Friday, September 26, 2008

Google Amazes Me

Tonight I Googled a few things, just typing in "this and that." I decided to type in my brother's name and lo and behold, look what appeared - photos of him in Antarctica! Plus a website of the ship on which he once served. Does this amaze you? Who has taken the insurmountable time to enter all of this data???

Have you Googled your name? It may be interesting for you to try.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Erna's Memorial Service

Yesterday I attended the memorial service for my mother-in-law, Erna. I'm so happy I was able to do this, as there were many precious memories shared, and most importantly, she was honored for the special person she was. How fitting for this very humble woman.

Steve and Dave had difficulty delivering their comments, and I am proud of them for the good job they did. Cece wanted to share some thoughts, but decided she couldn't do it. I wouldn't have been able to do it either. It's often heart wrenching reliving the past, but also heart warming, and good for the soul.

I tried to read Heidi's blog to some co-workers this morning, and couldn't do it without big tears in my eyes and voice. Everything Heidi said is true. I'm sure Hans and Peder could add to the list the many wonderful ways their grandma enriched their lives. They will miss her, and I do too.
God be with you, Erna.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Home, at Last

Last night my mother-in-law breathed her last breath. I'm so happy her struggle in this life is over and she is now at peace. It was a blessing to spend some quality time with her a couple of weekends ago. She was alert, happy, and shared some of her personal feelings. Most of her family members were around her bed and recounted time after time the fun we had had together.

As I mentioned earlier, I have known Erna most of my life. She came from a small family. When I first met her, she had her mother and twin sister. She was widowed with three kids at the age of 34. Erna was very proud of her Danish heritage, and talked of her father and mother going to the Danish get-togethers in town. A harder working woman I have probably never known, and her hands bore the brunt of her hard work. But that didn't stop her from knitting us the nicest mittens (made with 4 knitting needles) I have ever owned, and crocheting me gorgeous, sugar-starched stars and bells to adorn our Christmas tree.

While reminiscing a couple of weeks ago, I shared with Peder how one Friday after school (I must have been in 9th grade at the time) I got the brain-storm with CeCe to wallpaper Erna's kitchen. Did we check with her for permission? No. We hadn't thought of that. I had no idea how to properly hang wallpaper, but thought I had a pretty good eye for decorating, so together we went to a paint store, picked out some paper, and proceeded to wallpaper the entire room while Erna was working. I think we must have stayed up until near midnight putting the paper up - and let me tell you, it was very pretty (at least, that's what I remember). I stayed over-night with CeCe. Erna must have come through the kitchen after work without noticing it. She was most likely tired and anxious to drop into bed. But to our dismay, when we awoke in the morning and entered the kitchen, we discovered nearly all of the paper had fallen off the walls during the night. I guess we were supposed to use wallpaper paste!

When Hans and Peder were little, Erna personalized blue chambray shirts for our entire family. I remember mine had Dutch windmills, tulips, and wooden shoes beautifully embroidered on it. Once when she came down to Illinois to visit, all of David's and our family proudly sported our embroidered shirts.

I'll always think of Erna as a special, generous, caring Christian woman. She had beautiful handwriting, loved to play bingo, and was thrilled each year at the "silly, outlandish, one of a kind" Christmas gifts my adult sons gave her every year. Where they found such things, I have no idea, but Erna proudly displayed them in a corner of her living room.

I'm happy for you, Erna, to be Home at last.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Grandparent Day

Aurelia, one of my angels
Giving dolly some love

How do these eyes work? "How does this work?"

Stroller ride

Happy to see Mommy and Daddy!

Today I got to spend the day with Aurelia. She came over this morning and while we were together, we went on a couple of walks (she initiated my new stroller, compliments of Carol & Don, Chad's parents); played with toys - hers and mine; talked to Peppi, whom she called "birdie;" had lunch; and played some music on the piano. While we were in my cottage and she was playing, Rachel phoned and not only did we talk, but I got to hear Annika sing Happy Birthday to me (no, it's not my birthday, but I loved her little song), plus another song - I'm sorry, but I can't remember the lyrics right now - and hear her talk a little; and Josiah told me a couple of things that are on his Christmas list. I sure hope he follows up with a written list. :-)

Rachel told me Josiah had a soccer game today which they attended, and yesterday she and two of her neighbors made a caravan to the largest US base in Germany for the annual bazaar. She said they saw lots of treasures. Oh, how I would have loved to have gone along!

I love spending time with and hearing from my grandchildren. In a couple of months I should be holding my newest one. It is pure joy!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Put on the Breaks!

We have been having amazingly nice weather for the past several days and the forecast is for more of the same. Yay! However, the leaves are beginning to turn and Fall is fast approaching. Today I ate my lunch on my patio and brought Peppi out (still in his cage) to enjoy it a bit. He really perked up, watching flies and a big bumble bee fly by. His little world is quite limited.

My favorite seasons are Spring and Fall - - I only wish they would last looooooooooooonger. I love the changing colors and the cool nights. It's what follows that I HATE.

I'm Rich with Friends

L to R: yours truly, Laurey, Sue, Arlyn, Gayle, Lillian, Bonnie and Nancy

I feel so blessed to have so many really good friends. They enrich my life more than I ever imagined. Some of us get together four times a year for plays at the Bloomington Civic Theater. Our tickets are for the Sunday matinee. On those Sundays, following going to church (most of us sing in the choir), we go to a nice restaurant for brunch, and then head to the theater. I love it!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I-35 Bridge Reopens

Interstate 35 bridge reopens following last year's deadly collapse.
Thirteen months after a bridge collapse killed 13 people in Minnesota, a new 10-lane structure reopens to traffic Thursday morning. At 5 am tomorrow morning, emergency vehicles will line up slowly in the north and southbound lanes. At that time, they will drive at 15 mph and slowly pass each other, marking the quiet opening of this important bridge that crosses the Mississippi River.

The bridge is reopening over 3 months before its earlier projected date, which is a real blessing to the hundreds of thousands who have had to take alternate routes. It is a state of the art structure that is predicted to stand 100 years or longer.

The bridge is made with safety features “no one has ever built before” including 300 sensors placed in the concrete which will monitor the bridge structure. It is believed to be the first bridge ever to use LED lights, which they say is quite impressive. I haven't been to the site in quite awhile, but am anxious to drive over the bridge at night to see this for myself.

As the bridge opens to traffic, MnDOT will be monitoring the strength of the concrete, the movement of expansion joints and bearings, and other important signs through the installed sensors.

Engineers will now have all the information on the bridge needed to identify warning signs in real time instead of photographs every two years.

A memorial to the 13 victims is going to be erected in the Gold Medal Park where family members gathered last August to wait and pray for their loved ones to be rescued.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Back row, L to R: Heidi, Hans (sleepy), Tim, Julie, Andrea. Front row: Tim and Julie's kids
L to R: Heidi, Hans, Tim, Julie, and three of their four kids

Fun Times with the Family

Amy with her kids and Tim's kids

70 years ago the Tendermaid restaurant opened in Austin. It is a little shop with 18 stools - no tables (except one picnic table outside) and no booths. The menu is simple: hamburger; cheeseburger; chips; malts and shakes. But lest you think this sounds pretty "ordinary," the Tendermaid was chronicled in the Minnesota Monthly earlier this year as being one of the best places in our state to buy a hamburger. On Monday at noon, members of our family "took over" the little restaurant, filling 17 of the 18 seats. For some, it was their first Tendermaid ever! I especially enjoyed watching the little ones gobble them up, eating almost every crumb! They liked the malts, too.

Sweet Aurelia

My beautiful Heidi

My pride and joy!

More pride and joy!

Yours truly and CeCe

Aurelia, Peder, Hans, yours truly, Heidi (and Marshall Dean - pea in the pod)

Monday, September 08, 2008

God Had Other Plans

This past weekend Hans and Heidi flew to Minnesota to pay a visit to their much loved grandmother. Erna's daughter CeCe and other cousins came to Minnesota as well - from California, Ohio, and Nebraska. We spent much of Sunday and Monday at the hospital where Erna had a room in hospice care. I wonder if other hospice care rooms have had the visitors and laughter that this room comprised? It was amazing! At times there were 17 - 20 people there. But God wasn't ready to take Erna home yet. She went from ICU to a hospice room, and is scheduled to go back to a nursing home on Thursday. The weekend Hans, Peder and Heidi expected to spend in southern Minnesota never haptranspired. Instead they experienced a happy time of reminiscing with their grandma, father, and other relatives. It was so good to see everybody again. And we all wish Erna the very best!

Thursday, September 04, 2008


This has been a very hard day on my kids and me, their father, and the extended family as their grandmother, my mother-in-law Erna, lies in a hospital bed, and not doing very well. It's especially hard for Hans and his family in Germany and Heidi and Chad in Seattle. There have been many phone calls back and forth; checking on flights; and much praying.

Erna has always been so kind to me. My first real memory of her was the week after my mother died. I was only 14. CeCe, who is now my now sister-in-law, was one of my best friends. She must have told her mom that for the first time in my life, I wouldn't be getting anything new for Easter - just days away. I remember Erna picking me up at my house and taking me shopping for a white pleated skirt and a lavender, short-sleeve sweater, which was the style then. I don't think she could really afford this, but she made the sacrifice to bring me some happiness. This memory has brought tears to my eyes today. Erna was always generous to me and our kids.

Erna, my thoughts and prayers have been with you these past few days. I pray that you are not suffering. I'm so glad that Peder got to come to be by your side today when the rest of us could not. Blessings on you.