Thursday, October 29, 2009

Saying a Few Things For The Fossil Record

First, and most importantly, Miss Nora learned how to say PLEASE! today!!

Secondly, in case you're wondering where I go and what I do this is my week so far:

Got a B in my Anatomy midterm from last week, which was in a word "hellacious".

Have another Anatomy miterm next week, which I only received about half of the information I need to really study for it TODAY.

Brian figured out I have three midterms and a final, which is just plain mean.

Have a Sociology on Death and Dying midterm that is due tomorrow

Have a Sociology paper due this week and next

Have a R&Q which really should be a Q&A in Anatomy due Wednesday (usually ends up about 6 pages)

20 point quiz in Anatomy next Thursday...

...what else I got? Hmm, I'm sure there's something.

Anyway, study study study.

It's what I do.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Remembering

I didn't know why at first, but my heart was heavier than usual today.

In my Sociology class this quarter, we've been talking about dying "an appropriate death", and in doing so, talked about how different cultures deal with death, and how some believe in immortality that's built on your children, your religion, or immortality that's just based on who remembers you when you die.

Well, if anybody’s got some immortality then, it’s my Dad, because he was a truly faithful person who left many who loved him, remember him, and will always miss him.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of my Dad's death -- it's been 17 years, and for some reason my sister, my Mom and me all feel the same heaviness over it. Some years Oct. 25 just sort of goes by with a call to Mom, a few thoughts and a text message or three to my siblings, sometimes it weighs heavy on my heart.

This is one of those years.

The past worth remembering:

Some time ago I was going through piles of pictures, I found this one of my sis and me with Dad way back in the day when both of us were so little we could fit in his arms on the couch.

It made me remembering Dad and his bear hugs, the kind that went around your neck and almost took the breath out of you they were so fierce. And his gentle chuckle at me when I did something to crack him up, like wear a bunch of electrical tape on my shirt that I got out of his tool bench, or crossing my eyes in front of him as he went to trim my bangs.

Both my brothers Jeremy and Jeff have that chuckle when they’re entertained by something. It’s sorta eerie.

And today, I was probably one of those eerie things that came out of the woodwork for someone I’ve never met, but who lost a loved one a long time ago too.

The friend worth remembering:

Today I was on Facebook and noticed Mrs. P, who is the Mom of one of my friends from my small class of 8th graders who went to the big high school in town. Darin was a really REALLY sweet guy, and we went through high school together. After high school, Darin went across the state to WSU and I went to the UW in Seattle, and on the way home for Thanksgiving break, Darin was fatally injured in a car wreck out in the middle of nowhere in Eastern Washington. The snow storms across the state were SO bad the passes were closed, and airports too, and his parents -- who I can only guess were frantic about it -- couldn't get to see him in the ICU in Spokane where he died before anyone could get there.

That's sad for anyone, but especially him. I know we all ultimately die alone, but to die at 18, due to an accident, well that's just plain wrong.

You see, my friend Darin was a really wonderful person. Darin was one of those popular kids who never let it go to his head, who was kind to us geeks and band nerds and anyone else he ran into because he didn't fall into any particular group, and sometimes I think it just never would have occurred to him to be mean or cold or cliquish.

In 7th grade, I remember a dance we all went to in downtown Conway – someone let us have an empty space. We had something like 10 boys to 20 girls show up for this dance, and Darin danced with every single girl in the room, of course some of the cute ones a little extra, but I remember very well being an incredibly awkward 13 years old, and Darin danced with me that night and made me feel like I belonged in that one stoplight town just as much as the other kids.

There never was anything romantic between us or anything, I just appreciated his humor, and most of all his kindness at one of the toughest years of my life when I was new in town and felt that I would never fit in anywhere.

Darin was a goofball, a practical jokester, and up until he met Missy Molstad at some point in high school who stole his heart, he was full on flirt with anything in a skirt.

So back to today -- I e-mailed Mrs. P today and asked if I could be her friend on FB. I have a couple of photos of Darin at camp when we were counselors together, and told her I'd like to share a couple of stories if she'd like to hear them.

I just wonder -- it's been 23 years since he died now. I know she must miss him still. Time just doesn't make some things go away, even if it makes it easier to handle. And I hope I didn't cause her any pain, but I've always wanted to tell her I remembered her lost son and that he won't be forgotten for his kindnesses.

I just hope it's of some comfort to her to let her know that he's remembered. I just hope it's not so long after that it seems strange. I guess I just always felt sorry for her especially to be the Mom who lost one of her three kids to something so tragic, so needlessly, so young.

And finally, my distant past:

My distant cousin Tom came over the other day and looked through old photos, and over and over again came the face of my great-Grandma Nora (who our daughter is named after) who was a very pleasant looking woman, and her mother, "Gunhild" from the Old Country (literally, came on a boat from Norway in 1868).

Anyway, Gunhild is one stern looking woman. If you click on this picture you'll see the arrows pointing at the direct three women who were my Dad's Mom, grandmother and great-grandmother.

But the word over and over was that despite her sternness, she was "a very loving, very nice woman."

While I don't expect anyone to call me nice, per se, I sure hope what they remember is positive. I won't make up a long list of wishes here.

Let's just say that I hope it's along the lines of Gunhild and Darin and Dad. "Maybe a little stern, maybe a little kooky and funny. Was nicer than she looked sometimes, but she loved her family something fierce."

Hugs to Mom, Sis and the rest of the sibs today, and anyone who's lost a loved one who wants to remember those lost.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fall is here!

Nora and I took off for the zoo this morning. She got to go with Daddy Saturday while I studied, and I realized this morning early on that I have a midterm Friday, paper due Sunday, another paper due Wednesday, and another midterm the next weekend, so there was one little tiny window of opportunity for us to go to the zoo, and today was the day!

So off we went.

Nora LOVES the zoo and knows her way around. Often, she'll start mimicking the noises of the animals she anticipates seeing next.

But we have a brand new LION exhibit, called "Predator Ridge", and it includes lions, cheetahs, African wild dogs, and a number of other neat animals.

This lizard is new -- and I say if you have a red head, blue body and green tail (sorry I didn't get the whole thing in the shot) -- AND you crawl up to the glass to check out the girl in the window -- you're a pretty cool lizard.

Nora thought he was pretty neat too and went back twice!

The leaves were in the middle of their "turning" phase. I love them, and I love that feeling of a crisp Fall day where you can walk around and just take in all the colors in front of you. It makes "going into the tunnel" of winter that much more tolerable.

Nora spent a lot of time investigating them, stuffing them into various places (like a hollow fencepost) and investigating some more...We spent a good 15-20 minutes just investigating the leaves and playing in one area.

As much as there are parents saying "Don't you want to see _____?" I figured today I would not be the parent rushing my kid along. Today she could stuff as many leaves as she wanted into the post by the Disappearing Pigs of Malaysia, and I would just sit and wait for her to be done.
As we left "Africa", we headed up through the Monkey Falls, and there's a number of benches with memorials to the donors' loved ones.

Nora a month ago wouldn't have noticed them at all.

Nora today, says "A! B! D! E! O! O! D!" as she calls out the letters she sees in front of her.

She's only really accurate about the letter O, but she gets it right some other times, and I just praise the heck out of her for trying.


Our last fun of the day after our picnic lunch was to go on a little ride on the train. It's a loop ride instead of all the way to Wash Park, which turned out perfectly.

Nora tooted and tooted along "CHOO CHOO!" she said "CHOOO CHOOOOOO!"

She lit up and didn't stop til 10 minutes after the train ride was over.

And then we came home.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Timberrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!

WOW!

This picture of Nora will explain the next picture of ME...This is a picture of us playing in the back yard last summer.

I looked and looked for a less obnoxious picture that would show our beloved willow tree, but this is the best I could do.

If you look behind me and my silly face, there is the standing willow tree that was the centerpiece of our beautiful little back yard.

WAS? You ask?

Well, today, due to rain, wind, and substantial root rot, our beloved cork screw Willow Tree took a tumble.

It fell while I was out studying and Nora was in the house with the babysitter.

The sitter, Linda, didn't hear anything, and said "It's possible it's just because we were in the living room and I'm hard of hearing..."
But all of the sudden, our beautiful tree was gone. And it almost took the apple tree in the back of the yard with it.

Fortunately it fell the PERFECT direction. I mean, if you're going to lose a tree, this is the way to do it. Fall across the green space in the yard, don't take any power lines with it, and DON'T fall on any houses.


I called Brian when I saw it. I was in a bit of shock, because it is a big surprise to come home and find a big tree that you think of as a rather permanent fixture in your yard, now splayed across your WHOLE yard...

And Brian said "Call some guys..."

So I got a couple of tree people out for bids, and for the low low price of $275, our tree was reduced to this amount of firewood.

The Public Works department promises to pick it up in a week and donate it to someone who needs it.

Goodbye Willow. We had some good parties under you, and your shade in the summer will be missed.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cute Picture(s) of the Day


Nora's been letting me brush her hair, and actually stand still and seems to enjoy it. So this morning I got some of my smaller hair ties out and put one around a small ponytail, and she stood still for the second. She started to pull them out, but I quickly offered her a BandAid for her boo-boo on her hand and she was distracted enough to leave them alone. She's just adorable, don't you think?

Friday, October 09, 2009

Dang Those Scandinavians!

If the numbers haven't changed too much in recent years, and I bet they haven't: The Swedes and the Norwegians have one of, if not THE highest education level of people in general and women in particular, and have us beat in the lowest birth rates for both countries as well.

They've always been known as being progressive, and today, the Norwegian delegation that choose the Swedish-based Nobel Prize saw the potential and the future, along with the accomplishments of a very briefly serving President Barack Obama.

The speed with which people asked if President Obama "deserved" the Nobel Peace Prize is astounding to me.

This is a Swedish prize, who if you read the Wikipedia article about it, The Prize is bestowed upon by the Norwegians because they didn't have any foreign policy at the time, and figured they could be fairer than their Swedish counterparts.

"According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize should be awarded "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."

To me, the overnight tone of conciliation is a signal of our strength and ability to stand up for what we believe in without firing a shot in anger.

This doesn't mean that Obama had to achieve world peace, it only means that the Norwegians figured he did the best job of it in recent months than any of his competition for the prize.

So yeah. I'm excited. Yeah, I wish they'd waited a year or two or more only because I think his work has just begun.

My list of stuff I want over with including Guantanamo Bay prisoners being held, and
the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is still there. But we didn't get into it in 8 months and it'll take more than 8 to get out.

I'll just never get why those who think he's done so little think he's such a menace. If anything our last president's "Cowboy Diplomacy" of the last 8 years was a bigger threat to peace than anything.

I guess some of us Americans aren't happy unless we're kickin' some ass.

Fortunately I'm glad President Obama had the class and dignity to see it as it was -- not as a high five for doing what he has in a short time (and it's more than "nothing" and less than "world peace") -- but instead he said he saw it as as a "call to action" to continue our progress towards peace.

And first, that meant changing our bully tactics to a much more peaceful one of cooperation, and he's succeeded at that in spades if you ask me.

Congratulations President Obama.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Cute Picture of the Day

This one was taken by Peter, Sarah or maybe even Odette -- but it showed up on Facebook tonight from our trip to the Oakland Zoo with them!

Nora's talking, drinking out of a straw, and even learned not to squeeze the life out of a Capri Sun pack while drinking out of it this past week. AND she came home from my sister Jill's with the uncanny ability to say "Eh eh" for "Erik", "Don" for John (x2, since John Dad and John Michael both go by John), and DILL for Jill.

It's just plain freaky how fast they grow, isn't it?

Friday, October 02, 2009

Old Memories

Tomorrow my distant cousin Tom is coming over to take a look at some of the ancient family photos I have -- some of our shared relatives (we have a great-great grandmother in common) and since he's the family geneologist and could maybe even identify some people in the photos, I figured he'd be a good guy to have look at the pictures we have from the 1890s and beyond, and maybe he can keep some for his family and maybe we can scan and share some.

Brian took Nora to my sister's on Thursday afternoon -- leaving me here at home with nothing to do but a pile of homework...

And the realization that this would probably be the only three days of my life for SOME time now where I would be home alone, without a 2-year-old's helping hands to make me clean up after myself.

So this afternoon, after I did a pile of homework at the library, I brought out the pictures and started to sort them and scan some for this blog and to share with family on Facebook.

There are cool old pictures that bring back the memories of living in Hermiston -- when our only vacations involved that big canvas tent and a long car/van ride to the coast to camp in it.

There are the silly pictures of my year and a half in Yakima where I went to an honest-to-God "Lighted Farm Implement Parade" in Sunnyside, Washington....

PLEASE take a moment and look at this picture, because it is probably one of the funniest, silliest things to come out of Yakima other than the people themselves...like my friends Delois and April. :)

There are the super adorable pictures of the cute nephews and nieces over the years (this one is is of my niece Miriam, who's gone from 3-year-old adorable moppett to a gorgeous gal in high school in too short a time.

There are the happy pictures -- like this one on my graduation day from the University of Washington in 1999.

My love of my life Brian had just come back into my life the year before. We hung on each other as new loves do, but have known each other for a long time...

I remember his brother Peter at my graduation party saying how much he enjoyed watching his older brother be in love.
And among the old photos and negatives is one of the last pictures of my Daddy while he was on this earth.

I've been through many pictures of Dad tonight. I miss him a lot.

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