George & 2 Oldest Daughters

George & 2 Oldest Daughters
George, Oldest Daughter, and Me, 2nd Daughter 1968.

Caroline and Oldest Daughter

Caroline and Oldest Daughter
Caroline and Oldest Daughter in Photo Booth 1964

Boy George

Boy George
George and younger sister in 1940's

George and his Oldest Daughter

George and his Oldest Daughter
George and His Oldest Daughter 1964 in Photo Booth

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Quest For A Pen

Yes....the quest for a pen. It all began in September, with a bevy of writing utensils in supply, and paper aplenty. I still have the paper, but am mystified as to what vortex has enveloped, swallowed, confiscated all of my pens. The mechanical pencil vortex are my two high school teens....the pens...I am suspecting have gone to the same fate. Although, the "not me ghost" of Family Circus fame seems to catch a lot of the blame. "Mom, it wasn't me. How can you blame me? You have no proof..." The court of mom tries to be rational, judicious in words used (for they are brought back to haunt for years to come, accurately stated or not), and at all times fair. Oh yeah, is fair....NOT. Try telling that to the teen.

School is fantastic, and I am preparing for the day ahead now. I am going to a "study away" program in January. It is only 2.5 hours away, but, what the heck :) It is anthropology based, and quite the honor to be chosen as a part of.

My dad...yes, Georgie Porgie, what a guy. Timely, conscientious, and pragmatic. Never one to trample on someone's toes, or take advantage of their generosity, George spent 8 hours the day after election day traipsing about our vast county and taking down political signs he helped to erect. He even knew how many he had put up in one small town. I quote "yeah, I was up in Carbanado where I had put up 13 signs, and only one was left". Did he write down on a map where he put them? Some organized and well kept tactical situs for the election signs....I will have to find out. :) I so love my dad. I am blessed to have been gifted with him for my father, mentor, and friend. Have a wonderful day!

Monday, August 23, 2010

I am happy...

I am happy, and have been told that it is showing. I am healthy, much more stress free, and seeing a future with joy, optimism, and nothing but possibility. Regardless of any news of illness, financial issues, or trivial tantrums thrown by kids....I am better able to deal with them than I was last year at this time. Why? I have learned to let the water roll off my back like a to speak :) At least, I hope so.

This week, I am reorganizing my house to be ready with a study spot for me, a little corner of my rabbit hutch home devoted to homework for University...and I couldn't be more pleased!!!! I am finding that the more I follow the course to education and open myself up to new ideas and experiences, the happier I become. In reflection of my happiness, the kids are also happier and relaxed as well.

I encourage everyone to find their bliss, follow their joy, and keep their smile on. A little bit of happiness goes a long way I am finding....

Sunday, August 22, 2010

How do I love thee...?

"How do I love thee, let me count the ways..." Those words lead into sentiment, devotion and commitment between a husband and wife for each other. The Brownings were renowned for their love (I have the complete series...) for each other, that they put down onto paper and immortalized their words to each other.

To me, I am a single female, and those words apply to my children, my father, my mother, brothers, sisters, etc. I do not know how I can count the ways that I love them, but I can certainly attempt it...

1. When I hear you are in pain or distress, I seek to ease that pain, for when you hurt, I hurt.

2. I am available to you and lend the ear without judgement if you need me, no questions asked.

3. I have that shoulder that is broad, and can carry a lot of burden if necessary...give it a try, I'm not scared...:)

4. My arms are open, and so is my heart. There is never a day when I will look at you and ask why you believed I would care, I do, and I always will.

This is all mushy stuff...I know. Recently, word came of an illness in our family. It makes you reassess the importance of life, and just where you are at with everyone. Regardless of the pettiness many of us seem to embroil ourselves in, there comes a time when that all must be put aside, or ideally, swept away entirely, and the family bond strengthened. To me, nothing is more important than those I love. George taught us this, and exemplifies it in his daily walk in life. My children are also rallying and showing the same mettle. Thank goodness we have each other, and the love that does not question "why?", but just "is" love...

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Walkabout at home.....

I found a part of me that had been suppressed for a long time whilst on vacation in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia...:) The lighthearted imp that had wings for the wind to catch and let her soar...

Going to Sydney was like stepping back in time to my childhood years during the 70's and 80's. People operate with common sense and courtesy. It seemed to me to be more of a live and let live society, with a myriad of attractions, people, and opportunities to express yourself. The physical beauty of the land and coastline is dramatic and unquestionable. Walking along the coastline was a blessing and a privilege. It is rather expensive to live there, yes, however, worth the effort to make it in my estimation. It really is a "chill" type of place. Their shops CLOSE at night, and people actually have lives...imagine that. Do you have memories of being here in the States when there were not any 24 hour stores? I do....

So, now that I am back home, I am continuing my walks, and readying for the first day of university in two weeks time. I will continue to look for,and find the beauty around me daily, and take joy in following the path I have been given. Be well!!!

I Smell Australia...

I smell Australia....what does that mean? Well, to me, it is a myriad of things. I have been unpacking and going through the bits in my luggage. The clothes I laundered and hung out to dry on the clothesline smell like North Bondi...of sea, fresh air, and sunshine. Can I really smell ALL of those things? Well, maybe not specifically, but certainly, the fragrance of the clothing is an embedded memory of all of those things, and more.

Coffee....yes, I smell coffee, and the organic bakery, along with the new clothes smell of the shops I visited, and the perfume I wore while down under; Michael Kors...yes, I smell Australia. Do I want to go back...what do you think??? The only thing missing now is another opportunity to wake up and walk to the surf...soon, I will be back soon...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Home Again...Sydney still beckons...

Well, I am home now. Seattle is sunny, Mount Rainier is out in all of her glory, university begins for me in the first week of September (hurray!!!), and my children are all on their educational paths. Life couldn't have a rosier glow cast about it...but...Sydney still beckons.

Like the Sirens of old, I hear the sea calling to me, the surf rolling in my ears, and the sun beating upon me as I walk, and walk, and walk. Yes, I walked everywhere, and took the public transportation. The multi-pass cost me $41 Australian Dollars a week, and covered the ferry system, trains, and buses. I found much to enjoy about the ease of the commute, yet, still felt at times as though I was in a Dr. Who episode at times. Everyone politely (most of the time) funneled in lines as they were directed, dressed properly, spoke properly, worked on crossword puzzles, there were newspapers handed out at the stations for free, and the horoscope page read "should I get out of bed tomorrow" or something similar....hmmm, let me see...a resounding YES!

I walked from King's Cross to the Sydney Opera House, and then took the ferry to Birkenshead/Birkenhead Point to do some damage to my budget. A conscientious fellow informed me I would only have 25 minutes to shop, and spoke with me about Sydney and Seattle. Terrific conversation, and a definite example of the type of people I would meet throughout my stay in Sydney. Although...he was one of the few men I met taller than me in heels...:)

So, yes, I will begin school, study like a fiend, and keep working on myself and moving forward down my path. George picked me up from the airport, and let me know how glad he was to have me home. My dad is the salt of the earth, as were the people I met "down under". I left a piece of me in Oz....

Monday, August 9, 2010

Another Country...same me

Yes, I am in Sydney, Australia. This is my 10th day of 17 days here. Today, I am staying in, cooking Goulash for my host and I, and feeling happily domesticated. Yes, I love the beach, walks, and sightseeing. However, this is my FIRST trip ever abroad. I like to enjoy the quiet things that make life enjoyable. Doing laundry and hanging it on the line, writing, hunkering down with a good book, exercising and walking to alleviate stress, cooking a meal from scratch and watching others enjoy it, and laughter with good friends I have known most of my life. I have all of that here at the moment, and feel truly blessed.

I have met some good people locally, and will be attempting to cultivate and maintain those connections into longtime friendships. Walking in the gusty wind and warm rain today from the local butcher and green grocer was a pleasure, as I had a mocha (no sugars) in my hand. The only thing that makes life any better is knowing I have my family to return to when this journey is at a close, and a heart full of precious memories and experiences to reflect over for the rest of my life.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

You Never Know....

So, this post is finding me on my first vacation as an adult of my lifetime, for an extended period of time. Of course, in order to take this "vacation", much planning was involved to have the bills paid prior to leaving, monies for time here, staying with friends, and wrapping my mind around finally following my feet to where they want and need to travel. I am loving Australia!

To date, I have ventured to Watson's Bay, from North Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach, Mrs. Macquarie's Chair/Bushwalk to Sydney Harbor to the Opera House, Camp Cove, Darling Harbor and the Maritime Museum. I am on my way to yoga in a bit with my host. Life is good! More to come later!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Today, is June 6th. It has a myriad of meanings to me. Growing up, my uncle, Andrew, passed away from a brain tumor. Basically, they opened his head and closed it right up saying it was too far gone. He died when I was two.

Andy was the oldest of 8 children; six that lived past birth. My father was the 7th of the 8 children. With 17 years between them in age, they still had a very close and loving relationship. One of my favorite stories was of my father's two older brothers returning home from World War II. Uncle John, was a Navy Baker 2nd Class. He was a boisterous and genial personality, and when Johnny came marching home...the town knew it:-)

Uncle Andy was a quieter soul. Still waters, as we know, run deep. His, it seems at times, were nearly unfathomable. Their dogs, according to my dad, were always strays that came up the driveway and stayed. My grandfather, Andrew Sr., always named them Jack or Jackie:-) This particular Jackie, was Andy's dog. Many stories exist about the intelligence of the stray, and the feats he did on looks, or subtle commands Uncle Andy would give him. When Andy left for war, and became a track driver, Jack aged, and eventually became listless, according to my father.

When the war ended, not everyone knew when they would end up back home, or how they would arrive. Uncle Andy did not wire ahead. He simply walked from town. According to George, Jackie perked up, ran in circles, and dashed down the farm's 1/4 mile driveway. Andy was home! Jackie died a week later.

Andy landed on Normandy Beach, and dove beneath the waves to avoid being shot. His fellow track driver that he tried to bring to shore, ended up missing his head. Andy made it safely ashore, and through the hail of bullets, only to end up wounded somewhere in Italy bleeding out his ears and everywhere else. The doctors believed his injury had something to do with the brain tumor that took him in 1970. We will never know.

The landing on Normandy Beach happened on June 6th, which is my grandfather Andrew Sr.'s birthday. Today, June 6, 2010 took on a different meaning. My daughter's high school senior class baccalaureate took place. It was a joyful and nice ceremony. Giving thanks and praying for the blessings of the outgoing class of 2010. We are currently in a state of war overseas yet again. It certainly made me think about the young men and women who may be facing similar circumstances post graduation. Especially if they are already in the ROTC. It is bittersweet to watch the young so fresh and ready to face the world, and realize that they are facing the possibility of being in battle so soon after beginning their new life. D-Day....a day of facing life. Then, and now. Thank you Uncle Andy and Uncle John for serving, and may God bless the senior class of 2010.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Daddy's Girl... Santa & I....obviously we go way back. So does my mistrust of bearded men :-) This was taken in 1969, when I was 1.5 years old. The white leather shoes with the oddly shaped cylinder by the shoe's tongue were daily wear for me. The bells inside the cylinder jingle-jangled with every step I took. My mother knew where to find me at all times too, just by honing in on the sound. Clever woman...

This photo always makes me smile, because I love believing in the unseen, fairy tales, folklore, and just the good in humankind. Santa is supposed to epitomize that, if the stories are true. Well, Jolly Old St. Nick has a dad. Yes, I know it gets old at times, and may sound like hero worship, however, what's a girl to do? I don't hate my dad, resent him, or anything of the sort. I actually love the guy, respect him, and would want to be his friend if we were not related. I didn't have the opportunity to choose my dad, however, I wouldn't want it any other way than fate dealt me.

George has been spending time of late on the campaign trail for a well regarded family friend. The stories are hilarious. Travelling up through the rural hills and suburban stomping grounds of both his and my childhoods. Seeing people that remember him from different points in life, both school, and professional. Reconnecting is what it is all about. Life is good, and I am truly blessed to have the life I do.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

How Do You Spend Your Day???

Well, yesterday, I was in a conversation on Skype (great product by the way) to the Land of Oz. We were outlining how I budgeted/managed my time. In thinking back over the last 15 years of life, and what my days have entailed, it brings to light what you could do different or better currently, to improve on past experiences. Would I have done things differently in the past? A few things, yes. Mostly, no.

I do not feel as though I have missed out on the party scene or the grand events that others partake in. I have had some wild times, enjoyed wine tastings that went beyond wine tastings to other wine bars....I have ventured out to the fireworks at various places, attended concerts for Duran Duran, Rod Stewart/The Kin, had fun at the Scottish Highland Games (Clan Frasier baby!), took my trip to Fort Worden and hiked around, haunted The Swiss and The Fenix for some dancing and great live music, and of course, mothered my young, did the school activities, worked, and am now enrolling in college.

I love the fact that I do have a home in which to spend time in, revamp the decor, and soon, start entertaining in a new kitchen. That is the plan for the summer. New windows all around, fresh exterior paint, and a new floor kitchen set up. Life is good, and it gets better every day.

So, now that I was instructed on how to better manage my time, I must dash off to be "constructive";) Over and out!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Blessings Abound!

Yesterday, I found out that all the financial aid was in place for my education! What a fantastic day that was. I told both of my parents independent of each other, and dad just laughed and asked who I bribed, with pride in his voice, and mom took a deep and emotional sigh, and said "I have waited a very long time to hear this news". I graduated high school in 1986. I have waited that long to attend college/university.

I telephoned admissions about my conditions of admission, and there aren't any out of the ordinary. Normal admission. Sean, my admissions counselor stated "it is a little odd to tell an adult this, but you are so independent and headstrong, I have no doubt you will make it". Wow, I have never met the man personally, only telephonic to date. Yet, he hit on a core of my personality. It proves that no matter how you perceive you project yourself to people, your perceptions are not always correct. I thought I was this mild mannered female. Obviously not...

So, September 7th is my first day at the University. My life is turning a bend in the road, and I feel like the Old Irish Blessings are here for me:

"May the road rise up to greet you, may the sun shine bright upon your face, may the wind blow at your back...."

Forward I go, with a bright countenance, and thankful for everyone who is the wind at my back. George and Caroline....thank you for your parenting and backing, I couldn't have done it without the solid foundation you provided me.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I Was Like You

Here I sit, Mother's Day, 2010, which happens to fall on May 9th. That was the due date of my oldest daughter 19 years ago. We ended up, she and I, being attached for another 10 days before we delivered her screaming healthy self into the world. Last night, she had her Senior Ball, and looked GORGEOUS.

I have been reflecting yet again on life, what has happened, what is yet to come, what is here already. Sometimes, when I come across people that have yet to find their feet, I notice them looking at me sometimes assessing me. Whether it is my figure, grooming, car, personality, house, children, what I am eating, you can sometimes watch people's minds store that information in their mental databases. Just as I do about them...

I Was Like You:

I was a young single mother with barely any money, yet I found a way to make it work.

I am the daughter of a mother who has high expectations and sometimes it is overwhelming.

I am a professional wiith a family that relies on me, and the long hours of work pull you away from the very reason you put in those hours, your family.

I need to tone up and do more cardio.

I am covering my gray, and feel good about who I am, one day you will too.

I was a bright eyed Pollyanna with hope and dreams I recently found again, and 20 years later, am pursuing.

It is a mental mindset. We simply need to adjust our thinking, perceptions, expectations, learn to breathe, walk, and live all over again in certain instances. Choose what is truly important, not what we are told is important.

I am choosing happiness, love, and to put one foot in front of the other, follow my path, and do so with glee. Be Well!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I'm IN!!!!

I have been busy as a bee since the last post, and yesterday, received my acceptance to the Pacific Lutheran University!! Now, I am in the midst of obtaining financial aid for myself and the graduating daughter simultaneously, in addition to working full time, and parenting my other two high school students. LIFE IS GOOD!

Enjoy your day and be thankful for your blessings!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Good Morning To You!

Every morning since my kids and I have been in the single parent realm, 15 years so far, we have had some interesting mornings.

They generally begin with hugs and smiles, then some scuffling to get to the shower "first", and rustling up breakfast, then, a mad dash for the car to see who sits in the front seat. These next two months will be the last of the three kids all in school together. My oldest daughter graduates June 12th. WOOHOO! Yes, many more of those exuberant shouts will echo as the entire senior class of 2010 walks at Commencement. Then comes....the first car. Oh boy.

She loves VW's, Jeep's, and other such types. Bright colors are best in her estimation, particularly lime green, yellow, or orange. All colors I shy away from. My free spirit is quite the lady, and I do not fear for her well being. However, I do have concerns for her in the way of people taking advantage of her kind and generous nature. Well, we live and learn.

Hopefully, the future still holds, "Good Morning Mama!" for years to come. I had better give George a call...I owe him a good morning.....

Friday, April 23, 2010

What's In It For Me?

I have heard people of the last 3 generations say "this new generation...." and say how good they had it, and how happy they are not to be growing up "now". Well, I believe, I am becoming one of those people.

As positive as I want to be about things, and I am for the most part. I am witnessing the generation coming up with many having the attitude of "what's in it for me"? I have also seen it in many 20 and 30 somethings. What happened to being kind, charitable, and selfless just because it was/is the right thing to do/be? Must there always be a tangible benefit to be gained, or accolades to be given? The narcissistic behavior is soul sucking and demoralizing. It is to the point now that our children here are required to perform community service hours to graduate high school. When did we STOP teaching our youth to do for others without NEEDING validation or attention?

My son wanted to do his by participating in a World Vision sponsored 30 hour fast. I wouldn't sign off on it, and we went round and round. So, I will self impose fasting on my son without supervising it myself, and let him collect money for World Vision and count it as "community service"? NO. You should have seen the liability waiver they wanted signed. Why not actually serve your "community" by growing a garden and donating fresh produce to a food bank? GET INVOLVED locally, and actively. Don't passively sit and fast with a group and call it "community" service. You are basically having a slumber party at a youth center with juice and water and saying "wow....look what we did". Just start giving without expecting and move ahead.

How can we get involved? Some simple ways are:

1. Ask your neighbor if they need help. Talk to your neighbor, be a good neighbor, look out for each other.

2. Put your shopping cart away. Learn to say thank you to the people at the cashier's window instead of expecting the royal treatment.

3. Pick up trash lying around and recycle it or dispose of it.

4. Buy local and fresh. Support your local businesses.

Are these charitable acts? No, not all of them. However, they start the mental mind set of an attitude of gratitude, and open communications with others that lead to knowledge of ways you can help, or make someone smile even. It is a beginning. Let your light shine!

What's in it for me? Who cares? I can go to bed with a clean conscience and look at myself in the mirror without regret.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Never Too Old To Learn...

I just had a customer that is from Mexico. Her language skills are excellent, and we were discussing our children and further education. She is in her early 30's, and stated that in Mexico, she is too old to return to school. In the USA, we have an ever present opportunity to pursue an education, no matter what our age. Many students that come here from other countries are exceptionally bright, however, did not "make" it for whatever reasons to university in their country. The collegiate placement abroad, depending on the country, does not necessarily allow for you to NOT do well on your high school courses.

If you are one of the many young adults who doesn't find their stride until post high school years are attained, you may be out of luck for the education or career path of your choice, unless you are in the USA.

I was contacted yesterday by the University I have applied to. My transcripts are 25 years old. I can get in with them, however, the suggestion was made that I take some summer courses at the community college and transfer them in the fall. At 41, I have this option, and am going to execute it. Not only will it ease me into the collegiate experience, and ready me for the course load, it will give me credits to bring with me to set me off on a solid footing. Never too old to learn.

My great great grandmother was 48 when their 17th child was born. Tragically, he died at age 9 from diphtheria. She decided to focus on a positive instead of wallow in self pity and grief. She taught herself to play the piano. She is quite the role model. Pernella was from Norway, and had a strong and incredible spirit and mind. The stories of "mother" were always warm, tender, and misty when my great great aunts and uncles spoke of her. The waffle breakfasts every Sunday, and NOT only for the 17 kids. The extended cousins as well would come over. What a dynamic legacy of love and laughter.

We are NEVER too old to learn to love, laugh, and live.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What Would You Do If....?

What would you do if......

How many times have you thought or heard that phrase? IF, IF, IF....well, I am here in the now, not the what if. I am now trying to replace the IF with WHEN.

WHEN I.....

When I wake up in the morning sounds SO much better than IF I wake up in the morning. Now that I have thought that through, I think the WHEN is definitely the better term for me. How about you? WHEN you choose, what will you do with your WHEN? Isn't that great? IF is so wishy washy...WHEN is full of hope.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Oh What A Night....

I had a great weekend. Accomplished things around the house, and launched the youngest into the world of work. It was a joy to see her stomp out the door to the car with a smirk on her face, then come home smelling of grease and fries, with a grin at her "fantastic experience". She was inaugurated into the work force by working at a food stand at the local "fair" for the weekend. So many walks of life to encounter, especially at a food stand. So many times you bite your tongue and learn to shut up and work. The torture at the hands of other people in the "real world" as George always termed it, is a lesson I could never teach her by lecturing. It is one we must all learn from baptism by fire. WOOHOO! I cannot wait to explain the taxes taken out of her check when she receives it. Congratulations kiddo! Welcome to the jungle! Mama Lion is proud of her cub.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Art of Living

Today, I learned another lesson in the art of living. I learned to trust that how I raised my children will not fail when I am not around to reinforce it. I am learning to let go and give them their wings. What an exhilarating feeling!

I am watching my oldest, my nearly 19 year old daughter, gain maturity, poise, and overall growing into a gorgeous, articulate, and incredibly funny young woman. The little girl will always be there running up to me for hugs and cuddles. The statuesque and brilliant woman I see lately is my new companion and house mate. What a FANTASTIC chrysalis! The beauty of it all? I get to sit back, take it all in, and watch my other two achieve their potential as well. Life is a blessing every day. The moments both large and small.

Living is an art for certain, being content and happy is my daily privilege and blessing.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Erte and I

I discovered Erte's art last January, 2009. I was with my friend at the Bellevue Square Mall, and we were sitting in an Art Gallery. We sat and chatted for 3 hours with the Gallery Manager, and went all over the rooms, looking at Picasso, Erte, Chagall, and others. Erte has been termed the Father of Art Deco. A fantastic talent, fashion designer, artist, jewelry, costumer, anything you can imagine, he could dream up for you and make it real, it seemed.

I started collecting various prints and framing them via ebay. One I have, Aphrodite, is on the front of this calendar

Every time I see an Erte, I see creativity, possibility, imagination, and joy. That is what I feel Art should make you feel and do; contemplate, associate, think, and feel.

Oh you beautiful doll!

Yes, I have three of them, dolls. Two daughters and one son. Daily we go through our trials, joys, and varied experiences. So far, at the end of the day, we are able to come together as a family, laugh, giggle, josh each other, and go to bed in a peaceful manner. That is, unless one of the natives is restless. You know, squirrelly, ants in your pants, full of pee and vinegar, etc. Those are the nights when someone stirs the pot and the house can't settle down because either we are laughing, all wide awake, or discussing something. We are a family.

My three dolls dress up well, have good manners, compassion, intelligence, and you know they are "good" people. I hesitate to say kids anymore. They are 16, 17. and 18. On the threshold of adulthood. I am the proud parent for certain. We may not be the Waltons, definitely not the Duggars. We get things done, and move forward. When my youngest sees an elderly woman in her walker that she thinks may need assistance and asks me to stop the car so she can help her, I know I did something right.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Humorous Approach to Life

Dad and I are what people here term "corny" at times in our humor. I used to ask my dad "how are you feeling?" when I was a kid, and his pat answer would be "with my fingers". Oh yes, corny. We send emails back and forth with different levels of humor to them, and enjoy the laughs. I received this today. Enjoy!

1. A bicycle can't stand

alone; it is two tired.

2. A will is a dead giveaway.

3. Time flies like an arrow;

fruit flies like a banana.

4. A backward poet writes inverse.

5. A chicken crossing the road:

poultry in motion.

6. When a clock is hungry it goes back

four seconds.

7. The guy who fell onto an upholstery

machine was fully recovered.

8. You are stuck with your debt

if you can't budge it.

9. He broke into song because he

couldn't find the key.

10. A calendar's days are numbered.

11. A boiled egg is hard to beat.

12. He had a photographic memory

which was never developed.

13. The short fortune-teller who escaped

from prison: a small medium at large.

14. Those who get too big for their

britches will be exposed in the end.

15. When you've seen one shopping

centre you've seen a mall.

16. If you jump off a Paris bridge,

you are in Seine.

17. When she saw her first strands of grey

hair, she thought she'd dye.

18. Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.

19. Acupuncture: a jab well done.

20. Marathon runners with bad shoes

suffer the agony of de feet.

21. The roundest knight at king Arthur's

round table was Sir Cumference.

He acquired his size from too much pi.

22. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan

island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.

23. She was only a whisky maker,

but he loved her still.

24. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from

algebra class because it was a weapon

of math disruption.

25. No matter how much you push the envelope,

it'll still be stationery.

26. A dog gave birth to puppies near the

road and was cited for littering.

27. Two silk worms had a race.

They ended up in a tie.

28. A hole has been found in the nudist

camp wall.. The police are looking into it.

29. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

30. I wondered why the baseball

kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.

31. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab

centre said: 'Keep off the Grass.'

32. A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital.

When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was, a
nurse said, 'No change yet.'

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Wonder of it All

"Loving you, is easy 'cause you're beautiful...everything that you do, keeps me loving you..."

This is where my kids and I start "La la la la la, la la la la la" and so on. If you ever want to hear cats get tortured in the alley, tune in when we attempt the high note ;)

The wonder of it, is how music can lighten a mood, a situation, or bring back such memories to people or groups. That song brings to mind lighthearted fun as a child myself, and later with my own children. It conveys a positive mood, message and feeling. Nearly an impossible song to hear, and feel down about.

I'm on the path to college. My oldest is as well. We will be entering together. If the youngest goes to Running Start next year, so will she. All that is needed is for brother to join in, and all four of us are in school together. It is a wonder to me, that we have the freedom to choose our course of studies, whether we go or not, and make what we can of ourselves. When I grow up....we shall see what happens;) After all, I am only 41 right now. I have AT LEAST another 40 years to go. 60 if I am lucky. Be well!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Oh My Daddy...

Yes, I am George's Daughter. Who else would put up with me, or him? I sold a sofa and loveseat on craigslist, then purchased a sectional that same night on Craigslist. Fantastic set, and it looks terrific. How far did Dad go to pick it up with me? 125 miles round trip. We have always liked out trips and drives. He was in a mood until we got there, I was in one when we returned. Then we both laughed after we finally moved the monstrous sectional into my living room via the front door;)

This week has been challenging to say the least. George has been there this entire time. Today when I phoned, he said "ah, back to normal I see". I asked how he knew. "by the tone in your voice". Yes, I am truly blessed, and so is he. The patience and comeraderie we enjoy is definitely not what I witness often enough with other parent/child relationships. It is developed, not automatic. We have grown into this relationship over the years. It is work to keep it going and communication and understanding is required. I can only hope that I am laying a proper foundation for my kids and I in the future.

Tonight, I attended the parent/student meeting for Running Start. Information abounded, however, answers were rather vague. When I inquired about the mandatory testing for graduation "that's up to the student". We are told "the student is responsible for..." That is fine and dandy, however, we PARENTS are "responsible" for their education and bills until they are 18, or graduated. Too many holes need filling in this story, and you know who is going to be asking a lot of questions :-)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What a day....

Well, yesterday was FANTASTIC! Today was fraught with tension and seeking solutions. Fortunately, it is nearing its end! I am watching Big Fat Greek Wedding and getting my laugh. Yes, I was raised around Greeks, Russians, and all other varieties of Orthodox Christian. While it does not define me as a person, there are parts of me that will never deviate from the basic foundation it provided me. Discipline, discernment, desire to seek the truth, optimism with realism thrown in, and always a questioning mind. I cherish my memories, and look forward to a bright future.

My chosen degree/major is The Classics. That would be Greek and Latin languages and the history surrounding the cultures and people. I cannot WAIT! My ultimate goal? To live abroad and work as an archivist/translator/historian, etc. Life is GOOD! So, now for the trip I want to take to the UK in June/July......

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

School is in Session!

Today marks the day that I officially began my journey towards higher education! I am 41, nearing 42. I have always chomped at the bit wanting to go to school, and now that the kids are finally old enough, I am doing it! Life feels fantastic, fresh and new. There is so much ahead yet to be written. I am ready!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


George telephoned me, and we started chatting up a storm. He let me know that my cousin Johnny in Alaska gave him pictures of me he had never seen from my baptism. In the Orthodox Christian faith that I was brought up in "Cradle Orthodox" means you were born into the faith. I am one of those. I do not practice actively, but definitely carry the upbringing around in my heart and head and fall back on it sometimes to calm myself in moments when I need it.

Baptism is a big thing, and especially in the 1960's to my immigrant grandparents. For them to see their grandchildren carrying on the legacy meant a lot to them. Because our small church did not have any heat, and it was a double baptism, Fr. Nicholas had the service at my parent's home. As infants, you are dunked under water three times to represent the Trinity. We used an infant bathtub, not a fancy font :-) Dad insisted today that it was held at the Church. I said "no, it was at the house". "How would you know, don't tell me you REMEMBER your baptism at 3 months of age..." So, to settle it, George fetched the photos. He started chuckling and said, "you're right, the Church doesn't have wallpaper". :-)

Wallpaper is a humorous point for the two of us. My mother is an expert wallpaper hanger and did it everywhere. I hate wallpaper for the most part. So, 42 years later, we are still laughing as the wallpaper proved where the event was held. In future, my kids will look at photos with paint in the background, and will have to remember which color the room was that year ;)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Do You Ever Get the Feeling...?

Do you ever get the feeling that you are spinning your wheels trying to make something happen that you KNOW should happen, or WANT to happen, but it just doesn't? It is akin to beating your head against a brick wall. The exasperating thing is that no matter how many bruises or concussions you sustain trying to ram the situation to the outcome YOU desire...if the timing is off, it doesn't happen. SO, what do you do?

You WAIT. You move on and to the next situation. I am learning, in my wiser years, to live and let live. Pushing may get some results, but mainly ulcers, headaches, and disappointment. My dad is the perfect teacher of this concept. He is also my Jiminy Crickett...."why do you keep doing the same thing...."? Yes, I know, work SMART. It doesn't mean give up, it means to plan and not react. Follow through and read the signals.

Lesson learned...forward I go. Onward and upward!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New Washing Machine-on a budget

Yes, this is the debut of my new washing machine. It is a Whirlpool Cabrio II. It is supposed to use 71% less water, and has more settings than Carter has liver pills! I am trying to set the laundry room up for delivery, so my dining room stuff is in the kitchen, and the laundry room stuff is in the dining room. My bedroom stuff (painting my bedroom too) is in the hallway and living room. Thank goodness for a door off the laundry room to the back yard!

I shopped around, and finally went to a Rent-A-Center and asked about rental returns. These are washing machines that a former client rented and returned before paying it off. They are still under warranty and maintained. Instead of $900, I will pay $465 90 days same as cash :-) So, I will make payments for a week or two to allow for any problems with the washing machine, and then pay it off prior to the three month time frame. Furthermore, I can return it at any time prior to paying it off if I do not wish to keep it....I can deal with this. This will be the first "new" washing machine I have ever had. WOOHOO! Let the laundry begin!!!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Local Characters...

This week, the high school my three attend is conducting its yearly tests to show student progress. My sophomore takes all the tests, and the other two go to school later in the day after the testing is finished. This morning, my senior and I dropped off some donations before she went to school. One of our local characters, Ernie, was looking through the donations, and then through the garbage. He had his bags of cans on his 3 wheel Schwinn bicycle, his helmet, and his grimy overcoat. He is a man approaching 60 it seems, but looks to be 80. He makes his money beyond the social security he receives mowing local folks' lawns. He always wears the same coat, and is out in all types of weather, all times of day/night. He was not always at school, and was not shown a great deal of affection it seems growing up.

So, now, there is Ernie, that most people know is Ernie, rather harmless, and sweet, and oh so very alone. He talks to everyone, and then himself. You can smell him distinctly, but his smile can melt your heart. He tells you how "purty" you are. "Gee, you're purty" and chuckles. He then goes about his business and carries on.

How do we carry on? What do we whine about daily? Do we find solutions or create drama around our problems? My oldest daughter and I discussed this as we drove to her school. How do "characters" evolve, and become a part of our landscape? When do we not rescue people and just allow them to live out the existence they are in? Would he be better off if we did "help him" in a way we want to, or would he rather be in the existence he is in? Do we try and change people too much? These were the questions we pondered in our drive of about 12 blocks. It forced us to look inside ourselves and decide if we were truly happy, and if we needed any changing.

I decided I do. I signed up for a ballet class, and filled out my Financial Aide forms online. Here I go!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Where Have You Been?

I recently began asking myself where I disappeared to. Through all the work, raising three children on my own, paying bills, and just living, I lost my way for a while it seems. However...I'm baaaaccckkk.....muahahahaha! Yes, the focused, and adventurous self is finally back, confident and ready to move forward. I started to realize that when I average the age of my family longevity it is 86 years of age, give or take. I turn 42 this year. It is time to live the other half of my life contentedly and fully. Ballet classes (for me) begin on Thursday :-)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

In the Morning

When I was just beginning school, I still had to learn to tie my shoes. My sister is 23 months younger than myself, and learned before me. Mom put shoelaces on a chair rail, and showed us how to make the loops and such. I did not learn that way well. So, George tied my shoes. He tied them nice and tight, and made cool loops. I learned how to tie my shoes from him. I still remember him patiently tying my shoes before we hopped into the truck or car to make the journey to school in Orting. Usually, the Northwest Orient Airlines commercial came on with the gong in the background, and Paul Harvey "The Rest of the Story" came on the radio.

My mornings getting my kids off to school consist of radios or CD's playing in the home, three teens getting out the door to high school, and driving them with their projects and instruments to drop them off in front. Tying their shoes? That was me this time. How do I know? My dad and I make cool loops. We bring the shoelace towards us instead of away from us when making the knot...I generally see people tie the shoelace away instead of towards them. George left me marked for life with that loop...:-)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Humbled in the Parking Lot

Today, I made a run to the store, and while getting ready to exit the parking lot, I slowed as I allowed for the elderly gentleman to cross in front of me. He ended up not doing so. He was putting his shopping cart in the return aisle. He looked to be between 86 and 90 years of age, approximately 6'3" in height, slim, wearing tan slacks and a windbreaker jacket. He was stooped in posture a bit, and when he walked away, it appeared his knee bothered him, as he limped slightly. He had a smile on his face on this gorgeous and sunny day, and I was utterly humbled.

My youngest daughter and discussed him while watching the scene. He returned the cart, did not ask for assistance, use a cane or walker, and walked as uprightly as possible, with a spring in his step, despite his limp. Very rightly, daughter #2 stated "he probably served in WWII". I see so many of my generation and younger that complain about the smallest things, and are far too lazy to even return a cart. Would that more of mine, and the upcoming generation show this type of small, yet excellent example of how simply performing a polite and courteous task can make the world a better place. It shows respect and follow through. Traits I find sorely lacking in 2010.

Friday, March 5, 2010

What a difference a day makes!

Yes, what a difference a day makes! Fresh paint, oil changes, attitude adjustments, a good night's rest, a full day at the office, a workout to alleviate stress, and so much more. Every moment matters, and the older I become, the more aware of this I am.

In September of 2008, my cousin Kathleen was going in for a 16 hour surgery to remove liposarcoma from her abdomen. The evening of the surgery, she and I had our last conversation, laugh, and I love you. She was a kindred spirit, and a confidante. I could go to her and she would listen and understand. Whether she agreed didn't matter. We were likeminded in many ways, and had unconditional love for each other. The next day, she died on the operating table 7 hours into surgery. A day makes all the difference sometimes.

How will you LIVE today? I will welcome life with wonder, love, happiness and joy. Be Well!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Born To Be ALIVE!

So, today ended with bringing home fruit and veggies, and stowing them in the fridge. It began with "mom...can you take me to school?". Every day seemingly has a similar beginning and end. It is the time sandwiched in the middle that makes up the meat of the stories one lives out. The conquests, tragedy, laughable moments, and other such times. You blink, and the day has become a week, week a month, and months a past year. My goal is to be more in the moment "ALIVE" than simply muddling through to make it to the end of the day to repeat the routine. I keep hearing Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller..."Bueller? Bueller?"

Where was Bueller? Living, going a little nuts, yes, but living. Springtime is here, and I am shedding the shell I cocooned in. What moments do you intend to live in the near future? I will definitely LIVE my oldest daughter's graduation in June, the day after I turn 42...SCORE! There is so much to do, experience, and with zest. Let's get out there and do it...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Magic of a Manicure....

Today, I looked at my nails, and en route to make a deposit at the bank, decided to make a side trip to the nail parlor. It is always quite the study on human nature. Besides, my nails were due...

My 16 year old daughter was with me, and I treated her to one as well. My mother always did her own nails. I am without the talent to make mine look like anything other than a kindergarten failed art project.

As daughter and I sat observing everything and everyone, we giggled, made faces at each other, and relaxed. We are both outgoing and like to be athletic and intellectual. The femininity is always there, but understated. Today, we were utterly girly. It was fun!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ahhh, Mother Goose

"Hey Diddle Diddle, the Cat and the Fiddle, the Cow jumped over the Moon, the Little Dog laughed to see such sport, and the Dish ran away with the Spoon!"

Yes, I listened to my youngest play her viola last of her nicknames is Cat. The cow...I won't expound...:) Little Dog, my oldest was born in the year of the Dog, and was definitely laughing this morning. The Dish would be the son...his culinary class has a field trip today to Pike Place Market in Seattle...I would say the handsome young man is the Dish, running with the Spoon to Seattle for the day:) Me, the old mother? I am busy working on files and redecorating my boudoir. Quite happy so far with the results. Two walls are finished (color is Red Clay from Benjamin Moore), and then the Erte artwork is ready, along with the new bedframe and 1920's wardrobe/armoir, both courtesy of Craigslist. Time for my bedframe to be photographed to be posted there as well. Life is good...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chip off the old block...

Today marked the debut of my son's culinary arts class opening a bistro to the public. They create the menu, practice them, order for the expected crowd, prepare, serve, clean, cashier. All tips are to go to the program, and it was fantastic. A limited menu, open for one hour only, and well executed. No coffee or hot beverages though. George went with me today. He is observing lent, so he ordered the bruschetta. I had the pasta alfredo sans chicken. I have a little serving of chicken still in its to go souffle cup. Funny thing is not something I enjoy eating at all. Any fowl or fish for that matter. Bring on the beef, and the vegetarian cuisine. Those are my favorites.

It was nice to sit with dad. He just got his hearing aids, and I have to be careful what I say now. He hears everything. :-) Congratulations son! Now, lets get your web site up and running...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Oy! What's that in the fridge???

Well, I work full time, single mom, and tons of other jobs that I take on...chauffeur, personal banker to three teens, green grocer, housekeeper, plumber, personal shopper, etc. So, today when I opened up the fridge, and everyone else did too, and were able to sniff the odoriferous wafts coming from the abyss....and then closed the door waiting for the next one to clean it...I finally called in the parental authority (me). The "not me" ghost struck again, yet they all cleaned out the fridge. I was informed I need to go shopping again too....

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Life Lessons

Well, today is becoming one of contemplation. Viewing my own faults and weaknesses, along with strengths and fortes. Today I am laughing at things that a month ago would have really irked me. Keeping focused and staying positive is really a blessing.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mom Was Here

Yes, mom came over today for the first time in years. We are mending fences it seems. After spending the day working on a common goal, things came together it appears. The kids and she are doing well, she met the oldest daughter's boyfriend and liked him (he is terrific) and had a better idea of what her grandchildren are developing into now they are all over 16 years of age. We still have differences, which is of course, only natural. I am my father's daughter.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mom and Me

I have an interesting, diverse, TALENTED, and gorgeous mother. She has always epitomized class, integrity, and left you guessing what her next move would be. I always wanted her green eyes, her blonde hair, and thought I was not attractive. She resembles Tippi Hedron in The Birds, and that cool Scandinavian look is not mine. I inherited the Eastern European dark hair, that has migrated to blonde to cover my gray strands, the whisky colored eyes with a green ring on the outer rim, and I am a bit taller with a longer waist and athletic physique. Now, my daughters want to be pretty like their mom. It amazes me how we all suffer the same malady.

Today I saw my mother, at age 68, still lovely, articulate, and intelligent, in her office with my oldest daughter. Three generations chatting about life. She commented how the oldest has my mother's grandmother's nose, which is quite true, and the Eastern European cheekbones. She also has the green eyes from my mother. The only one out of the six grandchildren. They are a lovely olive toned green, a gift from the Irish side. She has struggled with her self image until recently. She is lovely, both inside and out. We also discussed our futures. Much is going to happen in the next year. It seems my mother will once again be playing an active role in launching some young adults into life. This is a good thing for all of us, as she has excellent guidance and knowledge to offer. I believe we have a lot of years ahead of growing as individuals, and as a family together.

Here's to us!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Stop and smell the roses...

That song was one of my favorites growing up. "You gotta stop, and smell the roses. You gotta count your many blessings every day. You're gonna find your way to heaven, is a rough and rocky road if you don't stop and smell the roses along the way".

Whenever I hear those lyrics ringing in my head, it makes me stop, and take stock of myself and where I am at in life with work, family, situations. Am I judging others unfairly, am I appreciating the laughter and beauty in the day? Even death provides a certain beauty and peace, along with humor in some cases. My Uncle Robert was buried with a great smirk on his face. One that I remember well. In our grief, we all had that humorous smirk to ease our tears, and set things right.

When the roses are budding, spring is here, in full bloom of the summer, we enjoy their fragrance and color, in the Autumn, the leaves lay dormant and begin to droop, Come winter, the blossoms are gone, and the plant is asleep, waiting to reawaken and begin the process anew. That is the essence of our own lives. However, I always have a memory of the fragrance of the rose in my mind. It is up to me to recall it in the winter to bring a little summer sunshine to my day. My parents taught me this as a child. It is a lesson I will always cherish, and put to use I hope, when my attitude needs adjusting.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Well, Wednesday has arrived again. My oldest is graduating high school in 4 months. All the fears that a parent has are beginning to arise within me. I am trying to quell them and move forward with life uninhibited by the alarms I keep hearing in my head. Will she be able to take care of herself, where will she live, have I shown her enough to get by in the "real world".

I detest overprotecting children to the point they are not prepared for life. I was discussing my anxiety with her advisor at school. She said "she simply needs to learn for herself by experiencing it". There we go. The lightbulb turned on. I can deal with that. I know George did with me. Holy Cow...did he ever!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sunshine On My Shoulder....

Yes, today the vista I awoke to had DARK and DREARY clouds. By the time I took the kids to school at 7:30, there was a distinct border coming through of blue sky peppered with white clouds. Now, at 11:00 a.m. PST, the sun is bright, it is nigh 50 degrees farenheit outside, and I love the feel of the warmth. Crazy to think that the Winter Olympics are taking place less than 200 miles North of me this very minute. While the rest of the country is going through an extremely cold weather, we are in the middle of a much warmer winter than usual. It is absolutely gorgeous!

I have always wanted to attend an Olympic Games. This may be the closest I come to the chance. If I can make it up, I will. There is one week left, yet, loads of commitments with work and kids. My passport is in place, we shall see. Just to walk through an Olympic Village would be a delight to me.

George called this morning after his long journey with the oldest yesterday. His concern was not for himself, I did not hear a single complaint. I heard a grandfather making certain the grandchildren were happy, healthy, and had enough rest. I am learning in experience to take the knowledge I gain from life, and try to transfer it to wisdom. Wisdom and tranquility. Growing up is difficult at times, yet what a relief when you stop playing the games that others become embroiled in. When you can step away from a situation, look at it analytically and rationally, sans emotion, what a relief it is to come to a decision based on fact instead of reaction and emotion. The best outcome generally comes when this is the process used. Not always the easiest path, but ultimately, the truest and best way. Thanks again dad for giving me the example to learn from. Your grandchildren are also exhibiting this maturity. Here's to Wisdom!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The 16 Year Old

Today, my youngest turned 16. She and George call each other "My Fellow Aquarian". Papa George called the young scoundrel this morning to wish her a happy birthday, as he was en route to my oldest daughter in Yakima to pick her up from a weekend long music program. Every time I hear other people talking about the negative experiences with their fathers growing up, I count my lucky stars that I was blessed with George, and he is the grandfather my children are growing up with. I do not think it possible for a father or grandfather to love more than George.

So, midget, scoundrel, ball of fire, youngest. She is itching to drive, pestering me for a permit. I think we will have to visit the DMV this week. That will mean all THREE teens would get permits simultaneously. I think the grey hair will come in with a vengeance with that occurrance. That is all right though. It is a right of passage and a necessity as well if you want to journey anywhere here in Washington State. The bus and train only go so many places. I foresee a driveway with cars that are not registered in my name in my future, and young adults venturing off to see the world :-) The future is waiting to be written....ahhh, 16. Happy Birthday Kid!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day, Now and Then...

I have always loved Valentine's Day. The cutout hearts, the paper doilies you can embellish them with, the sentiment behind the day itself. Every day would be better if we treated people with the love that this day appears to evoke.

I had my text of "Happy Valentine's Sweetie" and it made me smile. Today is my younger cousin's birthday, and tomorrow, my youngest turns 16. Friday was my oldest sister's birthday, and the 8th, was George's. Lots in one week, for certain. Do I expect anything today? Not at all. Do I appreciate the daily Valentines I receive? Absolutely. The day itself is, or can be, somewhat forced. The daily proof of "I love you" that I receive from family and friends is what I cherish, and this day is simply set aside to reflect and appreciate those memories.

George had a phone call from me this morning. I woke him up :-) Oh yeah, I was up first this time. That is not always the case. He enjoys catching me lying in and boasting how long he has been up. It has always been the case. The "Rise and Shine Morning Glory" that he would wake us up with as kids. Mom would always be cooking or baking something, and KOMO radio AM 1000 with Larry Nelson was always on in the mornings. Those are my memories.

Now, my kids? I have three teens that are all in high school. I stay out of their way until it is time to drive them to school. Then, when they are safely delivered, I have a coffee or tea, and the bathroom to myself, it is my time to breathe deeply, relax, and move on with my day. What will my future Valentines hold when they are gone? A quiet, a calm, a lack of bustle, but hopefully, a phone call or email telling me they love me. Again, it doesn't have to be on Valentines, I will take it when I get it, and appreciate it.

Enjoy the day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Blonde Bomber

My dad had, and has good taste. George always had a talent for finding one of a kinds. One that he found, was my mother, Caroline. They divorced in 1986, but between them, raised 5 very individual, and creative people. We always had music in the house, whether it was Benny Hill on the television with his nutty skits, or my mom and her Billie Holliday, Classical and Opera, Church pieces in Russian or English, playing the piano, French horn, saxophone, clarinet, flute, etc. All five of us played an instrument and/or sang. The radio was always going, and when it fell silent, it was generally because mom was grilling us on words for the spelling bee. "The Latin root IS????" "The Greek root IS????" It was fantastic training for learning French and Spanish in school, and remembering spelling rules. If only I learned Algebra and Geometry that well. You can't be gifted at everything though :-)

When I learned to drive, my mother was the assigned parent to my training. George did not have the patience, as explained in an earlier post. Nor, did George necessarily have the time. Carol was the driving coach by default. She learned how to drive from her dad in her early teens. She also used to drag race for local car clubs in the late 50's and early 60's. She sang at a place called The Spanish Castle in the 1960's, and I have been recognized by people who knew her from those days, because of a resemblance that she just doesn't see.

The drag racing stories came out when I was learning to drive a manual transmission in the 1980 Pinto when I was 16. It became my car when I was 21, but it was what I learned to drive in when I first started. I did the unthinkable one morning. I died at the stoplight. There my mother sat, "embarrassed" to be "left at the light". She patiently explained how to keep it in neutral while waiting, then slip it into first gear, and double clutch when the light went green. I mastered it, and have never forgotten that lesson. The Blonde Bomber, my mother's racing nickname it turns out, can drive like a Bat out of...yeah, that hot place. She is in her mid sixties now, still youthful looking and young at heart. Her exclamations of "Hot Dog" when something good happens ring in my memory archives, especially when I double clutch in a manual transmission, and don't get left at the light....

Thanks George for choosing my classy, nutty, and compassionate mother. She is definitely a one of a kind...just like you.

Memories of a Daughter

Well, it is Saturday, and I have been very productive. I picked up the paint for my bedroom (fresh clay from Benjamin Moore), did my marketing for the weekend, and took my youngest daughter to her favorite Thai restaurant. It is amazing to watch your mini-me's turn into the adults they are destined to become. The epiphany that your mom and dad also went through this with you at some point in your own growth can make one feel aged, since it was only yesterday you were your child's age, right?

I look at photos of my parents, then myself, then my daughters and son. I am reminded of Doris Day's hit Que Sera Sera. "When I was just a little girl, I asked my mother, what lies ahead...will I be pretty, will I be rich...?" Yes, whatever will be, will be. That is the hardest part of growing up, what IS going to be? I answer questions about that all the time with my children. Just as George and my mother, Caroline, answered, and still do, with me. I am still their daughter, and my children will always look to me (I hope) for answers, and sound advice. Or, to even just be a sounding board for their thoughts and emotions.

I remember going into labor with my oldest, not knowing the gender, and my mother, Caroline came in to soothe me. I looked at her, all modesty gone with the splitting pain, and asked her if she was crazy to have gone through this five times. Her answer was that we were worth it. That is the truth. The kids are worth it. No matter the anger or the frustration or sadness we feel as a result of the kids' actions, the joy in their coming out as their own individual with so much to offer the world, is the reward.

George's mother used to talk about her Georgie that wore a bright red hat so that as he wandered around the farm, they knew where he was at all times. His stories of trying to fly by putting wings on the wagon, hauling it up the roof of the butcher shed, and then landing in the blackberry bushes....we are lucky we survive childhood at all.

This daughter remembers laughter at stories, eating at restaurants and mixing up the soda flavors and serving them to dad, who said "wow, that's interesting" and never made you feel stupid for trying to pull one over on him. Mom singing in her operatic voice to different arias, and then transitioning to Gershwin or Streisand without any apparent effort. I remember the Girl Scouts, PTA haunted houses, elaborate costumes for Halloween, and playing softball. Dad insisted we wear long pants so that when we slid, our legs were not scarred, and I learned to hold dirt in my fists to keep my hands closed sliding under a tag. Encouragement and love abounded.

Thanks Mom and Dad. I hope my kids can all say the same one day.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Grandpa George

Well, today, Papa George drove his granddaughters to Yakima, WA. My oldest is in the All State Choir that performs on Monday, and Grandpa was all too happy to make the drive, and take his "fellow Aquarian" as a co-pilot while they navigated their way over the Snoqualmie Pass with the Chanteuse as the celebrated passenger. It was the girls' first time on the Eastern side of the Cascade Mountains. I kept receiving text messages as they came to other places. We make the journey again on Monday to pick her up from her 4 day Chorale experience. Papa George will again do the driving.

He played for the Yakima Bears and the Wenatchee Chiefs, as well as the Seattle Rainiers. He and I have journeyed places over the years and I have been well regaled with stories of those days. It has never ceased to amaze me how each step in life leads us in a direction of unknown opportunities. It just depends on if we pick up the options that will benefit us, or leave them for someone else to experience. I am eagerly waiting to hear from the youngest daughter about her day with Grandpa. They are two peas in a pod and always have great times together. When I count my blessings, my three kids and my dad are always uppermost on the list.

I had a telephone call from a culinary school looking for my son. He is taking it in high school courses now. Puyallup has a state of the art kitchen and program. They are also learning the catering aspect, pricing of food, filling out their own orders, etc. How to run a kitchen basically. Son had to practice making crepes. Where did we go??? Papa George of course. He sat there, complained about the carbs of course, and encouraged him in his presentation and preparation. He did beautifully. He didn't win the competition, however, he certainly can make one heck of a crepe. Just ask George....

Thursday, February 11, 2010

George's Cars, oh boy!

My dad, George, was born in 1936 to his Slovakian farming parents. He was the 7th of 8 children, the first to graduate high school (1954). Having grown up during WWII and on the tail end of the Great Depression, he had a solid background in appreciating the value of a dollar. That, along with the values passed on to him by his parents laid the foundation for a wonderful life. Making the right decision isn't always the most beneficial monetarily, but you can definitely look yourself in the mirror with a clear conscience. Peace of mind is priceless.

Dad loves cars, like most men. I am going to be posting some of his memories that he listed in sequential order of ownership.

1936 Chevrolet 2/D Sedan
My very first car. I bought it from my dad for $150.00 that I saved up from cleaning out barns and working in the summer for our dairy neighbors, the Solers, Grabs, and Ericksons. This was a great car, and Pa bought it new the year I was born. Had one little dent in a rear fender but only had 50,000 miles on it. I didn't like its styling and wanted a V8. I was young and stupid. This car was grey in color and ran like a dream.

1931 Ford Model A coupe with rumble seat
Made a big mistake when the timing gear went out on the Chevy and I traded it straight across for this cute little Model A. Had a lot of fun in it but it certainly wasn't the car the Chevy was. Sold it to my friend Gene Remington (Jughead). This car was a faded white in color. It had a jump seat in the rear where you would normally look for a trunk. The metal floor in that section was completely rotted out, so if you rode back there, you were looking down at the drive shaft and road. I used to retard the spark, turn off the engine, and then turn it back on again while driving down the highway. It would let off a loud backfire and emit a bright flash up through the rusted out rumble seat area. This all came from the exhaust pipe which ended just below the rumble seat. Used to scare the heck out of most of the kids I would coax to ride back there so I could initiate them.

1937 Ford 2/D sedan with V8 engine and mechanical brakes
Bought this car from Mr. Soler our neighbor for $125.00. It was in great shape and very fast but had mechanical brakes that could lead to disaster and nearly did several times. I drove this car to High School, and one day, couldn't stop at my parking spot in front of the school and knocked down a steel railed fence. I am lucky I didn't get killed in this car! This car was gray in color. Another time I had three other kids in the car ,and was stopped at an intersection near Buckley. I floored the engine pedal and popped the clutch; the transmission gears dropped all over the highway. I made up some far out excuse and told Pa I should have kept his car. (True!)

1953 Chevrolet Bel Aire 2/D Hardtop
This was my very first really super nice car. I had graduated from High School and was working construction, driving logging truck and had several other miscellaneous jobs. I traded my Ford in and borrowed the balance (around $1,800) from my dad. I had this car for about two years and through my first year in professional baseball. It was a baby crap brown with an Ivory top and trim. A great little car and one of my favorites. I purchased it from Paulson Motors, a new car Chevrolet dealer in Puyallup. It was the owner's wife demo.

I always enjoy reading about other's past experiences, and seeing how they formed who the person is now. My first car was a 1980 Pinto with a moon roof. I was 21, and it had been my sister's before becoming mine. Dad taught me how to drive his 1969 Dodge Pick up when I was 16. It had a great air horn that I loved. I performed a California Stop, his knuckles gripped the door, his nostrils flared and went white, and in a quiet, even tone, he told me "get out of the car". I did. He has let me drive him maybe three times in the last twenty years...

I Am George's Daughter


George is my dad. He is now 74 years of age, retired from real estate and banking, played AAA baseball in the 1950's as a pitcher, served a stint in the US Army, and grew up on a 100 acre farm as the son of Slovakian immigrants. Yes was always yes, and no was always no, unless you knew how to negotiate ;)

I have split logs and hauled wood, helped take care of 13 head of Hereford cattle, danced with ethnic dance groups, learned to sing in Greek, Russian, English and other languages, played "burn out" with dad (basically 'mercy' to see who would give up first from how hard the throw hit the glove), competed in marketing and music while in school, survived cancer, raised 3 children as a divorced mother for 15 years, and laughed, cried, loved and raged with and at my father. This blog is a tribute to ALL the father's who encourage their sons and daughters to follow the straight path, reach for their dreams, and encourage them in their life, without victimizing them by trying to exert control. My hat is off to these men. My belief, and hope, is that there are many more men in this world like what I have just described, than we, as a public, hear about from the media stories that saturate the airwaves.

Since I am not certain where to begin, I guess I will start by sharing last year's surprise party I threw for him, at his house. In one week, I planned and invited people from his childhood, working years, and our family to "drop in" on Gorgeous George for a surprise party. We had recently lost his niece, my cousin, to cancer, and she would have loved the idea. I had experienced too many funerals and weddings where we see family, but never any recent gatherings "just because". So, with the pledge of secrecy, and everyone wanting to surprise my dad, I went shopping with my three kids, purchased the food for around 100 people, and hauled it over to his house. He was so trusting that all he asked was "gee, you better be taking this home when we are done, there are too many carbs here. What did you do? Invite your cousin Ed over?" Yeah, right guy is going to make up the difference from 5 people eating as opposed to 100.

His house is meticulously clean, so, just to make certain, I checked the bathroom before guests arrived, and started setting out food on the dining room table. Unleashed the Chinette plates and all the other disposable dinnerware, and tasked out my three teens to keep him busy while I diffused his questions. It was ready, and all the people were set to show up. I had mentioned "open house" style with no set schedule. If anyone had to leave and just wanted to pop in, that was fine. The first to ring the doorbell were two of three sisters that knew my dad since infancy. They were from a neighboring farm and our families have known each other for approximately 80 years. That was when Gorgeous George figured it out. He turned to me in shock and said "I'm going to get you". We all laughed, and the consummate host that is my dad emerged, and enjoyed himself. There were calls from Alaska, North Dakota and emails. Not a single person that didn't make it made the excuse that they had anything other than the desire to be there. I have never met anyone that balked when hearing who my dad is. I usually get the response of a broad smile, a relaxing of posture, and a special George story that they have. We had a wonderful time, and about 46 people showed in all.

This year, it was just the kids and I. Dad threatened to leave town if I tried it again :-) Curiously though, he did buy security cameras two weeks before his birthday. He returned them right after his birthday though. I believe it was really because he never wanted to be surprised on his birthday again. What do you think?????