Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Harvest Party

I'm not sure who started this, but this year, in our part of the country, one has to be politically correct in calling October 31 "harvest festival." What on earth?! It has been Halloween all my life, so this will not be an easy change for me. At any rate, last night was our Harvest Party at One-By-One. Everyone was asked to come in costume. My little Rosy (center, in pink) came as a pop singer. She was very shy and wasn't sure she wanted her picture taken. There was a costume parade, treats, and a magician. The kids had lots of fun!

All the kids (and most of the tutors) were adorable. Pictured here are: Photo 1: ?, Rosy, and Pati; Photo 2: Eric and Pati. These children are brother and sister and I and Mary, my rider, take them home every Monday night at the conclusion of our tutoring; Photo 3: Eric, Pati, Rosy, me (I'm a pumpkin, in case you couldn't figure it out.); Photo 4: Marabel and Dave (Sherlock Holmes), my co-worker; Photo 5: Jo (problem with static cling), another co-worker and dear friend; Photo 6: Julie (dear friend, flight attendant who upgraded me to first class on my last flight to Seattle) and Pati, the little one she tutors; Photo 7: Natasha, co chairperson of the program and another co-worker of mine; Photo 8: Dana (co-worker of mine - a doctor), giving a shot to Dave.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Operation Christmas Child

This afternoon I had my first outing with Rosy, the little girl I am tutoring at the One-by-One program. I picked her up at her home, and I got to meet her mother, father, little 10 month old sister, Katie, and her grandmother. Her aunt was there too, which was a blessing, as she speaks English.

Rosy and I went to Target to shop for Operation Christmas Child, which is a program started by Franklin Graham (Billy's son) and Samaritan's Purse. This program depends on individuals who donate items for children and teens around the world and given to them in shoe boxes at Christmas time.

We met my friend, Julie, also a tutor, and the little girl she tutors, Patti at Target. We went up and down several aisles, letting the girls choose things they thought other children would like to have. Many of the recipients have never owned a tooth brush or a pencil. Both little girls did a great job picking out toys and toiletries that will help fill many shoe boxes.

When I got Rosy back to her home, her father took a photo of Rosy and me, and I took one of her with her family. She is such a darling little girl - - so happy and appreciative.

Tomorrow night we have our harvest party at One-by-One. More photos to follow.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sweet Aurelia

Today I got to visit Peder and sweet Aurelia. Well, they're both sweet, but I think you know what I mean. When I walked into the living room, there she was in her little jump seat, wide awake. Immediately she got a great, big smile on her face. I knelt down and got close to her. She cooed and smiled, her blue eyes communicating with mine. I hadn't seen her in two or three weeks, and I could see that she has changed. What a doll! We chatted and chatted. I'm sure she was saying, "Grandma, I'm so glad you came to see me." I showed her the little Halloween treats I brought her, and I think she liked them.

After a half hour or so, I got to give her my first bottle. What fun that was. While holding her, I kept thinking how much she looks like Peder and Hans, with Heidi's eyes. I imagine Sarah's mom thinks she looks like Sarah or Ryan. Do we see only what we want to see? I'm not sure.

When her bottle was nearly empty, her eyes got heavy and I gave her to Peder. It was time for me to leave, so Peder popped a Dr Who into the VCR and said he and Aurelia were going to lie down on the couch. I sure enjoyed my visit. The only disappointments were not getting to see Sarah, and forgetting my camera at home!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Q: Name the four seasons.
A: Salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar.

Q: Explain one of the processes by which water can be made safe to drink.
A: Flirtation makes water safe to drink because it removes large pollutants like grit, sand, dead sheep and canoeists.

Q: How is dew formed?
A: The sun shines down on the leaves and makes them perspire.

Q: How can you delay milk turning sour?
A: Keep it in the cow.

Q: What causes the tides in the oceans?
A: The tides are a fight between the Earth and the Moon. All water tends to flow towards the moon, because there is no water on the moon, and nature hates a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins in this fight.

Q: What are steroids?
A: Things for keeping carpets still on the stairs.

Q: What happens to your body as you age?
A: When you get old, so do your bowels and you get intercontinental.

Q: What happens to a boy when he reaches puberty?
A: He says good-bye to his boyhood and looks forward to his adultery.

Q: Name a major disease associated with cigarettes.
A: Premature death.

Q: How are the main parts of the body categorized? (e.g.abdomen.)
A: The body is consisted into three parts - the brainium, the Borax and the abdominal cavity. The brainium contains the brain; the borax contains the heart and lungs; and the abdominal cavity contains the five bowels, A, E, I, O, and U.

Q: What is the fibula?
A: A small lie.

Q: What does "varicose" mean? (I do love this one.)
A: Nearby.

Q: Give the meaning of the term "Caesarean Section."
A: The Caesarean Section is a district in Rome.

Q: What does the word "benign" mean?
A: Benign is what you will be after you be eight.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Up North - Day 3

Today we had a delicious Swedish pancake breakfast before going to church. When church was over, we went for brunch at The Quarter Deck on Gull Lake. What a huge lake! It was very beautiful, with lots of gorgeous homes/cabins around the perimeter. We saw two beautiful deer by the side of the road. I didn't take any photos as it was raining again.
One thing I failed to mention earlier is that before each meal we had over the weekend, we sang a different prayer for our blessing. Since all of us are in our church choir, the harmony was lovely.
After brunch we did more shopping at Nordic Living - a beautiful Scandinavian store. Following that, we drove back to the cabin, packed up our treasures, and headed for home. It was such a fun time - but I'm a little tired.

Craft Time at the Cabin

Pat and Barb are always coming up with fun projects for us to do - besides knitting! This time Pat brought the supplies for each of us to make a stuffed snowman from a wool knitted mitten. Photos here show our creativity. Oh, I liked my first one so much, I asked if I could make a second one. Aren't they cute?!

Up North - Day 2

Since we stayed up until 2 am on Saturday, my first night of sleep was rather short - I awoke shortly after daybreak. I think I was the first to arise. I crept out to the front porch to look out at the lake. It wasn't long until I saw a goose fly over the bay, so close to the water. This was my first glimpse of the area, since it was dark when we had arrived the evening before. Across the lake the sun was glowing on the tops of the autumn colored trees. What a beautiful sight.

One at a time my friends began to get up and soon we were all sitting around in the living room, gabbing. A fire was lighted in the fireplace; it was all so cozy.

Barb has a real knack for decorating. Everywhere I looked, there were fun displays she had created. One thing I discovered about Barb is her fondness of dishes - - many sets of them. If you know me at all, you know my motto is: "You can never have too many dishes!" She used a different pattern at each meal.

Once we had had our brunch, we set out for the stores. Shop, shop, and shop some more. We drove home in the mid afternoon to have some snacks. Pat put together a charming fall centerpiece on one of the tables on the deck. Then it was back for more shopping. I know we added to the economy in Nisswa this weekend!
For dinner, Gayle and I bought a couple of ready to bake pizzas at a local pizzeria and she put together a delicious pumpkin pie cake recipe with homemade whipped cream. It was delicious!

Up North - Day 1

Friday I left work early to go "Up North" to the cabin of one of my knitting club members, Barb. Their cabin is on Clark Lake, just outside Nisswa. This is an area of Minnesota to which I have never been, and it is gorgeous! We saw beautiful fall foliage all the way - - until it got too dark.

Barb and her husband bought this 100 year old cabin 14 years ago and completely updated it. She generously invited our knitting club friends to spend the weekend there. It was to be a time for fun, fellowship, and creativity - - oh, and shopping at the stores in Nisswa and Pequot Lakes! For our meals, we were divided into teams of two to provide the meal to the others. Gayle and I were assigned to Saturday evening dinner.

Since Gayle and I had to work on Friday, we got there around 7:30 in the evening. The others got there around noon. They had already drawn numbers to see where each person was to sleep.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Webs Are Growing Between My Toes!

While drying off my feet after my shower this morning, I discovered little webs forming between my toes! This is been such a rainy month. They say we have had two days this month without rain, and the forecast for tomorrow is: MORE RAIN. My co-workers are discovering huge toad stools in their yards.

We are definitely out of the draught we had in July. I imagine the water level in Lake Superior is gaining as well. I heard it was down 18" this summer from the past couple of dry years in northern Minnesota.

Monday, October 15, 2007

National Eagle Center, Wabasha, Minnesota

Lovely carved duck


Bruce and Harriet

Photo with Angel

Majestic Angel

Yesterday my friend, Dr. Joanie, and I took a drive down the beautiful Highway 61 from Red Wing to Wabasha, then crossed the Mississippi River to Nelson, Wisconsin, and drove north on the Wisconsin side of the river and crossed back over to Minnesota at Red Wing. It wasn't a nice day, weather wise, but it was the only time that Joanie was available. She had never been to that part of Minnesota and was very impressed with the topography.

We stopped for dinner at a nice restaurant on the shores of Lake Pepin in Lake City. Our table was next to the windows. Out on the dock sat about 100 sea gulls. In the distance was a paddle boat, giving a tour of the lake. It is a lovely setting.

In Wabasha we stopped at the new National Eagle Center. What a beautiful building! Initially we were only going to browse through the gift area, but when I noticed the live eagles across the room, Joanie said, let's pay the admission and tour the building. I was so glad we did. They have 3 rescued adult eagles there, named Harriet, Angel, and Columbia. A lecture had just begun that we were able to join. The gentleman giving the lecture is a Viet Nam vet named Bruce. He had a vast knowledge of the habits of eagles and the laws surrounding their protection.

Bruce told us Harriet posed for the photo used on the new Minnesota veterans' license plate. He said she has traveled with him to many places in the United States, including the Veteran's Hospital in Minneapolis, where he encourages many of the veterans there who are in a bad way.

During the lecture, Bruce left the room to get Harriet and brought her back, explaining many more things about her. He gave her a dish of food, and the first item she chose was a dead white rat! We watched her eat about half of it and then I said to Joanie it was too much for me. So we excused ourselves.

Out in the great room another volunteer had Angel on his arm, so I had my picture taken with her. I found the displays informative and very well done. The gift shop had some beautiful works of art, including carved birds. Maybe someday I'll splurge for one.

Over in Nelson, Wisconsin, I bought a small pumpkin and acorn squash from a little stand in a yard. We went to a local restaurant for a little dessert before heading north on the scenic route 35. Some of the color there was nice. We didn't stop to see Laura Ingall's birthplace at Pepin, but saved it for another time.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ding-a-ling, Ding-a-ling . . . Hello . . .

This morning my cell phone began ringing. I know that's not so unusual. Before answering, I checked the display to see the call was coming from my daughter-in-law Rachel's phone. I had just had a conversation with her last night, but thought she had something else to tell me. "Hello. Hello. Hello." No response. "Hello." Then I heard a little voice but couldn't distinguish it from Josiah or Annika's voice. "Hello. Is this Josiah? - - - Hi Honey, this is Grandma." No response.

In the background I could hear Rachel and Hans. I kept saying, "Hello. Hello. Is this Annika?" Soon I realized it was she. She chattered and chattered. I kept trying to get her to say "hello" or "grandma." This went on for a few minutes. She sounded so happy. Finally I hung up and phoned Hans. When he answered I told him Annika had just phoned me. He told me they were in the car and he had seen Annika have Rachel's phone up to her ear but assumed she was just pretending to be on a call. When the phone was taken away from her, she began to cry. I felt so bad - like I had tattled on her or some such thing. I'm sorry, Annika. It was fun getting a call from you!

Hans told me they were on their way to an Irish steak house. I asked him if they were celebrating something, and he said, "No. That's McDonald's." Hans, I think McDonald's has a Scottish background. I recall the first one I visited (in the past century). We walked up to the outside window to place our order. Inside seating was not an option. The burgers were $.15 and fries were $.12. The wrapping on the burger was a red, Scottish plaid waxed paper. I always thought this theme was from the belief that the Scottish were "tight with their money."

Friday, October 12, 2007

Breakfast Concert

Each morning for the past week or so, I have been treated to a beautiful concert performed by Peppi. He was obviously trained by a great canary at the home of his breeder. He has a very mellow, alto range, and at one point this morning, he sang for well over 3 minutes without stopping.

I know it's not fair to compare, but for those of you who remember my dearly departed Tweety, you may recall his voice was very high and sometimes he had an irritating shrill note he would hold for a little bit. While I found it cheerful, from time to time it made it hard to converse with my guests. Peppi, on the other hand, has a softer volume and doesn't sing over other voices.

Another tidbit I want to share is Peppi's fondness of fresh broccoli. I'm so thrilled he has come to live with me.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Introducing Rosy

Last night was the second night of the program "One - by - One," the tutoring program I am engaged in this year. Once again, I was so impressed with Rosy, the sweet little girl whom I will be working with for the school year.

Before she arrived, I rearranged our table in order for me to sit across from her. I found this placement much better for me to hear her soft voice, and it was kinder to my neck. She learned her memory verse, Hebrews 12:1, having the most trouble with the word "endurance." Then we did a reading assessment test and she tested out at an easy third grade level. Remember, she is only 6 years old and in first grade. I was very impressed! Somewhere along the way, she has learned to sound out words. When we switched to alphabet recognition, she was stumped when we got to the capital "W" and again at the lower case "w." So she asked me if she could sing the Alphabet song. I told her yes and we sang it together. [Josiah, it made me think of you and the fun we have singing together.] When she got to the "W," her eyes lit up and she finished the little work sheet.

We moved onto her home work and she was a whiz at that also, covering handwriting and math.

We spent a few minutes taking photos. She thought it was really fun taking pictures of me. [Don't you love digital cameras?!]

After that she asked if she could read her library book to me. Yes, please do. She began a little story (I didn't get the name of the book), and when we were half way through it, the bell rang for us to go to Bible Club. I asked her if she could bring it next week so I can see how it ends. It's a very good book!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

I'm Coming Down with a Cold . . .

I haven't had a cold in quite awhile, so when I woke with a little sore throat this morning, I didn't think anything of it. This afternoon my nose started running and I got a headache. Then it dawned on me - - I'm coming down with a cold. I really hope it won't blossom into anything big as I don't want to miss out on tutoring Rosy tomorrow night -- and I certainly don't want to share it with her or any other people. I think I'll go to bed. Good night.

Surprise Birthday Party

Laurey, Brodie
Nora, Bonnie, Nancy

Last night I hosted a surprise birthday party for my friend, Nancy. Her birthday was actually a few weeks ago, but since she was away then, it went by unnoticed. My friend, Laurey, said she would be happy to help me, so we planned a nice dinner party for six.

Not every surprise party turns out as planned, but this one did. Nancy had no idea this dinner was for her. She was the last one to arrive as she had been at her lake home in northern Minnesota and had gotten back to the twin cities only a half hour before our dinner. We sat around with appetizers for a little while, and then moved to the dining room for dinner. At dessert time, I pulled out the decorated birthday cake - with Nancy's name on it - and put it on the center of the table and started the rendition of Happy Birthday. She was so taken aback. But she became speechless when we put gifts at her place setting. She's a very polished, organized, talented, generous woman who appreciated the "fuss" we made over her. I say, it was no fuss - just lots of fun. Happy Birthday, Nancy!

Aurelia's First Visit to My House

Friday night Sarah and Aurelia came to see me. I finally got to hold her while rocking in my Amish rocking chair. It was so nice. She slept for quite awhile, yawning every now and then. After she had a good sleep, she woke and I was rewarded with a sweet smile from her. What a little angel.

I sang to her a little bit and told her how we will play with dolls and make cookies when she gets a little older. (Annika, we'll play with dolls next time you come to my house. Josiah, we'll bake cookies and frost them, if you like.)

It was so much fun having them stop by - this is a first for me. With Hans & Rachel having lived in San Diego, Japan, Rhode Island and now moving to Germany and Heidi & Chad living in Seattle, I don't see them as often as I'd like. This was a real treat!