Thursday, July 31, 2008


On this day, July 31 of 2007, my husband here on the left, and our friend, Richard on the right, became better men. Well, that's what the sign above their heads says: "You will be a better man for having stood on Look-Off's lofty top. It will clear your eyes and expand your spiritual being, and you will leave that breezy eminence with a feeling of exultation." From "Beautiful Nova Scotia - The Ideal Summer Land" - 1897

We had gone out for a drive that day, stopped for ice cream on top of this hill, and found a little shop with this quotation over the entrance. I remember crossing the road and looking at this scene in front of me. The valley below me looked like a crazy quilt, so strangly shaped were the fields. It was beautiful, lush and green, with the accent colors of brown, tan, rust and gray.
We had traveled to Michigan in June to meet our friends, Richard and Bev, who had lived across the street from us more than 25 years ago! We then traveled together to Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Foundland. We had such a good time! And then Richard received the news that his mother had passed away, and they had to quickly leave for Michigan and funeral planning.
This past January we were again traveling with Richard and Bev, enjoying the beautiful California ocean shore, when Ernie and I decided we needed to go home to take care of my mom. And now she's passed away, too.
I'm hoping we can meet up again and travel together again. Hey guys, how about January or February? Florida is in the 70's and 80's while Minnesota and Wyoming are hovering in the teens, hopefully above zero!


I found a site, , that rates food and drink from the supermarket, restaurants, fast food places, etc. This sure made me sad:

Worst Mexican Entree
Chipotle Mexican Grilled Chicken Burrito

1,179 calories
47 g fat
125 g carbs
2,656 mg sodium
Despite a reputation for using healthy, fresh ingredients, Chipotle's menu is limited to king-size burritos, overstuffed tacos, and gigantic salads—all of which lead to a humongous waistline.
Make Over the Menu: There are two ways to make a Chipotle burrito healthy enough to eat:
(1) 86 the rice and tortilla and request your meat, vegetables, and beans served in a bowl, or
(2) Bring a friend and saw the burrito in half.
And now you know. I love these things, but guess I won't be eating one anytime soon!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


In keeping with my education theme here on this blog, I am letting you all know that now is the time to get your lazy butts over to H*bby L*bby and buy your Christmas ornaments and trees! The aisles are full of lovely glass ornaments, wreaths with red berries, big red bows, tall skinny trees with white lights, and greens for decking your halls. Hurry! Things are going fast!


Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I can't believe I've been doing it wrong all these years!
We must get the word out!

Monday, July 28, 2008


My friend Lisa J mentioned today that she had no idea we lived in an apartment. I'm thinking that many of my new readers have no idea about my past, so thought I'd do a quick update, detailing the last two years of our lives.

In June 2006 hubby and I retired from working at a small Lutheran college in Minnesota, he as the director of maintenance, me as the assistant registrar. We sold our home, gave away all our furniture and stuff, and bought a 35 foot fifth wheel trailer and a big white Ford truck and took off for Alaska with two grandsons in tow, an 11 and a 13 year old. We spent the summer in Seldovia, a small fishing village across the bay from Homer, where we ate salmon and halibut daily and enjoyed visiting with our son Chris, who makes Seldovia his home.

We returned the boys to Minnesota in August so they could go back to school, and so we could recover! We then headed off: Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama, and finally to Florida where we parked at Tindall Air Force Base, near Panama City. We flew home in December for Christmas. In the spring we headed up the east coast: Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland, spending a month at Fort Meade Army Base near Baltimore, and then headed back to Minnesota again, through West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

We attended confirmations and headed off again, this time through Wisconsin, Michigan, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Foundland, this time traveling with friends from our Air Force days, Dick and Bev. Then it was back through Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and back through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin, and back to Minnesota for a month.

After my mother's 85th birthday we again headed off, this time through South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, to Nellis Air Force Base In Nevada. Our friends, Dick and Bev, joined us again at Thanksgiving time, and we again traveled together to Arizona and California. We had flown home from Las Vegas in November for my nephews wedding, and then after we went to California, we flew home again in December for Christmas. And that's when our life changed.

We noticed that my mom was experiencing some forgetfulness, and things were changing for her. So after flying back to San Diego we set out again, but I could no longer enjoy traveling so far away from home. I felt that my mom needed us back in Minnesota, so in the middle of January, from Seal Beach by Oceanside, California, we headed back to Minnesota. We had sold our house in June of 2006, and you can't live in a 5th wheel in January in Minnesota, so we found the lower level of a two story duplex and sold the trailer, and again became residents of Minnesota. And we did the best job we could taking care of mom until her recent death.

Now you know the rest of the story. We like our apartment, and plan to stay here for the time being. But we do plan to do some traveling again. As you read above, we sold the big 35 foot 5th wheel, but we did pick up a small 15 foot travel trailer. It has a sink, stove, potty, shower, table, and two side benches for seating and for beds at night. Nothing fancy, but we can manage in it, just not for months at a time. We'll take it out for the first real test in August, and if it works, we'll maybe travel in the winter, say January or February, down to the warmer climate. I think we'll always come back home though, and we consider this home.

So, in answer to your question Lisa, yes, we live in an apartment.....the lower level of a duplex.

Thanks to each and everyone of my online friends, for the loving words you have expressed over the past couple of weeks. It's been rough going, but absolutely made easier by you friends. I, and my whole family, have been so blessed with friends who are kind, and caring, and loving, and we have appreciated each and every one of you so much. It is so hard to lose a parent, especially a mother. The only thing worse that I can imagine is losing a child. (I don't know how you carry on Robbin....I really respect you! Hugs!)

So, now life goes on. After spending almost every day with my mother for the past 6 months, I now have to figure out what to do with myself. Oh, I could clean house, sort through those boxes, get to my quilting, do something with a cedar chest packed with photos, clean my closet, and on and on, but I just don't have the energy to tackle those projects quite yet. Maybe it's
because we did so much packing, moving and unpacking in the past few months, that I've yet to get over that. Or maybe it's the extra pounds that have gathered during this time that I've completely ignored proper nutrition. And quite possibly it's because exercise has been nonexistent in my world recently. Those are things that I can do something about, so I guess it's time to do so.

We have planned a little vacation in August. Hubby's family is having a reunion in Duluth the weekend of the 15th, so we are going to attend that, and then we are going up the North Shore and camping for a week. That will be a big boost for me. I love the North Shore, although it has slipped to number four on my list of favorite places. (#1 Alaska #2 New Foundland #3 Montana)
I can spend a couple of nights camping on the shores of Lake Superior at Temperance River State Park, and I am refreshed and re-energized and ready to face life again. We are taking my youngest sister Lois with us, as she also needs a vacation from stress. Hopefully after sitting on the rocks along the shore of Lake Superior and just taking in the lake, the sky, the rocks and God's wonderful creation, and hiking along the Superior Hiking Trail and maybe climbing Minnesota's "mountains," and perusing the gift shops and outfitters stores, we will have the miracle of rejuvenation.

This picture on the right is of one of the varieties of coleus that I found this year. I think it's very unusual, but very pretty. I have done nothing with my plants this summer, but fortunately hubby has watered for me during the hot days. He has also kept the carpets vacuumed and the dishes done up for me, which I appreciate so much. I just ask him not to touch the laundry as I'm afraid I am very picky about that chore. Fortunately our apartment includes a washer and dryer in the kitchen closet, so I've been able to keep up with that, even at odd hours.

This is a very disjointed and rambling post. I started off to thank you, my online friends, but kind of went off in a couple of other directions, too. That's kind of my mind right now, scattered! Hopefully that will improve. Meanwhile, thanks for sticking with me!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I had more fun this afternoon than I've had in months. Two friends and I went out to lunch and then to Mamma Mia! What fun! My head has been spinning all afternoon with the ABBA songs from the movie. Meryl Streep did a good job......Pierce Bronson? Well, he's certainly good looking, poor guy just can't sing. But the songs and the dancing and the scenery had me in a jolly happy mood this afternoon. If you haven't seen it, and if you just want to have fun, go see it!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Actually that is not true. I have spots, they just aren't cancerous! In the past I have had a few skin problems that required removal of tissue to be sent to the lab, and reports of two different kinds of skin cancers have been the result. I had my yearly scan this morning, and I am free of any kind of cancerous spots! Yahoo! I have some spots, a few of them are a rosacea that he gave me a prescription for, and many are a sebaceous type of spot, inherited, and not cancer, nor does it turn to cancer.

I am most thankful. My doctor said to continue to avoid the sun, have a yearly scan, report any weird spots, and use 45 SPF makeup and lotions if possible. That I can do.

Monday, July 21, 2008


I guess this video has been out for a year, but I have never seen it before. They showed it on The View this morning, and I bawled like a baby (maybe my emotions are close to the surface these days?) and decided to share it with you all. Isn't it beautiful?

Christian the Lion (The video won't load properly so you'll have to go to this link)

Sunday, July 20, 2008


The strength of our family during this sad time of mom's death has come from our strong faith. I would like to share a few of the familiar verses that have given us so much comfort.

The text we asked our pastor to use for his words yesterday is John 14: 1-6. Included in those verses are these words: In my Father's house are many mansions......I go to prepare a place for you.......I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man cometh unto the Father but by Me. (King James version)

Pastor Petersen gave a beautiful sermon on these verses, weaving in the story of mom's past few months where she was confused. Mom often asked us: Where am I? Where is my room? Where are we going? Is this my room? Now she is no longer confused. She knows where she is. She is in her heavenly mansion that Jesus has prepared for her! No more questions about where her room is. And most importantly, she never will have to move again! What comfort those verses have given us.

The Psalm that we requested is Psalm 121:

I lift up my eyes to the hills----where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip----he who watches over you will not slumber;
Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you---the Lord is your shade at your right hand:
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm, he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going, both now and forevermore. (NIV)

The service also included seven hymns. The Lutheran church has long been known as the singing church, and hymns have been a part of our family from the beginning. The hymns we sang are each a mini-sermon in themselves. Later this afternoon I plan to post the words from a couple of my favorites.

God bless your Sunday and the coming week. He has certainly blessed ours.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


I wrote the following blog on Tuesday after my morning trip down to visit my mom, but I didn't publish it. I was waiting until I went back in the afternoon with my sister Lois, and was then going to finish it and publish it. The Lord had other plans. Just a couple of hours after we returned home I received a phone call from the nurse at the home where mom was. She told me that after dinner she brought mom back to her room, mom said she wasn't feeling well, the nurse took her blood pressure, and mom died within a few minutes. We are so thankful that it was a quick death, and that mom was spared any more suffering and pain.



This morning as I stood in the doorway of the nursing home, the tears welled up in my eyes and streamed down my cheeks despite all my efforts to quell them. Mom lay peacefully sleeping, a welcome respite from the headaches that have begun to haunt her, and I didn't have the heart to awaken her. I just stood in that doorway and watched the rise and fall of her chest, much in the same way that I used to watch my babies sleep, and my heart overflowed with the love I feel for her. I wanted to kiss her forehead, tell her that I loved her, and tuck the pink and white afghan a little tighter around her shoulders, but I feared I'd awaken her and I wanted her to sleep a bit longer. Her brow was smooth, not wrinkled with the pain as it had been the past few days when we visited her and I didn't want to take the chance on returning her to that pain.

As I watched her sleep I felt the anger at that deadly cancerous brain tumor rising up from the bottom of my soul, and a sob caught in my throat. I needed to leave before my crying became uncontrollable as it so often does now. I hurried to my hot stuffy car in the parking lot where no one would see me as I once again lost it.

Oh mom, I still need you! I need to ask you how you made the vanilla pudding with the chocolate fluffy topping that I remember from my childhood. I want to get your advice on what kind of curtains I should put in the spare bedroom. I have to discuss the latest plans at church and get your feelings about them. I want to take you with us on vacation to the mountains again, and sit by the campfire and play Phase 10 or some other game. I want you like you used to be....I want my mother back!

I've had a cup of coffee and my tears have dried up. Soon I'll pick up Lois from work and we'll head back to the nursing home to see if you're awake. And I'll kiss your forehead, tell you I love you, and we'll watch the bird feeder outside your window in hopes that we'll see your favorite goldfinch. And maybe if you're having a good day, I can ask you about that recipe, or we can talk about the vacations we did take together.

I still am angry at that brain tumor, but I know that whatever happens, it is the exact perfect plan that God has for us, and all will be done according to His will. Your ways are not my ways, says the Lord.


SATURDAY, JULY 19: Lois and I did find mom awake on Tuesday afternoon. She was comfortable, no headache she said. She didn't speak much but her eyes followed our every move around the room as we cleaned out the dying flowers in the vase, straightened the pictures on the shelf, and chatted about nothing in particular. We pulled up the chairs close to her bed and held her hands as we told her we loved her and that everything was alright. We spied a brightly colored goldfinch outside her window at the feeder! She indicated that she was tired, and we told her it was fine if she went to sleep. We kissed her forehead, told her we loved her, and started to leave. Halfway across her room, as we always did, we turned and said "we love you" and Lois added, as she always did, "and Jesus loves you and He will never leave you."

A few short hours later, Jesus came to take her to heaven.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Jesus took my mom home to heaven early yesterday evening.

Monday, July 14, 2008


I haven't written much about my mom for quite awhile. There really isn't a whole lot to say. She is adjusting to her new home although I don't think she is very happy about living in a nursing home. She doesn't complain about anything though. She has been having headaches the past few days, a symptom that the doctor said we should expect. So far they've been able to relieve the headaches with Tylenol.

Usually at least one of us kids is there part of the morning and part of the afternoon. This past Saturday when we were camping, my sisters Betsy and Lois were both there, as was my brother Paul. Yesterday Betsy, Lois and I all were down there. Today my sister Ruth came, and she, Lois and I moved mom to a different room, one closer to the nurse's desk, because mom tends to get disoriented when she gets up at night and she goes to the hallway and then is confused. This room should be more visible to the nurses so they can keep her safe when she gets mixed up.

Several of mom's grandkids have brought their kids, mom's great grandkids, in for short visits, and that's when mom smiles and perks up. She loves to see the little ones. There are also many friends from church who have gone to visit, and even more who have sent cards or called to ask about her. Mom at age 85 was still giving the "old people" rides to church or Bible study, and she has always been a caretaker, a befriender, a beautiful example of a caring Christian woman. Now these friends are concerned about her and are showing their love for her. She doesn't always remember they've visited, but I'm sure at the moment they were there that she was happy to see them. And many have brought her flowers from their gardens, which she really enjoys.

We are praying that the headaches don't get any worse, and that medication will control them. And we thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


This is our new little fifteen foot long Nomad camper........the RV we lived in for over a year and a half was 35 feet long! Quite a difference! But we think this little one will fulfill our current needs. We will only use it on short trips and weekend camping trips, so it doesn't need to have all the comforts of home that the big one had.

We had planned to go camping with daughter Kari and family on Friday, but with all the wild weather forecast for that night we decided to wait until Saturday to go. We didn't have extreme weather here, but Minnesota did have several tornadoes that night, one F3 tornado just a few miles from my brother's home.

Ben and Anna were practicing for the upcoming Olympics in the twirling ribbon category!

Kari is mixing up the topping for the peach blueberry cobbler. NUMMY!
Adam will never let me take a picture of him, so I had to sneak a shot when he wasn't paying attention. That's his friend Landon on the right. Princess Anna now has two missing teeth on top! Isn't she precious?
This is the MAN PAN. Only men may use it because it is so huge and heavy. It takes a REAL MAN to use the MAN PAN.
Grandpa must be a real man! He's cooking sausage and bacon in the MAN PAN, and is making room to drop in the eggs. This at the same time he is making pancakes on the griddle! Talk about multi-tasking!


Daughter Kari taking a picture of me taking a picture of her taking a picture of me..............
I love sunlight shining through the trees
Lillies growing by the cabin in the park
Magic fire
More magic fire
And again, magic fire

Everyone has deserted me!
Anna sleeping, first in the chair with a blanket and then on the ground with a pillow.
Time to go home! It was a fun, fast, 24-hour camping trip.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Permit me to brag a bit. I have 15 grandkids, each and everyone of them is special to me. I could brag about the accomplishments or talents of each one of them, but today I am bragging about Caleb. Caleb is a fifteen year old, handsome, athletic, intelligent red head; I've loved him dearly since the day I first held him in the delivery room. He, and his brother Jacob, have spent more time with me than any of the other grandkids, so I feel I know them well.

Caleb has joined the Sea Cadets and has just returned from boot camp. He said it was the hardest thing he has ever done, but he made it. He endured the 5 am wake up calls, just like the real Navy boot camp. He endured the squad leaders screaming in his face, just like the real Navy boot camp. He marched to meals, suffered swollen and aching legs and feet from hours on his feet, and lived through sleep deprivation. He graduated after the more than week long trial boot camp, and on top of that......drum roll please.....came in first in the mile run portion of the physical test! Yup! 350 young men and women, and Caleb took first place in the mile run!

We took Caleb and his cousin, Adam, to Alaska with us two years ago, in the summer of 2006. We spent almost three months in an RV, kind of close quarters for then 11 and 13 year old boys with their grandparents. Caleb had some issues that summer. He was an angry and explosive young man, demanding attention and dishing out words and actions not becoming a grandkid of mine! But what a maturing process has occurred in the past two years! And what a delightful young man he has become.

I saw the proof these last few days. Caleb has been staying with us the past three days, and I have been so impressed with him. I have hauled him along with me, down to the nursing home to visit my mom, his grandma, two and three times a day. And he has not complained one bit. He has been polite, caring, respectful, and loving, never once arguing or being grumpy about going to see Nana again. He has acted like a mature, grown up young man, and I have so appreciated him. And Caleb, I love you dearly!

Monday, July 07, 2008


We brought the left over brats and some calico beans down to Kari and Mike's for supper last night. Anna made the veggie plates for us and then insisted on getting her head right in there for a picture!


We are back home after a wonderful, relaxing and refreshing weekend at our son and daughter-in-law's home. We did nothing really exciting, just sat around, ate, visited, and completely relaxed, and it was so great! Thanks for letting us park in your driveway kids! We love you!
But let me tell you that parking in their driveway is kind of like a weekend in some fancy garden. I took a few pictures on Saturday morning and I don't think Molly will mind if I show you her green thumb!
The front yard
The back yard
The back corner behind the garage and kennel

Having a glass of wine before the delicious bruschetta chicken breasts that Chef Kevin grilled for dinner on Friday evening.

Our second kid and oldest son Kevin, his wife Molly, and sons Justin and Joe, with the spoiled hairy kid in front, Mia. Thanks guys! We had such a nice time. Hope we didn't misbehave too much so you'll let us come back sometime soon. We love you!

Friday, July 04, 2008


If tomorrow all the things were gone I’d worked for all my life,
And I had to start again with just my children and my wife.
I’d thank my lucky stars to be living here today,
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can’t take that away.

And I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me,
And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land
God bless the U.S.A.

From the lakes of Minnesota, to the hills of Tennessee,
across the plains of Texas, from sea to shining sea,
From Detroit down to Houston and New York to LA,
Well, there’s pride in every American heart,and it’s time to stand and say:

I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land
God bless the U.S.A.

God Bless The U.S.A. Words and Music by Lee Greenwood

Wishing my friends a fun and safe 4th of July. We need to pause and take time to count our blessings. We complain about the economy, the health care, the president and other elected officials, the price of gas, and numerous other things, but we need to remember that we are free! And, we are free to voice our opinions without fear of being shot for speaking out! Where else on earth would we have life this good? We are blessed to live in America. God bless the USA!

Last year at this time we were in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada and yes, we did see American flags and fireworks, and two years ago we were in Seldovia, Alaska for their unique 4th of July celebration. This year we are going to Kevin and Molly's, and will spend the weekend with grandsons Joe and Justin. We are taking our new little camper out for the first time, and are looking forward to parking in the their driveway. I'll post pictures on Monday.