Saturday, December 26, 2009

Snowy Christmas

This Christmas has been very snowy!! We have had about 12-14" of snow, freezing rain, and ice, in various combinations throughout the past several days. It has caused a lot of disruption to Christmas traditions, all across the Midwest. Travel plans were foiled. Some people were "snowed out", while others were "snowed in." We chose to venture out sparingly and mainly stayed close to home. Our Christmas celebrations were altered, but not hindered.

First we got 6-8", on December 23, most of it overnight. The small photos were taken with my mobile phone.

Then another 3-4" or so on Christmas Eve Day. And more overnight on Christmas Eve.
I love showing the patio furniture (which we did not get covered up this year before the snows came) -- because then you can see how much snow there is.

It has been beautiful but also a bit exasperating. We were not able to have our usual family Christmas Eve dinner celebration due to poor weather. We are having it on Sunday the 27th. Just safer and saner for all. It felt different not to be gathered together Christmas Eve in the evening, eating and laughing and enjoying each other as we do every year. But we made the best of it.

The 2009 Christmas Blizzard certainly was eventful!!

Annual Lefse Making

Well! Seems it has been a while since I have posted!

Here is truly a highlight of every year. Our annual lefse making, on Christmas Eve morning. We had had 6-8" of snow, so we had to be flexible. My sis-in-law could not come, neither could daughter A. This year, a friend of mine joined us; this was her first time making lefse.

Grandpa was beaming and basically supervising. My job was mixing the batter--quite the messy job (basically you take mashed potatoes and add flour until it is still somewhat sticky). Then you roll out the batter as thin as possible and cook on the extremely hot griddle.

It was very enjoyable, as always. After we were done, we taste-tested the lefse. It is best spread with butter and brown sugar, and rolled up. (Some like it with white sugar). It was excellent!!

Sarah made one shaped like a heart! Pretty soon my friend, B., was looking like a pro on the griddle.

This is one special activity that we share together every holiday season. Even though we could not all be together in the usual way, we made the best of it, and we made memories in a new way. Great time!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Deep Breath

OK-I am taking a deep breath, and just embedding this video. This is me playing Schumann's Traumerei.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

New Piece

I have a new piano piece, Schumann's Traumerei. It is quite beautiful, played very subtly. Here is the interpretation by my favorite classical pianist, Vladmir Horowitz.

I tend to get the melody stuck in my head when I practice it, which is altogether not a bad thing.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Occasions II

This wasn't a super family-oriented occasion, but it was definitely one that called for photos. Many, many photos. And beauty -- lots of beautification activities.

Yes, the Homecoming dance activities for A., who is a high school junior. I keep saying this, but I am continually amazed at how much beauty effort is put into the event, when all the girls are already pretty darn gorgeous.

But regardless, off she went, from one appointment to the next. Nails, hair, makeup. Oh, and the boutineer! Can't forget that!! Group photos were at 5:15pm. By then I was exhausted. And the event hadn't even started yet! (but of course it is not about me, anyway)

The photos were at one of the boy's homes. Super G and I went. It was hilarious, because the girls, when they saw her, said "C'mon G.! Come get in the photo!!" Must have made her feel about 10 feet tall.

All in all, a fantastic day-great weather, happy group of teenagers, parents just enjoying the experience. There was a parent get-together that occurred during the time of the dance, which sounded like a great way to relax and connect with parents. However, we had a dinner conflict that night (a Masonic charity dinner-which is why I am a bit dressed up here).

Another high school event!! Nice!

Occasions I

We had a couple big family events over the past week or so. Here is the first one.

S. Confirmation-
Along with 150+ 9th graders, S. was confirmed in the Lutheran Church. This was a fun and meaningful event. Nice church service, beautiful music, family gathered, celebration. We were so grateful to have family and friends gather for her day. T's aunt & uncle from Michigan, my dad and brother, Tom's mom, sister and her husband. And some close family friends.

Sarah made her chocolate torte for everyone, which I really thought was special and showed her generous spirit. Oh my goodness, it was so delightfully rich!

Congratulations to her on deciding to affirm her baptism and for becoming a full-fledged member of our church.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New Beginnings

Life is full of cycles. Fall brings an end to warm weather (at least here in MN), and of course school begins once more. New and old, new and old. Same schools, new classes, new locker, mostly new teachers, old friends and new.

I was again allowed to capture the morning kick-off in pics. Such natural joy and freshness in the faces of my 3 daughters!! It lifts my spirit.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Life is truly precious, don't get me wrong. But sometimes, grace intercedes and makes an angel. Another star in the sky, shining brightly, peacefully.

This is how I think of a very special woman in my life. M. Peeders, my piano teacher. I knew her for a relatively short period of time. It is not for me to question, but somehow she became special to me in a way that is hard to describe. It's like the gift of a teacher, but more. You know, a guide, someone you admire, and is with you as you try to learn new things. She was very quiet and gentle, but her strengths were mighty. Her deep faith was evident. She lacked fear. She was steady.

How do I know all this? I don't. But it is what I sensed, apparent in the spirit that she emitted, that she represented.

There was something about her. An aptitude, quiet confidence. Not showy, just there. Doing her tasks, going through her day. She was a doer. I'm not sure, but I'm guessing that she rarely said no when asked to help or get involved. But to me, she appeared quiet, gentle, mild. A workhorse, never calling attention to itself. Steady, confident, reliable. Someone you would and could call upon.

Again, it is not for me to question why, but in May, 2008, she learned she had breast cancer. It had already spread to her bones. And so she and her husband girded up for a battle, which was to be the battle of her life. I was so inspired by her deep faith, hope and courage, as she journaled on her CaringBridge site. She was vulnerable in her posts about how treatments were going, sharing her feelings in the ups and downs of an aggressive, vicious disease.

She had such grace through it all. Always with a word of hope. A special, uplifting Bible verse or favorite hymn. What strength, to share her journey, strengths and weaknesses, with others.

Earlier in her cancer journey, this was the verse that she claimed:
Isaiah 41:10 "Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will hold you in my right hand."

Later, in 2009, she claimed this passage, from an anthem that our high school choir performed. She was their accompanist:
"O Lord, you are my hiding place throughout the storms of life and you surround me with songs that set me free. You are my refuge, I will trust in you."

She loved her piano students, young musicians, with energy and promise. When she was going through her first round of bone radiation, she wrote about how much she enjoyed watching the video of their recital. To see her students play, witness their progress, made her proud --in that quiet way that she had.

Yes, she did lose her battle and on Thursday, September 3, she entered the joy of heaven. I feel glad that her suffering is over. But I miss her--

May her special gifts be carried on by those she loved and by those that she touched.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Everyone Needs a Break

...and I don't mean a broken leg.

A couple weekends ago we ventured to Kansas City on a family get-away. How nice!!

Highlights were:
- Harry S. Truman museum
- Having 2 hotel suites
- Swimming in the pool with Super G.

- Large breakfasts in the hotel
- RIBS, great bbq, burgers, and Krispy Kreme
- WWI museum
- Twins baseball game at beautiful Royals stadium
- No chores, no laundry, no work

But most of all...having fun together, enjoying each others' company.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Felling of a Tree

We had a tree cut down in the backyard. It wasn't the most healthy tree. Beforehand, our backyard was virtually completely in shade. I have had the hardest time growing flowers back there! Basically I felt constricted to hostas (fine for some--but I tire of them easily) and some other hardy shade perennials, plus some non-thriving impatiens.

The backyard had basically a canopy formed by the trees, which confined the feeling of space. Plus, it is an uphill backyard as well, so that made it feel even smaller.

Sometimes there are thick, unruly, overgrown things in our lives, that need to be pruned and cut away. Which brings freedom and "air" to us. To me, this could be an apology that I need to make, or expressing my honest feelings about something, instead of brooding and keeping to myself. That connection, whatever it may be, loosens the walls between us and frees us to move forward. It usually takes some effort, but it is definitely worthwhile in the end.

Now, with the tree gone, there is substantially more sun back there! I feel like I have a new backyard!! It is awesome.

Open space, afterward.