Monday, July 31, 2006

Praying for a Cold Front!

Well, it's official. . . we are now at 101 degrees! If you know me at all, you know that this does not make me happy. I drove home for lunch and had had my car parked under a big shade tree - but when I returned to the office, someone else had moved into "my spot." Now I'll be getting into a small, red, round oven when it's time to drive home again.

This follows the 18 days in a row that we have had temps in the 90's. Many farmers are experiencing a total loss in crops, and some have had to sell off 2/3's of their cattle. It's very sad. Closer to home, yards are parched - flowers are either drooping or have died.

As for me, I am fine. I spent almost all of the weekend indoors, sewing the fabric from Hans, Rachel, Josiah and Annika into a new blouse. Thankfully I don't have a job where I must be outdoors as some do.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Cubicle Life

For the past 10 years or longer, about 40 hours most weeks of the year, I have spent my time in a cubicle - a space of about 6' x 8'. It's an interesting setting. . . overhearing my next-door-neighbor's phone calls (every one of them) to his wife, his kids, and many others, plus the sounds of the other 6 people whose cubicles fill the room. I have very limited counter-space, which a couple of weeks each month becomes over-flowing with work - both for me - and for proofreaders and editors. I also have cover proofs waiting for the 2nd and 3rd proof to come to me from the designers - plus new books to be distributed, etc., etc.

But on my walls and shelf, I have photos of my 3 kids and their spouses, and my darling grandchildren. After all, this is my "home away from home." And on my desk, I have a fish bowl with a beautiful fringed male beta named Cleo.

Tonight I saw a very funny article on cubicles: Some of these photos make my cubicle look pretty ordinary.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Happy 93rd Birthday, Cassie

My dear little friend Cassie is 93 years old today. Saturday I drove to Rochester to celebrate with her. Joining us for dinner were here niece Sandra and her husband Jim - they are also good friends of mine. :-)

Following a nice dinner, Cassie and I joined her neighbors for a few games of Bingo. I'm not sure she had played it before, but she seemed to enjoy it. Several times she was close to having a "bingo."

As I mentioned in an entry about her in my earlier journaling, she and I were introduced on her 80th birthday and have been friends from then forward.

Happy, happy birthday, Cassie!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A Keepsake for My Birthday

A package arrived in the mail for me yesterday from Japan. I couldn't wait for my birthday to open it because I had been told what Josiah had made for me - - so I popped the tape and began unwrapping the contents. Joe Joe painted his Grandma D two plum trees on a grassy knoll. The fruit looks so real, I would love to pick it. I treasure this painting - an original from a master who is only 2 years old!

Moments later I got on the phone to thank him for my precious gift. When I asked Rachel if I could speak to him, I think I heard him say, "Not now, Mommy. I'm in a meeting. . ." or something like that. Anyway, after a pleasant visit with Rachel, I got to hear Josiah say, "Happy Birthday, Grandma!" This is the first time I have ever had those words spoken to me. . . (sigh!)

Thank you, Josiah. I love you!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Helpful Website to Save $$$

Last month I complained about the price of gas. Nothing has changed - I'm still not happy paying nearly $3/gallon. But today I found this website that may prove to be helpful: I think it could be handy when getting ready to take a trip, as well as just plain daily living. I've marked it as one of my "favorites." Perhaps you might find it helpful too.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Another Thrill

Tonight the phone rang. . . it was Rachel on the other end, calling from Japan. It seems they'd been to the post office today and my package had arrived. Josiah was so happy because he had received some new pieces to his train - and he wanted to say, "Thank you, Grandma!" He said it about three times - clear as a bell. His voice is so dear to me. Then I heard what sounded like crying, but it was actually shrieking - delightful shrieking - coming from my darling Annika. Then I heard her giggle. Rachel and Josiah were playing with her and she was so happy. Rachel said she is rolling from front to back to front and back and forth, all over the room. She is even trying to get up on her little knees - and she is only 5 months old! Do I sound like a proud grandma? You bet I am!

I know this happens in families, and it is happening in Hans and Rachel's - the kids' voices sound just alike. When I hear a sound in the background, I ask Rachel, "Was that Josiah?" No, it was Annika. It is music to my ears!

Rachel and the kids are doing fine, in spite of Hans being, as Josiah puts it, far, far away. I'm so proud of all of them.

Josiah melted my heart at the end of the call when I heard him say, "Bye bye, Grandma." Oh, Josiah- you, your mommy and your sister made my day. Thank you! Thank you very much.

Monday, July 17, 2006

My Daughter Gets Her Wish. . .

On my last post, I reported that Heidi and Chad were going out to eat on Saturday in celebration of Heidi's birthday. They had done the same thing on Tuesday for Chad's birthday. Well. . . yesterday they phoned to tell me they had gone skydiving - dropping out of a plane at 13,000 feet! I guess they thought they should tell me after the deed was done! When I asked what would have happened had they both been killed, you know, like "Would I be taking care of Brian?", they responded, "No, Chad's father and sister get Brian if something happens to us." So, I inquired further with, "Well, what do I get then?" [I know, you're thinking that this is a dumb question - but you have to know our family to understand this humor (Is it humor, or are we just plain wicked?!)] To which they replied, "If we die together, you can have your dishes back," followed by lots of laughter.

Actually, they both loved it. I can't imagine doing that - - EVER!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Lazing About In My Cottage

I've taken a morning walk. Now with temps at or around 100 degrees predicted for this weekend, I have camped out in my cottage. Why not? It's a lovely place to relax -- no bugs, temperature controlled, peaceful, convenient, all the comforts of "home."

While reflecting on my past week, I realized I have had an excellent number of days:

  • Last Saturday: a family reunion for my father's side of the family in St. Peter, MN.

  • Sunday: time spent worshipping our Lord with my friends; phone conversation with my friend Lil.

  • Monday: renewing my friendship with Sandy (see entry on 7/10).

  • Tuesday: Chad's birthday (my son-in-law), and my annual singing of "Happy Birthday" to him. Phone conversation with my friend Cassie. Chat with my mother-in-law. She's thrilled to be leaving the nursing home and going home on Monday.

  • Wednesday: My dear friend Florine's birthday; Rachel's parents' surprise visit to my office. How fun! I hope they come again. :-)

  • Thursday: phone conversations with Florine and Peder.

  • Friday: Lunch at the home of a choir friend, along with other choir friends; delightful phone call from Rachel, with sounds of my darling grandchildren in the background.

  • Saturday (today): Heidi's birthday! She'll be walking 8 miles today as part of her training for the 3 day, 60 mile walk in August for breast cancer, then eating out with Chad at one of her favorite restaurants - Chili's. Happy Birthday, Heidi! Wish I could join you.

It's a good time to recount my blessings:

  • My kids and their spouses, and my grandchildren.

  • My brother and sister and her kids and her grandchildren.

  • My two aunts, my uncle, and all of my cousins.

  • My kids' spouses' parents and siblings.

  • My friends.

  • My pets (Tweety- a canary, and Cleo - a betta fish).

  • My co-workers. My job.

  • My dwelling and car.

  • Travel I have been privileged to have.

  • Good health, good attitude, my faith, and a hope in the future.

  • . . . I know I'm missing some things, but may add to this list as I think of them.

Now, back to reading the paper, cross-stitching for awhile, watching a movie or two, and whatever else that comes to mind. I hope to stay cool and not fret about the heat outdoors!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Receiving Much Needed Rain

After more than 6 very dry weeks, or more, we are receiving a beautiful rain. It has been coming down for nearly an hour now, and most of the folks in my office are standing by the windows, watching in awe. For those who do not have an irrigation system, or have chosen to not run sprinklers, their lawns look like straw. So, this is a real blessing. Thank you, Lord!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Renewing an Old Acquaintance

Over a year and a half ago, a dear friend of mine suddenly moved away to live with her parents in another state, because her father was very ill. She left a "going away" message on my answering machine, but the phone number was unintelligible. I tired many ways to contact her, but was unsuccessful, until today.

Today my sister emailed me to tell me that my friend had stopped by to see her at the mall where she works. They got to chat just a bit, and then my sister had to wait on a customer, so my friend departed. Drat! I still didn't have a way to contact her.

Then Janet sent a second message, which included my friend's son's phone number, that she found in the Rochester phone book. I immediately phoned the number. Levi answered the phone. I told him who I was and he remembered me. I asked if his mom was there and could I speak to her. Sandy came to the phone. We talked about 3 minutes, when I asked if she could meet me for dinner tonight. Yes, she said. We met at a restaurant half way between Minneapolis and Rochester. It was so much fun seeing her again, and getting to meet her daughter-in-law and darling grand-daughter. So now, Sandy and I can communicate once again - even though she now lives in Oklahoma!

I should mention that Sandy's father passed away in November of 2004. I am very sad about that. Now she is helping her mother who was diagnosed with cancer last fall. God bless you, Sandy. I miss seeing you, but am very proud of you! Let's stay in touch.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Birthday, America!

I went to the Bloomington Summer Celebration/fireworks last night. They always hold it on July 3rd, probably so those who care to can go to the Minneapolis or St. Paul celebrations on the 4th. My friends and I got there at 5 and brought along "boxed lunches," sat on blankets, listened to 3 concerts (one for children, one made up of jazz and rhythm and blues - not my favorite kind of music, and then a beautiful concert by the Bloomington Symphony. They played numbers like "Stars and Stripes Forever" and "The 1812 Overture," plus "America the Beautiful" and "God Bless America"). The fireworks started at 10, and they are the only ones in the twin cities that are choreographed with music. Talk about wonderful! It was the most stunning display I have ever seen in person - equal to the big displays we see on TV from New York or Washington, D. C. I would estimate the crowd numbered around 12,000. The reaction from everyone was delightful.

The only thing I would do differently next time is to bring a lawn chair. I'm getting a wee bit old to be sitting on the ground 5+ hours! ;o)

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

"Hi Grandma"

For several months now, my son and daughter-in-law have been prompting my grandson, Josiah, now 25 months old, to greet me over the phone. Since they live in Japan and I have only seen them on one visit since their departure from the U. S. over a year ago, we stay connected with the use of the internet, phone calls, and good old "snail mail."

Last night I happened to be up "way past my bed-time," so I decided to give them a phone call (they are 14 hours ahead of us so phone calls have to be planned). What to my surprise, I learned that Hans was home on a short leave! It was a delight to hear his voice again. But soon, I got a dream come true - - my grandson said, "Hi, Grandma!" He not only said that, but we "visited" together. I would say things like, "Josiah, can you say elephant?" To which he would reply: "elephant." The list went on with words like: giraffe, lion, monkey, daddy, mommy. But here's the best one (not counting, Hi, Grandma): "shinkansen." It sounds similar to Wisconsin, and it is the name of the bullet train in Japan on which they had just ridden to tour the castle in Odawara. It travels 150 miles per hour and Josiah absolutely loved it!

Josiah, you have made my day! I look forward to the next time we can "visit" again.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Independence Day Celebration

Part of my family gathered for a nice supper and visit at Aunt Liz's on Saturday, since Diane and Dave were in town from Pennsylvania. It was fun catching up on their news and seeing Pat and Aunt Liz again.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Freedom Celebration

Today my brother, sister, and I visited a church in my community that celebrates our national freedom and honors our men and women of the military, both past and present. The service opened with a 38 piece orchestra and honor guard and salute of the American and Christian flags, followed by a stirring rendition from the choir of the "National Anthem." Then the congregation joined together in singing "My Country 'Tis of Thee." Following that was the moment I was waiting for: the choir and orchestra performed the "Salute to the Armed Forces" and the emcee at the appropriate moment, called each sailor/soldier/marine/airman to stand and make their way to the front of the stage, to stand next to the flag of their branch. At the conclusion of the number, there were more than 120 proud veterans standing there and the crowd gave them a long, well-deserved standing ovation. My brother was one of those standing there. He served 21 years in our nation's Navy, and I am very proud of him. Thank you, Jerry!

[This is a good time to include other family members and close friends who have proudly served our nation: my favorite son-in-law, Chad, U. S. Airforce; my nephew, Keith, U. S. Navy; my cousin Pat's husband, Pudge, U. S. Air Force; My Uncle Allan, U. S. Navy; and my dear friend, Jim Mitchell, U. S. Army and U. S. Navy - who just this morning finished riding his bike 1,000 miles, which was his goal this year to reach by July 4. Jim, by the way, is 73 years old!]

I'm also extremely proud of my son, Hans, who this day, is serving on our nation's finest destroyer, the U.S.S. Lassen. He's in the Pacific, stationed in Yokosuka, Japan. Last week he was part of a huge naval excercise off the island of Guam called "Valiant Shield" which was the largest show of military presence in the Pacific since the Viet Nam war. For me, my son and brother are heros. And on this "Freedom" weekend, I salute you!