Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Accordion to Myron (P*S*C* #34)

Growing up in my household meant Lawrence Welk on TV on Saturday nights featuring Bobby Burgess and Cissy King, Joe Feeny, Jo Ann Castle, Norma Zimmer, The Lennon Sisters and accordion player Myron Floren. (Oh, Myron, I loved you with your curly hair and cheerful persona.) Here on the show, there was dancing and champagne bubbles. In our somewhat conservative Christian home this seemed so...well...borderline sinful!

So imagine the delight when we had an accordion player come right up to us playing and singing while we had a festive German dinner at the Gasthaus Restaurant near Stillwater, Minnesota! She tuned (get it?) right in on Ellie, and Ellie was very serious about her first accordion "concert."

Ellie observed the instrument, the keyboard fingering and watched as the instrument was pumped back and forth. She clapped throughout the performance. Maybe we have a budding little Myron Floren in our family! Anyone know where we could get a miniature accordion? Christmas is coming and this Gramma is ready to indulge! Ha!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thankful in MN (Pink Suitcase Chronicles #34)

Just a couple of days after returning from DC, Pink was loaded up once again and sent packing to Minnesota for a family Thanksgiving with our children and Wes's parents. Talk about fun! Ellie visited our hotel room in the morning while still in her cuddly pj's and we played together before the activities of the day.
Thanks to Byerly's grocery store, we had a home-cooked Thanksgiving feast right in Elder and Muriel's apartment. We just had to heat it up. Talk about simple!
Before we ate, we once again shared our "Kernels of Thankfulness" tradition with citing three reasons for gratitude when gathered around the table. It came as no surprise that Ellie was a common theme with her parents, grandparents, great grandparents and aunt and uncle.
(Father and daughter doing kitchen duty.)
We are truly blessed. I hope that you and yours had a special Thanksgiving as well!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Coming ThisClose to Michelle O. (P*S*C* #33)

Seeing as we weren't invited to any of the festivities at and around the White House at the time of the Inauguration, we thought we would at least get close to the place on our recent visit to Washington DC.
And seeing as I am a big fan of Michelle's fashion sense, I knew where to get thisclose to the gown she wore to the Inaugural Balls that cold January evening not so long ago...the National Museum of American History is "home" to the dress in the FIRST LADIES exhibit hall.
Jason Wu designed this beautiful dress and it is stunning to view in person. Each of the little dots is hand-frayed with a crystal in the center of the dot. The fabric is intricately tucked and pleated in the bodice.
Check out the Jimmy Choo shoes as well as the 10 carat diamond ring, diamond earrings and bangle bracelets that were the accessories for the dress.
When the dress was donated to the Smithsonian, Michelle was there as well to talk about how she felt wearing the dress. This video is presented as a part of the exhibit. I was very impressed with her comments about all the "fuss" being made over her dress --- her words were chosen carefully as she tried to fathom all the interest one dress could generate. Simply stated, though, she felt like the dress was magic once on her frame.
I wondered what was going on in the minds of other First Ladies as they wore their gowns to the Balls: Did Jackie know her fashions would be copied around the world? Did Betty Ford think that zipper down the front of her dress was thoroughly modern? Did Nancy like her chignon? Did Barbara like the assymetrical look of her gown? Did Hillary have to diet to squeeze into that small-waisted dress? Did Laura know that she looked stunning in red?
Thank you, ladies, for sharing your special outfits with the rest of us who live in a world so unlike yours. You are to be remembered for years long after your reign as First Lady is over.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pink Suitcase Chronicles #33 - DC and J.C.

See Pink? If you looked past her out into the view outside the hotel room, you would see the colorful fall trees and the spike of the Washington Monument. That's right, this time our travels brought us out to Washington DC! While the husband is in attendance at a conference, I am able to explore this amazing place. It takes bravery on my part as I am not a map conqueror and to put it mildly, directionally challenged is an understatement. Balance that with steely determination, though, and the Smithsonian museums are my goal to conquer --- as many as possible, please. (Did you know that there are actually 19 Smithsonian museums on the "mall" expanse?) The highlight for me was seeing the kitchen of Julia Child at the National Museum of American History. (Remember that year long Julie & Julia project?) Think about Paul and Julia sitting at this table eating anything-but-ordinary meals. Julia was "live" in an continuous looping interview.
These were but a few of her cooking gadgets on display.
Here's a peek at her patch.
A whole wall was devoted to a timeline of Julia's life, along with photographs and published books and such.
What a delicious time was had by this one Julia fan. It was worth every bit of map anxiety!
Coming: Meeting Michelle...or at least her dress.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Trombones in a Tree?

Yes..a trombone in a tree! Do you see it?
It's magical there in the Walnut Room at State Street Macy's!
Even though it is a bit early to think about Christmas coming, this certainly gets one in the mood.
My sis and I got front rows seats at this tree "concert" currently playing in downtown Chicago.
We love this annual tradition of going early to kickoff the holiday season in the Walnut Room! (And we loved the streetside windows as well!)

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Peppermints in His Pocket

Nineteen years ago, my beloved father was fighting the battle of his life with cancer. Unfortunately, he lost the fight. Anne was nine years old; John was five.
So many times since then I have felt this strong absence in their lives as they were robbed of one very wonderful, larger-than-life (he was 6 feet, 4 inches tall!), intelligent, ethical, friendly, sometimes goofy, big booming bass-voiced man. He would have loved watching these grandchildren grow up every year of the way to young adulthood. He would have delighted in their marriages. He would have been the proudest Great Grandfather ever. But it was not to be.
Recently, there was a powerful connection made between Grandfather and Grandson and it touched my heart profoundly. You see, John was unemployed for a spell, and was hired by Covenant Trust Company and about to start his new job. He would need dress shirts and pants, ties, and suit jackets for this position. When my father passed away, I had saved his size 13 "wing tip" shoes and a tweed wool sport coat. The shoes fit John and he wore them for his high school senior picture. But the jacket remained in the closet.
John was at our place and I remembered the jacket in the closet. I pulled it out, and it fit John perfectly.
Checking the pockets before John took off the jacket revealed five pieces of peppermint candies.
It felt as though Dad was there in spirit, encouraging John along the way as he set out to work in the business world just as he did long ago himself. I never knew the candy was there in the pocket for nineteen years --- just as if a Grandpa knew a secret of love and assurance would be revealed eventually in his absence.
We miss you, Dad and Grandpa.