Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Exciting news!!

Last Saturday night while our family was wrapping up a great 4 day fishing trip we had a little "sharing time" for everyone (33 of us) to tell each other what was happening in our lives and count our blessings.  Well, Ben surprised us all and got down on bended knee with a ring box in his hand and asked Brita to marry him!  Wow!  To share that moment with all of us was so thoughtful.  So here you see the happy couple who have not stopped smiling, and the beautiful diamond gracing Brita's finger.  We are thrilled to welcome Ben into our family and look forward to their decisions about when and where they want to have their wedding.  Living in San Francisco with family and friends in many states and around the world does make for some interesting thoughts about what to do.  Right now we are waiting for my parents as they drive here from Iowa for a visit, they don't know the news yet so they will get the surprise tonight! Ben met many of the Hansens on our fishing trip, it was his first time to witness that big gang and they loved having both of them.  We all hauled in several fish during our 3 days on Lake Winnibigoshish, 3 fishfry meals for everyone plus some to freeze and take home for those who weren't off to the airport.  Don't think the ziplock bags of walleye fillets would pass through security very well!  We had 4 generations at the reunion with 6-wk-old Kyle the youngest in attendance.  He is held by his dad, Mike, while Olivia and Dan give fishing advice.  For a rookie fisherman, Ben did manage to haul in one of the biggest walleye!  I am loving the fact that we have our kids home together for a few days, however brief it may be.  Dan has been a big help teaching me things about my new MacBook.  It is way cool!  Will update you on developments!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Here's to our dedicated father and husband!  One of Bob's favorite things to do is grilling, and using the rotisserie that was his gift last year.  Here you see 2 whole chickens having their temp taken and Bob in some action photos.  Even though it was 80 degrees outside, he has this thing about fire so he burns a little wood and watches sports on the mini TV while the rotisserie spins.  And he does a fine job!  The chicken was yummy and we even have lots of leftovers.  The biggest part of the celebration is having Dan here with us!  He arrived home Thursday, it has been almost a year since he moved out to CA, so we are sure happy to see him.  He and Bob are out on the links with friends Phil and Clayton, hopefully they took along bug spray because the skeeters are nasty.  About this time of year the talk around here moves to what will keep the bugs away, everything from home remedies to good old OFF.  I say give me DEET any day!  On that lovely note I will leave you and retire to my big machine!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

good food, good friends

Trixie's Girls spent another lovely Tuesday evening together at Ursula's Wine Bar in White Bear Lake!  We gather there sporadically for the Rummage Sale Wine Night, plus they always have delicious food.  I highly recommend it!  We were fortunate to be able to use their patio seating until a few stray raindrops drove us indoors.  Our favorite waitress, Sara, can be seen standing attentively nearby--she has some great artwork displayed in the restaurant, too.  I had a delicious roast chicken dinner with potatoes and basil, several of the others had the pork dinner with a little round pasta.  And our wine was tasty and plentiful!  We solved many of the world's problems, but rest assured, there will be plenty more to solve the next time we sit down together!  Most in the group are quilters or somehow connected by Bear Patch Quilting Co., so we get to talk about our favorite fabric stuff, too!  Yesterday morning The Posse pulled it together for blueberry pancakes at Nancy's house and planning for our next boondoggle--bet you can't wait to find out where we are headed to next!  It probably won't be to the extent of last summer's tour of Maine and Vermont, but we will surely find some other fun new places to help revitalize the economy!  Better start saving my pennies!  Delivered the High Rollers quilt to Marilee, which was a fun one to quilt.  I have a new one on the frame and more waiting patiently.  

Monday, June 9, 2008

the clean machine

I know it's not visible from where you are sitting, but this staircase is now sparkling!  This was not on my list of things to do today, but it was an example of what neglectful housekeeping can do to a person.  Now, I don't consider myself to be a pig, and my main mode of cleaning is just to keep things put away, but when I decided to wash down these steps this morning I had no idea that 2 hours later I would finish the job!  It was a case of the more you clean the worse it gets.  It started out quite innocently, just a little water and rag to clean up what looked dusty because I don't sweep the steps often (nearly never).  As I dumped out the bucket of blackened water after I got to the landing, I thought to myself "Self, maybe you should think about wiping down the railings while you are at it."  I should never listen to myself!  Lo and behold, I encountered much dirt and grime that previously had seemed like lovely aging of the wood.  But actually it was nasty dirty stuff that has been ignored for a long time (years).  I think deep in my subconscious I always knew it was there, as I use these stairs several times a day, and logic would say that some trace of dirt would accumulate eventually.  I think there is still a bit of a trace of dirt left on there, but just like an archeological dig, it has to be taken in stages.  I have 409'd the worst of it, and since my arm feels like it needs a sling, I will be fine with waiting to do stage 2!  This is, after all, a day off jobs.  At least the jobs I have to drive to!  I will now go directly to my sewing room/studio/suite and continue with the new patterns I am designing to feature the 2008 Quilt MN fabrics coming soon to a store near you (if you reside in MN).  It is absolutely wonderful outside today, this is the kind of day we live through winter for!  So I will also be spending time on the patio at some point.  Probably need to test how well this new laptop works in the fresh air!  With a frosty beverage in hand!  Always keeping it away from the computer, of course.  I learned my lesson last winter on the dangers of beer-soaked keyboards! Cheers!

Saturday, June 7, 2008


Here's Debbie on our stopover in Denver on the way out to Portland for Quilt Market.  I think she's on the phone to Bob giving some instructions, no doubt!  Debbie and I travel pretty well together and I've figured out why--I don't have to share my coffee because Debbie only drinks tea, I don't have to share my chocolate because Debbie doesn't like it(really weird), and I don't have to talk because Debbie talks enough for both of us!  I'm a much better listener, and Debbie agrees!  The picture to the right shows part of the line of women waiting for the doors to open to Sample Spree, which is held the night before Quilt Market opens.  A lot of the vendors set up a small table (or in the case of fabric companies a big area) and sell bundles of patterns, fabrics, notions, etc., directly to the attendees.  We found some samples of new patterns made up by the designers and bought a few to bring back to the store.  Also pictured above is Debbie with Mary Herrschleib of MH Designs, one of our favorite designers and transport company!  That's her husband hanging out on the left side.  They drove out to OR from Hudson, WI, and graciously hauled a bunch of our purchases home with them so we didn't have to ship.  Thank you!  Even though our industry is largely women, it is great to observe the many husbands (and other guys) who pitch in and help their spouse during an event like this.  It really is a very big undertaking to prepare and man a booth for 3 days, and it's good to see the support for so many small businesswomen.
I should maybe explain a little about why the big gap in my posts.  Partly just overly busy, but partly due to technical difficulties.  Just before our trip, I received a wonderful new Canon Elph digital camera for Mother's Day from Bob and Brita and Dan.  It does a lot and has proven to take some good pictures even by a beginner.  So when we got home it was time to install the camera program on our home computer which proved to be a problem.  Our PC is experiencing "deterioration of the registry", which sounds fatal to me.  And costs to have serviced, so we came to the point of "do we put more money into this PC that is doomed anyway, or do we bite the bullet and buy our MacBook?"  You all have been there, whether it's a computer, a car, or even a house.  So I am writing to you now on our shiny new MacBook!  I've got a lot to learn about this machine, but I have already started getting into some classes/training at the Apple Store and next week we will have Dan here to tutor us.  I think these Mac people are like a cult, they have a need to convert others to their way!