Monday, September 30, 2013

Plan B

My plan to put the new love seat in my cottage has been foiled. Reason: it is too large to fit in my hallway! I had no idea when I bought it that would be a problem. 

L to R: Jim, Dave H, Andy (back), Dave L (foreground)
The day started out by going to work. At noon, 4 of my co-workers came to my home (Dave H. owns a pick-up truck), and put their muscles together to move my hide-a-bed sofa to the truck and together we drove to Bridging, a local charity helping people coming out of homelessness and poverty. From Bridging, we drove to the furniture store where I bought the love seat and then back to my home. Again, more muscle was used to bring the love seat into my entryway - which was very tight. Before bringing it any further, Jim said perhaps we should measure the door opening and the hallway. Sadly, it would be a tight fit bringing through my entry door, but there was no way it would fit down my hallway—let alone through the cottage doorway. That left one option: it has to go in the living room.

This is probably not where I'll keep the love seat, but it will be in this room. I now need some time to figure out some furniture arrangements and decor. Do you like it?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Out With the Old . . .

I bit the bullet and made the first big step in redecorating my living room. Bear in mind, this project may take some time, but I'm ready for a change. Tomorrow I am donating this hide-a-bed sofa and pillows to charity. There is nothing wrong with it – honest – except that it is so out of style, and no longer my taste. It has served me well since Heidi went off to college in 1995. That's exactly when I bought it. Yes, it is 18 years old and still looks like new. I am hoping it goes to a home that is in need of such a piece.

This past week I bought a new love seat that has a Temper-pedic twin size hide-a-bed in it. It is going to go into my cottage, replacing this one which is going in my living room.

Once I have the new love seat in place and things moved around a bit, I'll post a new photo of each room.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cousins' Weekend 2013

This weekend I got to participate in part of our annual Cousins' Weekend. After work on Friday I drove to Pat's. Linda had driven up from Chicago to Rochester Thursday to spend the night with my sister and brother. She and Janet up to Pat's earlier on Saturday. It took about 30 seconds for me to get up to speed on the conversation that was in full swing. 

By early evening, we took off for North St. Paul to the "Back to the 50's" car show. Unfortunately, it started to rain, so we ducked into a pizza shop and after a bit of a wait, we got a table, placed our order, and continued to talk, talk, talk. We always have such a great time! After dinner, we walked up one end of main street—admiring the classic cars along the way. When we reached the end of the street, Janet, Linda and I climbed into Denny's 1956 Oldsmobile for a ride back to Pat's. Who's Denny? He lives across the street from Pat and Pudge in the house Pat grew up in and in which I lived in tenth grade. Our family has adopted Denny! Denny's car is fully restored and it's really nice!

We stayed up late Friday night and talked some more. Pat is meticulously going through all of Aunt Liz's things, and again, offered more keepsakes to us. One treasure I took is a piece of a crazy quilt put together by my great-grand mother. It's possible it's between 140 and 150 years old. I intend to have it framed and will hang it next to her blouse.

Pat, preparing breakfast in the downstairs kitchen
Prepped veggies for dinner
After a leisurely morning which included home-made scones, we traveled up to Taylor's Falls to take a paddle boat ride on the St. Croix River. What a beautiful place! We were a bit early for fall color, but it was lovely just the same.

Denny, Linda, Pat, Janet and Pudge waiting to board the paddle boat
Here we go!

After treats at the local ice cream shop in Taylor's Falls, we drove to Franconia to wander around the Franconia Sculpture Park. The entire time I was there, I kept thinking Peder, Sarah and their kids would love this place! I think Sarah's dad and mom would love it, too.

Yours truly and Linda inside the first sculpture at Franconia Sculpture Park

Even before leaving the house for the outings, Pat had put together a roast with carrots, parsnips, and potatoes. Man, you should have been there to smell the delicious aroma when we returned home! We put the finishing touches on the dinner in their newly remodeled kitchen and were the first to eat in their new dining room. Aunt Liz would have loved how things are turning out! Oh, and she was not forgotten – we ate her last plum pudding. It had been in the freezer. It was really good! And a meaningful way to end our Cousins' weekend.

L to R: Pat, Pudge, Janet, and Linda

L to R: Linda, Denny, yours truly
English plum pudding with vanilla sauce

Monday, September 16, 2013

My friend and author, Beverly Lewis

Today our office was treated with a visit from our top author, and my friend, Beverly Lewis. Beverly had just finished a two week book-signing tour in Kentucky and Indiana, where she did three signings in three cities each of those days, except Sundays. She said it was probably the best tour she has done, and she has done many—two each year for the past seven or so many years—each time a new book of hers is released. Beverly has published over 90 books, some for children, and the majority for adults. She is known throughout the country as the "Queen of the Amish" novels.

About a year or so ago, I was given the honor of answering the fan emails that come to our company website addressed to her. I have some templates that help with some of the answers, but because I am a friend of hers, and read all of her books, I can answer many of them from my heart. I forward all of my correspondence to her and she can write to the fan if she has the time or sees the need. It frees up her time to write more, plus do the many interviews that are requested of her.

What I love about Beverly is her sweet, sweet spirit, and her kindness. She is fun, and she can be serious. She and her husband are prayer warriors, praying daily for hundreds of people. I'm so glad I got to see her today.

If you haven't read her books, you should. She is a New York Times Best-selling Author. Her newest book is The Secret Keeper.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

I'm sporting the boot again!

A week ago I had my big toenail removed on my right foot. The week preceding, the nail was very sore and had discolored. The podiatrist took one look at it and announced it had to come off. She said it was an ingrown nail with a blood blister underneath it. All this time I thought the nail had a fungus due to its thickness. She told me the thickness in nails comes from age. Jeez. Thanks a lot!

For the first few days, I tried to wear a sandal on that foot, allowing the nail bed (bandaged) to have freedom. Also, to keep the pain away, as any weight or pressure on that bed really hurts. The sandal didn't work very well. With any walking, the leather would push the bandage off. Wednesday I resorted to my boot—the one I have had to wear twice before. While it is cumbersome, it allows me to walk normally.

Yesterday I searched my socks drawer for a pair of big, sloppy socks, to wear one on my exposed right foot. Why? It has turned chilly here. It's only in the 50's. This year of 2013 may go down as one of the craziest weather years to date.

Monday, September 09, 2013

This is Hormel

Tonight I watched a YouTube video of the Hormel company which was probably filmed in the early 1960's. It's about 30 minutes long, so you may not be interested, but I'm pretty sure my brother will watch it. I thought some of my friends would like to listen to the first few minutes where you will hear two local boys pronounce the company name "HOR-mul," while watching a freight train pass by including several Hormel cars. As the video continues, the narrator pronounces it the way some marketer came up with years ago: Hor-MELL.

As you know, I worked at the Hormel plant for 10 years. Most of those years I was the accounting clerk in the sliced bacon department. About half way through the video, this department is shown - from the pork bellies coming out of the smokehouse on rails to the machine that molds the pork sides into uniform, oblong blocks. Next the bacon is shown coming through the automatic slicer and being put into one pound packages.

Things have changed since this filming—everyone wears a hard hat, hair net, and beard net, if one has facial hair. The biggest changes are there are no longer tours and the old buildings have been replaced by a new, state-of-the-art large single building. Hormel Foods is a Fortune 500 company with a huge number of products under its label, including the newly acquired Skippy Peanut Butter.

One other tidbit - the Hormel labels have always included a sprig of parsley.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Happy Birthday, Hans!

Hans (wearing a Star Wars shirt) with birthday cake - 10 years old. Heidi is in the foreground. One of the friends is Jeff Brown. 

Hans, torpedoman

Hans, CMDR

Today my oldest is turning 43. It's so hard to believe. I want to wish him a very Happy Birthday!

Monday, September 02, 2013

Happy Labor Day!

L to R: Nancy, Bonnie, Laurey

I took advantage of the great weather forecast for this weekend and invited a few of my friends over yesterday for a swim party and picnic on my porch. It was actually kind of chilly for swimming, so Nancy and I were the only ones to brave going into the pool, which we had to ourselves. Nancy kept saying "This is so refreshing!" I didn't think it was that great.

We had a very nice time eating together and catching up on what each of us has been doing. Once again I am so thankful for the decision I made last year to screen my porch. It has been like an additional room to my home and a delightful place for entertaining.

Bonnie gave me this darling mini-garden sculpture. I love the two girls on the teeter-totter!

The menu was "make your own sandwich," along with fruit, relishes, and chips, and for dessert, "make your own sundae." As always, my friends offered to bring part of the food and we had a very enjoyable time. Bonus: today is Labor Day and Nels let me sleep in!