Sunday, December 20, 2020


Sometime in late October, Hans invited me to fly out to Washington D. C. to celebrate Thanksgiving with them. Even though we were in a world-wide pandemic, I decided to take him up on the offer. After all, most, if not all of the activities where I live, were canceled. And I hadn't been with him or his family since last Christmas. I am so happy that I accepted his invitation because I had the best time!

In Minneapolis, I was the ONLY one going through security!

Just before landing at Reagan National, below me is the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. 

Hans picked me up at the airport, which, by the way, was nearly empty! It was nearly empty in Minneapolis, too. My flight had 22 passengers—the plane held 176. When we got to his house, Rachel, Josiah, Annie and William were all inside the door to welcome me. That sure made me feel good. Josiah gave me his bedroom, and he also carried my luggage upstairs. We visited for a little bit and then it was bedtime.

Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, Rachel made a delicious meal. She insisted on doing it all by herself and wouldn't let me help at all. She also did all the clean-up.

Hans showed me around the house, pointing out all of the work they had had done since I had last been there, which was two years ago. They had added a screened in porch, a new deck and a lovely patio underneath the porch. Their cats, Rhett Butler (a beautiful black and white) and Newt, a new, 6 month old that is gray and white, and rather small. He has beautiful orange eyes. 

In the evenings we watched Netflix episodes of "The Crown," a fiction account of the Royal family and a new Netflix season of "The Great British Bakeoff." Hans' kids don't really watch tv, so there was no arguing about what we should watch.

During a couple of the days I played Mario Brothers with Josiah and William. I am terrible at this video game, but the boys think it's fun and they encourage me, telling me I'm doing great. Annie stays in her room quite a bit, but was friendly when she was out.

On Friday night Rachel and the kids decorated their beautiful Christmas tree. Hans and I sat nearby watching them and enjoying the scene. 

Saturday Hans took William and me to Five Guys for hamburgers. Then later he and I went for a drive in the country. What a beautiful area they live in. Sunday and and I went to church together.

By Monday it was time for the kids to return to school and Hans and Rachel to go to work. Hans stayed back a few hours and first took me to the airport before reporting to work at the Pentagon. I had a great time!

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Nels 2009 - 2020


Nels  2009 - 2020

The day after my birthday, I took Nels to the veterinarian because I noticed he had been drinking so much water. Due to COVID, I had to wait in the parking lot while he was inside the building. Twice during the two hours I waited, the veterinarian phoned me to tell me Nels has been diagnosed with advanced diabetes. He wanted me to bring him back to the clinic in two days and leave him there throughout the day while they checked his glucose levels. After that they would tell me how much insulin I would have to give him twice a day, and that I would have to bring him to the clinic twice a week going forward to have his foot pricked to test his glucose level. 

I brought him home, and the next day I prayed and prayed, and cried and cried. I came to the conclusion I was not a candidate for this. I didn't want my last memories of him being me catching him to give him another shot. So I called and canceled my appointment.

The follow day the veterinarian phoned me to tell me he understood my decision. He had a feeling that is how I would react. I asked him what to expect and he said the food Nels is eating is not nourishing him. Rather, it is turning to sugar and he is peeing it out. He went on to say Nels would begin having diarrhea, vomiting, or getting very weak. 

I watched for those signs, but continued to love him and take a lot of photos of him. I thought back about six or seven weeks and recalled he no longer had jumped up to his cat tree, and also had stopped sleeping with me at night.  He drank about two bowls full of water each day and I had to clean out the litter box about three or four times a day. He stayed pretty close to the bathroom and kitchen. 

Three weeks after I got the bad news, I made an appointment to have him euthanized. It was a hard decision, and I vacillated about keeping the appointment. Three nights before that date, I played with Nels and the laser light. He always came running when he heard me take it from the cupboard. He ran and ran, and I thought I was making the wrong decision. But the next morning, he was lying by my kitchen table while I ate, and he could barely stand. All through the day he would come close to wherever I was and just flop down on the floor. This continued on to the next day—the day of our appointment. 

Once at the clinic, they took Nels from my car and told me they would put him in a room and sedate him. Once he was drowsy, they would call me to come into the building. This is an exception they make during COVID. I was ushered to a room and told to wait there. About 12 minutes later the veterinarian came in to say Nels was still very active, so they were going to give him a second shot to sedate him. I waited a period of time and again he came in to say they were having to give him a third shot. After a few minutes, he brought Nels into my room. The first thing I noticed was his front paw was wrapped in a blue bandage. It had a port sort of thing hanging from it. The doctor put Nels on the table in front of me, and he tried to climb off. The veterinarian told me Nels was a lot like him. He was part Irish and part German and could drink a lot of beer and it didn't affect him. That little bit of humor helped a wee bit. He told me I could take a few minutes to say my good-byes to Nels. I petted him, kissed his head, told him I loved him, and would miss him very much. Then the veterinarian asked me if I was ready. I said I was, and he gave Nels the final shot. Nels' head relaxed on his paws, and he was gone. I was left alone with him for about ten minutes. I petted and petted him, and held his paws. That was one thing he never liked me to do. He would always pull away. When I felt I could finally leave him, I kissed his head once more. He was still warm. 

Nels was cremated and his ashes are in a beautiful wooden box. A few weeks before he died I sent photos away to be printed in a hardbound book. I treasure his memory.

Book of Nels

Nels in one of his favorite places

2020 Birthday Parties

 This year my birthday was a big occasion because I turned 75 (August 3). It hardly seems possible! Where has the time gone?

With 2020 being such an unusual and odd year, due to the COVID-19 virus, I didn't think there would be such a fuss, but I was wrong. On the Saturday prior to my birthday, my son, Peder, and his wife, Sarah, had me over to their house for a cookout. We had a very nice time. They served cupcakes for dessert and mine had a lit candle in it.

L to R: yours truly, Peder, Leo, Felix, Rellie, Sarah

A couple of days before the actual day, my kids had a delicious German chocolate cake delivered to my house. It came from my favorite bakery: Lund's/Byerly's. What a surprise! Once it arrived I decided I couldn't eat alone, so I called some of my friends here in my building for an impromptu birthday party.

L to R: Janet, Carol, Anne

The birthday girl!

L to R: Pat, Nancy C, Nancy L

On my actual birthday, my birthday club friends met at my friend Nancy's home and we had birthday cake, plus some other desserts. It was a lot of sugar!

Neighbors decorated my door

Hostess Nancy

L to R: Louise, Bonnie, yours truly, Nancy and Debra

Another birthday cake!

Believe it or not, my Valley View friends hosted another party for me the next day at one of my favorite restaurants. Due to COVID, we were seated outside. I ordered my favorite thing: an apple pancake. It is very similar to a pannekoeken, but in my opinion, it is 200% better. 

L to R: Laurey, Sheila, Nancy, Donna VS, Pat, yours truly

Apple pancake, tomato juice, thick sliced bacon. Yum!

Yet another birthday cake!

Monday, July 13, 2020

Returning to Church

It has been four months since our church congregation has been permitted to convene. Yesterday was the big day and I thought it was really special. The church had to follow the rules of the CDC (Center for the Disease Prevention), so there were many volunteers who helped get the building ready and rehearsed their part for ushering. Those who wanted to attend had to RSVP. They were told they must wear masks.

Wooddale Church

Lobby inside Door 1

Receptacle for offering 

The sanctuary is ready for the worship service
Ushers brought the congregants in a little at a time, spacing them appropriately. They seated them from the front pew to the back. I watched them from where I was seated in the choir loft.

Speaking of choir, we began meeting about three weeks ago on our regular Thursday night time. We rehearsed for a half hour and then performed our part of the service to be used for the Sunday online service. This Sunday we were finally able to be in our choir loft and sing praises in the presence of the congregation. It was glorious!

Photo showing the spacing of the congregation

New Windows

Last year our building budgeted for all of our windows to be replaced. They were 20 years old and some reported having air leaking in. So a couple of weeks ago a big lift was driven here and the workers began removing the old windows and replacing the new ones. The workers did one apartment at a time, staying with the stack before moving on. A stack is such as apartment 401, 301, 201 and finally 101. It took a little over a week before they got to mine.

In preparation of their work, I had to have some help to move my tv and the unit it sits on. I was able to move the things in front of my library window and the furniture on the balcony.

The morning they started on my apartment, Nels was asleep in my closet, so I closed the closet door tightly so that he couldn't come out. It was safer that way.

Cleaning out the old seal while the window is out

Crew of men installing the window of my library

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

We Are Still in Pandemic Mode

Well, we are still in pandemic mode. People have tested positive; people have died. Thankfully I don't know of anyone who has been affected.

Our church services are still being done online. Last week our choir gathered in the "new to me" zoom. It was so fun to see so many of my friends and our choir director on my computer screen. We filled 3 pages – about 75 individuals. Until the moderator muted all but one of us, we could talk, sometimes being interrupted by others. I really enjoyed it and look forward to it happening again this week.

Activities where I live are still cancelled, with the exception of going out on our balconies or the parking lot at 3 pm on Mondays and Fridays. We have had two days where the weather didn't cooperate for us.

I am a people person and therefore I need to get out of my apartment and see others. I also need to leave our complex and get out on the road and see big sky, farms and farm animals, etc. The Sunday before Easter I invited Nancy, my next door neighbor, to ride to St. Peter with me. We saw county, apple orchards, farms, small towns, and once in St. Peter I drove her past the little church where my mom and dad were married and through the campus of Gustavus Adolphus. She really enjoyed seeing the nice little city.

This past Sunday I again invited her to ride with me, this time to Willernie to see my cousin Pat's house, the high school I attended in 10th grade, and a bit of White Bear Lake. Then we drove to Stillwater where we saw the paddle boats lined up along the Saint Croix River. Following that I drove west to the town of White Bear Lake. We stopped to say hello to my nephew Keith and his SO Debra and her daughter Annika. It was so nice to see them.

If this continues, where will I go next? I'm not sure, but it sure helps my tolerance to stay home a couple more weeks. I am praying for this virus to dry up.

Friday, March 27, 2020


I made these Easter bunnies for Hans and Peder in 1975

Well, the Coronavirus is now sweeping the USA. My intention here is not to be a news reporter, but to reflect on how the virus is affecting me.

On March 17 all public rooms where I live were closed with an orange sign on the door which read "Do not enter. Room is closed until further notice." This includes the Library, the Exercise Room, the Eden Room (small party room down the hall from my apartment), the Valley View Room (the large party room), and the lobby. All activities on the calendar for the remainder of the month were canceled. We were instructed to not congregate in the hallways or at the mailboxes. We are to use the hallways to get to our destination and to use the shortest route. We are to limit our visitors. No vendors would be permitted to work in our building. We are to call for maintenance only in an emergency.

On the Thursday after my doctor cleared me of pneumonia, I went to church to rehearse in the Tour Choir (for our trip to Germany and Austria on June 1), and to rehearse with our church choir. The choir had the weekend off, so I decided to go to church for the Saturday night service. I hadn't been in church for many weeks and it felt so good to be there. I was especially happy that communion was observed. I coughed a bit during the beginning of the sermon and considered leaving after sucking on two cough drops didn't seem to be taking care of the cough. Finally, my chest settled down and I was able to sit quietly for the remainder of the service. It was sometime during the next week, March 20 I believe, that we got the notice we would not be having choir rehearsal and that the entire service for the weekend would be online only. Wow! This had never happened before. We thought it might be for one weekend only, but now we are about to experience our third weekend. This week we got the notice our choir trip to Germany and Austria has been canceled.

And starting at midnight tonight, our Governor Walz has ordered a "Stay at Home" to last for the next two weeks. Only those with essential jobs will be permitted to work. We can go out for groceries or drugs, walks or runs, keeping the "social distance of 6 feet from one another." Schools are closed until at least May 4. Students in many cases are taking classes online. My heart goes out to the children. This is so different for them. They miss their friends and teachers. Many seniors will not experience prom or graduation.

Heidi called me yesterday and told me starting next week the Air Traffic Controllers are going to be working five days on and 10 days off to keep the numbers of controllers in the towers down. Her five days will start Monday and she will work the same shift all five days which is new for her. Hans told me the Pentagon made a similar move to keep the population down two weeks ago. He works every other day each week—he worked Monday, Wednesday, Friday last week and he worked Tuesday and Thursday this week. Rachel's job has slowed down due to customers not wanting vendors in their homes at this time. She Facetimed with me Wednesday.

All in all, this is so different and weird. One highlight was a notice I found on Monday morning that had been pushed under my door. It was from our Valley View president who suggested we who live on the parking lot side of the building go out on our balconies at 3 pm with noisemakers, pom poms, or other means to be able to see our neighbors. She said she would be out in the parking lot to video us and perhaps send it to a news station or two to air, showing others how we are trying to safely connect. Someone suggested we do it every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It was decided to do it every Monday and Friday. So I am looking forward to 3 pm today. I have put out my American flag and will continue to put it out each day when it is not raining. In the meantime, each days seems like the day before.

Saturday, March 21, 2020


On Friday, February 21, I worked as a volunteer in the office where I live. During that morning shift, I started coughing and coughing. I was so thankful that there were only a few people who stopped by to either ask our office manager something or to visit with me. I was so relieved when 12:00 noon came and I could lock up and go home. I spent the weekend at home, coughing and blowing my nose nearly every minute.

It didn't get any better as the days rolled by. Tuesday afternoon I drove my next door neighbor, who is also a dear friend, to the airport. On the way I experience a big coughing jag and told Nancy after dropping her off I was going to head to a minute clinic which is near our home.

I checked into the minute clinic at 3:50 pm, then donned a mask and sat in the waiting area (coughing most of the time) until I was finally seen at 6::30. The PA who was on duty listened to my lungs and said she was positive I had pneumonia. Since the minute clinic doesn't have an x-ray machine, she advised me to head to an urgent care clinic. She kindly checked online to see which one(s) was/were open yet. There was one not far away and the "wait time" was 7 minutes. I high-tailed it there and was ushered to a room immediately. After the nurse checked my vitals a PA came in, listened to my lungs, and sent me to the x-ray room. Back in my examining room the PA returned and told me my right lung was full of pneumonia. She wrote two prescriptions for me and I headed to a near by drug store.

That was Tuesday. By Thursday I wasn't any better. Coughing and spitting up gunk, and blowing gunk from my nose (disgusting, right?!), and unable to get any good sleep, I called my clinic for help. I was able to talk to my primary doctor's nurse who was relaying messages from my doctor. He sent a new Rx for an antibiotic to Costco. My dear friend drove to Costco to get the prescription for me. She returned telling me the pharmacy couldn't fill the entire order but sent a three day supply. I was to go back for the remainder the next day. My doctor also instructed me to see a different doctor on Friday at a clinic closer to my home.

Friday came and I went to my appointment to see Dr. Ditty. She was very nice, listened to my lungs and sent me to x-ray. Results showed I still had a lot of pneumonia in my right lung. I told her I wished I could get some good sleep which I knew would help me improve. She prescribed Robitussin with codeine. I had taken this before and was confident this would definitely help me sleep better.

I headed to Costo to get the remainder of the Rx that the pharmacy couldn't fill the day before. I picked up a few things in the drugs portion of Costco and proceeded to check out. I couldn't believe the crowds of people I saw with their carts brimming with bottled water, toilet paper, paper towels etc. There were twelve carts in my line, which snaked back quite far into the store. Each line, and there were many, were the same. When it was my turn to get to the checkout, I asked the cashier what was going on. I had never seen this at Costco—even at Christmas time. She said it was the media frenzy over the Coronavirus that was beginning to sweep the world! I paid for my items and left the store. It wasn't until I was half way home that I realized I hadn't gotten my new Rx for the Robitussin. Argh! I waited until around 6:30 pm to return to Costco to get it. At that time, there were very few customers compared to when I had been there earlier. Friday night I got an excellent night of sleep and for the next seven days I stayed home and took care of myself. On the 15th day from when the coughing started, I saw a PA at my clinic and she told my lungs were now clear. Hallelujah!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

It's 2020 now!

My goodness, how time has flown. It is already 2020! I remember well when we were concerned about Y2K and wondering if our bank accounts and other things would work come January 1, 2000. I brought in a few logs for my fireplace, in the event my electricity failed, and some bottled water. Now that is two decades ago!

This month I have managed to do some entertaining, in spite of having a virus of a cough. Also, I dealt with plantar fasciitis in my left foot, but had a cortisone shot in my left heel and it has really improved. Also, I have been to my dentist where I had a patch on the lower part of two crowns where the gum has receded just a titch. My dentist says it should last for a long time and keep me from having to get new crowns. Another issue I took care of: I had a cortisone shot injected into each of my hips due to bursitis.  That was given to me just yesterday and I slept all through the night last night for the first time in weeks. I'm walking better, too.

January 10th I hosted a birthday dinner for two gals in our church choir birthday club. There were 9 of us around my table and we all had a really fun time.

L to R: Jane, Louise, Bonnie, Joanne, Barb, Nancy, and Laurey

L to R: Louise, Nancy, Jane and Barb

Bonnie and Laurey

January 22 I co-hosted a dinner party with friends Pat and Nancy for two gals in my building. We invited each of the birthday gals and told them they could each bring two guests. At 6 pm they arrived at Pat's home where Pat had set a beautiful table. She served a very nice salad, bread sticks and some sparkling juice. We sat around visiting and enjoying each other when I piped up and said, "Is this all we're having to eat? I'm still hungry. Let's go down to my apartment." So Pat and Nancy stood and said, "Yes, let's go!" Well the guests sat there dumb founded. They didn't really know what to do but then joined us down the hallway where they entered my apartment and saw a fully set table and could smell the lasagne. I had them sit and served them a sparkling drink, lasagne and garlic toast. They thought this idea was really fun.

After eating and enjoying visiting, Nancy announced we should go next door to her apartment so we could continue celebrating. Nancy had her dining room all decked out with birthday party decor. She had us sit at her table and then served a delicious ice cream dessert. The two party gals, Sheila and Donna, were so happy and loved the attention paid to them.

L to R: Pat, Laurey, Nancy, Marcia, Donna, Sheila, Myra, and Shirley

My friend and next door neighbor, Nancy

Birthday gals: Donna and Sheila