Thursday, June 28, 2012

dad's birthday

His birthday is tomorrow, and we had a party tonight.

But first we went to the little pool.

b.g. and t.g. were there with their Aunt Michelle, who babysits them now.  She's Alicia's brother's wife, and so we are related by marriage.   She's adorable and funny.  She's also my first real estate client, so of course I love her.

The party was tonight and it was the usual loud, rowdy bunch of eaters.

Like this? People now study their phones at length.   I didn't even notice when I snapped the picture.

 Here's Dad opening gifts.

 And now the cake!


Here are my parents, with Pam and me before my brother was even born.  So that's my dad there, and honestly, this man has been nice to me for like fifty dang years now.  I am sure he must have been irritated plenty of times, but I only remember him swatting me on the butt once when I spit my toothpaste on Pam's nightgown, and that seems pretty understandable.

And now here's a true thing:  Thank you for being our dad, the grand dad of all of us.  You are a person we can trust and rely on, a mentor who has brought us all along with stories of encouragement and possibility, with gratitude and a sense of humor besides.

This whole family is beyond lucky in having you.   Happy Birthday, Dad.  Lucky, lucky us.  love, Val and all of us

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

hot tonight

I found this picture on my camera and it's here for no particular reason, except I like it.

It's 12:03 and I can still hear Julia's giddy little laugh from down the hall.

It's steamy-hot here tonight, one of those handful of nights we never have the chance to really get used to. I jumped in the car late tonight and the temperature thing on the dash said 87 degrees.

At 11 at night?

Yep.  I drove home with the roof window open and the a/c off just to enjoy the balmy night.

Jay was cooking tonight because we're celebrating my dad's birthday tomorrow.

The deviled eggs were located in the fridge in the office.   Oh, my gosh, I ate four before I stopped myself and came back upstairs to run bath water.

Okay, the recipe:

Boil 18 eggs.

Cool and peel.

Cut in half lengthwise, popping the yolks into a separate bowl.

Arrange the egg whites however you can to steady them on a plate or a dish.

Using a potato masher or a fork, mash the yolks with a big spoonful or two of  Miracle Whip.

Add a tablespoon or two of mustard.   Stir and mash until the consistency is creamy.

Slice a few stalks of celery, and a couple very thin slices of onion into bits. Stir in.

Scoop a spoonful of this onto each egg half.

Sprinkle softly with cayenne pepper.

That's it.   Divine. 

Good night.  love, Val

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

there was once a beautiful tuesday in july

 Yes, there was.  Here we are at the little pool.

She cautiously enjoys the fun here.


This is Tim and a kid who is always happy to see him.

Here we've got your Maria and her friends and relatives enjoying a footsoak in MY foot massage thing.

I don't use it often, but there are nights after work where I do sit there a bit with the whirlpool on my very, very tired feet.

My poor feet. Every night at work is the equivalent of a trip to the state fair.  How far can a person walk in eight hours? Ten miles?  (Less? It feels like more.)  I should google the mileage on that.

This is my sofa under those goons. See the crooked lampshades? The freshly washed and dried blankets for the linen closet that they now have their asses parked on?  The messed up coffee table, which has been through some struggles of its own?


At suppertime, Jay, who had planned to cook spaghetti announced he was tired and went to McDonalds.

And he made some kids super-duper happy. Why do they like this so much?  Tonight I smelled the fries and felt a little ill.  No, thank you.

Then Jay had promised the kids he'd play swing ball. This is a game where the pitches balls to kids on the swings and fouls, home runs, etc. are determined by where the kicks go.

I thought this amounted to an evening of DAD running around the yard fielding balls, and that's stupid. He's already worked enough.

Okay, down in the window well is considered a foul.

But Kirsten gave Dad this cool yard game, which kept them occupied for a long time tossing disks.

We don't know who won, but that's fine. 

Now Tuesday is over, and so is most of June, and how did that happen?

Slow down, Summer, you sweet thing!

I love you so.  Come back and hug me!    love, Val

Sunday, June 24, 2012


But then there's this, a cupcake sealed up and left for me to find in the middle of the night.

love you, Lydia, MOM

school bus stories

This YouTube thing about the school bus attendant being abused by kids on the bus?

I haven't watched it--don't want to view that, a little cute lady being talked bad to by young jerks?


My kids hardly went to school back in the 80s before we quit, but we had a couple years of it.

John LOVED the bus. He adored the action, the drama, the people.

He used to come home with bus discipline slips for me to sign,   "Standing on the bus."

I'd say, "Were you standing on the bus?"


"You must sit down on the bus."


A week later we'd have this conversation again.  (What did they expect me to DO?)

And there was the day he missed the bus.  He'd goof around, arguing, being a twerp because he could.


He missed the bus.  Dan was on it. He was gone to school.

So I had to drive Johann.

But first I had to get dressed.  And then dress his sisters.  And nurse the baby.

Then I had to scrape off the car and get it started and warmed up.

And put snowsuits on the sisters.

And nurse the baby again.  He was pacing around, upset.

The trip to school was close to half an hour.

By the time he got there it was after 10:30.

He never missed the bus again.

But this is the part I'm trying to get to.  One morning the principal called me and started the conversation saying, "I've  met your son and he seemed like a nice little boy."

Okay, that freaked me out, SEEMED.  IS HE DEAD?  Why are you calling me unless he fell under a bus wheel?

"Oh no, no, no.  He's fine.   We've had some reports that children on the bus are being intimidated into giving up their lunches."


A kid had reported that older children on the bus would take food from the lunchboxes of younger children with the promise they'd let them live.

"EXTORTION?  On the bus?  Do you want me to bring him more food?"

He said, "Well, yes, heh-heh, extortion I guess so. No you don't have to bring him more food.  We have recovered your son's tangerine.  It was a nicely peeled tangerine in a baggie."

I said, "Yes, I peeled it myself this morning."

Then I started laughing maniacally. He wasn't dead. This was all about assholes and a tangerine??

Good LOR-ed.  The principal seemed befuddled like I wasn't taking this seriously enough.

I asked John about it when he came home and he basically said those kids were idiots and whatever.

He said the other kid was very upset by it, but he didn't pay any attention to them.


A couple months later, he came home, dusty, shirt full of dirt.

What happened?

Those kids on the bus had roughed him up because he LAUGHED when they got in trouble.


 The bus.  I have no answers.

And this whole tale comes with the date of 1986.  Twenty-six YEARS?  Is that even possible?

Evidently, and not much has changed.

Okay, not solving any problems tonight.

No wonder I love homeschool SO MUCH.   We've got no buses and  can act ugly to each other if we want to, I suppose.  Except we never do.  (much usually, sometimes a little. ahem.)

I wonder if any kids in this house have chocolate I could extort?   Hmmm.

 love, Val

Thursday, June 21, 2012

the pool and the parade

First we went to the little pool.

This is Lydia, aka Kari, putting sunblock on p.j.    Back when my oldest kids were little sunblock wasn't even invented.   If I had concerns, they wore a shirt.   None of the kids were prone to sunburn, luckily. 

She loved playing with the doll dishes, and we had to prevent her from drinking the pool water over and over.

After we'd been there a while, the kids went looking for a lost barbie doll and found a dead sparrow in the filter. 


They ran to inform the pool attendant.  (She attends.  She's not a lifeguard.  It's a somewhat gray area, but watch your own kids is the end of that story.)

She looked, recoiled, urged the children away from the filter and got on her phone.

One of the dads supervising young offspring at the pool said, "What is she doing?  It's just a dead sparrow. It can't hurt anything."

I said, "I don't know? Calling the police?"

He rolled his eyes, left his four month old in the stroller chewing on a rattle, and marched over to the filter, pulled it out, went to a far-away trash-can and threw it in, rinsed the filter, returned and inserted it.

Problem over.

Well, I dunno.

A few minutes later a city worker pulled up to test the water, add chemicals, look at the whole situation, including a dozen kids bobbing around in the pool.

This is the funny part though.  Tim was so grossed out he would not get back in the pool. He looked in the filter and saw that tiny sparrow leg sticking up and no.  No. Absolutely not.

I love that kid.

We hung around for a while longer. The others swam.   The city worker sampled the pool water for germs.  It's chlorinated water, which our friend, who is a micro biologist, says is highly effective.

Okay, after supper we went over to Heidi's for the city parade.

Here's where the fire department went by, blaring their sirens.

She wasn't even born yet when Joe and Heidi had their terrible fire. 

Still, she seems to know.


That kid in the little blue jersey is the nephew of Heidi's old college roommate. He looks so much like her, like her dad.  It's pretty impressive, big dark eyes. 

And all this brings us to the end of the day, and what a fine day it was.


Kirsten left her dog here to be babysat, and then when she came to pick her up, where is the dog?

Hunh? Dog, you say?


Well, some neighorhood citizen was shooting off bottle rockets so the dog was hiding--hiding as deeply as she was able.  Sidney was trembling too.

Sam was not. "What?  Who?"   We asked no further questions.

Onward.   We're past the middle of June now, and life is nothing but good.   love, Val