Saturday, January 28, 2017

Dinner at Barb and Gary's

Since retiring, I have been invited to the homes of two choir members. The first was for lunch on Friday, January 20th. Marianne invited me and four others from choir. Had I still been working, I wouldn't have been able to attend. It was a lovely time around her table, where she served a delicious salad, home-made wild rice soup, croissants, and for dessert – cheesecake. I totally forgot to take any photos.

This past Wednesday night I was invited to the home of Barb and Gary for a Norwegian dinner. First of all, they live in a beautiful house - set among trees - and it is filled with many beautiful things. This time I remembered to take pictures, which I feel tell the feeling of the occasion.

 This is Barb and Gary's beautiful table.

Deviled eggs, cucumbers in vinegar, coleslaw, and already eaten: a delicious beet pickle.

Meatball and mashed potato wrapped in lefse and covered with gravy. So good!
Rhubarb/berry pie with whipped cream. Wow!

Seated left of me are Lois and Laurey
L to R: Barb (hostess), Michelle, Gary (host), and Brian

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

German Wine Cup

In the fall of 1988, my Aunt Liz, Cousin Pat and I flew to Frankfort, Germany, rented a car and set out for areas through the Black Forest, Bavaria, Switzerland, Austria and back to Frankfort, by way of Munich. The trip still holds great memories for me.

We had no planned itinerary and each day drove to what looked interesting to us. Not once were we on the Autobahn. We kept to the smaller routes. One such place that lured us was Ulm, Switzerland. There we stayed in a beautiful hotel. I remember the breakfast buffet where corn flakes were served in a sterling silver punch bowl! I had not seen this before or since.

In Hallein, Austria we toured a salt mine which proved to be lots of fun. We also took the "Sound of Music" tour in Salzburg. (I have been fortunate to have taken this tour twice in my lifetime.) We also toured the Neuschwanstein castle in Bavaria, Germany. One beautiful day we happened upon the Alpine ascent of the cows in Switzerland. Loved it

The sights we saw and the places we stayed were fabulous, and I could go on and on, but what I wanted to write about is the German wine cup I purchased.

I admired such a cup as this being served with wine at one of the places where we dined. I am not a drinker of wine, but decided to buy a new cup anyway. Well, this lovely, grape etched cup has stared at me for years each time I have opened one of my cupboard doors. Last week, as a part of my celebration of retirement, I decided to use it. Why not drink my orange juice from it? And so that is what I am doing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

LaVonne's Wedding

When I first began working at Bethany Houses Publishers, LaVonne was one of my two bosses. She was dating a man, but after a time they broke up. Some time later she met another guy and they were an "item" for many years. I thought they would one day be married, but it was not to be. And then at her last birthday party at Bethany in September, she announced she was seeing a man, a widower, with 9 kids. I asked if the kids were home-schooled, and she replied affirmative. I could tell she was head over heels for this man. 

The next month she came to work sporting an engagement ring! Wow! That was fast! Then she announced they were getting married in January and that she would be leaving Bethany House in December. What a surprise that was to everyone.

Turns out her new husband lives on a farm in Wisconsin and he manufactures maple syrup, commercially. He has two adjoining farms with lots of maple trees on both. When it is not syrup time, he does carpentry. I must add that he is head over heels for LaVonne.

I was honored to be invited to the wedding. Here are some photos of the lovely event.
 Groom Dave walks his children down the aisle. It was neat to see.

 LaVonne being escorted down the aisle with her brother-in-law

 LaVonne and Dave reciting their vows

 After the ceremony, the sanctuary was transformed to make a larger dining room.

 My dear friend Nancy R and yours truly. Notice our delicious dinner! I have never tasted better roast beef. Prior to this we had a fabulous salad and dinner roll. Finally there was awesome wedding cake! The brown bottles on the table are complimentary bottles of maple syrup to take home.

 L to R: couple from the local church, LaVonne, and Ann and Jim Parrish

LaVonne showed some of us her darling vintage boots. 

LaVonne and Dave outside following the wedding

Sleigh rides were given following the wedding ceremony and prior to dinner. 

The happy couple

Thursday, January 12, 2017

I've Retired!

I have worked full time—at least 40 hours per week—since 1983. Some of the time it was really difficult, especially when my kids were still at home. During those years I worked at Hormel's, a mortgage company, a telephone company (installs phone systems), and finally at Bethany House Publishers. This last job proved to be my most meaningful and favorite. Yesterday I completed 16 years at BHP and was honored with an incredible retirement party.

Not only did everyone in my office attend, but a group from our next door neighboring company joined in. I was so blessed!

Jim Parrish, our vice president and director, started the program by telling very nice things about me, including when I started working at Bethany House. He said I was the one that kept most of the plants in the building alive. He went on to say I made everyone feel at home and gave Bethany House a welcoming personality. He said he followed my financial advice and bought Hormel stock - best investment ever! His concluding remarks were that my cars always gave pazazz to our parking lot!

Paul Higdon, one of my two bosses, was next. He told everyone how happy he was that he and LaVonne, a former boss of mine at BHP, hired me. He mentioned how important it was when I said we should pray whenever things got tense. He said I helped a lot to get over 2,000 covers to the printer over the course of my time working with him and that he is really going to miss me. Then he presented me with a gorgeous watercolor of an iris he painted for me. I just love it and hung it in my living room.

I was next and I gave some of my highlights while working at Bethany House. I mentioned meeting Beverly Lewis and Lauraine Snelling for the first time, discovering a pineapple was growing in my 6 or 7 year old plant and then bringing it to maturity, having a ride in a 2006 Chevrolet Corvette for the first time and going from zero to sixty in  seconds. This car is owned by one of the Purvis employees (our next  neighbor). Things I'll miss: greeting everyone on a daily basis, hearing authors speak, perk books (93 free books/year), playing cards at 3 pm, going to lunch with the Wednesday "lunch bunch," and visiting with my colleagues. I was bawling by the time I time I finished speaking.

Jennifer, my morning boss, concluded the speeches by telling everyone it seemed like a lot of the time I was the "boss," but that she appreciated my ideas and my leadership. She said we worked well together. She is the one who hosted the beautiful party.

Here are photos that marked the occasion:

Paul and me

L to R: Dave Horton, yours truly, Steve Oates, and Jim Parrish. All three of these men are vice presidents in our company.
Chocolate cake. This has a pine branch and snowflakes.
White cake. This has birch trees with cardinals.
My friends from our next door company, R. E. Purvis. Melinda, first on the left, is one of the owners.

L to R: Jen, Elisa, Jessica, Noelle, yours truly, Hannah and Chandler

L to R: Steve, Randy, yours truly, Jim, and Dan

L to R: Jeff, Grace, Dave L, Raela, Julie, yours truly, Shaun, and Andy

L to R: Paul, Jennifer, Jenny, yours truly, Natasha, Ellen and Sharon. Inside that big envelope is my company retirement card signed by the Bethany House employees.

L to R around the table: Karen, Kate, Miranda, Amy, yours truly, Dave H, Chris, Eric, Luke and Nancy

Yours truly feeling overwhelmed!

Paul and yours truly. Paul did this watercolor iris for me. What a treasure!

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Returning to Work

I have been on sick leave for the past five weeks. Though I'm not feeling 100%, it is getting close. Tomorrow I am returning to my job, and I hope I will be able to stay for the full eight hours. If not, I will come home when my body tells me.

Was my surgery successful? I don't know yet. I still experience a little nerve pain around both ankles in the evening. Since my incision is still very sore and tender, I have a strong feeling the nerve pain will settle down once the swelling and healing in my spine have been completed. That's my prayer. I will be seeing my surgeon on the 16th of this month.

I'm not sure how Nels will handle not having me home all day. He has really loved it! I haven't told him yet, but I'm retiring next Wednesday, January 11.