Saturday, January 31, 2015

Redecorating the Reception Room

Yesterday they moved all of the furniture out of our reception room and the flooring man began to put the new flooring down. Originally our "decorating team" in my office had chosen a gray/white laminate flooring and after it was installed there were multiple complaints: "It looks like a laundry room floor," "It looks like a garage floor," "Is there flooring? I thought it was bare cement!" So permission was given to spend more $$$ and have a hardwood walnut laminate put down over the gray. I have no idea if the furniture will have been put back when I walk in on Monday, but it should look totally different. It could be interesting!

Much of the furniture had been moved out already.

Current reception area (not attractive!)

Dave, Andy and Dave standing by to help move the shelving unit once Steve and Jim have it disconnected from the wall.

Most of the reception room furniture was moved to the dining room.

Ready for new flooring (packages of flooring under the staircase)

Reception desk at 11 am while I was still at the helm. Later in the day, the desk was moved to the dining room.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

50th Wedding Anniversary

Last November one of my friends, Priscilla, whom I have known nearly all my life, phoned to ask for my mailing address because she wanted to invite me to John's and her 50th wedding anniversary celebration. It was to be held in St. Louis, Missouri, on a Saturday in December—the very weekend of our Christmas concerts at church—so I knew immediately I wouldn't be able to attend. After talking to her, I knew exactly what my gift to them was going to be.

Fifty years ago in December I had been Priscilla's maid of honor in their wedding. It was a beautiful wedding in our home church. The bridesmaids wore long, red velvet dresses with red satin bands around the waist. We carried white rabbit fur muffs. The flowers decorating the church were red poinsettias. I liked my dress so much that after the wedding I kept it wrapped in tissue paper inside my cedar chest. I decided to send the dress to Priscilla and John for my gift, and inside my card I indicated she could let her granddaughters play with it, or she could cut it up into quilt pieces. I wrapped it up and sent my gift to their son to present to them at the party.

Yesterday I got this thank you note:
Your surprise was ABSOLUTELY so cool! John couldn't believe it. He said, "Wow! She's kept this all these years." 
Yours is the last "Thank You" note and the most easy to write. The dress was in remarkable shape. You have been so kind and thoughtful. Thank you! 
Love, Priscilla and John

I would have loved to have seen their faces when they opened the gift!

Before sending it, I brought it to my office and had Elisa, one of the thin, young girls, try it on so I could take a photo of it. I must tell you that I was a lot thinner in those days.  Elisa couldn't even zip up the back. Here is her photo:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

14th Anniversary

Today starts my 15th year working at Bethany House Publishers. What an amazing ride it continues to be! While no job is perfect, I would honestly say there have been only a couple of days that I wanted to pack up my things and not return, but the details of those days have gotten really blurry in my mind.

Each day I rub shoulders with top notch editors, designers, secretaries (I still prefer that term to administrative assistants), and marketing people. I correspond with great authors and now and then get to spend some time with them. I'm part of the team that decides what the covers on the finished books will look like, and I work just one mile from my home. That is a big plus.

I'm thankful to God for leading me to this job. I know He had a hand in it. Here's to another great year!

Friday, January 16, 2015

I'm a Beetle Fan

I guess I have always loved the VW Beetles. Steve and I had a new one in 1966, 1968, and 1972. After that, we switched to driving the VW Rabbit and the VW Vanagon. There was a space of time during which I drove American cars: Ford Escort and a couple of Saturns.

Then Volkswagen introduced the New Beetle in 1998. I loved the looks of them, so went for a test drive at one of the dealerships in Minneapolis. I had to wait in line to drive one! And the test drive was limited to driving on Highway 100 from the dealership to the first exit and back again. I was smitten! Right there in the shop that day, I paid my deposit of $50 and placed my order for one with any of these options: automatic or stick; leather or cloth; with or without sunroof; color: white, dark blue, or red. In other words, if a car came in with any of these particulars, I would buy it. And so I was on "the list."

That was back in May of 1998. Every Friday I would call the dealership to ask where I was on the list. I called and called, and my sales person patiently looked at the list and told me my status.

Late August of 1998 I got a call from the sales guy. "We have a red, automatic, with cloth, no sun roof that just came in. Will this work for you?" Yes! He went on to say my name hadn't really come to the top of the list, but the dealership manager instructed him to notify me when the next car arrived that fit any of my qualifications to move me to the top so that I wouldn't be calling any more. And the next week I drove to the dealership and turned in my Saturn for this gorgeous red car which I drove for 12 years and 112,000 miles.

Fast forward to 2010. I had learned VW was going to discontinue this shape Beetle and in 2012 was coming out with a more sleek model. I had seen some prototype photos of the new design and didn't care for it, so bought the last edition of the New Beetle. I really like it.

I sold my red car to a co-worker and get to see it in the parking lot nearly every day. A few times they are even parked side by side.

That brings to me 2015. On New Year's Day I discovered the headlight on the driver's side was burned out. So the next day I took it to the dealership to have it replaced. I asked that both of the headlights be replaced so I wouldn't have to be dealing with this anytime soon. While waiting for the work to be done, the service writer came into the waiting room carrying the big housing unit of the light from the passenger side. She showed my a ring around one of the parts that had cracked and informed me the technician put a tie wrap around it to hold it in place and I shouldn't have any trouble. Not so. It has since been burned out twice - each time requiring me to leave the car at the dealership and have a loaner.

Both loaners have been 2015 Passats. The first one I believe was a bare-bones model, but the one they brought me yesterday has all the bells and whistles. After work I got inside and attempted to put the key in the ignition, only to find their was no ignition. I tried and tried to put the key into an embossed spot on the steering column, but to no avail. Then I spotted the button - one like my friends Nancy and Sharon have in their cars. I pushed the button. Nothing happened. Then I recalled having driven Sharon's car a couple of times that I had to have my foot on the break prior to pushing the button. Voila! I drove home - one mile - and then had the quandary of how to turn the car off! I checked to see if I had the phone number to the dealership with me, but didn't have it. So I decided to push the button again. This worked. I'm now thinking it would be nice if they had to keep my car for the weekend so I could drive this fancy model a bit longer. We'll see . . .

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Pot Roast

I don't fix complete meals much anymore, but since I had the weekend free, I decided to make a pot roast. This is a blade chuck pot roast, with carrots and potatoes. It's in the oven now and should be ready to eat in about an hour and a half. I'm really looking forward to eating this!

Browning the meat 

Ready for the oven!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

January . . . the longest, coldest month of the year

Christmas and New Year's is over and now we have to try to get through the longest, coldest month of the year. It's a struggle.

I have lived many, many Januaries, and they haven't affected me as much as this one seems to be doing. Yes, it's only the 7th day, but it feels more like the 20th. It has to be the bitter cold that is doing it.

I look outside and see the bare trees moving in the wind. It's -6 degrees right now with a wind chill factor of  -28. School has been canceled in most of the Minneapolis area. Our office, now with new landlords—who are very nice, by the way—informed us their insurance will not allow any space heaters in the building. So we got rid of them. Consequently, I have been sitting at my desk for over the past three hours wearing my long, down-filled coat and a blanket over my lap. I have a thermometer at my feet and it reads 65 degrees. I just had an idea: I should get an electric blanket! I think I'll look into it.

I'm thinking ahead to next year. Perhaps I'll plan a different strategy for January. I'm going to give it some serious thought. I hope you're warm where you are.