Mauri and I are downright pathetic. When we discover a movie we both like, we watch it again and again and again . . .

Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Return to Me, If I Were You, Scapegoat, the list goes on and on and on . . .

We set aside my retirement for the past year and three months to help NFC rebuild after a devastating split, and that concludes in one week! There will be more transition while I train my successor, but life will change at home immediately. We’ll see each other (much) more than between 1 and 2 p.m. (lunch) and the evening hours. I wasn’t worth much after a full day of work, so we ate our dinner on trays and zoned in front of the TV——watching “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” again and again and again. We notice and talk about every character, the immaculate acting, the story, the details, even the mistakes. We quote the script, working hard at the English accent; we play the movie when neither of us is watching.

Here’s the trailer, if you want a teaser. You might like it as much as we do.

Set in the mid 1940s, the star actress uses a manual typewriter to write books and letters. So it was only natural for Mauri to remember we still have his manual typewriter, purchased for his years as a student more than 50 years ago. Using his cue to look for a green case, I headed to the old attic to find it.

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He wasted no time cleaning it up.

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In the case he found some letterhead from Holly Public Schools, where he taught high school and junior high band in 1975-6.

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Also some letterhead from MMR Ministries. We decided to use clean white paper and keep the old for posterity.

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Remember the old dial-a-letter label makers.

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He went first.

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His strong piano- and guitar-exercised fingers had no trouble pressing the keys, but he needed to remember the old way of setting margins, underlining, and back space. But he wondered to me, “Where’s the key for italics?”


He wasn’t going to let my reticence cause me to miss out on this retro experience.

Arthritic fingers can still type! My memory went immediately to watching my mother “hunt and peck” about as fast as my “taught” fingers could type——and probably with fewer typos! So I wrote her an impromptu note:

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Oh, dear, I’ll be forever grateful for being forced into the computer era in 1988, when Paul bought our first Mac while I was in Florida for Mother’s final days on earth. I returned to my home office in Michigan to enter a whole new world of desktop publishing on an exasperatingly slow computer with a tiny screen and software named Pagemaker.

I never called my mother “Mom.” On a computer I could change that mistake without retyping the whole page. And that other mistake as well.

No, I don’t miss those typewriter days AT ALL, but it sure was fun to revisit them for a while.

Mauri thought you might enjoy this. Turn on/up your computer’s sound.

Now back to Guernsey . . .

Posted in family matters, nostalgia | 1 Comment

one-year photo shoot

Life’s busyness got in the way of my sharing a few pictures from the Carlson girls’ one-year photo shoot. So bear with me while I belatedly put just a few gems on here for posterity.








Have you seen them often enough to know Avery from Emery? They don’t look anything alike but still one needs to know which one is who.


But this dude stands alone. Declan a.k.a. Bubby.

Just look how patient he is with his sister’s antics.

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first day photos

Hee hee! I love first-day-of-school pictures so much! Here’s what I have. . .


Schools in Arizona start early (and end early too), so Cassidy was the first to show up. Quinn knows I need lots of pictures, so she also sent on-the-way-to-school pictures taken with the family pup, Issy Bear. Maybe I’ll add that at the end as a bonus. Dare I believe that she is in high school?


I carefully watched social media for this one. Will is now in first grade (as you can see). He belongs to Pete and Linsey.

Sage Brynn

Other locals are Sage and Brynn. Erin texted this pic of the girls heading out for Edwards School, where they are both part of the dual-language class. Their daddy attended the same school just a block south of our house. Sage is a second grader and Brynn started all-day kindergarten. This begins a new phase for their mama!

I remember sending off my 2nd grader and kindergartener to school less than a month before adding Taylor to the family. I didn’t have much of a break, did I?

The other school-age local missing from this collection is Oscar, who was so eager to get out the door there was no time for a picture. Oscar is in 4th grade and, because of a move to our side of town, attends Edwards School too, where his mama was a student all those years ago.


And finally, out in Virginia, this boy started preschool. Declan let his face know how excited he was to go to school. Other pictures show him wearing a backpack almost as big as he is as he marched himself into the school, his mom snapping pictures all the way into the classroom. One can only hope he maintains this attitude toward school!

Our Bailey has begun his final year at Dordt College in Iowa and Marissa her sophomore year at Grand Canyon University. I guess they’ve aged out of the whole first-day-of-school routine. It had to happen sometime . . .

– – – –

Bonus. You knew I couldn’t resist.




Little brother getting in on the photo shoot.

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two-day vacation

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We arrived at our destination—Astoria, Oregon— hungry. Before we left home, Mauri had researched some dining possibilities, and this one caught our attention.

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Bowpicker got a high rating from many reviewers, so we waited in the line we’re told never gets any shorter

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I’m not normally a fish eater, but if you choose Bowpicker, you’re gonna eat fish. The choice was a “whole” order (5 pieces with fries) at $11 or a “half” order (3 pieces with fries) at $9. I did the math and chose a whole order, then scarfed down four pieces. It was albacore tuna!

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From a visit early in my Macy life I remembered the Astoria Column, which we both climbed back then.

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This time I climbed the spiral internal stairs while Mauri stayed earth bound to take pictures.

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The bridge spans the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington.

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Can you see Mauri? My phone camera lacks the telephoto capabilities of his real camera.

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Back down to earth, only a little dizzier than usual.

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The night before, while Mauri played in Francis Square with Newberg Brass, I chatted with some friends, telling of our upcoming two-day vacation to Astoria. Stan, knowing Mauri loves his coffee, suggested we try “Coffee Girl” out at the end of Pier 39.

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It happened to be on the road to our hotel, so we stopped in for a sip and a dolly bar. Oh, yes—Stan knows his coffee!

Packing couldn’t be easier than for an overnight (though I did forget my toothbrush). We didn’t mind being assigned a room on the second floor, needing only one easy trip to move into our “king with view.” And we didn’t mind paying a little above average for our delightful suite, being only one night.



It didn’t take long to feel at home here, but soon Mauri was setting the GPS for our dinner choice: Port Light Cafe, where reviewers give high marks for the prime rib.

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Figuring we had lost our way when Siri directed us to a military base, we asked the gate attendant, who invited us in and pointed us to the cafe.

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We shared the room and the salad bar with a home spun class of ’68 Warrenton High School reunioners, finding ourselves in another one of those unpredictable adventures we’ll talk about for a long time to come. Oh, and the reviewers were right about the prime rib!

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It’s always good to know where we are.

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This morning we drove that remarkable bridge to Washington.

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And once we reached land we took a left and drove around toward Long Beach.

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Can you guess why we pulled over for this shot?

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A quick look at the ocean, then a turn around, back across the bridge, and headed south on Highway 101 through very familiar territory—Seaside, Cannon Beach, Rockaway, and on down to the Tillamook Creamery. Mauri was given a gift certificate, so we drove a considerable distance out of our way to enjoy a delicious lunch at the renovated visitor center, teeming with visitors!

A short shopping spree at Goodwill finished off the perfect vacation, then we headed back across the coast range to Newberg in time to pick up the dog.

Back to work tomorrow——wearing a huge grin and ready to face a new week.

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No surprise that one of my favorite things is a video of a baby learning to walk. Yesterday, Beth sent me this video of Emery,

which meant I needed to grab a screenshot of that look for her book. I’ll keep trying for one less blurry.


Then, no surprise, I looked back in my photo files to find this pic of Cassidy,


who just turned 15, by the way.


Today she texted a picture of those same feet,

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wearing the shoes we gave her for her birthday. These shoes were made for walking.

Posted in grandkids | 1 Comment

five is a lot

new house

Son John Williams bought a house on our side of town, and yesterday was moving day. Would I look after the five local grandkids while all the parents help with the move-in?

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They’re good kids and entertained themselves. But I unveiled the Old Maid cards I made for Will and Lincoln to give them a little distraction. They include matching sets of all their aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents.

Old Maid

Plus the Old Maid, of course.

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“I found a pair!” Oh, Lincoln, yes you did, you found a pair!

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Eventually it was time for lunch—make-your-own pizzas.

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One of my instructions was to “Make sure you’ll be able to recognize your own pizzas.”

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No problem! They all “earned” their chocolate pudding for dessert. And soon it was time for someone else to relieve me of my post.

Mission accomplished. All five kids still alive at the end of my assignment.

Posted in family matters, grandkids | 2 Comments

try to remember

We usually low key our anniversary, and today was no exception. I went to work, Mauri replaced the filter on the water purifier, normal-life stuff. But that doesn’t mean we don’t celebrate. Twenty-four years of marriage is nothing to shake a stick at. Last night when I told Taylor and Beth on FaceTime that tomorrow would be our 24th anniversary, Beth wondered if that was longer than I’d been married to Taylor’s dad. Her response when hearing the answer was no, 27 years, she said, “Wow, you’ve been married a LONG time!” Yes——yes, I have.

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(photo credit Nancy Carter!)

So this evening we enjoyed a moment to reminisce our wedding ceremony through this photo (we were saying our promises).


And this exceptional moment when our newly blended family blended hands and voices in a version of the Doxology you’ve probably never heard. It was truly a moment, one not easily forgotten.

And a few minutes ago I shared these two photos along with the extra-long-for-social-media story below:



“We wonder why go out and spend a lot of money for a steak dinner to celebrate our 24th anniversary when we can go fancy right at home. Not that those filets were cheap, mind you, but the cook in our family whose initials are MMM has nailed the preparation no restaurant can top! I decided to show our dinner plates sans steak, perfectly baked Yukon gold potatoes, and cheesy veggies because you’d be over here in a flash. Not that we wouldn’t share, of course. Oh, and another advantage in eating in is you don’t have to drive home after dinner because you’re already there. So here’s my public “Happy Anniversary” to the man who not only cooks but poses without complaint for an anniversary selfie holding up four fingers. #luckyme❤️”

Mauri’s out walking the dog, giving me these minutes to write. Normal life is best. When he returns he’ll sit in the chair nearby and we’ll keep the candles burning a little longer while we watch another episode of “The Closer” and I pay some bills from this computer.

We are truly blessed, and we know it. Thank you, God!

Posted in 514, nostalgia | 1 Comment