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Check out Sunday Stealing Meme over HERE.  You can read about the origins of this week’s Meme.  I’m posting the questions and my answers.  Play along if you want! 

Sunday Stealing: The Clown’s Meme 1
 

1. How old will you be in five years?
Gee, thanks for starting off with a such a nice non-personal question! 
If my math is correct (and it easily could be wrong), I’ll be 43.  Thanks. 

2. Who did you spend at least two hours with today?
My Sweetie. 

3. How tall are you? 

5 feet, 2 inches and shrinking every year.

4. What do you look forward to most in the next six weeks? 

The imminent arrival this week of our very own Ice Tre to the island of Maui.

5. What’s the last movie you saw? 

Ug…..uh…..on Netflix – The Hangover, which wasn’t nearly as funny as I thought it would be.  In the theater? – egads…..I can’t remember.

6. Who was the last person you called?
My sister, I think. 

7. Who was the last person to call you? 

The insurance claims lady to tell us our car is a total loss.  Yippee.  Thanks, we figured that one out already. 

8. What was the last text message you received? 

“oh no!! where were you this time?”  after I texted T to tell her – “New quiz 4u. how many cars can we total while living in Maui?” 

9. Who was the last person to leave you a voicemail? 

I think it was Sweetie.

10. Do you prefer to call or text?
Call.  I’m a crappy texter.  

11. What were you doing at 12am last night?
Trying to fall asleep! 

12. Are your parents married/separated/divorced?
They were married at the time my father died. 

13. When is the last time you saw your mom?
Yesterday!!!!  She and my aunt flew back to California.  Miss you Mom!! 

14. What color are your eyes?
Brown 

15. What time did you wake up today?
7:00, then 8:00, then 8:30.  Holiday! 

16. What are you wearing right now?
Do you really have to ask?  I live in Maui – I’m always wearing shorts and a tank top. 

17. What is your favorite christmas song? 

Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel 

18. Where is your favorite place to be?
Pretty much wherever there is a good collection of family and friends.  Or somewhere on a hiking trail – Hood Mountain being one of the best.  

19. Where is your least favorite place to be?
Standing on the side of a road with a smooshed car. 

20. Where would you go if you could go anywhere?
There are a ton of places Sweetie and I want to go, but our first choice right now is an east coast trip so we can visit family and friends in New York, Ohio, and North Carolina.  

21. Where do you think you’ll be in 10 years?
Somewhere on planet earth, either above or below ground.  

22. Do you tan or burn?
I tan if properly sub-blocked.  Otherwise, I burn.  Don’t we all? 

23. What did you fear was going to get you at night as a child?
The hallway giant.  And that clown from Poltergeist. 

24. What was the last thing that really made you laugh?
My mom and my aunt. 

25. How many TVs do you have in your house?
One 

26. How big is your bed? 

Not big enough to avoid some territorial battles with Sweetie.

27. Do you have a laptop or desktop computer? 

My trusty laptop

29. What color are your sheets?
Beige, gold, red, and white. 
30. How many pillows do you sleep with?
Usually one 

31. What is your favorite season?
Spring 

32. What do you like about Autumn?
It’s not winter yet. 

33. What do you like about winter?
It’s only temporary.  

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My green beans were tasty and the family enjoyed them.

My cold is mild and I’m stuffy but I don’t feel like I’ve been run over with a truck even though I was hoping that I wasn’t really sick, that it was just my chronic throat pain, but why would I think that because I always seem to get sick when I come back to California in winter.

The house was warm.

Sweetie’s family is together.

Only one of my presents coming in the mail will probably be late and Sweetie already has something to open tomorrow. 

I followed my mother’s lead and wrapped a couple presents a day the past week and didn’t spend all day today wrapping gifts. 

The sun was shining today.

Sweetie and I are in the same state!

My mom spoiled me with a wonderful dinner this past weekend and we will get to see her, Big Sibs and the nephews soon to celebrate post-Christmas.

All of our travelers arrived safely.

Tomorrow there will be more food and catching up and definitely at least one game of Settlers of Catan.

Tomorrow there will be homemade apple pies and butter-soaked rolls.

If I stop writing now and stop retrospecting so hard, I won’t feel sad about some things that are too hard to explain anyway.

Did I mention my green beans were tasty and the family enjoyed them??

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Tired rambles

This is one of those non-entries, as it is late tonight and my throat is screaming mad – about 165-percent above my normal painful chronic ouch.  I’m sitting here with half a cup of Theraflu – not because I really think I am getting sick but just to try and sooth my throat for a few minutes so I can sleep.  Have I mentioned I get grumpy when I don’t feel well?

Today was a good day.  Packed my bags, woke up early, picked up Sweetie at the airport and drove to his mom’s.  Hooray!  Nice to have his company again.  We spent the evening with his old college pals, a couple of whom we have not seen since our wedding.  We were treated to a scrumptious feast that included homemade kalua pork, roasted veggies, Korean BBQ beef and brownies for dessert.  I had at least two helpings of everything and could have easily had two more helpings of the beef but didn’t want to empty the serving dish before our awesome hostess even had seconds.  Urp.  

Tomorrow is big food shopping day.  This year we are spending Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas with Sweetie’s family.  Which means several meals have been planned out for 12 to 16 or 17 people.  Everyone has something to buy, which cuts down the work for any one person.  But there is still a lot to buy and prep.  We’ll go to Costco in the morning then  drive to Sweetie’s Grandfather’s house to take him shopping.  Somewhere, somehow, I also have to get some work hours in.  Because – wouldn’t you know – after having basically no work for the last month, I now have a work product due right after Christmas.  Ho Ho Ho.  Grump.  Grump.

And with that – I am diving under the electric blanket.  Sorry for the non-entry.  Hope you all are staying warm.

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For some odd reason, Sweetie and my visits to California often seem to coincide with funerals. Most of the time we don’t plan it that way. Long long ago I once flew back to California just to attend a funeral. I hate to say I couldn’t afford to do that these days. But. I don’t think I can afford to do that these days unless I really need to.

A year ago Sweetie and I were able to attend his mom’s cousin’s funeral. We were here in July when we learned that a good friend of his family had died and attended that funeral with his mom, sister and (our new) bro-in-law. I was able to attend another aunt’s funeral – was it two years ago…. or last year?? Wow, I can’t remember. I also attended the funeral of one of my dad’s best friends while visiting California.

Big Sis, Mom and I just attended a funeral yesterday. We learned that my last aunt on my father’s side died. For Big Sis and me, all of our aunts and uncles are now gone on my dad’s side of the family. For our cousins, our mom is the only Auntie left. I stood next to my cousin C. yesterday and asked her – Do you realize that, other than mom, we are now the “elder” generation? She told me that, yes – she had actually thought of that herself. What a generation shift! It doesn’t seem that long ago that Big Sis and I were running through my eldest aunt’s house at Christmas, chasing our cousins’ kids and waiting for that perfect present from Uncle H. Now, one of my cousins is a grandfather and another one just sent his son off for his second year of college. My father’s parents had six children. Out of those six came only seven grandchildren. I am the youngest of the seven and haven’t even had my own kids yet, for heaven’s sake! But here we are. The next line of the family. Six of us were at the funeral yesterday. Somehow we seem to keep meeting up at funerals. We hug and catch up on new jobs, retirements, vacation, kids, grandkids, and surgeries.

There are few people I know who would say they enjoy attending funerals. However, given the death of a family member or good friend, I am glad for the times when I can pay my respects in person. Many people would say that funerals are not so much for the dead as for the living. I think it’s true to the extent that a lot of people need that odd ceremony to feel like they have said “goodbye.” For me, I needed my dad’s funeral to tell people a little about his life. And to thank those who came for being in his life. No, I don’t like funerals. But I value them. I’m not sure why I seem to time my trips with them, but I think I appreciate the cosmic calendar that allows me to attend as many as I can.

Now, if I could just avoid another one for a long stretch of time, I’d be happy.

By the way, Father Damien was canonized in Rome today. Kind of a big deal in Hawai’i.

http://www.mauinews.com/page/content.detail/id/524658.html?nav=10

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So, Sweetie and I jumped on a plane today headed for sunny California!

Lucky for us, sunny California is not as sunny as it was a week or so ago.  Last week, I was hearing all about the heat wave and the 100+, 110+ hot temperatures.  But we landed in Sacramento tonight and it was downright lovely.  A little wind has kicked up and I think the temperatures will be in the cool 90s for a while.  I hope.  We’ll see.

Anyway, Hooray!!!!!! We are in California.  It has been almost six months since our last visit – probably the longest amount of time I’ve spent away from my family in a long long time.  Definitely the longest amount of time I’ve not seen my nephews since they were born.  And there was Nephew #1 with Big Sis smiling at the bottom of the escalators tonight.  I wanted to smother him with hugs I was so happy to see them both.     (I know, I know —- it’s like I just discovered these emoticons or something.  Lighten up.)

Behind the scenes here, the last few weeks, Sweetie and I have been working hard to organize his family’s biennial reunion gathering.  If you remember, I attended two years ago when Sweetie and I were engaged.  I was introduced to many many members of the extended family and enjoyed a few days of hiking, horseback riding, lounging around, and chatting with my soon-to-be-family in Utah.  It’s been two years of getting ready for the next one.  And it is in California and fell to Sweetie’s immediate family to organize.  A while ago it was handed over to Sweetie, his mom, and me.  So, I’ve been trying to get head counts, and reservations, and activities organized, and so on and so forth.  And, ready or not – the family is descending in a litltle over a week!  I’m sure to blog more about that later (or not – you may have noticed I’m notoriously bad at finishing some blogs.)

Sweetie and I flew from Maui to Oahu to catch our plane to California.  Then, of course, the plane takes off from Oahu and flies right back past Maui on its way east.  And I gotta tell you, the ocean around Maui and Oahu today was the most gorgeous I have ever seen it.  Bright light blue at the shore fading into deep shades of blue so clear, I could see the waves and the coral from the plane window.  Stunningly beautiful today.  One of those days I feel quite blessed to be living in such surroundings.

And then, flying above California, the sun on the west side of the plane was the deepest, darkest, brightest red I have ever seen as it set.  I was on the opposite side of the plane, and we were landing, so I only had a bit of a glimpse through the windows.  But wow.  Maui’s got nothing on that sunset.

So, Sweetie and I are now settling into Mom’s house.  We will, no doubt, be shuttling back and forth between our moms’ houses.  With a possible side trip to LA while we are here.   Tomorrow morning, I am walking a 5K with Big Sis and the family.  Then a little BBQ.  It’s all good.

But I gotta say – What the WHAT?!  I am in the air and out of Internet range for one day and I log into my computer tonight to find out – WHAT?!  Sarah Palin resigned as Governor of Alaska?!  Stepping down?  Not even finishing her term?  For what?  I’ve been following some of the Alaska blogs so I know about the ethics complaints, and the legislature going against her wishes to take stimulus money, and the resounding defeat of her horrible attorney general pick.  But for what?  Because the going got tough?  Because attacks got personal?  Because she felt like she couldn’t forward her agenda in her own state?

I don’t know the answer for sure.  I’m just surprised that someone who was touted as having the tenacity of a bulldog ended up giving up her elected office like a whimpering Chihuahua (no offense to Chihuahuas).  Maybe she knows of more things that are going to come to light that she can’t excuse away.  Maybe she wants to go “hike the Appalachian Trail.”  Maybe her advisors are really so stupid as to think this is the best way to launch a bid for President.  ?? Who knows.  I just honestly hope that her loyally rabid followers don’t try and turn this into what a great opportunity for her to support national candidates, or jump on the national stage, or whatnot.  In my experience, if you can’t stand tough in your own job, you have no business seeking a tougher job (and let me tell you, my old co-workers and I have stood tough for years in a workplace that can chew people up and spit them out in weeks).  Much as I think Sarah Palin is amazing fodder for crazy political stories, I stand by my earlier opinions that her rhetoric and particular brand of politics are poison, her qualifications for national office are atrocious, her viewpoints are narrow and dangerous, and I’d prefer she disappear from the national stage. 

And with that, I should sleep if I want to wake up for a fun run.  Sorry for the hodgepodge of notes here.   Just thought I’d write something before all my day’s memories are gone. 

Happy 4th of July everyone!

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Taps

I went to a funeral yesterday with Mom, Big Sis, and my aunt. Sorry to say that one of my father’s oldest friends died a little while ago. “Uncle” Bill was my dad’s friend when Dad first dated Mom. Story goes – he was the friend enlisted to keep my aunt company so my dad could make the moves on Mom. He celebrated their wedding and stood by my dad’s side. I remember visiting him and his family when I was a kid – shivering in the pool with Big Sis and Uncle Bill’s two sons waiting for pictures to be taken, playing my first computer games on their Atari computer, learning how to play Chinese jump rope before it became popular on my own playground back home.

Last time Mom and I had dinner with him late last year, mom mentioned how much weight Uncle Bill had lost. That was when we realized he was waging his own cancer battle, just a few months after Dad’s death. Though – come to think of it, it probably started when Dad was still alive. But a battle against pancreatic cancer is tough to fight, and it was not to be won. But standing at the funeral, listening to his son and his friends speak, it sounded like Uncle Bill kept his spirits lifted and his outlook real during the last few months.

Uncle Bill was a veteran, and they played Taps at the funeral service. Every time I hear it, I think of my own uncle’s funeral – my dad’s brother who died a few years ago. It was a strikingly poignant moment in his funeral – to hear that lonely trumpet call. To hear the somber notes. To know that, truly, my uncle’s long day was done. And it just seemed so respectful, to me. To hear it. Don’t know why. But man, did that strike a weeping chord in me.

Wikipedia says that there are no official lyrics to Taps. But here is the most common form of the lyrics that have been used over the years. Farewell, Uncle Bill.

Fading light dims the sight
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright
From afar drawing nigh,
Falls the night.Day is done, gone the sun
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky
All is well, safely rest;
God is nigh.

Then goodnight, peaceful night;
Till the light of the dawn shineth bright.
God is near, do not fear,
Friend, goodnight.

 

 

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A tribute to Moms

Did you ever see the film “Mother?”  If you have, did you love that classic food scene as much as I did? Isn’t that the most typical Mom behavior?  Must…feed…children.  Doesn’t matter how old the child – Moms have this instinctive need to feed you.  From the big block of cheese to the “protective covering” of freezer burn on the ice cream, that scene in Mother is one of my favorites!  It cracks me up because it is so true. 

It reminds me of similar scenes I’ve lived with one of my best friend’s mothers.  Mama T always tried to feed me. And feed people she could! But there was one time where my friend and I had gone out to eat with friends and when we got back to the house, Mama T was aflutter with excitement at the thought of feeding us.  She delightedly showed us the steaks she had taken out of the freezer to fix for us. We tried to tell her we were not hungry. But she talked up her steaks. We insisted we were not hungry. But she talked up her steaks. We finally had to admit that we had already eaten out and were honestly too full to eat a gigantic steak each. I think she fed both of them to my good friend after I left! 

Mama T was always looking out for me, making sure I was comfortable in her home, making me welcome, and checking in on me. And not just me – though her daughter and I have been friends since we were five years old.  New friends and old friends alike, once you were in her home, you would be mothered.  She always wanted to see and believe the best in people, and by seeing the good in people, she treated you with kindness and respect and care. 

I am very lucky that I have good friends whose parents are so open and supportive of their extended families.  Mama T just happened to be the one who was in my life the longest.  She passed away a week ago, and I feel like a little part of my childhood left with her.  I could go back to my old hometown, and see her, and feel like I still belonged there (my parents moved away several years ago).  I could look forward to being pampered and scolded all day with her love and her no-nonsense common sense. For all that, I know her family will miss her very much.  But I hope they are comforted, as I am, with some hilarious memories and the warm-blanket feeling you get when you remember someone who truly cared for you. Moms are very very good at that.

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