Saturday, January 28, 2012

My time with Aurelia and Felix

I had a new experience last night. I spent the night at Peder and Sarah's house, while Peder and Sarah spent the night at a local hotel. Aurelia has spent the night at my home many times, but Felix hasn't. In fact, he and I haven't spent much "alone" time together at all. It just hasn't worked out until last night.

Things went fine until bedtime. I rocked him and read several books, then put him in his crib, and turned on the music. For about 2 or 3 minutes, he was quiet, but then he started to cry. Clearly, he wanted his Daddy. He called and called for him. I let this go on for a couple of minutes, thinking he would tire out and lie down to dreamland. No deal. So, I returned to his room and picked him up. We rocked some more and I read another book, and tried putting him in his crib again. He curled up and went to sleep.

When it was Aurelia's time for bed, I followed her routine, and she went to sleep. All was peaceful until around 11 pm. I heard a voice crying, "I want my mama. I want my mama." I couldn't tell if it was Felix or Aurelia, so I stood in the common hallway to listen. It was Aurelia. This really surprised me. I stood by her bed and told her a story (one I made up), and then rubbed her back for a little bit, and she went to sleep. Off and on during the remainder of the night and early morning, I heard Felix cry, but he would return to sleep on his own. Both kids woke up cheerfully and ate a good breakfast, and then we played some more.

Mid-morning, Peder and Sarah surprised us. They came back to spend some time with us and to take us to lunch. Then we all went to their hotel and their little family went swimming in the pool, while I sat on the deck, enjoying watching them play. It was a very relaxing time, and a good ending of our time together.

Friday, January 27, 2012

VW Beetle

1966 model.

It was in this car we drove out east for a vacation to Gettysburg and Washington, D. C.


It was in this car that we moved to Illinois.

It was in this car that we drove to California (on Route 66) with Hans. We saw Disney Land, Sea World, the US Navy base in San Diego, where we spent time with Jerry; Tijuana, Mexico; the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena (stayed with Cece and Abby); Solvang and San Francisco, California (I LOVED Solvang!), Reno, Nevada, and Salt Lake City, Utah.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Did you know the VW Beetle first came to the United States in 1938? That's 74 years ago! Wikipedia says over 21 million were manufactured, making it the longest-running and most manufactured car of a single design platform in the world. Was it pretty? - no. Practical? - yes. Economical? - yes.

I think I got my first introduction of a VW Beetle when my brother bought his first one. It was so different, but cute.

We (Steve and I) got our first one in 1966 - a tan one. I remember the sticker price (this was a brand new car) was $1,949. Isn't that something?! That car was followed by a light blue one in 1968. Then in 1972, we bought the red Super Beetle, which had a bigger trunk (in the front). All three of these cars had the engine in the back. The 1968 model had a gas heater, which heated up the car in about 60 seconds - melting any ice off the windows. The other two had only the standard heater which ran off the air-cooled engine. This meant you didn't really get any heat until the car was running at or above 50 mph. Brr!

We went on to have other VWs: 2 Rabbits and a Vanagon. There have been many, many VW owners in our family. Uncle Allan once had a Karmann Ghia. Hans has had a couple of the VW Beetles - one was a beautifully restored 1977; at least 2 Jettas, and a Passat. Peder has had the VW pickup. Jerry has had so many, I can't remember all of them, but I know he owned at least two VW Gulfs. I need to add this: Heidi now drives a Jetta.

Today I am the proud owner of the final edition of the New VW Beetle, produced in 2010. It is one of 1500 made in this edition. Mine is #924/1500. I really, really like it. Prior to that, I had one of the first year editions - 1998. My boss's wife now drives it.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Our National Anthem

With big footballs games being played this past weekend , some folks are mentioning the anthem sung by Kristen Chenoweth yesterday at the New York Giants San Francisco game. I listened to a recording of it this morning, and I agree, Kristen sang it beautifully. This brought to mind my favorite recording of our National Anthem. Peter Jennings from ABC, was the commentator for the closing ceremony of Liberty Weekend 1986 — the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. He mentioned having heard many performers sing the anthem during the 3 day celebration in New York City, but was amazed at the rendition from a little known singer from Anderson, Indiana, Sandi Patti. I was watching this program (in fact, I recorded it), and thought this was the most fitting closure imaginable. I have watched it over and over. Tonight I was pleased to see it has recently been posted here. I hope you'll take a few minutes to watch and listen. I never knew there were 3 verses to the National Anthem. I know you're going to love this!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Anniversary

A co-worker just emailed me to tell me "Happy Anniversary" at my job. I started there 11 years ago today. Imagine that!

Working at Bethany House has been such a blessing for me. Up until then, I had worked in what I consider a wide variety of places: department store, ice cream shop, telephone company, church office - secretary, bakery, meat packing plant, mortgage company, dress shop, and finally a publishing house.

What do I like most? First of all - the people - those I work with, and the authors. I guess that's how God made me. I love connecting with people. I work with truly gifted people. Some are able to search out and acquire talented writers, others have the gift of marketing, and then there are those with the gift of design. I'm so happy to rub shoulders with these amazing people.

Oh, not every day has been sunshine, but out of those 11 years, I have probably had about 3 days in which I would have liked to have walked away. That's a pretty good record.

Tomorrow I'll return and start the 12th year. This is the longest I have worked anywhere. I'm looking forward to tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Julie - she's made a reader out of me!

Yours truly, standing in front of the door of the church in Weston Underwood, England, 1993. I'm pretty sure my maternal great-grandparents were married here.

I have never been what is known as a "reader," - unlike my kids. They must have gotten that love from their father. Oh, I read a bit, but as early as 4th grade, I remember having to do book reports and for two years in a row, I turned in a book report of The Witch of Blackbird Pond. I had read it once and didn't care to read another book, so reported on it again in 5th grade. I don't know how I managed to get through school with this trait, but I did, and that is history.

In my adult life, I happened onto a book called Love Comes Softly, by Janette Oke. I liked it so much that when my sister-in-law, Donna, and I decided to organize a women's retreat for the ladies in our respective churches, I contacted Janette to see if she would be our guest speaker, and she agreed to do so. This was back in the early 80s. Since then, she and I have remained friends. Over the years, I read all 8 of the books in this series multiple times.

In 2001, I was fortunate to be hired at the publishing house for Janette (I used her for one of my references). This has brought me in touch with many very good authors, and thus, I have read more books, but perhaps only 3 or 4 a year - not nearly what most folks read. I have read every book written by Beverly Lewis, who is a dear, dear friend of mine, and have enjoyed them very much.

About 8 years ago, our pastor encouraged us to read through the Bible in a year. Our church even provided a daily schedule in order to accomplish this, and I made up my mind I would do it. I have done it each year since and must say I have enjoyed it a lot. It has become a part of my daily living - using different translations from year to year.

Late last fall, I decided I should read a book from one of our authors, Julie Klassen. Until recently, Julie worked in our office, and I would see her once a week or so. I knew she was talented, for she had written a couple of the skits presented at our annual company Christmas parties. I took her first book, The Lady of Milkweed Manor, and after a few pages of reading, I was hooked. You see, she writes about old England - in the 1800s, a time when my ancestors lived there. As I read her book, I could imagine my great-grandmother and great-grandfather in these stories. In fact, in 1993, when Hans and I traveled to England, we stopped in Weston Underwood, to see the church where this couple were married. While not positive we were at the same place, we think we were. Since reading Julie's first book, I have gone on to read The Apothecary's Daughter, and The Silent Governess. By the way, the red cape the model is wearing on The Silent Governess, belongs to me. Isn't that fun?! Last night I started reading her next book, The Girl in the Gatehouse. I'm quite sure I'm going to enjoy it.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A new member in our family

A week ago we added another member to our family. Let me introduce, Elsa, a German Shepherd, who now makes her home with Hans and Rachel. I believe she's about 9 weeks old, and cute as a button. I'm anxious to get to meet her and she how she interacts with Josiah, Annika and Will. Wilkommen, Elsa.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

It was good while it lasted!

January 2012 started out so nice and mild. We experienced a run of warm , sunny days — reaching as high as 52 degrees one day. Folks left their big, heavy, winter coats in the closet and sported a sweater or light jacket. And the most amazing occurrence to me was the report that golf courses in the twin cities were booked solid. Absolutely incredible.

Not everyone was happy about this: skiers, snow mobilers, ice fishermen, ice skaters, those who make a living plowing snow. But me, I loved it! As a matter of fact, I have worn my winter boots one day this season. One day! To date, we've had 5.5" of snow. That's all. Last year, we had over 45" before Christmas.

It all came to an end yesterday. Temperatures dropped all day long. Snow was in the air for a little while in the morning, but changed over to a light rain later on. Today the winds have been fierce, and when I went out at lunchtime, the temperature was 12 degrees. I guess winter will be shorter than usual this year, and that's alright with me.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Looking Upward

This morning I witnessed one of the most beautiful sunrises ever. What a treat for my eyes! Seeing this is such a great start to the day.

Then this evening, I was treated again. The sunset was outstanding, and overhead was the bright moon.

Looking a bit longer, I noticed a planet — Jupiter, I think. It's amazing what one sees when looking up. I live in the city, where there are thousands and thousands of lights, making it difficult to see the many sights in the sky, such as the millions of stars. Sitting at night on the deck of our ship was one of the things I was looking forward to do on the cruise. Oh, well. That will have to wait for another time. I envy those who live in the country who, on any cloudless evening, can go outside to view the amazing sky!

On another note, we had record breaking weather in the midwest today. Did you know the temperature reached 73 degrees today in Rapid City, South Dakota?! It was 17 degrees above any precious record. It reached 55 degrees in Fargo, ND, and 59 degrees in Redwood Falls, MN. Our high was 45 degrees, and would have been higher, but for the little bit of snow we have.