Archive for April, 2013

40th Birthday Bash

Posted by julie on Sunday, 28 April 2013, 22:29

Directions to Mt. Pisgah Arboretum can be found on the Arboretum’s website. Please, please buy a parking pass. We don’t want you to pick up a $150 ticket at our birthday party.

Dress comfortably (but party attire’s always welcome, if you’d like to wear cowgirl boots and a tutu).

Contra dance music provided by Chico Schwall and friends, and the dance will be called by Woody Lane.

Hideaway Bakery is catering the pizza and salad dinner.

Please don’t bring gifts. If you can’t show up empty-handed, please consider bringing a bottle of wine or 6-pack to share.

Join us for a birthday picnic hike up Mt. Pisgah on Friday evening. Details TBA.


“This … is it.” or: A post-mid-life birthday present for Dad

Posted by jonesey on Wednesday, 24 April 2013, 17:31

This is how I remember it, anyway.

Once upon a time, when my father was chronologically younger than I am now (but more mature than I am now, since he inflicted offspring, a mortgage, and a lawnmower on himself at a much younger age), he decided to check the mid-life crisis box.

Sports car? No, he had already owned a 1972 BMW 2002 (named Fritz, of course), picked up from the factory in Germany. No mere sports car was going to top that.

Trophy wife? He already had one of those, and still does.

No, my dad has always been a rational, reasonable, sensible person, even in a crisis. He went out and got one of these:

Dad has always liked a little go in his cars, so when it was station wagon time (gotta have something that can hold two kids and a bunch of trash and recycling on the way to the town dump, after all), he bought a brand new 1986 Volvo 740 Turbo wagon. That thing could GO, and it didn’t complain at all when you really pushed it. I once took it up to 90 (sorry, Dad) just for kicks while merging onto the empty D.C. Beltway late one night. I think the RPMs cracked 3500 when I did that, but they might not have. The car sure didn’t mind one bit.

I looked for the ad above for years. I finally found it a few months ago. In the meantime, I found it that Ferrari really did make a station wagon. And it was ugly. Take a look:

The last link above has the best explanation of the hideously not-as-atractive-as-it-should-be Ferrari station wagons that were built for a couple of Really Rich People. They look like a toned-down Ferrari front end mixed with a Subaru back end, resulting in an early-1990s Saturn or Honda wagon ambiance. Definitely not a Ferrari look. I’m sure they drive nicely, but blech.

And here’s a reward for those of you who read all the way to the end. Well done.

Celebrating 30 Years of the Volvo Turbo 1981 – 2011

Happy birthday, DYD.

Happy Birthday, Elena: 4 2/3!

Posted by julie on Tuesday, 16 April 2013, 22:52

Dear Elena,

My little spitfire. I definitely wonder how Kindergarten will treat you, my little free-spirited wood sprite. You’re observant and a quick learner, and you love to be a good role model. Those qualities will treat you well as you enter school. You’re also a chatterbox and stubborn as that gluey residue left over from masking tape that’s been through the dishwasher. Kindergarten will be tough when you’re asked to zip your adorable lips.

It’s birthday party season, and at a party this past weekend, I was chatting with a mom about schools, because that’s all we can discuss when our babies are turning 5 and we want what’s best for them. I told this mom that you’d recently said you’d draw and paint all day, if given the opportunity. She said, “Yes, until college, and then she has to major in something that will make money.”

My expression must have illustrated my discomfort. Elena, you can go to college if you want. And, if you choose to go, you can major in art if you want. Or dance. Or theater. Or photography. Or religion. Or physics. Or chemistry. Or astronomy. But this you’ll never hear from me: “Consider pre-med. Doctors make more money than artists.” First of all, life’s too short to do something you think will make you money rather than something that will make you happy. Secondly, some artists actually make more money than doctors. And thirdly, it’s your life. You have this fantastic opportunity to make your own decisions. You will realize that some of them turn out to be ones you wouldn’t make again.

One of the biggest gifts my parents gave me was complete support. I was never made to feel like I wasn’t making the right decisions; they were my decisions, and I knew I was loved and that my family had my back. I should have asked for more advice, though. I still should. Like me, you are independent to a fault. You don’t have to take other people’s advice, but sometimes it’s good to hear it.

The first of two years of $5 annual ski passes at Willamette Pass. It’s good to be 4!

Right now, you love: pink, purple (you say it’s your favorite now), glitter, anything shiny (maybe you’re a magpie), playing with letters, drawing, collecting tiny objects (again, magpie), swinging, helping, running, dance class, saving food for later (sometimes later doesn’t come), cheek kisses, and amazing us with how big you are.

While we were sorting socks the other day, you said, “Yuck, this sock smells like rice. Italian rice.” Better get over that one, lady, because risotto’s delicioso!

I love you,

Pale not only because we’re Oregonians. Jumping waves with a fever. Yeah, I’m a good parent.

Wait, what lava? We’re making silly faces.


Happy Birthday, Sylvan: 7 7/12!

Posted by julie on Saturday, 13 April 2013, 20:25

Sylvan hanging in Hawai’i on a great family beach, Beach 69 in Kohala, on the Big Island.

Dear Sylvan,

You’re 91 months old! I remember figuring out when I would be 100 months old. If you don’t bring it up first, I’ll tell you next January. You’ll ask for cinnamon rolls to celebrate, because, hey, it’s an excuse to have sugar!

Last spring, at just about this time, we met with your Kindergarten teacher, Miss Polly, who suggested that you be tested for skipping a grade. Even though you were old for your grade, we hadn’t considered this. As the evidence mounted—who you played with on the playground, your math scores, your September birthday, your reading skills—it just made sense. So, with some consideration, we decided, along with your teacher, that you should enter 2nd grade this year. It turned out to be a very good choice for you. The academics are a good fit for you, and you have a gentle, calm teacher, Miss Laura, who’s helped you become a mellower, calmer human being.

Sylvan experiencing coconut anxiety (another example of maturity; he wouldn’t have put up with my photo shenanigans a year ago).

Shave ice rocks the house, even if it’s only 68 degrees F outside.

You often jump into play in the preschool classroom when we pick up Miss Elena, who is always finishing up her snack (because she’s a good eater and a good talker). The other day, while you were helping to put away some train tracks, you started to take one from a little boy, thinking he was handing it to you because you were closer to the bin. He yowled, and you just stopped, not even responding to his outburst, and continued putting other tracks and blocks away.

You’ve reached a point in your evolution as a human that, when you are a bit wronged, you brush it off. I especially appreciate this in your interactions with your sister. When you step back and don’t escalate a tense situation, I want to hug you (but if I did, you’d make a noise like this: whiny “ehhhhr,” and pull away). In fact, I want to hug you a lot, but that’s not your preferred intimate gesture; you prefer a back-scratch.

Run away!

You love: laser tag, chess, Stratego, facts, pretending to be different Harry Potter characters/rainforest animals /Bearbarians warriors, playing in the waves, downhill skiing.

You are good at: being yourself without being at all concerned about what others think, spelling, math, reading long and complicated books (You just finished The Hobbit by yourself on the way back from Hawai’i; I still haven’t read it because it’s so long and complicated.), and chess (You’re playing in tournaments, and your goal for the last one was to gain a higher point value—based on wins, losses, and draws—than your last tourney. You did it!).

You are nervous about: team sports (but you play football with the boys every day at lunch), some other athletic endeavors where you feel your peers are bigger and better, and I don’t know what else. I know you have concerns and anxieties that I don’t hear about. As you slowly climb toward middle school, you will share with me less and less. I think this is why I need to stop, slow down, and just listen to you. We need to chat about nothing that matters so that we can chat about what does matter when you want to share it.

I love you,

Update 15 April: You were very fun to watch in your soccer game yesterday. You went directly to the ball and were scrappy. If the ball was anywhere near your section of the field, that ball touched your foot. You had some great steals yesterday, and you smiled the entire time. It was very joyful.

And the two lasting verbal kid mis-speaks that I still love to hear you say are “pacific” for “specific” and “care-UC-ter” for “character.”