August 28, 2010
Some days are for the record! Dani and I took off yesterday with Nico to travel to Anacortes to pick up her lawnmower. You may remember that she bought Jeni and Ron's electric lawnmower at their garage sale. We took it to Ace Hardware in Anacortes to get a free retrofit because the model had been recalled. And, she was getting a new battery and wheels which would make it like new. Imagine her surprise to find that the lawnmower had been given away to another person named McClellan (from Bellingham no less) who had left his (not so nice and unfixable) lawnmower for her. Fortunately, the clerk took full responsibility for not checking the guys paperwork since her paperwork described her machine and her credentials. They are trying to get it all sorted out now.
Having been unsuccessful at that venture, we went to the children's toy store and then had a less than exciting lunch. We then decided to head home, pick up James, and travel up to IKEA in Canada. We didn't calculate the time well and hit the middle of the drive at rush hour when the freeway in our direction was going from four oncoming lanes down to one at they approached the tunnel between the border and Richmond. Our two hour crawl over about 10 miles included one 14 year old who had neglected to feed himself all day and one 3 year old who had been in a car for the entire morning and now the entire afternoon. It was some form of penance and took pacifying, arguing, telling stories, asking forgiveness, admonishing, and extreme cleverness to pass the miles and miles of bumper to bumper traffic -- all the while the adults were saying, "what on earth were we thinking?" I won't even mention the cleverly devised solution to Nico's need to pee that Dani came up with while stranded in the everlasting traffic jam. Needless to say, it worked and relieved the pressure while giving us a giggle or two.
We hit IKEA at 5;30 and immediately went for the meatballs and mashed potatoes to sooth ruffled feathers. After promising the fourteen year old that we wouldn't spend the rest of the night there shopping, we had a nice trip around the store and bought a few clever items that we couldn't live without. Then, we started home (on a FRIDAY night!!!) and got into border traffic alongside the Duty Free store. The American side of the border is being redone, (the Canadians finished their new remodel last year) and we were down to two main lanes and a snaking line which continued to go on and on and on through the temporary checkout. Of course, we chose the longest line. James at least had a full stomach and got engrossed in his music. Nico plaintively mewed that he wanted to go home. Dani and I read several pages of the books we had along in between inching forward and regaling Nico with the Three Bears (gaggi) and Three Pigs (mama), a few new stories that Dani had bought that morning in Anacortes, and singing a rendition of "The Grand Old Flag" as we spotted Old Glory waving in the breeze.
At long last, our trip ended in a quick zip down I-5 to the turn off for home. One useless trip to Anacortes and a trip from Hell to iKEA finally finished. In retrospect, it was quite humorous - and we all were delighted and relieved to finally arrive home again. I don't even want to ask Dani if Nico ever got to sleep last night after a huge ice cream cone and a few bites of his brother's cinnamon roll before we left IKEA. I just turned my car towards home and decided that she could deal with that one by herself.
August 22, 2010
A Lazy Sunday Afternoon
I'm sitting in the big, navy recliner playing on my computer while Kinsey is stretched out on the sofa sound asleep. It is that kind of day. Kent preached on taking a Sabboth day once a week and doing nothing. I think he suggested getting rid of all electronics and reading a book, but I think writing on the computer might be a good substitution at the moment. At least, I don't think it would anger God at all. Not if Donel is having any kind of clout in Heaven!!!
While he was at the Woodland Hills Church, Donel bought his first computer, a TRS-80, from Radio Shack. He, who had always loved gadgets, fell madly in love. There was a small group of people who liked to find fault at the church, and they express disbelief that a computer was an appropriate machine for a minister of the church. In fact, they probably felt it was an instrument of the devil. Donel, who had always been dyslexic, thought it was a God-send. He finally could correct his terrible spelling and produce documents in half the time than a typewriter. By the way, it took him awhile to convince me to give up my typewriter. Now, I can't imagine why that was. I even marvel at the fact that some writers still write their text in long hand. I love to write, love penmanship, but the sheer comfort of writing as fast as one can think is so liberating. Maybe we think too fast nowadays - but there it is!
By the time Don left Woodland Hills, the tide had turned. He had used his own computer in the office and they begged him to leave it. It had been such a help with lists, stewardship, membership, etc. He just smiled and told them to buy their own. He was truly a front runner in this arena. I don't think there are many mindsets today that would relegate the computer to the devil. Even so, there are times I want to rip the iPhones from my grandchildren and toss them away. I hate when children are glued to the television. I get annoyed when teens sit next to each other and text instead of talk face to face. It is scary to think that all this has happened in the past 25 years. And, that my grandchildren live in such a fast paced life where so much technology is at their facile fingertips.
I contemplate all this while I am writing. Would it be a more holy Sabboth if I turned off the computer and picked up my novel? I don't think my latest mystery with all the mayhem is any worse than writing on my computer. I think waking Kinsey and taking a nice long walk would be much more acceptable. Perhaps giving some time and space for input instead of output would be the point of the Sabboth. Letting God speak to me in the quiet might be good. I look outside at the sun that has finally come out on this dreary day and contemplate the beauty all around me. I think I'll close this now and go for that walk - perhaps down by the park and over the bay. Take time for yourself!
August 19, 2010
Beauty Beauty Everywhere
I have been fortunate to live in nice places. I grew up in a small suburb of Los Angeles during the time that it was safe to wander the streets, go to parks, take a bus downtown for lunch, and generally not worry about street crime or bad guys. Although I lived in a very humble three bedroom home in a blue collar neighborhood, my father was a sales manager for a glass company (bottles, not mirrors) who was able to take his family on long beach holidays in Baja and San Diego and out to nice dinners in the wider Los Angeles area. So, I grew up going to Lawry's Prime Rib and Farmers' Market in Hollywood.
When I married Don, we were in Berkeley for four years and then Santa Barbara. He grew up in Carlsbad, California, so we were happy to continue his tradition of keeping close to the ocean. They both were beautiful cities. In fact, when he was hired at La Mesa Church in Santa Barbara, the search committee said that we would someday be sorry to begin his ministry in such a beautiful place. We would have to force ourselves to leave when he outgrew the little 100 member church. They were right. I went kicking and screaming to Woodland Hills. I didn't want to leave my house right around the corner from the beach that I loved. Woodland Hills was a big strip mall as far as I was concerned. But, of course, we found our own beauty there -- in the people, in our lovely home, in the warm climate and the amenities of the San Fernando Valley.
When Don was looking for his next church, we talked about what we wanted in a new area. We wanted three things - water (we missed the ocean), mountains, and especially a town near a college. Don had so missed the atmosphere in Santa Barbara where the university professors pushed him intellectually to talk about faith and to grapple with questions. Imagine our surprise when we had a phone call from Lawrence Brewster in Bellingham, WA, asking Don if he might be interested in a new position in Washington State. Bellingham ingredients - water, mountains (even volcanos) and a university? Yes, we were definitely interested!!!
Last night I was strolling through Boulevard Park with two of my three grandsons (I can now say that). Every day of my 30 years here I am caught by the beauty of this area. I love all the seasons, but the summers are really glorious even if they share some dismal days here and there. There just isn't any place that I would rather be. It is such a feast for the eyes. This area is peppered with the most beautiful parks. People here are outside whether it is 80 degrees or 20 degrees - all that changes is their clothing and the temperature of their coffee. It is the most culturally diverse (sports wise) than any city I've ever lived in. Where else can you ski in the morning and sail or kayak in the evening?
We used to vacation in the high country of Yosemite. Once, when we were eating our dinner outside our tent on Lake Tenaya, the people next to us were sitting with their after-dinner coffee listening to Brahms on their radio. They were speaking with each other in German. We began conversing with them and they said that they had traveled all over the world, but had never sat in a more beautiful site. I think I understand what they were trying to convey. I might travel all over the world, but I wouldn't find anything more beautiful than what I have in my own backyard. There is enough beauty right here for anyone's soul!
August 18, 2010
A Sweet Baby
By now most people know that we have a new addition to our family. Facebook is a curious venture - and perhaps the fastest conduit for news available. I must admit that I'm on Facebook only to keep caught up with my own family and other family and friends - from church to school to neighbors to friend's children and friends of friends. All the way across the world and across the country, I can follow what people are doing -- those people who usually would be one layer removed from my consciousness. People I wouldn't hear from in years (or even ever again) stay a part of my life. That is why I like Facebook. I'm sure that my new grandson, Lionel August Larsen McClellan, met the world through Facebook just slightly after meeting his grandparents at Swedish Hospital in Seattle.
He was a week early and needed a boost so Christine had a Caesarian section. Martin was in with her and Christine's parents were over from Idaho. This is their first grandchild. Christine has two brothers (one older and one younger) and neither has children. So, the Larsens were very pleased and excited. I was as excited with the fifth as I was with the first if not as anxious. I certainly was filled with nervous anticipation (which accounted for a large package of Trail Mix disappearing on the drive down) and relieved to meet Lionel at last. Martin came down the hallway holding him and he looked like a seasoned parent already. I spent yesterday with them as Christine's parents had left for home. It was a joy just to sit and hold him a good part of the day.
Martin and Christine have a sweet little apartment on lower Queen Ann district in Seattle. They have a little tiny extra room where they used to keep their computers and desks, but is now a nursery for Lionel. It has French doors that open into his little room and they have it fixed up with his bed and a changing table/dresser with a mobile hanging over it that was Christine's when she was a baby. It is really darling. They have displaced their birds who now reside in the living room. I think Lionel might feel really home some day in a rain forest since bird chatter is part of his little existence.
Obama is in Seattle and so we all jumped when we heard two very loud sonic booms yesterday while I was visiting. Martin sent a link to a news story today explaining that two F-15 jets had pursued a seaplane that breached the 10 mile no-fly limit of the city. The booms caused lots of phone calls and concerns in the city. We turned on the news and heard no sirens, so we put the concerns aside and went back to adoring the baby. It was nice to hear what had happened today.
Here are some pictures of my new grandson.
August 3, 2010
Loss and More Stuff
Maybe after you have a major loss in your life, you are on edge for things to come. I cannot otherwise explain my explosive response to the fact that my computer was evidently stolen the other night while I was sleeping. The whole thing is rather like a line of dominos falling with no hope of reversal. I went to Redmond to have lunch with Martin in the Town Center and ooh and aah over the new car (bought just in time to bring a wee one and his/her mother home from the hospital). Since I had time to kill before seeing Allie in Les Mis at the Bothel High School performing arts center, I lugged my computer along. I went to Macy's and bought a few items on sale and then to Molbaks and bought a few more. I never took my computer into Jeni's where I loafed for a few hours. I had a good book with me also. After Les Mis, I took Nicole home and didn't arrive back in Bellingham until after midnight. I was exhausted. So, I filled every available crevice in my arms with all my purchases and my computer.
When I reached the door, the pooch was frantic to go out. He has an amazing bladder, but it had (after all) been about 13 hours inside. While trying to hurry, I dropped my keys. From here on it is speculation. However, what I think must have happened was that I put down my computer to fetch the keys to open the door. Let Kinsey out, walked in and dropped my packages, let Kinsey back in and climbed the stairs and barely hit the pillow before I was asleep.
The next morning, I went down and looked for my computer. I knew I had only done two things before going upstairs - dropped the mail on my desk in the study and dropped everything else in the hallway. Here is what absolutely amazed me - I wandered!!! I looked in every room, even those I knew I had not been in the night before. But, I didn't just do this once - I probably searched every room in the house over and over and over again. I simply could not believe that I wouldn't go into a room the thirtieth time and there I would find that delightful lime green carrying case for my computer. While roaming, the worst scenario came to me - that I had indeed left it on the porch, right under the porch light, for the miserable scum that roams the neighborhood when we are asleep simply to walk stealthily up on my porch and retrieve it. Even after figuring this out, I continued to look and look in all the rooms and the car as if it would magically materialize.
When Donel died, I wanted desperately for him to reappear, to come home, for it all to be untrue - but rationally I knew that it wouldn't be that way. I had lived with that knowledge long enough for it to sink in a bit. Somehow, an inconsequential loss must have crept into that emotional depth and triggered a completely unexpected response from my psyche. There is no way I could explain my devastation or my helplessness when I found that my computer was gone. Although not irrational, it was completely over the top. I simply could not accept it for hours until I finally wound down from walking aimlessly through rooms and began to plan ahead.
On Sunday afternoon, I drove to University Village to get myself a replacement. The good news is that I had a backup system and, although I hadn't backed up my computer for over a month, I had everything I needed on the system. When I lost my PC harddrive, Jeni and Ron took all afternoon of their precious time and reinstalled programs that were lost. I took my new computer home and plugged it into the LaCie and clicked two places. In over an hour my computer was completely restored just like it was when the fiend stole it. All the programs, all the special configurations -- everything. The next day I changed all my passwords. While doing so I noticed that Dropbox (a program used for sharing between my computers) was completely emptied a half hour before. Someone was probably erasing all my stuff. Fortunately, I could get into the Dropbox website and restore everything. Both my email and my calendar are on Google, so I simply had to change my password so no one could use my email.
I had not protected my computer with a password each time I got in nor had I a completely up-to-date backup. Those are two things I would do differently. And, we won't talk about the fact that I didn't even remember putting the computer down at the door and not picking it up again. I'm making a police report and checking with the insurance company. I went and bought myself a replacement Brenthaven carrying case but was very sad that my exact case was no longer manufactured in the same color or material.
If anyone finds a lime green Brenthaven computer bag for sale on Craig's list, please buy it back for me.