Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pink Suitcase Chronicles # 46: Christmas in MN

Pink was not only filled with clothes for the festive Christmas celebration in Minnesota but also a very happy Miss E.! Twenty six people gathered together for a Lindahl Christmas and she was the youngest family member in attendance. Though twenty four of us stayed in a hotel, we sure made the most of our time together. Wes' brother, Paul, had baked bread "just like Mom used to make" and had also made raspberry "neurotic" jam (thus named because of the hard work it took to pick all those wild raspberries while at the family cabin and then going crazy when it was eaten up so quickly). This was our first treat as we gathered together in the hotel.
Miss E. tried on this dress to wear to the Christmas Eve dinner, but it was only worn for minutes as it appeared to bother her. Luckily I managed to get a picture of her in it as I bought it for her.
Santa made an appearance at our Christmas Eve gathering!
He passed out fleece jammies to the younger members. Apparently the jammies can double as head warmers.
With so many people, we couldn't exactly fit into Wes' parents apartment. Fortunately, we borrowed the fellowship area of the meeting room and set up 4 tables. Bedsheets may or may not have been used for the tablecloths.
Here the beloved Grandparents pose with their 10 "Grands" and the two spouses that have been added to the family.
The only "Great" was asleep by this point.
See the cute sweater Miss E. is wearing once she wakes up the next morning?
Years ago Grandma made it for grand-daughter Samantha, and now it has been handed down to the youngest family member! So sweet.
Before our Christmas Day dinner, we had a little "beverage tasting" party. Fun-oh!
Now for the Christmas Day feast. It was impressive, to say the least.
Following our dinner, we played WHITE ELEPHANT Bingo and the much-desired tattoo sleeve
finally ended up in Sam's possession.
The last activity we shared that night was a slide show of old family pictures.
Early the next morning, the family started their home journeys. It was a weekend that passed so quickly, but the memories we made together will long be remembered and savored.
I hope you are remembering your Christmas with a smile on your face and love in your heart, too!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

N. O. E. L.

It has been one busy Christmas season in these parts! As a blogger, I have not known where to begin lately, so I thought I would just wish you well with a happy N.O.E.L. greeting update. I hope this has been a happy holiday season for you and yours!
N is for all those notes we hear this time of year that are old favorites as well as new hits. I love Handel's Messiah, Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols, and anything sung by children. (Do you consider Justin Beiber to be in that category? I admit to liking his new Mistletoe song.) We have been to many concerts and pageants thus far. A favorite memory was of young Otto at church whose animated antics reminded me very much of son John's years ago.
O is for opening cards and letters and getting updates of family and friends events and activities near and far. Many of our loved ones have added to their families this year with new marriages as well as births of little ones. Congratulations! E is for eating. Too much, I might add! Those holiday baked goods are doing me in and must be eaten in moderation. As if! L is for loved ones. We have had our first ever E.L.V.E.S. Holiday bash with my sister and her family. We had an early Christmas with our immediate seven. We entertained Wes' staff with a buffet at our condo. Carol and Mark came over for brunch. My co-workers celebrated together at Kim's. Wes had a "Guys" night with the Rholls. We had a smorgasbord and party at my sister's place where party-goers produced 66 pounds of korv sausage. Diann and I have exchanged our themed Christmas gifts. During this very busy, happy time I want to pause to remember those who are not having such a joyous Noel. Peace to Sandi and her family as they face their first Christmas without her Father. Healing to Cooper as he recovers from a bike accident. Comfort to Loren who faces his first Christmas without Rita. We remember Mom and Dad who would have been 90 this year. We think of those with broken family units. We pray for those long for offspring to love. In this Christmas season, may you feel surrounded by the greatest Love of all: the love of a Father for His Son who was born to be a King. EMMANUEL

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Very Young Lucia

Today is December 13 and is St. Lucia Day!
Were you greeted early this morning by a young girl carrying a lantern and a tray of Lucia buns and a cup of coffee? Was she wearing a crown of burning candles and a long white dress with a sash of red?
Not me/us either.
However, we have potential of that in future years with the way young Miss E took to the whole Lucia pageantry thing. On Saturday, we took her to the Sankta Lucia Pageant at North Park University.
She was mesmerized by the Pepperkaksgubbarna dancing and throwing candy to the audience. She loved the singing of carols. But what she wanted to see most was Lucia with the candles on her head.
Whenever we said the word Lucia Miss E. placed her hands on top her own head and said,
"Lucia! Candles! Head!"
She paid rapt attention and gave quite a bit of commentary as the pageant progressed and culminated with the appearance of Lucia. (Thanks for your patience, fellow audience surrounding us.)
When I asked E. to look at how Lucia holds her hands, palms together as if praying, E. copied the position herself. When the program was over, she led us to the stage, crawled up the steps and imitated Lucia's reverent pose.

We plan on handing this picture to her Swedish professor one day in the distant future and saying she has previous experience and should be next Lucia herself!

Happy Lucia Day one and all!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Quick! Before the kids are out of school!

Go visit Santa!
Never ever would we think of depriving children the experience of visiting Santa - if that is their wish (or their parent's wish). Recently, the Nelson sisters just
had to visit Santa themselves after their annual lunch at Macy's in the famous
Walnut Room. You see, we never ever visited Santa as girls.
(There was no "Santa" in our parental home.)
While I visited with Santa a couple of years ago with my friend Carol,
Diann had never done this. It was time.

With no children in line, in fact no one even close by, Diann and I made the winding trip through the State Street Macy's "Santa Land" and were escorted to the throne room of a Jolly Santa. We declined the offer to sit in his lap.

We stated our Wish Requests (including World Peace)

and were on our merry way.

Now it's just a matter of waiting.

You're never too old...we asked Santa himself!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Advent Calendar: Second Generation

Back in the mid 1980s, I spent a whopping $4.50 for Vogue pattern # 2794 and made two fabric Advent calendars (tucking one away for future use) for young Anne and John.
Each day, a felt ornament would be attached to a Christmas tree festooned with forest animals and birds. It was a competitive "sport" to see which kid could get the favorite ornament - and of course, there were ornaments that were more appealing to each child.
Ah, sibling rivalry!

Many, many years have passed since that Advent calendar was hanging in our home.

And now it has gone to a new home in which a little girl seems to be very happy about having it.

To all I wish a very happy Advent season!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanking Mr. Beavers (P*S*C* #45)

With November nearly over, and Thanksgiving having come and gone, I just had to post something about gratitude. I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful family and dear friends.
I have warm shelter, a full belly, an ample wardrobe, a library card -and job there I love - and a long, long list of people, places and things for which I am truly grateful!
How does this relate to Toronto and the Pink Suitcase Chronicles, one might ask?
Here is the connect: I was in Toronto last in my senior year of high school on a choir trip.
And dear Mr. Beavers, Mr. Cecil Beavers - if we are getting personal here, was the choir director.
Mr. Beavers was one of those teachers that I will remember for my whole life. Somehow he managed to convey that singing is important and singing difficult choral pieces by the master composers has lasting appeal. Especially when the choir members are teenagers who have much on their minds other than choral music!
One of my favorite pieces was Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols and, to this day, it just isn't Christmas until that piece is played.
Mr. Beavers also introduced us to Handel's Messiah. To this day, I can't sing this piece without remembering we had our choir auditions as to who could go on the trip to Toronto based upon their performance doing the long measures in For Unto Us a Child is Born.
Thank you, Mr Beavers! You made a huge difference in my life. I wish I knew how your life progressed once we parted in 1973. I hope you have a song in your heart still. I know I do!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Toronto Highlights (P*S*C* #45)

Here it is: my favourite Toronto destination. I walked through the city to get to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts to attend the live ballet of Romeo and Juliet. Apparently it was the "hot ticket" destination for many others as well. Once at the theatre to pick up a ticket on site, I was told at the Box Office window that there was standing room only for $12.00 or box seats starting at $125.00 and up. Gasp! Luckily, I overheard the woman at the next ticket window trying to turn in her sick husband's ticket, and managed to buy it from her. The ballet was magical and certainly the highlight of the trip. Another highlight was seeing the "flying buttresses" of the St. James Cathedral. As an Art History student in college, I always had dreamed about seeing flying buttresses. Check this off the Bucket List!
Another venue I enjoyed was the St. Lawrence Market on Front Street. It reminded me very much of the Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington.
However, no flying fish to watch out for --- or fishermen flailing fish forward fastly. The meats and fish were under control, thank-you-very-much. Here I enjoyed people watching and dining casually amongst the locals. Fresh-prepared crepes were just right.
Toronto is a study in old and new construction. In the foreground is a building that is part of the old Distillery. In the background you can see a new condo building being constructed. Toronto has quite an interesting skyline. Kind of a cross between Seattle, Chicago and London.
Definitely worth a visit!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pink Suitcase Chronicles #45 - Spell Check

Pink very much enjoyed "crossing the border" into the country north of ours! We have just returned from a trip to Toronto, Canada. It is most interesting to note the dual language of French and English, with an emphasis on the British English. As one who likes to spell, especially in word game play, it was delightful to take note of these indicators that we were travelers away from our home turf.
Note: theatre vs. theater at the bottom of the sign and yes, I very much want to see this movie!
Don't you just love that it is called a laneway?
Hmmm...what does this gap mean?
We stayed rather near to this CN Tower.
Stay tuned for more favourite memories of our trip, c'est vous plait?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Remembering Dad Post-Veteran's Day

I realize it is a couple of days past Veteran's Day, but I wanted to remember my Dad and his brothers who served during World War II. (As did Wes' father, Elder.) When my cousin Marty posted this picture of his dad, Les (far right), Dad (center) and Ken (far left), it triggered a lot of memories. Unfortunately, Dad died before I was able to talk with him about his experiences.
However, Wes and Dad had many conversations and from these I learned that my Dad was
a flight engineer on B24 bombers and he made it through 44 missions in the South Pacific.
The older I get, the more I realize how little thought I have given to those who serve(d) our country and I apologize for that. Thinking of those young men (and women) so far from home fighting so hard with death a part of everyday life makes me profoundly grateful they did what they did for the rest of those back home. In the case of my father, his widowed mother saw 5 of her sons in the war - I cannot fathom that. All five returned home.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - There is currently a book on the Best Seller list that I would highly recommend reading it as a way to get inside the whole experience of war; World War II specifically.
Laura Hillenbrand wrote UNBROKEN about airman, Louis Zamperini, and his capture by
the Japanese in May 0f 1943 and becoming a POW for a long time. Because of his diary and excellent memory it is a story with few gaps and holes - and is hauntingly realistic.
Louis told of his bombing flights, and it became so
much more real to me because of my Dad being on those 44 bombing missions. I could picture Dad with his buddies and how they, too, painted and personalized their aircraft with women and
fearsome characters. I pictured him in the Mess Hall, getting letters from loved ones back home - especially from one certain Vera back in Kansas whom he proposed to via mail and married when he came home. I pictured Dad longing for his Mom and how he worried about her well-being and finances from so far away. I pictured him dreaming about returning back home alive and well.
Thanks to all who served. It mattered.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

No Call. Not Yet :(

What a lovely way to spend a bit of Saturday morning: at a quilt show at the Chicago Botanic Garden! Though I took a lot of pictures, the most notable picture is of the quilt below:

With a close-up view of the applique detail here:

This was the raffle quilt made by members of the IQI (Illinois Quilters Inc.) Guild
that I bought many raffle tickets to win...I am anxiously awaiting the phone call telling me I won, but it hasn't happened. Not yet!
I'd really, really like to win this quilt.
In the meantime, I'd like to show you some of my favorite pieces from the show. The one, above,
was made from the contents of a junk drawer and knitted. Read about the artist below.
Unfortunately, I don't think I can purchase this quilt at that price.
Or the next one, either. Here is a close-up of it.
See the candy wrappers?
This quilter must have some stash of candy wrappers behind her couch!
I loved reading about the story behind the making of this quilt. She was very clever to use
her own Girl Scout uniform, badges and sash in its construction.
I loved the name she chose for this quilt.
Once again, I am so impressed by the creativity of quilters. Well done, IQI gals!
Please, please, please call me soon...I'm right next to my phone and I promise to take very, very good care of the quilt you painstakingly created.