four out of five

Four out of our five local grandkids have birthdays in February (one just across the line in March) so their parents throw a combined celebration to simplify everyone’s lives and make it more fun for the kids. This year they added friends to the formerly family-only party and rented a play place called Scotties.

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This’ll give you the idea.

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The kids had a grand time burning off the energy we observing adults wish we had. Then it was picture time and photographer/dad John lined ’em up.

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As always, I let him do all the work and I just snap my pictures from the side. Can you pick out Oscar (8), Sage (6), Brynn (4), Lincoln (1), and Will (5)?

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The four listen to two birthday songs: All Day Long and Happy Birthday.

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Will and Ruby share a lifelong friendship.

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Presents for all!

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Play/Cake/Play/Presents/Play. We did (or watched) it all.

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solitude and silence

We just got started on this book with our Women of Hillside group I wrote about recently. I love both silence and solitude, but intentionally practicing either one has not been high on my DO list.

When Melody asked all of us how we feel about this book, let’s just say I wasn’t the only hesitater. Still, I was all in when invited to make a commitment. You’d think the simple practice of setting aside five or ten minutes a day to sit in silence and listen for whatever God might want me to think, do, or say would be easy. And, surprisingly, it’s actually turned out to be OK.

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Unfortunately, I’m easily distracted, illustrated by the screenshot of this small section of the book (yes, I read on my phone).

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Justified text spreads words way out and those dashes in the second highlighted line are so distracting! My brain wandered to the time I had to insist on ragged right columns when working with a published newsletter. I searched for style guides to prove my point. Look, a squirrel! and I’d better get the template ready for the next issue and look, a squirrel! and …

I might be hopeless but maybe not. I hope not. I’ll keep trying.

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all hail


Posts about weather aren’t all that interesting, I know. But today’s hail storm seemed worthy enough because …


the very same time I was photographing this …


grandson Declan was enjoying the sun and sand on Waikiki Beach. Now what’s fair about that?


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aunt esther

I couple years ago I posted a picture of my aunt Esther, taking a selfie long before the practice grew popular. At the time I had only that one picture.

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Cousin HK recently sent me a large box of family pictures, most from Aunt Esther’s vast archives. As I sorted through the collection, a large series surfaced. It appears Aunt Esther, who lived alone after my grandma died, had to rely on her long arm to record her life on film.

I have to admit I think it’s pretty cool.

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a few of his favorite things

"my favorite things"

Long, long ago, before I knew anything at all about love language, I put together this collage and framed it as a birthday present for my dear man. I was sure he would love it. Trouble is, pictures are MY love language, not his. Now . . . I had so much fun taking pictures of all the things he loves (with film) and having them made into prints, then cutting and “waxing” them and arranging them to fit the frame that even all these years later it doesn’t bother me that he received it kindly, gave it a thorough look, and set it aside. Eventually I took it to the attic where it lived undisturbed until scanning it was an option.

Gotta love technology!

Meanwhile I learned all about love language. Daily back scratches supersede photo collages on my man’s list, I know that now. And most interesting to me is how little has changed since my early days as his wife. He still carries a hacky sack in his pocket, he still loves gadgets, coffee, smoking meat, old cars, his kids, his piano/guitar/trombone, funky lamps, his dog (though a different one), biking, hot peppers, and best of all—he still likes me!

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true romance

Before I left for work this morning I confirmed with my Valentine that we don’t buy or make each other cards and we don’t buy each other Valentine gifts and we don’t waste money on flowers or chocolate and etc. Right. Confirmed. Instead we make a plan for a cook-and-stay-at-home meal, which, since I am at the office all day, he will be mostly responsible for preparing. Right. Confirmed.

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It’s Tuesday, so I stayed a little later at the office to scan some pictures while Mauri rehearsed with Newberg Brass in the studio. When I got home I found this on the cookin’ room table. Um. I thought we had a deal. Still, I thought it was lovely — a balloon, some candies, and a movie coupon . . . for one?

“Thanks for the special surprise you got me,” I told my Valentine. He sheepishly explained that it was actually a surprise for him. See, he had his teeth cleaned this morning and along with walking out with a new toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss, he was given a special Valentine surprise. Our dentist gave him candy.

But that isn’t all.

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Michelle brought donuts to team meeting this morning as a Valentine treat and put the leftovers in the office kitchen. Since I hadn’t eaten one earlier I justified taking one home and then oh well why not two? (I promise, they tasted better than they look in this picture.)

So for two Valentine grinches, we ended up with a not-too-shabby celebration anyway.

We really do love each other, and each other knows it.

Note to self: Schedule teeth cleaning on Valentine’s Day 2018.

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after school

Granddaughter Sage lives on the other side of town but goes to school one block away from us at the same elementary school her daddy attended. She won a lottery position in a dual-language school that teaches her Spanish along with English.

“I already know English, so it’s really only Spanish I’m learning,” she told me today. We had an after-school “Gus date” so we could finish the loop-loom potholder she started several weeks ago.

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With our remaining time we colored together and talked, then I watched her follow perfectly these step instructions to draw a butterfly. Now that she’s nearly six (two weeks and three days) I can see us enjoying more after-school craft-and-make-things Gus dates.

Maybe you have ideas for me.

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