Monday, November 29, 2010

Catching up - Finally!

I am so sorry it has taken me so long to update you on things around here - especially DC's post-surgery status. The surgery went very well, but was more than I knew it was going to be. He ended up staying two days and nights, which to me seems quite unusual these days. He went to my folks' place for the next three days for some quiet recuperation. My mom's super at this sort of thing - DC says she has a servant heart, which is true. Both his mom and mine are that way. We are so blessed.

We brought him home just in time - my dad looked absolutely horrific when I went to pick DC up. His face was red and his one eye was almost swollen shut. He didn't want to go to the doctor - thought they'd do an MRI and he didn't want that. He thought it was some backlash from a fall - two weeks ago (which he didn't tell us about, BTW). I told him that seemed unlikely to me and he REALLY needed to get to the doctor. Later that afternoon they finally took my advice and went to the ER, because their doc was out of town. Diagnosis - shingles! Two weeks later, it was worse yesterday. Poor Dad.

DC spent the rest of the week in bed, with lots of loving attention from the littles - he missed them so much.

DC returned to work the next Monday, and was pretty tired the first few days. But he's doing great now. He can't lift over 10 pounds for another month at least.

Things are going as well as they can with the chaos. It's hard work getting the big girls to school in the morning, getting homework done in the evening, getting them to bed once and for all (the littles are great bed-goers!), doing all the baths, etc. etc. They're wonderful kiddoes - but pretty loud! There's not much listening to lovely Christmas music and relaxing with a cup of tea this year. We did get the tree up last Friday. That's all so far. They are so excited about the tree. Feisty asked me in a whisper during church the other day if Santa would find them this year.

The littles are growing up before my very eyes - their language is increasing every day. They are incredibly smart, just like their big sisters. It's amazing to me what they can do at such an early age. Care Bear's hand-held Leapster game system is a big hit with Katie --

She's also quite the little builder with Legos.

Last Tuesday was Grandparents' Day at the big girls' school - doesn't seem possible it's been a year since I posted about it. I doubt there are too many of us grandmas who had to arrange for babysitting in order to be able to attend this event! I forgot my camera in the morning for Feisty's turn, but had it with me in the afternoon for Care Bear's. CB told me she was in a skit and needed some props and a costume. We spent the evening putting it together - but in actuality, there was no time for the changing needed, so she just used a makeshift cane. There were 13 - yep 13! - skits. Most kids didn't project very well and it was a LONG hour. But CB and her partner were the grand finale and they were the only ones who performed without a script and who really used their voices well. The class also sang a great Thanksgiving song.

Kev was here for Thanksgiving, thanks to the gracious gift from an uncle that enabled him to get a horrendously priced ticket. It was great to have him here, even briefly. His trip back was not fun - beginning at 1:00 am (only ticket we could find), and ending with his luggage back in Philadelphia with him in Maine. Thank the Lord, they delivered it to him the next afternoon. That's always so scary, because he has lost luggage before when he went to Mozambique and never did get it back.

On December 9, Sema is going to Africa for a month to visit her family. Guess what we get to add to the mix? Yep - their dog! The fact that all the girls are scared of dogs adds a bit more drama than I'm looking forward to. Hopefully they'll bond quickly!

As usual, I've been reading at the gym, and some early in the morning during my quiet time. Here's what I'm enjoying right now --

Our pastor has been quoting from this book, Crazy Love, and others by Francis Chan, so I thought I'd better get on board and read at least this one. It's stirring and convicting. Kevin says he got to hear him speak when he was in school at Biola University. I'd love to hear him.

I'm really looking forward to getting into this one and learning about Kirk Cameron's spiritual journey. I have a lot of admiration and respect for this young man.

Mary Beth Chapman has written an autobiography that will have you laughing one minute and crying the next. I don't know why I always end up on the machines at the gym when I get to the tearful parts - people must be really wondering about me as I sniff through my routine. The part about the loss of their sweet little Maria will really get your heart. Highly recommend this one!

Reading and singing are therapeutic for me, as you all know. The community concerts will be next week on Friday night, Saturday afternoon and night, and Sunday afternoon. Then the next week we'll go sing for two senior citizen groups - including the place where my MIL lives. That will be fun.

The church cantata is the same Sunday and this one is causing me some stress - never before have I stressed over the church music! Our new director thinks we can all memorize the 9 songs - and quite a few of us are proving her wrong. But she's not giving up! I'm actually a wreck about this, and am feeling quite inadequate at this moment. No amount of listening to the CD, singing along with it, singing with the choir has made those words stick in my overloaded hard drive. It's taking the joy out of the music for me. Please pray for me if you think about it!

Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The SweetheART City

I've written at least twice before about my town and the fact that it is famous worldwide for Valentine remailing. We have been called the Sweetheart City and the Valentine Capital of the World. Interestingly, the name, Loveland, came about not for romantic reasons at all, but was named after the railroad tycoon who was responsible for the tracks going through the new town, aiding in its growth into the city it became. It was still a rather small town when I moved here in 1971(around 10,000), and is probably small in comparison to many of your homes. We rather wish it had stayed a bit smaller than it has become. But that's beside the point.

So - the Sweetheart City nickname came because of the Valentine remailing program, which really put us "on the map." Visitors have always delighted seeing the traditional heart shaped signs posted throughout the city thanks to one of the service clubs.

Since I'm not an artist in any sense of the word, I'm not sure exactly when the other aspects of the "art" reputation began taking place (I guess I could research it), but we began to have more and more sculptures appearing around town. We have several artists right here in town who have international reputations. We began having entire parks full of sculptures, and eventually a week-end in August dedicated to that form of art - with people coming from all over the world to bring their sculptures to sell. I still intend to do a post on my favorites of those pieces.

Today visitors to Loveland can find hearts throughout the city regardless of the time of year thanks to our friends at Engaging Loveland. In 2007 Engaging Loveland began a project called Loveland: A City with HeART that creates monumental hearts made of fiberglass and stand five feet tall and four and a half feet wide. Each heart is individually designed and painted by local Loveland artists with businesses and individuals sponsoring a heart of their selection. Many people make a game of it and hunt down all of the hearts, with the aid of a map they downloaded or picked up from the Chamber of Commerce. I enjoy discovering one I haven't seen before. Here are a few of them. They represent some aspect of our town important to the artist.

This one resides in front of one of the realtor's offices. I love the details.

The next two are the two sides of the one in the yard of the nursing home close to my house. It is very close to the lake.

This one is at the entrance to the assisted living/senior apartment/nursing home complex where DC's mom lives.

This one is by the side of the highway heading north on the property of a new large church. It represents the history of our area as one huge cherry orchard. I regret that most of the cherry trees have been replaced by houses or businesses.

I discovered this one when DC was in the hospital last week - it is the logo of Banner Health.

This one seems to represent the Valentine Remailing Program, as it is the cache that was on one of the more recent stamps that are put on the envelope of the Valentines that arrive here by the tens of thousands for remailing all over the world.

This one is placed outside the building that used to be the Lego factory and offices - a once booming business, sadly no longer in existence here. It was a huge boon to our town, along with Hewlett-Packard.

The rest of these I haven't actually located myself, but found them on line. I hope to hunt them down one of these upcoming nice summer days and take the kiddoes on a treasure hunt. The one below represents so many historical aspects of Loveland - I want to look at it closely.

Recently a new "art" popped up around town. It has caused a great deal of controversy. Local artists could apply to paint one of these electrical boxes. I thought it would be fun to show them to you - some consider them very tacky, others enjoy them. I'm kind of on the fence - some are very well done and some do qualify for the "less than lovely" category.

I got a charge out of this one, front and back - definitely an "Old West" theme.

No clue on this one!

Sorry for the lack of focus - I found this one by the lake.

I watched the artist do this one for several days as I picked up the kids for various things. She did all 4 sides representing the 4 seasons.

Last but not least - ?? But cute.

I'd love it if you would come and visit me - we'll take a tour around town looking for these pieces of "art" - art is in the eye of the beholder, as I am always told when I don't like something. But I rather enjoyed finding these things - kind of makes our town different from the rest. We'll also go see the lovely and not-so-lovely (in my eyes) sculptures.

Have a great week-end!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Please, somebody stop this merry-go-round . . .

. . . I'm getting dizzy!

Thanks to all of you who have prayed and cared for us over the last few days. DC's surgery went very well - I thought he'd be released by now, but not quite yet. He'll go to my parents' house for a few days for peaceful rest - not available here too much. My mom loves to be the halfway house from surgical procedures to home.

Add in a funeral - they never come at opportune times, do they?? I always count it a privilege to play the organ for the homegoing of a saint. I am so thankful for a sister and a sister-in-law, one who has no grandkids yet and one whose grands are far away. They have relieved me by caring for the twins 3 times already this week. My sis has also picked up the big girls from school every day this week. Talk about servanthood in action.

This week one day I posted this on Facebook - it touched a spot in my spirit and seemed to do the same with others. I want to share it, because it's where I'm living right now.

No man ever sank under the burden of the day. It is when tomorrow's burden is added to the burden of today that the weight is more than a man can bear. Never load yourself so. If you find yourself so loaded, at least remember this: it is your own doing, not God's. He begs you to leave the future to Him, and mind the present. -- George McDonald

I always like to share with you all what I'm reading. One of the books I'm almost finished with is Carol Kent's third in the story of her life-imprisoned son. This one is about the joy that can come in the midst of unimaginably horrible circumstances, and how God can use ANYTHING for His glory. If you haven't read these books, please, for your own sake, buy them, borrow them, get them from the library - you'll never regret it. The first one is
When I Lay My Isaac Down, and the second is A New Kind of Normal.

I really love this verse Carol used as the basis of this book, from Romans 9:33 in The Message:

Careful! I've put a huge stone on the road to Mount Zion,
a stone you can't get around. But the stone is me!
If you're looking for me, you'll find me ON the way, not IN the way.

Another book that I'm reading at the same time, with my devotional time in the mornings, is by Sheila Walsh. It is also hitting home with me.

I've started this one by Condoleeza Rice, but haven't gotten too far into it yet. I think it'll be great - I saw an interview with her when the book came out. She's a classy lady, to say the least.

Halloween has come and gone (yay - not my favorite "holiday"), but I had to dress the littles in their costumes for at least 3 days to get the maximum enjoyment of watching people's reactions. It's so much fun to make folks' day better. These were taken when we went to our library day - this is an enormous tree that is growing in the space between the gutter and the sidewalk on this very old street downtown - it's far to big for where it is, but I'm glad nobody's cut it down.

After library time, we went out to visit Great Grandma - they love the aquarium in the lobby. Side note - if you want to have a good feeling kind of day, take some little darlings to a place where really old grandmas and grandpas live - it lights up their lives.

I didn't get pictures of the big girls in their costumes this year, but we did have our own little personal jack-o-lantern pattern.

On an entirely different topic. I have never been a thrift store shopper - the only reason being that I don't have the patience to search for treasures in such a large amount of stuff. I have had great success finding cute clothes for the girls, but never for myself. However - the other day, I was passing by a rack of tops when this wonderful jacket caught my eye - my size, which is very unusual to find. Everyone I know who has good luck at thrift stores is a tiny person.

I had the shirt at home which matches the ribbons precisely. It is such fun to wear and I've had so many compliments. I have a friend who is raising yaks and she was really interested when she saw the brand name in the collar - Yak Magik. I looked it up on Google and found this information:

Yak Magik has its origins in the search for extraordinary places, people, and things. Months spent exploring the high peaks and valleys of the Nepalese Himalaya led to a deep appreciation of the people and culture of Nepal. That appreciation led to great friendships and business partnerships manufacturing novelty jackets in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal. Almost 30 years later we continue to develop our uniquely beautiful jackets with these amazing artisans.

Yak Magik is fine tailoring, one jacket at a time, not assembly line production, and features complex fabric manipulating, top-stitching, and piped seams.

I wrote an e-mail to the company in the state of Washington to ask how old my jacket might be. They wrote back (pretty neat) and said it was probably made 15 years ago. I love it. It's a treasure.

I love this picture I took of the last full moon, outside my front door.

Finally - our first little snow storm yesterday. The girls were so excited to put on their new boots and head into the white yard. After school they made a snowman - it amazes me how much the littles like to be outside in this stuff.

Well, this turned out to be quite the rambling post - I hope you find a part that makes it worth wading through! BTW, I am continuing to sing in the community choir, plus the church cantata (both on the same week-end, as it turns out), and enjoying. It'll be a challenge to get there this week with DC not at full capacity. I'll have to ruminate on that problem.

Have a wonderful week-end.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Unintentional Blogging Break

I have been trying to do a post for days now. I hope I'll get it done someday soon. I miss coming to visit all of you, and hope I get caught up.

Remember my word of the year last year? It was "flexibility." I need to make it my life word, I guess. One year wasn't enough.

Two requests for prayer. DC is going in early Thursday morning for a bit of "plumbing" repair. He's really nervous about it. Please pray for peace for him, and that he'll understand that the temporary pain pills are his friend. Our experience with addictions has him very leary of taking meds that are for his benefit.

We've been thrown yet another curve in our lives as well. One that has us being full time caregivers to the 4 little ones for the next several weeks. I don't feel the freedom to share the details, but suffice it to say it has really thrown us for a loop.

Thankfully, we are somewhat used to this caregiving role, but not 24/7 for such a long time. I caught a cold just as this began. I'm trying to sing in the community chorale for my own enjoyment. But that will require quite a bit of maneuvering to make it continue to happen.

Imagine, if you will, having every trip in the car take 3 times as long to get going. The age of "I do it myself" has hit us full force. They are adorable and smart and independent. Which is all good, unless you are in a hurry. So - moral of the story - plan way ahead! Don't ever be in a hurry.

I'll be back, as the sign says. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Monday, November 01, 2010


I started thinking about typewriters the other day - who knows why. I must have already been fascinated by the age of 2.

When I was a freshman in junior high, I was attending a very large school in Minnesota. I was only there for that one year, then sophomore year in a really large high school, before moving to Nebraska and finishing my last two years in a very small school. One of my favorite classes that year was simply called "Typing." We used something similar to this:

We had a very creative teacher - she challenged us to a speed and accuracy contest. Every five words per minute that we increased in our timed tests put us closer to Miami from Minnesota. If I remember right, 75 wpm got you there.

For the life of me, I can't remember her name, but I had a rival in this contest - she and I were neck and neck the whole way. The competition really motivated us, and I believe we arrived in Miami the same day. Interestingly enough, she and I were also rivals in choir for the position of accompanist. I was honored to be chosen to play for the Christmas concert. I got sick with infectious mononucleosis just before Christmas and was in bed the night of the concert - very sad to miss my chance to play in that concert. It turned out that I got to accompany for the spring concert instead. It's interesting to think of the connection between these two skills, piano and typing - nimble fingers??

The only thing I wanted for high school graduation was a typewriter. I knew it would be the most practical thing I could get for college. It looks like I was very pleased to get my wish.

It turned out to be the best gift I could have received. I really never enjoyed babysitting, so used the skill I enjoyed more for spending money. I typed for alot of guys over those 4 years. I banged out many papers on that little turquoise machine. One day a guy needed a paper done more quickly than usual. He happened to have a portable electric a lot like this:

This friend had a paper due quickly and offered me the use of his typewriter so that I could type faster. He let me use it for the rest of that semester, and I did get a lot of jobs. In fact, my own work suffered because I was helping all these guys.

This typewriter had pica rather than elite "font" - a word we hadn't heard of yet. It meant that you could make less look like more on a page, and the word got around quickly that "Dawn could make your report look longer." The guys came out of the woodwork - too bad it was only for their homework!

I started out this "career" charging 15 cents per page, and supplying my own erasable bond - remember that great invention? I soon realized I was using up my prophets, and started charging 25 cents a page - with them having to supply their own paper. I learned that at the university in the big city down the road, typists charged 75 cents per page. I sure wished that somehow I could post an ad on their bulletin boards and charge 50 cents a page. I could double my prophets, and they could get a really good deal. It never worked out. I didn't have to babysit, though! And I made a lot of new friends - guys who gave me partial credit for their good grades.

I have to say that learning to type well and fast has carried me a long ways in life. I have had several great secretarial positions (now called administrative assistant, of course) because of my typing ability, without any other business course. I'll never forget when I first got to use one of these: IBM Selectric - loved it!

I never lost my speed, because weirdly enough I type everything I see in my head. When I began to use computers, I could type 90+ wpm.

I was working at a bank when I was pregnant with Kristen - I quit that job just as the word processing explosion began - the precursor to the computer explosion. I bought one of these, hoping to find some at-home typing jobs. Turns out I hated it - I wanted one of the above machines so badly.

We had three old Selectrics in our office at Colorado State University. We still had a guy who came in every few months to keep them in good running order - it was fun to watch the work study students try to figure out what in the world to do with them when we asked them to.

Do you remember how much work it was to center something? I was telling some young folks about that process the other day and they couldn't believe it. I typed so many term papers that I could judge how far down on the page to go in order to fit in all the footnotes and still have an inch left at the bottom. They don't know how easy they have it now!

I have enjoyed this journey down word processing memory lane - I hope you have, too.

Have a wonderful week!