Sunday, September 11, 2016

My Baby is 30!

Amidst the craziness of the summer, my baby turned 30.  I recall 30+ years ago, when Christy Scott turned 30, her mother said, "I never dreamed I would be old enough to have a 30-year-old child."  And now here I have two of them.  The years seemed to have morphed into memories - wonderful memories - and I can't wait to see what is next.

We joined Di and Daniel on her birthday night for dinner and ice cream at Phil and Amy's, and godmother Kathy and hubby Walt joined us.  Then Friday, the packing to go to Spain began.  While Don and Walt took load after load to the thrift shop, Kathy and I packed boxes, I was a go-fer, and by the end of the day, we had gotten lots done!  Then Saturday, Walt and Don loaded boxes into the two cars, Daniel, Hai (the subletter), Walt, Don, and I moved furniture up and downstairs until everyone was set.  Don and I stayed in a hotel that night, but poor Di had to sleep on the couch because the dogs couldn't join us at the hotel :(

On Friday, Di also made a red velvet cake with beets and goat cheese/cream cheese icing.  

Can you say delicious?  It was our entire dinner on Friday night.  I love dessert for supper!  She used the star-saped cake pans that I used when she was a child.  When I asked her about them, she said, "More surface area for frosting."  Like mother, like daughter.

Thursday night, Kathy gave Di a gift. It was a gorgeous quilt, one specially made to help with tactile sensations.  Di is especially sensitive to different textures, and she has found that if she can touch different textures, she is less likely to pull her hair.  Kathy makes these kinds of quilts, mostly for Alzheimers patients - but also for Di.  The first thing I noticed was how soft the backing was . . . then I noticed how many textures Kathy had incorporated into the quilt.  It also won a prize at one of the quilt shows into which Kathy had entered it . . . and it definitely found a spot in Diana's suitcase for the trip to Spain.

Then Sunday morning it was time to bid Di bon voyage for her next great adventure. She was headed to Spain to finish her dissertation and to participate in the Fulbright program - a great feather in the cap of one polished young woman who is destined to make a great mark in this world.  Di, we are so proud of you and the woman you have become.  Happy 30th birthday.

Anna Karenina

When I saw our summer read for Book Club was Anna Karenina, I nearly threw up.  I thought, "You've got to be kidding me!"  I had no desire to read something so long, and I had heard so much about it, the huge number of characters, and the complexity of the plot that I had no interest.  But, since it was assigned, I had to read it.

Within a chapter, I was hooked.  Now maybe I just had an easy translation of it, but I found it delightful (until the last four chapters that became a philosophical mess rather than a novel - somewhat like John Galt's 63-page speech but shorter, and I skipped that, too).  And the numbers of characters, though very large, was not daunting at all, since many of them just slipped into the story and then slipped out, much like people in our lives.  

Anna Karenina seemed more like  a soap opera than anything.  Each chapter could be a 30-minute show during the day, and it could last for several years, I am sure.  There is adequate drama, plenty of philandering, and enough intrigue to keep a person interested throughout the whole book.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the book . . . and at Book Club I will have the opportunity to hear Judy Goodpasture tell me what I missed during the read!

Friday, July 29, 2016

An Intriguing Study

For Christmas, Don gave me a National Geographic DNA kit.  We had heard about the study from the Gaskills, and Don decided to check it out.  I followed the instructions, and several months ago, I received the results.  I found out some interesting facts.

I discovered that my mom's family was one of the first to leave Africa over 60,000 years ago.  Once people left Africa, sometime they met up with Neanderthals in Europe (I thought Neanderthals lived in Africa . . . so much for what I know).  The average amount of Neanderthal contained in DNA appears to be about 2.1%.  I have 1.2%.  Hm.  Ultimately, the study shows that my DNA most closely resembles that of the Dutch and then the French, which is surprising since we thought we had a lot of Irish.  But that is from my dad, which I do not show because I do not have the Y Chromosome.  Hence, we asked Bart to check his DNA.

Bart's maternal side is the same as mine - no mystery.  His neanderthal percentage is 1.3% - so my dad must have had a little more.  Bart, too, appears to be Dutch and French, but he only has two major groups represented in his DNA - 77% Western European and 23% Irish.  Ah ha . . . that explains the Irish part.

Since then, I had my uncle tested, which gave us his father's DNA.  His is much more interesting than Bart's . . . and much rarer.  They do not have many people who have sent in DNA from those blood lines, which means they will continue to update it.  I have also done testing on my Aunt Ruth to get my dad's mother's side, and next up will be Don and his dad.  From them we will get Don's grandmother, his mother, and their Y chromosome.

Now none of this matters, but I do think it is interesting.  I did have to appeal to Ellie Quillen, a student from TIS who was in Kenneth's class and has a PhD in genetics, to figure it all out, but now it is making a lot of sense.  It doesn't give any specific bloodlines, but it is a fascinating study!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Caleb at the Cabin

I decided that this is a post that could narrate itself.  So here goes!

Eating a lemon!

Our little bear


Swimming in the hot mountains

Reading with Papa
Visiting outside the cabin
Learning about Pooh Sticks!
Making friends with Liam
Kilroy is here!
Our morning coffee!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Fourth of July, 2016

Our Fourth of July weekend was a very special one.  Kenneth, Melinda, Caleb and Diana all joined us for a few days at the cabin.  Caleb was introduced to hummingbirds, running streams, rocks, pinecones . . . all of the things that make the cabin special.  He adapted well to the sleep schedule, he loved walks up the Canyon, and he enjoyed time with his Aunt Di.

We attended the Fourth of July party at the Noel's cabin - a yearly tradition - and Kenneth was the honored speaker.  We didn't really know about what he would talk - there was plenty of material, if he wanted to get political - but he didn't think that was necessary.  Instead, he gave this short (8 minute) speech.  It seemed to strike everyone with just the right tone!

We spent the remainder of the days taking walks and enjoying Caleb playing on the porch.  On Wednesday, we met Aunt Ruth and my cousin Mabel at Bart's so they could both meet Caleb.  Bart and Jerri also had an opportunity to see him walk, which he was not doing the last time they met.

We had a marvelous time . . . too bad it had to end.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Getting Old is Interesting

Sometimes I think our memory plays tricks on us just because it can.  But usually if one of us forgets something, the other one remembers.  Not this time!

When we were packing for our Nevada, California trip, we had to pack all of the boxes for the cabin.  They were all packed in the basement with clean sheets, towels, and the things we always bring home:  scrapbooks, the satellite radio base, the game camera, binoculars - all things we don't want stolen if we were to be burglarized during the winter.  I brought the boxes upstairs for Don to pack.

At one point, Don repacked a few items, and I put the game camera and something else on the table.  They were all packed and we left.  At one point we thought about setting up the game camera in a campground but we decided not to. When we arrived at the cabin, we brought the boxes from the RV and unpacked them.  No game camera.  I insisted that Don go back to the RV to check . . . nope, no game camera.

I searched the cabin - once, twice, thrice.  No game camera.  We called Katie to make sure we hadn't misplaced it in her RV.  Oh . . . and the birthday cards he brought for my birthday were also missing.  We could not find them anywhere.

I told Don I knew I had put the camera on the dining room table, so when we arrived home, the first thing I did was look on the table.  No camera.  Nothing.  I looked downstairs.  Nope.  We searched the RV again - every cabinet, nook and cranny.  No game camera.  But I did find the cards - Don had tucked them in the cabinet above the driver's seat.

About five days after we had gotten home, I told Don I had remember that we had discussed leaving the game camera at the cabin, and maybe we did.  "No, I don't think so.  I remember it in the box and on the table."  I did, too, but I decided to look when we came back to the cabin.

The first thing I did last Sunday upon arriving back at the cabin was check in the closet I thought I had put thecamera in..  Nope.  No camera.  Huh.  Well, I was out of ideas, so I guess we will buy a new one in Santa Fe on Tuesday.

For some reason, however, I decided to dig down to the bottom of a bin in which I keep rugs and some other items.  And buried deeply in the bottom was . . . the game camera.

The scary part about all of this is the certainty that both Don and I had about seeing the camera on the dining room table, in the plastic tub . . . I guess it is just years of doing the same thing and the inability for our brains to adjust!  I don't know but getting old certainly adds dimension to our lives!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Home for the Boys

Well, as much as Don and I were somewhat sad to be coming home, the boys were not.  The minute we walked into the house, they went to the back door, anxious to get to their backyard.  They raced outside, and ran.  They ran and ran some more.  And after a drink of water, they ran more.  Once they came inside they ran downstairs, grabbed a toy, raced upstairs and played keepaway until I made them go back outside.  Two hours later they wound down! A week later, normalcy has resumed.  Finally.