Birthdays

I missed posting our son in law Miles’ birthday while we were on our vacation.  Miles lives here in Dallas so we get to see him pretty often.  He’s such a good guy and we have a lot of great conversations about many issues and current events.  He’s also a fabulous dad to three kids and a fantastic husband to my daughter Sarah. I just can’t say enough good things about him!  He’s a hard worker but also knows how to have fun with the kids and to encourage them in all their activities.  We’re lucky to have him in our family.  Happy belated, Miles!

Youngest grandson Jack turns three in a couple of days.  We’ve been lucky to be around since his earliest days and he’s grown up with Gigi and Grandpa a few minutes away.  He loves Grandpa and wants his attention whenever we are together.  He’s a really sweet kid who does not get upset easily and walks around with a happy attitude.  He loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and playing any kind of sport. Even at this age, he can slam a baseball, kick a soccer ball, and hit a golf ball–just has a lot of natural talent which is pretty amazing and funny.  He likes to come over to our house and hang out, looking for the cats and attempting to hold Ajax.  He’s very loving and a completely easy kid.  Yesterday he had a party for his birthday and had a blast with all of his little friends.  Happy birthday, Jack!  We love you like crazy!

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Weekend Update

Back home and back to the routine.  I returned to my volunteer work on Tuesday, we’ve babysat the kids a few times, attended some soccer games, Elle got her ears pierced, I went to lunch with Sarah and a teen mom-to-be she’s mentoring, scored big at the thrift store, went back to the gym, cleared out the garden plot to get ready for fall planting, took some walks around the neighborhood since the weather is cooling off a little in the mornings and evenings, all of the grandkids are now back at school (and preschool for the littlest ones), loving it so far.  We had a quiet Labor Day weekend. Solidarity forever, now more than ever.

Worried about the hurricanes and the devastation they are causing. Thankful that everyone we know has been safe.  Continuing to be appalled by the current administration and the latest action to dismantle DACA. How much more can we take??

I finished a book called Evicted and highly recommend it.  Most of us at my volunteer agency have been reading it as it applies to our clients in many ways.  If you don’t understand the difficulties that people go through when they are living in poverty and can hardly make ends meet, this book will expand your knowledge.

All of the recent hullabaloo about Civil War statues and monuments is playing out in Dallas, too.  Recently a statue of Robert E. Lee was taken down (but not before some group managed to get a court injunction first, which was then thrown out…seriously, why does anyone care that much??).  This is a thoughtful article about the subject.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of the most brilliant writers today.  His latest piece is a long read,  a devastating one, but very important.

Defending the American Dreamers from the Dream Hoarders. I’ve been reading a lot of John Pavlovitz lately.  I am not very religious,  but if I were I’d want to be in his congregation.

And a lovely tribute to our former home in Unalaska. Oh, and if you want to see pix and watch a fun video of the annual Tundra Golf Classic back in Unalaska, click here.  Made me miss my job and my community there.

Happy weekend, all.

 

 

Going to Cali

We left Oregon a couple of mornings ago.  A friend texted that she was also in the area and maybe we could meet for lunch in Bend, OR.  She used to live in Homer, AK and we were part of the AK Obama delegation to the national convention in 2008.  We have kept in touch though we have not seen each other since that time; now she is living in Portland but happened to be in the vicinity for the eclipse.  We made arrangements to meet at a coffeeshop in Bend, though I told her we had a long day of driving ahead of us and couldn’t stay for long.  Unfortunately she kept running into traffic delays so Rich and I got to the coffeeshop, waited a bit, ordered our food, ate our food, and waited some more and she was still not there.  I felt bad about it but finally texted her and said we had to move on.  She was understanding but I wish we had been able to connect.  😦

There was a LOT of smoke in Oregon, still quite a few fires burning.  I hope no lives were lost and no major property damage happened.

 

We drove 11 hours that day, which is a huge amount for us old folks who are pretty lazy when it comes to long trips!  But we wanted to make it to Sacramento to spend the night. As we crossed the border into California, all cars were directed to a check point to inspect for fruits and veggies.  Oops.  I wasn’t aware and Rich had forgotten that you can’t bring certain foods into California.  The ag inspector asked us if we had anything and we said yes, we had some cherries in the cooler.  Rich got out to open the cooler in the back seat and realized there were also three lemons sitting right on top.  The inspector confiscated all of it and threw it in the trash. He did thank us for being honest, though, so there’s that.  🙂

 

In Old Sacramento, we stayed over at the Delta King, an old riverboat that’s been made into a hotel.  It was pretty cool and we enjoyed our quiet night there, though we got in pretty late.  The next morning, we had a lovely complimentary breakfast in the restaurant and then made our way down the highway to Rich’s cousin Mary Ethel and her husband Roger’s place in El Dorado Hills. Rich’s sister Vesta had also driven up to meet us there,  and we met ME and Roger’s granddaughter Megan who has been living with them for the past two years attending community college.  It was great to see Mary Ethel and Roger, who are among our favorite people, so genuine and friendly and funny and welcoming.  Megan was delightful, seemingly not minding hanging out with the old folks.  And it was good to catch up with Vesta, of course.

 

The next morning, Mary Ethel and Roger went with Megan to move her into her apartment/dorm at Sacramento State, where she will finish her degree.  Her mom Lisa also came over and Rich had a good time reminiscing with her.  I had never met her but totally enjoyed her as well.  While they all went to Sacramento, Rich, Vesta and I stayed at the house, did some laundry, cleaned up, read, and talked.  Later Mary Ethel, Roger and Lisa returned and we all went out to dinner, talking, telling jokes and laughing some more.  All in all, such a fun visit!  We really do love these people.  🙂

 

Yesterday we drove to Sonora to see Rich’s stepdaughter Hannah who is attending community college there.  We took her to lunch and then to the grocery store to stock up on food for her apartment. We had not seen Hannah in a few years and were happy to have a little bit of time with her.  From there, we drove on to Kingsburg to spend the night with Rich’s sister Vesta, who had dinner cooked for us and we enjoyed another nice night of visiting.

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This morning we drove to Canoga Park, outside LA, to meet Rich’s nephew Jeffrey for lunch.  He’s another one we haven’t seen in awhile so it was really good to have some time with him.  Originally we decided to make a reservation for dinner at a place in LA called Osteria Motto, but to kill some time, we drove through a bit of Hollywood to the huge LA farmer’s market.  Yes, this is us: drive through Hollywood but only go to the farmer’s market.  🙂 It was pretty cool and we wandered around for awhile.  Eventually Rich said he wasn’t really up for dinner after all (we were still full from lunch and had to make a 5:15 reservation for dinner because the only other available times were 9:15 or 9:30).  So we had some flan for dessert at the farmer’s market, picked up some fruit for later, and cancelled our reservation.  Maybe another time, Osteria Motto.

 

We are meeting some friends for lunch tomorrow near I-10, which will be our route home.  Tonight we are spending the night at a hotel nearby so we don’t have to drive far to see them tomorrow.  We’re still not hungry so we brought in our fruit and snacks from the car and Rich made us a margarita. We are chillin’ in the room, lamenting the fact that the hotel does not have HBO so we can’t watch Game of Thrones. 🙂

Tomorrow after lunch with our friends, we will start our trek home.  It’s been such a great trip–we have completely enjoyed every bit of it.  Meanwhile we’ve been watching the news about Hurricane Harvey in Texas. It sounds like it is really bad at the coast.  Thankfully none of our family live close enough to be affected, but we are thinking about those who are suffering through it.  I hope everyone is safe, though I know there are going to be some tragedies and that breaks my heart.

Road Tripping

Several years ago, we took a cruise from Honolulu to Sydney, with a sighting of a total eclipse of the sun from the ship.  It was quite amazing! Also on that trip, we made friends with several couples we have kept in touch with since.  About a year ago, one of those couples sent out a message saying they’d rented a house in Detroit Lake, Oregon for  the total eclipse this August 21, and did anyone want to join in?  Rich and I decided to jump on it, and another couple also signed on.  We made plans to drive to Oregon with a few stops along the way and some other stops on a different route home.

We left Dallas yesterday, with our cat sitter in place and an extra key dropped off with Sarah and Miles.  We only went as far as Amarillo and spent the night with Bonnie, David and kids.  Bonnie fixed a nice dinner and we played games with the kids while David was out shooting some engagement photos.  Later, I laid with Emery for awhile because she always likes to chat in bed before she falls asleep (I love that!) and then we hung out with Bonnie and David till everyone was past tired and needed to get to bed!

We’d been to the Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo once before but Rich wanted to stop by today on our way out of town and take a few pix.  There was a big rainstorm the night we stayed so the site was very wet and muddy today. In fact, I was not wearing appropriate shoes and I was pretty sure I was gonna fall on my behind while walking to the cars. Thankfully I didn’t!

Our cooler was full of water and beverages and we had a bag full of snacks in the car so we made good time with only a couple of potty stops and one gas fill-up.  We hit some rain and wind in a few places but it wasn’t bad.  We finally stopped in Cheyenne, WY for dinner; tried to go to a place called Wyoming Rib and Chop but it was packed and they said it would be a 30-40 minute wait.  We didn’t really want to take that much time so we walked across the street to a Chinese place that was supposedly 4 stars but we’d give it 2.5.  LOL  The waiter seemed to be high or highly confused, not sure which.  We ate and hit the road for Chugwater, WY, where we had a reservation for the night.

I usually don’t like really long days in the car but we listened to several podcasts and some music besides talking and reading news off the internet.  Don’t even get me started on our embarrassment of a president and his equating of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and out and out racists with counter protesters and anti fascists.  I just can’t stand it any  more.  I would love to write a coherent, thoughtful, passionate essay about how I feel but I just don’t have the words or the energy right now.  So I will take the easy way out tonight because I am tired and we are traveling and I need more time to consider what to say and how to say it.

In the meantime, I decided before we left on vacation that I have been too negative lately and too much of a complainer so I was going to say YES to everything that came my way unless it was illegal or dangerous. 🙂  Rich has been kinda laughing at me every time I say “YES!” in a silly voice.  But you know what, it really worked today and I did not get worked up about a long day in the car…usually I would be whining after a couple of hours. haha  Okay, I did complain that the iced tea in the Chinese restaurant was horrible.  Other than that, I’ve been good!

Another long day ahead of us tomorrow–we are trying to make it to Helena, MT.

Happy Birthday, Ada!

Our second-youngest little cutie turned 3 today.  Ada is quite the talker and keeps us cracking up with the funny things she says in her sweet little voice.  She’s already an adventurer and wanted to “practice” swimming without her floaties when she was here.  She was hilarious, belly flopping into the pool, swimming under water to Bonnie, coming up sputtering and pushing her hair out of her face only to quickly plunge back in.  Right now she loves Legos and baby dolls and books and playing with her siblings and cousins.  She says she wants a “Doc McStuffins AND a Spiderman” birthday party.  She’s a smartie and a thoughtful, kind little girl.  Happy birthday, Ada! We love you bunches!

Winding down our full summer of fun

Bonnie and kids left yesterday; I went to my volunteer work and then came home and vegged out on the couch for most of the rest of the day! Now we will have a quiet house for about a week before we head off on our road trip to the left coast.

In the past week, some or all of us:

Swam a lot–at our house, at Sarah’s house, and dinner/swimming at Sarah and Miles’ athletic club

Had a nice family dinner at home with the whole gang, including my ex’s aunt who is full of life at age 90

Celebrated Ada’s 3rd birthday a little bit early

Spent about 10 minutes in the park on a super hot day

Enjoyed Grandpa’s homemade pizza for lunch and had a little picnic on the front porch

Read stories, practiced math and reading

Went to the library

Watched Elle play soccer, score lots of goals, and win a tournament with her team (plus messy ice cream for the rest of the kids)

Made friends with Ajax (but not Kali)  🙂

Had sleepovers

Made ice cream and cookies

Enjoyed lunch with another of my ex’s aunts

Watched movies and played games

Went out for frozen yogurt

Went to Barnes and Noble and Toys R Us

Told stories, reminisced and laughed

Made lots of memories

Can’t believe summer is coming to a close!  The kids are anticipating school starting and son in law David is already back at his campus getting ready to teach.  Seems like it was only May a few days ago–it’s been a packed few months but we’ve loved every minute of it.  So glad the grandkids could spend part of it with us!

 

 

Grandkids

We have three grandkids here in Dallas, three way out in Amarillo (6 hours’ drive away) and two in Clyde, near Abilene (3 hours’ drive).  They range in age from 14  years to two almost-three-year-olds.  As you can imagine, three towns, a wide range of ages and interests and activities, and parents with varying schedules make it very hard for all of us to get together at the same time.  We were thrilled to have a little bit of an overlap on this trip with Aidan and Ally still here when Bonnie and her crew arrived. Even though we didn’t have all of the adults, it was still pretty sweet to have all of the kids.  Bonnie’s husband David is a photographer and Bonnie has assisted him in quite a few photo shoots so I figured she could manage to get a group shot of the kids for me–something I’ve wanted for awhile and haven’t had an opportunity to get.  We were on a tight time frame and I was halfway afraid it would  never happen but I give credit to my girls for making time and taking on the project for their mom.

While Jack was napping, Sarah and Bonnie took the other 7 down the street from Sarah’s house to a wooded area and knocked out quite a few photos of individuals and groups.  By the time Jack woke up, it was getting late and I was thinking they might just blow it off and say it wasn’t gonna happen but they persisted and got all the kids dressed again and went back out.  Imagine trying to corral 8 kids of various ages and temperaments and trying to get all to look in the vicinity of the photographer while putting on a semi-happy face! At this point, Luke was *DONE* with photos and didn’t really want to cooperate.  If you look closely at the group pix of all 8, he is not looking too pleased.  🙂 He also did not want any individual pix taken so we don’t have any of him except a few of him crying, poor boy!  Aidan looks a little bored or “over it” with the later group pix, too.  And some of the little ones didn’t want to stand still or get in line! haha But these photos sure do make Gigi happy.