family


Three years ago this morning, my parents and brother were happily awaiting the arrival of my youngest brother.  It was the birthday of the arriving brother.  My dad and my brothers went fishing and then went to the house for dinner.  My dad choked on an artichoke and died.  Who would have guessed that such a happy day would turn so tragic.  I will never forget the phone call that I received that night.  I have loved and lived through many men in my life but only two stand out – my dad and my great husband.  For all of my life, my dad was my very best friend and loved me no matter unconditionally.  Even though I miss him every day, I am very fortunate to have found my great husband and BFF. 

He was born January 5, 1921 to parents who had, a few years before, immigrated to the States from Denmark.  He grew up on a small farm in a community of loggers in Enumclaw, WA with three brothers.  In 1939 he joined the army and was sent to Italy.  After his return he married my mother in 1950 and I was born in December of 1953 and my brother in May of 1956.  He drove for Greyhound busline for 15 yrs.  In 1960, our family moved from Olympia, WA to Sacramento, CA.  It took him a long time to find a decent paying job and we ate a lot of peanut butter sandwiches!  He finally got with the local Teamsters and was able to buy a home.  Soon after, my younger brother was born in 1966.  In the spring of my senior year of high school, the truck that he was loading rolled away from the dock while he was on the connecting plate in a forklift.  He had 2 broken vertebrae and was unable to work for over a year while wearing a back brace.  He was very happy to get back to driving trucks again after that.  He retired in the early 80’s and he and my mom moved to Clearlake, CA where he spent as much time as could fishing on the pier or out in his boat.  Then the Alzhiemer’s set in and he had to give up the boat time because he had such a hard time remembering where his dock was.  Over the years the Alzhiemers and being diabetic got worse – he couldn’t remember he was diabetic and that caused many problems.  I do not know if he really remembered who I was.  He acted as though he did and I wanted very much to believe that he knew who I was.  The last time that I saw him was the summer before he died.  I told him that I loved him and that he was a great dad.   Even though it embarrased the hell out of him, I am very glad that I took the time to do it – never knowing that it would be the last time that I would be able to tell him.

Even though I miss him terribly, I love him enough to know that his time on this world was not quality time anymore.  I am glad that he is in a better place and I know that he will always be with me.  The father-daughter relationship I had with him makes me a better person and he will live on forever in me and in my children.

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This in the pic that he always carried of me in his wallet

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He used to sing “Swinging on A Star” to me all the time when I was a young child.  His favorite sing was Bing Crosby and it was one of his hit songs.  This song is for you, Dad –

Would you like to swing on a star
Carry moonbeams home in a jar
And be better off than you are
Or would you rather be a mule

A mule is an animal with long funny ears
Kicks up at anything he hears
His back is brawny but his brain is weak
He’s just plain stupid with a stubborn streak
And by the way, if you hate to go to school
You may grow up to be a mule

Or would you like to swing on a star
Carry moonbeams home in a jar
And be better off than you are
Or would you rather be a pig

A pig is an animal with dirt on his face
His shoes are a terrible disgrace
He has no manners when he eats his food
He’s fat and lazy and extremely rude
But if you don’t care a feather or a fig
You may grow up to be a pig

Or would you like to swing on a star
Carry moonbeams home in a jar
And be better off than you are
Or would you rather be a fish

A fish won’t do anything, but swim in a brook
He can’t write his name or read a book
To fool the people is his only thought
And though he’s slippery, he still gets caught
But then if that sort of life is what you wish
You may grow up to be a fish
A new kind of jumped-up slippery fish

And all the monkeys aren’t in the zoo
Every day you meet quite a few
So you see it’s all up to you
You can be better than you are
You could be swingin’ on a star

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Last Saturday I drove down to Tucson to see my other daughter for the day.  We all went to the Colossal Cave Mountain Park.  You should check out their website – it is very extensive and informative – there is even a virtual tour.  We went on the basic cave tour – there are several levels of the tour.  The other two levels require you to be 18 or over and have some talent for climbing with ropes.  We had 2 under the age of 18 and 3 of us couldn’t climb with a rope!  The basic tour is great though.  The front of the caves have bat poo – aka guanoon the ceilings and it smells bad.  But we didn’t see or hear any bats.  The caves were “civilized” with steps and railing by the Civilian Conservation Corps back in the mid 1930’s.  Here are a few of the pics I took of the inside of the cave.

We enter the caves

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This is one of the many beautiful ceilings

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My beautiful daughter

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This used to be a waterfall

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 Down at the Ranch, there is sluicing, a human sundial, horseback riding and museums.

This is of the four of us horseback riding.

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Tomorrow I will post the “Spring HAS Sprung” pics that I took.

We had our annual Easter Egg Hunt today at home.  I thought that my oldest would think that he was too old for this tradion but he said that he wanted to do it.  It was much later in the day than usual.  I usually have the eggs hidden by 6am but this year I was tired – very tired.  We went to Tucson at 7am yesterday and did not get back to the house until midnight.  Our “river” had nearly dried up today, so I was able to use almost the entire acre to hide the eggs.  We did not use any of the horse corral.  The boys are standing where the “river” was.

So HAPPY EASTER Everyone!!  I hope that you all had a great day, hopefully with your family.

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My husband and I have been going to the Renaissance Festival in Phoenix for 6  years now.  We usually go for his birthday in March.  The past few years we have gone to the King’s Feast and last year I flew a friend of his to Phoenix from Billings, Montana to spend the day with us at the Festival.  This year was different for us, too…. we took the kids.  It has been my only day to be without them, but we decided that it was time to introduce them to the fun.  The day was nearly perfect.  The boys behaved themselves, the weather was not 110 degrees (it was a bit chilly), we saw the Ded Bob Show, went to the Joust, and the boys ate lots of food.  We went to a motel room Saturday night so that we didn’t have so much driving on Sunday. (it is about a 3-4 hr drive from our house)  I plugged my camera’s rechargable battery in at the motel and LEFT it behind…. so, no Excellent digital camera!! I had to buy a disposable one!!  That was really not so bad, I guess…. but it made me miss the PIC of the Day!  Some girls my son’s age came running up to him, dropped a hankerchief, said “Oh my, whatever will I do!”, he picked it up and kissed her hand.  It was a moment that only my brain will have to remember. Here is the pick that I did get.

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We all dressed in our Ren costumes.  It such a hassle to get into mine!  But this year it didn’t cut off my lungs and hurt my back, like last year.  I have lost enough weight that it was actually comfortable to wear.

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Husband went back to work – he is a truck driver and is gone for 2-4 months at a time.  I am glad that we had such a wonderful family day before he left.  The disposable camera saved the memories for us.  The motel called yesterday – they found my charger and battery.