Monday, May 26, 2014

It's Memorial Day . . .

It's Memorial Day.  When I was a child, Memorial Day always meant getting flowers and planters together for the cemetery's of our families.  We always . . always went to the City Cemetery in Monona to my grandparents graves, my cousin Jane is there also as are her parents.  That was one stop.  We would then continue onto Postville to the cemetery there for my Grandma Sebastian.  In recent years we made stops at Swede Ridge and the cemetery there to leave something on Jer's grave and now to leave flowers or plants on my parents graves.  I also made trips to a small private cemetery in rural McGregor where my ex-husband's family was buried.  Cemetry's are historical places.  If you take the time you can trace some of your family history (especially if it's a small private cemetery like the one in McGregor). 

We always seemed to spend time at the City Cemetery in Monona.  My grandparents were buried in the 'newer' part of the cemetery.  I found classmates that died in Viet Nam, and friends and other family members that brought back memories. 

When I was in high school Memorial Day meant the parade from the high school out to the city cemetery.  AND a slumber party the night before at Pam's house.  It became a tradition while I was in high school.  Believe me it's not easy to march miles after not getting much sleep (or none at all) the night before.  But it's a fun memory.  After the parade it was homeward bound and grilling for lunch and just spending time with my family.  And lots of naps during the day!!!

Memorial Day is a time to honor our heroes.  Especially those that gave their lives to give us the privilege of freedom.  I listened to a song by the Oak Ridge Boys this morning that is all about freedom and the cost of it.  It was very moving for me.  I have lost friends due to the wars that our country has gone through.  Peace is a hard commodity to come by.  And I'm not getting any younger . . . some of my heroes are not military (the majority of them are not military folks).  My mother and father, my grandmothers, my nephew Jer and granddaughters Ruthie and Imogene are some very dear people to me that I can bring to mind on Memorial Day.  I miss all of them! 

I got an invitation from my sister to join her and her family at the campsite (Walnut Bend).  Friday at work I didn't feel real well but thought I was just tired and put my time in and had lunch with my friend Betsy before I came home.  As the afternoon got longer so did the chills and aches and pains!  The flu!  Or something similar to the flu.  You remember the feeling . . . like you're going to die and then afraid that you might!  I considered going to the emergency room but didn't feel well enough to drive that far so toughed it out at home.  Took some back and body pills for some of the pain, slept a lot and finally headed off to bed.  Got up Saturday morning and actually felt a little better.  Not wonderful, but much better.  As the morning progressed (and I got up around 5:00 a.m.) the weak feelings and aches were back.  I called my sister and thanked her for the invitation but thought it best that I just stay here and not give whatever I have to anyone else.  She posted some pictures of their day at Walnut Bend and I'm pretty sure I missed a real great afternoon out in the country!  But I wouldn't have enjoyed it much so guess I was better staying where I'm at.  It's Monday and again I feel better . . . glad I don't have to go to work and can just be lazy and nap when I need to.  I have confidence that by tomorrow morning I'll be able to go to work and feel like a human being again!  Or at least I hope so.

It's been a couple of weeks since my trip to Georgia.  I miss Jim, Mandy, Charlotte & Oliver!  I had such a wonderful time being with them.  It was much too short.  The grands are growing by leaps and bounds.  Their parents are too.  Jim likes his job very much and Mandy is busy getting a client list together for her photography business.  They live in such a beautiful community.  The street they are on is fantastic!  You gotta love the trees and all the flowering plants and landscapes.  It's wonderful.

I wished I had some pictures for this post but can't think of anything that anyone would be interested in.  I'm working on memory books.  Got an order for another dance one and one for a co-workers' grandson (fishing, skateboarding and exploring).  Just finished a couple graduation books (one for a girl and the other for a boy).  My plans are to continue to stockpile my wares and get involved with some of the local craft fairs this fall.  in the meantime if anyone is interested in memory books hopefully they will call and we can put something together for them.  I have Glee & Ron's Hawaii book sitting here with all kinds of ideas but nothing put to paper yet (and they're heading back to Alaska again this coming week).  Sometimes I get the cart ahead of the horse.  I love scrapbooking!  There are some wonderful ideas out there on the web.  I've spent a lot of time looking at other ideas and stealing some that I really like for my own!!!  One of these days I'm going to take some pictures of my works and publish them on facebook.  That should be a hoot!  And with that idea I better get at it.  Maybe I can get the dance book all together today yet!

Memorial Day . . . a time to reflect on our past and those that have left us.  God Bless them all.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Happy Mother's Day . . . to me.  My mother's day present this year from Barbie was a plane ticket to Marietta, Georgia (where Jim & family live).  Actually the ticket was from Des Monies to Atlanta, GA.  I haven't flown in years so this was a new adventure for me.  I got lucky was pre-checked for boarding.  Barb sent me on my way and I met her after she got through her check-in process.  Yeah . . . I didn't have to open my bags or take off my shoes!!!  And got lucky coming home too . . . got pre-check again.  The flight was a bit late (about 40 minutes) leaving Des Moines but other than that uneventful.  The gentleman sitting in front of us was a bit restless but we all survived and got there.  Can't say riding the train at the Atlanta airport was real fun but I survived that too.  We rushed to get onto the train and barely got in before the doors closed, I certainly wasn't ready for the train to take off at 60 mph in 0 seconds (I don't think it's that fast, but it's FAST)!  I didn't have time to grab a pole or a strap and if it hadn't been for this nice gentleman I'm sure I would have ended up on the floor (that would have been embarrassing) to me as well as Barb.  She would have had to help get me up!!!  I do have a bruise on my upper arm and I'm pretty sure it's where he grabbed me so I wouldn't fall down!  But I thank him for that!!  Jim was waiting and it didn't take long to find the car and head to Marietta.  Oh, did I mention that it was really warm!  So different than what we've had here in Iowa for our spring! 

I slept in on Friday morning and when I woke up I could hear Barb and Oliver talking in another room.  Checked it out and they were in Charlotte's room playing with some toys.  Spent some time in there getting to know my grandson again.  Jim was at work, Mandy was taking Charlotte to pre-school and doing some garage sale shopping.  We had an enjoyable morning together.

Saturday we decided to leave the city and head out for a gold mine in a small mining town north of Atlanta.  For the life of me I can't remember the name of the town, but that's where we went!  We found our destination and stopped at the visitor's center for more information.  Took a quick trip around the square, stopped in some cute shops.  Charlotte found a bunny (Carrot) she didn't want to live without and Oliver found an airplane.  Both were happy so we continued on. 

We went to a gold mine and took a tour.  It was deep and cold!  But interesting.  We all had intended to tour the mine but Oliver got a little scared and Mandy and Jim decided that he and Mandy would back out of this adventure and wait topside for the rest of us.  They weren't the only ones, one of the other participants decided not to go either.  It was a very interesting tour.  We had been talking to Charlotte about the mine and the 7 Dwarfs (as in Snow White and . . . ) and when we were talking about this a big person (in blue denim overalls and a hardhat passed by and commented on wait until you hear what my name is).  Made you wonder what he was talking about!!!  Turned out his name was "Doc."  There were a few (quite a few) steps to go down into the mine, some slippery ramps but I had made up my mind I was going to do this.  I was a little slower than some but made it down there and out of there without too many problems!  Proud of myself.  One of the things you could do along with the mine tour was pan for gold at the end of the trip!  So we all panned for gold.  I think Oliver enjoyed that a lot as he got to play in the water.  Charlotte did quite good and found a small amount of gold in her pan.  Can't say I did very good with that but . . . it was fun watching the kids!  We also were invited to 'pan' for gems.  When you got your ticket for the mine you could also purchase tickets to pan for the gold and also the gem stones. What a fun time.  I think Mandy had as much fun as the little people.  Jim helped Oliver, Barb and Charlotte worked together (each had their own bucket) and Mandy had a ball looking for gold pieces and gems.  The gems were semi-precious and the more money you spent on your bucket the more precious the gems became.  Barb had a $15 bucket as did Oliver and Mandy and Charlotte had $10 buckets.  You should have seen their faces when they washed the sand away and found the gems.  Some of them were really pretty and could be made into jewelery if you wanted.  The gem person didn't work on Saturdays so we just took our bags home with us!  By this time we were all getting hungry and found this little road-side joint (can't think of a better word for it) that sold produce (great looking tomatoes and watermelons) and BBQ.  That was a fun meal.  I had a BBQ pulled pork sandwich.  It was huge and Jim was able to help me finish it off.  Great place to eat.  Mandy also purchased some tomatoes (and they tasted great) and a watermelon.  Everybody was getting tired by this time so we headed back home.  After some time resting (napping for the children) Jim & Mandy told me the rules they forgot when I first got there.  When you visit my Georgia Family you get to babysit one night so they can go out on a date!!!  So Barb and I babysat.  Barb's a better babysitter than I am.  Charlotte and I get along great but Oliver isn't quite sure he likes me or not.  Sometimes I'm okay and sometimes I'm NO!!  Whatever it was fun.  Jim ordered a pizza for us so we had pizza and watched some movies.  I finally got to see Frozen.  I have the movie but just haven't had time to play it.  Good movie!!  Enjoyed the evening.  Oliver went to bed easy but Charlotte had decided to stay up until Mommy and Daddy got home.  While Barbie was putting Oliver down for the night Charlotte and I visited a bit and then she decided to take a short nap on the floor until her parents got home.  Jim put her to bed when they got home and we spent the end of the evening having a nice visit.

Mother's Day . . . slept in again!  I could get used to this!!!  Went downstairs to the little one watching Paw Patrol (they love that show).  Got Mother's Day cards from my kids.  Had already got my gift from Barb and Jim (bless him) gave me some gift certificates to Amazon toward a new tablet or Kindle.  Wow!  what a nice gift.  Thanks Jimmy! 

On the agenda was going out for brunch (Charlotte explained what that meant).  The place they really wanted to take us was full for the day so we went to mid-town Atlanta to a place that Jim & Mandy had been to previously.  We made reservations while driving there and decided on valet parking and arrived.  What a nice place to eat.  We ate outside under the trees and sunlight!  It was a great Mother's Day lunch!  Jim really wanted to go to Six Flags so off we went on another adventure.  Of course the park was very full but they have a season pass so into the park we went.  Walked forever (my verb age) and finally got to the entrance gate.  We headed for one of the groups of kids rides.  They had a great time.  Rode the airplanes, the pirate ship, the big trucks (along with Barb) and then headed for one of the smaller roller coasters.  Oliver wasn't tall enough so he and Mandy headed for a smaller ride for him.  It was extremely hot and humid this mother's day at 6 Flags so I found a covered place to sit and people watch.  The line was extremely long for Barb, Jim & Charlotte.  Longer than they even realized (Mandy, Oliver and I waited almost an hour).  Decided then to head for home.  By this time my right knee and left foot were beginning to ache (getting old is the pits!).  My children (Mandy) decided it would be a good idea if Barb and I rode the Tran-bus to our parking place and they would walk.  It's hard to get the stroller onto the Tran and they weren't as tired as me (Oliver was napping by then).  Waited in line and got on for the short ride to the car.  The rest of the group had already gotten there.  Barb called Jim and they found us!!!  The air-conditioned car felt real good.  Was good to get back to their beautiful Georgia home!  They do have a very pretty home.

Oliver took a nice nap and the rest of us rested.  Finally decided we better get a look at Charlotte's new bike.  wow, what a pretty bike (purple) with matching helmet!  Oliver had Daddy get out his Mickey bike and the kids rode bikes for a bit.  Fun watching them.

It's Monday morning and Jim has to go back to work.  Barb and I had to head back to Iowa.  Got up to say good-bye to Jim.  Watched Oliver while Mandy took Charlotte to pre-school.  We discussed some options Sunday night on how to get to the airport.  Was finally decided to pick Charlotte up early from pre-school (she missed lunch) and Mandy would take us to the airport.  Traffic is busy when you live near or in a BIG city.  Got to the airport, found a parking spot and woke the little ones up.  We had time to eat a quick lunch at Burger King and then say good-bye to my Georgia Family.  We hadn't even left the airport when I realized I missed them already. 

Got on the train without falling down.  Found a pole immediately to hang onto).  Went through Security (got pre-check again).  Barb didn't so after I found my way to where I was supposed to go and got cleared found a bench to sit on and wait.  Of course our plane was almost at the end of the concourse we were on but we got there just as they started boarding zone 2 individuals.  Found our seat, stored our luggage and sat down.  Had a little time in Atlanta before take-off. Had to wait our turn.  Was informed that the weather in Des Moines was foggy and rainy.  Had some turbulence on this flight (nothing bad) but when we approached DM ended up taking the 'southern' route toward Kansas City.  Actually the landing was good.  My flying experience was good!!! 

Decided to stop for something to eat and then back to Barb's place.  Rainy all over the place.  Lots of rain near home (Dubuque).  But arrived safely.  Tired but safe.  What a wonderful mother's day weekend.

 Charlotte on one of the rides @ 6 Flags.

Playing with her favorite nephew.

 Jumping on the trampoline!!
 Barbie and her favorite little people!

 The bike, Charlotte & Barbie.

 Ready to take-off.
It's craft time in the family room.

A family portrait in the old mining town square.

Barb & Oliver.

That would be my grandson - Oliver.  What a sweetie.

 On the swing set!
Playing with grandma!

Picking up pinecones in the backyard.

Jim & Oliver panning for gems!

I want out Aunt Barb.

Grandma this is my club house!

Having fun at 6 Flags.

Playing catch with Barb with the help of Petey.

On the bridge on Oliver's ship (that's Captain Oliver).

I'll show you grandma . . .

Are we having fun yet?

Look what Charlotte found!

Mandy and her dream car!

Mandy had as much fun as the little ones did! 

He's having a ball.

Pine cones Aunt Barb.

My grandson.

Just hanging out on the ship.  What a happy little boy!

Writing a story.
As usual my pictures are not in any order and some of them are pretty terrible photography wise, but they are great memories of a wonderful Mother's Day for me. 

Big thank you to my children (all of them . . . Jim, Barb and Mandy) and grandchildren (Charlotte & Oliver) for giving me such a wonderful gift - a whole weekend with them.  Thank you guys.  I love all of you very much.  Just left and would love to go back . . . later.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Leavin' On A Jet Plane!!

Yep!  That's exactly what I'm going to do . . . tomorrow evening around 5:00 p.m. my daughter Barb and I will be heading to Atlanta, GA.  I'm going to spend my first Mother's Day in absolutely ages with all my children (sounds like a TV show) and my grandchildren.  For my mother's day gift from Barb I received my plane ticket to go and visit my kiddos in Georgia.  I'm starting to get really excited about the trip. 

Of course about the time we leave Iowa it's supposed to get nice and warm (finally), but hopefully that kind of weather will still be around when we come back.  It's just a long weekend but it's going to be great seeing my family.  Mandy said the weather outlook for Atlanta and surrounding areas is for rain, but I think it'll be warm rain (if any).  I'm just glad that I get to go.  It'll be so much fun seeing the grands.  Oliver wasn't really talking much when they left so it should be interesting.  It'll probably take a little time for both of them to remember me . . . hopefully not too long.  Pictures will be coming . . .

I'm so bad about putting anything on here lately.  My families got together for Easter a week early.  Glee hosted us for a great dinner on the Saturday before Palm Sunday.  Mark and Sandie were able to come and Glee's kids were all there too.  Barb came home to help celebrate (and get some stuff packed for me for the trip).  We had a fantastic dinner and great conversation at the dinner table.  The Easter Bunny came early for Jackson and Tristian.  They both showed me their Easter baskets (which they had hidden behind the sofa in the living room) as soon as we arrived.  Both were more than happy to share some of their goodies.

After dinner Mark went outside and 'hid' the eggs that Glee had filled for the boys for an Easter Egg Hunt.  It was a beautiful day to sit outside and enjoy the weather and watching the boys run around looking for their eggs.  They had a blast!

Got some nice pictures for memories and want to share them with anyone who reads this and for me as a memory.

 We don't get together a lot so this was a good time to get a picture
of my brother and sister too.  Look at all that gray hair!

 At least we're all looking toward the camera!

 Billy joined us for a visit.  That would be Karsten, Ron & Sandie enjoying
the sun and conversation!

 Mike with his two favorite little people in the whole-wide world.
Jackson & Tristan.
 Jackson was counting his eggs and candy and shared with Sandie.
Karsten was trying to decide if he should try a 'beggin' strip' of Bill's.
 Mike & Kari were with us.  Kari's busy using her phone while Mike
is probably watching the antics of the boys.
The little people weren't the only ones that got Easter gifts.  Sandie
made these eggs and brought dozens for us to choose from.
I love the color purple and these looked great in my basket.

We all had plenty to eat, lots of good conversation and just plain fun!  It was a very nice day spent with my family (unfortunately minus Jim, Mandy, Charlotte & Oliver).  Maybe next year.  We could all travel to Georgia for Easter!  What do you think?

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Nice Weekend

I had a very nice weekend.  My sister was here to visit.  I enjoy my time with her.  She makes me laugh, she makes me think, she's make me realize what a great family I have.  Thanks Glee.

Glee got her late Friday afternoon.  I ended up working extra hours on Friday so afraid she would beat me 'home.'  Friday morning before I left for work I put an extra key where she could find it and left a note on how to get the TV on, into the computer, etc.  All that important junk!!!  Well, I beat her here.  And let me tell you we had a terrible time getting the tape off the key later!  I was in such a hurry to get to work after taking care of the key and all that I forgot to get anything out for supper.  We sat down and came up with a plan for the weekend . . . which included starting out with going out for supper.  Good plan!  We went to Texas Roadhouse, and didn't even have to wait.  Food was good and conversation was even better.  Came home and watched a little T, got the bed ready and had a good evening.

Plan was to sleep in (which we did), eat a later breakfast, go shopping, and pick something up for a late dinner/supper.  We had an honest-to-goodness breakfast (cooked by me!!).  Tasted good too.  Glee helped me get rid of some garbage and move a couple things around.  Always nice to have help.  The State is working on Highway 20 between Wal-mart and Century Drive (if you're familiar with Dubuque) but we were heading to Hobby Lobby and the redemption center first so the construction is on the west side of the road so didn't bother us.  I was at my usual best this weekend . . . parked near the entrance door and the first thing I did was try to get in the exit door!  Started my day off real well!!!  We stopped off at Hobby Lobby and browsed a bit.  We both found a few things, nothing special.  Next stop was Target.  Glee had a list of places she wanted to go and that was the first place on her list.  We did a lot of browsing at whatever store we were in.  Had fun doing it too.  We went to Joann's (Glee is a quilter and was looking for some books and possible material).  From there we headed out to Bed, Bath & Beyond.  I like that store.  I like to just walk around and look.  I had a feeling something else was going to happen before the end of the day and it did.  I drove and as we were leaving the store realized I didn't have my car keys (which also includes on the key ring:  my house keys, my office keys, the building keys, mailbox keys and basically my life to get in and out of anything that's important to me).  Thought maybe I left them in the car so walked back there, but the car was locked and no keys hanging in the ignition.  Went back into the store and check near a chair I had sat down in but nothing there either.  Stopped at the counter and asked, and sure enough there they were.  Thank you, thank you!  By this time my left foot and right knee were starting to give me fits (they hurt), but we continued to Hy-Vee for groceries and Glee made a quick trip into Michael's.  We had already decided we wanted salads from Culver's for supper so stopped in and picked that up and headed home.  The majority of goals were completed!  Popped the Hunger Games into the DVD player and watched that until is was time for the basketball games to begin.  Can't say that my team won and to be truthful I didn't even see the end of the Wisconsin/U-Conn game.  I was tired!!!

We did some more sleeping in this morning and then headed out to Mernard's to do some shopping for Mike's bathroom.  Glee got all the information on the phone from Karsten.  I think she did pretty good.  Took us a bit to get someone to wait on us (they were extremely busy in the department we were in) but we picked up a bunch of stuff for that bathroom.  Ended the morning/afternoon with getting Glee's car washed.  Mine is on schedule to be done tomorrow!!  Went back to the grocery store and picked up some stuff from the deli for lunch.  Came home, ate and got Glee packed up to head back to NE Iowa!  I hope she had as good a weekend as I did.  Like I said before, I enjoy spending time with my sister!!

Next weekend we're celebrating Easter with my family.  Barbie will be here.  I like having her come home too.  My brother and his wife will be joining Barb and I, along with Beth, Karsten & boys and Mike and Kari for dinner at Glee & Ron's.  Should be fun.  Wished that my son and his family could be here too but a trip to Iowa from Georgia is a bit expensive for an Easter dinner.  Maybe some other time!!

I intended to work on some scrapbooking this afternoon after Glee left but a nap beat me out of the time.  It was a good nap!  Scrapbooking can be done tomorrow after work.

Nice weekend.  Later . . .

Monday, March 31, 2014

Is Spring Almost Here?

Yesterday was a beautiful day . . . can we hope that spring is here! 

I just saw the forecast for the upcoming week and there is a possibility of SNOW on Friday again.  I know it won't stay, but I'm so tired of winter.  I'm ready to wear my sandals everyday to work!  To not have to wear a coat (hate wearing a coat).  And green will be my favorite color for a while.  I love spring when the lawns come back to life and the trees bud out and we have beautiful trees with their full foliage.  A time of re-birth! 

Had a wonderful surprise on Saturday . . . my sister came to visit.  We took in the craft fair at the Grand River Center.  It was a real nice show.  Both of us left with something.  I found something for Charlotte for her birthday.  There was a surprise birthday party for her and her cousins over the weekend in Omaha which I didn't get to but can send her gift along with a few Easter goodies in the mail.  Omaha in a day (coming and going) is just too much travel for this old lady.  I could have gone down Saturday and stayed with Barb, but the party wasn't scheduled until 3:00 p.m. on Sunday and it would have been one late night for me and have to confess I'm not real thrilled about driving a long distance at night.  Will get to spend some time with the whole family on Mother's Day this year.  Have my ticket . . . ready to go and have some fun!

I spent some more time over the weekend working on a couple of projects for a friend.  Her granddaughters are all in dance and she asked me to make up a book for each of them.  She said she always sends flowers, etc., for their recitals, etc., and thought a book for each of them would be a nice memory.  I'll try and take some pictures of them and post later.  It's certainly something that I really enjoy making.  I sent home 2 books with Glee over the weekend.  I found a tutorial on-line on how to make the complete book, cover, binding, pages!  The first couple were a little slow but now it doesn't take me that long.  Have also expanded into some bigger size books.  Maybe if I get my butt in gear I can join a couple of the bigger local craft fairs this fall.  Have lots of ideas now to just tackle them!

My NCAA brackets sure took a beating.  I was doing okay until this weekend.  I'm out.  I had Iowa State going all the way to the championship game (was kinda hoping that would happen).  They had a great year and have a number of their players coming back for the next season.  Go Clones!!  I think Jim is the only one left with a possible winner in my group.  WTG Jim, now let's see if Florida can survive.

Christmas pictures . . . I have to post some of our pictures from our family fun day.

My beautiful grandchildren - family Christmas party.

 Our traditional family in front of the tree!

 Tristan got a Buzz Lightyear & Jackson helped him get it out of the package!

 Mike got his Mom a bike helmet, Glee added the visor!

 Mike got golf accessories!

 Beth got a housewarming gift from Barb!

 Great picture of Jackson & his new toy!
 Karsten & Ron got LED stocking caps!  Cool!

 Barb got me a new billfold.  Needed that one!
 Mike with two of his very favorite little people in the world!

 Santa's Helpers . . . Mike & Kari.

 The Sass/Foels Clan

 My tree & fireplace in my new home.

 The cousins . . . my how they've grown!

 Ron's special shirt.

 The black cat returned Christmas 2013.

Jackson & Tristan & the tree (someplace).
Oliver introducing Santa to his Mickey!

My son and his wife and children weren't able to make it back to Iowa for Christmas 2013 but Mandy posted some of these pictures on Facebook and I couldn't leave them out of my pictures.  I love the one of Oliver showing Santa his Mickey.  

I started this post with spring and ended with Christmas.  I think I have my seasons mixed up.  Hope you enjoyed the picture show!

Later . . .