Wednesday, November 30, 2005

O Christmas Tree

Like many of you, we put up our Christmas tree this weekend. No designer tree for us … no special theme or color … it wouldn’t be allowed as an entry at the “Festival of Trees” … but this year I realized our tree is a travelogue of our lives.
As I hung each ornament in just the right spot I was reminded of those who have crossed my path on the journey. There were ornaments from: our moms, our children, our friends – the Petersons, Myers, Bisbees, Gearharts, Kusses, Dehazes, from the Bunco ladies, those I’ve worked with over the years – Rosetta at the D.O., co-workers in Food Service, Kitty & Michelle plus parents at Archer Glen, Nancy my Library co-worker and those in our church family.
Each ornament tells a story … a little about each of us … where we’ve traveled for vacation over the years, our interests and hobbies, a family celebration or accomplishment. But there are yearly traditions … Coca-Cola for Walt and Barbie for Karen. Gearsdad would be jealous because I have a Harley ornament hanging on our tree! I’ll have to remember to put that one up high and out of reach! And I definitely have to keep the snowmen away from Byron … just a warning to all you snowmen collectors!
A new change for our ornament placement this year was the addition of grandbaby Colin. We’ve left soft ornaments within his reach … our tree is “Colin-ized.” We want him to enjoy grandpa & grandma’s tree and the fun and beauty of the ornaments and lights.
I think I’ll sit back with a cup of tea and enjoy all the memories of those who have journeyed with us and the joy we’ve shared as a family represented by the ornaments on our Christmas tree.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Memories from Jergens

Have you ever thought about how scents can trigger a childhood memory?
Each time I pick my car up from an automotive shop I am reminded of my dad who worked as an auto mechanic for more than 35 years. The fumes and noises take me right back to when I would occasionally spend time with him at the shop on Saturdays as a child. I usually leave a little sad realizing how much I miss him.
On a recent trip to Target I stood in the cosmetic aisle trying to decide which brand of hand cream to buy ...
Will it make my skin feel smooth and silky? ...
Does it help with dry skin? ...
Which brand is the most economical? ...
Women have so many decisions to make!!
What did I end up purchasing?!?! ... Jergens Original Scent Cherry-Almond Moisturizer ... WHY? ... because it reminded me of my mom. It takes me back to a childhood memory of shopping downtown Portland with her on a sunny day, waiting for the bus in front of a jewelry store. There were amethyst-colored squares in the sidewalk that reminded me of jewels ... good memories.
The bottle advertises "This timeless formula leaves dry skin feeling touchable soft and smooth and wraps you in the cherished memories of our classic Cherry-Almond scent. Use it to provide your family with the same care and comfort your mother gave you."
Is this the best lotion on the market today?!?!? hmmmmmm .... I don't know .... but the Cherry-Almond scent fills my mind with good childhood memories!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

"Jewels" on the Journey

In the last week I feel like I’ve been living in a Carnival … one minute on the Scrambler getting bumped around, the next on a Roller Coaster with many twists and turns, and at other times like I’m on a Ferris Wheel with all ups and downs. I know – not many details – but trust me … the “Fun House” hasn’t been part of the midway attractions!
While the week has been stressful and draining I felt so uplifted by my Tuesday Bible Study group. I am so thankful for this group. I’ve learned so much from them as they each share their “walk” -- gives me the encouragement to get through my week. Yesterday they gave me a beautiful spoon wrapped with colorful “jewels” … if you read the “Spoon Theory” you’ll understand the meaning behind this. Of all the days – I really needed that yesterday. I am so thankful for how they have taken the time to read the story and understand the symbolism behind the spoons with my lifestyle and health. I have it on display in my home as a reminder to consider how I will “spend my spoons” each day. It is also a reminder of those who will hold me accountable, give support, love, and prayer. They are truly “jewels” in my life! Thank you ladies for lifting me up! My burden felt much lighter today.

3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us--they help us learn to endure. 4 And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. 5 And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:3-5 NLT

Friday, November 11, 2005

A Quarter-Century Memory ... Tim

Rewind back to November 14, 1980 ……
Our second baby was due on the 22nd but I had a feeling that day, maybe this little one would be coming early. After dinner we went to Fred Meyer to do a little shopping with Brian. I felt some cramping so we stopped by Walt’s parents’ house to warn them that “this may be the big night.” That’s where this picture was taken – 3 hours and 45 minutes before you were born. Shortly after arriving home my water broke and we made a frenzied trip to Woodland Park Hospital. I didn’t know our VW Bus was capable of moving so fast!
Just ahead of us a couple was walking in … her baby was already crowning and the emergency room Dr. had to deliver their baby. There was already excitement in the air when we checked in. Things were moving along but the nurses didn’t believe me when I told them I go from 5cm to 10cm in a matter of minutes. So, Tim, you added more excitement that night in the emergency room. Dr. Eigner came in to deliver his second baby in less than 2 ½ hours. I remember him commenting that it was a good thing he wasn’t an optometrist! He actually had been a missionary Dr. in Africa and had just returned to the States. He basically allowed us to participate in the birth …. it was amazing! At 1:19am, November 15th you were born weighing 6lbs, 7oz.
Dr. Neilsen arrived about 15 minutes later. What a surprise Dr.-- Eigner had been his college roommate and they hadn’t seen each other in years. They had a little “reunion” until 4am. Another unbelievable thing about Dr. Eigner …. In August my mom, Brian and I went to visit some of her former co-workers at a clinic downtown and one of the staff members I met that day was Dr. Eigner. Didn’t realize then that we would cross paths again in November for such a special occasion.
Tim, for our 30th anniversary you gave me a framed photo that listed several things I had taught you over the years. Now it’s my turn … Tim you have taught me to have a sense of humor, to laugh more often and lighten-up. When you were a little guy you had this twinkle in your blue eyes. Many times when I would try to discipline you I would have to turn my head away so you couldn’t see me laughing! You have brought us 25 years of love, joy and laughter ….Happy 25th Birthday, Timmy!

Healthy Holidays

Here I go again …. promoting something good for you. If you’re watching your cholesterol and/or waistline this holiday season you might want to give this a try. A ½ c. serving = 90 calories, total fat = 2g, cholesterol = 0mg. Walt has already been the taste tester for this product since he is an Egg Nog fan. He gives it two-thumbs up!
If you’re not into Egg Nog, we’ve also tried Silk Chai and Silk Mocha – both great products.
Here’s to healthier holidays …..

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Mission Impossible ... Mission Complete

I first learned to knit in elementary school through a 4-H group that met once a week at Ginger Navarro’s house. Her mother taught us a new way to cast-on and introduced us to several beginner projects.
It’s funny how my memory connects an event from my past to knitting. I remember when we got the call that my Grandpa Smith had died at age 54 from kidney disease. I was sitting in the dining area of our apartment knitting a project from our 4-H group using light blue yarn. I believe I was 9 years old. So many years ago …
During my teens and early twenties I picked up my knitting needles again and even learned to crochet. It wasn’t until I found out I was going to be a grandma that the desire to knit again came to mind. One of my co-workers, Pam helped refresh my skills and get me started again.
Since then I have completed several dishcloths, scarves, an afghan and a baby blanket. The baby blanket brought the most tears and grief but I struggled through it. September 2004 I bought some chenille cotton yarn with the intention of making a reverse-bloom flower washcloth. The humorous side to this story is that the pattern was from a knitting book titled, “Weekend Knitting “ … I laugh just thinking about it.
After failing to even get the project started Pam took the pattern to a knit shop in Lake Oswego and they told her it was an intermediate pattern (aha!) She knit one so she could help me get started – but it never happened.
During our annual Sunriver Memorial Day weekend getaway Heather decided we were going to conquer this project. She dictated the instructions and I knit. We even met at Starbucks after we got home when it was time to start the flower center – with Loree observing.
Well, as projects go … when it was time to transfer it to double-pointed needles and only 10 rows to go … it went back to the bottom of my knitting bag. I didn’t think I could finish it on my own. Then ever so often over the next several months Loree would bring it up … “have you finished the round thingy yet?” Finally last Thursday when I was home sick I made a decision to finish it. I’m glad there were no hidden cameras recording my first use of double-pointed needles. It was quite the comedy … stitches dropping off one end, trying to keep track of the beginning of a row. But much to my amazement I finished it and it turned out like it was supposed to! Yeah!
It’s always so rewarding to accomplish something we didn’t know we were capable of, to be stretched to learn a new skill. But the biggest lesson I learned in finishing this is how far we can go with the help and encouragement of others.
Thank you Pam, Heather and Loree for helping me finish this difficult project.
I still chuckle … Weekend Project ?!?!?! Maybe the next one won’t be so hard.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work.
Ecclesiastes 4:9

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Good Medicine = Good Movie

Since I’m home sick Walt bought me the DVD of “Father Goose” after I saw an advertisement for it at Fred Meyer in the Sunday Oregonian. If you grew up in the 60’s you may be familiar with it.
I remember seeing this in the theater with my friend Paula and her family. I loved it then and still enjoy it today. It’s right up there with “Parent Trap” and other comedies from that era. It’s one of those movies you can watch over and over and not tire of it.
The stars of this romantic comedy are Cary Grant and Leslie Caron and won a 1964 Academy Award for Best Story and Screenplay. During World War II South Sea beachcomber Walter Eckland is persuaded to spy on planes passing over his island. He gets more than he bargained for as schoolteacher Catherine Frenau arrives on the run from the Japanese with her pupils – all female -- in tow!

The next “oldie” I want to add to my collection is “Snowball Express” … a great Disney movie for all ages. Silly but fun!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Noritake Trilby

I was so excited to receive a long awaited package today. In 1973 I registered at Meier & Frank for our wedding. I picked out our china ... it seemed very expensive at the time and the pattern was discontinued soon after I picked it out but I loved it! Over the years I've had bits and pieces and nearly 6 place settings but no serving pieces or accessories. This summer as I was organizing the house I decided to start bidding on eBay to see if I could bring my collection up to 8 to 12 place settings.
Several weeks after winning the bid my package arrived today ... four 5-piece place settings and a large serving platter. It was so much fun to unwrap each piece... all in excellent condition. Makes me feel like having company!

Coming November 8th
Light From Heaven, by Jan Karon

If you're a Mitford fan, then this is exciting news. But on the other hand, the sad part is ..... it's the final book in the series. I love this town and all the characters ... I don't want it to end! If you haven't read this series I highly recommend it to you.

"All good things—even laughter and orange marmalade cake—must come to an end.
And in Light from Heaven, the long-anticipated final volume in the phenomenally successful Mitford Years series, Karon deftly ties up all the loose ends of Father Timothy Kavanagh’s deeply affecting life.

On a century-old valley farm where Father Tim and Cynthia are housesitting, there’s plenty to say grace over, from the havoc of a windstorm to a surprising new addition to the household and a mystery in the chicken house.

It’s life on the mountaintop, however, that promises to give Father Tim the definitive challenge of his long priesthood. Can he step up to the plate and revive a remote, long-empty mountain church, asap? Or has he been called to accomplish the impossible? Fortunately, he’s been given an angel—in the flesh, of course.

Light from Heaven is filled with characters old and new and with answers to all the questions that Karon fans have asked since the series began nearly a decade ago. To put it simply—it’s her best. And we believe millions will agree."

Maybe I’m Amazed …..

Last night we went to the McCartney Concert at the Rose Garden. We were able to buy tickets online in the spring …… thanks to Heather telling us about the presale. It sold out so quickly! We had enjoyed the 2002 concert so much that we wanted to go again.
It was fun to be a “people watcher” and take note of those who were attending. Many were my age or older … some with their adult children … some with their grandchildren … and a new generation of young fans. I only saw two people I recognized out of that huge crowd … both from the school district I work in. Our seats were great -- had a straight on view of the stage. We were the last row before the skybox seats so we didn’t have anyone behind us.
The concert started after 8 p.m. and began with the song, “The Magical Mystery Tour.” Paul played a mix of Beatle songs, those from the Wings years, and some from his new release. For a 63-year old he still has a great voice, youthful looks and enjoys what he is doing. Maybe next year he’ll have a “Will You Still Love Me When I’m 64?” tour!
One quote from Paul about aging -- "I think one of the things I like about getting older is you can free your emotions more." What kept coming to mind while I was sitting there listening to the music is that it has been 40 years since I went to my first Beatle concert at the Memorial Coliseum … wow we are getting older and we have journeyed through so many changes since then. Probably everyone has a Beatle/McCartney moment … a song lyric that takes you right back to where you were when you first heard it, or who you were with, etc. We “grew up” with these songs and performers. Later I will write more about that.
The concert didn’t end until nearly 11:30 including approximately 36 songs. You really feel you got your money’s worth going to this concert. I wonder how many more times he will tour.
On a humorous note …. It was amusing to see how many times someone got up to go to the restroom during the concert. I only made it until the 3rd song : ) One sign that we really ARE getting older …

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Spoon Theory

I'm home sick ... again ... the second time this week. I've had a sinus infection since last week and now I don't have much of a voice -- a requirement on my job!
Sunday I got an email from one of my Bunco friends and she forwarded a story to me titled, "The Spoon Theory." Since the website emphasized copyright issues I will only be able to share the URL address:

It's a great article about coping with Lupus but also gives insight into understanding those with chronic illness/disease. Even if you do not struggle with ongoing health issues It might help you consider how you spend your "spoons" each day.
On this windy, rainy day it's good to sleep, read, and enjoy a hot cup of tea!