Friday, September 10, 2010

Locked Doors

I do not know how many times we have locked keys inside a car with no keys outside the car to
- you know- open the doors.

There have been many opportunities for love and patience to grow in this exact area. I'm thinking about the time we were renting a vehicle and someone closed the doors, not realizing this car had an automatic lock.

Or this scene: I'm peacefully cleaning the house or cooking supper or any number of household tasks. The phone rings. Ellis is calling to ask if I could bring the second set of keys and meet him in some parking lot in Timbuktu. Total silence as I let the dreaded words soak in to my

"You mean I have to stop everything and pile in the second vehicle and go where?"

We finally hit upon the brilliant idea of never locking the car for any reason. If someone wants to steal this car they are welcome to it. and we do pity them . . . they have just taken on a challenge and a problem since everything in this yard has more than 100,000 miles on it . . .

We haven't had any more trouble since we came upon this wonderful plan.

[It's just about as bad to hear, "I ran out of gas. Can you grab a gas can out of the garage and bring it?" This has happened so many times we now have a garage full and overflowing with gas cans. Usually we don't have one of those beautiful red plastic containers with the bright yellow spout anywhere near us and we have to go buy a new one and fill it. If it didn't smell so ghastly I really think a container for gas should be a required piece of equipment in the vehicle.]

Yesterday I got done driving bus. Jeremy said there was a call from Deanne. She went to the library and took the keys out of the ignition and locked the car. (Her camera was in the car.) The problem is that we don't have a key to open the doors.

strange -- I know.

I drove to Austin to pick her up. Left the car in the library parking lot and hoped they wouldn't tow it away. Wait -- they do that in Chicago. We are safe and sound in MN. We went back to Blooming to pick up Jeremy. Drove home and got ready for church. Jeremy, Deanne and Josh decided to go back in and get the car.

As they were poking around with hangers a guy offered to help then suddenly abandoned them and ran for the library because he saw a police car approaching. The police radioed in the
license # -- saw Deanne was there to match the information (it's registered in her name) and offered his expert assistance. A job is so much easier with the right tools!

I am thrilled to say I must be growing up because I did not even get mad or give anyone the silent treatment or anything of that nature. God is so good. I'm glad He's still working on me.
All the glory goes to Him.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Library

Krysta and I went to Barb's celebration party on Friday, August 27th. Celebrating twenty-four years as librarian in Blooming Prairie. Now she is retiring and will finally get a chance to read all those books that have been on the back burner for so long.

We each got a cookie with punch for Krysta; coffee for me. We looked around the room to see if we knew anyone else. There was room to sit at one of the tables. I recognized some of the people but wasn't sure of names to go with faces. Started chatting with one lady who is the wife of one of the school bus drivers. She also is part of a book reading club. We started talking about some of the books the club has read.

Every so often a book title is posted on the door of the library. The date for discussing it is posted. Anyone is welcome. You just ask at the desk for a copy of the book, read it and come prepared to say what you liked about it -- or didn't like -- as the case may be. The first time I ever took any notice of this was a couple years ago when Mrs. Mike was the book being read and discussed. If there is a book I practically know by heart it is Mrs. Mike.

It was interesting to read it again with the idea of discussing it with perfect strangers. I couldn't believe all the funny phrases and twists of words. It was just as captivating as the other twenty times I've read it. Oh -- by the way! Did I tell you I reread books? You might have gotten that picture by now.

Well, there we were on Friday at Barb's party eating cookies and drinking coffee. I couldn't remember her first name and she couldn't remember my first name. She told me about one of the last books their club read. It took place during WWII and told about the survivors of some of the concentration camps. She said it was just too awful. She couldn't bring herself to read it. She knows in her head that all those dreadful things happened but she can't make herself read it.

I asked if she has ever heard of Corrie ten Boom and any of her books.

No . . .

Anne Frank: the Diary of a Young Girl?

. . . no, none of those rang a bell.

We shook our heads and clicked our tongues and agreed that these are really sad books to read about horrible horrible times. I told her if she ever comes to the place where she thinks she can start to read about that time in history I would recommend Corrie ten Boom's story told in The Hiding Place. Gave her just a brief introduction to Corrie and how she escaped from prison and went around the world after that and shared her story of hope. It was a sad time in prison but Jesus was with her. Because of Jesus she could share hope with so many people.

She told me about the book the club is reading right now. We exchanged names and she wrote down Corrie's name and the name of her book. I promptly went over to the library and checked out the book A Year In Provence by Peter Mayle.

Went home and started reading and even though I have a thousand other things I should be doing I finished it before the week end was over. It takes place in France. This couple bought a property in Provence and it tells about their adventures renovating the house. There was only one or at the most two bad words. That part was refreshing. Naturally, they drank wine like we drink kool-aid or pop. That part of it gets a little tiresome. Anyway, I got a crash course of life in France.

Some of the food . . . some of the restaurants . . . the language, some of the customs and -- of course -- when one is living in a house at the same time it is being renovated . . . . one begins to look at life from the perspective of the carpenters.

If they got up early enough they could have breakfast undisturbed by noise or people. If they waited too long -- anything could happen. One morning they were trying to eat and talk above the noise of -- something. can't remember just what it was now. Peter saw his wife's lips moving but couldn't hear a thing. She finally wrote him a note. "Drink your coffee before it gets dirty."

This is the kind of book I am reading and laughing over and Ellis says, "Okay, what's so funny? Share the joke." And then I get to read the funny part out loud. My absolute favorite thing to do . . . .

Maybe I can be a librarian when I grow up.

-- and here I will note that there are many different books and many different views on what books we should read and what we shouldn't read. If you have decided to read only books published by CLP or Rod and Staff or Pathway or other Mennonite publishers you will not want to read many of the books I've discussed in this blog. We most likely don't agree but I am always open for debate or conversation about books.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

continued story -- at last

just a note . . . the first part of this story is back in May 2009

Krysta and I took supper over to the guys at barn #2. The guys were sorting pigs - getting ready to load them the next morning at some unearthly hour. They worked up quite a sweat inside their navy blue coveralls and rubber boots. Fortunately the curtains were down and the breeze could blow in on all sides. Who would ever have dreamed of all the changes in hog units over the last twenty years. Now they have curtains for walls instead of a normal wall. These curtains open and shut depending on the temperature. All with automatic sensors of course. The walls are equipped with bird netting to keep birds from flying inside when the curtain is down.

We had a real tailgate party. While Krysta was walking along the barn screeching at the pigs I threw a table cloth down and arranged our supper. Sloppy jo and buns, pickles and potato chips. Sugar free kool aid to drink. (times have changed!) Ellis used to say he would never drink that sugar free *slop.* Deanne baked some bars for us. Applesauce made from our very own apple trees finished the feast.

By that time Ellis, Jeremy, Evan and Jorgan were ready to eat. As they chowed down we listened to the first spring peepers in the swamp. The leaves on the trees were that wonderful shade of green you find only in spring. A soft breeze carried the scent of black earth. A new moon sailed high in the sky.

I couldn't help thinking of farm families all across this land taking supper to their men, spreading red checked cloths on the ground and eating at the edge of fields. Faintly I remembered another picnic: a family of four girls headed west on a trip to visit relatives in British Colombia.

Mom raised chickens and butchered them. Before we left on our trip she got up early and fried chicken for our lunch. I hate to think of how early. She packed a wide mouth thermos full of hot, fried chicken. When our stomachs started to growl Dad pulled off on a prairie trail. We stood around the car and ate our fill. That was so far beyond any food from a fast food restaurant today.

Or how about the time Trenda and I made huge pizzas and hauled them to Hayfield, the small neighboring town where Jerry and Ellis were building a new house. They wanted to work as late as possible while the sun shone. The pizza was scrumptious.

This past week we met with our church family for a picnic in Rochester.
We had a potato bar. Everyone brought two toppings for potatoes and one topping for ice cream. It was a chance to sit around and relax after a full day of all the things we do to fill our days. Everyone agreed we should do this again -- soon.

Since we are no longer taking care of hog barns #1, #2 and #3 it is easier to do spur of the moment things like drive to Rochester for a picnic or drive to WI for a birthday party. Thanks again for the invitation!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


a quote by -- DONNA ATKINS

If I knew how I would scan a picture of Grandpa and Grandma Skrivseth's wedding picture here and the title:

Ben and Christine Skrivseth
May 22, 1937

They had three boys and six girls. Two of the boys, Arnie and Sid, grew up and married cousins, Leona Martin and Ruth Kauffman. Leona and Ruth are first cousins once removed or something like that.

We used to visit Sid and Ruth. Our two families could easily fit around one looong table. Memories include washing and drying stacks of dishes with Arla and Evie, sitting around in the living room and listening to stories, laughter, piano playing, talking about the latest books we've been reading, playing with the newest addition to the family . . . Arla and Evie had baby brothers and sisters!

Far off in some of my earliest memories -- Dad and I were there for a conference? Leah was with us and I'm not sure who else. I informed everyone that Mom and Ladina couldn't come 'cause Ladina was sick and had to be in the hospital --

On the same occasion stories of bats swooping through attics were told. I was imagining bats getting tangled up in long hair and was scared to go to sleep. Foggy memories . . . did a bat really appear?

Fast forward to the year 2010 . . . Now when Arnie's family and Sid's family get together it takes more than a looong table to seat them. It takes a big room with lots of tables. There are thirty-five people and counting in Arnie's family. Sid and Ruth counted up their family for us last night. They have seventy-one and counting -- if we did the math right.

So far that's counting the boys in Ben and Christina's family. We haven't started on the girls.

Cousins are fun. They are people you can connect with and start talking right where you left off the last time.

Monday, August 2, 2010

50th Wedding Anniversary

Here we go -- for those of you who couldn't be here for Dad and Mom's 50th wedding celebration
We had a lot of fun planning this weekend. We started way last June 2009 at our family reunion with a guest list and jobs assigned to everyone. Ideas and menus, finding a date that suits and on and on . . .

found out there is even the possibility of being too organized and planning too far in advance as in this little episode:

Drove to the Senior Center one day last fall to check if we could reserve the place for next spring. "Oh, you are way too early. I don't even have my calendar for next year. I'll write those two days down for you. Next spring come in and I'll give you the key. you're all set."

This nice gal grew up in Northern Mn. Her dad and mom went to Williams school with the Skrivseth crew. They promptly sent Dad and Mom a beautiful anniversary card. All systems steam ahead.

This spring when I stopped in to check everything out again and pay for the two days she was quite frantic. "I forgot you wanted two days. I only saved Sunday for you and I have someone booked on Saturday afternoon." I took a deep breath and told her not to worry -- we would figure something out. She said, "Have you tried the city center?"

I said, "We did, but they don't rent it for family groups."

Determined look on her face, "They will for me."

We walked over to the city center and the gal behind the desk listened then said, "We don't rent it for family groups. You have to be a business."

Lori looked at me and said, "You just became a business."

Gal behind the desk saw that Lori would not be moved. "You'll have to talk to Mike. I can't rent it to you."

We waited for Mike to appear. Lori introduced me to him and told the whole story. He stroked his chin and said, "I think we can do that for Arnie." Later I told dad he has friends in high places.

So on Saturday, April 24, 2010 we gathered at the City Center in Blooming Prairie. Almost everyone in our family got to be here. How do you pack 50 years into two short open houses?

Ladina put together a lovely power point presentation. lots of old photos saw the light of day. We gathered old photo albums and brought them along so people could browse through them. Trenda made a scrapbook with more recent pictures.

Guests arrived and memories overflowed . . .

There was a time to share stories and memories.

Dave and Leah played guitar and violin and sang:

The Eliezer Call
O get ready, evening shadows fall
Can't you hear the Eliezer Call?
There's going to be a wedding
And our joy will soon begin
In the evening when the camel train comes in.

Dan sang Amazing Grace after someone went online and got the words for him since we had no song books in that place. Dad played a couple songs on the violin. Dawn, Ladina, Trenda and Maria bravely sang two of the old songs from days gone by. It was only by that Amazing Grace that we didn't break down and cry half way through because of all the emotions that float to the surface on a day like this.

Perspective of a nine year old going on ten . . .

Will there be anyone my age?

Looking at it from the eyes of a sixteen year old . . .
Why is the open house soo long?
11:30 - 4:00? That's such a long time!

Maria made decorations for each table. She found old drawers from an ancient sewing machine cabinet. A candle in each and decorative berries twined around the top. Sorry--wish I had a picture. Words are sometimes inadequate. The candles were cream and burgundy.

Carol brought a beautiful bouquet of flowers.


There were lots of salads to choose from. Including the world famous potato salad made by my friend, Viv. All the makings for sub sandwiches on bread or dinner rolls. There was punch and coffee. cake and ice cream

All together a day filled with fun and laughter. We missed all of you who couldn't be there.
At the last when everyone was gone we cleaned everything and hauled our stuff one block over to the Senior Center and set it up for the next day.

Went home -- to the Bible School and relaxed for the evening where there was more food and conversation and good times for all.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

MARCH 3, 2010

Where did February go? And January?
Just a quick note to let you know we are still on planet earth . . . I'll have to work backwards and fill you in on past events. Starting with today.

My friend, Jane, went with me to clean. We got a chuckle over the idea of two *messies* polishing a *cleanies* house. After we finished we went to the *S & A department store* [otherwise known as the Salvation Army] and found books. I got a couple Louis L'amour books and a John Grisham book for the guys at our house and some books for everyone . . .
The Great House of God Max Lucado



I can't wait to start reading again.

Near the beginning of January I started a Gratitude Book. In it I'm writing down everything I'm thankful for. I have another notebook for complaining.

Ellis, Jeremy and Jorgan are delivering mats for HogSlat this evening. Deanne is at Bible School,
Evan is going to Applebees, Krysta had a late piano lesson this evening. Krysta and I are locking up the store and going home since she has finished playing the piano and I am done with this update.

Good-night and God bless you one and all!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

January 2010

We had green eggs and ham for breakfast on New Years Day.
Fixed by Krysta -- age 11. She had to substitute pepperoni for the ham but that didn't matter. They were delectable!

break eggs into bowl
beat with fork
add a dash of milk
add food coloring for desired shade of green
pour into hot skillet
add ham/pepperoni
keep stirring while the eggs fry

pour into serving bowl and keep hot
melt cheese on top of eggs

A yummy start to the day.
We got to stay home all day long. We didn't have to go anywhere. Luxury!

And now it is snowing with a forecast of 2 - 4 inches possible. Some places are in for a blizzard by the sounds of it. We aren't allowed to have any more snow days here on the prairie. =)
It just doesn't pay the bills. according to the bus owner

A Happy New Year to all of you from all of us!