Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Recipient of Quite a Nice Gift!

My hometown library was given a very nice gift. One of the former Vice Presidents of Hormel Foods donated a copy of the Heritage Edition of the Saint John's Bible. It is a fine art copy of the original Saint John's Bible. Only 299 copies were printed. The library has copy number 67.

In 1998, Saint John's Abbey and University (Collegeville, Minnesota) commissioned world-renowned calligrapher Donald Jackson to make a hand-written, hand-illuminated Bible. As artistic director of a team of artists in Wales and a team of scholars in central Minnesota, Jackson spent more than a decade (2000-2011) completing a magnificent seven-volume Bible. Inspired by medieval scripts, Jackson designed an alphabet for this edition, and the illuminations (160 spread over 1,150 pages) combined traditional themes with the demands of contemporary aesthetics. The Bible was made using traditional materials such as vellum (calfskin), ancient inks, gold and silver leaf and platinum, and was written with quill pens fashioned from goose, turkey and swan feathers. I was fortunate to view several of the pages about five or six years ago when they were on display at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. I was so moved, I bought the DVD that details the making of the Bible.  The Heritage Edition is a faithful reproduction of the original manuscript of the Saint John's Bible. The finest printers and binders have been engaged to make sure that the highest standards were applied to every step of the process, including paper, imaging, printing, and binding - the binding is a gorgeous red leather.

Not only was the special Bible donated to the library — eight volumes in all — but a beautiful wooden case built by one of the monks at the Abbey. The Bible is valued at $145,000; the case is valued at $20,000. One of the volumes is displayed open at the top of the glass covered case. Each day, a library employee turns one page of it, allowing the viewers to see more of the volume. Once a week — normally on Wednesday afternoons — the case is opened and a volume is placed on a table, covered with a white table cloth, allowing patrons to look at the pages. While the original was ascribed on Vellum, the Heritage Edition was printed on cotton paper, which is user-friendly and has a life expectancy of anywhere from 100 to 1,000 years. I noticed the library also has beautiful books on a shelf near the display that go into more detail on the making of the Bible. I hope to spend more time there someday to check out all of this display. It is absolutely wonderful!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Snowy Sunday

I think this has been a strange winter. We've had little snow, and lots of too cold days. The weather forecasters warned us today could be a dicey day, and they got it right. Coming home from church, just 6 miles to go, the rain started. I watched the outside temperature go from 34, to 33, to 32. Drat! I'm still a ways from home and now it's at freezing! Thankfully, I drove my car inside the garage before the sleet began to fall. The sleet switched to rain, which turned into snow—a beautiful snow of giant flakes. Nels and I just had to see it first hand, so we went out into the porch. It was really pretty.

Nels is fun to watch when it is snowing. He runs from panel to panel, seeing if he can catch the flakes. I try to capture this on my camera, but I'm not quick enough

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Why is it . . . ?

Why is it when it is extremely cold outside, I am so hungry? This past week, I could almost eat my hands, I've been so hungry. Somehow cold carrot sticks, an apple, an orange, or a banana just isn't doing it for me. I want something like a pizza, a cheeseburger, chili with cheese and crackers. You know, comfort food.

I know what will happen if I give in to this mood. I'll eat this, and then I'll eat that. It's no good. I'm trying to stay true to eating the healthy things. If this ridiculously cold weather would go away, I think it would a lot easier.

To make matters worse, one of my girlfriends flew to Hawaii this morning to join 7 of her friends on a 10 day cruise around the islands! How nice does that sound right now?! I should have gone along.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

We're having the coldest weather here in four years. This morning when I awoke, it was -16 (actual air temperature) with a windchill factor of - 33! Nels wanted to go out on the porch, per usual, so I quickly opened the door. He ran out and I heard him gasping for breath. I called him back and he came right away! That will be his last time outdoors for the next few days.

The sun is shining today, which warms up the cars in the parking lot a good 15 degrees, or so, but when I went home for lunch, it was -5, and the wind had picked up a bit, and it was still a bit chilly inside my car, even after it had been running for about 8 minutes. Here's the forecast for tomorrow: more of the same, perhaps with a bit less wind. We have no big warm up at all this week.

I know, in Minnesota our homes are built to stand this: tighter windows, more insulation, adequate furnaces. I'm even blessed with an automatic car starter (I love it!). But it still makes me feel better to gripe about it.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

I saw them!

One of my co-workers is tuned into astronomy - always announcing when there is a good chance to see the aurora borealis, certain constellations, planets, sun flares, and so on. I listen to him, but am not always sure what he is talking about. Well, this week he sent out this message to the entire office: "The telescope is outside the front door on the way to your car. Jupiter is the closest it will be for many years, so this is your chance! See Jupiter and its 4 largest moons. Look for the equatorial bands, and two moons to its right, two to left. I’ll be leaving by about 5:50 PM, so stop by then if you can. 'You’ll have absolutely no trouble spotting the king planet Jupiter this month, which pops out first thing at evening dusk. At mid-northern latitudes, Jupiter shines almost until dawn in early January and sets at roughly 3 a.m. by the month’s end. In December 2012, Jupiter was shining at its brightest best in the night sky until the year 2021. But you’ll continue to see Jupiter blazing away in the evening sky for many more months to come! The king planet ranks as the fourth-brightest celestial body to light up the heavens, after sun, moon and the planet Venus.'" 

Tonight he had his big telescope set up just outside our office doors. I had never seen one like this before. I believe the brand name was Orion. It was really neat. Initially, it was too light to see the planet, but Alex aimed it at the moon and oh, my! It was really wonderful seeing the craters. I've seen photos of this before, but never have seen it on my own. 

Well, I ran a quick errand and drove back to the office. Jupiter was shining brightly, and I saw the four moons. At one point, I saw the bands, too. Wow! Really neat!

I found this photo of Jupiter with the bands and moons on the Internet. What I saw tonight looked very similar to this. 

Peder, I thought of you the whole time I was looking through the telescope. I know you would have enjoyed it, too.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fighting with Nature

For the past few weeks, I have been battling ants. I have 6 traps in the kitchen, 8 in the food pantry, and 1 in each bathroom. Now and then, there are none visible. Some days, they have returned.

This morning I took a big box of crackers from my pantry and opened it to get the crackers (stored in zip locked bags) out to take to work for our pot-luck. I was going to serve them with spinach/avocado dip. Immediately I noticed the box was crawling with ants - probably a hundred of them. Not only were they in the box, but they had chewed little holes in the zip locked bags and were crawling all over the crackers. I knew I had to get rid of them quick, so I opened the porch door and threw them out, knowing the ants would freeze. I went to plan B and got the chocolate chip cookies I had stored in the porch to keep frozen. I knew this would be a good addition to the pot-luck.

After work tonight, I returned home and per usual, I opened the porch door to let Nels out for a few minutes. He went toward the cracker box, so I snagged my broom and began to clean up my mess from this morning. Then I discovered something — or someone — had been in my porch. The cover to my rosettes was off and most of the rosettes had been eaten. Also, a cover of one of my tin containers with left-over Christmas cookies was off and the entire can was empty! What on earth?! I went in the house and got a flash light to shine on the porch to see where a creature could have gained entry. Sure enough, I discovered a hole the size of a grapefruit – in my brand new screened porch! It had to be a squirrel. It's too small for a raccoon and too large for a mouse or a rat.

After bringing all the food containers in the house and thoroughly sweeping up the porch, I put a tray in front of the hole and placed a metal table in front of it. This is my insurance to keep Nels from escaping. For sure, I will have to have that section of screening replaced and store no more food outside.

I'm not done with my fight with nature yet. Here's the last straw: after cleaning up this big mess, I put on my coat and left for the Weight Watcher's meeting. Not even 15 feet from my front door, I fell on the ice, landing on my back and hitting both my elbow and the back of my head. Did I mention it is raining here today? 34 degrees and raining! I arrived at my meeting with a very wet coat — all the way through to the lining, wet pants, and a very sore elbow.

I'm home now, in my pj's and wrapped up in a very warm, cozy bathrobe and slippers. I'm tired of nature tonight. I'm taking a break.

♫ ♪♫ A New Song by Josiah ♫ ♪♫

Today I ran across a piece of paper in my purse with Josiah's handwriting. I'm so glad I kept it! It seems his other grandma (Rachel's mom), created a little song of their family names (in alphabetical order) to the tune of The ABC Song, which is the same tune as Baa, Baa, Black Sheep and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. While eating lunch with him and Annika last week at Culver's, Josiah began to compose a rendition of the same song, with the names of our family. It goes like this:


♫ ♪♫ ♫ ♪♫ ♫ ♪♫ ♫ ♪♫ ♫ ♪♫

Annika, Aurelia, Brian, Chad

Donna, Elsa, Felix, Hans

Heidi, Josiah, Leo, Marshall

Missy, Nels, Ozzie, Peder

Rachel, Sona, Sarah, Steve

Will-i-am da, da, da, dum


Very cute, Josiah!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013


Normal. There is nothing wrong with normal. Oh, I know, we long for excitement, for mountain-top experiences, the unusual. We certainly shy away from the abnormal, loss, and anything gloomy. I checked the thesaurus and found these synonyms for normal:
accustomed, acknowledged, average, commonplace, conventional, customary, general, habitual, mean, median, methodical, natural, orderly, ordinary, popular, prevalent, regular, routine, run-of-the-mill, standard, traditional, typical, unexceptional.

Today I am happy with normal. It's been 2-1/2 weeks since my surgery. I'm sleeping well, able to stay alert at work, going up and down the stairs in the office with little effort. It's good. It's all good! It's normal! I like normal.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Ten Years Ago Today . . .

My son, Peder, has written a detailed account of the horrid car accident he, Hans and Rachel were in ten years ago today. It was a day none of us will ever forget. You can read about it here.

I'm thankful every day for the outcome.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Visit with three grand kids

I've been on vacation from work for the past two weeks. The first week was spent having surgery and then recovering. Since Sunday I have been getting prepared for a family gathering on Tuesday, and then have had three of my grand kids at my home – Hans' kids: Josiah and Annika came on Wednesday and spent the day and night at my home. This morning I drove them to Peder's house where Steve had them for the day, as well as Felix and Leo. This afternoon Rachel brought William over to my home. All three kids were fascinated with my cat, Nels. For the most part, he had fun with them. I think he must have come from a home with children, or at least with lots of people.

Josiah and Annika are fans of Pokemon. They are happy with their new Pokemon cards.

William was trying to climb into this grocery bag in which Nels was curled.

William loved climbing up onto the lower level of Nels' cat tree. 

Annika loves her hat and wore it most of the time.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

New Year's Day Family Gathering

Hans and his family flew into Minneapolis Sunday and today they and many from my family celebrated the New Year by gathering at the Barn where I work. It was suggested I keep the menu simple this year: pizza, pop, and Christmas cookies. That ended up being a very good idea!

I wish I would have taken more photos — photos that included everyone present, but when I downloaded them moments ago, I see I missed several people. Those who were there are Hans, Rachel, Josiah, Annika, William; Peder, Sarah, Aurelia, Felix, and Leo; Jerry, Janet, Keith, Deborah, and Annika; Steve; Pete and Jan (Rachel's parents); my dear friend, Nancy, and I.

Here are some photos of today's activities.

Josiah, who lives in a warmer climate, was thrilled to go outside in the snow and excitedly returned with a couple of icicles he found attached to a tree. I thought that was pretty fun!

Annika and Aurelia

My friend, Nancy, brought some magical 3-D glasses for the kids. William loved looking at the lights on the trees with the glasses that created a star around each light. After removing them, he saw the lights were simply lights. He had a lot of fun with these.

It was decided William and I looked better with mustaches! 

Nancy helped with setting up the food.

Rachel located a guitar in the barn and gave it to Josiah to play a tune. It was a bigger instrument from what he has at home, and he said he didn't have any tunes memorized. Regardless, Annika started singing "We all live in a Yellow Submarine," and many of us joined it. I loved it!

Hans, Rachel, William, Josiah, and Annika (Annika was crying because Josiah pulled her hat off just before I took the picture. In the next photo I took of them, Rachel had her eyes closed and Josiah was standing sideways.). Next time we do "family photos" we need to do them at the beginning of the event — not after everyone is very tired.

Sarah, Felix, Leo, Peder and Leo. Again, in this photo, Felix is very tired and rubbing his eyes. In the other photo I took, Leo is looking down and Sarah is facing the wall. Drat, I wish we would have taken the photos earlier in the day.

Okay, here is the other photo of Peder's family. In this photo, Felix looks very happy.

As you can see, Annika is now happy that she is wearing her hat. If I were Sarah, I could have photo-shopped the two photos to take the better image of one and clone it into the other. Oh, well.

It was really nice being together and I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did. I missed having Heidi and her family with us, and am hoping it will work out someday soon when we can all be together again. Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2013!

I think I say this every year, but I can't believe how quickly this last year has flown by. Sometimes it seems like I haven't done much, but when I look back, I had a pretty full year.

  • January - Not much to say about it except that we had a rather warm, snow-less month, which was just fine with me.
  • February - I was lucky to fly to Arizona to spend some time with my cousins Pat and Pudge, Linda, and my sister. While there, we did some touring, and even had a meal with some of the friends of my youth (They are all retired now and spend the winters in Arizona.). When I got home and looked at my photos, I realized I had to get a grip on my weight. In one photo, wearing a new outfit, I couldn't believe how "blown up" I looked. The next week I joined Seattle Sutton and stayed on their program for the next four weeks, losing 7 pounds. Following that, I joined Weight Watchers.
  • March - One Sunday morning, with no notice, I had to take the baton for our ailing choir director, and direct the choir and orchestra for two morning worship services. It was a thrill for me!
  • April - Flew to Virginia to spend some time with Hans, Rachel and their family. It was such a beautiful time to be there, spring flowers blooming everywhere. The kids and I spent lots of time outdoors. Rachel fixed a delicious Easter dinner. All of us took a boat tour of the St. James River in Norfolk. Then on the 13th, Aunt Liz's birthday, our family welcomed Leo (Leonardo Xavier) into our family. He looks a lot like his big sister, Aurelia.
  • May - Construction workers started the work on a new patio and screened in porch at my home.
  • June - Toward the middle of the month, my sister and I flew to Seattle to spend a couple of weeks with Heidi, Chad, Marshall and Brian. We had a great time of going here and there. 
  • July - I hosted the 2nd annual backyard neighborhood picnic. Everyone had a good time, and more attend this year than last.
  • August - I turned another year older! Yes, they keep rolling along. Toward the end of the month, Chad, Heidi, and Marshall drove to Minnesota/Wisconsin. Heidi and Marshall spent a few days with me, and we enjoyed sitting in my completed screened in porch, swimming in my pool, and going to an apple orchard and drove down the Mississippi River road to see the eagles.
  • September - Went to the Minnesota State Fair with Peder and his family and Heidi and her family. This was really fun - in spite of it being a very HOT day! In the middle of the month, I hosted my first porch party. Wow! Was that ever a success!
  • October - Enjoyed taking friends to Scandia for a Swedish tea and then took another group of friends down to meet the Amish in southeastern Minnesota. 
  • November - The highlights include directing the church choir again (this time with notice), and making my Weight Watcher's goal. Since February I have lost 41 pounds! It was worth the effort. I have gotten rid of my "big" clothes and am wearing smaller sizes - some old favorites, and some new. A big advantage is good readings for my blood pressure.
  • December - I sang and directed (one song) in our annual church Christmas concerts - always a highlight for me. On the 21st, I had surgery, spending one night in the hospital. Recovery is going along fine. This morning I finished my "Read the Bible Through in a Year." This has become a good habit for me. I'm ready to begin again for 2013. I'm looking forward to my family gathering today, New Year's Day — Hans and his family, Peder and his family, my brother, sister, and a couple of cousins.  Have a great 2013!