Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I am the ant: Part II

This is my Dad, doing one of his favourite things.
Having fun.

Here he is, with our first sheep, known as Frisky. Frisky was a good sheep, who came running across the fields with thundering hoofs whenever we called him. He was gigantic, being bottle-fed for some weeks past the point we should have cut him off. Dad, and we, loved this lamb.

Dad was on a Scout camp when he rescued this orphaned goat. We called her Whiskey, for some strange reason. Dad loved Whiskey too and built her a little house where she lived in our back garden.

Dad worked at Church College of New Zealand as the plumber. He started work at 7:30am but usually went in an hour or two early to work on his private projects. He worked hard and whenever he sat for very long he fell asleep. Sometimes it was at the dinner table, after a nice meal cooked by my Mum, and sometimes it was sitting against a wall on a sunny day.

Dad loved to go camping. Mum always said this photo made them look like diddicoys, or gypsies.

I come by my stockpiling instincts honourably. When we moved to New Zealand in 1967, my Dad, for the first time since we joined the Mormon church five years earlier, was surrounded by members of the church.  Most of us are fiercely independent and believe in being self-sufficient. He embraced the lifestyle with enthusiasm.
He owned it.
He became that guy, the one who built wheat grinders and researched the best way to store wheat. He was the guy who found the suppliers for bulk food and got frustrated when people weren't as enthused as he was over buying 40lb buckets of honey. Dad was a force of nature when it came to getting things done and his old friends still remember all of the work he did to help them get their food storage items.

After our new house was built, Dad enclosed the area under the stairs in the basement and disguised the door that led into it. He lined the walls with shelves and bought himself a shotgun. His philosophy was that he had done everything he could to persuade his neighbours of the importance of being prepared and now they were on their own.

My sister read Part I and was teasing me about revealing my stockpiles to the world. I reassured her that I would tell the rest of the story.

My Dad was good to the bone, but he did not suffer fools lightly.

I am my father's daughter.
Right down to the shotgun.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A budding talent

Sam's in town for the weekend.
Apartment hunting, with her handy-dandy little ring-binder in hand. 
I refuse to tempt fate by telling you that the boy will be home in a matter of weeks.

We sang in church today: Jeff and Jonnie boomed out the bass, Bethany crooned the counter-tenor, Sam, Kenzie, and little Natalie belted out the soprano, and I sang alto and strummed guitar.
We sang Rock of Ages very enthusiastically.
I love making music with the progeny.

The rest of the day was full of children bouncing around the house and eating everything in sight. As the night was winding down and Bethany's crew had gone home, four-year-old Jeff started taking photos with his mama's camera.
I think he has a latent talent.


With his Aunty Sam.


Daddy the.....werewolf?

He got very excited about this one. Hands! Hands! he kept shouting.

The family rat. Um, dog. Squeaker by name.

Our front door.

The end.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I am the ant: Part I

I was at Fred Meyer a few weeks ago, buying milk and oj on one of their frequent "$1.25 for a half-gallon" coupons.
Well, they used to be a dollar, but, you know, price of oil and all that.
When we had a houseful living at home, I always bought the limit of ten, because five gallons of anything didn't last long. Now that it is just The Two of Us (why do I want to burst into song?) I usually buy a couple of oj's and four milk.
So I get up to the checkout and the clerk says, Did you know there's a limit of four?
Why no, I said in surprise. How long has it been four?
Oh, a few months, she replied.
She went on, Yes, they had to lower the limit because people were hoarding. They were freezing the milk.
In my mind, I was sarcastic.
You see, I have frozen milk. Although, not for a couple of decades.
But, afraid that she would see the hoarder in my eyes, I smiled sweetly and said, Well, I guess it depends on your perspective. Some people would call it smart shopping. She conceded the point, albeit reluctantly.
And as I walked out of the store, I wondered what my fellow shoppers would think of me if they could see this

and the buckets of wheat that I plan to eat before I die.
Or foist off onto my children.

And do they know that gallon jars are my favourite size for lentils and chocolate chips?

And that I buy my flour in 50lb bags from Costco?

My spare room closets are havens of cans of hot cocoa mix and rice and dried potatoes

and vacuum-sealed bags of chocolate chips and Clif bars and boxes of candles and Emergen-C.

My freezer seldom has a cubic inch of spare space

and my pantry.
Well, let's not talk about my pantry. It is a disorganized mess and my oldest granddaughter needs to come help me organize it.

So yes, I am the ant.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Can I be a doting Nana for a few seconds?

I know most of you have already seen these gorgeous photos that Bethany's friend took of Madelyn, but channel Maurice Chevalier, if you please.

Thank Heaven for little girls

for little girls get bigger every day!

 Thanks Heaven for little girls

they grow up in the most delightful way!

Oops, how did he get in here?
Hi little Gabe!

Those little eyes so helpless and appealing
one day will flash and send you crashin' through the ceilin'.

Thank Heaven for little girls, thank Heaven for them all,
no matter where, no matter who, 
for without them, what would little boys do?

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Un-Anniversary

Our anniversary was on the day before I got back from Haiti. In anticipation of future guilt, I booked us into the Garibaldi House on the Oregon coast for New Year's weekend. I had a Living Social coupon that needed to be used anyway, so it was a winning deal all around.

So, our New Year's Eve was spent away from home for the first time in years. Luckily, little Madelyn co-operated by being born in the nick of time and we left town on Friday. I was ailing, but soldiered on.
Garibaldi is a small fishing town with not much happening in the middle of winter, but it is within a short drive of Tillamook and Cannon Beach, which are fun places to visit.

We walked into the foyer of the Garibaldi House and our nostrils were assailed with the smell of clam chowder. There was a tureen of soup, accompanied with biscuits, available in the foyer all evening. After we took our bags up to our room we came down the glass elevator...

...and sat by the fire, eating chowder.

It was cozy and peaceful, with light jazz playing on the stereo and the occasional guests checking in at the desk.
Another nice touch was the coffee urn and iced water available all day, although the water had sliced cucumber floating in it, which was not appreciated by moi.

A covered platter of Tillamook sausage, cheeses and crackers was also free for the nibbling in the foyer.

The hallways were still tastefully decorated for Christmas.

Next to the elevator was a table set up with a jigsaw puzzle. I confess I became fixated on making sense of it. We spent some time on it on Friday night and made some progress. It was a fun puzzle, with fantastical images and glitter all around.

The room wasn't the most glamourous  we have ever booked but there were many unique and comfortable features. 

The towels were all folded artistically and were fluffy and soft.

The sheets were a soft cotton of high thread count and the covers were European-style duvets, so you never have to sleep under an unwashed coverlet. One of my favourite things. 
I forgot my pillow, but these pillows were bearable.

I didn't realize that we had booked a "romance package", so we had some surprises on the table.
Two bottles of water. Gratis.

Some full-size toiletries to take home and a little package of European chocolates, which were quickly eaten.

On Saturday, after a full breakfast in the dining room that was included in the room price, we walked around Garibaldi.
It didn't take long.
Not much going on but grey skies,

grey sea,

grey boxes, 

and rusty old chains.

We drove up to Cannon Beach later in the day. We walked around the shops for a while but the day was drawing down so we walked all the way across town to get a bowl of Dooger's famous clam chowder. I was feeling wobbly from the cold meds I had taken and the long walk proved to be my undoing, so after dinner we drove back to Garibaldi. We passed the rest of the evening quietly, working on the jigsaw puzzle, eating hamburger sliders in the foyer and watching TV.

I loved the Garibaldi House. You can get a room for under $100 a night and the little niceties make it feel like it is worth much more. If you want a quiet, comfortable get-away, this is the place for you.

On the way home on Sunday we stopped to take photos of mossy trees.

I am unreasonably fond of mossy trees.
How about you?