Thursday, April 22, 2010

In Loving Memory

I’ve been a little quiet this week.

Our family was rocked this past weekend by the news that our "Sweet Aunt Geri" was killed in an automobile accident.

It’s one of those things that hits like a blow from the back.

The kind you don’t see coming.

I’m not very comfortable with public speaking.

I know I won’t be able to speak when we all gather to say our farewells.

But I would like to say a few things here …in “my space”.

I come from a large and tight knit family.

My Mom is one of fourteen siblings.

Her mother, my Oma, made sure that we all shared holidays and celebrations whenever possible.

I have met all of my 60 some odd cousins and know most of them … and even some of their children.

There have been Christmas parties, family pinics, epic weddings and anniversary parties.

But Aunt Geri….she was special.

She took me on my first road trip when I was about four or five.

She bought me some colored pencils and a pad of paper.
She hid them in her glovebox as a surprise for whenever I drove her crazy.
We hit the road.
I was sure I was the coolest kid ever.

I have no idea what she could have been thinking.

She christened me Chatty Cathy on that trip….and it stuck.

She trusted me to babysit her children who became more like younger brothers and sisters to me.

She took My cousin Ag and I along on their camping trip to the beach when we were in middle school…and not all that loveable…under the guise of having built in babysitters ...but really… she wanted Ag and I to become good friends.

And it totally worked.

She was my Confirmation sponsor.

She was my Wedding Coordinator.

And when I became a stay at home mom she never let me pay for the hair cuts she always made time for.

And then she taught me how to cut my boys’ hair.

We talked about scrapbooking and being the keepers of memories.

We talked about faith.

We talked about family and love.

We talked about simple and frugal living.

And later, when Uncle Jim battled cancer, we talked a lot about healthy living and what that meant.

And if I look really hard for the gift in this thing…

I find that I am thankful for the gifts she gave….endlessly.

She showed me how to live in faith with great joy and gratitude.

She showed by example how to put God first, and family before all others.

And this week…

She reminded me to count… not only the years, months, or even the days….but each heartbeat of the ones we love most.

I am so blessed to have had her in my life.

I’ll miss you Aunt Ger.

Chatty Cathy

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Go Fly A Kite

We always send our spring break trip reservations out to friends and family in hopes of tempting someone else to join us and snag another spot at the beach.

And it works.

Last year my brother Don got a spot.

This year my brother Mike and his wife, Sheila, and their kiddos got one.

These goofballs know the meaning of family fun.

Sometimes at the expense of their parents.
Who happen to give as good as they get.

So don't feel too sorry for them...

Tim and Abby both had birthdays right before they got to the beach.

They each got a really cool kite as a birthday gift so we all headed down to the sand to give 'em a test run

Abby's kite got going right away.

A little bit of speed to give it a boost...

And it was up.

Way up.

And I have to say...

Something about the way that thing flew was really amusing to me.

Is this just the cutest flying elephant you've ever seen or what?

A little sister power kept it up for quite a long time.

Connie and Abby do the sister thing really well.

Tim had a kite too.

A really cool dragon kite.

Which refused to co-operate this day.

So he mostly did a lot of running on the beach.

Trying to get the thing up in the air.

We kind of adopted Tim during our week.

You see he and Dylan have something in common.

They both have three older brothers who have abandoned them for trivial things.... like school... and work...

Leaving them with a lot more bedroom space, but a lot fewer brothers to goof around with.

So they get each other.

They both know the rules of goofy harassment.

Dylan and Brock made great stand in older brothers for Tim for a few days.

And Tim made them laugh.

It was a fair trade.

I would also like to thank Tim for tolerating my lame boogie boarding skills and not laughing out loud too many times during the sesh.

It was very kind.

Donald was all about the rocks.

And at first Mary joined him.

After a while, she was totally over the rock thing.

But he was still goin strong.

What is it with boys and rocks?

She did find a great place to make a little sand castle.

And happily left Donald to make sure that the beach was cleared of rocks.

Thanks for the memories guys!

Love ya!
Aunt Cathy

Friday, April 9, 2010

And The Hits Keep Comin' - Quick Garden Update

The weather around here has been so crazy.

What's a gambling gardener to do??

When we arrived home from our spring break the greenhouse lettuce was going crazy and there some biggie cauliflower showing off. 

We had to seriously focus on picking and eating.

I know.

Life can be so tough sometimes eh?

Then the hail, snow and wind that I wrote about in this post hit.

And all bets were off.

And then it cleared.

And then it rained.

And then it was Easter Sunday.

And my back yard looked like this:

Just crazy.

And in the garden the white stuff was piling up again.

I worried about the baby plants.

Rich popped in a Christmas CD and enjoyed the moment.
Then it rained again.

And it cleared.

And it got windy.

And it rained yet again.

And this morning...

There were frost warnings.

So I went out to check on the survivors.

The berries seem to have come thru pretty much unscathed.

The strawberries are coming along nicely.

The raspberries even have little buds.

The baby lettuce is coming up.

And the carrots for the Plant A Row For The Hungry program I posted about in this post are just starting to sprout.

The sugar pod peas are bearing the white scars of the cold but look to be battling on.

I'm a little disappointed in my sweet pea flowers.

There are only about four of them up.

I was counting on huge bunches of them.

It may be time to replant.

Anyone wanna weigh in on this?

They've been planted for about a month.

Can it take longer or should I just replant?

The potatoes are a mixed bag.

But I'm not so sure it's about the snow and hail.

They have some snow/hail scarring too.

It looks more like the work of the killer northwest slugs to me.

Some look better than others.

I'm proud to report that the weeds and grass are going like gangbusters.

Yikes I have a lot of work to do out there.

Hopefully Dylan will bust out the mower today and get a handle on some of the grass anyhow.

Get out there and enjoy the wacky weather.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Drinking up Life

We look forward to our spring break trip all year.

It starts the minute the previous one ends.

Reservations go in on the 1st of September.

And this year's reservations caused much angst and gnashing of teeth...and yelling of indelicate words.

Within three minutes all oceanfront campsites but one were gone...poof.

After my intitial tantrum, I took a site that was a ways down our list but still right off the surf break that the guys call Turtles.

I have no idea why they call it that.

There were a few things that pushed this site down our list.

It was right next to the stairs.

The rinse shower is in this site.

The bathrooms are close.

In short, a lot more traffic than we normally like to have, but we went with it.

The drive down is about 17 hours total, but since Collin is in Sacramento, we stopped there both ways and enjoyed a meal with him.

Which also meant we could break up the travel time which our hineys appreciated.

The central valley gets an amazing share of bugs on the I-5 this time of year and we had to make frequent stops to increase the visibility.

Check out the coating on the side mirror there.

"Don't worry ma'am, you're in good hands. The bug goo creates extra friction and keeps us under the speed limit. You just relax back there while we crank up the tunes."

Here is why we keep coming back.

This is the view north standing in our campsite.

And the view to the south.

Amazing I tell ya.

We inhale, exhale, perch on our cliff, and check the surf 85,434,6970,985 times per day.

Somebody's gotta do it.

My cousin Clyde and his wife Debbie loaned us thier awesome motorhome since Collin has custody of our trailer for a few more months.

All I can say is Dylan is ruined forever.

It was waaaay cushy and wonderful.

My brother Mike and my sister-in-law Sheila also had a spot for three or four days.

More on that in an upcoming post.

One of the nephews stopped by our site one morning.  Dylan and Brock noticed he was heading toward a sidesaddle kinda thing and got him straightened out right quick.

Ya this is the dining area. Not a bad view.

We were so happy that lots of people could stop by.

My Mom & Dad came for dinner.

My cousin Brent and his wife, Grace, came one night and stayed for dinner too.

They saved us from a potentially ruinous situation when we discoved that we were lacking a corkscrew for the wine.

The two of them sprinted across 101 to the Seaside Market (my favorite market EVER) and procured the necessary tool.

We will be forever grateful.

I used to babysit Brent.

Ya you do the math...Dylan's right...I'm old.

Brent came back the next morning to give the surf a try.

Oh and there are 130 some stairs here....not that I counted.
There are about six sets of these stairs along the campground and people run from stairway to stairway on the sand and go up and down them.

I had sore calf muscles after the first day.

Let's just say these people are very fit and not dwell too much on what that might mean about me.

The guys all surfed at least twice a day.

And in between they talked about surf.

And went to surf shops.

And ate a bunch so they could go out surfing again.

And so it went.

Day after day.

Dylan on a nice little section:

There were camp pies and smores.

And there was this weirdness when I had every single setting on my camera wrong and we all thought it was somehow kinda cool.

None of us could really say why we liked it.

Coulda been the moment.

Coulda been that we all ate too much at the annual maki roll fest and were dillusional.

It was really fun to have Brock along to save Dylan from the horrible fate of a week with no friends.

He's a great sport and game for anything.

A regular energizer bunny I tell ya.

Perfect for the way out trips usually go.

Rich was one happy camper.

It's just so great to be able to just be.

Some more friends stopped by later in the week.

It was Pam Day.

My college roomie Pam, stopped and sat in the sun with me for a bit.  She came bearing avocados from their orchard which is always a welcome treat but the true gift is just hangin out with friends.

We caught up a bit on families and work and life.

I got to hear about her oldest daughter's upcoming wedding.

She's the girlfriend who taught me how to pay bills, and balance a checkbook.

She's the one who made sure we called each other when we were leaving to come home.

We lived in the 'hood....downtown....where SWAT teams trained to go.

She's the one who gave me the thumbs up when Rich came over.

The only thing we fought about was music....we had stereo wars.

She liked Country.  I was a Punk and Ska occaisionally got very loud.

Later in the after noon my other good friend Pam and her husband Gary came for more sun sittin' and we talked them into staying for dinner.

Gary surfed this break back in the day.

He knew why it was called Turtles.

Only apparently I didn't pay attention very well...

I've known Pam since 3rd grade.

She sang at our wedding.

We go waaay in we had matching shoes in the fourth grade.

That kind of friendship never goes away.

I love that she still makes time for me in her life.

I got really sunburned from all the Pamness and sitting in the sun.
I'm shedding skin like a reptile right now.

I don't regret a second of it.

It's the real stuff.

Drinking up life.

Ya know what?  We loved this campsite too.

I don't thing there is such a thing as a bad oceanfront campsite.

And you can bet we'll be back.
Just as soon as we can.


P.S. A little update on the Shrek toes from this post

Rich says they are still a little strange (he's usually right about these things) but he can see how they can be entertaining as little leaves with these shoes. Hmmmm