Best “Best Friend Story” Ever!! for WPC

Friend

In 1971, we started our epic Camping Road Trip in Southern California. We wanted to see as much of the country as we could so we could pick our place to live. In our circumstance, the rat race of Southern California was just not going to cut it. (More on that later.)

We piled into my 1971 Metallic Blue Datsun 1200.

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not mine but photo found on Free Photos

And when I say “piled” I mean enough stuff that in each campground people gathered to watch in awe as we unloaded and set up an elaborate outdoor domicile. By the end of our 4 months on the road, we were pretty impressive in our efficiency, both in setting up and breaking camp.

We drove up and down and back and forth across the southernmost United States so we could reach our goal of camping in every state. A few things stand out of course, like the Grand Canyon (though I was too sick to hike down to the bottom…more on that later also). We tried to find something unique wherever we stopped, you know, something only the locals would know about…like Chang Gonzalez’s Kosher German Deli in Blue Lake, New Mexico. Wait. I’ll let you digest that name…

On the Gulf Coast of the Deep South, we pulled into a classic KOA Campground in Biloxi, Mississippi. I remember us being exhausted that day and all we wanted was to set up camp, have a sandwich and a glass of wine, and hit the sack (or bag, as it were). Oh NO! Somehow, we had lost our wine corkscrew. This was not acceptable so we wandered out into the campground to see who looked like they might have one.

And there they were…Bill and Linda. To shorten a very long story (45 years worth, in fact) they had a corkscrew and they also had a flat in New York City, close to Columbia University where they were students. They were on the same quest as we were, camping across America to pick their place to live after college.

When I told Linda our trip would take us through New York City and we were excited to camp in their giant park (Central Park! What did I know??) she laughed and within minutes of knowing me, gave me the keys to their apartment so we would have a safer (more legal) place to stay in their city!

That was it! She just handed over her keys! When it is her turn to tell our story, Linda will say she knew she could trust me because I had already shared with her the fact that I was pregnant, and fairly proud of the fact that I had not felt the need to get married because of it.

 

After we each completed our months’ long searches to find our permanent homes, Bill and Linda chose Portland, Oregon to live in and we chose Seattle, a mere 3 hours away.

So Linda, the traditional girl from Ohio, student with her husband at Columbia, and Kathie, the Hippie Chick from San Diego, too “morning-sick” to climb down the Grand Canyon, in an instant, became fast friends for life. And we still are.

Linda has continued to “hand over her keys” to me for more than 45 years, to her house, her vacation homes, her psyche and her heart. And she has always made it safe for me to do the same! I could not have found a more perfect, lifelong best friend than my Linda.

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Just home from our epic road trip, stopping for a gas station bouquet on the way to our wedding
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Celebrating Linda’s marriage
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On a Women’s Trip to Port Townsend 

 

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The beach down in front of Linda’s house, me having just spread Joy, my dog and Bandit, my cat’s ashes (see https://chosenperspectives.wordpress.com/2017/05/31/wpc-53117-friend/)

 

Happy Birthday Linda! This post is dedicated to YOU for your love and patience and wisdom all these years!!

Love,

Kathie

PS Your present is in the mail!!

 

 

ATOP for WPC 3/19/17

Atop

Well, I’ve never tried posting a short video before but we’ll see if this works. Be forewarned. To YOU it might be gruesome. From my point of view, it is truly amazing!!!

Let me know what you think and if this is cheating. I know it is supposed to be a photo. I’ll post some of those separately!

PS Bummer. It didn’t include the music. This was videoed with Come Together by The Beatles playing loud in the background. Ths bug is climbing in time with the music!!

Ambience for WPC

Ambience

Ahh, to be thirteen again…and to be given complete freedom to decorate my own room. My Dad did that for me so I painted my room white and then, with a pencil, traced circles around plates, cups, and saucers all over my walls. I filled them in with pastel pink, yellow and blue enamel paint. (I also made striped curtains in the same colors.) I loved my room. It was such a peaceful haven in an otherwise tumultuous household. I could shift my mood by closing my door and immersing myself in the ambience I had been allowed to create.

When my son and grandsons moved back in with me I really wanted the boys to feel at home and so of course, passed on the traditional “freedom” to decorate their space.

Here’s a slideshow of how the oldest (13) chose to set up his room. It is filled with the dichotomies of his age and individual personality. I LOVE it! Enjoy the song below while viewing the show. (It reminds me of my Junior High/High school boyfriend, David Taylor!)

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My first reaction to some of his belongings was apprehension. His Dad (my son) was never allowed weapons of any kind, not even toy guns. That really backfired as a parenting stance. But I am not too worried about my grandson. His “weapons” are mostly decorative, and are nicely balanced with his other collections (Pez dispensers, sports stuff, art, guitars, etc.)

Oh and his “stuffies”, many from his babyhood.

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These are his favorite Stuffies; a fluffy elephant (he had one in his crib from day one that played “Imagine”) and his favorite, a “Frankenstein doll”.

My grandson posed in this photo…can you see him?

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A Swing and a Miss!!

OK you win some and you lose some. I get that. But it is so much harder to lose when you have been absolutely convinced that THIS time, it would be a WINNER for SURE!!

I believe that my duties as a grandmother are specifically limited. I do NOT get to “parent” my two amazing grandsons. Julius, who is 13 and Luca, 10 (for another week) depend on me to be that other adult in their lives that has the luxury of coming closer to unconditional love than either of their parents do. Even though they live with their father in my home, I do not have to crack the “do your homework” or “clean your room” whips. That’s their Dad’s job.

My self-imposed duties are clear to me though. I get to love them. I get to watch out for their safety. And my favorite, I get to teach them stuff, especially about our family’s history and traditions…

At Christmas time, it is not part of my job to be the one to give the “big” present each year. Again, that’s my son’s place and I never want to compete or even accidentally outshine him with his boys.

So I go for obscure, non-traditional gifts (no video games) and whenever possible, non-material. Gifts from Gramma are unexpected (sometimes unwanted) and always a bit weird. That’s OK with me. And I know some will land and some will fail! But most will be remembered.

Examples:

3 years ago, I made each a personal (Shutterfly) photo book of their lives so far. I think it got about a C+/B- grade from the boys.

2 years ago, I made them personalized “treasure boxes”. (They’ve always liked that concept). These boxes contained charms and totems and stickers that represented events in their lives. Each box also had a tiny tablet and mini pencil so they could guess, and then write down, what each token in and on their box signified. There was a prize for whoever guessed the most symbols. (Hey, do I know how to harness sibling rivalry or what??)

 

Last year, I gave them (all of us really) a family outing to a very cool local place. Maybe you have something like this in your area. It’s called the Boarding House. I have to admit I have some pretty strong judgments about how inundated our children are these days with all things electronic and technical…especially the whole video gaming addiction…so when I discovered the Boarding House, I was thrilled. It is a store/restaurant that sells almost every “board game” ever invented…not a single electronic game in the place! You can even go in and pick some games to try out at your table while enjoying a damn good meal. (Think the highest class “tavern food” EVER!)

This gift was NOT a hit because when they opened it, they had no idea what it was. They could not even grasp the concept of a game store without their coveted new video games for sale. (not an addiction, my ass!) It took 10 months for them to finally be willing to use their hefty Gramma gift certificate for dinner and games at the Boarding House. I’d say, eventually, this gift earned approximately a B-…but it was like pulling teeth.

This year, I thought I might finally earn an “A”. Oh well, best laid plans and all.

My son likes to expose the boys to a variety of different and special experiences in their lives. Wild and different restaurants. And last year, he bought them 3 piece suits and took them to the SYMPHONY!

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I thought they looked a bit Mafioso but maybe that’s fitting given their strong Italian heritage! 

Remember I said it was my self-imposed duty to teach them about Family Traditions? So, I combined my son’s determination to expose them to new things, and my childhood (and then Michael’s) tradition of weird food in our Christmas stockings, to provide a Christmas morning experience like no other. I knew it would be a HIT!! The boys love all the survival-type tv shows, especially when eating gross stuff is involved. So I did a lot of googling, shopped around, prepared a breakfast table, with a specific food challenge for each! (No crickets or ants involved…we are a Bug Household after all!) see

Here’s what they arrived to find for breakfast.

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mmmm, yummy!

The deal was, they had to read the research I printed about their given fruit, take at least one bite and then go back to the printed material to find a clue for a treasure hunt to their real present. A gift card to their favorite place to shop hidden around the house.

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Guava
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Sugar Cane
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Kumquats 
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Kiwano (Horned Fruit)
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My personal favorite, Buddha’s Hand (Citron family)

Great idea, eh? Expose them to something new. Teach them something old. I was so sure….

I think I earned maybe a D- !!

Oh well. The hidden $50 Amazon cards went some distance to save the day…

 

a few words about yesterday’s calorie filled Wordless Wednesday

If you saw yesterday’s post,

https://chosenperspectives.wordpress.com/2016/12/21/another-wordless-wednesday-slide-show-12-21-16-warning-very-fattening/

then you know my generous friend Michelle has to be one of the world’s best Grandma’s! What she does for her kids and grandkids is amazing!

The photos I posted yesterday are all Christmas decorations. She’s been doing this a while and creates a new one every year. Her rule is they have to be made with primarily “sweets”. So every eyeball, ear, rooftop, face, gown, hand, etc. is made from an edible treat. (NOT that they are eaten!!! Who would DARE after all her work?) Her display grows and grows and I am in complete awe of her dedication to surprising those kids with each new contribution.

img_8194img_8195This Santa is made from marshmallows, licorice and get this…That pink face is BUBBLE GUM. She had to chew it up for the right consistency!

 

img_8196When she did Frozen one year for the girls (above), of course then she had to do R2D2 for the boys next. (below)

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The Fairy House is my favorite. It is this years production! (below)

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This one even has a picnic outside and a Fairy inside and a flickering light (for firelight)!

 

The time it must have taken to attach every single gumdrop, orange slice, M and M, tic tac, jelly bean, Gummy worms, and peppermints, well, I think it’s a wonder. (That is a very small list of examples. She’s always on the lookout for candies that will work in her creations.)

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I’m hoping Michelle will comment (and correct any mistakes I’ve made) and give us all more information about this love-filled “hobby” of hers!

What lucky grandchildren!!