Monday, August 29, 2011

New Job

I've worked at my current occupation for a little over 10-1/2 years. Until a couple of weeks ago, I was the assistant to the Production Manager and the Design Director. For the most part, it was interesting and fun. A couple of weeks ago my duties changed: I am now the morning receptionist at my office and in the afternoon, I am the assistant to the Design Director. This has been a pleasant change for me! If you know me at all, you know I like people. I like greeting them, visiting with them, encouraging them, and helping them. All of these things fall under my new job description.

This morning, one of our Vice Presidents stopped to talk to me and told me the company is very happy having me at the front desk. He told me I have made a positive change to our company and people are really pleased.

If you can have a job you enjoy ~ go for it!

Friday, August 26, 2011


I can't get over how nice the people are to me while wearing this boot. I put off my weekly shopping until this afternoon, knowing it would be a process.

I had quite a list - first stop: Sprint. My phone is at least 3 years old, and the battery isn't holding it's charge very long. Coming in to the store, all of the associates were with customers, so I waited. When my turn came, the clerk noticed my boot and got me a chair. Nice. She was kind, helpful, and caring. And I walked away with a new phone.

Next stop: Petco. After getting food and litter for Nels, the clerk graciously carried my purchases to the car.

Last stop: Costco. I hopped into the only available electric wheel chair and started going down aisle after aisle. I picked up things I have needed for at least two weeks - and this time I didn't hit any merchandise OR people! Driving up to the check-out lane, the customer ahead of me made certain I had plenty of room for the chair. Then she proceeded to carefully unload my basket. She couldn't have been nicer! When it was my turn to pay, I accidentally dropped my membership card on the floor. I could have stepped off to pick it up, but the gentleman behind me insisted on helping me. At the completion, the checker packed my dry goods in the bag I brought with me and stacked the remaining items in the basket. Then, get this - - Costco allows you to drive the electric wheelchair to your car to unload and one of their employees comes to drive it back in.

I don't have polio. I'm not permanently handicapped (at least I hope it's not permanent!). And yet people are so kind. Makes one think of the Golden Rule. I must do all I can to help others.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Weekend With the Grandchildren



I have a "partial" set of numbers puzzles that Josiah loves - purchased at a garage sale some years ago. Each number is made up of 1" thick foam pieces - 1 piece for the 1; 5 pieces for the 5, etc. When I bought them, the 7 and 0 were missing. Knowing he was coming, I got them out of storage so he could once again play with them. This time he thought it would be fun to put the corresponding number showing the age of the person (or animal) for a photo. Nels is 1 year old.

Annika is 5 years old.

Josiah is 7 years old, but since there is no "7," Josiah decided to show 5 + 2 = 7 (him). Pretty smart, if you ask me!

Cousin Pat, Josiah and Annika waiting for our photo shoot appointment

Aurelia blowing out her candles. Happy 4th birthday, Aurelia!

Felix - enjoying his cake

Aurelia - waiting patiently to open her gifts

Sarah, sporting Aurelia's birthday glasses

Yours truly with (L to R) Josiah, Annika, Aurelia, with Sarah carrying Felix and ?

It's been a very nice - but busy - weekend with some of my grandchildren! I got to have 2 of them - Josiah and Annika - with me, plus we all got to go to Aurelia's birthday party.

Friday I met Rachel, Josiah, Annika and Will at the McDonald's in St. Peter so I could bring Josiah and Annika to my home to spend some time with me. I only had them for about 24 hours, but it was special!

The big excitement for them at my home was Nels. They both loved him and played and played with him, until bedtime - and even during the early morning! He had fun with them, too, and when he needed some rest, he would park under a chair or climb to the top of his cat tree.

Knowing they were coming, I had made an appointment at Target to have their photos taken to give me a current photo to hang on my "Family" wall. Perhaps this wasn't the wisest thing to do - given our time restraints - but it worked out. My Cousin Pat came mid-morning, and together we went out to Target, did the photo shoots, shopped for a toy for each of the kids, headed to Burger King for a quick bite, and drove to Aurelia's to celebrate her 4th birthday.

With a perfect Minnesota summer day for a birthday party (we don't have that many!), family members gathered in Peder and Sarah's back yard - the kids playing with each other while the adults visited. Then it was time for cake and ice cream - and finally - the opening of gifts. I was so pleased that the cousins got to be with each other for a while. They had a very good time.

At the conclusion of the party, during the farewells, with Peder and Sarah standing next to each other, Sarah said, "Donna, you know that baby shoe necklace of yours? Well, you're going to be adding another shoe next year!" Yes, they're expecting another baby - due in April! Isn't that happy news?!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Getting Around

A couple of years ago, while dealing with plantar faciitis, I discovered the value of the electric shopping carts that many stores provide. These are comfortable, easy to operate, and have a large basket for purchases. I'm once again finding them very useful.

It's interesting how different they can be from store to store. For instance, one day last weekend I used one at a local Target, and got into a little trouble when making a turn to enter an aisle. The turning radius wasn't great, and I ran into a display of emery boards. Several packages fell to the floor, as well as the price tag. A nice gentleman and his young son came quickly to my rescue - picking up everything and telling me not to worry. I was so embarrassed, but thankful I hadn't hit a person! Another thing about that wheelchair was the annoying "beep . . . beep . . . beep" each time I used the reverse mode. It was loud - similar to a city utility truck. That, too, was embarrassing.

Aside from the usefulness of the vehicle, is the feeling of the genuine, kind attitude of other shoppers as they pass you. "May I reach that for you?" "Hello!" And yesterday at the grocery store check-out, the clerk offered, "Would you like to have someone pack your bags for you?"

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Boots Are In!

After limping around - in pain - for the past two weeks, a podiatrist today determined I have a stress fracture in my left foot. In the defense of my primary doctor, the fracture didn't show up on the x-rays taken on the 5th of August. But the pain and swelling has continued, and today after new x-rays were taken, the stress fracture showed up.

I've been fortunate to have strong bones most of my life. In 2006, while walking on the Cliff Walk in Newport, RI, with Hans and Rachel, Josiah and Annika, I fell - not once, but twice, and broke my elbow. That was really painful for awhile! But that is the only broken bone I have had, until now - and this isn't technically "broken."

The boot, while big and clunky-looking, actually makes walking less painful. I'm putting pressure on my heel, rather than the front of my foot. Thankfully, this happened to my non-driving foot! Maybe tomorrow night I'll be able to go to the grocery store to stock up on food. My cupboards are getting bare. I don't want to have to resort to eating cat food!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Neighborhood Picnic

When I was a young girl, it was the practice for our neighbors to have summer picnics in our backyards. Neighbors brought their picnic tables to a given yard and soon the families arrived with delicious dishes to pass. These times were so much fun.

Last summer I got the idea to try to get a neighborhood picnic together, but my idea just sat there - simmering on the back burner. This summer, I decided to act on it. I contacted the president of our association and told her my idea, and asked if she could provide me with the names and mailing addresses of all of the people in my building and the building across the backyard. Once I got the information, I looked at the calendar and decided on the second Saturday of August. I composed invitations - introducing myself and presenting my idea - and mailed them a couple of weeks ago, Perhaps I should have included an RSVP, but I didn't, so I wasn't sure how many people would come.

This morning started out with rain, but the forecast was for clearing skies in the early afternoon. Sure enough, around 3 it cleared off. At 3:30 I started putting out some of my furniture and decorations - some colorful pepper plants (orange, red and purple), and helium balloons. A couple of the neighbors arrived and they helped me carry out more furniture. By 4, we had 12 people! After visiting for a bit, I thanked everyone for coming and began the introductions. We sat at two tables, and the visiting was very nice.

Suddenly a big, black cloud descended on us and the skies opened up. A couple of neighbors took off for home, but the rest grabbed my kitchen table and all of the wooden chairs and brought them up on my patio. There were 9 of us who were now gathered on my covered patio. I brought out more chairs, and we had so much fun - talking and talking and laughing. We learned more about each other - where do you work? how long have you lived here? That sort of thing. There seemed to be a consensus: everyone had a very nice time, and they thanked me again and again for coming up with the idea and said they hope we do it again next summer.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

This and That

This and that:

Our weather here in Minnesota has changed to “Beautiful!” We have little or no humidity, beautiful blue skies, with a few puffy clouds. This is the way I like summer!

My eye surgeries were a complete success and I now wear glasses for driving and when attending a play or watching a movie. This is so weird for me – I have worn glasses or contact lenses since I was about 15 or 16 years old.

Nels has figured out he is allowed to be in the cottage with me if he sits in my lap. He stands at the screen door and meows to come in. I open the door, lift him up, and together we sit down. He curls up and the petting begins. For 30 to 40 minutes, or longer, he looks up at me and I stroke his head, under his chin, over his back, and eventually he rolls onto his back to expose his entire tummy – stretching out long. This, by the way, is the biggest sign a cat is allowing you to have dominion over him. I gently rub his tummy, and he looks up to me as if to say, Thank you, Mommy. During most of this time, his motor is running – purr, purr, purr.

My foot continues to be a pain – literally. I have been to the doctor twice. One appointment last week where I saw a “fill in” while my doctor was away on vacation (Alaskan fishing trip), and yesterday I saw my doctor. My doctor diagnosed it as a possible ganglion cyst and has referred me to a podiatrist whom I will see next Tuesday. In the meantime, I’m staying off it as much as possible, have it wrapped in an elastic bandage, and am icing it whenever possible. For the most part, I am limping around – and am very ready to be back to normal.

This Saturday afternoon I am hosting a backyard picnic for the residents in my building and those in the one across our backyard. This is not going to be a gala event, but hopefully a time of getting acquainted with our neighbors that we often see at the mailbox or out on the deck or patio or coming from or going to the garage. Living where I do has reminded me of the movie Rear Window more than once – not that I think any of them is a murderer, mind you, but that I see lights at certain times, folks tending to their plants, reading in a comfortable chair, or eating dinner. One I see quite often seems to come out on her deck to smoke. I realize this isn’t very interesting to you, but these are my neighbors, and I’m anxious to know them better. I’m hoping the nice weather lasts, and that my bum foot will cooperate so I can assemble some tables and decorations – and make something delicious to share.

Starting next Tuesday, my job description will change. I will no longer work in the Production Department, but will be the company morning receptionist and continue to work for the Design Director the second half of the day. This is fine with me, as I love meeting people and chatting with them, and will still get to do the fun, creative things for the Design Director. As long as one works, it’s nice to be doing something enjoyable.

And that’s about it for now.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Another Birthday Party


Debra and Bonnie

Laurey and Debra

Joanne and Laurey

Birthday dessert - French pastries

Today my friends gave me a birthday party in one of the dining rooms at Hotel Sofitel. This is an elegant French restaurant that serves delicious food! Eating there always feels like a special occasion.

Nancy brought along her "birthday bear." He sings Happy Birthday through twice. His head moves back and forth. Every time Nancy brings the bear, someone in the restaurant always asks where they can get one. I've had two, but sold both to strangers sitting near by.

This was a special time of being together with dear friends Nancy, Bonnie, Debra, Laurey, and Joanne.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Foot Problem

The day before my birthday, while walking in the office, my left foot began to hurt. The best way for me to describe it is to say it felt as though the bones where my toes connect were broken. Tuesday night I put an ice pack on it and hoped it would cure whatever little thing was going on. Wednesday morning I decided to put the custom-made orthotics into my shoes to get a "head start" on any plantar faciitis that may be deciding to pay a visit. All day long I wore them, but got no relief. The upper part of my foot was swelling up and my shoe was very tight. I iced it again during the evening. Thursday was a repeat of Wednesday, so I made an appointment to see the doctor on Friday afternoon.

At the clinic, the doctor examined my foot and told me it wasn't plantar faciitis and to not wear the orthotics. He ordered x-rays, and they showed nothing. No bunions, no cracks, no fractures - just healthy looking bones. He told me the pain I was describing was close to that of the gout - but in the wrong area of the foot. He had the nurse wrap it in an elastic bandage and told me to stay off it as much as possible this weekend, and ice it often. Tylenol should help with any pain. He suggested crutches may be of help, but when I stopped at the medical supply store to purchase them, the clerk adjusted them to fit me and I gave them a try - a few times, but nearly fell over backwards. Feeling a sore foot would be better than a concussion, I decided to do without them.

It's been a quiet day for me - some reading, TV watching, computer time, and sitting on the patio a bit. Iced my foot many times. My foot feels about the same.

When I was a little girl, we had a shoe store in town - Smith's Shoe Store - wherein one could put on a pair of shoes and walk to the "Shoe-Fitting Fluoroscope" - which was basically an x-ray machine. You looked through the window and could see the bones of your feet and how close to the edge of the shoe they were. Parents used this to tell if they were buying the shoes big enough to last for a little while. You can see a photo and read about it here. I remember being fascinated with being able to see my toe bones move as I wiggled my toes. No need to explain why these are no longer seen in any shoe store.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Another candle on my cake!

Birthdays seem to roll around faster than they used to. Today is my birthday, and it has been a very good day.

I have heard from all of my kids and grandkids, plus my sister, Aunt, and cousins, plus nieces, and dear friends - and my co-workers gave me a grand day at the office!

My office was decorated - balloons and sparkly bangles - looked a little like the archway at a prom. I got cards, candy, and flowers, and my boss, LaVonne, brought one of her famous home-made chocolate layer cakes with home-made fudge icing for our departmental birthday party. (There were guests at my party, but this photo makes it look as if it was only LaVonne and me! :-))

Two of my dear friends, Nancy and Sharon, took me out for lunch to my favorite restaurant for the Apple Pancake, Hormel thick-sliced bacon, and tomato juice. We had fun conversation and loved our food.

Life is good.