Archive for the ‘family’ Category

My mom grew up going to church, but she had given up on organized religion by the time I was a kid.  Despite this fact, my mom is often baffled by how little her children know about religion.

Last week, my mom, sister and niece visited. Each night they were here, my four year old niece would typically choose to sleep in her grandma’s bed rather than with her mom.

One night, after my niece had said “Bless you” many times to my mom’s many sneezes,* my mom decided that she should say a prayer in thanks for her family. When she started her prayer, however, my niece got a bit weirded out.

“Who are you talkin’ to, Gramma?” she asked.

“I’m talking to God,” my mom answered.

“Is he in here?” she asked, more concerned.

My mom then went into a little explanation of how God is a good guy, always around to look after people. Later it became clear that my niece was unconvinced by the description, because my niece left the room as soon as my mom dozed off. Her explanation?

“I was scared of that nice man Gramma was talking to in our room.”

* When my sister was little, she thought that the word for sneeze was bless you. She would say things like, “I blessyou’d all over my hand.” It was cute and gross at the same time.


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First off, I have to share this beautiful sunset picture that I took from our front porch the other day. It’s been so nice to leave work and have it not be pitch black outside. I am finally starting to think that spring is just around the corner. The tulip and cherry trees are in full bloom already.

The weekend before last, Evan and I made a somewhat emergency trip to Olympia to visit my family. My mom had called earlier in the week to let me know that my sister was taking my niece to Costa Rica (which I knew) and that they will be gone for 3 1/2 months. This I didn’t know. For some reason, I thought it would only be a couple of weeks. “Don’t you want to see your baby before she’s gone?” my mom asked. Now I know that she is not my actual baby, but she’s mine in a way I cannot begin to describe. She’s a chunk of my heart that lives and breathes outside of me, but is still connected.

We had a good visit, although as always, Evan was her favorite. This despite the fact that he was trying all of the “Supernanny” tricks on her (which of course worked perfectly for Evan). She exhibits this favoritism even in her sleep. After a long day, she was curled up with Evan on the couch asleep. I scooped her up and sat with her sleeping body at the other end of the couch, hoping to get some last cuddling in before we left. Within a minute, she had rolled away from me, to curl up with Evan. I had to laugh.

One particularly delightful moment came when she was trying to give us directions to Soup House, one of her favorite restaurants. We kept asking her which direction to drive to get there. She would the point in the appropriate direction from the backseat. Sometimes, she would point for us to go the wrong way down a one way street and other times, she would point directly behind the car. As we circled the few blocks that make up downtown Olympia over and over again, we were beginning to think that she didn’t really know where the restaurant was, however, after the fourth time down the same block, I finally saw the restaurant. She had done a beautiful job of directing us, just hadn’t thought to mention it when we actually got to the restaurant.

she was trying to show me how well she could carry an iron lawn gnome around

I’m going to miss this little gnome lover.

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Is it just me or do the holidays always seem like they’ll be better than they actually are? For the last ten days, Evan and I have been on the road, visiting family through Washington and Oregon. For me and my control freak ways, it has been difficult to give up nearly all control of the who/what/wheres of my life.

I would like to say that I handled the season of family juggling with poise and grace, but that would be a lie. My grace broke down on Friday night (“Christmas eve” with my in-laws), when I stormed away from the dinner table after my repeated requests to talk about something other than how the rash of weather related deaths in the Pacific Northwest (climbers, the Kim family, carbon monoxide poisoning due to indoor generator use, etc…) lately would not have occured with more common sense were ignored. I personally can’t think long on this topic without feeling horrible and the combination of the conversation and tomato aspic salad proved to be my breaking point.

Despite the chaos of family (or perhaps because of it), I have been knitting. I have completed the entire front of the mommy snug sweater (not shown) for a dear friend and pair of RPM socks that were knit using socks that rock garnet dreams to continue the sock a month challenge. They were originally knit for my sockret pal, but they fit me perfectly, so their fate remains to be determined.

Tomorrow, we head home to our own bed, our own cats (Evan and I have both been bitten by cats we’ve been visiting), our own kitchen, our own life.  I’m looking forward to beginning year number two in the bay area.

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It’s off to Oregon we go

Around this time of year, Evan started obsessively checking the weather forecast for central Oregon. His extended family has gathered there for the last twenty-seven years. I have very much enjoyed joining his family tradition, cooking for the masses, drinking good wine and playing board games or cards, and sitting curled up with a book next to the roaring fire. (There is always a race amongst Evan and his brothers over who starts the first fire. Evan the pyro typically wins.) One of the things I enjoy most about this holiday weekend is getting to observe my mostly serious husband anxiously await any sign of snow. I grew up hating snow, but Evan’s love for it has rubbed off on me.

I want to wish all of my blog readers a happy, stress-free Thanksgiving. If any of you knitters out there have some free time over the long weekend, you might want to consider knitting for firefly’s gracious parcels project. I will be.

Oregon in the fall.

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I wanted to write a little bit about my trip to Oregon last week. I’d been feeling really homesick and it was good to see both the friends and family I had been missing. What was especially interesting was that we spent a couple of nights over the weekend staying at Evan’s parents house in Medford and a couple of nights staying in a bed and breakfast in Eugene, and despite the fact that I’ve never lived in Medford, our time there felt much more like being at home.

Highlights of the trip:

  • Shoe shopping with one of my grad school friends. Because I am no longer a graduate student, I can actually afford to buy nice shoes. Very exciting.
  • Seeing my showingly pregnant pal Dr. YiKeS and giving her a crash course in knitting before having a long lunch with the ladies.
  • Our splendid bed and breakfast in Eugene. The C’est la Vie Inn is an old Victorian that has been gorgeously updated both inside and out. The proprietor is a wonderfully warm (but not in your face) woman that grew up in Paris, so there are many French touches throughout the Inn.
  • Touring Southern Oregon Wine Country with my in-laws and my two brothers-in-law. While there, we discovered a Schmidt Family Vineyard, which had only been open for a week. Their wine was really good and their gardens were splendid. We especially liked their chardonnay and syrah. My father-in-law, a notorious syrah hater, bought two bottles.
  • A long dinner at the Jacksonville Inn. This is Evan’s family’s stand-by special occasion spot and I guess having three of the four kids home at one time was a special occasion. The Bush family stayed here while visiting Southern Oregon awhile back. The next morning they published pictures of the cottage where they stayed. The breakfast items were all sitting out on the kitchen table and I remember thinking, “Just because you’re the president, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to put the milk back in the fridge when you are done with it?”
  • Hanging out in Evan’s parents backyard, home of Brutus, the koi. He actually climbs out of the water to go after food.

I really enjoyed our time in Oregon. I thought that it might make me miss living there, but, if anything, it just reinforced to me that my life and my home are very much in California now. It was sooo good to get home on Monday night.

I’m going to a work conference (leaving tomorrow) with (gasp!) no internet, so I’ll be out of commission until at least mid-week.

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Third Birthday

I am already becoming a more and more infrequent blogger. Bah.

These past two weeks, between the long, out of town weekend, the running routine, and work stress, I haven’t had a lot of free time or the energy to blog.

Last weekend, we had the pleasure of celebrating my niece’s (somewhat belated) third birthday in Olympia, WA. Due to the excitement of having her Auntie and Uncle visit, we couldn’t get her to take a nap before the celebration, so she slept for the first hour or so of the party in the car.


It’s just as well, really, as the day was wet and cold, not exactly ideal weather for having a bunch of toddlers play at the park. While my niece snoozed in the car, we huddled under a group of trees for warmth, as the picnic shelter was full of a gospel singing, teenage choir practice. While the music was interesting, we were happy when they packed up and we could take shelter in the covered area. Although my sister had planned all sorts of fun party activities like potato sack races and, odd enough for a toddler birthday party, tennis, most of us ended up eating cake in our cars for warmth and then heading home.

Later in the weekend, we got the chance to take her to the park in slightly warmer, less wet weather. She’s big enough now to do all the big slides. We brought my mom’s dog with us so that he could get out of the house for a change, not realizing how difficult he can be at the playground. He gets incredibly jealous of kids getting to go down the slide, ride on the merry-go-round, swing on the swings, etc… He whines, barks and tries to bite whoever is getting to do the activity that he wants. If we let him do the activities, however, he is a happy boy.

dog and kid on slide

All and all, we had a nice weekend.

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