Saturday, May 30, 2015

Today my friend, Sharon, died.

Sharon, in her newly remodeled kitchen/dining room
Today my dear, dear friend, Sharon, passed away. She is the closest person to a saint I have ever known. I became acquainted with her when I started working at Bethany House. Actually, her parents were one of the founders of Bethany International.

Over the years, we did many things together, including founding our little Red Hat group. When we first started, we (six of us) took turns hosting a monthly dinner in our homes. It was always fun getting together and sewing on a little project after eating dinner. We joked about the afghan Sharon was crocheting — wondering when it would ever be completed.

Sharon played the piano beautifully. One time when we had the Red Hat supper at my home, I asked Sharon to play the piano while we sang. It was so much fun!

About six years ago, or maybe more, Sharon got the news she had breast cancer. But she was brave and went through chemo therapy and radiation without missing a day at work. During this time, Ron, her husband, contracted leukemia. She stood by his side while he fought that, but eventually he died.

It became more important to me to be a friend to Sharon after Ron's passing. I went to her office to visit, and we always went on break together. She, our friend, Nancy, and I formed a little birthday club and went out to eat at each of our respective birthdays. Those were special times.

Sharon (center) with daughters Jennifer (left) and Rebecca (right), at the American Swedish Institute
Last November, Sharon and her two daughters and I went to tour the American Swedish Institute to see the house all decorated for Christmas. We had a lovely time! Afterwards, we drove a few blocks so Sharon could show me the house in which she lived when she was little. I did two blog entries on this day. You can read them here and here. Shortly after that, she got the news that the cancer had returned. She fought hard to beat it, God bless her.

This news has hit me hard. I loved Sharon very much.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I've got a cold . . .

It has been quite some time since I have had a cold, but twelve days ago I was hit, and hit hard. It began as a sore throat, so I dismissed it for allergies. But by day two, it was a full blown cold – coughing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and fatigue. Consequently, I have not had much energy to do much. I missed one afternoon of work, and choir rehearsal, and have taken many naps (this is unusual for me), and sucked on a few dozen cough drops. I have disinfected my common work area every day when my shift finished. I really hope I haven't spread this to anyone else. Today I think I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. At least, I hope so.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Garden Flowers

After taking Aurelia and Felix home from their overnight at my house, I went shopping for plants for my outside garden. This year I chose hot pink geraniums, a gorgeous green/hot pink coleus, white New Guinea impatiens, and light pink impatiens in a bag. I also potted the pansy plant given to me at our knitting club's spring Swedish tea. The final piece is the red and white polka dot tea pot on a stand which I bought at our local farmer's market a couple of years ago.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Tornadoes in Minneapolis 50 Years Ago Today

Fifty years ago today I was working the 2nd shift in downtown Minneapolis at Northwestern Bell Telephone Co. in the McKnight Building—on the 2nd floor - facing west. I was in the Accounting Department and was a computer operator on an IBM 1401. [If Uncle Allan was reading this, he would know exactly to what I am referring.] Our office windows were large - nearly floor to ceiling. Shortly after I had returned from having dinner in the cafeteria, I noticed the sky was an eerie yellow/green color.  The clouds were rolling as though they had a lot of wind in them.

Technically, we should have been standing a long distance from the windows, but our supervisor was of a curious nature and he would be announcing, "Wow! Look at it now!" Everyone wanted to see what he was seeing, so we gathered around the windows. Suddenly, we witnessed the 2 story high windows on the bank building diagonally across the street from us blow out due to the pressure. There was glass everywhere.  We continued to work until our shift ended at 12:30 am. I didn't learn until I got home that night about the tornadoes in Fridley.

I have since learned there were six tornadoes in the area that night. Here is a breakdown:

Tornado One: Touchdown at 6:08 pm near Cologne, MN ...on the ground for 13 miles before it dissipated near Minnetrista in the Lake Minnetonka area.. It was a large F4 tornado. ....3 killed and 175 injured
Tornado Two: Touchdown at 6:27 pm near Chanhassen, MN ...on the ground for 7 miles before it dissipated near Deephaven in the Lake Minnetonka area.. It was a large F4 tornado. No deaths or injuries.
Tornado Three: Touchdown at 6:43 pm near New Auburn, MN ...on the ground for 16 miles before it dissipated just west of Lester Prairie....It was a large F3 tornado. deaths or injuries.
Tornado Four: Touchdown at 6:43 pm near Green Isle, MN ...on the ground for 11 miles before it dissipated near Waconia.. It was a large F2 tornado. ....1 killed and 175 injured.
Tornado Five: Touchdown at 7:06 pm in the southwest corner of Fridley ...on the ground for 7 miles before it dissipated near Lake Laddie in Blaine.. It was a large F4 tornado. ....3 killed and 175 injured.
Tornado Six: Touchdown at 8:14 pm near Golden Valley, MN ...on the ground for 18 miles as it ripped across portions of North Minneapolis, Fridley, Mounds View before it dissipated around Centerville around 9:20 pm.... It was a large F4 tornado. ....6 killed and 175 injured.

The local radio station WCCO stayed on the air and helped save lives. You can listen to the radio tapes by clicking on this link. Also, one can experience what it was like when visiting the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. They have a room designed like what a basement would be. Recordings of the WCCO broadcast that night are playing.