Sunday, November 29, 2009

Carl

There are people who move you during the course of your life. People who change who you are at your core. Carl was one of those people.

When I was in 2nd grade (1972) we lived in Denver. We had many friends there, many that we are still friends with today. It was an interesting time for our family and for our country. Our family was going through many changes spiritually, socially and internally. Our country was getting close to the end of Vietnam and that brought our country to a huge change in social consciousness. I remember that it was a very contentious but exciting time. During our time in Denver we made many wonderful family friends but our closest family friends became the Loovises.

Over the years we lived in close proximity more than not. When they moved to Germany, we went to visit them there. When they moved to Tacoma they stayed with us for a long while. Once settled into Tacoma we shared, what seemed to be MOST, holidays at some point of another. Some of my favorite memories include the Loovis Clan and our family sharing a meal around the dinner table. Carl was often asked to carve the turkey and always took a new and different approach. Most of which left the bird in shreds. We learned to like it like that. We asked him to carve because it was always...ahhh....ammusing. I can't tell many specific stories but I can tell you that there was lots of wonderful food, many stories and always an abundance of laughter. Carl loved his stories as much as anyone and would laugh with us even if we were laughing at him. He thought he was funny. He was right.

Carl was also very honest. His frank discussions with my parents made many strong and needed impressions on them. He was willing to put himself in a vulnerable position to speak the truth. That is not only honorable but very brave. He made them see and face the truth when sometimes no one else could. Some of those truths and then the follow up results brought peace and forward movement to our family. For that I am grateful.

When my parents were going through their divorce my mom leaned on me a lot. I, in turn, leaned on the Loovises. I would call Mary and Carl in Germany. They would offer advice and more then anything, they would listen. It was always a tremendous comfort knowing that their steady family was there for support. We didn't talk often but just knowing they were there for me was an amazing relief to me. They supported our whole family no matter what form we took. Both Carl and Mary have been there for us as individuals and as a whole. They accepted both my parents new partners and we were all family. They have been a true constant in our lives.

Carl was the coolest nerd I have ever known. I say that with total love and admiration for Carl. He had a comb over but he wasn't bald. He just insisted on wearing his hair with the part waaaaayyyy over to the side. My mom tried to get him to change it a couple times but he always went back to the same hairdo. Who knows why...

One of my favorite stories was when my mom gave Carl a green tennis sweat suit of my dad's. She gave it to him because she hated it and was sick of seeing my dad in it. What she didn't take into consideration was that Carl would wear it and she would have to look at him over the net on the tennis court. Carl wore that sweat suit strictly to bug my mom. He knew why she had given it away and thought it was hilarious to make her look at it........for years. It makes me laugh every time i think of that. Now THAT is a good joke.

He had a passion for music and classical music in particular. To watch Carl listen to music was often times to watch him do aerobics. He might conduct, or dance, even do ballet on occasion and many times more then a few of us got involved. I remember that one time he and my mom were acting out a murder scene in an opera. There's a picture where mom had a big chef's knife and was lunging at Carl and he had a surprised look and his hands up in surrender. It was hilarious. In the most recent years Carl was on the Tacoma Opera Board. His passion for music and participation on the board will be greatly missed.

I have been extremely lucky to call Carl my friend. We made each other laugh...often and a lot. We spoke in a New York accent lots of times just because we liked to pretend we were other nerds or something from a different coast. Then we'd go back to being just us....regular geeks from this coast. He encouraged my interest in music and for that I am grateful.

I am also grateful for Carl's special friendship with my mother. When she needed a male friend who she could trust Carl was there and Mary supported them as friends. I can't tell you how important that was to her and to me as a model of a healthy platonic relationship. I know what that looks like.

There are so many memories that I could share but those here are some of the most important. Carl passed away today just before 3 pm after a long, hard fought battle with cancer. I am going to miss him tremendously as will so many people. He was precious to more people then I can name. When he was so sick and taking visitors he would get really tired. I joked with my mom that it was his own fault that he got so worn out. If he hadn't been so important to so many of us he wouldn't have been as tired now. May he rest peacefully and know God's love now.

I hope I can be as good of a friend as Carl was. His family is hurting but also know he is finally at peace. My parents and their spouses have been an amazing support during this process. Being where I am and having 3 kids left me at a bit of a disadvantage in the assistance arena. Love I can give. Support I can give. And hopefully over the future months and years I can lend a hand when and where needed. I love Mary, Kim and Kristin and pray that they stay strong and lean on the many friends and family that are here to help. We all carry a little piece of Carl with us and are better for it. Much love and peace my friend.........

Thursday, November 26, 2009

KEES IS FINE!!!!!!!

Thanks to all who inquired and were concerned. Kees is fine. He arrived at the hospital after sleeping for about a half hour. Of course the sleep calmed his lungs so he was feeling MUCH better. He went to the bathroom upon arrival and declaired...."I know what da pwobwem was! I needed to go potty!" Silly boy.

We don't know what caused the problem. The Albuterol worked when he calmed down during his nap. I'll be talking to his doctor soon to see what we can do to solve his issue. Until then....I pray he's fine.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sometimes Fun, Sometimes SCARY!!!!!

There are times where being a mom is great. There are times where being a mom is frustrating. The worst times are when being a mom is scary. Tonight is one of those nights.

Bob and I had a teacher conference tonight with Coulter's teacher. That went great! He's brilliant just like we thought. While we were there the kids were with some friends. When we went to get the kids Kees was coughing a bit and sounding like he was getting croup. He was breathing fine but barking a bit. He went to bed with out much issue.

Bob and I were enjoying our first night of vacation together. We had some wine, watched TV and I doinked on the computer. It was a nonchalant kind of night. I took a really nice bath and then we went to bed at about midnight. That's later than usual but not too late for vacation.

At about 1:15 Kees came in BARKING and crying. I tried to calm him down but once you start coughing like that with congestion in your chest it's hard to stop. I've been there. I gave him Albuterol, started the vaperizer and put Vick's on him. Nothing stopped it. I did tell him he had to stop and he listened. He knows that the more he causes the problem, the worse it gets. We layed in bed and finally I asked him if he wanted to go get the medicine that he breaths. He said, "The one that I breave in my moufe?" I said, "Yes." And he said, "I want to get that." When a kid says they want to go to the hospital and get emergency care.....BELIEVE THEM!!!!

As I sit here writing, Bob is taking Kees to the hospital. I, of course, can't sleep, so I am blogging. I am not overly concerned that anything bad will happen. Just as a parent, it's my job to be concerned, to make them go.

As Bob was walking out the door he said, "So, it was 2 years ago when this happened the last time?" I was like, WTF DUDE? "NO, it was 4 months ago....June" "Oh, OK"

I am grateful that he is taking him this time. I am the mom. It's my job to be, maybe, overly concerned. Bob is probably, appropriately concerned.

So I am concerned, Bob is on his way to the hospital with Kees and I am waiting for word. I'll pass on more when I know it. Until then.....

Monday, November 23, 2009

Today's Bike Ride

I'm out here riding and had to do a quick post. First of all it is the MOST beautiful day. There are hundreds of people out and that is great.

So I am riding along the river and moving at a pretty good clip. I'm not being dangerous just moving when this lady freaks out. Her, approximately 8 year old grandson was just wandering about. She's yelling at him, "Look OUT!" And looking right at me. I almost started laughing. I made a huge turn to avoid them by more than 30 feet just to show that there was NO danger. Man,people are weird.

So if you see me coming you better scream and run 'cause I am gunnin' for ya....

Have a great day and if you can RIDE baby.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What a Weekend

Me and My Big Girl Caitlin and ahhh...the other violinist. Crazy fire show.... Sophia and Caitlin throwing some gang signs or something....LOL All the girls

video

It's been a good weekend. Friday night we celebrated by spending the evening watching TV and doing pretty much nothing. Saturday Sophia woke up better...way better. Hooray! Not only was she better she had a birthday party to go to and everyone was invited. Bob took the kids to the Academy Theater for the party and then he and I went out and did a bit of shopping. It was nice to have that time together.

Our afternoon was peaceful. Bob worked outside and I was inside. At 5 we went over to the Stewart's. I was going out to the Miz Kitty Vaudeville Show. The Stewart's babysitter was on her way. When she got there Bob asked her if she minded if our kids stayed. Bob scored. She said that was fine. Bob went to a movie. The Kitty Show isn't his thing...I don't know why but it isn't. I, on the other hand, love it.

I handed out programs at the door before the show and laughed a lot during the show. There were a bunch of friends there and we all enjoyed ourselves. If you are around and inclined, you should come some time. It's like nothing you've ever seen before. After the show we all went out and had a drink and a bit of something to eat. I took a cab home. I usually do when I go to the Miz Kitty Show. I ride with someone there and cab it home....

This morning we all got up and went to church. We're trying to be consistent with church. We want the kids to participate in the Christmas Pageant. They have never wanted to before and this year is the year...finally. They practice after church so we really need to be there for that and for, well, CHURCH! For us, it's the right thing to do and I think it's a good community for our children.

When we got home Sophia and I quick, made some cookies. We were going to the Trans Siberian Orchestra where Caitlin Moe was performing as one of their featured violinists. The cookies were for Caitlin and anyone she wanted to share them with. They've been on the road for weeks and it is a crazy schedule that they keep. That and eating on the road can be brutal. They were in town less than 24 hours and did 2 shows. We wanted to host a dinner but they didn't have time. Cookies would have to suffice.

The show was at 3:00 and we were a bit early. We had seats in the 8th row, awesome. The show was really something. Rock and roll Christmas. The lights were going, lots of lasers and pyrotechnics, it was amazing. And Caitlin was great. She spotted us in the audience fairly early and gave us a couple of waves and lots of smiles. Sophia felt like SHE was a star. It was very cute. T

hose musicians are the hardest working group of musicians I have ever seen. They were running and jumping the WHOLE time. AND I know they have done this the past 2 days, twice a day in 2 other cities. Exhausting! They load in the buses after their 7:30 show tonight to head to Salt Lake City. I am too old for that, I can't imagine!

I was smiling the whole show. Partly because it was just good fun. Partly because the guy next to us was singing and playing air guitar A LOT! There was a big fan group near us. They told us that they had been every year for like 10 years. They were all going crazy. It was fun to watch. Everyone was just really enjoying themselves and that is what it's all about.

After the show Caitlin came out to say hello. She had wanted to bring us back stage but because of the tight turn around they weren't letting anyone back there. We chatted and took a couple pictures. We handed over the cookies, Caitlin was grateful. She is such and nice girl. I wish her luck and a good night's sleep.

Bob had dinner all ready for us when we got home. He and the boys just hung out and stayed home. They DID clean the basement. Good job boys!

It was a really nice weekend. Our week will be great too. Monday is a regular Monday but after that, Bob, Sophia and Coulter are off all week. We're doing a family snack day in Kees' class on Wednesday and then we're going to Mom and Ed's for Thanksgiving. It will be a fun and busy week. I hope your weekend was as fun as our's.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Gaggle of Geese

Sophia and I were talking about funny names of groups yesterday. I told her how Bob and I used to make up names because some of the real names are so funny.

A group of CROWS is a MURDER. ALLIGATORS are a CONGREGATION. That's a little confusing with the whole church thing. Then there is a CHARM of FINCHES. A BLOAT of HIPPOS. LARKS are an EXALTATION. I think we should change from alligators to larks at church. "And now if the exaltation would rise and sing." Doesn't that sound better? How about a ROMP of OTTERS? Wouldn't a ROMP of RABBITS be more appropriate? A WRECK of SEA BIRDS? I thought that applied to ships only. You also have your BARREL OF MONKEYS. Really! They're called a barrel.

So while discussing all this I told her some of the ones that I had come up with. Who's to say they're wrong? How about a SLIME of SNAKES? Makes sense.... Or a BUZZ of BEES. What about a TANGLE of GIRAFFES? I like a GIGGLE of LAUGHING HYENAS. You know since they're laughing and all. A JOSTLE of SQUIRRELS....and so on. You can also do the same to groups of people. A LIE of POLITICIANS. A SCHEME of BLOGGERS. A SCHOOL of TEACHERS....OK that one could be real. A THUMP of CARDIOLOGISTS. Then Sophia and I decided on a BOOGER of CHILDREN. We really laughed hard over that one. Especially since everyone is sick this time of year. Then we used it in sentences. "Sophia, how many kids are in your class?" "A whole big BOOGER mom." "Wow! That's a lot!" Ha ha ha ha, he he he.... we are so funny.

So that is the conversation we had in the car yesterday. Talk to your kids about it and see what they come up with. They have some great ideas.

And if you want to see the real names for all the animals the San Diego Zoo is the place. Some of the names are hilarious and THOSE are all REAL.

Flu, Swine Flu, Stomach Thing????? I Dunno....

Sophia was sick about 3 weeks ago. She went to spend the night at a friends house and woke up at 3:30 throwing up. Poor baby. She was sick for a day and a half. Was that the Swine Flu?

A week ago I stopped by the nurses stand at Kaiser. I asked, "Will there be any more flu vaccine this year?" The receptionist said that there wouldn't be and that I should wash my hands, cover my cough, avoid sick people, and keep my hands away from my face. "Thanks" I said and almost rolled my eyes. I know she is just saying what they have told her to say but really.

I have 3 small people and 2 of them practically sneeze in your face, they WILL lick you and the quick nose pick is not unusual. I don't want to know where the boogers are. The Lysol Wipes are good but there must be some sort of Irradiation Machine that I could get. The kids could just walk through it daily after school. Yes, I am going to look into that.

Tuesday, this week, Sophia woke up with a headache, a temp of 102.5 and her back and legs were sore. I called the peds nurse who said, "It's probably H1N1 and it's probably just the beginning. She was hot and uncomfortable all day but she was able to bring herself to watch TV....LOTS OF TV. We all stayed away from her for the most part and any time she moved through an area I would follow behind with Lysol Wipes.

Wednesday she still had a fever of 101.5 but felt much better. Again, TV...not a lot of sleep, just a lot of TV. I insisted that she read and then she was only able to read 2 pages before she was just "too tired." Yeah, right.... Back on with the TV. By bed time, no fever...we'll see.

Thursday...NO FEVER!!!! Off to school. I took her over to her friend's house so they could walk to school while I dropped Kees off at his school. I got a call 10 minutes after I dropped her off. Her legs hurt, her stomach had "bubbles" in it and she wanted to come home. I picked her up. I was sick of being at home....I took her to coffee with Bob and I. She was able to stomach a steamed milk. I figured if she could do that she could go to....Fred Meyer. I hadn't been out of the house in 3 days! I will tell you that before we left the coffee shop we did our community service and wiped the table down with hand sanitizer. Sophia didn't want anyone else to get what she has.

Fred Meyer was successful and I picked up just a few things. If she could go to Fred Meyer then why not Costco? Off we went to Costco. Again, I didn't need much, just the usual $500 basket. How is it that every time I walk through the door it's $500? That's another post. Sophia was fine the whole time. A little tired but fine. We picked Kees and his buddy up from school and then headed home. Sophia went right back up stairs and turned on the TV. What's a girl to do?

Last night I insisted she shower, wash her hair and get ready for school the next day. Enough with the half sick kid. She agreed and said she was missing going to school. That was nice to hear.

So with a bit of trepidation, I sent her to school today. She has been with out a fever for more then 24 hours. Unfortunately, she woke up with a headache and a few stomach cramps. A couple of Ibuprofen later and a bit of breakfast too, she was much better. So today, I made sure I was near a phone all day. It's 12:30 now and no call. I pray this is good news. And I ask....Was that the Swine Flu?

So far so good, knock on wood, pick a 4 leaf clover and hold on to your rabbit's foot. No one else in the family has been sick. Who's going to take care of me if I am sick? The thought terrifies me. I am praying that we are all healthy for Thanksgiving. I want to make sure we do not pass this along to anyone else.

Wash your hands, cover your cough, avoid sick people and keep your hands away from your face. That's what the pros say. Yeah, good luck with that.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

At dinner Kees was telling us that one of his friends knew everything. I said, "I don't think so." And Sophia said, "Oh yeah, well ask him what x + y + z equals." And she had a little smirk on her face. I asked her what that equalled and she said, "I don't know but Einstein knew."

Later the kids were talking about what Bob does for a living. He said that he, "Worked on computers and cracked people open." The kids all giggled and said that he didn't crack people open because he was NOT a doctor. They all agreed that Bob turns computers on and off for a living. Yep, that's what they pay him the "big bucks" for.

Coulter announced, "I know how long it takes to get older." I, surprised, asked, "Really? How long?" He reported, "It takes 8 weeks to get older. No wait, maybe it's 80 weeks." And now we all know.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Little Things



This may look like just a stapler to you. But to me it's a little bit of happiness. I had an old stapler. It was a standard black Swingline, circa about 1989. Nothing special. You know the standard top load model. Lucky for me, my kids lost it. I am sure it's lost in the house some place, but it's been gone for three weeks now. In my book that is really lost.

On Sunday we took a family trip to Costco. You can imagine how excited the kids were to go....NOT! I have a rule about Costco. I make a list and then I stick to the list EXCEPT I am allowed one thing that is not on the list. The one thing can not be a TV or a computer, it has to reasonable. Then if there are two things that I want that are not on the list I have to decide which one to get. The dropped item can go on the list for the next time I go to Costco if I still really want it. Most of the time I reason myself out of the second item and it never gets on a list.

My item this time was.....wait for it....wait for it....a stapler. Yes, I know you know that since it's right there on top. I love my new stapler. It's easy to use, easy to load and, for now, it staples correctly every time. I used it quite a few times today. I am considering getting my stapler "chipped" you know, like they do dogs and cats. I will not be happy if it goes missing and can not be located. Maybe I could attach one of my old cell phones and then call it if it goes missing. Ahhh, finally a good use for my old cell phones. I did hide it in hopes that the small people will not know about it or where to look for it. But they'll find it...they always do.

I remember as a kid that my dad had a pad lock on his tool kit. My mom got so frickin' mad one day she paged my dad 10 times, called his office and had them over head page at the hospital to try and track him down. She needed a damn hammer and she needed it now! I, of course, could see her point. A pad lock on your tools? It seemed so silly, aren't those for everyone to use? NOW of course, I totally get it.

I am considering a small locked drawer for all the important things I need. In that drawer would be the following; a hammer, a multi functional screw driver, pliers, box cutter, tape, MY NEW STAPLER, scissors, nail clippers, a tape measure, Carmex, a good pen, a couple pencils, note paper, my Ipod, a glue gun and glue sticks, a hole punch (that's a new kid favorite), one candy bar for emergencies, and maybe a drill but that ones only if the drawer is big enough. Of course then I would have to wear the key on a necklace so ONLY I could access the secret stash. Oh the little things that can make you crazy with kids.

I say to my type "A" dad, "It took 30 years but dad, I GET IT." It must have been secretly gratifying to go to your tool box and KNOW that what you left there was still there. I'm not sure what MY solution will be. But for today the little thing that I am really happy with is my new (albeit hidden) stapler. Yes, it is the little things in life that make me happy.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Me and Maria Shriver

Upon first glance you may think that Maria Shriver and I do not have much in common. In fact, we may not have much in common but we do have one major similarity. I'll explain later.....

My dad is a doctor. All growing up we hung out with doctor's families. Mom and dad went to doctor's parties. My friends were doctor's kids. Mom decorated doctor's offices and then their homes. You get the idea, there were lots of doctors around. You couldn't swing a cat with out hitting a doctor. I decided early on that I didn't want to be married to a doctor and I didn't want to go to doctor's parties and be the doctor's wife. Not that there is anything wrong with that I know LOTS of amazing doctor's wives, it just isn't what I wanted to be.

Bob has done very well in his career. He has moved up through the ranks as an IT guy and is now moving into the operations side of things. He worked at the now defunct Egghead.com. Then he was with Banfield The Pet Hospital working in IT. Now he is the CIO and Chief of Staff for the Sunnyside Hospital with Kaiser Permanente. I am so proud of the work he has done and the leader that he is. It's a little funny to me that he is working for a health care organization since that is what I grew up with....health care that is.

Guess what? Bob called me on Monday afternoon and said, "Get a babysitter for tomorrow night. We've been invited to the annual Doctor's Dinner." I asked, "Who all will be there?" And Bob says, "The usual crowd and then all the doctors wives and such." I start to laugh, laugh really hard. How can this be happening? Here I am going about my life and I am now attending a party in essentially the same role as a doctors wife. Nope, you can not guarantee anything in life.

When I married Bob I KNEW I would not be married to a doctor. He was a budding IT guy working in a warehouse doing inventory control. He was smart and was developing his resume. He was going to go far. I knew he would be successful and he would NOT be a doctor.

I have heard Maria Shriver talk about when she met Arnold Schwarzenegger. He's a foreigner with a heavy accent, he's a body builder and an actor. She grew up in politics and was NOT interested in the least in being a politician's wife. When she fell in love with Arnold one of the things that she KNEW FOR SURE is that he would NEVER get into politics. I mean look at the guy. Well we all know how that turned out. Not a politician? I guess you can never say never.

So that is what Maria Shriver and I have in common. We both got what we were not looking for. It's not a bad thing it's just not what we planned. Honestly, I think the fact that I ended up at the annual Doctor's Dinner is hilarious. And I am pretty sure that Maria thinks it's pretty funny that she is living in the California Governors Mansion. It goes to show that God has a really good sense of humor and that our plans often are just rough drafts.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Shower Party

Every morning I get up and take a shower between 7:10 and 7:20. I get up, turn on the NPR, turn on the shower and then I hop in the shower. I like to enjoy the warm shower waking me up while I catch up on the news. Next I see Coulter, "Mom, can I turn on the heater?" "Sure" He comes in, sits down and cozies up to the heater. "Mom, if 3 people tie then it's a 3 way tie. Right?" Me, "Right" "What if 50,000 people tied? Then it would be a 50,000 way tie." Now Kees comes in, "Move ovah Cotah." Coutler moves over and Kees starts sharing his important information. "Mom wouldn't it be weahd if twucks had feet?" "Yeah." You can never get enough of these kinds of conversations. And finally Sophia and the dog arrive. Sophia now shares her pertinent information. Yet again....a party in my bathroom while I am taking a shower. Being a mom of three means there are VERY few things you can count on doing solo. I used to think a shower would be one of them but it isn't.

As this is all going on this morning Bob pops his head in and says, "Good bye. I love you." SCREECH.....hold the phone "You told me you had a meeting 5 minutes from here at 8:30 not 7:15." Bob - "I do but I have to pick something up on the way." "What? Coffee?" Bob says with a smile on his face, "Yeah.....come on kids. Let's get some cereal." They all file out with daddy.

I don't begrudge the man his coffee but don't tell me you'll be here and then run out. Especially when I am in the shower! He knows that....I love him and by his cute response, I know he loves me. He's thinking that he almost got away with it....ALMOST.

I remember when I was a kid getting up on Saturday mornings, cozying up in front of our heater and watching cartoons. It was really nice sitting there with my brother getting warm. Maybe that is what my kids like too it's just that the heater is in my bathroom.

I vacillate between wanting them out and not caring that they are there. Soon enough they'll be grossed out my their mom in the shower and I will have quiet time with my NPR. At some point it will be gross to have them in there frankly. So for now I try and accept that this is how it is. Their endless chatter. It is so important to them and they share such big ideas. You can practically see their wheels turning.

As a little side bar. I remember reading Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth" and at one point he talked about taking a shower. How most people are already at the office (in their head) by the time they hit the shower. They don't stop and just enjoy the warm water, the quiet time and the time to wake up. They don't live in the moment, NOW. That being said, I am pretty sure Eckhart Tolle does not have kids.

So I try and live in the moment and accept my morning shower parties. They won't last forever and I am sure when they are over I will miss them. I need to just accept that for now a shower is a social event.