Saturday, September 30, 2006

Hans Has Returned

Today is the day we have been waiting for - - Hans has returned from his duties in Japan. He left Japan sometime on Saturday (Japan) time; had breakfast with Heidi this morning in Seattle; is now in Rhode Island. He phoned me on the way home from the airport. Rachel was driving, Josiah and Annika were in their car seats.

He told me he brought with him a Thomas train engine that Josiah had forgotten in Japan. Josiah said to him, "Daddy, you found Thomas!"

Hans also brought with him a copy of the catalog Annika modeled for in Japan early this summer. We'll all be anxious to see the pictures. Heidi told me she's in a lot of them.

God is good. He has kept my son, daughter-in-law, grandson, and new little granddaughter safe during their stay half-way around the world. They've had great experiences, and have many stories to tell. I'm so glad to have them back home again. Thank you, Lord.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Janette Oke

This year our company is celebrating it's 50th anniversary. To celebrate the occasion, a dinner party was held this past weekend. I returned from Rhode Island early just to attend this event as my favorite author, who is also a friend of mine, was going to be one of the honored guests. She is Janette Oke, author of the books Love Comes Softly, which are also being made into Hallmark movies for the Hallmark Channel. We haven't seen each other since around 1980. Also present were an additional two of my favorite authors, Beverly Lewis and Lauraine Snelling. It was a wonderful evening with good visiting, delicious food, and fantastic entertainment.

My good friend, Nancy, joined me for the evening. She said she enjoyed meeting my fellow co-workers and couldn't help but feel the "family-type" atmosphere we share with one another.


I was amazed at the neighborhood around Hans and Rachel's new abode. As I stated in an earlier entry, most of the houses are on the National Registry. They have some sort of plaque on them stating the year they were built and most likely the first resident. The oldest one I saw was 1719. Bear in mind, most of them have been restored and are just gorgeous! In my walk with my grandchildren, I fully expected to see Paul Revere coming around the corner!!

Oh, they are only two blocks from the harbor. On our stroll through the area, we walked toward the harbor one block, turned left, and walked about 6 blocks toward the center of town. At that point, we could see the large Hyatt Hotel on a pier, and docked next to it was the Queen Elizabeth 2, plus another large cruise ship. I'm telling you, this is very different from where I live.

New House

Here are some shots of the house and the kids playing at the playground at the Navy Lodge.

More of Our Journey

We made it to Merrillville, Indiana, the first night. Sunday we drove through Michigan, crossing into Canada at Detroit. We spent the second night in London - that's London, Canada! The next day we re-entered the USA at Buffalo, New York. Because of a mistake I made in reading my map, we missed Niagara Falls by one exit. I felt stupid about the mistake, but realized the Falls aren't going to disappear soon, so there may be another time when I will see them. I'm not sure the kids would have appreciated seeing them at their young age. So onward we drove and slept our third night in Albany, New York. We found nice hotels and were happy to get out of the car to let the kids have some freedom from their confining car seats (mine too).

Tuesday around noon, we drove into Newport, Rhode Island, our final destination, and Rachel was able to drive right to their next residence - a house built in 1850 by Ezekial Crandall. The house is on the National Registry of Homes, as are most in the surrounding ten or twelve block area.

We spent Tuesday night at the US Navy Lodge as we had no furniture at that point.

Trip to Rhode Island

On the first day of our journey to Rhode Island, we stopped for a little while at my brother and sister's so they could see Josiah, and Rachel and meet Annika for the first time.

Friday Dinner with Family

Friday night Peder and Sarah joined Rachel, Josiah, Annika and me for dinner. Once again, we really had a good time.

Show and Tell

On Friday, the 15th, Rachel, Josiah, and Annika stopped by my office so I could "show them off" to my co-workers. It was so much fun seeing Josiah play with things on my desk and to introduce Annika for the first time.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Rhode Island

My darling grandchildren and daughter-in-law, Rachel, arrived at my office yesterday afternoon. It was so much fun showing them off. Josiah loved using my rubber stamps and seeing my fish, Cleo. He was happy to see all of our books on shelves too. Rachel thinks our office resembles Barnes & Nobel!

Peder and Sarah joined us for supper last night. They had not seen Rachel and Josiah since the day after they were married a year ago in June, and of course they hadn't met Annika. Both kids took to them right away. I was so happy they came, since they had had a very tough day - - Peder's cat, Calypso, had passed away in the morning. She hadn't been feeling well for a couple of months. I feel so bad for him.

This morning we will start our trip across country - final destination: Rhode Island. Rachel, Josiah, Annika and I are starting out in about an hour. We're looking forward to stopping in Rochester for a little bit to see Janet and Jerry and then onward east.

We are taking the Michigan route, crossing into Canada at Detroit, returning to the US in New York state. Our plans are to stop to see Niagara Falls! This has me very excited! I've only seen them from thousands of feet up on a flight to Boston years ago.

The trees here are beginning to change, so it's possible we will see fall foliage throughout our trip.

I don't expect to have access to a computer while I'm away, so this will have to do for now.

Take care.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

My Grandchildren

I have just been with my darling grandchildren - Josiah and Annika. It was so much fun!!!!

I hadn't seen them since March, the night before my brother and I left Japan to return to the U.S. At that time, Annika was only 5 weeks old, Josiah 22 months. My, how they've changed in the past 6 months. Annika, who was beautiful then, is even more beautiful now. She has lovely brown hair and gorgeous brown eyes. And her smile - - well, it is infectious! She put up no resistance when I picked her up to hold her.

The next thrill was when Josiah called me "Grandma." He didn't need to be told that I was his grandma, he already knew. He took me by the hand to show something to me. And later in the evening, at a wedding reception for his uncle, he again took my hand, indicating he wanted to dance with me. Oh, he's quite a little dancer too!

His mommy and daddy are doing a great job at parenting. Josiah is polite, he puts his toys away, and he talks so grown up. I can't wait to see all of them again!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Friday, September 08, 2006

Buggie's Birthday

Today my car is 8 years old. So, I guess one could say it is celebrating its "Golden Birthday"! In honor of the occasion, I bought a couple of small cakes for my co-workers to eat at our afternoon break time.

I was reminiscing with them the particulars about ordering her. As you may recall, the New Beetle came out in the Spring of 1998. I was driving a very good car at the time, but being a former owner of the old beetles, I was very curious to check out the new model. In May of '98, I drove to a VW dealership and got in the long line to take a "trial" drive. There were so many waiting to try one, that they allowed each driver a short drive down Highway 100 to the first exit, then go up the ramp, cross over the bridge, and return to the dealership. This was a total drive of about 2.5 miles. Well, as soon as I drove it, I knew I had gotten the "bug." So, I went inside and put down my deposit to order one. Here's what I ordered:

  • Color: White, Dark Blue, or Red
  • Automatic or manual shift
  • Leather or cloth
  • Sun roof or no sun roof

I wasn't really fussy - - I just knew I wanted one! So I was put on a waiting list as the company could not keep up with the demand.

Long about the end of June, I began calling the dealership on Fridays. I would request to speak to my salesman and ask him, "Where am I on the list now?" He would put me "on hold" and check. I can't recall how many were ahead of me, but I called every Friday during July and most of August. During the last week of August, my salesman phoned me to ask if I would take a red model; automatic transmission; cloth interior; without sun roof? "Yes, yes," I said. So on the 8th of September I drove to pick up my new car. My salesman told me that day that my name had not really made it to the top of the list. Rather, after my last inquiry, the manager had instructed him to give me the very next car that met any of my criteria the minute one came in. So, I got my car early.

Oh, I still really, really like it.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Technical Difficulties

Every now and then I have problems adding photos to my blog. Either my computer has a mind of its own, or I am missing some steps. At any rate, I have tried to add a few photos from my trip to Illinois this past weekend, but have not been successful. So, I am going to give it another try in this entry. The photos are of:
  • Our old parsonage on Mississippi Street (lived here when Peder was born)
  • Union School (Hans: Kindergarten - 2nd grade)
  • The Nascar track area - only 1/2 mile from our new parsonage on Laraway Road
  • Doris, yours truly, Florine
  • Flying close to downtown Chicago
  • Beautiful shoreline of Lake Michigan

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Believe It Or Not

Yes, it's true. Gas prices in Minneapolis went from $2.56 per gallon yesterday to $2.39 today. It was only about a month ago that we were at, or around, $3.00. And just one more price - - yesterday I saw gas at $3.19/gallon in Chicago. So, for those of you around the country, things are looking a lot better. I hope you see it in your area very soon!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Labor Day Weekend

This past weekend I flew to Chicago to visit my friends Florine, Doris, Bob and their family, and Jack & Jean. An added bonus was getting to see my Aunt Ginny and Uncle Allan.

I stayed at my dear friend Florine's and she drove me anywhere I wanted to go. She is a wonderful person who has helped me and my family for many years. In fact, she is the first one to babysit Hans while Steve and I attended our national church convention. What a blessing that was! Even to this day she is interested in all three of my kids and their families.

Other very good friends of mine, Doris and Bob, invited us to dinner on Saturday night. I have known them since the day we moved into the new parsonage on Laraway Road. On that day, Doris and her daughters walked across the road to welcome us and brought a delicious cake. Her three daughters, and once her son, became our regular baby-sitters. And Doris became a very dear friend and close confidant. It was really fun getting caught up on what they have been doing. And Doris surprised me with one of my favorite desserts - apple pie with icing! Yum!

Sunday Doris and I had a very good time at church and later with her good friends. I am so happy they she has this nice group of ladies as friends. During lunch I enjoyed listening to their conversation. Some times they sounded like The Golden Girls TV show.

Since we were so close to my Aunt Ginny's & Uncle Allan's, we dropped in on them for a little visit. That was so fun - - I haven't "dropped in on them" for years and years. Not since we lived in Joliet and they in Dalton.

Monday was spent shopping for a little while and playing with Florine's two new kittens, Abby and Lucy. Abby is a small gray kitty with some stripes and some polka dots; Lucy is all black - just like Heidi's former cat, Shadow, except for one white whisker. Both cats are still adjusting to their new home. For dinner we were invited to dinner at Jack & Jean's - mutual friends of ours. Once again, we had fun looking at photos and telling/listening to stories. I'm so glad we have been able to maintain these friendships after so many years of living far apart.

Today when flying home, I had my camera all prepared to get some shots of the new Nascar track in Joliet, just 1/2 mile from our last home there, when I realized we weren't heading that way. Rather, we were heading right toward downtown Chicago. I couldn't believe how close we came to the tall buildings downtown. We followed the shores of Lake Michigan, and it was just beautiful! I tried to spot the Lincoln Park Zoo, but instead recognized Wrigley Field. It was really interesting. After passing more of the beautiful coastline, the pilot gradually pointed the aircraft toward Minnesota and home. It was a very nice weekend - - a very full weekend.

Happy Birthday, Hans!

Happy Birthday, Hans! I hope you are having a great day today. When I awoke this morning, I looked at the clock and realized there were only two hours left of "September 5th" where you are. Even so, I am celebrating you all day here.

On Saturday my dear friend Florine and I visited your birthplace in Joliet, Illinois -- St. Joseph's Hospital. The hospital has had many changes in the past 36 years, making it hard to recognize. We went into the lobby to see what, if anything, I could recognize, and noted the beautiful marble hallways by the main elevators were still intact. We traveled to the 2nd floor where the maternity department had been located. That's now the "psych" ward. The labor and delivery rooms have vanished too, as well as the baby nursery. Now there are lovely birthing suites, much like a 5 star hotel, we were told.

Progress is good. It was nice to see the hospital expanding.

Next we traveled past the parsonage on Mississippi Street and the church on Union Street. I was very pleased to see both buildings were very well kept, probably looking the best in the neighborhood. Except for the handicap ramp on the front of the church, both the house and the church looked pretty much the same to me. The surrounding neighborhood has really gone down hill. The locals won't even drive through that part of town after dark any more because of the dangerous gangs.

We also drove by Union School, where you attended Kindergarten through 2nd grade. It had an addition, but the original building hadn't changed. I'm sure you would recognize it.

Since I couldn't be with you on this special day, I wanted to see some of the places that were important to you in your early stages of life, and that helped give you the foundation for the wonderful man you are today. Happy, happy birthday, Hans. We all hope to see you soon!