Thursday, March 23, 2017

On Vacation!

I'm in Arizona on my first vacation since retiring. Monday I flew to Arizona to spend some days with my sister who rented a place for the months of January, February and March. Her condo is five doors down from my cousins Pat and Pudge's. Their back yard is the 7th fairway of a beautiful golf course. They are part of a big community that is vibrant and very friendly.

On Monday the temperature was in the high 80's – low 90's, but last night a rain storm moved through with lots of wind and today it is 70 degrees and quite breezy.

Today we drove south to have lunch with our dear friend, Sonja. Jan and I have known her all our lives since we grew up going to the same church. Sonja lives in a nice community and has two grapefruit trees—one white grapefruit and the other pink, one orange tree and one lemon tree. The grapefruit and lemon trees still had lots of fruit on them so Sonja let us pick a bunch. One lemon I held was as big as a small grapefruit!

(This photo is from last year.)
It's really wonderful to have the freedom to travel and to see friends and relatives in far away places. I'm thankful!

Friday, March 17, 2017

I've got a stinkin' cold!

I was feeling pretty smug that I hadn't had a cold or the flu for at least three years, and then Sunday afternoon came and I couldn't stop coughing. Monday brought more coughing, so I located what little cough syrup I could find and knew I would have to make a run to the drug store. Tuesday afternoon my nose started running and by Wednesday afternoon  I had to make another trek to the store. It's now Friday evening and I'm not feeling much better. My voice is raspy. I had to call a friend and tell her I cannot come to the party she is hosting tomorrow. I know this won't do me in, but it sure stinks!

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Chapters in Life

This new retirement thing got me to thinking of the chapters in my life. The beginning chapter will remain a blur for me. But from about age five and going forward, they are:

  • I started kindergarten at Sumner School, which was about five blocks from our home. I went to the morning class and Miss Mostrum (sp) was my teacher. I remember her as a very tall, slender woman who would cross the street if she saw a cat or dog on her side of the sidewalk. Our classroom was large and it had a balcony in which there was small furniture where we could play house. When it was our birthday, Miss Mostrum would draw a cake from chalk and add the student's name on it. They got to bring it home. We painted, played, listened to stories, learned to cut and paste (not with a computer!), and even took little naps on our rugs. I have such clear memories of kindergarten because I loved it so much. The rest of my elementary school years were enjoyable, but not noteworthy.
  • Seventh grade was much more challenging. On day one I found myself lost in the large school building. I made my way to the nearest exit where I got my bearings and proceeded to walk home. Soon I learned my way around to my various classes. December of that year my father died. This was a total shock to me. I had not been prepared for this. It put me in a whole new category. I was "fatherless." A couple of the things I enjoyed about seventh grade were singing in a triple trio and home-ec. Eight and ninth grade were pretty normal for me until April of my ninth grade when my mother suddenly died. Now I was an "orphan." 
  • The summer between my 9th and 10th grades, my Aunt Liz invited me to come to live with her and her family. This was a generous offer which I gladly accepted. I loved living with the Reeds and enjoyed going to school in Mahtomedi. It was a small school—only 55 in my class! During this school year I took driver's training and got my driver's license. This is a bigger deal than one realizes. What freedom having one's driver's license brings! My Aunt Liz let me drive her car all over the twin cities. My junior and senior years I lived with a very loving family from my home church. The Hogans were so kind to let me live with them and I enjoyed it very much. It was at their home I learned to play the piano.
  • My next big chapter happened after graduating from high school – college. I enrolled at Minnesota Bible College, a Christian college located on the border of the University of Minnesota campus and I majored in music. While in college, I worked part-time at Bridgeman's Ice Cream parlor. It was fun and I learned a lot. 
  • Steve and I were married after my freshman year of college. We spent the summer in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, where Steve did a summer youth ministry. I worked at the J. C. Penney store. In September we moved back to Minneapolis and continued college classes. The following spring I got at job at Northwestern Bell Telephone as a computer operator in the accounting department. It was full time and the pay was good, so I quit college. This is one of my biggest regrets.
  • When Steve had graduated from Minnesota Bible College and St. Paul Bible College, the next move was to Illinois where he would begin the work towards his master's degree. I continued to work so that he could get through school sooner. Six months later a church in Joliet hired him to be their youth pastor. The understanding was he could continue to work on his master's degree, so that was good. We stayed in Joliet for ten years and then returned to Minnesota.
  • The most meaningful chapters of my life were the birth of my children. Hans, Peder and Heidi were born in Illinois, but most of their formative years were spent in Minnesota. I have loved watching them mature and especially love seeing them as parents. Each of them is married to an exceptional person and they have given me eight wonderful grandchildren. 
  • After working full time for over thirty five years, I retired. This was a huge decision as I couldn't picture myself not getting up to go to work Monday through Friday. I am so happy that I came to peace with this and can report that I am loving the new freedom I now have. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Saint Marys Hospital

Saint Marys Hospital holds a lot memories for me. I was reminded of this yesterday when I was there visiting my great nephew, Chad, who was in the hospital for a perforated appendix. While there yesterday, my brother and I took a walk. At one time he was an orderly there and remembered where he worked and lots of interesting things about various departments.

Yesterday I wanted him to remind me of the location in which our dad died. That is my first memory of Saint Marys Hospital. The year was 1957. Our father had been diagnosed with Bright's disease (kidney disease) in June of that year. This was a time in history when little was known for treatment. I remember him being told to go on a total salt-free diet—and that was all. The disease must have been quite advanced when it was diagnosed because he became weaker and thinner as time went on. One November day, shortly after Thanksgiving, I came home to learn he had been taken by ambulance from Austin to Rochester.

Monday, December 9, a school secretary came to my classroom and told the teacher I was to go to the office. It was there I learned that my sister and I were being excused from school and were to walk to our church, just a couple of blocks away, where our minister was ready to drive us to the hospital in Rochester to see our dad. When we got to the hospital, we went to the floor where our father was staying. Our mother was in the sunroom at the end of the hallway. We learned we were to go in to see our dad one at a time. When I entered the room, which I can still see today, my dad was in a bed in the center of the small room. A nurse was with him and she was just opening a bottle of blood. She then hung it on a hook. I suppose it was connected to an intravenous tube – not sure. That morning he had been given a tracheotomy so he couldn't talk. The nurse told me to come up close to him. She asked him if he would like me to apply some lotion to his arms. He shook his head "No." I remember staying a few minutes. That was my last I saw him alive. He died on Saturday, December 14.

My next memory is from December 1988 when I was being admitted to Saint Marys for a herniated disc. I had surgery on my neck and stayed in the hospital 9 days. One night while I was there a small choir walked down the hallway singing Christmas carols. It is a beautiful memory.

Then in January 2003 came that awful day when I got the call no mother ever wants to hear: Your two sons and daughter-in-law have been in a serious car accident. Your daughter-in-law has been air-lifted to Rochester, your son Peder is en route to Rochester in an ambulance, your son Hans is here in our emergency room. Hans wants you to drive to Rochester and don't go alone." I phoned my Aunt Liz and asked her to accompany me. Both she and my cousin Pat met me and together we drove to Saint Marys Hospital emergency room. To tell the rest of this memory will require another post. I will do this another day.

Saint Marys Hospital has the most beautiful chapel I have ever seen. Yesterday Jerry and I walked there. Both he and I think it is a wonderful, inspirational place.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Dinner at Barb and Gary's

Since retiring, I have been invited to the homes of two choir members. The first was for lunch on Friday, January 20th. Marianne invited me and four others from choir. Had I still been working, I wouldn't have been able to attend. It was a lovely time around her table, where she served a delicious salad, home-made wild rice soup, croissants, and for dessert – cheesecake. I totally forgot to take any photos.

This past Wednesday night I was invited to the home of Barb and Gary for a Norwegian dinner. First of all, they live in a beautiful house - set among trees - and it is filled with many beautiful things. This time I remembered to take pictures, which I feel tell the feeling of the occasion.

 This is Barb and Gary's beautiful table.

Deviled eggs, cucumbers in vinegar, coleslaw, and already eaten: a delicious beet pickle.

Meatball and mashed potato wrapped in lefse and covered with gravy. So good!
Rhubarb/berry pie with whipped cream. Wow!

Seated left of me are Lois and Laurey
L to R: Barb (hostess), Michelle, Gary (host), and Brian

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

German Wine Cup

In the fall of 1988, my Aunt Liz, Cousin Pat and I flew to Frankfort, Germany, rented a car and set out for areas through the Black Forest, Bavaria, Switzerland, Austria and back to Frankfort, by way of Munich. The trip still holds great memories for me.

We had no planned itinerary and each day drove to what looked interesting to us. Not once were we on the Autobahn. We kept to the smaller routes. One such place that lured us was Ulm, Switzerland. There we stayed in a beautiful hotel. I remember the breakfast buffet where corn flakes were served in a sterling silver punch bowl! I had not seen this before or since.

In Hallein, Austria we toured a salt mine which proved to be lots of fun. We also took the "Sound of Music" tour in Salzburg. (I have been fortunate to have taken this tour twice in my lifetime.) We also toured the Neuschwanstein castle in Bavaria, Germany. One beautiful day we happened upon the Alpine ascent of the cows in Switzerland. Loved it

The sights we saw and the places we stayed were fabulous, and I could go on and on, but what I wanted to write about is the German wine cup I purchased.

I admired such a cup as this being served with wine at one of the places where we dined. I am not a drinker of wine, but decided to buy a new cup anyway. Well, this lovely, grape etched cup has stared at me for years each time I have opened one of my cupboard doors. Last week, as a part of my celebration of retirement, I decided to use it. Why not drink my orange juice from it? And so that is what I am doing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

LaVonne's Wedding

When I first began working at Bethany Houses Publishers, LaVonne was one of my two bosses. She was dating a man, but after a time they broke up. Some time later she met another guy and they were an "item" for many years. I thought they would one day be married, but it was not to be. And then at her last birthday party at Bethany in September, she announced she was seeing a man, a widower, with 9 kids. I asked if the kids were home-schooled, and she replied affirmative. I could tell she was head over heels for this man. 

The next month she came to work sporting an engagement ring! Wow! That was fast! Then she announced they were getting married in January and that she would be leaving Bethany House in December. What a surprise that was to everyone.

Turns out her new husband lives on a farm in Wisconsin and he manufactures maple syrup, commercially. He has two adjoining farms with lots of maple trees on both. When it is not syrup time, he does carpentry. I must add that he is head over heels for LaVonne.

I was honored to be invited to the wedding. Here are some photos of the lovely event.
 Groom Dave walks his children down the aisle. It was neat to see.

 LaVonne being escorted down the aisle with her brother-in-law

 LaVonne and Dave reciting their vows

 After the ceremony, the sanctuary was transformed to make a larger dining room.

 My dear friend Nancy R and yours truly. Notice our delicious dinner! I have never tasted better roast beef. Prior to this we had a fabulous salad and dinner roll. Finally there was awesome wedding cake! The brown bottles on the table are complimentary bottles of maple syrup to take home.

 L to R: couple from the local church, LaVonne, and Ann and Jim Parrish

LaVonne showed some of us her darling vintage boots. 

LaVonne and Dave outside following the wedding

Sleigh rides were given following the wedding ceremony and prior to dinner. 

The happy couple