the camp

Judy Kooy Otto with the Lodge in the background

Judy and I in the Naomi cabin. She and I stayed in this cabin as campers.


John and Nancy outside cabin Naomi
The Chapel



Inside the chapel, at my request, John sang "How Great Thou Art."  He has a beautiful voice.

The canteen is located inside this beautiful log cabin.
It was great to see the camp in such a beautiful state. Many people over the years have donated many wonderful things and hours and hours of labor. I sure enjoyed seeing it again.

Monday, August 22, 2016

She Winked at Me

I wasn't shopping for a new car because I loved my car. It is a Final Edition of the New Beetle. It has "Final Edition" plaques on either side of the car. 1500 of these beautiful blue, hardtop versions were made and 924/1500 is engraved on the steering wheel.

This photo is from May 2010. I'm standing between my red 1998 New Beetle (first edition) and my new, 2010 Final Edition, on the left. My boss bought the red car from me and still drives it.

Saying "good-bye" to my blue 2010 VW
Friday I was at the Volkswagen dealership to check on a warning light that had flickered the night before while driving on the highway. While they were looking at my car, I meandered into the sales room. That was a mistake. There I saw a beautiful new Beetle. It was a "limited edition" — a white convertible with a blue denim roof. The seats were covered in blue denim with white piping and the backs of the seat pockets were stitched like the back pockets of Levi jeans—double red stitching.



I'll cut to the chase. I ended up driving one of the "Limited Editions" and was impressed with the handling and the new safety features. It got me thinking: at my age, it would be good to have these features. As I was getting out of the car, I realized a convertible was not practical for me, but then "she" winked at me. She was parked two cars away and her beautiful tornado red took me in.

I walked over to her and looked in her window. The dashboard was exceptional! I said to the salesperson, "I'd like to have a look inside." Once in, I was sold. So I put the car on "hold" for 24 hours so I could think it over, pray about it, and discuss it with my brother and dear friend, Lil. Saturday I called back to say I wanted to purchase it. The rest is history.

Here I am sitting in my new car.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Rain, Rain, Rain!


Boy, have we had a lot of rain this month! Last Wednesday, we got dumped on. A person who lives close to me said he got 4 inches in his rain gauge. That came in a very short amount of time. This afternoon it began pouring and the news station reported our area got 4 inches in 25 minutes time! We had small hail mixed in with it at times. I worked a bit later than I usually do to leave during one of the intermissions. We are definitely not having a drought this year!

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Another Year Older

Yours truly standing at my office with the fabulous decorations

My office birthday party
Homemade cards from Leo, Felix and Aurelia and roses from Sarah and Peder

Yes, I turned another year older this past week. I had a lovely day which included talking to, or seeing, all of the members of my immediate family. My co-workers decorated my office and the two departments in which I work gave me a wonderful birthday party, complete with cake and ice cream, and lots of candles!

It's interesting that the older I get, the more I enjoy my birthdays and am thankful for each new day. I've reached the stage where I am no longer "gathering" things, but have begun to purge. Yesterday I went to Red Wing with some friends, and didn't buy one thing for myself. This is a good feeling. The weird (and perhaps, foolish) thing, is that we spend so many years and so much money buying things that will make us happy, make our homes beautiful, and maybe make us more attractive. At my current age, most of those things are not important to me. I still want to look good and therefore I my hair colored on a regular basis and have begun having my nails done. I've even had a make-up lesson at a cosmetic counter in a large department store.  It's the "things" that take up real estate in my home and garage that I am trying to eliminate.

So, if God gives me more days/years, I hope to continue parting with the things I no longer need. It's a good project!

Monday, August 01, 2016

Marshall's trip to the Midwest

Last Saturday Heidi accompanied Marshall on a trip to the Midwest to see his grandparents and cousins. It was a whirlwind trip for Heidi, but I hope it was as much fun for her as it was for me. After picking them up at the airport, we went to Broadway Pizza for supper. Yum! I love their pizza, and Marshall enjoys their toy train that travels on a track close to the ceiling.

While staying with me, we went swimming, looked at animals in a pet store, he played at Shoots and Ladders – a wonderful amusement park for kids near my home, had a picnic supper with Peder's family and his Grandpa Steve and then played in a near by park with them, played my piano, watched a hummingbird at the feeder, played with Nels, swam some more, had lunch at Redstone—a family tradition for Heidi and me, took Heidi to the airport, went to Como Park, and took in the Crayola Experience at the Mall of America, as well as rode the rides in the amusement park there, and swam with the cousins in my pool. All of this was in the course of about 72 hours. We were BUSY!

I'll let my pictures tell more of my time with him and Aurelia, Felix and Leo.

Marshall on the Merry-Go-Round at Como Park
Marshall near Dred Scott Field
Marshall admiring the lily pads at Como Park


Marshall (center) on ride at the Mall of America 
Marshall scanning his drawing at the Crayola Experience in the Mall of America

Marshall at Shoots and Ladders
Leo, Marshall and Aurelia with their spin art

Aurelia, Marshall, Leo and Felix




Saturday, July 30, 2016

Trip to Ely

Tuesday we loaded up my sister's car, and she, my cousin Pat, and I headed up north to Ely. It was a beautiful day, and I especially loved seeing this part of the state which I had never seen before. There were miles and miles – probably 50 or 60 miles – of fir trees.  That's all we saw on both sides of the highway. And then we arrived in Ely. It is a small town with a population of 3,455. Most everything is located right on the main street. It is well known for the International Wolf Center, but also boasts of the Dorothy Molter museum, and the fantastic N. American Bear Center. Out of these attractions, we saw all but the wolf museum.

Both days we were there, we drove out to Camp Van Vac where Peder and his family, his in-laws, and our cousin Linda each rented a cabin for the week. It was really fun seeing the place where Peder's family has been enjoying each summer for several years.

Leo standing next to their heat stove
L to R: Janet, Pat, yours truly, and Linda 
Pat standing next to the sand structure one of the campers had made
Linda standing next to her cook stove
While in town, we ate at some nice restaurants and looked around in many stores. My favorite place was the Jim Brandenburg Gallery. He is a well known photographer, whose work has been featured in the National Geographic magazine. I bought a poster there that I intend to frame to hang over my fireplace in autumn/winter. I also loved visiting the North American Bear Center and the Dorothy Molter Museum .

On our second evening there, we enjoyed a delicious spaghetti dinner outside Sarah's parents' cabin. Ken had made home-made meatballs and spaghetti sauce. My, was that good! After dinner, Pat, Peder and I walked around the resort a bit and enjoyed sitting by the lake looking out at the activities going on. Felix brought us a tiny frog he had found. Then when Leo appeared, folks that were swimming near by called out, "Hi Leo!" It seems everyone in the resort knew my grandkids. That was reassuring, knowing they would come to their aid if one of them got into trouble. Toward sunset, we moved some chairs near the shore to watch the beautiful sight to the end of the day, and then we headed back to town to our hotel.

Around 3 am the next day (Thursday), a big wind storm blew across the kids' resort, knocking down about a hundred trees, breaking down all of the power lines and closing off the roads and paths around the resort. One tree fell on Peder's cabin and one fell on Linda's cabin. They were terrified! Rain was blowing into the cabin windows so they had to close them, making it hot inside. Peder said they took the kids to bed with them and put their blankets over their bodies and heads to protect them should the wind blow out their windows. It was very scary.

At our hotel, I had heard nothing due to wearing ear plugs. When I got up to go to the bathroom around 4 am, the room was pitch black. I felt my way to the bathroom door but when I opened it, I was surprised to not see the night light. I called to Janet and announced our power must have gone out. Janet confirmed that and offered me her flashlight. Pat was now awake and asked if I had not heard the vicious wind around 3 am. I said I hadn't. They told me at that time the clock radio suddenly came on and then all the power went out. Later we learned winds 70 to 90 mph had whipped through the entire area, killing two boy scouts in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. We got up a bit before 6 and with the power still out, got dressed, and checked out of our hotel. We had intended to check out by 10 that day anyway. Driving out of town, we looked in amazement at all of the huge trees uprooted or broken off in the city park and in front of the high school. We had to drive to another town before we could find a restaurant with power so we could get breakfast. All of our family at the resort packed up too and once the fallen trees were cut away from the roads, headed for home – leaving a couple days before they were scheduled to leave.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Family Time Is the Best!

Seeing the sights is interesting and a lot of fun, but being with my family is the best part of my vacations. I loved playing with the kids – even though I stink at playing Mario Brothers! I enjoyed watching the movie "Inside Out" with the family, going down to see the pond – looking for turtles and spotting ducklings, going to church with Rachel, and listening in on their family Bible reading time.

On the last day of school, William declared he wanted to dress "fancy." Here he is relaxing after school was dismissed.


Annika is growing up to be a young lady. I loved watching two of the short movies she has produced and reading some of her story writing.



It was fun keeping score for the little volleyball game Annika and Josiah played with their neighbors Allen and Aaron. And I loved going with the family to see the new Pixar movie, "Finding Dori." I enjoyed petting their cat, Noko, too.



And then the sad part comes and I have to say, "Good-bye."

Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour of Washington, D. C.

I booked passes for Hans, William and me to ride the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus to see some of the sights of Washington after touring the Pentagon. We had to walk a little ways to the first bus stop. After boarding the double decker vehicle, we stayed on the bus until we had passed the Washington Monument and then got off so we could visit the Korean War Veterans Memorial.

This is a very impressive sight! There are 19 stainless steel statues that are a little larger than life-size. They are dressed in full combat gear. It was interesting to hear Hans point out the various weapons the men were carrying. Apparently there had a been a ceremony of sorts prior to our arrival as workers were carting away white folding chairs. Wreaths from various countries remained around the perimeter of the statues. There is also a wall of black granite, on which there is a mural of the land, sea and air troops. The names of those killed are on this wall. I thought this memorial was excellent!








Next we walked past the Lincoln Memorial (on our left) and the Reflecting Pool (on our right). This entire historical part of Washington, D. C., is so well plotted out. There were some ducks swimming in the pond. One tourist overheard me tell Hans the pool reminded me of "Forrest Gump," and started yelling, "Jenny, Jenny!"



Just ahead we came to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I told Hans that one of his dad's high school classmates had died in that war and looked up his name in the directory they provided. The names of the deceased are listed in the order of when they were killed. I was able to find Scott Richardson's name. You'll see it here:


This statue is at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.


The National World War II Memorial was up ahead, but by the time we had seen the Vietnam memorial, I was running out of steam and needed to rest. I decided I could see it another time. So we made our way to our next bus stop and boarded it to go into the city center to see the Ford Theater. This ride took us past The White House, The Bureau of Engraving, The National Archives Building, and other Federal Buildings. We got off at the bus stop nearest the Ford Theater.

After crossing the street and walking to the next block, Hans noticed the long line outside the Ford Theater. And then we saw the sign "Must have tickets to enter theater," so I put that on my list for "next time," too. Rather than waiting for 20 to 30 minutes for the next bus, Hans decided to use Uber. This was a new and fun experience for me. He stepped away from me and William for a minute, and when he returned he said, "There will be a black Cadillac, license number ***, coming for us in about six minutes. He is here right now." Sure enough, his location appeared on Hans' phone. Well, he was a welcome sight! We piled into the big, back seat of his air-conditioned car and it felt heavenly. What a relief from the heat! He drove us to the closest spot to Arlington National Cemetery.



Tourists on the steps watching the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier



At the Information building of the cemetery, we bought tickets to the tram which gives a guided tour of the cemetery—pointing out graves of famous people. We got off at the stop for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. There were many people already assembled on the steps that face the tomb, but it wasn't crowded by any means. I felt so sorry for the soldier who was walking back and forth, in full dress wool uniform, but I learned more about them and their desire to perform,

Here is what I learned about the guards' walks:

There is a meticulous routine that the guard follows when watching over the graves.
The Tomb Guard:
  1. Marches 21 steps south down the black mat laid across the Tomb.
  2. Turns and faces east, toward the Tomb, for 21 seconds.
  3. Turns and faces north, changes weapon to outside shoulder, and waits 21 seconds.
  4. Marches 21 steps down the mat.
  5. Turns and faces east for 21 seconds.
  6. Turns and faces south, changes weapon to outside shoulder, and waits 21 seconds.
  7. Repeats the routine until the soldier is relieved of duty at the Changing of the Guard.
After each turn, the Guard executes a sharp "shoulder-arms" movement to place the weapon on the shoulder closest to the visitors to signify that the Guard stands between the Tomb and any possible threat.
Twenty-one was chosen because it symbolizes the highest military honor that can be bestowed—the 21-gun salute.
The mat is usually replaced twice per year: before Memorial Day and before Veterans Day. This is required because of the wear on the rubber mat by the special shoes worn by Tomb Guards. The sentinels have metal plates built into the soles and inner parts of their shoes to allow for a more rugged sole and to give the signature click of the heel during maneuvers. The sentinels wear sunglasses because of the bright reflection from the marble surrounding the Tomb and the Memorial Amphitheater.
On the ground not covered by the mat, a wear pattern in the tile can be seen that corresponds to the precise steps taken during the changing of the guard. On the mat itself, footprints worn in by standing guard are also visible.
At the completion of the tram ride, we opted to call Uber again for a ride back to our car. It was a full, exhilarating day. I loved all of it!