Thursday, March 29, 2012

Kathleen Moments

It's always fun to share "Kathleen moments" with my granddaughters Kat and Katie. This week here at Polly's house has provided lots of sweet time with Katie. Is she really 7 already? How the time has flown since she first joined the family.

Schools in their town are still in session, so we haven't had as much time with Katie as we have had with the other three children. We did get to enjoy an awards assembly with her on Tuesday, where she received a "Student of the Month" award that celebrated her "great love of books and being an outstanding reader." Also "her smile and infectious laugh."
 Here are a couple of pictures of Katie outside her elementary school. 

On the walk home - she treads this sweet little path that Polly & Eric keep mowed through the sagebrush. Their house is only about a block from the school. Katie looks glum in this photo on purpose - she was refusing to smile for the camera right then.

Congratulations, Katie! She does a great job at home, too. Katie is a wonderful big sister to Seth, Becca, and Anson. Here she enjoys some sweet moments with her newest sibling.

Oh, what a joy it has been to share "Kathleen moments" with Katie this week!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kite day

As Winnie-the-Pooh once said, "It's Windsday." Indeed it was today, here at Polly's house.

Grandpa and Seth built a kite out of sticks, newspaper, scotch tape, yarn, and a random long ribbon that Polly had. No electronics, no gizmos, just a boy, an old-fashioned toy, and a grandpa.

 Would it fly? Grandpa was trying it out.

 The entire time it was in the air, Seth thought he was controlling it.
He was actually just holding onto the loose end of the string.
But he didn't know that. He was pretty tickled.

 It's going higher! (Still holding his string...)

 And higher!

 These two guys had a great time.

And Seth is still holding tightly to his end of the string...

 A little later, Seth enjoyed some time with his new little brother.

Something tells me that Seth is imagining the future (naughty?) fun he and his little brother will have. 
And I know that Becca will be right there, in on all the fun, too!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Our Newest Family Member

Mark and I are spending several days with Polly and family. What a treat to get to know our newest little grandson, Anson!

 Hello, Grandma!

 Still working on getting those eyes to focus...

 Are you sure about that, Grandma!

 We had some darling "wakey" moments with this little guy.

 Most of the time he's like this...

 And once in a while he's like this!

 Big sister Becca will be 3 tomorrow! She is such a cutie.

Here's Becca with her 2 dollies (she put them on either side of Anson).
What fun for a little girl to have so many babies in her life!
Good thing 2 of them aren't so demanding.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

OC Bridge Construction Update

What can I say? My dad and granddad were both engineers. This moving bridge fascinates me. 

I checked the construction cam first thing this morning (bottom photo). Then I clicked back 4 hours, and back 4 hours again, to get these screen shots in sequence. 

 Midnight last night
You can see that the bridge is just starting to move in from the right of the photo. 
(For comparison, check the earlier photo in the post below.)

 4:00 AM this morning
Here it comes!

8:00 AM this morning. 
Halfway there. That's Home Depot in the background.

Wow! They are making great progress! The bridge is already halfway in place. I wonder if they are ahead of schedule? The highway is supposed to reopen by 4:00 AM Tuesday. After it is moved into place they still have to anchor it to the foundation. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Early Garden and Carmageddon

Yesterday morning our yard looked like this:

Today it is featuring this:

Welcome to the real Oregon spring! We had SUNSHINE!!! Mark and I mowed lawns, planted this sweet flowerbed with pansies...
 ...aren't they cheerful and friendly looking?
 And we also put out some kale, lettuce and strawberries.
This is the earliest we've put any veggies out into the garden, but since most of it was covered with black plastic all winter, the soil is fairly warm and dry. We're hoping these sweet little guys will grow and give us lots of yummy edibles!

No kidding, that's what The Oregonian newspaper called Oregon City. As of 8:00 pm yesterday, a small section of Highway 213 was closed for four days of construction. If you are familiar with Oregon City, I can tell you it's the short section between Home Depot and I-205. Traffic delays of up to two hours were predicted for all over Oregon City, as 100,000+ cars would need to go through Oregon City every day during those four days, rather than take Highway 213. (Locals call it "the Bypass.")
A map of the detour route = traffic headache for many thousands of drivers

We live just a couple of blocks from Molalla Avenue, a major thoroughfare through Oregon City, and an alternate route for plenty of people this morning. I was walking along Molalla Ave at 7:30 am, and the traffic headed toward Portland was bumper-to-bumper and stopped. One car made it through the signal before it turned red again.

Mark and I ran an errand in the car around 3:00 this afternoon, and the traffic wasn't too bad then, but when he went to the gas station around the corner to get more lawnmower gas at 4:00, he said it was already getting really thick again.

Good thing we know some secret back ways to get around OC!

Click here if you want to know more about this construction, called the Jughandle Project.

It's actually a pretty neat project. They are building a new bridge for that section of Highway 213, so that the cross road (Washington Street) can go under the Bypass and cut down on traffic delays. The new bridge is already built, but it's not in place. It's sitting next to the highway!!

During the four days of closure, they will remove the roadway and all of the dirt beneath it, and then slide the new bridge into place. Man, the 21st century sure is amazing. I like to click on the construction cam to see how it's all coming along.
That's the new bridge deck on the right of the photo - the square white thing. 
They will slide it into the area they are excavating (middle of photo).

I'll bet those workers are glad it didn't snow today!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Here on Laurel Lane, we are really getting into the spirit of a classic Oregon spring:

The cherry trees are a froth of white...

The canoes are yearning for white water...

The grass is growing long...almost time for a mow?

I have my (waterproof) work boots on!

Perhaps a grandchild will come play with us today...

Yes indeed, the skies are beginning to show some blue...

...and we are measuring up for a beautiful spring day here on Laurel Lane!
Sorry the photo is blurry...that's 2" of snow this morning. We had a phone call at 5:30 a.m., telling us the district was calling a snow day. Since this was to be the last day of school before spring break, Mark and I are currently enjoying the first of 18 days with no school. 

That's 1 snow day, 5 days of spring break, 6 weekend days, and 6 furlough (no pay--budget cuts) days.

And just for the record, this is my 32nd Oregon spring, but the first one I can remember with a snow day this late in the season. The forecast calls for sunshine tomorrow, and I can't wait!!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

What DID Happen

A couple of weeks ago I posted what didn't happen. Sad day.

Today, I am pleased to update you with what DID happen yesterday and today. Happy day!

1. I still didn't go snowshoeing, but...
Liberty and I did get out for a wonderful walk. Still no snowshoeing. It was forecast to rain, and who wants to snowshoe in the rain. Ick. There was also an avalanche warning. Bigger ick.

So instead we opted to go on a lovely walk in Oregon City. We hiked uphill and down for 4.5 miles in 90 minutes. It was awesome. Here is the map of our wanderings. I'm sorry I didn't have the camera with me. You will have to take my word for it that it was a lovely walk, indeed.

2. Thesis Update:
Yesterday I met with my thesis advisor again. He was scheduled to give me feedback on three chapters. He pulled them out of his briefcase and slapped them onto the table. Looking me straight in the eye, he said, "You've got it."

I've got it??!!

Yes, I've got it. At least on those three chapters. Plus the one before it. Plus (maybe) the two more I turned in yesterday. I am finally getting the hang of writing a memoir that will turn out to be between 100-150 pages.

Oh, my heart was singing. O frabjous day, callooh, callay!

I'll work on four more chapters over spring break. Once I'm up to ten chapters, then I just have to figure out the last chapter. (Honestly, I have no clue at this point how I am going to end this thing...) I might not be writing my thesis forever. I might have it pretty well pulled together before summer vacation. Maybe maybe maybe maybe.)

May I just say that I'm feeling pretty good right now?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Little Pi Guy

Happy Pi Day!

Today is March 14, a.k.a. 3-14, which makes it wannabe Pi, the number that represents the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter.

You know, Pi.

The perfect day to welcome my newest grandbaby, little Anson, joining Polly & Eric and all the other sweet math nerds at their home. Welcome, Anson! 

You can read all about here on Polly's blog:
His early arrival...
His place in the family...and...
His awesome Pi day wardrobe, here and here.

That's right, this little guy will be joining all the Pi day festivities along with the rest of the nerdy Carlsons. Except he probably won't get to eat any pie this year.

Want to join in the Pi day fun? Check out Polly's guide to everything Pi (easy, delicious, fun family ideas).

Excuse me, but I'm off to find a piece of pie. Just to stay in the spirit, you know...

And sending lots of love to little Anson! What a cutie Pi!

I'll get to meet him in person in just 10 days. Hooray for spring break...just around the corner...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Snow Day!

In March!!!???

Well, not quite a snow day. We have a 2-hour late start today. But still. That's something for March 13.

 We woke up in the night and saw it coming down. By morning we had 1 1/2" - 2" of slushy snow.

Wait for it. At 5:20 a.m. the phone rang twice (once for the English department and once for the Spanish department), telling us that school would be starting late. Ahhh...turn the alarm off and sleep another hour...

Did I go outside into the glorious whiteness to take photos of the loveliness? I did not. I stood at the doorway in my jammies and slippers. Back in the day I would have had kiddos running in and out and trying to make a snowman. This stuff is too slushy for snowmen. Ick. It's March, remember?

No, my friends, I am sitting indoors, sipping on a lovely cup of hot chocolate. In an hour we'll go warm up the car--so beautifully snow-free inside the garage--and make our way to the high school. Where we'll listen to the kids grouse that "it should have been a snow day." While we try to teach our 70-minute lessons in something like 50 minutes.

March came in like a lion this year. As of yesterday, the camellias and the ornamental cherries were in bloom. Enough of winter already! 

I'm ready for some lovely warm caressing spring breezes to blow through my hair...

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Yesterday morning I was startled to find that a large flock of bright pink flamingos had landed on the front lawn during the night. One of them wore a tag identifying the effort as part of a fundraiser for the local "Destination ImagiNation" group at the local charter school that serves homeschool families in the community. We called the phone number on the tag, made a donation, and sent the flock off to another home. When we woke up this morning, the lawn was bare.

Awww...that was fun. Sure brightened up the yard on a gloomy March day!

Shifting gears a bit...something new in my life...

I've been meaning to write about my new assignment as the young women's president at church for some time, but I've been too busy with...young women's presidential duties. Hang in here with me--there is a thin connection between this and the flamingos, and I'll get to it in a minute. But first, my new calling. Young women's president. I'm still working on getting my head around this.

Thursday, December 8, coming home from night class at PSU. The last class of my last class. I still have to finish the thesis for my MFA (master of fine arts) in nonfiction writing, but after five years of taking night classes, I was finally finished with the drive-into-Portland-every-Thursday-and-sit-through-a-four-hour-class-plus-do-a-lot-of-homework part of the effort. I stopped at Dairy Queen on the way home to pick up sundaes to celebrate at home.

When I walked into the house, I was surprised to see the bishop there. It turned out that he had stopped by to ask me to serve in a new calling at church. Whoa, that was a surprise. I had been serving in the church nursery for only six months, and the nursery is a notoriously difficult place to keep good leaders. I'm not saying I was the best nursery leader in the world, but I was doing pretty well, and loving it. No, the bishop assured me, now the Lord wanted me to teach some older "little ones" - the teenage girls at church.

Ironic? In so many ways. For one thing, the bishop didn't even know I had been taking night classes. Had he come to me at an earlier season in my life, I could not have accepted this calling and still continued taking the coursework at PSU. No, the bishop didn't know, but obviously God did. So the bishop showed up on the night of the last class of my last class.

For another thing, I had been expecting this calling for nearly 40 years. Actually, I had given up on it. I had received a special blessing at age 19 that said, among many other things, that I would be a leader of the young women, and that many young women would look to my example. Huh. Beyond having four daughters, I sure didn't see that one coming to pass. I've been a leader many times over with cub scouts and boy scouts, have been a Primary president twice, have taught gospel doctrine class in Sunday school a couple of times, have led children's music and sung in the church choir and served in Relief Society with the older gals. But except for a couple of short stints serving in the young women's organization, and four or five years helping out at the week-long girls camp in the summer, I have never served in young women's in a significant way prior to this. I assumed the blessing was referring to me being blessed with daughters and daughters-in-law and granddaughters. I had pretty much forgotten about the whole thing, but again, apparently God hadn't.

So here I am now as the young women's president, serving 20 or so girls between the ages of 12-18 with an adult staff of seven. May I just say that it has been a steep learning curve. May I say that it was a whole lot simpler to build God's kingdom here on earth with the 18-month-olds than with the 18-year-olds.

But kind of like flamingos landing in the lawn in the night, callings come unbidden and generally unexpected. Even if I don't feel entirely ready for the challenge, God has something in mind, and I don't want to miss the party. God promises that He has set a feast out for us, and I don't want to be just nibbling on the edges. Serving in young women's is a lot of work, but it is already both fun and deeply spiritual. I'm feasting even while I'm running along a full speed ahead.

So here I am, feeling flamingoed and doing my best to take it in stride. If you've been a regular reader, you have probably noticed that I don't post here as often as I used to. I also read fewer magazine articles, take fewer long walks, and almost never sleep in any more. I thought I had a big family with nine children, but now with another 20 girls to worry over--well, let me just say that my heart is stretching in new ways. I'm not sure where this is taking me, but I'm willing to walk the path.