Thursday, February 28, 2008

9 Weeks to Go

Nine weeks from now I should be putting the final things into my bags in preparation of the mission trip my choir is making to Ukraine and Austria. Last Saturday we had our first meeting; got our packets of concert music; sang through each selection once; heard great tips on what to pack and what our hotel rooms will look like from a seasoned traveler to Ukraine; and helped decide what the women's concert dress should be. We have 54 going over - 46 voices. I love all of the music our director has chosen for our program.

I've never gone on a missions trip before, but have to say I am pumped! I have heard that the people of Ukraine are so hungry for Christian music. One choir that went over there last year sang to a packed church, with 250 additional people standing outside in the pouring rain just to hear some of the melodies.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

When Will This Bleak, Glacial Weather Break?

It seems we've had more than our share of frigid weather this winter. It's hard to recall a day that began above zero. Each night the weather person tells us, "We should be near the end of this arctic front." But she is wrong. Again this morning we are below zero. It's past wearing on me. I reached that point on Tuesday. It was then that I decided I craved the smell of fresh flowers. So during my lunch break, I headed out to Costco where I proceeded to put my nose into nearly every bouquet of flowers available. These creamy-colored roses did the trick. They smelled "heavenly."

I made the purchase, covered them as well as I could, dashed to my car, and brought them back to my office. What a lift they have given me.

Funny thing with having flowers at one's desk . . . I can't tell you how many people have asked me, "Who gave you the flowers?" My response, "God did. He creates beautiful things, doesn't He?" I'm not the type that would have flowers only if they were given to me.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Lunch at Johnny Rockets with Aurelia, Peder and Sarah

I had a great time yesterday meeting Peder, Sarah and Aurelia at the Mall of America to have lunch and shop a little. I hadn't seen them for about a month, so it was fun to see the changes in Aurelia - - her eyes light up when she is spoken to; she laughs out loud; she's very content, easily entertained; smiles at complete strangers. When an Elvis tune started up from the juke box, I took her out of her stroller and we danced together. I think she's a big fan of Elvis!

As always, the MOA was crowded, but in spite of it, we walked around a little bit (Peder and Sarah had walked all three levels before I arrived. Sarah told me it is over 2 miles in distance. That's a good walk!), and shopped for Aurelia's Valentine gift. She is a real sweetheart!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Dealing with Guilt

I have been trying to find a time to go to southern Minnesota to visit my little friend, Cassie, who is now in a nursing home. Today was the first Saturday I have had free in a long time. I woke up this morning, fully intending to drive down for the day, but as I wrote to many of you earlier, I decided against it when I learned that my brother and sister had plans today. I wanted to be able to see them as well as visit Cassie. Well, after cleaning my home, I headed out to buy a news paper, and while sitting in the parking lot, I thought, "It's really a nice day. We haven't had that many. It would be good to drive down and see Cassie, even if I couldn't see Janet and Jerry." So I phoned Sandra, Cassie's niece, and she told me she would be happy to meet me at the nursing home. I was so happy I had decided to go.

I pulled up to the nursing home just as Sandra was getting out of her car. We went inside and found Cassie sound asleep in her recliner chair. Sandra tried and tried to wake her, but she was in a deep sleep. Even tickling her nose with the tail of a stuffed animal didn't wake her. Apparently she sleeps most days and is awake at night. Anyway, I got to see her and she looked wonderful. She was fully dressed, and had a new perm which made her hair look very nice. I know Sandra will tell her I was there. I'll try to go down again soon, depending on the weather, of course. I don't want to be guilty of not seeing my friend who means so much to me.

I ended up getting to have dinner with Janet and Jerry and Sandra and Jim. So, it was a very nice day.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Happy 2nd Birthday, Annika!

Today my darling grand-daughter, Annika, is 2 years old. I phoned her (in Germany) moments ago and Rachel put me on the speaker. While I sang Happy Birthday to her, Rachel said she was dancing to the music. She's excited because she is having a little party and a Nemo cake.

Annika is a delight. She brings joy to everyone who meets her. I hope she has the best party ever! Happy Birthday, sweet Annika.

~ Grandma D

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

To all of my family and friends, Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy 4th Birthday, Brian

Not every dog gets my attention, but I have a lot of affection for my grand-dog, Brian. He is a beautiful Golden Retriever who gives his people lots of love. He is a very well behaved dog; does some fun tricks. He only speaks in the house when two commands are given to him:

  1. Touchdown! = 2 barks

  2. Please. = 1 bark

He's great at football, swimming, fetch, going for long walks, riding in the car. He has stayed at my home only one weekend, but it was fun, and he was a very good boy.

Happy 4th birthday, Brian.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

One by One Valentine Party

Last night we had our Valentine party at One by One. All tutors and students were asked to wear red or pink clothing, so the scene was rather colorful. Rosy looked especially pretty in the pink outfit she was wearing. If I could pick anyone to be my Valentine this year - aside from my three adorable grandchildren - I would choose Rosy. She is such a blessing in my life.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Survived the Weekend!

Yes, I survived the weekend, but when I had to go outside, it was brutal. Leaving for church yesterday the temperature was minus 14 with a wind-chill of minus 47. Thankfully, my car started and the roads were clear. Attendance in church was down a bit, but spirits were up. That's the thing about Minnesotans - - we may grumble about the weather, but we are survivors.

After church my theater friends and I went out for brunch at a local hotel. The food was delicious, and I ate way too much! Then on to the theater to see The Fantasticks. The acting was super; the singing lovely; the set was simple; the costumes were okay; the story was very weak. I had a hard time staying awake because of over-eating and the lousy tale. Oh well, they can't all be "winners."

Last night I bawled through the two hour TV show Extreme Home Makeover and then put together all of my paperwork to have my taxes done. That's a good feeling - getting the paperwork together, not the bawling. :-) And then the ten minute weekend was over.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Batten Down the Hatches

New snow, winds in excess of 35 mph, temperature 16 degrees and falling = a blizzard. Yes, we're having another one. Warnings started a couple of days ago, allowing us time to stock up on groceries, run errands, and clear the calendar. I've done all of that and am happy to be able to stay indoors the rest of the day.

Thankfully we don't loose our phone connections or electricity, so life goes on in a normal pace. This morning I got to talk to Hans, Rachel, Josiah and Annika. I was especially happy to talk to the little ones because sometimes they don't feel very chatty. Today I conversed with Annika by asking her: what does a kitty say? a dog? a duck? a cow? a horse? a sheep? a giraffe? Now that last one is funny. You see, I'm not sure many people know the sound a giraffe makes, so last year Hans made up one. It's a cross between a roar and a loud shriek. Josiah has it down perfectly. So that's the sound he wanted to give Grandma when it was his turn to talk.

Even when the kids don't want to talk on the phone, I enjoy their voices in the background. For instance, today I heard Josiah say, "May I have some milk, please?" Rachel said to him, "Yes. That was very good, Josiah." He's not always that polite or patient, but it was fun for me to hear him when he was both.

Next week Annika turns two years old. I can hardly believe it. It seems Jerry and I were in Japan just a few months ago to see all of them. In a little over three months I'll get to see them again and can celebrate Josiah's four year birthday. I'm very excited about that.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Heidi & Chad

Three years ago tonight I was sitting at the dining room table of one of my Red Hat friend's home when my cell phone rang. Who could be calling me now? I answered my phone to hear Heidi say, "Guess what, Mom? Chad and I were just married in Hawaii!" I was so surprised -- and happy. Congratulations, Heidi and Chad!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Mouse Has Met His Revenge!

Today while driving to work, the mouse that has possibly been living in or on my car, had the nerve to raise his head up over my windshield wiper, looking at me through the glass. Well, that was a mistake. When I saw the timing was right, I turned on the wiper and like a pin ball machine hammer, it knocked him off my car. Good-bye! Good riddance!

Another New Experience

You’d have to be living under a rock to not be aware of the big political happenings in the US over the past several months. Has it been a year already? In my opinion, whatever it has been, it’s been way too long already and we have nine months to go! If I had my way, none of the candidates could throw their hat in the ring until four weeks before the election. One of the benefits being the individuals would actually be putting in the time and doing the work for which we are already paying most of them, with a four week "leave of absence." [There, that’s one of my gripes.]

Last night I attended my first caucus ever. I have never been a fan of politics, but since it has become the topic of conversation in nearly every activity in which I’m involved, I decided to check it out. First of all, my place of meeting is the high school building from which Heidi graduated. I thought I left home in plenty of time, but was totally surprised when I got into bumper-to-bumper traffic a mile from the school. Judging from the cars going into and turning around and coming out of the middle school a few blocks from the high school, I concluded the parking lot and "overflow" parking lots were full, so I turned onto a side street, parked my car, and walked about four blocks to the high school. It wasn’t that cold outside, the sidewalks were partially shoveled and I was wearing my boots, so I started out. Later that evening I learned the middle school was the meeting place of the other political party caucus. (duh?)

Entering the building, I was met by a volunteer asking me the number of my precinct. "I don’t know," I shyly replied. So she instructed me to get in line where another volunteer would give me that information and tell me the room number to which I should report. That was my first surprise: meeting in precincts. I assumed our entire party for our city would be meeting together in the auditorium or gymnasium.

Next surprise: Entering the designated room, I learned I had to sign in. That’s fine. I found a chair/desk in the front row (I like hearing everything and don’t like the distraction of having folks in front of me who may or may not be paying attention.) My first thought was, "Wow, Heidi had classes for three years in this building. I wonder if she ever had a class in room C14. Did she sit in this same chair?"

Next surprise: An attractive, professional looking woman at the front of the room called the meeting to order at 7. She asked us to stand for the Pledge of Allegience to the American flag (I liked this a lot.) She said that was following the caucus rules. (I didn’t know there were rules or procedures to follow. I know, how na├»ve can one be?) She said we would be casting our straw ballots (small pieces of paper) at exactly 7:30 and that they had to be totaled by 7:45. I helped pass out ballots. When we ran out, homemade ones were passed out. To everyone’s amazement, people kept coming into the room. Reports were that every room – 32 in all – was overflowing. No one predicted this crowd!

More news: We were there not only to vote for our favorite Presidential candidate, but to elect ten delegates and ten alternates for the convention. I was very careful to sit on my hands and not give any eye-to-eye contact during this part. How on earth would I be able to fit in another activity this year?! After a few minutes, we satisfied the lists and voted on them.

Next business: submit resolutions. Our group had a few, but they were very lengthy and had come from outside organizations. I stayed for the voting of the one dealing with immigration, then quietly left. After all, it was nearing my bedtime and I had to walk back to my car.

I was glad I went and hope to have some time to think about the whole process. I think I’ll go again. It helps to know what to expect.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

10 Minute Weekend

Backyard scene at Whiskey River
Wild turkeys at their feeders

At our table at Whiskey River

The 4 of us shared this dessert. Honest!

Gayle, YT, Laurey

Nancy, Laurey, Gayle

Nancy, YT, Gayle in the chapel.

I comment on this nearly every Monday - - Why does it seem the weekend passes by in ten minutes? It seems we leave the office at 5 on Friday, and bloooooop! it's 8 on Monday! This has been such a weekend.

Here are the details:

Friday night I rested, recovering from the flu bug that bit me on Wednesday and held on through Thursday. It felt good to get to bed early.

Saturday morning I cleaned the house and then went with friends down to St. Peter to eat at Whiskey River where we watched many birds, wild turkeys, and squirrels at the feeders. My friends had never been there before. They enjoyed it a lot. After lots of visiting and eating, we left to drive through the campus of Gustavus Adolphus, where Gayle is an alumnus. She took us through one of the student buildings and the beautiful chapel. I have been going to St. Peter all my life (my mom and dad were married there and my brother and sister were born there), but had never been up to the campus. And I do mean up. The campus sits high above the town. I was very impressed.

We couldn't leave St. Peter without going into two of my favorite stores: Kontur (a Scandinavian store) and Contents (home interior/gift items). We enjoyed looking around and managed to buy a few things.

Coming back to the cities, we stopped in Jordon and had some tea and dessert at a darling restaurant in Jordon, The Feedmill. This little restaurant also had ambiance, sitting high above a creek, large windows to our side allowing us to look down into the valley. We had a really nice day.

This morning I sang in the choir at two church services, had a quick lunch and met a friend at a movie theater where we watched Juno. It is a much talked about movie, capable of winning some of the upcoming Academy Awards. Did I like it? Yes. I thought it was very well done. Did I cry? Yes. It has tender moments.

The Super Bowl game is on TV right now. I'm glancing at it once in awhile; mostly watching the commercials. I'm rooting for the Giants. Why? I don't want to see Randy Moss win. It's that simple.

Soon it will be bed-time, and my ten minute weekend will be history.