Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Little (but Big) Trip!

Who knew that Peoria, Illinois could be just a fabulous destination?  All I knew was that my sister had special plans for me there as we had an early celebration for my big six-oh. We headed out on a gray, snowy day last week. This was the hotel we stayed in and it was a gem!

                                      Seriously, a gem! 

 Once we settled in, I was drawn into my comfy bed.  While there, I was showered
with themed gifts of KEEP CALM YOU'RE ONLY SIXTY. Do you know how much fun it is to be in bed with a box of gifts, a glittering crown and a pink feather boa?
 Take my word: it's fun!

Keeping the crown on, but removing the boa for the sake of modesty (ha!) we headed out to the nearby Civic Center for a DANCING WITH THE STARS touring performance.  The MC was Alfonso. as in Carlton from Fresh Prince and the past season winner.  Mark, Val, Sasha and Keo were the guys in the lineup and Witney, Emma, and Kym the girls. (Missed you, Derek!). There were other talented backup dancers as well.

It was quite a show!! Sadly, the sparkle from my crown in the top balcony didn't catch the eyes of the performers and I received no invitation to join them on the stage.
Nor did we see them out and about in the lobby.  But I did manage to get in step with the dancers in my own way:

It isn't easy to face a new decade with this number that ends in zero.
But when I reflect back on the past decade with its challenges of becoming empty nesters, its joys of seeing our kids marry and become parents themselves, handling the deaths of three of our parents
and being able to travel to Turkey, Hawaii and Peoria, Illinois, it is certain to keep me on my toes!

Dare I say, "Bring it on! We've got some dancing to do!"

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The AGP Experience

With Miss E turning five years of age, there came a promise: we would take her to choose an
American Girl doll (her choice of which one) at the Place (should be named Palace instead of Place in my opinion).  Part of the whole experience included lunch out beforehand
 and transportation via train.

And her sparkly, sequined headband was also part of the experience.  This girl loves her sparkle!

Once we arrived, she checked all the American Girls out. Her decision had been made and she was sticking to it!  She chose CAROLINE.  Some thought she might choose Kit because they have the same haircut.  I was sort of hoping for Julie because she's from the decade of my awakening self.   (Groovy, man. Far out!!)  I suspect she likes Caroline mostly because of her long, curling tresses, pink dress and exaggerated "girly" qualities. Her story of being the only child of a shipbuilder who lives near Lake Ontario (1812) with the dream of one day having her own ship is
 probably less of a draw.

However, beyond her lovely blonde locks, Caroline has heroic tendencies as she sets 
out to save her father as his ship is captured.
The theme of "bravery, family and making wise decisions" is not too shabby, either.  I suspect Miss E relates more to the pretty ice skating outfit presently, though.

No visit to AGP is complete without going to see the doll hospital, hair salon, candy shop 
and all the other ways to spend more money upstairs.  We opted out of activites going on in
 the dining room.  This time, anyway.

After checking the whole Place/Palace out, Miss E announced
 it was time to go and get her Girl.

                             It was love!!!!

It was also a little tricky because she wanted to have a closer look once Caroline was out of the box.
With a slushy, cold Michigan Avenue and a train full of people something bad could have happened to her new best friend.  We had Plan B:  they could meet each other in the comfort of Water Tower mall!

We found a cozy little nook with a table and chairs and sat back to watch as girl and doll
 started their special friendship.

First they sat together, then Miss E got up and started a twirling dance.

Both of us agreed that seeing this pure joy and love was worth every penny we paid in this coming-of-age milestone in our Grand-daughters life. Ah, how uncomplicated life is when you are five!

Happy Birthday, Miss E!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Updating the Original

Dealing with a truck full of items from the clearing of Elder and Muriel's apartment in Minnesota
has had its challenges and surprises! We ended up with the transported goods in our garage at home...
a garage that needs to be emptied so that the car has a relief from all the winter elements.

Bit by bit we have tackled boxes of papers (Wes), boxes of keepsakes, inherited boxes, boxes of books...a LOT of boxes.  Add pieces of furniture in the mix of stuff and you have even more to squeeze into our home that was pretty much filled to capacity before this! 
 We should be simplifying instead of adding more.

I am, however, happy to report that my car is now nestled safely in the garage again.

And now let's talk about the inherited "beast" which I didn't manage to photograph before it's transformation.  Elder made this large, dark cabinet with shelves on the top to house his wood carvings collection. Not only did he make it himself, he used wood planks from his parents family cabin in Beechwood, Michigan.  Quite a lot of time and history put into this project!  But not one of the four Lindahl siblings wanted this piece and it was left in the Go-to-Goodwill staging area in the apartment.. It didn't seem quite right and when we had a bit of extra room in the truck, in it went.  Stuck with it, like it or not!

In one of the boxes I found a book, SUPERBLY SWEDISH - RECIPES AND TRADITIONS edited by Martha Wiberg Thompson with the inspiration for the "beast" transformation! The photo above shows the Varmland Room at the American Swedish Institute in Mpls., MN.  See the cabinet on the right?  It's white.  Though the bottom cabinet is not there, it looks like it could have inspired Elder's work in the first place. Here's what the bottom of his cabinet looks like after some white paint (and sanding) and before another coat of paint.

The upper part of the cabinet has the same curvy ends as the cabinet in the Varmland picture. We have the spot in our family room to put this cabinet and I hope to use it as a buffet serving area. With the transformation, the beast has been tamed!

And, thanks, Carol for your co-painting!  
We cleaned up fairly well, but our bodies are whining now.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Sister Ornaments

Before we get too far away from the past Christmas season, I wanted you to get a look at 
the Sister ornaments for 2014...they make me smile. Every year my sister and I make an ornament for each other and this tradition goes decades back.  We added a bit of a twist recently - we get the same base and "foof" it up.  When we were in Myrtle Beach, we bought little white starfish together.  They are about 3.5 inches in height and width. Then for the new few months we thought and planned out our projects.

And, yes, we exchanged our gifts for Christmas in theme once again! For Diann I chose Gifts From The Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. With books, lantern and candle nestled in sand, and calming quotations that I hope will bring memories of our peaceful time by the ocean as she has her own private, personal challenges.  From her, my gifts all related to DoobeeDo - the name of my embarking project. Little bees were part of many presents: on knee socks, salt and pepper shakers, Burt's Bees products (love those!), a mug with tea bags,etc.  We each thoroughly enjoyed being the givers and receivers!

However, the poignant part was opening our ornament packages.  It was so obvious which sister made which ornament...one was graceful, elegant and quietly refined. The other was out-of-the-box,
whimsical and colorful. Care to guess who made each one?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Pausing the Blog and the 2015 Word.

Hard to believe that it has been months since updating this blog that I started in 2006.  Thank you, loyal readers, for asking if it was ever to come back and giving me a bit of a nudge in that direction.
Since the hiatus in August, there's been a mixture of joy and sorrow in life: birthday celebrations of two Grands, a trip of a lifetime with my sister, a loved one facing cancer, another one facing an intense challenge in his life, a meeting with my brother whom I hadn't seen for a long time, happy family announcements, the embarking of a Bucket List dream, and the death of my beloved Father-in-law, Elder, which put a whole different spin on the holidays. Mildly stated, I've been a bit on the drained side lately.

But life goes on and forward!  Due to the Facebook phenomena, it has been a nudge from my Roxbury High School classmates that is propelling me to go back to blogging...a New Year's greeting went out (thanks, Pam S.) about all of us turning the big 6 - 0 this year.  Classmates are embracing this in all kinds of ways: moving to a new place, retiring, posting beach pictures, getting senior discounts, joking about old "farthood," not taking any of the number seriously, and so on.
Thanks, guys, you have brought on the RESOLUTION WORDS of 2015.