Category Archives: Parents

35 Years in 35 Memories

My parents celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary this weekend. Congratulations! In honor of their many many years of wedded bliss, I thought I would write 35 one-sentence family memories/inside jokes. (Unfortunately, I have no memory of the first five, well maybe eight or nine, years of their marriage, so this is going to have to pick up around 1988.)

(I have not planned this out, so this is an experiment to see if I can get to 35. Here goes.)

(Oh, also, this is going to skip around in time a lot. I’m not doing this chronologically or anything.)

  1. Playing the Un-Game and my mom doing a cartwheel into a potted plant.
  2. Being completely confused the first time my dad shaved off his beard (“Who is that strange guy in the living room?”)
  3. Giggling at hearing my brother singing loudly in the shower…and then the flash of realization that that meant everyone could hear ME sing in the shower, too.
  4. Going camping at Patrick’s Point and seeing giant elk.
  5. Going camping at Gualala and almost getting really lost when we were all on a walk.
  6. Having dinner at the Times Square Olive Garden and my mom getting tipsy on red wine.
  7. Having the whole family together for a surprise 60th birthday party for my dad.
  8. My parents making the drive out to Davis for my very first Picnic Day…and it poured rain the whole time.
  9. Having a family debate about something, and my mom insisted, “Is that each, or apiece?” and then for a moment all four of us stumbled over that.
  10. During cleaning days, learning very quickly not to say in a whiny voice, “What should I do NOW?”
  11. The need to ask my parents every night to check and make sure the toilet seat was down so the cats didn’t fall in. (Cats are probably smarter than that though.)
  12. Getting caught writing love letters to my fifth-grade crush.
  13. They stocked up on delicious snacks (like bottled frappuccinos! very desirable in high school) for me and my friends who were staying over after prom.
  14. Eating sunflower seeds on road trips.
  15. The Oktoberfest at church – games and handmade goods and fall colors and peanut brittle.
  16. One weekend when Drew and I were staying in Lakeport, we had artichokes, and we ate in the living room. We put the bowl for leaves on the floor in the middle of us and we all just threw leaves at it. After dinner there were leaves everywhere. That’s kinda gross, but it was a fun and relaxing evening.
  17. Picking blackberries in the dry creek.
  18. Getting paid a penny per rock we picked up out of the garden – counting up those rocks and then marking them on a chart on the fridge.
  19. Also the “dishes” chart on the fridge – whose turn is it tonight?
  20. Watching Armageddon with my mom and she asked me, “Wait, are you CRYING?” at the end. I think she was making fun of me.
  21. Going caroling with people from church.
  22. Going to see The Phantom of the Opera in San Francisco for Christmas…just because I loved it so much.
  23. At camp, when they were in charge, they would always put me in the “good” girls cabin. (It really was better.)
  24. Also at camp, pulling off the “Chez Rubber Soul” mornings: servers, menus, and line order breakfast for all the campers and counselors.
  25. Helping my mom teach summer school.
  26. Hanging out in my dad’s classroom after school, and playing Lode Runner and Nintendo.
  27. Easter morning sunrise services: a lesson in dressing in layers.
  28. Building a (short-lived) treehouse in the back yard.
  29. Measuring the height of the water on the back step, and keeping an hourly chart, each year when it flooded. I used to get so disappointed when it started receding.
  30. Speaking of floods, parking down the street and wading home in rainboots was fun.
  31. So was sitting by the wood stove after a bath while my mom brushed my hair. It used to be really long.
  32. We had heating vents in our rooms, but we never used them – but sometimes I liked to turn it on, because the smell was so novel. I think it might have been a vaguely gas-stove smell? I liked it. It made me feel cozy.
  33. Calling my parents at 2:00 am to tell them they had a grandson. (“Okay, that’s it, see you tomorrow!”)
  34. Walking to the farmer’s market down the street from our house.
  35. Every time they come visit, they have more photos they took of things B would like: pigeons, dogs, recycling bins, signs, etc. I like that they do that.

I know an anniversary is kind of just between the two people celebrating, but I wanted to point out all the good things that have come out of their 35 years of marriage. I for one am very grateful they got together and are still together.

You guys are good role models and great parents! I love you very much!

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Filed under Awesome, Family, Love, Memoir, Parents, Sentiment

Disney Project 2014: Pocahontas

Movie: Pocahontas

Release year: 1995

So all year, my dad has been saying how Pocahontas is a lame Disney movie, and how the music is forgettable and weak. So I had this hope that maybe when Pocahontas week rolled around, we could make my parents watch it with us.

It somehow worked out! They were here babysitting last week, so we broke our normal weekend movie-watching schedule, and dragged the high chair into the living room so we could eat dinner during it. I don’t want to speak for them…but I’d say they loved it.

If I had to guess, I would say my dad would tell me, “You were right, this is actually a really great movie. The music is quite memorable and clever. I highly enjoyed my viewing of Disney’s Pocahontas.”

And this picture is totes the best:

photo 1 (4)

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Filed under Children, Movies, Parents

Did Do: Family Lunch

B, our 20-month-old, has been getting over a little cold. Last night he was pretty unhappy, so I (sadly) called my parents to cancel a family get together we had had planned for a few weeks.

The point of this annual get together was to celebrate birthdays (mine and my grandma’s), Father’s Day (Drew and my dad), and a wedding anniversary (my aunt and uncle).

But this morning, B woke up much happier (and nonfeverish). We decided to take a leap of faith and drive up to Santa Rosa. It was mostly successful, lunch was casual and fun, and at the restaurant, B was pretty cute (and ate more than he has been eating lately). So it’s okay that on the drive back, he fell asleep for 20 minutes and then woke up really upset and cried the last 40 minutes of the drive.

We took a chance getting in the car today with a kid who’s been sick. So a big did-do. Happy weekend!

family lunch edit

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Filed under Children, Family, Holidays, Nonfiction, Parents, Travel

Typography: Round 1

I’ve been fascinated by typography for awhile now. I think because I’m not really an artist, but this is a form of art that incorporates words, so I feel like it’s more up my alley. But it’s still art, and so it’s still intimidating.

So I’ve been really wanting to try it, but I just had no idea where to start. I kept thinking this would be a good subject for a class. If I wanted to take a class, and I had the time and the money and the energy. I looked up Intro to Typography books on Amazon, but I didn’t order any. I pushed “typography thing” down and down on my to-do list, and then eventually moved it onto my “Long-Term To Do” list.

And then, this summer, surprise! A bunch of my friends’ babies starting turning 1. And I thought I should make something to commemorate the occasion. I missed a couple birthdays, and then I realized that my next friend with the birthday baby was an actual GRAPHIC DESIGNER, so she probably wouldn’t want something that I had cobbled together as a first try.

So I decided to just Make Something, and it could be a general, out-in-the-universe, Happy First Birthday to All the Babies.

This is what I made.

HHS typography edit

Afterwards, I looked at it and saw – off the top of my head – several things that I would change. But I showed it to my friends anyway. And they were (of course) positive and encouraging and full of constructive criticism. I am eager to take another swing at this thing.

When I look at this, I see a first attempt filled with rookie mistakes. (And surely lots of mistakes that I can’t even see.) (Yet.)

But mostly I see a leap that I’ve been pondering for ages, into an unknown and exciting new territory.

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Filed under Beginnings, Dreams, Friends, Nonfiction, Parents, Writing

For Narnia

I recently finished reading the Narnia Chronicles. Confession: I often imply to people that I have read these books before, “when I was younger.” False. I think at some point my dad started reading them to me, but I don’t think we made it past The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. And I’m pretty sure we skipped The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, because I complained that I had seen the movie so many times.

It’s not like I didn’t like the movie. But you know how it is when you’re a kid and you have those movies that you’ve seen so many times you know every single inflection of dialogue, and you don’t remember not knowing them.

Which means we read Prince Caspian and Dawn Treader.

While implying to people, “I read those when I was younger,” I also implied, “I don’t really care for them.” But it’s not like I could explain why.

And now, I’m ashamed. Because as I started reading (and then devouring) them, I have come to the realization that I either didn’t ever read these books, or I fell asleep as soon as my dad started reading, or I was just flat out not paying attention. I don’t remember a single thing – which I assumed I would: distantly, from 20+ years ago. I don’t remember these characters or themes or conflict.

And I found them really compelling and interesting, not only for everything they symbolize but also for the actual stories themselves. They’re fun to read, they’re super quick but they’re not fluffy. I actually really like the Christian symbolism in the book. And as soon as I finished reading, I jumped over to the internet to read Neil Gaiman’s story, “The Problem of Susan.”

The books belong to Drew – he has had this particular box set since he was 10 years old, and it’s moved with us several times over the past years. But I’ve always just stuck it on the top shelf with his historical biographies and ignored it.

Then, for my book club, a friend picked The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – and as a companion, a book called The Magician’s Book: A Skeptic’s Adventures in Narnia, by Laura Miller. Miller talks about more than just LWW and it made me really curious about them. At the same time, I wished that my book club had just elected to read the entirety of the Narnia Chronicles, since it’s only about 1500 pages total. We’ve tackled worse.

So I decided that I would read them all on my own – partly so I could hold my own in conversation with four other people who, I’m sure, have all read the Chronicles multiple times. And partly because I wasn’t in love with Miller’s book, and I wanted to supplement this month’s book choice.

So now I’m a little obsessed. I tore through the books. And yet, hearing from others how their experiences changed between reading the Chronicles as a kid, and reading them as an adult, maybe I’m glad I’m just getting around to them now. There’s nothing for them to live up to, and I can’t be let down by any childhood heroes. And I can fully enjoy the religion of the books without feeling like I got tricked into it.

At least now I get why my dad wanted to read them to me. Because they are awesome. I will totally read them to my kid some day.

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Filed under Books, Children, Memoir, Nonfiction, Parents

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

In 5th grade, we had to do periodic book reports. For some people, that might have meant just standing up in front of the class and saying, “I liked the part when.” I don’t recall whether we were required to make our book reports more interesting, or just encouraged, or maybe I was just overeager and had too much time on my hands. But I remember book reports being A Thing.

When I read Black Beauty, my “report” took the form of a board game based on the book. The playing pieces were horses because I had many toy horses lying around. Inexplicably, I incorporated a bottle of “horse perfume” which was really just a giant green bottle with a stopper, and the stopper was sprayed with Lysol so it smelled like a vet’s office. I think it was called Eau de Horse, and there were flies drawn on the label. I have no recollection of how this was a part of the game.

The only other thing I remember is that part of my high-pressure performance was to roll the dice, count one-two-three, and land on a square saying, “You broke your leg. Game over,” and then I pulled out a cap gun and shot the horse figurine.

WHAT WAS THIS GAME ABOUT.

Confession #1: I never finished Black Beauty.

Confession #2: My dad was the mastermind behind this twisted board game. If you know him, then this probably doesn’t seem weird to you. In fact, this might sound strangely familiar to you. Maybe he helped you with a weird board game for a book you secretly never finished reading.

My dad is a quirky guy, who is willing to put himself out there, whether it’s in a skit or a performance or clowning or entertaining or just hamming it up behind the scenes. I admire that self-confidence and commitment.

I might not have inherited that same level of enthusiasm (unfortunately), but I think I did get a little bit of his artistic quirk. While making Black Beauty the Board Game, I showed my mom the label for the Eau de Horse, and her response was, “You can’t let Dad do the whole report for you.” I remember this very clearly because I was pretty much bursting with pride that she thought that Dad had created the label that I had written and illustrated all by myself! Clearly, if she mistook it for his work, it was amazing.

I learned two things from this experience:

1. Book reports are not always about the books; and

2. If I’m lucky, people will compare me to my dad and see the ways that I am like him.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad! Thanks for setting me on the right path early. I hope I am making you proud!

dad

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Happy birthday, Mom!

Happy birthday to my wonderful, inspiring, awesome mom!

Mom Collage

You’re the best mom a girl could ask for! Hope today is wonderful!

(We need to take some new pictures together!)

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