Sunday, January 31, 2010

What's In A Name?

Recently Jaimee posted that Lily has taken to calling Jason "Dada" even though Jaimee refers to him as "Jason" when she talks to Lily. Jaimee wondered if Lily calls Jason "Dada" because she hears Jaimison call him "Dad". I'm thinking Lily is so smart, she probably wonders why Jaimee calls Dada "Jason". I truly believe children know when they belong with someone...and it has nothing to do with biology.

When I read Jaimee's blog, I was filled with the emotion that only a person who grew up in a splintered family could feel. For most of my early life, from age 6 on, I was the book-worm child that didn't fit in. I often felt (and I know rightly so) that I was not wanted by my stepfather Andy (father of my two younger sisters) nor by my stepmother June (who had her own "only child" daughter that she put on a pedestal), and so I lived in my own lonely little world. I called my step-parents Andy and June if I called them by name, which I seldom did, and always felt the sting of being the outsider when my sisters climbed on their "Daddy's" lap or my stepsister asked her "Mama" to braid her hair. I'm sure I put on a worldly air and pretended not to care, but I knew I never would be a real member of those families.

While I was living unhappily with my father and June at age 14, my mother met and married a man named John. I barely knew John when I returned to live with my mother and him at age 16. Looking back, I would not think a life-long bachelor like John could so easily become a father to three girls, but somehow he made a transistion not to step-fatherhood, but fatherhood. Cindy, Becky and I called him Dad simply because that's what seemed natural, and when I had three daughters he was the Grandpa the girls followed around and adored. Especially the two littlest, whom "Gwapa" babysat from 8 am to 3 pm on Tuesday and Thursday so I didn't have to drop out of college. He did this despite the fact that on Mon, Wed, and Friday he endured 8 long hours of kidney dialysis due to full kidney failure.




"Mixed" marriages weren't as common back then as they are now. Dad, as you can see, was Japanese. His granddaughters, as you can also see, were not. He told me once he got a kick out of the reaction people had as the girls led him through the Safeway store picking out gwapes for Gwapa and whoa-whoas and nem-a-nems (Rollos and M&Ms) for themselves. Their routine was to first drive to the magic money box (ATM) where Grandpa always had the patience to let them push the buttons to get out a $20 bill, no matter how long it took or how many pissed off people piled up behind them. Then on to Safeway for their shopping binge, two little grandkids who held their Grandpa's hand tightly and never noticed that they looked a little different than he did.


My advice to parents who are creating new families where there are young children involved is to let the children feel like they are part of the family by calling the step-parent Mom or Dad if they are at all inclined. It does not take away from the parent-child bond if one child has two people who share the same title. It just allows the child to feel a little more safer in their world, and after all, "Mom" or "Dad" or even "Gwapa" is more than a name, it's a duty bestowed upon you and it's not for the weak at heart.

Friday, January 29, 2010

I've Seen This One Before

Lily's mom took this picture of her little one on the prowl. The look in her eye makes me think she's trying to get something quick before it gets snatched away and put up for safety.

When I looked at this picture, I thought to myself, "hmmm, I think I've seen this one before."





Yep, right behind Jaysa there's a hand ready to snatch the doll away. Looks familar doesn't she. It's easy to see that Lily takes right after her mama in both looks and personality.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Isn't She Lovely, My Little Baby

My oldest daughter Jenny has always been a doll. I especially like her in bangs and always cut her hair with bangs when she was little. For many of the past years she has not worn bangs, and since she's always had an independent streak I tried to keep my suggestions to myself. Unusual for me I know, but sometimes it's better to be quiet.



I can't tell you how happy I was when she decided to change her style recently and went back to wearing bangs like in these pictures when she was little.



I was looking at her pictures last night and thinking she really doesn't know how pretty she is. It's too easy to sell yourself short and to see only your flaws. I wish she would see what we, her husband and her family, see. After all these years, she still has the great big chocolate brown eyes and silky dark brown hair she was born with. Back when she was little I used to dance her around and sing "Isn't she lovely, my little baby..."


When I see this picture, that song pops right back into my head and we're doing the dance again.



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

From Time To Time

In an earlier post, I talked about how my sister-in-law Karen sat with me when I was in labor with Jaysa. Karen would wrap her arms around her stomach and rock back and forth each time I felt a contraction. I laughed, she groaned. Thank you Karen for doing all the work while I got the beautiful baby!

At that time, Karen was a young newlywed. Little did she know that she was actually pregnant while we shared those hours of my labor.

Nine months after Jaysa was born, Karen gave birth to her own daughter, Cheryl. I'm sorry I wasn't there to keep Karen company as she had done for me, but we had moved to California by the time Cheryl was born. Karen brought Cheryl to see us when she was about a month old.
Since she and I are divorced from the two brothers we were married to, I haven't seen Karen in a long time. Only our daughters are connected to the family now.
It was a treat for me to see that one of the cousins who threw Jaysa's baby shower was Cheryl. She's grown into a beautiful and talented young woman, just like her mother. Cheryl is seated on the left in the picture below.

I wonder if she knows that she was there with her mother that day long ago? Two women and two babies, lives interwoven from time to time.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Whiskey For My Men And Beer For My Horses

During a family get-together Thanksgiving 2008, while everyone was engrossed in conversation, no one noticed that Tucker had dressed himself up in a cowboy outfit. Silently he had climbed up on a bench (knocking all the pillows off) and managed to snag a cowboy hat off a hat-rack high on the wall, then rounded up a pair of Grandpa's boots.

In fact, until he shouted "YEEHAWW" and proudly posed, no one was aware of his get up.



We all agreed that, given 20 years, there will be a lot of cowgirls vying for Tucker's attention. He loved having his picture taken and even allowed older brother Jack to get in on his act.





Friday, January 22, 2010

Some People Are Larger Than Life

When I was little my Uncle Tough was larger than life, and I often wished he was my father instead of my uncle. He was the happy-go-lucky type with a twinkle in his eye and to be around him was exciting. It wasn't until I was about 12 that I found out his name was Harold. He always was, and always will be, Uncle Tough to me.

Tough was left with 3 daughters to raise when he met the love of his life, a widow named Helen. She was his brother's new mother-in-law, so when he and Helen got married, his brother became his son-in-law. Helen had another daughter who later married Tough's nephew and that nephew took to calling Tough "Uncle Daddy" and Tough got a real kick out of that.


The picture above is of Tough and Helen on one of their many road trips. They traveled together and saw the country, always laughing and cutting up. I imagined life would be good if I could find a love like theirs.


About 5 years after this picture was taken, Tough developed a very serious cancer condition. Faced with his probable death, he and Helen decided to take one last road trip together before he started a series of surgeries and treatment. When they stopped by to see us, it was hard to tell that he was facing a very serious threat. He repeatedly said his condition was "just a bump in the road" and that he planned to live a long, long life. While he was gone to the store one day, Helen made a statement I've never been able to forget. She said, "I don't know how I'll live without Harold." After they left, we hoped for Tough to get well. Unfortunately, we didn't hope for Helen. Within a few months, Helen developed cancer and soon died. Tough took care of her in the end, instead of the other way around.


Uncle Tough lived another 15 years or so after Helen died. He took his road trips by himself, becoming a snowbird between Arizona and Washington state. He still laughed and joked, but somehow he just never had that twinkle in his eye with Helen gone. I still think of him often and laugh about the stories he told. He's still larger than life to me. The lesson he taught me is to never take life too seriously. The lesson Helen taught me is to be very careful about what you say and believe. I wonder how many times she said "I don't know how I'll live without Harold" before her body took her serious. It appears words can hurt you.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Twins

We have a baby girl in the family. Her name is Lily. When her mother brought her home from the hospital, there were no other siblings in the family. Well...uh... that's not quite true. Her mother had two terriers she rescued from the animal shelter some years before.

We all wondered if the dogs would see Lily as their sister. As you can see in these pictures, the younger dog, Wrigley, took on the role of the protecting big brother. There were few pictures taken of Lily in her first few months at home that big brother Wrigley cannot be seen watching out for his little sister.

Sometimes he gets close up as if to inspect the quality of his mother's care for the little one.




And, sometimes he just stands by to ensure that everyone knows he's there for any possible need for his supervision.














There are times Wrigley can hardly contain his joy for this little sister. You have to wish all siblings were as content to be near their little sister as Wrigley is to be with Lily.









When Wrigley's favorite uncle Mike came to see the new baby, Wrigley faced a considerable problem. He trusted Uncle Mike, but found peace only by putting himself as close to Lily as he could get. The sad thing was, keeping a watchful eye on Lily often meant Wrigley did not get the cuddles from Mike he had so many times before, but Wrigley was willing to sacrifice for Lily's safety. No big brother ever gave up so much for someone so little.





Now that Lily is getting bigger, Wrigley must be facing a crisis. It may seem to him that she no longer needs his constant care. He must've asked himself,


"What will I be if I'm not her protector?"




It looks like he's come to a decision. If Lily no longer needs him as a big brother to spy on her and make sure she's ok...then why not be her twin?








Friday, January 15, 2010

Hard To Believe This Baby Is Having A Baby

From the day she was born, she was the easiest person to get along with. Even before she was born, she was easy. On the day she was born, my sister-in-law Karen sat in the hospital room with me and couldn't believe that I was not in any pain. Each time I had a contraction Karen grabbed her stomach and rocked back in forth in agony while I, with my big 9-and-a-half-month belly, sat there laughing at Karen's antics.




She came into the world with wide-open eyes and hair so long it touched her shoulders in the back. It didn't take long for a lop-sided grin to take over her face. She charmed everyone, most of all me and her older sister Jenny, who had begged for a sister for so long.

Even at 14 months she had a style all her own. She loved purses and shoes. But she wouldn't keep her shoes on and insisted on wearing her purse across her chest like a swashbuckler's sword. I would get her dressed only to have her show up barefoot 5 minutes later when I was ready to go out the door. "Where... are... your... shoooooes?" I would ask, irritation starting to show. "I KNOW!" she would proudly exclaim and run to her bed to show me all her shoes lined up in a row.




She loved being outside and quickly took control of any game paraphnelia she could get hold of. The bigger kids in the neighborhood would try getting her out of the game, but she was braver than they and usually carried around parts and pieces of whatever game was being played. Her grin kept her from getting creamed on more than one occasion.




I have a tape recording of the day she got all dolled up in her new 'rower skates' as she called them. In the recording she asks "Where's Daddy?" To which I reply, "Why? Do you want to show him your roller skates?" Her reply?



"No, I want to show him ME!"




When you're hitting sixty like I am, you often ask yourself "where in the world have the years gone?



Now that little girl with the lop-sided grin is due to have a baby of her own in a couple of weeks. She's hardly gained any weight while her husband Mike proudly announced to all the baby shower participants that he's put on 15 pounds!



I plan to be there for the birth and hope with all my heart her son comes into this world with all the charm and ease that she did. With a husband like Mike, she'll probably be laughing as he grabs his stomach and rocks back and forth, like Karen so long ago.




I'll be laughing too, but I'm sure she'll forgive me if there are a few tears mixed in. I'll try to keep her mind busy with the weather or books, but all the time I'll be thinking "Man, where did all those years go?"

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Little Girl And A Cake


I was surfing blogs and came to a post by a mother who has just given up sugar. Her little girl wanted a cake, but mom doesn't want to bake one so she lets the child bake and decorate the cake while she takes pictures.

It reminded me of the little girl in this picture from what seems like a long, long time ago. The batter dripping off her chin is a priceless memory!

Anyway, the blog post is about the cutest post I've seen. The way the little girl decorates the cake is adorable. The website is below. I don't know why, but I can't get my links to link so you will have to type in the blogsite. It's worth the effort.

http://megduerksen.typepad.com/whatever

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bill Has A New Girlfriend

Fedex arrived today with a box from Dell for Bill. He called me at lunch time "just to say hi"...yeah, right! So I played along and chatted him up until he couldn't stand it any more and asked "Did FEDEX bring my new computer?" "Come on Bill, I know you probably have been checking the tracking and saw they delivered it at 10."
"Yes", he said "but it shows someone named 'Solsen' signed for it and I was worried they delivered it to the wrong address." Nope, just my crummy handwriting. "Well, I'll come straight home tonight."

Hmmmmmm...I wonder if he's really missing me or is it the delivery he wants to embrace? What do you think?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Down On The Floor

I went to Walmart to buy some sports bras and was amazed at how they display these items. If you're a candidate for The Biggest Loser and wear a larger size, you may not find any. And, if they do have your size, it will be so damn low you have to be a gymnist to get down on the floor to get one. Come on Walmart, think about where you're placing your merchandize!

Raquel Welch (still a bombshell at her age somewhere in the 60's) was on TV a while back and she said she wears a size 42...YES, 42...bra. So I figure anyone wearing a size 36 or less is no doubt going to be lean and nimble, yet they put those sizes right in front at chest height where all you have to do is reach out and touch them. But, over size 36, they put those sizes at the bottom of the rack. And, the larger the size the farther back you have to reach. I swear I lost 5pounds doing squats and rolling around on the floor trying to get a bra!

But, I did get some sports bras...so BUFF, here I come. How are you doing with your word?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Telling Your Story

I learned today from a blog by a writer named Donald Miller that I'm on the right track with my word-for-the-year, but missed a step that will help me make "buff" a reality. I will have to go re-think my actions here, but in the meantime, you may want to read the post about telling a story on his blog.

Donald Miller explains you can change your life by creating a story and lays out his format in a writer's approach. I found his blog post very inspiring and plan to buy his book as well as becomming a daily reader of his blog.

http://donmilleris.com/2010/01/01/living-a-good-story-an-alternative-to-new-years-resolutions/

Monday, January 4, 2010

Scrubbing Bubbles Doesn't Work As Hairspray

I have a lunch date at 11:00 and was trying to get ready, listen to Dave Ramsey podcasts, and clean the bathrooms at the same time. Bad mistake!

After I sprayed Scrubbing Bubbles in the sinks in the master bath and cleaned them out, I walked into the hall bath (where I do my hair and makeup) and set the Scrubbing Bubbles on the counter so I could clean that sink later. Well, shit happens, and I went into the bedroom for something then combed my hair and went off to the hall bath to spray my hair with hairspray. Being not totally sane, I forgot about the Scrubbing Bubbles and it honestly DOES look like a can of hairspray in the dark and WHY would I turn on the light just to spray my hair?

As soon as the spray hit my hair I realized this was not hairspray...TOO LATE!

Do you think my husband and father-in-law will smell the fresh scent on my head? I'll let you know!

Quitting Drive-bys (Drive-buys) For The Month

Now that I've picked "buff" as my word for the year (and posted it for all the world to read), I'm just beginning to realize it might've been easier to make a list of resolutions and forget them in a month's time.

How about you? Did you pick a word that's going to be hard to live up to? I hope so! Life will be boring if you don't have to stretch.

So now I ponder, how will "buff" change my world or how will I change my world for "buff" to come in? I know somewhere this year a gym is in my future, but not now. There are too many resolution-filled people down there joining up right now. I'll wait til they give up in a month or two. For now I need to do something easy, like...you know...AVOID something. So I'll avoid the drive-thrus for the month of January. That's my pledge for "buff" to happen, no more drive-buys at the drive-thru. I can do that.

Will you pick one thing to help your word for the year fulfill its destiny? What is it? Please put it out to the universe in the comments section below and, if you haven't picked a word yet, please hurry up...inquiring minds want to know!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Word For The Year

Instead of making New Year's resolutions that you will soon break, why not just pick a word for the year? The word could describe something you desire to be (joyful?) or wish you were (rich?), it's up to you.

I picked my word last night before the new year began...BUFF

If you know me, you know I'm far from buff. But, by this time next year? Maybe! It's all in the possibility, right?

So hurry up and pick your word. Then leave a comment here and tell all the world your word so it will be in the blogspere and you can come back and check it next Jan 1st.

Buff... I can't wait to see what happens to me this year with a word like that!