Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 in Review

This year is quickly drawing to a close. I'll be breaking out new calendars in another day. In looking back, I can see I've done a lot of very fun things this year. Here is a recap:

In January and continuing through April, I tutored Rosy every Monday night at the One-by-One program. I enjoyed this very much.

In February, I flew out to Seattle and from there Heidi and I drove north. Our destination: the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada! It was a fun- - filled to the brim -- day, a day I'll never forget. She bought us the "best seats in the house." I spent the next five days at their home, which was also very fun.

March and April were pretty routine for me: working, singing in my church choir, spending time with friends.

May 1st, Felix Drake was born to Peder and Sarah! What a happy child he is! Aurelia is a very good, big sister to him. And he sure enjoys her!

The middle of May I flew to Stuttgart, Germany, and spent a couple of weeks with Hans, Rachel, Josiah, Annika, and their newest child, Will. I really enjoyed my time with them. I loved our time at Edelweiss Resort and Lodge in Garmisch, and the tour of Dachau Concentration Camp that Hans took me to see. Along with that, I loved the experience of living on the base for those couple of weeks and walking Josiah and Annika to school. On the 19th, we celebrated Josiah's 6th birthday.

I got back from Germany on Sunday, the 30th of May. On Monday, Memorial Day, I rode to Austin with Peder and Sarah for the parade and to spend some time with them and my brother and sister. I drove home in my new 2010 VW Beetle. What a nice ride! I'm sure enjoying this new, "final edition" automobile!

June 15th I went with 99 of my choir friends to see the Minnesota Twins play at their new outdoor stadium. I must say it was pretty impressive. I got to see another game in October.

During the summer, 5 friends and I were invited to the home of mutual choir friends to attend 12 sessions of The Truth Project, which is the starting point for looking at life from a biblical perspective. Each lesson discusses in great detail the relevance and importance of living the Christian worldview in daily life. This project was life-changing for me. If this is ever offered to you, attend. I can't say enough good things about it.

July 30, Janet, Jerry, Pat and I drove to Duluth to see the Tall Ships Festival. My dear friends, Nancy and Ray, invited us to their motor-home site to have lunch and to watch the ships come into the harbor from the pier. What a beautiful display of history! I loved seeing these ships - along with thousands of other folks.

The next week, August 3, I turned another year older. I had a good birthday, celebrating with Peder and Sarah, Aurelia and Felix, and with my co-workers and choir friends. That's one good thing about getting older - - there seem to be more birthday parties each year!

Around the middle of August, Heidi and Marshall came for a visit. One day we spent at the Minnesota Zoo with Peder and Aurelia and kids. I watched Aurelia and Marshall while Heidi & Chad and Peder & Sarah went to the Twins game. That was a fun time, too.

Labor Day Weekend, Janet, Aunt Liz, Pat, and my sister-in-law, Donna, and I drove down to Branson, Missouri, to see our good friends, Jim and Lil. We took in the show, Noah, the Musical, and saw another family show, The Haygoods. As usual, we had a very nice time.

A couple of weeks later - mid September - we (Jerry, Janet, Aunt Liz, Pat and I) drove down to Lowell, Indiana, for the 6oth wedding anniversary of my Aunt Ginny and Uncle Allan, plus Aunt Ginny's 80th birthday. This was a special time for all of us. I'm so happy we could go.

In October, Janet and my friend, Nancy, and I went down to southeastern Minnesota to see the Amish, and in particular, my Amish friend, Lovina. She runs a little general store on her property. It was wonderful seeing her again, and shopping at a few of the area Amish farms.

November brought sadness to me. Peppi, my canary whom I had for more than 3 years, suddenly died. I'm guessing it was a heart attack, for he hadn't been sick. Oh, how hard it was to say good-bye to him.

This month has been busy from the start up to now. With choir rehearsals and concerts, plus getting ready for all three of my kids to be here for Christmas, life was ramped up a bit. Hans and Heidi and their families all traveled here, and I had one of my best Christmases ever! What a joy it is to see your grown kids and their kids! I'm so proud of all of them. I have six beautiful, bright grand children!

Last week Annika and I went looking for a new pet for me. We came home with a beautiful cat which I have named Nels. He is so friendly and lovable. I'm really happy with our choice, Annika. I can't wait for you to come again so you can play with him! I'll be posting more photos of him soon.

[Added 12/31/10: I completed reading the Bible this morning. This is a practice I started some time ago and now it has become part of my daily life. It's a blessing to me. Tomorrow I will begin again - this time it will be in a larger print Bible.]

Happy New Year to all of my readers! I wish you a very good 2011.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christ is born!

Tonight we pause to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Poor Mary, His mother, traveling by donkey, nine months pregnant, no room in the inn, had to give birth to her son in a cave - a public cave, filled with animals. Not what I would have wanted. Because of His birth, our lives have never been the same. Even something so simple as our calendar is due to His birth. He's a gift from God - the best gift we have ever been given. Silent Night. Holy Night.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

More Family Time

Photo op with Josiah, Marshall, Annika, Will and Felix
Aren't they adorable??!!!!!

These angels are so precious to me.

Sarah with Felix

Marshall loved playing my piano.

Marshall and Heidi at Redstone

Snack time for Annika and me

The adoption is nearly completed.

William enjoying mac and cheese

Introducing my new cat
This has been one of my best vacations! I've seen some or all of my kids every day since Saturday!! I love it! Tuesday we all met at Fuddrucker's for lunch. I finally got some pictures of me with my grand kids - all except Aurelia, who didn't want to be in them. Sarah told me she'll send me one with Aurelia "photo-shopped" into it. When she does, I'll be sure to post it.

Heidi and Marshall stayed at my home from Monday night after our party until Wednesday afternoon. Tuesday we enjoyed relaxing and had dinner at the Olive Garden, followed by driving around a bit to see Christmas lights. Wednesday, Heidi, Marshall and I went to Redstone for lunch. This has become a tradition for us every time Heidi comes home. We usually order something light and complete our meal with their to-die-for banana cream pie, which we share!

After taking Heidi and Marshall to Chad's parents' home, I picked up Annika at the hotel and she came to my house to spend last night and today with me. We had a great time together. I love her infectious laugh and spontaneous singing. Shoppers at Cub seemed to enjoy us singing "Silent Night" as we walked through the aisles. Today I took her to the local humane society to help me choose a new cat for my pet. Annika loves animals, and I knew she would enjoy this. She was a lot of help, too. She played with three possible candidates, but it was the third one that kept brushing up against her and me. He had this lovable characteristic.

The cat we brought home is part lynx point siamese. He is a creamy color and has beautiful brown markings on his ears and tail - and on the back of his hind legs - plus gorgeous blue eyes. Initially Annika and I called him Jack. But now I'm rethinking this. I'm giving it some thought for a day or two to see what seems like an appropriate name for him. Rachel and the boys came over for supper (My apologies, Rachel, for my messy house and chaotic dinner. Thank you for over-looking it.). The kids were excited to see my new cat. I wish I could have trusted the kitty so he could have been out of the laundry room to play with them. They only got a few glimpses of him.

Tonight my new cat jumped on my lap, curled up and cuddled and cuddled. He purred slightly. He's been sleeping on my cottage loveseat. He's so beautiful!

Monday, December 20, 2010

My family - together at last!

Annika's and Will's baptism


Josiah - now 6 years old!

The kids were amazed at Santa's footprints.

Aunt Liz and her English plum pudding

Heidi and Marsall (Will has his back to us)

My brother Jerry

Annika (Hans' daughter) and Aurelia (Peder's daughter)

Heidi and Hans being good sports (wearing Pat's head gear)

Peder, Felix, and Sarah

Annika, Josiah holding Will (Hans' children)
L to R : Rachel, Will, Josiah, Annika, and Aurelia

Aurelia, with Felix, Aunt Liz, Rachel, and Will in the background

My sister Janet holding Felix
Me with my three kids and Felix and Marshall

Even the heavy, new snow couldn't keep us from getting together last night! I rented a building on the property where I work called "The Barn." It's a nice facility, where kids are free to run, adults can sit on comfortable furniture to visit, and the setting is similar to a lodge. There was a big Christmas tree, gas fireplace, kitchen, and lots of tables for eating - or coloring.

Pat and Janet were big helpers - bringing part of our meal, and adding to the decorations. (Pat, I can't understand why you didn't make it into any of my photos.)

Due to the heavy snow, people had a slow commute getting to the barn. What would normally take Aunt Liz and Pat 45 minutes, took them two hours. Hans and Rachel's hotel was about 5 miles away. It took them about a half hour. It took Janet and Jerry three hours. I was happy no one had to turn back.

While it was a busy evening, I did manage to see my grandchildren interact a little bit of the time. If I were to do it over, I would have planned a simpler meal - even hired some fairies to put it together and serve it - so I could have stayed out of the kitchen. But it worked out okay.

Gift opening was a little chaotic, but Josiah did a great job handing out the gifts.

On another note, on Sunday I got to witness the baptisms of Annika and Will, at the church where Rachel was baptized when she was a baby. I'm posting pictures from the baptism and our Christmas party.

Happily, there are more times planned for us to be together this week.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Home for Christmas

"I'll be home for Christmas . . . if only in my dreams." You have no idea how many times I have listened to this song, made popular during WWII, and thought of my kids and brother who were far away from home, and were not coming home for Christmas. But this year is different, because they're all coming home for Christmas! We have not all been together in five years. Each of my children have had a new baby boy born to their family that not all the others have yet met. For the first time ever, I will be with all six of my grandchildren at once! I'm so excited about this!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Vikings Lost Their Home - or, At Least, for Now

By now you've probably heard about the collapse of the dome in downtown Minneapolis. It happened about 5 this morning, due to the heavy snow from our blizzard. To see an incredible video that captured the incident, click here, which is my daughter-in-law, Sarah's, blog.

Timing in this is interesting. Due to the blizzard on Saturday and the airport in Minneapolis closed, the football team, the New York Giants, were rerouted to Kansas City. Thankfully someone saw the potential danger of the build up of snow on the roof of the dome, and postponed the noon game on Sunday (today), to Monday night. With this new wrinkle (or catastrophe), the game is being transferred to Detroit - for tomorrow night. Skol Vikings!

Haven't Seen This for Awhile

Drift outside my cottage window.

Check out the height of the snow on my neighbor's portico.

I've never seen the snow this high!

This was the best I could do!

The blizzard is over and now we are trying to get out. The plows have been here to clear the Visitor Parking and driveways, but no one has cleared any of our sidewalks. Friday night I brought my shovel into my home in the event this happened. I was hoping I wouldn't have to use it, but I really want to get out to sing in our concert this afternoon (last night's performance was cancelled).

About a half hour ago I bundled up and struck out with my shovel and camera. I couldn't get down to the sidewalk, and I didn't complete the job, but I made a dent in it.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Blizzard Continues

Frosty - his scarf is covered in snow!

Drifts outside my front door

Bedroom windows

Cottage widow. Snow is up to the middle of my second window pane.

It's been snowing since around 10 o'clock last night - - and still coming down. Our concert for tonight has been cancelled. We won't know until after 6:30 tomorrow morning whether or not the morning services will be held at their usual time. Same thing for the afternoon concert(s).

In the meantime, I have put up my two Christmas trees and done my laundry. I'm tired now, so I'm taking a break.

Oh, there is a huge snowdrift outside my cottage window - now it's up to the middle of the second pane. Here are a few pictures of what I'm seeing.


Our first concert of the weekend went very well last night. The guest artists - Huntley Brown and Robert Robinson - were incredible, as were the choirs and orchestra! It was really fun!

Now we're in the midst of a blizzard! This is our third snowstorm this year - and it's not officially winter yet. It started snowing just as I left the church parking lot last night at 9:50. I got up at 3 am and looked outside. The sidewalk was filled in - an estimated 4 or 5 inches of new snow, on top of the 11 inches from our last storm. I got up at 7 and a lot more had fallen. We have about 7 new inches of the white stuff now and it's really blowing. It's possible our concert tonight may get postponed to later tomorrow afternoon. We'll see.

One of my Facebook friends reported having gone to the local grocery store last night after work. The large store was completely out of butter and flour. Apparently a lot of Christmas goodies will be stirred up and baked this weekend.

What will I do? Well, I have gifts to wrap; a couple of trees to put up and decorate; and perhaps I'll do a little baking. If the concert tonight gets cancelled, I'll be staying put!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Christmas Concert 2010

This weekend I will be participating in Christmas at Wooddale, which is our annual Christmas concert for the church and surrounding community. Many rehearsals go into this event - starting each year on the last Saturday of September. This week we will rehearse on Wednesday and Thursday nights. The concerts are Friday and Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. This year my brother and sister and cousins Diane, Dave and Emily are coming to Sunday's performance. It's a special time as we sing about the birth of our Saviour.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Hubbell House

The Hubbell House

Today I drove to Rochester for the Christmas concert at Autumn Ridge Church where Jerry sings in the choir. It was a very nice program. Janet, Lynn and Doug came too.

After the concert, we drove to Mantorville where we had a delicious dinner at the Hubbell House. This is a very nice restaurant, with a rich history. It was first built as a log cabin in 1854. Two years later, the cabin was replaced with the stone building that stands today. There have been many famous people who have eaten at this restaurant, and their signatures are on display on the placemats. To name some: Senator Alexander Ramsey, W. W. Mayo, Charles W. Mayo, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Roy Rogers - and Trigger (Trigger ate outside in the stable.), Mickey Mantle, Fred Mac Murray, and Joe Garagiola. I can't remember the last time I was there; Jerry said he thinks it was forty some years since he has been there. It was really fun!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Christmas Parties

"Due to the economy," our company hasn't given us a Christmas party for the past two years. This year is different - things are looking up! On Thursday evening we were given a very nice dinner at a restaurant not far from here. A delicious buffet dinner was served and for entertainment, we were laughing our hearts out by the delivery of comedy from one of the three original "Triple Espresso" comedians. Laugh, laugh, laugh. It felt so good! I work with so many wonderful people - we're like family. It was fun to celebrate with them in this way.

Today I went to another Christmas party. This was a brunch for the women in our church choir. While we sing together all year long, there's never much time to sit together to visit and share memories. Today was different. One of the ladies hosted our group in her beautiful home. There were 35 that were able to attend. We sat around many tables in her home, eating a catered lunch, followed by singing many Christmas carols, both secular and the traditional sacred ones. It was fun singing "Sleigh bells ring . . . , I'm dreaming of a white Christmas . . . ,and It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . . , in three part harmony, but when we sang Oh, holy night - - it took my breath away and I started to get choked up. The words tell the true story of Christmas.

Oh holy night!

The stars are brightly shining

It is the night of the dear Savior's birth!

Long lay the world in sin and error pining

Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

Fall on your knees. Oh hear the angel voices

Oh night divine. Oh night when Christ was born

Oh night divine. Oh night divine.

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming

With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.

So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming

Here come the wise men from Orient land

The Kings of Kings lay thus in lowly manger

In all our trials born to be our friend.

He knows our needs, for our weakness is no stranger

Behold your King. Before Him lowly bend.

Behold your King. Before Him lowly bend.

Truly He taught us to love one another

His law is love and His gospel is peace.

Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother

And in His name all oppression shall cease

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,

Let all within us praise His holy name.

Christ is the Lord

O praise His name forever.

His power and glory evermore proclaim.

His power and glory evermore proclaim.

Friday, December 03, 2010

It's Snowing

The snow started this afternoon at 1:30. I would guess we got at least 3 inches by 4:30 and it's still falling. Oh, well. It's December and to be expected. I have to admit: it makes the Christmas lights seem prettier.