Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

I knew before I went to bed last night, it was not going to be pleasant at the Memorial Day parade and ceremony at our cemetery today, but I went anyway. I drove through rain most of my way to Austin. About 10 miles north of Albert Lea, it was more of a downpour, and never let up. Driving to the downtown area of town, I thought, "There's no way they're having this parade!" But then, I saw older men in uniform, marching and holding flags. I found my family members and watched the remainder of the parade — holding my umbrella over me and my brother. At the conclusion, we walked to his car and drove out to the cemetery. For the first time ever, we sat in the car for the ceremony, which was held, per usual, with dedications of wreaths, 21 gun salute, and taps. There were many umbrellas circling those gathered around the flower arrangements.

Driving back to the cities I thought about this day – being miserable in the rain, temperature holding steady at 52 degrees (This is May 27, right?!). And then it came to me: Shame on me! Shame on me for feeling a little "put out" because it wasn't a beautiful day. My brother spent miserable days – perhaps even weeks, in the monsoons of Viet Nam.

Jerry went through many things of which he has never spoken. I can only imagine the horror he saw. He's not alone. Since the Civil War, there have been many wars, and millions have served and continue to serve, witnessing major atrocities. There are monuments in cemeteries, towns, and cities. There are parades and ceremonies across our nation. In some small way, I hope they speak of our gratitude for the sacrifices that have been made. To those I know personally: Hans, Jerry, Uncle Allan, Wayne, Chad, Keith, Pudge, Nathan, Charlie, Pete, Ryan, Phil, Jim and Merlyn – thank you!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Volunteer Day at the Office

Our office needed some sprucing up, so a "Volunteer Day" was scheduled for Friday afternoon. I was put in charge of the the indoor plants.

Nancy, putting new plants into larger pots

L to R: Ellen, Jennifer, and Carissa

Jim tightening screws on conference room chairs

Dave also tightened screws and oiled joints.

Steve applying bug spray to some of the indoor plants

3 VPs fixing the planters. Pictures on the floor waiting to be hung.

Others helped out, too, but I failed to get photos of them. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Spring Planting

Some of my new plants
My forsythia with the flowering crab trees in the background
Nels is relaxing.
Now we have standing water! Ran, rain, go away.

Friday after work I shopped for the plants I wanted to grace the outside of my porch this summer. I put the containers outside the screened area, planning to pot them on Saturday. 

Thunder and lightning jarred me from sleep Saturday morning. Nels was cuddled up to me—storms make him uncomfortable. I thought about my new plants outside in this weather, so I donned my raincoat and some old shoes, opened my screen door and brought all of the new plants into the porch. Of course, this meant the porch was "off limits" for Nels until such time as the plants could go outside again.

In the early afternoon, the sun had come out and I got all of the plants into pots. I had them nicely arranged outside and spent some relaxing time looking at them and watching the robins gather twigs and dried grasses, flying off to their nesting sites. (My upstairs next-door neighbor has a pair of robins building a nest in the rafters of her unscreened porch.) 

This morning started out like yesterday. More thunder and lightning. So I repeated my actions and once the plants were safely in the porch, I climbed back into bed. I wasn't so careful to arrange them into groups once the rain stopped

I'm not sure how my plants will fare because there is more rain in the future—actually it's in the forecast for the next three days! With 2-1/2" yesterday and buckets coming down right now, they may float away.

Happy 9th Birthday, Josiah!

Nine years ago, I was visiting Heidi and Chad out in Seattle when Hans phoned to tell me Josiah Snelling had just been born. My first grandchild! Josiah has been a blessing in my life and today I wish him the happiest of days. Happy Birthday, Josiah!

Friday, May 17, 2013


For the past week or so, I have had a craving for a Dairy Queen blizzard. Tonight I succumbed. I went through the drive-through, ordered a Heath blizzard, took it home, and enjoyed it ever so much.

On my first bite, it flooded over me—my memory of my dear friend, Cassie. Oh, how she loved Heath blizzards. Often she would ask me to pick up two and bring them to her home, where we would sit and enjoy every bite. I really miss Cassie. I miss our chats on the phone, in her home, and on little drives around Minnesota. I miss her stories – stories of her childhood on the farm in Wisconsin, tales of how she met both of her husbands (she was widowed twice), driving her around to see the Christmas lights, oh, and her delicious sugar cookies and apple pies. I always loved it that she called me her girlfriend.

I'm glad I chose this Heath blizzard tonight. I have loved reminiscing my memories of Cassie.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

I'm happy today because God has blessed me with three wonderful adult children and seven grandchildren. Thank you for all you mean to me, Hans, Peder, and Heidi. 

I'm content because each of my kids found and married wonderful partners. Rachel, Sarah, and Chad, your love is obvious and I'm grateful to you for the happiness you bring to all. My heart is full!

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Tulip Time in Mount Vernon, Washington

Heidi knows tulips are my favorite flower. On Monday, she drove Marshall and me up to a town in Skagit County, north of Seattle, to Mount Vernon, for their tulip festival. We treated ourselves to lunch at a wonderful restaurant/bakery called the Calico Cupboard. This cafe has the best bakery!

Marshall enjoying his gingerbread man

This is one of the many tulip farms in the area.

Scene inside one of the buildings. These cut tulips were gorgeous!

While many of the tulips had already been topped (flower blossom is cut off once it begins withering to allow vegetation from the leaves to return to the bulb), we still saw millions of beautiful tulips in gorgeous colors.

Marshall holding two topped tulips (He did not pick them and we didn't get to keep them.).

Marshall got his face painted. It was so cute!

I loved how they used these apple trees to mark off the parking lot.

The Neighborhood

It's a given that when I visit Heidi's, I take Brian on at least one walk. He loves it, and I do, too. I brought my camera along because I knew we were going to see lots of flowers.

Marshall is getting the hang of his new scooter.

My Seattle Visit

A week ago today, I flew to Seattle to spend some precious time with  Heidi, Chad, Marshall – now 4-1/2 years old, and Brian. I was thrilled that the weather was gorgeous and there were flowers everywhere. This was such a wonderful break from the long, long winter we're still experiencing (places in Minnesota got over 18 inches of snow today and it's still snowing!). The first thing we did was get some lunch at Panera and then went to the Seattle Zoo. 

Which cookie should I choose?

Heidi and Marshall playing the drums

Marshall sporting his new sunglasses