Saturday, December 21, 2013

Glimpses of Dad!

This week each day has been filled with glimpses of dad. On Thursday, Ellie and I rode the Holly Jolly Trolley to see the lights of Rochester with the girl scout troop. At one of the lighted homes, the owner came out in his carhartt bibs to give the kids hot chocolate and cider. As we pulled away from his house I looked up to see him lighting up a cigarette. Images of dad in his carhartt bibs with a smoke hanging out of his mouth came to mind. Today we made flatbread, one of dad's favorites. We used Beatti's famous recipe with the malt-o-meal. As we rolled out the dough I could hear dad saying, " Let the rolling pin do the work. Don't use too much flour or they'll be tough. They should be paper thin." Today I'm grateful for these taps on the shoulder from dad. Missing you today and always, dad!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Deer Hunting

Fall was always my dad's favorite season. He loved hunting with friends and showing his "city son-in-laws" the ropes. Last weekend Steve and Jason made the annual trip north for the big hunt. On Sunday morning they had some good luck and we're pretty sure that dad was leading those deer in to make sure we had venison for the winter. Thanks to Lyle, Krist and Shawn for taking up the guide service!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Call to Grandpa Myles

Tonight Erik decided he needed to make a special call to grandpa Myles. He wanted to make sure grandpa knew about his new car. He said, "Hello grandpa. Is Jesus taking good care of you? I have a new car that has two seats so there is room for you. I love you grandpa." I asked how grandpa was and he said, "Good. He misses us but Jesus is taking care of him."

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Memories of the Little Brown House

The last month or so mom has been working very hard to get the house ready to sell. We'll head up north in a few weeks to help her move some things out and get ready to move into town. It will be a blessing for her not to have to worry about snow removal, mowing, and those little furry creatures that you get when you live in the country. As I think about my childhood it seems every room or place in the yard has a memory: My old bedroom:I can clearly remember the burned hole in the carpet that was made when I tipped my dresser over and the lamp full down. Dad was not very happy with me about that one! My new bedroom: I always thought I had the coolest bedroom with the loft, built in desk and fancy waterbed. I remember many nights playing in the loft with the Aandals and the night Travis decided to jump down! The basement: My sisters and I spent many days playing house down in the basement and having Barbie fashion show contests. I also remember some great birthday parties and playing pin the tail on the donkey downstairs in the basement. The playhouse: As I remember it Grandpa Rufus and dad worked together to build us a playhouse. We thought it was a deluxe model because it had sliding glass windows and a dutch door. Dad was never too busy to come through our drive-through and order a Big Mac. These and so many more memories are tied up in the little brown house. I was a lucky kid!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dad's Apple Tree

The fall before dad passed away he helped us find a new tree for our front yard. The original tree that had been planted had taken a beating in the wind and so we needed something new. Dad loved this Honeycrisp apple tree and told us we'd have apples that first fall. We didn't believe him but last year we had a few apples. This year our tiny tree is full of juicy and delicious apples. Thanks dad! Every morning when I pull out of my driveway and see that tree I know you are with us.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


This weekend we spent a bit of time at the cabin to break up the trip to Bismarck. On Saturday night we decided to play whist. I remember this being such a rite of passage for me. I knew I was "grown up" when I got to play cards with the adults. As we taught Steve and Jason the rules of the game lots of memories came flooding back: 1. Grandpa Kenny teasing grandma Eleanor that she was laying in the weeds when she didn't want to grand. 2. Grandpa Kenny saying he had a hand like a foot. 3. All of the adults admonishing us for "table talk" 4. Dad and mom playing against Grandpa and Grandma. 5. Grandpa Kenny always having an ace on the bottom. As we sat in the basement listening to the jukebox and playing whist I felt like Grandpa and Grandma Emerson and dad were right there with us cheering us on. PS...Mom and I won! Don't let anyone tell you differently.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Survival Kit

Last week mom was doing some packing to get ready to move. As she rummaged through boxes in the basement she found a bag packed with winter boots, snow pants and a pair of choppers. Sure was a bag that dad had packed for one of us to make sure we traveled safely. This reminded me of the time we got stuck about a mile from home. It was only twenty minutes that we were in the car but Myndy cracked open the survival kit and ate the chocolate bar right away. Dad just had to laugh.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Staining the Deck

This week Katy and mom are spending time at the cabin and working on a few projects. Yesterday Katy spent the day staining and wore dad's jeans as a tribute. She and mom thought about how dad would complete project after project without complaining. I remember when mom and dad bought the lake lot and how excited dad was when he thought about the great memories we'd make at the cabin. He always wanted it to be a gathering place for family. As we travel up north for one last hurrah on Friday we'll make great memories and hold dad near us in our hearts.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Dreaming of Dad

I have been hoping to dream about my dad these last few months because I know that would make me feel closer to him and I am missing him something terrible. Last night I got my wish. I had a great dream that took place at the sports arena. I had been dropped off and was "working" with dad. I remember so distinctly how much I loved these afternoons. My favorite thing to do was sit up on the emergency table in the office that was used when someone was injured. I'd listen in on all the city gossip and "have coffee" with the guys. Last night I got to do all of these things with dad.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Following in Dad's Footsteps

As mom drove by the cemetery the other day she noticed that that sentenced to serve workers were working on scraping and repainting the church. Dad spent many hours working with the sentenced to serve workers and he always enjoyed taking time to get to know them. Mom decided that she should treat them to pizza and some baked goods this week. Dad would have been proud!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Magnolia Mom

We just returned from a weekend in Woodbury. We helped Katy celebrate her birthday and swam in the Livingston pool. When we arrived on Saturday morning Myndy and Jason had to show us their new magnolia tree. They had received one last year in memory of dad but it had not done well where it was planted. When they went to get a replacement the only one left was called Susan. I'm thinking this was a bit of Myles Mojo present in our lives. Missing you tonight,dad!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Home Videos

We just spent memorial weekend at the cabin putting the docks in and getting things ready for the season. Myndy and Jason brought their video camera so that we could see Stella in her school program. Of course she stole the show! After we had looked at that video we decided we wanted to watch some more videos...especially some of dad. My favorite was the video of him in Hawaii fishing for Mahi Mahi. I'm sure most tourists would get on board the boat and expect the guides to wait on them and show them how to do everything. Not dad. He wanted to help with cleaning up, getting the bait ready, and anything else that needed to be done. He also spent a lot of time chatting up the fishermen and ended up with some new friends. Both mom and I were apprehensive about seeing dad on camera and we didn't know how we'd react. For me, it made me feel close to dad. Seeing his smile and watching him in his fishing hat, khaki pants and sandals did my heart good!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Apple Blossoms

Today I looked at the apple tree that dad helped us pick out. Last year we had four or five blossoms and this year we are up to ten. The tree reminded me of dad and how each day there are more and more "Mylesisms" that are just part of the way I experience the world. Last night Ellie said, "Mom, doesn't my hair feel soft?" I could just hear dad saying, "Nice hair.... for a dog." This morning I drove to work and saw someone up in a bucket truck trimming branches. I can't see a bucket truck without thinking of my dad and wanting to offer all those workers a cup of coffee. The tornado in Ohio....hiding out in the basement during bad weather with dad. Filling on gas at Kwik much dad loved their produce prices. The list goes on and on. The beautiful part is that all of the little things I do each day are filled with memories of my dad.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Opening Fishing

We just arrived back home from opening fishing weekend at the cabin. was sure chilly this year. Katy, Stella, Erik, Anna, Ellie and I piled in the van on Friday and headed up north to spend the weekend with mom. Myndy and Mylee flew up on Thursday to help mom give the first Myles Olson wrestling scholarship. As we turned onto Intrepid Drive I felt a profound sadness that we would not see dad waiting up for us. He and mom used to stay up watching TV until we got to the cabin safely. Once we were in and he knew we were safe he'd sneak off to bed. Cousin Shawn gets the Myles award for the weekend because he was the only one brave enough to try out the fishing! We all knew that if dad were alive he would have been bundled up, trolling the shoreline for walleye.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Christmas Conundrum

We had pork tenderloin prepared on the grill tonight. It was delicious and as so many things do, it reminded me of my dad and a story! Quite a few years ago Myndy had just started dating Jason. We all traveled to Aunt Gloria's for Christmas dinner. As Gloria was getting everything set up and cutting the ham dad asked, "What are you going to serve Jason? He's Jewish, you know." After giving Gloria heart palpitations dad finally decided to come clean and tell her that he was just kidding. We all enjoyed a delicious ham dinner and a Myles prank.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Stella's Dream Car

Myndy and Jason bought a new car recently. Stella asked, "Is it pink?" Myndy said " No, it is black." Stella said, "I want a pink car with a racoon on the back!'' Myndy said, "Do you know someone that has that?" and Stella said, "yes, Grandpa Myles."

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Myles Olson Day

Today was a Myles Olson day, that's for sure. Ellie got up early and participated in a litter pick up with her Girl Scout troop. My dad would have loved seeing her help her community. Later in the day we did yard work, raked and got our patio furniture out. As we all worked together in the yard I thought of how much dad used to love it when we had a family work day. He'd get us up early and divvy out the jobs. One of us would mow, someone else would trim and someone else might wash cars. Then we'd grill out and bask in the success of our great work day.

Friday, April 26, 2013

George Jones

This morning as I was driving to a meeting I got the news that George Jones passed away. As I listened to his haunting voice tears streamed down my face. I vividly remember mom and dad listening to his album with Tammy Wynette and dancing in the living room. Rest in peace, George. I hope you and dad are having a good old time together.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wild Kingdom

Today I got a call from mom. It seems that spring in Thief River Falls means lots of wild animals coming back. She's got skunks digging up the yard looking for grubs, mice in the basement, and the chipmunks are back too. If dad were here he'd have already taken care of all these pests. Every day reminds us of how much he did for each of us.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Packing Up

Tonight I am packing up for a trip to San Antonio to the International Reading Association conference. The thing I am missing most is my call to dad. On nights like this he would always run through the list of questions: Do you have cash? Where are you staying? Who is going to be with you? and always "And they are paying you for this, huh?" Missing you tonight and every night, dad!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

One Year Ago Today

Today marks that one year anniversary of the day we lost dad. It's hard for me to believe it's been a year but in some ways it seems even longer than that. I talked with mom today and she shared that my sister Katy was doing what dad would have loved...thanking everyone who helped her get through the year. I feel the need to do the same thing. My friend, Cindy Unger, who knows about loss always talks about seeing God in the people you are given to get through the hard times in your life. I have been blessed with so many of you who have walked with me through some sad days.... Thank you to my mom, my editor in chief, and my rock. It's a rare night that she doesn't read and proofread the blog post. We can get through anything together,right mom? Thanks to my sisters...for phone calls, stories, and our collective memory of dad. I think he would be proud of all three of us in different ways. Thanks to wonderful friends..especially my dear friends Jane, Peggy and Cindy who have been down this road of grief and loss and have shared their wisdom so generously. Thanks to my faithful blog readers for having patience with my musings and silly stories. It sure helped me to write about the life my dad led. When I first started this blog project I thought I would try to write one story a day for a year. I was sure I would run out of stories somewhere along the line but people kept stopping me to tell me what my dad meant to them. Little things kept popping up that reminded me of dad so I was able to keep writing. Although today marks one year I have decided that I'll keep writing the blog. Not every day...but I'll post stories as they come up. There's no doubt that there are more than 365 stories about my wonderful dad. If you have a story you'd be willing to share, please send it to me. I am always surprised at how many people my dad impacted with his kindness and generosity.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Little Forester

This year Grandma Susie went a little overboard for Easter. The kids got huge baskets and Stella got a special tree that her stuffed animals fit in. A few days later she asked Myndy for a scissors. Myndy wondered if this was really the best idea but she decided to give it to her. When she came downstairs she realized that Stella was trying to "prune" one of the branches off the stuffed tree. Just like Grandpa!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Erik's Search

We are home from our big adventure up north. Anna has been preparing her show and tell report. "Hello, my name is Anna Willman and on my spring break I saw: 208 deer, 4 swans, 8 wild turkeys, 20 geese, and 4 rabbits. I'm ready for comments and questions." The other kids also had a great time at the cabin and in Thief River but Erik's trip started out a little rocky. We journeyed to the cabin last Friday and had an uneventful trip up. Aside from fighting over which video to watch the kids were pretty good. When we got to the cabin Erik got out and started looking around. "I have to find Grandpa Myles!" He put into words what all of us feel as we turn onto Intrepid Drive. After a bit of looking around he remembered that Grandpa Myles was with Jesus and agreed to come in to the cabin.

Friday, April 5, 2013

3 Daughters

After spending a week at home in Thief River Falls I was once again reminded of my dad's wisdom. Many of you know that the home I grew up in is quite small and has only one bathroom. When we started to get into the teenage years where lots of time was spent in the bathroom my dad installed a mirror in each bedroom. This way we could all take plenty of time to get ready but we did not hog the bathroom from everyone else.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Grandma Vi's Memories

Yesterday I spent some time going through the chest of photo albums and found dad's baby book. This remembrance is from Grandma Vi in her own words in the section called Mother's Notes: Myles really was a daddy's boy. He liked to suck his thumb especially when he felt rayon material. He was real nice and quiet in church so long as he could hold Daddy's tie in one hand and then suck his thumb. His happiness all came to a stand still one day when Daddy and I were out shopping. Myles was sleepy and started walking after Daddy through the stores sucking his thumb and holding on to the tail end of Daddy's rayon jacket. Daddy looked at me and said, "Vi, this is going to have to stop." So we went to the drug sore for some bad tasting medicine called "No Thumb". After a couple of days the habit was broken much to our surprise.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Boys and their Trucks

We are spending the week at mom and dad's place in Thief River Falls and today was clean out the basement today. Ok, maybe not the whole basement but we did tackle the store room. Please remind me that I should get rid of things every five years or so. I'm pretty sure the three air conditioners were not essential but my dad loved to save money and kept everything for their value in "parts". The best find for Erik was two toy trucks that belonged to dad when he was a little boy. There's something timeless about a toy truck.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

On Eagle's Wings

This morning we enjoyed a signature Upper Bottle Lake breakfast made by Grandma Susie....Mickey mouse pancakes, poached eggs, bacon, coffee cake and more. As we enjoyed one another's company we spotted a bald eagle soaring right over the lake. Steve rushed out to take a picture and we all felt certain that dad was watching over us. Moments later we saw two other bald eagles. Myndy commented, "It must be Duane Olson, Jim Sponsler and dad watching over the lake." Jim and Duane were both next door neighbors at the lake who have also passed on. Today would have been dad's sixty-fifth birthday. I like to think about him soaring above the lake and keeping a watchful eye on all of us.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Riding Lawnmower

Nothing like a riding lawnmower ride! Simple pleasures.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Real Smiles

Looking back at photos it was always tough to catch my dad with a real smile. This photo is one of the rare instances when we caught his grin on camera. I am so thankful they were able to take this trip together.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Fourth of July Fun

This picture was taken on the fourth of July. Grandpa Myles was not a huge fan of the boat parade..."sort of a waste of gas if you ask me!" Stella clearly twisted his arm.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Deer Hunter

Any of you who ever hunted with my dad know that he was tough to keep up with. Steve always felt as though he had to start working out in the fall a few months before hunting season so that he didn't embarass dad and come off as a "city boy". Hunting season was one of my dad's favorite time of year and I think the thing he loved best was opening his home to all of his friends. It didn't hurt that mom made breakfast for anyone who stopped by.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


This picture makes me think of summer and all of the great pontoon cruises we took with dad. There's nothing like a little time on the lake to put life into perspective.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Coon Truck

Ok, the secret is finally out. My dad was a little bit of a redneck. This is a picture of his beloved coon truck. We all teased him about the scene painted on the endgate but he loved it. One of his favorite pastimes was to get all ready for fishing at 4 am and then rev the engine loudly to let everyone in the cabin know he was heading out. When I'm at the cabin I still find myself listening for that sound in the wee hours of the morning.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Two of the people who taught me how to be a good parent. Missing both dad and Grandpa Ru tonight.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Monday, March 18, 2013

Good Times!

This picture was taken outside the Y Steakhouse. If I remember right we were celebrating mom and dad's Anniversary. As you can see from the crew pictured it was a not a quiet romantic dinner but memorable just the same!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Morel Mushrooms

Tonight we enjoyed a lovely dinner in Chicago. Steve had a filet mignon with morel mushrooms. I had to giggle a little because I thought about what dad would have said about the $62 price tag. "Why would you pay that kind of money when we have morels growing right in our own yard?"

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Job News

As many of you know I accepted a new job with Rochester Public Schools that will start in July. I am excited for the new challenges this will bring. As I worked through the details of the job I so badly wanted to call my dad. He was always my sounding board when I made big life decisions. Instead, I tried to think about what he would have wanted me to ask. As long as I can hear his voice in my head I know he is with me but it sure would be nice to make a quick phone call to heaven.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Remembering this Moment

I remember this moment like it was yesterday. I had called mom and dad when I went into the hospital (finally!) to have Erik. Mom said, "Dad is helping some neighbors at the lake put in some docks and then we'll head down to see you and hopefully the baby will be here by then." It was only minutes later that Erik made his way into the world and into our hearts. A few hours later...after the docks were put in....grandpa got to hold his first grandson.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Labor of Love

This picture makes me think of summer and that makes me think of dad. He worked so hard to haul these rocks in to make a nice beach for the kids. Katy also put some muscle into this when we had to fix the frost heave last spring. We all spent some time hauling rock, shoveling dirt and raking and now it is a great place for the kids to play.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Yesterday was Grandpa Rufus' birthday and all day I thought about both he and my dad. This photo was taken at Bethany Church for the hundred year anniversary of the church. Four generations of Olsons.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

An unusual spot

I was looking through old pictures today and found this one. Notice the location of dad in the boat. For those of you who fished with him how often did he sit in the back? He was usually running the trolling motor in front. Must have just been a cruise and not a serious fishing trip.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Reading with Grandpa

Tonight Ellie spent the evening happily reading. She finished one book and dove into the next. ( I wonder where she gets this?) As we were snuggling in her bed she said, "Do you think grandpa would be proud of my reading?" That brought a few tears to my eyes.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Love Note

Nothing like finding a note from my dad while looking for a recipe!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Fishing Friends

It doesn't seem like opening fishing is right around the corner as I look out at my snow filled yard but it's not many weeks away. Today I was reminded of the day that dad and Dave Christian met. Dad was out fishing in front of their cabin in one of his "hot spots". Dave and Lisa had recently purchased their cabin on Upper Bottle and Dave made the usual inquiry of a fellow angler, "Catching anything?" Dad mentioned he'd caught a few and Dave said," I need to learn how to fish this lake." Dad said, " I can teach you." This was the start of a long friendship!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Dear Dad

Dear, Dad I spent today visiting with teachers in the St. Croix Ed District. My friend Michelle and I decided to stay at the casino in Hinckley so we could do a little gambling (very little) and some dancing. I stayed away from the blackjack tables although I know that's where you would have been. The snow is supposed to be coming tomorrow so I hope we have uneventful travels down to North Branch. Don't worry...I will drive slow and leave the cruise off. Missing you, Heather

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Erik's phone

Today Erik spent some time talking on the phone. When I asked him who he was talking to he said, "Grandpa Myles. He wants to go fourwheeling with me at the cabin." I'd give anything to have Erik's phone!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Tooth Removal

Yesterday Anna lost her front tooth. She was thrilled since she has been waiting for this to happen for the last two weeks. Every morning she'd ask me to pull it and when I got close to doing it she'd chicken out. This reminded me of dad's remedy for loose teeth. He'd always tell us that he was going to tie a string to the tooth and tie the other end of the string to a door knob. He'd threaten to slam the door and we'd run away! I don't think he ever tried this with any of us but we all feared the tooth pulling treatment.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Whoopie Cushion!

Let's face it. Farts are universally funny. Our family went years where we always celebrated a holiday with a whoopie cushion. It's October and the leaves are falling...we must need a jack o' lantern whoopie cushion. It's December...what better way to celebrate the birth of Christ than a whoopie cushion with a manger scene. It's the fourth of July...nothing more patriotic than a red, white and blue whoopie cushion. Dad should rest easy knowing that this tradition is alive and well in the next generation. Stella's big purchase in the Dells was a whoopie cushion.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Blu Hollow Resort

Mom has been spending the week in the Dells with Myndy's family and her mind must be on past family vacations. When she called today she thought I needed to write something in the blog about Blu Hollow Resort and our family memories there. We started going to Blu Hollow when I was in about fifth grade. Dad loved fishing on Blue Lake and so we started to rent a cabin there each summer. Bob and Candy Peters owned this resort for a few years and dad made a lifelong friend in Bob. One of the most vivid memories from Blu Hollow was when the power went out. Dad always wanted to help out in situations like this so he got out his climbers, climbed the electric pole and tried to fix the wiring. Can't you just picture him up there tinkering!

Monday, February 25, 2013


Myndy, Jason, Stella, Mylee and Grandma Susie are enjoying the week at the Wisconsin Dells. They spent part of today at the cheese factory and now are enjoying fresh cheese curds. These were dad's favorite treat. Stella was excited and said, "Mom, they really do squeak in my mouth."

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Snow Fort!

As I did my walk/run around the block yesterday I had to smile at a family I saw making a snow fort. The mom was cutting out bricks and the dad was working on a tunnel through the snow. The three year old was sitting contentedly watching mom and dad work. This made me think of the amazing snow fort my cousins Jenny and Heidi and I made at our house. Dad helped us cut the bricks and the fanciest feature was a tunnel you could slide through to get to the bottom. This was all great until Cousin Jenny got stuck and dad had to shovel her out. Great memories!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Up North at the Cabin

Erik is pining away for a little cabin time. Every day he wakes up and says, "Let's go see Grandma Susie at the cabin." Tonight we read his favorite "Up North at the Cabin". He looked at the picture of the grandpa in the boat and said, "There's grandpa Myles." Here's my own version of Up North at the Cabin. Up North at the Cabin the walleye are always biting and my dad is always with me in the rumble of the Coon Truck, the sweetness of the pure maple syrup and in the middle boat seat my dad is always with me Up North at the Cabin the walleye are always biting and my dad is always with me in the "Folsom Prison Blues" sung round the camp fire, the neon lights from the juke box, and the Scrabble dice box my dad is always with me.

Friday, February 22, 2013


It's just about the time of year when Dairy Queen opens up again which means spring is just around the corner. Today I was reminded of my dad's favorite...a hot fudge, marshmallow sundae. I have great memories of sitting at the Lover's Lane Park enjoying our ice cream and shooting the breeze.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The all day dinner preparation

Katy and I were reminiscing about the things we missed about dad today. There was a laundry list, of course, but one of the things that came up today was how much dad loved to put together a fancy dinner with full family participation. His favorites were Chinese food or Kabobs. He loved it when he could get everyone in the household chopping or preparing something...even the kids! I can't eat a steak kabob or an egg roll without thinking about those awesome family dinners.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Erik woke up this morning wanting to go to the cabin to see Grandma Susie. He said,"Mommy, I'm not going to Auntie and Chiefy's today. I'm going to see Grandma Susie at the cabin." I told him that we'd be going there soon but that Grandma Susie was in Thief River. I thought that was the end of the conversation but then he said, "Grandpa Myles isn't there. He's home with Jesus." Sometimes our kids are so smart, aren't they?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Woodpecker Worries

We hosted playgroup tonight and my friend Christy was talking about the trouble they were having with pilliated woodpeckers. This reminded me of how much my dad hated those darn birds. Living in a house with wood siding the woodpeckers just loved our house. I dinstinctly remember waking up at 6 am to the sound of them pecking on the wall right beside my bed. Dad tried everything to get rid of them but he was never completely successful.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Valentine's Day

All of the hoopla around Valentine's Day this week got me thinking about my dad and the way he showed his love. You will not be suprised to find out that he was not one for extravagant gifts or sweeping gestures. Rather, he showed his love to his family by doing the little everyday things to make things easier for us. He'd be the first one up to shovel and snowblow the driveway, he'd wash our cars and vacuum them out so we didn't have to think about this, and he'd do the bulk of the mowing around the place. I think mom would agree we'd take the thoughtful everyday gestures over the grand shows of affection any day. Right mom?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Jump Rope for Heart

Anna just got done collecting money for Jump Rope for Heart for her phy ed class. She is so proud to be jumping in memory of Grandpa Myles.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Memory

This is s story my cousin Jenny shared about my dad on a past Valentine's Day... Last Sunday we got the ad for Papa Murphy's pizza where they have the heart shaped pizzas for Valentine's day. It reminded me of your dad. A few years ago Darren had foot surgery and was laid up for a few months. It was Valentine's Day & your mom,Deb & Jim were on their way to the Hobo Haus. Your dad had been in GF for meetings that day & had to pick us up one of those pizzas because he knew we would be staying at home! He even came in and put it in the oven as Darren could barely walk! How thoughtful!He had a heart of gold and when I came home I could not figure it out how Darren could make pizza!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dear Dad

Dear Dad, It's been Valentopia around here tonight. Grandma Susie sneakily mailed some cards a few days ago so each kid got a Valentine in the mailbox. Grandma Wendy also stopped by with Valentine gifts galore. The highlight was Steve's superman underwear that Erik wore around the house for the rest of the night. The best Valentine present is that mom is on the mend. She still has some pain in her shoulder (probably due to the C02 gas that they used to blow up her stomach for the procedure). You would have been proud of her...she did not take the private room in the hospital because she said she could hear you whispering in her ear, "You don't need to waste $70. You can be a little friendly." Turns out she didn't have a roommate anyway. We'll be meeting Myndy, Jason, Stella and Mylee in Cannon Falls tomorrow night so that mom can head up there and get ready to fly home on Saturday. Let's pray she can get in the driveway. Little Fia will be baptized on Sunday and mom is insisting on making an egg bake. See...some things never change! We love you and miss you every day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Fitness Mouse

Yesterday I started the morning out at the Rochester Athletic Club for a little cardio. I had been on the elliptical for a few minutes when I noticed a brown, furry rodent scurrying around the floor. I started moving a bit faster and kept my eye on the mouse. I hadn't seen it in a while so I felt it was safe to get down. Sure enough, the minute I got down on the floor my furry friend was right at my feet. I thought of how much my dad would have enjoyed that story. Part of me thinks that little mouse was dad just checking up on us on the day of mom's surgery. If so, please try and find another way to show yourself to me, dad! I'm not a big fan of rodents.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Dance Party!

Tonight we decided to have a dance party to wish mom good luck on her surgery. We all tried to make sure we included dad's signature moves....clapping off beat, the fist pump, and a random leg kick here and there. We'll find out at 8:15 tonight when her surgery is scheduled but it will be sometime tomorrow. Hopefully the dance moves will bring a successful surgery and a speedy recovery. Contemplating one last run to Cherry Berry before the dietary restrictions begin.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Style Show

Grandma Susie is in town so you know what that clothes for the kids! Anna got a fantastic new black, leather skirt yesterday (the trashier, the better for her) and she modeled it for all of us. This reminded me of the many "style shows" that we put on for dad. He'd watch patiently, rolling his eyes occasionally and every once in a while he'd say, "Did we buy all of this?" "Yup, dad. That's what happens when you have three daughters."

Friday, February 8, 2013

How do you mend a Broken Heart?

As many of you know mom is staying with us while she is getting ready for surgery on Monday. Two nights ago she woke up and said, "What are the words to How Do you Mend a Broken Heart? I dreamed that the surgeon played that song for me and said he couldn't do anything for me because my heart was broken." I guess there is a bit of truth in that. We looked up to the words to that infamous song by the Beegees and she and Erik danced cheek to cheek in the kitchen. Although I know the surgery will not mend her broken heart, hopefully it will give her some relief from pain. She has lots of cheek to cheek dances left with her grandkids.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Johnny Appleseed

Tonight we sang our family's favorite table grace "Johnny Appleseed". The kids love to hold hands and yell Amen very loudly. As I looked around the table I thought about how much my dad loved singing that Grace. He learned it from Rufus and Vi and he always got a big kick out of the kids and their expressions as he looked around the table.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Dear Dad

Dear Dad, Mom and I are getting ready for our big trip to the Mayo Clinic tomorrow. We'll check in at 7:30 AM and hope these docs can get mom feeling better. Of course, we are hoping to squeeze in a little shopping too. You know us! We'll keep you posted on the progress.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Frozen Doors

Today's story come from a Christmas quite a few years ago. I believe Steve and I were living in Rochester. Mom and dad had come as far as Myndy and Jason's and they were scheduled to come to our house the next day. There was freezing rain in the night but dad really wanted to get on the road and make it down to our house the next morning. As he went out to start the car he realized the car doors were frozen shut. Determined, he started to try and thaw the car doors with an acetylene torch. Luckily Jason's neighbor Greg came out and helped him out before anything on the car was damaged. He did make it down to Rochester that day!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Bethany Cemetery

Today was a tough day for some reason..sometimes it kind of sneaks up on you. I woke up thinking about dad and the whole day was tinged with a bit of sadness. I got to thinking about Bethany Cemetery where dad is buried. It is a beautiful spot and even more meaningful for our family because of our history with the church and cemetery. Dad was the sexton for the cemetery so his job was to be sure everyone was plotted correctly and that the maps of the cemetery were accurate. Grandpa Rufus had this same job many years before dad. When dad retired from his job as sexton the first person buried was Grandpa Rufus. Dad's cousin Janet Burrows made the charts of the cemetery at Bethany in memory of Grandpa Rufus and his sister Ione, her mother. Being the sexton of a cemetery isn't a flashy job. It takes a steady, quiet leadership. I can see why both Grandpa Rufus and dad were perfect for this job.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Buddy, Ritchie and the Bopper

Last night we went spent the evening in Clear Lake, Iowa. As we listened to the encore of Gary Busey at the Surf Ballroom I thought of how much dad would have enjoyed listening to the music and seeing all the memorablia at the ball room. It was like taking a step back in time. Mom's cousin Deloris Fjerstad Spencer was waiting to see the concert in Fargo that fateful night. I hope that dad, Deloris and Ray are all listening to a few tunes with those three musicians in heaven.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Last night Myndy and Mylee came to visit. It was fun for the kids to play with Mylee. As we always do when together, we started to talk and reminisce about dad. Some other friends were visiting and we tried to explain some of the things we loved most about our dad. The topic of willpower came up. We shared the story about how he quit smoking to gear up for his big trip to Hawaii. It seemed to us he was able to quit cold turkey but I know there was a great amount of willpower and self-discipline needed to make this big change in his life.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dear Dad

Dear, Dad Mom went into the doctor today to get an endoscopy and they found out she has a Laparoscopic Pareasesophageal Hernia. They are referring her out to Mayo to do the surgery but we need a little divine intervention to be sure everything goes ok! She's also waiting to hear back on a few biopsies. We need a little Myles Mojo. Love you,Heather

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How goes it?

You know how there are some phrases that just completely and totally remind you of a particular person? How goes it is one of those phrases. I heard someone say this today and instantly I could see my dad with his head sticking out of the cab of the pick up visiting with a neighbor.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Big Brother Program

Today's story takes me back to many years ago when my dad was part of the Big Brother program. His little brother loved coming to the cabin but he didn't want his own room so he always slept on the couch. The first thing he asked for when dad wanted to get him a gift was a pair of flip-flops. Although dad was busy with his own three girls he had enough love to share with many other kids.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Zamboni Man

Last week Stella got to go the Wild hockey game. They were finally playing again! She calls the penalty box "the naughty box" and she had lots of questions about the zamboni. Myndy told her about how she and mom would push their noses up against the glass and wave at dad when he was driving the Zamboni. Dad would never wave but would just nod his head in their direction to let them know he'd seen them.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Weather Boy

The weather is a little dicey here. Ice covered streets and lots of cars in the ditch. Steve is happiest on his IPAD looking at the radar and reporting any weather changes. I can just hear dad. He'd call and say, "How's the weather boy?" He got a big kick out of how much Steve and his dad loved to track the weather.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Ellie's Carrot

Today we were talking with Ellie's teacher about her science fair project and we got on the subject of growing vegetables. Ellie went on to tell her teacher this story: We were at my grandma and grandpa's house in Thief River and it was harvest time for the vegetable garden. My grandpa Myles and I went out to the garden to pick the carrots. He looked out at the garden and dug a special one out for me. It was one of the best carrots I've ever tasted, probably because my grandpa picked it out just for me.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hawaiian Shrimp

On a day like today when it's blisteringly cold in Minnesota, I love to look at mom and dad's Christmas card. In it, they are posing on the beach in Hawaii. I know one of dad's favorite Hawaiian memories was their day at the north shore. They ended up there kind of by accident and ended up seeing all kinds of sea turtles. They also enjoyed what both mom and dad claimed was, "the best shrimp we've ever tasted." It was from a little stand on the beach. Great memories!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Good Catch

Today's story once again involves Uncle Ernie. He and dad were fishing at Lake of the Woods and Ernie went to the outhouse at the campground to take care of business. He came out very shook up and said, "Say, say, say, gotta help me. I lost my wallet in the john." Dad said, "Take off your watch." Ernie looking puzzled said, "Why do you need that?" Dad replied, "You don't think I am going in for just your wallet do you?" I believe the wallet was retrieved with the help of a fishing pole. Uncle Ernie did like to carry a lot of cash around and this probably contributed to his level of anxiety. That and the fact that he knew he'd never hear the end of it from dad.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Water Fun

We spent part of today at the Athletic Club enjoying the pool. As I watched Steve and Erik splashing around and doing the "porpoise" I thought of my dad. He wasn't one of those dads who sat at the pool and watched everything from the sideline. He was always in the water with us playing one game or another. One of our favorites was "Marco Polo". Today I am grateful for dads who know how to play with their kids. I am a better person because my dad always had time for fun.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


I just returned home from a girl's weekend in the Wisconsin Dells. Last night we had fun at a piano bar and entertained the crowd with our boisterous rendition of YMCA. Hearing that song always makes me smile because I think of my dad...who was always about two beats behind when we spelled out the letters. Love you, dad

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fish for Friends

Tonight Mary Sponsler from the lake sent me a message on facebook. She mentioned reading the blogs and then said one of her favorite memories of dad was when he came over with the basket of fish nuggets to share fresh-caught walleye with them. Dad loved to share his bounty with others...that's for sure!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fishing with Uncle E.E.

Last night as I was falling asleep I was reminded of this memory. I was in about fifth grade and dad and I went fishing to Lake of the Woods with Uncle Ernie. It was pretty windy and Lake of the Woods gets a little choppy at times. E.E. started looking a little green around the gills. Of course, dad couldn't pass up an opportunity for a little joking around. Mom had packed us a lunch with jello blocks and dad held that jello up and wiggled it around. Ernie was throwing up over the side of the boat in no time.

Monday, January 14, 2013

I Went to the Animal Fair

Tonight Erik was especially needy as I rocked him. He wanted extra stories and extra songs...lots of them. I was almost out of ideas when I remembered dad's favorite. I went to the Animal Fair....(then he'd change the words to whoever he was singing about)Erik Willman was there. The old raccoon by the light of the moon was combing his auburn hair. The funniest was the monk. He fell on the elephant's trunk. The elephant sneezed and feel on his knees and what became of the monk, the monk, the monk. It was a great memory but it really made me miss my dad. Erik said, "Mommy, why are you crying. The animals are at a fair." "I know Erik. I just miss Grandpa Myles."

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Best Western Birthday Parties

Today the kids attended a birthday party for their friend Eliana. It was at the Ramada and the kids got to swim, slide, sit in the hot tub and play. It was a great idea for a cold January day. It all brought back my memories of my birthday parties. One of our favorite places to have a party was at the Best Western. We'd rent a room and invite a bunch of girls to swim, play and have fun. Everyone's favorite thing was trying to get away from my dad. He'd swim, chase us and torment us in any way possible. There's something special about these birthday parties that involve the whole family.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

At the Movies

Steve and I enjoyed a rare movie night out tonight. I believe the last movie we saw at the theatre was Cars 2. We spent most of the movie chasing our crawling toddler around. As we were driving to the theatre I thought about the movies I watched with my dad over the years. One of his favorites was "The Deer Hunter". As a kid I remember watching "The Ammityville Horror" with him and being totally freaked out for days. The most awkward movie watched together would have to be "Brokeback Mountain".

Friday, January 11, 2013

Sleepover Night

It's sleepover night at our house. Each girl has a friend staying over and they are having a blast! So far they've consumed all of the juice boxes in the house, made a fort out of the office and are now working on making their own jewelry. Of course, this reminded me of my own sleepovers as a child. I distinctly remember one sleepover where all of us were sleeping in my waterbed. As I remember it there were four girls in one small bed. We snuck into the kitchen for a snack but we didn't realize that my dad had heard us. He proceeded to get some garden produce from the garage and "plant" it in our bed. As we all snuggled back in after our snack break loud screams could be heard from my bedroom. You could always count on my dad for a good practical joke.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

TV Dinners

Growing up I was lucky enough to have two parents who were excellent cooks. It was the norm at our house to eat a home-cooked meal almost every night and trips to restaurants were rare occasions. When dad worked nights he'd make roasts, scalloped potatoes,and homemade soups. Mom was famous for pork chops, tator tot hotdish, and homemade cookies. You'd think I would have been grateful, having all of this wonderful food but I was a kid. What I wanted more than anything else was a TV dinner. When we'd head to the grocery store, I'd whine and beg for these and every once in a while my wish was granted. If I only knew then what I know now.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


When Myndy and Jason lived in the house on Beverly Road they had a cat named Lucy. Lucy liked to sleep in the guest bedroom and when mom and dad came to stay she thought they were invading her territory. Dad would shut the door when they went to bed but about half-way through the night Lucy would start running into the door and whacking it with her tail to get it to open up. Eventually she was always successful and ended up snuggled in between mom and dad.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Fresh Cut Fries

One of my memories of childhood was mom and dad getting out the fry baby to fry up onion rings, french fries and corn dogs. Tonight we had the same ambience going on as Steve made fresh cut fries with his french fry cutter ( purchsed from Northern Tool and Equipment). I can still smell that signature deep-fried scent and I'm sure our neighbors are appreciative too!

Sunday, January 6, 2013


On Friday we took a trip to Barnes and Noble since Anna and Ellie both wanted new books. Anna was looking at the Pippi Longstocking series and it reminded me of what dad always said when I was reading those books. "Are you reading about Peepee Yellowstocking again?"

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Soup Day

Today was a perfect day to make soup. Anna had requested wild rice soup so that's what I made. As I was cooking the rice and grating the carrots I thought about how much my dad loved soup. It was one of his favorite meals both to make and eat. He almost always ordered a cup of soup when he went out to dinner. One of his favorites was mom's "zuppa toscana" made like the one at Olive Garden.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Pearl Harbor

On the last trip mom and dad took to Hawaii they spent some time at Pearl Harbor. One of the highlights for dad was a tour of the USS Missouri. The Missouri's claim to fame is that the Empire of Japan officially surrendered on it's decks in 1945. As they toured the ship dad had Stella climb into one of the tiny bunks and then he told her about his days in the Navy. I know this was a great memory for dad and he was so proud to have been able to tell his stories to his grand-daughter.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

All you need is...Walgreens

When Myndy and Jason first moved to Woodbury dad spent some time getting to know their surroundings. One of his first finds was Walgreens. He discovered that they had spice drops, reading glasses and peanuts...all in one place. He had no need to go anywhere else!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ear Aches

Last night Anna had an ear ache. Needless to say it was a long night for both her and her parents. As we were giving her medicine and putting the heating pad on her ear I got a visual of my dad doing the same thing for me. I remember one particularly bad ear ache and how my dad kept the warm wash cloth on my ear and tried to distract me with a Speerno story and some cheese curds.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Christmas Cards

One of the traditions that we've started in our family is that we hang up all of our Christmas cards on the door of our pantry. The kids love to look at them and often there are one or two that are dogeared because someone ( namely Erik) has been carrying them around. This year the favorite card is the one that mom sent out. There are pictures of all of the grandkids but in the middle is a great shot of mom and dad in Hawaii. They look tan, relaxed and happy and dad is even sporting his swimsuit. Erik likes to look at it and point, "Grandpa Myles going swimming!" I'm so glad mom and dad took that trip.