Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Looking Back on 2008

It's time to throw away my calendar for 2008 and break out the new one. I decided before tossing the old, I would look back to see the events in which I took part and reflect on some of the high and otherwise memorable points.

  • Read the Bible through. I humbly report that I completed this goal as of this morning. Our church gives out a schedule each year for the chapters in the Bible to be read on each of the 365 days. In 2005 I decided if I'm considering myself a Christian, I should have at least read the Bible through once - - so I did it. I liked it so much that I have continued reading it through each year since. Starting tomorrow I will begin again, but this time I am going to be reading it from a new copy I received from our company this year. It is a study Bible translation (Understanding God's Word, Baker Publishing Group - 9781932587142). I'm excited about it, hoping to understand more.
  • Went on a mission trip with my church choir to Ukraine and Austria - May 4 - May 12. What an experience that was!
  • I followed the mission trip with a six day visit at Hans and Rachel's in Stuttgart, Germany. I loved this part of my vacation. It was the first time I have been able to be there for Josiah's birthday party - it was his 4th birthday. (Sorry, Annika. I'll try to be at one of your birthday parties real soon.)
  • Tutored Rosy at the One-by-One program. She is such a sweet girl.
  • Spent quality time with Hans and Heidi in September when they flew home to bid farewell to their one and only grandmother, Erna.
  • Said good-bye to three dear saints: My little friend, Cassie (Oh, how I miss her!); my dear mother-in-law; and a sweet neighbor from my childhood, Neola.
  • Worked on a "Grow the choir" committee for my church choir.
  • Toured Ft. Snelling for the first time. My darling grand-son is named after Colonel Josiah Snelling. The actors who play the part of Colonel Snelling and his wife, Abigail Hunt Snelling, were thrilled to hear that someone would actually name their child after him.
  • Went on the De For Family & Friends Cruise to Alaska in August. This was my first time cruising and I really enjoyed it. The best part for me was spending time with everyone.
  • I gave my faith story in Kiev, Ukraine, and again at my church during five services on Labor Day Weekend.
  • Got new windows in my home. Boy, they sure have made a difference in the COLD winter we are having.
  • Developed Plantar Fasciitis (yes, this continues to bother me. . .).
  • Spent a couple of fun days with Rachel, Josiah and Annika when they came home in November. Thanks to the automated carts, I was able to go to Target and the Mall of America with them. :-)
  • Welcomed my newest grand-child, Marshall Dean, into the world. I flew out to Seattle on November 21 and got to meet him for the first time. Congratulations to Heidi and Chad.
  • Sang in the Christmas concerts at Wooddale.
  • Celebrated Christmas with Heidi and Peder and their families, plus with Aunt Liz, my brother and sister, and my niece and her family.

I believe I have blogged about these things over the past year, but it has been interesting thinking about them once again.

What does 2009 have in store for me? Who knows, other than God. So I'll leave it in His hands. At the present time I have no trips planned, but hope to see both families who live so far away from me and spend more time with my family that is close by. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Family After-Christmas Gathering

Zoe getting her reward for a trick "well done." Brian patiently watched.
Marshall taking his turn to use the family cradle. He is #16 on the list.
Peder, Aurelia on Aunt Liz's walker, and Aunt Liz.
Aurelia was fascinated with the musical circus train under Aunt Liz's tree.
She loves dollies and stuffed animals.
Great-Great Aunt Liz and Marshall.
The donning of the Christmas head gear. :-)
Marshall getting his Christmas dinner.
Heidi, Marshall, Bobby, Brian, Chad.
A while ago Heidi asked me if I could plan a family get-together for after Christmas so they could see the cousins, Aunts, and Uncle without driving all over Minnesota. Aunt Liz graciously agreed for me to host the event at her house. Dear Pat and Pudge couldn't be there due to leaving for Arizona to be in the sun for a month (who could blame them!), but before leaving, Pat prepared the dining room table with a lovely Christmas centerpiece. She also loaned us her Christmas head-gear, which was sported by us during our dinner.
It was so fun to be together with everyone again. We got to meet Lynn and Bobby's little puppy, Zoe. Zoe and Brian did some tricks for everyone. Aurelia thought it was lots of fun. She provided lots of entertainment for us. And of course, everyone wanted a turn to hold little Marshall.
Marshall got to take his turn in the family cradle. Aunt Liz has written down the names of all the babies who have shared this family piece. Marshall is #16. All three of my kids used it when they were little. I guess the only one in my immediate family who missed out on a turn was Annika, since she was living in Japan when she would have fit into it.
Christmas is now past, and in a few days we will say "good-bye" to 2008. This year has gone so fast!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Break Time at Work Today

At 3 pm today, a few of us played "Golf," which is something some of us do each work day. We have a variety of ways to play it - - whoever deals gets to select which option.

Anyway, today, as luck would have it, I got the highest score possible which is minus 12! It was incredible! Karen and Dan were the other card players today. Whoopee!

Christmas Day 2008

My Christmas table.
Marshall with Grandma D.
Sweet Aurelia
What a good little Mama she is.
Sarah's surprised look when seeing the cradle.
Marshall barely fit in the cradle, but at least he can say he was in it.
What a sweetie.
Her babies will never go hungry!
My new Eskimo nativity. (See story below.)

Christmas Day has come and gone, but what a wonderful memory it leaves with me. I got to spend part of it with 2/3's of my adult kids, and 1/2 of my grand-children, plus I got to talk to Hans a couple of times from Rome. To read about Hans and Rachel's Christmas tour of Italy, check out Rachel's blog.

My kids came over in the late afternoon and first we had dinner, followed by opening the gifts. It was the most fun watching Aurelia, since she is now old enough to participate. I surprised her with an Amish made cradle. I knew she would like this for her dolls because she likes playing with my cradle. Just as much fun for me was seeing and holding Marshall again. What a sweetheart he is. I know when he looked into my eyes that he was saying, "I missed you, Grandma!"
One of my gifts came from Heidi and Chad. It is an Eskimo nativity scene. I had seen this in a shop while we were on the Alaskan cruise this summer. Heidi must have heard me exclaim how adorable I thought it was, so when we got back to the ship, she sent Chad back to the store to buy it for me. I just love it!
Christmas is a very special time of the year, and I am blessed to have spent the day with my family. It was a rich day!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

It's cold and snowy here, but it warms my heart to think of the humble birth of our Savior. I love how God chose to have a sweet, young, common girl give birth to His son.
A couple of weeks ago our pastor talked about the unnamed people in the Christmas story. First, it was the innkeeper. He did a very good deed, helping out these poor pilgrims by giving them some shelter, yet his name is never given. Next, the unnamed, non-respected - and even looked down on by most - the shepherds. They had the lowest of jobs, yet God chose them to be the ones to whom the heavenly host of angels gave the Good News! And what reassuring words they gave them, "Do not be afraid." They were an important part of the Christmas story, yet remain unnamed.
Eight days after the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph took their little baby to the temple to have him circumcised. Who, but the priest on duty, performed the ceremony. He was so fortunate to hold God, the Holy One, and yet, his name is never mentioned.
Isn't it interesting and reassuring, that God provided his very own Son to the least of us? It never ceases to amaze me. Happy Birthday, Jesus.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Progress Was Made

Yesterday I left the house once - to walk across the street to get my mail from Saturday. It was SO cold, and I had had enough of dealing with it all last week and Saturday. Plus, I was so far behind on my Christmas preparations, that it was beginning to stress me.

I got all of my gifts wrapped, my two Christmas trees up and decorated, listened to hours of Christmas music, watched "A Christmas Carol," starring George C. Scott, and "While You Were Sleeping," starring Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman and Peter Gallagher. Usually by now I have watched 15 or so of what I call "my favorite Christmas movies," but this year it seems I have been behind in everything.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fröhliche Weihnachten

Today I heard from Rachel, Annika, Hans and Josiah. First Rachel said, "Someone wants to talk to you." Next I heard the sweetest little voice saying, "Hi Grandma. Merry Christmas." She went on to tell me she was wearing a bracelet. I asked her if she had snow in her yard. She answered, "I don't have a yard. I have a garden." It was so cute. She talked a lot - I'm not sure what all she said, but I loved every minute of our conversation. Thank you, Annika. That was a perfect Christmas present to me.

Rachel and Hans visited with me for awhile, which is always so nice. It makes the distance seem much closer - instead of "across the pond." I told them of my Christmas plans with Heidi and Peder and their families.

Another angelic voice, Josiah, came on the phone and said, "Feliz Navidad." It was darling. Next he said, "Fröhliche Weihnachten," which is Merry Christmas in German. I taught him to also say, "Buon Natale," which is Italian. (For more ways to say Merry Christmas, look here.)

Thank you for calling. You made my day!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Driving Through a Minnesota Blizzard

Jim and Sandra
The delicious Yule Log

Well, today I went to Rochester and back with my Aunt Liz, Cousin Pat, Pat's friend, Gloria, and our family friend, Denny, who happens to be Aunt Liz's neighbor. We had all been on the Alaskan cruise together and had been invited to Sandra and Jim's open house. None of us wanted to miss it, even though we knew the weather was lousy.

My drive to Rosemount, our meeting place, was without incident, but it took me much longer than usual. It also took longer to get to Rochester. The snow was coming down heavily.

On the way down to Rochester, we saw between 25 and 30 cars in the ditch. One incident looked rather serious with a ambulance and highway patrol helping out. Denny did the driving, and he did a very good job.

We had a wonderful time at Sandra and Jim's home. They have impeccable taste and everything was perfect. The food was delicious and included in the buffet was a beautiful Yule Log and scrumptious Rosettes and Spritz. Their home is located on a beautiful acreage. They have huge, lovely pine trees that were heavily laden with snow. Bird after bird visited their feeder. I could have sat and watched out their windows for hours. After we had been there about an hour and a half, a sudden wind gale came up and tossed around the snow on those big pine trees. It was a powerful, amazing site - sort of like an avalanche. My Aunt Liz happened to be looking out at the same time. When she saw that action, she announced, "Okay, everyone get their coats on. We're going home!"

The drive home was a bit tense. The winds were really strong, blowing snow across the highway, causing drifting in the passing lane. When a plow passed us, it put us in a horrible white-out and Denny slowed the best he could, but after the snow cleared, we were actually driving on the shoulder. I'm so thankful we didn't go into the ditch.

It is now -8 degrees, with a windchill of 32 below zero. I'm safely tucked into my cozy cottage, and happy to be here.

We have a blizzard warning for tomorrow, with a high of zero. How fitting for the first day of winter. Oh boy, I can hardly wait! I've made the decision to stay home.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hard Days

Tuesday night my car wouldn't start after work. Fun! It was about 10 below zero, and snowing to beat the band. After trying a couple of times, I snagged a ride home with a co-worker and my car stayed at the office over-night, getting dumped on.

Wednesday, also the day of our company Christmas pot-luck dinner and little party, I got a ride to work from another dear co-worker. Once at work, I had to arrange for a tow truck and had my fingers crossed that the repair shop would be able to figure out what was wrong and have it repaired by the end of the work day. I had already arranged for a ride to choir if they didn't, so I wasn't too worried about that. These are such busy days!

Anyway, I called the shop toward the end of the work day and they said they had to replace my battery. They couldn't get it to charge, even with their heavy-duty charger. Fortunately for me, it was under warranty and I only had to pay for the labor (which is enough). After paying for the service, I went out to my car (which I had already started with my automatic car starter). But the ice on the windows from the night before was incredibly thick, so I had to scrape and scrape and scrape. In the process, one of the windshield wipers broke! Luckily, the next door shop had new ones and installed them for me.

With all of the Christmas preparation, rehearsals, etc., I didn't need this, but it's past me now and I'm moving on. I hope you are doing well.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Baby, It's COLD Outside!

This morning we woke to a temperature well below zero. Currently it is -4° F, with a windchill of -28° F. My garage door didn't want to open, so I had to play with it a little. Even Frosty was shivering. He got blasted with our snow storm during the night. I'm trying to imagine what he will look like tonight when he is illuminated.

I drove around a little today before arriving at the office, just to warm up my car a little. Brr! Tell me again, why is it we live here?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Whew! Now it's time to relax.

We had our final Christmas concert today and now I'm home relaxing. It felt like I nearly lived at church this past week. :-) Don't get me wrong, singing with 120 voices and a 50 piece orchestra, honoring Christ's birthday is one of the most fulfilling experiences I have all year. Though tiring, I consider it an honor and a privilege.

Friday night's concert was our first, and per usual, we made some mistakes. But I'm pretty sure the audience wasn't aware of them. It was really nice to have Rachel's parents and Aunt and Uncle attend. I enjoyed our visit following the performance. It was the first time I have seen Pete since his surgery. He looks really good. I'm so happy he is making progress. He said it was the first time he has sung since the ordeal. This is their fifth time attending - - they consider it an annual tradition. It's always fun to see them.

Saturday night was very well attended. A couple of my co-workers were there. I was glad to have a chance to visit with them following the concert and answer some questions they had about our guest performers, the Stoneback trumpeters, identical triplet sisters and their father. They nearly brought the house down with Bugler's Holiday.

This afternoon was our largest attendance - even with some folks not able to attend due to the winter storm we are having. For instance, my sister and brother and Sandra and Jim, who were supposed to drive up from Rochester. I'm glad they made the decision to stay home, because the heavy rain we had all morning, and temps in the high 30's became ice and was followed by snow at the conclusion of the concert, due to the temperature dropping to the teens. Actually, the fastest I could drive home was 45 mph, and I wasn't alone. Northern Minnesota is in the middle of a blizzard. At least four highways, including I-94, are closed near Alexandria and Moorehead.

As I said, I'm relaxing tonight. I'm enjoying a couple of Christmas movies, a luxury I couldn't allow myself until today.

Monday, December 08, 2008

A Life-changing Event

[Warning. This is a long post, but true - 20 years ago today. Read it only when you have time.]

I knew Lil only slightly when she invited me to her cabin in Lutsen, Minnesota, in the fall of 1988. We had gone to the Mower County Fair together one night in August and I had been over to her furniture store in September. Occasionally we would eat out after church on Sundays -- someone else was always along.

When Lil found out I didn't have to work on Veteran's Day, November 11, 1988, she asked me to go to Lutsen for a couple of days. First I drove to Waseca on Friday morning. I went to their apartment, which was above their store. It was really beautiful. Lil made waffles for us, and then we set out on our trip. The North Lakeshore Drive along Lake Superior was beautiful. I had never been beyond Gooseberry Falls. When we got to cabin (which is also beautiful!), she made delicious soup and then we discussed how far it was to Canada. She said, "Why don't we drive up to Thunder Bay? So we did! We shopped and ate . . . and talked -- and talked - - and talked! Spending that much time together, two people start to get close. We got back to Lutsen late that evening. She made our beds and before you knew it, it was Saturday. On Saturday we shopped in Grand Marais and downtown Lutsen, had a wonderful dinner at the cabin, and closed up the cabin to head for home.

Sunday, November 13th, my left arm started tingling. All around my elbow it tingled like pins and needles. By Tuesday it started to ache more than tingle. So I went to our medical department at Hormel's where I was working. The nurse said it probably just needed a heat treatment, so she put a vibrator with heat on it for about 10 to 15 minutes. I went back to her on Wednesday and Thursday. It was getting no better. I was taking aspirin every 4 hours. By Monday of the next week, November 21st, I decided to see my own doctor. He x-rayed it and recommended traction. He arranged for a physical therapist to give me treatments. He put 20# weights on my neck and while I was lying down, he stretched my neck at regular intervals for 20 minutes. He did this for 10 treatments. Meanwhile, I was getting worse. At work, the only way I could endure the pain was to have my left arm raised above my head. I was beginning to lose my strength all together. After the 10th session, the therapist had me go upstairs to consult with my doctor. My doctor tested my reflexes and there were no responses. He said that my situation was serious and that I should go to Rochester to the Mayo Clinic to see a neurologist. At that time I didn't know what a neurologist was, so I asked, "Do you think I'm crazy?" He laughed and said, "No, you can't fake a non-response in a reflex test. A neurologist specializes in spinal matters." He went on to tell me that I should waste no time in going over there and that he couldn't recommend any doctor in that department since that was not his speciality. He suggested I go to the Mayo Clinic and tell them at the front desk that I was to be an "emergency start."

I knew I had to arrange to be gone from work, so I told him I'd go on Wednesday. I went home and called Lil. She said she would contact her sister who had a lot of friends at the clinic. Well, all of her friends had retired! Then I called my sister to tell her, but when her daughter answered the phone, she informed me that Janet had fallen and broken her leg and was at the emergency room at St. Marys Hospital in Rochester.

Tuesday I went to work and told them I had to start going through the Mayo Clinic. I would begin appointments Wednesday and I wasn't sure how long I would be gone.

On Wednesday morning Lil picked me up and we drove to Rochester. We went to the main part of the Mayo Clinic and told the secretary my situation. Then we sat down, a heating pad wrapped around my shoulder. By 9:30 that morning I was seeing the first doctor. He gave me a brief physical and asked many questions. Then he told me to come back at 1:30 to see a neurosurgeon. During the break, Lil and I went to see Janet who was in a room at St. Marys. She was in rough shape. She had suffered a spiral break in her lower leg and was in a lot pain. Dave, Lil and I went to the lunch room at the hospital to eat a bite while Janet was in x-ray. Then came my 1:30 appointment. The doctor I saw was the head neurosurgeon. He looked at me and checked the x-rays I had brought with me. He said my 5th or 6th cervical disk was ruptured, pinching my nerves and deadening my entire left arm. He recommended surgery right away. He said I could go home and think about it, but not for very long. I knew I was in such pain that all I wanted was to be well again. So he made a call and said I could be scheduled for the next day and that I should check into St. Marys Hospital that night. Then he let me use his phone to call home and work.

After making my calls, I went to the Admitting department at the Mayo Clinic. I still had the heating pad wrapped around my shoulder and arm. Lil was so good to me! She helped me with everything. They did my blood work-up at the clinic. And since the clinic was unusually crowded, they instructed me to go directly to the hospital where they would complete the pre-admittance. They also could tell I was in so much pain that I couldn't tolerate waiting in the lobby any longer.

I was admitted to a room as soon as we got to the hospital. Once I had filled out the many forms and answered some questions, Lil took me to see Janet one more time. Janet was going to be released the next day, Thursday, while I was in pre-op.

As I recall there was one complication - my brother Jerry had left for Illinois to pick up Hans at the Great Lakes Naval Station for the holidays. We couldn't get hold of him (there were no cell phones back then!). When they arrived back in Austin and learned of my situation, they turned around and came back to Rochester and I got to see both of them just before I was wheeled into surgery.

Thursday morning, December 8th, just 26 days after my arm was only tingling, I was scheduled to have major surgery. That day started with an echo cardiogram. They injected dye into me and I saw my own heart on a monitor and watched the dye travel through it. It was really fascinating. Following that I had a myelogram x-ray. For that, I had to lie very still while they injected dye into my spine. That was followed with an x-ray of the neck area (5th and 6th vertebrae for me) to locate the exact area of my rupture. Then I waited for the CAT scan. I was so uncomfortable and cold. The nurses covered me with heated blankets in an attempt to get me warm. I was next in line when an emergency accident victim came in and was placed in front of me. When it was finally my turn, they rolled me onto the table and pushed the button for the scan to roll over me, but it wouldn't roll. It only shook. They tried several times, but it wouldn't work. They brought in a repair technician, and finally it worked. It was now about 11:30 am. We had started the whole test procedure at 6:30. At last they wheeled me into the prep-room for surgery. That's where Hans, Jerry and Lil were waiting for me. I was so happy to see them. We got to visit for about 20 minutes before it was time for me to go. You know, it never occurred to me to be frightened. I felt I didn't have any choice.

I lay in a waiting area. I remember being cold and having heated blankets draped over me. They they took me into the surgery suite. I spoke to my surgeon and his assistant a couple of minutes. Then they started the sodium penothal, and I was out.

I understand I was in a sitting upright position during the surgery. I had begun lying down, but while I was asleep, they sat me up and placed my head in a halo. This way they can work on the neck area. I know this because one of the prongs on the halo pierced my forehead and required a stitch. It also gave me a very ugly black eye which lasted all of my 9 days in the hospital and even longer.

The first thing I can remember after surgery was waking up in my room about 8 or 8:30 pm. Jerry said I was in surgery until 7:30. The nurses came in and explained that I had had a surgical laminectomy and the "lamies" had a certain way to lie down with the aid of pillows. They also instructed me how to turn a little or get up. They were very kind and helpful.

The remainder of Thursday through Monday I was in pretty rough shape. I remember my room had a large institutional type clock on the wall, which I could read without my glasses. Every four hours they were giving me shots of morphine. The effect wouldn't start for 20 minutes, and in 3 1/2 hours the effect was gone and I needed more. I would stare at the clock, trying to endure the pain until another shot was in effect.

I also remember Steve dropping off Heidi to see me on Friday. I was really upset about this because I knew I looked about ready to die - - black eye, extreme pain, and dried blood in my hair and some on my face. If I did die, I didn't want Heidi to remember me this way. (I am sure this goes back to my last time I saw my dad alive. He was also at St. Marys Hospital. I saw him last on a Monday and he died the following Saturday.)

Jerry and Lil couldn't do enough for the kids and me. Jerry took Hans home that first day when they knew I had come out of surgery okay. He went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of food for the kids. They wanted to stay in our house. He and Lil came to see me every day. Lil spent hours with me. We talked and talked when I wasn't sleeping.

For those first 5 days I couldn't bear to be in an upright position. Every time I tried, my head just pounded. On Monday, Dave and Janet came to visit me. It was during lunch time and Janet was on her way to have another x-ray on her leg. Anyway, when they brought my food, they had me get out of bed to eat at a table. I was up for about 3 bites when the pain in my head hurt so much that I began to cry very hard. The nurse put me back into bed. That afternoon a team of doctors came and after examining and questioning me, they decided I needed to have surgery again later that day. At 5:00 pm they put me to sleep again and added fluid to my spine. After coming out of recovery I was again taken back to my room. The instructions that night were for me to lie flat on my back - with no elevation and no turning on my side - for 24 hours. That was really difficult. I think I was awake most of the night. But at 6:30 the following morning, my doctor came to check on me. He said he thought I could try to sit up. I did, and from then on I began to improve.

One day during my recovery, my brother came to visit me. I was allowed to walk for a bit, so he and I walked in the halls of the neurology wing. Jerry had worked in this unit as an orderly prior to joining the Navy. All the corridors were decorated for Christmas and the hospital looked so beautiful. We walked down to the chapel. It was simply gorgeous. I felt so close to God while I was there.

Jerry brought me a tape player with little speakers to put on my pillows, and I enjoyed beautiful music. Then on Wednesday night, as I lay in bed, I heard carolers. It was the most beautiful sound! I hope I never forget it. They came right down my hallway. I decided then that that was one of the best presents I have ever received.

My doctor had explained the high risks of the surgery before I agreed to have it done: 1) dying during the surgery; 2) becoming completely paralyzed from the neck down; 3) having no more use of my left arm; 4) having slight use of the left arm; or 5) be healed. As it turned out, #5 was the end result. Praise the Lord!

I had more visitors in the following days. Hans and Peder came to see me, plus some of my friends. I was released on Friday, the 16th. I sure enjoyed that drive home and being with my kids again.

Friday, December 05, 2008

It's Been a Very Busy Week!

Well, it's Friday, and my work week (Tuesday through today) has been very busy. I've made a visit to my doctor to have my ribs x-rayed and got the good news that I DON'T have a broken rib. The cartilage was irritated a bit, but it is feeling so much better already. I also paid a visit to a Podiatrist (referred by my doctor) to have more attention given to the Plantar Fasciitis. The Podiatrist gave me another cortisone shot and recommended an exercise that seems to be helping a lot. He told me not to go bare or stocking footed in my home - not even to the bathroom during the night. I have to follow that advice until I am healed.

I have been striving to make up the hours I was off on Monday, so have worked extra hours with short lunch breaks all week. By staying until 5:30 tonight, I will have only missed 2.25 hours on Monday. Every little bit helps toward taking one or one and a half days off while Chad, Heidi, Marshall and Brian are here around Christmas. :-)

This weekend will be packed full too. Here's a run-down:


  • Choir rehearsal in the morning.
  • Lunch with a couple of friends.
  • Christmas tour of three homes in Edina.
  • Make rosettes and krumkake with my friend, Nancy.


  • Sing at church.
  • Go with friends to St. Peter, MN, to the Scandinavian smorgasboard and Christmas concert given by the Gustavus Adolfus choir.


  • Mammogram first thing in the morning (fun)
  • Work
  • Tutor Rosy


  • Work
  • Wash clothes and tidy my house.


  • Work
  • Special lunch
  • Choir rehearsal


  • Work
  • Special lunch
  • Weight Watchers (just weigh in)
  • Choir dress rehearsal


  • Work
  • First Christmas concert


  • Christmas shop
  • Second Christmas Concert


  • Sing at the Morning Worship service
  • Final Christmas Concert
  • Dinner with Janet, Jerry, Sandra and Jim (I haven't asked them yet, but hope they will say "yes.")

And then we're back to Monday already and many things will repeat - all except the concerts.

December is always a busy month. Somewhere in there I need to decorate my house and address Christmas cards and do more shopping. There hasn't even been time to search the Internet for gifts. But, I'm not complaining. I love Christmas - the music, the lights, the pageants, the concerts, getting together with family and friends, receiving greetings from friends and family. I'm especially happy that I have seen all of my kids - and all of the grand kids this year. I will miss having Hans, Rachel, Josiah and Annika at our Christmas gatherings, but am thrilled for them to be spending Christmas in Rome this year. Talk about a gift! I'm sure they will always remember it.

So, that's it. I'm busy, but surviving. I hope all is well with you.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

More Photos from Seattle

Littlest Angel

Here are a few more photos: Marshall fast asleep; the baby quilt I made for Marshall. Heidi and I chose the fabric in Skagway, Alaska, while on our cruise. Double click on the photos to enlarge them. I think the fabric with Papa and Mama bear are adorable. And if you look closely, there are three sets of feet sticking out of the tents: Papa, Mama and baby. I did my tying of the quilt by tying shut each tent. The reverse side is paw prints. The curtains were sewn by me on this last visit, as was the piece with pockets to attach to the end of the pack-n-play. The pockets are for diapers, change of clothes, wipes, and baby cream, or whatever else Heidi wants to put in them. Later it can be tied to the back of one of the seats in the car.

Finally, I'm sharing a photo I took of Mt. Rainier yesterday morning, just as the plane had flown through the cloud level. The sun was beginning to rise, and the view was amazing.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Back Home

Early this morning, Chad and Brian dropped me off at the airport. I warned Chad to not hug me tight this time. :-)

I had such a great time in Seattle, as I have already told you. It was hard for me to leave. Marshall has captured my heart - well, he, Josiah, Annika, and Aurelia. My flights were good, including a gorgeous view of Mt. Rainier with the coral sunrise in its background and a thick layer of clouds below the middle of it. It is so majestic! The Rocky Mountains were snow covered, and very beautiful.

In Denver I had a new item for lunch. It was a hot dog pretzel at Auntie Anne's. I thought it was delicious and hit the spot.

Disembarking in Minneapolis, I scanned the people who would be boarding the plane once we vacated, to see if they were dressed in heavy jackets as I was. (By the way, my heavy jacket with hood and mittens sticking out of the pockets, looked rather out of place in Seattle where the temps were in the 50's. But it sure felt good the morning I departed Minneapolis and the temperature was 8 with a wind chill of zero!) Any way, back to what I wanted to say. In checking out the folks, I thought I was seeing the back of my cousin and her husband. I decided to go to their aisle to see and sure enough, Diane and Dave were sitting there, on their way to Philadelphia. Now, what are the chances of that?! And get this, while they had been sitting there, Diane asked me if my brother was at the airport too because they heard is name on the over-head page. As soon as I was able, I called Jerry's cell to see if indeed he was at the airport, and he told me no, he had been working all day in Rochester. Now that's funny too!

After visiting with my cousins for a little bit and calling Jerry, I made it to baggage claim where I discovered my lone bag circling the carousel. Apparently everyone else had gotten their bags and left. This has never happened to me before.

My dear friend, Nancy, picked me up in her horse and sleigh, the one with the silver bells. [That's she calls it. Hee hee.] On our way to my home, we noticed the gorgeous sliver of a moon and one very bright star, which I said must be a planet. In a little bit, Nancy said, "Now there are two stars, or perhaps it's a planet and a star." Well, they just confirmed on TV that what we saw was Jupiter, Venus and the moon. It was a beautiful sight against the clear, black sky.