Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Trip to the Minnesota Zoo

Today I got to go to the Minnesota Zoo with Sarah and Aurelia. I don't think I've been there since 1978, when Heidi was in a stroller! Hans said he and I went there - probably while he was in college - but I don't remember it. I tried to see something - anything - familiar today, and came up with nothing.

It was fun seeing Aurelia's reaction to the animals. She was adorable as she would point to them, say their name, and perhaps tell us what sound they make.

My favorite animals are the giraffes. I think they are beautiful, graceful, gentle animals. When I found out they had a couple on loan at the zoo this summer, and that one could buy a couple of biscuits to hand feed them, I was sure I wanted to go. This would be one of the items on my "bucket list." They sell 2 biscuits for $5. They are actually Rykrisp crackers. So if you plan to go to the zoo this summer and want to feed the giraffes, you might consider bringing your own biscuits.
Sarah took a video of me and Aurelia feeding "Sweetie." Sweetie chowed down the biscuits in seconds. Then the handler fed him some leaves. We were instructed not to touch the giraffe because they are very shy and would take off if touched. We did get really close. It was a thrill. If interested, you can see the video Sarah took here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


[This was taken from a skit at our choir banquet. It's intended to be a joke. I'm not making a statement that men don't communicate.]

"After one year of marriage . . ."
He: I’m home, Honey.
She: How was your day?
He: Oh, fine. Oh, by the way, Mrs. Elliot had her baby.
She: What did they have?
He: A little boy.
She: How big?
He: 8 pounds.
She: How long was he?
He: I don’t know.
She: You don’t know? Honestly! You men. You don’t know how to communicate.

"After three years of marriage . . ."
He: I’m home.
She: Hi. How was your day?
He: Oh, fine. Oh, by the way, Mrs. Johnson had her baby.
She: What did they have?
He: A little 6 pound, 3 oz. girl.
She: What did they name her?
He: Sara.
She: Sara what?
He: Sara Johnson.
She: Sara what Johnson?
He: I don’t know. I didn’t think that was important.
She: You men – you don’t know how to communicate.

"After 5 years of marriage . . ."
He: Hello.
She: Hi, I’m back here, cleaning crayons off the wall. How was your day?
He: Oh, fine. Oh, by the way, Mrs. Reed had her baby.
She: What did they have?
He: They had an 8 pound, 8 oz, 21 inch long little boy. Allen John Reed.
She: What hospital is she at?
He: Methodist.
She: When was he born?
He: This past Friday.
She: Like when on Friday?
He: I’m not sure.
She: Well, didn’t you ask? You men – you don’t know how to communicate.

"After 10 years of marriage. . ."
He: Whose bikes are lying in our driveway?
She: I don’t know. How was your day?
He: Okay. Oh, by the way, Mrs. Michelson had her baby.
She: What did they have?
He: A little girl – 7 pounds, 4 oz – 20 inches long – Rachel Louise – with a bushy head of dark hair. She’s at Fairview Southdale – they barely made it. It went quick.
She: When was she born?
He: On Saturday, just before 11:00 p.m.
She: Is she still there?
He: No. She was discharged this morning at 10:30 – Ed went to pick them up.
She: Do they have other children?
He: I’m not sure.
She: You’ve worked with Ed over 6 years and you don’t know! Hasn’t he ever showed you pictures?
He: No.
She: You men – you don’t know how to communicate.

"After 25 years of marriage. . ."
He: Whose cars are parked in our driveway?
She: Friends of the kids. How was your day?
He: Okay. Oh, by the way, Mrs. Peterson had her baby.
She: What did they have?
He: A little girl – 6 lbs, 14 oz – 19 ½ inches long – Jenny Mae Peterson – Jenny after the maternal grandmother – Mae after the paternal grandmother. She’s got red hair, just like her mom. She’s at Abbott Northwestern in Rm 6538. Her doctor is Dr. Oliverio – graduated in 1989 from Johns Hopkins – did a residency in the Navy for his internship – 1990 – 1994. She was born on Thursday at 10:47 a. m. Her husband and her mother-in-law picked her and little Jenny up. This is their 3rd kid. They have 2 boys – Josh: 8 and Jeremy: 4. All 3 are red heads.
She: Was she in labor very long?
He: I didn’t ask.
She: Honestly, you men. You don’t know how to communicate.

"After 50 years of marriage. . ."
He: I’m home.
She: How was your day and where have you been so long?
He: At church with the guys working on the boiler. Oh, by the way, Mrs. Sanderson had her baby.
She: What did they have?
He: A big boy – 9 lbs, 10 oz – 22 inches long – William Herbert – William after the father – Herbert after the maternal grandfather. No hair at all, a real baldy! She’s at Abbot Northwestern in Rm 6512. She has a roommate named Ruth, who cries a lot. Her doctor is Harold Sloan, who graduated from the U of M Medical School in ’90 – did his internship and residency at HCMC from ’91 – ’95. Baby was born on Saturday at 2:45 am, after a labor of about 7 hours. She went home this morning about 10:15. Her mother is here from Canton, Ohio. She flew in this morning on NWA flight 118 and will be helping out for 17 days. She goes back to Ohio on a Tuesday in the am. Her mother-in-law flies in from Sacramento on that same Tuesday afternoon, on Western Airlines, flight #68. She’ll be in first class. She flies back to Sacramento 10 days later, first class. This is their 3rd kid. They have 2 girls – Kayla: 6 ½ and Jennifer: 4. This is the 6th grandchild for her mother, and the 10th one for her mother-in-law. They’ve repainted the baby’s room a color called "candle light" by Sherwin Williams. They’re covered 100% by Blue Cross. They’ve had Blue Cross/Blue Shield ever since they were married, 8 years ago. Everything is moving along nicely.
She: Have they applied for a Social Security # yet?
He: I don’t know. I didn’t ask.
She: You men – you don’t know how to communicate.

"After 65 years of marriage . . ."
He: I’m back from my walk. I need new handle grips on my walker. Oh, Mrs. Berg had her baby.
She: Who’s Mrs. Berg?
He: You don’t know her?
She: No.
He: But you told me Mrs. Berg was expecting.
She: I told you Mrs. Youngberg was expecting. Besides not being able to communicate, you men don’t listen.
He: What?
She: I said . . . oh, what’s the use!
He: Let’s have coffee. Then I’m going out to the garage.
She: Good! Being by yourself might make you more aware!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A very good read: DEWEY

I've just finished wiping my eyes and blowing my nose. I completed reading a very good book: Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter. It's a true story that takes place in Spencer, Iowa - an account of a young kitten that had been cruelly dropped into the book return slot of a library on the coldest night of the year and found the next morning under a pile of books, with frozen feet, by the librarian. He ended up living in the library, charming patrons, staff and visitors for the next nineteen years. He became world famous - not just because he was a beautiful cat, but because he seemed to know just what people needed and when they needed it. If you're looking for a good read, check it out.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Days are busy, busy, with work and recreation. But whenever possible, I use early Saturday mornings as a kind of retreat. After breakfast, during which I read my Bible and have my devotions, I try to have a quiet time - a chance to reflect on the past week, think and pray for each of my family members and friends, and enjoy my home - both inside and out.

This morning was the perfect morning to sit on my patio. My flowers are blooming profusely, the grass and shrubs with drops of water on them from the morning dew and possibly the lawn sprinklers. The sun screened by the leaves on my trees. While quietly sitting there, I watched a father robin hop from place to place, pulling at least three worms from the ground and gobbling them up. I heard various bird songs, including Peppi, who was singing in my dining room. Suddenly I spotted a humming bird in one of the trees close by. They are adorable little birds. I watched him move from branch to branch - hovering like a tiny helicopter. But then, to my surprise, a tiny wren landed not two feet from my feet, under a bush. He then proceeded to hop onto my patio, right up to the screen door, and then hopped right past my feet - not 12 inches away! I sat very still, and I'm not sure he realized just how close he was! He quickly flew away. I love this quiet time.

"Up" with Rosy

I hadn't seen Rosy since I went to her First Communion on May 3. Since I got out of work yesterday at noon, I phoned her to see if she was free and would like to go to dinner and a movie with me. She asked her daddy and he said it was fine. We chose to go to Up, the 3-D version. The 3-dimensional format was a new experience for her- - an old memory for me.

In my memory as a kid, the 3-D movies were rather frequent. The glasses were cardboard frames with one red and one blue lens. The new 3-D movie from Pixar is very well done. The glasses are hard, black plastic. The lenses are light gray. And in keeping with the times, receptacles are outside the theater asking patrons to deposit the glasses after the movie for recycling. Rosy and I chose to keep ours - for a souvenir. She thought her little sister would enjoy playing with them.

Up was very well done - both visually and content-wise. I looked over at Rosy a few times to see if she was enjoying it and she was thoroughly engrossed. I heard her laugh during different scene. While watching this film, I thought to myself: this is a movie my Aunt Liz should definitely see. I also thought of others. So, if you haven't seen it, and can see the 3-D version (both with and without were offered at this theater), I would highly recommend it. I'll go again with Sarah, if it's okay with her.

For dinner, Rosy chose the Rainforest Cafe at the Mall of America. This is our second time eating at this restaurant. We were seated next to an aquarium, which is a wonderful spot. The food was good, our conversation fun.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tonado Hits Austin

This morning I woke up to the news that Austin had been hit by a tornado last night. The report was that damage was mostly in the north - northwest part of town. When I thought some folks I know would be awake this morning, I called down there to get their report. Steve's phone was busy, busy, so I tried David. He answered and gave me the following news:

Austin lost power around 8 pm yesterday and it was returned around 4:30 am today. David's daughter, Amy, and her family spent the night at his home since it is on rural power and wasn't affected. There are some large trees down in the Oakwood cemetery (where our folks are buried). There is some damage to Culver's. The most damage appears to be out at Todd Park. A building was leveled. One man was injured. Witnesses playing ball at the park saw the funnel. Many trees are down.

After talking to David, I got a hold of Steve on his cell phone. He was walking to the hospital to have his blood checked (a continuing process due to a blood clot he had in his leg some weeks ago). He said he had no damage at his home, but his phone is dead and his cable service is out. The TV station in Austin is also down. He tried to read by candle light last night, but got weary from that.

Peder added a video that was taken last night. It's incredible that no one was seriously hurt. You can see the video here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tea Party with Aurelia

Saturday Aurelia and I had a tea party (pretend). We had juice and cookies, and she was the hostess. She was so cute, pretending to drink and eat, and mimicking me saying, "Mmm. Good." She is so much fun!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Scary Minutes

Today while cleaning Peppi's cage, I noticed his nails had gotten a bit long. This is bad for a bird - if they get too long, it's difficult for them to clasp a perch or branch. There is one ceramic perch in his cage that acts as a nail file, but it doesn't do a complete job.

After his cage was totally cleaned, I put it back together, and then reached my hand in to catch him. He doesn't like this and flies from one side to the other. I try my best to gently grab him and once caught, I take him out, and very carefully hold him in my left hand while I use the nail clippers in my right, being careful to not clip too close to the blood vein.

I was on his second foot when all of a sudden he was loose. He flew to the living room, hit the wall, turned and flew into and through the kitchen to the dining room, where he hit the wall and dropped to the floor, in a corner behind a 3-shelf stand. I quickly reached back there and took him in my hands. I held him for a second while I inspected his feet and decided I had trimmed enough and then put him back into his cage. He sat on the bottom of the cage, breathing heavily, his tail going up and down. I felt so bad. I told him I was sorry. I prayed he would be okay and then left the room to give him some quiet time to recompose himself.

After 15 minutes I went to check on him. He was still on the floor. I prayed some more and went back in 15 minutes to check on him. He was up on his perch. Everything is fine. I think he was just really scared. Thankfully I only have to clip his nails about every six months.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Happy Anniversary to Peder and Sarah!

Today marks the 4th wedding anniversary for
Peder and Sarah.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

And Pat was in labor . . .

A long time ago, Steve and I lived in an efficiency apartment in Dinky Town. It had a very small kitchen with yellow walls and one of those old wooden cabinets for our food and dishes - a hoosier.

Anyway, I decided it needed a little redecorating. It was Pat and Aunt Liz who came to my rescue. I bought red brick contact paper and with their help, we put it on the lower half of the walls. Part way through the process, Pat announced she was in labor! Did they leave? No, they continued to work on the walls - until the job was done. I was so concerned that Pat would have the baby in our kitchen, but I was wrong. This is the way I remember it. What do you think, Pat?

Monday, June 08, 2009

Back Home . . .

This is one scene during the performance of Noah, the Musical

I had a wonderful time in Branson. I knew I would! It was fun being with Lil and Jim again. Lil made delicious meals. We didn't eat out even once! The weather was beautiful - in the 70's, sunny most except for early this morning. On Saturday night we went to see Noah, the Musical. This was an incredible production with a wonderful cast, great songs, and lots and lots of live animals - in pairs. The set of the ark is amazing! It's huge - and during part of the production, we were in the ark! At one point, I sneaked a photo (without flash). I was so impressed that I didn't want to forget it. If you get a chance, go to see it!

Leaving the new Branson Airport today was a fun experience. The airport is the first privately financed and operated commercial airport in the United States. I think Lil said the price tag to the city was $65 million. It is 5 miles off highway 65, and to make the roads, they blasted through beautiful rock, making it a very enjoyable ride. There is also a beautiful golf course along this road. There is an air traffic control tower, but of course, it is much smaller than the one in Minneapolis, Seattle, or even Rochester. I thought to myself, Heidi would pretty much be bored if she worked in this tower.

The decor in the passenger waiting area (edited 6/10/09) is a little like Northern Minnesota. The chairs are casual - wooden frames, upholstered - something you could see in a cabin or lodge. There is a Famous Dave's restaurant. After boarding our plane today, the ground crew pulled away the portable ramp, stood in formation, and all 6 of them continued to wave while our plane pulled away. The impression they want to leave on all passengers and airplane personnel is: Welcome to Branson. We're glad you came, and we hope you return soon. So far Sun Country and Air Tran are the only carriers. The flight to Minneapolis only takes and hour and a half.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Off to Branson

In a little over an hour, Peder and Aurelia will be picking me up to drive me to the airport. I'm flying to Branson to visit my dear friends, Lil and Jim. I'm looking forward to spending some time with them again.

Lil and I became friends on March 8, 1988. She and Jim came to the rescue many times in those first years of me and the kids living on our own. They helped get our house repaired and updated - and later sold, were my support group when I had had two major surgeries, treated me to trips up north to their beautiful cabin in Lutsen, showed me how their faith brought them through struggles, and so many, many more things - too numerous to list. When they left Minnesota about 10 or so years ago, to move to Branson, I was sad. I wasn't sure what the distance would do to our friendship. I am pleased to say that we are still "best" friends. Oh, we don't talk on the phone everyday like we used to, and we see each other about two or three times a year, but we are still strongly connected.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

50 Good Things on This Beautiful Day

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?"
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone for everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
36. Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
45. The best is yet to come.
46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
48. If you don't ask, you don't get.
49. Yield.
50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Hans Is Back in Germany!

I'm rejoicing because Hans is back home with his family in Germany. Rachel and the kids picked him up today. This is the best news! Happy homecoming, Hans.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


I had an appointment tonight in a building about 3.5 miles from my office at 5:15. It was a continuation of the appointment I had over my lunch hour. This morning, it took me 12 minutes to get there. Tonight it took 30 minutes (yes, I was late). Now, I realize that doesn't sound like a long time. But to me, it brought back memories of when I worked at my former job - 9 miles from my home. Back then, commutes took anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and a half - depending on the weather or an crash. I soon learned where the alternate routes were.

Many of my co-workers have huge commutes. One lives north of Cambridge! Just today I asked her what time she left home to arrive at the office at 7:30 and she said she left at 6 am. That's not for me! I would do this one day and start looking for another job.

My commute home from my appointment was also 30 minutes. Compared to others in my part of the city tonight, I was lucky. The radio was reporting huge delays due to a head-on crash on south-bound Hwy 169. This is a four lane highway - 2 lanes each way with a grassy median. How on earth did a head-on crash occur? I'll have to watch the news tonight to find out. My prayers are with all involved. I'm thankful that I now live only one mile from my place of employment and don't deal with high traffic very often.


While in Germany I searched and searched for Edelweiss seeds. I saw them at a rest stop last year when our choir was en route to Salzburg. Lesson learned: buy them when you see them because you may not see them again. This year my search was fruitless. However, in one attempt to find them, Rachel dropped me off at a big store - something like our Home Depot. I looked around until I found the gardening center, but sadly I found no Edelweiss seeds. I picked up some other flower seeds and proceeded to the check-out line, and lo and behold, there was a pot of blooming Edelweiss. In the best German I could muster, I asked the clerk if the pot was "for sale." She indicated it was, so I bought it for Rachel.
I continued to look for seeds in every store I entered, but found none.

What I've Been Up To . . .

After unpacking from my wonderful trip to Germany, I have been trying to get my house in order. I've gotten my photos printed and into an album, which I took to church Sunday to show to my friends. By the way, they think my grandchildren are adorable - - I fully agree!

I've potted some flowering plants on my patio. This year I went with a pink theme. It's been nice sitting there, enjoying the outdoor birds. In fact, on Saturday a little wren sat in the bush in the foreground, not 3 feet from me and sang the most beautiful song. I've never seen one so close. He was darling.
I'm loving my new mattress and box springs! It sure makes a difference when one gets a good night's sleep!
I went to the Bloomington Civic Theater on Sunday with my sister and Aunt Liz to see The Music Man. It was really fun - high energy, great sets, wonderful period clothes. We had great seats in row 4.
Now I'm getting ready for another short trip for this weekend - a flight to Branson, Missouri, to see my dear friends Lil and Jim. Branson just got an airport in May, which I think is only about 3 miles from Lil's home. The flight is only an hour and a half - so much better than the 13 hour road trip when my family drives it.
We're in summer hours at work, meaning we can leave at noon on Fridays if we have worked our 40 hours. I really like it because it feels as though we have a 3 day weekend. The down side is not going home for lunch. I'm sure Peppi misses me. But with the sun staying up longer in the evening, we have more time together then (birds usually go to sleep when the sun sets).
That's about it.