Tuesday, September 14, 2021


Last summer our children gave us money to go to Europe. For our 40th anniversary. They have been listening to us talk, put their heads together and came up with this idea. Surprised us is putting it mildly. 

The other day I saw a picture of a couple fast asleep in a gondola with the caption, *Don't wait to travel until you retire.* Something like that. Not the exact words ... (on Facebook)

I thought of our anniversary September 6, 2021. We took a boat tour in Chicago, an Architecture tour. Both of us fell asleep as the tour guide explained the different styles of buildings. We didn't fall asleep at the same time. Ellis woke me up and then I attempted to wake him up when he dozed off. I don't think we snored. I hope not anyway. 

The tour guide was doing an amazing job and the info was extremely interesting. I got some interesting pictures of many different buildings.

This is one of them. I'm sorry, I can't remember anything more about this clock, who built this or what style the building is. 

Back to our future travels - the first thing we need to do is update our passports. Mine expires later this fall and Ellis's in January of next year. We should get on that.

We are hoping to go to Norway and Great Britain, more specifically, James Herriot's Yorkshire. 

Ellis already read a travel guide from the library - traveling for dummies. No, I'm just kidding. We need to do some more homework, ask a bunch of questions, read some more books, etc.

We want to visit the house my ancestors lived in. The Skrivseth house overlooks a fjord. "They left ocean front property to move to North Dakota!" This is a quote from one of my cousins who was looking at my parents pictures after they came home from Norway in 2003.

In preparation for this adventure I downloaded an app to my phone to
 learn Norwegian. Duolingo it's called. I'm learning to spell the Norwegian language.
It's a lot of fun so far.

I will keep you updated.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

August 2021

Ellis found a clock that reminds me of the clock in our church at Graceton MN. We even have to wind it every few days just like my Dad used to wind the clock in Graceton.
                  August 22, 2021

 A cute little library close to Krysta's house.
                       August 23, 2021
Goldfish or crackers? Coffee or tea? Water or soda? Choices - marvelous choices ... the difference between traveling in March 2021 and August 2021. This picture of goldfish in  tomato soup brings back memories.
                      August 24, 2021

Lefse - I am getting hungry for lefse.
                  August 25, 2021

Thursday August 26, 2021
Mexican food in Blooming Prairie MN

.      We got 6+ inches of rain in one week!
                          August 27, 2021

        A sign in a local bookstore. So true!
                           August 28, 2021

The church where Hans and JoAnna attend. 
                      August 29, 2021

Zucchini Quiche  That time of the year again.
                       August 30, 2021

We went camping last summer with our family. I hope we can do that again this fall.
                    August 31, 2021

Thursday, September 2, 2021

August 2021

                      August 14, 2021
                    Earthquake in Haiti 
Picture borrowed from my niece, Jaimie Weber, when she asked for prayers for her country. 

                         August 15, 2021
                       Roses from Texas 
    Krysta took this picture in January 2020
                         August 16, 2021
An old fashioned root cellar, still in use today.
We have hills at our place. I wonder if we can make one. One more thing to add to Ellis's *to do list.*

                        August 17, 2021
Speaking of old-fashioned, travel by train is stepping back in time. When I wrote to my friend and told her Ellis and I went by train to Williston ND she replied, "Twelve hours to get from the Twin Cities to Williston ND! You could have been in Norway by that time! Or Amsterdam at the very least!"

                        August 18, 2021
After snipping green beans and getting a canner started we went to Newport for pie and ice cream with Hans, JoAnna and family. 

Not to be compared with JoAnna's cooking which we enjoyed immensely during our visit, this place showed great hospitality at 10:00 pm after traveling from Spokane WA to the Twin Cities, MN.  We thought they were open, the door was certainly unlocked. Mom and I walked toward the gal at the cash register. She looked sideways at her co-worker and said. "We have two lovely ladies walking toward us. I think the door is still unlocked!" 
I said, "Oh, are you closed?" 
"The drive through is still open, but our dining room is closed. What can I get for you?"
I said we could go through the drive through but she said, "No, no, no, our door was open. We'll fix something for you." 
Our hamburgers and fries tasted wonderful! We ate outside at a picnic table. It was very warm and muggy after getting used to 55° - 60° in the evening in WA.


                 August 19, 2021

My friend who told me we could be in Norway or Amsterdam in 12 hours. Anne Marie grew up in Austria, married a Mennonite man named John Harshbarger and we still have not found if our husbands are related. We are still curious about that even after 30+ years of being pen pals. I got side tracked a bit.

This is my Grandma Martin and the first half of her children (almost). I don't know if I took this picture at Aunt Grace's place or if my Aunt Rhoda took it and sent it to me. Here is Gladys (Byers) Martin with Lester, Ray, Grace, Mary and Martha.

                 August 20, 2021
The story of the moose. We went for a ride with Hans and JoAnna to see a fire. We saw this moose instead who crossed  the road several times trying to get her calf to follow. The calf was tangled in a fence,  but finally burst through, landed in a heap then scrambled to its feet and tottered across the highway. We cheered it on its way and breathed a sigh of relief when it melted into the woods.

                      August 21, 2021

August 2021

               August 1, 2021 ND Bible Camp

                           August 2, 2021

                          August 3, 2021
  An old township hall/school house in ND

     August 4, 2021
 Lupines in Mom's flower garden remind me of the book, 
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. 

                      August 5, 2021 
This sandwich should have had more bacon!

                         August 6, 2021 
    Our mailbox flower garden last summer. 

        August 7, 2021 The weeds took over.

            August 8, 2021 A country church 

         August 9, 2021 Beating back the jungle.

       August 10, 2021 Todd Park Austin MN

                        August 11, 2021 
                        Galveston Texas 
                 Picture taken in March, 2021

                        August 12, 2021 
The cupboard taken out of Mom's kitchen long ago has a place of honor in Hans and JoAnna's dining room. 

                          August 13, 2021
          Beautiful bouquet arranged by my 
            sister-in-law, JoAnna Skrivseth. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

July 2021

July 2nd Ellis and I were chauffeured by our lovely children to the train station in the Twin Cities. We were going to eat supper at Cracker Barrel but there was a long wait. We went to Perkins instead. If we would have only checked the train's status at that point we'd have found out it was late and we could have stayed at Cracker Barrel. Instead, we ate at Perkins, got to the station on time, said our "Goodbyes" and scurried into the station. As we ascended the escalator there was a dull roar getting louder and louder. The gigantic waiting area was curtained off and a sign announced a wedding was in progress. (An African wedding by observation) I have heard praise and worship music and know it is kind of loud. Never have I heard noise to compare with this roar. Someone was bellowing into a mike. This person didn't need a mike, let me tell you. There were drums, there were people chanting. I recognized some Sunday school songs and prayers and blessing the bride and groom. The whole thing reminded me of  "The sound of war." When I peeked between the curtains I saw men dressed in white robes, ladies in fancy gowns, a small group shuffling in a circle in time to the noise.
We walked down the hall to the door, found seats and resisted the urge to plug our ears. There was no one to ask about the train status. We eventually found out the train would be two hours late. "I can't stand another hour of this," I moaned to Ellis. It is surprising what a person can bear. I leaned against my pillow and shielded my other ear with my hand ... and dozed off. 

When the train came and passengers walked past us it was interesting to see the furrowed brows and pained look on people's faces as the barrage of noise hit them. Maybe we looked the same to them. 
We were happy to find our seats on the train. By this time it was midnight so there was no trouble in finding a comfortable position and conking out. 
When you ride a train you throw away your watch. At the very least, pack it deep in your suitcase, and forget about the hours passing by. Sleep if you can. Write, read a book, crochet. Don't think about the delays, just enjoy the ride. It feels like stepping back in time to the days of Laura Ingalls Wilder.
                                  Ellis's brother and his wife met us in Williston ND. We ate lunch then drove to the home place. Our stay there was superb. While the guys worked on the vehicle we were driving home we gals had a most amazing time visiting, crocheting, playing table games. More conversations, another round of crocheting and some more games. In between we fixed meals and washed dishes.
                                                                                            This is the rig we drove home
                                           We pulled this trailer- kind of an enclosed office on wheels - possibly used at some oil well site. (I'm not sure of all the history that goes with it.)

                    Tuesday,  July 6th 2021
The time to go home came far too fast. We left Ivan's at 4:15 am which is really 5:15 am because we're traveling east and lose an hour twenty minutes after starting out. 

We got gas at Grenora then Powers Lake and again at Velva, checking fluid levels each time and getting fresh air so Ellis could wake up. He was already sleepy! 

Ellis asked, "Do you want to drive?"
"I don't have experience pulling a trailer!"
"It's no different than driving your bus."
"But I don't have experience driving a trailer!"
Silence ...
"I mean pulling a trailer..."
"It's just like driving your bus."
"Okay then ...if you insist."

We pulled off the road. It is a long way to the ground with no running boards in existence or handles in the cab to hold on to.

We were both in our seats again when I discovered I couldn't pull the seat forward. After much grumbling and more adjustments we were on the way. 

Ellis is sleeping. I have time for quiet thoughts. I noticed all the miniature sunflowers along the road. I used to think they were black eyed susans, but now I know they only look like it from a distance. Up close they are quite different. 

There are lovely grasses in the ditches. We are passing beautiful summer bouquets every mile. I thought of the wild flower bouquets Krysta made for our neighbor using these gorgeous grasses for fillers. Wilma said, "Thank you!" then pulled out the grasses as we stood in her yard, talking. (Getting rid of the "weeds" in the bouquet)

The names of the towns intrigued me. Who thinks these up? Harvey, Anamoose, Drake .... each slowing us down to 25 miles an hour.
The sign that welcomed us at Anamoose features a moose head. The two oo's are the eyes and gigantic antlers loom above the head. Quite innovative!

We had a long drive home. Those 700+ miles never seemed longer. We avoided interstates and took back roads. There was no working AC so we were grateful for a cloudy day and even some rain as we got closer to MN.

This one of a kind vehicle is a 1981 Eldorada conversion van with low mileage and no rust because it spent its days in MT where they don't put salt on the roads in the winter.

                                    As we drove along we started talking about what to do with the trailer.  Ellis has an idea to take the little house off the trailer and make a garden shed/she shed. I promise this was his idea. I didn't suggest it. I thought he was making another work project for himself by the sounds of it. I'm pretty sure I like the idea immensely! We'll keep you up to date.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021


April 20, 2020
This was a day like all the days before, soft breezes tugging at my skirt, birdsong in the trees overhead. Green leaves showing up on every bush in town. Shoots of pale white/green plants emerging from the ground.  

It was a day like one I'd never seen before. The school grounds empty. Yellow school buses parked in the garage. Children learning at home. Moms and dads, grandparents, teachers.... everyone struggling with feelings of unbelief. This is a dream, right? 

More like a nightmare. We'll all wake up soon, don't be afraid, this too shall pass. Words of encouragement expressed everywhere we go. Keep a stiff upper lip. We'll get through this. 

Covid was the word on every tongue. Fear of the unknown. A world turned upside down. 

The van I drove that day was loaded with boxes of food for students. Here is the schedule I went by. Instead of driving school bus every afternoon Monday and Wednesday each week I met two other van drivers at the bus garage. From there I followed the van in front of me to the high school. Large carts loaded with boxes lumbered out of a side door. Smiling cooks pushed the carts close to the vans. With lists in hand each of us matched the names written with magic markers on the sides of the boxes with the names on paper.

My route was in town, about fifteen stops in all. Just put the box on the step, knock on the door and walk away - these were the instructions we were given. 

That's what I was doing on that beautiful day fourteen months ago. On this day of sunshine and warm breezes neighbors walked together on their streets. Children bounced balls or glided by on rollerblades. Dogs of every size tugged at the end of their leashes as the humans holding the leash strolled in the warm sunshine. 

My phone trilled a soft notice telling me I had a message. Before I drove to the next stop I checked my phone. There was a message from my sister saying Lorraine, my friend from long ago days, had just died.

How does the world keep going after news like that? The birds keep singing, the lawn mowers keep circling around the lawn, those people pushing them or driving them unaware of anything unusual. 

I accidentally touched the screen on my phone and a blue thumbs up symbol clicked my response. I frantically typed, "Sorry, I didn't mean to send that. This news is unbelievable! I am in tears."

Lorraine - with those blue eyes and curly blond hair - wide smile and bubbly laugh, gone from this life?!  The curtain between this life and eternity was pulled aside and she stepped through the door. I was in shock.

I still remember when she told my sisters and me, "Lorraine is my middle name." We were probably rattling off our middle names - short one syllable names - Kaye, Joy, Lee and Layne. "What's your middle name, Lorraine?"
Her answer startled us and intrigued us. We had never heard of such a thing. We actually didn't believe her at first and thought she was pulling our legs. 

It turns out she was named after her lovely Grandmother, Anna. Her parents wanted her to have her Grandma's name, but also have her own name. Anna Lorraine. It makes perfect sense. "But why didn't they name you Lorraine Anna?" we asked. Again it makes perfect sense. Anna Lorraine flows smoothly. The other way around does not.

Ellis and I liked this so much that we followed along, naming our first daughter after her Grandma, but calling her by her own name. Florence Deanne. And for the same reason. Florence Deanne flows smoothly. Deanne Florence is too abrupt somehow.

This is a long, convoluted way to tell you that I am announcing another winner for Shari's book. Lorraine's daughter, Bethany Shirk, is the winner! Congratulations Bethany!

And now the drawing is officially closed.
Thanks for listening to my ramblings and memories of yesterday. 

One comforting thought that has helped me this winter is imagining that Lorraine, my friend from long ago days, is holding our little granddaughter, Pearl India, there behind that curtain. 

Sunday, June 27, 2021

we have a winner !

I grabbed this tin to put all your names in. 
All neatly folded. Held it high so neither Ellis or I could see inside. Ellis drew out a name and here it is!            Congratulations Elizabeth!
Before he picked out the name he asked,
"Are any of our children in this drawing?"  
I said, "Yes, Dea, Krysta, Liz and Chelsea." He wondered what we'd do if we picked one of our girls! That's exactly what happened through no fault of our own. Thank you for coming to my blog and enter- ing this drawing. I loved all the comments about your favorite flowers! You can preorder Shari's book from Amazon. 
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