Monday, July 30, 2007

Countries I Have Visited

These are the countries I have visited:

The Netherlands

Next year I hope to add Ukraine.

If you're curious about mapping the places you have been, click here.

States I Have Visited.

These are the states I have visited. It's weird that I have been to Rhode Island at least 6 times and never went next door to Connecticut! Oh well! Next year I plan to add Alaska.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

God Is Good

July 15, a colleague of mine - actually Vice President of Non-fiction at our publishing house - and his family took off for Ukraine with an appointment to meet with officials to start the process of adopting a boy from age 5 to 8 years. Tonight I read that the adoption of Cory is now official. You can read all about it here - - in just 6 interesting posts. This is so exciting. I am thrilled for them. Thank you, Lord.

Les Misérables

Last night I had the privilege of attending the performance of Minnetonka High School's rendition of Les Misérables. Two of the leading roles, Cosette and Gavroche, were played by children of one of my choir mates, Mary. Talk about a cast of talented young people. It was very impressive.
This was a shortened version of the original Broadway musical-- only 90 minutes -- exactly the allowed time limit for the performance at The Fringe, Edinburgh, Scotland, where this cast will perform next week. 46 schools from the United States won the right to perform there this year- 2 schools from Minnesota - Minnetonka and Buffalo. It was a delightful evening, bringing back pleasant memories of seeing the Broadway production at the Ordway some years ago. I sure wish I could accompany these young people when they leave next Tuesday! I'm sure they will have the time of their lives!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Can this cat predict death?

An interesting article surfaced today regarding a cat with an unusual gift.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Happy 94th Birthday, Cassie

My dear, sweet friend, Cassie, turned 94 today. I met her exactly 14 years ago when I was invited to her 80th birthday party at the home of her niece. A wonderful friendship was forged that day.

Oh, things have changed since then. Cassie did really well until a couple of years ago when health problems made it necessary for her to move to an assisted living home down in Rochester. Early this spring she had to be transferred to a nursing home due to complications with Alzheimer's Disease and just plain weakness. The distance makes it harder for me to see her as often as I'd like, but it has been a good move for her as Sandy and Jim, her nearest relatives, live there and have been the most important people in her life.

I got to see her Saturday, and was pleased that she remembered me. I wheeled her outside to enjoy the flowers and the nice, summer day. She just loved it - - said it was heavenly. I pray she had a good day today. Happy Birthday, Cassie, my dear friend. I love you.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Monday Morning Footwear

The idea of showing a sampling of co-workers' footwear came to me today when one of my colleagues showed up in some adorable shoes, complete with red and white checked interiors.

Rochester Farmer's Market

Saturday morning I had the privilege of going to the Rochester farmer's market with my brother. This is a weekly excursion for him, so he knows several of the vendors, and they enjoy having him stop by. Each week he buys tomatoes from one, a loaf of bread from another, and cucumbers from two of them.

This is an excellent farmer's market because so many farmers come in from the surrounding area. One in particular has two of his children helping run the stand. They fill in the inventory as well as wait on the customers. Another is an Amish farmer, wife and two little kids. My brother always buys cucumbers from them.

There were baked goods, jams, vegetables, and flowers. The flowers were just lovely. I was tempted to buy a beautiful pot of begonias, but resisted. I couldn't resist the baked cinnamon rolls, however. I limited myself to one for my sister and one for me.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Alaskan Cruise

Awhile ago my daughter and son dreamed up an idea to have family and friends go on an Alaskan cruise together - - you know, to be able to hang out with some folks one day, have dinner with some others another day, but having the option to go off on your own, if that sounds good to you. Many have booked their passage already, but it's not too late if you think this sounds fun. I know we would love it if you chose to do so. You can read all about it here: De For Family and Friends Cruise. Let me know if you have any questions.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

Last night my friend Julie and I went to the Twin's game. We sat in a family section, which means it is a no alcohol section. With the price of our ticket, we got a Hormel hot dog and a coke. So, that was our supper. However, I splurged and got a hot fudge sundae in a waffle cup for dessert. It was very good!

Did the Twins beat the Tigers? No, we lost 1 - 0. Did we have a good time? Yes, most definitely. Our mode of transportation to the dome was on the light rail, which is a lot of fun for me.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Happy 30th Birthday, Heidi!

My baby turns 30 years old today, Sunday. I can hardly believe it. When I was expecting our 3rd child, I didn't want to get my hopes up on having a girl, so I fully expected another boy and had a boy and girl name picked out. When the doctor announced it was a girl, I remember asking, "Are you sure?"

I had so many fun times with Heidi when she was a toddler, a school girl, a teenager (mostly it was fun), and a college student. But the older she gets, the sweeter she gets. I am so proud of her. Happy, happy birthday, Heidi!

Baby Shower for My Next Grand Child

This afternoon Sarah's mother hosted a baby shower for her. What a delightful time for me to get acquainted with dear friends of Sarah and her mom. With less than a month to go, there was lots of conversation about babies, deliveries, nursing, and so on. Sarah looks radiant and healthy. She says she gets uncomfortable, but it sure doesn't show. The gender of the baby is unknown, but my guess is it's a boy, and I know he'll come when he's ready, but I have a feeling he'll come on his due date - August 11.

Strawberry Crush Pop

A special treat for me is a bottle of cold soda pop in a glass bottle. As a kid, that's what we had. In fact, when we needed a little extra spending money, we would go around the neighborhood trying to find empty bottles to turn them in for the deposit money. I'm not sure my kids remember this, but when they were young, grocery stores carried cartons of 8 glass bottles, and they allowed you to mix the brands and flavors. I recall having to bring a grocery cart out to the car to bring in the cartons of empty bottles. I don't remember the going price per bottle.

This past week, my local grocer had a couple of grocery carts with discounted discontinued items. In it I found 2 bottles of Strawberry Crush soda pop. Well, I snapped those up right away, and today I treated myself to a bottle at lunchtime. It was delicious!

It's Been a Fun Day!

I live in one of the biggest cities in the state, but until a week ago, we did not have a Farmer's Market. Oh, there are others in the metro area, but I have had to drive a bit to get to one of them. This morning I had the pleasure of attending the one in my city. As I drove into the parking lot, I could see many others were as excited as I about this new venue. It was really nice. There were many white and blue covered booths, most selling fresh vegetables and flowers. I treated myself to fresh green beans, kohlrabi, a head of cabbage, and a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I know I'll be going again.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Photos Added

Since I was unable to download my photos on Hans' computer last week, I have gone back to entries I made from 7/2 - 7/8 and added them. If you care to see them, just scroll down.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Various Photos from Rhode Island

Preparing for July 4

Going for walks can be hard work!

Happy girl

Annika's sweet smile

Playtime - Josiah loves art projects

One of our walks

Josiah doing a lacing project

Princess Annika

Kites blowing from the Atlantic Ocean breeze

Janet outside The Breakers

Sunday, July 08, 2007

A Very Nice Reunion

Last night Hans and Rachel returned from their vacation in Bermuda. We kept the kids up so they could see them. What a nice reunion for all of them. My first reaction was noting how dark their skin had turned. They got lots of sun, maybe too much their last day, as the tops of their feet and shins were red. Ouch! They looked rested and were very glad to be back with their darling kids again.

They had such a good time in Bermuda, and we were able to keep up on their days by reading Rachel's blog, as well as the daily phone calls.

My sister and I had a really good time with the kids. I'll admit we were busy, but it was rewarding to me getting to know my grand children better. In a little while I'm going to walk a block away to attend the high mass at the neighborhood Anglican church. Then we are going to see a little bit of Newport and surrounding area before flying back tomorrow. I'll post pictures when I return home.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Friday in Newport

Closeup of Dogwood blooms in church yard

There is an Anglican church just a block from Hans and Rachel's home that has lovely bells that ring from 7 am to 10 pm. This morning on our walk, we walked past it and the front doors were open. You know me, I had to step in to see what it looked like inside. The stained glass windows are beautiful and though it was a bit dark inside (plus I had on my sun glasses), I could see the hanging lights were colonial looking, like lanterns. It is really lovely. As I approached the front of the sanctuary, a gentleman came from a room on the side. He was apparently the custodian - a very friendly chap. He said to feel free to look around, take pictures, even opened the door to the back of the big pipe organ to show me more pipes. He said the organ is presently out of order, so they have resorted to using the pump organ until funds are raised to repair the electric one. He went on to tell me that the church was built by a divorcee as part of her penance. She started it in a living room, and it continued to expand to its present size. It was dedicated in 1894. He said the doors are always open during the week so people can come in to look around or sit to pray. Out in the churchyard is the most beautiful dogwood tree I have ever seen. I took pictures and will post them when I get home. I may walk over on Sunday morning to attend one of the two masses.

Though the temperature today is a mere 75 degrees, it is quite humid, so we kept our walk short and came home to cool off. Oh, last night we heard fog horns most of the evening. It continues to be a bit foggy today. This sure is a lovely area. And, the kids are still being very good!!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Postman Pat

One of the fun things about staying with my grand kids is seeing the TV programs they like. Today I saw one I really enjoy: Postman Pat. We only watched two episodes so far, but they are absolutely adorable. First of all, they are British and look like they take place in Scotland, or northern England. The characters wear wool sweaters, eat cucumber sandwiches, drive on the left, use British idioms, etc. You get the picture. It wouldn't surprise me to hear Josiah use some of the British phrases, since he also watches Charlie & Lola, another British show for children.

Grocery Shopping with Annika

Okay, this was a first for me . . . I had to go to the grocery store this morning as we were running short of a couple of items. To make things a little easier for my sister, I took Annika with me. I would swear on a stack of Bibles that this account is the absolute truth - - she was perfect. Just perfect. On the way there she sang Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. In the store she just looked at things on either side of the aisle and smiled. It didn't surprise me that many people gave a double take when they looked at her. Her soft curls around her face are adorable. (I'm just a wee bit jealous.) Plus, she was so well behaved. As I said: PERFECT. Even in the check out line, she never reached for anything. And yes, for those of you who may be wondering, she was wide awake. My one regret is that I didn't take a picture of her in our cart. On the ride home she sang Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star again. Oh, one more thing along this subject - I am so proud of myself because I was able to work the complicated buckle on her car seat (it's like a 3-piece jigsaw puzzle).

When I got home, my sister told me Josiah was also perfect. No trouble at all. He's been playing so nicely with his toys.

Got to go. It's lunch time. :-)

July 4th

This was a quiet July 4th for me, but was very nice. Since my sister and I had ventured out with Annika and Josiah the previous days, we decided to take it a little easier and spend the day at home. I spent some one-on-one time with each of the darlings out on the front porch. The kids rode their little trikes and we swung on the porch swing. Each of them rearranged the small American flags in the planters. Hans and Rachel phoned from Bermuda. They've been enjoying exploring the island, touring forts, and doing a little shopping.

Rachel warned us that Annika didn't like the fireworks, so we knew we wouldn't try to take in that activity. Even if it had been an option, I don't think we would have tried because the weather wasn't cooperative. The early evening news reported many New England communities had postponed their fireworks to Saturday or Sunday night. However, Newport must have held theirs as we heard the explosions, plus the many boat/yacht horns, for about an hour or so, as the ocean bay is only a block and a half away from their home. We let Josiah stay up to watch the wonderful Macy's 4Th of July Celebration on TV. He loved the fireworks and told us about the ones they had seen last week during the Tall Ship Festival in Newport.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Tuesday in Newport

Yesterday was another fun-filled day for us, starting with breakfast, getting cleaned up, and walking downtown, about 8 - 10 blocks from home, to see some of the shops. This time we used the double stroller that has one child sitting in front of the other. It was much easier to manuver around the unusual sidewalks and over the curbs. In this wonderful, historic neighborhood dating back to the early 1700's, slanted curbs at corners is a rarity. Janet and I love looking at each of the restored houses. As I told her, I expect Paul Revere to come around the corner any minute.

Only a few stores intrigued either my sister or I to go in to look around. While one went in for a few minutes, the other stayed outside in a shady spot, singing with the children. Josiah and Annika love music and love singing. Annika sings "ee i ee i oo." It is so cute! Things were going so well which gave us confidence to try having lunch at Panera. Except for the length of time it took for our lunch to be ready, it went okay. Leaving there, we stopped at the park for the kids to play on the equipment. Annika is one busy little girl at the park. She loves nearly all of the climbing equipment and the baby swing. Josiah got to be on the teeter totter and went down the slide. We only stayed a half an hour as the sun was fairly warm and there was little to no shade.

Once home we played with trains, dolls, books, had some quiet time, and before you knew it, it was time for the children (and grandma) to go to bed. I have new admiration and appreciation for Rachel and Hans! Rachel has energy that never ends! God bless her. Of course, it helps having youth on your side! :-)