Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Jim - #9 out of 10

I was 4 1/2 years old when, on July 1, I became a big sister. But as you can see in the picture above, Jim was almost as big as me. He was over 12 pounds at birth. I don't remember when he was born, but I do have some other early memories:

  • Family taking pictures of him and Jerilynn, his niece, who was 5 months older.
  • Jim running after me with the butcher knife. He must have been about 3 or 4. I hid behind the bed in my parent's bedroom.
  • A very early obsession with the Minnesota Twins. I remember taking the picture above, with a couple of his favorite baseball cards, when he was about 10. He spent hours listening to games on the radio and throwing the baseball in the air and catching it.
  • Moody adolescence.

As an adult, I love his smile and the way his whole body shakes when he laughs. He's done a great job with his daughters - they both adore him. I can only imagine what a wonderful grandpa he is. He's always been the one who was sensitive to the angst of some of the nieces and reached out to them and helped them through tough times. He's a great teacher and I just know there are hundreds of students over the last three decades who will never forget him.

If Dad had lived longer, I know he would have been so proud of how his 5th son turned out. I know I am.

Happy Birthday, Jimbo!

Monday, June 29, 2009


Through the Bible in 2009 remains a very interesting read. I am currently in Proverbs. I have read Proverbs many times, though usually it was hit and miss, a verse here, a verse there. This time I am refusing to go to the next verse until I actually assimilate the verse I am on. That means I can't let my mind wander. And it is proving to be a very slow read. This is one book where every verse has an implication for how to live. I can see why Solomon (who wrote most of Proverbs) was known as the King of Wisdom. Gosh - if we all lived by the principles in Proverbs, this would be heaven on earth. It is really hitting me how very wise the proverbs are. Makes me want to tell everyone to READ them. But that wouldn't be very wise....

Saturday, June 27, 2009


With a 13-year old in the house, I hear the word "fashionable" a lot. I remember (barely) the time of my life when a big part of every day was spent determining if the clothes I had, my makeup, my shoes, even my hair was "fashionable". (Of course, I never felt I quite measured up). I went through it again with my daughters, and now the granddaughters are starting. Tori and I walked through Old Navy and she started pointing out different articles of clothing and saying, "Now, Grandma, this is fashionable". At first I thought she was looking at things for herself, but it finally dawned on me that she was referring to things that I could buy for myself. I had to gently remind her that what is fashionable for teenagers or twenty-somethings might not be fashionable for a 57 year old like me.

Don't get me wrong; I want to dress nicely and I certainly want to be up-to-date with clothes, hair, etc. But I sure am glad that I no longer obsess over what I wear, no longer spend hours on hair and make-up, and NO LONGER CARE what other people think of how I look. At this stage in my life, it's about pleasing myself - not others. Freedom. Love it.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Getting Oriented

I spent the last two days at an orientation session for my new job. I don't officially start until July 6, but I volunteered to come to the already-scheduled meetings. I came away feeling even stronger that this is the place and time for me. It is interesting to see how my past experiences all come together to make me prepared for this. I found out that my duties will include working on a couple more initiatives than I was originally told (but I fully expected that to happen).

Right now it looks like the first month I will be in the local office. But by the end of July (after my Seattle trip) or the first week of August I will be hitting the road. And, believe it or not, I am ready for that again, too!

We got Tori back last night. It is good to have her here again. She really enjoyed being at Amy's. Today I am picking up Amber (10) and she will be spending the next several days with us as well. Almost feels like having daughters again - only more fun.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Alone Again - For Now

Being around only grandparents all day every day gets a little boring for a 13 year old. Maybe she will have a little more excitement over the next few days. Today Amy and kids came to pick her up and take her to their home until Thursday afternoon. She was very, very excited about being at their house. Good luck, Amy, having 4 kids around!

On Saturday we took her to the movie "Up". We rarely go to the theatre because we rarely see a movie worth the money. But this gave us a chance to go to a kid's movie. It was really quite good. But expensive! Price of three adult tickets - $27 (including fee for buying online); 1 large popcorn and 2 small drinks - $14. Over $40 to see a one-hour-thirty-six-minute movie. (I could buy nearly four ounces of monkey-picked oolong tea for $40!) We had a good time, though, and that's what it is all about.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I Still Miss Him

On May 15, 1975, my dad suddenly left us behind on this earth. I was only 23 years old and was just beginning to know him as an adult. Strange, isn't it, that after 34 years I still miss him? I mean - really miss him. Though I don't remember ever receiving a hug or kiss from my dad, I had the utmost respect for him and deeply loved him. And I know he loved me. I don't know how I know that, as it was never said, but I always knew it. My earliest memory of my dad was when I was very young (I'm not sure how young) and he started to wrestle with me on the floor. I was very frightened and ran away. As I was running upstairs I remember my mom telling him that I hadn't seen him in such a long time, with the harvest and all, that I was just shy. I hope I didn't hurt his feelings.

We were not a family that showed tender emotions, but I grew up believing that parents always got along and never had harsh words with each other. I believed that all men treated all women with respect, always looked out for their neighbors, always lent a helping hand when needed, and that all grown up men were honest, faithful, solid and men of integrity. That was my model.

Attached are a couple of my favorite pictures. I remember taking the picture of dad with his tractor in 1966 when I got my own camera. I remember asking my brother to take the one of dad and me in 1968 when I was 16 and starting to really appreciate him.

I miss you, Dad. Thanks for being such a solid living rock in my life for 23 years - and a continuing influence for all the rest of my years. Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fight the Filthy Fly

Today I read that June is:

  • National Adopt a Cat Month
  • National Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Month
  • Fight the Filthy Fly Month
  • Dairy Month

Having come from a farm background, I knew about the last one, but the others are new to me. Fight the Filthy Fly Month reminds me of one of the times Rod and I went out to eat. We drove by this place frequently and often mentioned we should go there some day. Well, we did. Quite an experience. We walked in the door and found a table. When the waitress came she brought us a fly swatter and said we may need it. She was right! The place was full of those "filthy flies" and we swatted flies during our entire meal. Yes, we were dumb enough to place an order - and stay to eat it. I don't recall the setting, but I am thinking this place must have been pretty close to a barn or pig pen or something. It was, after all, out in the middle of nowhere. I wonder if they are still open and still giving their customers fly swatters....

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Shopping and Tori

With a new job I need new clothes, right? Rod took Tori for a hike in the mountains and I took off to Flat Iron Crossing. What fun! Got lotsa new tops and a pair of shoes - nearly all on sale. I started out at Dillards but (1) there was nothing that appealed to me and (2) they had practically nothing on sale. All the other stores had huge sales going on. Wonder what's up with Dillards? No way am I going to pay $70 for a tee shirt! I suppose the best sales will be coming up the Fourth of July weekend. Maybe I'll go shopping that week as well.

Next purchase, though, will probably be a Webkinz for Tori so she can spend some time on the Internet while she is here - and a little less DVD/books. What a difference a couple years make. She used to be close all the time, now she loves spending time alone. She does get her exercise each day since she bikes to the swimming pool and spends all afternoon there. She's been here a week already. The time is going to fly by so fast.

Wait - maybe my next purchase should be a Father's Day gift for the hubs. That will be easy; he wants a gift card to Starbucks so his cash lasts longer. I don't usually get him anything since he is not my dad, but he bought me a mug for Mother's Day.....

Monday, June 15, 2009

Taking a Risk

In the natural it was a very stupid thing to do. Here I was, 50-something with the country beginning our slide towards a recession. I was climbing the ladder, great paycheck, lots of responsibility and credibility, was known throughout the organization - had it made. But in January 2008 I quit my job - without another one to go to. These last 17 months have been an interesting journey. I thought I found my spot with a large insurance company; they were going to hire me as soon as they got a certain contract. That contract didn't happen when it was supposed to. And by the time they did get the contract nearly a year later (1) I knew that organization was not a good fit for me; and (2) they had a bunch of internal people they needed to place. Thankfully, I had 14 months of nearly full-time consulting with them. But in early May that abruptly dried up. While I was going along, feeling very out-of-place, under-challenged and unfulfilled, the Lord was laying the way for something else.

In February of 2008 I spoke with the CEO and COO of a Denver-based dialysis company. I felt very good about our conversations and about the company. But nothing came of it because they had no position to offer me. Fast-forward to May 2009. The very week my consulting work dried up Hank, a former colleague I had not seen or spoken with for years, suddenly called me. He had seen the CEO mentioned above at a meeting and told him I was right in his backyard and would be an excellent employee. Perfect timing; perfect connection! Over the last few weeks I have been speaking with all the senior team and this week was offered a position!

This is amazing to me. Everything worked out in just the right time. This is an organization I will fit into perfectly and they were looking for someone with my exact skill set and background, including my recent stint in the insurance world. Even that was meant to be!

I am so jazzed! I will soon be back in the fast-paced environment I love - with all the challenges, responsibilities and opportunities that make work-life so exciting.

Was it worth the risk to walk away from the security and stability of a long-term position? You bet! Now, rather than the same-old, same-old for many more years, I have the opportunity for one more big exciting blast before entering retirement. Halleluiah!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


If you have tried leaving comments before and found it difficult, please try again. I have changed the settings. Let me know if you continue having difficulties (audnrod@comcast.net).


Flag Day

Happy Flag Day everyone! For most people Flag Day goes unnoticed. But I have special memories surrounding the day that I dwell on every Flag Day - and have for nearly 40 years. In June 1960 my mom, my great aunt Alma and I took the train to Tacoma, WA, to see my mom's parents and other miscellaneous relatives. The pictures above are from that trip. I was there on Flag Day. Everyone in the neighborhood had their flags flying, there were streamers and other decorations. Even firecrackers. Right before or after the picture on the top was taken (me, Grandma Sophie, Great Aunt Alma) a firecracker went off and startled the "old" ladies. I don't remember the taking of the picture on bottom (Grandpa Frank and me), but I'm sure glad I have it. It's the only one of the two of us. Grandpa made me feel special - everyday we would walk to the corner store and he would buy me a push-up for 5 cents. After they went up to 7 cents, though, he wouldn't get anymore for me. I think that was the last few days we were there. He also bought me a "sun umbrella" which I still have.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Teenager in the House

It doesn't seem that long ago that I had three teen-aged daughters in our house. And when they grew up I was so relieved that part of my life was o-v-e-r. But, like childbirth, you soon forget how awful it was and remember the joyful times.

Well, we have a teen-ager in the house again. We invited Tori, age 13, to spend 5 weeks with us this summer. She arrived on Wednesday. She is definitely getting into the teen angst stuff and can be terribly annoying. But from the perspective of grandparents, it is much easier and much more fun than being the parent. She is pulling me out of my solitude and routine and adding, shall I say, "spice" to my life. I am really looking forward to the next few weeks. I hope together we can build memories that will last us both a lifetime.


As those of you who read this probably know, my mom is in a nursing home. She is nearly 93. We had her quarterly care conference this past week and I attended by phone. Wouldn't you think that people who work in a nursing home would be experts in geriatric issues? It amazes me how much I have to advocate for Mom. Now, I'm not new to this; I spent many years working in a nursing home myself and I am an RN now. In all my years in healthcare I have been a strong patient advocate and did everything I could to make the experience as good as possible (whether NH or hospital). Why isn't everyone like that????

I'm not saying her care is bad; but there are things she has to deal with that are completely unnecessary for her to deal with. And don't they get it that she can't hear half of what they say? Sometimes I wish I were closer so I could keep on top of things better.

Calm down, Audrey......

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Julia, almost 7, spent the night with us last night. Such a wonderful age! But I'm never sure what the kids are going to be willing to eat. For example, Cade (5) always liked mini-wheats for breakfast. So when he was here I offered him mini-wheats. "I can't eat mini-wheats anymore. They have 200 calories!" And he would not budge.

So this time, with Julia, I had meatloaf and baked potatoes. That little girl ate two helpings of meatloaf and two complete baked potatoes! I couldn't believe it! Then we went to the store to get some groceries. While there she started feeling sick to her stomach. Grandpa said it was probably all the potatoes she ate. "No," she said, "I only had two!"

Also, while at the store we picked up some breakfast sausages. Julia stated that she l-o-v-e-s sausages. So this morning, I drag myself out of bed (early), walk into the kitchen and Julia is sitting at the island. "What are you doing up so early?" I ask. "Waiting for my sausages", she says. Four sausages, two eggs and two glasses of orange juice later, she was ready for the day.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Biggest Influence

Several times during my life in the big corporate world, I would be required to attend things like personal growth seminars, team building events, and other miscellaneous "fun" events. From time to time the "coach" would ask me, "Who has had the biggest influence in your life?" I always answer the same; There were three, together, who had the biggest influence in my life.
I have included a couple pictures of these three people; my sisters. I was born into a ready-made environment conducive to love and acceptance. I had three teen-aged (or almost) sisters who, after having 4 brothers come after them, were tickled pink to have a little girl in the house. I firmly believe my sense of stability, self-acceptance, and "I can do anything" attitude is a direct result of the attention I received from my sisters in the early years of my life.

Actually, I shouldn't say "early years", as this has continued throughout my lifetime. I've always felt special around my sisters. Even though I am past the mid-century mark, I am still their little sister. They are a part of any success I have had (or will have) in life.

Thanks, Vivian, Sylvia and Evie, for molding me into the person I became. I realize this is a rare gift to be valued highly. I love you all! (ps - these pictures are in 1958 an 1953)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

38 Years

Friday, June 5 was our 38th wedding anniversary. We celebrated really big (LOL). We had dinner at the Elephant Bar in Lakewood, walked around Belmar, had coffee (him) and a pot of jasmine tea (me) at the Coffee Press, and went home. We did the entire celebration for less than $50. We didn't even give each other cards, so that was the total, total cost.

Oh, it's not always this way. One year I got a big (really big) diamond, and I think we've done a trip or two over the years. But it's nice to be at the point where a low-key, low-stress, low-cost evening is completely satisfying. And it's nice to be at the point where the hard work of marriage is over. There are some benefits to getting older ;-)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Job, the Parent

January 1, 2009 I started a year-long project: read the Bible through from beginning to end. This is the first time I've done it with no agenda and no pre-conceived ideas. I just wanted to read it like a "book". It's been a great journey so far.

A few days ago I came across a very interesting verse in Job. He had 7 sons and 3 daughters. His sons took turns holding "feasts" in their homes and invited all the siblings. Here's what really hit me: Early in the morning he (Job) would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, "Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." This was Job's regular custom. (Job 1:5).

Wow! Talk about parental love and committment. Daughters - watch out! Early in the morning I will be praying for you. Just in case you need it :-)

A Picture from 1955

Here is the picture of my brother "Donny" with me and Nodak, my kitty. This was in the summer of 1955; I was three and he was 10 or 11. I referenced this picture in the blog titled "#5 out of 10". If this were in color you'd see that we were both redheads.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Finished Product

10:30 pm - Finished! I hope the girls like them.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Doll Clothes

I've been without work now for nearly a month. During that month's time I took two trips to see family, I cleaned out my closet and all my dressers, moved all the furniture and cleaned under/behind them, and....decided to make some doll clothes for the granddaughters. I must be going crazy.

I used to enjoy sewing, but I'm not enjoying myself very much this time. All three granddaughters have an American Doll and they will all be together this summer. So making a nice new outfit for each of them seemed like a nice grandmotherly thing to do. But as I'm working on these outfits, I get to thinking - I have three jumpers; green, blue and pink. Whatever possessed me to buy different colored fabric? Especially since they all have a strong preference for pink. Now, who gets the pink one? I can already see the pouty faces of the other two.

The outfits are really cute though - jumper and tee-shirt. Fabric and pattern for half price. I was feeling pretty good about that. Until I realized my savings is more than offset by the price of the buckles and appliques.

I think I really need to go back to work. But that's another story I'll share a little later.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Here is one of my favorite quotes. I found it in the TIME magazine (Maira Kalman) and have it posted on my bulletin board.

Don't talk to me about Luxury.

O.K., You can. But Forget it.

You must know

that the only

real luxury

is TIME.


and a

cup of tea.

And a Pear.

Or an apple.

Maybe a little cake.

That is enough.

Sometimes having the time for a cup of tea and a piece of fruit or cake is the biggest blessing of the day. Simple. Inexpensive. Satisfying.

Monday, June 1, 2009


I love June. It is one of my favorite months. Why is June so special? Here are some reasons:
  • Summer begins
  • Weddings and anniversaries (including my own)
  • No matter how hot it gets, the mornings and evenings are cool (at least in Colorado they are)
  • Flag Day
  • Lots of green
  • Grass, trees, and flowers look young, fresh, perky and clean
  • Winter will not come for a long time
  • Father's Day - for remembering and honoring my dad who left us way too soon