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March 29, 2013

You can take the girl out of California, but...

Yesterday I went outside without a jacket or sweater and it was lovely. On this, the first few days of spring in the northwest, the temperature has risen into a comfortable, gardening mode, sweaterless, zone. Nico played outside, got his sweat pants filty dirty, and came in for a pair of shorts. The sun is shining, the water is blue, the sky is cloudless and all seems right with the world. It won't last. I know that -- but it is a lovely Easter gift.

When I moved to Washington after having lived in California for 40 some years, I took multiple steaming baths for several months. Then, I smartened up and got my first woolens. Wonder of wonder -- they worked well, and I got warm. However, I still tend to go through autumn with wearing cottons and light shirts until one day I realize that I'm chilled. The sun may still be shining, but it is getting colder and colder. Sometimes it even snows before I tap into my winter wardrobe. I never have gotten layers down well. Nor the wool sox thing! And, never a hat or scarf -- until I finally give in sometime in October or November when I realize that all my friends are appropriately dressed, and I still have on cotton shirts with my jeans.

So, when a few days of weather like yesterday come along, it is sensational to shed clothing and actually feel the warmth of the sun on my skin. I'm sure that I'm Vitamin D deprived. I love the sun. I love the sun. I love the sun. Maybe because I'm aging, but this year it affected me curiously. When it got colder, I simply did not get out to walk. I refused to garden. Dani reminded me (like her father used to do) that I always get cranky in the dreary month of February.

Speaking of Dani, she and Charles have escaped overnight to Vancouver for a birthday celebration for Charles. Nico and I played in the sun with the dogs yesterday afternoon and James, Nico, and I are going to our favorite Fiamma burger for lunch today after they get out of school to celebrate their first day of spring break. I'm glad to report that this grandma can still keep things in hand with two boys and two dogs for an overnight stay. Now that they are in school, I came home to spend a few hours preparing for Easter dinner on Sunday. These days, I plan ahead -- I'm not as agile about throwing things together at the last minute like I used to be able to do.

But, it helps to have the sun shining. It really helps!

Posted by Marilyn at 9:57 AM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2013


How can it be that Danielle Christine McClellan has turned 50? Could I possibly be that old?

Talking to a friend last night, I mused over the naming of our children. When Dani was conceived, I had a student named Danielle -- but her parents pronounced it Dan-eel. I loved the name, and I wanted to name a daughter after my favorite student. A boy would be Sean and a girl would be Danielle (pronounced Dan-eel).

After our daughter was born and named, Don said -- "that is not the way we should pronounce her name -- the French pronunciation is Dan-yell!" I agreed to the change but, she was soooo tiny (not by new baby standards since she was 8 plus lbs.) I said, "let's call her Dani". Danielle was such a grown up name for a little baby. So, Dani she became except for those with no imagination who annoyed me by either writing Danny or Donny because they presumed we named her after her father. It was annoying because those people were corrected umpteen times and still never got it right.

Fast forward to the first day of Kindergarten when Don told the teacher, Mrs. Alexander, "she may not answer to Danielle so you will have to be patient." And, our now good friend Peggy Alexander, said, "Oh! can I call her Dani, too?" And, that is how we lost the name Danielle until the grown up Dani began reclaiming it as her name as an adult. As for the rest of the naming events, Jennifer was slated to be Susan until she was born and Don and I agreed that she didn't look like a Susan to us. So, her father went home for a few hours and came back suggesting Jennifer Anne. I agreed. She did seem more like a Jennifer. I could have slugged our good friend, Bob, who came to the hospital and said, "Not another Jennifer!" Of course, it didn't take long for her to become Jenny (which she then changed to Jeni).

Finally a boy named Sean. "Wait," said his father. "I'm tired of Sean. Does he look like a Sean to you?" "I'm tired of Sean, too. We've been calling our potential newborn son Sean for 6 years." Again, Don went home and came back -- what about Martin? It was two days before the first anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s death and the country was still in mourning. It fit! A wonderful name for a son -- a legacy of fighting for human rights! But, no shortening his name. I still remember him as a very little boy, hands on hips, glaring at his aunt, telling her, "My name is Martin, not Marty."

I guess that the moral of this story (for the McClellans at least) is that we needed to meet our children before knowing who they might be. Somehow names in the abstract didn't define them. The more interesting phenomena is that Don and I completely agreed through all of this renaming. It was as if we were tuned into the universe and on the same page.

All this musing comes after a wonderful evening of celebrating Dani's 50th with her siblings. We had a fantastic meal at Canlis, a well known, long time Seattle favorite. It was Charles' idea that we four celebrate together. It took care of the babysitting problems, and it gave Dani the opportunity to enjoy her nuclear family with the spotlight on her alone. It was a memorable evening. We arrived in Seattle early in the day on Thursday, sent Dani for a massage, played around shopping with Jeni and were joined by Martin, Christine and Lionel at the hotel. Christine then took Lionel out for pizza and Martin hired a car to pick us up for our 6:45 reservation at Canlis. It was a four hour meal -- and amazing. Back to the hotel for a nightcap before Martin and Jeni left for home. The next morning, we were joined by Dani's friends, Mary Kay and Michael, for breakfast before heading home.

It was a lovely 50th birthday event. But, I just don't know how it came so fast! Dani says that she is going to go backwards from here on -- so she is actually turning 48. I am going to follow suit!

Posted by Marilyn at 10:57 AM | Comments (0)