Friday, July 30, 2010

Tall Ship Festival in Duluth, Minnesota

Our spot on the break way is the first thin patch of green grass about 3 blocks to the left of the lift bridge in Duluth, Minnesota. The tall ships waited out in Lake Superior and made their entrance into the harbor through the canal and under the lift bridge.

Sitting outside Ray and Nancy's RV. What special people they are!

Ray is a retired Navy Captain - a Chaplain.

One of the many schooners in the area. I loved the flags!

Coast Guard ship which spouted water throughout the entire celebration.

The first tall ship in the Tall Ship Festival to enter the Duluth harbor was the HMS Bounty. This ship has 10,000 square feet of sails, 10 miles of rigging and four functioning canons. It shot off canons a couple of times! It was used in the 1962 film "Mutiny on the Bounty" and later used in "Pirates of the Caribbean II."

Pat, sitting at the end of the break way.

L to R: Yours truly, Janet, Nancy, Ray, and Jerry. These turned out to be excellent seats!

The US Brig Niagara is the official flagship of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Its tug boat was tied up close to our break way.

"Roseway"Barque EUROPA - from The Netherlands

"Pride of Baltimore II" of the state of Maryland and the port of Baltimore. It arrived with part of its sails folded.

Traffic jam leaving Duluth. It took us 2 hours and 15 minutes from the time we left the RV park before we reached the outside edge of Duluth - party due to road construction. Ugh!

Yesterday was a fabulous day! My brother, sister, cousin and I drove to Duluth for the Tall Ships Festival. This year was built up to be the best ever - with eight tall ships expected to arrive in the harbor. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned we were going up to this event to my dear friends, Nancy and Ray. They both sing in our church choir and Ray is a retired Navy Captain. They told me they were going to be there also and invited us to join them for lunch at their RV, which would be in an RV park at a marina only three blocks from the lift bridge in Duluth. How nice is that?! Of course, I accepted their invitation. We arrived at the marina around 10:30. Ray was on his bike at the entrance to the marina and we followed him to their site. Little did we know there would be a narrow break way on which we could sit to watch the parade of the Tall Ships!

After a lovely lunch, we carried our chairs, umbrellas, and binoculars to the break way and had a wonderful time. The first ship to enter the canal was the HMS Bounty. It's sails were puffed out by the wind and it glided into the harbor with ease. It shot off a couple of canons which echoed around the city. Wow! Was she impressive! I thought her sails looked "tea stained." She turned to make her way to the pier next to downtown Duluth, and we could then read her name. Over the course of the next hour and 15 minutes the other ships and smaller vessels made their way under the lift bridge and through the canal. It was fun for me to listen to Jerry and Ray discuss the flags each ship was flying. It made me wish Hans would have been there to join in the conversation.

Except for the heavy, heavy traffic exiting (or trying to exit) the city, it was a great day! We couldn't have asked for nicer weather or more gracious hosts. Here is a U Tube I found with some great shots of the event.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


The Town Hall

This is an oil painting on a roller that graces the small stage in the Town Hall.

This area in Minnesota is rich with limestone and white sand. Much of the land is being purchased by a company that is selling the sand to glass factories around the US.

The church where my father and his family attended.

The old school. There is no intention of restoring this building. In fact, the company buying up the property for the sale of the white sand has purchased it and it will be demolished. I have recently learned that my mother's parents lived in my father's farm house at some point. So, my Aunt Ginny attended this school for a couple of years. You can read about it here.

On Saturday I attended the family reunion on my father's side which was held in the small town where in he was born - Ottawa. There are very few people living there now, but a couple of the old buildings have been restored and are on the Minnesota Historical Register. One is church; another is the Town Hall where we held our gathering. The church was locked - apparently it is opened only on Sundays, so I didn't get to go inside of it. The Town Hall was built 150 years ago, and has been restored. In fact, Henderson High School recently rented it for their prom.

I would estimate 70 people came to our little reunion. Many of them are strangers to me, but several of my first cousins were there: Beulah, who will turn 95 in January; Jane, Dick and Carl - brothers and sisters; Kathleen, who was born the day after I; and Mary, Kathleen's sister, who is a couple of years younger than I. I hadn't seen Mary for more than 20 years, so it was especially nice catching up on what she has been doing. And of course, Janet and Jerry were there.

The Town Hall was cool when we first arrived, but add about 70 people and temperatures outside rising to the mid to high 80's (the building is not air conditioned, but we had a few fans running), the reunion adjourned around 2 o'clock.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


This photo was taken last night from my bedroom window.

Some members of my family like storms. They like the clouds, the wind, the lightning and thunder, and the rain. My cousin, Em, was looking forward to the storms tonight. She even said she loves the storm clouds. She posted this picture of the sky a few weeks ago.

I'm not in that camp. When the weather announcer predicts storms, I get a bit antsy. The closer it gets to the expected time of arrival, I'm checking the radar, listening to the radio (WCCO), watching the news station on TV. If there's any mention of hail in the forecast, I'm especially nervous. In May of 1998, on a Friday afternoon, we had a big storm roll in. Hail the size of golf balls badly dented every one's car in our office parking lot. It broke headlights and shredded window screens, and played havoc on anyone with aluminum or steel siding. Leaves were everywhere. Big trees were down. It was a real mess. I guess storms have brought fear to me ever since.

Today it was very hot -- 94 degrees, with a heat index of 104! The weather personnel were predicting severe storms for this evening, with possible hail and tornadoes. It seems we've had a lot of this unsettled weather this summer. I was thankful I didn't have to be anywhere but home tonight. With my car tucked safely in the garage and my plants on my patio pulled back under the roof, I felt a little more secure. Around 8 o'clock, the wind picked up. Oh, boy. Here we go again. I turned off my computer and TV and unplugged both of them, and proceeded out to my patio to look at the sky. Big, dark gray clouds were swiftly passing overhead. I could hear thunder in the distance. Every now and then there was a little bolt of thunder. Eventually it began to rain. As I sat there, I could feel the air getting cooler. Once when I stood up to check the thermometer, it read 82 degrees. Fifteen minutes later, it was 77.

We never did get anything severe. No hail (Thank You, Lord!); no downed trees. I sat and watched the rain come down for a little while longer, and then I noticed the orange cast on the building across from mine. I hurried inside and looked out my bedroom window. The sky was a gorgeous coral! I got my camera and took a few pictures. The color didn't last long, but I hope I got a couple of good pictures.

Friday, July 23, 2010

It's been a full week, but Friday is here and I'm ready for the weekend!

Ant update: I have still had an infestation of ants so I had the exterminator back yesterday. I showed him the spot where I have seen them coming and going and he used an industrial spray (odorless; not harmful to Peppi) and sprayed the area very well. He also sprayed the outside of my home (which the association does twice a year), just for some extra protection. Last evening the score was: zero. This morning, the score is: zero. I hope this is it!

Tomorrow I will be driving to Ottawa, Minnesota, for a family reunion on my dad's side of the family. My dad was born in this small community, which is northeast of St. Peter and south of Le Sueur. The house in which he was born and lived until he left home, is no longer there. Just this past week my Aunt Liz told me her family had lived in that house for a couple of years - a time when she was in high school. She told me she took the train to St. Peter for school on Mondays for a dime, and stayed with my mom and dad who were then married. She would return to Ottawa on Fridays - again, for a dime. She said my Aunt Ginny attended school in Ottawa at that time, since she was younger. I had never heard this story. I asked her to write about it on her blog, but so far I don't think she has.

On Sunday afternoon, some of my friends and I are going to the stage play Titanic. I'm really looking forward to this. It will be interesting to see how they perform this well-known event.

And then, my 15 minute weekend will be over.

I wish all of my readers a wonderful weekend. It would be fun to hear what you did with yours!

Monday, July 19, 2010

At the Movies with Rosy

View of the screen without the special 3-D glasses

Rosy and me sporting our 3-D glasses!

She's getting so tall!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Date With Rosy

This afternoon I had a date with Rosy, who is now getting ready to go into the 4th grade. I have tutored Rosy, who is Hispanic, for three school years. She is a very sweet girl and I love the times we spend together.

When I found out I had a free afternoon today, I called Rosy to see if she was interested in going to a movie with me - Toy Story 3 in 3D. After checking with her parents, she called me back and said she could go. She was surprised when I drove up with a new car. She said she liked it!

Rosy hasn't seen Toy Story or Toy Story 2, but I thought that wouldn't matter for her to enjoy number 3. This is the second 3D movie that Rosy and I have seen together. It's special for both of us!

I'm not going to spoil the movie for you, but let me say we both liked it a lot. There are a couple of scenes in which Buzz Light Year speaks Spanish. I looked over at Rosy and knew she knew exactly what he was saying. More and more, we see Spanish being added to things in the U.S. This is the first time I have seen it in a movie, but I thought it was tastefully done. Also, let me say that this is a very touching movie. I had many tears at the finale.

It was very enjoyable spending the afternoon with Rosy. She sure is a sweetheart!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's a Girl!

33 years ago today, in Joliet, Illinois, it was 101 degrees. Vacation Bible School was going on in the yard outside our parsonage. The baby wasn't due for another three weeks, so I was spending most of my time indoors to stay out of the heat.

Very early in the morning, labor set in and so Steve called our sweet neighbors who came over to stay with Hans and Peder and we were off to the hospital. Labor stopped and started a few times. But when it got closer to 10 am, my doctor said he needed to get to the clinic for office hours. He ordered pitosin. It did the trick. In 15 minutes they were wheeling me into the delivery room.

Dr. Rousonelos announced, "It's a girl!" to which I replied, "Are you sure?" After having two boys, I didn't want to get my hopes up for having a girl, but I sure was happy! The nurse measured Heidi by holding her upside down by the ankle. "17". No, that can't be right. I'd better measure again. Yes, she's 17" long; 6 pounds, 2 ounces." She was and still is beautiful. Happy, happy birthday, Heidi!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Plagued with Swarmer Ants

The squirrel is gone and has been replaced with Swarmer ants in. my. home! Really!

Friday afternoon I stopped home for a few minutes and what to my dismay, I saw a large troop of ants walking in formation from my cottage to my guest bath. There may have been 200. No kidding! These ants were no ordinary ants. They had wings - yet they didn't fly! I immediately ran for my broom and swept them into my bathroom and closed the door! Then I stuffed a bath towel at the base of the door and headed to the local store to purchase some bug spray and ant traps.

I returned home and sprayed the room, put out the traps, and closed the door - again stuffing the towel at the base. Later that night I opened the door and was pleased to see they were dead - all of them! I left them overnight, just for security purposes. I cleaned up the floor Saturday morning. Whew! They're gone!

Two days later. . . sitting in my cottage, watching TV, I realized the sun had set and it was time to close the blinds. I reached to twist the wand and what to my amazement - - there, walking on the blinds, were more of those stupid, winged ants! Not only were they there, but they were marching along the edge of my table, almost in pairs, at least 100 of them! They were also crawling up the edge of the window sill and a 100 or more were walking around on the carpet. I ran and got a big roll of tape and ran it across the back of the table and smacked it down with my hands - like fly tape. That took care of those. Then I ran for the bug spray. I sprayed the window, the corner of the wall, the baseboard. I didn't want to spray my antique table, so I ran for a fly swatter. I smacked and smacked them, all the while I had the heebie-jeebies! Finally, I spayed the top of the table and more of the carpet. Then I turned off my computer and TV and closed the door to the cottage, stuffing a towel at the base of the screen door.

I proceeded to spray the baseboards in my bedroom and bathroom. I kept thinking, "I'm going to have to move, or burn this house down! I phoned my sister - just to see if she could shed any light on what sort of ant I was dealing with. Then I went to bed and read some of my book to get my mind off of things - crawling things!

Yesterday I contacted an exterminator who was able to come over. He put down 10 industrial-type traps and told me it's possible I killed all the worker-ants so the Queen Ant will continue to lay eggs. He said I may see another assembly of ants, but to leave them alone. They won't hurt me. They'll most likely go into the traps, eat some of the poison, and take it back to the Queen, which will kill her and then I'll have NO MORE ANTS! This is my prayer.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I Broke Down . . .

After years and years of keeping house, today I broke down and bought a mop - my first one ever! Up to now, I have been getting down on my hands and knees to wash and wax my floors. But thinking about this upcoming task, I decided to take an easier route. Going down the aisle of cleaning supplies at Target, I was happy to see I had some choices. I bought what looked easy for me, yet will scrub and wipe up, doing a complete job.

So, this afternoon I tried it out. I like it!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

New Computer

My eight year old computer died on Wednesday. It was rather sick on Monday night. Tuesday I had a little hope that it might be able to be fixed (a co-worker did a bunch of tests on it for me and cleared up some issues). But on Wednesday the hard drive gave up the ghost and breathed its last. I took out the hard drive and bent it good so no one could possibly retrieve anything from it, and donated the rest of it to a friend. She plans to buy a hard drive and will use it for simple job searches. For me, that computer was too old and too slow for me to fix it up.

After some research and shopping in four stores, I settled on a new Dell laptop. The technicians at the store installed "ESET Smart Security 4" on it and I picked it up today. I turned it on about 45 minutes ago and like the touch of the keys very much. It is much quicker in response time. Plus it has a built in camera and microphone so I can video conference easier with my kids and grandkids. What do you think? Do you like the way I'm writing? Let me tell you, I sure missed not having a working computer in my home the past three nights. It amazes how much I have become used to having it.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

I love this photo! I told Aurelia I wish I could have a giraffe print dress just like this one!

Felix is so sweet!

Aunt Liz taking her turn to hold him.

Pat and Aurelia sorting embroidery floss

Aurelia checking out her new hair bow.

I loved having July 4 fall on a Sunday this year. With "summer hours" at my job, I got out of work at noon on Friday and didn't have to return until Tuesday morning!! It felt as though I had a four day weekend! I'm thinking, I could get used to this!!

On Monday, several members of my family and I gathered at my Aunt Liz's for a time of visiting and going out to lunch. As always, the children - Aurelia and Felix - were the main attraction. Aurelia charmed us with her delightful smile and darling comments. Felix just charmed us with his sweetness. Each of us took our opportunity to hold him.

Peder and Sarah returned Pat's cradle and Aunt Liz added Felix's name to the bottom piece of it. Felix is #17 to have slept in this cradle - it's quite the family piece.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Independence Day ~ 234 Years Old Today!

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured. Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown , Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.

So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid.

Remember: freedom is never free!