There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark



Monday, May 31, 2010

Remembering someone I never met.

Once upon a time there was a young man named Gilberto. He was the only son of Grandma Tommy and Grandpa Tony; they were my son's great-grandparents. I remember at a drunken celebration on Memorial Day decades ago Gilberto became the topic of conversation. His brother-in-law called Gilberto a sissy that wet his bed as a kid. Tommy and Tony were beyond hurt and angry. A fist fight ensued and the celebration broke up with everyone angry. Several family members didn't speak after that for years.

This celebration/gathering is only time I ever remember my son's father standing up for someone...anyone...anything. He made this statement: Gilbert may have been a bed-wetter, but he went to war and died for YOU.

So, today I honor and remember Gilberto Aguilar who was killed in action on October 5, 1951 during the Korean War. My son is named for him.....Gilbert...Gil, Bert, my boy. I hope Gil...Bert....will read this and ask his dad about this family hero.

Gilberto is listed on the US government site for Korean War causalities. Did you know that we lost 53,686 military, 92,134 were wounded and 4,759 are MIA because of the Korean War?

Let me add a PS.....for a grandfather named Albert C. Padilla.  My oldest son's middle name is Albert.  This WWII hero, who died Christmas Day 1944, is buried at the Luxembourg American Cemetery, Luxembourg. 


Thursday, May 27, 2010

A challenging request

My youngest son Gil (lovingly known as Bert around the inner family circle) sent an email request a few weeks back. I have read that email every day and every day I wanted to cheat and look up some facts....but I didn't. Here is the email.


Hey Mom,
I just showed my students the movie Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks.  Most know nothing of our history of U.S. Space exploration or even that the Space Shuttle goes into space on a routine basis.  Can you blog about what it was like or what you remember about our early trips to space and the moon in the 60's and 70's?  I told my kids about watching the Challenger Space Shuttle in my high school chemistry class and how just about the whole country watched it explode on live TV.  They all look at me with glazed eyes and have no reference images to understand the impact that event had.  It's sad that most people in general don't know we travel into space regularly.  It would be neat to read your memories of the time and know if it was a big deal or not.
Thanks,
Love You,
Bert

So here goes trying to remember something from 4 decades ago. 

Dear Bert,  I agree with you; it is sad that 6th, 7th and 8th graders have no clue about our space endeavors.  Perhaps sadder still is the fact that I have never been terribly interested in our space travels. 

When the first men, Armstrong and Aldrin, walked on the moon I was too busy taking care of two young kids and a baby...you.  If I remember correctly you had been born about a month before this great event and I was overwhelmed with kids, dirty diapers, making formula, cleaning house, worrying about money (I remain on the hamster wheel with that one) and trying to make ends meet.

The day after the moon walk I remember being excited because your dad and I were going to Howard's to buy my very first vacuum.  We pulled up to the front of the store to park and all of the televisions in the window had footage of that first step and Mr. Armstrong's words.  Did you know that he goofed with what he was supposed to say? Do I know what he was supposed to say?  No, I don't. Was I excited about the US achievement?  I was but I couldn't identify with it then and still can't to be honest.

I remember Sally Ride and thinking what a wonderful thing it was to have a woman achieve what she did......and wondering if she got the same pay as a male astronaut. At the time I was an RN making less than a male co-worker who had started at the same time I did at QofV. 

I watched when the Challenger exploded.  I felt a huge loss but mainly because of Christa McAuliffe, a young mother and teacher, and thinking about that horrible sight as her children watched along with the rest of us. 

I know President Obama is squashing the space program.  I guess that's too bad, but with the country in such a mess perhaps he will start a savings account to pay off future bills.

Bert, maybe it's a generational thing.  I was taught and remember reading about the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, WWI and II and The Korean War.  I learned about US Government and how our country works.  I saw Civil Rights become a reality, watched the television again in horror as news of the assassination of President Kennedy unfolded and was hopeful as women's rights were recognized. I was a part of the 60's; frizzy hair and earth shoes in place.

What do you historically remember?  Vietnam? The Space Programs, the evolution of music, The Gulf Wars.......you will remember those things that influenced you in the past, influence you now and as you go through life.  As a teacher you can inspire your kids to try and remember those historical milestones in their lives.  Maybe one day at the end of the school year when the kids are eager for summer to begin you can come up with a lesson plan using math and science to help start them on that road.....and make it fun and meaningful! I positively, absolutely know you can be (and probably already are) that one teacher a kid will remember when they are old and grey.

I hope I didn't disappoint you, Bert.  Love you, mom


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lazy spring days

The days are getting longer and warmer. Nights make for stuffy sleeping. Fuzzy ate the forest violets I had collected; salad for him I guess. They are starting to fade so I will have to collect and protect them after today's walk. The summer ferns are just popping up through the forest floor. Steve and I have been watching for them every day for weeks. They decided to be lazy this year and are arriving a bit late.

Since becoming Wesley's new and forever mommy I have been walking three times a day. I have lost some weight, have less of an appetite for some reason, but that's good, and I am sleeping better. See what a young doggie can do? I just wish Steve would go with me on all three walks, but he keeps himself chained to his office chair looking and looking for a cure for last years pox and I can only pry him out of his nasty office once a day.

Steve's brother came for a 5 day visit. It was an interesting time. He lost his wife to cancer 5 years ago and over those years he quit his job and now spends most of his time with his 2 poodles. That he came for a visit was an exercise out of his safety box that's for sure.

My daughter Chris and grandson Christopher put interesting and meaningful quotes on their FaceBook pages every day. The ones below made me really think and ponder some areas of my life.
From Christopher:
Being Happy is such a complicated thing and yet one of the most simple desires. If something makes me unhappy I try to be grateful that I was blessed to care for something enough for it to make me sad. Then after the appropriate time I try to not let it affect me too much because then it has won"

You can explore the universe looking for somebody who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself. You will not find that person anywhere.

From Christine:
Sometimes you have to let go to see if there was anything worth holding on to.

If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.

Now onto the real rosemary....

I have to wear a bra the whole time someone is visiting...well, except for those times when Chris is here. A bra is annoying most of the time.

I want to do some projects this summer like put tile in the downstairs bathroom, see if we can carpet the snorage room ourselves (probably not), wash the windows (but that one is not a project it is punishment), see if I really can grow something edible in our garden, mentally adjust to the thought of taking a road trip with the truck and camper and three dogs, plan some sort of inexpensive but meaningful trip for our 25th anniversary......those are for starters. Did you know that 25 years is the longest Steve and I have been married to anyone...actually 10 years has that distinction too. We had to make a few mistakes and kiss a few frogs.

Speaking of frogs, there is one living under the lid of the propane tank...and he is absolutely adorable. He is brown and has freckles and is tiny and likes to have his back touched.....he stretches his front legs out when I do that. I am making an assumption with that but he could hop away, right?

That's it for now......I know I am tardy with blog reading and will catch up I promise.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A barking story....

Neener, neener, neener, I've got a new doggie and you don't have one....neener.

Say hello to Wesley Jackson Olsen...my new little boy doggie. Remember the post where I was whining and complaining about not finding a dog? Well, thanks to Delci Ruth and Barb who both sent me the same link I found Wesley.

He used to live with a young couple in Airway Heights, WA. The former dad is in the Navy and currently someplace secret training for all things weather; the former mom works and lives with her in laws. Wesley was their "baby" having been purchased shortly after they were married. He was leaving the military when, as happens in the military, they made him an offer he couldn't refuse......a wheelbarrow full of money, a much higher rank and lots of meteorological schooling....in Biloxi and then in Germany. They decided to find a second forever home for their much loved boy, Wesley.

Their ad was full of adorable photos and glowing things about Wesley so I responded only to get an email back saying their hearts were breaking thinking of giving Wesley away and they were surprised that someone actually answered the ad....they decided to take him with them. Later the same day another email arrived saying she had actually looked into the taking Wesley with them thing and not only would it cost them that wheelbarrow full of money plus some extra, it would mean 60 days of quarantine; 30 days in the USA and 30 in Germany. Wesley was back on the market.

One play date later, followed by trip to a place so far out in the Heights it doesn't have an address, one HUGE crate loaded into the back of the car along with assorted toys and a food tote....Wesley came to live in his forever home....here with me and Steve and our little family of doggies and kitties.

We have some adjusting to do....Mimi Louise who is usually bitchy, hissy and  mean to every living thing is in hiding; Emma is not leaving the snorage room; Guido is becoming a little more curious and coming out from the snorage room and surprise! Fuzz is taking Wesley head on with chases and raised fur!

Wesley already loves the forest, is sort of obeying when called back from chasing the Bambis, is not allowed to chase the turkeys either although I sure wish I could let him do that,  has air peed on probably 30 or 40 trees today alone and is just an all over wonderful doggie.  He is so black he looks blue, has no other markings, is a big one-and-a-half-year-old Lab mix (he goes to the vet today and we will get more info on that mix thing....the former parents said English Bulldog but I'm putting my money on Great Dane alert: Wesley is a Lab/Hound mix) and we love him to pieces.  He will be Steve's boy that is already obvious and he will love me because I feed him and rub his tummy.  Kiss, kiss Wesley Jackson Olsen.
































Saturday, May 08, 2010

In honor of mothers and other mothers.....

Happy Mother's Day to all of my friends that qualify. Tomorrow will be a sniff and snork day because per the norm none of my children will be in Idaho and I won't be in California or New York. The kids will call, we will catch up on the news and weather and I will cry when we hang up. My step-daughter Stephanie will call as well....and I will cry again. She calls me her Other Mother.

So...on to other mothers. I had lunch with Kathy my former wonderful neighbor last Wednesday. Not a day goes by that I don't think of her....every time the Neighbors From Hell kids play outside, screaming at the top of their lungs I think of Kathy and her family and how peaceful things were back then. Every day when we walk the trails and pick up the trash that the NFH kids left behind I think of Kathy and her family. I miss them and the little path that we kept cleared so the kids could come over and visit. Seems the NFH kids have broken into the neighbor's house across the street, have been forever banned from riding the school bus and have managed to litter the forest in front of their drive. No reason to keep that path open now.

Kathy and I caught up on everything from local real estate to her kid's choices for college. Then we were talking about how we would spend Mother's Day. She told me this story: Her sister and brother-in-law divorced several years ago but everyone has stayed "family" and have good relationships. This couple had twin boys who are 9 now. The father remarried about a year ago and bought a house about a block from his twin boys and his former wife. The new wife recently had a baby girl and she is the joy of the family. The new wife loves the twin boys and they adore her; the ex-wife, Kathy's sister, loves her as well....and the feeling is mutual from the new wife. Everybody loves everybody. The twin boys call their step-mother Bonus Mom. When Kathy said those two words she teared up and so did I. What an honor for that new mother. How lucky is that family to have remained pretty much intact and caring. Sometimes I wish I could go back and have a few do-overs.....not move so far away, see my kids on a whim, watch my grandchildren grow right in front of my eyes....all of that AND have Idaho and my forest.  I can dream I guess.

So, once again to all of my mother friends and to those other mothers and bonus moms....have a wonderful day.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Bark, bark, baowow- wow sniff....

So.....here's the scoop on my doggie quest. Two friends...Delci Ruth and Barb...have taken on the monumental job of trying to find the perfect doggie for me. They have been haunting Craig's List not once but many times a day for any new listings for Labs. I have sent out close to two dozen...as in 2 dozen...emails, made two phone calls and what have I gotten. A dog? That would be no. Of all of the emails I sent only one person replied and that dog, that did not have a photo in the ad, didn't even closely resemble a lab or lab mix when a picture was included in the reply email. All it would take is a "The dog has been adopted," or a "You are too old for a 1 year old dog." or "We want 4 thousand bucks for our dog so send a check first." response. Is that too much to ask? I guess so.

Of course there are hundreds of lab puppies for sale....priced anywhere from 200 bucks to 700.  I don't have that kind of money and Steve absolutely will not "buy" a dog.  ~Sigh~

Along with Delci Ruth and Barb, Gina is looking, Stacy, Stephanie from the vet's office, the lady that manages our pathetic retirement account, the neighbor across the street, Kathy our former perfect neighbor and I am thinking of asking the greeters and checkers at WallieWonderWorld to keep their eyes and ears open.

I will visit the shelter this weekend and if by Sunday I am still big dog-less I think I will back off for a while. Here are a few of the doggies that I have fallen in love with via Craig's List....Sammy, a mother and daughter pair that can't be separated and Wesley. No, they aren't chocolate labs but I have reached the point of...black, yellow, rainbow or green coloring would be fine.