Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Sweet Taste of Summer

One of the joys of late summer is when the Concord grapes appear at the Farmers’ Market. To me, they are what grapes are supposed to be because their sweetness and aroma brings back childhood memories of the grape arbor on my family’s property in North Carolina. So - I love Concord grapes. 

I also love peanut butter and jelly and for my childhood anyway, the jelly was grape. It was good, but it wasn’t quite what I remembered or wanted from the arbor. Dean discovered Smuckers Natural Raspberry Jam and it really is very good so he has been eating it on his toast. I was looking for it when I discovered they also had Natural Grape. So I bought a jar. 

Oh my! Concord grapes, straight off the vine. I have had it on toast, on crackers and of course on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! I have had to be careful to keep from eating it by the spoonful right out of the jar. I think I have settled down and can have it in the usual way from now on. No longer obsessed, just glad to have found this delicious addition to my larder. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

On the Birth of a Daughter

They swaddled her, put a tiny little cap on her head and laid her in my arms, and I became a mother bear. I knew in an instant that I would defend to my death her well-being. The feeling only intensified when the second daughter was born. And even though they are both now much older than I was when they arrived, the feeling still remains. 

Time passes. I was neither the best nor the worst of mothers. They were neither the best nor the worst of daughters. And now if it were to come to physical defense, they would probably be the ones defending me. But it wouldn’t be for lack of trying. They are the loves of my life and I miss them terribly when we are apart, even when I know they are living their lives in strong and powerful ways. I am very proud of both of them and still willing to do parental battle if necessary. Some things never change. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fun at Emigrant Lake

Puck and the Owlet are always up for a pose on top of a rock.

But after a bit of a hike, a rock seat was the perfect place to rest. 

Fun to see them enjoying and exploring the beach.

We walked around the lakeshore to the play ground.

Wow - is she related to her Mama Susan. This was my favorite position on my swing set in my back yard as I was growing up. 

Playgrounds don't always have to have human built contraptions.
Once again, genes will out. I still love climbing trees. 

We returned to the beach and the Easter Bunny had come! 

Grandpa moves the pontoon out where he can start the little motor and head across the lake.

A good place to relax and snack while the rest of us sit in chairs.

Monday, April 21, 2014

So Very Proud of the Grands

This was a weekend to be proud of the grands. Puck was amazing in his play: he was John Darling in Peter Pan. The Owlet was her usual delightful self and has memorized The Song from Frozen which she sang for me a cappella on key with emphasis in all the right places without pushing her clear, high 9 year-old soprano. So - very proud of them.

And what made me the most proud was their community service. A teacher at the Owlet’s school has a young son who is dying of cancer. The whole school as gotten behind this family with support like vigils and raising money. Owlet and Puck are participating in the Sparrow Project. There is a fund into which the community contributes, in this case I believe mainly from a law firm. The money for helping the family is there. Then the students do community service to “earn” the money. For every hour of service, $10 goes to the family. 

We were camping at Emigrant Lake. Michelle asked the camp host, who checked with the park ranger, to see if there might be something the kids could do for an hour while they were with us on Sunday. They knew instantly: pick up trash along the lakeshore. The camp host gave them gloves and two of those pick up sticks and trash bags. Off they went. 

They spent an hour (2 hours of student time so $20) combing the lake shore picking up broken glass, bottle caps, straws, bits of paper, and even one sock! Good for them!! And they spent an hour each walking and working and raising money and helping the environment around a beautiful lake. I am very proud of them. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Peter Pan

I wanted to post pictures of the whole Darling family and Pan ~ and I had no way of asking permission of the other characters.
So here is John Darling and members of his "real life" family.

Puck as John Darling.

Joshua, Puck and Owlet

Joshua and girlfriend, Marc, Michelle, Owlet and Puck

Puck and Mama Susan
This middle school cast did 6 performances in 2 days and although he had to drink hot tea between the last two on Friday, Puck has never been happier. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ashland Camping

Before we ever get to pictures of grandchildren and family, here are a few shots of the Ashland area in which we are camped for this wonderful weekend. 

Mt. Shasta on the way. 

An attempt at the full moon over the lake. No I don't know what the "extra" orb is. Probably just a reflection of something. 

Morning on Emigrant Lake. 

Dean coming down from the camper with his tea.

We have a beach!

Dean wandering the beach. We love this campground and are glad to have found it and be staying here for the first "shake down cruise" of the camping season. So far so good. Not much missing and everything seems to working well. Off to a good start! 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Palm Sunday Thoughts

Taking a meditative stroll through the woods with Oso this morning when I looked down at this: 

I have walked this way many times and this was the first time I noticed this. I thought it appropriate as a meditation focus for Palm Sunday. This is going to be an unusual Holy Week for me. Normal would be attendance at a Maundy Thursday service, participating in a prayer vigil long distance with the church I attended in Virginia, some awareness of Good Friday (I have danced at a stations of the cross service, walked a labyrinth, attended services, etc) and then of course the resurrection celebration of Easter morning. 

This year will be slightly different. Wednesday we leave for Ashland to camp over the weekend. Thursday and Friday nights we will attend a middle school production of Peter Pan in which grandson Puck has the role of John Darling (Wendy’s brother). Puck has had nice compliments during rehearsals especially from his choreographer so we are really looking forward to seeing him perform. Easter morning may be spent in church ~ there are a couple of small congregations in the area that I would like to visit some time. Or ~ it may be spent holding my grands close in celebration and gratitude that they are part of my life and I am a part of theirs. Resurrection takes many forms. Thanks be. 

Friday, April 11, 2014


For many years my husbands could take “candid” shots of me and I looked wonderful. Candid in quotes because I usually knew the location of the camera. 

Then a couple of years ago, I said to Dean, no more candids. I don’t like the way I look unless I am posed. And for the most part, pictures of me have been in groups when we knew our picture was being taken and I have been fine with that. 

This week, I was So glad to get a haircut that I decided to take a selfie and show you. My first reaction was - yuck! Wrinkles.

Then I remembered a candid picture from our trip that I had not posted because I thought I had too many wrinkles. And then I thought about that picture. 

Look at what I am doing? How can I not love this picture? My sweet granddaughter has climbed up beside me to look at pictures and when I said I needed to close the computer because we were getting ready to leave, she pouted, put her thumb in her mouth and snuggled very close. And I am worried about wrinkles???? Get your head on straight, Susan. Realize what really matters: you love and are loved and lots of those wrinkles stem from laughing, enjoying life and from dimples that still appear when I smile. Silly Mama Susan. Nobody notices wrinkles when you hug. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spring Break in Temecula, 2

Saturday afternoon spent watching soccer and other sports events.

See the fist pump on the running forward? First goal of the game!! That's our girl! 

A good throw in ~ 

~ right down the line. Five goals, a throw in and two assists and a pass. Takes after her mom.

A lovely afternoon in the back yard.

Just two more years and I can be out there on the field with big sister. 

OK, here's the deal. You throw the ball and throw the ball and can't quite get it in. You figure out you need to be taller. What to do? Get your chair, stand on it, and in goes the ball!!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Spring Break in Temecula, 1

Well, you can't say I didn't warn you! Another week of spring break with some more delightful grands. 

Papa and Mama Duck settled in under our table at the Bishop Park when we stopped to eat lunch on our way down. 

Our youngest grand: look what I can do!

The destructive power of one Oreo!

Where do we learn this? Ask for a smile, get a pose. 

She doesn't mind noise as long as she is making it!

Fabulous children's museum: Penny Pickle. She spins, the whole wall of interconnected machinery behind her goes into motion. 

The Captain's Chair

"Make it so."

Swim lesson determination

Young dolphin.

Aren't I cute when I clap my hands?

Cousins together. 

Ballet, museum, swimming, soccer practice and energy left over to play with her cousin.

Another fashionista in the family. I love the lady bug boots!