Sunday, June 29, 2008

Blog Pleased

An entire day has passed since baby girl left on the bus. She is gone, but not forgotten. 
I still have "blog please" notes scattered around the house. She began a campaign to have her own blog some time ago. The other day, I suggested that she write a sticky note so I would remember to talk with the Papa about letting her have her own blog and e-mail. She posted about a hundred around the house. She even had some on the toilet seat, "Blog" on the top of the lid, and "Please" on the bottom part. This seemed to be more persuasive that just sitting and asking, "Please? Please? Please?(ad infinium)."  She even wrote a letter to us as an assignment in her writing class, arguing the finer points of having a blog, and e-mail.
Her persuasive campaign was effective. I don't understand the technical part of all of it, but Symantec has a "beta" family program they're working on. It has something to do with parental control with blogs and email, so Emma and Paul are users for this new program. One of the features is has is to alert us when she invites a new person on her email list, or invites someone to view her blog. 
We're still working on the details of the context of the posts, what she can and can't put on the page, but her blog is up and running.
 I keep wondering if she's taking notes while on her trip, or if she has a new idea for a post.
I would like to say that I am spontaneous about what I post on, but sometimes I might have "staged" photos knowing that the photo may, or may not make the blog. So, I  have several photos, with a story waiting to happen. I'm also beginning to realize that I do have a camera on my phone, so when I feel absolutely compelled to snap a photo, I can. 
Except...I have to figure out how to get in on my computer, to get it to my blog. 

Friday, June 27, 2008

Baby Girl on Bus

Well, here is a photo that captures how excited Emma is to finally get away from her parents. 
I didn't Photoshop her face. The sun was shining onto the bus, and on her face, so it looks like I pasted the obligatory smile. 
She is off with her swim team to a land far, far away from Mom, Dad, and little brother. Oddly enough she wasn't interested in us chaperoning this event. Although, back in the day, I was one of the fun adults on the bus, now I'm just Emma's mom, who can be slightly embarrassing at times. 
She'll be gone until Monday night, but I won't see her until Wednesday, as I'll be in Klamath Falls for a Classical Conversations seminar. 
She went away to overnight camp (which is down the road) last year, but we haven't had this long a stint away from each other since. She'll be just fine. I was a little teary as she was loading onto the bus, as I thought of her being, "Travelin' Em." 
After the bus left, and as we were headed home, one of those sentimental "Cinderella" country music songs was playing on the radio, and again I was teary.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Crew Working

As much as I would love to continue blogging about my visit to Mt. Hope Academy,  a much more pressing blog topic has come up.
While I was talking with Heidi on our visit, I mentioned,
  "The Curse of the Lawn Mower." 
 The "curse" is in relation to the spoken phrase, "I'm going to take a nap." That's when all the neighbors who have listening devices planted in my house, get on their HAM radios and notify all the local landscapers, retired men who love power tools, and then call the city workers. 
Noises in my neighborhood have varied from anything that follows: 
our chickens, trying to act like roosters; the giant clank of the overpass being built a mile away; the hum of the nearby highway; trees being cut down; tree stumps being removed; the neighbor's pool being cleaned(no, they've never invited us over); neighbors re-roofing; neighbors remodeling(sawing, hammering, power washing); the marching band from the high school that's about a quarter mile away; various events played at the high school stadium(most of the time we can't hear it); the announcements over the outside speaker at the high school; live Hawaiian music (not from Hawaii, but from the neighbors who love Hawaii); barking dogs; noisy cars being needlessly warmed up every morning; the slam of the neighbor's van door at 10:10 PM; and most recently, the new neighbor's Hummer.
Well, I now have documentation of one of these events.  Although, it wasn't nap time, it was about 7:30AM. Everyone in the house was sleeping, but myself. I heard this odd loud noise, thinking it was something to do with the neighbors pool again.  So there I go, outside in my pajama top and shorts, and sure enough, worker men are running some sort of equipment in the road that runs alongside my house. I quickly scuttle to get my camera to document said event. 
Notice in the photo, that there are perhaps four of these men working away, using what appears to be edgers, removing those teensey weeds growing in cracks in the street. Why aren't they on the other side of town annoying all those Southsiders getting ready for the Olympic Trial opening TOMORROW? I know they could still use some sprucing up over there at 7:30 in the morning. Maybe they didn't want to disturb the hotel guests and Olympic hopefuls-over there.
I can still hear them...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mt. Hope Academy

As we speak, I am in a race to post our morning at Mt. Hope Peace Academy...
On our drive to meet our new blogger friend, at an unnamed location, somewhere in one of the western states, my friend Bella and I discussed how the forthcoming rendezvous with this cyber friend seemed a bit like a blind date.
I had met this woman's mother and sister at the Poet's Garden, but I don't recall if she had ever assisted us in our trips to the garden. I have read, and gleaned information about all sorts of subjects from her blog, and was thrilled to be meeting her. 
Being so excited to meet our friend in the country, we passed her house, and had to do a quick turn around. As we went up the drive, the photos I'd seen on the blog, became real life. I had imagined what the setting was like, having grown up in a Western state, I've walked down plenty of gravel roads and played in the long grass at Grandma's house, nonetheless, Heidi's home appeared just as inviting as it does in her posts. 
What I expected of our time was true. Her sweet boy Luke greeted us as soon as we arrived, and our kids were fast friends. Heidi was welcoming and made us very comfortable. I was a little taken aback at first, as I was "cewebrity" struck at first (Heidi's photo of me reveals a slight "deer in the headlights" look on my face).
I went into her kitchen (she gave me permission) to put some lunch items away, but having a bit of a surrealistic moment, I quickly turned around to let her know that I felt like I just walked into the computer. Her house was very lovely, and presented a very high level of "mantel health". If she had those overflowing drawers, or rooms, as I do, she hid them well. If she did have such collections, she wouldn't have to hide them from me, as I have too many drawers, or rooms to count (In fact, I think one needs one of those Wilderness Permits to go in at least four rooms in my house at present!).
The boys were absolutely adorable. I do say I felt a little grandma-esk, feeding grapes and lemonade to Leif (although I might have previously heard a faint "No" from Mom). Levi gave Evander, the city boy, a run for his money, lapping the house as they played chase. Heidi's photos showed the "Gentle Giant" spirit of Luke and Leif around Wilder.... 
 We ladies talked and talked, and talked over each other, asking many questions, but not necessarily finishing our answers. Despite of our talkity, talk, Heidi was very kind in fielding our myriad of questions.  Perhaps our blogging will answer the unanswered questions... 
Our hostess, met my expectations in regards to a section of the New Testament that I recall in which the apostle Paul wrote in regards to a person being who they are in real life, not just who they are in writing. Heidi embodies this truth as a pleasant, gracious and hospitable woman, and my hope is for more "real time" together. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Showers of Love

On Friday evening, our extended family threw a baby shower for a couple of my nieces, Tyrie and Jenny.  My mother will now have somewhere in the area of twenty-five grandchildren and great grandchildren combined!
My mom was so helpful in getting everything ready for the shower, she's no spring chicken, yet she can do circles around me(maybe because I go the opposite direction). Mom has a community room at her apartments, which was a great setting for the shower. 
I must say I love how my family is able to rally around when a new baby comes into the world. Our family is a tad mafia like in saying that we're "cousins" when we are more "relations," but I know I love these cousins. 
I also must note that my dear sister and sweet sister-in-laws have done such a good job in the past with hosting and putting on showers for the family. I haven't gotten to do as much as I live over 120 miles away. They've done a great job of sharing their homes, and preparing for such parties for many years. Lastly, I think I spent about ten minutes cleaning up, as Jan, my sister -in-law,and my sister Chris did the majority of the clean-up. I said Chris was my cleaning fairy at my birthday party last year, and so she was again at this shower...sometimes, it's good being the youngest sister. 
Also, some may know that I often call myself, "Crazy Aunt Nan." This label I gave myself, but others may just have thought it- keeping the quiet part to themselves. The first time I remember being an aunt was when we lived in Portland on 83rd street. I remember my mom talking on the phone, and me overhearing the news that Jenny was born. I promptly ran outside the house and announced in a very loud shout out, "I'm an aunt! I'm an aunt!" 
Jenny was a constant playmate and friend until I went away to college. Tyrie didn't come along until I had moved away for college. She has grown to be a wonderful young women, and I do have a hard time not having been in the same town while she was growing up.  
Tyrie had her baby on Saturday, Lukas James, 7lbs. 11oz. Brother Izaac I'm sure will come to adore this little guy. 
Jenny wasn't inspired enough on Friday to go into labor the next day, but is scheduled to be induced next Tuesday. 

Jenny, due Tuesday, Morgan due in early November, and Ty the day before baby Lukas was born!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Worthy Investment

It's Sunday. I don't have a definition of the perfect Sunday. Right now, I'm trying to do nothing. But doing nothing takes a great amount of effort. 
We started the day with our turn for childcare at church. Paul and I read a story from Matthew about the man who sold all his possessions for a treasure he'd found in a field. Jesus seems to be comparing this to how we ought to live in regards to pursuing His righteousness as the treasure. This story came to mind as I had spent time at my old Young Life leader's house on Saturday. My Young Life leaders introduced this story long ago, and taught me that the treasure wasn't within myself, or wasn't about myself, or meeting my own needs, but that the most valuable treasure, or even fulfillment, came only from what treasures God could give/be in our lives.
Our friends' beautiful and artistic daughter, Rachel, graduated from my old alma mater, GO SCOTS! These photos remind me of photos we'd take of the kids when they were little. 

I also think of the Dr. Seuss book, "Oh the Places You'll Go!"

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Catch up

Last Tuesday, the kids participated in their school's "Open House". Evander displayed "The Great Wall of China" that he built with his buddy Caleb. Emma and Evander shared some writing projects from their writing class, Emma a video story, and Evander a "Fractured Fairy Tale" featuring "The Gingerbread Man." 
Evander read his book in front of the crowd of parents and adoring grandparents. Auntie, Uncle Tucker, Lily, Wilder and Grandma Judie were part of the crowd. He eagerly read his book, without the prodding of the teacher, or myself.
I don't even remember Wednesday. In fact, I barely remember Wednesdays at all. I had forgotten at least half of all of Evander's chess classes. I must have some sort of Wednesday amnesia. I can get the kids to karate, then I think I have nothing going on the rest of the day.  Perhaps it's not a good idea for me to sign up for Wednesday classes.
Thursday, was the last of the kids outside classes. Emma excelled in her Spanish class. She's looking forward to next years class, but isn't so excited that I scheduled her Tuesdays this Summer for a conversational class-at our home. I, on the other hand am so excited to share our home in this way. 
Friday, we had glorious weather for an end of the year picnic at Shotgun Creek. The kids were able to play with their buddies, and I was able to chit-chat with my fellow educators. 
I didn't want to leave the party, but this was the beginning of a busy weekend, as we were off to be prepared for a Cub Scout Campout Saturday and Sunday. We also were on our way to the graduation party for one of the old youth group kids.
Saturday, "Little boys, little boys every where I go I see little boys (sung to the tune of "Little Girls" from the Annie soundtrack). I had a good time, but really my heart was elsewhere. Our dear neighbor girl, and also and old youth group kid, had a graduation party while I was at the campout. I had committed to go to the campout before I knew it was her party. I've been told it was a fabulous party, and my sweet Emma gave her a gift of a slideshow/movie with pictures and interviews of people who love her from her community. I have yet to write something more personal for these young people who graduated this year, as they will always have a very special place in my heart, as I loved them, and loved "The Thing." 
Sunday, I helped close out camp and headed home to get ready for another graduation party, and  for the 70th wedding anniversary of our church's patriarchal family..
At the anniversary party, I was all teary when Jack had family come forward to stand with Dale and Linore to show the legacy of the Crabtree's love. There were what seemed like endless amounts of Crabtrees. What an inspiration.
Monday, Emma's best buddies from when she was three began their stay at our home. They all seem mesmerized by our computer, as I see that it's a lovely day outside. The girls woke up early to go with me to take my Emma for her seventh grade test. She claims the test was easy, as well as a waste of time.
Although I had literally quadruple booked myself during the day, we had a great visit with Auntie Rachael and her three cherubs. These kids are really sweet, smart and cute, cute cute.
Tuesday, that was yesterday. I don't remember that. Oh yeah. We went to the U of O's Museum of Art, the Jordan Snitchzer Museum of Art. It was closed. We did, however, have a nice treat at the Marche with our grown up neighbor girls. 
The girls spent their evening with their old library friends. Their mom invited the girls over to enjoy pizza and dessert. The kids seemed to get reacquainted, as they ended the evening singing around the campfire. 
Wednesday, I taxied Evander to the first day his third grade test. I sat in the car, talked to Jodi, did some detailing of the car, and went through my  e-mail in-box. I've been moving since then, getting ready for a double baby shower up in Portland. 
Now the girls are preening themselves for a sleepover at the neighbor girls. Evander will be joining us at a rally at the 4-J school district office, as 4-J has plans to discontiue additional students to be allowed from the district to take classes at HomeSource. Let's see what happens...

Monday, June 16, 2008

And then...

I have had such a rushed week, that I haven't taken the time to blog lately.  I was able to jot some notes about the previous week, but right now they're in a "special" place.  I just wanted a new post to appear so I didn't seem too remiss in my blogging obligation (I didn't know I knew how to use the word "remiss" in the right context. Wow).
Ok, that's it. I am so tired I need to go to bed, but I have giggling teenagers in the room next to me. Emma's best friends, from when she was three, are staying with us for most of the week. So far so good. They even sweep and cook. I don't even sweep and cook. 

I have to say, it's times like these when one is really, really tired that one notices something for example, like a disc in the back may have gotten a little out of place after sleeping on the ground while camping. Or is it the throbbing I feel in my hip flexor that is a result of tripping on something in Van's room-or was it my room?
Perhaps tomorrow I'll tell of my travels to Florence, or Fall Creek, or even Coburg, but right now I'm falling asleep.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Over 1000 Views of Travelin' Nan

OK, so sitemeter says that my blog has had over 1000 views. Here are some of my own comments about this...
 I think 900 views were Jodi.
 The times I look at my blog don't count.
1000 people viewing my blog leaves me imaging 1000 people driving by my house, although
my neighbors probably think I've driven in and out of my driveway 1000 times. 
Since I've blogged, I've read the paper less.
 I've called friends less.
I've spent lots of time looking at other peoples blogs. 
I've learned how to use the dictionary feature on my Mac.
I may have made a new friend or two, I'm not sure they're real or imagined.
I've posted a few self-deprecating photos of myself. 
I've loved a few of the photos on the blog, mostly those from Bella Artgirl. 
I have traveled thousands of miles, thus living up to the name of the blog. 
Writing the blog has helped me progress on the book I've never written, but am writing.
I actually have fun sharing the mundane with someone out there in Columbia, Maryland.
 One may ask, "Why would someone put such not so flattering photos on their blog?"
Well, this is how I looked when I took my husband to the airport when his 4:00AM alarm didn't go off. It was some time around 5:15AM when he asked me if I would drop him off. Being that I had a terrible nights sleep, and wasn't really asleep anyway I said yes, and later some other things to clarify how I really felt about taking him. Although, I didn't say much on the way to the airport, but "Slow down."
Oh, so I decided this would be a good time to use the Starbucks card Jodi gave me for my birthday. I ordered a decaf mocha and was given watered down hot chocolate. I turned my car around to take it back, but realized how awful I looked, and that I was wearing my pajama top and leisure suit jacket. Vanity before coffee snobiness.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Abundance of Their Labor

Yesterday a friend called and asked how my birthday week was going, I answered a bit snidely, "Birthday? That was so long ago!"
She seemed a little surprised by my surly response, and assured me that I did have a birthday this week. Oh. 
I suppose it went by quickly, yet seemed so long ago, with the combination of busyness, and some sitting on the couch. The excitement of the previous weekend's celebrations must have worn me out, as well as the "another year's gone by" cogitating.
I left my house this morning, being greeted by the sounds of a bagpipe. Yes, we all need a good bagpipe morning every once in a while. "Amazing Grace" filled the air as I entered the world, as another year has gone by.
My neighbor runs a non-profit therapeutic gardening organization and holds a plant sale every  year. It seemed a bit deja-vousish, in that, last year on my actual birthday she had the sale. Last year, I was so excited for my friend Erin to come and pick me up for my surprise agenda fortieth birthday, that I was doing a bit of pacing up and down the street, wearing my blue tuxedo, of course. I didn't have the blue tuxedo on this morning, but the cars lining our street were the reminder of last year's day of merriment.
It doesn't take much arm twisting to get me to go to Albany, as one of my favorite places is a little off the beaten path, the Poets Garden. I'd been sent a flyer that indicated that they were having a sale on herbs. Who doesn't need any more herb plants? 
The ladies were as welcoming as usual. Emma and I have made the trip enough times for them to get to know us a little, and we them. 
I must say, it's remarkable that not only are these women able to combine a gift/garden decor business with an absolutely gorgeous garden, but they are additionally willing to share the resulting abundance of their labor with we sojourners. 

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Look Out Below for Nan's C's: Cooperate, Cogitate and Crazy

I didn't notice that I had posted this for June 1st, so today's blog, June 5th is really down below!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Missing Dad

A year ago today, my dad died. I never have thought about writing that sentence. You see, my dad had me convinced he was old from the get go, and I thought he would die any time. I had forty years of thinking he would die any time. Well, he almost made it to eighty-five, and I had just turned forty. 
I miss giving my dad black jelly beans for holidays. I miss his puns. I miss our theological conversations. I miss how he came to love his children, and his grandchildren. He was a man that started out in this world with little love, and went out with more love than I'm sure he even imagined. 

Monday, June 02, 2008

Kickin' In Forty Part II

 Sunday night, the last night of forty, my husband threw together a party for me.  I did not feel the need for a party, as we had a great fortieth birthday party last year. But, I certainly enjoyed myself. 
After having invited Auntie Patty to cook for me, she volunteered to make the main dish for the party. I just supplied the somewhat clean house. 
At one point in the evening, I realized how blessed we must be. I looked out the upstairs window to see that we had about a dozen kids running around the backyard, screaming, chasing, giggling and playing with happy hearts. That is a blessing our family very much enjoys. We have a wonderful community of friends and I am thankful for all the joy that comes with it. Not much could top such birthday gifts!

Photo with love from Bella Art Girt

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Kickin' In Forty

Saturday night, our family went out to dinner at Cafe Lucky Noodle. As we began our dinner, I surveyed my family about what they thought were the highlights of my 4oth year. 
I would describe the highlights of the year with a letter already written-our last year's Christmas letter, but part of the letter is missing, as it was never sent. Whatever it was I did before April of last year is gone forever. I guess if I thought really hard, I could come up with it...but here is the text that was saved, seeming to start from the Half Marathon 2007...

my iPod, and Elsa. Elsa did cross the line first, thus beating me (I let her win).

Paul and I celebrated our 40th birthday, together in May. It was a harried day, with so much excitement in seeing friends, and gratitude for years and years of encouragement. My sister, Chris, was my heroine, jumping in and helping with getting the food ready. She and my brother-in-law were also there for emotional support as my father was in the hospital and the rest of the family at his bedside.

I spent the day of my birthday with some of my dear girlfriends. My friend Erin had an itinerary of fun planned throughout the day. The highlight of the day was when my friends met each other for the first time, and then it seemed like they were long lost friends by the end of the night.

My father died two days after my fortieth birthday. Our family spread his ashes at an old fishing hole where the Calawash and Clackamas rivers run together. There, my sister-in-law Lindsay has planted a tree in memory of Bob Davidson, so if you get a chance to water the tree...

We began our Summer with close friends vacationing in Port Townsend, WA at Fort Warden State Park. These dear friends were great listeners in helping me process my grief. Not many people would be interested in spending their vacation time doing such, but these folks are exceptional saints.

Summer seemed somewhat long, as grief can stretch out the days. But I found an outlet for the grief in training for and running the Hood to Coast relay. Whoa! I ran the studder producing, imfamous first leg, running downhill from Timberline Lodge to Government Camp.

We finished our Summer and began our Fall with three trips to southern California. Paul's work led him to California, spending most of October moving Symantec's QA lab into the Culver City site. We visited with Haley Hoffmeister and her sweet boys, who live in Fullerton. We were at Universal Studios three days, Legoland two days and Knott's Berry Farm one day. We did take some short visits to the beach, as Paul stayed in an apartment close to Venice Beach. This gave the kids and I an opportunity to rollerblade at the beach, picnic and watch the surfers. One of our trips to SoCal was with a friend and her boys. The photo with the boys in on Mailbu beach, about a week before the California fires. The rollerblading photo was taken at the peak of the San Diego fires, so you might notice the haze.

Other highlights of the year include: our trip to Sunriver; the last family picnic at Roslyn Lake; Cape Lookout;  Jim Brown's raging 40th birthday party; and Bud and Kes' visit (Hey, Bud, did you ever hear of the world's greatest joke book?).

December is almost over. It's been a year to remember that's for sure. I am grateful, and yet not as humble as I should be. I have a loving husband of eighteen years, beautiful children, a caring family, and constant friends. I go into this next year remembering the quote a friend gave me, "O God of second chances and new beginnings, here I am again."

Nan's C's: Cooperate, Cogitate and Crazy

triangulatons tagged me for this blog tag challenge....
1. Write the title to your own memoir using 6 words.
2. Post it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who tagged you.
4. Tag five more blogs.
Jane Kirkpatrick
A blogger I haven't read until now, (I had to look for this one off of Mt. Hope Chronicles) Susan

It didn't take me long to come up with this title to the memoir I haven't written, after all, I was given only six words. Technically, I don't think I have six words.
Cooperate-My mother claims this to be a word I used quite often as a youngster. My family had at least seven people living in our house at the time. I'm assuming I heard the word on Seasame Street. I feel somewhat mixed about this word in the title, as it now seems this idealogical word is less of my mode of operation that some word that has to to do with doing things the way I want to do them. 
Cogitate-From someone whom has labeled herself ADHD, this sounds kind of strange. I think I heard this word from a cartoon character from television, but didn't take time to think about what it meant.  I've only recently come to use this word, but can say that I have spent a good amount of time cogitating. 
Crazy-Since I labeled myself "Crazy Aunt Nan" I thought I'd put it in the title. Why "Crazy"? Well, the word in now politically incorrect. I find myself believing, and thinking about things that are politically incorrect.
 I also have fantastical ideas, like throwing a folk concert in my backyard. 
I do things like invite myself on other people's vacations. 
There are others that would label me crazy especially when tall tales of celebrity friendships paint me as a celebrity stalker.  
I speak Spenchglish.
Since I have worked in the mental health field,  the "crazy" label might get me into trouble, but I would qualify the use of the word only if it's definition included that we are all crazy in our own special way. 
* My friend commented the other day, "We wouldn't call you 'Crazy Aunt Nan" if we really thought you were."