Sunday, June 19, 2011

2011 June 13-19

Friday, June 17

The arrival of house guests: Susan's sister Cassie and her two kids, Davis (two years old) and Marly (three months old--and my soon-to-be goddaughter)!

Davis needed sunglasses for the car ride.  Clever style of wearing them!
Abigail and I were delighted to meet Marly Sue!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Seeing History Being Made

Russ and the gentlemen at Farmers Union Oil Co. in Westhope, ND did a fine job of repairing our vehicle; it ran smoothly the entire way home.  We took Hwy 83 south toward Bismarck; and because we were in the area, we took advantage of the opportunity to turn off onto Hwy 200 and go to Riverdale, ND so that we could see an historic even in progress: the water being released from the spillway gates of the Garrison Dam.

(Remember: click on any photo to enlarge it for greater detail.)

Unexpected Vacation, Day 3

(Recall Day 1 and Day 2.)

Russ, the mechanic, expected the distributor for our vehicle to arrive around midday today.  However, we had to check out of the motel by 11:00 A.M., so we ate our breakfast, took our showers, packed our suitcases, and walked the couple blocks from the motel to the automotive shop.  A gentleman getting out of his pickup on main street saw us hauling our luggage and bags down the sidewalk, and he offered to give us a ride to wherever we were headed.  More small-town hospitality!  But we were just a half-block away from the van (still parked outside the shop, which told us that the distributor still hadn't arrived), so we declined his offer, packed our belongings inside the van, and walked around town again to kill some time.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Unexpected Vacation, Day 2

(Recall Day 1.)

I knew from yesterday that the Farmers Union Oil Co.'s automotive shop would open at 7:00 A.M. today, and I was up and ready by 6:30 so that I could be sure to be there when they opened.  Yesterday afternoon the van died while we were parked on the street by the Farmers Union, so that's where I walked this morning.  I tried to start the van to see if I'd be able to drive it into the shop at least, and to my surprise, it started and ran just fine.  I even took it for a drive out of town a ways and back, and it seemed perfectly normal.  Still, I didn't want to take any chances of our getting stranded again while driving home, and I asked the mechanics if they could look it over.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Unexpected Vacation, Day 1

Earlier this afternoon, we left Lake Metigoshe en route to Bottineau, ND for juneberry malts at Denny's Pizza Inn before departing for Dickinson, ND.  Well, we made it as far as Westhope, ND, which is where we are right now.  Yep, automotive troubles have left us stranded in a small town in rural ND on a Sunday night!  Ready for this tale?

Camp Trollfjorden, Year 3

In 2009, our family attended Trollfjorden Language and Cultural Camp (at Lake Metigoshe, ND) for the first time (remember?) to learn more about our Norwegian heritage.  We enjoyed the experience so much that we returned again last summer (remember?).  Thereafter, I was invited to join the camp's board of directors (remember?), which pretty much guaranteed that we'd be returning to camp again this summer (and each summer for the foreseeable future).  The overall schedule for the weekend was the same as in past years, but I do have photos, videos, and anecdotes to share of details unique to this summer's camp experience.

(Remember to click on a photo to enlarge it for greater detail.)

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Hospital Visitors

My stepmother is still in the hospital in Bismarck (remember?).  The girls had orthodontist appointments in Bismarck this morning, so we went to see Beverly afterward.  We took Dad out for dinner at Red Lobster and then returned for more visiting with Beverly, leaving when they brought in some blood for a transfusion to boost her energy.  (Getting her energy up and strength back are the priorities now that they have cleared up her infections.)  It has been a long road to recovery, but it seems that she is "on the mend."  Here's hoping that she will be feeling like normal and can return home soon.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

At Long Last, Our Home Theater

Don't judge me too harshly.  One of our Christmas gifts to ourselves was a Blu-Ray Disc/DVD high-definition home theater system with surround sound speakers . . . that I just today set up.  What?!  We've been busy.  Actually, our multi-state road trip at Christmastime did keep us preoccupied, and then school/work resumed soon after we returned, and I scootched the box out of our way until I had time to get to it.  Well, now that we're on a summer break, I have time.  The girls watched today as I unpacked and sorted all the pieces of equipment, and they helped me hook up wires and troubleshoot until everything was functioning properly.  The sound is great; the picture quality is great; and the Internet connection via our home theater system means that we can view online videos on our big-screen TV, as well as select whatever movies we wish to view and download them in high definition from online movie services.  It even plays the radio and our CDs, making them sound spectacular, too.  Success!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Paging Dr. Suzanna

Here are the girls' current career aspirations: Hillary wants to be a herpetologist, a zoologist, or a science teacher; Abigail wants to be a pediatrician; and Suzanna wants to be an obstetrician/gynecologist.  With at least two of them as doctors, Susan and I should be well taken care of in retirement.

To prepare for a career in medicine, Suzanna has taken advantage of an opportunity to volunteer this summer at the local hospital.  Having completed 7th grade, she is now old enough to volunteer there; so she filled in an application and asked people to serve as references and sat for an interview, and they accepted her!  She will volunteer one day a week greeting and helping patients at one of the hospital entrances; and one or two days, she will work in medical records with sorting and filing, etc.

Her first shift was this morning, and she enjoyed it!  She has a photo ID and a shirt with the hospital's logo on it, so she looks very official.  Today she spent a lot of time visiting with elderly men who engaged her in conversation as they waited for their appointments.  Tomorrow she will learn what her medical records duties involve.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Smak av Sommer

["Taste of Summer"]

Suzanna spent a good part of the day at the house of one of her friends, and Hillary attended the birthday party of one of her friends, which worked out fine for Abigail since it was her turn to be my helper for this week's Scandinavian Saturday supper.  We chose a summer-y kind of menu that turned out to be very tasty.  Click on the pic below (and/or any that follow) for a detailed look and then read on for all the delicious details.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Ascension Day

Today is Kristi Himmelfartsdag ["Christ's Ascension Day"] in Norway.  We call it Ascension Day, but it's more fun for English speakers to say it in Norwegian.  Twisted, I know.  In any case, I hope you got to celebrate it, no matter what you called it.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Thrifty Tour of Norway

Here is an easy way to visit Norway and enjoy its beauty without having to pay a cent or step away from your monitor:

Monday, May 30, 2011

Rainy Memorial Day Remembering and Partying

This has been the rainiest, chilliest May in a long time.  It continues to drizzle outside, and a cold wind is still blowing.  This has gone on for days.  It made for an unpleasant trip to the cemetery today to visit Susan's mom's grave for Memorial Day, and it drove us indoors for a barbecue that we were invited to attend at our friends' house.  First, the photos:

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Very Roloff Sunday

Faithful Reader, I told you yesterday that this morning would be an early one for me, and now I'll tell you why: the girls and I got up around 5:00 A.M. to head north and visit my relatives' graves, and decorate my mom's, for Memorial Day.  Each year my sisters and I take turns providing flowers for Mom's grave, and this year was my turn.  Susan stayed behind to attend the commencement ceremony this afternoon at the school where she teaches (and is a senior class advisor), so it was a trip for just the girls and me today.  In addition to visiting cemeteries, we also visited out-of-state relatives who are in Williston for a few days.  All the details--and photos, naturally--are here:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Little Guests at the Scandinavian Supper Table

Faithful Reader, you must recall that I teased yesterday that we had some baby-related fun scheduled for today.  Well, Susan's cousin Todd and his wife arranged for us to babysit their kids overnight.  Trae (three years old) and Tatum (nine months old) arrived this afternoon and will get picked up in the morning.  Trae has spent the night with us before (remember this and this?), the second time getting to join us for a Scandinavian Saturday supper--just like tonight!  However, I chose a menu this time around that seemed more kid-friendly (well, to non-Moberg kids, that is--you just never know how adventurous others' kids will be), and Trae ate it all up!

Click on any photo to enlarge it for more tantalizing viewing.
To find out what everything is--and to see dessert--read on:

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friends and Family on Friday

Suzanna was invited to a friend's birthday sleepover . . . in Rapid City, SD!  Our friends are taking their daughter there overnight for a birthday treat, and she invited Suzanna to join her.  Their family picked up Suzanna around 7:00 A.M., and they'll return tomorrow night.

Shortly after Suzanna left, so did we.  We went to Mandan, ND to see our friends Travis and Sedie, who live in MA but are visiting Travis' parents at their farm outside Mandan.  We met up with Travis and Sedie last year over Memorial Day weekend and again in July.  But this year, they have something that they didn't when we saw them last year:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Indoor Picnic

Susan and her friend Leslie teach together and, since last year, have been in charge of organizing the end-of-year faculty picnic for their school.  Both last year and tonight, the event was held in the Recreation Center, which was great because, although one thinks of "outdoors" when one think of "picnic," one is delighted to be indoors when the weather is cold and rainy, as it was both last year and tonight.  They gather door prizes, decorate the tables, and prepare food and beverages.  This year's menu was fajitas and tacos, and Susan has spent the last several days making the meat.  The crockpot has been full of seasoned chicken breasts, which she has then shredded and replaced with a new batch; and both she and Suzanna have taken turns frying up batches of spicy ground beef.  Consequently, we have all smelled like a Mexican restaurant just from walking through our kitchen.  But the food tonight was delicious, and the company was fun (Susan is friends with smart and funny people from work).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Household of Smarties

The girls attend three different schools; but at each building, the school year ended with the distribution of awards.  Abigail's school gave out awards yesterday, and Suzanna and Hillary's schools did so today.  Each girl won the President's Award for Educational Excellence "in recognition of Outstanding Academic Excellence."  They're very good students, so we weren't surprised--but we are surely proud and want the girls to be proud of themselves.  Reading so much, studying, respecting teachers, putting forth effort in the classroom . . . they pay off in good grades and occasional recognitions such as this award.  (Daddy is hoping for another sort of payoff: full scholarships when it comes time to apply to universities.  Keep studying, girls!)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Substitute Accompanist

Today I had another first at church: first time accompanying the adult choir.  Michael, the senior choir's director, teaches at the high school with Susan and asked her a couple days ago whether she thought I'd be willing to do that (their usual accompanist was going to be unavailable today).  So she brought home the music, I practiced it a few times, and I met the choir about 45 minutes before church this morning to run through it with them.  I watched his conducting very carefully; and at one point, he chastised the choir for not slowing down at a particular measure marked ritardando: "The conductor and the accompanist are ritard-ing, but the choir is not."  So I must have been doing something right!  It seemed to go well when they sang it during the church service, too.  It reminded me of my teen days as a church organist and an accompanist for high school choir.  Ah, memories.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Norwegian Pride, Swedish Food, and Norse Mythology

Norwegians celebrated Syttende Mai ["May 17th," Norway's Constitution Day] a few days ago (remember?), but our local Sons of Norway lodge waited until today for its annual Syttende Mai party so that we could take advantage of a weekend day to have a potluck picnic and play some outdoor games.  As Youth Director for our lodge, I was trying to figure out what I could do with the kids that would be Norwegian and fun.

I learned that Norwegians typically precede Syttende Mai with a community-wide dugnad ["volunteering"], tidying up the neighborhood before the big celebrations for Constitution Day--so I proposed the idea to the girls, who were "into" the idea of picking up garbage.  A Syttende Mai celebration usually features a barnetog ["children's parade"], and the girls were willing to do their best to put on a three-person parade; they have miniature Norwegian flags that they could wave, and they proposed wearing bathrobes instead of bunads [literally "costumes," but really they're traditional forms of dress that correspond to distinct regions in Norway; see this].

None of that came to pass, though, because the picnic was canceled on account of rain.  A continuation of days and days and days of rain, as a matter of fact.  The lodge president phoned this morning and said that we'll just have to make our Sankthansaften ["St. John's Eve," a Midsummer's Eve celebration; see this] picnic next month all the grander to make up for it.

But we made today a very Scandinavian-themed day anyway.  This is what we did:

Friday, May 20, 2011

I'm a Superstar

As members of the Sons of Norway, we receive a monthly magazine called Viking, which we like a lot.  The June issue arrived in our mailbox today, and look what I discovered on the page dedicated to news about events from our particular district:

What's that?  You don't see anything particularly notable?  Well, let me zoom in for you:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Finale Concert

"Why won't Abigail stop taking my picture?!"
Suzanna's final music concert as a seventh-grader was tonight.  She played in the seventh-grade band, and later the seventh- and eighth-grade bands combined to perform a few numbers from their marching band repertoire.  Those were Suzanna's favorite numbers, so I'll share them with you, too:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Piano and Pizza

Susan returned yesterday!  (If you need to, start here and work your way backward a few days to know where she was.)  She brought gifts, too: bookmarks and pads of Poo Poo Paper for the girls, and for me a tart pan from Scandinavian store Ikea.  It's good to have her back.

Tonight we ate supper at church.  We gathered for the annual end-of-year talent night and pizza party for kids who participated in the children's choir (remember last year's?).  This was Abigail's last year being in the right age range for the children's choirs, but she didn't seem too traumatized by the transition.  She and Hillary each played piano solos, and they also sang a duet version of "Amazing Grace."  Other kids' talent included balancing acts, a violin solo, and magic tricks.  More pizza was ordered than was consumed, so we even came home with leftovers.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Happy Syttende Mai

Today is Syttende Mai ["the 17th of May," Norwegian Constitution Day]!  Gratulerer med dagen ["Congratulations on the day"]!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Daddy's Home!

Many thanks to Grandpa Gustafson for staying with the girls last night through this evening!  He got them to/from their piano recital last night, school this morning, and swimming practice after school.  In exchange, they made his meals and showered him with affection.  Fair trade.

I spent the day driving around northeast Minneapolis, MN with my colleague Dawn (remember?).  We visited with school administrators from an elementary school, a middle school, and a high school, all with highly diverse student populations (i.e., 80-90% of the students speak English as a second or third language and come from low-income families).  We would like to take our own teacher education students to these three schools for experience working with students in settings featuring urban diversity, something they don't get much of in Western ND!  The Minneapolis schools were receptive, so we will move ahead with this initiative in the coming months.

I came home tonight to find the sweetest thing awaiting me:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Parentless Pianists

Now, not only must the girls survive without Susan around (remember this and this?), but they must also do without me!  After Sunday school this morning, I left town with a colleague to drive to Bismarck, ND to fly from their airport to Minneapolis, MN for work-related appointments there tomorrow (more on that later).  That meant leaving the girls in the care of Susan's dad today through tomorrow evening.  The girls are pretty self-sufficient, taking care of meals for Grandpa and getting themselves ready for school tomorrow (and they did all the laundry and cleaned the house yesterday while I made Scandinavian Saturday supper).  But they can't drive (yet), and their piano recital was scheduled for tonight (while both Susan and I were gone).  So Grandpa took them!

They captured the performances on video, too.  Wanna see/hear?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Scandinavian Recipe Redux

Without Susan here this weekend (remember?), the girls had to spend the morning alone as I attended the university's commencement ceremony.  After the speeches had ended and the reading of the pages and pages and pages of graduates' names had begun, I zoned out a bit until I heard my own last name read aloud!  I looked up to see my cousin Joel's daughter Michaela walking across the stage.  Then I looked over toward her cheering section in the bleachers, and sure enough, there were my uncle and my cousins!  My cousin Myrna must have spotted me earlier because she had her eyes on me when I looked up and scanned the bleachers, and she grinned and waved!  What a fun surprise.  Michaela got her degree through our Bismarck campus, so I hadn't even recalled that she was a student of ours--therefore, it didn't occur to me that I would see relatives today (albeit only from afar).

And that wasn't the end of the day's activities . . .

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Weekend Without Susan

The girls and I are Susan-less for the weekend!  Yesterday she drove to Mandan to spend the night at her brother Jerrett's place so that she could get up early this morning and fly out of Bismarck to their sister Cassie's place in SC.  Cassie and her husband Nick recently had a second child (remember?), and Susan is there to meet the baby (Marly Sue) and spoil her and her brother Davis for a few days.  Wanna see Marly?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I Can Confirm that We Were at Church Tonight

I'm done!  Done giving and grading final exams!  Oh, sure, there are a few end-of-the-year items still to tend to, but this point is always a major milestone in any semester.

Speaking of milestones: Tonight we attended informational meetings for two of our daughters on the confirmation program at church.  One meeting was for next year's seventh-graders, who will just be starting the program; the other was for next year's eighth-graders, who will just be wrapping it up.  We took Abigail to the first one and Suzanna to the second one.  Because we had done this last year for Suzanna (remember?), we pretty much knew what to expect.  Still, it was exciting for Abigail to learn the details and get her questions answered.

Why must these children continue to grow older?!  Soon they'll be out of the house, and Susan and I will be weeping daily.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Eating Our Way Through Another Mother's Day

Because we had plans to dine out with friends last night, I postponed our weekly ethnic meal to today, making it a Scandinavian Sunday instead.  It was Susan's turn to be my helper, but I opted to cook alone and prepare a nice Mother's Day breakfast for her and the girls.  Here's what I made:

Click the photo to see the tasty food in greater detail.
To find out what it all is--and what else we did today--read on:

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Professional Musicians, Good Food, and Wine with Chocolate

No Scandinavian Saturday supper again this week!  Our day was just too full of other things to do.  Here were the three main events:

First, our entire family was hired to provide music for a wedding service this afternoon at a local Catholic church.  The bride's stepdad attends our church, at which her mom heard Susan and the girls sing one Sunday.  She recommended the ladies to her daughter, who came to our house one morning with her fiancé to hear them sing and to get ideas for song options (remember?).  I played the piano while Susan and the girls sang that day, so the bride and groom ended up asking us all to provide music today: I played piano for the service and accompanied Susan and the girls, who sang the songs for the wedding.  It was our daughters' first time as wedding musicians (and they got paid, too!), and it brought back memories of the hundreds of weddings for which my sisters and I sang, played piano, or played organ during our high school years.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Regrets and Congratulations, Rachelle and Winston

My stepniece Rachelle and her new husband Winston got married last week in CA, where he's from, and scheduled subsequent wedding receptions for this weekend in ND (where she's from) and next weekend in Washington, DC (where they met and will live).  Our family was planning to attend their reception yesterday in Minot, ND, and Suzanna was even going to be stationed at the punch bowl (such a big girl now!).

Unfortunately, ND's wacky winter weather continues: a major blizzard hit this side of the state, shutting down roads and keeping us at home.  Many other guests couldn't travel, either, so they hurriedly rescheduled the event for today . . . but we couldn't make it in time after Susan had fulfilled her job duties at church this morning (she's the Sunday school director).  We're hoping to see photos, at least, the next time that we visit my stepbrother and his wife.  In the meantime, congratulations, Rachelle and Winston!  Here's hoping for perfect weather next weekend in DC!

P.S.  Because we were planning to be in Minot, I didn't plan a Scandinavian Saturday meal for yesterday.  And because the weather was terrible, I didn't venture forth yesterday to buy groceries for an ethnic supper.  I'll try again next weekend.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bad-but-Good News for Abigail, Gift for Me

This afternoon featured two major events: one bad and one good.  First, the bad: Abigail had another incident that resulted in a trip to the emergency room.  Abigail was more "out of it" this time than last, necessitating assistance from the principal to help her out of the building and to drive her and Susan to the hospital, where I met them.  In the end, however, we may have received the insight we were hoping for from the ER doctor on duty; for details, read Susan's synopsis here.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Whole Lotta Churchin' Goin' On, Part IV

He is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

(First read this, this, and this.)  Happy Easter, everybody!  Today was our fourth consecutive day of attending church services.  Suzanna was assigned to serve during the 9:00 A.M. service, so that's the one we attended.  It included familiar Easter hymns, songs from the choir with trumpets playing along, and extra "stations" for communion to accommodate the bigger-than-normal crowd (due to many congregants' visiting family members and the "C & E Lutherans"--those church members who attend only on Christmas and Easter) (which explains, too, why we had three services this morning instead of the usual two).

Before church the girls searched for their Easter baskets (which the Easter Bunny had hidden around the house but which were full of goodies to enjoy once found).  After church we enjoyed a delicious Easter dinner, courtesy of Susan.  And I have photos to share!  (Remember to click a pic to enlarge it for a better view.)

our three beauties: Hillary, Suzanna, and Abigail

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Whole Lotta Churchin' Goin' On, Part III

(First, read this and this.)  Tonight we attended an Easter vigil at our church.  It was a bit different from the vigil services that we attended at our last church (recall this and this).  Unlike last night's service, which started in light and ended in darkness, tonight's service started with dim lighting but ended with full lighting to symbolize the journey from death to resurrection, from sorrow to hope and rejoicing.  The pastor enlisted 12 more volunteers again tonight, this time to light and hold their own candles while standing in a V formation in front of the altar as he read about the 12 disciples.  Hillary, Abigail, and Suzanna each volunteered for that!

Laboring for Her Room and Board

My sister Sandy was my helper for this week's Scandinavian Saturday meal!  Earlier in the week, she realized she'd be able to make a quick Easter weekend trip to ND from her home in NE.  She left after work yesterday and arrived at our house around 1:00 A.M. today.  She got a little shut-eye and then sneaked downstairs to wake her nieces (whom Susan and I hadn't told that Sandy was coming)!  Then Sandy spent part of the morning in the kitchen with me, helping me to make an ethnic dinner.  This afternoon we'll play a game of Norwegian whist (a card game from our childhood, thanks to our aunt and uncle Shirley and Lawrence), and then Sandy will leave before suppertime (which is why we had our "Scandinavian Saturday supper" at noon today) to go to our dad's home a few hours north of here.

Sandy's visit, like Sandy herself, is short but sweet.

Faithful Reader, I know that you're here for the photos.  In addition to the usual tantalizing pics of the tasty food, this post features photos of Sandy and the girls (and me), too!  Remember that you can click on any of them to enlarge them.  Check 'em out:

Friday, April 22, 2011

Whole Lotta Churchin' Goin' On, Part II

(First, read this.)  Tonight we attended a tenebrae service at our church for Good Friday.  The altar was still stripped from last night, but there were 12 tea light candles on it with one pillar candle in the middle.  The pastor enlisted 12 volunteers, each to come and light one of the tea light candles as he read aloud several verses about Jesus' disciples.  A little later, as he read about the disciples' departure from Jesus after the last supper, the volunteers took turns snuffing out their candles.  By the end of the service, the pastor had gradually shut off all the lights in the church, save for whatever back light keeps the stained glass window glowing even at night.  We sat in silence, listened to a soloist sing "Were You There," prayed together The Lord's Prayer, and then left the church in silence.

Some additional elements from the service for your edification:
P.S.  Afterward Susan and I stopped by our friends Michelle and Paul's house for a gathering in honor of many events: Good Friday, spring, belated Mardi Gras, recent birthdays, etc.  Suzanna babysat her sisters for a couple hours (they watched a Disney movie) while Susan and I enjoyed the company of adults (and some tasty snacks) on a Friday night--a rare treat.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Whole Lotta Churchin' Goin' On, Part I

In our church, the students in confirmation classes (grades 7 and 8) take turns assisting the pastors.  On a rotating schedule, they are assigned to particular church services.  The pastors are always joined by several adults who serve as deacons and assisting ministers (to read the lessons, help distribute communion, and read prayers) and by two confirmation students who serve as crucifers (the people who carry the cross to the front of the church as the worship team processes in from the back of the church at the start of the service), hand the offering plates to the ushers, and collect empty communion cups from congregants during communion.

Suzanna has been assigned to serve for 9:00 A.M. church on Easter morning, so we'll be spending the weekend here rather than driving to any family member's home for the holiday.  And because we'll be here, we plan to attend all the special church services this weekend: Maundy Thursday service tonight, a tenebrae service for Good Friday tomorrow, an Easter vigil service Saturday night, and an Easter morning celebration on Sunday.

Tonight's service focused on Jesus' last supper with his disciplines and his service to them (i.e., washing their feet--see John 13).  One memorable aspect of the service was at the beginning, when we were invited to come forward for a laying-on-of-hands pastoral blessing ("In obedience to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins").  Another was at the end, when members of the altar guild stripped the altar to prepare for the solemnity of tomorrow's tenebrae worship.  The church's two choir directors (of the adult choir and the children's choirs) chanted Psalm 22 from the balcony as guild members, dressed all in black and wearing black gloves, removed the Bible, liturgical books, candles, communication dishes, and  cloths from the pulpit and altar, piece by piece.  As they did so, the lights over the altar area were dimmed one by one.  After everything was bare and dark at the front of the church, we all departed in silence.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Job Fair

Today I drove to Bismarck to join some of my students at an Education Networking Fair.  It was co-sponsored by several entities, including participation by faculty in the education programs of the University of Mary and Dickinson State University (we have a campus in Bismarck).  It was held at Bismarck State College on the top floor of the National Energy Center of Excellence building, an impressive structure with a south-facing view of the mighty Missouri River, of several bridges that connect Bismarck and Mandan, and of all the buttes and hills lying beyond the cities . . . I'm jealous of everyone with an office on that side of that building!

All the university students in attendance are just completing a semester of pre-service teaching (often referred to as "student-teaching") and are now looking for their first teaching jobs.  Principals, superintendents, and human resource directors from about a dozen area school districts were there to say a bit about their schools, to announce what job openings they have and anticipate having, and to sit and make themselves available to meet with any students interested in those jobs.  My students looked very professional and came with cover letters and résumés prepared to share.  They were also unsure and nervous, which brought me back to the same point in my life: getting ready to graduate and looking for my first teaching job.  It's exciting but nerve-racking.  I hope they all get good jobs soon!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Eating Like Norske Royalty

After a busy morning, I was on my own to make this week's Scandinavian Saturday supper.  (My helpers didn't abandon me, mind you; it was my turn to cook solo this week.)  I purposely selected recipes that I thought wouldn't be overly complicated and, thus, would be relatively quick for me to make alone.  Well, everything still took me a while, but I was able to make one thing at a time to decrease the stress of tending to several dishes simultaneously and trying to get them all to be ready at the same time.  I made the dessert in the morning, and late this afternoon I got the main dish ready and into the oven before preparing the salad.  Here's what I served:

Moberg Models

Last night Hillary went to a friend's house to spend the night, so she wasn't with us as we went to Spaghetti Western for supper.  We chose that place because the university student who gives Suzanna's private lessons on trombone was performing there as a lounge singer with a friend of his on the piano.  It was fun to hear them perform American standards and light jazz songs (and he even played muted trombone on a few of them).  We were all in a good end-of-the-week, delicious-food-and-fun-background-music kind of mood, so of course I had to take some photos:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Child Is Born

In November we got news from Susan's sister Cassie that she and her husband Nick were expecting a second child.  Well, their son Davis is now a big brother to a sweet little girl: Marly Sue!  "Marly" is a family name on Nick's side, and "Sue" was Susan and Cassie's (and Jerrett's) mom's name.  Sue passed away 12 years ago; we think Marly's middle name is a wonderful tribute to her memory.

Wanna see some photos of our beautiful new niece?  (She was born over a week ago, but I'm just now getting around to sharing photos . . .)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Banding Together

Tonight was the public schools' All-City Band Concert, held in the main gym of the high school.  Here are details of how the annual event works.  Essentially, a couple songs are performed by each of the bands by grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9-10, and 11-12.  The night ends with all the grades taking the floor to perform one or two pep band songs together.  (This year the high school jazz band performed a few more songs after that.)  With a 6th-grader and a 7th-grader in  our family, we had to attend to hear how Abigail and Suzanna's bands sounded.  Here is photographic evidence:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Our Songbirds

Yesterday morning our family walked up the street to Trinity High School so that Abigail and Suzanna could perform in the 2011 Trinity Junior High and Elementary Solo and Ensemble Music Festival.  Suzanna first performed in the festival two years ago (remember?); and when Abigail was old enough last year, she joined her (remember?).  Hillary is still one year away from being old enough (one must be at least in fifth grade), so it was just Abigail and Suzanna again this year.  And, again, we have audiovisual evidence of their participation!  Wanna hear?

Saturday, April 09, 2011

You Put WHAT in This Apple Pie?!

Suzanna was my helper for this week's Scandinavian Saturday supper.  I asked her what kind of food she thought we should make, and her only opinion was that it should be chicken.  We decided to consult Scandinavian Food, Kari Diehl's online compendium of Nordic recipes, to see what we could find there.  This is the meal we put together as a result:

As you continue reading to find out all the juicy details, recall that you can click any photo to enlarge it.

Friday, April 08, 2011


Today was my first time attending a conference in Bismarck for pre-service teachers (what many universities call "student-teachers"), cooperating teachers (the K-12 teachers who host pre-service teachers in their classrooms to learn how to teach with them there as mentors), and the university supervisors and professors who train future teachers.  It was held at the University of Mary and consisted of informational sessions in the morning and afternoon and a lunch and awards ceremony at noon.  That awards ceremony was supposed to be an opportunity for me to surprise someone . . . but it turns out that I was the one who received a surprise!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Mentor Group Finale, Year One

At our church, the confirmation program (that prepares junior high school-aged students to become fully participating members of the church rather than merely other members' children) includes a component referred to as mentor groups.  For example, I am the mentor for a specific group of 7th-grade boys.  Once a month we meet at the church on a Wednesday night for discussion, prayer, and activities that support what they're learning in their confirmation classes with the pastors.  Tonight was our last formal meeting of the school year, and on the agenda was writing a "faith statement"--a sentence expressing what we believe about God and the church, based on words that we jotted down following each monthly meeting ever since last autumn (i.e., we were to synthesize the main ideas from each mentor group meeting into one statement of our group's faith).

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Pie and Cake in the Same Meal

Hillary was my helper for this week's Scandinavian Saturday supper.  The recipes came from the InterWebs (the pie), from Food Network Magazine (the fish and carrots), and from a colleague of mine (the dessert)--various sources but, surprisingly, a unified meal with very tasty elements.

You know you want to know more about the meal, so read on!  (And remember to click on any photo to enlarge it for maximum drooling.)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spirited Hillary

Faithful reader, you may recall that the winter swim team season (which ended for the girls early last month) wraps up with a banquet for the team: a tasty pasta bar at the Elks Lodge followed by distribution of awards.  Susan is out of town for a workshop in Bismarck, so I was alone with the girls . . . who were not alone because they each went off to sit at tables with friends on the team.  I took photos of them as they received their plaques, certificates, awards, ribbons from past meets, etc., but they're all blurry because each girl went up, shook hands, accepted the award, spun around, and returned to her seat pretty quickly.  But we have the awards themselves as physical evidence that tonight occurred!  And a special surprise: Hillary won a "spirit award" for her age group, apparently for being a tireless cheerleader for her teammates at every meet.  Congratulations, little girl!

"SC" stands for "short course."  The winter season (November through March) is for short-course events held in 25-yard pools; the summer season (May through August) is for long-course events held in 50-meter pools.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Armstrong Collection

Connie is a fellow member of a board of directors upon which I sit (for a local non-profit organization), and she and her husband recently made an impressive donation to the university: a rare book collection by and about President Theodore Roosevelt.  Some of the 125 books are first-edition, others are special-edition, and others are limited-edition.  I don't know the difference, but I attended a reception this afternoon to thank Connie and her husband, and the books were on display with table cards explaining what makes each book so rare . . . and it's quite a nice collection.  The university's Theodore Roosevelt Center is fortunate to gain this asset.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Citrus and Mustard and Meatballs

This morning an engaged couple and the bride-to-be's family came to our house to hear us sing/play through some possible wedding music for their upcoming nuptials.  The woman's mom had heard Susan and the girls singing for church one day and phoned some days afterward to inquire about their availability to sing for weddings.  After this morning, they now have some song ideas from us to share with the priest; and they'll get back to us on what music they'd like (or are allowed to use) and what combination of us they'd like to sing, play piano, etc.

This afternoon our whole family had back-to-back appointments to get our hairs cut.  Abigail and I went first because she was my helper for this week's Scandinavian Saturday supper, and we had groceries to buy and food to start fixin' as soon as possible.  Here's what we made:

Remember to click on a photo to enlarge it so that you can drool over each pic in all its detailed glory!
Read on to find out what that is and to see/read about what we served for dessert.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Happy Stomach

Two great suppers:

Last night I had a supper meeting at the university (eat while listening to presentations), and the food (thanks to university food services) was delicious: a Caesar salad and savory dinner roll to start followed by pork loin with a mushroom gravy, roasted new potatoes, and steamed green and yellow beans--and a chocolate dessert with several layers of cake, custard, whipped cream, and frosting.

Tonight our family tried out the new Mexican restaurant in town: Don Pedro's.  We tried one another's meals, and I did not taste anything that wasn't delicious.  The requisite nacho chips that came with the menus were served with a warm bean dip and a chunky, spicy salsa.  A couple of the ladies got seafood-stuffed items, and the seafood included scallops, prawns, and red snapper (not just the faux crab ["krab"] often used for seafood chimichangas, etc., at many restaurants).  I had a variety platter that included a chalupa, a chimichanga, and a huge chile relleno, all of which were great.  We'll be back.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

School Canceled on Account of Spring

After several days of temperate, snow-melting weather--and just a day or two into the official start of spring--the weather was nasty enough yesterday to prompt the university to close early and to stay closed today.  Heavy rain turned to thick sheets of ice on the roads, and the temperatures remained just warm enough to insure that the snow stayed thick and fell onto warm pavement, upon which the snow became slushy on the bottom and heavy on top from all its moisture.  Perfect snow for building a snowman or having a snowball fight, but miserable snow for trying to shovel off a driveway.

The highways and roads may have been in bad shape, but in town it seemed like a lovely afternoon . . . inappropriate for a "storm day" home from work.  Ditto today!  After the girls got home from school yesterday, they helped me clean off the driveway (they with shovels, me with a snowblower that wondered if I was seriously expecting it to deal with that wet, heavy snow--but better the snowblower than my back); we repeated it this morning after a night's worth of snowfall; and I went out again at noon before Susan came home from work to have dinner with me at home (yep, she and the girls all had school again today, even though the university remained closed).

More melty temperatures and snow are forecast for this weekend.  And this is spring?!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Simultaneous Norske Obligations in Two Cities

Last summer I was asked to serve on the board of directors for Trollfjorden Language and Cultural Camp, the Norwegian camp that our family has attended the past two summers (see 2010 and 2009).  There are generally two board meetings between summertime camp sessions: one in the fall and another in the spring.  At the fall meeting (at a board member's home near Glenburn, ND), I was elected treasurer, so I have had some money-related duties to carry out since then.  The spring board meeting was today in Minot, ND, so I made a quick up-and-back trip today without the ladies.  They couldn't come because they had an important event of their own to attend:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My First Oxtail

Susan was my helper for this week's Scandinavian Saturday supper; take a gander at what we served:

Here are more details about (and more photos of) what you see on that plate (as well as dessert, which I have a photo of, too):

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hey, Nice Brass!

The next concert in the Dickinson Area Concert Association's current season was tonight: a brass and percussion group called River City 6.  We continue to be pleased with the quality of the performances offered in the concert series.  The gentlemen in this group tonight were not only very gifted musicians, but they were also funny and all-around entertaining.  We were amazed at their beautiful sound, impressive technique, and range of song styles (from classical to traditional religious to early 20th-century pop music to American musicals, etc.).  The lone percussionist, who remained in the background most of the night (supporting the two trumpets, euphonium, trombone, and tuba), got a chance to shine, too, with a xylophone solo that demonstrated his speed and dexterity with the mallets.  Time flew, and the concert ended too quickly.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Suzanna's Inspiring Solo

Tonight we attended the second of two nights of school music concerts . . . both of them for Suzanna!  She is in band class, so she performed with the seventh-grade band in last night's concert.  She is in jazz band (an extracurricular activity), and that group performed last night, too.  And she is in honor choir (another extracurricular), which performed tonight with the eighth-grade band and choir.  I'm happy to report, though, that they're pretty musical groups, so it was enjoyable to hear even the groups that Suzanna was not in--but especially fun to watch her in action in her groups, of course.

Wanna hear some of Suzanna's performance?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cooking Gingerly

Because of our busy schedule yesterday, I postponed the weekly Nordic Saturday meal until today: a Scandinavian Sunday supper instead.  It was Susan's turn to be my assistant, but she had an all-afternoon workshop to attend at church; so I volunteered to make this meal by myself and have her help me next week instead (when it would have been my turn to cook alone).

All the recipes came from Swedish chef Marcus Samuelsson.  I'll tell you what everything is:

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Pride in Daughters and Other Local Entertainers

Our daughters' former piano teacher, Mrs. Vold, moved away last summer, and we were grateful to have found a new piano teacher: Mrs. Arneson, who also plays organ and piano at our church--and who volunteered to come to our house for weekly lessons, which makes our lives much easier (i.e., no more shuttling girls back and forth, one at a time, across town to the piano teacher's house while trying to tend to other appointments and to the making of supper).  There are differences, of course, in how each of those teachers gives lessons; but one thing in common is that both have their students participate in annual piano festivals sponsored by the National Federation of Music Clubs (the same group that oversaw the annual piano festivals in which my sisters and I performed throughout childhood).

The girls' piano festival was held today at the university, and the results are in:

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Last Laps (For Now)

Well, we just returned from the final swim meet of the season.  Similar to last week, I shuttled the girls to the swimming pool while Susan did her Sunday school director duties at church, after which she joined us, too.  Again she worked at the concessions stand; and this time, I served as a timer (meet organizers hadn't arranged in advance for timers and looked desperate, and the Lutheran guilt was strong within me).  Therefore, I didn't get to pay too close attention to the girls' times in their own events (I had to keep my eyes on Lane 8); but now that the meet has ended, we know that no Moberg qualified for the state meet this year (as Hillary did last year).  However, they had a good time swimming and staying fit all winter and befriending swimmers on their own team and from other towns, so I'd say it was another success swim season (with the end-of-the-season team banquet still to come).

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Green Overload

Just like last weekend, our Scandinavian Saturday supper tonight was preceded by a day full of errands and followed by a trip to the university for an arts performance.  Unlike last weekend, however, we managed to make several dishes for the meal.  Suzanna was my helper today, and she ended up making most of the meal!

Looks good, doesn't it?  I know you want to know what it all is, so I'll tell you:

Friday, March 04, 2011

Parents' Night Out

Every once in a while, the adults just have to leave the kids behind and go spend some time socializing with other adults.  Tonight we went to Sanford's Grub and Pub to meet our friends Leslie and Dave for supper.  I had a delicious steak; but better yet was the hilarious conversation, which is typical of an evening spent with them.  Then we went to Applebee's for dessert before calling it a night.  We came home to well behaved children, which was the perfect way to conclude the evening!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

So Big!

It's been a while since I have shared photos of our awesome nephew Davis.  Today is a good day to do that because it's his second birthday!  The kid is getting so big and looking less like a baby and more like a boy all the time.  Here is photographic evidence:

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Much Ado

Tonight we attended a play at the public high school: Much Ado About Will, a collection of scenes from a variety of plays by William Shakespeare.  It appealed to Susan and me due to our backgrounds as actors, directors, and English teachers (whose students read Shakespeare plays); and we've always been keen to have our children watch Shakespeare plays while they're young in order to struggle less when reading them in school in later years.  That approach has worked; cable TV offers well regarded filmed productions of Shakespearean plays, which we have recorded and watched with the girls over the years, and they generally have no trouble figuring out what the characters are saying or what's going on in the plot.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Youth Quaker

After church at 8:00 A.M., I had to shuttle Abigail and Hillary off to the West River Community Center for a swim meet while Susan stayed behind to carry out her duties as Sunday school director.  She joined us later to work in the concessions stand all day while I stayed in the swimming pool area and kept track of the girls' times in the events booklet.

And where was Suzanna during all this, you may wonder?  Well, I'll tell you:

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pride, Prejudice, and Fish

For this week's Scandinavian Saturday supper, Hillary was my helper.  We made a pretty simple meal because we had errands to do during the day and a play to attend right after supper--not a lot of time for multiple recipes or lots of dishes to wash.  So here's what we made:

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sweets and Tunes

Our church is raising funds to update its organ with digital components that will improve its sound, capabilities, and longevity.  The fundraising is going quite well, actually, probably because the committee in charge has been using a variety of approaches to soliciting funds.  Their latest: a night of "Sweets and Tunes," an event held in one of the church's gathering halls this evening.  Organizers had decorated the room with strings of white lights and set the tables with lace tablecloths, fancy centerpieces, and candles.  There was a small stage set up in the middle of the room for the entertainment, which included . . . Susan and me!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Entirely Lemon

One of my friends, Weston, loves lemons.  One day he and I went out for dinner, and I watched him eat the lemon wedges that were served as garnish.  He sucked the juice out of them and then consumed them, peel and all.  I mentioned that I have made some tasty lemon-based food for some of the Scandinavian Saturday suppers in our household, and he has been pestering me ever since to make something lemony for him.  So tonight I did.

At home I made the lemon mousse that was part of this supper last year.  Then I brought it and a bunch of other ingredients over to his place to make the rest of a lemon-themed supper for him and his fiancée to enjoy: sautéed chicken breasts covered in paper-thin lemon slices and simmered in lemon juice, wine, and garlic; multi-colored spaghetti with a pasta sauce including lemon juice and Parmesan and Asiago cheeses; and roasted kale drizzled with olive oil, sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and lemon juice.  After the lemon mousse for dessert, we enjoyed a lemon liqueur over ice.  It was all very good, especially to lemon-loving Weston (for whom I even brought extra lemons for him to snack on while I was cooking).

I got a strange look from the grocery store employee whose check-out lane I used.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Adjustment to Nightly Supper Themes

Faithful Reader, do you recall that, for almost three years now, our family has been dining each night according to a particular theme?  Bless Susan for her willingness to play along; each week she plans meals to suit these nightly themes (with the occasional exception, such as dining out for a birthday, or needing to eat up some leftovers from the previous night, etc.).  (And I'm in charge of the weekly Scandinavian Saturday supper, of course.)  We have tried a lot of new and fantastic food these past several years as Susan has experimented with new dishes to fit those themes . . . and we rarely repeat a recipe, either--there are just too many out there that we don't want to miss out on!

Well, we also have some favorite cooking shows that we like to watch each week (because Food Network is a family-friendly choice when trying to find something to watch with the kids), and I recently suggested altering our nightly themes somewhat to allow for regular trials of the recipes that we see on our favorite shows.  Here's are the changes:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Food Service Memories

It was another lo-o-ong Saturday for our family, thanks to a swim meet in Mandan, ND.  We left in the wee hours of the morning in order to arrive in time for pre-meet warmups, and we returned home late after spending some time shopping.  Thus, no Scandinavian Saturday supper this week.

However, we did have a great meal, thanks to a mid-afternoon stop at the Ground Round.  Susan's brother Jerrett stopped by the pool to watch each of the girls swim this morning, and he joined us for a late dinner/early supper once the meet had ended.  We chose the Ground Round partly because it's located near some of the stores where we intended to shop but also because we haven't eaten at one of their restaurants in a long time, and we have fond memories of it.  Susan and I both worked at the Ground Round in Grand Forks during our university years, and I loved my coworkers and have many funny stories from our interactions at work.

So I was predisposed to be in a good mood walking into the Bismarck location today and enjoyed the whole meal: the salty popcorn and cold beer, the overloaded burger, the visit with Jerrett, the friendly service . . . a great dining experience overall.  (The shopping afterwards wore me out, though, and the long drive home was very sleepy . . .)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cruz Control

We have season tickets from the Dickinson Area Concert Association, and the next event in the lineup was tonight.  After supper we walked up the street to the Catholic school auditorium where tonight's concert was held.  We heard Edgar Cruz, an acoustic guitarist who plays in many different styles.  He played original songs as well as famous Latin songs, classical music, hits of the early 1900s, and rock staples.  He's versatile!  And he has a warm, easy-going presence on stage, making for a relaxing performance of easy-to-listen-to guitar music.  You can hear him here, or watch him play "Bohemian Rhapsody" here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Because of this, Susan and Abigail and I made a trip to Bismarck, ND today to meet with a pediatric neurologist.  We intended to hear an expert interpretation of the symptoms that Abigail experienced last month and of the results of the CAT scan, EEG, and MRI that she underwent in the weeks since.  The neurologist noted that the CAT scan and MRI showed nothing abnormal, although the EEG did show some abnormal activity in the brain.  She listened to the details of the initial incident and Abigail's behavior during and after it.  And her conclusion?  "I don't know."  Turns out that Abigail's symptoms aren't typical of any usual explanation from the neurologist's experience.  Anti-seizure medication is an option, but then we'd be medicating Abigail for a condition that we're not certain exists . . . using drugs that impede brain activity, for Pete's sake!  Or we could do nothing and just see if something similar ever happens again; and if it were to repeat, the doctor would be able to give a better diagnosis and prescribe medication accordingly.  So we're probably going to wait.

A lot of family and friends have been waiting for news from us about what happened, and we certainly wish we had returned from the neurologist appointment today with something certain to say about the incident in January that started this all.  Unfortunately we don't know much more now than we did before going to Bismarck.

Keep praying.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love, Not Stuff . . . Well, Except for Flowers and Food

Is there a Valentine's Day equivalent of Christmastime's Scrooge?  If so, that's what I may sound like when I tell you that I opened the conversation at the dining room table the other day with something like, "Now, before we go buy things for Valentine's Day, do we really need to bring any more stuff into this house?"  But we've still got Christmas gifts sitting out, waiting for us to find a place for them; and the girls just hauled in several awesome Valentine's Day gifts from Grandpa and Grandma this past weekend . . . so nobody flinched at my suggestion that we exchange just love, not gifts, for today's holiday.

Be that as it may, I still took the opportunity to slip away from work today to buy flowers for my four valentines: yellow roses for each of the daughters, and a dozen red roses for Susan.  And after Susan and I were done with work, and the girls had finished their after-school swim team practice, we all went out to supper and had a delicious meal (including a huge portion of fried ice cream that we all shared for dessert) at El Sombrero, our favorite Mexican restaurant in town.  What a joy to spend time with my four lovely valentines!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Aunt Shirley at Gramma Sharon's

No Scandinavian Saturday supper this weekend.  Instead, we drove to Williston, ND for the girls' swim meet there.  We had an uneventful drive there early this morning, taking I-94 to Belfield, then Hwy 85 north through Fairfield, Grassy Butte, Watford City, Arnegard, and Alexander.  I point that out because, on the way back, we took a different route with far fewer towns along the way: we took Hwy 68 south of Alexander and then turned off on Hwy 16 through the Little Missouri National Grassland, encountering no towns or cities until we reached Beach back on the Interstate, which we traveled east back to Dickinson.  Hwy 16 was a beautiful drive: very little traffic, scenic terrain, deer along the roadside . . . all with the added benefit of the sense of exploration that comes when taking an unfamiliar path.

Even better than what we got to see on the drive home was whom we got to see while in Williston:

Friday, February 11, 2011

Lutheran Luck and Laughter

Susan and I had a fun night out tonight.  A while ago, Susan got an invitation via Facebook to a birthday get-together for a woman who goes to our church.  I'm not this woman's Facebook friend, so I didn't get that invitation and declined Susan's offer to crash the party, but I encouraged her to attend.  Well, the woman later followed up with Susan to clarify that I was invited, too, so we decided to go.  And we're so glad that we did!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Magnetic Personality

The next episode in this saga was today: Abigail's EEG last week revealed some abnormal activity, so they scheduled her for an MRI this morning.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Savory Swedish Salmon Soup and Sandwiches

We had been planning to take our family friend Monica (whom the girls call their "in-town grandma") to Suzanna's concert this afternoon and then go out for supper afterwards.  However, it's terribly icy out, so Monica (who had hip surgery not long ago) opted to stay in and invited us to come to her home for supper after the concert.  We were going to take pizza to her, but this is Scandinavian Saturday in our household, and I wondered if there would be time before the concert to prepare something ethnic to pick up and take over to her after the concert.  It was Abigail's turn to be my helper, and she was game for fixing Scandinavian food to share with Monica for supper . . . so that's what we did.

Suzanna the Honor Chorister

The big weekend for Suzanna arrived: she participated in all-state honor choir (remember?) yesterday and today!  She got out of school around noon yesterday to go with her music teacher to the university (we're so lucky that the event is being held this year in Dickinson--we don't have to travel!), and he turned her over to the conductor assigned to direct Suzanna and the other 99 middle-school-aged students chosen from across the state.  They performed at concerts last night and this afternoon.  Wanna hear a little bit?

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Abigail's All-Nighter

Abigail went in for an EEG today (catch up here), and the procedure itself was standard and uneventful.  Here she is ready for electrodes to be attached to the special cap:

Monday, January 31, 2011

Too Much Snow

I just spent 1.25 hours in -20° F weather (-40° F with the wind chill) snowblowing and shoveling the driveway and sidewalks so we can get to work and school today.  My sister Sandy asked me on the phone yesterday to post a photo to show how much snow we've got so far, so here's a look at the snow drift on the south side of our driveway.  We haven't even yet gotten to February and March--two months typically with heavy snowfall--and I'm already wondering where I'll put the snow from the next time that the sky dumps white stuff on us.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Arizonan Missionaries and Indian Food

Highlight of the morning: The majority of the church service was led by two guests who are in the area from their homes in AZ, traveling from church to church in our region to make people aware of Shepherd's Canyon Retreat, a ministry for pastors feeling overwhelmed by the pressures of their jobs.  Those two gentlemen led us in singing familiar hymns and Sunday school songs, and they sang some contemporary worship songs to us, too, including an especially touching one that compared living life to running a race, and reaching heaven to crossing the finish line.  When they noted that those who have passed the finish line then turn around to cheer us on as we run the rest of our own race, I couldn't help but think of Mom and other loved ones who have died; and Hillary and Abigail (who were seated on either side of me) and I hugged and cried through the rest of that song.  (The lyrics also point out that the way we "run the race" serves as an example for those running behind us, so we serve as inspiration and example for others as we strive to live Christ-inspired lives.)

Highlight of the evening:

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Icy Roads and Mardi Gras

Last night we all retired early so that we could arise early and get on the road for the girls' swim meet in Minot.  Warmups started at 10:00 A.M. Central time, which is 9:00 for us.  It's usually a good three-hour drive to Minot, so leaving at 6:00 A.M. would have gotten us there under normal driving conditions.  However, after a few days of above-freezing temperatures, things turned very cold very quickly last night, and I knew we'd want extra time so that we could drive slowly as needed.  I figured a 5:00 A.M. departure would be good, so I got up at 4:00 to check the road report.  The state transportation department's Web site offered a travel map on which all the state's highways were marked with red: no travel advised.  Ugh!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Rest in Peace

My dad phoned me with sad news today: last night his brother-in-law and good friend, Kenny, passed away.  Dad and Kenny have been friends for decades.  As young men, they even played together in a band that performed at dance clubs and other events across the region--and they had a TV show in Minot!  Some time after my mom passed away, Dad married Kenny's sister Beverly, which brought Dad and Kenny back into more regular contact again.  Kenny and his wife Bea often made special trips from their home in Bowbells to Dad and Beverly's home when they knew that our family was coming to visit just so that they could see us, something that our girls remember fondly and mentioned tonight when I told them the sad news.  We'll wait to hear about funeral arrangements and, in the meantime, keep Bea, Beverly, their family members, and Dad in our prayers.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mysterious Emergency

With three children, we're not unaccustomed to getting the occasional phone call from the school to tell us that one of the girls has become ill and needs to be picked up and taken home.  Today's phone call about Abigail, however, was a little scarier: in addition to having a headache, nausea, and dizziness that made her unable to walk without someone to hold her up, she could not make sense when speaking to others and didn't seem to know where she was (e.g., she told the principal that she couldn't find her bedroom).  The nurse at the clinic said there were no more appointments available for the day but recommended that we take Abigail to the emergency room, so off we went.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Chaotic Household

Faithful Reader, do you recall that Abigail had plans for a birthday party with her friends last August?  Well, that party never came to pass because it turned out to be too difficult to track them down in the summer.  We decided to wait until the school year when everybody would be back in town and available to hand an invitation to directly while at school.  And Suzanna usually doesn't have a birthday party with friends on her actual birthday because it happens during Christmas break, when her friends (and/or we) are off traveling for the holidays.  We just wait until school is back in session and have a belated birthday party for her then.

Well, last night we had a combined birthday/slumber party for both Abigail (a very belated party!) and Suzanna, each of whom invited two friends to come over after school to eat supper and then spend the night.  And we all survived.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Newly Installed

At today's Sons of Norway lodge meeting, the new officers for the year were installed.  Susan, who served as newsletter editor last year, will do so again this year.  She will also take on the role of secretary, taking minutes at every meeting (and she used her new netbook to do that today!).  I used to be vice president, but now I'm taking over Susan's old role as youth director.  Suzanna was lodge musician last year and will continue in that capacity this year.  We'll see what these new roles and duties bring our way throughout the year!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Today's "To Do" List

3:30 A.M. -- arise to check the weather report and highway report to see if it will be possible to travel to Bismarck, ND today for the girls' swim meet; travel was not advised through last night due to severe winter weather, but it seems that roads are being declared passable this morning . . . so get ready for the day

5:15 A.M. -- leave for Bismarck; discover that the roads are just fine: the driving lane is clear the entire way, the passing lane is mostly clear with some occasional snow accumulations, and plows are out clearing the drifts from the shoulders of the Interstate

6:45 A.M. (7:45 Central time) -- arrive at the BSC Aquatic and Wellness Center in time for Suzanna's warmup, which starts at 8:00 Central time (Abigail and Hillary's warmup and events are in the afternoon); discover that Suzanna is the only team member there and that her coach has not come, either; watch Susan's blood pressure rise as she texts and e-mails the other team members' parents (not coming because of the nonexistent "bad roads") and the coach ("There's a meet today?  If any other team members show up this afternoon, let me know, and I'll think about coming for the afternoon's events")

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

That Cake's for Looking at, Not Eating

Who's another year older?  Susan is!

the birthday girl with the homemade birthday cake made by yours truly (and hers truly)
She often has the misfortune of having to work on her birthday, and today was no exception; so we did the opening of birthday presents this morning before everyone shuffled off to school and work for the day.  Over the Christmas break, I heard her mentioning to friends and family members that she'd like a netbook, not only to use when taking notes at meetings (she's the secretary for a few organizations) but also to check e-mail and make video phone calls to out-of-state relatives.  So the girls and I got her a netbook!  I think she was delighted.

This evening we went out for supper at Spaghetti Western, where we ordered fancy beverages and an appetizer and a main course item for each of us . . . and were entirely too full to finish everything or even think about eating birthday cake once we got home.  (Yesterday afternoon I made a chocolate cake from scratch and made chocolate frosting from scratch, creating a two-level cake of deep chocolate intensity due to all the unsweetened cocoa powder and coffee in both the cake and frosting.)  We'll cut into the cake tomorrow instead.  In the meantime, happy birthday, Susan!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

From Sickness to Seafood

Apologies, Kittens, for so many days without updates.  When we got home from our Christmas travels, my body decided to take its own version of a vacation by giving in to some germ that I had picked up along the way and shutting me down for several days.  Susan and the girls returned to work and school on Monday, and I laid low at the house and drank lots of hot Tang (the breakfast drink of astronauts).  But duty called; I had to report to work for a department meeting yesterday, and I had to work as a timer today for a home swim meet (in which the girls competed).  Since I was up-and-at-'em anyway, why not go ahead and make another Scandinavian Saturday supper?  Here come the mouth-watering photos and descriptions:

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Christmas Road Trip: Day 11

Road Report
Today's route: Tioga, ND to Dickinson, ND via Hwy 2, Cty Rd 21, Hwy 1804, Hwy 23, and Hwy 22 (148 miles).  Minimal drifting on the way to New Town; some compacted snow and ice between New Town and Mandaree; lots of wind and drifting while driving through the Killdeer Mountains and on into the town of Killdeer--otherwise, nothing too bad and an uneventful drive overall.

Notable Events
Beverly had extra pasta left over from our spaghetti supper the other night, so I volunteered to make dinner for us today at noon and made use of those noodles.  Suzanna helped by browning some Italian sausage while I diced an onion and a green pepper, which Suzanna then sautéed with the sausage.  We added the leftover spaghetti sauce from Thursday and added cans of garlic- and cheese-flavored tomato sauces, into which we added the leftover spaghetti noodles until they had warmed and separated and become coated with the sauce.  We stirred in shredded parmesan, asiago, mozarella, and white cheddar cheeses and served the bowl of pasta with grated parmesan to shake atop individual servings.  Susan made garlic toast in the oven to complete the meal.  Pretty danged good.