Fall is a lovely time of the year in Minnesota. This year is no exception – we have had some delightful weather so far.
Unfortunately, fall also marks the end of the garden growing season. Over the lasts couple months, I have enjoyed eating fresh home grown tomatoes, peppers, carrots, cucumbers, beans, spinach, arugula and various herbs.
Before the rain fell today, I cleaned out most of the vegetables I had been growing. In years past, I had tried growing my vegetables in my yard but with no success. The deer, turkeys, rabbits and squirrels really enjoyed eating at the “Erickson Salad Bar”. So, the past couple of years, my garden has been limited to containers on my deck. While a fence would be useful to keep the critters from eating my vegetables, our neighborhood HOA rejected my original request made several years ago to install garden fencing in my back yard.
Planning ahead to next year, I really want to increase my garden space. I sketched out an idea for a couple raised beds to build on the side of my yard. Luckily the leadership of our HOA has changed in recent years and I my plans were approved. Over Labor Day weekend, I was able to construct these raised beds.
Now I just have to wait eight months to be able to plant!
Sitting in my craft room, watching the broadcasts of the remembrance of the attacks twenty years ago, I am probably doing what many Americans are doing – thinking back on that day.
Twenty years ago, September 11th was a Tuesday. Being my day off, I went for a run after our nanny had arrived for the day. Just as I was leaving, I heard a report on the radio station that I was listening to that a plane had hit the one of the towers of the World Trade Center, but the reporters stated that the cause was unknown. A while later, while running, the radio station reported that another plane had hit the other tower. This could not have been an accident.
I think I probably ran faster than I have ever done in order to get home. The scenes on television were unforgettable.
I thank God for our military and law enforcement who have kept our country free from major terror attacks since that day. Twenty years later, the buildings have been rebuilt and most people have gone on with their lives. But, our lives were changed by that day.
There are no videos to remind us of that event. But, I thank God who gave his son on that day to keep my life free from the ravages of sin. Two thousand years later, people continue to gone on with their lives. But, our lives were changed by that day.
Each year, I enjoy going the the Minnesota State Fair, viewing the artistry of the creative activities entries, as well as entering a couple quilts in the competition. In 2020, I was disappointed when the fair was cancelled.
This year, I had originally thought that I would not be able to enter any quilts in the competition. Having a trip to Colorado scheduled during the drop off days for the creative activities, I was at first unsure how I would be able to enter. About a week prior to our trip, I learned that I could drop off entries at the fair office during early drop off days before leaving on our trip.
After entering, I was still hesitant to attend the fair due to the increase in Covid cases. However, with the attendance numbers on previous days being down, I decided to go this morning. Being there from 8 to 11am, the number of people that were there was pretty small. The weather was cool and it was an enjoyable morning.
Things that I did not do:
Utilize a Park & Ride bus – to avoid the crowds of people on the buses, I left home early morning and was able to find parking in a lots across the street from one of the fair entrances.
Eat Fair Food – I usually avoid the fair food, so this was nothing new for me.
Ride any amusement in the Mighty Midway
Do any shopping in the Market areas.
Things that I did do:
Wore a mask and avoided crowds
Arriving early, I walked through several of the animal and 4H exhibits prior to the other buildings opening
Enjoyed the artistry in the Creative Activities building, including quilting, weaving, crochet and woodworking
Enjoyed the flora of the fair, a much overlooked aspect of the fairgrounds
Creative Activities – My entries:
Creative Activities – Noah’s Ark: My absolute favorite of all of the creative activities entries that I saw today!
Today was my last day of work. I am now officially retired!
When thinking about today, one of the things I had planned to do was to have my own playlist of songs to listen to at work. I figured that it was my last day – so, if there were complaints about my music choices, it really wouldn’t matter since I would not be returning to work at the office again. Well, unfortunately, I forgot that my new phone does not have an audio port. And, our office audio system did not have a lightning plug. So, unfortunately, I was unable to play my selected songs.
On my way home, I did start listening to the songs on my list. One of those songs was “Dear Younger Me” by Mercy Me.
When hearing this song today, it prompted me to think about what advice I wish I had been given when I were younger. These thoughts fell into several categories, one being professional advice I would have appreciated hearing when I was younger. After thinking about it a while, I decided to write my thoughts down and post them on a forum for other Pediatric Dentists. Here is what I wrote:
After five years of planning for my retirement, and then a five month delay due to Covid, my last day of work is finally over. Leaving work today, I felt the joy I would have when heading into a week of vacation. It probably won’t really sink in for another week or two that this is more than a vacation. To my long term friends and colleagues in academia and in private practice, thanks for the many good times and I hope there are many more to come. To my colleagues in the middle of their careers, don’t let crabby over demanding parents get you down. Don’t fret over treatment outcomes that are dependent upon things out of our control. Don’t let hypocritical colleagues and/or partners make you feel any less of yourself. For my colleagues who are at the start of your careers, don’t let your finances dictate your happiness. The adage “money doesn’t buy happiness” is very true. Treasure the small victories in your day and leave your frustration behind. Do yourself a favor, find a hobby or two (or more) to give yourself a mental break and creative diversion from work. To all of you, make each day great, look for the good in every experience and in everyone you meet. And, most importantly, thank God for the many blessings he has given you.
I was extremely surprised to see the response my words had. Many younger colleagues commented that they appreciated my words of encouragement and advise. I’m glad someone will benefit from my thoughts!
I now look ahead to what the future will bring. This is truly the first time in my life that I do not have things planned out. Yes, I have lots of things to keep me busy. Yes, I will still keep doing my various hobbies. But, it’s kind of strange to look at my calendar not have my career dictating my schedule. I appreciate everyone who has made an impact on my life and my career. And, I do look forward to figuring out this next phase of my life.
Pam’s Retirement Playlist Ain’t Got Far To Go – Jordan Smith At Last – Etta James Dear Younger Me – MercyMe Deep Enough To Dream – Chris Rice Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey Done – The Band Perry Even If – MercyMe God of Wonders – Third Day Goodbye Ordinary – MercyMe I Dreamed A Dream – Susan Boyle I Won’t Give Up – Trisha Yearwood If I Knew Then – Lady A If Tomorrow Never Comes – Kent Blazy and Garth Brooks My Way – Frank Sinatra Never Going Back Again – Fleetwood Mac New Lease on Life – MercyMe Oceans(Where Feet May Fail) – Hillsong United Postcards from Far Away – Coldplay Teach Your Children Well – Jeff Healey The Very Next Thing – Casting Crowns Unchained Melody – Susan Boyle When We Were Young – Adele
I read somewhere that hugs may be necessary for survival. While that may not be the case, hugs are definitely important for mental health. Unfortunately, in our social distanced pandemic lifestyles, we have become a fairly touch-deprived society. Hugs are avoided for everyone’s health and safety.
I have many young patients, who, when they arrive at my dental office, are eager to give me a hug. Unfortunately, their parents will now stop them and reprimand them for doing so. I miss that part of my job. It was always a lift to my day, especially when the patient was one who had previous difficulty with going to the dentist.
So, in this pandemic era, I need to look for other ways to “hug” through words of praise, words of thanks, and words of encouragement.
Tomorrow is National Hug Day. To celebrate the day, I decided to make some treats – Brownies filled with Hershey’s Hugs. To make these, I used my favorite brownie recipe, but any recipe or even a box mix would work. Before baking, place a hug into the batter, bake as normal. After they have cooled, you will have a hidden treat – a Hidden Hug.
So, even though real hugs may not be possible, look for the hidden hugs in your life.
There is a lot of discord in life and some days it can be overwhelming. Lately that has been the feeling I have had. I don’t think that I have radical or controversial opinions, so when I started writing a blog, I never dreamed that people would send negative, sometimes hateful emails. But, I have received numerous anonymous emails from people condemning me for what I write or how I write.
Too often, people say things behind the guise of anonymity that they would never say in person. So, my suggestion to anyone reading my blog. If you don’t like what I write, just move on to something else. If you are following my blog and don’t like what I write, just unfollow me. And, if you are reading this on Facebook and you don’t like what I write, just unfriend.
This unfortunate state of communication is all too common these days. Too often, people think that if someone doesn’t agree with their thinking, then the other person is wrong and they need to be “put in their place”. There seems to be no room for differences of opinion. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be, and it seems like now more than ever we need a reminder of that.
The way we interact with others can reflect God’s love and bring glory to him. God accepts us, despite our imperfections, our impure actions and motives. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him (John 3:17). God accepts us, despite our messy lives, impure motives, and irritating attitudes.
My thoughts and beliefs may not be the same as yours. Ultimately, which of us is right or wrong is not something to argue and debate about. This is something between each person and God. This means we accept others’ quirks and look past their faults in order to see individuals created in the image of God.
We need to learn how to accept one another unconditionally, just as Christ accepts us unconditionally. The Bible says, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (Romans 15:7 NIV).
Fifteen months ago, after attending a professional meeting in San Francisco, my eldest son (who lived in SF at the time) and I visited the San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park. One of the plants I saw there was a very unique and absolutely gorgeous orchid, Miltoniopsis Lennart Karl Gottling also called ‘Hula Skirt’ Orchid.
After seeing it, I search the internet for a source to purchase one, but was unsuccessful. This particular orchid was “out of stock” everywhere. One of the growers did have the ability to indicate if you would like to be notified when the orchid was in stock again. At the time, I filled out the request. But, since then, I had accepted the fact that I would be unable to obtain a plant for myself and thus totally forgot about my search.
Well, on Monday, I received an email from Orchid Web notifying me that the orchid was in stock. Needless to say, I was surprised by the notification and immediately went to their site to order one. When placing the order, I discovered that the store is located in Plymouth, Minnesota, just a few miles from a friend’s dental office. This was fortunate because I could pick the plant up in person, avoid paying shipping, and avoid potential damage to the plant during transit.
Since I would be driving to Plymouth, I sent my friend a message to see if she would like to get together and whether I could bring her lunch when I came. She responded with an even better offer. For a holiday celebration, she was treating her staff to a catered meal from “Gardens of Salonica”, a Greek restaurant and invited me to join them at her office. This was an offer I could not pass up.
I had a nice lunch comprised of good conversation with an amazing friend and some truly great Greek food!!
Being a member of my professional study club, I had also made her a table/wall quilt over the summer, which she received a few weeks ago.
While she is several years younger than me and will likely not retire for a while, she does have her “pre-retirement” quilt. This quilt was made utilizing the Greek Key quilt pattern. I picked this pattern for several reasons. The obvious one is that she is Greek. But, more importantly, the Greek Key is a symbol for infinity or eternity. This is very fitting because she is a constant friend who is always there for me.
My photo of the front of the quilt is a bit out of focus. But, the photo of the back does highlight the quilting that was done. In particular, quilting clearly shows the continuity of the Greek Keys in the piecing and in the quilting.
These eternal rings symbolic of the eternal love and support we have as friends. And, also a symbol of the love we celebrate this time of year at the birth of our Lord.