February 27, 2009

Photo Catch Up

I finally downloaded the photos from my camera (something I haven't done since before Christmas!) so I'm going to play catch up with photos.

Here's Charlie helping me sew some cloth napkins.
This is Jerry on Christmas morning with Garu. (Anyone else a fan of Pucca? We love Pucca!)Jerry and my brother in matching Nintendo t-shirts.Fun with milk, soap and food coloring.Aloe vera in bloom.My sister's daughter, the lovely Cora. And her big brother Carson.Playing with trains by the fire.Fun with corn starch.Things were pretty tame at first.Then the feet went in.And the clothes came off.And hilarity ensued.
And fun was had by all.
The end.

February 23, 2009

Darlene Lecroy Alldregde

Darlene Lecroy Alldredge
1927 - 2009

Darlene Lecroy Alldredge, longtime resident of Laguna Woods Village, CA, passed away on January 26, 2009, at the age of 81, just one month after losing her beloved husband, Earle.

Born to Helen Bechtold and Roy Kelley on August 6, 1927 in Avon, South Dakota, Darlene spent most of her childhood at the South Dakota School for the Blind, a boarding school, also attended by her older brother, Jesse.

Throughout her life Darlene endured numerous operations, with varying degrees of success, intended to improve her eyesight. Regardless of the outcome, she steadfastly refused to allow restricted vision to keep her from living life to the fullest.

Darlene married Robert Fletcher in 1946. They lived in Wisconsin, Illinois, and the Dakotas before settling in Anaheim, CA where Darlene worked as an operator for Pacific Telephone and Robert worked as a mechanic. They stayed together for twenty-four years, raising five children, before a divorce in 1970 paved the way for the relationship that would prove to be the love of Darlene’s life.

In 1984 she met and fell in love with Earle Alldredge at a community dance in Fullerton, CA. The happy couple moved to Leisure World in 1989, and married in 1998. Darlene and Earle spent countless hours at Old Man’s beach in San Onofre, where Earle rode the waves well into his eighties. They made the most of their time together, traveling to Australia, Hawaii, Mexico, Alaska and even cruising through the Panama Canal.

As an active member of the Leisure World community, Darlene planned outings for the partially sighted and fortified more than a few social groups with her boundless energy and optimism. She donated her time to the Braille Institute in Anaheim and took part in the prayer chain at Laguna Country United Methodist Church, where she was a member of the United Methodist Women’s group.

Darlene’s love of travel and devotion to her community and church was surpassed only by her commitment to family. Her happiest moments were spent in the company of her children and grandchildren.

Darlene will be remembered for her tremendous generosity, tenacity of spirit, and her extraordinary ability to rise above obstacles, always finding strength in the face of hardship.

Five children, thirteen grandchildren, fifteen great-grandchildren, one sister, two aunts and several nieces and nephews proudly carry on her memory.

February 19, 2009

Smart Boy

Yesterday I spent most of the day writing my grandma's obituary while my aunt sat across the table from me going through old photos and letters we'd taken from my grandma's house. Dirty dishes filled the counter top and just below them, on the floor, were five boxes with the names of my aunts and uncles in bright red pen, scribbled on the front. The table overflowed with pictures and papers and photo albums, the recycling bin and garbage overflowed with--what else? Recycling and garbage.

When I had finally finished writing the obituary and started to make dinner (around 9 p.m.) I was feeling a little peeved. Warren had come home and gone straight to the office to transfer some video footage to DVD for my aunt. (Yes, I know it was nice of him. But what about me?! What about making dinner for Jerry so I don't have to do it!? What about me? Me? Me?) Jerry had been doing his own thing all day. I'd asked him to take out the recycling a couple times in the last day or so (it's his one and only ""job" at home) but it was getting fuller by the hour and he seemed to have no intention of getting anywhere near it. Normally this is not a big deal. But yesterday--well, the stress was getting to me.

Just as I was starting to wash dishes and make dinner (after wondering aloud if it was really necessary to feed a kid three times a day--shouldn't two be enough?) I asked him to take out the recycling again. Jerry complained. I took a deep breath.

Trying to remain calm (because it's really not a big deal), I said, "I'm starting to feel really bitter becau--."

"Okay. I'll do it," he said. My voice had gone up and octave on the "because." I was winding up for a meltdown but Jerry caught on. He went straight to the recycling bin with a speed he usually reserves for the walk from the car to Game Stop and took out the recycling .

He's a smart boy, that one.

February 18, 2009

I Would Just Like To Say

that writing a blog post about your leaky bra on the same day that a newsletter goes out to several thousand writers and said newsletter happens to have a description of your blog with a link and you happen to be the editor of that newsletter (so you're assumed to have some semblance of dignity in your life because none of the readers know you and people generally think of editors as people who have their shit together) is not the best idea. It can cause serious anxiety when you're driving down the freeway in the rain and you suddenly realize that when you attend the next meeting many of the attendees will be looking at you in an entirely new light. It's downright embarrassing.

February 16, 2009

Photo Flashbacks

I'm afraid you'll be getting a lot of this from now on. I've been going through my grandma's photos and some of them are just so great I have to share.

This is me and my grandma in 1970 at my Uncle Jess's gas station. That's Jess in the background.
Here's me and my mom going for a bike ride. My mom always told me her dad wouldn't let her wear mini-skirts to school. But look at the length on that thing. Suddenly Grandpa doesn't seem like such a tyrant!Four generations: my mom and me, looking very fashionable in matching crocheted dresses, my great-grandma, and my grandma.
I love this photo of my mom. I love the car, the picnic basket, and her smile.
Me striking a pose and my sister looking like she's not so sure she wants to be inside the mouth of a giant plastic frog.
There's that "Get me outta here" look on my sister again.
That's it for today.

February 12, 2009

Furniture Dreams

Last night, for the third night in a row, I had a dream about furniture. The first night it was just generic furniture that I didn't have room for. The second it was the bedroom set I had as a child (all white with gold trim) and last night it was a very modern looking sofa. In every dream I have to move other furniture out of the way to make room for the new stuff and I can never figure out where it's all going to go.

It's almost like real life except in real life it's only happened twice so far. First, there was the grandma that died and her stuff (not so much furniture as boxes of paperwork). Then, there was the grandma that had to move and couldn't take her furniture. We have her bedroom set in the guest room now and a hutch, also in the guest room, sitting in the middle of the floor because I don't know where to put it.

So I have this abundance of stuff and I'm listening to the Poisonwood Bible on CD (one of my very favorite books), which has me wondering why we need so much stuff in the first place. Obviously I don't need the extra furniture. I just can't stand to think of it going to the Goodwill and being in the home of a person who doesn't know how I used to open the top dresser drawer to look at my grandma's jewelry for hours at a time. Or how the hutch sat directly behind the chair where my grandma would sit, with her feet up on a little stool (which is now at my cousin's house in Texas), while watching television. The furniture is all caught up in the memories and I guess I feel like letting go of the furniture will erase the memories. Silly, I know.

I did buy a fabulous quilt for my grandma's bed, though. I'm not crazy about the style of the furniture (it's old but not yet antique) so I decided I needed to treat myself to a quilt to make the furniture feel more like it belongs here and it worked like a charm. I also happened upon a lucky find while Jerry was at Japanese class yesterday: silk curtains on sale for 70% off! They were still expensive but we've been living with a sheet up over the french doors in our bedroom for about four years now because I refuse to put up curtains I don't like. So, sure, it was a lot of money when we're supposed to be saving, but if you take the amount of money I spent on the curtains and divide it by the number of days (1,460!) we've been waiting for reasonably priced curtains, they were practically free!

I'm sorry to be so boring lately. I did have a humiliating mishap involving my gel-filled bra yesterday. The bra is meant to provide "a natural shape, add a size, uplift, and enhance cleavage all in one" and it has for a good many years, done just that. Yes, it's the poor woman's boob job. And, sure, it's more safe than having a saline leak inside your body--and a lot less painful. But an internal leak is not going to show up on your shirt as a gigantic wet spot on your boob that you don't notice until after you've gone shopping and picked up your son from his Japanese lesson. And that's all I have to say about that.

I think I'll take the dog for a walk and see if I can get the kid to come along.

February 11, 2009

And You Thought This Was An Unschooling Blog

I know. I've hardly mentioned unschooling or homeschooling or schooling of any kind in weeks. And I'm not going to mention it today either. I'm overwhelmed with getting my grandmothers estate in order and I beg you all to leave crystal clear instructions and lists of bank accounts, credit cards and the like for the family you'll leave behind when you die. Please!

Since I can't form a coherent thought these days I'm going to leave you with a video instead. It's political. Or it's just about love. Or fear. You decide.

February 5, 2009

4th File, 4th Photo

I was tagged by ShadyLady at My World Behind Big Shades. And since nothing went wrong yesterday (because the Fates were just too chicken to mess with me!) I actually have time to do it. It's also short and quick--that helps. Plus, I'm trying to avoid working on that newsletter. Anyway, here are the rules:
1. Go to the 4th picture folder on your computer.
2. Post the 4th picture in that folder.
3. Explain the picture.
4. Tag 4 more bloggers.
So, my 4th folder is Travel and the 4th file (I know I took an extra step there but there were just more files in the Travel folder) is London/Paris/Ireland '06 and the 4th photo is one I took while Jerry and I were waiting to get onto the London Eye:We were literally just off the plane from L.A. We took a taxi to the hotel (Warren had arrived two weeks prior and was at work on the film "Eragon"), dumped our luggage in our room, and took the tube to the London Eye. It was freezing and windy and rainy---but the little pod was warm.

Here's Jerry inside the pod, with Big Ben in the background:
And here he is flying over the Thames, a miniature super hero in red:
Now I tag
Moments of Whimsy
These Go to Eleven
Unschoolers Anonymous
Zayna's Garden

You're it!

February 4, 2009

Dangerous Post

Nothing is going to go wrong today. It's a beautiful day. The sun is shining. The Observatory and Hollywood sign are clearly visible from our lovely new deck (that means clean air!). The mouse that the cat brought in last night is resting peacefully outside my house. My car is still in the shop (after five days) but the mechanic swears it will be ready by noon so we can make it to Jerry's Japanese lesson. Our guest bedroom smells exactly like my grandma (now that it's full of her furniture), which is a wonderful thing. And I am going to get that newsletter finished by the time I go to bed tonight (or maybe tomorrow night) if it's the last thing I do.

I defy Fate to throw me a curve ball that I can't hit today.

February 3, 2009

Ah, Life!

It loves to throw a curve ball now and then. Yesterday morning I received an e-mail from a friend asking for people to hold both of her grandfathers in their thoughts, as they had both ended up in the hospital at the same time (one in a diabetic coma and the second after having a series of seizures). I wrote back, sending my love and letting her know my grandmother had just died. I also wrote "If anything were to happen to my other grandma right now I just don't think I could take it."

So it's my own fault, really. I was tempting fate. I thought I couldn't take it and fate thought, "I bet you can. Watch." It's nothing horrible, really. She's still alive. It's just that within minutes of sending that e-mail I received an e-mail from my cousin that read:
It's been a while since I've emailed....how are things? Dennis [that's my biological father--we only speak to each other if we have to] had to move Grandma Nolie to a full care facility this weekend. Her demeanor has really changed just recently [dementia--apparently she had a shoving match with one of the servers in the cafeteria]. The new place she is in is smaller and already furnished so I wanted to know if there were anything that you would like to take home. I am planning on having the sofa and chairs shipped here to Texas along with a mirror. If you don't want the china that she has I would take that too. I just want to keep some of her things in the family. Hopefully you can get back to me today as it is costing $1000 / week to keep the apartment until we can empty it. Call if that would be easier. Hope to hear from you soon.
So even though my plan for the week was to wallow in self pity (Why did I delete Grandma's last voicemail message?! Why didn't I go over her estate with her while she was alive?! Why do I have a sinus infection now of all times!? Why do Grandmas have to die anyway!?) while getting together the newsletter that I edit for a writers group (Why did I say I would edit their newsletter!?) I've had to shift gears. Yesterday I met my dad at my grandma's and packed up some of her stuff. Today we are renting a truck so we can bring some of her furniture up to our house. Today we are also taking Jerry to the orthodontist and going on a field trip to the Long Beach Aquarium. I'm not sure how we'll fit it all in but I'm not complaining. I'm not going to tempt fate to throw anything else my way.