Tag Archive: family


There’s a New One!

I put a post up on my family’s blog about our newest member. See the baby pictures here at Group Discount! We’re excited!

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Germination

The memorial service for my maternal grandmother is today. She died a little more than a week ago, and she was my last grandparent. They are all gone now.

The loss hit me harder than I expected. It’s not just that I lost my grandmother. It’s that I’ve lost all my grandparents. An era has ended.

I can’t say I felt terribly close to my grandmother. She was my grandmother. I loved her, I respected her, and I did a lot of chores for her. Unload the dishwasher, organize the pantry, help put up wallpaper, bring in more firewood, feed the birds, weed the garden, water the plants, get the dogs water… The list goes on. Grandma – I also remember her being a bit cranky and fussing. Oh, my, yes – she fussed. I was always being told to brush the rats out of my hair, to hold still while she dug wax out of my ear, to… whatever. She couldn’t just ask. She had to fuss, fuss, fuss about it.

The negative, the things I didn’t like or found frustrating, are all too easy to recall. It’s much too easy to feel superior and think that I’m somehow better than her. After all, I can just ask. I don’t have to fuss. Snark, snark, snark.

But that’s really not fair. My grandmother, however cranky, fussy, and overly fond of the color green she may have been, still gave me a heritage worth remembering. Even those “negative” things have helped shape my perspective. Perhaps I didn’t feel a tight emotional bond with her, and maybe her presentation wasn’t always fantastic, but I did learn a lot from Grandma. Things in myself that I now value highly started with my experiences with her.

I learned that I don’t really care for the color green in all its many splendored shades. Green was Grandma’s favorite color. Her house was a riot of green. Grandma seemed to believe that if it was green, it must match, and so my eyes were assaulted by a painful confusion of lime, kelly, olive, hunter, spring, forest, and all shades of green. All green was good! This was not pleasant, but it was incredibly informative. It helped develop my eye for color and form, and that’s been useful as I’ve shot photos and created stained glass.

Grandma loved a bargain. She’d hit up thrift stores, flea markets, and garage sales. Between her and Grandpa, they’d come home with the most incredible junk. I mean, really, junk. It was stuff that may have been worth recycling, but they were going to fix it up, and it would work just fine for ________. I can’t say I ever thought those were fun presents to receive, but I learned to see possibility, to make good use of scavenged materials. Not everything has to be new.

Coffee, particularly Black Butte Gold, is one of my favorite daily rituals. One of the reasons I drink coffee is because my grandmother did. She was always making a pot of coffee or looking for her (green) coffee mug which she’d set down somewhere. Sometimes she or Grandpa had flavored creamers to put in the coffee. Was their coffee good? My, oh, my, no – they were drinking canned, ground coffee, but I learned from them that a hot cup of coffee shared with friends and family can be a wonderful experience. I later learned, from other sources, what a good cup of coffee tastes like, but I wouldn’t have tried it if I hadn’t already learned from Grandma the habit of sharing coffee.

Long trips taken with my grandparents were well seasoned with comments from Grandma directing me to look out the window. Fuss, fuss, fuss she would until I turned my head and watched the countryside. I often preferred my current book, but she wasn’t happy until I was looking around me. It so annoyed me as a child, but it certainly helped develop my ability to observe. It also broadened my curiosity. The more I see, the more I wonder. I wouldn’t have that without Grandma.

Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned from Grandma? It’s this recognition of seeds planted, of habit germinated, of gratitude for the beginning she helped to give me. It’s odd. In some ways, I’m the person I am because I didn’t want to be like her, and yet the truth is that I took what she offered and learned invaluable lessons.

Thanks, Grandma. I hope I always made you proud, and that you always knew I loved you.

Back From Vacation

Several years ago, Shelah, Carey, and I started dreaming. We wanted to take an East Coast trip to see some of the sights and visit Carey’s family. Our original plan was to drive, but as time went by, plans changed. What we actually did was fly to Raleigh, N.C., and we included Stephers. From there, we rented a car (a red Prius, sometimes known as Red Devilspawn and most lately as Shuttle Pod Prius) and drove to Greensboro, N.C., to hang out with Carey’s family. We put about 1,100 miles on that Prius, because we went to Boone, N.C., and we also drove it from N.C. to Charleston, S.C. and then down to Orlando, Florida, where we happily exchanged it for Disney’s Magical Express. We spent six nights at Disney’s All Star Music Resort and had a lot of fun at the parks during the day. When that was over, we were happy to board Magical Express and catch a flight back to the Pacific NW. It was a great trip in so many, many ways, but we love living here in Oregon. It was good to come home.

(Here, it cools off at night! How awesome is that!)

I’ve got some other thoughts, but I think I will write them into some additional posts.

Waiting, Waiting

A little before 7am, Carey tried to wake me up. I was very confused about why she was in my room, making noises at me. It didn’t make any sense, especially not since I didn’t get to sleep until 4am. She wasn’t terribly coherent, either, which didn’t help my sleepy befuddlement a bit. Carey had been awakened by Mom knocking at the door to let us know that Rach was thinking about having that baby boy, and could we please take Kimberly to church for her youth group beach trip?

—-

I sat up and tried to think. It didn’t go so well, but somehow still we ended up with Kimberly and safely delivered her to the church, and Mom got out the door to go meet Rach and Ben at the hospital. We’re all still waiting, one of us more actively than most, for that baby boy to show. It’s pretty exciting!

P.S. Kimberly has decided. His name is going to be David.

There’s Always Something!

That’s how I feel this morning when thinking about why I didn’t get blog posts up for the last couple of weeks. There’s always something, such as the major(very good, very happy) distraction that was Carey’s graduation festivities. We spent two days up in Newberg for a symposium, hooding, and commencement, plus other assorted activities. Given that the drive itself is an hour one way, yeah, that took some time. I do have to say it’s a beautiful drive – orchards, vineyards, old farmhouses, clover fields, woods. The sunset pouring over the coastal range into the valley on the way home Thursday didn’t hurt anything, either!

Besides the graduation, we’ve had sporadic internet unavailability. I think maybe (I hope, I hope!) that got fixed. For maybe the last two months, we’ve randomly lost internet connection. I’ve blown so much time trying to troubleshoot it, and we’ve had three techs come out, too. The first replaced the modem, which seemed to help for a while. It didn’t solve everything. The visit from the second tech didn’t make any appreciable improvement. We still had some trouble, so I replaced the router, which also seemed to help, but we still had periods of outage and horrible slowness. We actually started logging it. We recorded time, duration, speed tests, what people were doing, what the modem showed, and all sorts of info. When the third tech visited, that log helped my mom tell him what issues we were having, and he found a mostly broken wire in the ISP’s box. He fixed that, and (crosses fingers) things have been okay so far.

Another culprit has been the weather. It’s been unseasonably warm. Early May, it was about 85F! It’s also been windy. Bits of the trees have been blown off all over. I saw dust being ripped off the ground and tossed everywhere. The weather feels a lot more like late June or early July than last April and early May. The sunshine has meant we’ve all spent more time outside. It’s been a mixed blessing. Who doesn’t love sunshine and blue skies and green grass more than rain and drizzle and chill while you’re out doing chores? It’s meant Kimberly’s ball games are getting played instead of rained out and missed. It’s meant hot dog roasts and park picnics and other fun stuff. But it’s confusing. It really shouldn’t be this warm and especially not this dry this soon. We aren’t ready. I’ve got a couple of piles to burn, and I can’t do it with the wind picking up pieces of stuff and throwing it places. There are already wildfires in central Oregon. We really ought to have another month or two of spring rains. I hope it does cool off some and start doing some gentle raining.

This past week, it’s been birthdays and Mother’s Day and (unfortunately) back pain. Mom and I both have birthdays. The birthdays were fairly low key, but that was nice. Neither Mom nor I really like a huge amount of fuss, generally speaking. Just a little fuss is good.

I hope to return to a more normal posting schedule next, but we’ll see. Can’t promise a thing. After all, there’s always something! 😉