Wednesday, July 23, 2008

All about Me! Just for fun.

OK - I cannot link for the life of me and these questions are off of someone else's blog but the first one sort of caught me so I thought I'd put out my offerings. How's that for a rambling, run-on sentence.

What were you doing 10 years ago?

In a nutshell, I was a Manager at a CPA firm, commuting approx. 2/1/2 hrs a day, 8 1/2 mo's pregnant, sleeping with my dog on the floor while my husband was visiting his parents in Minn. for a week between jobs.

I could leave it at that couldn't I? Honestly - all of that is true for this very week exactly 10 years ago.

I really was looking forward to maternity leave (Aug. 1st, 1998) and we were facing the aftermath of Bart telling the firm he had only become a partner in 9 mo's previous that he was leaving for a another Firm. The 'Firm' he is with today and in spite of all the initial gut-wrenching has proven to be the best decision. His former firm said "Fine - clean out your desk and have a nice life." Not quite like that but close - he had 'grown up' there and well....

So he and I decided that he should take this unexpected free time and visit with his parents in MN - I'd be fine alone - not due until Aug. 22nd or so. With the dog who was scheduled for joint surgery (front leg). Bart enjoyed a lovely visit with his folks.

Max had his surgery and insisted on coming home instead of staying at the Vet overnight. Actually, he'd have been fine if his 'mom' hadn't gone over to the Vet to check on him at 9:30pm when they said I could. As soon as I spoke, he woke up and tried in vain to get up and come to me. The Dr. and I decided I'd take him home - thinking he'd be more comfy. The Dr. had to lift him (all 95 lbs of dead dog weight) into the back of the Suburban and then I had to wait for a neighbor to get home to get him out (he couldn't stand up yet). Max growled a bit at Doug - he was pretty doped up (Max, not Doug), and I felt bad but we got him into the house and on a big blanket in the front room.

I tried to go to bed, but Max kept whining. So I went out and set myself up on the comfy couch. But by 2am I was down on the floor curled up with the dog who couldn't sleep unless I was right there - he kept crying and whimpering. With my big belly between us.

So that's where I was 10 years ago this very week. I really miss Max.

My favorite snacks?

Cheesy things - or just plain cheese. In fact, I just finished a little bowl of Nacho Cheese Dorito's - yes, I can get them here, Hooray!

On my To-Do List?

Finish packing for Wengen

Catch up on emails

Download pictures

Clean house for Aug. 1 party

Work on pile of books/magazines that threaten to spill off of the end table

Ask Bart - I'm sure I'm missing something that he'd be happy to fill in

Job's I've had?

Lifeguard/Swim teacher, Camp counselor/worship team, BLM Wildland fire-fighter, admissions clerk, payroll clerk, construction firm secretary, CPA, church treasurer and MOM!

Places I've lived?

Sacramento, CA - Riverside, CA - San Ramon, CA - Urbandale, IA - Waedenswil, Switzerland

Bad Habits?

Eating desserts/snacks after I put kids to bed, checking email/blogs in the morning, cleaning... - why should I reveal anything more? These are my bad habits and I'm not likely to change right now.

5 Random things people may not know about me?

1. Well - previously revealed. I was a wild-land fire-fighter in college for a summer. In No. Calif. in a little town called Cedarville that boasted a population of 600 at the time. And 2 hours to the nearest fast food restaurant. Which at 20 yrs old and going to school in So. Cal. seemed pretty tragic at the time. I remember listening to a lot of Genesis - loudly - as I'd go down the street " I can feel it, coming in the air tonight...." It was hard work but we had a lot of fun. And I learned how to drive the fire truck and use a chain saw. I didn't like the chain saw and haven't picked one up since.

2. My voice teacher was the gentleman who played Rolf in "The Sound of Music." And we never sang songs from that movie for lessons.

3. I worked at the Tyler Mall in Riverside for 4 months. That was enough. Done with retail. Prefer the other side of the register.

4. I am an introvert and a 'closet' claustrophobic (guess that's 2 things). I can be happy just by myself for long periods of time. No offense to anyone. Just how I am. But I can't sit still to save my life. And cannot stand to be in loud, noisy crowds. I do Disney for my family.

5. I get really nervous having to speak in front of people - singing is fine, speaking - No. And I generally don't remember what I've said. Which seems to surprise either the audience at church when I lead worship or the ladies that had me for a Bible study leader. Apparently, God is gracious and lends me a voice.

CD's I'd have on a deserted Island?

Some showtunes (Sound of Music, Evita, Phantom..), Third Day, Jeremy Camp, Switchfoot, Bon Jovi, John Denver, Josh Groban, Trisha Yearwood, U2, the Police

What would I do if I had a Billion $$$?

Tough question. I don't expect to get $1,000,000,000 and therefore the time and energy it will take to write what I would do with it is taking away from the #1 item on my To-Do list which is to pack for Wengen.

That is where we are headed today. Meeting mom and John up there and have some plans to go hiking and maybe head up to the Jungfraujoch (Top of Europe) if the weather cooperates. We'll be back next Tues. or so.

So until next week - Enjoy and God Bless!

Summer trip to MN/CA - Part 2 (of 2)

OK - so I keep mentioning the smokey air in Sacto. and why we were indoors most of the time. Well - hopefully you can tell from this picture that the air was "nicht sehr gut." We stayed with my girlfriend, Sissy, for the first half of the Sac trip. They live at the base of the foothills (toward Tahoe) and the air was thick. The kids are used to spending all day in the pool together but this year - maybe an hour or two.
Needless to say - I've had several comments re: the lack of CA suntan this summer. That's OK - my skin will look younger, right?

We had a terrific time with them as usual! Ah - the comfort that home brings. My cousin Julie has generously opened her home for many family events (she shares hosting big family functions with her mom) and we really appreciate everyone getting together while we were in town. Kris and Jason also flew up from SoCal so they could show off the baby and visit before Jason starts working full-time for Calvary again (oh, answer to prayer - will have to update later). Obviously Rachel and Niko share the same love for draping themselves over comfy cushions.
The girls with their Grandma Vel and Dr. Frank. They(girls) really love spending time with them. Even though they seem to spend little time actually sitting with Gma & Dr. F, they can repeat for me every story Dr. F has told them and everything they love to play with at Gma's house.

We have very much enjoyed the addition of Dr. Frank to the family since he married my Gma a couple summers ago. He worked as a Medical Missionary near Brazil for many years with his own family and has many interesting stories and life experiences that the girls (we all) enjoy hearing about. And a wonderfully strong faith in God. My Gma and Dr. F have a very active social life - really serve others - and we are glad to enjoy their company.

Quick - "It's a Small World" story - My friend Michelle, from Cal Baptist days, worked it out to visit family in the Sacto area with her kids and come to our family get-together so we could visit. First - thank you Michelle. Now, M homeschools her kids in Redding and I knew Dr. F's daughter, also in Redding, also homeschools her kids. Over the past couple year's I've wondered if, by chance, they knew each other.

Next thing you know, Michelle's oldest daughter Nicole is telling Gma and Dr. F how she used to take violin lessons from Dr. F's grandson. And Michelle would be seeing his daughter the very next day. So - random connection once again in our little Olson world.

Gpa Paul with his little girls. Again - all we need is Deb's bambino's to complete the picture. He loves his grandchildren. We bought and sent over baseball gloves for the girls so I/we can teach them to play catch. By time Gpa visits next, they should be able to play catch with him - like my sister's and I did when we were younger.

Interestingly, it didn't feel quite as unreal to be back in the States this trip even though it had been a year. (HI in Dec. doesn't count - it's different enough from the Mainland) And it wasn't hard coming back either. I don't have as much trouble switching from the English to German as I used to - I never once said 'entschuldigung' to someone at the Mall of A!

Our friends at church are really missing the States after their recent visit - and they've lived in Switzerland for 10 yrs. They've never experienced 'homesickness' in this way and wondered if we did. I said there was a sense of ease at being 'home.' They felt the same. But we know we have a shorter time-line in staying here than they do.

In the States, stores are open later, you don't have to plan meals around days when stores will be closed, eating out was so much cheaper ($9 for our family to eat at McD's vs $34) - it just seemed easier. The language is part of it. And the ease people have with each other is part of it.

But I have to say - I love the clean public restrooms in Switzerland. And that's all I'm going to say on that note.

Enjoy your day!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Summer trip to MN/CA - Part 1

What can I honestly say about this pic? My kids LOVE the Mall of America. And not because they love to shop. They like the rides in the amusement park - big enough to be thrilling for kids their age. First day in the States/Minneapolis - After waking up anywhere between 3:45 - 4:30am, we decided to turn the lights on around 5am and were down at the hotel breakfast by 6:30 or so. At 7:15, I felt like my morning was done and we wondered what we could do before the Mall opened at 10am. So we did some 'stuff' in the room and headed to Target for an hour, then got front row, no one even close to us, parking at the Mall - we're pathetic - and spend the day with our shopping list and riding rides. We did our part to stimulate the US economy. It didn't seem to work (the boosting the economy part) but we got the things we needed. We spent the next several days with Bart's parents, Barbara & Ralph, up in NoWestern Minn. Think Fargo and driving for miles without passing another vehicle. We had a very nice visit and due to frequent thunderstorms which necesitated us staying indoors, I did not have to bath myself or the family in bug spray. I really hate the bugs up there.
We then headed to sunny, brown and smoggy/smokey CA. We stayed with Kris & Jason for a full week and really loved our time with them and the new baby. We really enjoyed holding and loving that little girl, Jayden. She's pretty serious - watches everyone intensely. But get her alone in a quiet room and she was really trying to coo and talk. It was so sweet. And so great to see my baby sister with her own! I get to call her the baby now since she loves to introduce my as the "oldest" sister. I'm not even 'older' now, it's 'oldest.' Hmm - wonder how much Debbie's paying her to work that in.
Ooooo - had to stop for In n' Out on the way back from San Diego Zoo trip. Yum. I think my first In n' Out burger was 1986 when they were still just in the LA/Orange County area. We drove about 45 min. from the College campus just to eat there...and an hour to Tommy's Burgers by USC but I digress...... Three amigos. I hope they will be friends someday - not just cousins. And we look forward to the day when we can get a pic with Deb's kiddo's too.
I have a few more pic's to share but wanted to get started or I'll never keep up with anything. Lost a day last week (travel), jet-lag, Mom and John arrived Sat. morning, trying to pick up life here after being gone for 3 weeks - Whew!

Sending Mom & John up to the mountains tomorrow and we will follow in a couple days. Our favorite bit o' Switzerland - Lauterbrunnen Valley and up the mountains. John is hoping to do the Eiger this year if the weather is OK but we've had cool and yes, snowy weather in high elevations so we'll see. As for us, we may be hiking the lowlands, watching German cable on the apartment TV and eating fondue.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


We are here. In Switzerland. In our own little beds. Nice.

We had a great time visiting with friends and family. We were housebound for a good part of the trip between thunderstorms, heat/smog and heat/smoke. A challenge finding entertainment for kids in indoor, air-conditioned places.

I'll get pic's downloaded soon - maybe on our new laptop! Yeah!!

But right now I am severely jetlagged as I did not get enough sleep before returning and we were delayed a day as our Sac - Wash. Dulles leg was cancelled. Which we found out upon arriving at 5:30 am. Considering it took them nearly an hour to get our rebooking straightened out and our flight to LA didn't leave 'til 10, I was so thankful for the portable DVD player the girls had.

Best part about the delay (as there is only one direct Zurich flight out of Dulles per day and I wasn't going to risk further delays by going thru other Euro cities) - I called Mom to let her know we would be getting into Dulles late from LA, spending the night with her and then flying out the next afternoon. She was happy to accomodate us (she's less than 30 min. from Dulles) and it worked out great - the girls even got to swim a little before we cleaned up and headed out. We had a late departure and got in a little later than anticipated but, for having a flight cancelled - we were really lucky in the way we were able to get it all done.

So - I need a lot of sleep now but it's 10pm and the girls are still going strong (it's only 1pm in CA after all). Yikes!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Quick Hello

We are on our last leg of US vacation. Bart left for Zurich last night while the girls and I headed up here to Sacramento. It is hot and smokey!

We've not had much internet access at all - kind of strange when we are so use to using email and looking up whatever we want. I keep wondering what would happen if the computers all imploded. AAARRGGGHHHH!

Will have to do more of this later - visiting to do!

Oh - and my new niece Jayden is really cute! Pictures after I download when we return next week.