Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Wisdom of Rubicon Peak

What constitutes a perfect day? I am sure you can think of lots of things you might include in your perfect day. I know I probably would not include yard work in mine and yet today, from the perspective of sunset, just might be the perfect day.

We had goodies from Allison's on the front deck for breakfast. Then we headed to the yard. Dean lined the deck wall with flowers and transplanted the tomatoes into the cold frame. The plants already have several tomatoes on them so we are off to a good start. I raked pine needles off the terraced areas on the wall so the plants there would continue to grow well.

After a morning with plants, we sat on the deck and then lunched there. Dean planted seeds while I read and we brought up a table to the shop so Dean could sand and polish. We followed that with a snack on the hill over-looking Rubicon Peak. While we sat there, I told Dean that in that space, we could solve the problems of the world or ignore them entirely. That was when he said, "The Wisdom of the Rubicon". When we sit together whether on the deck, on the hill, or in the hot tub, we talk or we are silent. We live in a place where sitting can bring wisdom and peace. 

We descended to the deck again for time in the hot tub and then watching the last of the series with Morgan Freeman and the search for God. For a day that did not include steak, ice cream and the beach, it came very close to being perfect. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Pleased and Proud

For several years, I have been creating picture books for two of my grands of our visits together. They started out as picture books with very little narrative. As the girls have grown and learned to read, the narrative has increased. As new cousins were born in the same town, more pictures were included. This last one was almost divided into chapters as my time with them was spent at different times. The book arrived this morning and the girls started reading immediately. Megan was so excited, she wanted to take it to school and share it there.

What I do know is, this makes me So Happy!! One, that books Apple and I create are enjoyed ~ so much so that Megan asked if I would make one of our trip this time. Two, because the books continue to help with the joy of reading. And three, she wanted to take it to school to share with her friends!!! Such pleasure over something so easy. 

Exercise Evolution

When I moved to Tahoe 15 years ago, I was used to a morning walk routine. A very early morning walk routine as my walking pal and I would meet at the path about 6:30. Moving to Tahoe kept me in that routine as Dean was and is a hiker and we have lots of forest trails behind our house. For a number of years I kept up my morning walk routine.

Then my hip started to hurt and striding out over rocks and fallen branches and even down smoother trails became very painful. As you know, I waited way too long to have an X-ray which told me I needed a hip replacement. That happened 4 1/2 years ago. I went from crutches to snowshoes in 7 weeks thanks to a really fine physical therapist and my own obedience to her instructions. As my prescription for PT was about to end, I commented that I might have to join a gym as I really liked the machines. They had a follow-up program and I started right away. For 4 years, I was at the gym almost every morning at eight o'clock. I still hiked with Dean on weekends but my primary form of exercise had become the gym.

This year we had a bit of financial set back and I chose to stop going to gym for a while to save a bit of monthly money. That was ok. I was assured I could return any time. I snowshoed regularly. Then things got to where I was thinking I could return to gym. One day Dean came home from skiing where he had seen one of the assistants at the PT office and asked if I knew they had closed the after care program. What????

Sure enough. 1) They had gotten very busy. 2) They were under new management. 3) They were thinking of expanding their space. 4) In a staff meeting about two weeks ago, they decided to let go of the follow-up program.

So - here I am closing in on the full circle: morning walk to gym to morning walk. This morning I put on workout clothes immediately and right after breakfast Oso and I hit the trail. Dean will join us next week (today being his last day of skiing). I may not be walking quite as early as I used to. My walking partner is 4-legged instead of two (until Dean joins us). And in the winter, I will have snow shoes on my feet. Otherwise, the routine is a life time routine with just a little break for some gym time. It was fun. I will miss it and I am glad they were there for me when I needed them. Neither do I mind evolving back again.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Just for Fun

These are some left-over pictures from all the others I have used in the blog
from our trip to Temecula. They are just fun if you like looking at grandchildren.

Emily ~

~ and Megan in front of their art wall and all dressed up for shoe shopping.

Two peas in a pod living on the same block.

Hanging with Aunt Mandy.

Any time there is a soccer ball.

Cousins together.

Studying this technique.

I think I can.

Well done!

There's joy in the trying.

Thanks for having fun with us! You get toasted with a chocolate chip cookie!!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Being a Marine - Part 2

I need to follow up on yesterday's blog about sending our grandson to the Marines. This was a kid who cared nothing for school and literally squeaked by to make his high school graduation. School was not his decision. To become a Marine is his decision. No one suggested it to him. No one urged him to do it. By the time he asked his father to go to the recruiting station with him, he already had the appointment and was prepared. He went from squeaking by to making a good enough grade that he was immediately made a private first class and was able to choose avionics for his specialty.

Still, the family teased him a lot about bootcamp: no more sleeping in, no more hair, no more long leisurely meals. All the while, we were able to see his determination. Nothing stirred his belief in himself and in his decision. This is a really good thing and his grandfather and I could see the maturity that had happened over the few months since the last time we had seen him.

The family is gathered. We are all laughing, teasing, even hearing good advice about bootcamp from the one military experienced person in the family. Then I say:

"Okay, Carter. All teasing aside. You get through bootcamp. You graduate. What happens next?"

"Then I go to combat training."

Suddenly the room was silent. For the first time, I think we realized exactly what we were sending Carter to do and be and become.

I would not have chosen this for him or any of my grandchildren. He did choose. Perhaps the first real choice he felt he had in his life. And he will do well. He goes with the support of family and friends. I believe we just may have sent him to a full-fledged career. I can see that happening. At the same time, I will pray for him to be kept safe and wise and for our world to learn to live in peace so that he can have a long and productive life. Bless you, Carter. You go with our love.

Friday, May 20, 2016

A Fine Send-off! Semper Fi!

Much to the family's surprise, grandson Carter decided a while back he wanted to go into the Marines. He has shone on all his tests, chose avionics for his specialty and while we were in Temecula, had a family gathering to send him off to bootcamp. It was one of those family moments when life changes for everyone involved. 

Carter was happy about his Marine choice.
I had to take his picture in the hat because he may be the only person I know with one of these.

There is always a girl friend around at times like these.

The family

Carter and his Uncle Dave who is the one in the family with military experience. 
Dave teased a lot but also shared some wisdom from his days in boot camp. 

Sister Carly - Grandpa and Aunt Mandy in the background.

Dean and his daughter Amanda.

Listening to his dad's toast.

The hair disappeared under the Marine shears sometime on Monday. 

That very special moment.

And now it is time for ~ 

Not going to be anything like this coming out of the mess kitchen at bootcamp.

On his way.  Go with our love and blessings, Carter. 
Your Grandpa and Mama Susan are very proud of you!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Hanging with the Grands

Literally hanging with Levi. What a happy baby!

End of the season softball party. Swimming, eating, trophies and 
a movie!! Megan enjoyed softball - and swimming.

Watching the big screen: Megan on the far end. Emily at this end.

Soccer practice.

Confer with the coach.

Soccer game - The Tigers (please note the tiger striped socks)

Yay, Tiger Emily!! Two assists, two goals, and lots of fun. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Stars for Mama Susan

I realize the blog title sounds like I am bragging. Well, I am.
Lettie and I spent a long time together and from the time she walked in the house from her day care about 1:30 until she went to bed some time after we left for the night, she never stopped moving. She's almost 3. I have 70 years on her. I move well for 73. But not constantly. I learned I could play and be creative and think of participatory activities with a bouncy, wiggly little one and still sit.

"I have a kitchen, Mama Susan." And so we went to the play room.

Designer Lettie. And yes, she also has a castle!

Yoga - she knows the moves and their names from a class she attends with her mom. 

"You have to find the corners.

Discovering rainbows. 

If you look closely, you can see the rainbow on her face, across her eye.

Jumping through and on rainbows on the floor. 
"The sun makes the rainbows."

Middle of the afternoon, apropos of nothing we were doing, she
announces she needs to brush her teeth. And so she did. 

We spent the afternoon playing and singing ~ songs like "put the keys in the bucket, put the keys in the bucket, put the keys in the bucket and they won't get lost." I made up that one and created Lots of variations on the theme. We found a lot of things to put in the bucket. It was a good afternoon and Mama Susan did well. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Let's Meet Levi!

Levi is grandchild number 13, born on February 13th, making 13 one Really Lucky number in the McKay family!

My first view, up close and personal.

And then he woke up.

Happy family.

Snuggle time with Mama Susan

Hanging with Dad. 

Just so we know that once in a while, all is not well. 
This is a rare moment evidently. It certainly has been for us.
We are thrilled to be with family and enjoying grands.