Wednesday, May 29, 2013


The Red Cross called a few weeks ago to ask if I would come in and donate a pint.  Or a unit.  Whatever it is they call the amount they collect in one of those bags.

You know how after you donate they have you sit down and have a snack before you leave?

Tonight's snack:

If you need a reason to donate, these may just do the trick.  Totally worth that little poke and a few minutes of laying around.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

did i mention

I'm in Arlington, Virginia, this week for a class for work.  Operating Administration for Government Contracts.  Yes, I know.  Whoa.

Today I got all brave and daring and took the metro after class from Arlington over to DC.  Thanks to my new iPhone, I have actual photographic evidence of my walking tour.

When I got off the metro, I walked myself across the plaza near the Ronald Reagan building and followed the signs directing me toward the White House.  I thought I was paying such close attention, following all of the arrows, but I didn't think the sign could be right when it pointed me across the street to the White House, so I kept going straight down the sidewalk.  And then I crossed the street as soon as I realized I'd apparently just passed the White House.  While waiting for the light to change, I looked down another road and spotted the Capitol Building off in the distance.  If you look closely at this picture, you can see it, right? 

After circling the block and passing the White House Visitor Center (closed), I eventually came upon this view.  My oh my but they keep that lawn looking good, don't they?

This is when I realized I needed to get myself in the pictures so people wouldn't think I'd made up this whole excursion.  So, here I am with the White House behind my right shoulder...barely visible, but still, it's there, right?  You may be able to sense my disappointment when I realized I would not be allowed to go inside to use the restroom...

This one is what I saw when I turned around and faced the view that I'd see if I'd gone into the White House.  Seems to me they can see the Capitol out one side of the White House and the Washington Monument (under construction) out the other side.  If I had better skills with the iPhone camera, you'd be able to see not only the Washington Monument, but also the Jefferson Monument, which is behind my head in this shot.

I wandered past the Washington Monument and the WWII Monument, by the reflecting pool, the Vietnam Monuments for both women and men who served, and ended up at the Lincoln Memorial.  By this time, I was a bit overheated (apparently normal for me in DC while walking about), so I bought a couple of bottles of cold water, one to drink and one to drizzle over my head, my arms, hands, and perhaps a little down my back.  Sadly, it didn't work all that well, I guess the humidity was just too high. But I got this shot of the Lincoln Memorial.

As I walked by the Lincoln Memorial, I got this great idea that I'd head over to a nearby refreshment stand, because, I thought, what truly is more American than eating a hot dog in Washington, DC, right?  So that's what I did, bought a big old $5 hotdog and sat down in the shade to eat it.  Sorry no pictures of the hot dog, but trust me, it seemed pretty much like just the right thing at the time.

Next, because I was pretty much totally overheated and feeling a slight bit off from the hot dog, I caught a cab back to Arlington to my hotel, the Key Bridge Marriott (located near the bridge that is named for Francis Scott Key, writer of the words to the Star-Spangled Banner), where I immediately cooled off in a tepid bath.

Maybe tomorrow I'll hop on the metro again and go find the Supreme Court building or get a closer view of the Capitol.  I'm telling you, this place has patriotism everywhere.  Seriously.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

our new dog

You know JoJo, right?

And GusGus.  Everybody knows GusGus.

 But wait--wait, whose tail-less butt is that?

Okay, there's Jo again.  But who is that other guy with all of the FUR?

Well, let's just note that he does not like having his picture taken.  And he doesn't like lightning either.

Meet Rusty.  Or as Jack calls him, Rustoleum.  Or Rastaman...  He's Danielle's dog.  Jr.'s friend Danielle.  You remember, Danielle--our ski friend?  Jr's friend since jr high?  Great girl who was looking for a place to stay for a while.  So she moved into our basement a couple of weeks ago. Comes with a great dog.  Some people say he's a bit overweight.  (That's his undercoat, Danielle shaves him.)  I prefer to think he's just a bit short.  But he's adorable.  And everybody seems to be getting along fine.  We are going to do our best to teach Rusty to bark at the doorbell, beg for food from the table, and jump up on the furniture...because we're like that.

Monday, May 13, 2013

mother's day 2013

 My three sons.

Friday, May 10, 2013

the beauty is back

For a while now, I've been feeling blank.  There have been moments of joy, spots of pain, and lots of intense feelings last week, but mostly, day-to-day, more of that, I-don't-even-want-to-get-out-of-bed-today mornings.

But being the responsible adult I am, I get up, shower and dress (usually) and head off to work.  I'd started to wonder if the depression was back for good.  But today, while talking to Jack in the study, I looked out the window and saw this:

Something about the light and colors and textures touched me and I realized the blank may be fading and the beauty is back. 

This is good.  So I grabbed my camera and headed out back where I found these:

Yesterday I read this, which might be a bit long and a tiny bit over the top for some (remember it's hyperbole and a half, right?), but it pretty much sums up what depression is like for me.  It isn't anybody's fault and it isn't something I can just fix.  Sometimes it's around for a while before I even recognize it, but I always know when it is lifting and I felt that lightness this morning, even with a cold that started mildly enough and exploded into full-blown viral misery last night and a trip to the dentist this morning to drill and fill a cavity.  The fog is burning off and the clouds are fluffy little bits.

I can once again see the beauty and I'm so grateful for that.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

in case you didn't get it before and a tree from work

I mentioned our trips to the zoo and the farm.  These are pictures Shilo took that you really must see, right?

The boy and me.

My girl and me.

We have a bunch of pretty adorable grandkids.

Jessie took this one at Cafe Rio on my phone right after we finished our hand-slapping game while Cailin slept through it all...

This magnolia tree is right outside my office, blooms like mad every spring.  I thought you might need to see it.

 You're welcome.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

i have permission to post about this

Jr has been a bit concerned about his weight lately and has been trying to watch his diet and increase his activity level.  He hasn't gained anything, but he just couldn't seem to lose either, so he talked it over with his dad and decided to meet with his doctor to talk about possibly trying appetite suppression medication.  Carrying extra weight is a big health risk in our family, so they met and decided it was a good short-term option to help him lose some weight while he works on learning to make healthy choices for the future. 

Two days ago, he got up early, took the medication, and headed off to work. 

Whoa.  Apparently he's never been as focused as he is on this medication.  One of his co-workers asked him if he was okay.  He wondered what she meant.  She said he's always helpful to customers, but she had never heard him so overly friendly, happy, focused.  He said his doc had prescribed some appetite suppression drugs, which caused her to pull out a flashlight to check the dilation of the pupils of his eyes.

It seems that legally prescribed, uh, speed, agrees with him.  Over the past two days, not only did he go to work (at both jobs I think), but he stayed pretty busy in all of the other hours.  Came home and changed the oil in his car one day.  Did countless loads of laundry, which he also folded and put away.  Returned all of the now clean and folded missing towels to the upstairs bathroom.  Cleaned his room beyond anything I've seen in a long time.  Vacuumed the basement, stairs, his room.  Cleaned his bathroom.  Helped with dinner, ate half what he usually would, cleared the table, emptied the dishwasher, filled the dishwasher, wiped off the counters and stove, and took out the garbage.  Found five pairs of scissors while cleaning downstairs and returned them to the drawer in the kitchen.  Asked his dad at 11:30 p.m. to not tell me about the missing scissors.  Took out several large trash bags of debris he collected from his cleaning episode downstairs.  Cleaned up the garage from his oil change and put away the tools.  Picked up JoJo's medication from the vet.  Went to the grocery store for diet coke for me.  Went to Starbucks to pick up tea for me.

And then, oh yeah, he insulated the downstairs room where the water heater and boiler are located.

Seriously, no wonder people lose weight while taking this stuff.  Less desire to eat, greater desire to be actively moving about.  I'm glad to know he's sleeping now.

Friday, May 3, 2013

my feeling heart

I knew before it even started that this week would be event-filled. 

I underestimated the depth of feelings it would hold.

It began at the drummer's house with the entire family eating together, the girls playing together, the baby delighting everyone, and the adults playing Uno.  I haven't laughed so hard in such a long time.  I haven't played much Uno and only barely understand the printed rules of the game, but when you throw in the rule that says the winner gets to add a new rule to the next game (and those new rules include speaking like a pirate when someone plays a skip a turn card, or everybody passes their hand to the left when a seven is played, and on and on and on), and I am so confused (which causes me to seem silly to my children), well, like I said, there was much laughter.  It was hilarious good fun.

The Californians stayed with us for two more days and it was delightful.  Monday included pancakes, lots of pancakes for breakfast, Zupas with Jr for lunch, followed by an afternoon at the zoo, and Cafe Rio for dinner.  I regret just a tiny bit that I didn't take my camera to get pictures at the zoo, but it was a conscious decision on my part because I wanted my arms free to carry a weary girlie or the always-smiling baby boy and my hands available to hold tight to those little girl hands as we walked up and down the hills of our zoo.  Cafe Rio was yummy, a bit messy, and time well spent since it included holding a sleeping girl throughout the entire meal, sleeping even with the chaos that is Cafe Rio.  Lost count of the number of comments about the adorable girl resting in my arms from customers in line behind our table.  Totally satisfying meal that was.

Tuesday morning was leftover pancakes with fresh strawberries and cream, lazing about.  Mid-afternoon we headed to the local farm where the girls played on the playground, petted all of the animals, and fed the ducks and geese.  The farm hasn't changed much in the years since I took my own children there, seems like the same farm animals--just a few more of each.  It was so satisfying to see them all enjoying each other so much.

Tuesday evening was the drummer's senior recital.  I don't have a lot of experience with college graduations, but I don't remember having Jessie (a literature studies major) read great literature aloud for half an hour to us, or Stu (a math major and computer science major) perform math calculations or write software for us for 30 minutes.  I guess the senior recital is a gift--to parents, perhaps not to the student who has to prepare, memorize, and perform--but a gift that you only receive if your kid is a music major.  My heart was overflowing as I watched him share music, saw him concentrate and demonstrate the talents he has developed over the years.  I wish my other kids had that opportunity though I doubt he or they would view this in quite the same way that I do.  It was truly a gift.

Jack took all of the pictures at the recital, including these that make me smile:

 Wednesday morning came too quickly.  Of course.  The Californians packed up early and drove off into the snow.  On Jr's birthday.  My May baby is 24.  I don't know how that happened.


Unbelievable.  Jack and I took him to dinner that night and it too was lovely. 

Wednesday was also the day that I saw friends I haven't seen for far too long.  Followed by Thursday and more friends at the funeral of a good, good man.  He lived his life so fully, died too young, so quickly that it still doesn't seem real.  I can't even imagine how my friend, his dear wife is feeling.  Listening to the words spoken about him, the stories retold, the feelings expressed by friends from his entire life lifted me up and also broke my heart. 

Today the drummer graduated.  My heart was full again, thinking of his effort, his determination, his choice to spend his life teaching, playing music, improving the quality of life of those around him. 

So glad she is part of his life

  So glad he was there too...

All in all, it's been quite a week.