Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Snow Shovel

"If one of you kids leaves the snow shovel outside again, you're going to sleep with it! That's a promise."

So spoke my dad. He meant it. I was the idiot who left the shovel outside the next time. It wasn't soon, but it wasn't long enough for him to have forgotten the threat, either. Unfortunately, I shared a double bed with my sister Ellen. She was seventeen months older than me, and had no tolerance for the little sister who could pull dumb stunts at home and straight A's at school.

We learned that night that snow shovels take up more room than little kids, and they never warm up. I'm thinking that Ellen either forgot about the shovel incident, since we're friends now, or she eventually forgave me. She probably forgot about it, which means that writing about this in a blog is not really bright on my part. On the other hand, seeing the new slide shows of my granddaughters playing in the snow and curled together in the little one's crib as Ashley wakes Kate up in the morning made me think back, and "full disclosure" has been one of the trademarks of this space for me.

Ellen was fairly good at getting her revenge when necessary, but I don't think she ever did anything that made me as uncomfortable as that snow shovel made her. In case I never said it at the time, "I'm so very sorry, Ellen. I was careless. I'll never do it again."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Packing Choices

When you travel by car, you have choices to make about what you can pack. Obviously, you can't take everything along, although you can bring more than if you were packing for an flight somewhere. This trip, I'm bringing my guitar and assorted paraphernalia along so I can play for some new friends at an assisted living facility in Thousand Oaks. One of the ladies there, Flo, does knitting for charity, and that's how I met her. She's a sweetheart, and I'm looking forward to seeing her again.

If I pack the guitar, though, there's really no room for my computer, since I don't have a laptop anymore. Someday I will again, but packing my computer would mean monitor, drive, CPU, keyboard—all of it. Since John will be bringing along his new laptop, I guess we'll leave the Mac behind and opt for music on this trip. 

Since we're saving money by staying in a kitchenette on base, we're packing food. The difference in the price of food between Colorado and California is shocking. Last time we bought the food in California. Big mistake. This time we're bringing it with us. Food prices here, overall, are about 60% of what they are on the coast.

Some things I can't leave home without. My special feather pillows. I get headaches if I sleep on foam. Books and audio books. Knitting bag. Writing stuff. Presents. Camera Bag. Headphones. Music. Bingo Bag. Books to donate to the Senior Center.

Poor John. I pack everything, and he loads and unloads, fitting things in so carefully. His engineering degree really comes in handy. The interior of the Tahoe resembles a geometric jigsaw puzzle by the time he gets the doors closed. 

Then we pull out and a few miles down the road I look at him and say, "Hey, honey, look at the elk! Where's the camera?" If looks could kill, I'd never make it to our destination. It's a good thing he loves me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What Have I Been Doing?

My sister asked me last night why I never blog anymore. She said she kept looking, and there was never anything new on my blog. Actually, I realize that. As I told her, writing tends to suck me in, so I've been avoiding it.

We spent three weeks away from home, traveling to California for John to work at Pt. Mugu, and then hanging around for Christmas. Our youngest son, Ben, brought his wife Ruth, and their daughters Ashley, barely 2, and Kate, 4 months, to see all the grandparents and assorted relatives before they pack up to relocate to Amsterdam, Netherlands. He's been promoted within his company, and they'll be gone for a few years. 

Our oldest son, Tighe, drove up from San Diego to join the group, so we were nearly a complete family for the holidays. We sure missed Jeremy, but he's still a busy chef in Louisiana. Now that Tighe is moving to Phoenix, we'll truly be all over the map. It's a good thing we didn't stay in California to be close to the children, as some people strongly suggested we do.

One exciting offshoot of Ben's transfer was his successfully negotiating with his company to add something to his financial package: annual round trip airfare for each set of grandparents to fly to Amsterdam to see their grandbabies. I'm still stunned that he would think of the folks at a time like that. (Yes, I'm proud.)

People who know me realize that I enjoy crochet work, but find knitting, which I've done much longer, often frustrating. I gave a knitted outfit to each of Ben & Ruth's girls, but Kate's was too small. We got back last week, and ever since, I've had the needles flying, trying to make a new one in a bigger size before we have to get back to California. I want to get it in the mail for her before they head to Amsterdam. I get up, check my email, and spend the day knitting and doing laundry. I make sure John has plenty to eat, and work on that little jacket. It's nearly done. I still need to make the hat. We need to leave by Saturday for John's next contracting stint in California. It's a race.

So it's not that I have lost interest in writing my blog. It sits there, and I feel guilty. My manual still needs to have the final edits done, too, but I just can't start and stop. I haven't played with my guitar. I have new photos that need to be framed. That can all wait. Kate's still growing.