Monday, October 31, 2011


Last week I checked with one of our Vice Presidents for permission to wear a costume at the front desk today. He asked me what I planned to wear. After telling him, he said it was okay. So today I wore curlers in my hair, covered by a curler bonnet, plus my pink, terry cloth bath robe.

The reaction: I got a lot of smiles and good comments. Was I comfortable? Yes, until into the morning a few hours, when the bonnet started feeling a bit tight around my ears, and the curlers began to itch. As for the robe - - it was very comfortable!

When Jim, the FedEx man brought in a package, I asked him where his costume was. He said - "Oh, I should have worn a UPS shirt!" Funny thing was, that's what the mailman said, too.

Here's wishing Josiah, Annika, Aurelia, Marshall, William and Felix and fun time!! Happy Halloween from Grandma D!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What Is It with Cassie's Baby?

On the right hand side of my blog, there is a column titled Feedjit Live Traffic Feed. It's interesting for me to see who searches what and lands on my blog. For quite some time now, I have noticed many searches for Cassie's Baby. Today when I checked, I saw hits from Denmark, Prince Edward Island, Costa Rica, Toronto, London and Montreal, Canada, Portugal, 3 separate hits from Brazil (all different cities), The Netherlands, Spain, and Mexico - along with someone from Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Texas and Missouri. Now I ask, is that a song or movie that is poplar right now? I'm puzzled.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Celebrating Nels' 2nd Birthday

Today I am celebrating Nels' 2nd birthday. Yes, I have had him only 10 months, but when I first got him, his veterinarian determined he was 13 or 14 months old - not 3 years which was stated on his bio at the Humane Society. I set his birthday as October 24.

He continues to be a good companion for me. Oh, he's not perfect, but what 2 year old is? Since I have been spending SO much time at home of late, he has become accustomed to curling up on my lap - for hours at a time. He loves being petted, and I love hearing him purr.

To celebrate his day, we started off with a can of Fancy Feast Salmon in Gravy. He thought it was delicious! Happy Birthday, Nels!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Missed the Boat

This morning I realized how much I missed not getting to go on the cruise. My sister phoned from Newport, Rhode Island. Their ship pulled in sometime this morning, and she and Pat were waiting for their number to be called to board the tender that will bring them ashore. Both Pat and Jan have been to Newport before - for Pat, it was many, many years ago. For Jan, she spent a week there with me while Hans and Rachel spent a week in Bermuda and we watched Josiah and Annika. During that week, we walked around Newport a lot - including the trek to Goat Island, which Jan said the ship sailed past this morning. Once on land, their first destination will be the Post Office where they will post some of their belongings to be sent home to allow more room in their luggage! They plan to walk the wonderful historic neighborhood where Hans and Rachel lived.

Jan and I talked about 20 minutes, and she related to me some of the sights they have seen and what life on the ship has been like. As she spoke, it confirmed the feelings I have had - I missed the boat, literally, and I missed out on a dream trip. I missed spending these 14 special days with my sister and cousin! Oh, I'll get to see their pictures and hear their stories, and hopefully that will help fill the gap. But I know it won't replace the fact that I didn't get to go. Here's where the old adage: "Don't cry over spilled milk" comes in. There is nothing I can do about this. It's done. Tomorrow their ship pulls into the New York harbor, and after disembarking, boarding a bus to visit the Statue of Liberty, the 32 folks who made up our Fall Leaves Tour, will travel to La Guardia and make their way back to Minnesota. They will have spent an amazing 17 days together.

One thing I am certain: I'm glad I insisted Jan and Pat continue on this trip. There will be more opportunities for us to do things and go places together.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Back on the job

Yesterday I returned to my office where I got to work at the Reception Desk all day (with the exception of break times and lunch). I really enjoyed seeing all of my co-workers again, and catching up on what has been going on since I've been away. Of course, everyone wanted to know how I was and relayed to me how sorry they were that I didn't get to go on the cruise.

What caused me to faint while on my trip? I'm not sure we'll ever know. I had a colonoscopy on Monday, but that didn't reveal much. I have an appointment to see my doctor next week.

What is most frustrating about this - aside from not getting to go on the cruise? For me, it is this ankle problem: the pain plus not being able to drive. I don't like relying on getting rides, but thankfully, I have very dear friends who are coming to my rescue. Friends have brought me a meal, driven me to my appointments, grocery shopped for me, and are picking me up and bringing me home from work. I've heard from so many of my family and friends, too. I have gotten darling "Get well, Grandma" cards, and well wishes from others. People really care. Which makes me realize this: I have to be more attentive to those around me that may need my help. I need to be ready to make a meal for someone, or offer to take someone for a ride that is housebound.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cabin Fever

I have been housebound (except for a doctor appointment on Wednesday) since getting home from NYC last Sunday night. Let me tell you, as much as I like my home, it was getting a bit "old." Today a good friend picked me and took me on a drive to Red Wing and down highway 61 past Lake City, where we saw beautiful fall foliage. Oh, it was past peak, but just barely. We saw beautiful trees and bushes, and of course, Lake Pepin and the Mississippi River, as well as the bluffs. There were 3 bald eagles soaring over one of the bluffs just south of Red Wing. A paddle boat was puttering on Lake Pepin.

For lunch, we stopped at the Chickadee Cottage, a favorite of mine, and had delicious quiche, salad, fresh fruit, and apple/cherry crisp with ice cream. All of it was delicious! We also stopped at an apple orchard and got some sweet tango apples. They are yummy!

I barely got home, and Peder, Sarah, Aurelia and Felix came to my home. We went to a neighborhood park where the kids played. It was a lovely day and so fun to get out of my home for awhile.

My ankle still hurts. The doctor told me no driving for two weeks. Talk about getting your "wings clipped!" I've become dependent on others for groceries, trips to the doctor, and yes, picking up the supplies I need for tomorrow as I prepare for a colonoscopy early Monday morning. I guess you know what I'll be doing tomorrow.

On a side note, Jan and Pat are enjoying the cruise and the excursions they have taken. They have called me every day, except the two days when the ship was out to sea. I imagine they aren't getting cell phone signals out there. I'm looking forward to seeing their pictures and hearing their stories once they return. They have another 8 fun-filled days ahead of them.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Note to readers:

Note to readers: I posted my entries about the beginning of our cruise in the five stories that follow - in chronological order from the bottom up.

Monday, October 10, 2011


This lovely photo of me is in the ER at NYU Medical Center. I spent 8 hours here before I was admitted to the hospital. I'll try to write an entry about this ER in the future. It was something else!

= = =

My trip has come to an end. I am home - I did not get to go on the cruise due to a medical incident.

Saturday, while in the United Nations, I passed out twice. An ambulance was called and I was transported to the New York University Hospital where I spent the next 26 hours. I was released after ruling out a heart attack, stroke, or blocked arteries. During all of this I also experienced internal bleeding and I twisted my ankle during the second fall, which resulted in a bad sprain and chipped bone.

At 6 am yesterday, the medical staff informed me I was not going on the cruise and more testing was done. When it was determined there was nothing heart related, I was discharged to return to Minnesota to have the internal bleeding checked out. I am wearing an air cast on my right foot/ankle and am not supposed to drive for 6 or 7 days.

I was able to get a flight back to Minneapolis last night and am now home recovering. I was impressed with the great care at both airports with those needing wheel chair assistance! This was a new experience for me (hope it will be last!). I will see my doctor on Wednesday for review and to be set up with referrals for a gastroenterologist and orthopedic doctor or podiatrist. Now I have the time off to take care of such visits.

This was very disappointing to not get to take the cruise, but I am thankful it occurred in NYC rather than on the ship or while on shore on an excursion. I was told I was taken to the best hospital in New York City.

The NYC Tour Continues

Messages pertaining to 9/11 hang on ribbons from this tree in the chapel yard.

This bronze bell at St. Paul's chapel was presented to the New York workers on the first anniversary of 9/11 by the Lord Mayor of the city of London.

This sign hangs in the inside of St. Paul's Chapel.

A view of the Chrysler Building

Lunch time

Track 7 at Grand Central Station

~ ~ ~

After we visited the 9/11 Memorial, we walked to St. Paul's Chapel. This small church holds a lot of history. George Washington worshipped here on the day of his inauguration, and not long ago it was a resting place for the rescue workers following the attacks on the Twin Towers. In the yard at the rear, there is a cemetery. It was difficult to read the inscriptions.

Our next destination was Grand Central Station. Our tour guide told us some years ago the city of New York considered tearing this down - after all, real estate in New York City is prime. But when Jackie Kennedy got wind of this, she campaigned to have it remain and to have the inside cleaned. It's a beautiful building. Jan, Pat and I ate our lunch in the basement of the station.

Next stop, the United Nations.

9/11 Memorial

Tower One being constructed. Upon completion, it will be tallest building in North America.


* * * * * * *

If I saw nothing else while in New York City but the 9/11 Memorial - Reflecting Absence - that would be enough for me. I never expected it to be so moving, so tasteful, so beautiful, and so fitting. This was definitely a well planned memorial to the 2,983 victims of the two terrorist attacks.

There are two fountains - one for Tower One, the other for Tower Two. Each one is the size of the base of the original Twin Towers. The names of each victim from the two towers, flight 93, flight 77, the Pentegon, and those killed in the terrorist attack to the towers in 1993 are engraved in the ledge around each fountain. They are beautifully done. Combined, the two fountains will circulate a total of 52,000 gallons of water per minute. The sound of the water is peaceful - a fitting tribute for the families of the deceased.

While walking around, I noticed a man running a crayon over paper over a name. I approached him and asked him if I may ask if this was a family member. He told me it was his nephew who had died. To the woman next to him, I asked, "Was this your nephew, too?" to which she replied, "No, this was my son." She went on to tell me her son had worked for Cantor Fitzgerald, the nation's leading bond brokerage firm, whose offices were in the 101st - 105th floors of the North Tower. All of the 658 employees of Cantor Fitzgerald who were in the office at the time of the attack, perished. I asked her what she was doing during the attack and she told me she was getting ready to come into the city and had been listening to the radio when she heard a plane had flown into one of the towers. She, like many of us, assumed it was a small, private plane in distress. Soon after, her daughter-in-law phoned her to tell her to turn on the TV.

As she was relating this to me, a tear fell from her eye. She said she had come to see the memorial on the 9/11 anniversary this year, but there were so many crowds of people that she became frustrated and went home. This day was her first visit. She took out a photo of her son and his family and gave me permission to photograph her holding it. Her name is Mirella. She was born in Italy and was proud to tell me her son spoke Italian as well as English. She went on to say her son's body had been identified the following June. One of his legs was missing. She was asked if she wanted to view it. She declined. I told her I would be praying for her and she thanked me.

A Tour of New York City

Pat and Jan

Waitress performing in Ellen's Stardust Diner

The Empire State Building is our backdrop.

The Wall Street revolt is actually smaller than it appears on TV. It is in one small park, and our tour guide told us the crowd changes every day. When we walked by, it was rather quiet. There were many TV equipment trucks on the perimeter.

~ ~ ~

First off on our tour of New York city was breakfast at Ellen's Stardust Diner - about 2 blocks from our hotel. All 33 of us walked to the restaurant and were immediately seated at reserved tables. There wasn't anything that "special" about the restaurant - not fancy at all - but after we were there a little bit, we could hear someone speaking, and then he was singing - beautifully. He was one of the waiters! He performed a fun song, and then proceeded to take orders from customers. Minutes later, another waiter took the microphone and sang while walking through the aisles. Wow, were they good! Turns out, every waiter and waitress were "wanna be" performers on Broadway. This was really fun!

Our bus picked us up after breakfast and we headed south out of Times Square. We traveled through Greenwich Village, SoHo, China Town, and eventually to Wall Street (Yes, we saw the bull and the protesters in the park near Wall Street.) and the area around the World Trade Center. At this point, we got out of the bus and walked a bit to the entrance of the 9/11 Memorial Fountains.

Going on a Big Trip - NYC and a 2 Week Cruise

The Statue of Liberty welcoming us.

This speaks for itself.

This is our hotel room.

Yours truly with Minnie Mouse

On a trip to New York many years ago, we went to the Ed Sullivan show. That night his guests were Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis.

Janet and the Reuben sandwich she and Pat shared

Look at the crowds - and this is an ordinary Friday night in Times Square!

Yours truly and Janet sitting on the glass stairs in Times Square

This guy was dressed in nothing but candy!

We tried to spot ourselves in this "live cam" on Broadway. We're way at the back, on the left.

On Friday, my sister, cousin and I boarded a plane with 30 other folks for a 3 day trip to NYC, followed by a 14 day cruise to New England and Canada. The trip was booked as a Fall Leaves Tour. We had looked forward to this for quite some time.

Flying over upstate New York (I had the window seat), I got to see the glorious fall colors of the forests below. There were brilliant reds, oranges and yellow. I took several photos, but one must have a much better camera than mine to catch the scene. Anyway, I loved it. Coming into New York City, the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan came into view. Wow! The sky was a clear blue, and the sight was gorgeous. Our destination was La Guardia, in Queens, Long Island. Many years ago, when I was just a little kid (10 years old), I got to New York to stay with my aunt and uncle, who at that time lived in Flushing, the suburb next to Queens.

After landing, we boarded a bus that took us to our hotel right in the heart of Time Square - the Crowne Plaza. It was a beautiful place! We got our room assignments, checked them out, and left to see what there was to see in Times Square. The rest of the afternoon and evening were up to us - free time. We chose to eat dinner at Carnegie Deli. Now, this is a well known restaurant with photos and autographs of famous people on all the walls. One of my cousin's granddaughters who works in NYC, met us for dinner. When our food came, we were shocked at the portion size. Janet and Pat shared a Reuben. It was HUGE! I should have split it with them, but instead ordered a salami sandwich, which I have to say, was a disappointment.

Following our dinner - or what we ate of it. We walked around more of Time Square. This is a "happening" place! We considered going to a Broadway show, but passed on it because we didn't think we could stay awake for it. That is one of our regrets. Looking back, we should have done it.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


This morning I looked back to 2007 in my blog - just to see why a reader landed on my site while searching for Jane Eyre. As with other things, I got side-tracked and began reading the posts I created in September of that year.

I'm happy I have recorded some of the daily events in my life, and some of my memories of my younger years. For me, this blog has been a good way to journal my life - for me to remember the things I thought were news worthy or fun, meaningful, and special. I enjoyed seeing Aurelia when she was so tiny, and relived the day I drove to the site of the I 35-W bridge collapse.

In a few weeks, I hope to have more to write about, but for now, I'm enjoying reading previous posts.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Nels, do you want to go for a walk outside?

I have discovered my cat, Nels, loves his carrier. This is so weird for me. Every cat we have ever had has hated the carrier. When I bring the carrier in the house, Nels climbs right into it.

With my foot healed, a walk on this beautiful autumn day sounded good to me, so I asked Nels if he wanted to join me. Yes! Outside we went - he was sniffing madly - all those outdoor scents and sounds. It amazes me how he relaxes and looks all around. Birds catch his attention, and trees, and people. While walking, three women were approaching, each with a small dog on a leash. Nels sat - alert, but not afraid. He mewed once when one of the dogs started barking. Immediately his owner said, "No!" and pulled him back. All was well.

I'm happy this is so easy for me - to do something good for both of us.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Don Kooy

Today my sister and I went to Willmar, Minnesota, to attend the memorial service of our childhood friend, Don Kooy. Don's father was our minister when we were kids - in fact, he was the only minister we had until my senior year in high school. A couple of years later, he performed the ceremony when Steve and I were married.

At the service today, Don was honored by many pastors from across the state of Minnesota. He had been active in some form of ministry his entire adult life and was well respected. As with most funerals/memorial services, people come from all parts to give their last farewell and wish the family their best. It was fun to see many of the "kids" who were in our youth group today. Oh, the years have gone by, and we've changed just a bit, but they are dear, dear friends and the reunion was wonderful.

Don will be missed.