We'll see how coherent I can make this while drugged up on Benedryl. Could be fun.
I debated between splitting the post into two or three posts, but I'm afraid I'd get caught up in the week then and never get back to it, so I'm going for more photos and a bullet style summary. Stick with me....
Woke at at 4 am Friday - left the house at 4:30
took advantage of long term parking
Got on the plane in Lansing in time to enjoy the sunrise out the window.
Layover at O'Hare, tried my first Pumpkin Spice, got a lot of my daily steps in.
Arrived in MSP at 10:20 am
Texted my driver that I had arrived and was standing by a #2 in the pick up area.
Marveled at modern technology that makes it that easy. Remember the old days when we'd have to call the airline to check if the flight was coming on time?
Made new friends. My kids second cousins. THIS one is like Brian in the girl form. I said they could be twins. They are champs at the monkey bars, both climbers, same lean build, both love math, they say the same random words, do the same nutty thing with their loose teeth and have the same facial expressions. It was crazycakes. She's going to call me the next time they're in town so her and Brian can meet and chum.
I slept in Sarah's bed, so I figured it was only fair that I teach her Wendy's favorite trick of reading/sleeping in the tree. She's hooked.
Enoyed a lunch with my cousin's wife MaryEllen, Carol H (who told me she'd only come if I kept my camera in its case, and I agreed - totally worth it), Emily and Laura. Good laughs, good eats, great visit.
So I already was amazed at how much her and Brian are alike, and then she walks out of her bedroom Saturday morning with a shirt just like Brians, same color and everything. If their mugs had been in the same spot I really would have flipped, but they are not.
Saturday morning - 8:30, Jenny picked me up to head out to Cokato. I dropped her off at George's to tend to the bride's hair and I headed over to a dear friends home for morning coffee.
Was fun to catch up. Was starting to feel a little guilty about not bringing Wendy with me. First I spent the night in her friend Sarah's bed, and then I went to her friend Lydia's house. Lydia's dad was best man at our wedding 10 days shy of twenty years ago. Was fun to visit him too - we usually go there during his busy season. He escaped the photo,.
Ironed my dress for the wedding
Got dressed for the wedding
Found my way back to pick up the bride's hairdresser
Ran to the gas station for a quick bite to eat
enjoyed some giggles
headed to the 1 pm wedding
The photographer spotted me at the wedding and handed me a second camera to take some lobby shots before the bride walked down the aisle. I caught one with my own camera as well. Shots taken, I went to my seat.
I had a great seat. All the nieces and nephews of both the bride and groom sang
It was darling.
I might like it better in black and white.
We don't normally take photos during our wedding ceremonies, but I was on a roll and feeling a bit of my grandma's sass in me. No flash.
Told my cousin Eric that grandma would have really appreciated how they looked at each other when they said their vows. He nodded. He knew. He was one of grandma's favorites, after all.
The bride and groom. Of all of my cousins, Eric and I are the closest in age. I am SO thankful that I could make it to his wedding. It was such a special and beautiful day.
The entire Bekkala family. They are SO serious. (click to see it closer up)
Okay - maybe not always so serious. From left to right - Emily, Mark, Karl, Jack, Sarah, Eric, Wayne and Maria.
My Aunt Sarah (my dad's sister) and one of her granddaughters.
Just after this photo, I got stung by a bee right on my thumb knuckle. It hurt(s) like the dickens. This was taken this morning - a day and a half later. I will mention my reaction when I go for my physical this week. I have numbness up to my elbow. And it's itchy like crazy. That's what ya get for taking group photos in an apple orchard I guess.
My cousin Emily's boys. I got such a kick out of them - the oldest sings as he plays. "I'm a digger, I like digging, this is fuuuUUUnnnn....."
My cousin Wayne and family. When we were little, my cousin Wayne once asked me while I smile so much, and he's the most smiley guy I know - gets accused of smiling too much for a hockey referee.
My cousin Maria and family
My cousin Karl and family. Their boy got bit by a bee too - right by his eye, hence the compress he's hiding behind his back
There was a bit of a Kivisto style cider mill going on on the back deck - putting those apples and Kivistos to work.
My ride showed up.
Got dropped off on Darrel and Ann's front porch.
Stayed up late visiting with Ann while she applied baking soda tinctures to my thumb.
Saw Ann twice this year and didn't take a picture either time. I'll make up for it next time.
Slept in Wendy's friend Sonjas bed, felt guilty about not bringing Wendy.
Woke up on Michigan time and enjoyed some coffee before everyone else woke
Went for a walk with Ann and the dog
Went to church
Sat behind my cousin Tim. Poked him.
Saw Mike's new baby - That HAIR! Wish I had taken a picture
Met Jenny's mom - *waving!!* (so glad you caught me and said hello)
Said a few more hellos
Tried to guilt Missy into taking me as I was wandering, lost, in the parking lot dragging my suitcase behind me.
She wasn't buying it.
Switched my suitcase from Ann's car to Jenny's car
Had lunch with my new friend Suvi
Went sight seeing. I have never been to downtown Minneapolis in all my years.
My buddy. He didn't have a good week last week, so I was so glad that he was feeling better and able to show me some sights.
My favorite picture of the weekend
You should know that Jenny and I have never actually met before this weekend. We have circled around each other for probably 25 years - we have so many of the same friends and have done so many of the same things, but honestly - never met. Long overdue. I love her. I wish we'd had more time.
At the airport by 4:30
Texted Denny just after 5:00 - "hey, guess what, just ran into an old friend at MSP" (Loren K)
Denny texted back, "you always find someone"
I love people.
this one is way better when clicked on. I can't imagine ever not marveling the view from above
Pulled in my driveway at 12:20
thankful. It was not an easy drive from the airport to home. I was tired. Windows down and radio up.
We hung around home until just past noon - taking care of business and allowing Wendy to perform her dog walking job duties, then we took off for another swim. We have done more pool hopping this year than the last couple years combined.
This time we headed over to Mrs. K's house - Mark's preschool teacher and a longtime friend. Mark was excited to see the class pets again and give his teacher a big hug. He was a bit end of the day moody when I wanted to take a picture and his antics were making us laugh. He even dared to pull his long time absent yawn tactic out of the bag. You want my picture? YAWN.
Watching the clock, we headed home in time to meet my sister (she's staying with my dad for a month) and in time to make some coffee and dinner.
And then we headed out for some ballooning. (To check out the Kaleidoscope's facebook page - click here)
I had forgotten to tell Terri (my sister) to put on closed toe boots or shoes before she headed over, so it was a good thing that she and Wendy wear about the same size. She put on Wendy's volleyball shoes. She needed them.
There she goes!
Later in the evening we decided that we're going to x out the may on the trailer and just leave the 'we be lost' More fitting.
Although we did manage to keep a pretty good eye on the Kaleidoscope for a good 90% of the flight.
It was a beautiful flight.
And they say the landing went well too. George and I wouldn't know.
We saw where Jerry landed, and we could catch glimpses of Denny through the trees - but for the life of us, we couldn't figure out how to get there. We drove around the big country block twice and then managed to pull in a few people who were able to give us some suggestions and assistance.
I didn't time it, but if I had to guess - I'd say it took us just over a half hour to find Denny after he landed. Check out the map below and you'll see why. Click on it for a closer view to be even more impressed.
The large red dot in the field represents where Denny landed. The smaller red dot on the road represents the access point to that spot. The street/subdivision on the right is where Jerry landed and where we could see Denny from.
At one point a local resident told us that there was a swamp between us and Denny from the north side, so we radioed to Denny not to put down - that we'd have to walk him out if we ever found him, and he radioed back - "Too late"
FINALLY - with thanks to locals and balloon crew for the Double Yellow out of Grand Rapids and dog treats to get by the Pit Bull, we found my sister and Denny and look - they didn't even need us anyway. They got that whole big balloon all deflated and wrapped up without us.
In a fun small world coincidence, when the land owners showed up and rode out on the golf cart - the guy says, hey - I recognize that trailer - I DID that trailer (just a couple weeks ago - the balloon and wording was added to the side of the trailer). He was the owner of Sign Works. What are the chances, right? The world gets smaller all the time.
What a trip.
My sister was officially initiated.
As for today -
I'm not really minding the grey and rainy. Going to enjoy a nice cozy day at home getting some more things crossed off my to do lists before bringing Wendy in for an eye appointment. She's about the age that Allan began needing glasses, and while she's not showing signs that her vision is bad - her eyes have been bothering her the last ten or so days (feeling the need to squeeze them shut, a lot of blinking) and she's been getting a few headaches. Worthy of at least a check up I figured.
Today was a busy day. I woke up early to get a head start on it.
After getting a few things done at home - I headed to a bridal shower - Greg's cousin's daughter is marrying my cousin's son. It was a must-go. It was written in red on our calendar.
From there - I ran to buy a belated birthday pie for my dad, and then to Costco - something you normally couldn't pay me to do on a Saturday afternoon...but there was no way around it. It was as bad as you probably imagine.
Home again - time to unload the groceries, a quick walk around the block to get my steps in, and then off to a graduation party for George's youngest, also written in red. I dropped off my family - and ran over to my dad's for a visit, pie delivery and some humble pie (you're getting quite a bit of grey hair, kid. Says my dad. Dad! You're supposed to comment that I've lost weight. Oh, he says - I noticed that, but you still have a ways to go. Laugh. Now you know where my bluntness come from - it was a good laugh) before I returned to the party myself.
George's youngest. Her boyfriend drove from North Dakota to be there for her graduation. Her bags are packed - and he'll be driving her to Minnesota tomorrow morning bright and early. This makes eight of George's eleven kids living in Minnesota. What's up with that?
My husband's family lives mostly in Minnesota as well - his mom and dad, and five of his siblings. What's up with that? My husband's youngest sister, however, lives here and we got to see her and her too quickly growing son at the graduation party. He loves to blow raspberries.
The bigger kids played on George's merry-go-round.
This threesome played guitar and it was wonderful. Even after the wind and rain blew the power out. We ended up leaving the party before it got too hard to find our shoes.
Graduation parties are a great time for catching up with friends and family. These two (aunts to my husband, married to George's brothers) were catching up with others by way of photos on the phone.
Back when I graduated we used to pull out real live photographs from our purses and wallets.
This past few days Facebook has been full of posts reminding us what Memorial Day is really about. That it's not about cook-outs and fireworks, it's about remembering. Something that anyone who has ever lost someone to the service of our country is accutely aware of.
We remember every single day. We remember when we salute the flag, we remember when we hear of another young man or woman joining the service, we remember when famlies are welcoming their loved ones home, we remember when we sing the National Anthem. and we remember with an ache in the pit of our guts when we hear the 21-gun salute. Memorial Day parades are tough. In so many ways, it feels like just yesterday, and in so many ways it feels so long ago.
I've been grateful this year and last that my husband is spending this weekend with his other brothers and his brother Tom's son. We carry him always in our heart and memories.
I left this photo full size to make it easier to click and read.
I borrowed this one from book - it comes with this caption:
Tom Tormanen 1989 aboard the USS Enterprise Caption from group "Marine Detachment, USS Enterprise CVN-65" Tormanen giving Whitt a buzz cut with Sgt. Armstrong schooling Fortes, Regalado, Barf
and others in the background. And Rocky Main slowly going blind drawing fantasy stuff.
My sister has been at my dad's this week, and I hadn't gotten a chance to see her until today. She lives in North Carolina, and we just don't see each other all that often - so it was fun to be able to go and pick her up to go garage saling.
We didn't have any luck garage saling at all. Every single sub sale in lower Michigan is next weekend. But we did have fun.
Over lunch at Red Robin, Wendy shared that, "you two are the same in that you have the same hair, the same teeth, the same voice and the same eyes, but you have different noses, different laughs and different fashion sense"
This is the photo that I'll put into my photo a day album.
My brother and his kids came over twice yesterday - the first in the morning when he called and I said - Now? Do I have time to get dressed first? It was at a time when most normal people are dressed - we just weren't. *smile*
The first time - my husband wasn't home, he worked a few hours in the morning. The second time though, he was - and the girls lit right up. My husband has one of those personalities that just seems to attract the littles.. If there are little kids around - they are on him. He winds them up, shakes them up, growls at them and as I'm typing this he just asked Mark if he can pick him up and squeeze him. Kids seem to like this. I have one picture where he has seven kids on him at one time, and they are all having a ball.
Something about him.
If you ever want your kids wound up right before bed - give him a buzz. I've offered this service to my sister-in-law Sue multiple times and she never seems to want to take me up on it.
We've been partying as if Christmas is coming over here.
On Thursday night we attended the extended Pennala party. That's Greg's side of the family. My intention was to take photos once Santa arrived, but, well, he musta got lost - so this is all I've got. I had the wrong lens for group pictures - that photo only shows maybe 20% of the peeps.
Last night we partied with my immediate family. These are the only pictures I got. I was enjoying just relaxing and visiting.
The kids played a version (not this version) of the Wright Family for the dollar gifts and it was good for laughs as they concentrated on the lefts and rights in the story.
My brother was the reader of the tale.
And it was good.
Today I'm preparing tomorrows menu Baking for evening church Making a chocolate eclair cake And checking my list one more time in hopes I don't bump into anything crucial that I need. Meijers was crowded enough at 10:30 last night - I can't imagine what it looks like over there today.
I put my husband in complete charge of the turkey. He woke up at 7:30 to get it going for 8:30. Mark wandered in at this point and wondered what in the world dad was doing to that chicken's bootie. He had found a recipe online for stuffing the bird with carrots, thyme and onion.
Fast forward a couple hours and my kids bickering was getting on my nerves, so I put them to work making a turkey appetizer, much like I had put them to work the day before drawing and coloring table runners for our feast.
They did a good job, if I do say so myself.
Done with the turkey I had them be quiet with other things.
Our middle of the night arriving guests started waking up at about 10 - 10:30, and my husband took omelet orders for everyone. He runs a pretty good kitchen. My Friday morning omelet is cooking as I type this post.
We weren't doing this to pass the time before dinner twenty years ago.
Then the sale ads and list making began. Lot of disappointment surrounding so many stores opening between 10pm and midnight this year.
Our youngest guest. He reminded me a lot of my own kids - his cousins. My kids weren't much for the dull roar of a gathering buzz. He'd instantly calm down when his momma brought him upstairs to a quieter place. Very much like my own kids.
If you count the youngest guest, we had 19 for dinner. Uncle Calvin - who shared his birthday with Thanksgiving day, was remembering when Greg and I first moved into this house 14 Novembers ago, and two weeks later I had the whole gang over for dinner. I'm pretty sure that I also insisted I could do everything myself, and did.
I've learned a lot over the years, This year I delegated the turkey, the potatoes, the raw vegetables, the green bean casserole and the yams. I hardly did a thing. I even bought paper plates, which I usually don't do.
The little boys learned all about Angry Birds and iPads My mother-in-law and Aunt Susan made a delicious broth from the turkey remains We nibbled and laughed well into the night We enjoyed drop by company from Kathy and her boyfriend Dino We laughed some more Played Mad Libs
And at about 11:30 my brother-in-law and four teens/tween went to Kohls and at about 1am my sister-in-law, husband and myself all headed up to bed.
I tried for one sale at midnight on Amazon, but even though I hit the buy it button instantly - it sold out before it ever made it all the way to my cart. Alas and such.
Today I'll make a turkey soup We're getting company for the Fantasy of Lights parade I'll probably wander downtown this afternoon and check out the shops, the tree auction, and other events. Wendy and I will run a 5K