Wednesday, October 18, 2017

An Autumn Cousins Lunch

Last Saturday my brother and sister and cousins came to my house for lunch. I was really looking forward to this because we always have a good time together. I took this as an opportunity to use some of my fall decorations as well as my farm dishes.

I began buying these farm dishes made by Debbie Dean when I lived in Austin and worked at Hormel's. I bought dinner plates, lunch plates, mugs, a divided baby dish, bowls—both cereal as well as serving. I also bought heart shaped platters and a pitcher. Here is a photo of one of the bowls.


This year I decided to decorate my dining room shelf with some of my fall things. The middle shelf has a treasured trio of straw girls. My friend Nancy gave this to me. The wooden carved goose on the top shelf I purchased in Germany. On that trip I also bought the clay church on the second shelf. I have had the apple girl and apple boy the top shelf for many years. They are from the designs of Carl Larsson.



My hutch with Delft and more Carl Larsson figures

My table
I served chicken pot pies and kale slaw, along with dinner rolls. My cousin Pat brought homemade applesauce that she and Pudge had made a few days before and my sister brought delicious homemade pumpkin bars. We had good conversation while eating and more visiting afterwards.

Pat, John and his friend, Tonya

Pudge, Janet, Linda

Jerry, Janet and yours truly

Seated: John and Tonya. Standing: Pat

John and Linda

Janet and I

Monday, October 02, 2017

Neighborhood Progressive Dinner

Feeling a bit lonely after the pool where I live closed for the season, I got the idea to have a progressive dinner with friends I had made there during the summer. Thanks to the list of contact information I had gathered the final weekend of the season, I sent out a global email asking if there was any interest. I had mentioned I would be willing to host the main course. Within hours, Patti responded with, "I'll do appetizers." Then Colleen offered to do the dessert. Next Sheryl responded, "I don't have seating for everyone, but I could do the salad course." I let each of them know their offers were fabulous and we should proceed. Even the date I proposed in my initial message was accepted. These women were great and I started to get excited about seeing my new friends again. To my surprise, Gwen sent a message saying she would do cocktails. To tell the truth, this course never occurred to me. Patty responded with, "I'll bring my appetizers down to Gwen's house. That way we can stay with having the courses at four residences." Soon the RSVPs started coming in. There was going to be eleven of us!

Friday night arrived and friends began arriving at Gwen's where she had a bar set up on one side of her kitchen and Patty's appetizers on the opposite counter.

Gwen, getting her kitchen ready for our party

Gwen, Colleen, Mary Jo, Patti and Patty in Gwen's kitchen
After all of the guests arrived, they helped themselves to drinks and appetizers and gathered in her beautiful living room. It was delightful to see everyone again. Each one had a smile on her face and many voiced their opinion of getting together socially.

After 45 minutes, or so, we delivered our glasses and plates to the kitchen and left Gwen's to walk the short distance to Sheryl's home. Sheryl is an artist and her walls displayed many of the pieces she has painted. She has two Maine Coon cats and had them secured in her bedroom as a precaution.


Sheryl with salad. It was delicious!

Colleen at Sheryl's

Patty and Patti at Sheryl's
Shorty before the 45 minutes were up, I left to go to my house to get the garlic bread into my oven. About 15 minutes later, my friends began arriving. Again, each one seemed to be really enjoying  herself. I was grateful to Mary Jo for taking over by giving my friends a tour of my home. My, they were so impressed with my cottage! Patty told me she loved the window over my bed and asked where I had gotten it. Her home is the same model as mine. And then it was time to gather around my table.

Seated: Alison, Mary Jo; standing: yours truly, Sheryl, Susie and Sandra
Susie, Alison and Sheryl at my table

Sandra, yours truly and Mary Jo

Mary Jo again came to my aid by asking what each person wanted to drink and then she helped me with serving a plate with lasagna to each one. I made Jean Woodard's recipe. She is a dear friend who lives in Joliet. Once each person was served, I said grace, thanking God for bringing these wonderful ladies into my life. We had good conversation while gathered around my table. It was crowded with 10 of us, but it worked out fine. While eating, one friend asked how I started collecting Delft. Another asked how did I decide to make one bedroom into a cottage?

After eating, Mary Jo helped me by clearing off the table and putting the dishes in the dishwasher. Then we joined the others by walking to Colleen's for dessert.

Entering Colleen's home was interesting for me. She is a lot of fun and her home represents that well. The rooms are painted with bright, strong colors, and she has fascinating objects of art throughout. I loved looking at everything.

Sandra,  Colleen and Patti
Colleen served  homemade chocolate bundt cake, apple cake (delicious!) and ginger cookies. Her dinnerware was multi color Fiestaware. I thought it fit her perfectly.

Susie and Sheryl

Patti, Gwen and Mary Jo
Before we departed for the evening, everyone thanked me for putting this event together and expressed a desire to do more things together over the next eight months while the pool is closed. Patti announced she already has her menu planned for a December brunch to which we are going to be invited. Other ideas came forth: The Old Log Theater, Chanhassen Dinner Theater, and the theater at the Masonic Home.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Summer Is Over

Since retiring in January, this summer was the first chance I had to enjoy my neighborhood pool and meet some very nice neighbors. It's been wonderful discovering all of the pleasures retirement affords.

During the summer I worked away in my garage to purge the many, many things I no longer used or wanted. I made many trips to a charity where they were more than happy to take my "treasures" and let others buy them for a fraction of the amount I had paid for them. It has felt good to clear away some of the clutter.

Also I managed to go the short walk to one of the two pools in my association. Like anything else, the more often I attended, the more friends I made. Each person brought his/her own interesting life — what they did before retiring, how many kids they have, where they were born and raised, etc. I found out some of us had many things in common. This same group of friends gathered together at the pool on Fridays from 5 - 7 pm for happy hour. I began looking forward to this each week.

L to R: Mary Jo, Colleen, and Rita


The day these photos were taken was chilly—at least for me it was! My friends talked me into going home and changing into my suit.

And then Labor Day was fast approaching, when the pool would be closing for the next nine months! I decided I didn't want to loose contact with these new friends so I jotted down the contact information for each one and sent it as a global email so we can stay in touch. Living here this summer has been a gift for me and I look forward to many more times to spend with these new friends.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

God Is With Me



God was with me. Sunday evening as I was driving home from my son Peder's, I was entering the exit ramp close to my house when a car was coming straight toward me – UP the exit ramp and entering the highway I just left — going the WRONG direction! I called 911 as soon as I entered my driveway and was connected to the highway patrol. I told them what had just happened and was asked the make and color of the car. I told them it was a newer Cadillac. I didn't notice the color. After talking to the patrol, I put my car in the garage and I heard sirens. 

I have been thinking about this since Sunday and I have questions running around in my head. How would the patrol handle this? They couldn't go down the highway the wrong way to stop the person. Would they block the southbound traffic so others wouldn't be headed in the direction of the wrong way car? If I ever get the chance to visit with a patrol person, I am going to inquire.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

At Last, All of My Kids Came Home at the Same Time!

On the weekend of August 6 and 7, Sunday and Monday, my three kids and their children came to my home. My heart was overflowing! We had not been in one place since December 2010. Considering my grandkids range in age from 13 down to 3, one can imagine the changes. For instance, Hans had never met his niece, Corinne, who is 3-1/2 years old.

Peder with his three kids: Rellie, Felix and Leo

Sunday morning the family gathered at my swimming pool and the kids, Heidi, and I got in the water with them. It was so much fun!

L to R: Josiah, Anni (back), Rellie, William, Marshall

Grandma D with her three granddaughters: Rellie, Corinne, and Anni

Felix and Josiah

Marshall and Heidi

Felix wearing flippers

Heidi holding Corinne

L to R: Rachel, Sarah and Leo

Grandma D with Felix, Leo, Rellie, Anni, Josiah and William

After a time in the pool, we had a light lunch at my home. The kids were finished eating quite quickly and had a good time running around in my back yard. Josiah, now 13, stayed indoors and quietly played my piano. That was fun!

Once lunch was finished, we made our way to Peder's house where the kids played outdoors and the adults were able to visit for awhile.

Corinne hugging a stuffed cat

Heidi, Peder and Hans

Heidi, Hans, Peder and yours truly

The kids had a lot of fun playing in Peder and Sarah's backyard while the adults had a good time catching up with one another. When it was time to eat, Sarah's dad, Ken, grilled hamburgers and hotdogs for everyone.

L to R: Ken, Barb, Heidi and Donna Mae

L to R: Heidi with her two kids: Marshall and Corinne
Peder with his three kids: Leo, Aurelia (Rellie), and Felix
Hans with his three kids: William, Annika (Anni). and Josiah

* * *

On Monday we gathered at my cousin Pat's home in Willernie. My brother and sister joined us, which was very nice. The kids had fun playing in Pat's new sunroom and I enjoyed taking Corinne on a little walk at Reed Creek.

Corinne petting clay deer at Reed Creek - across the street from Pat's

Grandma D with Corinne

Hans with my brother Jerry
Heidi and Hans (Peder had to work)



L to R: Heidi, my sister Janet, cousin Pat, Rachel and Josiah
 I had such a good time but wish it could have lasted longer. Isn't that how it is with anything one enjoys: an ice cream cone, a good book, a vacation? I am still living in the afterglow of my time spent with my dear, dear family.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Anni

I had a real treat when my oldest granddaughter, Anni, came to see me for four days. On July 25th I picked her up at the airport. This is the first time she had flown as an "unaccompanied minor." I was really proud of her! After she got off the plane, she told me a flight attendant moved her up to First Class!

We were busy while she was here. The first evening we went to the Mall of America for dinner and for a bit of shopping. I had warned her I may have to sit down to rest once in awhile, and she was fine with that.

Anni enjoying pizza at Tucci Benucch

Anni loves my cat, Nels, and so she enjoyed holding him and playing with him.


On her second day with me, I drove her and Rellie, my twin cities granddaughter, to Austin (MN) to see their grandpa and to tour the SPAM Museum and to eat lunch. The girls had fun inside the museum with the "canning six cans of Spam" competition. Here you see them wearing a lab coat and hard hat like I wore for the ten years I worked at Hormel's.


Anni is a bit over 20 Spam cans tall.
Rellie is 18 Spam cans tall

 


On Thursday Anni and I went to Como Zoo in St. Paul. I took her into the conservatory and showed her the spot where her mom and dad were married. I'm not sure she was impressed. She really did like the rain forest where we saw colorful birds flying around and got up close to a sleuth. We wandered around the zoo and got to see the new baby giraffe standing close to her mother.


It was a very warm day (89 degrees) and many of the animals were lying in the shade. We cooled off with an icy drink—sort of like a slush. Anni liked the banana flavor so much I bought her a second one.

Every day while Anni was here we went swimming. One day Rellie joined us. I'm hoping this is the beginning of Anni and my other grandchildren coming to spend some time with me.

Rellie and Annie eating supper