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.