Thursday, December 23, 2010

2010 It Was A Very Good Year for Family and Friends

A Twisted Christmas Carol

Recently Larry and I had dinner with a group of friends to celebrate the holiday season and one last chance to get together before the New Year arrives. After enjoying a casual meal downtown Bellingham at Bob’s Burgers and Brew we returned to the home of one of the couples to enjoy homemade desserts, a gift exchange, and play a few games which concluded with charades.

We laughed till it hurt, the women accused the men of cheating because they got all the easy charades to act out, and of course the men won. At the end of the evening I secretly gathered up all the slips of paper and took them home to see if I could somehow work them into a Christmas poem. I managed to use all but two: You just received a puppy for Christmas and Elf making a toy. So this poem is called “A Twisted Christmas Carol”.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Seeing Santa as a child for the first time
Picking and cutting a tree
Christmas tree
Tying the tree to a car roof
Christmas lights
Making a Christmas list for Santa
Jingle bells
On my shoes
On the porch
Hanging over the door
Hanging on the door
Lots of presents
Playing winter games
Snowball fights
Riding a ski lift
Cross country skiing
Or a
Plane ride
Building a fire in the fireplace
Planning on
Leaving milk and cookies for Santa
Sneaking in and checking your presents before Christmas
I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus
Sampling the cooking sherry
Making a pie
The bird
And cooking the
Cranberry sauce
Daddy getting slacks too tight
Made it hard to itch because
Santa has Rudolf’s fleas in his pants
As he was
Climbing down a ladder
In a
Grandma got run over by a reindeer
Was it
Following behind
Pulling a sleigh
Holding the real
Santa Claus
And an
Dressed as
To all
And to all a goodnight
And if I am really good
I’ll be
Getting a toy electric train for Christmas
And you’ll be
Getting your first bike with training wheels

Thursday, December 16, 2010

3M Pink ATG (Advanced Tape Glider)

So my husband, who is almost retired, just has to clean out his office and wait for midnight December 31st, and has no work to do right now, is all mine. The honey do list begins. #1 I hate to drive at night and didn’t read my email until late in the afternoon so if I was going to cash in on Michael’s craft store 12 days of Christmas Thursday special, I was going to have to talk Larry into driving me to the store after dinner.

So now I am the owner of the new 3M pink advanced tape glider with 72 yards of doubled sided tape. I remember seeing artist who had the big yellow heavy duty industrial version and thinking wow! This little pink version was half off today, smaller and easier to use, and because of the pink color which I really like anyway, a donation will be made to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Now I have more than enough glue tape to play in my studio and more important I can use this when I am teaching the scrapbooking class with the GRADS teen parent program once a month.

I love a good bargain!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Woodring's Larry Marrs to retire Dec. 31 after long career at WWU

The following article appeared Dec. 7th, 2010 in Western Today, news and inforamtion for the Western Washington University community.

by:  Matthew Anderson, Western Today editor

Larry Marrs, a longtime administrator at Woodring College of Education, will retire from Western Washington University as of Dec. 31.

Marrs served as dean of Woodring for 15 years, from 1984 to 1999, and has been a Woodring professor and director of the college's Professional Development Resource Center since 2005.

From 1999 to 2005, Marrs was executive director of the North Snohomish, Island and Skagit Counties Higher Education Consortium.

Marrs also served as vice provost for University Extended Programs, from 1990 to 1991, and assistant vice president for Academic Affairs from 1989 to 1990.

"I've really enjoyed my time here," Marrs says, "both as a teacher and an administrator."

Marrs' current class, EDUC 297C, capitalizes on his experience with Communities in Schools of Whatcom County, where he co-chairs the board. Marrs helps his students understand issues in organizing and providing services to children, families and schools, the goal being that Western students would help implement systemic changes throughout schools and their surrounding communities.

"We've got really bright and exciting students in the program," Marrs says. "They just dive into anything I ask."

During his time as dean of Woodring College, Marrs oversaw the creation of the Center for Regional Services, Woodring's outreach and continuing education arm. The center provided for off-campus instruction of thousands of students annually and generated more than $4.8 million per year in external support of college faculty, staff and programs.

"We went from teaching 30 or 40 classes each year to teaching several hundred out in schools and community service centers," Marrs says. "And in doing so we generated revenue to use on campus in the college while providing access to Woodring’s programs for people who were place-bound and could not attend school in Bellingham."

But the Center for Regional Services isn't the only program Marrs had his hands in over the years. Among other programs, Marrs also created the Center for Educational Pluralism, the Center for Interactive Multimedia for Education and Training, the National Rural Development Institute, the Woodring College of Education Advancement Office, the Center for Global and Peace Education, and the Center for Family Supportive Schools and Communities.

Some of his federally funded projects and programs included: The National and Rural Small Schools Research Consortium, the National Rural Independent Living Network, and the Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to use Technology grant.

Marrs also helped establish satellite instructional centers at Everett, Port Angeles, Seattle, Olympia, Bremerton and Oak Harbor and initiated undergraduate and graduate degree programs in collaboration with community colleges and The Evergreen State College.

Marrs says he'll miss the colleagues he's gotten to know so well during two decades at WWU. Woodring faculty and staff are well respected in their fields, he says.

"We've employed some really good faculty and staff in Wooding," he says. "We were able to bring in top-notch people because of Western's reputation and geography."

In retirement, Marrs plans to stay active locally with Communities in Schools, but he'll take some time for himself, too. He plans to do a lot more hunting, fishing and riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Thankful for Thanksgiving in California

Saturday 11-20-2010

When you look out your window at Mt. Baker glistening in the east, covered in a blanket of snow, you think how beautiful and picturesque it is. When that snow is covering your lawn and driveway and quickly turning to a sheet of ice, the beauty of the picture perfect postcard begins to fade. Freezing temperatures, a northeaster out of the Canadian Frazier Valley brings the wind chill in the teens and the snow is blowing across the yard in a fast and furious flurry causing a white out. This is what I woke up to Saturday morning, the day before I was to fly to California to spend Thanksgiving with my mom, my oldest son James, my sister Mary, nephews and nieces. All the last minute errands are cancelled due to slippery roads and multiple accidents on the roads. This front is moving south and my only concerns are airport conditions and if my planes can fly.

We braved the roads and went to church to hear Ryan and Sara Hall speak about running, the 26.2 project, and what God has done in their lives and where he is leading them in the future.

We stopped at Haggen’s to pick up dinner after church and a sandwich for me to take on the airplane tomorrow. We spent a quiet evening watching television and talking. My bags are packed and I just have to have faith that I will be able to fly out to California tomorrow.

Sunday 11-21-2010

Larry and I read the Sunday paper and had our morning coffee in our cozy study with a warm fire blazing while I occasionally checked outside the bay window to check on the weather. It’s time to leave for the airport and I’m already checked in on-line so we can stay home a little longer and I won’t have to sit in the portable waiting area longer than necessary.

At the airport I find out my plane from Bellingham will arrive at the “C” gates and my next flight departs from the “N” gates. I have thirty minutes from landing to take-off. I’ll just have to wait and see if I make my flight or catch the next one out. As I stood in the waiting area I saw Ryan Hall also waiting to board the same flight o Seattle. A team of runners from Modesto was also boarding the plane and they slowly began to notice Ryan Hall was going to be on our flight and began whispering amongst themselves. Many of them weere in church last night to hear Ryan Hall speak, and the rest missed a great opportunity.

Our plane took off on the new runway at the Bellingham airport and as we neared Seattle the snow began to fall. We sat on the tarmac for at least ten minutes and all I could think about was missing my next flight. I waited for my carryon bag and then I ran up the C concourse, down the escalator, took the tram and made 2 stops, up the escalator, down the N concourse to find a sign that my flight was departing from the C concourse. The rude gate attendant said I had eight minutes to get back to my gate and she wouldn’t call ahead and said we’ll just put you on the next flight if you miss this one. With tears in my eyes I walked as quickly as I could because I was fighting a burning headache on the right side of my face from the stress and I was too exhausted to run anymore. I was the last one to board at my gate when I arrived. There was no room in the overhead bins when I finally go on board, and as I tried to rearrange the overhead bin near over my seat, some of the other passengers began to get angry. Oh well, what was I to do--one guitar taking up three bags spaces is just not right.

It was 27 degrees in Bellingham when I left and it will be 55 degrees when I get to Oakland according our pilot. Of course right after he said this he told us they were checking the plane to see if they needed to de-ice it before take-off; take-off….would there be such a thing?

10,000 feet and I can finally get up to get a cough drop out of my bag and get my sandwich. As carefully as I tried to be, somebody else’s cane falls out of the bin onto a passenger and she lets me know she is angry with me, even as I apologize. I can only do so much and God knows I tried to be careful and it wasn’t on purpose but now the other passengers around me are roused up again. I can’t win. I give up. They should have heard Pastor Bob’s messages about “grace,” and given me just a little. My stomach is in knots and I am exhausted. My coughs won’t stop and that will probably cause my fellow passengers who seem to watch my every move now, to panic. Sleep….a short nap…something I need.

My plane landed a few minute early so I bought a diet Pepsi and sat outside in the 55 degree weather (with my coat on) and enjoyed the sunshine while I waited for my sister, Mary, and my mom to pick me up. This was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow…somebody here loves me.

We headed home and stopped at BJ’s for dinner. Soup and salad for dinner then home for mom’s homemade peach pie for dessert.

Monday 11-22-2010

The sun is shining but the forecast is for a chance of showers for most of the week. Rain is better than freezing wind. Mom and I went to Mary’s to have lunch with Melissa and Samantha. Mary’s house is mostly decorated for Christmas. Richard has been busily working away on a black, silver, purple, and green color scheme throughout the house, including the outside porches. It’s beautiful. Sami had to work, so she left and the rest of us headed to Wal-Mart. Mary bought Melissa some scrapbooking supplies, mom had her own cart full of baking supplies, and I got out of the store without buying anything. Back to Mary’s to get candy to make fudge. Eight huge (!) boxes of candy we sorted through, about 240 pounds of candy, to find Hershey bars to melt down for the fudge base.

Kelly called several times during the day and left text messages for Mary and me as well as voice messages saying, “I need more grandma recipes.” Next week I will scan mom’s cookbook and update the digital copy for the family.

Mom has a large bowl of my favorite cabbage slaw made up and that is what I will have for dinner with some leftover homemade pie. Mom and I played canasta until midnight.

Tuesday 11-23-2010

It’s raining at mom’s and snowing in the mountains (far away mountains). A cup of coffee for me and hot chocolate for mom as we watched the morning news, and chatted before starting to make cookies for Tyler who is in Afghanistan.

Later I followed Mary to get her car worked on. We bought bubble wrap for the cookies, got USPS boxes, and picked up mom’s vacuum cleaner from the repair shop. The sun is out and the sky is filled with clouds and the car battery died so we made a stop at Sears to have it replaced and had lunch at the mall. We did a little window shopping before returning to mom’s to make fudge for Tyler. Mary headed home to work on her house for her upcoming holiday parties. Mom and I had homemade corn and vegetable chowder for dinner with salad and berry cobbler for dessert.

Mary came over and we watched the finale of Dancing with the Stars and then played canasta. The temperatures are going to get to freezing so I helped Mary turn off the outside water pipes and wrap the ones that need to stay on.

We didn’t make these cookies for Tyler this time but mom said they are good and gave me the recipe:

Potato Chip Cookies

1 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. baking soda
2 c. flour
2 c. finely crushed potato chips
1 pkg. butterscotch chips

Mix shortening, sugars, and eggs together until creamed. Then add remaining ingredients to the creamed mixture. Drop walnut size cookies on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Makes 4-5 dozen.

Wednesday 11-24-2010

The sun is shining but there is frost on the ground and the deck rails are glistening in the early morning hours. We packed 12 dozen cookies and fudge for Tyler to mail this morning and one large box of magazines from my mom to Kelly. Mom made cornbread for the Thanksgiving dressing, two pumpkin pies, a pineapple and coconut pie, jell-o salads, and lot of iced tea.

I went to the post office to mail the boxes and then had lunch with Mary and her friends before we went to CFE storage to drop off donations. I checked my email at Mary’s before heading back to mom’s. The freeway wasn’t too busy for 5:00 PM rush hour traffic on the eve of a busy holiday.

I wrapped a Christmas present for Jim, stacked up and folded fabric upholstery samples Mary gave me to take home and then mom and I had dinner and played cards. Michael called to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving. The news said more freezing temperatures tonight; the Canadian cold snap has followed me. Maybe I could fly off to Vegas to see Kelly and Kyler and if it gets too cold there, maybe Michelle would let me come visit in Arizona.

Thursday 11-25-2010 Thanksgiving

Mom was already up and working on fixing Thanksgiving dinner and had a pot of coffee ready for me when I walked into the kitchen. I got the turkey ready to go in the oven while mom prepared yeast roll dough. The giblets are cooking, the sweet potato casserole is prepared, the potatoes peeled for cooking and mashing.

It could have almost been a disaster day. A few weeks ago we replaced mom’s stove and today her microwave gave out, blew out black smoke, and said I quit after 29 years of service. We turned on the fans, bathroom exhaust, opened the doors, opened both of the garage doors, and aired the house out. Good thing mom still had her table top convection oven. It’s always the unexpected you can’t prepare for and have to work around. What more could happen? Ants. We sprayed inside, outside and they were gone. Or at least we thought they were gone. We held them at bay, confined to one small section of the end cabinet just to get through the day.

Haley and Freddy came about 1:00 PM to visit. We were stop #2 of 4 for their day. Freddy had a slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream before they left and even though Harley didn’t want any, she let Freddy share with her. That’s the way it goes.

Jaimie arrived just as Haley and Freddy were leaving. Jamie came with a friend who brought mom white roses with dark pink tips, just beautiful. Michael C arrived and then Poncho and Richard came in just after Michael. Mary had a headache and didn’t feel like coming, so she is staying home. Dinner was just about to be served when Justin and Brandi arrived from Monterey. Sami and Randy arrived and there was still plenty of food left. Everyone has second or third places to visit so soon everyone was gone except Justin, Brandi, mom, and me. We talked about family, where the future would take Justin and Brandi…and then Jim and Heather arrived before J&B needed to head to Pittsburg to see more family members.

Jim and Heather stayed until about 8:30 PM before they headed home to feed the animals and get ready for work the next day. Now mom and I are left to sort through the black Friday ads. We decided there wasn’t anything we needed enough to make us get up and go shopping at midnight, or 2:00 AM, 4:00 AM, 7:00 AM, or even 9:00 AM.

I will go to Michael’s craft store and Joann’s fabrics sometime tomorrow afternoon to browse, but not expecting any door buster specials to be left, and that’s ok.

The house is empty and we spray for ants again.

The ants go marching one by one. (Hurrah, hurrah!)

The ants go marching one by one. (Hurrah, hurrah!)

The ants go marching one by one, the little one stops to suck his


And they all go marching down around the town.

The ants go marching two by two tie her shoe.

The ants go marching three by three climb a tree.

The ants go marching four by four shut the door.

The ants go marching five by five take a dive.

The ants go marching six by six pick up sticks.

The ants go marching seven by seven go to heaven.

The ants go marching eight by eight jump the gate.

The ants go marching nine by nine scratch his spine.

The ants go marching ten by ten say, "The end."

Friday 11-26-2010

Mom had hot chocolate and I had my usual cup of coffee. Mary called and I went to meet her at Joann fabrics--with coupons. Not bad…about one hour and we were out the door. I stopped at Starbucks for another cup of coffee on my way back to mom’s while Mary took her purchases back to her house.

Mom was ready for round II at Joann’s in Pittsburg with Mary and me. We each took a shopping cart and we were off. Three hours later they finally called our number for the cutting table. We got back to the house right before Melissa arrived for dinner. We had turkey leftovers, fresh homemade biscuits, Mary’s homemade sweet pickles, pickled green beans, and pie. A nice time chatting and laughing. Melissa left about 7:30 PM and we watched Wheel of Fortune before getting down to the business of playing canasta. We played till about midnight before giving in to yawns; and mom beating us. Tomorrow is another day.

Saturday 11-27-2010

It’s raining and overcast but warmer than the last few days. Water rationing is still in effect although the restrictions are not as tough as they were a few months ago. The rain is needed for the garden and the snow will maybe fill the reservoirs next spring when the snow pack melts removing water rationing permanently or until the next dry spell.

After coffee and hot chocolate with my mom I drove to Michael’s crafts since I didn’t make it there yesterday. I needed to get the rest of my gift for the family gift exchange game that takes place after Christmas each year. We won’t be there, but I make sure Larry and I have gifts in the pile and someone plays for us. I’ll finish Larry’s gift Monday or Tuesday when I go to the Harley store in Walnut Creek.

I went to Mary’s for a little while to check my email, picked up a pizza for dinner, and then back to mom’s where we continued to fight ants. The kitchen has been stripped of food and containers that are now piled up on the dining room table. The ant traps are out and hoping tomorrow the ants will be gone.

Mom and I played canasta before bed.

Sunday 11—28-2010

There were only a few ants at a new place in the kitchen so we sprayed and hoped that they would be gone when we get home from church. Mom attends Bethel Baptist Church and it is small and just about everyone knows everyone else. It’s been a long time since I heard Jesus Loves Me sung in church and it brought back many childhood memories of Sunday school. Mary met us at the house after she got out of church and we went out to lunch, a Sunday afternoon ritual for mom and Mary. A quick stop at Home Depot for more ant control products and then back to the house to read the Sunday paper and take a nap.

Refreshed and ready to go we went to Brentwood to the HomeGoods store looking for more of the special battery operated candles that change colors. Success! Next T.J.Maxx and then Joann’s fabrics. We bought a lot of fabric this weekend and Mary doesn’t sew and I don’t have a sewing machine. Wonder what we will do with our stash. Mom is making aprons and potholders. In & Out Burgers for dinner. We don’t have an In & Out at home and Mary sent a picture of where we were to Kelly knowing this is one of her favorite places to eat out.

Home again, home again, that’s what the ants are saying. Tomorrow the exterminator will come!

Before bed I sat up reading for a while and found this recipe in one of mother’s magazines.

Never Fail Chocolate Cake (Or Beat it 1,375 times Cake)

1 c. shortening
2 c. sugar
4 tbsp. cocoa
3 eggs
1 c. buttermilk
3 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda dissolved in 1 c. boiling water
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream shortening and beat 125 times. Add sugar and beat 125 times till fluffy. Add cocoa and beat 125 times. Add eggs 1 at a time and beat 125 times after each egg. Add 1/3 c. of buttermilk and 1 c. of flour and beat 125 times, before adding more ingredients in each measurement. Dissolve baking soda in hot water and add to batter and beat 125 times. Add vanilla and beat 125 times.

Pour into a 9X13 inch greased pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

I think I might try this and use my electric mixer and this will equal 50 seconds with each addition if 150 hand beats equals 1 minute. Much easier and quicker.

Monday 11-29-2010

From the patio doors in the bedroom I can look out to the garden in the backyard. Most of the plants have died back and gone dormant for the cold fall and winter months but the alyssum ground cover gives the illusion of a green carpet covered with snow. The Mexican sunflower stands about five foot tall keeping watch over the garden with its bright cheery yellow blossoms. The pots with vegetables have all been brought into the laundry room to protect them from the freezing night and early morning temperatures. Spring comes quickly in California and by February everything will be sprouting and starting to bloom. I miss the longer growing season in CA, and some the plants that WA calls annuals are perennials in CA.

The sun is out but it’s cold. Off to Costco to fill the gas tank in the car and get a few things for mom. Lowes for a packing box (Mary always has a load of goodies for me to take home) plus whatever I buy while I am visiting. Next stop is Mary’s to start scanning mom’s cookbook. The nieces and nephews are growing up and it will be fun to share a copy of the cookbook filled with family favorites for the younger family members, nieces and nephews who are growing up, moving out, getting married. This is a cooking memoir of love from their grandmother, how she fed her family.

Mary fixed a pot roast with roasted vegetables that she sent home with me for dinner. Her house smelled wonderful and mom and I didn’t have to cook.

Tuesday 11-30-2010

The skies are grey and dark as I pulled back the blinds to let the morning light into the bedroom. It will get to the 50’s but it looks like it will be a slow start to get there and not long lived after it arrives. There is a slight breeze blowing but nothing like the 65 mph winds they were expecting at home in Washington last night.

The exterminator didn’t come yesterday and there are more ants today. I’m not sure where they are coming from but it’s hard for mom not to be able to cook and putter in her kitchen. Jerry and Laura will arrive in three weeks and I know mom would like to do a little baking and get things in the freezer and cook some casseroles to have ready. Looks like we will eat dinner out again tonight.

Off to the Harley shop in Walnut Creek to buy a gift that will be Larry’s family Christmas exchange gift. Every year he has something “Harley” and every year the guys steal it back and forth until someone wins the prize.

I finished scanning mom’s cookbook today so I can finish working on it when I get home. Mary already sent yesterday’s scan to my email account and I just sent the last batch.

Diggers for hamburgers. Mom’s favorite place to go.

Pastor Ken and Deacon Clint from her church came by to visit tonight. A nice thing to do from a small church.

Mom and I played canasta after they left.

December 1, 2010

Bug Zappers arrived to save the day. They sprayed the inside of the house and then the perimeter of the house. We needed to leave for three hours so we went to Mary’s house. Mary turned on the fireplace to take the chill off the living room and while she went to take care of some business mom had a stack of magazines and crossword number puzzles she brought with her and I checked my email.

We stopped by FedEx on the way home to mail my box, but I had to leave my new found favorite possession, a red brick with California written on it and weighing about eight pounds. It will have to wait to come home until we drive down for a visit.

I sort of feel like the country mouse and the city mouse today. My sister Mary is always attending an event or a function that requires her dress to up--awards, fundraisers; cocktail, semi-formal, or formal. Me, I’m just a jeans sort of girl with an occasional dress up event. Mary called before I packed for CA and said she had to go to an event and it was cocktail attire. Ok, I could do that and get the dress in my carry-on bag. After I arrived they told her it was semi-formal. Mary said no problem, she opened up the closets and said pick shoes (mine weren’t dressy enough for semi-formal) so I found Anne Klein open toe black leather heels, another closet held purses so I picked a black silk purse, drawers of vintage costume jewelry, a bracelet with gold and large brown stones and I was all set.

Tonight it is The Threads of Hope awards at the Blackhawk Car Museum honoring six people in five organizations in Contra Costa County that help those who need it most. My sister Mary was one of the first award winners in 1995 for founding Christmas For Everyone that feeds anyone who needs a meal on Christmas day, provides clothing, gifts, haircuts, music, and a joyful place to be with others celebrating Christmas. The wine was provided by Sterling Vineyards in Napa Valley and hors d’oeuvres were served before the awards ceremony and the evening was capped off with almonds covered in a thin coat of chocolate dusted with cocoa powder and the three time Grammy nominated Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir who sang for over half an hour. Gospel music, Christmas music, faith based music that made you clap and rejoice in the reason for the season.

Cinderella left the earrings, bracelet, purse, and shoes in the guest bedroom at my mom’s for my fairy god mother (Mary) to retrieve.

My bags are packed
I’m ready to go
My husband’s waiting
And so is the cat
The dog could care less
If I ever came home
The weather is warming
Or at least I hope it is
Now it’s just a decision
The airport scanner
Or a close encounter
With a TSA agent
And a body pat down
I’m checked in on-line
My ticket is printed
My seats are assigned
Now it’s 4, 5, 6 lanes of traffic
Down the freeway we go
Bumper to bumper
Now it’s up, up, and away
Bye bye NorCal
Hello Whatcom

Thursday 12-2-2010

7:45 AM and the air is still with barely a leaf moving in the early morning hours as the sun tries to peek through the grey clouds covering the city. Rain is in the forecast here in Ca and at home in WA. It’s hard to pack my clothes, close the zipper on the bags and leave my mom behind. This is always the hardest part no matter how long I stay, 1 week, 10 days, a month, it wouldn’t be enough.

I just need an enclave, someplace warm, a huge lottery to support us, and the whole family could be together. When you wish upon a star….

Mom never complains about anything except when it gets really cold…freezing outside. She quilts, uses her sewing machine, gardens when the weather permits, attends church, watches a few favorite television shows, works her puzzles to keep her mind sharp and alert, canasta to keep her winners crown, and cooks family dinners for the memories. At 93 ½ years old she can indulge in a snickers bar and her waist will never tell. One of the best complements I have ever received was at church Sunday when one of mom’s friends said I looked like her. Mom doesn’t look her age, has beautiful skin, and a more beautiful heart. May I continue to be more like her every day!

To scan or not to scan, that is the question. I was undecided right up until the moment I arrived at the airport security gate. Ok, I’ll just go for the scan. Not too bad. Then they have you wait 10 seconds while they check the scan…look at it real close…just what I need. Oh, do you have on any bracelets the TSA agent asked me? Yes I do on both arms I answered as I pulled up my sleeves, but isn’t that a silly question since they could see them on the scan. Sorry she says I’ll need to pat down your arms and upper body. Arms I can understand, well not really but anyway what’s with the upper body pat down. I wasn’t wearing a tummy chest/bracelet so I am not sure why I needed this part. I think they just might be making up the rules as they go. If I had taken my bikini with me on this trip, I could have worn it and bypassed the pat down like other women have been doing.

My plane was half an hour late arriving in Oakland but it all worked out because my plane to Bellingham was delayed an extra hour. That’s better than waiting for the plane that was delayed because mechanics needed to try and find out what was wrong with it and they kept announcing it would be ready shortly. Larry was waiting for me with hugs and kisses, a warm truck to ride home in, and iced tea.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Kyler's 1st Birthday...A Celebration

Sept. 1st, 2010

Happy birthday Kyler. It’s 5:15 AM, thirteen minutes after Kyler was born one year ago today, time to get up and get ready to fly to Las Vegas. My bus leaves Ferndale for SeaTac at 6:40 AM, with stops at the airport, Bellingham, Burlington, and Stanwood. The Bellingham airport is closed for three weeks for improvements to the runways so it is either take the bus or have Larry drive me to and from SeaTac.

Larry is staying home to take care of Ally and Deuce, and prepare for his fall class at WWU, while I fly off to celebrate Kyler’s 1st birthday.

Kyler was 2 pounds 15 ½ ounces and 15 inches long when he was born eleven weeks early. He was a strong baby from the day he was born, determined to survive; he is almost 7 times his birth weight at a little over 20 pounds, and twice his length. He is healthy, happy, and loved. He is trying to walk, crawling everywhere, and into everything. Praise God.

A year ago when I was desperately trying to get to Las Vegas as fast as I could, I didn’t know if my daughter Kelly survived the emergency c-section or if baby Kyler was alive. For a few hours it was the most excruciating torment I have ever gone through. When I arrived in Las Vegas and was taken directly to the NICU at Sunrise Hospital to see Kyler, I looked at his tiny little body and how perfect he was. Next stop was to see my daughter Kelly and hold her. My son-in-law Kyle was deployed and Kelly had gone through the anguish of a premature delivery and then not being able to even hold her son because he was transported to another hospital. Eleven weeks after Kyler was born, he was big enough to go home with his mom and dad and begin life as a family.

Now a year later we are celebrating Kyler’s first birthday. To look at him, you would never know that he was premature.

I closed my eyes after we left Bellingham and a half hour later we arrived in Burlington for a short stop. I dozed on and off all the way to SeaTac and had time after I arrived to get a cup of coffee and find some lunch to take on the plane with me.

Kelly said she was awake at 5:02 AM but Kyler only made a soft baby sound in his sleep and never woke up to celebrate his birth till several hours later. Kelly and Kyle sang happy birthday to him. They always sing to him so he might not have realized how special this day is to his parents.

Kelly and Kyler picked me up at the airport. When I opened the back door to the SUV to put my luggage in the car, Kyler could see me and smiled. A quick stop at Whole Foods to pick up the makings for dinner and a special birthday cupcake for Kyler and then home. Kyle was already off work and waiting for us. Kelly fixed seasoned baked chicken chunky taco salad. She is such a good cook, and creative.

Birthday presents for Kyler and then the birthday cupcake. Kyler liked playing with the cupcake but he doesn’t really have a sweet tooth. More fun to crumble it in his little finger and throw it on the floor. Bath time and bed time.

Such a miracle.

6:00 AM Revelry 9-2-2010

It’s going to be 1030 in Las Vegas today. I woke up to find baby Kyler getting ready to have his morning bottle and Kyle leaving for work. Playtime, bottle, nap…short nap, and then it was off to the grocery store and then home again for lunch and another nap.

We spent the afternoon running errands for the birthday party on Monday. Old Navy was a bonus stop for Kelly. She doesn’t usually shop for clothes because Kyler is with her and into everything. We met Kelly’s friend, Abby, and her baby, Ryan, at Target and leisurely wandered up and down the aisles of the store where it was cool and the moms could talk, shop, and the babies were fascinated by all there was to see.

Kelly showed me around North Las Vegas before we came home and she fixed pigs-in-a-blanket for dinner. Beef hotdogs, wrapped in butter, garlic croissants. I haven’t fixed these since all my kids lived at home. Kyle grew up with a different version of pigs-in-a-blanket: meatloaf wrapped in cabbage leaves and cooked in a tomato sauce. I’ve never heard of this and after a little research when I returned home, it appears to of German or Hungarian origins and a favorite of Northeastern Pennsylvania where Kyle is from.

We all headed off to Costco after dinner for picnic foods for Kyler’s birthday party on Monday. Not thirty feet into the store was a designer t-shirt display. So I need to find room in my suitcase for an extra shirt and the travel mugs for Larry that I bought (no they don’t carry those mugs at our Costco at home). I bought a supply of ready to drink Starbucks while I was in Vegas and a few other things to fill up my cart--not to be confused with the kids' shopping cart.

Back home it was dinner for Kyler, bath time, and a bottle before bed. He could barely keep his eyes open on the way home.

Kelly and I cut 600 miniature marshmallows to look like popcorn for the cupcake topping decorations. A can of PAM for the scissors and an hour later we were done.


Wake up grandma. Kyler crawled over me, snuggled with me and then curled up with his mom to finish a bottle. A new Sesame Street video to sort of watch while Kelly and I worked on water bottles filled with candy and prizes to be used as favors at Kyler’s birthday party.

Kyler, Kyle and I stayed home this morning while Kelly had a hair appointment. Kyler and I played with his toys and he took his morning nap before our lunch outing.

Kelly, Kyle, Kyler, and I went to Hooters Casino to meet Kim for lunch. The girls in the restaurant sang happy birthday to him and I took a great video of him. Nikki was working and so was Jackie so they had their picture taken with Kyler. Kyler doesn’t know it but he is one lucky baby to have all these friends and former coworkers of Kelly’s who work at Hooters celebrate his birthday week long celebration. Kim surprised us all and bought our lunch today. Thank you again Kim.

It’s 1050 and the Friday afternoon traffic in Vegas on the freeway was stop and go. Kyle took all the short cuts to get us back home for naps and quiet time.

After Kyler’s afternoon nap Kelly and I went looking for a baby gate to keep Kyler out of the dining area. The problem is an extra wide doorway that is about 6” wider than any baby gate we can find. We have a couple of ideas we are working on. We were ready to check out and the lighter fluid bottle split open and got on Kyler. Kelly carries baby wipes so she wiped his legs down quickly, striped off his short, and she took him to the bathroom to wash his legs with soap and water. No reaction that we could see but we check out and went straight home to give him a bath. Scary!

Kyler is down for the night and Kelly made me a scarf. She makes several styles and this one is grey. I am hoping she will start selling them online soon because they are unique and fun. Can’t wait for everyone back home to see what she made me.

The next project of the evening was to make 75 white cupcake liners look like paper popcorn bags by drawing red lines in the creases of the liners. We taped twenty custom made candy bar wrappers that looked like Kyler’s birthday invitation around full size Hershey bars and we were done for the night.


This morning I heard Kyler talking softly and retrieved him out of his bed. He was waiting for me with a toothy grin and when I stretched out my arms to him, he raised his arms with an even bigger grin on his face.

Diaper change and bottle time. Just as Kyler and I snuggled up on the sofa, Kelly woke up and found us. Of course Kyler wanted his mom to feed him. We spent the next two hours playing on the floor with all his toys and a few minutes of Sesame Street. Morning nap time for the parents and the baby before we began our day.

I helped Kyle clean up his computer and Kelly baked cupcakes all afternoon.

Movie night out for Kelly, Kyle, Abby and Sean. The parents went to a movie and dinner, just like before babies, and I had grandma time with two little guys, although Kyler was already asleep when they left for the evening. Baby Ryan wasn’t sure about me being a surrogate grandma for the night but after we began playing with the toys he decided I wasn't too bad. I fed him a bottle after about an hour and held him until he fell into a deep asleep with his favorite blanket. Kelly still has the pack n play bed in their room so it was perfect for Ryan. When the kids (the grown up parents) came home from their evening out, Ryan wasn’t too sure what was going on but he was happy to see his mom and dad.

Abby is sweet and said Kyler can use her mom when she comes to visit as a surrogate grandma. It’s all good because babies need as much love as we can give them.

It was a very good day.

The predicted 1070 was only 1050 today.


Kelly and Kyle went to do a little shopping for some household items and Kyler and I stayed home to play. Abby and Ryan came over to help decorate the cupcakes and Abby was finishing up her fantasy football team.

Prep work for the party tomorrow.

check - Veggie trays and dip

check - Guacamole

check - Sliced tomatoes and onions

check - Cupcakes decorated

check - Cake finished

check - Drinks

check - Chips

check - Hamburger and hotdogs and buns

check - Condiments

Kelly fixed pizza for dinner and after a really busy day, Kelly, Kyle, and Kyler were all in bed by 6:00 PM. A quiet evening. It was 1050 again today, but I was inside with the air conditioner all day. What heat?

9-6-2010 Party Day

Kyler woke about 7:00 AM and it was his usual morning routine. Kelly and Kyle ran to get the last of the BBQ foods and ice…lots of ice.

Kyler didn’t really want to take a nap, but after talking in his crib for a while he finally settled down for a short nap.

Kelly and I finished up the food prep and loaded supplies into boxes to take to the park. Kelly and Kyle went to set up and decorate the park and I took care of the Kyler.

Party time. About thirty adults and children showed up. Kelly had more than enough food. The kids all gathered around while Kelly and Kyle helped Kyler open his presents. So many presents.

Next the piñata. A big blue #1. I had never seen a piñata with strings to pull instead of hitting one with a bat or stick. Each child pulled one string to see if it would open the bottom of the piñata. There were only a few strings left when it broke open and all the kids scrambled for candy to fill their treat bags. Kelly passed out the Hershey bars that were wrapped with what looked like Kylers birthday invitation.

We sang happy birthday to Kyler and Kelly and Kyle helped him blow out his one candle.

The cupcakes looked like little containers of popcorn. One little girl told her dad she didn’t want to eat popcorn when he tried to get her to take a cupcake. I told her it was really a chocolate cupcake and marshmallows on top and then she was okay. The moms were impressed with Kelly’s clever idea.

Next it was Kyler versus the fight ring cake. He looked at the cake. He cried. He fussed. He crawled away from the cake. The cake won…but not before Kelly helped Kyler to crawl through the middle of the cake.

The party was over and the guests were departing. We boxed up leftovers, dumped some leftovers, gave some away, and then Kelly and Abby took the babies back to the house for a bath. Now this was something both boys enjoyed. Splashing in the tub with toys, that’s what it is all about for babies. Kyler went down right after his bath and Abby took and exhausted Ryan home to go to bed.

Kelly went back to the park to help Kyle clean up and they crashed shortly after returning home.

So much to celebrate and be thankful for.


7:00 AM

Trying to let Kelly and Kyle sleep in a little I got Kyler up when I heard him talking in his crib. I had the diaper change done when Kelly heard us and got up. Kelly fed him a bottle and then he was ready to play and Kelly curled on the sofa and we talked.

Today it’s going to be 700 with thunderstorms, lightening, and clouds. Wow. Sort of like home! Except here that can mean flash floods...and of course in the dessert the weather changes so fast that by the afternoon they say it will be in the 900s.

Kelly and Kyle took all the toys out of the boxes and Kyler was a little overwhelmed at what to play with first. Toys that make noise, toys for the tub, race cars, books, and clothes.

Kelly and I worked on sorting and pricing Kyler's outgrown baby clothes for the consignment sale coming up in a week. Looking at the bags of assorted tops, pants, pajamas overalls, and sweaters, it is amazing how much one baby an go through in a year.

A few things were barely worn because Kyler was born almost three months early and when he came home newborn items still looked big on him. Things that were bought ahead of time based on how old he would be at a certain season didn’t fit.

The little guy decided he didn’t want a nap this morning. It was 12:30 PM before Kelly told him it was bed time. I think he just humored her because nap time lasted only about 45 minutes. Kyler has been fussing for days with a new tooth trying to come in and it really bothers him. This is probably why he can’t get comfortable and nap.

After Kyler went to bed, the kids rented a movie and we all curled up on the big sofa and enjoyed a quiet evening at home.


Wake up grandma it 7:15 AM and I let you sleep in. Kelly was sitting on the sofa and baby Kyler was crawling over me smiling. He is feeling better today but still no tooth. Early nap time at 9:00 AM.

Kyler is wearing his University of Texas shirt and pants. Grandpa Larry would be so proud to see him in this outfit. We all walked down to the park to play on the swings and slides. It is a little overcast with a warm wind blowing but the intense heat of the afternoon sun is not beating down on Vegas today.

After Kyler went to bed, the kids popped in another movie to watch. Another day in paradise. Home sweet home with my family.


Kyler has been awake since 6:30 AM but I got to sleep in till 7:20 AM. Play time. Nap time.

Kelly and I took Kyler to meet Abby and Ryan to shop and have lunch. We went shopping for hangers and safety pins. The consignment sale requires everything to be hung up and labels attached with safety pins.

Back on Nellis Air Force Base we saw 2 jets flying side by side, as one split away from the other, turned upside down and change direction 1800 we watched the other plane do exactly the same thing only seconds after the other plane.

I checked in for my flight home and then we all headed to Abby and Sean’s house to watch football and have dinner. We stopped at a stop sign and Kyle put the car in park. When I asked him what was happening he rolled down the window so I could hear the national anthem. It was 4:30 PM and everyone and everything comes to a complete halt while it plays. In the times I have stayed on base before I had never been out of the house at 4:30 PM.

Abby fixed an amazing chicken wing dip. Who needed anything else to eat? The New Orleans Saints won the game.


I’m leaving the sunshine behind and going home to rain...and my loveable Larry.

Kyler fell asleep on my shoulder for his morning nap and the Kelly put him down in his bed.

We stopped for lunch on the way to the airport and I found it incredibly hard to say good-bye to Kelly. I kissed Kyler, hugged Kyle, and gave Kelly one last hug. Quick--I needed to go inside before I cried.

Homes are cheap in Vegas right now! Larry is retiring. Maybe a winter home, or a big home with 2 master suites and we could just live with the kids a few weeks at a time???

I hate good-byes. Have I said that before?

I took the shuttle bus home with a quick detour into downtown Seattle to the convention center. I arrived in Ferndale just after 10:00 PM and Larry was waiting for me. It’s good to be home with Larry but I still miss my family.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

For Michael

Steps to the Future

Stand Tall

Stand Steady

Both feet firmly planted

You can see it all

Secure and safe

Grounded in what is

As you lift your foot

To step higher

You won’t lose your footing

But now you must balance life

Before that foot touches down

Many changes will take place

The heart may cry out

Your mind may sting with decisions

Comfort is gone

The list is in shreds

And even when that foot finds solid ground

Higher ground

Before you level out at a new plane

You must raise the other foot

And do it all over again

Just remember

To grab hold of the railing

Those who love you

Care about you

Arms out stretched

To brace you

Support you

To push you onward

To keep you going

Making new lists

To reach higher

Dream bigger

Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy Anniversary - 12 years

Happy Anniversary – 12 years

So what do you get for someone who has everything he needs, or wants, or…he just goes and buy it himself?

Several months ago I saw something on TV about the Deception Pass boat tours. Larry loves boats and I thought if he hadn’t already done this, it just might be the perfect gift. I waited until several weeks before our anniversary before I said anything to him about my idea. He loved the suggestion and we decided that we would find a nice sunny day to do the tour, even if it was not our anniversary date.

Monday June 14th and it’s our anniversary and the sun is shining!

Kelly posted notes to both of us on Facebook and then called us to wish us happy anniversary. She said that Larry signed his life away 12 years ago and that we, the kids and I own him…and we love him lots. He owns our hearts and love.

I cooked breakfast for Larry and then had to tell him that I hid his anniversary card so he wouldn’t find it--so well, in fact, that I couldn’t find it, either. Larry laughed and pointed out that it must be within 50 feet and one day we would discover where it was hidden.

Larry, on the other hand, is much more organized than I am. He left to run an errand and returned with two dozen yellow roses and 12 red ones (one for each year we have been married); not one, but two cards, and chocolate truffles from Chocolate Necessities. As if that were not enough, Larry gave me a real rose dipped in 24kt gold--he gives me a gold rose every year on our anniversary; I now have a full dozen. He loves me.

We grabbed our warm jackets and headed off to Deception Pass. We took the freeway down and arrived early enough to take the 3:00 PM tour instead of the planned 4:00 PM tour.

Clifford met us at the dock and walked us down to the boat. Because the tourist season has not really started, we had the boat all to ourselves today. Our own personal guided tour. Cameron was our guide, and Captain Brett piloted the boat.

We just pulled away from the dock when we saw a harbor seal swimming close by. They told us the water in the summer gets to a high of 530, warm enough for the seal, but not me. Just a few yards beyond the tree line on the shore is an old growth forest with trees that range between 100 and 400 years old. We saw where boot-leg liquor was secretly brought in to Washington from Canada during prohibition. We also saw the remnants of a state prison rock quarry, up a cliff and now barred up to prevent anyone from entering the cave where the prisoners were housed.

The crew cranked up the music “Danger Zone” as we went under Deception Pass and through the churning water. The water is at different levels under Canoe Pass and it was a little to0 rough today to go through the pass. The boat would move sideways and then bounce up and dip down through the swells. Hang on, we’re airborne. We had a 20mph wind advisory so we didn’t stay out long, but we were definitely out long enough to experience the wilder side of the force of the water and waves.

We were back at the dock at just a minute before 4:00 PM with memories to treasure. If you have a little time, we would encourage you to go for a Deception Pass tour and a chance to see the bridge from a different point of view.

We headed to the Longhorn Saloon and Grill for dinner. We weren’t expecting entertainment, but we had some. A guy rode in on his motorcycle, not a Harley, and pulled front wheel into the parking space, then after some extended maneuvering he managed to park his bike. Then he strode up the bar and wanted to know if a seat next to two bicyclists was empty. The bar was empty but he needed that seat at least for the next minute or so before he moved to a table. He was a big guy but he looked more like a wannabe…something…not sure what he really wanted to be. He had a big, big knife strapped to his knee. He was wearing all sorts of patches, crosses, skulls, jokers, but the best one was “bad ass”. If you have to wear the patch that says you are a “bad ass” and have handicap plates on your bike, maybe you are dreaming. It gave us a chuckle during dinner. We left and headed up Chuckanut Drive heading for home. If you aren’t the designated driver, you should try a Longhorn Amber Ale, only available at the Longhorn Saloon in Edison.

For more information on the tours, go to: Deception Pass Tour -

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Baptist White Lie Cake

A friend sent me this last week and having grown up in the Baptist church with church socials and bake sales, it made me smile.

Have you ever told a white lie? You are going to love this, especially all of the ladies who bake for church events:

Alice Grayson was to bake a cake for the Baptist Church Ladies' Group in Tuscaloosa, but forgot to do it until the last minute.

She remembered it the morning of the bake sale and, after rummaging through cabinets, found an angel food cake mix. She quickly made it while drying her hair, dressing, and helping her son pack up for Scout camp.

When she took the cake from the oven, the center had dropped flat, and the cake was horribly disfigured. She exclaimed, "Oh dear, there is not time to bake another cake!" This cake was important to Alice because she did so want to fit in at her new church, and in her new community of friends. So, being inventive, she looked around the house for something to build up the center of the cake. She found it in the bathroom - a roll of toilet paper. She plunked it in and then covered it with icing. Not only did the finished product look beautiful, it looked perfect.

Before she left the house to drop the cake by the church and head for work, Alice woke her daughter and gave her some money with specific instructions to be at the bake sale the moment it opened at 9:30, and to buy the cake and bring it home.

When the daughter arrived at the sale, she found the attractive, perfect cake had already been sold. Amanda grabbed her cell phone and called her mom.

Alice was horrified! She was beside herself! Everyone would know! What would they think? She would be ostracized, talked about, ridiculed! All night, Alice lay awake in bed thinking about people pointing fingers at her and talking about her behind her back.

The next day, Alice promised herself she would try not to think bout the cake. She would attend the fancy luncheon/bridal shower at the home of a fellow church member and try to have a good time. She did not really want to attend because the hostess was a snob who, more than once, had looked down her nose at the fact that Alice was a single parent and not from the founding families of Tuscaloosa.

But having already RSVP'd, she couldn't think of a believable excuse to stay home.

The meal was elegant, the company was definitely upper crust Old South and to Alice's horror, the cake in question was presented for dessert!

Alice felt the blood drain from her body when she saw the cake! She started out of her chair to tell the hostess all about it, but before she could get to her feet, the Mayor's wife said, "What a beautiful cake!"Alice, still stunned, sat back in her chair when she heard the hostess (who was a prominent church member) say, "Thank you, I baked it myself.."

Alice smiled and thought to herself, "God is good."

Friday, May 21, 2010

Wash Day Dinner ---Beans and Rice and whatever else is leftover

Remember the tea towels that our mothers taught us how to embroider, the days of the week, our chores to be done…Monday was wash day, Tuesday was ironing day, Wednesday sewing, Thursday shopping, Friday cleaning, Saturday baking, Sunday was a day of rest. Not only did we learn to embroider the days of the week we learned the childhood nursery rhyme “Here We Go ‘Round The Mulberry Bush" by singing it as we played a game imitating the actions of the days of the week.
Since Monday was laundry day and there was always so much of it, the “Wash Day Dinner” was and is still today a traditional southern dish with many variations. Brown beans or red beans, ham or hamburger, rice, whatever was left over in the refrigerator.

My sister Mary remember with fondness those Monday night dinners but it has been a long time since my mom had a busy household with children running in and out at all times; and with an automatic washing machine, the usual doldrum chores go much faster leaving more time to read cookbooks, magazines with recipes, and expand the traditions of past.

I went home to California to spend a nine days with my mom and celebrate mother’s day with her. I spent one afternoon with my sister helping her spring clean her closets. We called my mom late in the afternoon to let her know we would be coming home soon and asked what was for dinner or did she want us to pick something up on the way. “No!” mom said, she would have dinner ready when we got there. We asked “what’s for dinner” but mom wasn’t telling, just said dinner would be ready when we arrived.

To our surprise mom had fixed “Wash Day Dinner” to the best of her relocation. What a nice surprise for my sister and me. And while it was not “Monday”, dinner that night tasted wonderful and we thoroughly enjoyed it along with the homemade apricot pie.

Be sure to make a pan of cornbread to serve with the wash day dinner because they just seem to go hand in hand.


1 ham bone, ham hock, leftover chicken, cooked hamburger, sausage cut into bite size pieces or roast beef chopped up
1 pound dry red kidney beans or leftover cooked brown beans
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
5 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
Optional – a few dashed of Tabasco sauce or chili powder
Salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp. olive oil or butter
4c. water
4 c. chicken stock
Leftover corn can also be added
Leftover potatoes cut up can be added
1 large tomato diced or a 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
Brown or white rice cooked

Rinse bean and remove all foreign particles and soak overnight covered with water. Drain and rinse the bean and set aside.

In a large pot, sauté onion, celery, garlic, green peppers, and carrots in oil or butter until soft. Add water, meat, beans, tomato, tomato paste, and spices. Simmer on low for at least 3 hours (you can use your Crockpot), the flavors get better as it simmers.

Add the rice fifteen minutes before serving to soak up the flavors.

Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush’ Nursery Rhyme

Here we go 'round the mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush.
Here we go 'round the mulberry bush,
So early in the morning.

These are the chores we'll do this week,
Do this week,
Do this week.
These are the chores we'll do this week,
So early every morning.

This is the way we wash our clothes,
Wash our clothes,
Wash our clothes.
This is the way we wash our clothes,
So early Monday morning.

This is the way we iron our clothes,
Iron our clothes,
Iron our clothes.
This is the way we iron our clothes,
So early Tuesday morning.

This is the way we scrub the floor,
Scrub the floor,
Scrub the floor.
This is the way we scrub the floor,
So early Wednesday morning.

This is the way we mend our clothes,
Mend our clothes,
Mend our clothes.
This is the way we mend our clothes,
So early Thursday morning.

This is the way we sweep the floor,
Sweep the floor,
Sweep the floor.
This is the way we sweep the floor,
So early Friday morning.

This is the way we bake our bread,
Bake our bread,
Bake our bread.
This is the way we bake our bread,
So early Saturday morning.

This is the way we get dressed up,
Get dressed up,
Get dressed up.
This is the way we get dressed up,
So early Sunday morning.

Here we go 'round the mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush.
Here we go 'round the mulberry bush,
So early in the morning.

Friday, May 14, 2010

California for Mothers Day

Tuesday 5-4-10 3:15 AM

It’s dark, it’s really, really early, I’ve only had one hour of sleep because of a sinus headache, and slept only because I took an Ibuprofen, drank hot tea, ate dark chocolate, and turned up the fireplace and crawled under a warm blanket.

It is still cold and dark outside as we take off into the sea of clouds, headed for California (well, Seattle, enroute to California). When I open my eyes it is almost time to land and the morning light shows that we are floating above the clouds as we slowly descend allowing glimpses of city lights as Seattle is waking up and beginning to move. I knew there was at least one “LEO” (law enforcement officer) on the plane to Seattle, but it wasn’t until we started to disembark that I realized that there were two, maybe three, on board.

A Starbucks tall caffe latte, a walk through the Fireworks store, my favorite shop in the airport, and then the tram to the “N” gate for the next leg of the trip to CA to see my mom, my son Jim, and others of my family.

Sitting at my gate watching the air traffic come and go, I saw what appeared to be a large passenger plane, except it had no windows, was painted a flat white, and absolutely no marking of any kind to identify it. Strange!!!

One of my new favorite things to pack in my carryon bag is Gold Bond hand sanitizer; a non-alcohol based sanitizer, so my hands don’t feel rough and dried out--and it smells good.

I am ready to go…ready to get to CA…ready to sleep on the plane…ready to quit waiting.

When I woke we were about fifteen minutes out of Oakland. The sun was shining and I had a clear view of the waves lapping at the CA coastline to the west and the green hills to the east (they are not golden brown and parched but green because of the unusually large amount of rain CA has had this year), low tide leaving the bay flats looking like a receding hairline and a ferry heading to Vallejo.

I can see highway 4 going east to the hills heading to Antioch and Pittsburg; the mothball fleet squatting like old grey soldiers in Suisun Bay, Martinez where I grew up, and it all makes me thinks of the song “On A Clear Day You Can See Forever”. When there is no smog you really can see everything from 10-15 thousand feet up. Briones Park, Tilden Park, now it is a 180 and we are almost ready to land.

Mary picked me up and we stopped at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse at the mall for lunch. Mary recommended the BBQ chicken salad with extra crunchies on top. Moist chick with a sweet bbq sauce, chopped lettuce, cilantro, tomatoes, black beans, and corn, with a southwestern creamy dressing topped with thin French fried onion rings--I now have a new favorite salad. Kelly called while we were eating lunch and when I told her where we were having lunch, she said she was mad at me; BJ’s is one of Kelly’s favorite restaurants in Las Vegas.

Richard was at my mom’s gardening when we arrived and he showed me my new birdhouse decorated with pearls (real pearls), beads, candy wrappers, a watch, rhinestones, and lots of love. Thank you Richard, the birdhouse will be treasured and I am thankful to have such talented friend.

Kelly called again right before dinner and said she was jealous I was having grandma food. She will be here in July and can feast then.

Mom and I checked out her garden in full bloom. Mexican sunflowers, Iris, lambs ear, roses, geraniums, roses, hollyhocks, and daylilies all growing in the wonderful warmth of the sun.

Wednesday 5-5-10

Mom had raisin bread for breakfast and I had hot coffee. Mom went to work in the garden and I went to Home Depot. Paint for the picket fence in the front yard, wasp spray for the nest in the garage attic, and a plant for the garden. Happy Mother’s Day mom.

Next stop Safeway to buy groceries to fix dinner. Tonight it is going to be pork chops, rice, and vegetables seasoned with sweet chili sauce. Thursday night we are having Greek pasta salad with chicken.

Mom laughed when I returned home carrying a plant in my hands. She was sitting on the patio with a cold drink, taking a much deserved break from her morning gardening chores. I asked her if she thought I could walk into Home Depot without buying a plant and she said no. I bought her a ruby pink double flower Australian Tee Tree shrub. Now we just need to find the right place to put it.

I worked on painting the fence in the front yard (I did not complete this job because of the rain and cold, so Richard will need to finish for me). And bend and dip and stretch and brush…oh my legs are going to get a workout today.

Mary came for dinner and we watched a little TV before we got down to business playing canasta. I won a game! They must have taken pity on me and let me win. It was a good day.

Thursday 5-6-10

Up early to take mom to get blood work done (just routine). We picked up Mary and went to breakfast at the Copper Skillet Courtyard in Martinez. Good food, good portions, good prices.

Back to the house for a short nap after a big breakfast. Four hours later I woke up. I have a really bad sinus headache and it has just zapped me of my strength this afternoon.

Mary came for dinner and mom fixed an apricot pie for dessert. A little TV and then we played one game of canasta. I was in bed by 11:00 PM trying to sleep off the rest of the sinus headache.

Friday 5-7-10

Two migraine pills for the headache and I was ready to go. I’ve switched to southern sweet tea instead of the coffee, and a piece of mom’s raisin bread. Mary came and we all went to Lowe’s to check out their garden department.

Later that day…163 bulbs (ooops…I planted Mary’s bulbs in mom’s garden), 16 plants, and 2 packages of seeds and I am dirty, tired, and ready for dinner. Mom’s garden is going to look wonderful when all these plants come up and start blooming. Dinner plate dahlias, iris, snap dragons, rhubarb, red astabile, hydrangea, and gladiolus in red, yellow, pinks, purples, and reds.

Back to BJ’s for dinner (thank you Mary).

We watched mom’s favorite TV shows--wheel of fortune and jeopardy--and then we played canasta.

The best part of the whole day was getting my very first happy mother’s day grandma card in the mail: “Grandma Marrs from Kyler and his mom and dad.” I love it.

Saturday 5-8-10

Larry sent a text message saying he sent mother’s day flowers to Kelly and cottages to mom, Mary, and I. Cottages? Maybe a plant in a cottage style planter? Oh and the end of his message said, “I bought a Droid phone.”

Well the cottages arrived a short time later. Corsages is what he meant, not cottages. What a nice surprise.

Mary and I did a quick shopping trip to Costco and the lunch buffet. Every other aisle had samples, way too many sweets. The best taste test was the chili and cheese tamales and the Kinders bbq sauce on beef trip tips. I bought several bottles of bbq sauce for Larry because that was his only request when I came down.

Mary dropped me off and went home and I went to Lowe’s for garden mulch and to Sears to fix a low tire.

We fixed pizza for dinner and played canasta.

Sunday 5-9-10

Mary picked us up for church and we wore our corsages, Mary has a green rose and white orchid, I had a green carnation and white orchid, and mom had a white gardenia.

It never rains in CA…haha. To the east it is dark rain clouds, to the north it is dark rain clouds, to the south it is grey skies, and from the bedroom I can’t see what it looks like to the west, but probably not sunny.

In church they gave all the mothers a pedometer to measure how many steps a mother takes in a day. Any guesses?

Michael left a happy mother’s day song on my cell phone. I tried to call him back but couldn’t reach him.

James, mom, Mary, Jim, Heather, Poncho, and I celebrated mother’s day with bacon cheese hamburgers, fresh strawberries, chips, brownies, cupcakes, and southern sweet tea. James barbequed the hamburgers; the really big hamburgers, dinner-plate size hamburgers.

Poncho had flowers for Mary, mom and me and Jim and Heather arrived with flowers for each of us also. (I did make it home with my flowers from Jim and Heather)

I had small gifts I made for mom and Mary. Mary gave me a bottle of Secret Obsession Parfum by Calvin Klein, and Marc Jacobs perfume and lotion. Score!

Kelly called to wish me a happy mother’s day. I heard from all my kids, so it was a really good day, a great mother’s day.

After everyone left, mom, Mary, and I played canasta till 11:30 PM.

On the way home mom said “this was a fun day,” and that is what mother’s day was all about--making my mom happy.

Monday 5-10-10

It’s just another day in paradise…or so the song goes. It’s cold, it’s windy, and the rain is on its way. Mom and I spent a quiet morning talking, reading, the paper, and watching TV.

I went to Mary’s in the afternoon to clothes shop in her closet. Mary is a clothes gourmet so when she cleans the closets I love it and Haley loves it because Haley gets her shoes.

Mary’s friend Sid gave her a little book of friendship sayings and he teased her about reading it and said I should read it to her. So right before our canasta game I read the little book to Mary which made her smile and laugh and she could then tell Sid she read the book…sort of.

We checked in on all the relatives since they were on tornado watch, and everyone is okay.

Tuesday 5-11-10

I bought a box to ship home my new wardrobe and assorted gifts. We stopped at FedEx and then mom and I went to Mary’s.

I checked in for my flight on Wednesday, downloaded some music (note to self: bring a bigger memory flash drive next time). Sid came over to help hang Mary’s vintage print in the living room. So how many holes does it take to hang a picture? Two to hang the picture and three more to fix the mistakes. We measured across, down, measured the picture, checked for level, cross hatched marks to mark the spot--ready to hammer in the hooks. Wrong hooks. Sid and I walked over to the hardware store and got the right hooks and now we were ready. No; let’s check it one more time with a level and a square. That meant getting them out of the truck and we had to wash them before we could use them. Measure Twice, cut once is what my dad always said, but this is measure, measure, measure, and one more time to make sure. Okay, now we were ready. But the picture is crooked and not centered. This doesn’t make sense. We checked the marks and everything is evenly spaced on a level line. A new hole to make a correction only it doesn’t work. Again with no success…we don’t know what the problem is. Sid has me help him take the picture off the wall and as we do he notices that one part of the wire is sitting on top of the hanger not caught on the wall hook. Now it is straight. Just don’t look behind the frame or you will have to patch and paint the mistakes that really weren’t.

We had lunch at the buffet, and the back to mom’s to play canasta. We snacked on pepper jack cheese and chips for dinner.

I’m all packed, packed again, and again, I think I can get it all in.

Wednesday 5-12-10

Mom made sure I was up early. We had our morning tea and raisin bread. Mary is bringing another bag of clothes to go in my suitcase….hope it fits. My carryon now holds my birdhouse Richard made for me, my camera, my bottle of perfume from Mary, my aprons mom made me and that is about all that it will hold…oh, I forgot the lemon bars.

Mary arrived and we are off to the Oakland airport. I look a little strange lugging an overstuffed 50.3 pound suitcase, my small carryon that also has my mother’s day flowers from Jim and Heather tucked into the strap, and my new long black suede coat that Mary gave me. I look like I am heading to Alaska…well it is Bellingham.

I cleared security and now I will walk the airport terminals until it is time to board at 12:10 PM. There is always an art display in the Oakland airport and this time it was about bicycles. 

There are no flights out of Seattle to Bellingham when I arrive so I will have a three hour layover arriving home at 6:20PM. A long day filled with a sad heart leaving my family and a happy heart to see my husband. Maybe Larry would move to Sacramento????

Well God was watching over me and the 2:35PM flight from Seattle to Bellingham was delayed and I was going to get home early even if my luggage arrives later.

Thursday 5-13-10

No sleep because I had a 7:30 AM board meeting for GRADS.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Vegas....Kelly, Kyler, and Kyle

4-14-10 Wednesday

I woke up listening to baby Kyler talking with his mom and dad. Kyle had already been to personal training and home for a short break before returning to work. Kyler was lying on his tummy in the middle of his parents’ bed, kicking his feet and look at me like “grandma you are still here!”

Kelly had a hair appointment and left about 12:30 PM. I read to Kyler, he played on his floor mat, moved around in his walker, bounced in his jumper, played in his crib watching and listening to his mobile, and we snuggled up for nap time. Kyler is such a good baby and I am not saying that just because he is my grandson.

Kelly came home with a new cut and color and she looks amazing as always. She fixed chicken coated in French fried onion rings and steamed broccoli for dinner. We then spent a quiet evening watching television and playing with Kyler while Kyle went off to train at the gym for his upcoming fight.

4-15-2010 Thursday

Today was a shopping day. Kelly had asked to wait for her birthday present until I came down and we could spend a girls’ day with the baby shopping. Kelly zipped us down to the south side of Vegas to Town Square. First stop H&M. Bellingham needs an H&M. After a little shopping we had lunch at Tommy Bahamas restaurant. A little more shopping and we were off to Costco.

Starbucks-- ready to drink coffee! Kelly and Kyle don’t drink coffee and I need a morning fix or two. Kelly wanted gummies and baby bell cheese as a treat so we stocked up. Now it was time to go home and fix dinner and let Kyler take a real nap.

Kyle left for the gym after dinner and Kelly, Kyler, and I went out to run a few errands. Back home we had a quiet evening spending time with each other and playing with the baby.

4-16-2010 Friday

Well it looks like we wore baby Kyler out yesterday because he needed a really long nap in the morning before we headed out to run errands.

A new phone for Kelly because hers quit functioning properly, some window shopping, then Kelly had an appointment before we headed home again. Kyler had a bottle and fell asleep in Kelly’s arms and I fell asleep on the sofa next to them.

Kelly fixed a Mexican chicken and bean dish for dinner, which was really good and I will have to try it for Larry.

Kyler and I spent the evening at home while Kelly went to the gym to take photos of Kyle and film video of him for his MMA fight coming up in May.

Kyler stopped on the way home and bought ice cream and Kelly got a movie. Kyler had his cereal, a bath, and was ready for bed and then we kicked back on the sofa to watch the movie. Because Kyle is in training he didn’t get any ice cream so it was really sweet of him to buy it for us and then have to sit there and watch us eat it.

4-17-2010 Saturday

We had a late morning before Kyle headed off to the gym and Kelly and I took baby Kyler shopping again. Kelly bought a cute little pair of grey pants and a green tank top to wear tomorrow night when Kyle and Kelly celebrate their first anniversary.

I bought the cutest little black sandals with studs and rhinestones. I like bling.

Kelly and Kyler took a nap after we got home to rest up for the crawfish feed we were going to that night. One of Kyle’s co-workers ordered crawfish from Louisiana, just like Larry does when we have our crawfish boil. Larry said “it was just wrong” when I told him where we were going. He loves crawfish while I like a couple and I am done. Larry said we just might have to have our own crawfish feed this year when I get home from California.

Kelly and Kyle brought baby Kyler and me home and then they went to a Creedence Clearwater Revival concert. Of course Kelly knew all the songs and sang along which surprised Kyle. Kyle is more of a rock and roll, heavy metal kind of guy and Kelly is classic rock, oldies, country, Sinatra, sixties, disco, eighties, kind of girl.

Baby Kyler and I cuddled up on the sofa while I fed him a bottle and held him until he fell asleep. I had him tucked in his bed when his mom and dad got home.

4-18-2010 Sunday

Happy anniversary Kelly and Kyle. And many more!

Kelly and Kyler surprised me with morning smiles and laughs today. Kyler was trying to crawl over grandma. Kyle had already left for the guy and Kelly and the baby had already been up since 6:00 AM. It was time for grandma to get up.

Kyler returned with flowers (tulips, Kelly’s favorite flower) and a card for Kelly. Then changed clothes and they left for the pro rodeo bull riding event at UNLV.

When the kids returned I let them take a nap while baby Kyler slept in my arms. There are things you forget about having babies, like when they are asleep and snuggled into the crook of your neck and you can feel their warm breath as they slowly exhale. It is a sweet moment to savor. I think Kelly and I must have worn the little guy out shopping the last few days. When he woke up, Kyle came and got him, change his diaper, and Kyler was ready for a bottle and play time.

Kelly and Kyle are going out to dinner and a movie to celebrate their anniversary so I have more grandma time with Kyler. Yippee!

The CMA awards were on the television and I thought Kyler might like the music, which he did, singing along, watching, and dancing with grandma. When I had worn him out and almost had him asleep, his head turned towards me, his eyes almost completely closed, his eyes popped open, his turned his head to the TV and tried to move his body around. Seems like the little guy likes Carrie Underwood and wanted to see her perform before he gave up and went to sleep.

4-19-2010 Monday

Kyle left early for the gym. Kelly got up and cooked his breakfast and a couple of extra hard boiled eggs for me when I got up. No, I am not a 6:00 AM kind of person anymore, unless we are on a Harley ride with the group. A bottle of Starbucks coffee and I was ready for the day.

Kelly and I talked while Kyler took his morning nap. Kyle came home and they filled the baby pool with water and put Kyler in it. He didn’t like this and let them know loud and clear it was not a big warm pool at Hooters, like last weekend. We tried warming the water up but he still wasn’t a fan of the outdoor baby pool. So back inside for a splash in the bathtub and then nap time for the three of them.

Kyle headed back to the gym and Kelly and I took Kyler grocery shopping Kyler had peas for the first time and while he didn’t hate them as much as the green beans, they are definitely not high on his favorite foods list.

4-20-2010 Tuesday

Kyler took his mid morning nap snuggled in my arms. After he woke up and had his bottle he played in his red GT race car walker. It was playing “When the Saints Go Marching In” and I told Kelly the grandpa Larry would be so proud. I thought it was pretty cool that Kyler could turn the sounds on and Kelly laughed saying Kyler probably pushed that button by chewing on it.

It was just a kicked back ordinary day, household chores, playing with the baby, and spending time with Kelly. Kelly fixed chicken with asparagus, spinach, onions, with a red sauce for dinner.

After Kyle came home he spent some guy time…watching fighting shows in the living room while Kelly, Kyler, and I snuggled up in the big bed to watch “chick shows” and Kyler had his last bottle of the day and drifted off to sleep- and Kelly and I had popcorn.

4-21-2010 Wednesday

Kelly is sending baby clothes home with me for the girls at GRADS. She has more than she can use and duplicates, and things Kyler has outgrown. We dropped off a large box at FedEx rather than trying to overstuff my suitcase and pay a penalty at the airport.

We stopped at Lowe’s to pick up supplies to cover Kyler’s windows with film to block the light. I told Kelly when it was done that I wouldn’t give up my day job to be an installer. No cutting mat, no rotary cutter, no yardstick….don’t look to close and keep the shades pulled down.

Kelly fixed salmon for Kyle’s dinner, low fat, low carb, low calorie meals while in training. When Kyle was gone we had artichokes and pasta with butter and garlic. I fed Kyler his oatmeal before bath time.

I checked in online for my flight home, paid for my bag, laid out my clothes for tomorrow, and packed my suitcase.

It gets harder and harder to leave my family behind when I go home. It’s not that I don’t want to go home; I just wish I could put everyone within a few miles of each other instead of a few hours by plane.

It’s been a great trip holding my grandson Kyler. Being able to kiss him and play with him. He will come visit grandma in June ,but I am sure he will be much bigger and hope he still remembers grandma.

Watching Kelly with her son has been amazing. She is such a good mother, patient and calm even on Kyler’s fussiest of days. She lives on little sleep and just keeps going. If it doesn’t get done today, there is always tomorrow as long as her husband and baby are taken care of the other stuff can wait.

Kyle comes home for lunch, eats, and plays with his son. After work he comes straight in the house to find Kyler and play with him if he is awake. After Kyler’s evening cereal, it’s bath time and that is baby and daddy time. He changes diapers (even the dirty ones) and cleans up messy spit ups.

4-22-2010 Thursday

It’s getting dark outside. The rain clouds are blowing in and it looks like it will be a bumpy ride out of Vegas. Baby Kyler wakes grandma up by crawling on me. Kelly and I had our Starbucks coffee before we had to get ready to leave for the airport.

On the way to the airport it rained, it hailed, there was lighting. Traffic wasn’t too bad and Kelly chauffeured Kyler and grandma so we could spend more time in the back seat talking and bonding.

It was hard to kiss them both good-bye. Maybe Kelly didn’t notice the red eyes and I blamed the tears on the rain.

I checked my luggage, cleared security, bought lunch and was ready to board my plane and go home. Larry said it always takes me a few days to adjust when I get home. He’s right, but it’s not easy to leave those you love behind.

7-8 buckle my seat belt
9-10 here we go again
California here I come
Right back where I started from
But Vegas is calling
A soft lullaby
Then back again, back again
To WA state
To the man that I love
The cat that waits
The dog the wishes I would stay away
We’ll settle in for a summer of fun
Then I’ll start this madness
All over again

From my friend Michelle

My friend Michelle sent me this little poem.  It made me laugh and made my day.


He didn't like the casserole and he didn't like my cake.

He said my biscuits were too hard not like his mother used to make.

I didn't perk the coffee right He didn't like the stew.

I didn't mend his socks the way his mother used to do.

I pondered for an answer I was looking for a clue.

Then I turned around and smacked the shit out of him...

Like his mother used to do.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day 2...Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

I woke up listening to baby Kyler talking with his mom and dad. Kyle had already been to personal training and returned home for a short break before he reported back to work. Kyler was laying on his tummy in the middle of Kelly and Kyles bed, kicking his feet and look at me, like, "Grandma you're still here!"

Kelly had a hair appointment and left about 2:30 PM. Baby Kyler and I read books, he played on his floor mat, scooted about in his little red car walker, bounced in his jumper, layed in his crib and watched and listened to his moblile, and we snuggled up for his nap time. Kyler is such a good baby.

Kelly fixed chicken dredged in french fried onion ring crumbles, and steamed broccoli for dinner. She is a really good cook and quite creative. Kyle went to the gym to train for his fight in May and Kelly and Kyler and grandma visited. Kyler did better eating his dinner with me out of the room, so I watched from the dinning room. Messy face, fingers, tummy, was bath time when he was done.

Tuesday April 11th, 2010...I'm off to see my grandbaby Kyler

It’s 7:00 AM and I just want to go back to sleep and I can’t wait to get on the plane to see my daughter Kelly, grandson Kyler, and son-in-law Kyle. The cat is pacing, demanding attention, and marking my suitcase for the umpteenth time. Ally knows I’m leaving. Downstairs the dog is siddled up as close to larry as he can get when I came downstairs. Deuce looks at me and back to Larry. He knows something is up, but unlike the cat, he hasn’t figured out what a suitcase means.

Larry drops me a the airport, helps me get my bags inside, but I then sent him home rather than wait around for security to open up. If I wasn’t so excited to get to Vegas, I could have taken a later flight and received a free ticket because the plane is over sold. Maybe on the way home it they need someone to bump, I’ll take them up on the offer.
As I wait for my plane to arrive, I see the Alaksa Airlines painted in University of Washington colors. I’m not a UW fan but my youngest son Michael will be attending UW to earn his masters in the fall of 2010.
A short thirty minute hop and I am in Seattle waiting for the second leg o fmy trip to Vegas. I slept the whole way from Bellingham to Seattle and will probably sleep all the way to Vegas. I am only hours from hlding my precious grandson. Kyler is truly a gift from God whose hand held him and cradled him in those first three months of life when he was born three months premature and just under 3 pounds. Now he is almost 16 pounds at seven months and doing just fine.
When I stepped off the escalator and looked straight ahead, Kelly and Kyler were waiting for me. Kyler smiled when I talked to him but he was so busy looking all around the airport at the lights, the advertisements, and sounds, just mezmerzied. A quick trip home and we stopped at Poppeyes on base to get Kelly lunch and a surprise snack for Kyle. We Larry will be so sad because we don’t have a poppeyes at home.
Kyle arrived shortly after did and we spent a quiet evening playing with Kyler and watching tv. I watched Kelly feed Kyler his cereal and sweep potato and then watched Kyler gave Kyler a bath. While Kelly fed Kyler is last bottle of the evening, I started a load of laundry and folded clothes.

Not the Vegas nightlife most people think of when they say I’m going to Vegas, but it’s all I need…family.
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