Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Notre Pied a Terre (sorry, no accent on the a)

My friend, Patricia, told me this is what we should call our new little condo in the city: it translates to Your foot is on the ground. We closed yesterday and now will begin further adventures, no doubt! We shared our first meal there together can only get better than this. (It wasn't Wendy's - ha!) Stay tuned for updates if you should be so inclined. Cheers!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

He Wrote the Book On It.

And it took five years to do - a true labor of love. Congrats, Wes. (Now available on ) It's really a textbook, so you don't have to buy it unless you are a student or really interested in the theory and practice of Fundraising. Just thought you might be interested in knowing that he's more than just a (former) ski bum!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Must-See in Omaha (P*S*C* #17)

As a kid, I loved to watch the Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom show on TV. So, when actually in Omaha, I thought I should go to the highly recommended Henry Doorly Zoo. This was the first time I have gone to a zoo alone - a bit strange, but it was well worth the trip! (John and Kari were off doing wedding errands.)
The Desert Dome - the world's largest indoor desert at 13 stories tall - is pictured in the background. Very impressive! Underground is another "largest" with the Nocturnal exhibit and the first ever cave I've seen in a zoo with stalactites and stalagmites. And a night-time swamp area where a rare white alligator makes his home.
Other highlights of the zoo: the Scott Aquarium, the Butterfly and Insect Pavillion and, of course, the IMAX Theater (Under the Sea) and the Hubbard Gorilla Valley where acrylic mini half domes allow you to get into the living space of the inhabitants. Lucky me to get to see the gorilla up close and personal...and picking his nose!
Animals have a way of reminding us of ourselves, too. These clownfish reminded me of kids on their first day of school with the way the darted here and there and played hide 'n seek.
Somehow this meerkat reminded me of an old family portrait of one of our forefathers! And, if you are a North Park alumni, doesn't this giraffe remind you of our stately Dean Betty Nelson? (You might recall she collected giraffes.)

Being at the aquarium at the zoo also reminded me of snorkeling in Hawaii not all that long ago. I took this litttle mini video for Wes:

This is just a bit of a tease for you readers to entice you to visit this zoo. Maybe in August when you are out for a certain wedding?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Going to the Chapel...Gonna Get Married (P*S*C* #17)

The church shown in the last post - First Covenant Church - looked familiar and I figured out why: over 30 years ago I was a bridesmaid there for Connie and Lowell's wedding!

Searching through my old scrapbook, I found this picture of the wedding party. I am the second girl on the left side. Below is how the front of the church looks now with a different color sceme and a wood carving of The Last Supper.

Preparations were underway for a wedding in the church later that day. With a color palette of peacock feathers - and even feathered wreaths flanking both sides of the aisles. Never in my wildest imagination did I picture my son walking down this same aisle some 30 years after I did! Isn't life full of surprises? Gotta love it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Pink Suitcase Chronicles #17: SWEET Seventeen.

Pink and I have just returned from Omaha, Nebraska where we celebrated the bridal shower for Kari and John at First Covenant Church!
How I love a church shower...women of all ages surrounding the bride-to-be with love, memories and gifts of measuring cups, aprons, tea towels, colanders, hot pots, towels, bedding, etc.. It is all so exciting to think about a fresh, new beginning with your husband-to-be in the little new love nest!

There's a message from an appointed speaker (in this case, it was Kari's delightful Aunt Glo) interspersed with scripture, stories and encouragement for the bride.

There's a table full of delicious foods, colorful napkins, pots with coffee -oh the coffee - for the guests.There are the people that you can make connections with even if you are an out-of-towner like myself. Which means, especially if you are a Covenanter, that you will connect with the Mother-in-Laws of people in your own church like Mrs. Palmberg (I reported how Sarah is looking as a pregnant mom) and Mrs. Carlson (MIL of Brad. H. who grew up in our church, leading us to talk about the new additions of Fia and Kwama for the Jag's in Seattle area.)

Then there's the radiant bride, making her speech about how she met her fiance. (And when that guy happens to be your son, it is especially sweet.) Her lovely Mom sits on one side, and his Mom (me!) on the other.

Once the gifts are opened, there's the oohing and ahhing about each gift, and the attendees remember what they got at their own bridal showers all those years ago. And, if you're like me and have been married a while, you start to think how nice it would be if you could start all over again with your household goods now a bit tired and out-dated, but wouldn't trade your memories of a certain wire whisk for anything as you remember the countless batters it has made for your family pancakes and omelettes. Lastly, if you're lucky, you get to catch a glimpse of the groom-to-be "stopping by" at the end of the shower. He's there to help carry the gifts out to the car, and meet the ladies who hope to check out the match.

(I happen to love this shot of John and Kari post-shower. Doesn't it just capture the groom experience at a church shower?)

Thank you, women of First Covenant Church, for hosting and having a shower for Kari and John! It truly was a shower of blessing for the new young couple, and every minute of it was savored.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Our Own Version of THE THREE BEARS

(This version does have a Papa Bear, a Mama Bear and a Not-So-Baby Bear. No porridge. No beds. And, yes there is sort of a Goldilocks involved.)

Once upon a time, Papa Bear and Mama Bear were preparing to move to a cozy little condo in the city. They had raised two fine cubs who were now on their own in the world. Their daughter cub had married and their son cub was about to be married.

Now it just so happened that the Papa Bear was particular about finding just the right chairs - folding chairs to be specific. These chairs must be strong. They must be able to be stowed away until other bears come to visit. They must be reasonably attractive. And so the search began. Store #1:

The folding chairs here (no picture available) were quite attractive and reasonably priced. But when Papa Bear went to "test" them out by sitting in them, they wobbled just a bit too much. He looked at the sticker on the back and the purchase was nixed when the weight limit was 160 pounds. Store #2: This store has a lot of B's in it - not the buzzing variety. While the chair was attractive and slightly higher priced than the first place, the Papa Bear "test" once again revealed a not-so-sturdy feel. And the chair was hard to unfold, and Mama and Papa noticed stress cracks in the wood. On to the next REALLY BIG store that starts with an "I" and serves up a fine Swedish Meatball platter.

This time the Bear parents had their strapping Jr. with them...he loved the mega meatball platter, too, and was one not to turn down free food. After a delicious meal together, the Three Bears headed to the chair department. The Papa Bear tried out a chair much like the one above and declared it sturdier than the others. The Mama Bear liked the way the chair looked. The Jr. Bear - at close to 200 pounds decided to give the chair a test drive. He sat in it, shifted his weight to one side and then the other when CRACK...the wood splintered, the chair (and the Jr. Bear) fell to the ground and was destroyed! Oh Dear! What is this Bear family going to do?

So, Papa searched out a helper in the chair department wearing the blue and yellow shirt, and what do you know...she had blond hair just like Goldilocks! Except she had a cell phone glued to her ear and when the busted chair was brought to her, she couldn't have cared less and kept talking on her cell phone and simply took the chair handed to her, didn't inquire about bears paying for said chair, and the Three Bears departed empty pawed, having had enough of those chairs!

There is no Happily Ever After part of the story yet, but Jr. Bear was not hurt in the fall - his Mama Bear only remembered to ask him much later if he was okay, and felt guilty for having shown so little compassion at the time of the "accident." And, if you should happen to know about a trust-worthy, hard-working folding chair for this Bear pair, they would be most grateful if you named brands and locations as to where they should shop next. The End.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Some Things Change, Some Don't

We think we are now in the ninth or tenth year of using the same "Easter Bunny" clues
in the Easter basket hunt for the kids. It's becoming quite hilarious to read Wes' prose year after year with basically the same clues with where the kids can find their goodies. Words are crossed out and edited as the house gets rearranged and redecorated, but Anne and John always know their loot will be found in the Master Bedroom closet! Through the years, we have added baskets (and guests) to our hunt...Alli and Luke for four years running during college, John's Swedish friends Simon and Rasmus joined us a couple of years ago. Of course, Jed is now a regular, and we look forward to Kari soon joining us on a more permanent basis! This year Mike was
with us.
So, when is it time to stop doing this silly hunt for these grown kids? Take a look at their facial expressions and tell me it is time to stop? They look like they are having I guess we'll be on again for next year! But, I'm not so sure about putting loose change inside the eggs again - it got kinda ugly when some pulled in more $ than others.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Wallpaper Be Gone

BEFORE: to the lower left
AFTER: to the lower right
Fifteen years ago when we put on a small addition to our house, I was still gaga for wallpaper. Mixing stripes and florals together was a popular combination. Our master bathroom was my favorite! But, tastes change and updating was needed...and the time was right to do it now when Wes fixed some of our ceiling cracks and revarnished the wooden floors.
Because I love mossy forests, and greens in general, the bathroom still has those tones, but is possibly a bit less cutesy about it. Vintage botanical prints and accessories reflect this.
What really makes me the happiest about this little renovation project is that now there is a small candle chandelier hanging up above the tub - something I always thought would be nice.
It was purchased at IKEA quite some time ago and has been waiting patiently in a drawer until
it could be a part of our new decor. And, of course, the lovely ocean watercolor painting by Helge Peterson, still lets me dream of being in the ocean while soaking in the tub.
Now, about all that wallpaper still up in our stairway and hallway...your days are numbered, too.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Lovebirds Update

It has been some time now since the last post on our lovebirds, John and Kari! Everything is progressing nicely. Mental (and perhaps actual) lists have been made and are being checked off regularly. These are the items that I know about to date:
Of course, the date has been set! This August. Out of town. Can't wait!
Engagement pictures taken by cousin Kate. On a fresh, snowy morning in Chicago. Weeks ago - but could have been yesterday due to a new snowfall here. C'mon, snow on April 5? Enough, already!
THE dress. Chosen.
Paying off the Finder's Fee debt to Kari's cousin, Kate, for setting these two up on their blind date. Yep...a million dollars is a lot of money, but the match is well worth it!
The Bridesmaid (6) dresses. Selected and Measured.
The color theme. Lovely.
Registry completed: Crate and Barrel, Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond.
Mothers dresses selected...and at least ONE of them is not beige in color!
Showers have been planned...the first one in just a couple of weeks.
Rehearsal Dinner venue appointments made...hopefully we'll like what we see when checking things out soon.
Isn't it all so exciting? Meanwhile, I am continuing to keep practicing my vocal piece (Karen Carpenter's rendition of Close to You) in case their wedding singer backs out at the last minute.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Monday Night Enjoyment

There aren't too many regular TV programs that I like...but I am crazy about Monday nights when Dancing With the Stars is on! This season is an especially fun one to watch, and recently Diann and I were together watching and it was tons o' enjoyment! I have to say that, thus far, I am in total agreement with the judges and the public voters who have eliminated the contestants. The latest two - the Playboy Bunny and the Apple Whiz - are probably lovely people in real life, but were quite the "challenged" dancers. So, who am I rooting for this season? There are so many choices! First of all, my favorite professional male is Derek. He reminds me of my son John in that he has a twinkle in his eyes and a sense of humor...and he sure can twist and turn with the best of 'em. That guy has charisma! Paired with Lil' Kim is certainly interesting and she has really improved under his tutelage. There's a tie in my book with professional females: I like both Julianne and Cheryl. Different styles, but both are amazing dancers. Favorite celebrity male (by a landslide!) is Giles. He's on fire! But, Ty is gaining on him!! Favority celebrity female : Melissa.

Okay, now for my predictions (in order of when I think they should be eliminated):

9. Steve O./Lacey

8. Lawrence/Edyta

7. Kim/David

6. Julianne/Chuck

5. Chelsie/Ty

4. Mark/Shawn

3. Derek/Lil' Kim

2. Gilles/Cheryl

1. Tony/Melissa Winners!

Monday nights sure are enjoyable when you can live vicariously through these dancers giving it their all. Perhaps I like this show so much because I never took ballet as a kid, and my parents frowned upon school dances in Junior High and High School.

Do you watch this show... and, if so, what are your predictions?