Tuesday, July 30, 2013

May She Rest in Peace

Karen and Jeanne on February 12, 2007, at one of our Red Hat Sewciety dinners

We got news on Sunday that Karen, one of our Red Hat Sewciety members, passed away Sunday. She retired from our office two years ago and then she and her husband moved to South Carolina. We heard from her occasionally, but never saw her again. Her health had gone down hill lately and the report was she was at the top of the list for a liver and kidney transplant. Apparently she developed an infection last week and didn't make it. I feel very sad for her husband. Prior to coming to Bethany House, she and her husband were missionaries in Brazil for 30 some years. Rest in peace, Karen.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

3rd Annual Neighborhood Picnic

Tonight I hosted our 3rd annual neighborhood picnic (indoors). The temperature was 57 degrees at 4 pm, an hour before the start time. That is not ideal. So around 4:20 I started to go door to door and invite people to come inside my home. We had a total of 13. I think more people would have planned to come if the weather had been nicer. As it was, those of us crowded around my dining room and kitchen tables had a very nice time. And we put the food on tables on the porch, which was wonderful - kept the salads and desserts cool and mosquito-free!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

She's having twins!

Elisa and Whitney

One of my co-workers is expecting twins – a girl and a boy. As far as I can remember, she is the first person I have known to be having a multiple birth. It's been fun for me to see her ultrasounds and hear about the special classes she and her husband have attended. The sad part of all this is that she will not be returning to work once she takes her leave, and I will miss her.

This evening the gals in our office gave her a babies shower. This was a new experience for me, too (a shower for twins). To see boy/girl outfits was really fun. And the gift of two high-chairs was neat (do they call them high chairs any longer?)!

A while back, I decided to make a baby quilt for each of the babies. I was pleased with the way they turned out. Along with them, I included a new copy of a Dick and Jane book. The reason for this is because when I asked what the names of the babies would be, Whitney said they had decided the names, but weren't going to divulge them until after the births, which is perfectly fine with me. In the meantime I have been referring to them as Dick and Jane – just for fun.

L to R: LaVonne, Whitney, Jo

One of the centerpieces

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Congratulations, Dutchess Catherine and Prince William!

Baby boy, born July 22, 2013

Perhaps it's our British heritage, but I'm fascinated by the birth of the royal baby. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Special Time with Peder

Friday night I was fortunate to have a "date" with my son, Peder. This came about after I said once in awhile, I would love to spend some time with just him. What did we do and where did we go? We visited one of the local Jewish synagogues for their Shabbat services.

I had called the synagogue to ask if visitors were allowed. The nice woman I spoke to assured me it would be fine. She said the service started at 5:45, and would be in the chapel, rather than the sanctuary. Casual business clothes would be fine. Peder would have to wear a yarmulke which they had available there at no charge. There would be lots of music—sung in Hebrew—with an English translation. She went on to say we could get up and dance if we felt so moved. Hmm. I don't think so.

Peder and I pulled into the huge parking lot at 5:35, and we were the first car to arrive! Shortly after, another car arrived and parked in the row behind us. Funny thing is, he just sat in the car. What gives? We decided to go inside. Once in, we were intrigued with the beautiful displays and art work here and there – menorah's, for example. We found the table with the yarmulkes and then proceeded to find the chapel. Inside, a trio was practicing some music—a young man playing a bongo drum of sorts, a woman at the piano, and an older man with a gorgeous guitar – at least I think that is what it was.

We took our seats – about five rows back from the front. An older lady was seated in front of us. I was surprised to see she was wearing a yarmulke, also. She kindly got out of her seat and went to a side room to get a worship book for Peder and me. I don't know what it was called, but a man announced the service would start with page one. Again, I was surprised to learn the Jewish people read from the back to the front of the book. In fact, I learned a lot Friday night. Most of the service was in Hebrew, with lots and lots of audience participation. The music was beautiful. Every now and then Peder and I figured out where we were and sang along. The rabbi sat across the aisle from us, and periodically announced what page they were on. This had to be for the benefit of us. The service was treated rather informally, with people quietly talking to each other while the service was going on, or leaving and often returning. Occasionally the rabbi sang Hebrew while the congregation read aloud. Now and then we stood. There was some bowing involved, too. To the east, to the left, to the right. At one point we all faced the back of the room. I would like to have this explained.

At the conclusion, folks greeted one another with "Shabbat Shalom," including the man and wife seated next to us. They then introduced themselves, the wife sticking around to answer any of our questions. She said she gives tours for groups prior to the services if we ever wanted to return, and went on to say that they should take the opportunity to visit some area churches. Peder and I found the whole experience very interesting and said we may return sometime.

I would love to return for a Sabbath service (Saturday mornings) which we were told is three hours long, but in three one hour segments. It is held in the sanctuary, which has a gorgeous stained glass window in the front. I would like some explanations of some of the pieces of art throughout the building, too.

We then had a very nice dinner at Vescio's. This is an Italian restaurant I became familiar with when I was in college. Both Peder and I had a very nice time and decided to do this again sometime.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

This and That

I thought I would log my time from this week. There's been nothing out of the ordinary, but it's been fine.

  • Sunday: I went to church and enjoyed the male chorus as well as the sermon. Following the service, I got a few things at Target and then went home to finish a couple of baby quilts for a co-worker who is expecting twins – a boy and a girl. They turned out nice, so I'm happy about that. I also got to have a nice phone conversation with Hans. In the evening I watched Phantom of the Opera, a DVD of the 25th anniversary. It was really good!
  • Monday: Heidi's birthday! I got to talk to her, Chad and Marshall, so that was fun. They were on their way to Krispy Kreme to buy a dozen donuts which Heidi used to decorate the chocolate layer cake she was making for her party later that day. I love connecting with my kids! In the evening I started watching Oklahoma! I love some of the music in this show.
  • Tuesday: The temperature got really hot and humid – in the 90's. That makes me want to stay indoors. After work I picked up some supper at Famous Dave's and then went home to address my invitations to the 3rd annual neighborhood picnic I am hosting on Saturday, July 27. 
  • Wednesday: I was happy to go to lunch with the "Wednesday Lunch Bunch" at work. This group has been in existence for several years in my office. It's simple, really. At noon, anyone who wants to out to eat, gathers at the front desk. When everyone is assembled, we discuss and decide where to eat - then off we go! This time it was an upscale grocery store that has a great salad bar and deli. (Since we're "on the clock," we have to go to places where we get fast service.) In the evening I went to choir rehearsal. For this coming Sunday we are having a women's chorus with 3-part harmony. And, we don't have to wear robes – just nice, dress-up clothes! After I got home, I discovered Antenna TV was showing non-stop episodes of All in the Family, so I watched a few. Just think, Carol O'Connor and Jean Stapleton are both gone now. Sad.
  • Today: It's still hot. I think it got up to 95 degrees. A few people like it hot; I'm not one of them. The high temperature doesn't keep Nels from wanting to be outside in the porch. I let him out, but make him come in after 10 or 15 minutes. After work I got my hair cut. It was either that, or a dog license. It will be easier for me to fix now. 
  • Tomorrow: I have to work until noon (I love summer hours!), and then will run a couple of errands. In the evening I have a date with Peder. He and I are going to a Jewish Sabbath service at one of the synagogues in the twin cities. After that, we're having dinner at Vescio's – an Italian restaurant I have liked since my college days. I'm really looking forward to our time together. 
  • Saturday: No plans yet. I may go to the Farmer's Market in the morning. Later I may go swimming in my pool. I love days that are not all scheduled in. And that about covers my week.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Baseball Game With Hans

I love my kids, but you already knew that. I love each of them in a unique way. I love their spouses and their kids—my precious grand kids, too. While it's great when we all get together—and that is a rarity for my family, with one living on the west coast, and another who moves from here to there about every 18 months, or so—it's lovely when I get to spend time with one of the three all by myself. Yesterday was my day to be with Hans. This hasn't happened since 2009 on a day when he drove me to Dachau while he was stationed in Germany. [The last time I had Heidi all to myself was in 2010 when she took me to the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. I can't recall the last day I had Peder to myself, but am happy to announce he and I have a date in a couple of weeks from today to attend a local tabernacle for their Shabbat service.]

What did Hans and I do after his plane arrived? First off, a little shopping at the Mall of America where we each bought a piece of Minnesota Twins apparel at one of the many sports stores to wear to the game. Next we boarded one of the light rail trains and headed to downtown Minneapolis and into Target Field. This was the first time for Hans to see the new ballpark and he said he thought it was really nice.

Following the game (Twins 5; Yankees 9), we took the train back to our station and then drove to Peder and Sarah's where we had a pizza supper. It was fun to hear Aurelia say, "Uncle Hans . . ." and to watch her, Felix and Leo interacting. Hans couldn't get over the fact that Felix looks identical to Peder when Peder was Felix's age. Peder even wore an identical Palmer Station shirt at the same age.

It was difficult capturing Felix for a photo, but here you go.


(Not sure how he scratched his cheek. The goose egg on his forehead is from an earlier tumble .)

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Happy 237th Birthday, America!!

Happy 237th Birthday, America!! I'm so happy to say I'm an American. I love our land – from the plains of Minnesota to the mountains of the west and to the colonial cities of the east. With two of my kids living on either coast, I've been privileged to see these places quite often.

A couple of years I heard some of the music from the Broadway show 1776. The tunes were catchy and inspiring—so much so that I decided to buy the CD recording of it. I have watched it many times, and decided it would be appropriate to view it again last night. Realizing some of the play may be an embellishment of the way things really happened in that congressional gathering 237 years ago, there's enough truth in it to make me appreciate the debating and compromising that occurred before the Declaration of Independence could be signed.