Saturday, April 28, 2012

Catching Up

I want to thank all of you for the nice comments on our yard - I wish we could all sit around the picnic table and have a refreshing conversation with coke, Diet DP, tea, coffee, or whatever you desire.  The tulips have been great again this year, the forget-me-nots are spreading like lovely weeds, and soon the irises will make an appearance.  

I had to chuckle at one of the comments - about the fact that even my yard has lots of stories to tell.  So true, and a reference to my most common posts - stories of my life.  I will never be a deep, insightful writer.  I will never make people laugh with my writing style.  But I do love to share stories of things that have made me who I am.

Another friend noted that I hadn't updated all of you about Dwight and his health situation.  He is completely over the celllulitis in his leg as well as the fungus issues, and the rashes that seemed to result from the residue of the antibiotics.  It does seem, though, that his resistance is still compromised, resulting in another sinus infection and pink eye last week.  He seems to be on the mend now, thank the Lord.

I have to say, though, that his strength and endurance seems to be coming along well, since he was able to go golfing twice this week with his brother, who was visiting from Georgia.  That's a good thing for sure.


There is a reason I am copying this next story from a post last summer.  I know some of you will remember both times I have posted about Ann.

If you've been with me since the beginning of blog time, you may remember this story and these pictures. I can't find the earlier post, or I would just re-run it. My cousin, Ann, grew up in Africa, and we only saw our cousins every four years.  But it never seemed like that much time had elapsed when they came home. We usually didn't get to see them very much during their year home, because we lived far away from Minnesota, where they always stayed. Christmas was always very special at Grandma Swanson's house.

When we were all in high school, my sister and I had a great time getting better acquainted with Ann. Someone had sent her a subscription for Co-Ed Magazine way over there in Africa. Does anybody remember this magazine? I remember getting it through home ec. class and really enjoying it. Ann had written a letter to the editor, asking for some fashion advice for her year in America. She wanted to fit in at school. Unbelievably, they met her at the airport in NYC and did a makeover and did lovely story about her for the September, 1965 issue. I loved showing it off at school!

I think you'll be able to read the article and see the pictures better if you double click.

After this furlough, we rather lost touch with each other. I'm not sure why - we all went to college, got married, had kids, and got very involved in our adult lives. We never did correspond by mail for some reason, and that didn't change, unfortunately. It must have been about 15 years ago when Vicki and I took a trip to Minnesota to visit her while she was home, and to meet her husband and children. It was amazing how at home we felt with each other - as if we had seen each other regularly over these many years.

We finally began keeping in touch at least once in awhile, by e-mail of course. Then she got a good phone plan and we talked over the many miles and it sounded as if she were next door. We still didn't get together often, but we felt so close. We had things in common, not specifically, but generally - the fact that we had children going through rough stuff

Ann came to visit my sister and me after her dad, our uncle Al, died two summers ago.  We've been privileged now to keep in touch by Facebook, which has been a blessing.  Recently, if you are up on international news, you may have read or heard about the military coup which took over the government in Mali a small central African country where Ann and her family have lived for close to 30 years.  Two of their daughters have been there teaching English this past year and they've been so happy to be together in the same city.  When the coup happened, they didn't quite know what to do about leaving or staying.  Eventually, Larry and Ann were told to evacuate and join their missionary team in the country of The Gambia.  But they had to wait until their daughters' families were released from their schools, ironically schools overseen by the American Embassy.  Strange, it seemed to me!  

They finally were able to leave at dawn on a Saturday morning, and spent the next 3 days driving through desert country and heat with two cars, 6 adults, and 2 little ones.  I have discovered in my dealings with missionaries over many years, that they are resourceful and adaptable.  They made the best of a tough situation, picnicking along the way.


 They had to go through the country of Senegal to reach The Gambia.  One of the days, they had some fun in one of the huge, spreading trees of the area.

 I haven't heard any details in the last week, but last I knew, they were with their missions team in a lovely setting on the ocean, enjoying cool breezes, fellowship, and a conference.  The young folks are teaching via internet all over the world.  I'm hoping to hear more soon.  I know they're all hoping to return to their home soon. 

Have a wonderful week-end!

Friday, April 20, 2012

My Yard is Full of Memories

Before I begin, I just want to rant a tad - JUST WHAT I NEED - A CHANGE OF EVERYTHING IN BLOGGER.  Why can't anybody just leave well enough alone.   I just got hit with Timeline on Facebook, which I have been dreading.  And no, I still don't like it.  Oh, well - nothing ever stays the same.

Which, of course, includes things in nature.  But I have to say - my yard is my refuge (except when the kid next door decides to wash all the cars in his family with his music on full blast).  July 1, it will be 34 years that we have lived in this house.  I have posted about the yard off and on over the years, showing the beginnings and the changes.  

This particular trip down memory lane began when we discovered that the lilac bush in the far back corner of the yard had finally bloomed - about 10 years after we transplanted it there.  It came from Minnesota as a little stick, brought by my brother from my Grandma Swanson's yard, before she went to a smaller house, then the nursing home, then to heaven.  The property sat there unchanged for many years after it was no longer hers, so we grandkids went exploring there at different times.  We used to play in the ditch where there was a profusion of these lilacs. 

This is my little tiny grandma that I have posted about a few times before.  She was my wonderful farming, cooking, baking, strawberry and cucumber picking grandma (as opposed to my other wonderful grandma who had a job, bowled, and brought pop and goodies home from the bakery).  

 This was taken at the nursing time the last time I saw her, when she was seeing her first great granddaughter for the first and last time - Kristen at about 18 months.  

 One year when Dwight's folks went back to visit family in Wisconsin, they brought us back two gifts from the woods behind his grandma's house.  This blue spruce was about 2 feet tall - and now it is at least 20.  


 This maple tree was a tiny sapling when we transplanted it from Wisconsin.  The next spring, when things came back to life, lo and behold there was a beautiful variety of wild flowers growing around the tree.  Turns out that these woodsy flowers had traveled to Colorado in the ball of dirt around the tree's roots.  What a nice surprise - especially the raspberry bushes that we moved to a good spot, and have enjoyed every summer since.

 Then there's the spot where our sweet little dachshund, Fritzie, lies in rest after entertaining and loving us unconditionally for 14 years.  He died on Valentine's Day, the day after Kevin's 19th birthday, in his own little bed in the basement.  We couldn't stand to send him anywhere, so we probably broke the law (don't tell anybody!)  The marker is still there, 16 years later, in what used to be the garden.  


Right outside the garden area is an apple tree, at least 12 feet tall.  It brings back another lovely memory.  It was during the time when we saw our step grandson, Anthony, a lot.  He asked me one day where apples came from.  I showed him the seeds in the apple he was eating and told him that's how they started.  He asked if we could plant a seed, so we planted two - in the flower bed right off the patio.  I never dreamed (and Kristen says she can't believe it because she was always planting seeds that never came up) that it would sprout so quickly.  By the end of that summer, Dwight transplanted the larger one out to the back part of the yard.  Anthony asked me at that time when it would have apples.  I told him probably about the time he went to college - he's 14 now, so that might be about right.

The first spring in our house, when we were putting in our yard, Dwight was working horrific hours - he was in accounting and it was year end crunch time.  So I would go pick up the bushes a few at a time and plant them each day.  We had this nice bare root tree that hadn't been planted yet when the rains began.  Dwight had dug the six foot diameter, six foot deep hole and told me I must put it in the next day or it was going to die and we'd waste a lot of precious money.  That night - yep it rained, and filled the hole like a swimming pool.  We had also just fertilized the day before with the natural good stuff, and the whole yard was very soft and gooshy - and now was very soft and gooshy mud.  I got up very early that morning, donned Dwight's fishing waders, and headed into the mess.  I was scooping the water out with a bucket, getting my legs twisted up like a pretzel.  It's a wonder I didn't fall in.  Finally, I got the water to stay out long enough to be able to place the tree into the hole and scoop the mud back in to hold it in place.  Needless to say, of all the trees and bushes I planted or helped plant, this one holds a special place in my heart.  It is huge.  And of course it looks much lovelier when it is in full leaf.

We have always wanted a variety of irises, and last year we were privileged to see the fruits of the planting the previous fall, from rhizomes given to us by our champion iris-growing friend, who knows each of her flowers by name.  We're excited to see how they do this year when the time comes.

The daffodils and tulips are coming in profusion now, as well as windflowers and tiny little forget-me-nots.  But this is the first flower I took a picture of this spring - such an interesting, different tulip.  I love them all, and am sad when they are gone.

Have a blessed week-end!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Easter, What a Glorious Day. . .

Wow - two posts within a week -some sort of record for the past couple of years!

Easter was a wonderful day - we had a delicious breakfast at church - we have such talented people, who are willing to serve such lovely occasions. The choir presentation, both Friday evening and Sunday morning, was so exciting. I always love it when we have combined services - I miss the feeling of the whole church family being together.

Easter Sunday afternoon is normally a time of family togetherness, eating, noisiness, and egg hunting. This year was totally different. Dad was recuperating from his first kidney stone surgery two weeks earlier - in fact, Sunday was the first day he felt like getting out of the house at all, and he was able to be at breakfast and worship service. But my sister had decided that he and Mom needed a less rambunctious celebration this year, so she took dinner to their house. This left us the opportunity celebrate with Dwight's family without having to try to maneuver, and perhaps have both sides all together, thus causing even more commotion.

Dwight's mom will be moving from Assisted Living to Health Care (nursing home) soon. She wanted to have a special celebration, so arrangements were made to go to the Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch for a wonderful buffet lunch and fun kids' activities. "So, what is your favorite food?", you ask? "Anything I don't have to cook!"

It was a glorious day - the food was fabulous, the sunshine was sparkling off the Big Thompson River as it flowed through the ranch. After lunch we headed with the kiddoes for the rest of the fun. Unfortunately, Little Miss Emma had a really bad cold that day, so she and Kristen not only missed the wonderful Easter celebration at church, but the fun in the afternoon.

Katie was so good at carrying her plate and picking out her own food.

Amazing how grown up Miss Hayley is looking these days!

First a ride on "pretend" horses

There was an Easter Egg hunt, but I didn't get any pictures - in fact, they didn't find any eggs! But the Easter bunny gave them some candy anyway.

Then - on to a nice surprise - rides on REAL horses! I was amazed at Katie's excitement over getting up on that big horse - and Livi loved it, too. Hayley, surprisingly, didn't want to go. It was very interesting to watch Katie without her little connected-at-the-hip sidekick, exerting her independence a bit more than normal.

Katie was even do the "rodeo queen" wave, which made me very nervous, as she held on to the saddle with only one hand!

Then Great Grandma had some snuggle time with her great grand girls.

As one of our songs from the musical said, "Oh, What a Glorious Day. . . "

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Catching Up - Again!

A new record has been set - almost 3 weeks between posts. It is ridiculous - I just can't seem to put words together these days. The good news - Dwight is back to normal - his silly sense of humor is back, and he is back doing things with the girlies, enjoying the yard work, and going for his long walks. It was fun watching the girls "helping" Grandpa change the oil in Mommy's car the other day.

When he got sick, we had tickets for his visit to Maine which had been purchased a couple of weeks before. My first thought when we realized how ill he was - we will probably have to delay the trip. But, praise God, he was able to go last week-end and he, Kev, and Angie had a great time together.

I am sitting here on Saturday, Easter Eve, with my foot bothering me. We did our first performance last night of our Easter music, which is such a fabulous collection of glorious songs. We will do it again in the morning, after a lovely breakfast.

But I did something very foolish last night - I decided to stand on the risers without my boot. Mistake. It wasn't the ball of the foot that hurt the most, but the heel - I think from trying to avoid standing on the ball. I am truthfully very discouraged about this tendon situation.

I've taken or sent the kids to Disney on Ice for quite a few years. The last couple of times, I have sent Kristen and the big girls while I took care of the twins. But this year, the littles were big enough to enjoy the extravaganza. They are accustomed to being left behind on a lot of occasions, so when the big girls and I were talking about the upcoming event, they said, "Do we get to go?" When I told them they were going to get to go, the excitement in the air was palpable. It was a long wait for the night to arrive, but it was the subject of a lot of anticipation.

The night finally arrived, we went to Culver's for a treat before the show, then arrived just in time to claim our seats before the lights went down and the gala began. They all four enjoyed it very much, but the littles, in their princess dresses, were absolutely mesmerized the entire time.

The smiles were huge --

The biggest thrill for the littles was when each of the princesses and their princes skated, one couple at a time. They would have liked it to be them the entire time, I do believe.

The finale was quite impressive, with characters from Beauty and the Beast, Nemo, Pinocchio, The Lion King, Toy Story, and several others I can't remember - besides, all the Disney characters, It's a Small World, Mickey Mouse Club, and all of them joined together on the ice at the end of the show.

It was an enjoyable time from beginning to end. I do have to say that I miss the shows when they concentrated on one story the entire time, and hope they do that again someday. But it's a great activity for little princesses.

This has been spring break - the first two days were really horrible weather. We even had a skiff of snow (not enough to help the near drought conditions, however). Kristen's work schedule was horrific this week, so the girls were here most of the time, including several nights. The last few days were lovely. One warm day, I captured this picture of "a grandgirl after my own heart." She has her name in a book, literally, almost constantly. She is so much like me in this way (and several other ways, too). I really love this picture.

Well, here's hoping I still have a couple of readers!