Sunday, March 30, 2008

I May Be Getting In Over My Head . . .

I may be getting in over my head, but I'm going to give it my best anyway. What is it, you ask? I have agreed to try to teach English to Rosy's mother and grandmother. Our first time together will be this coming Saturday.

Here's the background: I am a volunteer at the One by One program at a local church. My little student is Rosy, an adorable, sweet first grade girl. At the Christmas dinner for the students and their families, I sat with Rosy, her little sister, Katie, and her mother and grandmother. Following the dinner, an announcement was made inviting any of the women to sign up for English classes. Immediately Rosy's mother and grandmother signed up. They were so excited.

In January, I was invited to Rosy's house for her birthday, to have dinner with her and her family. At the dinner, I asked how the English classes were going. I should tell you, Rosy is our interpreter as I do not speak Spanish. She translated her mother's comment to me: "Some of the Hispanic women made fun of us because they know more English than we. Donna, will you be willing to teach us English?" How could I refuse? I have heard so many people make a statement to this effect: If they're (the Hispanics) going to live here, they should learn English! Well, I've had my eyes opened these past months. These people want to learn, but they don't always have the opportunity. So when they asked me, I agreed.

I am not, nor do I pretend to be, a trained teacher, but I do speak English, and I do care about Rosy and her family very much. I'm going to give it my best. Today I went to Barnes & Noble and purchased an English/Spanish book. Then I drove to the ABC store for teachers and picked up a small white board with lines for her mother and grandmother, and a larger one for me; markers and erasers, and a notebook and pencils for each of them. Lesson one will be on Saturday afternoon. I'll let you know how it goes. If you think of it, please say a little prayer for me.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Red Hat Friends

Last night I went out to eat with my Red Hat friends. We had fun conversation over a delicious dinner - - complete with dessert.

Our Red Hat group is different from most in that we never wear the red hats - - only red hat pins, scarves, or some sort of red hat jewelry. These friends are also my co-workers. From left to right, they are: Joanie, Karen, Jeanne, yours truly, Sharon and Nancy. This is the fourth year we have been meeting. We meet once a month during the school months, each taking a turn hosting the event in our home, and three times during the year we choose to eat out.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Annika in Disneyland Paris
Josiah's delightful meeting with Woody

It's not an exiting headline, but since my schedule this week isn't very exciting, I guess it fits.

Singing at the seven Easter services this past weekend went very well. I should be able to include the pastor's sermon in this entry, but I think I'll pass. One interesting thing to me is how the audience at times has the appearance of an ant farm - moms and dads taking kids in or out of the service; babies being passed back and forth; folks coming in late, or leaving early. It was more activity than we usually experience.

Before leaving for church on Sunday morning I called Germany and got to talk to Hans. He gave me a brief overview of their last outing: Disneyland Paris. Unfortunately it wasn't as much fun as they had hoped it would be. But it looks like the kids had a great time. You can read about it and see the photos here.

Aurelia is really changing. Sarah has the talent of putting darling videos together. They are posted here and here.

Six weeks from last Sunday I will be leaving on the choir missions trip to Ukraine and Austria. I've been crossing things off my list in preparation.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Snow Continues to Fall (on the first day of Spring?)

I woke this morning to about 4 inches of new snow. By the time I left for work, we had had 5 or more inches. It has snowed all morning long and it is to continue all day. The last report I heard was that we have received 8 inches. It is very wet - and I know this because I was the second person to arrive at our office this morning and our parking lot had not been plowed. Consequently, I was plowed in. I went out about a half hour ago and shoveled away as much as I could from behind my car. Yikes! I did this as it will only get higher. Isn't this the first day of Spring?

I learned that Brian isn't the only pooch with a blog. Check this out:

This being Holy Week, I prepared myself by watching the film The Passion of the Christ last weekend. It's a difficult film to watch, but in my opinion it is very well done and closely follows scripture. I will be attending a Good Friday service tonight at the church where several of my co-workers worship. One of them is in the choir. I have always wanted to hear their choir sing, but usually our concerts are on the same dates as their's. Since the church I attend has a Maundy Thursday service, there is no conflict this year. I will be singing in my choir for 7 Easter worship services - 2 on Saturday; 5 on Sunday.

May all of my readers have a blessed Easter.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

My Time with Aurelia Was Very Nice!

I enjoyed my time with Aurelia very much. She is a sweetheart, to be sure. I put her in her little bed after rocking her to sleep Friday night and she slept all night long. I sure like my Amish rocking chair for rocking my grand children! I wish I would have had it when my own kids were little.

Aurelia is a happy child - breaking into smiles a lot. She is a good eater, too. One thing she liked about my home is my wall clock. I'm not sure if was the pendulum or the chimes, but every time we were in my living room, she turned to look at it. Oh, I just thought of another - she liked watching Peppi. He liked her too, as he broke into song many times while she was there.

It won't be too much longer and she will be crawling. She's really working on it.

I was really anxious to see her reaction when her mommy and daddy came into my door to take her home. She smiled and smiled. Peder and Sarah said I passed the test and they are willing to let me watch her again soon. Whew!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Aurelia has Sleep-Over with Grandma

Last night Aurelia came to my home for her first sleep-over. She had supper: oatmeal and sweet potatoes, eating her food from the same little spoon that her daddy used to use. She likes her bouncy seat, and her pacifier. She is so cute - - and a very good girl.

After a good night's sleep, she is up and we are hanging out in my cottage.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Coincidence

Photo which is identical to Hans' photo

Castle ruins

Dinner at the Atomium in Brussels, Belgium

While in Heidelberg, Germany, earlier this week, Hans stopped to visit the castle there. Like any other American tourist, he took lots of pictures. Rachel posted them here. I was so surprised to see that Hans and I had photographed an identical image. My photos are from my first trip abroad in April of 1977 - I'm six months pregnant with Heidi. Hans' photo is labeled "Bird's eye view of Heidelberg." The only difference I can tell is that his is a vertical shot while mine is horizontal. At any rate, check it out.
At Hans' request, I am posting some of the photos I took way back then . . .

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Spring May Be On Its Way!!!!!

Our weather started moving in the right direction yesterday. Moments ago I checked the temperature and it is 49 degrees!!! That is reason for celebration!

Perhaps the four foot high, dirty snow piles on my front lawn will be a thing of the past in a few days. I hope so. I know I've complained a lot, but that is a right we Minnesotans claim for living here. We battle the elements and they say we live longer and are stronger for having done so.

In a day or two, I may be able to put away my snow boots. They won't go into storage quite yet, however, as "Old Man Winter" is known to be fickle.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Little Voices Over Seas

Yesterday I was treated by a phone call from Rachel. It was so nice to talk to her and hear about what they have been doing lately. You can read about it here. She put Josiah and Annika on the phone. Josiah told me they were making muffins and he had cracked the eggs. He said the muffins were going to be "cool." Then he counted to 20 in German. It was so cute.

For the first time in my life, Annika called me "Grandma." This was a happy moment for me. She talks so cute, ending our little conversation with a sweet "bye-bye."

It's not easy for me to differentiate their little voices - kind of like my problem with Hans and Peder. I like to think my hearing is average, but their voices are so similar.

Thank you for the fun conversation, Rachel, Josiah and Annika.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Another Busy Week

It's been another busy week. Here's a re-cap:

  • Monday: after working all day, I went to One by One to tutor Rosy. We went to the computer lab for our first time and had fun playing one of the games wherein spelling words correctly, Rosy added bricks to a tower. (Sorry, I can't remember the name of the game.)
  • Tuesday: I worked again. Then went to Rosy's school concert with her dad and little sister. Her mother had a cold and had to stay home. Rosy attends a charter school. I got to meet her teacher and a few of her friends. What an enjoyable concert!
  • Wednesday: I worked all day and went home to rest. Routinely I go to choir rehearsals on Wednesday nights, but since I will be going to Rochester for Janet's birthday this coming Sunday, I took the night off. It felt very good to stay home. Also, I got to talk to Heidi while she and Brian were out for a walk. Talking to my kids is priceless.
  • Thursday: I worked again (no surprise here. I like my job!). After dinner I picked up Rosy and her aunt (a 5th grader) and we went to see the movie Evan Almighty. We all enjoyed it. If you haven't seen it, consider doing so.
  • Friday: Of course I worked all day, and then drove to my friend's house to take her cat to the vet for a saline IV treatment while she is on vacation. The hardest part of the ordeal was getting Jasmine to come out from under the bed. Once I got Jasmine back home, I took off and met my dear friends, Lil and Jim, at a restaurant for dinner. They were in Minnesota for a funeral of their friend. It sure was good to see them again. I met them for the first time 20 years ago tomorrow.
  • Saturday: In the afternoon I'll be attending the farewell reception for our company's president and his wife, vice president. I'm looking forward to seeing some of our authors and some folks who no longer work at our company. I've been asked to film parts of the festivities.
I don't enjoy being so busy, but am happy I was able to participate in these events. Thankfully I don't have to get up early tomorrow morning (no alarm). Yay!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Speaking of Easter . . .

This is interesting.

Easter is always the 1st Sunday after the 1st full moon after the Spring Equinox (which is March 20). This dating of Easter is based on the lunar calendar that Hebrew people used to identify passover, which is why it moves around on our Roman calendar. Found out a couple of things you might be interested in.

Based on the above, Easter can actually be one day earlier (March 22) but that is pretty rare. Here's the interesting info. This year is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see the rest of our lives. And only the most elderly of our population have ever seen it this early (95 years old or above). And none of us have ever, or will ever, see it a day earlier!

Here are the facts:
  1. The next time Easter will be this early (March 23) will be the year 2228 (220 years from now). The last time it was this early was 1913 (so if you're 95 or older, you are the only ones that were around for that!).

  2. The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in the year 2285 (277 years from now). The last time it was on March 22 was 1818. So, no one alive today has or will ever see it any earlier than this year.

  3. Just hope that you are still around next month or you will miss the event of your lifetime.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Time Flies

My finished egg.

Doesn't it seem we just celebrated Christmas? And now in three weeks, it will be Easter. Next Sunday we're springing ahead for Daylight Savings Time. Stop the world . . . I want to get off! (Not really - but I wish time moved at a slower pace.)

Yesterday I had the privilege of car-pooling with several of my choir friends to the home of Cheri, another choir friend's home, to learn the art of making Pysanky, Ukrainian Easter eggs. There were 12 of us. Cheri lives 50 miles from our church, yet faithfully comes to rehearsals on Wednesdays and Sundays. What a commitment! Anyway, she had blown out the yolks of many eggs and had drawn the patterns on them before we arrived. She also had made some Ukrainian foods for our brunch: Borscht, Holubtsi which are Ukrainian cabbage rolls, and little baked cups made of phyllo dough and filled with cooked sausage and I believe pimento. I don't recall the name of them. We choir members brought some other foods to share, so we had a nice brunch.

Before starting the decorating of the eggs, we watched a video of a professional Pysanky decorator. It helped a lot. Then we went to the tables and sat at the design of the egg which we chose to decorate. I selected one that was more graphic rather than floral. Applying the heated bees wax with the kistka - we heated the kista
in the flame of an open candle - took me back to my ceramic days. (I used to teach ceramics classes in my home.) Holding the delicate egg shell and applying wax to it; carefully walking with the egg to the jars of dye, holding the hollow shell down with a spoon for a couple of minutes, and then blotting the dyed egg with a paper towel before applying more of the design with more bees wax was very interesting. I kept looking at the designs progressing on my neighbors' eggs. It was so much fun! It gave us plenty of time to visit too.

When all of my design had been applied with the bees wax and my egg had been dipped in five colors of dye - from lightest to darkest - I started removing the wax by holding my egg close to the flame of my candle. Everything was going well when all of a sudden my egg flew from my hand and bounced on the floor. I heard it crack - nearly into two pieces! Argh! I'm the only one to whom this happened. Nevertheless, I brought it home and it is displayed on a shelf. If one leaves it alone, it will be fine. It was so neat to do this craft that is centuries old.

When my grand kids get a little older, it will be fun to try this with them. I can picture Josiah enjoying it now.