Saturday, November 28, 2009

How I spent the day after Thanksgiving

A treat for my eyes - horses in a field. We don't see that in the city!

Horse and buggy tired up on Lovina's farm

Lovina's general store

Saint Marys Chapel

Saint Marys Chapel

The malls have no allure for me, especially the day after Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. Oh, I'm not saying that I don't patronize them now and then, but I'm not a fan of the crazy crowds. This year I decided to spend my extended holiday by going to see my Amish friend, Lovina. Believe me, shopping in her general store was very, very peaceful!

I had written to Lovina a couple of weeks ago to see if her store would be open the day after Thanksgiving. She wrote back to say the store would be open, and yes, she had fireballs (These are hot, cinnamon jawbreakers that my three kids really like.). Lovina is Old Order Amish and therefore has no phone — absolutely no electricity. I first met her in the summer of 1988. Jake, another Amish acquaintance of mine, and maker of my dining room chairs and cherry rocker, sent me to her store when I asked him where one could purchase homemade jam. Since then, she and I have become friends and exchange letters now and then and I make a point to go to see her at least once a year.

When I arrived at Lovina's farm, there were no buggies or cars in her driveway. I entered the store and immediately she greeted me and gave me a big hug. She had a young girl working for her - sweeping the floor and stocking shelves. I started to tell Lovina how many pounds of jawbreakers and oatmeal I wanted. I looked around the little store and picked up a book, a couple of jars of soup base, lemon drops, and a few other items. I bought a jar of homemade apple butter, and a nice dust cloth. While shopping, I asked her if the Amish celebrate Thanksgiving. She told me they do, but not the way we "English" do. She said they spend the morning fasting and in prayer. At noon they have a little lunch - which could be turkey, but not necessarily. They usually spend the rest of the day with family. She said Christmas is spent similarly, with the Christmas story being read from the Bible. They give gifts, but only one per person. They do not decorate or sing songs. I found this very interesting.

A young Amish women entered the store. She was holding a little baby. I asked if I could take a peek at him/her, and she graciously turned him my way. I told her I have a new grandson in Germany who I am so anxious to hold. She said I could hold her little one. I sat down on Lovina's chair and held the dear one. He was sucking a pacifier. I noticed his Amish baby attire: a black hat, covering a blue scarf around his head; a black, heavy blanket with blue flannel lining. This was held together by two large safety pins. He seemed content to be held by me while his mommy, Lovina and I chatted. I learned he was nearly three months old. He is the youngest of five children. His name is Yost. I asked if he had a middle name. His mother said he has an initial which is "A." She went on to say her sister-in-law had given birth to triplets on Monday. The sister-in-law already had five children! Wow! Can you imagine?!

Little Yost sat on my lap, watching his mother converse with me. Eventually she began to unwrap him. He had under his black bonnet two blue scarves, tied under his chin. Under the black, flannel lined blanket, was another thinner blanket. When all of that was removed or opened up, I saw his dark blue, Amish baby shirt. It may have been a wrap around, but I'm not sure. I finally got to see his chubby hands, which were so cute. He let me hold one of his hands. His pacifier popped out of his mouth and he gave his mommy a great, big smile. He was such a good baby. I held him while his mother completed her shopping and took her goods outside to her buggy. When she had her last box ready, I helped her walk to her buggy. I said hi to her horse, Ben, and watched her untie the horse and climb into the buggy, carrying Yost the entire time. She put him on her lap and covered him with a blanket, backed out of her parking spot, and drove away.

After leaving Lovina's, I drove back to Rochester where I had lunch with my brother at the Canadian Honker, one of my favorite places to eat. After eating, we walked across the street to Saint Marys Hospital to go to their beautiful chapel. This is such a special place for me, especially during the holidays. It's the most beautiful chapel I have seen. It was built in 1903 and added onto in the 1930s. It seats about 400. Patients are welcome any time of day or night. They can even be wheeled there in a bed, if necessary. Masses, as well as Protestant services, are held there daily. It was designed in the style of a basilica. My photo doesn't do it justice.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Be Thankful

Be Thankful
By Author Unknown

Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don't know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you're tired and weary,
because it means you've made the effort.

It's easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they can become your blessings.

List all movies Share this movie with  your  friends

Monday, November 23, 2009

Weekend with Aurelia

La, la, la, la

She loved driving our grocery cart.

Peder opening her little bag of fish crackers outside the restaurant.

Saturday morning Peder and Sarah brought Aurelia to stay with me. I love it when she comes - - running into my home, proclaiming, "Hi, Grandma D!" After giving me a big hug, she ran to see Peppi. Then she was off to play my piano - another ritual of hers. :-)

I love it that she looks around when she's at my house, especially when we're eating at my kitchen table. I have five Dutch tiles under my kitchen window - next to the table. She loves reciting the images on the tiles - church organ; house; church; kitchen; dining room. She also loves repeating the names of her cousins whose photos grace my refrigerator. I remember once when Josiah stayed with me one. He was sitting in the same chair as Aurelia. While eating, and studying everything on my walls, he said to me, "Grandma, I like your plates." If you know me at all, you know that pleased me!

In the afternoon, we had a wonderful time at Target, where we had a photo shoot together, and did a little shopping. It was fun going through all of the Christmas decoration aisles and looking at this and that. She loves the trees and snowmen.

Sunday we went to church. This time she went to the nursery and I was told she was a very good girl (I knew she would be). Following this we went out to eat with Peder and Sarah in celebration of their birthdays - Sarah's on Friday; Peder's on Saturday.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Here's Rosy!

Rosy is in the center of fellow 3rd grade students.

Rosy's mother and sister, Katie.

Rosy's mother, Katie and Rosy

Rosy and yours truly. She's growing up so quickly!

Last night I attended a musical program at Rosy's school. I got to sit next to her mother and little sister, Katie. Rosy and her family are such a delight!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I wonder . . .

Last night while on "Facebook," I noticed my daughter was also "on line." I decided to chat with her and was happy she responded. We must have "chatted" 15 or 20 minutes, and I learned that Marshall had come down with a cold; he was playing with his toys; and Heidi wasn't feeling too well either. We sent short little messages back and forth . A couple of times while waiting for her response, I began to wonder what it would be like if my mother were still alive (she died when I was 14 years old). Would she be a modern woman? Have a computer? Be on Facebook? Would she and I chat now and then? It's not too hard for me to imagine this since both of her sisters are computer literate, and both are on Facebook! Would she give me encouragement when I was tired or feeling down? Would she have a blog? My Aunt Liz has one!

I think I started thinking about this a couple of weeks ago while attending the birthday of my dear friend, Bonnie, and her mother, Lillian. Lillian is an amazing woman. She worked in retail nearly all of her adult life, retiring three years ago from Macy's, at age 87! That's right. She had careers of being the buyer for several departments at Power's and Dayton's. Her last 25 years were spent in the handbags department at the downtown store. Dayton's respected her so much, they told her, "We would love it if you would continue to work for us. Just pick the hours you would like to work." Lillian chose to work Friday's from 10 to 3. Customers knew her hours and would make a point to come in when they knew she would be there. Lillian just celebrated her 90th birthday - and that's exactly how old my mother would be if she were still living. Lillian swims every day. She still drives, attends Bible studies, and knows her way around a computer. It makes me wonder . . .

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Nice Surprise!

Here I sit in my cottage, watching the Vikings playing the Tigers, waiting for my dinner which is baking in the oven. The scents are wonderful - Swiss steak, squash, and baked potato (I love fall meals!). After checking my email account, family blogs, and Facebook, I decided to Google one of my favorite restaurants, "The Original Pancake House." I guess the reason is because I heard, and I've had it confirmed by one of the waitresses there, that Visanthe Shiancoe and Brett Favre eat there about once a week. Actually, she told me Visanthe eats there every week. Brett and his wife usually eat there once a week. She went on to tell me one day someone took a photo of her, some of the other waitress and the Favres which appeared on a Monday night football game. Anyway, to my surprise, I discovered this restaurant not only is present in the twin cities, but is national! There is one in Seattle, several in the Chicago area, and many other areas around the US. So, if you click on The Original Pancake House, you can see a picture of my favorite dish: the apple pancake. Then you can check to see if there's a restaurant near you where you can taste it for yourself.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday, Marshall!

Today is Marshall's first birthday. Wow, this past year has flown by! I've seen him when he was only a couple of weeks old, when he was eight months old, and again at eleven months. Each time has been very sweet for me. Oh, how I would have loved to have gotten to go to Seattle for this special day, but it didn't work out.

Heidi and Chad, I am very proud of you for the great job you have done this past year in nurturing Marshall. Brian, you've been a good friend to him. Marshall is blessed to have been born into such a loving family. Happy, happy birthday, Marshall. I love you!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans' Day

Happy Veterans' Day to Lieutenant Commander Hans
De For, my son
, plus my brother
Jerry, retired US Navy; my Uncle Allan, US Navy; cousin Wayne (deceased), US Navy;son-in-law Chad, US Air Force; nephew Keith, US Navy; cousin Pudge (Pat's husband), US Air Force; cousin Charlie (Kari's husband), retired US Air Force; Pete, Rachel's father, US Air Force; Ken, Sarah's father, US Air Force; Sarah's brother Ryan, US Coast Guard.

I'm extremely proud of all of you!

This wouldn't be complete without recognizing Rachel, Josiah, Annika and Will for the support they give Hans each and every day. They sacrifice a lot by being away from family and friends, and often Hans, and I'm so proud to have them in my family!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy 40th Birthday, Sesame Street

My kids grew up on Sesame Street. Back when they were little, living in Joliet, Illinois, there was no such thing as cable TV, Direct TV, satellite dish, etc. We had the major three networks, a few Chicago stations, plus Public TV. Oh, there may have been others, but I can't recall what they were.

Early on, Hans loved to sit and watch TV. I could trust him to stay in the living room and not even move when the TV was on. He really liked Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers, Electric Company and Spider Man. I don't know his or Peder's favorite Sesame Street character, but for Heidi, I know she loved (still does) the Muppets. Mine has always been Big Bird.

One year on the day after Thanksgiving, Heidi, Steve and I were one of the first to enter Target so that Heidi could get a Tickle Me Elmo doll. At the time, she was a student at UND.

A few weeks ago I took Aurelia to church with me. The introduction to the sermon started with a picture of one of the Sesame Street characters on our video screens. Aurelia announced, "There's Oscar the Grouch! There's Oscar the Grouch!" Indeed, she was right. So this is now a favorite program including the third generation of our family.

Today marks the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street. "A realm of sunny days where everything's A-OK, the series starts its new season with episode 4187, which features the letter H and, naturally, the number 40. With it and the 25 new hours that follow, 'Sesame Street' will continue to explore its chosen habitat - and experiment with how it does the job."

Friday, November 06, 2009


Good music is a big part of my life. For that reason, I am involved in the traditional choir at my church. I choose to go to good quality musicals at the Bloomington Civic Theater. I’ve ushered at the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra over ten years. I also bought a canary when I could no longer have my cats (those darn allergies). I could give more examples.

Each year, birds go through a molting period. For my canaries (Tweety, Bocelli, and now Peppi), it is a time of quietness – no singing, lots of sleeping, and tons of feathers on the floor. I should have picked the feathers up by hand, rather that the vacuum, to save them for little pillows – canary down – but it always seems better for me to just get rid of them.

The molt seems to affect Peppi more than it did the others. He hasn’t sung since at least the beginning of September – I should write it down when I start noticing the feathers. I have spoken to a canary breeder and he tells me I must encourage him to sing before December starts or he may never sing again. Therefore, I have been playing classical music, singing to him, running the water more, and leaving a light on in his room after sunset, all in the hopes of hearing him sing again.

Yesterday morning during breakfast, the blinds were open as I watched for the sunrise – something we haven’t seen much of late in Minnesota (clouds, clouds, clouds). All of a sudden Peppi chirped. Wow! I got all excited and “peeped” back to him. “Peep, peep,” he sang. I hurried to my stereo and started the CD of canary songs. Peppi started joining in. He sang and sang. His songs weren’t long, but clear and good. This morning was a repeat of yesterday. I am thrilled to hear him sing again. And there are no more feathers on the floor!

Along with this, a dear friend sent me this link to a fascinating U-tube on piano stairs: click here to watch and listen. It's fun. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Good Entertainment

With the membership of Netflix, I've found some good entertainment. I've watched many movies that I missed seeing in the theater, and I've located some old TV shows which I have been thoroughly enjoying. One of them is The Life of Riley, starring William Bendix. Another is Our Miss Brooks, starring Eve Arden. These were shown on television in the 1950's. But the biggest treat for me is watching the episodes of Father Knows Best, starring Robert Young. This half hour show which appeared on TV once a week, was one of my favorites then, and would be yet if it were still being shown.

Father Knows Best, in my opinion, was one of the best family shows ever. In watching the episodes now, I am seeing their true value - with family, morals, civic duty, relationships, and most importantly - respect for The Almighty. I keep thinking to myself, Why can't this series of half hour shows be rerun today? I would love my grandchildren to see them. I've seen all of season 1 and am a little ways into season 2. I watch most of them twice before returning them. They have interesting bonus material also. I believe there were 6 seasons in all.