Monday, August 31, 2009

Lil's Grand-daughter's Wedding

Lovely yard

Backyard setting for the ceremony.


The happy couple

Lil and yours truly

I had the pleasure of attending the wedding of Lyric, my dear friend, Lil's grand-daughter, on Saturday afternoon. The setting was Lil's daughter and son-in-law's beautiful backyard, which happens to butt up to the country club golf course in Waseca. The weather was sunny, though windy and a bit chilly - about 62 degrees - very unusual for August.

The five bridesmaids wore chocolate brown dresses and carried peach color roses; the groomsmen wore tuxedos of the same brown. Jody, Lil's daughter, had special ordered peach-color petunias for all of their gardens early this summer. They along with the green hydrangea were lovely. Suspended from ribbons in the trees were lead crystals and glass votive candle holders. Pathways were marked with tulle and puffs of chiffon. The canopy under which the pastor stood, was flanked with tulle and hydrangea. Jody, who has a degree in interior design, did all of the decorating. She has a reputation for having impeccable taste.

A delicious dinner followed at the country club. The wedding cake was a three-layer cake with strawberry souffle filling with white icing and adorned with edible pearls.

It was so much fun to see Lil and her family again. I had a great time!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Bucket List




I'm adding this to my Bucket List: visit Giethoorn, The Netherlands. A friend sent me an email today with photos of this amazing little village, and I'm sold! There are no roads in this village - only canals. The houses and flowers are beautiful. Check it out.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Stuffed!"


Today we had our annual potluck lunch at work - the one at which we grill meats, bring a dish to share, and eat outdoors - if weather allows. The weather was perfect! There was no humidity, a slight breeze, and no bugs. We had a nice variety of food and lingered over good conversation. I don't know about you, but potluck dinners bring many challenges. 1) What to bring? I brought a bean pot of baked beans. 2) What to eat? I ate too much! 3) When to call it quits. I shouldn't have taken all those desserts!

Now here's the problem: I also had a potluck dinner at church tonight - our annual choir fall round-up. As far as I can recall, this is the first time two potluck dinners in one day have been on my calendar. I wasn't hungry before stepping up to the serving table, but once I saw the delicious choices of food, I began filling a plate. So what did I bring? A bucket of KFC grilled chicken. What did I eat? Again - too much! When did I call it quits? After two trips to the main dishes/salad table and 2 trips to the dessert table! Oink! Oink!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Aurelia's 2nd Birthday






Surprise!

My very sweet granddaughter, Aurelia, turned 2 today. I got to go to her party and had fun playing croquet with her and watching birds in the neighbor's back yard. After having some refreshments, we went indoors for opening presents. She definitely enjoyed opening and playing with her birthday gifts - getting excited with each one. She has the sweetest expressions!

For her last two gifts, she happened to be sitting next to me on the sofa. When we got to the last one, she asked me to help her open it. I started tearing the paper just a bit, and she finished ripping it off. I proceeded to open the top of the box and saw some cloth with the word "SISTER" sewn on it. I thought to myself, what could this be? Then a light bulb went off in my head. I pulled the article from the box and asked Peder and Sarah if they were expecting a baby? To our surprise, they told us they were. They had kept this news a secret for a week! They are so good at surprises!

Antiquing






Saturday my friend Nancy and I went antiquing and was it fun! We shopped in the charming towns of Chaska, Carver, and Shakopee. Some of the stores were disappointments (at least to me), but some were amazing! I bought a few treasures in a couple of them, adding to my Delft collection.

Heading out of Chaska, we spotted a wedding being set up on the front porch of a B & B. I can't imagine a nicer day for an outdoor wedding.

We also ate delicious sandwiches at a recommended spot - Harvey's in Carver.

Nancy and I really enjoyed ourselves!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dinkydome Being Remodeled


Many years ago I attended Minnesota Bible College, located on University Ave SE and 15th Ave SE. Some time after I left the school, the girl's dormitory in the adjacent lot was torn down and replaced by a parking lot. In the 70's, the college sold the building and relocated to Rochester, changing their name to Crossroads College. The Grecian-style building which housed our classes and chapel, became a mall called "Dinkydome." Yes, that's right. A mall. I returned years later to see coffee shops and boutiques where we once listened to professors and sang our hearts out.

It was a surprise to see this property mentioned in the news yesterday. A builder has purchased the school building and the property where our dorm stood and is adding a 198 apartment unit to the back of Dinkydome. [This drawing is from 4th St SE and 15th Ave SE - McDonald's - looking toward the Dome, which is just to the right of the multi-story building. The University of Minnesota buildings are in the background.]

Scary, Scary!



After listening to the news last night and hearing of more rain and possible hail, I walked out to my patio to pull my planters in under the roof to protect them. One by one I pulled them back about a foot. I got to the second to the last one and there on the carpet was this big creature! I didn’t know if he was a toad or a frog, but he was large. I said, "Shoo! Shoo!" He sat there. So I clapped my hands. He still sat there. I had this fear of him jumping on me if I got too close.
I finally managed to get enough confidence to pull the planter sideways and pulled it in a bit. He gave me the shivers.

I told my girlfriend about it this morning. Leave it to her to search his breed. This is what she said:

You might have had an American toad on your patio. They’re about
the size of a person’s fist. They grow up in water but spend most
of their adult life on land, living in fields, gardens, and woods.
They’re most active at night and on rainy days. When it gets hot
and dry, they dig into the ground.

I Googled American Toad and sure enough, that’s him alright!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Apparently it's true . . .

Yep, I just heard it. Brett Favre is at the Viking's Winterpark here in Eden Prairie, getting ready to sign a contract to join the team. You can read the latest here. I'm not sure how I feel about it. What are your thoughts?

Monday, August 17, 2009

# 10

Peder at Future Poltergeist tagged me with this:


Simple Rules:

-Open your first photo folder.
-Scroll down to the 10th photo.
-Post that photo and story on your blog.
-Tag five others (or more) friends to do the same.





This photo taken April 29, 2006, in the gift shop of one of my favorite places: GammelgÄrden Museum, in Scandia, Minnesota. My cousins, sister, aunt and I love going here. In fact, we're heading there in October for the Traditions in the Trunk: Swedish Folk Dress, Quilts and Art Exhibit. Since I am 1/8th Swedish, I feel at home here.

Now I'm tagging:

Pat

Aunt Liz

Sarah

Lynn

Janet

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Summer Food




I just finished eating a delicious lunch: a BLT sandwich made with home grown tomatoes, lettuce, and Hormel brand bacon, plus home grown cucumbers on the side - - and grape pop in a glass bottle! What a fine meal. I loved it!

Guess what's for dinner??? Home grown sweet corn! More tomatoes. And for dessert: fresh raspberries. Yum! I love summer food.

Friday, August 14, 2009

It's Hot!


After 50 days of pretty nice weather, today the thermometer reached 90 degrees. I'm not a fan of hot weather. In fact, I have a very small comfort zone. Anywhere between 65 and 75, and I'm happy. So I am staying indoors as much as possible.

The big news around here this week is the PGA golf tournament going on in one of the suburbs not far from me. It's been interesting listening to the radio and news broadcasts. I've learned that Tiger Woods is surrounded by police and FBI agents. When asked: who pays for this? I learned that all of the security surrounding him is supplied by volunteers. These officers and agents consider it a privilege to guard him. I also learned that many of the top players rent local homes in which to stay, rather than lodge in a hotel. One of my co-workers reported that when he was at the tournament yesterday, a gentleman told him that Woods rented a house in the area for $58,000 for the week - part of the money to fix the swimming pool and part to install a new hot tub. One of my girlfriends said Sunday that her son and daughter-in-law rented their home this week for $15,000. She wasn't at liberty to tell us who the golfer was, but that he, his wife, and a cook would be moving in at noon on Sunday. One other tidbit I heard on the radio was that one home owner came back to his house to pick up something, and there in the garage was the golfer - sweeping it out after just finishing moving the lawn. His explanation: it makes me feel normal, and gives me a chance to think.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mower County Fair Turns 125 This Year



I just had a birthday, but I am not 125 years old, thank you. However, I do have good memories of going to the fair when I was young. I remember going to the midway for the rides, and taking my chances on the duck pond - plastic ducks that went through a little canal. The ducks had numbers on the bottoms of them. The contestant would pay some money and point to the duck that she thought would have a good number on it. The person on the other side of the canal would pick up the duck, turn it over, and give you the prize that matched the number. You might win a small stuffed animal, a sparkly bracelet, or some other trinket.
The food. One treat I enjoyed was the mini-donuts. They've been around for a long time! And another was the salt water taffy, pulled by the automated man that pumped up and down. I also remember liking cotton candy. All of this was the "junk food" we couldn't get any other time of the year.
Another memory was a huge pair of denim bib overalls that hung on the outside of the grandstand. They must have been 25' high!
One year - I must have been in high school - I remember taking my brother's new bike to the fair - without his permission. I forgot to lock it to the fence, and when I came out, it was gone. I felt horrible and was scared to tell him. But I did, and per usual, he didn't get mad at me. He called our insurance company and found out the bike was covered. I never did that again!
I've had occasions to go back to the fair over the years. When I do, it seems so much smaller than it did when I was a kid. One nice feature is the permanent historical center. They do a very nice job of displaying articles from the past: a telephone operator switch board, a doctor's office from the 40's, and even my old pump organ is on display - a donation I made some years ago.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Party's Over

Laurey and Bonnie
Nancy and Gayle


One more little birthday party was given to me yesterday by my dear friends, Nancy, Gayle, Bonnie and Laurey. We went to the brunch at the Crossroads Deli, one of my favorite restaurants. They have delicious foods - including a bakery where all the goodies say, "Taste me, Buy me, Yum yum!" I held the reins a bit by only buying one loaf of cinnamon/golden raisin bread, a pan of apple crisp, and two macaroon cookies. It's a very good thing this deli isn't in my neighborhood. If it were, I'm not sure I would still fit in my car!

Nancy brought a little garland for me to wear and a darling birthday bear, which sings the chorus of Happy Birthday two times. It has a nice, rather quiet voice, but the little kids at a table near us could hear it and it brought smiles to their faces.

The brunch features beautifully displayed dishes: eggs - scrambled, scrambled with tomatoes and spinach, Eggs Benedict, cheesy hash browns, cinnamon raisin French toast, Belgium waffles, fresh fruits, creamed chicken over home-made baking powder biscuits, fresh fruits, petite Danish, cakes, bread pudding, beef tips over noodles, tomato basil soup, etc., etc., etc. At the conclusion of our feasting, the waitress brought out for me a piece of their famous, 3-layer lemon cake with coconut icing! I was so full, I couldn't have possibly eaten it. So she put it in a container for me to take home. I enjoyed it to the last crumb later in the afternoon.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

"Julie & Julia"

If you like any of the following: cooking, cooking shows, writing, blogging, Paris, or Meryl Streep, I recommend the film just out this week, Julie and Julia. It is a bit of a chick flick, but has some great music, a few classic cars, lots of yummy looking food, and great acting, at least in my opinion.

I don't have a fancy cable package with my TV, so the only cooking shows I'm offered are on two Public TV channels. Just recently they have been showing some reruns of Julia Child when she hosted guests chefs. So, I've never seen her do the cooking, but have learned to recognize her voice and mannerisms. Meryl, as always, did an excellent job playing Julia's character. In reading the reviews before going to the movie, I learned Julia was 6' 1" tall. So Meryl wears shoes that must contain lifts. Plus, I read when she was shown cooking in a kitchen, she was actually standing on a little box. I won't tell you any more about it, except this: for all the bloggers in my family, it's a MUST SEE. You'll love the part of the blogging.

Friday, August 07, 2009

What is a First Cousin, Twice Removed?

Awhile back, I read an ariticle that described relationships. Up until that time, I thought if someone was related to you, if not your grandparent, aunt or uncle, they had to be your cousin, niece or nephew. Not so.

If someone walked up to you and said "Howdy, I'm your third cousin, twice removed," would you have any idea what they meant? Most people have a good understanding of basic relationship words such as "mother," "father," "aunt," "uncle," "brother," and "sister." But what about the relationship terms that we don't use in everyday speech? Terms like "second cousin" and "first cousin, once removed"? We don't tend to speak about our relationships in such exact terms ("cousin" seems good enough when you are introducing one person to another), so most of us aren't familiar with what these words mean.

Relationship Terms
Sometimes, especially when working on your family history, it's handy to know how to describe your family relationships more exactly. The definitions below should help you out.
Cousin (a.k.a "first cousin")
Your first cousins are the people in your family who have two of the same grandparents as you. In other words, they are the children of your aunts and uncles.
Second Cousin
Your second cousins are the people in your family who have the same great-grandparents as you., but not the same grandparents.
Third, Fourth, and Fifth Cousins
Your third cousins have the same great-great-grandparents, fourth cousins have the same great-great-great-grandparents, and so on.

Removed
When the word "removed" is used to describe a relationship, it indicates that the two people are from different generations. You and your first cousins are in the same generation (two generations younger than your grandparents), so the word "removed" is not used to describe your relationship.
The words "once removed" mean that there is a difference of one generation. For example, your mother's first cousin is your first cousin, once removed. This is because your mother's first cousin is one generation younger than your grandparents and you are two generations younger than your grandparents. This one-generation difference equals "once removed."
Twice removed means that there is a two-generation difference. You are two generations younger than a first cousin of your grandmother, so you and your grandmother's first cousin are first cousins, twice removed.

It's Been a Good Week

I've had a very good week, what with my birthday and all. Thank you for all of the kind greetings, phone calls, beautiful cards, gifts and flowers. I could go on and on. I had a delicious birthday cake at the office party my department gave me - even brought home the left-over cake. Yum!

I'm enjoying my flowers on my patio. Thanks to Aurelia who gave them such good care last weekend. It's a joy to sit there and relax.

Last night, after reading Rachel's blog, I grilled a steak and fixed an ear of sweet corn. Oh my! What a delicious dinner! I capped it off with the last piece of birthday cake. This coming Sunday, some of my friends and I are going to a Jewish deli (Crossroads Deli) to celebrate my birthday. This is one of my favorite restaurants. After that, I need to get serious about what goes into my mouth, if you know what I mean!

Today we're getting some much needed rain. We have been in a drought for the past two years. This morning the radio announcer said we have a deficit of 17 to 18 inches! It's especially noticeable in the area lakes.

Monday, August 03, 2009

More Fun Surprises


This afternoon two of my dear friends, Laurey and Nancy, stopped by my office to serenade me and to give me these beautiful flowers from Nancy's garden. Wow!

39 Candles on My Cake

Flowers from Hans, Rachel and the kids (just arrived!)


My birthday started out with a phone call from Germany: on the other end were my darling grand children, Josiah and Annika, singing Happy Birthday, Dear Grandma Donna! I wish I could have recorded it. They are so sweet!

Arriving at my office, I found beautiful decorations and ornaments, plus a card and chocolates! I've also received a carton of Boyland Bottleworks Grape pop - in glass bottles - from my friend, Jo. And a darling fall leaf dish with a bird sitting on it from another dear friend, Nancy.

Not long ago, I got another call from Germany. This time it was Hans wishing me a Happy 39th birthday. I LOVE my kids!
Birthdays are a special time of celebrating and remembering. I am truly blessed.

THE POSITIVE SIDE OF LIFE:


Living on Earth is expensive,
but it does include a free trip
around the sun every year.

How long a minute is
depends on what side of the
bathroom door you're on.

Birthdays are good for you;
the more you have,
the longer you live.

Happiness comes through doors you
didn't even know you left open.

Ever notice that the people who are late
are often much jollier
than the people who have to wait for them?

Most of us go to our grave
with our music still inside of us.

If Wal-Mart is lowering prices every day,
how come nothing is free yet?

You may be only one person in the world,
but you may also be the world to one person.

Some mistakes are too much fun
to only make once.

Don't cry because it's over;
smile because it happened.

We could learn a lot from crayons:
some are sharp, some are pretty,
some are dull, some have weird names,
and all are different colors....but
they all exist very nicely in the same box.

A truly happy person is one who
can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

My Weekend with Aurelia






One of my angels.
Playing Peek-a-Boo with my friend, Nancy.

Peek!

It's been a little busy for me to journal, but my little angel is taking a nap right now, so I thought I would record some of our activities.

Aurelia came over Friday afternoon with her little bags. I distracted her from Sarah and Peder's departure by giving her the elephant shaped watering can I bought for her in Seattle and asking her to water my patio plants. She thought this was so much fun, and my plants really needed a drink.

We had fun the rest of day, including while eating our dinner. Thanks to my visit to Hans and Rachel's in Germany in May, it wasn't hard for me to figure out menus. I made "pigs in a blanket" and Aurelia loved them. I used Hormel turkey hot dogs inside the crescent rolls, and I must say, they were good. And easy! It was too late in the day for me to call Rachel to ask how long they should be baked, so I just followed the directions on the crescent roll package - - perfect. Aurelia really likes fruit, and yogurt. So we had that, and sweet potato fries. And I discovered she loves dried apricots. I keep a jar on the counter. She called them crackers, and each night while cooking dinner, she would sit on my stool and eat three apricots. She is so cute and has the cutest expressions.

Saturday morning we went shopping. First we stopped at a garage sale, but came out empty handed. The next stop: Target. She was so good there. Her reward was a toy Ernie from Sesame Street. She likes him a lot. After walking through much of Target and buying a few things, we were hungry. Where to go? McDonald's. She sat in a high chair and feasted on chicken McNuggets, French fries, and chocolate milk. We each had a Happy Meal, so Aurelia got two stuffed toys: a panda bear and a pony. [These are in her diaper bag, unopened, because she didn't need them and was perfectly happy.]

My mission was to find her a sweater to wear with her darling sun dress for Sunday morning. The garage sale had none, as did Target, so next we went to Herberger's. They had sweaters, but none of them would have worked with the sun dress, so we found a cute long sleeve shirt to wear under her denim jumper. [Sarah sent plenty of clothes, but my plans were to take her to church Sunday morning and with our chilly temperatures and the A/C normally turned on in our church building, I thought she should be more protected.]

Since Aurelia was being so good, I decided we would shop at one more store: Breadsmith. They have delicious banana bread with walnuts! I treated myself to one loaf, and an oatmeal raisin cookie for each of us. This store is in a beautiful location in Edina - near 50th and France. The store has window boxes with beautiful flowers spilling out. There are little tables and chairs and benches too. So Aurelia and I had a little cookie party out on the bench, next to the fragrant fuchsia petunias. Passersby all smiled at us, and one lady commented, "Isn't this a precious moment!"

This morning, after our shower together, we dressed and left for church. We arrived a little early, in time to hear my choir rehearsing the anthem of the day, which is one of my favorites, Majesty and Glory. There was a full orchestra on stage. We stood in the aisle, Aurelia was taking it all in. At the conclusion of the anthem, we took our place in a pew about four rows from the front. I knew this could be a risky spot in which to sit, but I also knew that there would be more for her to watch if her view was unobstructed. Let me tell you, she was an absolute angel the entire service! I kid you not. You wouldn't believe how many people came up to us following the service to say they couldn't believe how well behaved she was. My choir friends, who joined us in the cafe following the service, said they watched her and thought she was just perfect.

It's hard to find words to explain what a blessing it was for me to have Aurelia with me this weekend, and especially in church this morning. I have wanted my friends to meet her for such a long time. They see the photos of all of my grand kids after I have been to their homes or they to mine, and they always comment on how cute they are. And when I tell them how good they are, I sometimes think they don't believe me. But after today, they do.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Electricity Issue Has Been Resolved

On July 12, I posted about the explosion of the transformer near my garage (It was a dark night). Since that night, we have endured the presence of police tape and orange cones from my garage to our building and other areas from the back of my garage to the back of our building. It hasn't been a pretty sight. I probably should have taken a picture of it, but I didn't. Yesterday morning we had a scheduled power outage while the electricians connected the newly installed cable. What was originally estimated to be a one to two day operation, was completed in about two hours. When I came home from work, the police tape and cones were gone; the cable was buried. Except for the red spray paint here and there on the grass, all seems to be back to normal, except for my garage door opener. I have a new garage door opener scheduled for installation Monday afternoon, because mine was fried during the explosion.