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!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Tea - or Not

I was so excited. About four years ago I had given a tea and invited a mother and daughter who at the time was twelve. Now at 16, the daughter remembered that and asked would it be possible for me to do tea again for her and her best friend who is moving once school is out. Both moms were invited as well. School was out at 2:30 and so they were expected at three.

The table was set and ready for their arrival. Except they didn't arrive. 
I texted and called but neither were answered - nor received I learned later. 

About 4 I saw Pam, my neighbor, walking her dogs and called to her to come
have tea. Egg salad, cucumber, smoked gouda sandwiches.

Scones with butter and strawberry jam and Lady Grey tea.

Pam dropped the dogs off at home and came up to visit and
have tea. The sweet tray consisted of brownies, lemon squares, and 
homemade cookies. Pam and I had a lovely time and a lovely tea.

Now I won't leave you wondering. The mother, my friend, was stuck in Sacramento because of the snow on the mountain. She decided to wait until it had cleared to come back today. No one contacted her to ask. It wasn't until she had been home about an hour that she was asked, "What about your tea party this afternoon?"
She called immediately of course and apologized profusely.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Jake's Graduation

This last week, on a Tuesday, family gathered from all over the west coast to celebrate our grandson Jake's graduation from high school.

Represented are Oregon, Simi, Tahoe City, Hawaii, and Temecula as well
as his home town of San Jose'. There was lots of celebrating, visiting, and
so many smiles.

It was fun to see grands Emily and Megan, Jake's cousins, who made
cards that represented the feelings of the whole family.

Jake with his parents and brother. Although we were there to celebrate Jake,
it is with such delight to celebrate his caring, loving, wise and encouraging family too. 

Jake with Grandpa and Mama Susan. In San Jose' leis are the gift of 
graduation day. Jake's included homemade ones from his cousins,
one of them with flowers of money, and an orchid one brought
from Hawaii by his other grandfather. 
It was a delightful day for a terrific grandson who is heading for
Cal Lutheran in the fall.
Congratulations, Jake!

Sometimes Tradition is Best

We have this new Ninja blender. Huge blades. Looks like it could chip a tree. Dean makes smoothies for lunch everyday. And that should have warned me. His smoothies aren't really smooth.

We bought some lovely apples at a good market on the way home the other day. I decided with the new blender, I could make applesauce faster. Maybe it could made straight in the blender. No such luck. I blended some chopped apples with a little water, and blended, and blended and blended. Used several different settings. The applesauce appeared but it was thicker and not as smooth as I like. Ergo - back to cooking the apples first and letting them cool and then blending. I'm sure that will work. And . . . cooking sure does make the kitchen smell good. Mmmmmm - applesauce.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Strange Sensation

Oso and I are on a striding walk up the trail behind the house. Suddenly Oso stops. Freezes. Does Not Move. Head’s up - focus is into the woods. Very intense. I stop behind him of course and we wait. 

Suddenly he whirls around and bolts toward home. In all honesty, I am just spooked enough in the woods by myself anyway that with one more look into the woods (where I have seen and heard Nothing), I turn and follow him. I walk down hill toward home very aware of my back with my ears focused up the hill. 

Of course nothing is following us. Who knows what was there? And my dear dog is woods wise enough that I trust him to come home if there’s a problem. After all if it had been a bear, he would have barked and run toward it. Worse than a bear? Or just a figment of Oso’s imagination? I’ll never know. We both made the right decision though. Welcome home.