April–Vesta’s Visit

As soon as we got back from Amarillo, Rich’s sister Vesta arrived from California for a week’s visit.  We had a good time visiting and catching up, hanging out, chatting and reminiscing.  The Dallas Arboretum was in full bloom, including a “Flower Power” exhibit with old VW buses and bugs–very cool.  Also featured were sculptures from Zimbabwe, which were amazing and beautiful. Another day we went to a gardening workshop, to the Dallas Farmer’s Market, and drove through Dealey Plaza.  Sarah, Miles and kids joined us for dinner at the house and lots of good conversation and big laughs ensued.

We took a road trip to Oklahoma City to see Rich and Vesta’s step-nephews and to pick up a couple of boxes of family treasures and mementoes from Rich’s late brother George and sister in law Nadine. It was good to see everyone and to share memories and stories. We miss George and Nadine.

April–Amarillo Trip

I guess I am way too busy living life to stop and write about it.  Now May is almost done!  Here’s a quick round-up of April.  Okay, the start of a round-up of April.  It’s gonna take more than one post, I am now realizing.

First, a trip to Amarillo to see the crew there.  For Christmas, Emery had requested tickets to see the live production of “Beauty and the Beast” at an Amarillo theater.  We bought the tickets and were able to arrange the trip to Amarillo so I could go with her, along with Bonnie, her other grandmother, and a couple of friends.  We had front row seats and a wonderful time. The play was mostly performed by local high school students and I was super impressed with their talent.  They had fabulous singing voices and all could act very well.  Bonnie knew several of them from her teaching days at Amarillo High and Emery was thrilled to get to chat with and take photos with many of them after the show.  It was great fun and a big success.

We had a blast with all three kids (and their parents) and also got to visit with my niece Bryana, her husband Seth, and their two daughters Lilly and Daisy.

And we got to go to a ceramic painting place for an outing with the Pediatric Cancer Survivorship Program–had a blast painting bowls and cups which we had to leave behind to be fired, so I never saw the finished products.  🙂  We had dinner at David’s parents’ and celebrated both Bonnie and David’s birthdays.  The last day I dropped Emery off at school while Bonnie took Luke, and then we hit the road back to Dallas.  Always love our time with these sweeties and it goes by way too quickly!

And happy birthday to our son in law David!  He’s one of the nicest, friendliest, kindest people we know, a fun Daddy and a wonderful teacher (teacher of the year at his school several times!) and a fabulous photographer. It’s always a good time when we’re with Dave!  We love him bunches.

We’re only to April 6. Oh, no!

Oh, Busy March (Part Two)

We took the kids back home after Spring Break and then Rich’s cousin Mary Ethel and her husband Roger came to spend the night with us.  They had been in Houston while on a road trip from their home in California so we were quite excited to get a phone call saying they were coming this way as they headed home.  I met Mary Ethel and Roger several years ago when we stayed at their home for a couple of nights and we hit it off right away.  They are friendly and fun, great conversationalists, smart and funny, and tell great family stories about Rich’s parents, siblings and cousins.  This visit did not disappoint and we had a wonderful time catching up. We went out for Mexican food and they taught us a new dice game which we played while chatting and laughing.  They also showed us a game on the iPad called “The Akinator,” which they thought the grandkids would love.  (And they do!)

Too soon they had to pack up and go but we hope to see them in California later in the summer.


And we had two more birthdays in March, my daughter Bonnie’s on the 30th and grandson Aidan’s on the 31st.

I’m so proud to be Bonnie’s mom and proud of who she is.  We always have great talks about lots of issues and topics; she has such a kind heart and a caring spirit toward those who don’t have it easy in life; she is fun and funny and tells some *hilarious* stories; she’s smart and determined, a hard worker, and a wonderful mom to some fabulous little ones. I’m glad we live closer and can visit more often. We love her big time!

Aidan is our oldest grandchild and the first boy in the family after I only had daughters.  None of us really knew what to do with a boy when he came along!  Happy 14th (14th!!) birthday, Aidan! I can’t believe he is getting so grown up! He’s  great at motocross, basketball, putting things together and figuring things out, beating us at Rack-o and Mexican Train and getting “The Big Norway;” he’s so  kind to his younger cousins who adore him, he works hard at school and is admired by his teachers, he’s funny and fun to hang out with, one of our best road trip travel partners, and we love having him come stay with us. We’re hoping he never gets to be a surly teenager who doesn’t want to be with his old grandparents!  🙂 We love you like crazy, Aidan!

And rounding out the month, a few babysitting gigs, fun and games with the Dallas crew, flowers blooming in our front yard, and kitty cats….


Oh, Busy March! (Part One)

Our friends Kyle and Ingrid were in from France so we got together with them, Kyle’s mom Karen (my dear friend) and sister Kaci for a nice brunch in Fort Worth before they got on a plane back to Europe.  Fun to catch up with all!


Next it was granddaughter Ally’s 10th birthday.  Hard to believe this girl has hit double digits!  Ally is very sociable, friendly to all and makes friends wherever she goes, silly and sassy,  loves reading, basketball and softball, playing board games, cooking with Grandpa, doing arts and crafts, AND she is one of our best travel partners.  We love her so!


We enjoyed Open House at Elle and Beck’s school.  Fun to see all that they are doing!

Aidan and Ally came for Spring Break and we had a blast, as always.   They are such good kids. We went on a hike, played lots of games, went to the movies, cooked, tried to swim (still too cold!), played with the cats, had ice cream, worked in the garden, met up with Sarah’s kids to go to Altitude (a place with trampolines, etc), set up an apartment for a refugee man from Afghanistan,  and celebrated birthdays (Ally’s late and Aidan’s coming up at the end of the month).  Oh, yeah, and Uncle David came to spend the night with us on his way back to Amarillo!




You are Welcome Here

Saturday we marched and rallied for immigrants and refugees.  It was a beautiful warm and sunny day in Dallas as we made our way from City Hall to the JFK Memorial Plaza with a couple thousand like-minded folks.

When I lived in Alaska, I taught English to immigrants from many countries for a couple of years. This experience opened my eyes as I got to know my students ; I quickly came to love them and to respect their motivation and dedication.  They were such hard workers and such kindhearted human beings.  Recently I’ve been volunteering with a refugee agency here in Dallas and I’ve been so troubled by the hatred toward immigrants and refugees as well as the Trump administration’s harsh policies and actions. Can you imagine how tough it is to come to a new country where you don’t speak the language well (if at all), where you’re unfamiliar with the customs and expectations of other people, and find yourself feeling unwelcome or unwanted after years in a refugee camp holding onto your hopes and dreams of a better life in the USA?  I worry about the people arriving in Dallas each week and I hope they do feel welcome here.  Our small action last weekend was a statement and we hope it was heard.

Mentioning my students made me want to go back and look at all of my pictures from our classes, gatherings, and celebrations.  I sure do miss these beautiful people!




Happy (belated) birthday, Elle!

Our granddaughter Elle turned 9 on February 11th so I had to regale her (again) with the story of my rush from Alaska when she decided to be born a little bit early.  I had a plane ticket for a week later but when Sarah called to tell me she was in labor, I rushed to the airport in Unalaska to try to get on a flight. Of course, we had had bad weather and lots of plane cancellations so the stand-by list was a mile long.  Thankfully I was a “local” and knew the staff at the airport so when I went to the counter to tearfully tell them my daughter was having a baby and I needed to get to Dallas, they secretly moved me to the top of the stand-by list and got me on a plane. Shhhhh…don’t tell!  I was ever so grateful!  I didn’t make it in time for Elle’s birth but was there the next day to meet that little sweetheart.

Now she’s 9!  This girl is very sweet and kindhearted and caring toward others and also has a fun, sassy side–loves to tease Grandpa and loves to beat both of us at card games and board games.  She adores our cats and can’t wait to hold Ajax when she comes over (Kali will have nothing of it). She’s great at sports and excels at soccer, volleyball and softball–quite the little competitor. One of her favorite things is stopping by 7-11 for a slushie and a treat when we pick her up from school.  We have great conversations, lots of laughs, and she gives the best hugs.  Happy birthday, Elle! We love you so!

Because she was having a party with friends and a sleepover on her birthday, we had a family party the night before, complete with our favorite Mexican food and some yummy mini Bundt cakes from a bakery near our house.  So Sarah and Miles could concentrate on the birthday activities and slumber party with 8 girls the next night, Jack came to spend the night with us. We obviously got the easier job!  🙂  Jack is no trouble and is perfectly happy if someone will toss a ball with him or put Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on TV.  🙂