Sunday, June 30, 2013

jay's dad has a birthday

By coincidence, both our fathers have the same birthday!

These are pictures of a man who was so over-the-moon happy to be a grandpa--absolute glee.    He jumped into the role without hesitation of any kind.

Some years ago they moved several hours drive away, so the time we spend together these days is far too short.

Clyde?  Thank you for marrying MOM, and for all these years of you sincerely wishing nothing but the best for us, for wishing us and every one of our kids happiness, health, love, friendship, prosperity, and peace.

We are lucky for your self-discipline and persistence, your generosity, and your complete devotion to this entire family.

On this amazing milestone birthday?   Happy Birthday DAD.   We do all love you so.    love, Val and Jay and everybody

Thursday, June 27, 2013

dad's birthday party

Tonight was the party for Dad's birthday.

They were without electricity for many days after the storms came through, but the power came back on Tuesday night, so everything was back to normal.  (Yeah, there was a feast.)

This little girl fell asleep on the way to the party.  Too much swimming in the hot sun wore her out.

 These guys were there:

And my Sweetie was there, and greeted us all with little daisies he'd picked from the huge garden the chiropractor's wife keeps.  (He said it was okay.)   Mine is still in my shirt pocket now.

 These guys were awfully happy to see each other.

 Cousins in the den, watching TV:

 Time for gifts:
 More cousins:

 Here you go--Little Jay, Big Jay, and John, all in a row.

 Pam and Paul:
 Maria and d.c.
 Elegant, even in a cast. 

Oh, this is a good story.

Our kitchen dryer is not working and this is a huge pain in the rear.  I have to call tomorrow and get a repair scheduled.

So we are ALL trying to do laundry, operating off ONE lone dryer.

I got so mad about my bumped load of laundry this morning that I called him to the basement to chew him out.   Half dry towels shoved back in the hamper they came from???

Do you have a death wish?

MY load is sitting to the side soaking wet?  BUMPED?
He looked at little old livid me, enraged in the basement, and said, "Mom, that's not my laundry.  It's Little Jay's."

Whee.   I did calm down.  The world didn't end.  Jay was sorry, and moving on from that problem now.

And here is the end of the night, the hugs good-bye.

Dad, tonight when you said you can't believe you are as old as you are, since that number sounds so big and you just feel like your regular self?

I understand completely.

This picture was taken over 25 years ago.  (I remember the heat, and the storms, and that rickety little outhouse, and also the funny parts--the fireworks show?  Heidi in pink overalls?  That mouse stealing George's dog food, bit by bit?)  You?  Still you, not always this overheated.


 Yeah, still you.

All these years of you generously loving us?   All these years of you upholding and caring, sharing a joke, and lending assistance whenever there is a need?   For the care you provide to a legion of grandchildren and great-grandchildren too?

We are ridiculously lucky people.

 I loved you then, and I love you now.

We all do.

 Happy Birthday, Dad.    love, Val and everybody

hill rolling lessons

Tonight was Dad's birthday party at my parents.  

These are pictures from the back yard.

Dan gave some hill rolling lessons.   b.g. had a downhill spin thing going on, and p.j. kept going sideways.

 Someone got my camera and got a picture of me rolling down the hill.    I commented that the yard was lumpy and there were little people I didn't want to roll over.   He said it made him a little dizzy, and he didn't remember that from when he was a kid.

When they were leaving, at the end of the evening, I caught little b.g. on the front steps and talked to him about tomorrow.  "We're going to the cabin, bringing p.j.  And b.g.will be there, and Gramma and Bapa."

He said nothing, just grinned.

What a great night.   love, Val

a thursday in june

Yeah, everyone was happy at the little pool today and the afternoon was gorgeous--not too humid, nice and hot, mild breeze.

Happy Thursday.   love, Val

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

be productive

Okay, I'm a follower of the blog, The Happiness Project.

I read her book while sprawled on various lawn chairs in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in December a couple years ago.

That's a good place for the contemplation of happiness.

Anyway, when I first discovered The Happiness Project, we were in the free fall of the construction industry, and when that's your livelihood, it's hard to contemplate happiness when financial survival is your main agenda.

But when survival is no longer the main issue, then panic subsides and happiness has a place again.

This past weekend, I was thinking about my life as I was working and grabbed a post it note and all at once these four things were written down:

Be productive
Be organized
Be disciplined
Be kind

Is that the path to happiness for me?

I think it might be, since a lack of all those things makes me extremely unhappy.

So Monday morning, I dragged myself out of my gorgeous, comfortable bed after Curious George was over.   (Heidi has said Curious George is like crack to p.j.  That's a total exaggeration, but she does love him. Today's episode was about plumbing and the kids found that hilarious.  "He should not touch the plumbing! He's a monkey!")

Little Jay was entirely consumed by George Curious too when he was small.

And I put on clothes and doused myself head to foot with bug spray and found a pair of gloves and headed out to this hell-hole.  Who EVER thought perennials would be a good idea, anyway?  But productive and disciplined were on the list, so get going.

An old contractor we love generously brought us a load of black dirt for our garden a couple years ago.

Well, it was not normal black dirt. It was raw, so to speak, full of nettles and swamp grass and holy hell, we've fought atrocious, vigorous weeds ever since.  So I pulled all those weeds, even when I was dizzy from heat and sweat dripped into my eyes and caused me to become very whiny.

This picture looks good, but tonight I bought fresh mulch, ten bags, and spread it all around the garden.  I'll take a picture tomorrow. It looks even better.

This morning Kari (aka Lydia Karina)  had her archery class:

When they asked her name, she told them Lydia.   I love how, no matter how Kari she is around the house, in formal situations, she always chooses Lydia.   It makes me smile for Jay's grandma Lydia, who she was named after.

The drive back home along the Mississippi River--gorgeous in the morning sun.   The river is only a mile from our house, and a mile from the city,  and I'd like to see it someday as it heads south from here.

After lunch I took files to the office and then we went to to the LITTLE POOL.

 No idea who this little cutie is, but she volunteered to smile for a picture.

Here they are eating snacks out by the trees.   In all the years past we could bring crackers and bottled water, non-messy-type snacks to the pool.


This year Erica is gone and these new high school girls told us that because some people had left a crumb mess,  no snacks in the pool area--only in the grass outside.

I can live with this, but there were some other mothers with younger babies who were pretty annoyed.

I even said, "It's a world run by 18 year olds. What do they do all afternoon? Sit on a bench and count people?  Like it would kill them to take a bucket and rinse goldfish cracker crumbs off the cement at the end of the day?"

But whatever.

 Here's Tim, amusing some young goofy guy.

What a beautiful day this was.

July approaches very near.  Glad June made it after all.  love, Val

Sunday, June 23, 2013

storms and saturday

 These are pictures Dan took over by his house.  I swiped them from Facebook.

See the water gushing from cracks in the pavement?

Bubbling out of storm drains?


This next photo is not one of Dan's pictures.  This was taken by my friend Ann, mother of James' buddy, a guy upstairs at my house tonight.

All that water was washing out underneath the pavement.  Thank goodness nobody was hurt.

 Here they are.

Okay, good night.   love, Val