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February 23, 2010


OK, it is now feeling a bit more like the Bellingham in February that I know and love. It is raining today. Took me completely by surprise since I was running around with no jacket and had to race in and out of buildings as fast as I could so that I wouldn't get too wet - it wasn't a drenching rain, thank goodness - but still wet nevertheless. However, I will post a picture of the trees on our street that do not know it is February. I just had to stop and take the photo from the car as I drove towards my house. It looks so nice with trees in bloom and crocus blossoms all yellow and blue. The daffodils and tulips have broken the earth and are up about 6" and the rose bushes are all greened out. Unfortunately, it has been frosty the last two mornings. I hope it doesn't put too much of a damper on the fragile new growth.

Our new pastor, Kent, told Dani that he had been reading Bright Wings (Don's blog). That made me want to get out my hard copy of the entire blog and read it - trying to see it through Kent's eyes. So, I did skim through it last night and sat and had a good, refreshing cry! It was so poignant. I had forgotten some of the entries from my kids. I was moved by Ron's description of two dads - his and Jeni's - and the gifts they had given to him. I was moved by some of Martin's comments about his dad and the comments by Dani and Jeni as they tended him so lovingly when he was in the hospital and when he was in his final days. I thought about the videos that the grandchildren made with him. I guess I'm getting closer to being able to view them, but probably not yet. Those will be the hardest.

I just reread Don's Lenten sermon series on Why Bad Things Happen to Good People. He preached it in Bellingham many years ago. Then, out of the blue, I received a letter from Joan Thompson who was a parishoner in Woodland Hills and who now lives in Irvine. She was asking if I had a copy of a Lenten discipline that Don used with the prayer group all those years ago. She can only remember part of it and liked to use it each year. I mentioned on this blog how I have been cataloguing and disposing of his books, and I have been reading some of his journals. It is sometimes amazing how events come together all at once.

Kent has asked me for some of Don's sermons. I dropped off the Lenten series pamphlet today and will send him more when I go through other boxes. I just borrowed a tape recorder so I could listen to some old tapes - they are early sermons. I think I will try to transfer those to CDs. In any case, I have been on a nostalgic trip. Listening to the sermons and remembering him preaching is particularly wonderful. He could bring a congregation to tears and then make them laugh within minutes. I was trying to analyze that as I read the Lenten stuff. I was also reading a rather erudite Seattle pastor's sermons. They were excellent, very intellectual, but lacked the pathos. Perhaps they lacked the poetic. Perhaps I was just prejudice - but I actually don't think so. I was moved to tears by the stories Don told.

In any case, I look forward to visiting more of his sermons. And, I look forward to hearing from Kent who has already restored a deeper sense of spirituality to the worship service. He is a good preacher even with little experience to date. I am very, very impressed and decided that Don might have had a hand in sending him here. Who knows?

South Forest Street in February!!!

Posted by Marilyn at 5:42 PM | Comments (1)

February 20, 2010

A Whole Week Later

Wow! Where does time go? I thought I wrote just a few days ago until I saw that my last post was a whole week ago. This Saturday morning I'm again on the computer but Kinsey is the only dog here. The boy and his dog are at home with his mother and brother. Things are quieter and the weather is absolutely gorgeous. I don't know if we will ever get any kind of winter, but this weather has shades of California. Yesterday, Dani and I sat outside on the porch in the sun watching Nico play. The sun was warm and nurturing. Dani has some friends staying here from Connecticut. One of the boys went to pre-school in New Haven with James and they are out looking at colleges for his older brother. They went to Vancouver yesterday to see UBC and ended up on Robson with hundreds of people in all the Olympic excitement. I guess it was lots of fun. I'm sticking with the televised games - but every once in awhile they do show the crowds all over the city. Lots of friends and neighbors have gone up, but I didn't get my act together to get tickets early enough and they were sooooo expensive anyway. It is exciting to have the games so close but the weather has sure not cooperated. We simply have not had the winter we had last year. Bad for games. Good for utility bills.

I actually opened my computer to compose a letter to our City Council about the parking around my house. I wrote a draft yesterday and was going to finish it this morning until my attention went to my blog. The letter was precipitated by Katy getting a ticket because she came in late last Monday evening and forgot to put on a parking pass. I live in a restricted zone because of the college - but actually the college is a mile away. Before the restrictions happened, no college students ever parked this far away from the school. However, the people who pushed hard to have a restricted zone (and who live only a few blocks from the college) thought they would include our block out of kindness to their friends who live in this area. Believe me, it wasn't kind!

Each owner has two permanent passes and two hanging passes for guests. However, now that I have only one car, I cannot get a second permanent pass unless the person can prove that they live here and have their car registered at this address. That means that Katy can't get a pass. Although she is here for three to four days a week, her permanent address is in Seattle with her husband. The catch-22 is that I am not supposed to use the hanging passes for people to hang out every day. So, what is Katy to do with her car? And, what is Dani to do when she is over a great deal?

When the restrictions were first put on, I was used to having both church and school meetings here. Every time that happened, I had to call City Hall and ask for one day passes for my guests and then go pick them up. It was a constant pain. Now, I just don't have so many meetings because it is not worth the hassle. Any time I want to have a luncheon, or whatever, I cringe because of the extra work of allowing people to park anywhere on my street.

I once asked how we could remove our block from the restrictions and was told that every person on the block had to sign a petition. However, one neighbor (the only one with a driveway) refused. She said that she knew that students wouldn't park on our block, but she didn't want a bunch of other people parking there also. Forget her neighbor's guests! I'm still angry about that.

So, I'm trying to write a letter - but I don't want to blather on about it - just lay out the facts. I don't think it will do one bit of good, but maybe writing about it here and sending a letter will be therapeutic on some level. Probably not.

I am spending the day setting up for my book group to come tomorrow night (weekends and evenings are free of passes). Tomorrow I am at church from 9:00 until 5:00 (worship & council retreat) and my book group comes at 6:00. Fortunately, it is a soup potluck so I will get a few appetizers to round out the menu. We are discussing The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I loved the book, but read it many months ago and will have to look through my notes to join in the discussion. Dani's friends will leave and KJ's sister and husband are spending the night on their way to the games. Then, Katy comes on Monday again. Sometimes this house is quiet and sometimes it is a three-ring circus.

Posted by Marilyn at 9:06 AM | Comments (1)

February 13, 2010

Saturday Morning: Two dogs and a Boy

I'm sitting in the living room with my computer, a cup of tea, and a chocolate Croissant. Can life be better than that???? Next to me (at least a second ago) are two dogs -- weary of each other, but tolerating the situation. Actually, I don't think Lucy is weary of Kinsey - as a puppy, she is rambunctious and full of life - it is Kinsey who is weary of Lucy and watches her every move to make sure she isn't taking what is rightfully Kinsey's. I say "a second ago" because they are off again to different parts of the house - when one gets up to move, the other is right behind. If Kinsey moves, Lucy is excited to follow the next adventure. When Lucy moves, Kinsey wants to know where she is going and why. If they are gone too long, I get anxious because Lucy is still a pup and will chew on anything that looks delicious -- edible or not. When a dog walks by our house (which is often), both will crazily run to the front door and bark at the top of their lungs. I put out food and water for Lucy and watched her eat Kinsey's food and watched Kinsey eat Lucy's food. It is really quite a dance between them.

James is asleep upstairs and his mother and brother are on Orcas. Dani and Nico went over to the island with AmySue and her two boys. AmySue's in-laws have a place on Orcas with an extra abode on the property that their kids use. It was such a great opportunity for Dani to have a break and James was not interested in going. So, we have negotiated that he would stay all night with his grandmother (rather than completely on his own). He was not thrilled, but found he could not bargain with the adults about it. Although he tried his best (he has an excellent skill in debating which he comes by naturally), I picked him up last night and took him to his favorite restaurant, The Olive Garden. Then, armed with a computer game from Blockbuster, we went back to his house and I read while he played his game. "Armed" is a good adjective because James was on the hunt for the bad guys during the entire game. I finally dragged him back to my house about 10:00 and have no idea when he finally went to bed - but I didn't care either since I knew where he was and what he was doing.

It is terrible to be well versed in adolescence. I trust no 14 year old as far as I can see them. Even the best of them like to push the limits. But negotiation is a great tool - I give some, they give some and everyone wins. He will be on his own tomorrow with responsibility for his dog. Then, I'll pick him up again tomorrow evening to spend the night with his grandmother!!! I think Dani will be home on Sunday.

I don't know which entity is more of a challenge - the dog or the boy. Both take energy I rarely have the opportunity to expend, both are self involved and sometimes push me beyond my endurance, both are full of beans, both are hungry, both are long limbed and very cute, both are loved dearly, and I don't fully trust either of them. At least James communicates well although (like the dog) I also have to read his body language at times. At least James doesn't chew my belongings (at least I don't think he does)!

Posted by Marilyn at 8:57 AM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2010

Little Tidbits

When I wrote the title to this entry, I had to chuckle. In British novels, there is often a slight change in words as well as the larger changes such as loo or nappy or pram. The small change that brings a smile to my face is the word tidbit which is always titbit on the other side of the ocean. I'm not sure if we changed it to tidbit because of our society which is blatantly sexual in our media and behavior and repressive in so many other ways about what is proper. So, I giggle inside every time I read titbit -- it just tickles my fancy.

I don't know what to do about Kinsey. He has twice nipped at Bo and Nico lately. It is true that they were the cause. Both times, Kinsey was under the table minding his own business and chewing on a bone and both times (separate incidences) each boy (in full view of a parent) scrambled like lightening under the table and grabbed at the bone. But, it is impossible to watch two or three-year-old boys like hawks. They are fast and impetuous and over here to visit so much that it is impossible to impound Kinsey. He bit Bo on the hand and broke skin. He just scared Nico. Oh my! That's how I got him in the first place - but didn't want Charles to put him to sleep since (except for barking) he is such a sweet old dog.

I'm writing this morning while waiting for a visit from our new pastor. He is coming over for coffee and I'm going to show him some of Don's library to see if he'd like some books. So far people seem pleased and he has been a good listener. He's still very much getting his feet wet. But, I think he will do just fine. On the working front, I've been busy seeing my interns who are finishing up their program. One is just about to give birth and trying hard to get her program done while waiting daily for her second child to come. I gave a talk on adolescence at a Shuksan Middle School program for parents the other evening and took part in a panel. They didn't have a huge turnout, but it was pleasant. Also, made me remember why I love parent education. It is definitely something I enjoy doing.

Dani is taking Nico to Orcas Island this weekend with AmySue and her boys. James is staying home. I'm hoping we can go to a movie tonight or perhaps watch the Olympic's Opening Ceremony. I have a lovely quiet weekend planned - and I'm going to finish my income tax. So far, I'm getting $444 back. I'm delighted - I keep looking for further deductions. I think I've squeezed most of them dry. Oh well, I'll take anything I can get. It will pay for the rest of my Ashland tickets.

Happy Valentine's Day to you all!

Posted by Marilyn at 9:20 AM | Comments (0)

February 4, 2010


I had lunch with my friend KJ today. She could be my daughter and even my granddaughter had I married young. I got to know her when she and her husband, Bryce, came to our college group which then became the "Young, but Not Youth, Group." The participants got older and older and the college students still came so the gap in age got wider. Don and I hosted the group at our house and our Christian Education director, Sharry, did most of the organizing. I am still very fond of all the ex-members of the group. We had great meals and enjoyable discussions together. Many of them who stuck around the church and Bellingham are now married and even parents. KJ and Bryce have two-year-old Oscar.

KJ spent several years taking care of our house when we weren't home. She took care of the watering and the mail and whatever else needed tending. She was a great house sitter because she was so thorough. Also, Bryce liked to play my piano, so they would come over and hang out and enjoy the view. Bryce is a fantastic chef and I've been lucky enough to be on the receiving end many times. They are also friends with my kids - and spent some time over here when Don was ill.

KJ is an artist and a craftsperson. She makes beautiful journals and books - making her own paper and putting together a stunning product. She used to spend lots of time at craft fairs before Oscar was born. She is also quite an expert on Journals and I've had her give presentations to groups of students and adults on the subject. Her own collection of journals is very impressive. Lately, she has turned her talents toward writing and illustrating children's books. She also has a fantastic blog which you can find at http://kjerstenannahayes.blogspot.com/. I am often moved and energized by her entries about organizing your life as an artist as well as your work space.

KJ is a wonderful combination of the right and left brain. On one hand, she is terribly creative and a talented artist. On the other, she is methodical and orderly in her thinking. She says that does not carry through to her house, but that is because she sets work goals for herself and actually carries them through. She is a wonderful role model for writers and artists.

KJ and Bryce are about to leave for Kuala Lumpur for two years. Bryce will head up his investment company. I will miss her sorely, but I keep thinking that maybe I can visit Charles and family in Hong Kong and then hop over to see KJ and Bryce. We will sorely miss her talents at church and miss seeing little Oscar go through some of his early years. But, what a wonderful experience they have ahead. And, the world is pretty small when it comes to blogs and computers. Also, I look forward to the new recipes that Bryce will bring home from his trek through Malaysia. Bon Voyage to my good friends. I, for one, will really miss you!

Posted by Marilyn at 5:09 PM | Comments (1)