Saturday, July 30, 2011

Felix and Aurelia Pay a Visit

This afternoon was a very fun time for me: Aurelia and Felix came for a visit. Up until today, Felix would not let me hold him and he would cry if his parents left the room. Today that changed! :-)

I got out my little train set and wooden mailbox, plus a doll cradle and doll, and the kids and I played while Peder and Sarah went to a movie. I'm pleased to announce Felix didn't cry once, and he even fell asleep on me while I was rocking him. He slept for an hour! And all the while, Aurelia played quietly.

Felix has now gone home with his parents and Aurelia is spending the night with me. We're watching the movie My Neighbor Totoro - a sweet little movie that takes place in Japan.

By the way, Nels had a good time with Felix and Aurelia. He was right with them as they played on the floor and he loved it when Aurelia played with him with his toys. I'm thinking he must have come from a home with children.

And the heat continues . . .

This has been the hottest July in my memory. We have had so many 90 or near 90 degree days - and it's wearing on me. I stay indoors a lot! My New Beetle has black leather seats and oh my, are they uncomfortable when I first get into my car. Whenever possible, I park in the shade. I check out all conditions in the parking areas before choosing my spot so that I am pointed away from the sun. My previous Beetle had black cloth seats and they were so much better - summer and winter.

Where my condo is situated, I benefited the coolness of my neighbors - above and beside - and didn't have to turn on my A/C until just this past Monday. Prior to that, the room temperature in my home was a constant 74 degrees. But now that we've had so many days - and nights - of heat, the A/C has been turned on.

I realize this heat is not exclusive to Minnesota. It seems most of the US is having such extreme weather this year. Hans and Rachel are dealing with heat and humidity. Jim and Lil are also experiencing the high heat. On the other hand, Heidi and Chad would like the temperature to be a bit warmer. Heidi reports they have reached 80 degrees twice this summer.

A long time ago I made this wish: I wish each season in Minnesota would last exactly 3 months. March 1 through May 31, snow would be gone, little green leaves would appear on the trees, perennials would begin to sprout, tulips and other bulb plants plus the flowering trees would blossom and last 6 weeks, or more. June 1 would see warmer temperatures, swimming pools would open, fire flies would come out in the evening, picnics would call us - as well as county fairs, children would be outside riding their trikes and bikes, baseball would entertain us. But come September 1, school would start, leaves would begin to change their colors, Monarch butterflies would start their trek to Mexico, sweaters would be worn in the early morning and again in the evening, and oven meals of squash, meat loaf, and baked potatoes would satisfy our appetites. The glorious foliage of Autumn would last until the last week of November - when all the raking would be done. Okay, December 1 could have some snow flakes and a little ice on the lakes. Stores could show off their Christmas goods, choirs and carolers would sing some of my favorite music - all month long. January could blast us with 3 or 4 big snow storms and lots of white stuff, while in February it would taper off to melting snow - and okay, a bit of slop and slush . . . followed by the promises of March 1 (go back to the beginning of this paragraph). There - - that's my wish.

Monday, July 25, 2011

My Cousin Pat

Tonight I finally reached my Cousin Pat. I have phoned her a few times since my Aunt Liz's house flooded a couple of weeks ago, but had to leave voice mails. I have seen the photos on her blog and read the accounts, but I really wanted to talk to her - voice to voice. When I reached her tonight, I started our conversation with something like,

"How are you doing? Is everything getting dried out?"

Pat replied, "Haven't you heard?"

Heard what?

"Haven't you heard about the fire?" she asked?

The fire! What are you talking about?!

"Haven't you seen the pictures on facebook?" she asked.

No, I just was getting around to that.

Anyway, it seems while she was shopping at IKEA yesterday, Pudge phoned her to say she'd better head on home because smoke was pouring out of Aunt Liz's house. Apparently one of the fans that was running in the basement of Aunt Liz's house started to burn (It was the fan the mayor of the village had loaned them to help dry out the basement.) and smoke was every where. When Pat arrived at the house, there were 3 firetrucks outside.

I feel so bad for them - Pat and Pudge. But, who knows, this may end up being a blessing, because a professional cleaning company will be coming tomorrow to begin the arduous task of the clean-up. And hopefully insurance will take care of anything that needs to be replaced.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Minnesota History Center

Yesterday my friend Shirley and I toured the Minnesota History Center, which is only blocks away from the Minnesota Capitol and the Cathedral of Saint Paul. Perhaps you've been there. It was my first visit, and it won't be my last! Little did I know such a gem existed.

There were various displays within the museum, but some interested me more than others. There was a section called "Minnesota's Greatest Generation" that was fascinating. We sat in a small movie theater where we saw pieces of movies from the past. Leaving the theater, I was intrigued by the woman who acted out the part of Fanny Brin, a Jewish immigrant woman who lived from 1884 to 1961. She supported the United States' membership in the United Nations. Seeing her monologue was really worth it! Also in this section, we sat in a flying boxcar while it took us on the journey of soldiers on their way to the beaches for battle in WWII - guns hitting our plane, orders given to prepare ourselves to jump. The plane rumbled and shook. It felt real to me!

In another area, we sat in a basement while the tornado of 1965 hit Fridley, Minnesota. WCCO radio was playing the weather. The "railroad" sound of the tornado was incredible!

Munsingwear has a "brief" display from now through September 11. This was interesting - showing a history of children, men's and women's underwear through time. I'm sure glad some of the things we used to wear have been retired!

My favorite display was "Open House: If These Walls Could Talk." Through census records, and perhaps other means, it was determined a house in St. Paul has had 50 families live in it since it was built. The single family home was made into a duplex after the first family lived it it. Eventually it was divided three ways. The display of this house was ingenious. One entered the parlor of the original homeowner. It had the period wallpaper, furniture, and a slide projector of the day with 6 cool paddle-type slides for the public to insert. Parts of the house were sensitive to visitors - and a recording would start with narration from the homeowner of the time. Step close to the piano, and it would begin to play. Moving to the next room brought you to a bedroom - decorated in the 50's style. When walking up to the bed, the bedspread illuminated these words: Sit Here. When I noticed it, I sat down. Within seconds, the foot end of the bed collapsed! Oh, how it started me! Shirley laughed. Then a recording started of a woman who had lived in the house at that time. She was a hoot! She told how the slats in the bed often fell out causing the bed to tip down! She said the people below would snicker and say, "They're having fun again!"

I could go on, but don't want to spoil it for any of you who may want to visit this wonderful treasure. Many times I thought of my brother and sister and told Shirley I was certain they would enjoy this museum! I hope we can go together some day. I know I want to return.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Internet Problem Solved!

Today I spoke to one of my co-workers who knows his way around the PC pretty well. I described my problem of not being able to comment on Sarah, Sarah's mom's, and Pat's blogs, nor could I publish my new entries from my home computer. I told him I would compose my new entry at home, but would have to wait until going to office to hit "Publish Post" before it would appear. He gave me a suggestion which I tried when I came home for lunch, but it didn't solve my problem.

Tonight while talking to Sarah, she mentioned Peder was considering switching to the search engine "Google Chrome." I told her I had downloaded this search engine on my computer right after the product was introduced - thanks to my nephew Michael - but it had been sitting on my screen as an icon which I never opened. Sarah went on to say that Google Chrome may be the answer since our blogs are a part of Google.

After our conversation, I turned on my computer and clicked the Google Chrome icon. It opened and I went straight to my blog. I logged in and then moved to Sarah's blog, typed a comment, clicked "post" and Waa Laa - it worked! I moved to Pat's blog, typed a comment, and again, it worked! Here's hoping I'll be able to post this from home. If successful, I'll make the first comment. Here goes . . .

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


We've been experiencing record heat and heat indexes: yesterday topped out at 98 degrees with a heat index of 120. It has been tough on most people and things - except this: a cactus given to me a few years ago by one of my bosses.

It came from Arizona with just a small amount of sand attached to it. I merely put it in a pot that would protect my hands from the sharp thistles and put it in one of the window sills at work. I typically watered it twice a year. Really. About 6 weeks ago, I moved it to a sunnier window and on Monday I noticed what looked to me like flower buds. I checked on it this morning and was thrilled to see it in bloom. It must love it in the sun!!

Monday, July 18, 2011


Since updating my computer from Internet Explorer 7 to Internet Explorer 9 a couple of weeks ago, I am unable to post comments on three blogs of my family members and unable to publish the entries I create at home.

My last post - Antiques Road Show - was all typed with the photos uploaded at home, but when I clicked the "Publish Post" button (if you're a blogger, you know what I mean), it didn't budge. Nothing. Nada. I tried and tried, with no luck. So, I drove to my office, brought up my account - clicking the "edit posts" button, and was able to "publish" my article.

I have spent a couple of hours tonight searching the Blogger website, writing my question, and so far, waiting for a reply. I've also "googled" my question, but got nowhere. This is so frustrating!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Antiques Road Show

Bonnie and I before entering the arena

Some of the many folk anxiously awaiting to have their treasures evaluated

Noel Barrett and Scott Tagliapietra evaluating my toy horse

Marshall Martin appraised my doll. This was my mother's doll, and I know very little about her. She is a Schoenhut doll (has a 1911 patent on her back ). When I got her, she was in very poor shape. The paint on her face was badly cracked and I remember Hans saying she looked like a burn victim. Several years ago, I took her to a doll hospital where her head was totally sanded and repainted. Her body was washed, and a new wig was glued to her head. Aunt Liz sewed this dress for her from a 1910 doll dress pattern, and I bought her leggings, bloomers, and high button boots. The appraiser said the restoration brought down her value, but assured me it was better to have her proudly displayed, rather than tucked away in a box.

Wesley Cowan - appraiser of photographs - often appears on the show

Nicolas Lowry, expert appraiser of prints and posters

It's possible you will see Janet and Pat on one of the Minneapolis episodes, giving their comments in the Feedback Booth, shown at the conclusion of the shows. The dates when the Minneapolis road show have not been announced, but will be later this fall or next January.

Bonnie, listening intently as the appraiser explains the history of the pitcher she brought which was her grandmother's

The vase this lady brought was valued at $2,000. It will be featured in an upcoming issue of Antiques Road Show Insider magazine

Appraiser Kathleen Baily evaluating this beautiful lamp

This woman brought in a diamond given to her by a fiance whom she never married. You can get a better look at it if you double click on the photo. She was stunned to learn it is a perfect, large, canary diamond, valued at $140,000 to $160,000! It was interesting to see an Antiques Road Show employee escort her to the entrance of the convention center to wait with her while her daughter brought the car to take her home.

Today I had the thrill of going to the Antiques Road Show here in Minneapolis! This was the equivalent of a U2 concert for me. I have watched this show for years - if I missed it on Monday night, it was repeated on Saturday night. It was fun for me to know Aunt Liz and Aunt Ginny were watching it, too. A few months ago it was advertised that the show would be coming here and one could apply for free tickets, to be doled out at random, or by submitting a photo of a piece of furniture, providing you lived in a 50 mile radius. If they selected your furniture, you automatically got two free tickets. Well, I emailed family and friends so they could try to get tickets, and I sent a photo of my favorite piece of furniture - my hutch, and sadly, I nor my hutch were selected. But my girlfriend, Bonnie, and my sister, were notified they got two tickets each. So, Bonnie invited me to use her second ticket, and Janet invited our cousin, Pat.

One stipulation in attending was one had to bring one antique. The limit per person was two antiques. What to bring? Well, I don't have anything really "old," but I have a few things that are pretty old. I decided to bring my mother's doll and a horse my dad gave me one year for my birthday. I have very few things from my parents, so these are treasures for me - regardless of a dollar value by an appraiser.

Bonnie's tickets were for a 9 am entrance to the show. We arrived at the Minneapolis Convention Center around 8:20, and were allowed to enter the large preparation room right away - getting into the line for 9 am. I would guess there were about 100 people in our line, but it moved along really fast - nothing like the security line at the airport!

We had a FABULOUS time! I got to see some of the appraisers I see nearly every week on TV. Everything was done so orderly - lots of volunteers from Minneapolis. It was so much fun seeing the things people brought, and listening to interviews of some that brought extraordinary items. The appraisers are experts - and often consulted other appraisers to confirm their findings.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Hazel Eyes

It's been a month since I had my first cataract surgery and a little more than a couple of weeks since the second one. Today I had my final check-up and I'm happy to report everything looks fine. A reading lens was implanted in my right eye and a distance lens in my left. So, here are my vision scores: right eye - 20/15 (easily reading the lowest line on the chart!); left eye: 20/25.
The past couple of weeks I have been getting around with no glasses - I have many pairs, but not a one is the correct prescription. For the most part, it has been fine. But when driving, I find I have to be a bit closer to signs to read them. My doctor said I would easily pass the driving eye test, but I don't feel comfortable driving this way, and want to be sure I can see other things at a distance clearly, such as movies, the stage at the theater, and TV programs. So, I'll be getting glasses, which is fine with me.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Independence Day!

I love being an American. I'm thankful for my freedom and for those who have so bravely fought for it - and continue in the battle. I don't take any of this for granted.

Some years ago - it was in 1986 - at the conclusion of the three day celebration of the Restoration of the Statue of Liberty, I first heard Sandi Patti sing an arrangement of the National Anthem. Until then, I hadn't known there was more than one verse to this great song. She sings it here. Please take time to listen to all of it. It sends goosebumps up my arms!

Happy 235th birthday, America!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Gayle's Cabin

Laurey, cutting the chicken for chicken salad

Lunch on the deck
Gayle and Laurey (this car doesn't belong to us!)
Guess who?
Miss Gayle
Miss Laurey
Laurey and Gayle

Yesterday my friend Laurey and I drove up to Spooner, Wisconsin, to spend some time at our friend Gayle's cabin. The night before, a big storm had come through the twin cities and this part of Wisconsin, bringing down many big trees and stripping the metal siding and roofs off some country buildings. In particular, the small town of Galesburg, WI, was affected. Gayle lost one big pine tree - thankfully, it missed hitting her cabin by a few feet.

We enjoyed sitting out on the deck - eating alfresco, and shopping in a couple of the towns near by. We had fantastic meals and laughed a lot.

Last night we saw some fireworks coming from a nearby lake. I'm sure there will be more tonight.