Thursday, January 12, 2017

I've Retired!

I have worked full time—at least 40 hours per week—since 1983. Some of the time it was really difficult, especially when my kids were still at home. During those years I worked at Hormel's, a mortgage company, a telephone company (installs phone systems), and finally at Bethany House Publishers. This last job proved to be my most meaningful and favorite. Yesterday I completed 16 years at BHP and was honored with an incredible retirement party.

Not only did everyone in my office attend, but a group from our next door neighboring company joined in. I was so blessed!

Jim Parrish, our vice president and director, started the program by telling very nice things about me, including when I started working at Bethany House. He said I was the one that kept most of the plants in the building alive. He went on to say I made everyone feel at home and gave Bethany House a welcoming personality. He said he followed my financial advice and bought Hormel stock - best investment ever! His concluding remarks were that my cars always gave pazazz to our parking lot!

Paul Higdon, one of my two bosses, was next. He told everyone how happy he was that he and LaVonne, a former boss of mine at BHP, hired me. He mentioned how important it was when I said we should pray whenever things got tense. He said I helped a lot to get over 2,000 covers to the printer over the course of my time working with him and that he is really going to miss me. Then he presented me with a gorgeous watercolor of an iris he painted for me. I just love it and hung it in my living room.

I was next and I gave some of my highlights while working at Bethany House. I mentioned meeting Beverly Lewis and Lauraine Snelling for the first time, discovering a pineapple was growing in my 6 or 7 year old plant and then bringing it to maturity, having a ride in a 2006 Chevrolet Corvette for the first time and going from zero to sixty in  seconds. This car is owned by one of the Purvis employees (our next  neighbor). Things I'll miss: greeting everyone on a daily basis, hearing authors speak, perk books (93 free books/year), playing cards at 3 pm, going to lunch with the Wednesday "lunch bunch," and visiting with my colleagues. I was bawling by the time I time I finished speaking.

Jennifer, my morning boss, concluded the speeches by telling everyone it seemed like a lot of the time I was the "boss," but that she appreciated my ideas and my leadership. She said we worked well together. She is the one who hosted the beautiful party.

Here are photos that marked the occasion:

Paul and me

L to R: Dave Horton, yours truly, Steve Oates, and Jim Parrish. All three of these men are vice presidents in our company.
Chocolate cake. This has a pine branch and snowflakes.
White cake. This has birch trees with cardinals.
My friends from our next door company, R. E. Purvis. Melinda, first on the left, is one of the owners.

L to R: Jen, Elisa, Jessica, Noelle, yours truly, Hannah and Chandler

L to R: Steve, Randy, yours truly, Jim, and Dan

L to R: Jeff, Grace, Dave L, Raela, Julie, yours truly, Shaun, and Andy

L to R: Paul, Jennifer, Jenny, yours truly, Natasha, Ellen and Sharon. Inside that big envelope is my company retirement card signed by the Bethany House employees.

L to R around the table: Karen, Kate, Miranda, Amy, yours truly, Dave H, Chris, Eric, Luke and Nancy

Yours truly feeling overwhelmed!

Paul and yours truly. Paul did this watercolor iris for me. What a treasure!

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Returning to Work

I have been on sick leave for the past five weeks. Though I'm not feeling 100%, it is getting close. Tomorrow I am returning to my job, and I hope I will be able to stay for the full eight hours. If not, I will come home when my body tells me.

Was my surgery successful? I don't know yet. I still experience a little nerve pain around both ankles in the evening. Since my incision is still very sore and tender, I have a strong feeling the nerve pain will settle down once the swelling and healing in my spine have been completed. That's my prayer. I will be seeing my surgeon on the 16th of this month.

I'm not sure how Nels will handle not having me home all day. He has really loved it! I haven't told him yet, but I'm retiring next Wednesday, January 11.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmas day and while listening to Christmas music, I am thinking back to the blessings of the past few weeks. While I have been sticking around my home, I have had many visits from dear friends and family. Just yesterday Peder came to spend part of the day with me. He brought a couple of pizzas and while waiting for the Vikings/Packers game to start, he began doing chores from a little list I had written. All of this was done so cheerfully, and this is not the first time this fall. I really, really appreciate it!

Friday Pat, Pudge, Janet and Jerry came, bringing a delicious lunch with them. We had a very nice visit around my dining room table. I am so happy they took time out of their busy lives to come to my home to spend time with me.

I have had visits from choir friends and friends from work, too. Each one has been especially nice. It is really nice to be able to catch up on what has been happening both at church and in the office.

Nels has been happy to have me home, too. He spends a lot of time near me. Actually, he thinks I got the walker just to push him around the house!

I have been blessed with an abundance of get-well cards and Christmas cards, too. What a joy it is to get the mail and find these beautiful cards. Thank you to everyone who has sent greetings.

I want to wish each of  you a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Post Surgery

A week ago yesterday, December 2, I had surgery. According to the surgeon, it went well, though it "was a lot of work," as he put it. Surgery lasted over 4 hours. There was a lot of scar tissue to work through and extensive "clean up." I took this to mean it was due to surgery last year in the same area of the back.

My stay in the hospital was pleasant. The nurses and assistants were excellent. My visitors included my sister, friend Bonnie, co-worker Paul and his wife, Esther, co-workers Jenny and Jill, and my friend, Jolene. Some brought me flowers, but I had to leave them behind because of Nels.

Heidi came in Monday afternoon. My friend, Nancy C picked her up at the airport, which was a little hairy since Heidi's flight was delayed in Seattle, but not noted on the arrival board at Minneapolis. While Heidi was at my home, she went through several kitchen cabinets and my buffet in my living room and after discussing it with me, she helped me part with 11 full bags for charity. I really appreciate it. She and I enjoyed a pizza supper with Peder and his family and a chicken dinner with my brother and sister.

Now, a week since surgery, I am moving pretty well, taking showers, and managing pretty well. I haven't ventured out yet, and don't care to since it is so cold outside.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Preparing for Surgery

With back surgery getting closer, I have been doing what I can to get ready. The first thing was to inform my employer. Next, I lined up a neighbor to come to my home to care for my cat, Nels.

I have been getting things around my home ready, too—things such as putting often used items waist high. Today Peder came over to rotate my mattress and to help put on clean sheets. He also helped me with the litter box and with getting my Christmas wreath out of the garage.

Last week Heidi surprised me by letting me know she is flying in to help me for four days. I know she will do what she can to  help me. My sister is going to come for a couple of days, too. I'll try to post an update after surgery, but not right away.

Prayers are appreciated.

Monday, October 31, 2016

My Great Grandmother's Quilt

While my Aunt Liz was still living, she came upon one or two quilt tops that her grandmother had pieced. She decided to finish them by tying them, rather than quilting them. If you are a sewer, you know the difference. Anyway, since Jerry was the oldest grandchild, she gave the quilt to him. Instead of using it, he put it in his closet. This past summer he told me I could have it.

This beautiful quilt sat folded up on my cedar chest until yesterday. While putting flannel sheets on my bed, I eyed the quilt and thought, my kids are never going to want this. And so I put it on my bed. I have to say I love it!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Happy 7th Birthday, Nels!

In December 2010, Annika and I left my home in search of a new cat for me. First we checked out the cats for adoption at my veterinarian's clinic. None of them seemed to say to me, "Take me home," so we headed for one of the humane societies in the twin cities.

After checking out two of the declawed cats—both of them hissed at Annika—we wandered past the various cages of cats who still had their claws. One in particular caught my eye. And the rest is history.

Nels, his middle name is Jack – chosen by Annika, brings such joy to me. I love the way he comes running to meet me when I come in the door. I love how he looks lovingly into my eyes. I love the way he sits for long periods of time on my lap. And most of all, I love how he purrs me to sleep at night.

Happy Birthday, Nels!