Sunday, December 14, 2014

Part 4b: Operation Survive the Portland Winter

Once I had decided to go to Miami I knew that there was no way I was going to get that close to Durham and not spend a couple of days there as well.  It was more than a little ironic that I ended up flying into a huge rainstorm in Durham while Russ & the kids were enjoying lots of sunshine in Oregon!

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As the plane was descending into RDU an almost overpowering wave of homesickness swept over me.  All I could think was how beautiful it looked.

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I’ve spent a lot of the last 2.5 years telling myself how grateful I am that Oregon is green like North Carolina is.  And Oregon is green.  But not, not at all, like North Carolina.  I’d forgotten that there is always the feeling that North Carolina is just about to grow right over you.  I’d forgotten the feeling of narrow roads framed by tall deciduous trees, of yards filled with enormous azalea bushes.  

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I’d forgotten just how beautiful it all was. 

(I’d forgotten how gross cockroaches are too, but I wasn’t at all sad about that!)

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My North Carolina plans were these: a weekend with Alisyn, Ann, and Nancy at the beach, framed on both ends by lunch with Mindy and Nancy.  (How did I live all of those years without ever eating at the Q shack??  I know the answer, but still—so sad!!)

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We ended up in a little condo at the east end of Ocean Isle.  Not the best location, but we could see the ocean and it was comfortable.  Nancy had hurt her knee so rested in the condo, but Ann, Alisyn, and I had fun walking around.  Though we didn’t feel entirely comfortable with some of the decorations or rules.

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The east ends of these E-W barrier islands are all eroding, and a whole row of houses has been lost or is in danger.  I’d been told by a friend that there were sandbags the size of volkswagons, but that didn’t prepare me for the reality of the situation. 

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Just in case you can’t see how big those are, look again.  They were huge!

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It wasn’t as green as Miami or as warm as Miami, but it was still beautiful and soothing to my soul.

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Two whole days of ocean and conversation was such a treat.  We laughed like crazy and talked about all of our problems.  We ate good food and too much chocolate.  We went to church at the local small town ward which was very entertaining.  (Ethnic cleansing, anyone?  Favorite prophets?)

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The next morning we sadly packed up and drove back to Durham. 

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It was such a treat to me that the poppies were blooming along the interstate.  I always loved the flowers growing alone the roads in NC and have missed that.

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My last escape from the Oregon winter (though it turned out that the Oregon winter had already ended in an unusual turn of events) was decidedly a success.  I returned home tired but so very happy.

P.S.  True love is carrying a dozen boberry biscuits across the country to your kids!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bonus time with Kate

Even though we were sad that Grandma died, we were tickled pink to get extra time with Kate in November.  Every time we some to visit she’s doing something new and even cuter than the time before.  Last spring Jenna spent and extra week with Cindy Lynn and Kate bonded with “Neh-Nah.”  This time when we went back up to Bountiful for the viewing we left Rachel to spend two extra days with Kate.  Now Kate thinks “Ray-Ray” is just as cool as “Neh-Neh.”

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Thank goodness for the crazies

Last winter the girls signed up for the Winterguard team—a team that learns and performs a routine that includes dance, flags, rifles, and sabers.  I can’t remember what happened but I do remember that I was incredibly frustrated with the coach in the beginning and what her expectations were. 

After being annoyed with a few days I had a thought.  It occurred to me that there was no way in the world that they could be paying this young woman anywhere near what her time was worth for all of this work.  I sure wouldn’t want to do it!

That started me thinking about all of the crazy people in the world.  Sure enough, often it took a crazy person to be interested enough or devoted enough or brave enough to truly accomplish something.  Bill Gates, Mother Teresa, Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the winterguard coach.  All crazies. 

With this change of heart I started paying attention to the coach.  What a big heart she has.  She cares and worries about each of the girls.  She answers endless texts and emails.  She takes time off  from her job and arranges her schedule to accommodate all of the practices and performances.  She gives up 2 whole weeks during the summer to band camp and almost half of her weekends during most of the school year for competitions. 

I have realized—we are lucky to have her.

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I’m so grateful for the crazies in my life and in this world.  Grateful that there are people who are crazy enough to lead causes and write inspirational messages and run for office.  Sometimes they make me uncomfortable.  But I’ve realized—I wouldn’t want to be without them.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Hummer Time

I took a lot of hummingbird pictures this fall…and now that all of that beautiful green background is gone I’m glad that I did!

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Grandma’s Bling

When we arrived at Grandpa & Grandma Ray’s condo after her death we found a bunch of jewelry spread out on the dining room table.  It was explained to us that some of this was jewelry that Grandma had owned and worn (though not recently), and some of it was jewelry that she had been selling during the years (in the early 70’s) that Grandpa was out of work.  We were instructed to each pick something out of it.  Rachel was down in Pleasant Grove at Cindy Lynn’s house, so Jenna took pictures of the jewelry for them so that they could choose something too.  We all decided that we would wear our jewelry that would remind us of Grandma to her funeral.  I called it “Grandma’s jewelry that she neither wore nor sold.” 

Winking smile

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