Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas with Janet, Jerry, Pat and Pudge

Yesterday Pat, Pudge and I drove to Rochester to have Christmas with Janet and Jerry. It was bitter cold, but the roads were dry, so that was good. Entering into their home was heart warming. The decorations were beautiful—the tree, decorative holiday pillows, a fabulous snowman collection, and the ceramic Christmas tree and nativity set I made of ceramics many years ago. Janet had the table set so pretty.

We sat around and caught up with one another. I hadn't been to their home since last April. I think that's the longest period of time for me to be away. Pat and Pudge brought Janet up to date on the happenings in Arizona. We watched a DVD I had made of old, old movies my dad had taken of events in and around our church in the early 50's. While Pudge didn't know anyone other than my siblings and me, he said he enjoyed seeing all of the old cars.

Janet and Pat 

Pat and Jerry

Pudge and yours truly

English plum pudding made by Pat. It is our grandmother's recipe.
For lunch we sat around the dining room table and enjoyed the large array of sandwich makings, potato salad, fruit salad, and then dessert: homemade English plum pudding, made by Cousin Pat, Christmas cookies made by Janet, and rosettes. Everything was delicious!

I treasure these times together for we never know how long it will continue.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Busy, Busy Week

This past week was really busy. It all began with two concerts Sunday, which were wonderful! I enjoyed being in them so much.

Tuesday evening I was the guest of Ellen Chalifoux for the Bethany House Christmas party. It was a lovely evening of dinner and games, held at Brackett's Crossing Country Club in Lakeville. I had a delicious chicken dinner. The following morning I didn't feel so well. I think the flourless chocolate cake I had eaten at the party didn't agree with me. That caused me to cancel a lunch appointment I had with a dear friend of mine. 

Friday was a very busy day. It started with a prime rib dinner held at my church. My friends, Bonnie and Debra were there, too. Prior to the dinner, our choir director, who is also pastor of senior citizens  at our church, introduced our junior high pastor, Heather, who was holding her new Saint Bernard, puppy, Hadley. Hadley joins Jingle Belle, who is a 4 year old St. Bernard and weighs 140 pounds.

After leaving the stage, Heather brought Hadley to our table and I got to hold her paw during the prayer for dinner. She is really sweet!

The guest for this event was the great great grandson of Charles Dickens, George Dickens. In an hour and a half, he performed the entire story, A Christmas Carol. I was blown away with his acting! He played every character, with no costume changes. He used his top coat, top hat, and cane to perform different functions throughout the play. Amazing!

Only 4 hours later I joined my friends Linda and Jay at the Volkswagen dealership. Linda is my saleslady and her husband is the General Manager of the dealership. I have become friends with them and they asked me out to dinner. Where did we go? To Brackett's Crossing Country Club! Honestly, I was so very full from the meal at my church that it was difficult for me to eat much at dinnertime. Also, my friends gave me a tour of their beautiful house which is on the golf course.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Christmas Concerts

I'm happy that I have been feeling well enough to sing in my church's Christmas concerts this year. As in the past, we were given a CD of the songs that we will be singing. In my opinion, this is an excellent tool. One can have it on it the car, or in my case, in my CD player. I have listened to it over and over while making dinner, addressing my Christmas cards, eating lunch, and so on.

Tonight we have our dress rehearsal. Our guest performer, Steve Green, will be arriving and we'll hear him sing for the first time.

I have invited Linda and Jay Radue to the Saturday night concert. Linda was my saleswoman when I bought my 2016 Beetle. Her husband is the General Manager at the dealership. I have gotten well acquainted with them since buying my car due to learning Jay was dealing with a tumor between his left ear and brain. I assured them I would be praying for him and his doctors. He has had surgery. The tumor was benign, but his hearing in that ear is lost. A small tumor has been detected in the same location on his right side. My prayers continue. I have invited my cousin John to the Sunday afternoon concert.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Thanksgiving with Hans and His Family

Last Tuesday I flew to Washington, D. C. to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with Hans, Rachel, Joe, Anni and William. It was a clear day as our plane descended to the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Just before landing, the Pentagon came clearly into my view. I hadn't realized its close proximity to the airport. After deplaning, I walked to the street exit and sent a text to Hans informing him I was outside. Within minutes he picked me up and we started out toward his community. We stopped for lunch and then he drove to Rachel's employment where we met her and picked up a grocery list. I haven't grocery shopped with Hans for a very, very long time, so this was fun.

Once at their home, we waited for the kids to come home from school. It amazes me how much they change in the months since I last saw them. Joe is growing taller, his voice is getting deeper, and I detected the starting of a mustache on him!

Hans worked on Wednesday morning and picked up Chic-fil-A sandwiches on his way home. After eating, he made arrangements for Uber to pick him and me up to take us to Ford's Theater in downtown Washington, D. C. Once inside the theater, we picked up our tickets at Will Call and then began touring the theater's museum in the lower level.

On April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary, along with guests Maj. Henry Reed Rathbone and his fiance, Clara Harris, arrived at Ford's Theater to see a performance of Our American Cousin. Lincoln enjoyed the theater for it gave him some relief from the burdens of the presidency. During the play while one actor was on the stage and the audience was laughing, John Wilkes Booth (also a famous actor at Ford's Theater) entered the presidential booth and shot Lincoln. Booth stabbed Major Rathbone in the left arm, then jumped to the stage, getting entangled in the decorations for the presidential box and landed off balance on the stage, breaking a bone in his left leg. He ran off the stage and into an alley and mounted a horse he had waiting there and escaped from the city.

Ford's Theater from our seats in the fourth row. The presidential box is in the upper right.

After visiting the museum, we took our seats for A Christmas Carol. A few minutes later, the theater lights dimmed and the music began. City folk began entering the stage and some made their way down the aisles of the theater. One well dressed woman stopped to speak to us. "You must know someone important to have gotten such good seats," she remarked. The play was great! I enjoyed the sets, costumes, acting, and the singing of carols throughout.

Included in our tickets was a tour of the Petesen House, directly across the street from Ford's Theater. This was a boarding house run by William and Anna Petersen. After Lincoln was shot, the crowd in the theater noisily dispersed, causing Mr. Peterson to step out on his balcony to inquire what had happened. He indicated having a spare room and urged them to bring the President there. A young doctor who had been in the theater cared for Lincoln. He found the wound in Lincoln's head and removed a blood clot, which released pressure and allowed the unconscious president to breathe on his own. Lincoln died at the Petersen House the following morning.

As with the theater, the Petersen House had a museum and a gift shop. There is a stunning display of all the books written about President Lincoln. You can read about it here.

This display of books stands more than three and a half stories high.

Thanksgiving Day Rachel prepared a delicious dinner: turkey, dressing, green bean casserole, steamed carrots, mashed potatoes (Hans did the potatoes!), rolls, and a cherry and apple pie for dessert. The post-it notes on the wall were written by each member of their family. Each note lists something that person is thankful for.

L to R: William (now 8 yrs), Anni (now 11) and Joe (now 13)

Anni with their new kitty, Rhett
While I was there we went on a couple of mile plus walks around their community. I couldn't have done it without the aid of my cane. The weather was beautiful—in the high 60s—and there were gorgeous fall leaves on trees and bushes. Also, I played video games with the kids and we watched some old episodes of The Great British Baking Show. One afternoon we went to the new Pixar movie, Coco.

Awaiting my departure on Saturday, I could see the Washington Monument directly out the window of my gate. Once on the plane, awaiting our turn to take off, my view was the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, and our nation's capitol building with the dome illuminated. Washington, D. C. is a wonderful city!

Monday, November 06, 2017

My Choir Friends Came for Supper

Last Friday night I had six of my choir friends over for supper and we had such a great time together. It was a damp, chilly evening, and a bit of snow was falling, which made their commute a bit dicey. I made my meal easier for me by using nearly the same menu I used a couple of weeks ago when I had my brother, sister and cousins in for a meal. It is easy and tasty. As with my cousins/siblings dinner, my friends offered to bring things for the supper, so that was nice.

From L to R: Debra, Bonnie, Louise, yours truly, and Laurey

From L to R: Debra, Nancy, Louise, yours truly, and Laurey

My table. The table runner was a gift from Hans and Rachel which they purchased in Germany while living there.

Laurey and Barb
For some reason, I totally forgot to take any photos, so these are courtesy of my friend, Nancy. For that reason, I could not do any cropping or other editing. I wish Barb's eyes were open, but just imagine she has lovely blue ones, because she does.

After eating the delicious ice cream pie Bonnie made, I brought out my record player and played my old vinyl of "Phone Call from God," by Jerry Jordon. It was a hit! Everyone loved it. Then I passed around a grab bag which contained six items I no longer wanted. Each person was to reach in and grab without looking into the bag. Two of the items were nylon shopping bags that roll up into a little case and are easy to carry in a purse; the other four items were small flashlights still in the original box. Everyone seemed delighted with their item and I got rid of six more things.

We retired to my living room and enjoyed having time to chat for awhile.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

An Autumn Cousins Lunch

Last Saturday my brother and sister and cousins came to my house for lunch. I was really looking forward to this because we always have a good time together. I took this as an opportunity to use some of my fall decorations as well as my farm dishes.

I began buying these farm dishes made by Debbie Dean when I lived in Austin and worked at Hormel's. I bought dinner plates, lunch plates, mugs, a divided baby dish, bowls—both cereal as well as serving. I also bought heart shaped platters and a pitcher. Here is a photo of one of the bowls.

This year I decided to decorate my dining room shelf with some of my fall things. The middle shelf has a treasured trio of straw girls which my friend Nancy gave to me. The wooden carved goose shown on the top shelf I purchased in Germany. On that trip I also bought the clay church which is on the second shelf. I have had the apple girl and apple boy the top shelf for many years. They are made in Norway and are from the designs of Carl Larsson.

My hutch with Delft and more Carl Larsson figures

My table
I served chicken pot pies and kale slaw, along with dinner rolls. My cousin Pat brought homemade applesauce that she and Pudge had made a few days before and my sister brought delicious homemade pumpkin bars. We had good conversation while eating and more visiting afterwards.

Pat, John and his friend, Tonya

Pudge, Janet, Linda

Jerry, Janet and yours truly

Seated: John and Tonya. Standing: Pat

John and Linda

Janet and I

Monday, October 02, 2017

Neighborhood Progressive Dinner

Feeling a bit lonely after the pool where I live closed for the season, I got the idea to have a progressive dinner with friends I had made there during the summer. Thanks to the list of contact information I had gathered the final weekend of the season, I sent out a global email asking if there was any interest. I had mentioned I would be willing to host the main course. Within hours, Patti responded with, "I'll do appetizers." Then Colleen offered to do the dessert. Next Sheryl responded, "I don't have seating for everyone, but I could do the salad course." I let each of them know their offers were fabulous and we should proceed. Even the date I proposed in my initial message was accepted. These women were great and I started to get excited about seeing my new friends again. To my surprise, Gwen sent a message saying she would do cocktails. To tell the truth, this course never occurred to me. Patty responded with, "I'll bring my appetizers down to Gwen's house. That way we can stay with having the courses at four residences." Soon the RSVPs started coming in. There was going to be eleven of us!

Friday night arrived and friends began arriving at Gwen's where she had a bar set up on one side of her kitchen and Patty's appetizers on the opposite counter.

Gwen, getting her kitchen ready for our party

Gwen, Colleen, Mary Jo, Patti and Patty in Gwen's kitchen
After all of the guests arrived, they helped themselves to drinks and appetizers and gathered in her beautiful living room. It was delightful to see everyone again. Each one had a smile on her face and many voiced their opinion of getting together socially.

After 45 minutes, or so, we delivered our glasses and plates to the kitchen and left Gwen's to walk the short distance to Sheryl's home. Sheryl is an artist and her walls displayed many of the pieces she has painted. She has two Maine Coon cats and had them secured in her bedroom as a precaution.

Sheryl with salad. It was delicious!

Colleen at Sheryl's

Patty and Patti at Sheryl's
Shorty before the 45 minutes were up, I left to go to my house to get the garlic bread into my oven. About 15 minutes later, my friends began arriving. Again, each one seemed to be really enjoying  herself. I was grateful to Mary Jo for taking over by giving my friends a tour of my home. My, they were so impressed with my cottage! Patty told me she loved the window over my bed and asked where I had gotten it. Her home is the same model as mine. And then it was time to gather around my table.

Seated: Alison, Mary Jo; standing: yours truly, Sheryl, Susie and Sandra
Susie, Alison and Sheryl at my table

Sandra, yours truly and Mary Jo

Mary Jo again came to my aid by asking what each person wanted to drink and then she helped me with serving a plate with lasagna to each one. I made Jean Woodard's recipe. She is a dear friend who lives in Joliet. Once each person was served, I said grace, thanking God for bringing these wonderful ladies into my life. We had good conversation while gathered around my table. It was crowded with 10 of us, but it worked out fine. While eating, one friend asked how I started collecting Delft. Another asked how did I decide to make one bedroom into a cottage?

After eating, Mary Jo helped me by clearing off the table and putting the dishes in the dishwasher. Then we joined the others by walking to Colleen's for dessert.

Entering Colleen's home was interesting for me. She is a lot of fun and her home represents that well. The rooms are painted with bright, strong colors, and she has fascinating objects of art throughout. I loved looking at everything.

Sandra,  Colleen and Patti
Colleen served  homemade chocolate bundt cake, apple cake (delicious!) and ginger cookies. Her dinnerware was multi color Fiestaware. I thought it fit her perfectly.

Susie and Sheryl

Patti, Gwen and Mary Jo
Before we departed for the evening, everyone thanked me for putting this event together and expressed a desire to do more things together over the next eight months while the pool is closed. Patti announced she already has her menu planned for a December brunch to which we are going to be invited. Other ideas came forth: The Old Log Theater, Chanhassen Dinner Theater, and the theater at the Masonic Home.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Summer Is Over

Since retiring in January, this summer was the first chance I had to enjoy my neighborhood pool and meet some very nice neighbors. It's been wonderful discovering all of the pleasures retirement affords.

During the summer I worked away in my garage to purge the many, many things I no longer used or wanted. I made many trips to a charity where they were more than happy to take my "treasures" and let others buy them for a fraction of the amount I had paid for them. It has felt good to clear away some of the clutter.

Also I managed to go the short walk to one of the two pools in my association. Like anything else, the more often I attended, the more friends I made. Each person brought his/her own interesting life — what they did before retiring, how many kids they have, where they were born and raised, etc. I found out some of us had many things in common. This same group of friends gathered together at the pool on Fridays from 5 - 7 pm for happy hour. I began looking forward to this each week.

L to R: Mary Jo, Colleen, and Rita

The day these photos were taken was chilly—at least for me it was! My friends talked me into going home and changing into my suit.

And then Labor Day was fast approaching, when the pool would be closing for the next nine months! I decided I didn't want to loose contact with these new friends so I jotted down the contact information for each one and sent it as a global email so we can stay in touch. Living here this summer has been a gift for me and I look forward to many more times to spend with these new friends.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

God Is With Me

God was with me. Sunday evening as I was driving home from my son Peder's, I was entering the exit ramp close to my house when a car was coming straight toward me – UP the exit ramp and entering the highway I just left — going the WRONG direction! I called 911 as soon as I entered my driveway and was connected to the highway patrol. I told them what had just happened and was asked the make and color of the car. I told them it was a newer Cadillac. I didn't notice the color. After talking to the patrol, I put my car in the garage and I heard sirens. 

I have been thinking about this since Sunday and I have questions running around in my head. How would the patrol handle this? They couldn't go down the highway the wrong way to stop the person. Would they block the southbound traffic so others wouldn't be headed in the direction of the wrong way car? If I ever get the chance to visit with a patrol person, I am going to inquire.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

At Last, All of My Kids Came Home at the Same Time!

On the weekend of August 6 and 7, Sunday and Monday, my three kids and their children came to my home. My heart was overflowing! We had not been in one place since December 2010. Considering my grandkids range in age from 13 down to 3, one can imagine the changes. For instance, Hans had never met his niece, Corinne, who is 3-1/2 years old.

Peder with his three kids: Rellie, Felix and Leo

Sunday morning the family gathered at my swimming pool and the kids, Heidi, and I got in the water with them. It was so much fun!

L to R: Josiah, Anni (back), Rellie, William, Marshall

Grandma D with her three granddaughters: Rellie, Corinne, and Anni

Felix and Josiah

Marshall and Heidi

Felix wearing flippers

Heidi holding Corinne

L to R: Rachel, Sarah and Leo

Grandma D with Felix, Leo, Rellie, Anni, Josiah and William

After a time in the pool, we had a light lunch at my home. The kids were finished eating quite quickly and had a good time running around in my back yard. Josiah, now 13, stayed indoors and quietly played my piano. That was fun!

Once lunch was finished, we made our way to Peder's house where the kids played outdoors and the adults were able to visit for awhile.

Corinne hugging a stuffed cat

Heidi, Peder and Hans

Heidi, Hans, Peder and yours truly

The kids had a lot of fun playing in Peder and Sarah's backyard while the adults had a good time catching up with one another. When it was time to eat, Sarah's dad, Ken, grilled hamburgers and hotdogs for everyone.

L to R: Ken, Barb, Heidi and Donna Mae

L to R: Heidi with her two kids: Marshall and Corinne
Peder with his three kids: Leo, Aurelia (Rellie), and Felix
Hans with his three kids: William, Annika (Anni). and Josiah

* * *

On Monday we gathered at my cousin Pat's home in Willernie. My brother and sister joined us, which was very nice. The kids had fun playing in Pat's new sunroom and I enjoyed taking Corinne on a little walk at Reed Creek.

Corinne petting clay deer at Reed Creek - across the street from Pat's

Grandma D with Corinne

Hans with my brother Jerry
Heidi and Hans (Peder had to work)

L to R: Heidi, my sister Janet, cousin Pat, Rachel and Josiah
 I had such a good time but wish it could have lasted longer. Isn't that how it is with anything one enjoys: an ice cream cone, a good book, a vacation? I am still living in the afterglow of my time spent with my dear, dear family.