Thursday, October 17, 2013

August and Everything After
Okay, that's a Counting Crows album and I'm not proud that I know that, although it was their only good one. And it was one of the 2 cds that I know of that my sisters and I all purchased independently and then realized it later. The other was Indigo Girls' Rites of Passage. I'm not bragging about that, either. But my sisters and I were finally all in the same place at the same time after 7 years apart, and I am thrilled about that! There's a picture of us at the end of this blog post.  

These two are from our visits to Anna's new place. She's getting bored with Mankato and has a long winter ahead of her. She's thinking of moving to Chaska & commuting next school year. She figures the tips are better around here and she can't stand to be so far away. She is an excellent writer and correspondent, her handwriting is becoming font like, and if you write to her, she will write back.

Jake's awesome new scooter, which I'm scared to ride on. I'll have to overcome that, too. I flew and went up in the Space Needle, but then I chickened out & sat out for the cable ride that goes over the State Fair. I got problems.

This is a nice picture, except that Luna's tongue is on my pillow!! Gross. Sara, check out the blanket. It still gets used daily. Maya plays with the tassels every morning and sleeps with it every night. She even took it to two slumber parties.

Kendama Mama, Grandama, Kendama Pamma, or Grandma Can Dama. Anyway, she landed it, sitting down, almost on the first try. Pretty impressive.

Later in August, we had lots of fun at the cabin with Dave & Marissa. And at the State Fair.


Dylan's Mecca, the Sweets Kendama stand (that's the man Sweets himself in the background, looking stately:)). Lucky for Maya, it was right next to the Webkinz, wax hands and some yarn marionettes, so she didn't get bored.

We only went in the baby animal barn & saw lots of brand new pigs, like this one. The we were in the right place at the right time and 19 teams of horses like this paraded by us into the Coliseum.

Finally, we checked out Pert Near Sandstone on the free stage. What an awesome local band!

The official end of summer. So far, school's been easy breezy for Maya. Dylan's been feeling the weight of 7 classes, 7 teachers, 7 subjects of homework. He's starting to plow through it now. The first few weeks of middle school were tough! He's also been busy with kendama and rock band. He performs Nov.8 at 6pm @Dunn Bros. in Excelsior.

Maya's been writing and drawing in her usual prolific fashion. She highly esteems Hayley and pays close attention to all of the art she posts on Instagram. Maya's been dabbling in poetry the past few days.
Here's Maya's Ode to Luna:
Luna is bigger than a twig,
She is a dog, not a hog.
She is naughty, but not trotty.
When she has her collar off,
She's naked, but not sacred.
She's rather adorable.
She's not deplorable.
She has brown eyes.
She doesn't make lies, either.
She's wrestly and bold.
She's not nestly and wasn't told.
She's as poetic as the song she was middle named for- To Ramona by Bob Dylan:
Ramona, come closer, shut softly your watery eyes,
The pangs of your sadness will pass as your senses will rise...

Our visit to my sister Kim's house inspired us to get a ping pong table. Fun for the whole family. Well, no one thinks it's fun to play with me. I see them roll their eyes and raise their eyebrows. But I've been practicing and I'll soon be a contender.

There's a lot going on in this one. Both dogs and all 4 kids if you look closely. This was the day Kayla & Anna attended their paternal grandpa's funeral. Grandpa Ray was 80 and went peacefully. Anna read a passage at his funeral.

Dylan and his friend made these carriers. They clip them to belt loops with caribeaners. He's sold and given them to kendama enthusiasts everywhere he goes.

Photo by Jake. He took lots of the sunflowers Maya planted as seeds in little pots on our front step. They got to be 10 feet tall.

Maya's brushes with cardboard cutout fame. As her aunt Jessie said, "Maya doesn't always pose with cardboard cutouts, but when she does..."

Maya reminisces about preschool and swimming lessons.
And we say goodbye to summer days by the lake, which everyone enjoyed in different ways.

Dinner with Kayla, complete with candlelight, waltzing (well, other people were), a live band, and yes, a kendama on the table. Oh, the incessant clacking.

Grandma Olsen took the kids to the Arboretum last week. Maya says she likes the way Grandma talks, because she says things like, "We're going back to where I live" instead of just saying "my house":)

For Dylan's 12th and golden birthday, he elected to attend the MN Kendama Open at Union Depot in St. Paul. Isaac, whose 12th birthday was 2 days later, came along too. Below, Dylan competes in a spike competition with pros and amateurs alike. I think he was 6th. He competed in a couple of these and also at the Intermediate level, at which he needed to master about 20 tricks. He made it to the 2nd round. Above, he and Isaac are pictured with pros, including the MKO champion-the one with the towel. It was a fun, unique birthday.

Michelle just sent me these pics of my grandparents' anniversary & birthday party. They've been married 66 years and just turned 89 & 90! Here they are with the whole clan minus Anna and below, with their 3 kids, Marc, Chris and Carol.

Kinda like Charlie's Angels. Kind of.

And finally, after years of the 4 sisters not being in the same place at the same time, here we are! This time, we're just missing Kayla, but a pretty good turn out. Lots of fun was had by all. Congrats to Kim & Jason on their recent engagement! (these 2 photos by Michelle, too)

Back: Iona, Isaac, Anna, Maya, Olivia, Nora, and Dylan (Nora sticks close to Dylan)
Middle: Jason, Scott, Becky, Leif, India and Steph
Front: Michelle, Kim and Jake

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Happy July! Beware, this is a long post with lots of pictures. We celebrated the 4th by attending the Richfield parade and swimming at my parents' house. Pictured: Leif, India, Becky, Tyler, Maya, Dylan, Olivia, Nora, Scott, Lauren, Courtney, Owen, Austin and Marissa. The parade was a bit lackluster-no Shriners, no bagpipes and kilts, no Richfield Tapaires danceline (Jake calls them the Tapirs), but the pool was great!

On July 10th, we saw Wilco & Bob Dylan with Michelle & Scott. Lots of fun, but we missed the highlight-a surprise appearance by Trampled by Turtles!

Jake and Dylan had the good fortune to behold the Stanley Cup at the club!! Jake's boss has a nephew on the Blackhawks. I was surprised to learn that there is a designated "Keeper of the Cup" assigned to protect and travel with it.

Maya's dance group performed in the Hopkins parade. I'm sorry to say it, but Richfield's paled in comparison. I got to walk along, passing out fliers, stickers and water. Maya noticed that the crowd was impressed by high kicks, so she's been working on those. She's also been busy teaching herself to cartwheel into the splits, memorize hundreds of pet names on her favorite iPad game and snap her fingers. She practiced snapping so much that it has become as integral a part of her as blinking and breathing.
Last week, we ventured to Washington. It was the kids' first flight. They were both excited and impressed. I mostly overcame my fear of flight, due to being brave for the kids, a more spacious plane than before, and a good book from Anna.

In Seattle, we stopped at the zoo first. Maya's holding her trip journal, which kept her very busy.

Pike's Market in Seattle.

The vile, infectious ABC Gum Wall near the market. Dylan contributed.

Maya was particularly excited about swimming in the hotel pool. The complementary cupcakes in the lobby were a big hit, too.

The EMP museum of rock music, pop culture and sci fi.

Lots of info about Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana, Seattle natives.

More pics from EMP. Dylan found a sentinel from the Matrix.

After a couple of days in Seattle, we drove out to the Columbia River Gorge for the Kengarden Roots Tour, a kendama event Dylan wanted to see and 2 Phish concerts. The scenery on the way out was breathtaking. It was 70 degrees in Seattle and 105 out in Wenatchee and George, WA. There were a couple of forest fires blazing.

Kendamas are similar to wooden yo-yos. Dylan's been practicing and collecting. At the event, he won one, we bought one, and he had one handpainted and signed. They had contests & a raffle. They were a good group, young and older, cool and respectful at the same time.

While Dylan was doing that, Maya and I found a playground & a some crystal clear cold water to swim in, took selfies, and made friends with this 8 week old Husky puppy.

Arriving at the Gorge Amphitheater.
Note the poster tucked under Jake's arm. They make 700 artist's prints for each show. There's 20,000 in attendance and the posters are a hot item. Anna really wanted the pair for her new apartment. She was dog and housesitting and I really wanted to get them for her. The first night, I got the 3rd to the last one. The 2nd night, I went to 2 sold out merchandise stands. At the 3rd and final stand, I waited in line and my chances seemed slim. A guy butted in front of me and got the last one in the box. I got the one off the wall for Anna, the last one in the venue. So, if you visit her, be sure to check them out:)

Beautiful view, including the smoke from the forest fire.


Twins vs. Mariners at Safeco field. Maya kept asking for cotton candy. Jake got a laugh out of the Twins fans in front of us when he told her she could just have some sugar packets back at the hotel. We lost, but the kids got to run the bases after the game.

Back at the hotel. They had a restaurant called The Rock with albums on the walls and ceiling, music and song titles written on the booths. We ate there twice.

The Space Needle, another fear I overcame. 2 down, many to go.

Chihuly Glass museum.


More pics from the zoo. That orangutan looked and acted awfully human.

We learned a lot on the harbor tour, about the city, Mt. Rainier, shipping, and landmarks. The mountain was visible and it was sunny, both rare conditions in Seattle.

Cheese making factory

Getting back home. Anna got her degree. Today we started the moving process. We'll finish up tomorrow. It was good to be back together for a few days before everything changes. Kayla's been working a lot and sucking us all into watching Pretty Little Liars which airs on ABC Family, but I don't know how, although I guess almost our whole family has been watching it.
Maya got to see Annie at Grandma's house.  Dylan got a lesson in billiards, the electronic version, from Gpa Marc. Thanks to my parents for rides to and from the airport and a spaghetti dinner and swimming the night we got back.


First one out of the nest. She looks ready. Kayla moves in a few weeks.