(click on any photo to see them larger)

Friday, August 29, 2008

I didn't write this little poem, it came to me from the internet.

*KEEPER*

Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away. I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat, lawn mower in his hand and Mom in a house dress and dish-towel in hers. It was the time for fixing things. A curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen
door, the oven door, the hem in a dress. Things we keep. It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that re-fixing, renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there would always be more. But then I had to face a death, and on that clear summer's night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't any more. Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away...never to return. So...while we have it... it's best we love it... and care for it.... and fix it when it's broken..... and heal it when it's sick. This is true... for marriage.... and old cars.... and children with bad report cards..... dogs and cats with bad hips.... and aging parents.... and grandparents. We love them and hold on to them because they are worth it, because we are worth it. Some things we keep. Like a best friend that moved away or a classmate we grew up with. There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special.... and so, we keep them close!


Yesterday, I had lunch with two of my friends from high school. I won't say old friends because we for sure are not old! Terri (in green) was my Maid of Honor and Melanie (in yellow) was a candle lighter in my wedding. These are two other special (not old) friends of mine. We met up for Alison's daughter's wedding last month. I met Alison (left) and Maria (middle) when we shared a cabin at Outdoor School when we were in the 6th grade. We learned a song at camp that year...

"MAKE NEW FRIENDS, BUT KEEP THE OLD, ONE IS SILVER AND THE OTHER GOLD."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Do you know your neighbors? (sounds like Mr. Rogers, huh?) Well, where we live, the neighbors are not just a few steps away, like in a city neighborhood. We have met, but not really talked, we finally got to know a couple of them, but then one of them moved and the new neighbors moved in and we said hello, but nothing much more than that, like I didn't even know their last names. One family, I didn't know their first or last names, or even how many lived there. So finally I decided we needed to get to know them and invited the 4 closest families to come over for a BBQ.
It was so fun. 24 of us in all. Unfortunately, just as we all sat down to eat, little rain drops started falling. We tried to ignore them, but the drops got bigger...and more of them. So we all moved under the upper deck to wait it out and finish eating...by the time we were done eating, it was all out raining...and the rain was getting us soaked under the deck also. I convinced everyone it was time to move us all inside. In spite of the rain, we had a really good time getting to know each other finally and everyone promised that we would make sure and meet up on a regular basis from now on.

Dessert. I had tons of recipes that I have been wanting to try out, so I made a bunch of tiny little bite sized ones. I can't decide which was my favorite. There were the usual Smores, which the kids made even in the rain once the adults went inside. Then the top are cream cheese and raspberry in puff pastry. Left are three kinds of cookies, Lime Meltaways, Cinnamon Bites, and Lemon Crisps. The last ones are dark chocolate and raspberry triangles, and Marion berry squares. Good thing they were small, even if you took one of each, you still only had a tiny plate full.
Spa Day

Last week my sisters and Mom and I, enjoyed a day at a new local spa. We started out with lunch, then had a hot stone massage, followed by a dip in the salt water pool.



Sunday, August 17, 2008



It was the beginning of a perfect day!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


mmmm...... I wait all winter for this...iced americano...two shots of hot espresso, a shot of vanilla poured over ice, stirred, adding in a little more ice, then topped off with milk. I don't know why it does not taste good in the winter, but it is my favorite way to drink espresso in the summer.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It is so good to be back home again. Last night we had dinner at John and Rachel's. They cooked and I got to play with the kids.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

I left Portland on Friday, two weeks ago, for San Antonio, Texas to help the Red Cross assist those affected by Hurricane Dolly. The first two nights were spent in a staff shelter. I HATED it! It was a first for me, on other disasters, I have always been fortunate to have had a hotel room. There were about 300 people in the cafeteria of a high school, men and women, trying to sleep. There were two sections to the room, one was air conditioned and freezing, so I picked the non air conditioned room with just a fan...well, that fan was not just a fan, I think they got the blade and motor from an airplane...it was huge and LOUD and along with that and all the noise from everyone snoring and getting up and down...it was a sleepless night, and the next night was not much better, although I was so tired from my lack of sleep the night before, I am pretty sure I fell asleep for a little while. Ear plugs were useless. Thinking back, it was probably a good thing for us all to experience what it is like for families that have no choice but to go to one when their home is ruined. It was such a relief the next day when they sent us on into the field to get to our work. First they sent me to Brownsville, then up to a town called Pharr. We shared hotel rooms there.The first day we went to the shelter and helped those staying there and the next day we did outreach, going into the neighborhoods that were flooded. These pictures were taken after the water had gone down a bit already.What a mess, some places were still inaccessible, so we did not get to those, they were the homes of the ones in the shelters, but the other homes that we did get into were a mess! mud and water and mold...the smells were horrible...we were warned that there were five poisonous kinds of snakes there, but I didn't see any live ones...the only snakes I saw were dead on the road. But I sure did keep my eyes open as I walked up to the homes. The mosquitoes were outrageous. They would just wait outside doors and windows for you! When you went out, they covered any bare skin...I think I donated most of my blood there and it was not for the usual Red Cross blood drive. In spite of it all, the heat, the humidity, the bug bites and lack of sleep, I came home feeling like it was worth it all to know that a few people were helped.

They require us to take a day off after we have worked 7 days. Since we were so close to South Padre Island, that was the destination of choice for most of us. Since it is a tourist destination, it is mostly hotels, restaurants and second homes, so there was no Red Cross need there. Some of the hotels had roofs off and a few places were closed, but mostly it was up and running. You would never have known that a few miles away there was such a mess! It was a perfect place to relax and unwind and remember how blessed I am. The last day, I had to be back up in San Antonio for my flight and since my flight was not until late afternoon, I was also able to spend some time at the famous Riverwalk downtown and see the Alamo.

Once again, I go away with a list of new Red Cross friends. Here are a few of us that were assigned to outreach in Pharr.