Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Senseless Killings

In Memory...

We are reeling here in the Pacific Northwest with the death of four police officers this past Sunday. Thankfully the perpetrator is off the streets and is not a threat. There will be a huge memorial service on Tuesday and we will try to attend if possible. This has shaken our area to the core. Just last month another officer in Seattle was executed also and his partner grazed by a bullet. One of the things we are doing to show our support is have 4 blue (electric) candles in the window. I also have a blue lightbulb for the porch outside. They will stay up through the holidays. Nine children will not have their dad or mom there for Christmas. It boggles the mind how someone could be so deranged. And his family and friends hid him and purposefully interfered with the investigation. Even the prospect of $125,000 in reward money did not sway them.

All we can do is pray for the families, friends and law enforcement community. May God grant them peace and comfort. Life will never be the same for them. Give your loved ones an extra hug today! Life is precious!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Friday Farewell

Well, we knew it was coming. We didn't want to have to go there, but our dear old Maggie dog had some sort of mini stroke or something last Thursday night. We knew there was something very wrong with her when she stood out in the rain and just stood there, sort of looking blank. She didn't want to lay down or come in. When I finally got her in, she paced and paced and wanted back out. We knew the time had come. So, Friday afternoon we took her to the vet for the last time. She was treated with tenderness and great care and died in our arms. Boy, do we miss her! It is so quiet without her. Lots of tears. Even the cat knew something was wrong Thursday night and wanted to be with her - inside or out, and Pippi is an inside cat! Very strange! We figure we have had her 10 or 11 years and she must have been 12 or 13 or so. She was a loyal, faithful companion who brought a lot of joy to our lives! Mags,we will miss you!

How we acquired her is a funny story in itself. We had been out "antique-ing" and went into a shop in Port Orchard. Behind the counter was this beautiful dog with the most gorgeous eyes! She "smiled" at us and we kept on looking around. Bill came up to the counter to ask a question and she went nuts! Whining and wagging her tail and very focused on him! We asked about her and the proprietor told us she was a stray that she called in out of the pouring down rain! She had had her about two weeks and she would go home with her to other dogs and cats. She wanted to find a good home for her. Well, we thought she was very nice and very pretty and wasn't it funny how she responded to Bill? We went to get a bite to eat and very carefully ignored the subject. Finally, I said "I could see her running around our yard." We weren't sure we were ready for a dog again, having had to put down our 11 year old lab mix just a few years previous. We could go back and talk to her though, couldn't we? That couldn't hurt! Now she wanted to know all kinds of things about us - did we have a fenced yard? had we ever had a dog before, etc. And don't you know, she thought maybe the dog would be a good shop dog. (Not!) She would put us on a list. List? Hmmm. Meanwhile, the dog is going crazy and jumped up in the window and was barking at us as we left! We got to the car and Bill said he just had to go back and see if he could talk her into us taking her. The dog was pretty adamant after all! I couldn't go back in! A few minutes later he came out with this beautiful dog on a leash! Evidently there was someone else who had seen this reaction and Bill asked the proprietor if she also saw it? Well, how could you miss it?! She came home with us that very afternoon! Then came the problem of knowing what to call her. Goldie? Sadie? She didn't respond. Hmm. We had friends over who were going to be getting a purebred German shepard and were looking at names in a few dog naming books. (who knew?) We went through a long list of names and nada. No response. Our friends left and the dog was asleep at Bill's feet. He got to "Maggie" and she sat up and looked at him like it took him long enough to figure it out! The vet figured she was 2 or 3 and part shephard and part Rhodesian Ridgeback. Sweetest dog! Beautiful amber eyes and a great personality. Very social, and in fact she learned to jump the fence pretty early on. She just wanted to go visiting! Evidently she had never seen snow, but beach and sand were familiar and the first time we brought home a pizza, she was all over it! She loved to go for walks with Bill down to a neighborhood coffee shop where she was loved by all! Monday nights are shop night where Bill and Brian work on cars in the garage. All you had to do was ask if she wanted to go to the garage and she was at the door! So many memories! It is actually healing to write about her. Thanks for bearing with me if you have made it this far! If you have ever had to do this, you know the pain and loss. You tell yourself it is only a dog after all, but oh, they are such a part of the family! Will we ever have another dog? I won't say never, but it sure isn't on our radar for any time soon! That's what we said about Mocha, too though, and look what happened!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Yummy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 small can pumpkin
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
4 cups flour
1 lg. bag chocolate chips

Cream the shortening, butter and sugar. Add pumpkin and vanilla. Stir dry ingredients together and add to the pumpkin mixture. Add the chocolate chips and mix well.
Bake in 350 oven for 10-12 minutes or until barely golden. Do NOT overbake!

This makes about 5 dozen cookies, depending on how large you make them. They do not spread so you can crowd quite a few on a cookie sheet. Also, you read it right! There are no eggs! I also shake a little nutmeg and ginger in with the cinnamon and have used mini chips - its all good!! The texture is more cake like and they are not overly sweet, but are right up there on the yummy list!

Mid Month

How did it get to be the middle of November already?! I think I have been on another planet or something! Anyway, here are a few Halloween pics. Instead of helping at our church "Harvest Party" we went to help our kids hand out treats in their swanky neighborhood. That put us on the "bad" list, but oh, well! They had almost 800 kids come through the neighborhood so I am glad we went! They actually close off the streets and the local cops patrol the streets on bikes! It was a hoot, but not one of my best photo taking experiences! The grandkids are just a little too fast moving at times! Anyway, here you go......

Pumpkins and spider webs!

Johnny was a firefighter, Hannah a fairy princess (that is her next door neighbor friend on her left) and Brian was a mobster! Their neighbors had a fire pit going with refreshments in the garage; other neighbors had hot cider, coffee, etc. Many were set up in their garage or driveway. It was crazy, but very fun!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Harvest Fun!

I SO needed some fun, relaxing down time after our friend's memorial service (see last post). I was pretty emotionally drained. The perfect solution? Go to a farm with the grandkids! We had a ball! Not only were there pumpkins to be had, but you could ride ponies (that will be $5 please!), slide down a hill, shoot pumpkins out of launchers, ride little tractors, get muddy and just plain have fun! Here are a few pics of our afternoon together!

The Battle is Over

October 14th one of our good friends went to be with the Lord. He had been through a long journey of cancer and Parkinson's Disease, and problems with his lungs. Once he understood that the end was near, it was like his body just shut down and quickly. It was a blessing, but no one expected him to die so quickly. The memorial service was beautiful and very uplifting, as well it should be! We were celebrating the life of a good man who is now celebrating with the angels in heaven! His widow is my co-worker and she came right back to work. Many were more than a little appalled, but she needs to be busy and is processing through things pretty well. She will have a lot to do, and once this initial period of paperwork and phone calls dies down, and she doesn't have to repeat the story to those who haven't heard, she can settle in to deal with other things. So, while we will miss our dear friend, we rejoice that he is no longer suffering and is at peace in the arms of Jesus!

These things are always a learning experience for those of us advancing in yearsand here are a few things to consider:
  • Do you have a will? Is it up to date? Do you know where it is?!
  • Are your birth certificate and wedding certificate where you can easily find them?
  • Do you know your spouse's social security number?
  • What about end of life issues? Have you discussed this with family? Do you want to be buried or cremated? Viewing? Graveside service? Full funeral or memorial service?
  • Do you have a Durable Power of Attorney for medical decisions? What about Advanced Directives? Do you know where this documentation is located?
  • Is there someone outside of the family that might have some understanding of medical terminology that could go with you to some appointments or meetings with doctors? Sometimes one is overwhelmed and can't take it all in. An impartial observer can take notes or ask the questions you might not think to ask.
  • Is your home accessible? If you couldn't walk, how would you get around? Do you have friends in wheelchairs or who can't climb stairs? Do you have grab bars, no throw rugs and railings on both sides of the stairs? In the hall? Is it time to move to a more user friendly home?

These are some of the things we have been discussing as we approach that big "60" this coming year. Even younger people need to think about things like wills and guardianships. In the space of a year, we lost two young men in their 30's at our church. Quite a few young people got wills and such after that! One never knows and how much better to be prepared. Death is such a taboo word in our society and yet it is an everyday part of life! When you are emotionally distraught is not the time to make these kinds of decisions!

So live each day as if it is your last and don't forget to tell the ones you love that you do!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fall Fun!

Museum of Flight

Hannah & Johnny at the Puyallup Fair

Car Show - Longview, WA
This is our '37 Dodge

Retreat Update

Wow! I survived, the women survived and it all went together like it should have! I finished a little early, but no one complained. The strangest thing for me? Having women taking notes as I spoke! That is a first I believe! I stayed home on Sunday and slept, and slept and slept! My cold is almost gone which is a relief! Looks like I will be the speaker next year, too! I'd better get busy! How about "friendship" for a topic?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Speaking Engagement

I am very excited to be able to speak at our little Women's Retreat this coming week-end. Now my sinuses just need to cooperate! Not funny to wake up with post nasal drip sore throat and less than stellar voice! Yikes!! I am slated to speak on Spiritual Gifts and am looking forward to it SO much! We have a small group signed up and we will be at church, so that is just about right for a first time retreat speaker!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Important Day

I will never forget. The phone rang just after the clock radio went off. I heard something about a plane and the World Trade Center. Thought - where is that again? Then the phone rang and it was our daughter in law on the east coast. TURN ON THE T.V.!! We were glued to the set for most of the time we were home that fateful day. I called Bill at school when the other planes went down. It was terrifying! What else was going to happen? It just so happens that this is our wedding anniversary. We had planned to go out to dinner somewhere nice, but ended up just going somewhere quick and easy so we could get back to the TV! It was weird not having planes flying. We are close to an Air Force base as well as an Army post and there is always air traffic. Nothing. Except for an AWAX (I'm not sure I got those letters right - sorry!) plane overhead as we left for dinner. I turned on the TV every morning first thing for a long time after that - what new horror awaited us?

We will never forget that horrific act of evil, or the brave men and women who did all they could to save people and render aid. Bravery was in full force. We are thankful for all those who serve in the military, putting themselves in harm's way to keep us safe. Mostly we are thankful for a God who is in control of every situation even when life makes no sense.

We have celebrated our anniversary in various ways since then. Those first years were difficult and we celebrated mid year or random days! We don't ever want to forget that day, but we don't want to forget the joy of that day for us either! This year we are going to the ocean with three other couples to a car show. Not terribly romantic, but after 38 years, we have found that romance comes in unexpected places and unexpected ways sometimes! And that makes it all the sweeter!

A momentous day indeed!

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Blech! The asthma flare up didn't respond as well to Prednisone as it should have and I ended up with a sinus infection. Bummer. I thought I was doing so well and getting over it and BAM! Now I'm not feeling 100% well, but not sick enough to be sick, if you know what I mean! Perhaps it is just taking longer to go away. I forget that I am not 20 anymore sometimes and I probably worked too much when I should have been resting. OK, so I get the hint! I am resting, resting, resting and in fact, I think a trip to the recliner with my book and a hot cup of tea is in order. Perhaps I'll even doze off. ZZZZZZzzzzzz...zzz....zz.............z

Friday, August 28, 2009

North Carolina Vacation 09

Cora, Me, Dorn, MaryDorn
Reed Gold Mine
Cora & Dorn have some gold!
Panning for gold - Cora, cousin Griffon, Mary, Aubreanna
Discovery Place pirate display
Discovery Place
It is a little bright out here!

Overdue Updates!

I have let way too much time slip by! The main event of late was the trip to North Carolina to see three of the grandkids. Aubreanna (14) went with me and we flew out of SEA on August 5. We stayed ten days and had a great time! We spent time at the pool - a lot of time at the pool! We also went into downtown Charlotte to Discovery Place. It is an educational fun place for kids (and grown up kids!) where they can explore and learn and just have fun! They had fulcrums and pulleys and a pendulum among other things. A big area with blocks was a big hit! Then the highlight for me, anyway, was the Reed Mine. We took a picnic lunch. Gold panning was only $2 a pan and a few found some flecks of gold! Carla and her husband, Joby were great hosts and Aubreanna stayed with them. They have a brand new baby named Henry. He is 3 months old. A very busy household! I stayed with Carla's mom and it was great to have a place to escape to! I learned how to use GPS and loved it! All in all, it was a very enjoyable vacation!

I came home with my asthma in a flare up - humidity got to me. My right elbow also decided it didn't like me. It was a little sore before we left, so I took one of those little bands you can put on below to see if it would help. I think it helped me remember to be careful is all! The Monday after we got back I went in to get checked out. A week of prednisone for the asthma and Naproxen for 2 weeks for the elbow, plus ice 2X a day and rest. HA! If it is not completely better by Monday, I have to go back in, probably for a cortisone shot and/or physical therapy! Not fun! Vacations can be hazardous to your health!

Perhaps next year they will make the trek out here. We would love to introduce Joby to the Pacific Northwest! What a contrast!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

We're havin' a heat wave, a tropical heat wave...

Can you say 103 in Seattle, Washington? We nearly can't! Wednesday, July 29 the mercury bubbled its way up to 104 in Tacoma and 106 in Bonney Lake where our kids live. Unbelievable! And since we seldom climb above 85 around here, hardly anyone has air conditioning in their homes! Thankfully the kids do, because we decided their house was our own personal "cooling station". I spent the night there Tuesday and we both stayed Wednesday night. We needed some sleep! Not funny! It is still warm, but 90 something feels better than the low 100's any day! I promised myself I would not complain about heat this summer - back in the spring when we had buckets of rain and gloom! Little did we know this was coming, which is probably a good thing!

More water, please! With plenty of ice!

Oh, and of course the refrigerator has taken this opportunity to die a slow death! I thought things didn't feel cold enough! So, the new one comes Tuesday. This one was in the house when we moved in and the freezer has a label inside that says "also available in avacado, harvest, coppertone, and white. Ours is white which helps disguise its age! It has to be almost 40 years old, so I think it has earned its final rest in the big appliance home in the sky! (The new one is very pretty - stainless steel with black doors - very cool! (Pun intended!)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Too Hot! Too Hot! screamed the penquins!

When our oldest son was a toddler, he had a favorite Golden book. I think it was about a circus and somewhere in there the penquins were in too hot a situation! Since then, we have always used that line when the weather gets too warm. Well, the weather is now too hot! I promised I wouldn't complain when and if summer ever came, but this is pretty rare for the northwest! It was over 70 degrees at 8:00 a.m.! It is still 90 at 7:00 p.m.! The forecast is for more of the same with no relief in sight til at least Thursday evening! The air quality as you might imagine is getting worse and worse too. Well, it will soon be fall and we will complaining about the rain and cold again! More iced tea, please!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Family Reunion

Summer is a time of family reunions. While ours was not huge, we did have the pleasure of a visit from both our oldest son and his daughter. Geoffrey lives in the San Antonio area now and Aubreanna, age 14 is from Klamath Falls, where she will attend the same high school her dad graduated from! Too weird!
It was good to reconnect with Geoff and get caught up on each other's lives. Aubreanna enjoyed seeing him, too and while he left on Monday, she is staying for a few more days. She is staying with her cousins and family and I think she enjoys that a lot! They are only 2 and 4 so they keep her extremely busy! We are going miniature golfing tomorrow night with Uncle Brian.
The first picture is of Aubreanna and her dad with Puget Sound in the background. The second is me with Geoff, third is the John Stoliker wing of the clan, and the last is Bill with his youngest (John) and oldest (Geoffrey).