Tuesday, August 28, 2012

In Search of Eagles

For my second day with Heidi and Marshall, we drove down to Wabasha, Minnesota, to have lunch at Slippery's Tavern (think Grumpy Old Men) and to visit the National Eagle Center 

Marshall loved these water fountains and the waterfall.

Marshall, along with 4 other children, got to go to the front of the lecture to flap his arms as an eagle.

Heidi and Marshall posing with Was'aka (the eagle)

Suddenly Was'aka began flapping his wings. Marshall wasn't so sure he liked this!

Harriet, the eagle who appears on some Minnesota license plates, had recently taken a bath - thus, the wet sand near her perch and bath tub. I think Marshall enjoyed this part of the center.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Heidi and Marshall Are Here!

I have been having lots of fun since yesterday! It started off with meeting up with Heidi, Chad and Marshall & Peder, Sarah, Aurelia, Felix and Leo at the Great Minnesota Get-together known as the Minnesota State Fair. While we weren't able to do everything together, we did a number of things, including riding the sky ride (I shared a car with Sarah and Felix), a boat ride in Ye Old Mill (this ride dates back to 1919 - seriously), witnessing a parade, which included the University of Minnesota marching band, watching a professional baker whip up an Irish bundt cake, and lots of eating. The only food on a stick for me was a corn dog (I know, I'm a boring eater.).

Heidi and Marshall came home with me after the fair and we're having a wonderful time! Last night and again today we spent some time in my swimming pool. How refreshing it was in this heat we're having! This morning we took Marshall to the Shoots and Ladders playground. Talk about a popular place! There were kids and parents everywhere. What impresses me at places such as this is how kind Heidi is to others' children. As I sat on a bench in the shade, she was up with Marshall and a bunch of other kids, pushing them in a tire swing. I witnessed her waiting to push so another little girl could join them, helping her onto the tire and then carefully starting the motion. She is patient and watchful for all the children. 

Keeping our tradition alive, every time Heidi comes for a visit, we go to Redstone, a wonderful restaurant in Eden Prairie. Our entree choices vary, but we ALWAYS share a piece of their amazing banana cream pie - which isn't like a traditional piece of pie. Rather, it is a toasted nut crust, banana custard, fresh bananas and whipped cream. Yum!

After lunch we drove south of Jordon to an apple orchard where we tasted a couple of types of apples and bought 5# of the newer varieties, the Zestar. It's really good. Try one, if possible.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Playing in my new screened porch

I thought this may happen at some point, and sure enough, Nels made it up to one of the railings today. I had used my Amish-made grandma's potato stool for standing on to hang two hanging pots and a little wind chime. He took advantage of the back of the stool, teetered over to the railing, and made himself at home for a bit. He is loving investigating each and every thing.

Prior to the completion of the porch, I had shopped at IKEA and bought a bunch of things that "spoke" to me: some linens, napkins, a tray, a couple of hanging planters and matching flower pot (metal), plus some artificial (shh! don't tell) plants, and this cute lamp, which I'm proud to say, I assembled "all by myself" this afternoon! I had fun switching around some of the linens to see what looks better. Looking at things now, I see that I want to change the cloth to a different angle on the new IKEA table against the brick wall. I'll see how that looks.

For this photo, I changed the little table cloth on the small table behind the chair and the linens on the backs of the chairs. I'm trying out different ideas in preparation for a dinner I hope to host in the near future.

Notice the hanging pots and the humming bird wind chime suspended from the rafters? I'm pretty happy with them. I'm anxious to see what it will look like after the sun sets this evening.

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

After patiently waiting for evening, I made some of the tweaks I had thought about earlier and turned on the lamp plus lit a candle. I like it!

Same scene sans flash.

Taking a photo of these planters and wind chime at evening makes them more visible.

I am really enjoying this new "room" in my home.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Screened Porch Is Finished!

It has taken some time, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the workmen installing the screen and furring strips to my porch when I came home for lunch.

Tonight I came to find this ~ it's finished!

I was so curious to see how Nels would react to being allowed "outside." I took lots of photos of him —carefully stepping over the threshold of the French door and investigating the concrete floor. 

He sniffed and sniffed the floor, even rolled around on it.

Oh, no. Another door!

What's this, Mommy? Smells wonderful! "No, no, Nels. Leave that alone!"

What's out here?

Friday, August 10, 2012

I have a new table!

One of the things I was hoping to do once my porch is screened is a little entertaining alfresco. I had considered bringing my little kitchen table out there, which when opened up, seats four. It wasn't until I was shopping at IKEA last Sunday with my cousin Pat that I decided to buy the table I have admired there since it opened in Minneapolis some number of years ago. I hadn't been on their second floor for at least a year, so it was surprising to learn they still offered this wonderful creation.

Table fully closed

One side opened; one drawer slightly open. The leg isn't actually slanted. It appears so due to the camera angle.

This table has two drop-down sides, plus six drawers — three on each side. Six people will be able to sit around it when it is fully opened. Fully closed, it takes up very little space. It comes in natural wood or white. I chose the white, and it is so nice! Thanks to Pat who did most of the grunt work to get the knocked down table into the back of my Beetle and out again, and into my home. This afternoon one of my co-workers (I work with the BEST people) came over and assembled it for me. He told me he loves to put together IKEA furniture—that it is well made, and comes with good instructions. It took him a little less than a hour from box to porch! Isn't it great?

One more benefit: in December I can bring it into my kitchen, swapping it with my kitchen table, and have a great spot for rolling out and decorating Christmas cookies, etc.

The porch is completely painted and now I'm waiting for the workmen to install the screening.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

And yet another . . .

Tonight my dear friends Nancy and Sharon took me out to dinner to celebrate my birthday. We have been friends since nearly the first month or so that I started working at my present job. For awhile, we were part of the Red Hat "Sewciety," which faded away after 2 of our members retired and moved out of the area.

Sharon, Nancy and I work together and usually spend our morning and often our afternoon breaks together. I just love spending time with both of them!

Birthday dessert: Key Lime in a Jar. Delicious!

L: Nancy; R: Sharon
(No, we didn't drink any wine!)

Monday, August 06, 2012

Another birthday party

Our twin chocolate fudge cakes. Delicious!

Sweet Whitney

From L to R: yours truly, Paul, Randy, Alex, Whitney, Dan. In foreground, LaVonne. 
This is a special group of co-workers. I'm so happy to be working with them.

I'm not sure if this is how it always works, but the older I get, I seem to have more birthday celebrations. How fun is that?!

Today was my office birthday party. A co-worker, Whitney, is having a birthday tomorrow, so we had our party together. LaVonne made each of us one of her delicious home-made chocolate fudge cakes, which, of course, we shared. We had a very nice time, with fun conversation. These times are very special to me.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

And the celebrating continues . . .

Clockwise: Laurey, Bonnie, Debra, Nancy, Joanne, my cousin Pat, and yours truly.

Today I had another birthday party with some of my dear friends. We met for lunch at Olive Garden — one of my favorite restaurants. It was so much fun – lots of laughing and good food. I even had a chocolate 2 layer birthday cake, which was yummy! And, we're not done yet. My department at work is having a small party for me tomorrow. Getting old is not so bad!

Friday, August 03, 2012

It's my _?_ birthday!

Arriving at work today, this is how I found my office. It is so pretty! I love the balloons, streamers, and suspended poster. Taped to my computer and one of my picture frames were balloons. My office mates know me well. They know I love it decorated! They gave me a very nice card that was signed by everyone in the company.

During the morning, I got to talk to Rachel, Josiah, Annika and William. That was really fun. They had sent me some nice gifts that arrived yesterday. Josiah and Annika had personalized a wonderful "Grandma" book, so it was enjoyable to talk to them about it. Thank you!!

In the afternoon, I met Peder, Sarah, Aurelia, Felix and Leo at a park not far from my home. Thankfully, Peder and Sarah had found an area with a big umbrella cover over it, which is where Leo and I stayed, while Aurelia and Felix played on all the equipment, not minding the heat one bit. Those kids are awesome! When we had had enough heat, we went to a nearby Dairy Queen to cool off a bit with a cold treat, and then went to my home for awhile, the kids playing with a few toys and also playing my piano. It was all very nice. Oh, and they treated me to dinner. Thank you!!

Felix enjoying a Dilly Bar at DQ

Aurelia and Sarah, enjoying their ice cream

Leo was content to take a nap.

This evening I have gotten to speak to Hans and Chad, Heidi and Marshall. Add this to the many birthday cards and gifts I got in the mail and on my computer, this makes my birthday a very special day. I am feeling celebrated and blessed. Thank you!