Sunday, April 26, 2009

We're Getting Some Much Needed Rain

You know that little ditty you learned when you were small - April showers bring May flowers. Well we've had to wait a long time to get our first April shower, but we're being blessed today with rain. It's amazing to see the grass turn a beautiful green. Little leaves on the trees and bushes in my yard are ready to burst open. It's chilly - my furnace is still running - but the future looks hopeful. I think I'll unpack my spring clothes.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Quiz for People Who Know Everything

This is a quiz for people who know everything! I found out in a hurry that I didn't. These are not trick questions. They are straight questions with straight answers.

1. Name the one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends.

2. What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backward?

3. Of all vegetables, only two can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted every year. What are the only two perennial vegetables?

4. What fruit has its seeds on the outside?

5. In many liquor stores, you can buy pear brandy, with a real pear inside the bottle. The pear is whole and ripe, and the bottle is genuine; it hasn't been cut in any way. How did the pear get inside the bottle?

6. Only three words in standard English begin with the letters " dw" and they are all common words. Name two of them.

7. There are 14 punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name at least half of them?

8. Name the only vegetable or fruit that is never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form except fresh.

9. Name 6 or more things that you can wear on your feet beginning with the letter "S."

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Answers To Quiz:
1. The one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends: Boxing

2. North American landmark constantly moving backward: Niagara Falls (The rim is worn down about two and a half feet each year because of the millions of gallons of water that rush over it every minute.).

3. Only two vegetables that can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons:
Asparagus and rhubarb.

4. The fruit with its seeds on the outside: Strawberry.

5. How did the pear get inside the brandy bottle? It grew inside the bottle. The bottles are placed over pear buds when they are small, and are wired in place on the tree. The bottle is left in place for the entire growing season. When the pears are ripe, they are snipped off at the stems.

6. Three English words beginning with dw: Dwarf, dwell and dwindle.

7. Fourteen punctuation marks in English grammar: Period, comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, apostrophe, question mark, exclamation point, quotation mark, brackets, parenthesis, braces, and ellipses.

8. The only vegetable or fruit never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form but fresh: Lettuce.

9. Six or more things you can wear on your feet beginning with "S": Shoes, socks, sandals, sneakers, slippers, skis, skates, snowshoes, stockings, stilts.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Nothing seems to stay the same. Kids grow up, dust accumulates, hair changes to gray. The longer I'm at my job, more duties are added. (I'm not complaining. It translates to job security - or as secure as one can feel these uncertain days.)

I've lived in my current home nearly 11 years. In that amount of time my dear neighbors across the hall moved away. I really enjoyed them. They were both retired school teachers - Helen taught Latin; Harry taught French. His parents were missionaries to China. When he and his sister turned 18 and 19, respectively, the folks sent them to the USA to attend St. Olaf college in Northfield. It was there that Harry met and fell in love with Helen. I used to go across the hall to visit them and ended up staying two or three hours. Harry loved to talk. And he was interesting. He would watch my cats when I was gone on vacation. Eventually Helen began to show signs of Alzheimer's, so they moved away. It was sad to see them go. I still miss them.

This past Saturday my upstairs neighbor moved away. He and his wife had lived here 22-1/2 years. They moved in when the building was new. From my first day here, I got the impression his wife didn't like me. I remember that day so well . . . it was July 30 and very warm outside. My sister and her husband, my brother, Peder, and and my nephew, Keith, helped out. My niece's husband, Bobby, may have been there too. At any rate, it was a big job, and trip after trip, we came in and out the door. I noticed Barbara in the window above my cottage - watching everything going on. I'm sure she was curious about who her new neighbor(s) was. I always wondered why she didn't come down to greet us, or to offer cold water or lemonade - but that's another story. Anyway, she died this past September and her poor husband struggled to live here alone these past months. He is getting frail; fell a few times - giving me a scare; and barely managed the long flight of stairs. Now his unit is up for sale. Who will be my new neighbor? More change.

Tonight one of my cousins phoned to say his mom, Lillian, passed away today. She had been in a nursing home in St. Peter for several years. I remember her as a very sweet, gentle lady - and a good cook. As kids, we went to their house and always had a great time. I saw her last year at her 90th birthday party. Another cousin died unexpectedly two weeks ago. He was only 52. More change.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Announcement: I'm on track with the rest of the family!

Announcement: I now have high speed Internet service plus call waiting! You should no longer get a busy signal when I'm working on my computer. Go ahead, you can call me. I would love to hear from you.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

One Happy Grandma

Bless Rachel's parents for inviting me to their home today for Easter dinner. I had such a good time visiting with them and the rest of the family: Grandma Kuehl, Eli and his family, Gen and her family, and Rachel's Uncle Phil and Aunt Laura. The little ones: Leah, Sammy, Aaron and Gus are adorable! Aaron, Gus and Leah have beautiful light blue eyes; Sammy's are dark chocolate brown. Pete and Jan are looking great! And the dinner was delicious!

When I got home, I turned on my computer to check for emails and updated blogs. (I still have dial-up. The appointment for high-speed got rescheduled for the 18th, so I'm limping along.) To my delight, Rachel had posted pictures of the Easter egg hunt today at Patch Barracks. Josiah and Annika were so cute. What an amazing sight - - military families, far from home, sharing this precious time together. It seemed like hundreds of children having fun - many of them dressed up. You can check it out here. I said a prayer for all of them. What a sacrifice they're making - being away from loved ones. You don't know how proud they make me.

Next I checked Peder and Sarah's blogs. Looks like they were decorating eggs today. Aurelia looks so serious while dipping her egg. You can see photos here.

Maybe Heidi will post a new entry tomorrow (no pressure, only if she has time) to celebrate Marshall's 5th month mark. He is so cute!

I never knew I would love being a grandma so much. But I sure do!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good News!

This morning was the first morning in months (5+) that I didn't feel the need to wear my leather mittens while driving to work. And not only that, I purposely left my coat at home before returning to the office following my lunch! This is good news! Let's hope we're in a pattern of good days here.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

A little of this and that . . .

I've been home only one night this week - Tuesday. I like having things to do, being involved, keeping active, but every day and most every night is a bit much. Tonight I sang in a select choir at my church for the Maundy Thursday services. One of the anthems was difficult - Crucifixus by J. S. Bach. Since this choir was smaller than our regular choir, our seating arrangement was altered. I found it difficult to hear the others in my section, and the accompaniment wasn't helpful. Hopefully the congregation wasn't familiar with this piece and didn't catch our mistakes.

Did you happen to see the full moon tonight? It was just coming up over the skyline as I was driving home. What a glorious sight -- huge and golden.

Last night I came home to a darling message on my answering machine: my darling granddaughter, Annika, calling from Germany to thank me for her Easter card. I loved hearing her sweet voice, and listening to her tell Rachel that she couldn't hear me - she's too young to understand voicemail. I called her back today to thank her for calling. She wasn't in the mood to talk, but Josiah was. He told me about his new train, Gordon, and told me I could play trains with him when I come to visit next month. Isn't that cute? Oh, how I miss those kids - and Rachel and Hans. By the way, please continue to pray for them. Hans is still in Afghanistan and the days get long for Rachel and the kids with him away.

Saturday morning takes me back to church for an extra choir rehearsal for our Easter services. Saturday afternoon I'll be driving to St. James for a family Easter dinner with Rachel's parents and siblings. I promised I would give her little niece and nephews a hug from her.

Sunday morning I'll be back at church singing for five services: 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12. After that, I'll probably go home, put on my pajamas, and crash for the rest of the day.

I wish everyone a blessed Easter.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Moments That Forever Change Our Lives

It was 49 years ago this morning that my sister and I got the news of our mother's death. What a blow! It took a long time for me to be able to talk about it without crying -- such a life-changing event. April 6 never passes without me recalling it. I write this not for the purpose of getting sympathy - just noting how some moments come along that forever change our lives.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Excellent "Grandma" Time

Aurelia and baby doll listening to the giraffe.
Singing and clapping.
This photo was taken just before she rocked the chair over on it's back. It startled her, but she didn't cry.

Aurelia is one of my precious grandchildren and I'm happy that she got to come for a sleep-over at my house last night. She plays so cute with a doll and cradle of mine, plus a couple of stuffed animals. She loves my canary, Peppi. I was amazed to learn that she knows where her eyes, ears, nose, mouth, teeth, chin, cheeks, elbow, knee and toes are. When I would say, "Where is Grandma?", she would point to me. She points to herself and says, "Relia." I taught her to say the names of her cousins: Joe Joe, Annie, and Marshall. We pointed to their pictures on my refrigerator. She saw Mama and Daddy's pictures there too.

She loves to play the piano, and is gentle with the keys. Before taking a book from a stack or the giraffe puppet from a basket, she looks at me and points, as if asking permission. What a delight!

After a good night's sleep, Sarah and Peder came and took us to breakfast. I had a great time. I think Aurelia did too.

I long for the time when all of my grandchildren can come to my home together.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

I've Made My Move: I'm Joining the 21st Century

At last, I'm going to join the "modern" people in my family. I just got off the phone from ordering high speed Internet service! I believe I am the last one to have dial-up. Now when you call my home, you won't be getting a constant busy signal. I'll be able to upload photos on this blog from the comfort of my cottage! And opening Facebook won't take 20 minutes. The installation is scheduled for Saturday, April 11.