Thursday, June 30, 2011


Jennifer and yours truly

Karen and Madalyn

L to R: Jo, Madalyn, Nancy

Today we said "farewell" two very dear co-workers. This is due to the sudden decision in our company to shift responsibilities to "the home office." This unexpected news came about five months ago, throwing parts of our office into a tizzy.

How to honor these fine women? A party is not fitting. Allowing them to quietly leave the building is cold and uncaring. A few weeks ago my boss and I brainstormed ideas about what could be done. She then checked with her boss for approval. Thankfully he went along with our thoughts.

Karen and Madalyn were not looking forward to this day, but agreed to let us proceed. Our personnel gathered in the company dining room and listened to kind comments from our boss. I was teary eyed. I do not like "good byes." I will miss these dear friends. Though they may come back for a visit, it will never be the same.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Please leave a message after the tone.

I may be the last of the breed, but I still believe in calling and receiving calls on my phone. No texting for me, thank you. I know many would rather text.

A couple of years ago I got voice mail through my telephone company. One thing I love about it is being able to save messages for long amounts of time - like a year or more. About once a year I need to renew each message by listening to it and hitting "9" to save.

Yesterday morning Nels woke me at 5 and since I wasn't really ready to get up, I decided to listen to my voice mails and renew them. I have birthday and mother's day greetings from Hans and Heidi, messages from Rachel from Germany and the US. A couple of years ago, Annika left a darling message that went like this: Hi, Gramma. This is Annika. (long pause) Rachel says, "Tell her 'See you soon.'" Well, she doesn't talk. Rachel replies, "Leave a message. Ask her how she is." (long pause). "This is Rachel. Annika just wanted to leave a message. I gave her a brief, but she doesn't understand because you aren't answering her. . . ." I have a thank you call from Josiah saying, "Grandma, thank you for Sir Topham Hatt. Thank you, thank you, thank you!" I love the inflection of his voice. You don't get that with email or texting. One message is from Aurelia, asking me to go out for supper. There are calls from Heidi, with Marshall and Brian in the background. I re-saved all of these precious messages. But then came the big surprise - - I have a voice mail from my Aunt Liz! I have wanted so much to hear her voice again, and now I can! It's not an earth-shaking message, but it is her voice, and I treasure it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

More of Door County

Here are a few more photos of our cousins' weekend trip to Door County:

Diane, Pat and Linda

Goat atop the Johnson's Swedish Restaurant

Cars and motorcycles entering ferry boat to cross to Washington Island

Tart cherries. They'll be ripe around the end of July.

Door County is primarily limestone - with only one foot of top soil. These trees grow out of this makeup - amazing!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Flowers around Door County

Beautiful, little butterfly on this peony

L to R: Diane, Linda, Pat, Jan

Diane, outside the Tannenbaum Shoppe

Oriental poppies



My cousins and I were impressed with the gorgeous flowers in Door County, Wisconsin, this past weekend.

Door County, Wisconsin

Horseshoe Island

Door Country is located on the northeast tip of Wisconsin, and is totally surrounded by water - over 300 miles of coastline. It has many small towns and is famous for the tart cherries grown there, as well as apples and grapes for wine. Boating is quite popular, too. We saw many darling shops, beautiful homes, bed and breakfasts, and more.

Fish Boil

White fish, caught locally each day

New red potatoes and sweet onions are put into the boiling pot of salted water and white fish.

While the fish cooks, the fish oils rise to the top of the pot.

One minute before the half hour, kerosene is poured onto the fire, bringing the intense heat to boil over the pot of fish, potatoes and onions and causing the fish oil to spill over the top. This is supposed to make the fish taste better. Pat and I had been standing next to the chain talking to the owner who was managing the fish boil. Boy, did we step back when warned to do so!

A waiter helps the owner lift the cooking pots out of the boiling water.

The fire dies down a bit, but is soon readied for the next batch.

Saturday night we headed to Pelletier's in Fish Creek, Wisconsin, for their famous fish boil. I was a little skeptical, since I don't really care for fish unless it is batter-fried, and tastes like a donut! Once assured there were other things on the menu, I felt much better about this.

What a fun experience! We got there in time to see the entire process, which takes about 20 minutes to make a huge pot of fish soup that feeds 90+ people. This form of cooking fish began several hundreds of years ago by the Scandinavians who settled in Door County. A batch of boiled fish is made every half hour from 5 to 8 pm each summer night.

Everyone ordered the fish dinner except me. I ordered the baked chicken. Let me tell you, my chicken was DELICIOUS, as were the new red potatoes and Cole slaw. All of my family members enjoyed their fish - saying it resembled lobster. Included in the meal was a piece of cherry pie.

Cousins' Trip to Door County, Wisconsin

L to R: Pat, Linda, Jan, Diane


Linda and Pat choosing Christmas ornaments.

L to R: Diane, Jan, Linda, yours truly. We took an hour trolley tour of Ephraim, Door Country, Wisconsin.

Linda, standing by an art sculpture outside one of the many art galleries in the area.

Pat, waiting for our dinner at the famous fish boil.

Diane and Linda

This past weekend my sister, three cousins, and I went to Door County, giving us a time to comfort each other since the death of our dear, dear Aunt Liz, and to catch up on each other's lives. I must say this: our family truly loves each other and loves spending time together. We have fun, laugh, giggle, and have serious talks. How are we related? Our mothers were sisters. We have known each other all our lives.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

2nd Cataract Surgery

Yesterday I had the cataract removed from my left eye, and in that eye, they inserted a lens for distance. The surgery itself went very well. Once I got back home, I took a 45 minute nap. In the afternoon I took a 2-1/2 hour nap. I guess this is due to the anesthetic. Anyway, sleep came very easily.

It was fun to hear from most of my family during the day. Peder called and after he and I talked, I got to talk to Aurelia. In the background I could hear little Felix say, "Oh oh!" He loves saying that. Next Josiah called me to say, "Hi Grandma! This is Josiah and I just lost another tooth - my 6th one!" He was so excited! I also got to talk to Will and Annika, and Rachel. I talked to my sister and brother, too, plus a few of my friends, so that made the day extra special.

At my follow-up appointment today the doctor told me everything looks very good. When she tested my right eye, I was very surprised to learn my vision in that eye is now 20/15 -- meaning, I can now read the very bottom line on the card! I hope I have at least 20/20 in my left eye once it clears up.

It's been fun telling my co-workers, "See what you have to look forward to when you get old?!" It's not all that bad!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fun Fur Day!

Today my veterinary clinic had their annual Fun Fur Day - which is an open house for the clients and anyone in the area. This is only a couple of blocks from my home. Vendors have displays and do demonstrations of their products and sell items, plus the clinic is wide open, with staff in various rooms to answer any questions. The veterinarians and their staff walk around greeting folks. There was a big inflated dog house for little kids for jumping. For years, I have been invited to this event because I used this clinic when I had my two cats, Shadow and Sebastian.

Many people bring their dogs - and they are so much fun to see: Goldens, Poodles, German Shepherds, a Whippet, a Dachshund, pugs, a Cocker Spaniel, a Schipperke, a Boxer, a Bichon, a Corgi, an Australian Shepherd, Labs and more. A policeman brought his K-9 dog - a German Shepherd.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the reception Nels and I got when we showed up with my wagon and Nels in his kennel. "Oh, my! It's a cat! Isn't he beautiful!" Everyone was so happy to see him, and he was so well behaved. His little nose was sniffing and sniffing. Some of the veterinary staff asked if they could take him out of the kennel to hold him. "Sure, go ahead." Nels made a very good impression. They thanked me for bringing him and gave him two bags of cat nip and a new tooth brush!

I signed up for some door prizes. I hope we win!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cataract Surgery Update

Over a week ago I had my first cataract surgery and I am happy to report it was not only successful, but problem-free! I have had no pain, itching, redness, watering, swelling, or other issue. Saturday afternoon I discovered I could now read or work on my computer without using my glasses. And to my surprise, I am seeing the world without a coat of tan/yellow varnish!

Just before my surgery, my eye doctor told me I'd be seeing colors. I thought she meant I'd be seeing colors during the surgery. What she actually meant to say was, you will see true colors now. From my right eye, white is bright and light. Nothing has a yellow cast to it. Closing my right eye, I see the world as though I'm wearing a yellow-color lens. I had no idea! I'm actually excited about the surgery on my left eye this coming Wednesday!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lunch with my dear friend, Lil

My dear friend, Lil, asked me to lunch today. This was very special - since she surprised me by coming to Minnesota without telling me.

I first met Lil on March 8, 1988. Our friendship has grown dearer each year. About 10 years, however, she and her husband sold their Minnesota real estate and moved to Branson, Missouri. They love it there - the beauty of the land and the climate. I miss Lil very much, so was thrilled by her surprise today!

Cataract Surgery #1

Thursday I had a cataract removed from my right eye. I have to say, I had concerns prior to the surgery, especially after reading the warnings. It's a wonder any of us take our medications with all of the lists of side effects .

I'm happy to report the surgery went very well - and quick. The nursing staff was excellent. The anesthesiologist was knowledgeable and comforting. My eye doctor - the surgeon - is well respected and kind. She's a graduate of Harvard University (this impresses me!). I was told she does the surgical procedure in 3 to 5 minutes! I'm having corrective lenses inserted in my eyes: right eye for close up; left eye (surgery in a couple of weeks) for distance.

I was sleepy when I got home after the surgery, so Nels (my cat) and I took a couple of naps. I managed to stay awake until 8:30 and went to bed for the night.

At my follow-up check-up Friday morning, all was well, so I was able to go to work. My sight was improving throughout the day.

This morning my sight is even clearer. It's remarkable!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Record Broken

Today we reached 103 degrees - the hottest spot in the nation! It broke all records here. Why, oh why, must we go from the freezer to the oven? Yes, we talk about the weather a lot in Minnesota. I think it's because we have such extremes and it's rare that we have a perfect day.

What in my mind is a "perfect" day? I like the temperature to be somewhere between 65 and 75 degrees with low humidity. It's true, I have a small comfort zone.

Last Sunday was a perfect day for me. I enjoyed eating my lunch followed by reading a book out on my patio. A neighbor stopped by and we had a nice visit. There was a breeze. The temperature was 73. Birds sang in the trees. Nels sat at my screen door and enjoyed watching them. I wished we could have had 90 more days just like it. But here we are on Tuesday. It's 9:25 pm and 96 degrees outside.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

New Look

Every now and then we need to make a change - big or small. For me, I didn't think I needed new bed covering - nothing is wrong with the sheets and blankets I have, but it seems I've had them FOREVER! So while shopping at IKEA yesterday for something totally unrelated, I spotted this red/white pillow ticking duvet cover that I knew would match my window covering. I loved the red button closures - I just love red. Period. They were showing it with white sheets. I looked at it again and again, then talked myself out of it. Walking away, I saw the same set in blue/white. It was nice, but oh, the red/white. It would look so nice in my bedroom. So I picked it up and put it in my IKEA shopping bag.

When I got to the department with sheets, I looked for a flat and one fitted white sheet, but could only find the flat. Then, what did I spot? Red sheets! One flat and one fitted. And marked down to $10 each! Should I? Yes. Into the bag they went.

I laundered the sheets and put them on my bed; pressed the duvet cover and put my pillows in the matching pillow cases. I really like it! It's a change.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Minnesota Nice!

A couple of Sundays ago, an F-1 tornado tore through north Minneapolis and damaged much of the area. 2 people were killed. The clean-up started right away, but the job was huge and took more than the locals to fix everything. A few people from my office took the day off a week ago to go up there to help. Today more than 2,000 volunteers donated their time and muscles to help with the smaller part of the clean-up. You can read about it here, here, here, and here.

It's one of the things I love about living here. People are generally kind, friendly, and helpful. They visit with one another while waiting for their plane, in restaurants, at parks, and other places. They pull your trash can up to your garage after the truck goes by, and often offer to take your grocery cart back to the store once you've put your purchases in the trunk of your car. A whole organization was created in 2004 called "Operation Minnesota Nice," created to bring cheer to the soldiers in the Iraq soldiers.