Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Tale of Christmas Woe

This morning when we woke up (at the lovely hour of 9:30) and assembled for Christmas presents a small box was thrust in my hands and I was instructed that I needed to open it first. I opened it and saw this inside.


I looked at this strange (and obviously refrigerated) sight and asked, perplexed, what on earth it was. I was informed that this was something from my Christmas list: a sewing ham. (There is a needle threaded with green thread stuck into the slice of ham.) After laughing I did what any protein loving person would have done--I took the needle, stuck it in the flap of the box, and ate the ham. I set the box down in the entry to be thrown away.

Later Josh went and let Tiger in the house. After she came into the entry we could tell that she was eating something. We couldn't tell what she would be eating, and then Josh realized--she had smelled the ham on the box and was eating the thread that had been sitting on the ham! We all ran to grab Tiger and save her from ingesting the needle, which by this point was hanging just a few inches from her mouth. She ran and hid under the stairs but eventually the kids got her. And THEN they had to pull the thread back out of Tiger's mouth (and points beyond).

Poor Tiger. But we are pleased to report that the cat did NOT eat a needle today.

And that one day soon I'm getting a sewing ham. ;)

sewing ham

Monday, December 22, 2014


Funerals are such an interesting contrast.  A combination of what is sometimes the very saddest event (the loss of a loved one), and what is often the very happiest event.  (Seeing so many people that you love.)  Fortunately Grandma’s funeral wasn’t terribly sad because she has been so unhealthy for so many years and we were grateful that she didn’t suffer.  So we were able to really enjoy getting having everyone together for the first time in a long time.

It was the first time in forever that we had all of our kids together in the van.  I was surprised at how joyful it felt to be together like that.



I’ve always felt so lucky that I married into such a wonderful family.  Here are all of the grandchildren, spouses, and great grandchildren.


The whole group—everyone was there except for a granddaughter and a granddaughter in law who were both pregnant and on bedrest.


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!


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.


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.  


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!)


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!!)


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.


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. 


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


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


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?)

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


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.


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!


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.”



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.


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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