Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The "fragrance" lingers on...

Thanks, everyone, for the wonderful birthday wishes, cards, phone calls and gifts. I had a great day, even if most of it was spent at work. It's great to be able to work, to work in a wonderful environment, be surrounded by terrific people, and have a family I love to come home to. I think it will be a great 50th year.

The aroma of my birthday lives on. Yesterday our neighbor brought by the microwave popcorn we had ordered from his boy scout troop. The first batch was such a hit, that we decided to try another. Ooops. The microwave went out (someone was doing laundry, and the washer and microwave are on the same circuit) and someone who was supposed to be watching the microwave as it came back on got a phone call. Result--toasty black popcorn. Stinky black popcorn. I can still smell the odor today, one day later.

But smells I'd rather remember--the baby fresh smell of Josiah who came to visit on my birthday weekend, the aroma of a turkey, pumpkin pie, cherry pie, and mashed potatoes cooking, the smell of my new lotions and my furry wet dog after the rain (okay, maybe not so much the latter).

The Bible says something about Christians being a fragrance that attracts people. Certain fragrances have a lingering effect. Burnt popcorn can be like that, but I'd rather remember pumpkin pie or Bath & Body Works brown sugar lotion. I hope my fragrance is sweet and perfectly seasoned with God's love, not just on my birthday, but the next day and the 363 days after that.

Till next time,



Monday, November 27, 2006

It's my birthday!

Last night we had a nice gathering with Tim's family. We celebrated my birthday (today) and our sister-in-law Dawn's birthday (October). We also drew names for Christmas gifts--something we used to do at Thanksgiving, but lately everyone is going different directions on that holiday.

It was the first time everyone in the Nelson clan was all together in quite awhile. Usually someone is home sick or has some other pressing engagement. It was nice to have everyone here. It was casual--we sent our kids to pick up Papa John's pizza so they could get their 50% off discount. So it was an easy and relatively inexpensive party.

Today I'm working my long day--bet you're surprised to see me blogging! Well, Christina is complaining about not feeling well (she gets bad headaches every once in awhile) so I'm not going to have to get her up and going, and I don't have to be to work till nine. So I'll enjoy a somewhat leisurely morning.

Thanks, Mom, for what you went through for me 49 years ago. And thanks, Mom & Dad for being such a fantastic example and support for me all these years. Thanks sibs & your families for your thoughtfulness in many ways. I'm also grateful for my in-law family and am blessed to live so close to them. Thanks to Tim, Luke, Mark and Christina who give me a reason to keep going every day.

I don't really mind getting older. Each year--each day--is a gift from above. Let's celebrate another day of life!

Till next time,



Friday, November 24, 2006

A day of rest

This marathon week is now drawing to a close. Monday through Wednesday were full days at work. Wednesday night ended up being an all-evening cooking/cleaning time, ending at 1 am after two late night phone calls from the hospital with reports on Uncle Danny's condition (he's anemic and they are trying to find the cause of it). Danny and his step-son were planning to come for Thanksgiving, but Danny ended up being in the hospital all day. We are hopeful that he will be able to come home soon.

Tim's cousin Terry & Colette stopped by with their little baby Josiah. Isn't he cute? He is already seven months old, but it was the first time we got to see him. He is a doll and a very well-behaved baby. Too soon he left to visit his grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins.

Friends Katie and Tom from church joined us for the Thanksgiving meal, and we ended up having about 9 people in the evening come together for Balderdash (the dictionary game). I kinda pooped out by evening, and our dinner guests left around nine. Today, however, I have been lazy most of the day. This morning I did get up early for a lab appointment (fasting) and also took Raven to the vet for his regular cleaning out visit (I won't go into details). Then home and nap, nap, nap.

I am thankful for so many things. Today I am thankful for rest and a comfortable home to crash in. I'm thankful for two days off work that are considered vacation time. I'm thankful for my family, for enough food to eat, and for my faith and my relationship with Jesus Christ.

Blessings overflow! Happy post-Thanksgiving!

Till next time,



Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I got my car back!

At long last, my car is back in my garage. I took it for a test spin to the grocery store, and it handled the turkey and fixin's just fine.

They detailed it and it looks and smells so nice. I am very pleased.

It took less than two weeks (even though it was only supposed to take one). Oh well. Scottie McGregor the Highlander and Suzi are reunited.

This is just one of many things I am thankful for.

Till next time,



Sunday, November 19, 2006

25 years sure goes fast

Here is the Kim/Soeun family at the home of Paul & Mary Johnson (pictured in the back left). The Johnsons threw a little party for the family to celebrate 25 years in the United States. They had escaped with their lives and two little girls back in the late 70s during the Killing Field days of Cambodia. They settled for a time in Thailand, where their third daughter was born. In time, our church found out about them, and they traveled to the Minneapolis area in October of 1981.

I didn't live in the Twin Cities yet, but Tim worked with Ken, the dad, on his English and helped him look for work. When I moved up to Minnesota in 1982, I started spending time on Monday evenings with Koliyan, the oldest girl, helping with homework and other things.

One of my favorite memories of this family was eating the fantastic egg rolls that Yan, the mom, fixed. Mmmm mmmm. I was not disappointed when we arrived at the party. I remember that once we had asked her if she could make two dozen of them for an event we were hosting. She hesitated a little bit, thinking we said, not "two dozen" but "two thousand"! I think I ate half a dozen of the delicacies last night!

It's so amazing to see the hand of God on this family and how the people who came to the party had been touched by them as well as helped them as they found their way in a new country. I couldn't believe the older girls remembered my frog collection--it was one of the first things they asked me about.

It was fun seeing others from our former church, too--some came without spouses who have gone to be with the Lord, but we all had great memories. Sweet times with sweet friends. I hope it doesn't take another 25 years for our next reunion!

Till next time,



Friday, November 17, 2006

I am still here...

Still living, breathing, and surviving here on planet Earth. Getting lots of exercise running between the college and the seminary (up stairs and down stairs over a hill). Haven't lost any weight, though. I attribute this to the fact that muscle weighs more than fat.

Kids are still happy and working at Papa John's Pizza. I am tired and happy and still waiting to get my car back. Tomorrow I should get a loaner. Car should be ready on Monday, which of course if my long day at work, so I won't get it back till Tuesday or Wednesday unless Tim can get it for me, but of course I'll have the loaner car and I don't think I can get my car without returning the loaner. Ay caramba.

More soon...

Till next time,



Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A tale of two jobs

It's great working two jobs on one campus. I have a lot of variety--learning data entry and the workings of the seminary registrar office in one place, and serving college students and faculty in the other.

The only frustration has been e-mail.

IT has been very patient with me, and part of the problem is that I've saved lots of e-mail, so when I have trouble getting up my old e-mail at one computer, it might take a long time to get it back up.

As soon as I get a minute, I'm going to delete a lot of old e-mail. Then I won't be so embarrassed when it takes several minutes for IT to help me open it and wait for all of it to download.

It's probably a lesson for all of life--don't hang on to too much stuff. It only has a way of strangling you in the end, and besides that, if anybody looks in your inbox or your closet, you might be embarrassed.

I think it's time to delete some things around here. Or better yet, forward them to others who could perhaps make use of them.

Till next time,



Monday, November 13, 2006

The good, long day

My alarm went off at 5:30, but I didn't get up till six. Raven and I walked in the semi-darkness, but it's still not too cold out, so I can't complain a lot. Tim and Mark got up and out the door to do drywall, Christina's bus arrived on time, right at our door, and I packed a lunch and supper for myself (Tim a lunch too).

I was happy to be starting the day at Anthropology/Sociology. I dropped off my HR information about retirement benefits. I ran up to IT to give them a print out of printer woes. (How come a printer can print out what's wrong with it but can't print out what you want it to?)

I got a little more settled in at my job at the Seminary. I did several data entries, worked on setting up new voice mail and getting my password to the data system on my computer.

I left a little after 8 pm, after spending almost 12 hours on campus. When I got home, I had forgotten Tim had book club tonight. Now he's home and happy at his computer.

The best news of all is that I should have my car back on Thursday. The damages won't be too hard to fix, so I don't think we'll bother getting a loaner car. I'll be so happy to have Scotty McGregor, the Highlander, back!

Till next time,



Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Secret Life of Bees

Sorry I haven't blogged in a couple of days--I've been busy reading The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd for our book club. I finished it--it's a very good read. Set in 1964 in South Carolina, the background is the Civil Rights movement and how it affects a white girl in the changes she goes through.

Still waiting to hear about the car--insurance took all my information so hopefully work will start soon, and possibly we can get a loaner car.

This week will be busy with tomorrow being a long day--working my first evening shift with the SemPM students. More later...

Till next time,



Thursday, November 09, 2006

Dentists, Dents and Deja Vu or Fun Times on My Day Off

Before I begin my little tale I would like everyone to know I am fine, physically and probably emotionally too.

The day began well. I didn't have to work today, and my dentist appointment wasn't till 10, so I lazed about a bit. Tim drove Christina to school, and after that he had a good meeting with the pastor of the Mennonite church, which leases space to our church. The pastor used to work at a position at Bethel that Tim is interested in.

Raven and I enjoyed our morning walk, and when I got home I took a leisurely shower and got ready to go to the dentist. I got right in, had my x-rays, and was pronounced "good." I was feeling a bit smug--they didn't complain about my gums or flossing, and I commented to them on how much better my life was than the last time I was in the office, after I had just lost my job. Now, I said rather proudly, I am working two jobs at Bethel and life is fine. My teeth are good and I am happy. My dentist, who has really become rather a friend, said he didn't remember my doom and gloom six months ago. He said that sometimes when people come to the dentist and get bad news, it becomes the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back. Tears come, and sometimes even anger at good ole Dr. Westman, for no fault of his own. I was happy to say that most of the time, I enjoy my dentist visits.

Later in the day, I recalled a time almost 6 years ago. I was on my way to a dentist appointment then in our old van, just entering the intersection after the light turned green, when someone plowed into me. Our van was totaled, I hit my head slightly, but was not really hurt. After weeks of looking and dealing with insurance, we got a replacement van, almost exactly like the old one, with less miles, and with insurance money.

Fast forward to today. I chatted with my mom for awhile around noon, and then decided I should go deposit the check that had finally arrived for Tim. I was feeling happy, in spite of all the road construction going on in Robbinsdale. I went down a couple of detour streets to get to the bank.

I pulled into the bank parking lot, and headed to the bend before getting to the drive-through. All of a sudden, I felt an impact and a strange icky sound. Someone had hit me. It was sort of a side swipe, but they took out the bumper underneath the driver's side headlight and smashed it into the front left wheel of the car, just bad enough so I couldn't drive it.

I called my insurance company, my husband, and the police. I couldn't get out my door until the other vehicle backed up a bit, it had me wedged in, although there was no damage to my door.

Long story short, the other driver didn't have her license or insurance information. I had to have my car towed. It was a rather nice day weather-wise, so I opted to walk home, after I went inside the bank to deposit the check.

I spent most of the afternoon on the phone with insurance people, auto body repair people, etc. It might be possible to get a loaner car. If it turns out the person doesn't have insurance, we may have to pay a small deductible, and then of course wait to get the car fixed.

I should have more answers tomorrow. I've gone the gamut of emotions, from calm and practical to upset, teary and frustrated.

I'm just glad no one was hurt. That is, except for Scotty McGregor, our Toyota Highlander. Hopefully Mr. Auto Body Fix-It Man will make Scotty good as new.

For now, I'm also grateful I can drive the Tundra. I'm also grateful Christina doesn't have her license yet. That's one less worry to contend with.

Till next time,



Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The new job

The path to the seminary

The college campus is noisy. Kids are skateboarding, talking on cell phones, hurrying, always hurrying, inside and outside the building. (The skateboarding is done outside. I did, however, see someone on one of those segway thingies.)

The seminary campus, on the other hand, is serene. There is no scurrying, only deliberate walking. The whole seminary building can be toured in five minutes or less--the college would take hours to walk down every hallway and stairway.

When I was a college student at Bethel, I used to come over to the seminary to study. Perhaps things have changed, but back then the library was a place to congregate. It was hard to concentrate on any homework. The sem library, however, was a haven. It was a pleasant walk on the lakeside path from the college to the seminary.

Today I walked from my new job to my old job, going down the path past the lake, seeing the Canadian (Canada?) geese and marveling at the 60 degree plus temperatures on Nov. 8. I left the solitude of the seminary for the bustle of the college.

I enjoy both. The interaction with young students and a contemplative atmosphere.

On Monday I will get to meet seminary students. Most of them work full-time and attend two classes on Monday evenings from 5:30-10 (with a break between 7:30 and 8). It will be fun to see if they are as serene as I imagine them to be.

Till next time,



Monday, November 06, 2006

Tomorrow, new job!

Tomorrow I start my new part-time job at Bethel. I'll just be there a few hours to get acclimated a bit, then I can spend the rest of the day getting ready to vote. :)

Tonight was my last night at BSF. Unfortunately, my discussion leader was sick, so I wasn't able to say good-bye to her in person. I'm hoping to transfer to another class on Thursday, which I think will be my day off.

Christina had her first "full" night of work tonight. She isn't quite as enthusiastic as she was when she was first hired, but she's glad for the work and the hope of a paycheck. Real life, baby.

Don't forget to vote tomorrow, and research your candidates. Lots of sample ballots are available online. Or maybe you've memorized the TV/radio/billboard/phone commercials telling you who to vote for.

It will be nice to have some quiet after the election.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

Small town on a Saturday

It was a beautiful day today, so Tim and I took a drive south. To St. James, MN. We drove around the little town 2 hours from Robbinsdale and dropped off an application for a position at the library there. It's a long shot, but if Tim were to get offered the position, it wouldn't mean a move. Mostly, it was a good experience for him to fill out an application and for us to see what's available in small town Minnesota should the opportunity for him to work there ever arise.

Meanwhile, I'm very happy to be working more at Bethel. Christina went to work today, but was just there a short time to fill out paper work. Turns out the boss had an unexpectedly busy schedule, so she didn't have time to train her in. Her next day at work will be Monday afternoon.

It was 57 degrees in St. James today--a beautiful sunny drive. We had dinner at Grizzly's in Mankato and listened to Prairie Home Companion, podcasts, and Rich Mullins tunes on the way back.

Christina came home with 5 friends at 10:30 pm. They will be shipping out soon, or I will be one crabby mama. Not a nice way to end a perfect day, but I think the teens will cooperate.

Tomorrow is supposed to be nice too. I suppose I should stay home and rake (after church, of course...)

Till next time,



Friday, November 03, 2006

The phone call

After going through eight or so interviews this summer and being disappointed seven or so times, I have learned not to get my hopes too high for job offers. I try to be optimistic and confident, but steel myself for a "no" answer.

This morning I got a call from HR (human resources) at Bethel. It was to my desk phone in Anthro-Soc, so it wasn't as scary as getting a call at home, for some reason.

"We'd like to offer you the job as Registration Coordinator at the Seminary."

Woo hoo! I said yes, and I start on Tuesday. The only sad part is that I'll have to give up my Monday night BSF study, because the Sem PM students that I'll be working with come on Monday nights, and I'll be the representative to meet them.

To be interviewed on Wednesday, offered the job on Friday, and start the following Tuesday, whew! I am thrilled to be spending even more time on Bethel's campus.

Christina starts her new job tomorrow. We are both flyin' high!

Till next time,



Thursday, November 02, 2006

The pizza family

Drywall work has been a little slow lately, so Tim suggested that Mark look for some other work till things pick up again. So, he picked up an application at Papa John's, where his brother Luke works. On Saturday he dropped off his application, and had an interview at 1 pm. He called us at 2:15, saying that he was working!

Sunday evening, Christina and her friend Pete ordered a pizza at Papa John's. Luke delivers it to our house. He said the woman (his boss) who took the order was impressed by the female caller's presence over the phone. Luke said it must have been his mom (thanks, Luke!) but it was his sister! Armed with the knowledge of her brothers' positions at the restaurant and the news of her status with the boss, Christina fills out an application after school on Tuesday (after, of course, we go shopping at Target for interview clothes which include the standard Papa John khaki pants).

Christina's friend Emily and I wait in the parking lot for Christina to finish filling out the application. We can see her sitting at a table by the window. Suddenly, she has disappeared. Luke and Mark both happen to be working. Mark leaves as soon as we arrive to deliver pizzas. Luke comes out a bit later, telling us that Christina is being interviewed.

Emily and I wait a bit longer. Christina emerges a few minutes later, smile on her face. She begins her first job as in-store help on Saturday! Her new boss seems very excited to have another Nelson on board.

I had a job interview yesterday for another part-time position at Bethel, to bring me closer to full-time status there. It sounds like they will make a decision by tomorrow.

Now, we just need finish Tim's latest job application...

Till next time,


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