Friday, July 21, 2017

Mother and Daughters

I mentioned in my previous blog that my mother was her mother's fifth daughter. This morning, I came across this picture while looking for something else entirely. The resemblance I talked about yesterday is definitely clear in this picture. My mother is standing directly behind her mother.

Front row: Mabel, Mama Dear, Lalah
Back row: Rubye, Polly, Maude

Mabel, the oldest, was born prematurely. The doctor signed a death certificate to save himself another trip to the country. Mama Dear lined a drawer with warm bricks, swaddled her little one and fed her when she cried. At age 21, Mabel had only a death certificate when she needed a birth certificate to get married.  Aunt Mabel lived to be 98.
Maude, the second, was a wonderful farm wife. She and Uncle Bill had room in their home for Mama Dear and Aunt Rubye and always welcomed my family every summer. 
Rubye was the professional woman. She never married and worked in a real estate office during a time when women were just beginning to be in the work force.
Lalah was called "Happy" because she was. She raised 3 children, always had room in her home and at her table for others. Shhh - don't tell, but of all the aunts, she was my favorite. Probably because she fed me grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade apple sauce for lunch.
Polly, my mother, was 8 years younger than Lalah and was loved as the baby she was. I don't think she was spoiled though because she could certainly keep a house and raise a child. She also had the courage to leave the North Carolina family home and venture to Texas to marry some upstart lawyer in the middle of the depression. 
I feel honored to be descended through Polly while at the same time having the blood of these amazing women running through my veins. They loved me, nurtured me, and taught me a lot. There is a lot more inheritance here than the shape of our noses.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Mothers and Daughters

Cousins found a picture of my grandmother as
a young woman. They thought my mother looked a 
lot like her.

My grandmother, Addie Martin Trent.
We called her Mama Dear.

Her fifth daughter and my mother, Polly Trent Shank.

My first daughter, Michelle, who probably carries more of the Martin family genes than I do.
This was my granddaughter Trinity's 6th birthday when she received a doll that Polly, Susan and Michelle had all received on their 6th birthdays. I am holding my mother's picture made at about the same age as her mother's above. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Kitchen Lessons

I have a very simple recipe for rather amazing oatmeal cookies. I have added raisins and chocolate chips (to separate batches). Lovely and yummy. Today, however, I also added coconut. That was too much. The liquid was not enough to allow the extra ingredient to adhere, especially to the batch with raisins, and I have a large batch of delicious crumbles. Without the raisins, they are ok - and as these are cookies I make when I am giving a tea, I will certainly go back to the original recipe then. Adding too many more ingredients just doesn't work.

On the other hand ~ earlier in the summer I had made a small batch of apple sauce which I discovered needed more than one kind of apple. Oh, well, I froze some anyway. It was tasty. Just not my apple sauce. Today I found one last container from last fall in the freezer downstairs. *Light bulb* ~ mix the two. Yummy!! The one from last fall made with several kinds of apples added just what was needed to the summer one. Perfect.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. In this case, it was all good!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Summer Vegetables

I am not a vegetarian, not by a long shot. And over the years, summer veggies have often called for a meal all of their own. Today was one of those days. 

Nothing is from our garden yet and except for the asparagus (Costco) everything else is from the Farmers' Market. The squash was melt-in-your-mouth sweet, the tomatoes juicy and perfect, the asparagus just right off the grill and the corn - oh, my goodness, the corn. Sweet, tender summer perfection. Yummy.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Random Round-up

Chapter Three:The last pictures and some stories from the McKay family trip to Tahoe.

Little Man is off to explore the world. 

And isn't happy when he is called back to the
safety of the deck.

Precious loves to build with the blocks her Grandpa made.

And to discover stuffed animals on a high shelf.

Little Man loved to join Mama Susan for breakfast. Mama Susan
quickly learned to scramble him his own egg so to alleviate her 
guilt over eating all her own breakfast. 
Any time I sat in this chair, he wanted in my lap. If I was without eggs,
he was down in a flash.

If we can just keep him cleaning the floor as he grows up.

Ahhhh - this is the life.

Fun at the beach. 

We had another visitor one day. About 30 seconds after I took
this picture, Oso burst out of the shop, barking and levitating as he ran. 
I was worried for a minute he was going to catch the bear. He gave up
the chase while still in sight.

Did you ever wonder what dental floss looked like when explored by
a 17 month old? Now you know!

Proud and happy dad and Little Man at the beach.

Precious was there too and everyone was happy.

The McKay family minus one - our lovely grand daughter Kaitlyn
who has just finished her masters in Germany and will be staying
there to work. It was so good to have Carter with us before he is
deployed with the Marines in November. Kyle lives in Tahoe so 
we were glad he took his evening off to have dinner with us and 
spend some family time. It was a wonderful trip for them and a
delightful time for us.

Sunday, July 9, 2017


Chapter Two in last week's journey with grands in Tahoe:

Precious loves it when big brother Kyle plays 
Chutes and Ladders with her.

~ and then sister Carly joins them.

Big brother Carter and Precious have a delightful
conversation. Is he telling her Marine stories?

He's probably faking being asleep but Precious doesn't care.

Carly does all kinds of wonderful things with braids.

An idyllic day at the beach.

Carly teaches Precious to pose for pictures. 

She is also very good with Little Man who is happy with 
Carly but does not want to smile for pictures.

As much fun as being with the younger sibs is,
sometimes it is nice to be older together with
dad and just hang out.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Oso Has Company

I have learned over the years that when you are visiting with younger grands, you do may take as many pictures as you like but posting them in real time is out. So here you have some chapters in our last week when Precious and Little Man visited Tahoe.

Chapter One: Captivated by Oso
Oso was the immediate attraction as soon as they arrived. 

Little Man was fascinated even though he looks blasé' in this picture.

Oso made a great chair - just the right size.

Our boy was very patient. 

Conversations were often held at Oso's level.

It takes a while to learn to be gentle with an animal. 
Oso was a good trainer being both patient and gentle himself.

As the week went on, Oso began to ask for some relief.

Little Man loved his grandpa too and enjoyed going places with him although Oso wasn't so sure he liked the idea. He made it through the week though and was the wonderful dog we have always known him to be. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

An Unexpected Blessing

I knew today was Salvador’s last day as grounds-keeper at the condos. When I saw him, I stuck out my hand, he shook it, and then he hugged me! He hugged me. 

He and I have absolutely nothing in common. I have always waved at him as I drove by and he was working. Once I started my parking lot walks, I would stop for a chat and those led to stories about his family. I was especially concerned several months ago when he told me he was going to Mexico. It was at the beginning of the travel ban and I was concerned that even though an American citizen now, he might not be let back in the country. He didn’t think there would be a problem as he had traveled to and from Reno a number of times. Things were different though so I was concerned and expressed that. We decry the fact that people do not fasten the locks on the dumpsters well and so bears still get in and make a mess that he has to clean up. And so today, on his retirement day, standing over a pile of garbage that someone (in spite of all the written warnings) had left hanging on the outside of the dumpster because they couldn’t be bothered to push it down into an already overloaded dumpster and lock the lock, we shook hands and hugged. I will miss him. Have a good life, sir. You have been a blessing. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Not A Child

Today I have read two articles that describe Donald Trump as a child. My friend and former pastor, David Edwards, had this to say about that phenomenon. I quote with his permission:  “I have spent a lot of time being with children, as a pastor, father, and earlier in life, as a nurses’ aide in a children's hospital. Children act like, well, children, the way they are supposed to be. To compare them to adult behavior in some kind of demeaning way does not make any sense. . . “ 

I agree with David. As the grandmother of thirteen, I am watching “children” from ages 1 1/2 to 26 growing into mature responsible people. The little one is still at the age when he is perfectly present in the moment. He does not worry about the moment before or the moment to come. The older ones are learning all sorts of behavior like compassion, sharing, listening, being the best they can be in their situation. And along the way they act like the children they are and are supposed to be. By the time they are adults (as several of them are already), they will have the skills and knowledge to function in the adult world. 

They will know how to take responsibility for their mistakes and how to praise those around them who do well. I love all of my grandchildren and am proud of their place in the world no matter what their ages. It is time to stop comparing Trump to a child. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Joshua's Graduation Continued

Joshua's hot graduation day continued in the cool shade of Sam's parents' home where a wonderful feast was spread for us. It was so very nice to have a comfortable place to sit as a family and visit and share memories and celebrate Joshua.

Joshua and Grandpa have big smiles after Joshua has told us that he has a supervisory position at one of the nicer hotels in town beginning tomorrow. The position had been open for a while. He applied, they interviewed him and 48 hours later called him back with a job offer. That news made graduation day even more special. 

Joshua and sister Trinity.

Wow - Trinity is as tall as Akira - 

oh - no she's not. She's standing on the toe of his boot! 

Marc is a happy dad. It has been a long ride from the day he rode the school bus with Joshua on the first day of kindergarten. The journey continues of course and for now, the school part of it is over. 

It was Joshua's day, and we have to raise a glass to Michelle and Marc who loved and encouraged, taught and disciplined, offered wisdom, compassion and kindness and were and are Wonderful parents to this wonderful man.

Sam's father Bruce grilled a Huge platter of steak which we devoured along with appetizers, roasted veggies, salad and yummy chocolate cake.

Sam was such an encouragement to Joshua. They agree it was a good thing they graduated at different years. Last year it was Sam who was going crazy at the end of school and Joshua who offered the anchor and support. This year it was reversed as Sam helped him surmount some writer's block and finish those papers. Hurray to them both!

And I guess this says it all: We love you, Joshua! Blessings on the next stage of your journey!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Joshua's Graduation

It was a hot day on a football field in Ashland OR for Southern Oregon University's 2017 graduation ceremony. 
We took chairs and sat on the grass and from our perspective, all we knew was that Joshua was out there somewhere in section C. The band played Pomp and Circumstance forever. A music major sang The Star Spangled Banner (very well) and finally the ceremony began.

If you were there only for your brother's graduation, you hid in a corner by a cement tower that gave a little shade.

My view most of the time I was sitting in my chair. And I was very grateful for a chair.

Finally, however, Joshua approached the stage. Unfortunately Dean's zoom lens was not working so my iPhone pictures of Joshua, as close up as I could make them, are a little fuzzy. There he is though waving at us and glad we are there for him. I laughed with the woman next to me and said, "I'll cheer for yours if you cheer for mine." Well she took me seriously and gathered her family, and Joshua and later Austin received larger celebratory whoops than either expected.

Proud Marc looks on while I take Joshua's picture. The heat had been rather overwhelming so he had quickly unzipped his robe. I was so grateful to be dressed in light flowing pants and a T-shirt instead of robes originally designed to be warm in the cold medieval cathedrals of northern Europe.

After a huge hug, he had some brotherly advice for Akira. The main thing I heard was, 
"It is possible. It can be done!"

Does a hug with mom need any explanation?

Even in the heat, he had not heard the word to switch over his tassel. That came right at the end of the ceremony. He was still in the stadium though and able to do it. 

Fiance' Samantha is So Proud of him. It was not always an easy road for Joshua and he made it! More pictures will follow after the bar-b-cue at Sam's folks' house this evening. For now, grandson Joshua had graduated with a BA in English and Writing. Congratulations, Joshua!