Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Our New Phones

Yesterday was a very big day in our office. We got our new phones!! What fun it has been. One can hear the different ring tones being tested. All in all, it has been a smooth change-over.

Once the new phones were placed on our desks, we got to dump the old ones into the recycle boxes.

Our new main console!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Day and the Day After

This year I drove to Rochester to have dinner with Jerry and Janet, and Janet's family. We had a very nice time together with a delicious dinner. The day started out at 53 degrees, which is unseasonably warm for Minnesota this time of year. Traffic was heavy, but slowed down to 12 mph about half way there.

Surely, there has to be a crash up ahead, or else I'm going to be very late for dinner. After about 3 or 4 miles of this, there was the rolled over truck.

Thankfully, there appeared to be no other vehicle involved. After this point, traffic thinned out and moved at a good pace.

When I arrived, the food preparation was well on its way. Lynn and Janet had everything under control, so I visited with Keith and Deborah, and Deborah's daughter, Annika, and with Chad and Jerry.

Annika brought this beautiful pasta salad, garnished with a "turkey." What a sweet girl she is! Little Levi and Annika hit it off and he followed her everywhere! It was very cute.

L to R: Keith, Chad, Deborah, and Annika

After dinner, Keith helped Jerry with some sites on his computer.

Levi with Cassie and Chad

Keith and Deborah patiently worked with Hans to set me up on Deborah's I pad for "face-time" with  Rachel, Hans, William, Josiah and Annika. This was especially nice for me since I haven't seen Hans and his family since Easter. They are trying to convince me to buy an I pad. We'll see.

Levi loved playing peek a boo with Annika! It wasn't long after this that the sliding door had to be closed. The wind shifted from the south to the north and the temperature took a nose dive. (When I awoke this morning ((Saturday)), it was a mere 11 degrees! Good-bye, Autumn.)
* * * * *

For the first time in awhile, I stayed overnight at my brother and sister's home. I slept very well on the new bed in their guest room. In the morning, we had a leisurely breakfast and spent some time going through an album that Aunt Liz had put together for our family. In it were things such as a certificate of completion for a shorthand course my mother had taken, along with her high school graduation program and the wedding photo of her and dad. We also discovered papers Jerry had written while in college and letters he wrote to her while stationed in Japan and in Scotland. There were wedding invitations and graduation announcements of Janet, Keith, and Lynn and a high school announcement of Heidi's. When Pat first gave this album to me, I removed all of the items she had saved of mine and my kids. As always, we talked about how much we miss our dear Aunt Liz.

After a little lunch, Janet and I drove to the Rochester History Center of Olmsted County where we had reservations for a tour of the Mayowood Mansion. At the history museum, we saw various keepsakes of the early days of the Mayo Clinic.

A model of an early operating room at St. Marys Hospital. Notice the sisters in the observation gallery.

This is a model of an early hospital room. I'm so happy they had the foresight to save such things.

A wheelchair from years ago.

The Mayowood Mansion

This Christmas tour was fantastic! We learned that one of the two original Mayo brothers, Charles, built this mansion in 1911, hiring 30 farmers from the nearby area to build it. It was all decked out for Christmas but unfortunately, NO photos were allowed – not even without flash. To keep from temptation, I left my camera in the car. When the Mayo family moved out in 1965, they donated the mansion and all its furnishings, plus 10 acres of land surrounding it to the Olmsted County Historical Society.  Currently, the mansion and grounds are under renovation. You can look here if you are interested in seeing photos of the mansion. I really enjoyed taking this tour with Janet.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Advancing into the 21st Century (at last!)

At my last job, I worked in a company that sold the latest in phone systems. We had phones with extensive programming. They were easy to use, and for the most part, we took it for granted. Then I started working at my present job, which I love, but our phone system is so old, I tell people it came over on Noah's Ark! It has one modern feature - voice mail. But even at that, the voice mail is antiquated. For instance, if one has been away from one's desk, when returning it's possible that four or five voice mail messages have arrived. Here's the kicker: the latest voice mail has to be dealt with before the next one can be heard. Your choice is: save or delete. That's it.

Main console. 5 of these buttons actually work!

My desk phone.

You may be wondering why our company hasn't updated our system. Here's the reason. Almost ten years ago, the large institution that owned us, sold us. However, the new company wanted to keep things stable, so they opted to lease the building in which we worked - it was fully fitted for our business. Along with that lease, was all of our furniture and our telephones, which work off the phone system of the institution. This has been a challenge - especially of late. To our knowledge, there are two technicians in the US who know how to work on the system, and for some things, there are no longer any parts. Interesting!

Fast forward to the week after Thanksgiving. Because of the new lease negotiated for next year, we are going to have our own phone system - a brand new, state of the art system! Yay! I'm very excited about this!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

Come, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide
For our wants to be supplied;
Come to God's own temple, come,
Raise the song of harvest home.

All the world is God's own field,
Fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown
Unto joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we
Wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come,
And shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day
All offenses purge away,
Giving angels charge at last
In the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store
In His garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come,
Bring Thy final harvest home;
Gather Thou Thy people in,
Free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified,
In Thy garner to abide;
Come, with all Thine angels come,
Raise the glorious harvest home.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Birthday, Sarah and Peder!

✿ڿڰۣ(̆̃̃ღ SarahPeder ღ(̆̃̃ڿڰۣ✿

Happy Birthday!

Once a year, Sarah and Peder are the same age - that's today! Happy Birthday Sarah! And then tomorrow, Peder moves ahead another year. Wednesday: Happy Birthday, Peder!

The year Peder was born, the 21st was also on Wednesday – the day before Thanksgiving. As with all of my kids, I remember the birthday very well. We lived in Joliet at the time, and Steve and I had attended an area-wide Thanksgiving get-together for the area ministers. We had had a nice dinner and a time of socializing, and then went home. Once home, I didn't feel so well. Our baby wasn't due for a couple of weeks, so it didn't occur to me that I could be in labor. But it didn't take long before that changed. While noting the progression of pains, I heard my sister's car come into our driveway. She and her kids had come down from Minnesota for Thanksgiving, and arrived just in time to stay with Hans while Steve and I went to the hospital.

Peder was born early the following morning, weighing 6 pounds, 6 ounces. He was 18" long, and cute as a button. He's been a delight ever since.

Peder's birthday gift from Heidi - a snuggy!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

What a party!

Have you been to an event at which you were "blown away," — astounded by the whole affair? I have just come home from one such experience.

Some of my dear friends and I were invited to a surprise birthday party for a mutual, dear, dear friend. It was at the home of the son and daughter-in-law of the man she is dating, and she thought she was coming to an early family Thanksgiving dinner.

All of the "surprise" guests arrived a half hour early. Walking into the home, we saw the dining room table set for 7. Then we were ushered into the family room where many tables were beautifully set for dinner. We chatted among one another until 5 minutes before our friend was to arrive with her mother and date. "Silence, everyone!" Then the honored guests entered the house and after hanging up their wraps, were asked to come into the kitchen for a drink. That's when Bonnie's mother spotted us. So did Bonnie. Her mouth dropped open, and we began singing "Happy Birthday!" She couldn't get over how many people had come (33 in all).

What an overwhelming dinner we had – tasty and beautifully presented. Let my pictures show the rest.


Bonnie and her mother. Her mother turned 93 this week! She's an amazing woman.

This cabbage salad, stuffed into a crescent roll, was delicious! It resembled a cornucopia.

The main course was equally delicious: chicken breasts on beds of cilantro rice, topped with a mango sauce and accompanied by Broccoli Trumbale - in a little silver cupcake container. 

When these dessert plates were presented to the tables, many thought we were to make a choice  from it. Not so, the entire plate was prepared for each of us! Talk about grand! 

I really liked all of the desserts, but my favorite had to be the Chocolate Molten Cake!

Hosts: Stephen and Rebecca. Rebecca made the entire dinner from scratch, plus she works full time! She told us she absolutely loves doing this, and never does two dinner parties alike.

Overnight Company!

Morgan, yours truly, Andrea

My niece, Andrea, and her daughter, my great-niece, Morgan, spent the night with me last night, and what a nice time we had! We talked about what they're doing now, and times ago when Andrea and her siblings played with my kids, and how much Grandma Erna meant to all of us. They were wonderful memories and it was fun to relive them.

This morning before going to breakfast, I dragged out two of my high school year books to show Morgan what Austin High School looked like in the last century! Andrea made the comment that the styles then are returning. I think it's so fun that Morgan will graduate from the same school that Hans, Peder and I graduated.

On a side note, Morgan loves animals and really enjoyed playing with Nels. She thought it was cute that he spent part of the night in bed with her.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Happy Birthday, Jerry!

I have the world's best brother - hands down! He has always been special in my life and today I celebrate him.

After my parents died, he became my legal guardian and remained so until the day I turned 18. The very next day he enlisted in the US Navy were he served for the next 21 years, reaching the highest level for an enlisted man. I have always been proud of him.

Jerry treats Janet and me very specially and unselfishly. He has always been kind and generous to us and our kids. He volunteers at his church, faithfully takes an individual grocery shopping every week, plus visits friends in a senior care facility.

Most of all, he is humble, and won't be pleased that I have written these things about him. But I'm ignoring that because I love him and want to let people know.

Happy Birthday, Jerry! God bless you.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Happy 4th Birthday, Marshall!

Today, my grandson, Marshall, has turned 4 years old! I sure wish I could be with him to help him celebrate. I heard he had a very nice birthday party on Saturday. Marshall, Happy 4th Birthday! I love you.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans Day

I'm thankful that our nation will honor its veterans today -  both from the past, and those still in service. There are so many people to thank, but I particularly want to thank those in my family who have served: Uncle Allan, my brother, Jerry, cousin Wayne, cousin Pudge, nephew Keith, son-in-law, Chad, cousin Charlie, Rachel's father, Pete, Sarah's brother, Ryan. Also, serving now is my cousin Nathan. And most of all, I'm very proud and pleased to honor my son, Hans. All of these men gave or are giving unselfishly of their time and energy, but they couldn't have done it without the love and support of family. To all of you: Happy Veterans Day!

Click here to see an amazing video: Freedom isn't free.

Friday, November 09, 2012


While serving in the U S Navy, there was a time the Navy "loaned" my brother to a civilian science station in Antarctica - Palmer Station - to be their medic for a period of just over a year. This was from November 1978 until December 1979. Jerry was a Corpsman (medic) in the Navy, but to prepare him for this adventure, they sent him to California for EMT training so he could set a broken jaw, or perhaps pull an abscessed tooth, or take care of some other medical emergency. This was an exciting time for our family because we heard from him more often than any other time in his 21 years of service. He didn't write letters, and there were no emails back then. He contacted us via phone patches with Ham radio operators throughout the US.

Palmer Station had an occasional tour ship stop by for an hour or two. During their visit, another job for Jerry was to man the souvenir shop. In the shop were shirts. My kids were thrilled when Jerry returned and had a sweat shirt with the Palmer Station emblem on it for each of them. 

Fast forward to a few years ago. That year I gave Peder and Hans a photo box with many photos of them as kids. One of the photos was of Peder wearing his Palmer Station sweatshirt. Sarah, Peder's wife, this past year surprised Peder by having a duplicate Palmer Station shirt made for him, as well as one for Aurelia and Felix for his Father's Day gift. You can read about it here.  Knowing how much I liked this, she had one made for me for my birthday. 

Peder, approximately 4 years old

Peder holding Felix with Aurelia

Wearing this today, I had to answer many questions. It was fun reminiscing.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Needing a diversion . . .

I work in an office - a very nice, fun office. Oh, we get our work done, but we also enjoy ourselves. While today has been a bit of a downer, it has been fun to see how many people arrived today wearing purple or a shade of purple. This unplanned color theme happens quite often here: one day many show up in B/W, on another day, brown seems to be the theme. And so on.

Going into the company kitchen for break today I looked down to notice Stacey's shoes! Not only was the stitching purple, but the laces, too! They've really cute and unusual. What do you think?

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Choir Rehearsal

Tonight was my big night - directing the choir rehearsal for our vacationing choir director. Since it was also Halloween, I wore my costume, which I had also worn to work. That at least gave me something with which to open and ease any jitters.

Our director is a high school band director in his weekly job, so he is accustomed to directing from a large, flat music stand, and he has had a podium built which he stands on for rehearsals and concerts, and for Sunday services. I am uncomfortable with both of these items, so thankfully they gave me a "regular" musician's stand, and I'm having the podium removed for Sunday. I certainly don't want to fall off of it while the directing!

Now that the rehearsal is behind me, I am feeling more confident as Sunday approaches. Will I be nervous Sunday morning? Yes. But I have learned over the years that this is actually a good thing, for it should push me to do my best.