My usual bedfellows

January 1, 2010

Here are Oscar and Kit in bed with me at a hotel in San Diego in late October. With my nomad lifestyle — I haven’t stayed in one place more than 9 consecutive nights since before October 1st. I often wake up in the dark and can’t remember where I am!
I’ve been bouncing between Catalina, Disneyland, the Arizona Ranch, Henderson, New England, San Diego, and visiting Matt in North Hollywood —it’s a crazy life— but it’s my life!

Happy SLEEPY New Year

January 1, 2010

A new personal BEST Night’s Sleep for ME: the insomniac, severe sleep apnea sufferer (Nose Hose User) who still always wakes up after only 5 hours, sees all the 3’s, 4’s and 5’s on the alarm clock and spends a lot of time praying and prowling in the middle of the night, no- matter- what – person.
I settled into my comfortable canopy bed at the Ranch in Scottsdale with the usual LOW expectations and Voila’– Next thing I knew it was 9:30 in the morning! WTH?
Here’s the formula as best I can figure. It breaks down like this for my successful slumbering—- got your
Pencil and paper or calculators ready?

ADD soft flannel sheets (oooohhh!) that are on the bed here PLUS the super quiet country surroundings AND one beautiful little blue Tylenol PM pill–which I take routinely with less that real results! SUBTRACT 3400 sq ft of Christmas (aided by 4 little helpers, the Johnson kids ages 5-9) DIVIDED by a one hour loss in time (these crazy Snowbirds want their prime time shows on at 7 PM). PLUS a 5 hour afternoon car drive. ADD in the fact that I have nowhere to go, nobody to see. TAKE AWAY all of my volunteer activities and responsibilities. I’m adrift here in Arizona! Just the library and an occasional trip to Costco for outings!
LEAVE OUT any alcohol but INCLUDE a Weight Watcher frozen entree PLUS a quart of Chocolate Chip ice cream as I caught up on my stack of Avalon Bay News newspapers. ADD in the extra high bed that the dogs don’t jump up on unless coaxed and I found myself sleeping WITHOUT Glenn (sacked on couch watching sports) and minus TWO wiggling – collar jingling dogs! MULTIPLY the miracle of NOT having to get up to go to the bathroom. ADD about 3 pages of a new book that failed to interest me PLUS a nightstand lamp that turns out the light instead of the usual dash across the room and back from the wall switch—Calculate and Evaluate and IT ALL EQUALS 11.5 hours of sleep. Unprecedented for me who is —-the most horrible no good, just can’t do much about it —sleeper!
A 2010 MIRACLE on the very first day of the year! I may have to take a nap later!
Happy New (YAWN) Year! Zzzzzzzzzz.

Mark Stefl— Professional Engineer

December 29, 2009

Congratulations Mark for passing the Professional Engineer’s Test. More letters behind the name, great for the resume! oh and Bo’s Daddy is a brilliant accomplished guy!
Nice hat Bo!

Dog Days

December 29, 2009

We had a house full of people and pets Dec 26-27 for a late but lovely Christmas. Pictured here on our Legacy Golf Course are Buck, Tika, Oscar, Kit and me. We were throwing tennis balls, handing out treats and herding our happy pack along the frosty fairways.

Fire Station Family

December 26, 2009

Sean’s new career as a firefighter means he got to work on Christmas. Station 10 has nine firefighters who man an engine (with ladder) and truck (no ladder— I’m sure it’s more complicated???) A family meal and ride along on the fire truck were great fun and allowed Sean & Nicole to be together.

Christmas 2009

December 24, 2009

This is our 40th Christmas together. In December 1971 Glenn invited me to go to southern California to spend our first Christmas together with him, his Dad and step-Mom. We got engaged in January 1972 and married in June that same year.
Those first years the holidays were a marathon of dividing our time between his and my divorced parents and extended family. Midnight Mass with my Dad and 6 AM gift openings with sister Karol who was 5 that first year. Glenn’s Mom and brothers were on the Oregon coast so after 3 holiday meals and merriment with Portland relatives we headed west for additional feasts and festivities. 200 miles of driving and 30 hours later it was over and we were exhausted.
When the kids came along 30 years ago Christmas Central was always at our house. Glenn sang in the Choir on Christmas Eve so we scheduled around him. Potluck or sometimes takeout was enjoyed. Lots of gifts and good times are what I remember.
One year Sean got boxing gloves and KO’ed Aunt Karen. Grandpa Mike gave the kids a go-cart— best gift ever. STEPH loved her dolls. Sean and Matt had loads of Legos.
As that eventually failed to titillate the kids we traveled for Christmas-es to Maui, Sun Valley, Park City and of course Catalina. Swimming and body surfing? Skiing? Going to a Christmas movie? It was all great!
We were very fortunate to make Christmas dreams come true.
Now after 37 years of marriage we can hardly corral the kids into being together. We sit in our big “ULTRA” decorated house and wait on their schedules. Lives are busy but our hearts long for simpler days.
I enjoy Movie marathons with Matt. We’ll see “Sherlock Holmes” on the 25th. We’re baking cookies together today.
Stefls have their own traditions to start. Mark’s Mom is flying in from Pittsburgh. Bo’s schedule is sacred but when he’s around — our hearts soar.
Sean & Nicole usually have to work on holidays and they live the farthest away so they couldn’t even come last year. It’ll be a quick Dec 26-27 event romp with them this year, hopefully. But even a hit and run visit is a treasured event.
I’m making Turkey Rice soup for after church on Christmas Eve. We’ll eat Lunch at Cheesecake Factory at Caesar’s Palace (I have gift cards) with the Stefls on Christmas Day. Prime Rib and baked potatoes will be enjoyed with the whole tribe on the 26th.
However you slice it “times change” and “traditions transition” as we grow older.
Next year we’ll have more grandchildren to spoil. This may be the last time we have everybody here at the big Henderson Holiday house (selling it). We’ll just have to wait and see. Merry Christmas.

Love Came Down at Christmas

December 22, 2009

So what was God’s solution for a world full of cruelty and sin? To send a BABY.
His own Son, Jesus who would be the face of God, the Voice of our heavenly Father, the Lord who walked among us.
John 3:16.
It seems an odd choice. Why not send armies to subdue the government? Angels to rescue those in jeopardy or physical forces to subdue the earth?
No he sent Jesus to be born to a virgin mother in a lowly stable in a nowhere town called Bethleham.
As much as I love my children and Bo (a whole new room opened in my heart for this precious grandson) GOD loves us MORE. He chose us to be His people. By giving His son to die for our sins he demonstrates His provision for people everywhere. He wants NOTHING to separate us from His love.
Romans 8:38-39
Is the celebration in our hearts, lives and homes this time of year a ChristMESS or a CHRISTmas?
Jesus is the reason for the season.
Glenn and I are embroiled in a nasty lawsuit over Ranch ownership. Lies and slander towards us are hurtful. Are we blameless? Hardly.
But Christ was as He endured persecution. He was mocked, taunted, abused and crucified — Our Lord knows what this little problem of our’s feels like. When we call on Him for strength, guidance and forgiveness — He is Emmanuel. God with us.
Perspective is necessary in all things. We are humbled but not hardened by recent events.
Love came down at Christmas.
That’s what we’re celebrating this year.

A House Without Christmas

December 20, 2009

As I stated earlier we are at the Ranch in Scottsdale. Our “ULTRA” decorated house in Henderson sits sadly empty—the house lights on timers going on and off without us being there. Here in AZ I have a meager 4 Santa hats and 3 red bows spread around to cheer us (all that was left at the Dollar Store). We
tried to find white twinkle lights to decorate friend Leslie’s housewarming tree but the stores are sold out—it’s becoming a makeshift effort to have Christmas.
Being with family counts at Christmas.
Leslie’s husband is overseas on business. She and son Sean, 19 have a decorated tree in a strange house but only each other just days before Christmas. Glenn and I with our Santa hats and bows have each other but NO tree, no gifts, no BO.
Our Henderson house has 5 trees, 20 Nativity scenes (yada yada yada) but NO us!
Is Christmas the people, the places, the things? YES!
In these uncertain economic times an Arizona Tree Lot still gets $92 for a 6 ft Christmas tree. Target, Ace Hardware and Von’s can’t keep white twinkle lights on the shelves and everyone is just trying to get somewhere somehow to be with family and friends to celebrate Christmas. Decorations will vary from place to place but the constant heart of Christmas is WHO you spend it with.

TWO DOG NIGHT

December 20, 2009

Now that Glenn and I are together at the Scottsdale Ranch, our Queen sized bed gets a little crowded with us and the dogs vying for LEGroom. It’s a cozy den with the four of us in it.

Jump for JOY

December 19, 2009

Our friend Leslie’s Moving Day finds her jumping on her new house’s trampoline. The movers brought her furniture & boxes from home and storage. Now how about a scavenger hunt to find and unpack everything? Her house is gorgeous with mountain views and a yard made for entertaining.
Her dream kitchen has granite and a beautiful bead board cabineted island. There’s lots of wrought iron, vaulted ceilings and we bought her a Christmas tree for a housewarming gift!
So happy for them!