Weekend Update

We spent a lot of time watching the Democratic convention this past week.  I may be biased but I thought it was SO much better than the Republicans’. There were some standout speeches by Cory Booker, Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Khzir Khan, and President Obama.  Especially Michelle Obama.  I love and respect her so much. Though I was a Bernie supporter and am sad he did not get the nomination, I am excited that we FINALLY, FINALLY have a woman contender for President.  Seriously, why in the world did it take so long?  I am lukewarm on Hillary for a number of reasons but she’s so much better than the alternative in Trump.

Here are a few interesting things I came across this week.  See what you think!

I was a subscriber to Lumosity for a couple of years and religiously practiced my brain games every day. In fact, I was somewhat addicted and hated to miss doing them.  Then I read an article about a lawsuit against them that said their claims were bunk.  As part of the lawsuit, I could opt out of my automatic renewal, so I did, disappointed and feeling like a bit of a chump.  Now there’s this.

If you didn’t see the First Lady’s speech, you can watch here. It’s worth a listen.

This makes me feel hopeful about the future.

I miss him!

I can’t disagree.  If I’d been there, I might have joined in.

Beautiful fungi.

I can’t decide if these are cute or weird.  🙂  I guess if it was a drawing by a child you loved, you might be all over it.

Enjoy your weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, Sarah

Yesterday was my oldest daughter Sarah’s birthday.  The kids had been busy moving into our house all day Wednesday and still had a lot going on on Thursday.  Elle had been to visit her other grandparents in Cleburne so Sarah met them to pick her up and to leave Beck with them for HIS visit, then she had an appointment later in the day.  Instead of trying to go out, Rich said he’d cook her a special dinner at the house (which would be better, anyway, in my opinion).  We tried to get organized and get some stuff put away in both the house and the apartment and things were looking better by the end of the day (though still not done).

We had  yummy pumpkin ravioli with sage/brown butter/walnut sauce (one of our faves), a delicious salad, broccolini, and toasty bread with a fruit tart for dessert.  We were all stuffed and satisfied!  I had to recount the story of 24 hours of labor with no medication before having to have a CSection delivery of baby #1.  🙂  We had a lovely night sitting around the table chatting and celebrating Sarah, who’s a wonderful daughter, wife, mom, sister and friend. I couldn’t be prouder of her.  I failed to take any photos, but here’s one of their family from Mother’s Day.

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Miles, Sarah holding Jack, Elle and Beck

While Sarah and Miles were still packing things up, I took the kids to buy books and to have some frozen yogurt.  It was a super hot day and there were no seats inside the froyo place so we sat outside and tried to hurry up and eat before it all melted.  🙂

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Today Sarah and Miles went out of town for her birthday and will be back on Sunday.  Beck is still with his other grandparents, so this morning Elle, Jack and I ventured out to the Perot Museum.  It was very impressive and we had a great time wandering around the various exhibits. I didn’t take many pix to show you around, but I’d highly recommend it.  I went ahead and bought a membership because I figured we’d be taking all of the grandkids more than once.  I’m still learning my way around Dallas and also got to learn how to pay for parking by phone today.  Isn’t technology grand?!

Jack fell asleep in the car on the way home and I was able to put him down for his nap when we got to the house.  Elle and I played a mean game of Scrabble and then we rested a bit, too.  After Jack got up, they went swimming for awhile, had dinner, and watched part of a “Garfield” movie.  I got Jack to bed, then Elle, Grandpa and I played a crazy game of “Headbanz.”   I wasn’t very good at it. LOL

Now the kids are asleep and Rich and I are just chillin.’  I guess the rest of the unpacking and organizing can wait till another day.  Happy weekend, all.  🙂

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Cute pic of Jack and Bo

Moving Day (again)

The kids moved into the main house today and Rich and I retired out to the back apartment for a few months.  Sarah and Miles are building a new home and it’s not quite ready…but their current house has already sold.  It would be tough to find a short term rental for 3-4 months with 3 kids and a dog,  so we offered to share our space.  I think it will be fun to be only footsteps away from the kids and grandkids and it will certainly be convenient when we want to get together or when they need a last minute sitter.  We’re looking forward to time spent together and helping each other out.  They’re paying rent so that definitely helps us financially when we are trying not to take a lot of money out of our retirement savings yet.

Rich and I finished moving our last minute items this morning, then cleaned house for the new tenants before they arrived around 11:30.  We’d taken the cats to the apartment so they wouldn’t freak out with the movers coming in and out and lots of extra people around.  When we moved some of our furniture from the house to the apartment, Ajax scooted by and ran back into the house. Can you spot him hiding in the fireplace?  Silly kitty.

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Tomorrow’s Sarah’s birthday so Rich is cooking dinner for all of us as we celebrate.  Then Sarah and Miles are going out of town for the weekend so we are keeping the kids.  A few days later, their whole family is going on vacation so we will probably hang out in the “main” house while they’re gone.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how fortunate we are to have a home of our own.  So many people can’t afford to own a house any more, or even to find a place to rent at a reasonable price.  Many of those I meet at my volunteer job are struggling to get by and I hate to think about the conditions they are living in.  Others come in who are homeless or  on the verge of homelessness with an eviction notice in hand and there is nothing we can do but to give them some food.  It keeps them from going hungry but it does not solve the systemic problems that our society perpetuates.  As I count my blessings, I wonder what it is about us as a people that keeps us from serious efforts to make structural change.  Too many of us are comfortable in our own situations and can’t see what’s going on all around us.  Or we don’t know what to do or where to begin.  I hate to think that people just don’t care, but I think there is some of that, too.  I was reading an article about how few landlords will accept Section 8 housing vouchers  in the “nicer” zip codes in Dallas.  This means that most people who get a voucher have to remain in the “not so great” areas of the city because they can’t find anyone who will rent to them elsewhere.   In my “if I had a million dollars” dream, I would buy up a bunch of good houses and rent them to people with vouchers just to give them a chance to experience a better life.  How come I never win the lottery?!  🙂

Weekend Update

Happy Saturday!  I’m doing laundry (loving my new washer and dryer!), moving some of our stuff out to the apartment ahead of our upcoming re-arrangement of living space, and taking care of a few other chores.

Enjoy these items I found whilst browsing the series of tubes.  (In case you don’t remember, that was my former Congressman Don Young’s explanation of the internet).

While despairing over Donald Trump, I came across this clip of First Lady Michelle Obama doing carpool karaoke with James Corden.  I think we would be hard pressed to find a cooler First Lady than she.  Too cute.

Hurray for the Fifth Circuit, not known as a progressive court.  When I went to vote in the TX primary, I was shocked by the requirements for ID.  I guess I was spoiled living in Alaska all those years where the local officials knew most of us and ID didn’t seem to be a problem.

This is a long article but an important one.  Heartbreaking.  And I wonder how it can happen, and continue to happen time and again in varying circumstances in this country.

Some of my worries  about Donald Trump.

Beautiful story and photos.  We could all use some of this peace, couldn’t we?

I sent a few books to help this prison library.  What a worthwhile project!

Sounds good to me!  🙂

Have a good weekend, friends!

 

 

We can do better

We spent a lot of last week’s evenings watching the Republican National Convention.  Now, mind you, I am not a Republican and therefore I was not predisposed to be positive about it anyway.  BUT the level of doom, hate, and fear-mongering seemed out of control.  I could spend a lot of time and space breaking down everything I found completely abhorrent but it would wear both you and me out.  The main thing I can come up with is “We can do better.”  Should I say “SO MUCH better” ??!!  Seriously, is this the way we want our country to be represented both here and abroad?  Donald Trump makes me want to apologize over and over again to so many groups of people: those from Mexico, those seeking asylum from horrible, dangerous circumstances, my sisters in womanhood, those struggling to get by on minimum wage or public assistance, people of different faiths all over the world, those trying to make it in a “rigged” system, which, by the way, is not rigged against the likes of Donald Trump or his children.

I am not a die-hard Democrat but I am holding my breath that their convention will at least have more civility to it.  It will, right??!!  I sure do wish there was a viable third party candidate but I fear the Dems need every vote they can get to keep Trump out.

It’s gonna be an interesting few months.

A Quiet House

Bonnie and the kids left yesterday morning and I went back to my once-a-week volunteer work.  It was strange to come home to find only Rich and the cats!  Although it was busy with three little ones for the past 10 days, it was super sweet to have this time with them.  Ada’s voice is so cute saying “Help me, Gigi!” and “Where’s Pe-paw?”(we’re not sure where she came up with “Pe-paw” for “Grandpa,” but it’s pretty funny). She’s quite a talker at not quite 2 years old and major-ly adorable in every way.  Not that I am biased about my grandkids.  🙂   All three  loved Ajax, our cat, and wanted to hold him and pet him (and chase him if he didn’t cooperate with the holding and petting). Luke was so proud of himself for getting in the pool and working on his swimming; he is obsessed with superheroes and power rangers at this age and often wanted to pretend-play, asking me what color power ranger I want to be or what superhero I am.  I laid in bed with Emery a couple of nights and she told me, “I love chatting in bed!”  We had many interesting talks–she said she’s a princess and has a huge castle where all the guards are girls (no boys allowed) and “everyone is girls”  and it’s a dream come true.  I said it would be great to have all our dreams come true, and asked her what’s her dream for the future?  She said “to be the queen of the world and have all the powers.”   She also told me that she’s not getting married and doesn’t believe in true love or kissing.  I told her she might change her mind in the future, but if not, that’s cool, too.  🙂

(Local) granddaughter Elle is off to a week of camp. Sarah and Miles were a little concerned that she might be reluctant to stay, but no worries!  She was apparently all smiles and didn’t have any trouble saying goodbye on Saturday.

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Jack and Elle with her trunk for camp

Bonnie and I filled up the last couple of days of their visit. We took Emery, Luke and Ada downtown to Klyde Warren Park to run through the splashpad, climb on the playground and slurp up some snow-cones from one of the many food trucks lined up alongside.  It’s a great little park and kept the kids occupied for a good while before it got too hot.

Monday Beck was getting bored without big sister around, so he came over to join the cousins in the pool.  They had fun playing all afternoon while Bonnie took Ada in for a medical visit; later Sarah, Miles, and Jack came over for dinner with the rest of us. Rich made some delicious chicken marsala with asparagus on the side and we had a big ole time chatting and laughing about crazy family stories.  Don’t you just love those kind of nights?  I do!

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Beck, Luke and Emery

We were having such a good time talking that I didn’t get any more pictures of everyone,  which is probably a good thing. Sometimes I wonder if all this picture taking somehow distracts from being present for the actual goings-on.  I love having documentation of life’s moments but maybe we don’t need to have the camera (or these days, the phone) out all the time.

Meanwhile, between vacation and having grandkids here, we’ve really let the garden slide. Rich has been going by to water and to harvest but we haven’t weeded or cleaned up in weeks.  Not surprisingly, we received an email “gentle reminder” from the community garden board stating that our weeds were getting out of control and “fellow gardeners are becoming concerned.”  And that we needed to take care of it asap before we received a notice of noncompliance!  Oh, my.   While I enjoy being a rebel about some things, deep down I am quite a people-pleaser and I do not want anyone being upset with me.  It was pure torture to know that our very first season at the community garden (when we hoped to make friends and have everyone love us!) was becoming an epic fail.  It’s so hot right now that we couldn’t bear to go during the day but as soon as it started cooling off last night, we headed over and worked for an hour and a half cleaning up our plot.  Even in the evening, we were dripping sweat.  Thankfully, it looks almost good and just needs a little more sprucing up.  We pulled out a lot of dead plants and weeds but we are still getting a few tomatoes and our eggplants are flourishing.  Check out this purple beauty!

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We have 7 days left in our house before Sarah, Miles and crew move in.  In our ongoing first-world-problems-comedy-of-errors, we now have a washer and dryer still in boxes in the dining room and a half-put-together bed out in the apartment.  Our washer and dryer were delivered but the guys stated they couldn’t install them because our hoses were rusted to the faucets and they couldn’t get them off. We would need to call a plumber and have them removed before the installers could come back out. I was SO looking forward to having my own laundry facilities again, but off to the laundromat I went, and spent three precious hours of my time.  On the upside, the laundromat offers free dryers if you use their washers.  Nice!

A bed and dresser were delivered to the apartment; thankfully the delivery guys went to put the bed together because otherwise we would have discovered the problem later: the sides did not match up so the slats could not be laid down to hold the mattress. Seriously??  They called it in and we were told we’d get a new delivery on the 25th.  I am somewhat annoyed by this because I want to get the apartment set up for us to move in and now there are bed pieces all over the limited space.

AND for some reason AT&T does not think we deserve to have internet and TV in the apartment because we already have it in the house. That is a simplistic statement of a more convoluted problem but let’s just say I am getting the feeling that the universe is testing my patience this week.

Happy Wednesday!  How’s your week going?

Weekend Update

I missed the past few weekends, what with vacationing and moving and keeping grandkids.  Here are some links I’ve found interesting lately.  Enjoy and have a good weekend!

I love this story and yet I find it sad that the circumstances are so unusual that we feel we have to praise the man who stepped up to support women.  Wouldn’t it be lovely if it wasn’t even worth mentioning?

Saving the California pipevine swallowtail butterfly (or how one person can make a difference).

I think we just don’t care that much about people living in poverty.  We work so hard to punish them at every turn.

Hurray! I’ve missed him!

I’m a big believer in eating dinner together. When my kids were growing up, our family almost always had dinner at the table without the TV on.  Yes, it was harder once they got to be teenagers and had busy lives of their own, but we gave it a good try.  There’s something about sharing a meal that makes us closer as humans, don’t you think?

Praise for boredom.

My city,  working on healing.

Double rainbow over Chicago.

In this world of trouble and strife, we need a little bit of beauty to help us carry on.

Busy, fun times

Bonnie asked if I was getting exhausted and I replied, “Let’s just say I am used to being a little bit lazier!”  Three kids are a lot of work but I wouldn’t trade the opportunity to have them for the world.

Emery and Luke drew pictures for their parents and we posted them on Facebook so they’d see them.  So cute.

We took them to see “The Secret Life of Pets” at our favorite theater with the comfy seats that recline.  I might have fallen asleep a couple of times.  🙂  The movie was okay but I thought the fighting and violence between the loose animals and the escaped pets was a bit much, and the talk of killing pet owners was inappropriate….but the kids enjoyed the show and most of that stuff went over their heads, I think.  I wasn’t sure how Ada would do at the movie theater but we thought we’d give it a try after I saw how nicely she sat on Sarah’s lap through our pedicures.  She was free to get in if she sat with me and she did great except for a brief moment of wanting a snack we didn’t have and getting upset about it. I took her out and decided to changer her diaper while I had the chance, after which she was okay again and made it through the end.

We had more swimming days at Sarah’s.  Emery taught Beck how to do a front flip.  They were both very proud!

We colored and played games, got some slushies for a treat, watched movies, and swam some more.  Elle came and spent the night with Emery and they had some good cousin time.

Continue reading “Busy, fun times”

Camp Gigi and Grandpa

Bonnie and David are in Jamaica for five days, shooting a wedding and having a little childless vacation.   The kids arrived here on Saturday and we’ve been having a ball.  Bonnie spent Saturday night with us; Sarah, Elle and Beck came over for dinner and the kids had fun playing together.  Rich took Bonnie to the airport Sunday morning while I stayed home with Emery, Luke, and Ada, then we all went over to Sarah and Miles’ for the day.  Emery stayed the night with Elle and Beck came back with us to sleep over with Luke.  As the mom of three girls, I have my moments where I just don’t get boys!  All that potty humor!  They sure do love to talk about body parts and bodily functions. LOL

Today Rich kept the boys while the girls went for some pampering.  Elle and Emery got their fingers and toes painted while Sarah and I had pedicures and eyebrow and lip waxes.  🙂  Ada sat nicely on Sarah’s lap the whole time.  She’s so easy!  Then we played at Sarah’s again most of the day, stopped at the garden on the way home, Emery helped Grandpa cook, and the kids swam in the pool tonight before watching “The Princess Bride” and calling it a day.

 

Choose Nonviolence

We’re still unpacking and dealing with various issues that have come up in a house that has been rented out for two years…and I am discovering the down side to having renters.  I guess I should instinctively know that people don’t care about your house as much as you do.  However, I have to say that I have always been a conscientious renter and have tried to take care of the property and leave it in good condition any time I’ve lived somewhere not mine. Maybe that is uncommon.  Anyway, we had a property manager since we lived far away in Alaska but between the property manager and the renters, not too many f*$#%s were given, apparently.  Excuse my language or implied language.

We’ve had a pool guy out to get the pool back in shape all week, an HVAC guy and a plumber today to look at the systems and see what else is failing because the house smells musty and mildewy and we want to nip any further problems in the bud.  The good news is that the plumbing is okay. The bad news is that the air conditioning unit has had a clog in the line, which has led to a steady, apparently long standing, leak. The filter is soaked, the subfloor is ruined, there’s quite a bit of standing water, it needs a new coil, we need a mold specialist to come out, and the dollar signs keep adding up.

While ruminating over these issues, we were struck upside the head by the terrible violence in our new home city, Dallas.  Absent-mindedly turning on the TV and sitting down to chill for a little while, we saw a screen suddenly full of sirens and images of people running and a “breaking news” banner announcing that shots had been fired at a peaceful protest and police officers were down. At first, I think I just assumed it was a small incident and hopefully no one was hurt and it was under control.  I was wrong.  We stayed glued to the TV till 2 AM when there didn’t seem to be much more information coming out.  In bed, I couldn’t believe we were right here, right in the same city where a shooter or shooters killed 5 police officers and injured several more. It did not seem real.

I’ve been saddened and outraged by the recent police killings of two black men named Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile; it seems that we cannot escape the institutional racism and jump-to-conclusions tragic actions that sometimes take place when police and black men intersect in American society.  Protesters in Dallas were exercising their right to speak out about this violence and to say “enough.”  From all that I have read, the police department coordinated with the activists for the march and it was peaceful all around.  The police department even tweeted photos of officers interacting with the marchers. The protest was not directed toward DPD, but toward systemic violence; I think the officers there must have understood the difference.

There’s not a lot I can say that hasn’t been already said, but I just want to make the point that one can be opposed to violence from police officers at the same time one is opposed to violence toward police officers.  I wish for a world where violence is nonexistent, or at least rare, where people treat each other with respect and dignity no matter the color of their skin or the circumstances of their life.  Here in Dallas, I hope we will move forward toward that goal as we mourn and heal.