Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Pickleweed Part 2

The main reason I went to San Diego was to spend time with my dad. And it was The. Best. Time. My parents divorced when I was 16 and my dad and I didn't get along during that time. But 4 years later when Chuck and I got engaged, I desperately wanted my daddy to walk me down the aisle. We reconciled and have been close ever since.

I was at the kitchen table at my sisters when my dad came into the living room. "Would you want to go see some of the old houses we've lived in?" "Absolutely!!" So the next day he and I drove through our old neighborhoods, visited some dear family friends, he even drove by my old high school! Then he took me out for lunch before heading back to my sisters.

We reminisced, we talked and laughed, he shared some memories of his time in the Navy, it was truly a day I'll remember forever.

 This is my old high school - and the only picture I got that day!
(When I attended in the late 70's there was no ramp or gates.)


 Another day my oldest sister Kathy and I went out to the Ocean Beach Pier. Neither of us had ever been there before and it was so much fun! We had lunch at the cafe right on the pier. We walked all the way to the end and she spotted a baby whale!



(Thanks Google for this pic)





We then walked around on the rocks at the shore. We sat and watched the waves splash onto the rocks and I crawled down to explore some of the tide pools. We laughed at how easily all the young people walked around on the rocks, even that slanted part, they'd just walk past us like it was perfectly flat! We don't know how they did it!








And this is where I got some pictures of pickle weed. It's also called Ice Plant. It's a ground cover and grows wild all over San Diego. When I was little, my friends lived by a canyon and we'd slide down the pickle weed on our bums. When you open one of these stalks, it's filled with a clear fluid that would ruin our pants. Our moms would always get mad but we had so much fun doing it!



Then we headed East and stopped at Sonic for some ice cream. We sat at Santee Lakes for quite a while, just playing Yahtzee and watching the wildlife. 




 The other big event was a family reunion with my dad, sisters and our cousins. I had created a 5-Generation family tree and brought copies down with me. We looked through old photos and reminisced about when we were kids. At one point we all looked up to see my dad licking his fingers over by the cupcakes. Busted!


Me, my dad, and my sisters Debbie (middle) and Kathy


Three of our four cousins.




When I was 2 my mom took a picture of me and my sisters and I had us re-create it at the reunion.



My cousin took the picture, THEN we had to get up! That took a little more work than we expected!



Oh my gosh we laughed so hard! There's nothing like fun and laughter with family!!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Pickleweed

My dad is 91. I was talking to my sisters on the phone a couple months ago and they suggested I come to visit... sooner than later. Not that my dad is in bad health, but he is getting older. So I talked to Chuck and we looked at the budget and found we had some extra money so I bought a round trip ticket! I got it on-line and printed it at work and found I had a Precheck ticket which means I didn't have to take off my shoes or open my suitcase, just cruised right on through security!

I'm usually so nervous when I fly alone (I've only flown two other times by myself) but this time I was so excited! I usually want someone to come in with me and make sure I get through security okay (I'm a wimp, I know) but this time I told Chuck he could just drop me off. I walked slowly through the airport and just took in all the sights and sounds. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face! Got a window seat - my favorite! - and there was no one in the middle seat. I love aerial photography and the only down side was the window was incredibly dirty. But I could live with that. I was humbled at God's provision.

Mount Rainier



Mount St. Helens. 
You can tell it's Mount St Helens because it doesn't have any peaks.
It's more of a rounded top.



I don't know where we were at this point but this lake shows signs of drought.



Crossing from the mountains to the desert.



 Torrey Pines Golf Course
Coming in to San Diego!



The Coronado Bay Bridge


My plan on this trip was to spend one-on-one time with my dad and each of my two sisters. We usually tell all our friends that we're coming into town but this time I didn't. I wished I could have seen them (I was born and raised in San Diego) but I really needed to focus on my family this time and it turned out to be one of the best vacations I've ever had.

You know when you go somewhere with your family, you try to make sure they're doing what they want while trying to meet the needs of extended family and friends. It can be exhausting! But this time it was only me. It was so different. I was free to just go and do.

The first day was with Deb. She works at a ranch with miniature horses, goats, sheep, tortoises, peacocks... it was amazing! We made sure everyone had fresh water and she gave her own horse some oats. I got to ride in a golf cart! :)

This miniature horses' eyes were so beautiful!


And miniature donkeys...



This mama had just given birth that week. The baby was about the size of a small dog!




There were two tortoises and they were huge!


My sisters horse




White peacocks. I don't think I've ever seen a white one before!



We were being watched the whole time!



My sister has a menagerie of her own at home. Her German Shepherd Nala would randomly walk into the kitchen and stare at the floor. My sister would then grab the pointer and Nala would go crazy! Leaping in the air and trying to jump on the little red dot! Such a funny dog!




 She also has a chihuahua that sleeps in a side table.


And a tiny tortoise, a baby from the two at the ranch.


(I have so much more to tell you but this post is taking a lot longer than I expected, so I'll have to finish this another time. 
If you don't know what pickleweed is, stayed tuned!)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Guess Who Came To Dinner!?!

Beth has been counting down the days, she was SO excited! I emailed Nicks mom a couple weeks ago about having him come over for lunch on a Sunday. He wanted to take the DART bus (rather than his folks driving him) "Mr Independence!" as his mom called him. :)

Of course church ran long so we rushed home and were so glad we got to the house before he did. I saw the bus first and told her to go out and meet him.



It was the sweetest thing! He was such a gentleman all day. We ended up ordering pizza just because church was late and we were frazzled by the time we got home. But we all enjoyed it and had good conversation at the dinner table.

After we ate, Sharaya and Allie had another family event to go to so I cleaned up and Beth and Nick went downstairs. They kept the door open the whole time and were very good! After a few minutes they turned on the karaoke machine and oh my goodness! I think the neighbors heard them! They sang songs from Frozen, Les Mis, High School Musical... it was fun to listen to them sing together.



After a while I went down and asked if they were ready for s'mores. Nick said, "God bless you, Beth's mom!" :) The weather was gorgeous and it was nice to be outside for a while. While I lit the fire, Nick pushed his chair back and then told Beth, "Babe you should move your chair. It's not safe to be close to the fire." He called her Babe the entire day, it was really sweet.


We talked about Nick wanting to get his driver license, about the two of them getting their own house and what life would be like after they were married. I think if we said 'Okay' they'd be married tomorrow! But - they still have so much to learn about each other. So many issues to discuss. He wants kids but she says she isn't ready. Could they live by themselves? How would they handle arguments? How would they pay their bills? Could they afford their own place? Would they lose their Social Security if they get married? So many things to figure out.

After he left, Beth and I sat at the kitchen table talking about the day. I do believe it was so good for them to spend time alone, outside of All Aboard, no family sitting right with them. It gave them a chance to relax with one another and really be themselves. She definitely wants to invite him over again!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Some Days It Was Flawless

We're in the time of life where things are pretty routine. All 3 of us work outside the home, we do chores on our days off and for the most part life is fairly calm. But it hasn't always been that way.

We raised 3 girls and that included softball practice, kids choir, neighborhood friends, school activities. Our lives were very full.

Some days the girls would be playing in the backyard and I'd be ahead of the game enough to set up the kitchen table with construction paper and scissors and stickers and markers... when they came inside, "Mom, we're bored!" I'd send them to the kitchen and hear, "Oooooh! I wanna do crafts!"

"Sure! Go ahead!" They would clamor up to the table and I'd head into the living room and toss pillows and blankets on the couch and get a movie ready, then go back to doing dishes or laundry or whatever. Sometimes I'd sit down with them and admire their beautiful artwork and comment on their creations. (Because they had each other to talk to and bounce ideas off of, my presence wasn't as essential as say, a mom of an only child.) After a little while, "I don't wanna do this anymore, can I have a snack?"

"Sure. Do you want to watch a movie?" "Yea!!" They'd dash out to the living room and settle in for some Aladdin or Little Mermaid. Some days I was always one step ahead. :)

Then there were other days.

The girls would fight; the furnace would quit working; the toilet would overflow... you've all had those days. Days when you absolutely can't wait for this season of your life to be over. It seems those chaotic times will last forever. You'll think you've ruined your children forever. That this decision you made or that decision will send them to therapy for years. You truly believe the noise will never end and you will definitely loose your mind!

Well, now those days are over for us. The girls are grown and out living their own lives. Sharaya's a single mom, raising Allie by herself. (At least for now. We don't know what the Lord has planned for her future. We know it will be good, what ever it is!) Sharaya's independent, she's setting goals for her future and is doing well.

Diana is in Philadelphia, working and exploring that great city. She's adapting to life on her own. She's figuring out who she wants to be. She's following her dreams and creating the life she's always wanted.

They're living apart from Chuck and I now, making their own decisions and choices. But that's good. That's the way life is supposed to work. Our girls are experiencing life. They're strong and happy. As hard as it is to live life without them, we know life is progressing exactly as it should.