Monday, May 31, 2010

My Dad

My dad was born on December 7, 1928 in Seattle at Swedish hospital.( 78 years later, his great grand son, Max would be born at the same hospital.) My dad was the youngest of 7 kids. His mom died when he was only 18 months old while pregnant with her 8th child. After his mothers death, he lived with his aunts, Hilda & Freida. They were his father's sisters, who immigrated to Seattle from Sweden when they were young. Neither one married and both cleaned houses for a living. They took good care of my dad and he loved them. He told me they would bake him bread in the mornings in their beautiful craftsman style home in the Green Lake area of Seattle. When it came out of the oven, soft and hot they'd spread it with peanut butter and he'd be in heaven.
My dad was the only child in his family who went to college. He worked on the trucking docks to pay his way through USC where he joined the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and met life long friends many of whom were older, having served in WWII before going to college. At USC he also became a life long Trojan fan. While in southern California, he met my mom. They shared 44 years of marriage, 4 kids and 11 grand kids, before his death.

My dad was a patient man and loving father. He devoted his life to his family. He worked hard, never missing a day of work. He eventually became a vice president for P.I.E., a trucking company he worked for for over 30 years before he started the business my brother and I still have today. He enjoyed life. I remember him fixing us breakfast on the weekends before the various sporting events. There was hockey practise, swim meets and boating that filled our childhood. After many years of camping, my dad built a houseboat that he and my brothers assembled on Trinity Lake. These summers at Trinity were the back drop for some of my happiest memories. Memories that are shared by his children and grandchildren today.

After retiring at 65, my mom and dad built their dream home over looking the Pacific Ocean in Lincoln City, OR. There he joined the golf club and had the worst handicap of any other member. I don't think he cared about that. He was loving his life. He was happily married to the woman he met when he was young. He had 4 children whom he put through college and turned out pretty well, if I say so myself. He had 11 grand kids that he adored, the youngest being my son Joe. He was living the life he worked so hard to secure. I remember watching my mom and dad hold hands while walking on the beach in front of their house. I remember sitting at their table on Thanksgiving with the ocean in the back ground and all of his kids and their families gathered together. I remember all of us laughing so hard because of something my nephew, Tom was saying. I remember my dad laughing so hard that tears came to his eyes. This would be the last time we were all one. My dad died in November the next year, less than 2 years after he retired. He was too young . When he died I had the feeling of being vulnerable. I had always felt the security in knowing that my dad was always there for me. I depended on his advice that I always trusted and his acceptance that was always there. He was a good man. A very good man. Having him as my father was one of my greatest blessing and I miss him terribly.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day, almost

I pilfered this picture from the Pioneer Woman's blog. I love this picture so much because:

1. This is a hug that will be remembered for all of eternity by this family.

2. I love it that the mom (not pictured) is there. I see the mom through her daughters carefully done hair and beautifully matched red skirts and white sweaters. I can picture her fussing with them and primping so they look their very best to welcome home dad. ( Love the skirt!)

3. I love it that the dad is nestled in his daughters shoulders, soaking in all the love.

4. I love the red, white & blue in the whole shot that signifies the country this family sacrificed so much to protect.

I love this picture.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wine Tasting and Limos, Again.

My sister is good to me in many ways. She even shares her friends. They are wonderfully fun, smart and welcoming.

During a charity auction, her friend Carollyn bid on a limo/wine tasting tour and won! Correction, we won. To join her on this wine tasting journey through northern Washington & Canada, she graciously invited the women from her knitting group and me. Bless her heart.
Not surprisingly, we got sillier as the day progressed. Eventually, some of us digressed by hanging out the sun roof of the limo waving at cars as they passed. I didn't post these shots because I wanted to leave a better impression of us. Don't we look well behaved? Just goes to show ya.....looks can be deceiving.

Thank you, Carollyn and all of you women, for a very fun day. I had a blast.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Lily is 12.
She invited 10 friends to our house to celebrate the big occasion. As she opened her gifts I quickly saw a theme. They all gave her a bucket load of candy...
...and Aeropostle T Shirts.
She was very happy.

They roasted giant marshmallows and ate S'mores.
It got very sticky.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Enormous Marshmallows! For Real!!

Look what I found!

Can you believe it?!

Small, medium & then there's enormous.

Boo Boo Buddies - What they are and how they work.

Lily makes Boo Boo Buddies & sells them at local craft fairs. Aren't they adorable?
This is Max with a stubbed toe. See how sad he is?
Now look! He's happy. That's how a Boo Boo Buddy works. It's magical.
Adorable, sweet as candy, Lucy loves the Boo Boo Buddy, too.

As does Harvey. Just look at this kid, will ya? Hold my heart. I can't stand it. I am so IN LOVE with him. Have you ever seen anything more scrumptious in your whole entire life?
Let me know if you'd like a Boo Boo Buddy for the precious little ones in your life. It'll make them smile, too.
Lily has the whole summer to sew!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hay Bales vs. Marshmallows - You Decide

I've been told that these puffy looking white things scattered throughout the farm land are hay bales. But I think they're marshmallows.

Marshmallows waiting to be roasted in an open fire pit in my yard and squished between 2 ginormous* sized Graham Crackers and an equal sized Hershey Bar.

* In 2007 ginormous was added to Websters dictionary.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bald Eagles everywhere we look

There were about a dozen Bald Eagles (Would that be a convocation of eagles?) sitting in and flying over the field at the end of our drive. As a tractor was mowing the field grass these predators were getting their fill of mice and things.
We see them everyday. They're everywhere.

Whoa! Almost got clipped. Note to self - Stay off the county highway while taking pictures of the wildlife.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

P90X and my friend, Melissa

If you're not familiar with P90X, feel free to Google it. I'm not adding the link here because I curse it.

My "dear" friend Melissa (of Delicious Dishes fame), who is very fit in spite of her time in the kitchen, volunteered to send me her P90X program after I innocently asked her about it. She mentioned that it was a little hard but suggested I try the arduous program and blog about my experience. Okay, Melissa, here I go:
First, I read the multiple booklets of instructions about how this muscle confusing fitness plan is supposed to get you in the best shape of your life. This took a weekend. The initial steps are simple enough. Weigh yourself, it says. Painfully, I complied. Measure yourself (This includes the thighs, ladies.). Humiliatingly, I checked this requirement off the list. Measure your body fat, it says. This is very depressing, but check. TAKE PICTURES OF YOURSELF in shorts and sports bra in various poses, it says. Sorry. I don't think so. Enough of this foolishness, I'm ready to begin. I'm ready to be a lean, mean, fit, 49 year old, buffed machine. (See picture above.)
After I faithfully follow most of the prerequisites and mentally prepare myself to be a committed student of this serious fitness regime, I put on the first of 12 Cd's. Confidently, I complete the 5 minute warm up. OK. All is good. I'm very pleased with myself. Then the real exercise regiment begins. I notice that my arms are a little tired from the jumping jacks but I'm not deterred. We start with push ups....."Let's do 20 - 30 push ups", the fitness guru says .... I get on my hands and knees and manage to struggle through 3 push ups from the kneeling position (AKA girl push ups) and quickly flop to the floor. I rest my cheek on the rug to see the fitness fanatics cheerfully count 21, 22, 23.... I peel myself off the rug and plop my big fat tush on the couch. For the next 30 minutes I torture myself by watching the health freaks "work their arms and backs" - "Let's do 25 pull ups with our fingers facing forward. (Rest. 1 min.) Now let's do 30 push ups with our ankles crossed - very good. (Rest 1 min.) Okay, now let's do 30 more pull ups but this time with our fingers facing towards us...." Amazed and defeated, I turn off the TV before these "people" begin doing push ups on their pinkies.
So, here you have it, Melissa. The blog post on my P90X experience. Short, sweet and very humbling. Watch for a package in the mail, my friend. P90X is on it's way back to you. Oh yeah, thanks for sharing.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What puts the safety in Safety Man?


The kids often complain about the condition of our pencils so I got obsessive and gathered all I could find, bought a new sharpener and went at it. I was so proud of my deed that I proudly displayed them tips up. The next day I noticed that they were all turned upside down. Immediately, I knew who was responsible. -" Honey", I asked, "Did you turn the pencils in the office?" "Yes", he answered, "as a general rule all pointy things should be facing down. Someone could poke their eyes out." That's what puts the Safety in my man.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Two emotions come to my mind when I think about motherhood. The first is love, of course, which I felt instantly. The second emotion took me awhile to recognize.

I had a difficult time conceiving and suffered through a miscarriage the first few years of my marriage. During this time I was very focused on getting pregnant and talked myself into believing that when I became pregnant my worries would be over. Of course this was foolish thinking. After I heard the glorious news of my pregnancy, my mind quickly raced to the concern of keeping the baby safe in my womb. This was understandable, I told myself, with my history. As the first 3 months passed and the baby grew, I began to worry about delivering a healthy baby. Again, a normal concern. After my son was born healthy(9 lbs 9 oz - thank you very much) , I felt relief at long last. Then I realized that I was a little worried about getting through the first 3 months of infancy and then I began focusing on the first year of development - was he crawling, walking, saying his first words on schedule? Yes, yes, yes. All is good. Then the little scoundrel started climbing trees. Good Lord. When will this worry end? It is around this time that I remembered my grandmother.

When she was 93, my grandmother was slowly slipping away from us. She stayed in her bed for the last year of her life while my parents cared for her in their home with the help of hospice. One day the hospice counselor came to the house. She saw that my grandmother was very weak and suffering through her final days but was tenaciously clinging to life, determined not to let go. Hospice was here to help guide her peacefully through these final steps. This kind woman softly asked my grandma if she was afraid to let go and if there was anything she needed to do before she met God. My grandmother answered meekly but matter-of-factly, like the answer should be obvious. "Who'll take care of Patsy?" Patsy, her only child, my mom, who had been married to my dad for decades and had 4 children who loved her. She was, to my grandmother, her responsibility. My grandmother, as she lay dying, was worried about her daughter.

That's when it hit me. The magnificent love we have for our children carries with it a heavy load of worry. It never ends. Now my son is a teenager and talks about driving and other ridiculous things. (With this eventuality looming over me, my worry knows no bounds.) I also see the love and worry on my sisters face as she talks about her son who is fighting a war in Afghanistan. Each of us has our own list of worries but in the end it all comes down to the universal maternal love we have for our children. It's a tough job, motherhood, but we are so blessed to have it. The greatest job.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

1 day until Mothers Day

"No one ever died from sleeping in an unmade bed. I have known mothers who remake the bed after their children do it because there is wrinkle in the spread or the blanket is on crooked. This is sick."
Erma Bombeck

Friday, May 7, 2010

2 Days until Mothers Day

These quotes are by Fran Liebowitz. The first quote of hers that I remember admiring is - "I think I have to say that my favorite animal is steak." Now, that's funny. But it doesn't have anything to do with Mother's Day so I'm not including it.

"I never met anyone who didn't have a very smart child. What happens to these children, you wonder, when they reach adulthood?"

" If you are truly serious about preparing your child for the future, don't teach him to subtract teach him to deduct."

"Children are the most desirable opponents at Scrabble as they are both easy to beat and fun to cheat."

"Even when freshly washed and relieved of all obvious confections children tend to be sticky."

" Do not, on a rainy day, ask your child what he feels like doing, because I assure you what he feels like doing, you won't feel like watching."

"Your responsibility as a parent is not as great as you might imagine. You need not supply the world with the next conqueror of disease or motion-picture star. If your child simply grows up to be someone who does not use the word "collectible" as a noun, you can consider yourself an unqualified success."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

3 days until Mothers Day

"You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around - and why his parents will always wave back.' - William D. Tammeus"

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

4 Days until Mothers Day

"Women's Liberation is just a lot of foolishness. It's the men who are discriminated against. They can't bear children. And no one's likely to do anything about that. ~Golda Meir"

Carmel-ization (or Life Lesson #1)

Warning: If you share my impatience with preachy diatribes about self improvement, you may want to skip this post. If you have a more open mind, then read on.....
10 years ago, Safety Man and I made a rookie parental mistake by taking our youngin's on a weekend trip to Carmel. Being relatively new parents, we ignored the fact that Carmel is not child friendly. As you probably know, the demographic of this affluent, ocean front town consists largely of retired, wealthy people who shop, play golf and eat well. We wanted to get away from the sweltering summer heat of inland California and feel the crisp ocean air on our naive faces and enjoy some family time. Fair enough.

The story begins as dinner time beckons in quaint downtown Carmel. It's 5:00 and our 1 year old and 3 year old kids are hungry. Very hungry. And cranky. Already, I'm a little nervous when we anxiously search the town for a kid friendly restaurant. As we walk several blocks, passing art galleries, expensive clothing stores, fancy pastry shops and more art galleries, we search in vain for a spot to feed our family without white table clothes. Eventually, we settle on the least white tableclothy place we can find. Though it's a small, intimate room with candles on every table, the staff looks forgiving and friendly and best of all it conveniently has a little courtyard in front so we can let the little ones run around if necessary. (See how considerate we are trying to be?) As we enter, I scout the room for a reaction from the other patrons, eventually making eye contact with a very well dressed, proper looking woman sitting across the room with a distinguished looking gentleman. She doesn't look happy as we ask for high chairs and booster seats. I nudge Safety Man and nod my head towards the lady that is my nemesis for the evening. He's oblivious to the danger.

Dinner progresses as you might expect. The kids are messy and loud. Being very sensitive to the white table cloth scene, I ask Safety Man to take the children outside when necessary, trying very hard to keep the atmosphere peaceful. In spite of our Herculean efforts not to make a fuss, I keep making eye contact with this lady across the room. She won't stop starring at us."Come on, Lady!" I say to myself, "Can't you see we're doing our best?!" I'm not having fun.

I urge Safety Man to plow through the meal as fast as possible, risking indigestion and asphyxiation. After the dishes are cleared and I'm wiping down the table and picking food scraps off the floor for the upteenth time, it happened. The well done woman from across the room slowly approaches. She stands there, looming in front of me, looking me straight in the eye and just as I'm about to shout out some defensive remark she exclaims - " I want you to know that you have the cutest kids." !!!!
So, that's my "light bulb" moment. I learned a few simple but valuable lessons that evening.
1. I can't read minds.
2. It's pointless, and sometimes self destructive and hurtful to innocent people, to project my fears and insecurities on others and...
3. Never take toddlers on a weekend excursion to Carmel.
Now, here's my obligatory preachy advice - If you're pron to Carmel-ization, like I am, watch it. It's not good for you or others around you. Just ask Safety Man.