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June 27, 2010

Happy Anniversary

Friday, June 25, 2010, would have been my 50th wedding anniversary. I celebrated it by scrubbing the heck out of my upper deck which had been filthy over the winter. The deck faces the north and gets an abundance of debris that stains the vinyl yellow. I always have to scrub it on my hands and knees before summer begins. This was the first chance I got that was both sunny and my time was free. As I mentioned before, I have been helping Dani get her house in order. Saturday morning we hauled three truck loads of brush to the dump. That left the afternoon for the deck.

It always helps to be busy when nostalgia threatens to dampen a day. Anniversaries and birthdays always take their toll even when the loss is dulled over time. I am so grateful for the party our kids gave us in celebration of our 40th anniversary. I guess no one can ever guess what the future might bring. But, that celebration was a wonderful mixture of long-time and special friends and a few glorious and sentimental days filled with friends and family.

On Facebook on Father's Day, Dani honored her husband and her father "whose presence is still felt in so many moments." It is true. How many moments in a day, a week, and throughout the years he has been gone has he been present so very clearly in conversations, looks, thoughts, laughter, and tears. He was such a strong personality and his absence is as deafening as his presence once was. There are topics that come up when we have no one to turn to for wisdom, wry humor, or a unique point of view. We miss the poetry of his life. He was stubborn, creative, wise, kept a messy study, extremely well read, annoying, tender, persnickety, and, above all, loyal. If he wanted something, he would go miles to find it. He could not abide people who were judgmental. He looked for the spark in others. He loved to research every item he bought to find the very best. Like his grandfather who hoarded machines, he hoarded electronic stuff. Like his parents, he had a meager streak which caused him to buy all his clothes at Penneys. All our married life, he searched for a better system of organization. He was on the cutting edge of computers, art, music, and I actually thought he would have made a wonderful literary critic. But, since his teens he had wanted to be a minister -- even throughout his college years when he was agnostic. He never wavered once from that mission. He believed strongly that he had a clear calling.

His voice is continually in my head: "Marilyn, slow down and put both hands on the wheel," "When you concentrate on the negative, that is what you bring into the world " "I preach to myself, not to give some preconceived lesson to others," "I'm not telling you about my sermon, you could have gone to church to hear it," "Remember to stick yourself with the diaper pin, not our baby," "No, I don't want that shirt from Nordstrom's, it's too expensive," Silly things just pop into my mind from time to time. He was my lodestar and sometimes I dearly miss the one person who kept me on course.

There is no doubt that he was a complex and unique person. And, probably the one trait that endeared me the most when we were courting was his great love of his family, The night he told me lovingly about his little niece, Mary, was the night that I think I fell in love with him. I knew he would make a great father. And, now, how can we ever have a baby in this family without the baby lover to put him to sleep? How many times have I told Nico that his papa would have loved him so very much? It will be the same for the new little one coming in August. They have both missed the very best grandfather in the world. I'm not worried about him missing them because I believe, without a doubt, that wherever he is, he has a hand in this. A love that big cannot be squandered or dispersed so easily after death. It hovers and nurtures and continues to watch over our family.

Happy Anniversary, my love!

Posted by Marilyn at 10:11 AM | Comments (2)

June 24, 2010

Is It Finally Summer?

So it has been sunny for two days now - a record for the month I am sure. I have finally gotten over my cold and regained some energy but have lost three weeks of working in the garden getting it weeded and ready for summer planting which should have been done weeks ago. Oh well! I've also been helping Dani get her house ready to put on the market. So, we are cleaning and clearing stuff out to stage her house. She has been hiring workmen such as our friend Steve to clear her monstrous yard and a handyman to repair some of the fences, etc. When I'm not helping her I'm weeding and planting here. But, it is so great to feel like doing it and to be out in the sun.

Anyone who reads this little blog knows that I love a good mystery. Well, my friend Peggy turned me on to a new writer (for me) and I have been devouring the Charles Todd books. I do love a series. I am on number four and deliciously there are many more to read. I don't have to feel bad when I come to the end of the present one. They are about a British Scotland Yard inspector who was in WWI and comes home with the burden of the war as he tries to resume his career. He is clever and solves some pretty interesting crimes - usually by thinking outside of the box and trumping the local police force in the little towns where he finds himself. Oh, I do love a good series!

It is lovely to be finished with both school terms and be free of responsibilities for the summer. I hope Dani's house gets ready soon since I have so much I want to do here. Charles may make it home for part of July. He has a huge family reunion in Montana and they all want to go very badly. They are still trying to find ways to get him back home - but now they will sell their house and rent a smaller and less expensive house in Bellingham so the family can travel over to Hong Kong to see him once in awhile.

Not much else on my mind at the moment. I thought I would catch up on my blog. I'm working on taking time every morning to write. I have yet to accomplish my goals but I'm hopeful that I can begin very soon. I'm working on an article at the moment. We'll see how disciplined I can be this summer. For now, the sun definitely trumps staying inside.

Posted by Marilyn at 5:11 PM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2010

The Morning After

I'm sitting in the living room catching up on my email and writing notes to my book group still in my nightgown at 10:00 a.m. I do have to get dressed shortly, but for now I am unwilling to move my body out of the comfy chair. I'm still finishing up the delicious bagels and lox and cream cheese that we had on Saturday morning to celebrate James' 8th grade graduation -- a delightful 2 1/2 hour ceremony full of all the good things about education that we have lost in our pursuit of test scores. Hurray for the private schools that can still pay attention to what children need emotionally and spiritually as well as academically. I will pontificate on all this sometime in the future.

Yesterday was Jeni's day - Eulalah and I left town at 7:00 a.m. and met Jeni and family at the Seattle Women's Club where her fellow students in the Masters of Arts program in Organizational Design and Leadership at Seattle University had a celebratory breakfast and program to honor their grads. At three o'clock we attended the graduation ceremonies in the Key Arena - a much better ceremony than I went to when I got my Masters in Counseling from the same school several years ago. Fortunately, they have separated the undergrads from the graduate degrees and now have two ceremonies. It was quite nice. Then, back to the Craswell home for a lasagna dinner and back home again by bedtime. A very long day for someone who has been down two weeks with a horrible cold - but I was pleased that I seemed to be unscathed although tired today - no bad coughing fits for two days now.

Life seems to be looking up. I feel better if not 100% back to energy, the sun is shining so I can resume the gardening I began before I got a bad cold, some neighborhood angel mowed my lawn while I was in Seattle yesterday, all my windows were cleaned on Friday, my Child Development class ended last Thursday and I got my grades in on Saturday, I'm going to Orcas for a few days on Thursday with my writing group - I think I detect a smile on my face. It is miserable to be sick when you are used to being well. It is lovely to see the sun shining on the horizon. Here are some pictures:

The lovely graduate with her family

James playing the sax with his 8th grade talented class

Posted by Marilyn at 10:03 AM | Comments (1)

June 7, 2010

STILL Under the Weather

Enough is enough already! I last wrote on Wednesday when I was feeling the symptoms of a cold. They really almost disappeared on Thursday and I taught my class and even went to see James' 8th grade presentation. I must have pushed it too much because WHOMP - Friday I got my come-up-ance! I have been really, really miserable ever since.

Now the more interesting part of this journey is that I have a houseful of company! Kent mom and friend, Jane, came back from Portland on Friday and are staying until tomorrow. I'm glad I got to know them when I was well, because they have literally fended for themselves ever since. I did get the sheets clean because Katy was here while they were gone, but they have been in and out with Kent and Robert and having a grand time. They make their own breakfast and then away they go - and their ramblings usually include lunch and dinner.

Last night, I had to move them into the same bedroom to sleep together because Katy came back to finish her last few days of teaching. So, while I hold court in the living room sneezing, coughing, and blurry-eyed, my guests float in and out of my line of vision and are courteous enough to ask what they can do for me. Yesterday I was so bored that Dani came over with Nico and AmySue and a friend and Bo came over to visit for awhile. It was the event of the day.

I'm actually getting better day by day, but now have missed Martin and Christine's first shower, music Sunday at church, a farewell party for my former principal who is retiring, and James' big jazz concert in Ferndale. I'm almost through the 500 page novel (as it is about Henry VIII when he was trying to justify divorcing his wife to marry Anne Boleyn, it is not exactly a page turner). Today I'm going to watch the next DVD in my pursuit of watching all the videos of Pride and Prejudice. I may just get into the car today to drive around - it will reconnect me with the world.

As I said before, I'm a terrible patient. But, this enforced vacation does have some value. I wish I could say that I haven't eaten anything and have lost a few pounds, but alas, my appetite is just fine thank you. I wish I could say that I have written 20,000 words of a novel, but alas, I'm singularly uncreative. I'm saving up my energy for this next weekend when James graduates from 8th grade and when Jeni gets her masters degree from Seattle University. I'm giving Christine and Martin a shower in July, so I haven't missed all the fun - and it is Monday, so the NY Times Crossword is a snap!

Life is looking up.

Posted by Marilyn at 8:50 AM | Comments (0)

June 2, 2010

Under the Weather

I am miserable with a cold, and I'm not a good patient. I guess my busyness of last week caught up with me. Fortunately, I have absolutely nothing to do today and so I'm going to feel sorry for myself and sit in this comfortable chair all cozy and warm while the trees are blown by gusts of wind and the weather is as miserable as I feel. My dad would have described my rest last night perfectly - he used to say that he "plowed the south forty" all night. That is what I did. Up and down, coughing, unable to really rest even with a Benedryl - I thought the night would never end. Katy got up this morning and went to breakfast without me - I had finally fallen asleep. I have my chair fitted out with my birthday book from Dani (Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel - set in the time of Henry VIII), I have a video of Twelfth Night to watch in preparation for going to Ashland this summer, I have a crossword AND a jigsaw puzzle close by, some cough drops, some water, some leftovers in the frig if I get hungry. I think I'm prepared for the day.

Last week was crazy. Besides my class which I'm still teaching, our church had a big Installation service for our new pastor. His mother, Helen, and her friend, Jane, stayed with me. They are from Independence, Missouri. They are both widows and lovely people. There were many events to entertain all the visitors who also came from New York and Boston. An old friend, Jill Seamans, was also in town and there were two parties for her. I think I just overdid it - and the weather has been very wet! On top of that, I conducted the choir on Sunday for our director who was taking a vacation. By Sunday evening, I was soooooo tired as I said goodbye to my guests and the festivities came to a close.

The most exciting thing happened during the Installation. My phone rang! I couldn't believe that I had forgotten to turn it off. And, I was singing in choir. When I got away later and called back, I found that my son had gotten married!!! He and Christine went down to the courthouse with their friends, Sarah and Felix, and were married by a lovely looking judge! I was thrilled - Christine's parents are in Idaho and her brothers in California, so no other family were there. Just in time for that baby coming in August. So, I have a new daughter-in-law (well, not so very new - just legal).

So, my cup overfloweth as does my head at the moment. I'm off to do a few puzzles, read a few lines and continue to feel sorry for myself. Everyone needs a day like this at times.

Posted by Marilyn at 9:55 AM | Comments (1)