Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009

I think these are pretty self explanatory. We taped Aidan opening Christmas presents from the family. I thought I would hurry and put these up without a lot of fanfare so that everyone could enjoy them. I didn't want anybody to miss out on seeing him open the gifts. We missed going to Michigan this year. We also missed leaving our home this year due to the terrible winter weather. It was just us and Sarah who barely made it around the block to us because of the snow drifts. So whether we didn't see you for Christmas because we weren't in the same state or because we were just down the block, Merry Christmas and hope to see you in the new year.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Music is important

I have been noticing how important music is to me lately. I went to the library boutique the other day to take a look at the sheet music and compilation books they have there. I bought a whole bunch of stuff for only $3.70. What a great deal. Most of the stuff I bought was really old stuff to play for my residents. In my last 10 or 11 years of practice I have learned that music is one of the first things you learn to recognize (even in utero) and one of the last things you forget.

Tonight we had a luau and there was a DJ there playing for 5 hours. I am pretty sure I knew just about every song he played. It really surprised me, especially how many Hawaiian tunes I knew. (Yes, I watch Lawrence Welk) As a little girl I used to sit with my mom while she played the piano. The piano was in my room for years when I was little and my dad used to play Beth and I to sleep at night. My Grandma had this blue book with children's songs in it that she used to play for us. Classics such as Three Little Kittens and The Bear Went Over the Mountain.

I thought maybe I would tell you the reason some of the songs in my Playlist Player are there.

  • I have couple of Ella Fitzgerald because she is great.
  • Little Wonders is from Meet the Robinsons which I watched because of Aidan. Then I heard this song and just fell in love with it. It has so much meaning. The kind of thing you just don't expect from a kid's film.
  • Don't You Forget About Me is my favorite '80's song. Upbeat and fun. Plus it is from a great movie which you can find playing on some station just about every Saturday morning.
  • Take on Me is a great 1 hit wonder. I loved this video. I miss MTV. You know the one that played music videos for popular songs during normal waking hours. The good old days.
  • I Love Rock 'n Roll got me through my driver's training test. I was freaking out and I thought "If I just had some rock and roll this would be so much easier" Hence the song.
  • I had a crush on the Nelson twins once upon a time. I believe I had a poster of them in my room at one time. Good old Matthew and Gunner. For my 15th birthday my Aunts Christina and Melody got me tickets to see them live in concert. They were opening for Cinderella. I think Melody took me. Somewhere around that time I decided I wanted to manage rock bands because I loved all of the behind the scenes stuff.
  • BonJovi. Yet another big crush. I just thought he was the greatest.
  • Keep Your Hands to Yourself I have decided that this may just be the best and most comfortable way for me to teach my children standards. I mean really. Doesn't it say what needs to be said?
  • Too Fat Polka reminds me of sitting around the piano at my Grandma's house and singing as a family. Does this mean my family is dysfunctional? lol
  • Finally Celebration is the song that was played when the Muskegon Lumberjacks scored a goal. I love hockey and spent lots of time at games when I was a kid. Great times.

I am sure music is important to most of you as well. Tell me what is your favorite song and why. What makes up the soundtrack of your life?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Happy Grandparents Day

Yesterday was Grandparents Day. At work I read a whole lot of great little quotes about grandparents to my residents. It got me to thinking about my own grandparents. Unfortunately, I didn't get to know three of my grandparents very well.

My paternal grandparents lived out west. I went to see them at least once that I remember. I know them mostly from my Dad's stories. I know my grandfather was a no nonsense kind of guy. I seem to remember a story about an uncle of mine who he "fired". But "fired" only meant he didn't get paid. Lucky guy still got to work just as hard, he just received no pay. He also said "never take advice from a loser unless he is telling you what he did wrong." My paternal grandmother seemed like a very neat lady. She took the kids out on hikes into the mountains. She would take picnic lunches. She taught Primary for a number of years at church and had a little "kit" she would take with that had crayons and other necessities in it.

My maternal grandfather passed away when I 13. When I was a kid he used to pick me up from school. I would come out of the building and he would be chatting with all of the mothers who where there to pick up their kids. He told me he wanted to go to school with me sometimes because it sounded like so much fun. He really liked chocolate milk, but grandma said he wasn't on his diet. We would stop on the way home sometimes and get a chocolate milk. The trick was he had to drink it before we got home to grandma. My maternal grandparents served a mission in Long Beach, California with the Cambodian people. Grandpa was not a highly educated man and the Cambodian language was difficult for him. But he had a great love for the people and they knew that. Which was good because there was one man whose name he just couldn't say and it came out "pork chop". I know how the poor guy felt. He always called me "Owndrea". Just couldn't get his mouth to say my name right.

My maternal grandmother is the grandparent I knew best. She cared for me when I was little so we spent a lot of time together. She taught me to make pies and cookies. She took me out to the garden and showed me how to pick beans, raspberries, and beets. She taught me how important church service was and how to care for others. I think it was Beth who told me she was shy, but I never would have known it because she was always the first to introduce herself to people and invite them over for dinner. I am blessed to have her journal and it is interesting to me to read how she saw the world.

I miss my grandparents a lot. I am glad to know that someday I will get the opportunity to know them better. Thank goodness for them. They helped make my parents who they are and my parents have passed down their wisdom to me. And probably some of their craziness, but all in all I feel grateful for them.

Friday, September 11, 2009

My Dad

I am sorry I missed a couple of days. We had computer trouble. But all is well now. I have had this blog in my head for a couple of days so I hope I don't forget what I wanted to say.

My Dad just had a birthday on the 5th. So I thought I would mention a few things I remember about my Dad from childhood. He always had a lot of stories. (Is that where I get this from) I remember a few favorites. There was one about the barn cats. There were two cats that looked so much the same that their kittens didn't really know which was which and would just go with or nurse on whichever one was there. Then there was one about a chicken who had it's eye pecked out and dad tried to save it. He told me about how he and his nephew Steve had driven the jeep at age 4. One drove and one worked the peddles. (p.s. Aidan drove a golf cart the other day. Just stood up and grab the wheel while his Aunt Sarah was in the passenger seat.)

We had a special relationship. We did fun stuff together. When I was really little he owned a bakery and he used to take me to work with him sometimes. He even took me to deliver donuts in the wee hours of the morning. We used to hide under my bed together. It was a secret hideout and I loved being down there. Now I would probably freak out at such a small space. Although I would get spanked as a kid, if I cried, he would hug me until he squeezed all the tears out. He took Beth and I camping. Not easy camping. Hard camping. The kind where the water is running because that is what streams do. He believed in comfortable camping though. He taught us you need a good bed, good food and a good chair. We always had those. He even afforded Beth and I one more luxury. He bought us a toilet seat on a tripod thing. You know so we could feel more comfortable going behind a tree. He did say I talked to much during those trips but where did I get that from.

I also associate my dad with chocolate, fixing cars, cats and in more recent years dogs, and MASH. When I was little he used to watch TV at night in the living room. I would complain that i couldn't sleep and he would say I could come watch TV with him. The only catch was he got to lay in front and on his side. Oddly, I fell for it every time. I guess I just didn't want to be alone.

Now I love to go visit my dad because he lives on a scout reservation. Who doesn't love the green wilderness of Michigan. It is a pretty sweet job. It is the job I wish he had had 20 years ago. Although I do really appreciate his ability to fix my cars body. (Don't you Beth? Think Cadillac...)

I love my dad and I am blessed to have him. I hope I get to enjoy many more birthdays with him.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Saga of the Washer/Dryer

I bought my first house when I was 22. I was a very inexperienced homeowner. When I first looked at my house the owner told me she had converted the half bath into a laundry room and that she had had to take the door apart to get the stackable washer and dryer in. I thought she meant she had removed the door not the whole frame, which was the case. They had done a terrible job putting it back in and I suppose I was just so horrified by the colors she had painted the house that I missed the terrible plaster job. Anyway, I dreaded the day when the stackable washer and dryer would die and I would have to figure out how to get them out and how to get new ones back in. Luckily by the time they died I was married and had a good husband to help me figure it all out. (Actually only the washer broke. How frustrating to have to throw away a perfectly good dryer because they are hooked together)

Matt loves to research. He found a Haier washer/dryer. This machine was supposed to be all in one. You put the clothes in it and it washes AND dries them without you ever having to touch them or move them from one machine to the other. The best part is that it fits in the door without having to rip the door apart. Somehow Matt managed to rip the old washer and dryer out without having to take the door apart. We were sure our laundry woes were over. How wrong we were.

We payed $700 plus dollars for our new washer/dryer. It did not work nearly as well as we hoped. I am not sure it did a very good job cleaning the clothes. What I was sure of was that it left permanent wrinkles in my clothes. I am sure you all have heard of permanent press, well I had permanent wrinkles. I am pretty sure polyester isn't supposed to wrinkle like that but it did. There was no iron or steamer that could defeat these wrinkles. After maybe two years, the thing broke. We were told that it would be more expensive to fix than to buy a new machine.

I was secretly happy that the wrinkle machine was gone. We ended up buying a used washer and dryer and ripping out the door frame. My brother-in-law helped us put in a new door that is wider and much better looking. So that no future homeowner will ever have to worry about the laundry room again. To all future owners of 1821, you are welcome.

Monday, September 7, 2009


I don't quilt. A few times I have tied a quilt as part of some church project. But I have never made one start to finish and I can't really say I really want to. But I do have fond memories of quilts and quilting. My first quilt memory is of one that my Grandmother made for me. It was blue and had bunny rabbits quilted on it. I loved that quilt. For some weird reason I ate the fuzz off the bunnies. (Explains a lot doesn't it?)

My Grandmother had a huge quilt frame. It was so big that it took up the whole living room. When I was a little girl my Grandma took care of me while my mom worked. I used to lay under the quilt frame and watch TV on the big console TV in the living room. My Aunts were still teenagers when I was born and when they would get home from work and school they always wanted to watch soap operas. I specifically remember laying on the living room floor and watching General Hospital.

I have one other weird quilt memory. At my first job as an activity director at an assisted living home in Utah, an elderly man moved in and one of his first questions was "Will I be able to fit my quilt frame fit in my room?" Oddly it did. He made baby quilts for all of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It was interesting to see this old farmer type guy sitting in his room tying quilts.

Maybe I should take up quilting. It is a shame that my grandchildren won't have a quilt made my grandma. I will put that on my to do list.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Got a story about it?

I have been noticing that at least once a day I read a quote or am talking to my residents and I have a story or memory about whatever it is we are talking about. Sometimes it is about pie making or the mittens my grandmother knitted for me. Other times it is about Aidan's latest adventures. I was thinking that at 33 I just shouldn't have this many stories. But I do. So I thought I should write them down. What better place than a blog. Then once a year or so I can have them printed into a book and it will make a nice journal. Now I just need to remember what stories I tell my residents each day a write them down.

Today I would like to tell you that Aidan has a new favorite phrase. "You got a song about it?" We will be having a conversation and all of the sudden I will say a "trigger" word and he will say "You got a song about it?" What he means is that he heard a word that he knows is in a song that he is familiar with. For example. We were looking at the Swiss Colony catalog the other day and they had a cake that looked like a snowman. Aidan says, "you got a song about it?" Mean that he knows a song called "Once there was a snowman" . So I say yes and start singing the song. What has been interesting is that my mom has been here for the past few days and she knows infinitely more songs than I do. So when the question is posed, "you got a song about it?" She does. Every time she said the word Michigan it led to the song "I Was Born in Michigan"

At least Aidan will be well versed in music. The question is when he learns his Gaga's name is Diana what song shall we sing to go with that? Dirty Diana? Doesn't seem to fit does it?