Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's Spring - at least on the calendar

This is what I wish we could see - not what we see now.

Okay, so tonight we turn our calendars to April. Officially, we are in Spring, though one would never know it by the weather. Oh, our snow has been slowly melting - there are places now where there is brown grass. But big, stubborn, dirty snow banks remain. I would love to wake up tomorrow morning and find them missing!

There's something about living in an area with four definite seasons. It's a little exciting to see that first snow flake, but after gillions and gillions of them, the excitement is gone. For me, it's been gone since the day after New Years! This has been one of the snowiest winters on record here in Minnesota.

Now I'm ready for that first daffodil. I'm ready to leave my coat and heavy trappings in the closet. I'm looking forward to walking on non-icy sidewalks. I have spring fever!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Peder, Sarah, Aurelia, and Felix

Circle of love

Nels keeping sleeping Aurelia company

This afternoon Peder, Sarah, and Felix brought Aurelia over to spend the rest of the day and tomorrow with me. She arrived in her Minnesota Vikings cheerleader dress and ballet slippers. I love the outfits she puts together! I got to see Felix take his steps - walking around furniture, and letting go to walk 4, 5, 6 steps to his daddy. It was very cute! They stayed long enough to listen to a Winnie the Pooh 45 rmp record Sarah found at a shop.

After the family left, Aurelia and I did a little shopping - mainly at two pet stores where we looked at fish, birds, cats, cat furniture, and dogs. At one of the shops, we watched a male Saint Bernard being groomed. It took 2 handlers to manage him, but let me say, he was gorgeous! It brought back memories of the couple of years or so that we had a female St. Bernard named Happy Dog. She was given to us by a fellow seminary student whom we have known for years. They lived in the city and couldn't keep her. Since we lived in the country, there was plenty of room for her and her dog house, which was built on a skid. She pulled it around to where ever she wanted to be - in the shade, or under the church bus. In the winter, we tied a sled to her collar and she pulled Hans and Peder around on the snow.

At Costco we wandered past the outdoor play equipment and Aurelia saw a few things that she really liked. I picked out a few things and we got in one of the long lines to check out. During that time Aurelia entertained the women standing behnd us. They couldn't believe she was 3 years old! "My! She's so intellegent! Are you sure she's only 3?!" Then she showed the check out clerk how well she could wink. He winked back and told her she had the best wink he'd ever seen! When she handed the checker at the door our receipt, he drew a smiley face on it and told her she had earned an "A." All in all, our shopping trip was fun.

I read a few stories to her at bedtime. Nels joined us, curling up on my pillow. I looked in on her a few minutes ago, and there was Nels, all snuggled up next to sleeping Aurelia. How cozy!

Aunt Liz

We all have special people in our lives. I'm very lucky to have many of them. But there are a few that are always at the top of my list, my Aunt Liz being one of them.

How long have I known her? All of my life. From the time I was a little girl, I have loved and admired her. I got to know her the most when I was 14 years old and took her up on the invitation to come to live with her and her family following the death of my mother. She was working, and yet had time to be a good "parent" and friend to me. She redid Pat's bedroom to make room for me, let me use her car while learning to drive, and let me take it by myself once I had my license. She even took the blame when I drove the car with insufficient oil and the engine block broke!

She put up with the bizarre idea of Pat and me to scrape out used tubes of lipstick and melt them together in a coffee can on the stove and then pour the new blend back into the empty tubes for a new lipstick color. (What a mess this was!)

The night before my wedding, she managed an assembly line in her home to bake, frost, cut into pieces, and slide into "groom's cake bags" cherry devil's food cake. What a labor of love! We still talk about this!

It was at her house where we celebrated Hans' first birthday - with a triple layer chocolate, whipped cream cake from The Brother's Deli - sadly, no longer in business. It was Hans' first taste of cake and chocolate, and she allowed him to make a big mess, while he enjoyed every bite of it. She even held up the plate so he could lick it, and then proceeded to put him in the kitchen sink to give him a bath. We recorded it on our family movie camera.

I have traveled with her to Holland, Michigan; Illinois, Ireland, Scotland, England, Belgium, The Netherlands, Whales, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Pennsylvania, Branson, Missouri; Indiana, Washington state, and a cruise to Alaska. Beautiful memories were made.

There are many things I love and admire about Aunt Liz: some are her gifts of hospitality, positive attitude, hunger for learning. I overlook the fact that she is a Democrat and a former, card-carrying union member. ;-)

On Monday, she will have surgery to remove a cancerous kidney. She's not afraid of the surgery, but looking past that to recovery and getting on with her life. She's unhappy that she will be in the operating room during her favorite TV show, The Price Is Right.

Many prayers are being offered for you and the surgeon, Aunt Liz. I hope it won't be long before you'll be driving the Patty Wagon to the library, opening your door to friends and neighbors, and talking to me and others on the phone. Thank you for being so special to me.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Super Moon

Saturday night was a cloudy night here in Minnesota. This was disappointing because it canceled our opportunity to witness the Super Moon. I saw the moon on Friday night, and it looked full, but didn't appear anything like the images I found here, photos of the Super Moon taken in various places around the world. (When the site opens, scroll down just a wee bit for the photos.)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dinner with Friends

My spring table

L to R: Laurey and Joanne

Bonnie and Nancy

L to R: Nancy, Laurey, Debra, Bonnie and yours truly

Bonnie has a cat named Clyde. She loved holding Nels. (Notice the snow in the backyard!)

A couple of weeks ago I invited some friends over for dinner. There's nothing like having company to inspire one to clean house! This came at a good time for me since I am so very tired of winter and couldn't wait to get my spring accessories out - milk glass, spring pictures, pillows, and wreath for my front door.

My friends and I had a great time together last night. We're all in choir, but rarely have any quality time to talk and laugh. It was their first time meeting Nels, and he made a good impression, especially with how friendly he is.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


As most of you know, I work for a publishing house - I've just completed 10 years of service. This has been the most rewarding job I have had.

Today I learned many of my co-workers were featured in a blog about writing, publishing and marketing a novel. Some of you may be interested in reading the four entries that have been written up to now. You can find it here.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Arizona Day 5

Pat, preparing our morning snack

Organist at Organ Stop Pizza

The organ raised up from the floor while the organist sat on the bench. He would play for 30 to 45 minutes, and then take a 15 minute break - taking the organ back down below the floor.

Janet and Pat

This morning the time changed to Daylight Saving Time in Minnesota, but not here in Arizona. I was up before 6:30 in order to watch my church streaming live on the Internet. It was fun to see my choir mates and listen to their beautiful music. Our pastor interviewed a gentleman who was on one of the last five planes to fly out of Nerita airport in Tokyo, moments after the earthquake. He led the congregation in a prayer for the Japanese and their rescuers. How sad is that situation. We've watched a lot of the TV coverage.

We spent a relaxing time on the patio - visiting, and watching the golfers go by. Pat made home-made caramel rolls which were delicious and served them with fresh fruit.

After lunch, we went to the huge swap meet which is quite famous around here. The meet is held in a super large tent that must be two blocks long, or more. I walked through all of it and only bought three things. I found many of the items for sale were either too large, or too "Southwest" for my taste.

Once home from there, I drove the golf cart to take our Irish friend, Gemma, to the swimming pool. I'm thinking how nice it would be to have a golf cart of my own to drive back and forth to work.

For dinner tonight we went to a fabulous restaurant - Organ Stop Pizza, in Mesa. This unique pizza place is huge and has the world's largest Wurlitzer organ. The organist, Lew Williams, was one of the most gifted personalities I have heard. He asked for requests, and wow, did he get a variety! We enjoyed it SO much.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Arizona Day 4

Pat, Sonja, and "Beaver" checking out an item at the garage sales


Saguaro (left) and Superstition (right) Mountains

Saguaro Lake

Pudge standing outside the SunRidge Canyon Club House

Practice hole

Entrance to the Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ
I'm so proud of my Cousin Pat!

At 7:15 this morning we were going out the door to start our adventure of the "garage sale" in the community, which is held twice a year. We hopped onto the golf cart and made it only a few doors down where we started to find bargains. I got a darling jacket, Pat got some wine glasses, and I'm not sure what Janet and Gemma found. We continued to drive from place to place, hopping out and checking out the wares. Using a golf cart is a lot easier than a car or van. After an hour and a half or so, we came home to drop off our finds and get a little snack. As luck would have it, two of our friends from school days arrived, and joined us. We shopped more and then all of us came back to Pat and Pudge's for a delicious lunch.

In the afternoon, Pudge drove Janet, Gemma and I to the Saguaro Mountains. We saw so many cactus varieties again. Some of them are quite old. Pudge drove us down to Saguaro Lake, too, where we saw folks fishing and boating. The sky was a gorgeous blue - not a cloud in the sky.

We continued on to the beautiful cities of Fountain Hills and Scottsdale. Pudge delighted in showing us a beautiful golf course, SunRidge Canyon, which is surrounded by big mansions. This course is ranked #26 in the county by Golf World Magazine in 2008.

Tonight we saw the tap dance recital of Pat's. It sure was a good show - so much fun!

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Day in the Superstition Mountains

The head of the Superstition Mountains

Church building used in many Western movies

Yours truly in a stage coach

Canyon Lake
Sunset yards away from Pat and Pudge's patio. Gorgeous!

Today Pudge drove us to the Superstition Mountains. This took us through desserts where we saw many varieties of cacti and lots of hawks. We stopped at one area where buildings of long ago have been used in many Western movies. We went inside a small church and also visited with a grounds keeper who was raking "fruit" from the snake cactus.

We continued on up the mountains to Tortilla Flats where we had lunch in a tavern/bar. The food was really good! While some of us shopped, Aunt Liz listened to a Country Western trio.

Tonight we had an alfresco dinner on the patio, just after the sunset. It was 75 degrees - unbelievable for March 12!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Before the show, Pat showed us her three costumes. This one was worn for Bushel and a Peck.

Costume worn for Yankee Doodle Dandy/It's a Grand Old Flag!

Worn for One, from Chorus Line - the finale

Pat, her look-alike Glenda, and Pudge

Pat with Aunt Liz

Isn't this a darling couple?!

Pat and Pudge's back yard. The golf course fairway starts at the out of bound stakes.

Front entranceway and golf cart in the garage

Street in front of their home

My impressions of Arizona are great so far! Pat and Pudge have a lovely condo in a very large community. An 18 hole golf course runs throughout. Their patio borders the fairway leading to the 7th hole. Yesterday and today we drove the golf cart around (4 passenger) to view all the sights, and to critique the homes. I find the cactus very interesting. I never knew there was such a variety. It was 80 degrees yesterday and is supposed to get to 88 today. Such a contrast to the 20s in Minnesota!

Last night we took in Pat's tap dancing show. What a nice performance! It was so much fun! We've decided to go to the Saturday evening show.
Today is my sister's birthday. Happy Birthday, Janet! We going to celebrate at a restaurant tonight.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Relief is only 3+ hours away!

In a little over 3 hours, I was able to leave the frozen tundra and am now enjoying the warm, sunny day in Arizona! My cousins live on a golf course - 7th hole is feet away from the sun room and patio. We have scooted around the area on their golf cart, toured two open houses, and I even picked lemons from a tree. I never knew lemon trees have thorns. Did you?

Tonight we will go to the first tap dance recital of Pat's troupe. I'm so looking forward to it! I have a ticket for Saturday's performance, too.

I'm feeling sorry for all of my friends back in Minnesota. This winter has been soooooooo long.

Friday, March 04, 2011

This is the forecast in my future . . .

Wed 9 Thu 10 Fri 11 Sat 12 Sun 13
32 32 32 30 32
Sunny Sunny Sunny Partly Cloudy Sunny
74°F 77°F 77°F 75°F 76°F
High High High High High
48°F 50°F 51°F 50°F 51°F
Low Low Low Low Low
Chance of Precip:
Chance of Precip:
Chance of Precip:
Chance of Precip:
Chance of Precip:

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Why Do I Write?

Why do I blog? For me – it’s a journal – a diary of sorts. I have loved looking back on my trip to Japan and trips to Seattle and Rhode Island – and Germany and Ukraine! I love seeing how my grandchildren have changed and how I’ve changed. I write because I’m having so much fun in my corner of life, I want others to come out and play! Do others read what I write? I think so. Does it encourage or lift them up? I don’t know. Does it upset me if no one comments? Not at all. If they do happen to comment, it’s fun for me to see what they got out of it. Or perhaps what I neglected to mention. Anyway, it’s a good record for me.

Many of my family have blogs – aunt, sister, daughter, son, cousins and friends and more. I love reading them – each and every one. I love the photos, too. Some of the ones I follow update their blogs pretty regularly; others not so much. But I still check in. It’s a connection I love.

If you’re reading this and thinking about writing a blog, please do, and let me know how I can get to it. If you’re reading this and would like to comment, please do. I would love to hear from you. If you want to read and read only, that’s fine.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011