Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Married to a Ski Bum

There's something you might not know about Wes that just could surprise you! In college, he took off a semester to be a ski bum in Utah in 1974...and that's when our romance first took on its possibilities as we exchanged short weather reports through the mail. Recently, one of his ski buddies converted the film they made into a youtube video, and it's getting lots of hits - something like 11,800 so far! Sorry, I haven't yet figured out how to post this directly on my blog, but I can link you to the site here:
Wes did much of the filming, but can be seen wearing the brownish jacket and (of course, because it's sensible Wes), a ski hat. Rock is the one with the cool star pants, and Stein is wearing the red jacket. Isn't it fun to think I'm married to a ski bum -whose nickname then was "The Bird." Who knew?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

In Celebration of Number 52!

Oh, our sweet home town! Each year, the city has a tradition of lighting the Christmas tree in the town square the night following Thanksgiving. As we are usually gone, we have only been able to catch the festivities only a couple of times in the nearly 27 years we have lived here! So, this year, Wes and I bundled up and went. On the porch of the historic Cook House landmark, groups of young performers sang and danced their way through many familiar holiday songs. Then, our mayor greeted the huge, boisterous crowd and informed us that our town has recently been named #52 in all U.S. cities (as cited in a Money Magazine 2007 poll) for the best "everything any family could want - economic opportunities, good schools, safe streets, things to do and a sense of community." Meaning that now it will be even harder to move back to the city, so Wes would have less commuting time.
Once Santa has arrived on the firetruck and comes to the porch of the Cook Mansion, the crowd goes wild and the countdown begins to light up the tree in the park-10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1..... Afterwards, the strolling around town begins-people everywhere- most all the cute little shops are open late and many are handing out treats for all who stop by.
St. Lawrence church volunteers hand out hot cocoa and home-baked cookies to all who come inside.
The law office in town puts on quite a show with synchronized lights and music..a crowd pleaser, to be sure.
Just before returning home, we stopped by Harris Bank. There, we were greeted by Rollie and Janis and I was "awarded" a winning disc and collected a coaster set! Between winning this and the free snack of the month at the library, I am feeling like I'm on a true Winning Streak! Let the holiday season commence!
Our town is ready!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Just What the Doctor Ordered

Yes, here we are on Thanksgiving Day in a place where there are lots of doctors, nurses and caring people...
Our Thanksgiving plans weren't going too well this year. Mom has been in the hospital with a serious case of pneumonia. Anne, Jed and John all had plans to be elsewhere for the holiday. But, somehow yesterday, Mom took a turn for the better, and we received an invitation to feast with the in-laws of nephew Kurt...the lovely Petersens (who acted as match-makers for Anne and Jed). We were there today and it was wonderful to be surrounded by family, especially our dear niece, Jennifer. Nothing like hanging out with loved ones to calm worried minds and soothe aching
hearts. This year I am especially thankful for my family. LET THE FEASTING BEGIN!
Sis with the salad
The turkey, the fixin's and the helpers!
Our lovely table settings included a pot of mini mums and a colorful seasonal napkin.
Here's our group gathered around the table. Diann is hiding behind Jennifer, so I'll post her picture elsewhere soon. And 2 year old Ava is also not shown here, but will be pictured eventually giving us a dance performance. Once all the tasty foods were consumed it was time for P-I-E (S)! Then down to the basement for some Karoke Merriment -
Jennifer is a natural with a microphone in her hand!
As is my sister and her fun, fun, fun granddaughter, Ava!
Check out yet another hidden talent Wes has...a rock singer!!
Wes and I had the chance to try Karoke for the very first time with the Petersen's home set-up. We competed with many tunes and his strength was Sweet Caroline and mine was Material Girl! Jennifer rocked at 90's hits and Diann had Ava's help in performance movin' and groovin'! So, now I can offer more choices in my repertoire of songs I can "do" as your wedding singer besides CLOSE TO YOU and MUSKRAT LOVE!! By the end of the evening, Ava had all given us "check ups" with her play stethoscope, reflex hammer, thermometer and tongs. We were "all better"...a strong dose of family/loved ones togetherness apparently was just what the good doctor had ordered!
Thanks to all of you out there who care for the sick. You make such a difference in so many lives, and you probably aren't thanked enough.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Message

A message posted on the signboard of a church on my way to visit Mom said:We don't need more to be thankful - we need to be more thankful.
That is my desire for you and yours this holiday.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Party Time on Our Porch

This has been a tough week here at our house. Under the weather, I have been stuck at home, so I can tell that the squirrels here are partying BIG TIME! Thinking that the Halloween gourds, colorful Indian corn and pumpkins would look harvest-like and Martha Stewart-ish on the porch, I left them in a big, basket on a quaint bench there. Daily, those little thieves have been taking the items, chewing them up and leaving disgusting pieces all over the porch and sidewalk. I find half-eaten gourds on the steps and in my neighbor's yard. Today, I even saw one of the chubbiest squirrels ever - dashing away just as I opened the door and just staring at me as if to dare me to come closer and see what morsel was clenched in those little paws behind its back.
Of course, when I arm myself with a camera, they scamper off, and make me want to believe no one is out there. They probably have a whole blog of that angry Mrs. Lindahl and laugh at me behind my back...
I'm just sure that as soon as I walk back in the front door, those darn squirrels are plotting where they can chew and deposit foods so that when I go out to retrieve the morning paper, they can make sure to leave jagged walnut edges for my feet to step on. Or trip on an empty corncob.
So, who knows what I will find on my front porch, sidewalk or yard tomorrow? All I know is that the squirrel "word" got out that there's a party at our place!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Treats of a Weekend Road Trip

Over the weekend, we had a short, sweet road trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Our purpose was to visit Wes' parents and go when we could get away...our weekends at home are pretty filled these days. TREATS...Number one: We needed to stop for our evening meal after having been on the road for about an hour and a half. Just west of Milwaukee, we found this cool-looking restaurant.
Note the granite countertops and marble floor squares?
The seating booths with wall sculpture and hanging chandelier
The fireplace area with plasma TV
Did you guess the place yet? Okay, now you know seeing the items on Wes' tray - and note the fireplace behind him - it's McDonald's!!
Many hours later in our car, we arrived at the lovely, newly settled and decorated apartment of Wes' folks. Hard to believe that the four of us stayed up and talked until nearly 2:00 AM before retiring for the night.
(A next-morning view of Wes in the living room shown above. Isn't their place cozy and inviting?)
TREATS...Number two: On Saturday morning, Samara and I met at the nearby Bylerly's to sip hot cocoa and chat. It was quite a surprise to look at my watch and find we had been conversing for about two hours. I am so thankful that Anne has a friend like Samara, and that she has become a blogging buddy to me along the way!
TREATS....Number three:
Here we are gathered around a table at IKEA. The cloudy, misty day sure reminded us of one we spent in Sweden two years ago when John was at SVF and Anne took time off from school to join us on our family Thanksgiving trip to see John.
Yes, it is enjoyable to be able to share a time together with conversation/ hot cocoa or Swedish meatballs/boiled potatoes/lingonberries, but the lovliest of all is to get together with people who mean a great deal to me. Thanks, Elder and Muriel and Samara (and always to you, Wes!) for this special weekend.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Easier Last Year

Last year it was a whole lot easier to get ready for the Christmas card family photo. Anne and Jed had gotten married, and we had a shot of the five of us in wedding attire. This year? Not so! For one reason, we just aren't together as a group as often to lend to more photo opps. We can be three or four together, but not often five. Another reason? Too many years of history trying to capture the "perfect" group shot...everybody wants to run when we say, "Time for the Christmas card picture!!!" To prove it, John dashes out to the nearest tree.
Do you think the inspiration of swinging from a tree is a good one? And that Wes and I could keep up? NO!!
Do you use a picture of the three "kids" only? And, of course, John being "John"?
Do you use a picture where the participants are randomly attired with no pre-planning as to color harmony...sort of a "Come as you are" theme that represents real life? And one where John is perched to look taller than Jed? And my hair is bad? And Anne is squinting?
Do you go with a special effect of sepia? Do you go with casual and light-hearted?
So, when is it time to rethink the whole Christmas picture thing? Is it once the kids graduate from high school, once they get married? Or do the "empty nesters" just go back to sending their two profiles with an an exotic locale background they have recently visited? Or, do they wait for the Grandchildren (who will, no doubt, be highly photogenic!!) to come and begin the family photo sessions again as that group grows? Hmm...I can see this issue is not going to be easily resolved! Any advice?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Fifteen (Out of Sixteen) Semesters Nearly Completed - Gasp!

For as long as Anne and John have been in school productions, we have a family tradition of going to them whenever possible, clapping and cheering for them in perhaps embarassing ways and then post-performance going out together for treats. Soon, these concerts and performances will come to an end after John graduates from college in May of 2008. It will no doubt be a time of of difficult transition for us. Join us now as we go to John's weekend performance as a member of the North Park Gospel Choir concert held this past Saturday night. How lucky were we to go with Sue and Greg - dear longtime friends and also NP alumni with two lovely daughters also in the choir? The ensemble with the brass group in the balcony. (Carol and Mark, this is when I called you on my cell phone so you could hear Sean. He's the third from the right.)
Some close-ups of the Johnson sisters, John and Mike and Petey. Below: Rollo Dillworth, the inspirational director of the group. We love you, Rollo!
Post concert treat :We are certainly thanking Ryan these days for introducing us to the ice cream place Sweet Occasions! After having been there just last week with Mark and Carol, we knew the Johnson family (and friends) would love it, too!
Here is our group for the night on the right: (Not shown: picture-taker Wes) Greg, Sue, Taryn, Peter, John, Julia, Me, Mike, Kiera.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween: Thrift Shoppe Style

The first costume for Halloween 2007 was inspired by the local thrift store and its Going-Out-of-Business sale. This black dress was purchased for a mere quarter, and Miss Clavel -from Ludwig Bemelmens Madeline - came to life once I made her little headdress veil. (Miss Clavel was the costume worn at library storytime.)
At work, we had a staff luncheon with lots of fun folks in fun costumes! It was a hoot to finally put this blue and purple polyester front-zipping dress on after finding it years ago in a thrift store in the UP. It was liberating to "let it all hang out" in THREE specific areas!
Later, when Anne and Jed came "home" to spend the evening with us, we headed upstairs to the thrift shop clothing/costume bin and Anne chose this groovy flower child dress, and we coaxed Jed into being a cowboy. Wes decided to go with "Fitness Man" and I was Thrift Shop Bag Lady. Amidst the doorbell ringing, Jed and Anne carved one of the front porch pumpkins, and roasted some seeds. (Jed had a great idea of rubbing the underside of the pumpkin lid with pumpkin pie spice, so that when the lighted candle burned inside, it would smell like pie baking!)
Costumed children climbed the front porch steps, rang the bell and waited for the people with the candy to come. They shouted out, "Trick or Treat!" and held out their plastic containers in anticipation of what would be placed inside. Many said their thank you's on their way back down the steps...especially after being prompted by the waiting adult at the end of the driveway. Free, colorful, sugary treats. Now THIS is a holiday! And it is still quite fun for us oldsters to celebrate, too.