Saturday, February 27, 2010

Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony

This was one of my favorite parts of the Opening Ceremony for the Winter Olympics. The skaters entered the stadium right beside us. I didn't take this photo, but borrowed it from Facebook. It doesn't seem possible that the Olympics will conclude tomorrow. I sure have enjoyed watching the TV coverage, even though it meant staying up past my normal bedtime many, many nights. Will I watch the Closing Ceremony? Ja, you betcha! It will be interesting for me to see how it is handled.

My heart goes out to the Chilean athletes who I heard are going to depart for their homeland today. I pray for them, their families, and their land.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Tonight Aurelia is have a sleep-over at my home. We've had a very pleasant evening and I'm so impressed with her memory. Each time she has come to my home, I go over the photos with her, my goal being for her to be acquainted with her cousins and aunts and uncles. During dinner tonight she looked at all of the photos on my refrigerator and was able to tell me who each one was. She even knew which ones are wedding photos and when I pointed to her mom, she said, "Mommy in wedding dress."

Our family is pretty much scattered around the world. Aurelia has cousins in Germany and in Seattle. She has seen them only once or twice. I know, it's sad. But ask her who is in the photos - including the new ones from Aunt Rachel, Aurelia knows who they are - well, mostly. She is still learning Will's name. It was so cute tonight to hear her say "Uncle Hans, Aunt Rachel, Aunt Heidi, and Uncle Chad." She always says, "Cousin Marshall." When she saw the new photos of Josiah and Annika, her comment was, "Annika has stripes," - on her slacks.

I let her stay up past her bed time and she immediately fell fast asleep. What a little angel!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Milk Toast

I don't know what made me think of it, but tonight on my short drive home from work, I started thinking about the menu my mom gave us kids when we were sick - milk toast. It made me wonder if my mom and her sisters, Aunt Liz and Aunt Ginny, were served this when they were sick, too. Janet and Jerry, do you remember it?

If my memory serves me correctly, she made a piece or two of toast, buttered it, and then poured hot milk over it. I remember only having it when we were sick. Thinking this might be a unique thing from my mom's side of the family, I decided to "Google" it to see what's out there. Guess what? There are lots of recipes. And the first one I looked at says "In the early 1900s, Milk Toast was popular fare for children and the ailing. It is still popular today among poor families and singles. " You can see and read it here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Traveltalks - 1942 Minnesota: Land Of Plenty

A friend led me to this wonderful video of Minnesota now on YouTube. Click here to see it, and be sure to turn up the volume on your computer.

While this was filmed before I was born, I do recall my father driving our family over the curly Hastings bridge. My Aunt Liz has a painting of it in her dining room. I find it interesting to see how Rochester, St. Paul and Minneapolis have changed over the past 60+ years.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fond Memories

Last minutes holding sweet Marshall

Security lines prior to entering BC Place

I'm still living high from my trip out West. Everyone at work has been asking me about the Opening Ceremony. I'm missing Marshall, Brian, Heidi and Chad. It's amazing how quickly I get attached to playing with my grandchildren.

I thought I would include a couple more photos of the Opening Ceremony. What an experience!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


When you book a flight, unless you're flying with family or friends, you never know who you'll be seated next to on the plane.

Let me back up just a little. As I was standing in the long security line at the Seattle airport today, I couldn't help but notice a woman in the snaking line near me. She was on the phone and I heard her say, Honey, are you griping? Are you griping at me? She had on a low- cut shirt and was nearly spilling out of it.

Fast forward. You guessed it - they seated her in the same row as I. There was an empty seat between us. Well before we took off, she left her seat. When she returned, one of the flight attendants came up to her and asked Did you just have a cigarette in the restroom? "Oh, no. I just put on some perfume." Then she proceeded to eat a bag of M & Ms, followed by a Payday candy bar, and then she ate a long tube of malted milk balls. We hadn't left the gate yet. She had a huge red and white teddy bear in the empty seat between us. It had a big Valentine heart on it's chest. Three flight attendants came to her to tell her her big carry-on bag and her large purse had to be stashed under the seat. She moved them slightly.

When we took off, she started looking toward the window. She said to me, Are those clouds? I told her yes, and we were above them and climbing higher. She told me I've never rode in a plane before! I pointed out Mt. Rainier to her. She was impressed. She said her 100 year old grandmother had died in Minnesota and she was coming back for her funeral. She was at peace with that.

A flight attendant came by to offer the small video machines (sorry, I can't remember the name of them - but Alaska Airlines is the only airline I have flown on that offers them). The woman said she'd like one, so the attendant gave one to her and showed her the available movies. It was $6 - credit or debit cards only. The woman only had cash. The attendant let her use it anyway. She kindly offered to share the movie with me. I thought that was nice, even though I declined.

I noticed she couldn't sit still. She lay this way and that way. She ordered a cup of water and took some pills. She sprawled out on two seats, not watching the movie at all. Eventually a flight attendant came by and told her an entire row was empty further back and she could stretch out, so she moved back there.

I have to say this was really interesting to me. I didn't see her again, but I hope she will be okay. I've gotten to fly a lot and probably take it for granted. Oh, I still love the feeling of the take off. But for the rest of the flight, it's nice - it's comfortable.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I left Winter for a week of Spring

Crocus (sorry this is sideways)

The weather here in the Pacific Northwest has been fabulous! It's been in the 50's, and there are flowers blooming; grass is green; everything smells so fresh.
Today Brian and I went for a little walk and treated our eyes to something we won't see in Minnesota for at least another 2 1/2 months - flowers!

Marshall Enjoying Pasta

Marshall loves pasta!
All done. Good job, Marshall. Yay!

Time for a bath

Interview for Kare 11 Newscast

About a week before I left for Seattle, I emailed Eric Perkins from Kare 11 to let him know I was coming to the Opening Ceremony to the Winter Olympics. That same day I received a message from Eric saying he would like to meet up with me to do an interview about my anticipation. Not knowing how this would work out, I responded that Heidi and I would be arriving in Vancouver on Friday morning and our first destination would be "Will Call" to pick up our tickets. I provided my cell phone number but wasn't sure if I would have coverage or not.

20 minutes after we got off the train in downtown Vancouver my cell phone rang and it was Eric. Where are you? We're at Starbuck's on Beadie Street and heading to "Will Call." Would you mind waiting for us? We can be there in 5 minutes. No problem. We'll wait.

Sure enough, in a short amount of time Eric and his camera man, John, showed up. I had never met either of them before, but as soon as they crossed the street and came close to us, Eric gave me a hug and said, This has to be Donna! After introductions, we visited a little and then I noticed a gentleman in Olympic torch clothing approaching. He appeared to have Olympic pins on his clothing. Since trading pins was high on my list, I walked up to him and asked him if he wanted to trade a pin with me. Sure. He asked me if I would like a pin from Quebec City - and what a French accent he had. This whole scenario peaked Eric and John's interest and before I knew it, the camera was running and Eric was asking the man questions. This gentleman had carried the torch for a distance in honor of Terry Fox. He also gave me a Terry Fox pin.

After I got the pin and a photo of the man from Quebec, we headed for "Will Call" which was a few blocks away. Eric and John continued to walk with us and stayed with us throughout the time it took to pick up our tickets and then walked and talked with us following that. All in all, I would say they stayed with us for about an hour.
That night (2/12/10), Kare 11 had about a 2 minute story with me and Heidi. Some of my friends have told me they saw it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

One of My Valentines

Sweet Marshall
Happy Valentines' Day to all of my Valentines: Josiah, Annika, Aurelia, Marshall, and Will.

Some Photos from the Olympics

Proudly holding an Olympic torch

Posing in a bobsled

Mother and daughter in our seats at BC Place


Processing with the Olympic flag

2010 Winter Oympics Opening Ceremony

Hello from Seattle! I flew out here on Wednesday and on Friday my daughter Heidi and I drove up to Vancouver to attend the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics! What a once-in-a-lifetime experience! The entire day was filled with so much anticipation and new experiences.

In the morning, a newscaster and his photographer from one of the Minneapolis TV stations met up with us and interviewed us. They probably spent an hour walking around with us, filming me making my first trade of Olympic pins; walking to the "Will Call" building to pick up our tickets; and talked about some of the things we were anticipating and of some of the things they've gottten to do since arriving in Vancouver over a week ago. The story was broadcast in the twin cities on Kare 11 Friday night at 6.

Next we spent time among the crowds of people in downtown Vancouver looking at exhibitions of art work and feeling the excitement of people from all over the world. Most of them were wearing some type of hat, scarf, mittens, jacket, or shirt from their homeland. I just loved it! We had our picture taken holding one of the Olympic torches, and Heidi took my picture sitting in a bobsled.

My mission was to find the red mittens that the Canadians had produced to support their team. About a third of the people we saw were wearing them. They have the 5 Olympic rings embroidered in white on the upper part, and the Canadian maple leaf in the palm. They're only $10, but were "out of stock" each time I tried to order them prior to my trip. Well, we learned that they were available in one store only: Hudson Bay. So, that's where we headed - only to find out there was a HUGE line outside the store, monitored by police. It looked like I would never get any.

Being discouraged, we made a change of plans and went to the Sheraton Hotel where the company from which Heidi bought our tickets was providing a beautiful dinner. It was a fancy buffet, and the food was delicious. It was there that we learned there had been a fatal accident by one of the athletes that morning. We didn't know the details because the sound of the TVs were muted, but could tell by the headlines that it wasn't good.

After eating, we made our way back to the Hudson Bay store and got in the line which was now much smaller. In about 12 minutes time, we were allowed into the store and I found the mittens. SCORE! I also bought a darling Canadian hat and was also able to trade more Olympic pins.

Since we had to be in our seats an hour before the ceremony for the audience participation rehearsal, we headed toward the Vancouver BC Place, which is nearly identical to the metrodome in Minneapolis. Because of security reasons, they were using only two entrances for the 60,000+ fans. We walked over a mile in neighborhoods around the area just to get to the security lines. Thankfully it wasn't raining at the time. There was so much excitement and energy in the air! There were probably 10 or 12 security lines. We got in what looked to be the shortest. The security check was like those at the airports - bins for purses, bags, electronics, anything metal, and archways under which to pass. The only difference was that we didn't have to remove our shoes.

Our seats were about 20 rows from the stage, approximately 50 feet from the Canadian flag, and 30 feet stage right. On the backs of our seats was a bound 50 page program. In our seats was a cardboard drum that opened like a suitcase. In it was a poncho made of reflective fiber/paper which we were to put on over our clothes. This provided a scrim for some of the 75 projectors used during the ceremony. We also had an LED flashlight with a gel spot of color over the lens plus a number. Both Heidi and I had number 3. This was used later in a couple of the scenes. There was also a battery operated candle which we turned on during the "Hallelujah" number. Another item inside was a drum stick. And finally, a Canadian flag.

During the rehearsal, a couple of announcers gave us instructions for the various props. There were "coaches" or "cheerleaders" spaced throughout the audience, who held a stick similar to those held by the employees at the airport that guide the plane in and out of the gates. These coaches would signal us as to when we should be prepared to use a certain prop and then would act out the way we were to use it. Thus, we enhanced the particular scene - with small circles of light, large strokes of lightning, drum beats in various moves and rhythms, and then the lighting of the candles throughout the entire stadium. It was really fun - - but kept me really busy! Perhaps you watched the ceremony, so you know to what I am referring.

So many have asked me, what was your favorite part? Wow! I have to say - I loved it all, but first and foremost, I loved spending such a special day with my daughter. I loved being under one roof with people from at least 82 countries and during those four hours, we were experiencing world peace. I loved the music; I loved the whales, and all of the special effects, for that matter. I loved the skaters who glided right past us and a little later had red and white lights illuminating on their arms and legs. I loved the athletes from each country being announced and parading before us. I loved the kindness of the Canadians who didn't seem to mind when we stood during the entire time the USA team made their way across the huge stage, wildly cheering and waving our American flags. I loved the lighting of the Olympic torch.

On the train on our way into the city, I met a dad and his 8 year old son from the tiny country of Lithuania. They had come the long distance to root for their 5 athletes. On the train on our way out of the city, I met the coach of the Italian speed skaters and his wife and 8 year old daughter. I told both families I would be rooting for their teams.

What a great day! I'll never forget it. You can see pictures and read Heidi's impressions of the day here.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

We've Had Enough

While we didn't get the 30 inches of snow the east coast got this past weekend, we got 7 or 8 inches of new snow by last evening and another 3 or 4 inches during the night. Mind you, due to the frigid temperatures we have been having, we still have most of the snow we got over the Christmas weekend. It's beginning to be a real problem as to where to put it and how to navigate the corners when driving. This morning I had to inch my way out onto a busy street, praying first that no one was coming. Don't you just love global warming?

Monday, February 08, 2010

Visitors from Around the World

On January 28, Rachel commented having seen a reader on my website from Vietnam. It got me watching the FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed to see if any there were any other folks from foreign lands hopping onto my site. Well, to date I have documented 29. In trying to find out what leads them to News from DD4’s Cottage, I can only surmise it is the entries related to the Olympics.

Here is the list of places I have noticed:

Le Raincy,Région Île-de-France
Tizi, Ouzou, Algeria
Jakarta, Jakarta Raya, Indonesia
Ridadh, Audi Arabia
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil
Santa Cruz de la, Bolivia
Antioquia, Columbia
Athens, Greece
São Paulo, Brazil
Cartago, Valle del Cauca, Columbia
Saint Helier, UK (English Channel)
Taipei, Tai-pei, Taiwan
Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada
Pune, Maharashtra, India
Dublin, Ireland
Madrid, Spain
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Barcolona, Catalunya, Spain
Jakarta, Indonesia
Lisbon, Portugal
Bogotá, Columbia
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
Stadtwald, Thurigen, Germany
Guayaquil, Guayas, Ecuador
Oslo, Norway
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Paris, France
Poznań - Wielkopolskie, Poland

When talking to Peder about this, he told me I could show the map that FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed has been keeping for me. You can see it here.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony

With only a week to go, I have been searching the Internet for a preview of the Opening Ceremony. The only things I have learned are that they have a budget of $40 million and will be premiering the remake of We Are the World. This remake features 70 celebrities, some of whom may be present during the ceremony. This will be the first time this venue has been held indoors - in Vancouver's BC Place - a 55,000 seat stadium. We are to be in our seats a couple of hours before the start for the audience rehearsal. Wow! I wonder what we will be doing? Only time will tell . . .

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Farewell, Thelma

When I was a junior in high school, a dear family from my church invited me to come to live with them. My parents had died earlier, and though I could have continued living with my Aunt Liz and Uncle Vic, I missed my friends from my hometown and wanted to return. I took them up on their generous offer and lived with them on their farm for two years.

Of course, many years have passed since I lived with them. Over time, they moved away and we kept in touch via mail and email. About six years ago I got to see Thelma and one of her daughters, Carole. Today Thelma passed away. She was 98 years old. She was a fine, Christian woman. And I'll always be grateful to her and her husband for inviting me into their home.