Sunday, August 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

The month ends on a Sunday. Another will begin on Monday. Not just another month, any month, but September. Labor Day. The official end of summer and the beginning of fall. Almost more like a new year than New Years. Of course partly that is because I am still caught in the school calendar of my youth and my daughters’. 

This year though there are several things emphasizing the new starts. In the very ordinary way of life, we have run out of lots of things we use all the time: talcum powder, toothpaste, body wash, etc. Time to restock and open new containers. The revolving doors on the guest rooms have closed. Tuesday the painters come. They start on the outside of the house. We will be getting a fresh new look for fall. And then they will paint the bedroom and we will hang the tapestries and change around pictures and be fresh and new. Gill comes “in the fall” this year even though she will be here in 10 days. A new time for her. 

Dean is close to having the cold frame finished so that this new year will include vegetables and herbs growing for several months longer than possible outside. I have even started to lose weight again, moving back down to where I want to be without a lot of effort ~ just sticking to the points. It all seems to be a turning, a change, a moving into a new time of other and different possibilities. Even the calendar acknowledges this particular end and beginning. ~ blessings in your new year

Saturday, August 30, 2014

It's Saturday

Sometimes (like this morning) something wakes me between 4:30 and 5. Oso barks, Dean turns over harder than usual, I have to go to the bathroom. Whatever the reason, I am awake and as I begin to go back to sleep, I realize, it is Saturday. 

I don’t have to get up. I can lie here and enjoy the feel of the sheets, the warmth of the bed, the sheer enjoyment of being. Gym isn’t open. Appointments are mid-week. It’s Saturday. Ahhhhh . . . 

Now of course I will get up. There are the little chores: the dishwasher doesn’t unload itself. Oso is smart but has yet to figure out how to open the back door or scoop out his food. The day is asking to be enjoyed. Hiking trails call. Scurrying critters demand to be watched and appreciated. The brain creates writing projects and books are just itching to be opened and read. And all of it can be on my time schedule. It’s Saturday . . . and I am grateful. ~ with blessings

Friday, August 29, 2014

House Work

Last summer we had to take down a very large, very dead tree up the hill. Dean had an idea for what to do with the rounds cut from the trunk and for a year now they have laid between the office and the house just waiting for something to happen. And now it has. 

Dean’s creativity. Benjamin’s hard work. I took his picture with his level because he has moved everyone of those rounds, put sand under each one, and leveled them, slow, deliberate work. Then he filled in with red rock. There is still some to do and with Dean bringing sand and rock from the parking lot to this level and Benjamin moving it by wheel-barrow to the growing patio, we will soon have a useable patio right out side Dean’s office. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Where Did It Go?

Well, they are gone. And the summer of the revolving guest room doors is over. We have shared our space many times this summer and every stay has been fun. We have had tiny ones, grandparent ones, families, older couples, and ending with our competent young couple who not only knew to get off the lake in a thunder storm but also hiked and kayaked on another perfect summer day in Tahoe. 

Gill arrives from Wales two weeks from today. Her trip has evolved into an every two year event, “normal” as it were, and because she stays for two weeks it is not quite the frantic, “see and do everything Tahoe has to offer in two days” trip that some of our guests have experienced this year. We will even take a road trip to Ashland during her stay in the states to show her more of our northwest. 

For now the house is quiet except for the sound of the washing machine. Dean is in the office in a meeting. Benjamin is moving sand and rock around the patio-to-be between house and office. I am breathing and not having to think of adventures to suggest. All is well as summer draws to a close and the guest room doors stop revolving. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It Doesn't Matter How Old They Are

When you are a parent, you realize that things will happen to your children: skinned knees, even broken bones, allergies, accidents. You take it in your stride, do what you can or get them to someone who can. It’s part of what you take on as a parent.
When you become a grandparent, it is just a little different. They belong to someone else now. You may have had the experience with their mom or dad, but these are given to you for a fun, safe weekend. You are supposed to be the terrific place to come where they are pampered and loved and fed and are safe. You certainly don’t want anything to happen to them on your watch. How could your own child ever forgive you if their child was hurt while with you?

And I learned last night, if she is your grandchild and you think she might be in trouble, it doesn’t matter how old she is. Granddaughter and boy friend took the kayak and headed for the beach. They were not out long when there was a roll of thunder. Although the sky over the lake was clear, the clouds behind the house were dark and the thunder just kept rolling and crashing. I was torn between, “they are adults, have traveled in Europe, are on a road trip from SoCal and can certainly take care of themselves” and “does our granddaughter know enough to get off the lake if a storm is coming??? Help!!!” 

Of course the first thought applied. It wasn’t long before they were back home having gotten off the lake immediately, carried the kayak back to the car and left the beach. Competent, efficient and quite able to care for themselves. Still, in a grandmother’s heart, they are her responsibility and nothing better happen on my watch. 

A Very Competent Couple!

Friday, August 22, 2014

A (Sort of) Short Review

We are so fortunate to have the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, “Nevada’s largest professional, nonprofit theater company” so close at hand. The quote is from the program and yes, the spelled theatre that way. However, the quality of the spelling only enhances the quality of the actors. We saw a Delightful performance of As You Like It last night and once again I came away so pleased with the standards set by the director and these actors who perform all over the country in Shakespearean venues. 

First: our venue. The backdrop of the theatre is the lake. Sets are designed for the purpose of allowing us to look through them to the setting beyond. Last night there were hang-gliders swooping across the sky which at one point became a little distracting, but no more so than a rising full moon on other nights. In the last 15 years, the theatre has gone from “bring your own chairs or sit on the sand” through chairs to rent, to chairs that split under you (oops), to really nice chairs even in the cheap seats. And in that setting, there are no bad seats. 

The performance was wonderful. The only jarring note was Orlando who seemed a little stiff with moments of ease thrown in. He tended to orate to the audience. The other actors even when facing us were more at ease with the language and simply said their lines even at projected volume and in Elizabethan English. 

The two young women (Celia and Rosalind) were delightful to watch. They reacted to each other as cousins might and were so comfortable with the language that they sounded like chattering teens heard at any family gathering today. 

Rosalind’s physicality was incredible and she bounced around the stage like the young man she was disguised to be. I hope we have the privilege of seeing her quite often in a variety of roles. 

As You Like It includes the Seven Ages of Man speech, one of Shakespeare’s best known and often quoted. It was a joy to listen to as Jacques simply said it. There were no asterisks around it proclaiming it to be One of Those Speeches which some actors tend to do. (“Pay attention to me now, I am going to deliver famous lines.”) He was into the speech practically before we knew it. It flowed like all the rest of the lines with clear and understandable inflection and meaning. 

The play was moved into New England of the early 20th century. The setting and costumes declare this. The struggle between the greedy industrialists and the new Americans, democratic, followers of Thoreau is there if looked for deeply enough. The most fun was the use of songs that reflect these times. It was a delightful night to be an audience. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I Love Kindle Tech Support!

We have just had a new wifi network put in the house. I was gone during most of the process and knew when I came home I would have to check out all my devices. My computer found and was on the network - simple. My phone found and was on the network - simple. My Kindle did NOT find the network so could not connect. So I started looking.

By the time I got to the Amazon help page, I had already done the three things they suggest so I called. That's when I got Natalie. Bless her heart!! I sit down on a little stool, turn the new router upside down on my lap, put Natalie on speaker, and begin to study all the words and lists of numbers on the bottom of the router. Obviously I cannot find the name Dean has given the network so we find the name and then comes the Search For The Password. Oh my --- and although my patience was wearing thin, Natalie stayed with the process and stayed calm. Finally she said, let's try this . . . and sure enough, it worked!!!

I would love to tell you what the password is and I don't think I had better do that ~ but it made us both laugh and then I asked to speak to her supervisor to tell her how wonderful Natalie had been. As always - good customer service gets praise from me, and a couple of new books on my Kindle!!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

What a Concept!

Wow. Having something catered makes all the difference in the world. Now, I have had things catered before. During Dean’s meetings, I will sometimes pick up a tray of sandwiches for lunch. On a couple of occasions. I have ordered from our favorite Mexican restaurant and picked up from them. Tonight seems different somehow. 

We are having Dean’s company party, an end of the summer event that he likes to host to honor the hard work of his really wonderful team. Two weeks ago a neighbor had a huge family reunion and we offered our deck for their main dinner. She had barbecue brought in from a new place in town. So easy. And about three days later, Dean suggested we do the same for the dinner tonight. 

So here it is, 9 o’clock on a Saturday morning before having 20 people for dinner and I am done. The few serving pieces we will use are out and labeled. Tea is made. Cheeses for appetizers are here. Dean needs to blow the pine needles off the deck. The tops of everything are clear and clean. Tables and chairs are in place. Dean is picking up ice and the desserts on his way home from yard sale shopping. Tonight we feast in our own home and I don’t have to turn a hand in the kitchen. Incredible. 

OK - so that my daughters don’t worry: yes, my delightful Ms. B is coming about three and we will put out plates, silverware, etc. We will arrange appetizers, and set the deck so that when the first person arrives, they are greeted gracefully. Sure, there is still little stuff to do. I will think of this, that and the other throughout the day. And - the food will be delivered at six and we will feast and I will enjoy my own party without having been in the kitchen all day. ~ with blessings

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Late Night Reading

Middle of the night and I am awake and have just read through the first year of my blog (2008). It is interesting to look back at what I wrote, what was important, what attracted my attention, and all that I have forgotten I had said. 

There are reminders of my grands when they were much younger than they are now. Blessed memories painted with the loving brush of a grandmother’s words. 

There was Obama’s first election and the making of history. 

There are many memories of place: a first winter storm; the smell of wet pines; sunrises and sunsets and the canopy of stars that sweep across our mountain sky, visible because we have no ambient light. 

There are some vague references to an unrecorded event which stirred emotion deep within me and now I read the emotional words with no idea of the event itself. 

And there are blessings. I ended every post with the word blessings ~ blessings to my readers in hopes that they would be aware of all the blessings that were theirs that day. At some point I got away from doing that on a regular basis. Time to start again, and so I end this blog as I began ~ with blessings for your day

The Way We Were

I’m getting old. I find myself thinking of the way we did some things when I was young as still being the best way to do them. When I was in elementary and high school, summer lasted three full months: June, July and August. School was out around Memorial Day and started again the day after Labor Day. Those two holidays framed summer for generations of us even if we didn’t work on the family farms.

That time table is so ingrained that it is hard to think of it being any other way. All but two of the grandchildren are back in school as of this week. Oregon schools start the day after Labor Day so those have two more weeks of summer. As do we. Between now and Labor Day, we have a company barbecue, attendance at our Shakespeare festival on the lake, and a visit from a college age granddaughter and beau. These are all “summer” events. I still like it the way it was - and for me, still is. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I Am Who I Am

 It is strange how often (even at my age) I “run home to mama”. Meaning in my family tradition, I become a stage manager again even when I am not back stage. Dean and I attended his fly fishing club barbecue yesterday. He had said we would come early and help set up. When Carolyn told me the way the food would be organized but she would not be around as her job was at the ticket table, I took over. It took some doing to work out exactly what the man in charge (ie, the director) wanted but once I understood, I sent him on his way. After all it had become my stage now. When some of the women serving were wondering how to manage the salad, I said, “here’s what we will do” and laid out a plan that worked perfectly. When the director was cutting bread and started to drift, I said, “Keep slicing” - to which he replied, “You’re going to keep me focused, aren’t you?” Yes, I am — that’s my job and has been for years: keep the director focused. 

When I was asked how I learned to be so organized, I said that I was a stage manager. Of course. Organize, delegate, make rather quick decisions and keep your eye on the duct tape. Hey, I can still do the job even when it’s in the park. And looked on as strike, clean up even becomes easy. It was a fun day and I enjoyed it. After all, Stage Manager is not just what I do. It is also who I am. 

Briefing some of my "crew"

"Chicken or salmon?" Everyone had their job to do. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Forty Years Ago

Yesterday on the way home from Ashland, I heard several reports that it was the 40th anniversary of Nixon’s resignation as President of the United States. More than once the question asked was: Do you remember where you were when you heard? 

Yes. We were in Antigua on vacation. We were also the only US citizens in our complex and so we instantly became the experts on the US Constitution and the smooth transition of power without military intervention. We both stretched our brains back to our government classes, but also to the ethos with which we were raised. We realized it was, and I hope still is, just in this country’s air that we change governments every four years through a peaceful process and if the unheard of happens as it did 40 years ago, that peaceful transition will still take place, the government will continue to govern, and all will be well. We were grateful to be able to share that vision with people from all over the world. Not only were we comforted by our knowledge, so were our international friends. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

High Tea

High Tea, a Mix family tradition carried on mainly by Meredith and Mama Susan. Meredith introduced Joshua to tea years ago. Time to introduce Owlet and Puck to the delights. 
Even though we are a very casual society these days, High Tea requires a little bit of dressy attire. 
We all dressed up and impressed several people who saw us passing by. 

We were met by John, owner of Round Table Tea. John brews six teas daily. At the beginning, John introduced us to all six teas, describing the blending process and some history of names and places. He had a jar of each tea and passed them around for us to inhale the distinct aromas of each tea. 
The teas began with the mildest, a white tea, and moved through to a rich Irish Breakfast tea.
The six pots were on a table and we took our own cups to the pots and poured the tea we wanted to try. We could stay with one tea (Mama Susan) or try all six (Joshua). 

This is fun - and good. In front of Owlet, John has placed
Devonshire Cream and Lemon Curd for our scones.

"Portrait" of Joshua enjoying his tea.

Puck at the tea table

This is very good 

They started us with a salad with a raspberry, poppy seed vinaigrette.

Savories: cucumber with minted cream cheese and
egg salad with just a touch of curry. 
Scones: lemon poppy seed, apricot ginger and 
Sweets: lemon squares and Oreo cheesecake.

It was a lovely afternoon with good food, wonderful teas, fun conversation
about our days, and a shout out to Owlet and Puck whose manners were
perfect! You can dress them up and take them anywhere! Big brother has been
a good role model and manners mentor. Mama Susan continues to beam with pride!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Spa Morning

The Owlet knew she was to get a haircut. We walked in and Jamie said, "Hi. You are here for your pedicure." Owlet started to say "no", looked at me and Grinned! So happy. 

Ahhhhh - 

Blue sparkly toes

Grins continue during manicure

A bit of a grimace during washing.

Nails drying, waiting for cut.

Off it comes!

Lovely ~ 

Dressed for High Tea.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Best Laid Plans

So excited. Going to have lunch with daughter and son-in-law on a short layover in Medford before they headed for Klamath Falls for fire fighting flights.
Except the company didn't make car reservations when they made them flight reservations so they had no rental car (all are in use by other fire crews) and had to be met at the airport and taken to Klamath Falls immediately. So - no lunch - but by golly, I was going to hug my baby and let her see her nieces and nephews.
Here we are on the curb at the end of our fifteen airport minutes ~ picture by girl friend of young man who was transporting them to Klamath Falls.
Even 15 minutes put big smiles on all our faces.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Summer in Ashland

While Dean is fly fishing at 12,000 feet in the Golden Trout Wilderness, I am visiting grands in Ashland, continuing to sleep in a real bed, and shopping ~ wow, did we shop. It is after all August and although school starts the day after Labor Day, it is time to shop. Legs have grown too tall for jeans, arms too long for sleeves, and feet too big for shoes that have worn out from all the outdoor play time anyway. So off we went to the mall where we spent a day, shopping, eating, shopping, and, once in a while, just hanging out waiting for the other shoppers.

Swimsuit for the rest of the summer

New shorts and a new book. And lots and lots of jeans 
for school. 

A day at the mall followed by a rousing Jenga tournament.

And in the end, Trinity won as dad's careful attempt brought the tower tumbling down.