Best Friends

9 01 2014

I’ve missed this.  I wrote a letter to Megan for her birthday to accompany her birthday present.  It made me remember how much I love to tell stories.  How much I miss blogging.  It made me realize what a ridiculous and impossible thing it is to try to replace blogging with Facebook or another social media.  So, as my first step back into this world….I give you her letter.

When I was very little, my Grandma would take me driving in her huge 1972 Maroon LTD to visit her friends.  I loved that car because I could lay completely lengthwise in the window behind the back seat without my feet or my head touching the sides of the car.  It was a fantastic view of the sky swooping by as we lumbered our way down the highway.  My very favorite friend of hers was Hazel Maden, who lived in Melrose.  She lived in tiny pink and white house on the main street.  Her house was absolutely stuffed with fine china tea sets and cat figurines.  And real cats.  She loved cats.  We had that in common, her and I.

The thing that I remember most from those visits is how much she treated me like her friend and not like a little kid along for the ride with her Grandma.  She served me tea and let me put my own sugar in it.  That was a big deal, as you can imagine.  She also talked to me like a human, not like a baby.  She asked me real questions, and answered my questions normally.  No baby voice, no talking down to me.  I loved her immediately.

I ended up going to kindergarten in Melrose.  Oddly enough, they didn’t care where the kids went during lunch, even little kindergarteners.  I took it upon myself to walk the 6 blocks to Hazel’s house for lunch at least twice a week.  She never seemed put out that I had just invited myself.  She would make me a tuna fish sandwich and a glass of milk and we would talk about things.  Cats, mostly.  I was so sad at the end of that year because I would be going to school in Glen the next year (Glen did not have a kindergarten).  I cried on the last day of school because I could no longer have lunch with Hazel.

                The best thing in the world happened two years later.  It had been decided that at 92 years old, Hazel should not be living by herself.  She had no family, so my Grandma offered her a place to stay.  In retrospect, maybe Hazel didn’t think it was the best thing in the world, but she seemed pretty happy to have a friend to live with.  I spent most of my time at my Grandma’s house when I wasn’t in school, so Hazel had me as a constant companion.  I watched her do her intricate needlework for hours.  I shared with her all the stories about Gray One, my barn cat.

                My favorite times with her were in the summer.  She was very thin and often cold.  My Grandpa had a small Mazda pickup that was often parked right outside.  She liked to go sit inside the truck in the middle of the day.  It was HOT.  I would see her sitting in the passenger side of the roasting pickup and I would jump in the driver’s seat. I would ask her where she wanted me to drive her and she would always say “Monte Carlo”.  At first I didn’t know where Monte Carlo was, but she explained it a bit and I took over from there.  I would give her a play by play of our drive to Monte Carlo, including the scenery on our drive along the bottom of the Atlantic ocean. 

                She lived with my Grandma for 5 years.  When she turned 97 she had to go into the rest home in Dillon.  I was going to junior high at the time.  I was so sorry that she had to go, BUT the rest home was directly across the street from my school.  The twice a week lunches commenced.  I would ditch my friends for this 97 year old woman and shared institutional lunches.  My friends did not know what to think of that.  It was hard seeing her go downhill, but she still had spunk.  She once asked me to bomb any and all macaroni and cheese factories because she was so tired of eating it.

                She died at 99 years old.  I was very sad.  It was then that I understood more of her amazing life.  She was a niece of Lewis Carroll (whose real name was Charles Dodgson.  Hazel’s maiden name was Hazel Dodgson.)  She left me some wonderful things in her will – a cedar chest that her father built in the 1890’s by hand, her wedding ring, many other pieces of jewelry and a signed first edition of Alice in Wonderland, signed “Charles Dodgson”.  Anyway, this gift is from that little trove of treasures.  I think that it is fitting that my childhood best friend and my best friend from my adult life should share something.  Being with you gives me the same wonderful feeling that being with her always did. 

                I love you.  Have a wonderful year.





1st Annual Parade of Pies

26 08 2011

Oh, the bounty of the season in the Pacific Northwest.  The only time we really love the maligned blackberry.  Thank you Megan and Sean.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.





Redwoods and Oregon Coast Road Trip, You Are My Bitch.

18 07 2011

Sigh.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.





And the Rocket’s Red Glare

4 07 2011

Today is Independence Day, and I came very close to being put in prison for manslaughter.

Sophie and Maddy had a lemonade stand and were having a great time encouraging pedestrians and cars alike to buy their “ice cold lemonade”.  We have quite a few homeless people walk down our street because the National Guard armory that is across from my house has free meals 4 times a week.  I am glad that they have somewhere to go to get a warm meal, but we have had some issues over the years.  For the most part, things go smoothly.

Unfortunately, today was not one of those days.

One of the regulars walked by and yelled out, “You shouldn’t be selling lemonade on the street like that, especially you – you African.”  (that was directed at Sophie).  I didn’t hear exactly what he said, but from my neighbors reaction (walking aggressively behind the man and threatening him to never come back on this street) I knew it was something bad.  When I asked what he said, my neighbor said that it was best that I didn’t know.  “Especially you…” he said.  Adam knows my temper…

I found out.  I grabbed my keys with shaking hands, jumped in my car, and headed out to have conversation with this “man”.  It took me awhile to find him.   I drive a manual transmission, and my feet were shaking so bad that I had a few instances of popping the clutch during my search.  When I did find him, I stopped in the middle of the street, put my hazard lights on, and proceeded to “escort” him up the on ramp to the highway – the entire time explaining to him that he was never welcome in my part of town and if I ever saw him again I would rip his head off and drink his blood.  This was all sprinkled with some amazingly profane language and vivid imagery of his fate if I were to ever see him again.  He did not engage me in any way, which is probably good for both of us.

I know that he could have been dangerous, even armed – but when I am that angry I am pretty confident that nothing at all can hurt me.  It is a good thing that losing my temper doesn’t happen very often.

I am still angry.  I will be waiting at the door of the National Guard Armory at dinner time for the next few weeks.  He will not be allowed back.  The Catholic Church that sponsors the dinners may not think this is very Christian of me.  They will be right.  And it will not change.

Independence Day is relative.





Drifting

29 06 2011

Could it just be the weather or is this feeling of uselessness real? Maybe it is the slow-down of summer. The endless juggling of violin lessons, cello lessons, track meets, symphony practices and birthday parties are suddenly over and I am rudderless.

Oh God. Am I one of those Moms whose life is defined by their children? If that is true, they do define me quite nicely. Both had straight A’s this year in school and Maya was accepted into the Science and Math Institute and will be starting high school (gasp!) next year. They are talented, funny and crazy smart. I could not function without them. Their successes are so amazingly exciting and their potential is unbelievable.

I think my problem is that when things for them slow down it emphasizes that my successes and potential are not all that they should be. My work is fantastic in the sense that it gives me incredible freedom. I work from home a lot, I am always there for the kids’ events…..but the work itself is not lighting any kind of fire in me, and hasn’t in a while. I have no idea what would. That is the disturbing thing. The most exciting thing I have going on is a “Crap to do this Summer” list on my refrigerator that lists exciting things like:

  • Paint the fence
  • Make curtains for the living room
  • Re-finish the bedroom floors
  • Paint the patio furniture

Really?  THAT’S what I want to do this summer?  It has to be done, but where’s the fun and adventure?  Where is the spark? 

A while back my sister mentioned that she missed my blog posts that were not written about my kids. She loves them, but she liked to hear “me”. I just didn’t have anything to say about me. 

I’ll have to see what I can do about that.





What We Did This Weekend – Desperate Roadtrip Edition

20 02 2011

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Things are very busy.  Work is always crazy for me from January – March – the next two weeks are the worst.  I have to work today and tomorrow a bit, even though there is the President’s Day holiday. Saturday was the only day that I was to have any time at all.  Relaxing at home just didn’t seem like enough.  I always like to take a road trip to rejuvenate my spirits, and with the odd coincidence of sunshine and blue skies we planned a trip to the Quinault rainforest and, if we had time, a trip to the beach.  All in one day.

It was glorious.

We hiked through snow-covered trails in the rainforest (with the sun shining!).  This area averages 144 inches of rainfall per year.  How did we luck into the perfect day?  I like to think we deserved it.  There were numerous waterfalls, mossy trees, misty stands of douglas firs, the world’s largest spruce tree…..and that was all before 2:00.  Then an hour drive through the forest led us to Moclips, a sleepy ocean-front town perched on the edge of the Pacific.  Driftwood, seagulls, sand and sunset rounded out our day.

I forgot that my shoulders were not supposed to be crunched up toward my ears, but relaxed.  The knots worked themselves out and my neck feels 20 inches longer.










You Are My Favorite

16 02 2011

I told the girls that whomever kept their valentines the longest would have proof that I loved them best.

Is that wrong?








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.