Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Hormel Stock Holders' Annual Meeting

Yesterday I drove to Austin to attend the annual Hormel stockholders' meeting. I've been a Hormel Foods stockholder for about 24 years, ever since I started working there. For many of those years I have attended the annual stockholders' meeting, held in my high school auditorium. Once Hans went with me. Other years my friend Lil came along. When I tell my friends that I am going to this event, they look at me rather strangely and ask: What is it like? I can't believe you would enjoy something so boring. Well, I have not attended any stockholder meetings from my other investments, but I have to say that this is a fun event!

Not only are the highlights of the past year reviewed, but videos are shown of current and future Hormel product TV commercials. I don't know who works on their creative/marketing team, but they are really cleverly done. I laughed and laughed at most of them shown last night. Another highlight was seeing former co-workers and two guys I have known since we were in kindergarten together. Can you believe that?! One of them is now working with my brother at his part-time job at a Volkswagen/Audi dealership in Rochester. I also saw four friends who went to the same church as I. That was really nice. They wanted to know about my kids and grandkids. Of course, I had lots of pictures along of Josiah and Annika taken at Christmas time. At the conclusion of the meeting, everyone goes to a counter to pick up their gift box - new Hormel products and coupons for money off on new items. This is very nice! Jerry said he really enjoyed the evening.

Instead of driving home last night in the below zero weather, I spent the night at Donna and David's and got to catch up on them and their extended family. Donna looks SUPER! She has lost 130 pounds. She feels so much better and has gotten to stop taking some of her medications. I'm thrilled for her. It was really nice seeing them again.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Fun and Unexpected Phone Call

Moments ago, while sitting at my computer checking my kids' blogs, my cell phone rang (I have "dial-up," - so if you need to reach me and are getting a busy signal, try my cell.). What to my delight was Hans telling me Josiah wanted to talk to me. "Hi Grandma!" You don't know how much that thrills me. I love his little voice. Most of our conversation consisted of me asking him questions. Then he tells me about his Thomas trains - and I understand most of what he is saying. I hope he'll call me often. It sure makes me happy! Thank you, Josiah.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

World's Largest Indoor Tulip Show

Tonight I went to the Mall of America with my dear friend Nancy to have a fun supper at Johnny Rocket's and then wander through The Park to see the world's largest indoor Tulip show. Johnny Rocket's is a 50's diner, complete with nickel juke boxes at the counter. And what a deal -- the propriators leave about 6 nickels on the counter under each juke box so the guests will pop them into the machines and select their favorite tunes from the past. During Don't Be Cruel by Elvis, I asked Nancy if she wanted to dance, but she turned me down. ;-) The food was delicious!

After eating, we strolled down a couple of floors to The Park (formerly Camp Snoopy) to view the tulips and other floral displays. What we saw was very pretty -- but we both agreed that everything would be more vibrant in the daylight with the skylights overhead. In the evenings, it is a bit dark in The Park - making the trees, decorated with small lights, resemble a fairyland. But the lighting, or lack thereof, made it difficult to get good photos. My favorite part was the area where tulips were planted in Dutch wooden shoes (klompen).

Thursday, January 18, 2007

My Sixth Anniversary

The day before Thanksgiving 2000, I happened to look at the classifieds in a local newspaper. Now, to understand the relevance of this, I must tell you that I hate this newspaper because it leaves so much ink on the hands after touching it! So I usually pick it up from in front of my door and deposit it directly into my round file cabinet. It comes to my home free of charge, and it is impossible to be removed from the distribution, which is every Wednesday. But back to my story. . .

I had become a bit unhappy with my job after being assigned a new supervisor. She was very impersonal and noncommunicative. For days at a time she would work from home or travel to other offices and not inform me. So the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, something prompted me to look at the help wanted ads. My eyes spotted an ad for a job at a location very near my home. After reading it, I thought it sounded like it might be something I would enjoy.

Thanksgiving evening, driving home from dinner at Peder's, I decided I would drive past the office building to see just how close to my home this office was. I pulled up to the front of the building and thought it looked rather nice. After a minute or two, I drove into the second row of the parking lot to take one more look. Just then my headlights caught the eyes of three deer in front of me, two standing on the lawn and the other lying on the grass, gnawing at the branches of a tree. "It's a sign!" I said.

The next Wednesday I anxiously turned the pages of the newspaper to see if the ad was still there. It was and I acted on it. The rest is history. I got the job and today marks my sixth anniversary. I am so glad I was prompted to look at the inky pages. Once again, thank you, Lord!

The Wednesday "Lunch Bunch"

Have I ever told you how much I like my job and the people with whom I work? I am so blessed to have fallen into this situation.

One event that occurs each Wednesday is the gathering of interested folk who want to do lunch together. At noon, we meet at the reception area of our office and when it seems all who are joining in that day have assembled, a decision is made as to where we should eat.

Since we are on a time limit, we have to choose a place that serves their food fast! Some of our regular haunts are: Lee Ann Chin (Chinese cuisine), Panera, Chipotle (when that is the choice, I bow out, thank you very much!), Culver's (one of my favorites), and Lund's deli. There is a new Greek fast food place called Gyropolis we want to try soon. I have eaten there once -- had spinach pie, which was very good - so I'll be happy to go along there as well.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Snow at Last!

It seems we have been waiting a long while for snow cover this winter. Last night we finally got some. I can't believe how excited I was to see it! About every 20 minutes I went to the window to see if it was still falling. It was a very gentle event.

I looked out my patio window this morning and I would estimate we got about 7 inches. I could see where a bunny had been resting and then had decided to hop away. Everything looks so fresh and clean.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Another Baby Is On the Way!!

Peder and Sarah have some good news - - they are expecting a baby! Some of you already knew this, but I have been chided for not making the announcement.

As far as I know, Sarah has been feeling pretty good. Peder (except for a cold) has been feeling great! Funny how that works!

It will be very nice having a grandchild in close proximity. I asked Sarah to be on the "look out" for a nice pack and play for me when she goes to yard sales. She is so good at finding pieces of furniture for next to nothing and fixing them up.

Congratulations, Peder and Sarah!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Gas Prices Drop Below $2.00

That's right -- today I bought fuel for my car for $1.99 per gallon! Honestly, I didn't think I would see this price again. I'm sure happy about it and hope it lasts lots longer!!

It was on 9/6/06 that I wrote about our gas prices. At that time, the prices had dropped from an all time high of $3.09 in my part of the country.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year - 2007!

New Year's eve I spent in Rochester with my brother and sister. I had planned on going there two weeks earlier, but had a fall on some ice and couldn't sit in the car for the drive to their home. We had a very nice time together - - baking the cut out sugar cookies we had wanted to make prior to Christmas. They have a wonderful kitchen for baking and decorating cookies!

A favorite thing for us to do during the holidays is drive around looking at Christmas lights. Once it got dark, we drove through several neighborhoods. Many of them were beautiful. Midway, we stopped at a local restaurant for a little dinner. While we were there, we noticed it had begun to snow. Continuing on to view more lights, the new snow made the displays look "magical."

Another family tradition is eating the English Plum Pudding lovingly made by my Aunt Liz. When I saw her on Saturday, she gave me a pudding to take to Rochester. Janet and I made the frothy vanilla sauce and the three of us had it for dessert on New Year's Day. It was delicious!! Complements to the cook!

[I got a voicemail this morning from Hans. They arrived home safely around 10 am today. Thank you, Lord, for keeping them safe and sound!]

Some people see starting a new year as a time to make resolutions or goals. For me, I think of it as a time for giving thanks that I have had another year to enjoy my family and friends. Here's to more memories. . .

Como Zoo

About 8 weeks ago a baby was born to one of the giraffes and one of the zebras at our local zoo - Como. Since I love giraffes, I put it on my list of things to see when my grandkids came to town for Christmas. I thought they would enjoy seeing them and the other animals too. Saturday afternoon Hans, Rachel, Josiah and I drove over to the wonderful zoo. It was raining, but that didn't dampen our spirits any.

We saw the baby giraffe, who weighed 165 lbs. at birth and stood 6 feet high. She was darling - has long eye lashes, and is very graceful walking around. She looked so sweet nuzzling up to her mother. I think MaMa was really proud of her. We didn't see the baby zebra - only a lone adult. They had no sign informing us of it's whereabouts, so that was a bit of a disappointment.

At the Large Cat building and surroundings, a tiger walked about the grounds growling and growling. It was rather fun to hear. Josiah and Annika seemed to enjoy seeing all of the animals. Josiah knows most of the sounds they make.

After seeing all of the animals, we went to the conservatory at the park where Hans and Rachel were married four years ago. Oh, it was so beautiful - all decked out in gorgeous poinsettias. There we met my Aunt Liz and cousin Pat. It was the first time they had met Annika - and she charmed them! So did Josiah!

Babysitting My Darling Grandchildren

Friday night was a time I have been looking forward to for a couple of months. Josiah and Annika were coming to spend the night with me! I had a few toys ready for them, had put the breakables "out of sight," picked up some frozen chicken tenders, Baby-Yo yogurt and chocolate milk. I was as ready as I thought I could be.

It was so much fun! They played and played - mostly in the living room. The darlings enjoyed looking at Frosty outside on my patio. Supper time went pretty well -- thanks to my co-worker, Karen, who loaned me a high chair for Annika and a nice wooden stool for Josiah.

Josiah and I sang "Down by the station early in the morning" as he played with my little train set and his Thomas trains and tracks. Annika played with a doll, and bounced to the tune coming from a music box. They really kept me busy.

After play time, I gave Annika a bath in my kitchen sink (easier than bending down to pick her up from the bath tub). Josiah had fun splashing and splashing in the tub and playing with the rubber duckies. Neither of them is afraid of water.

Bed time went well too. Annika slept in her pack and play at the foot of my bed; Josiah slept in bed with me, and on the floor (his favorite place to sleep). Around 4:45 am I heard Annika chatting and laughing a little. I got up, fixed her a bottle, gave it to her. And soon she was sleeping again - untill nearly 8! They were both so well behaved.

I'm looking forward to having them stay with me again!!!