Thursday, June 26, 2014

Failure Point

For the last twenty-five years or so, CoolGuy has been involved with testing and engineering in his job. He has spent a lot of time running systems until they reach a failure point. This allows the designers to know the capabilities, or lack thereof, in a particular system. It's important to know just how much capacity is available in almost anything, so you know if you are nearing the limit. I think I found CoolGuy's limit this week.

I've noted before how he seems to find just the right thing to say---

When I was feeling particularly morose over having to give away my cute shoes collection:
"You know why you have those terrible feet, don't you?  It's because the rest of you is so awesome that God had to find some way to keep you humble."

Once when I was getting ready to go to work:
"Where do you keep your fire extinguisher?"  HUH? he went on..."Because surely you need to wear one clipped your belt or something, since you're looking so hot."

When he brought me lunch at school:
"Gosh, your co-workers are so nice to you. Usually when one person is so much better looking than the rest, it creates a little hostility."

Yeah, yeah, yeah.... 

However, despite his ability to pull off the glib remarks all these years, this week I succeeded in rendering him speechless. See, a couple of days ago, I woke up, wandered into the bathroom, and, as I attempted to sit down, I lost my balance a little, (dumb feet) and sort of half-fell onto the toilet seat. And. it. cracked.

Yes, I cracked the toilet seat.

I couldn't believe it. I mean, it's made of wood. I'm a little---ahem---heavier--than I'd like to be. But even all the times I was pregnant and weighed this much,  and maybe sat down a little harder than I intended in my state of expectancy-induced clumsiness, I have never cracked a toilet seat!!!!

 So when CoolGuy got home a little while later from his morning coffee run, I told him about it. I'm so sorry I didn't have a camera, still or video, available immediately. Video would have been awesome! The look on his face was priceless. He valiantly struggled to avoid bursting out in laughter. He had to put his finger on his lips to stifle his smile, and he coughed as a small guffaw leaked out. He turned a little red, and he started to say something a couple of times. He stepped forward, then backward, and finally just shook his head, and said, "I'm sorry. I'm going to need a few moments to process this one." And he dashed into his office, out of sight. IT WAS HILARIOUS!

So, if I were to write the engineering report for this toilet-seat episode, I'd conclude that I have definitely found what causes the failure of the Just-right-make-your-wife-feel-good Rhetoric Area of the CoolGuy brain.


Saturday, June 21, 2014


Lilac Trees
Purple pointed cone of itty-bitty blossoms
Crowning the trees in our yard.
I break one off and bury my nose in its scent.
Instantly, I am twelve years old,
Walking out the back gate to the cow barn in June.
These flowers mean Wyoming.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sum, Sum, Summer Time!

I've only been out of school for two weeks, and yet, I've managed to have a lot of fun already! We cheated on the first little trip. We left before school was actually over...Our daughter's graduation from college with her doctorate degree (Nursing Practice----from Oregon Health & Science University) was on the Monday of the last week of school. We flew up on Saturday morning, after I'd spent several really long days that week getting every T crossed and i dotted, so I could return on Tuesday morning, really early, to be ready for the awards assembly and the last day of school. I realize I've already celebrated this event in a previous post, but, I feel like bragging some more.

That was just the first trip of the vacation season! On Thursday, I carefully put everything into secured spaces in my classroom, except for those last piles on my desk, which got dropped into a box and shoved into a closet, and turned in my keys. Then we left Friday morning to travel straight north to attend a lovely piano recital by our granddaughter. She is very skilled, having taken lessons for several years now. Plus, they have a marvelous piano teacher who helped them to write their own song! I'm serious--every student not only played a piece from their lesson books, but then performed a self-composed number. They were all fabulous! What a great night! This is why I live in the West--I want to be able to attend piano recitals by grandchildren.

Talented Pianist

The next morning, we assembled at the church to attend the baptism of our grandson who just turned eight years old. He was baptized by our son, his uncle, and there was a talk by the sister (above) and a talk by Grandma (me). It was a lovely event and afterward, we went over to our daughter's house and feasted in her backyard. We returned to our home the next day, after a visit with both of our children and their children. I had to get back due to a series of doctor appointments I had the following week, but --- again---it is why we live in the West. We can be close enough to go visit for a couple of days, and then go home. 


The Hawaiian childhood of his father's family calls for leis on all special occasions. Nice tradition!

Weren't those two kids of ours just getting baptized themselves a short time ago??

Then, my final quick trip to celebrate the beginning of summer:  I went to North County San Diego over the weekend to have dinner with a group of friends. The significant part of that trip is that I go to spend time by the ocean! favorite place. I enjoyed seeing my friends. We ate some so-so Mexican food. (Sorry, but I was expecting better in SoCal.) But then, the next day, I went to visit the sand and waves. It was a lovely day for it, too. It was torture to simply snap a few pics and then leave again. CoolGuy and I have a plot to get back to the ocean again, later this summer. I certainly hope we can pull it off. Someday...I'll live there again--it's a dream.

I call this picture: Happy Feet

I could have stayed there all day. The water was warmer than my beach in Port Hueneme. I needed a boogie board and a swimsuit, and I'd have been a happy girl to go along with the happy feet.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fathers Are So Special

I've enjoyed watching the Father of this family as he has been repeatedly interrupted this afternoon from his motorcycle wrenching by phone calls from his children. Thanks kids!

I read from some commentator that Father's Day is an "awkward" holiday, celebrated inconsistently by people from 1910 until, finally in 1972, it was designated an official holiday in a bill signed by Pres. Nixon. I know that it doesn't always get the attention that Mother's Day does, but perhaps that's appropriate since a lot of fathers are somewhat "aw shucks" about being the center of attention. I also know that there are plenty of fathers that are not there in the life of their offspring, so that figures in, too.

I was a lucky one. My dad was there and was a fine dad; surely deserving of extra attention at least one day each year. He was a pretty good dad, too, considering that he had to make it up as he went along. He didn't have the example of his father who died when my dad was only eight. He lost his grandfather the next day after that, too. So, he was taken in by a kind relative and was pretty much a grown-up from then on. However, even though he had never experienced the love and attention and advice and unconditional love from a dad, he did a pretty good job of giving that to us, his children. I credit my mom with teaching him how to be a loving person. She said once to me that he was pretty "hard" when they first got married, and that she had to show him that it was okay to be softer. He was a devoted father, and we all knew how much he loved us. He was tough sometimes, but we also knew that he still loved us anyway.

Here he is with the first two kids,
the beginning of the six daughters and two sons.
He's wearing the "uniform" I remember him for---irrigation boots and a straw hat.
We're up to six of us here. Just two more to go.
Note the "farmer's tan"---duh, why do you think it's called that?

Our one and only overnight vacation.
We got our tall genes from our dad.
Baby number eight was on the way, that's why
 my mom is taking the photo and not in it.
He loved to raise beautiful horses.
This particular one was also extremely patient
 and long-suffering.
That is baby number eight squeezed in there on his lap. 
This is grandchild number one. It was pretty awesome for him to be a grandfather. The saddest thing is that he didn't get to enjoy that role very long, here on earth. We'd only delivered the first 18 while he was still living. We ended up with 33 altogether finally. But, he met those other ones in heaven before we did.
Dad #2
The second dad we honor today, is CoolGuy, the father of our family. He wasn't all that sure he was ready to be "dad" when we first married. But once we decided, he was awesome! He was ahead of his time in the "hands-on" category. He was never reluctant to change diapers, or wipe up barf, or do dishes, or laundry, or cook, or clean. That's why when friends would laugh that one reason they gave birth in the hospital was to have a little vacation, I'd just smile and say that CoolGuy gave me one at home. He would take off work and do everything for the first three or four days, just so I'd stay down and rest. He knew he'd have to enforce it. But, it was also really nice to have everyone in the same place and not be splitting time between the hospital and home. Here are some cool fatherhood shots across the years.
Middle School graduation, 1992?

The boys altogether in 1984.

Hiking in the canyon by the beach 1994ish.

Going to work, or coming home from work--1993?
He's loving Grandpa Time, too.
Pool time

Looking at the ocean

Card sharks
More pool time--Night Swimming!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Is This The End?

Well, I went to an appointment with my foot doctor this week. I wore two shoes. I took off the cast when school ended. I'd worn it since the first week of April, after the latest surgery, just to protect my foot. I'd foolishly taken it off after ten days, when the stitches came out, because I felt pretty good. However, after about five days with no cast, I got to the middle of a school day with a throbbing foot that felt like it could only be cured with an ax. Instead, I texted CoolGuy to please bring over my cast. Which I then did not go without until school had officially ended and I could sit down and walk fewer miles.

It seems to have worked! Between the right foot's cast allowing that surgery to heal, and the left foot's ingrown toenail surgeries (yes, plural) and their eventual...finally...healing, I left my foot doctor's office this week with----wait for it (!!) ---

no follow-up appointment.
Yes, read that again...I do not have another scheduled appointment at the foot doctor.
***fine print addendum: at this time, I do not have obvious reasons to return to the podiatrist. This does not rule out any future ped-collapsing as has happened in the past. This also does not indicate wonderful feet on my part. Any claim to have "good" feet, or "fine" feet on the part of the writer of this blog is to be taken with a very, very large grain of salt. She will never have good feet. But if she can go through another school year without having to have any foot surgeries it will be a year of celebration and jubilation. Huzzah!

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Is There a Doctor in the House?

Well, the answer to that question, since June 2nd, is "yes"---our daughter is now a Doctor of Nursing Practice! She graduated from Oregon Health & Science University on Monday, and we were proudly sitting there in the auditorium watching. What a fine time to be the parents!

We were joined for this celebration by her sister. And we pretty much spent the weekend eating one delicious meal after another, laughing and talking. Portland was warm and sunny the entire three days we were there, too. It was pretty wonderful all around.
And, whereas these girls do have a bit of a Mutt and Jeff motif going, the difference in their heights is not actually this acute. The Doctor is also wearing 3-inch heels. In fact, she posed like this to tease her daddy.
During the "hooding ceremony" when the advisor places the doctoral hood over the neck of the candidate, she actually just squatted right down on her heels. Her advisor was a short person anyway, and then the heels....
One of her favorite moments was opening the gift sent up by her eight-year old nephew--aka: Brickman. He found it on the Lego website a couple of months ago, and just knew it was the perfect gift. He was right! In fact, the graduate carried the little figure in her pocket for the whole ceremony!

It was a totally great event, and we are just really proud of her for all the hard work. Plus, now when we get old [er], we know who to call when we need someone who really puts the "treat" in treatment.