Does anyone else remember this from 1978?
(Quick side story: The first time my parents met Tom was in 1978. We'd just driven from Santa Barbara to the Bay Area and we arrived late on a Friday afternoon. Because of the energy crisis, most gas stations were closed over the weekend and when they were open, the lines to get gas looked about like this and it took hours upon hours to get to the front of the line. Mom was concerned that if Tom didn't get gas on Friday immediately after we'd arrived, we wouldn't be able to get back to UCSB on Sunday evening, so the very first thing out of my mother's mouth upon meeting Tom was, "Carol, you come inside. Tom, you go get gas." Tom was mortified, and considered just getting gas and heading straight back to Santa Barbara! My mother was just being a German pragmatist, but if you didn't know her, it definitely came across as insulting! Fortunately, Tom and my mother came to adore each other -- but Tom always lovingly jabbed her with "I'll just go get gas" comments and she was never allowed to live that down!)
Well today, 30 years later, I saw this:
Kinda scary, isn't it?
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Does anyone else remember this from 1978?
A few weeks ago I mentioned that my brother-in-law, who is on debilitating Interferon treatments to treat melanoma, called me and begged me to see a dermatologist to "just be checked." He knew that, as a redhead who grew up in California, I was at increased risk of skin cancer and he implored me to take care of any potential issue before I'd be dealing with the nightmare he's living through.
So I went to be checked and the doctor suggested that I have three moles removed. As she was removing the moles, she mentioned that they'd be biopsied and that I should get the results from her nurse via a phone call in about ten days. Then she added that she makes some of the calls, but that I "don't want to get one of those calls."
Yesterday while I was at work, my cell phone rang.
"Carol, this is Dr. Voss."
For some reason, I was completely calm and answered, "But you're not supposed to call me..."
She started off with, "Don't worry" (which of course got me worried), adding that the cells on two of the three moles she removed were "aplastic," one moderately and one mildly. That means that one has a moderate amount of plastic in it and the other has just a little plastic.
OK, not really. That means that the cells in those moles aren't normal. However, they also aren't cancerous. Instead, they're somewhere in between, and had I not taken any action, chances are good that those cells would have become cancerous over time.
So on Friday, the 13th (me, superstitious? nah!), just when the craters she caused the first time are beginning to heal nicely and just when they'll probably stop itching like crazy, Dr. Voss will go back in and essentially blow those little craters to smithereens, leaving great big gaping moon-sized craters on my back. But you know what? That's OK. I'm fine with that. I'd rather be pocked to hell than dead, and was never going to wear a bikini again anyway, so what difference do a few caters make when creating them might have well saved my life?!
Me? Dramatic? Yeah, kinda.
And in some other sad news (and this bothers me much more right now), Kat received a letter from the University of Washington's admissions office yesterday. Although she was placed on the waiting list in April, the school "will not be able to offer admission to her at this time." Not to her or to anyone on the entire wait list! Not one person on that list was admitted!
The hardest part of all this is that her twin brother (who is, in so many ways, her closest friend) did get in, even though she had a slightly higher GPA (both were above 3.8) and more extra-curricular activities. His test scores were a bit higher, and both of them wrote great essays. I believe that what it came down to was a gender issue: more women than men applied and the school strives for a balanced class, so of course proportionately more men were admitted.
Kat is crushed and I don't know what I can do for her. Unlike Elisabeth, who becomes more vocal and more communicative in situations like this, Kat tends to become very quiet and distance herself more -- and I need to respect that. In fact, I asked her how she'd like me to approach this; does she want me to talk about it and give advice and suggestions, or does she want me not to talk about it unless she brings it up? Ever the diplomat, she asked that I "just don't dwell on it."
She needs time now to look at other options -- of which there are many. The hardest thing now is the constant "college chatter" at school, where most kids are headed to a four-year university and where the "where are you going next year?" question is incessant. One of her options is that she re-apply right away, in August, for Winter quarter admission. Because Aleks has already joined a fraternity and is already spending a good amount of time at UW (and will begin taking classes this summer, even), Kat has the opportunity to immerse herself a bit into the UW culture, even as she applies again. The down side to that, of course, is that if she doesn't get admitted again, it'd be even more devastating.
I have full and complete faith in Kat. She has a great head on her shoulders, and no matter what she decides to do in the coming months, I have full confidence that it'll be the right move for her, and that eventually she will get a college degree -- probably at UW, but maybe not.
And either is OK because this amazing and beautiful and smart
kid adult really can do and be anything she wants!
Friday, May 30, 2008
What have I been complaining about? We have just three kids leaving the nest in the next few months, with one having already flown the coop a few years ago (but thank goodness, coming back often to visit), and heading to graduate school in the next year or two. The Chandler family, though, has FIVE (great!) kids heading to college this summer, with one having flown the coop and heading to graduate school. It seems that they give a whole new meaning to "empty nest," even beyond what we'll be feeling next October!
So hey, Jeri and Peter Chandler, if you need someone to commiserate with, give us a call. We kinda sorta know how you're feeling!
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Tom and I spent yesterday afternoon and evening celebrating our 25th anniversary. Before we came home to the incredible gift from Elisabeth, we had a very enjoyable day "playing tourist" in Seattle (one of our family's favorite pasttimes). Here's that adventure in pictures:
Aren't these beautiful flowers? I can just imagine them at a wedding...
Yeah, well, DUH!
It was a glorious day, evening and night! And tonight we're at it again, as we head to Aleks' and Kat's Senior Awards Night at the high school. Geeze, it really IS a crazy time of year -- and a crazy time in our lives --with two kids graduating from high school, a milestone anniversary, birthdays, and what seems like a new event to absorb every day!
When You Celebrate 25 Years of Marriage, Your Kids Will Be Old Enought to Give You Something Like THIS (if you're lucky!)
So we got home from our wonderful day in Seattle and evening at Cirque Du Soleil (which I'll post about tomorrow), and we were greeted by an amazing anniversary gift from Elisabeth. She made us a scrapbook! After ooohing and aaahing over it a few times and looking through it repeatedly, I asked Elisabeth to pose with it so I could take a picture.
Oh rather, make that a few pictures:
Here's the cover:
Elisabeth was more than happy to show a page...
... or two.
But I kept turning the page and snapping photos... "What are you doing, Mom?"
"Seriously? Every page?!"
"This is ridiculous!"
"Stop. Stop it NOW!"
"C'mon, Mom. You're nuts."
"OK, now I'm getting mad."
"Like, really mad."
"Un. Be. LIEVE. able." (OK, look closely at these two pages. On the left is a blank background with a winery theme, along with some wine-tasting stickers, and on the right is a hot air balloon and a certificate. That's because Elisabeth is going to take us wine tasting on June 7th, and the gift certificate is for dinner and a hot air balloon ride after wine tasting! I can hardly wait -- and I'm quakin' in my boots just thinking about floating in a little tiny basket a couple hundred feet over the surface of the earth. There WILL be blogging.)
Wow -- how lucky are we?!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Twenty-five years ago today, on May 28th, 1983, Tom and I were married in a beautiful ceremony at the Wayfarer's Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes California. I remember thinking that I was the luckiest women alive to be marrying this kind, loving, compassionate, and intelligent man who could always make me laugh and who everyone -- absolutely everyone -- liked.
All these years later, I feel exactly the same. He is still the man of my dreams and my heart still beats just a little faster when I see him across a crowded room. I am still -- or perhaps again -- in love with him.
That doesn't mean that the past 25 years have been 100% blissful or without challenges, both big and small. While some years passed effortlessly for us, some years consisted of days and weeks when we simply weren't connected -- and one or two years in particular consisted of month upon month of disconnectedness. But it's May 28th, 2008, twenty-five years later, and we're still together, still connected, and still committed.
And I've learned a few lessons along the way...
25 Things I've Learned in 25 Years of Marriage:
- Laughter is sometimes more important than conversation.
- Conversation is sometimes more important than silence.
- Silence is sometimes more important than righteousness.
- Kindness is most important when the incentive for it is lowest.
- Passion may fade, but true intimacy grows in its place.
- Traveling in the same direction sometimes means staying put.
- You might want out at some point without even knowing why. Consider staying.
- You might want out at some point, knowing exactly why. Consider staying.
- Pooling finances emphasizes the meaning of "ours" and "in this together."
- Hugging and kissing in front of the kids makes them happy.
- Planting a garden together is good for your relationship.
- "Being nice" is very effective.
- Good sex is important.
- Unconditional support is sometimes the best thing you can give.
- A good marriage is a gift to your children's future relationships.
- Shared interests are important (so is having interests of your own).
- Good parenting is sexy.
- Misfortune can be a favor.
- Trust is much more powerful than jealousy.
- Playfulness isn't stupid.
- Winning isn't always winning.
- Dating is hot.
- Staying angry is difficult when you're laughing.
- The habit that annoyed you in year one will still annoy you in year twenty-five.
- Early birds and night owls can co-exist.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
I know it's cliche, but it's so true: the years flew by and my first born, my little girl, has become a mature (usually), independent (still, always!), beautiful woman. Happy birthday, Elisabeth! I love you huge.
And now, my dear, if you happen to read this before the evening of your birthday -- which you probably won't because you travel like crazy and you're probably in California (Disneyland with friends for your birthday, right?) -- well, stop right here unless you want to ruin your surprise.
Is she gone?
OK, the rest of you can read on.
I really didn't know what to get Elisabeth for her birthday. Since she has a great job, buying her stuff is silly because she can pretty much buy what she wants. Instead, she wants sentimental, handmade things that evoke an emotion or a memory. Or are just downright silly. So I made her these silly, whimsical things. They're supposed to be coasters, but I have a feeling they'll end of to be... well, things that are stacked on her coffee table and will be observed. Very handy indeed, eh?
Here's what I did:
I went to my favorite craft store and bought some simple wood coaster-like things, some simple acrylic paint, a jar of Modge-Podge, a can of very high gloss, triple-thick acrylic coating, and some paint brushes . Then I got the silliest family photos I could find and cut them to fit into the coasters:
I painted and podged:
...and set the coasters out to dry:
Then I sprayed a layer of a very high gloss, triple-thick acrylic coating on all the coasters:
And let them dry.
Today I'll add a whimsical backing from my scrapbooking paper, and add some felt to the bottom so that, if Elisabeth does want to use them as coasters after all, they won't scratch her table.
I hope she likes them! And if not, she'll just have to always face Kat and I sticking our tongues out at her and Peter oogling his ears at her!
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
We began the process of re-landscaping our front yard about two years ago. During that summer, we put in the hardscape and last summer we did some planting, but not much because our trip to Germany cut the summer short. This summer, our goal is to "finish" the project and finally have a beautiful front yard. I'm happy to say that we're getting close! We spent the day at local nurseries today and then planted massive amounts of various flowers, shrubs, ground covers and bushes.
So first I'll take you on a tour of today's progress, and then we'll go back and I'll show you the progression of the yard over the past two years.
We've come a long way, baby!
From the driveway, before:During:
From the front door, before:
And from the street, before:During: And now: