Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Three of My Grandkids


Annika and Josiah

United States of America

William Friedrich

Today Rachel posted new pictures of Annika and Will, and also a photo of the US map that Josiah created this past weekend. Some of my readers aren't able to read her blog, so I took the liberty of copying a few of these photos to share with you. Double click on any photo to enlarge it.

Josiah is 5 years old (he'll be 6 next month) and is in kindergarten this year. His knowledge and interests amaze me. I love this map, Josiah. Great job!

Annika is 4, and attends preschool. She is looking so grown up. Will is 6 1/2 months old, and in a couple of weeks, I'll finally get to meet him. I study his pictures and see some of Josiah in him and some of Annika. I sure hope he warms up to me.

It's been a year since I have seen Rachel, Josiah and Annika, and 21 months since I've seen my son, Hans. That's way too long.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

This Does Not Thrill Me

Today I saw this. It's confusing to me, changing something that has been selling so well. One thing I have heard is that VW is trying to make the Beetle more of a muscle car, instead of a "chick's" car. I've also seen a version with wider back fenders and horizontal vents coming up to the side panel. It actually looks "mean" to me, as though the car is angry. I'm sure glad I was able to have one that looks cute.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Surprise Flowers

This past Wednesday was Administrative Professionals Day, previously called "Secretary's Day." One of my bosses surprised me with these beautiful tulips!

"The Sound of Music"

Nancy, Laurey and yours truly
Delicious dinner.
Capt. Von Trapp introducing his seven children
Maria teaching the children to sing
Bedroom scene with Maria and the Von Trapp children
The Von Trapp Family Singers at the festival.

Last night Laurey, Nancy, and I went to our church's dinner theater production of The Sound of Music. What a wonderful evening we had!

First of all, the dinner was delicious: salad and breads, tender beef, mashed potatoes, asparagus spears, and turnips, followed by scrumptious apple strudel.

The play was amazing! All of the actors, directors, instrumentalists, and crew - plus seamstresses - are from our church. We had front row seats, too.

I was taking lots of photos, but because of the lighting, not many turned out. I'm giving a small glimpse of the evening with these. We've decided we would like to make this an annual event.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Celebrating My Aunt Liz!

Aunt Liz and Pat (Pat's birthday was also this week)
Peder and yours truly
Sarah and babyAurelia pouring tea for cousin Ethan
Aunt Liz, Aurelia and Ethan

Last week my Aunt Liz turned 85 years of age! To honor her, several of my family members gathered at her home on Saturday for a little birthday party. I have always loved her and her sweet, spunky attitude. A more generous person I've hardly known. Here's to at least 20 more years, Aunt Liz! Happy Birthday!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Shiny, shiny, clean

Now and then I get a front row seat to see Peppi, my canary, taking a bath. This morning, while eating my breakfast, I was a witness to this fun event. It is an adorable sight. First he takes a drink or two of the water, then he hops into the tub and begins dipping his head in the water and splashing water all over. He dips and shakes many times over, followed by hopping out of the tub onto a perch to shake out some of his feathers. Often he returns to the tub to dip a few more times. Finally, he flies to his upper most perch and begins to preen, using his beak to smooth his feathers into place. He shakes and preens, shakes and preens. It's a necessary task for Peppi to stay healthy. And it's very cute.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Heavenly Sight

I love looking at the moon, especially when it is a full moon or only a sliver. Tonight it was a tiny sliver. I noticed it when I was walking to my car in a mall parking lot. Up to the left of it was Venus. While I didn't have my camera along, it wouldn't have mattered, because I have never been able to get a good picture of the moon. I guess it takes a better camera than what I have. The picture posted here is one I found on the Internet. It most closely resembles what I was privileged to see tonight. Isn't it beautiful!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Minnesota Twins

I'm a Minnesota Twins fan - have been all my life (well, as long as there has been a Minnesota Twins team). Even during the ten years we lived in Illinois, I remained a loyal Twins fan.

In the olden days, Steve and I would often attend the morning worship services at our church and then go to the Sunday afternoon game. Somewhere in my storage, I have Super 8 movies of camera day at the old Met Stadium, which is now the location of the Mall of America. A couple of the players at that time were Tony Oliva and Rod Carew. We were at the game when Harmon Killebrew hit his famous home run into the second deck of the outfield.

Of course, after Met Stadium was torn down, the Twins played at the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome, which is in downtown Minneapolis. I always liked games at the dome. I knew what to wear - rain or shine, or even snow - I could count on it being the same. One horrible memory there is the night I worked as a volunteer at a concession stand. It was a fund-raiser for the Bloomington Jefferson High School band. Had I known what I was getting into, I would have never offered to do it, but that will have to be another blog entry. There was one nice thing that happened that night: I got to talk to Joe Mauer. Before the game, just after batting practice, he was walking toward the dugout. I was sitting in the first row when he walked by. I called out to him, "Joe, I really like your sideburns." He replied, "Thanks. I think I'll keep them!" Last year he was named Most Valuable Player in baseball. Last year was also the conclusion of the Twins playing ball at the dome, which has since been renamed Mall of America Field.

Tomorrow is opening day at the brand new Target Field, also in downtown Minneapolis. It would have been exciting to go to the event. I understand it is state of the art, with fantastic dining opportunities, and plenty of places to stay out of the rain (or snow). It has been given an award for being "green." My sister got to go to an exhibition game there last week and posted these pictures.

All fans in attendance tomorrow will receive an Opening Day Homer Hanky and an Opening Day 2010 commemorative certificate. Other things happening tomorrow include:
  • 11:30 a.m. - The Twins unveil the Kirby Puckett bronze legend statue on Target Plaza.
  • 12:00 p.m. - Gates open - legendary Twins players will ceremonially open their respective gate (Harmon Killebrew at Gate 3, Tony Oliva at Gate 6, Kent Hrbek at Gate 14, Rod Carew at Gate 29 and Kirby Puckett, Jr. at Gate 34)
  • Special arrangement of the National Anthem will be performed by The Twin Cities All-Stars comprised of members of the Sounds of Blackness, The Steeles, Moore by Four and the Twin Cities Community Gospel Choir,
  • Military flyover of F-16s performed by the 148th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard located in Duluth, Minn. with fireworks to follow.
  • Other activities will be included, and then the Twins team will take the field and hopefully win their first game against the Boston Red Sox at this beautiful new field.

Friday, April 09, 2010

New Neighbors

After eleven months of having no one living in the apartment above mine, I have new neighbors. A young mother and her six year old daughter moved in a week ago. It has been an interesting week of getting used to sounds again - sounds of footsteps, both heavy and sometimes running; water running in the shower, bath tub, and toilets.

My previous neighbors were not very friendly. In fact, the wife was downright mean at times. I still remember the day I moved in. It was the end of July, the temperature was probably in the high 80's - low 90's. Many of my family members helped with the laborious task. Trip after trip we made from the moving van into my home, and all the while the woman upstairs sat in her window watching us (it felt like she was spying on us). Did she come down to introduce herself to me? No. Did she make a pitcher of lemonade? No. There was no "welcome," whatsoever.

Remembering that, last Friday night I dropped into one of my favorite grocery stores thinking they would probably have beautiful Easter cakes. Sure enough. They had many pretty things from which to chose. I picked out a pink bunny cake, which came inside a nice, clear plastic dome. I found a simple Easter card which read, "Happy Spring. Happy Easter." When I got home, I wrote a simple "Welcome! I hope you will be happy here. Here is my name and phone number should you ever need anything." Since they weren't home, I left it in front of their door.

Saturday afternoon I was working in my home when my phone rang. A little voice on the other end said, "We're the neighbors. Would you like to come up for a visit?" Yes! I would love to. I walked upstairs and was greeted by six year old Toni. She invited me in, and I stayed about an hour and a half. I had a delightful time.

Angie, her mom, is going through a divorce, but was very kind and shared many things with me. Toni is a bright, perky girl, with gorgeous, naturally curly ringlets that bounce when she walks (runs). We sat on their porch, drinking sodas and eating some of the bunny cake. They gave me a tour of the already settled home. Toni's room is right above my cottage. It's fixed up very cute.

Our schedules are such that I haven't seen them since Saturday, but I am happy to have made friends with my new neighbors. Once again, the Golden Rule plays out. I am trying to treat them as I would like to be treated, and hopefully, it will get passed on.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Ich bin äußerst müde.

After 8 straight days and nearly that many nights of extra activities, Ich bin äußerst müde. Translation: I am extremely tired. I left choir rehearsal early tonight due to constant yawning. I feared I wouldn't be able to drive home safely.

I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep and having nothing planned for the next two nights. I need some down time.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Mixed Emotions

Tonight I sat in this - the hard top version. What a beautiful car! A few months ago my brother told me this was going to be the last year for the New VW Beetle. I'm stymied as to why they would discontinue something that has done so well, but apparently they have a new concept car that will take its place. It is to be revealed at the German auto show next year.

The Aquarius Blue paint will only be used on these limited special edition 3,000 automobiles - 1500 sedans; 1500 convertibles - and it is really pretty. It's kind of like a robin's egg blue.

Okay, would I like one? Probably. But there is nothing wrong with my '98 model. Just last Saturday, while filling up my car with fuel, another customer came over to me and asked if the engines were still in the back of the VWs. I thought that was kind of funny. Then he asked me how old it was. I said, "How many years do you think it is?" He said, "Three?" He was taken aback when I told him it was 11-1/2. "No!" "Yes." I have a "first edition." And it was a small challenge for me to get it.

In early 1998, I saw my first New Beetle. Wow! I thought is was really cool! The first chance I got, I drove to a VW dealership to see one close up and to give it a test drive. Well, I wasn't the only one with this idea. There must have been 15 or 20 people in line ahead of me. My turn finally came. Get this. "You may drive it out of the dealership, get right on the freeway (highway 100), go to the first exit at which you must exit, cross the bridge, and come back down the highway to our dealership. I'll accompany you." I really wanted to drive it, so I agreed.

After the test drive, I looked around a bit and then drove home. I was hooked. I had a perfectly good (great) car, but I couldn't get this New Beetle out of my head. Later that week, I test drove a second one, and then I knew I was convinced. At the first chance, I went back to the original dealership and placed my order, with a $50 deposit. The cars were so popular, I was put on a waiting list. My order looked like this: I'll take a white, dark blue, or red one; leather or cloth interior; manual or automatic; sunroof or no sunroof. Whatever comes in first, that meets any of my criteria, I'll buy. This was the middle of May.

Around the middle of June I was getting antsy, so I called the dealership and asked where I was on the waiting list. My salesperson put me on hold and after a couple of minutes, he reported his findings. From then on, I called every Friday to ask. Finally on Thursday, September 3, I got THE call. "We have a red, hardtop, no sunroof, automatic. Do you want it?" Of course I wanted it! I told him I was taking off in the morning for Jacksonville for a weekend with my son, but would pick it up on Tuesday, the 8th, after my plane landed.

When I entered the dealership, my salesman greeted me. He confided in me, your name hadn't really come to the top of the list, but last Friday after you called to see where you were on the list, my manager said, "The next time we get in a car that meets her choices, call her. We're getting tired of looking on the list every Friday!" Persistence paid off.