Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Another Minnesota Election Recount

I know Minnesota made the national news again with our recounts for several offices especially for Governor.  This time Eileen and I help with the recount.  It was an interesting experience that started a few days before with an on line training session for about 90 minutes.  We were given many examples of ballot markings we were to challenge but when we got to the recount they instructed us if the intent was clear not to challenge the ballot even if they used an X instead of filling in the oval.  My personal preference would be to reject all ballots not filled in per the instructions on the ballot but everyone used the same basis for challenging the ballots and there were few challenges.  The biggest challenge was keeping the Election Judges calling the right vote or putting the ballot in the right candidates stack - we had to be on our toes.  I don't think there was any intent in the Election Judges mistakes, just too many ballots and monotony.  I was shocked by the number of DFL participants who seemed to think there was some Republican conspiracy.  "You know the ballot counting machines are made by Republicans so they tamper with the counts" is just one example.  I had to hold my tongue a few times and just laughed at others.  The DFL had the lead and this was a recount mandated by state law because of the closeness of the votes.  There was certainly no conspiracy!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas in the Cities

Back row: Gunnar, JT, Santa, Cenny  Front Row:  Qatar and Zeke
Last Tuesday we were going to go to the Cities with Lisa and David and the kids, but I was not up to it so we missed out on a fun day.  Lisa came home with two photos of the kids with Santa and asked me if I could combine the two into one decent photo.  She had them taken taken feeling this was probably the last time they would all be together (Gunnar will be off to college this time next year).  The photographer was obviously not concerned about the quality of the pictures he was taking as in one only one person was looking at the camera and the other was not much better.  So here is the photo I put together from the two.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Great Thanksgiving with Family and Friends

Thanksgiving Day began most beautifully ignoring the 9 degree temperature (that is -13 for our Celsius friends).  Then it decided we needed a little more.  Our neighbors guest must have come expecting something better or just can't give up his shorts yet.

Eric and Vanessa had our family along with friends and the Elders over for dinner.  Qatar is helping by keeping the dog out of the kitchen.

Of course before dinner we had to enjoy appetizers and discuss the Black Friday sales.
Looks like Black Friday took over before the final dishes were done.  Oh by the way, Eric and Vanessa served up a delicious turkey and everyone else added special treats to make for a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

With so much to be grateful for, it is impossible to list everything. Nevertheless, I will start with our beautiful family that has brought us so much joy and happiness.  I think everyone has seen our family photo so this one is just us with the grandkids minus the newest one. I have included her in a separate picture.

Next, I will add great health care that I hope never succumbs to government control.  For the past week, I have not felt great and Tuesday I felt maybe I should seek help, as I did not want to go to Thanksgiving Dinner or Washington DC next week if I was going to infect anyone else.  I called our advice nurse and she suggested I see a Doctor.  I called to see mine rather than go to Urgent Care and he was able to see me Wednesday.  He said I sounded like I had asthma but checked my lung for pneumonia.  The lungs sounded clear but from my symptoms, he wanted an x-ray to rule out pneumonia.  He explained there is a type of pneumonia that seals off the area of the infected lung so no air goes through thus the lungs sound clear.  He was right on and I have pneumonia and am on a very powerful anti-biotic ($200+).  He said I was cleared to go to Thanksgiving Dinner, as I would no long be infectious.

I doubt I would have gotten this care if we had universal health care - at least I know from our experience in two countries with universal health care I would not have gotten any further than - the lungs sound clear just go home and take care of yourself.  How grateful I am for the health care we enjoy in this country and need to protect. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's Been a Good First Week Home

Zeke the wolf
JT and his teacher at Grandparents Day
Gunnar, Qatar and Cenny

Besides all that goes with being gone for 2 months and all the catching up that has to be done we have enjoyed our grandkids in their activities this week.  We started on Thursday night with the Ellis Middle School play Jungle Book.  Zeke was one of the wolves with lines and he did quite well. Friday Banfield Elementary School had Grandparents Day, which was fun for JT.  Saturday night was the Austin High School musical Once upon a Mattress.  Gunnar was the lead Prince, Qatar was a Knight and Cenny was at the beginning of the show as they introduced the story.  She is not in high school but they need younger children to tell the story to and since she already had two brothers in the show - she was a natural.  They did not mic the show so much of it was hard to understand but Gunnar has not only a beautiful voice but also a very strong one so I was able to enjoy his singing.  All the voices sounded amazingly good just hard for my ears to distinguish all the words when to soft.  Qatar had his pants ripped off in one scene to reveal the long johns he is holding in the picture.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Oh So Nice to be Home!

Kansas City from the WWI Memorial

Murray Family China

Liberty Temple

Liberty Temple
We had a really enjoyable visit with Paige on Saturday and Sunday in Kansas City.  Saturday we went to the World War I Memorial and Museum which is quite a fantastic museum - the type you expect in Washington DC.  We spent way too many hours there and still did not see it all - I understand why the price of the ticket includes 2 days.  Then we had a great lunch/dinner at a specialty burger place where I had a burger stuffed with blue cheese - oh so good.  We next went to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art which we did not have enough time to enjoy the fantastic collections of all types of art.  Paige wanted us to specifically see an item that comes from our family in Scotland.  Sunday we enjoyed Church with her. All the members of the Branch Presidency and their wives kept coming up to us to tell us how much they enjoyed and appreciated Paige and what a wonderful person she is.  We enjoyed her Sunday School class which had resemblances of the way Eileen teaches.  We then went to the Independence visitors center and then to the site of the new temple being build in Liberty.  We finished off the day with dinner at Paige's apartment.

We arrived home Monday afternoon to our freshly painted home and how nice it is.  When we bought this place Eileen left for California leaving me to paint.  When she got home she did not like the yellow I had selected and has wanted to change it ever since but she does not paint.  We finally decided to have it painted while we were gone this trip.  I liked the yellow though so we had quite a time agreeing on a new color.  She kept selecting colors I felt were too dark - after all we replaced the front door with a glass door as Eileen wanted more light!  We finally settled on a different yellow and we both agree that it is very nice and more mellow than the previous yellow.

This photo is probably closest to the actual yellow

This yellow looks more like the original

Friday, November 12, 2010

Going the Wrong Way - at least Weatherwise

We left beautiful weather and family in Arizona yesterday morning heading home with a stop in Kansas City to spend a few days with Paige.  It seems we are going the wrong direction though as we drove through snow flurries yesterday and this morning the weather channel shows snow as far south as Kansas City and big time in Minnesota tomorrow.  We are headed home though to to to Grandparents Day with Joseph and to go to two plays our grandson are in. Our townhouse in Arizona is sure calling us back though!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Zoey's Blessing Day

Happy Zoey
Roxie was napping


Happy Family

Zoey refused to face the camera

Zoey trying to decide


Doug gave Zoey a beautiful blessing today with Grandpa Wimmer, Grandpa Bremner and Todd Wimmer (Doug's brother) in the circle.  Heidi hoped to get some good pictures of the family following Zoey's blessing but as so often happens Martin fell down yesterday and got a really big fat lip and scrape of his face.  Then since nap time for Roxie falls during Church she was sound asleep after Church today. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Maybe Maybe Not

I thought when we decided not to look at short sales this time and go for conventional or foreclosures the process would go a lot faster but not so.  We had the inspection and while there were lots of little things including a cracked garbage disposal, I only have two items I am not willing to go for without further discussion.  One is no heat.  Now you may say why am I worried about no heat in Arizona - well they tell me it gets cold even though it is November and it was 89 today.  The other is broken roof tiles and poor flashing.  The inspector found indications of water running down the wall between the two units in the attic space.  The seller has been very slow to answer our concerns so we don't know if this sale will go through or not.

The silver lining to all this is we get to spend time with our grandchildren who are so cute.  Martin and Roxie are so very different from each other it is hard to believe they belong to the same family.  They both want to go on our walks with us and they have a good time even sitting side by side.  Martin also loves to go with us shopping and he is a very good shopper - doesn't ask for a thing and Grandma is having a hard time not breaking this wonderful attribute - normally she spoils the grand-kids by buying them things but this time she decided since he does not ask she is not going to put Heidi in the position of having him asking,  Of course with Zoey it is fun just to watch the changes taking place each day.