Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Weekend with My Sister and Cousins

Ticknor Hill Bed & Breakfast

One of the beds in our room

Sisters: Linda and Diane

Baked egg/ham dish

L to R: Yours truly, Linda, Diane, Pat, Jan

Como Park, St. Paul, Minnesota

Inside the Marjorie Holmes Conservatory

Hans and Rachel were married on these steps nine years ago.

This year, more than ever, my sister, cousins and I have spent some quality time together. This weekend we gathered at Diane's home where we had lunch and played with her darling grandsons, Ethan (3 years old) and Luke (2 weeks of age). This was not only fun, but meaningful - you see, Diane and her husband are moving back east - this time to the Atlantic shores of New Jersey. It has been great having them here in Minnesota for the past four years, and now the Minnesota cousins have a new place to travel - the Jersey shore!

Following lunch, we packed into Aunt Liz's car and traveled a small distance to where we toured a few of the Parade of Homes in her neighborhood and then to Ticknor Hill B & B in Anoka. This B & B is in a Victorian Home built in 1867. The hostess welcomed us by giving us a tour of the home, and showed us our rooms - one large one that sleeps 3 and a smaller one that sleeps 2. We were the only guests for the weekend, so we had the common areas to ourselves. We brought in our baggage and left for some shopping in the many antique stores in Anoka, followed by dinner in a local bar and grill. Per usual, we spent the rest of the evening talking and laughing - staying up way past my bedtime!

Sunday morning we enjoyed a delicious breakfast in the dining room, and listened to our hostess tell of the history of the house. After checking out, we ventured a few blocks away to see where the Rum River flows into the Mississippi River. This is a new part of Minnesota to me.

Next destination: Como park. We walked through the conservatory, the tropical gardens, and out to the zoo to see the orangutans, polar bears, giraffes and zebras. It was a beautiful day to be outdoors, and all in all, it capped off a wonderful time of being together. I'm blessed to have these special women in my life.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dinner's Ready

Yesterday was dull and drizzly and it got me to thinking about a nice, easy, cozy meal for today. Why not make a pot roast in the crock pot? I stopped in a meat market and got a nice cut of beef, knowing I had Yukon gold potatoes and carrots at home.

This morning I prepared the vegetables and put them and the meat in my crock pot and left for work. When I came home for lunch, I noticed this aroma was drawing Nels to jump up on the kitchen counter. This is definitely a NO, NO! To make certain he didn't get up there while I was at work this afternoon, I locked him up in the laundry room.

5:10 pm, I entered my home and was warmly greeting with the delicious smell of my dinner! In less than 10 minutes, I had poured myself a glass of milk and was ready to begin eating this comfort food. God bless the inventor of the crock pot and God bless You, Heavenly Father, for the food you provide.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Knitting Retreat

Some of my friends. L to R: Gladys, Pat, Laurey, Gayle, Marney, Carin.

Aren't these fun dishes?!!

One of Barb's zucchinis she grew this year resembles her Mallard duck. Isn't that cool!

Barb, showing us what we hope our bird baths will look like.

1. We poured out sand on the table, to make a cushion for our Hosta leaf. At this point, the leaf is hiding the sand.

2. We sprayed water on the sand so it would stick together better, covered it with a sheet of plastic, and placed our leaf over it, making sure it was raised at the deepest part of the leaf.

3. Bit by bit, we spread wet cement over the Hosta leaf, building it up from 1/2" to 1" thickness.

4. We formed a nice edge to the leaf, used the empty cottage cheese carton to form a flat base on the bird bath, and incised our initials. I also put cement into an empty carton to make a pedestal. All of the cement leaf bird baths were loosely covered with plastic to dry for a week.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Each year one of the members of our knitting club invites the members to her cabin up north - near Nisswa, Minnesota. As always, it was so much fun!

Some of the ladies went up on Thursday, some Friday morning, and Gayle and I went up Friday after getting out of work. Other years we have gone up in October and the fall color was pretty. Though the leaves haven't begun changing yet, it was still nice up there - nice to get away.

Arriving at dinner time, we walked in to a beautifully set table and the aroma of good cooking. 9 of us gathered around the table and sang grace - The Doxology - with beautiful harmony. There was lots of conversation and laughter, and delicious food! Some stayed up way into the late hours talking.

Saturday morning Gayle and I prepared breakfast for all - a baked French toast, baked in an orange, sugar, cinnamon, butter combination, along with fresh fruit, sausages and orange juice.

All of us brought snacks for the weekend, but I thought the best of all were the home-made peanut butter and orange/oatmeal cookies that Marney made. Yummy!! I'm afraid I overdid it with them.

Each retreat we make a project. This year was so fun. We made bird baths from Hosta leaves and cement. They have to dry for a week, so Pat will pick them up next weekend when they go back up to their cabin. I sure hope mine turns out!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Drastic Weather Change

Our weather changed yesterday - big time. A freeze warning - not frost warning - was given for last night. Since my flowering plants are still very pretty, I gathered them together, close to my house, and covered them with a sheet. Thankfully, it only dropped to 37, so all is well. They're all fine.

I'm not ready for fall yet, and technically, it isn't Autumn until the 21st of this month. Also, I'm not ready for it being dark before 8 pm - but it is!

Oh well, these are things for which we have no control, but in Minnesota, we gripe because we can!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 - My Memories

It was Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, when I left my home around 7:30 and began walking to work. As I did occasionally, I phoned my Aunt Ginny to converse with her for a bit, ending my call as I walked up to my office building. I proceeded to my desk, when I heard Paul say, "A small plane just hit one of the skyscrapers in New York City!" I went into his office to listen to his radio to learn some more, then went to my office, turned on my computer, and went straight to The reports were a little sketchy, but in moments, I learned a second plane had hit Tower 1 of the World Trade Center. From that moment on - there was very little work done by me or anyone in our office.

Heidi was living in Baton Rouge, LA, at the time, working as an air traffic controller. I called her home to tell her about the attack, and got her voice mail. I knew she was wasn't working at that time, so I called her again - asking her to pick up the phone. Groggily she answered, "What's the matter?" I told her to turn on her TV - any channel. Her day changed from that moment, too. (Hopefully she'll blog about it this weekend.)

Next I phoned Hans, who was stationed in the twin cities at the time. He hadn't left for work yet. We talked as he watched his TV and I watched CNN online. We were in disbelief. Suddenly he announced, "Oh, my God! They've hit the Pentagon! I've got to get to work, Mom. Bye."

That noon I walked home for lunch. It was an eerie feeling to see no planes in the sky — except for a couple of F16s — crisscrossing from east of St. Paul to west of Minneapolis. They had flown down from an air force base in Duluth.

The rest of that day was spent either glued to my computer screen, or to a TV. Life, as we knew it, would never be the same. May we never experience this again!

This weekend much attention is being given to this horrific tragedy. I watched the ceremony of the memorial for Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. One of those heroes, Tom Burnett, Jr., was from my city. He graduated from the same high school as Heidi. Today my post office is named for him.

In summer 2004, I was privileged to stand at ground zero. It was an emotional feeling. Next month I will return.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

"The Help"

What a privilege to see the movie, The Help. The film was recommended to me by two dear people, so today my friend Nancy and I went to see it. I was immediately drawn in, but as the story continued, my emotions were engaged. By the end, I couldn't stop crying. At the conclusion, I decided this movie will take "best picture" this season. Please go to see it.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

What a treat!

Driving home tonight, I was treated to the sight of a crescent moon. It was lovely. (This is not my photo, but the moon looked just like this.)