who is that masked (wo)man?

Mauri turned some shirts from his closet over to me to re-home. Normally that plaid one would head to consignment, the knit one cut up into squares for multiple purposes. But in these trend-setting times, I found a different use for them.

We aren’t masking up yet, but if the times necessitate, we are ready!

I tried several patterns but settled on THIS ONE. I adapted it slightly to satisfy a few sewing sensibilities, but then I didn’t match the plaids on that central spot at the ridge of my nose.

But the T-shirt lining is quite face friendly. A liability to wearing this mask is my phone’s inability to recognize me, so I’ll just hope I never need to wear it.

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In no time at all we’ll look back on March 2020 as an interesting chapter in our history. We’ll tell stories of the unexplainable “interest” in stockpiling TP, the stock market plunge, country-wide cancellations, social distancing, travel bans, daily Presidential updates, and controversy over what to call a virus that originated in China.

Your stories will outshine any I might tell because we already had a healthy supply of TP and are happy as clams to stay right here in the comfort of our humble home, venturing out only for daily walks and the occasional drop-in at Nap’s for mushrooms or bread. Oh, there was that Sunday morning trip to Washington for Mauri to lead worship at one of the rare churches that held service. He didn’t know it was live-streamed until later, which allowed me (and you, if you want) to watch and listen.

Early on, before the strict stay-home guidelines were announced, Pete and John came over to help us plant five new roses in the memorial rose garden. Brother Howard came too to serve as adviser. Mauri’s interest in photography resurfaced recently, so he snapped some pictures.

Here’s a look at “before.”

Don’t worry—this garden is about to become full of the promise of spring!

Mauri’s shooting my “best” side. Ahem.

Work complete, John captures Team Macy for posterity!

This was about as close to work as we got during the quarantine (so far), other than our more-than-usual efforts at housecleaning.

Sometimes I walk with a friend but usually by myself in our neighborhood. I have my Bible reading assignment or a podcast playing on my sound collar, which almost caused me to miss seeing this big kite straddling the road.

The owner made his way over to attend to the problem (cars were already lining up) when suddenly it picked itself up (OK, likely a gust of wind helped) and became airborne once again.

Stuff like this doesn’t happen every day!

Before local restaurants closed their dining spaces, my friend Marianne suggested lunch at this authentic Italian restaurant, only a few blocks from home. The rain is rare for Oregon.

She ordered the octopus salad. Yep.

After treating her Gum and me to a coffee date after school, Brynn practiced for social distancing.

Extra time on my hands causes posts like this on social media. The caption: “Can you handle one more TP joke? This one from my own house! I didn’t realize when I found this use for a Christmas gift just how perfect it is! #coronahumor

I also posted this picture with: “It’s hard to feel doomy on a day like this.”

I should retitle this post “hodgepodge,” given its hodgepodgey contents. I’ll assume you have lots of time on your hands and don’t mind scrolling. This picture of the Carlson twins will make it worth your while. <smile> Beth sent it today to show me the difference in their heights. At birth, Emery (right) was teenie tiny, and the girls were designated “the little one” and “the big one” as a way to tell them apart. Well, that has all changed! Looks like Emmie takes after her statuesque mama.

I hope you are managing OK during these most unusual times.

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a variety of joy

If I don’t experience joy every day, I need to reexamine what makes me joyful! Above all, I take great joy in my identity as a Jesus follower and the brightest future known to man.

The past few days delivered abundant joy to me in seen and unseen ways. If it weren’t for the ease of recording my days on my phone camera, my declining memory could and would likely forget what brought me joy as recent as last week. So I’ll simply pick a starting place and go from there.

We’ve had an abundance of blue sky this winter. This is the tree in our front yard that promises to sprout green leaves soon.

Our camellia bushes couldn’t wait to cheer us with their creativity.

On Saturday I drove over the coastal mountain range to attend Newberg Friends’ women’s retreat at Twin Rocks Friends Camp in Rockaway.

They offered Saturday-only registration, and I couldn’t pass it up.

My friend Jo Helsabeck offered encouraging reminders of the importance the Bible has in our life as Christians. Together, with her helpful techniques, we memorized the retreat theme verse, Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)—”Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will never neither fail you nor abandon you.” I’ve been reciting it several times a day, but still made that mistake while typing it. This is why we memorize scripture when we’re young!

After lunch I took a walk up Charlotte’s Mountain (named for Mauri’s Aunt Charlotte). If I had followed the sign, my walk would have become a hike and my shoes didn’t feel up for it. It was tempting though!

Though my mother was an oil painter, I inherited the barest minimum of talent from her. Acrylics are easier than oil, but that mattered not to this novice. Still, I had a lot of fun demonstrating my inability, then found a place to dispose of the final result after I showed Mauri.

My sincere joy included discovering how many true artists successfully finished the project.

I ask you, what could be more joyful than reconnecting with this dear friend and the added bonus of our matching YETI tumblers?

After dinner, I returned home on curvy and foggy roads with the company of my favorite podcast sisters on “What Have You.” (You’ll hear more about them in the days to come!) The following morning, at the end of worship with my Church of the Vine community, I checked my phone before walking home.

I had to sit down to take in the import of this picture Quinn texted me. I already knew she and Dusty, Marissa and Cassidy, and Ben had rendezvoused in Durham, NC, to join the masses in Cameron Stadium for a Duke game. But there are little people in this picture, and the joyful realization hit me…

…these three Carlsons were together in one place! What could be more joyful than that?

I feasted on this photo, missing Dusty who I thought was behind the camera. No, Beth had asked a passerby to snap this for the mOm she knew would *need* a picture. (Dusty got called away for a one-day work trip but made it back for the game.)

Later I learned they each drove two hours to the central location of Richmond, VA, where they found world-class hamburgers and a huge fenced park—Park 365.

You might rightly wonder how a Chick-fil-A mobile restaurant could be included in a post about joy, but have you ever experienced Chick-fil-A? If so, you have no need to wonder! Having the truck come to our small town truly qualifies.

Are you suffering whiplash? Here we are back in Durham, but it’s because the game would start at 4pm on Monday and my “kids” were sharing their day on social media.

Oh, you might be wondering what’s the big deal—Durham, Duke, the Blue Devils. It goes back to the time their dad worked at Duke University, the late ’70s, when they started building lifelong allegiance to the basketball team and Coach K.

When Ben posted this picture of Duke Chapel I had no choice but share my memory of him singing with the Durham Boys Choir in concert there.

Just a group of red-robed boys to the average eye, but pure joy for mine.

Ben’s purchases might illustrate his level of loyalty.

They arrived in plenty of time, I see.

Cassidy’s Instagram post clarifies her (and her sister’s) team pride.

Not that Ben needed additional affirmation….

Of course we were cheering Duke on from the comfort of our cookin’ room, planning to miss the end of the game to celebrate Sage’s 9th birthday. But a text came from Erin with the news of party cancellation because Sage wasn’t feeling up for it. Along with the text, she shared this picture of Sage’s galaxy cake. Add it to my variety of joy, even though we didn’t get to taste it and Sage is sick. 

What brought you joy recently? Don’t forget to notice it!

Posted in family matters, grandkids, nostalgia | 2 Comments

order is the order of the day

It was my idea of a good time! After weeks of plotting, the plan came together in short order. The goal was to refurbish my home office.

I didn’t know just how predictable I am until I looked up my post about the last time I refurbished my office. I have no illusions anyone but I would be interested in clicking that link to see my office exactly nine years ago. I titled the post “order.” But just to show you how much a person’s idea of order can change in nine years…

And also her taste! This looks like a horror show to me now. I can count on one hand the pieces that remain: the wastebasket, the chair, the relief map, the clock, and the MARVELLA train.

Everyone should have so much fun. I might have taken “before” pictures were I not so eager to pack up all the *crap* that cluttered every flat surface.

Here’s an example of *crap* — a two-gallon bag of magnets that are absolutely useless to me now that I’ve moved out every metal surface.

But then—Mauri and I found remarkable success at the local Habitat ReStore and came home with a perfect high table ($25), a two-drawer oak filing cabinet ($30), and a small handmade 3-shelf table ($30) for Mauri. No one can accuse us of overspending! But then—

— a little more spending at IKEA!

We spent no small amount of muscle power to move these monstrous pieces of office furniture to the garage. It has served me well, way back to my Michigan days. Most of it went to the Habitat ReStore. But the library shelf, built by Mauri’s dad and inherited by me, would stay in the family.

John (Williams) didn’t blink an eye when I suggested we roll the shelf on a dolly down the street to his house. Turns out he once moved six blocks using two skateboards!

Fast forward one day, John texted this picture of his garage office/art studio with the treasured library shelf fully repurposed and at home there. Can you see the goofy grin on my face?

Back in real time, Mauri and I set out to assemble four (!) shelf units.

It was more fun than any two people oughta have. You think I’m kidding.

I’m not! Along with the fun, we think we should go into business. Hand out cards at the IKEA entrance.

And now the moment you’ve been scrolling for.

The oak filing cabinet, spray painted black, fits perfectly under the high desk.

A couple cans of gray matte spray paint transformed the small cabinet and chair.

From the back-stage view, all the uglies get craftily hidden behind a barrier.

Thanks for sharing my joy.

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face plate

Four of our five local grandkids celebrate birthdays in February (stretched two days into March). To simplify birthday giving last year, Mauri and I gifted each one with this:

Can you see through the plastic? It’s a ceramic plate with a face on it. Stay tuned for ways the kids played with their food.

Along with the plate came an invitation to bring the plate to Gus and Gum’s house (those are our “grandparent” names) for a special birthday dinner.

Yes, we’ve already had almost a full round of birthdays since then, but I needed to wait for the November birthday to have a full set of pictures to share. That dinner was set for December, but the birthday boy got sick, delaying the it until February.

I picked a few favorite pictures from all five dinners with Gus, Gum, and the face plate. Here goes:


They got to choose dessert at Dairy Queen or Jem 100.





Hosting each one individually was a joy because each one is a gem.

To simplify birthday gift giving even more, this year I shopped at the bank!

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the work of his hands

A miracle worker came to our house this week to finish up a project he took on to improve the appearance and update the efficiency of our kitchen cabinets.

From this distance they don’t look so terrible.

But move in closer and see the effects of 25 years worth of hand and cooking residue. Yuck!

We called on Chris Breithaupt of Work of Our Hands Woodcraft to assess our situation.

This shows you why we want doors!

And this shows you what Chris had to do to his workshop for our project!

Here’s how he described it on his Instagram: “Atmosphere control for refinishing—temperature, humidity, dust—hard to do in my barn woodshop, but possible. Now to clean, carefully sand/degloss, dry, and three coats of lacquer. Then on to the same for the cases.”

This one illustrates the name of his business—work of his hands.

There they are, our cabinet doors, in his workshop!

Chris preps to work on “the cases.”

Mauri and I hung out in other parts of the house while Chris quietly went about his work. I just happened in at just the right time to snap this.

And before we knew it, our kitchen looked like this! Chris added knobs on the doors and handles on the drawers, and we expect this addition will give us way more than 25 years of use out of these updated cabinets!

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heading back toward normal

While Mauri wraps up his four weeks at Sabbath by the Sea—with weekend jaunts to Newberg for a few hours with his wife (that would be me)—I’m wrapping up my four weeks of solo life. No, it was only three “alone” weeks, because I was in Virginia for the first and clearly not alone! While he was leading worship in the small-group gatherings and enjoying time at the Oregon Coast, I was working intently on a several projects, not the least of which involved the dog.

Did I ever think our dog would wear my clothes? Well, actually that thought never entered my mind until I grew desperate for a way to prevent her from opening up the incision on her back leg—AGAIN!

Outsmarting the smart dog who outsmarted the $28 cone from Wilco called for some serious innovation. [I credit my new virtual friend Rachel Jankovic for sharing the brilliant idea on her podcast What Have You, Episode 87. If I’d remembered it earlier we could have saved ourselves $28 and a lot of grief.]

So today, instead of watching Sage play basketball and Oscar sing in his honors choir performance, I’m on 24-hour dog watch to make sure she doesn’t need a third trip to the vet hospital.

I’m a little concerned about the area in which she is stretching my sweater. But at least she’s leaving her incision alone.

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