Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cousins et al

A large portion of my mother's family settled in the Seattle/Tacoma area. Grandpa Peterson got a job out there during WW II, so moved there with his wife and all the kids who still lived at home - and there were a bunch of them. Mom was already married and settled in ND. Therefore, I never knew my "out West" aunts and uncles and cousins very well. I went to Tacoma twice with my mom; once when I was a few months old and again when I was eight. That was the last time I saw most of them. When I started traveling for work around 2002-2003, my job took me to Tacoma and I took the time to start meeting my long-lost relatives. What a gold mine I found! Over the last 6-7 years I have been there several times and each time I get to know more and more of my blood relatives. My aunts and uncles are really great people and they have been so open and loving and happy to see me and various others who have started going there as well. This past weekend was one of the best gatherings ever. We had a whole bunch coming in from out of town who joined a whole bunch of locals. My cousin, Ralph, says there were 69 of us there. And to think that there are a lot more who were missing! If any of you locals read this - I want to tell you THANK YOU for making it such a wonderful day.


One of the best inventions in my lifetime is the GPS - Navigation system. How did I ever function without it? I remember driving in strange cities in the middle of the night with my car light on trying to read a map. I remember stopping in the middle of the night at sleazy looking gas stations to ask for directions. I remember being lost in places like Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Ft. Lauderdale, and more. It's a different story now. Monday night I landed in Dallas very, very late (flight delayed over 2 hours). I had already put my destination into my phone GPS. When I picked up the rental car, I just pushed "calculate route" and I was on my way. For over 30 miles, in the middle of the night, in a strange city, I felt no stress or concern that I would not find my way. My trusting phone took me right to the hotel, arriving at nearly 2:00 a.m. The next morning, it took me directly to my meeting, then right back to the airport. Piece of cake. $10 a month is well worth it!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Storm Lake, Iowa

I finally got all my travel arrangements done for my trip to Storm Lake, Iowa, the first week of August! On Monday I fly from Denver to Omaha (one of these trips I am going to give enough time to see my sister, Evie, in Omaha). Then I rent a car and drive about 2 1/2 hours to Storm Lake. Everyone said the only decent place to stay was at the King's Pointe Waterpark Resort. Great idea! Except that they had no rooms for the three nights - only the last night. Well, I decided to take the last night, just in case I ended up somewhere that wasn't fit to stay in. I also made reservations at another local "motel". Today I called to cancel the one night at King's Pointe. But joy of joys - they had a cancellation so I can get a room for all three nights! Yippee! So then I had to cancel the other reservation. I think I'm all set now.

The other part of the story, though, is that it costs $12/day to get navigation with the rental car. I made the reservations with this included. But today I got permission to get navigation added to my Blackberry for less than $10/month. Big savings! So I tried to get the navigation taken off my car rentals. Not so easy to do! In fact, so far it has been impossible. I tried to rent another car so I could just cancel the first car, but the second car is much more expensive this time around! I finally gave up and asked an administrative assistant to see what she could do. I really would rather not have to turn in the expense for navigation when I just begged to have it on my blackberry to "save money". (My boss really likes to save money).

Ghirardelli Chocolates

Gotta tell you - I love the individual Ghirardelli chocolate squares. At World Market you can buy a sack of 48 squares in four flavors - Milk Chocolate with Caramel Filling, Dark Chocolate with White Mint Filling, 60% Cocao Dark Chocolate and Dark Chocolate with Raspberry Filling. A serving size is 3, but I only eat 1 a day - so it is less than 65 calories a day. I have them on my desk at work and it brings people in to see me ;-). Yum. I think I'll make some fresh tea (yes, I have a teapot at work, along with some loose-leaf tea) and have my daily chocolate square.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Nothing much

Now that I finally have my mind set on buying a car - I don't have time to do it! Why didn't I decide to do this during the several weeks I was not working?!? It may be for the best, though, as I might as well wait for all the 2010 models to come out. I really want a red Camry. But Amy and Don already have red Camry's. Can we really handle three of them in the family?

I just finished three days of Director meetings. I was told it would be really intense. Well, either I have a different understanding of intense, or they really held back. So far it's nothing to get stressed over. I'm looking forward to next week when I will be back digging around in a dialysis center again. I've missed that.

In about 36 hours we will be in Seattle. Can't wait! It's going to be a good weekend!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Keeping Up and Car Shopping

Oh, boy. It's going to be a challenge keeping up with my blogging now that I am driving to work every day - and starting to travel soon. But I am determined to not let this go! Just have to plan better. I was going to scan some childhood pictures over the weekend, but here it is Monday night and I didn't get it done.

I'm seriously looking for a new car. My old faithful 1998 Avalon is starting to fade. But there are so many to choose from! I like the idea of a hybrid (Prius, Camry, Fusion or ???). We've been doing a lot of research but now have to get out and test drive. I'm very fussy. If I'm going to pay much money, I want it to be exactly what I want, right down to the cup holders and the mirrors. This may take me the rest of the year. Anyone have any good advice or good input on any of the new cars?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Update on My Peaches

I just finished the last peach - another few hours and it would have turned brown. Rod thought he ate the last one, but I brought mine back home from work. It was a very busy day and I did not have time to look for a private place to eat it. So that is all the peaches - until Seattle. One of the highlights of going to Seattle (besides seeing all the wonderful relatives) is going to Pike Place Market and getting a big juicy peach. I look forward to it every time we go. But, again, it is a challenge to eat. This time I have a plan. We are staying, after all, at the "W". The "W" is one of the most expensive hotels in downtown Seattle. If you book it online, the kind of room we have goes for about $450/night. Now, before you start thinking we are really rich snobs, let me tell you that we are using points and it won't cost us a thing. Anyway, at the "W" they surely have knives and bowls. (I'd sneak a knife in my suitcase - if this was pre 9/11). This year, I'm going to be assertive and ask to bring a knife and a dish to our room to enjoy our peach in style. A few years ago, when my good friend Kay stayed at the "W" with me, we tried to cut up our peach with some kind of thingy that I think is for opening wine bottles. It worked - barely. I'd let you know how it goes this year, but I'm sure you are all tired of hearing about my peaches. But think about us the last weekend in July!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I love fruit - all types of fruit. But why is it so hard to buy good fruit? I think the supermarkets use all the best fruit for their TV ads. By the time I get to the store they are either (a) not ripe, (b) overripe, or (c) look rather, uh, unappetizing. But this week we hit a bonanza. Not at a supermarket, but at Costco. The peaches looked so good so we took a chance. Of course, you have to buy a dozen...very large....peaches. Today they ripened up - all 12 of them! And they are soooo good. They are so juicy that it takes about three paper towels to sop up all the juice running off the face. We each had one for dessert. And we each had one for a bedtime snack. I'm going to take one (or two) to work tomorrow. (Ummm, I wonder where I can hide while I sloppily enjoy my peach.) Please, peaches, don't get overripe before we can enjoy you!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Getting My Computer Back

Tomorrow Tori leaves us and returns to Michigan. It's been a great time the past five weeks minus one day. It was a once in a lifetime experience for not only her, but also for us. I hope she has many memories that she will cherish over a lifetime. But it sure will be good to have my computer back! Between Webkinz, email, Webkinz, sending e-cards, Webkinz and other assorted games, I haven't had much personal computer time. But, as of now, I am back! And today I found Facebook on my new Blackberry. So I will be connected again. Stay tuned. I plan to start using this venue to record more childhood memories and pictures. You may just see yourself here some day!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I will soon be back on the road traveling for my job. The first trip is not going to be easy. On Thursday, July 23 Rod and I are leaving for Seattle and we return to Denver on Monday, July 27 at about 11:00 a.m. So far so good. But somehow I need to get to Dallas that same day. And from Dallas I need to go to Odessa, TX. Making these flight arrangements has proven to be very challenging. Odessa is not an easy place to get to. Not many airlines go there. But I finally got it all figured out! After I get back from Seattle I will go home, change out my suitcase, and go back to the airport to take United to Dallas. The next day I have my meeting in Dallas, then get on an American Airlines flight to Odessa. Friday afternoon, after a few days of meetings in Odessa, I get on American Airlines to go back to Dallas where I will board a United flight to get me back to Denver. I should get home around 10:00 pm on Friday night. Whew! Not an easy first week of travel. But wait! Monday morning it's back to the airport to go to, of all places, Storm Lake, Iowa. I haven't even begun to figure that one out yet. I'll tackle that after I get the hotels and car rentals reserved for the Texas trip.

So far, though, I love my job. I've been filling my brain with all the information I can find that will help me be effective. It is very invigorating having a worthwhile purpose and truly being a part of a team again. Woo Hoo!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

First Day

First day on the job. Didn't do anything too hard yet. I spent the day getting set up with my laptop and Blackberry. I think I need to take the tutorial for the Blackberry. I also ordered stuff for my office - cork board, white board, bookshelf and a bunch of stuff for my desk. I met nearly all the people who work from the office. Everyone is very welcoming and gracious. I was surprised when I first got into my email to see that I had 98 emails waiting for me. About a week ago they put me on all the distribution lists so I got copied on lots of stuff. Most of it just got filed or deleted. Tomorrow I plan to knock off a bunch of mandatory on-line classes, set up phone calls with my direct reports and start making travel arrangements. So far, no travel until July 27. They day we get back from Seattle, I need to fly to Dallas. This first week is almost entirely "get immersed" week. I'm trying to make the most of it because you can only claim "I'm new" for a very short time. Oh, and we have until Friday to sign up for all the benefits. Back to Cigna and VSP, which is what we had before Kaiser. Not much excitement yet, but I'm very, very happy to be back in renal (kidney) care again!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Two Girls - Eight Days

After having the empty nest for so many years, I was a little apprehensive about having two girls, aged 10 1/2 and 13 with us for eight days. Would they get along with each other? Would they tire me with continual demands? Would they feel like rivals for our attention? Thankfully, everything was just fine. We were continually amazed at how well they complemented each other. I have to say, it was a real joy having them both here at the same time. Enjoy the pictures of them with grandma and grandpa.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Today I am thankful that I was blessed to be born an American. May I never take it for granted; many would be thrilled to have had the opportunities I have had. Today I am thankful for family and friends to share the holiday with. For many, many years we spent the day alone because no family lived near us. Today I am thankful for plentiful food. Now if only I can get better at not abusing this benefit! Today I am thankful for good health. So many, including people for whom I care deeply, are suffering. Today I am thankful for my cozy home; many have nicer but many more have not-so-nice or none at all. Most of all I am thankful my soul is secure, because if I would lose all else, I would still be complete.
Meanwhile - God....bless America. Please.