Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It's the Big Five-Oh

Well, the Big Five-Oh has arrived (and I don't mean Hawaii--it's like 4 degrees Farenheit here!). I was able to get out of bed and even drive to work and walk across campus from my car to my office.

We'll see if I make it through the day without breaking anything (bones, I mean). I got a beautiful sweatshirt from Mom and Dad that is keeping me pretty and pretty warm, too! Thanks to my wonderful parents! Without you--I'd really be nowhere (very literally)!

Hope you all have a happy day. Only four weeks till Christmas!!!

Till next time,



Saturday, November 24, 2007

The most amazing day

Wow, where do I begin?

Yesterday morning we woke up in Eagle River after a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner the day before with my sister Cheri and her family. It was her (and her husband Pat) anniversary. They have been married 34 years! Happy anniversary!!! And thank you for such a terrific turkey day--what fun and delicious home cooked food!!!

We stopped by their house for turkey sandwiches and good-bye hugs. Cheri gave me my birthday present early--an incredible purse that looks like a leash till you keep zipping it up to become a purse. I should post pictures. It's really cool.

Yesterday was also my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary Jim & Gladys!

We hit the road a little after 1. We soon realized that Tim had left his coat at Cheri's, so we turned around and picked it up, along with a sweatshirt Christina had left behind.

On the road once again. But more was in store for me that day.

I should have been suspicious when Mark was driving the speed limit (not over). I should have wondered what Christina was jabbering about at 12:01 that morning when I was sleeping but heard her say something about "I didn't know the party was tomorrow night!" I should have wondered why Luke hadn't parked at our house, but that we had to drop him off at home in Brooklyn Park. I should have figured something was up when Beckie called saying she was sick and could we please pick her up from work and take her home, even though it would be over an hour before we could be there and she seemed just fine with that.

I should have known something was amiss when Tim went inside Luke's house for several minutes (where he was placing a phone call). It should have tipped me off when we arrived to "pick up Beckie" and Mark and Christina both jumped out with me to get our "sick" friend.

When I saw Tom from church at the top of the stairs, I should have put two and two together. When I saw family and friends gathered in a large room and Beckie over in a corner bustling around, I should have known that something had been in the works. I wondered why my boss from Bethel was sitting among people he had never met...

Then someone yelled "Surprise!" and I finally figured it out! This was a birthday party--for me!

Tim had been covertly sending out invitations with terrible pictures (and some nice ones) of me. He had invited my friends to meet at a place where a friend of ours operates a catering business, also the place our friends Dale and Beckie work. Friends were to RSVP Beckie, and Dale and Beckie did all the set-up and the food. Tim worked hard to time our arrival between 6 and 7 pm, after we had driven across northern Wisconsin all day.

I was wearing a sweatshirt and the same jeans I'd had on for three days. Everyone was commenting about the "funny" picture on the front of the invitation Tim had sent. They were saying "Oh, Suzi I laughed so hard, but you're gonna kill Tim if you ever see that." Finally my friend Judy produced the offending "brochure," and I have to say I laughed pretty hard too. On the cover was me with a very frowny face, because in January of this year I received an AARP card. I was sitting in a chair, wearing my old glasses, and holding the card with a large pout on my mug.

But it was wonderful being treated like a queen, eating great food, and spending time with old and new friends. I toasted my in-laws a couple of times (the glass clanging thing you do at weddings) since they were there to celebrate my birthday when it was actually the date of their 50th anniversary. I tell you, I don't know if I want to be at my future daughter-in-laws birthday party (whoever that may be) when Tim and I celebrate our 50th. But I suppose I'll just be glad if I can walk out the door! (And my in-laws are walking and doing quite well!)

We did a lot of catching up, telling funny stories, and eating last night. We didn't leave till around 10:30, then took Dale and Beckie home and picked up Raven from their place, where they were dog sitting while we were out of town at my sister's.

Raven was happy to see us, and peed in their yard as soon as we got him outside. He jumped right in the car, then we found out we had Dale's jacket, so we turned around to return it. On the way home, Raven made a funny noise and I noticed that he had puked on the car seat.

We finally got home after 11, and I got Raven inside and cleaned up the mess, and we proceeded to unpack. I was going to watch The Office that I thought I had taped on Thursday, but I had forgotten to Tivo it. So I headed to my computer and Facebook (my new time waster).

Whew! It's good to be home, great to see family and friends, and wonderful to have so many blessings to be thankful for. I am really thankful for a great (and a bit crazy) husband who did so much work to pull off such a great evening for me.

Love you honey! Can't wait till it's my actual birthday on Tuesday--what will we do after my book club!!!

Till next time,


PS In addition to all of this, Tim has now blogged!


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Amish Friendship Bread

This weekend has been fun. Tim and I enjoyed a quiet evening at home Friday, starting up our Facebook pages and competing to see who could get the most friends. Saturday, I made some friendship bread in the morning and we went to a wedding in the afternoon.

First: the Amish friendship bread story. A couple of weeks ago or so, a co-worker gave me some starter batter for Amish Friendship Bread. For those who may not know, when you receive this wonderful gift, you are nevertheless obligated to give said gift to four other people after tending and baking your own gift. First, you receive batter in a ziploc bag. Each day for about a week you are responsible for mushing the bag's ingredients, and periodically letting air out of the bag. (It's contents are slightly fermented.) One day, you add ingredients to the bag and continue mushing for a few more days. Finally, you take the contents of the bag, divide portions of it in four other bags (for your "gifted" friends) and then add ingredients to the batter and bake up two loaves.

Well, I was wondering what to do with my extra batter--what friends to gift with it. I was also concerned about what to do with the batter I might still have while I traveled to Wisconsin to visit my sister for Thanksgiving. Maybe she would have four friends who would like Amish Friendship Bread Starter Batter?

Then, it happened. I got home from work a couple days ago, and saw a mess on the floor, which came from a mess on the counter and down the sides of the cabinets. My dog was in the corner licking it up.

My Amish Friendship Bread Starter Batter had exploded all over my kitchen.

Fortunately, Raven didn't seem to be sick after that. I rescued a small amount of batter and cleaned up the rest with my helpful dog at my side.

I added some ingredients and waited till the next day.

Then, I added more ingredients and baked up two loaves of Amish Friendship Bread. They are delicious.

Now I have no batter left, but no worries about who might have to worry about their own batter.

I tell you, sharing is a great thing, but it comes with weighty responsibilities.

Now I don't really have time to tell you about the wedding. I'll save it for the next blog.

Till next time,



Sunday, November 11, 2007

Weekend's over

Well, it's Sunday evening and I can't believe the weekend is already over! I took off on Friday to get ready for my nephew's wife's (Kristi) arrival with six teenage girls in tow for the Revolve tour at the Target center this weekend. I worked on the house all day long, cleaning carpets, moving boxes out of the family room, doing laundry (towels and bedding mostly).

The girls arrived about 4:55 pm. Christina had ordered pizza from Papa John's, where Luke was working. She went to pick up the pizzas and got her brother's discount. I had some pop ready with plates and napkins and some grapes.

Before I knew it, the girls were on their way out and the house was quiet again. I baked some chocolate chip bars which the girls enjoyed when they got back about 10:30. By 11:30 the house was quiet again.

In the morning, I had donuts and cereal out, with grapes and sliced oranges. The girls were very gracious and polite--always a thank you or a thank you so much. By 8:30 they were loading up their gear in the van and on their way back to the conference and home after that.

Quite the whirlwind--but I think they had fun.

I spent the rest of the day resting up--I guess I'm not 30 anymore. My bones and muscles ached from running the Oreck carpet cleaner vacuum and from dragging boxes filled with books into Luke's old bedroom closet.

Today I've been baking--banana bread and more chocolate chip bars. Mark stopped by to rake leaves. I finished reading "Kite Runner" for book club-- a very moving, sad, emotional, incredible story about Afghanistan before and after the Taliban. Powerful.

Tomorrow is back to work, so I think I'll turn in early tonight. Monday is my long day.

Till next time,



Saturday, November 03, 2007

The God of Beauty

As I was driving to work yesterday, I thought about how dark it is so late in the day. When Raven and I walk at 6:30, it seems like the middle of the night.

Every day I drive east to work in the morning, and west to home in the evening.

I heard someone on the radio say that November is such a dreary month, when all the leaves are fallen and the ground is frozen but not yet covered with a wintry blanket of white.

But as I drove east on 694, I observed the most amazing sunrise. The sky was clear at the horizon, but a layer of clouds hovered not far above. The clouds were rosy in the dawn colors of red, pink and orange.

I thought to myself (or God put in my head, however you want to look at it), "God is way bigger and more powerful and beautiful than any of my little problems. Today is a day he has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."

As I took the right exit to Bethel, those continuing on the freeway seemed to drive right into the beautiful orange orb that was peeking up to awaken the day.

Now, don't forget to turn your clocks back tonight. Or, if you do, be sure to get up to look at the sunrise. Or, perhaps better still, enjoy the early sunset tomorrow night.

Till next time,


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