Tuesday, October 28, 2008

They're Special To Me . . .

I am blessed with two aunts — my Aunt Liz and my Aunt Ginny. They are the younger sisters of my mother who died when I was 14 years old.

My Aunt Liz has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. She has always been the best story teller, whether it be about camping with the retarded residents - by the way, she is the first female scout leader for the handicapped in Minnesota - or her ventures across the country with her friends or grand kids. She took me in to live with her family the year after my mother died and let me drive her car (I was 15, but had my driver's license) all over the twin cities! She allowed Pat and me to scrape out the last bit of lipstick that is in the tubes (you know, when it is down to the "flat" stage), melt it on the stove in a coffee can, and pour the mixture into the empty tubes, creating a new color! I would never have let my kids do that!! She agreed to make the groom's cake (cherry devil's food) for my wedding - something that she regrets to this day.

She loves to read - reads about 4 books a week! - no fooling. The public library in her village gave her permission to make a check mark in the back of each book she reads so she doesn't accidentally check it out a second time. Annually she makes about eight plum puddings for family and friends each December. In fact, last December her chiropractor came to her home to learn how to make the pudding so he can make it for his family! (I know, there are some of you who don't care for this treat. I happen to like it a lot!) She sews, loves to travel, and takes naps several times a day. At any given election, she will be one of the judges in her local area. She is often seen driving the golf cart - The Patty Wagon - around town. She's quirky, fun, and the "real deal." She has been and continues to be one of my best friends. Thank you, Aunt Liz.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

She's thoughtful, caring, strong, compassionate, never interferes or gossips - that's my Aunt Ginny. Like my Aunt Liz, she loves to read, and to my surprise, she likes reading mysteries. She's raised four beautiful kids and at times has nursed her husband. Though I don't see her as often as I'd like, we correspond by email and sometimes over the phone. My first big memory of her is the summer after my fifth grade. She and Uncle Allan lived on Long Island and Uncle Allan worked in New York City. No one in our family other then they had lived in an exciting place, and that year at the conclusion of their vacation to Minnesota, they said it was okay for me to ride back to New York with them. Wow! I don't think I had even been out of Minnesota prior to that. We drove on the turnpikes in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and then went to Valley Forge. I had never been to a place where a President of the United States had been! This was really exciting. Aunt Ginny made me feel just like I was part of their family.

The summer after my dad died, Aunt Ginny once again welcomed me into their home. This time they lived in a Chicago suburb. I got to stay with them for about 4 weeks. It was such a fun time. They were in the process of having a new home built in another Chicago suburb, and a couple of times a week, we would drive there in the evening to check on the progress. Our drive took us past Buckingham Fountain in downtown Chicago, and I loved going past there and seeing the fountain change colors. I really had fun with my cousins, but Aunt Ginny is the one who made me feel special.

When we lived in Joliet, they were about 30 miles from us. Sometimes we would get together for supper or dinner, but Aunt Ginny was always one of the first to come to visit at the birth of my kids. She really cared - and she still does. While she reads my blog faithfully, she prefers to comment by direct email, and I really appreciate that. In fact, just this week she wrote to tell me she is concerned about my sore foot (Plantar Fasciitis) and shared with me that she has had this condition too. She cares about my kids, and their kids, and even mentioned my grand-dog Brian's improvement following his ACL surgery, and relief that Heidi and the baby are okay following the car accident a week ago. I'll never forget where I was on 9/11 while the first plane flew into the north tower of the World Trade Center - - I was walking to work and having a conversation with my Aunt Ginny. She may not remember that. I know when she and Uncle Allan have their morning devotions and prayer time, they will be including me and my family. She is a true prayer warrior. Thank you for being so special, Aunt Ginny.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fun with Aurelia

Isn't she precious?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Let the strong winds blow . . .

. . . I believe I'm as ready as I can be. Today I had new windows installed in my home. Prior to the arrival of the installers, Sarah and Aurelia came for Sarah to take down the pale mauve mini blinds in my bedroom which were here when I moved in. I have never liked those blinds, but they functioned fine, and were always covered up with my window treatments. In the past couple of weeks I made the decision to get rid of them and put in white Plantation blinds such as I have on my other windows, making everything uniform from the outside. Sarah is so good at doing anything mechanical - she amazes me! I got to play with Aurelia for a little while, and that is always fun. She has the cutest smile, and she's so smart. We got out a doll and doll cradle, and she picked up the baby, hugged her tight, then put her back into the cradle and and covered her up with a blanket. It was darling!

Finally at 10:30 a man came to do the job. He told me his partner hadn't shown up. I thought the rest of the day may go poorly, but it didn't. It just took a little longer than I had imagined. I watched as the old windows were removed and noticed how much brighter the new ones seemed. I imagine it is due to them being constructed with white vinyl, rather than dark stained wood. When the windows were totally fitted, he carefully caulked around the outsides, and then the insides. Then he rehung my blinds, and even mounted the hardware for Sarah for my new bedroom blinds. Sarah stayed to help me return some of the furniture to its place and clean up a bit, and then took a very tired Aurelia home. I must say, it was really fun being with my family again! Thank you, Sarah, for all of your help and for making TWO trips to my home today. I owe you.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

This has been one of the busiest weeks I can recall:

Sunday: Sang at church, followed by brunch with friends; car window would not close after talking to a friend in the church parking lot; drove to another friend's home to borrow a costume for the harvest party at tutoring on October 27.

Monday: Stopped at body shop before going to the dentist to see if they could work on my malfunctioning car window; drove to the dentist in 38 degree weather - window down, wearing a coat and mittens with the heat turned on full blast; received a good check-up at the dentist; dropped car off at the body shop; worked until 5; picked up car, slammed down a quick supper, picked up another tutor and two kids, tutored Rosy until 8, took kids and tutor home, dropped into bed.

Tuesday: Dr. appointment for my very sore foot (Plantar Fasciitis); worked until 5; drove to specialty shoe store for suggested inserts into my shoes - only to find out they wouldn't work in my shoes. So, I had to pick out shoes in which they would work - however, the store didn't have them in suede - rather in shiny black - the kind 85 - 90 year olds wear. They said they could get them from another store by Wednesday at 5 pm. Okay. I'll come back Wednesday;drove to church for a choir meeting; got home and dropped into bed.

Wednesday: Arrived at work early to make up lost time from Monday and Tuesday; took 15 minute lunch; worked until 4:45; drove to the shoe store and purchased shoes; wore them to church for another choir meeting; choir rehearsal; got home and relaxed a little before dropping into bed.

Thursday: Got to work a little early; drove to a store during my lunch time to purchase new plantation blinds for my bedroom windows - Sarah is coming Saturday morning to take down the old blinds before the window installers arrive to replace the windows in my home; returned to the office to work until 5; went home to start laundry and eat supper - - my first night home since Sunday!

Friday: After showering and eating breakfast, took everything off the walls of my dining room in preparation of the window install tomorrow, put out the garbage for weekly pick-up; and am now at work.

There's still more that has to be done in preparation for tomorrow morning, but at least I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. My feet are tolerating the inserts in my new shoes, but the pain still exists. It's Friday and I'll have two days off from work; I'll get to see Sarah and Aurelia tomorrow; and I'll have new, tight, easy to clean windows in my home.

Monday, October 20, 2008

BUGGIE Is Repaired

I'm blessed to have an auto body repair shop two blocks from my home - plus, they know me by first name. I guess it helps that I have brought them fresh baked cookies a couple of times!

Anyway, my car has been repaired, and I'm sure it is good a new! Yayyyyyy!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

100,000 Miles

Isn't she classy?!


Aurelia with Grandma at the Tendermaid.

L to R: Jeanne, Joanie, Karen, Nancy, yours truly, Aurelia.

Touring the Spam Museum.


Yesterday I met my Red Hat group at our office where we piled into one big car and drove to Austin to tour the Spam museum and eat at the Tendermaid. It was an opportunity to show my friends where I grew up, went to school and church, and worked for a time. Coincidentally, Peder, Sarah and Aurelia also drove to Austin yesterday to see Steve and to go to the Hormel Nature Center. Since Peder knew our Red Hat Sewciety had planned to eat at the Tendermaid, they chose to do the same. It was fun introducing them to my friends.

When I parked my car in our office parking lot, the odometer read 99999. Oh boy, this meant the 100,000 mark would turn over just as I was pulling into my garage later in the day! I've known it was approaching for a few weeks, so I'd been toting my camera in my purse. You may take this kind of event for granted, but I have never kept a car as long as I have had BUGGIE. My *trusty car had its tenth birthday September 8. I'm hoping for many more miles and years of service from her. I like my car as much today as the day I did when it was new. For me it is comfortable and fun to drive.
*I hope crossing over the 100,000 mark doesn't mean things will be falling apart. But just today before pulling out from my church parking lot, a friend drove up beside me and I powered my window down to talk to her. Guess what? The window will not go back up! So tomorrow I'll be going to the shop to get her repaired.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

In a Quandary

  • One day when I awoke, I discovered I had only three stands of hair, so I decided to braid it.
  • The next day when I awoke, I had two strands of hair, so I decided to part it down the middle.
  • Yesterday when I awoke, there was only one strand of hair, so I wore it in a ponytail.
  • This morning I had no hair, so I thought, "Good, now I don't have to do my hair!"

May your decisions today be this easy.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Photos from the weekend

Janet, Pat, Aunt Liz
Home-made soup by Janet
Home-made caramel apples by Pat
Mississippi River south of Lake City
Yours truly with Aunt Liz in Wabasha
Aunt Liz posing with bald eagle, Harriet
Aunt Liz, yours truly, Pat, Linda, Janet, Diane
Turkey feathers in a garage sale

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Special Weekend with Family

How does home-made chicken noodle soup, fresh from the oven whole wheat buns, pumpkin bars and gorgeously wrapped caramel apples sound? Oh, and picture this: a fall table, decorated with miniature pumpkins, acorns, bittersweet, and oil lamp lighting. Add one aunt, 4 cousins, and my sister, and you have the perfect fall get-together. This was the scene on Friday, the beginning of a very nice family weekend.

Saturday we journeyed south to Hastings, Red Wing (for some shopping), Wabasha (for The National Eagle Center and lunch at Slippery's - and a garage sale!), then onto La Crescent (the apple capital of Minnesota - to buy apples, gourds and Indian corn), Canton (where we shopped at the small general store of my Amish friend, Lovina, whom I met 20 years ago this past Spring), Harmony, and finally joining 2 dear friends and my brother at the Branding Iron in Preston for dinner. The Branding Iron is set on the top of a bluff - giving us a view of the gorgeous fall foliage in the town below.

Riding together in a van for 12+ hours provides lots of time to laugh and visit and just plain catch up. It is always SO MUCH FUN!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

An Alternative

If you live in Minnesota, you know how much we have been hammered with political commercials. I think they started in May, 2007 - this is not an exaggeration! I have memorized the location of my "mute" button on my remote. And quickly change the radio station when one begins.

Just Saturday I got a call from a pollster asking me one question: On the idea of abortion, are you a) in favor of it; b) in favor of it when the health of the mother is at risk; c) in favor of it for reasons of rape; d) never in favor of it? If you know me, you know my answer.

Tonight is the third debate on TV. I'm glad I have a previous engagement - - my knitting club. Oh, the TV will be on, but I don't have to watch or listen to it if I choose not.

I'm really tired of this whole thing. If we lived in England, I believe the candidates would get 4 weeks to campaign. That's sounding really good to me.

Oh, I know, at least we live in a land of free speech and have the right to vote - even the women - but a big part of our national debt could have been eliminated with the $$$ that are being spent on this election. Agree?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Summer is over . . .

The days have gotten much shorter, the leaves are changing and some are falling. Acorns are on the sidewalks. Tutoring has started up again. And I have had to turn on my furnace. It has gotten chilly.
In about a week, some of my family members and I are taking a day's journey down highway 61 along the Mississippi River to see the fall color and then are driving over to what I affectionately call "Amish-land" to call on my Amish friend, Lovina, and shop in her general store. Sounds like fun!