twilight33: (Default)
On New Year's Day 1998, I woke up early as usual and looked around a house full of passed out people in north Seattle. Some of you were there, some of you weren't, and I... needed to get moving to think for a while. I jumped in my rental car, went to fill up the gas tank, and began driving without a clear destination in mind.

I ended up in Ocean Shores, over 140 miles away, but only stayed there for a few minutes before driving back to Seattle.

Why so soon when I adore the ocean and it takes forever to be able to see it in Washington?

Because for the life of me, I could find neither my shoes nor socks in the sea of slumbering humanity so I took off without them.

I do not recommend driving hundreds of miles or walking on a blustery and rainy Washington beach barefoot in the dead of winter. Getting gas at the station wasn't so fun either.

I've never been back again until today )

Bonne année 2008, mes amis.
twilight33: (Kieran)
Oh how lovely it is to not have work this week! Normally we'd be in Victoria BC but I have too much group project work in progress/due this week and let's face it; classwork while on vacation means it's not a vacation. If anything it's worse because you're stressing about how to get it all done while simultaneously trying to do the vacation thing. Ah well, there's next spring.

We were at my mom's for a long weekend, and had both a bonfire complete with roasted marshmallows for s'mores in her backyard and a brief & shining hour at our favorite tulip spot on Easter morning before the rain and massive numbers of tourists on buses arrived. Otherwise the weather was windy & soggy as usual so we really lucked out with the windows of time we had.

Why we get there right when it opens )
twilight33: (peace)
As luck would have it, the phone rang at the same time I came back in the house with my mocha fixings announcing an all clear from mom. Between repeated windstorms and blizzards since mid-December, I've had more than enough concerned relatives weather drama and I think my family has too.

First round mocha is pretty good, underestimated one ingredient that will be fixed with hte next. ++++ Ghirardelli white chocolate powder sample + dark syrup, in the past I used Hershey's Good Night Hugs & Ghirardelli sweet cocoa powder and the difference is incredible.


Dec. 24th, 2006 09:39 pm
twilight33: (walking)
Despite being rained out toward the end we had a great time at the zoo this morning complete with making crafts. Kieran did an excellent job singing with his double-sized (morning and evening) choir in front of an insane number of people this afternoon. He was really into the entire service (how could you not be with singing and dancing glow angels?), and the look on his face when we lit candles around the sanctuary is one of those freeze-frame moments of life I'll always have. He could hardly wait to light our Advent wreath candles when we got home.

There's the presents, the Chinese food on our wedding china, toasting in some ancient Spode Christmas Tree goblets (Kieran got to join in with sparkling cider in our crystal), baking the Christmas roll for tomorrow's breakfast (massive pastry in a pizza dish, recipe from friends our first married Christmas), and setting out cookies & milk for Santa and apples for the reindeer (he actually fed a reindeer some apple yesterday, that was A Major Moment), then curling up on the couch all together to read 'The Night Before Christmas' before bed. He crashed hard & fast, poor tired and extremely excited boy.

What still makes me tear up the most despite all these wonderful things?
The answer )

twilight33: (Default)
Email from my aunt in Colorado:

We are fine. Should be worse tonight, then maybe better by Thursday afternoon. Snow plow got stuck in front of the house today....slid and skid and spun for about 5 minutes before it got going. It is intense. We are safe and warm. Love to you!

Their best friends in CA couldn't fly out today to join them for Christmas :( All are very disappointed but thankful they didn't get rerouted inflight to who knows where since Denver is closed for the foreseeable future.


Nov. 24th, 2006 10:37 am
twilight33: (Default)
One of my favorite books when I was young was Little House in the Big Woods.

My mom now lives in the modern west coast equivalent; a little 3 bed/2 bath place surrounded by old growth cedars & firs, a non-flooding brook, misty mountains with a faint dusting of snow on top, and an almost disturbing lack of freeway/city/people in general noise although not too isolated either.

The 4 of us plowed through 1 of my 2 pumpkin pies in under 24 hours, and the free-range turkey was excellent. Today was our 6th annual Black Friday tradition at Freddy's (it's all about free donut holes for breakfast) where we scored everything from 20% off my husband's FFXII to 60% off a winter coat for Kieran complete with an accurate compass.

I'm not sure if it's more sad that I logged on to my classes yesterday afternoon, or that assignments due Wednesday night were already graded for me.

Hope all are well, safe, stuffed & warm.. snow in the lowlands Sunday & Monday?!
twilight33: (genealogy)
It's not a tumor!! (the joys of daytime holiday TV)

On a more serious note to the 20th century men of my family; thanks to Elmer & Clarence the carpenters, Bob & Martin fresh out of high school, and Willis who was attending Cal then drafted and shot down over France.

I will not take these things for granted.

Also, I agree with the twins.
twilight33: (Default)
This day will go down in my own personal history as the only time in my life so far I have truly shocked, amazed, and absolutely delighted my mother.

The reaction to the news of her first and only grandchild on his way wasn't even close. She later told me she was in such disbelief I could have told her Martians were landing in Safeco Field and she would have had the same calm & measured response. All the rest of the stuff I've managed to pull off in life, both good & bad, was unflappable to her.

This was something I have had in the works since I heard of it last year, with things stepped up a bit over the past few months to the grand finale phone call tonight.

Hey mom, it's me. Got anything planned this night in October? No? Good. Wanna come down and see the Dead Sea Scrolls with us?

My church is huge. They bought several special night exhibits there when it's closed to the public next month and sold us greatly discounted tickets today only. I couldn't guarantee a time & date until I got the tickets, or even if I'd get them for certain in the first place, so I kept everything a secret. What I did not realize in doing so is that my mom had absolutely no clue about them being here on display to begin with. Media coverage just hit the paper here today but apparently hasn't migrated up north yet.

What I thought I knew in the back of my mind, and confirmed tonight, is that my grandfather (who died when my mom was 13) was extremely interested in the Dead Sea Scrolls' discovery and read everything he could about it. The fact that 3 generations of his descendants are going to see them in person together (I know full well Kieran won't appreciate this fact until he's substantially older) is cool on so many levels.

I remember being awed when I stood in front of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution during my middle school field trip to D.C. ... those papers were so old and full of history.

Mere youngsters in age and importance compared to this! I can't wait.
twilight33: (kieran)
The look on all three of our faces just now upon hearing The Wiggles singing 'Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes' during the All-Star game reflected the subject line.
twilight33: (Default)
I think part of the reason the World Cup game pissed me off so much was that it shattered the beautiful place I was in.

We had an awesome morning, starting off with fresh biscuits topped with Sequim strawberries & whipped cream. From there we went to the park to play several hours of soccer and running around wild in general... and something dawned on me.

at least I finally had one of these moments away from the mall )
twilight33: (genealogy)
On the longest day of the year, I spent an ungodly amount of time stuck in traffic on the way to Tacoma which made it never-ending.

There I met my dad's 3rd cousin from Oregon, a second generation namesake of my grandma's uncle, and some of his family. He gave me pictures of my 3x-great grandparents and the grave in France, dinner, family gossip, and a big hug. I gave him pictures of his namesake, the story of his great-grandma's birth according to my great-great grandfather, and a running commentary about lineage through my laptop when we all got confused among the generations.

I'm starting to get used to the incomprehensible look my father's kin gives me when I mention he wants nothing to do with me & my family.

My cousin took one look at me and said I have the family's eyes, then listed off various other family members who have them. I've always wondered because they didn't seem to match up with anyone in my substantially smaller direct line, but he's right. My 3x-great grandfather is staring back at me from the 1870s with them in the portrait I'd never seen before tonight.

Our neighbor's car is currently stuck in the ditch in front of our home as he was trying to do a 3 point turn in our driveway. He lives way up the road so we hadn't met him before, and his first name is the same as my father's.

Go figure.
twilight33: (genealogy)
Poppies for young men
In honor of the first Memorial Day I knew that a big brother of the little guy (my great-grandfather) in my icon was shot down over France in WWI.

In my inbox this morning from a second namesake of his on a cousin branch of the same generation:

I went to the cemetery where Jay Willis is buried. Have many photos. I
couldn't be there for Memorial Day but did put some red poppies on his
grave. When I was at the cemetery, they were putting an American and French
flag at each headstone for Memorial Day; they let me have the ones from in
front of his cross. How cool is that? I was absolutely bowled over by the
kindness of the French and by shocking numbers of dead at the Meuse-Argonne cemetery.

I find myself unable to articulate the combination of thankfulness, sadness and anger I feel that I'm having to learn about my family members from distant connections because my direct line has been silent for generations.
twilight33: (genealogy)
It occurred to me this morning, as I was sitting on the couch with my mom, that her teenage grandmother & family all survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake in a place where it was actually shook worse than SF: Santa Rosa.

Yes I know, some genealogist I am that this historic connection hadn't dawned on me earlier, but even more startling was my family's story... nothing. My great-grandmother only mentioned seeing large cracks in the ground everywhere.

What?! I grabbed my trusty laptop and showed my mom that Santa Rosa was demolished & all the family that hadn't even been in the United States for a year yet carried forward from the ordeal was cracks?

I am mystified & dying of curiosity. I know there's more than that & if there's a way I'm going to find it.
twilight33: (genealogy)
I emailed my new family contact a picture of my great-granduncle that I assumed he already had, but it was the only good thing I had immediately available to offer him for sharing my great-great grandfather's obituary.

He responded with absolute astonishment and gratitude, as he had never seen a single picture of his namesake before.

This is hammering home the concept that I need to digitize everything I have in order to easily participate in the reciprocal process of miscellaneous/priceless genealogy information.

As part of this, I may have finally found the cost justification to jump into the 21st century with a large capacity mp3 player only if it has a voice recorder function. No trendy iPod for me. I must have media files of my almost-100-years-old relative talking about various family members to burn & stash in a safe deposit box as well as share with her immediate family and future contacts.
twilight33: (genealogy)
I should be used to people who are very distant cousins emailing me with information about my family, but it's still somewhat surreal that I know the least about my own direct ancestors. Today's was the .jpg of my great-great grandfather's obituary stating that he scared an entire post office by literally dropping dead of a heart attack when it was his turn at the service counter. His son died of a heart attack after bowling one night, and of course his granddaughter died of one in the middle of an ER as my boyfriend (now husband) & I were getting to the airport to spend Thanksgiving with her in 98.

No previous heart problems for the lot of them, but I think part of me is now prepared for a similar call about my father someday. Clearly modern technology is no match for when this branch of the family decides it's time to go for whatever reason. I wouldn't object to going the same way someday, I hate waiting around for much of anything.

Two generations of these distant cousins also have the name of my great-granduncle who was shot down in WWI, and they're going to visit his grave in France this year. I... had no clue his gravesite was a known location.

I have so much work to do still in order to pass on any sense of family history to Kieran.

BBT Fudge

Nov. 26th, 2005 04:57 pm
twilight33: (Default)
I know that somewhere in LJ I've previously explained that my mom & I renamed our holiday Festive Fudge recipe to Boobs & Bombs (B&B) Fudge on January 16, 1991 with the start of the Gulf War and the news that my mom had a suspicious looking breast tumor on the same day. It was too much for us to process, so we made fudge. Prior to that day it was sacrosanct to Christmas, but in addition to the holiday season it's seen my friends & I through many a pregnancy scare, death, hospitalizations & assorted other crisis situations.

On November 25, 2005 the two of us handled another crisis by making the fudge and renaming it to Boobs/ Bombs/Tree Fudge.

The story of the Black Friday tree )

After that, we made the fudge. The moral of the story is that I'm getting my mom more emergency supplies as part of her Christmas present after observing the underwhelming amount of communication regarding what could have been a very nasty situation.

So, how was your Thanksgiving holiday?
twilight33: (Default)
After my best friend's wedding (which was beautiful, perfect & preceded by 3 days of drinking too much yet not a single hangover... skol!) last weekend, our time in California turned to meeting more of my grandma's cousins and their families. This branch of the family is extremely close knit, numerous (direct descendants are over 300 now) and have lived in the San Jose area forever. It killed me hearing the Caltrain whistle from her house sometimes when the wind was right knowing I passed by there so many times before.

An unexpected discovery )

We had the most fun with this relative )
twilight33: (Default)
This is the response my almost (in less than 2 months) 99 year old cousin told me she says to those who express amazement at her age & being so healthy. Her grandma gave birth to her firstborn on the 4th of July while traveling a pioneer trail, which was the only day the wagon team rested. That puts me in my place pretty fast when I think life is hard!

We've met up with a lot of my extended family from both sides over the past few weeks and it's still sinking in as to how we're all connected... but all have been with open arms, the same name of cousin & lots of pictures taken together as an even bigger family.

There is much to be said for knowing and writing down your history, for so much would have easily been lost if it wasn't for the connections between grandparents & grandchildren going back to 1725 on this one line. My grandma's grandfather (John3, Uncle Johnny to my cousin above) was the first to write down everything about his grandfather (John2, buried down the road from where I went to college in CA & I had no clue at the time) and 2's recollections of *his* grandfather (...John!)

I know my parents don't have this same sense of kinship I do, and Kieran may not either. I'm writing this down now to remind myself that it doesn't matter. The threads of the future are woven into today even though I can't see them yet, and I know my job is to keep writing & connecting.
twilight33: (kieran)
We took Kieran to his second & last free movie (Madagascar) before he turns 3 next week. This was his only loud review in the middle of it, which not only cracked us up but I saw several other parents stifling giggles as well.

Of course the way Kieran knows this line so well is because he is definitely about to turn 3. Anywhere from 2-3 timeouts before 8 a.m. are not that unusual lately, although they're for yelling, throwing things & being rude when he's pissed off for not getting his way more than hitting. This kid has got once fierce temper, but strangely enough by about 9 he's settled down and is usually on an even keel the rest of the day. If he's not a morning person, I really wish he would at least sleep in past 5:30 and spare us all the resulting agony. Sleeping til 6:45 this morning was practically a miracle!

His grandma taught him how to record tracks on the Clavinova last week, which is a sequence of pressing the record button, playing, pressing stop, waiting for 'Now saving' to go off the screen, then he can play it back or record again. He worked off the internal memory for most of the week, but a few days ago he got frustrated with having just one recording at a time so I stuck a disk in. Since then he's recorded 17 tracks, and knows that Daddy recorded Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on track 2. He figured out playing a track back while switching the voice to something else (usually a drum set) and playing along with it, often for an hour at a time. We repeatedly try offering him other things like going outside to play, but 'No, more piano please!' is what we hear more often than not.

With this, numbers to 200 and reading words ranging from 'fox' to 'Washington', we've learned to not try and figure out what's ahead because he'll let us know what he needs when he gets there.
twilight33: (Default)
I'm sorry I couldn't return calls & kind invitations to go do more stuff this weekend, I promise to catch up after Thursday when I hand in my last paper of the quarter!

What was I so busy doing?

  • Lit a candle in respect yesterday & hung our new flag
  • Prepping, painting the majority of 400 sq. ft. (surface, the rec room is about 464 sq. ft. with a strange fireplace) then putting back together the majority of it by myself with the exception of moving the office desk, filing cabinet & bookcase. I ran out of energy last night to finish, but otherwise this is a major self victory since I've never painted anything by myself before
  • $100+ family shopping sprees at Lowe's, Costco & Fred Meyer ranging from shoes & pants to deck furniture & a shepherd's hook (my husband got a nasty glare with the 'hello, Bo Peep!' comment) for a glass hummingbird feeder
  • Assembling said deck furniture and putting up a temporary wire mesh barrier with my mom to keep Kieran in the backyard. The original plan of completing the fence & gate with my husband as Mom watched Kieran was derailed when my husband relapsed (again) & I kicked him out to get antibiotics already on Saturday morning
  • Being somewhat social *gasp* (my mom doesn't count) for about 6 hours including a Memorial Day BBQ that *gasp* actually had sunshine break through in time to eat outside on the new deck furniture! This is a miracle for Seattle
  • About 8 hours of gardening; clearing out spring bulb foliage, attempting to harvest compost (too soon: a very slimy & stinky mistake), spreading what compost was ready on our anniversary rose garden, husband mowed the lawns & I fertilized them (organic stuff, this area has made me very concientous about runoff), and weeding/pruning/mulching

    I'm actually not that tired, but I'm running off adrenaline since I just started my paper today. Oops.


twilight33: (Default)

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