Kelly and her roommate Shani are taking their mothers to dinner and a musical tonight. Mama Mia. Should be memorable.
Yesterday, Lorena’s Valentine’s Day gift to me was this jar of Vlasick mini-pickles. Christian and I LOVE those things and they are perfect for my diet. Lorena pulled my pickle fork and holster out of storage and installed it on the jar–two of the very best gifts I have ever received. To make things even better, the scale showed 200.0 lbs. when I weighed myself this morning. That is exactly half way to my stated goal. That means I have lost 31 pounds since I started and have 31 to go. I am not sure I will stop there, but will weight to see how I feel when I get to that point, God willing.
Lorena drove up to Seattle to get our very sick daughter on Friday. We have been vegging out all weekend long. Notice all the medication on the bookshelf. Kiwi the surviving twin cat sister even got in on the act, devoting almost the entire time to sleeping on the hide-a-bed with Kelly. I preached the benefits of building one’s immune system by fighting one’s way through a case of the flu every now and then, but that is pretty weak broth when your right in the middle of it. Kelly’s face is not normally that pale. There is something else going on there.
After a major setback on my weight-loss regimen, Lorena and I started the year off right with a visit to our favorite restaurant for a 300 calorie Egg McMuffin and a large cup of black coffee. It is now time to buckle down and go to work. Only God knows what 2018 will bring, but we have set some goals to work on for the year with the new house, with Lorena’s school, and with my side projects. Kiwi and I are hard at work coding on our coffee project, Lorena is heading out to the gym to row for an hour, people are protesting in the streets of Iran for freedom from religious tyranny, Americans have dramatically diminished the amount of professional football they watch–now if they could only do the same with college football, taxes are dropping, and all kinds of other good and interesting things are happening. There are still some very scary things out in the world, but it is good to have a reminder that there is a plan and even when stuff turns bad, and it will, God is in control and we know how the story ends.
Lorena and Kelly did a mother/daughter Christmas concert. The dressed up, went to an elegant dinner, and then on to the concert. They had a great time. I hope this turns into an annual affair. I also gives me a chance to live a day and a half of a slovenly life without Lorena sweeping up the crumbs and browbeating me into cleaning up after myself. All I have to do is clean up before she gets home.
All the guests are gone, Kelly has driven back up to Washington and Christian is set to fly out tomorrow. Thanksgiving was a great success. We had different groups over for meals and dessert on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. It was really nice. I got to cook the turkey and make the turkey soup. Both of those are a 50/50 proposition for me, but we hit the lottery this year so we had a moist turkey that was cooked enough and soup that was neither too greasy nor too bland. I guess the stars were aligned. Even Kiwi got hit with that tryptophan snooze button this year. Here are a few more photos of the weekend (sorry we had none from Friday night).
People will start arriving in an hour or so, Lorena has started in on the Thanksgiving Quiche–the holiday has officially started for the Chapman household. We are having a little bit of a topsy-turvy weekend and will be out as much as we are in, but this is the first time in three years the whole family has been together and we actually have a house instead of an apartment to celebrate Thanksgiving. We even have two turkeys!
My brother (Uncle Doug) got one of those DNA kits as a Christmas gift last year. The results were completely unexpected. We had always assumed, based on word of mouth family history that we were a quarter Finnish (not to far off the mark) and the rest was Welsh/English. The thing that is surprising is the largest component, over a third, is from Scandinavia. We have really wondered what is the ancestry of Lorena. We think there is a big Spanish component, maybe some French, some native Mexican and maybe even some semitic component. We are definitely going to do this. I think Doug’s cost something like $99. Not a bad price for something so interesting.
Christian and Kelly came to Centralia this weekend. The purpose is to celebrate Christian’s birthday, my birthday and Lorena’s and my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. We are going to do the “official” celebration toward the end of the year in Mexico at either the place we had the original wedding or something very similar. It is really nice to be able to have the kids home more frequently. Plane flights between Seattle or Portland and Phoenix are really pretty cheap so Christian can get here pretty easily. Train tickets from downtown Seattle to Centralia are even cheaper, so Kelly can get here any time she wants.
The real reason this became an occasion was because has a four day fall break and I have Columbus Day off. We ate way too much and hung out together. Hopefully we will be able to do it again at Thanksgiving and then again in Mexico.
The new header I put up (you can still see it here when I change it again). It seems appropriate that this was the view of the mountain out our window this 16th anniversary of the cowardly murder that took place at the Twin Trade Towers in New York in 2001. The header picture was taken at 6:00 AM and the picture to the left was taken an hour later. It all reminded me of that power of God. I read a factoid yesterday about the power of hurricanes, that an average hurricane expends way more power than the sum of all the man made power in the entire world for an entire year. Looking out the window and reflecting on the understanding that Mt. Ranier thousands of years overdue for an eruption it makes me realize how small and inconsequential is the raging of men. I understand the Mount St. Helens explosion was 1600 times as big as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in World Wart II. This coming eruptions of Mt. Ranier is prognosticated to be much bigger than that. It is never too early to get one’s house in order.
All that being said, I think some seemingly inconsequential events are much bigger deals in light of eternity and judgment. I was thinking of what a great thing it was for Kelly to receive the benefit of an amazing and spiritually edifying trip to visit family in Mexico. But, on some levels, even more than that was an after church dinner to which we got invited at Bob and Gena’s house yesterday. We were very grateful to be included in that. I went from there straight home to the computer to work on contract work–good, helpful work that will save lives. I missed the afternoon Gospel meeting because of that and could not get past the thought that seemingly small spiritual things are so much more important and powerful than whatever else is going on in our lives have a greater eternal impact than world events and work. Even these world shaking events like terrorism, hurricanes, volcanoes or the solving of sickle cell disease pale in comparison.
Kelly is having a great time in Monterrey. One of my favorite things to do when I am in Mexico is just what Kelly is doing in the picture. Enjoying Coca Cola with her tacos. It has been said that it is objectively and viscerally wrong to eat tacos in Mexico without Coke. I have to admit, though, that I enjoy my tacos with Tab. It brings be back to my time in Guadalajara in the mid- 1980’s. I went there about this time of year, too. It does not get much better than sitting in an outdoor cafe late in the evening and having a cup of Instant Nescafe after finishing off a big plate of those fabulous street tacos with cabbage, cilantro, onions and lots of hot salsa. It was a pretty tough decision for most of us students on Friday night whether to go for the tacos or to split a rotisserie chicken.
I wish we could be there with Kelly, but I think it is good we are not. She is just having too much fun with her cousins and her traveling partner, Eliza who Kelly says always has a good time, is a good sport, and fits in everywhere. We do not hear much from her because she is so busy, so we have to be satisfied with what we seen on social media. We can hardly wait until she gets back so we can hear it from the horses mouth.
Kelly is having a great time in her visit to Grandma Conchita’s house in Monterrey with her Friend Eliza. Her amazing uncles took them to the small, picturesque town of Santiago 15 or 20 miles out of Monterrey. The only thing that was kind of disappointing is that she tried to capture some of the glory of an iconic photograph taken in June of 2014, but I really do not think she has the fashion sense or sheer magnificent presence of the original model. See for yourself (original is inset).
The painting (print) beside Christian has a story behind it and it is not just that he got to see the original as done by Renoir. You can read about that here. I wanted to get him the painting, but did not realize how big it was. I guess it is not as big as the original, but it is still really too big for his small apartment. He is working on getting something a little more manageable.
It is painful to not be able to be with Christian on his birthday. Lorena and I have reminisced and talked about it maybe a little more than in years past. Christian has lead a somewhat unusual life until now. I suppose most kids his age feel very much misunderstood, but he has more reason than most. I call him a kid, but he has been way past the kid stage for several years now–running his own household and paying his own bills since he left for college more than three years ago.
The things Lorena and I identify as qualities we appreciate the most are his work ethic, his kindness, and his focus on doing what is right. That first quality is the one that causes him the most outward pain. Some have assumed he got where he is through some ability given to him that others do not possess when, in reality, he got there through sustained hard work over a very large percentage of the short time he has been on this earth.
We are grateful for him and hope he continues to invest some time in playing his guitar and traveling to visit us and others in the coming year.
Just about the entire family on the Mexican side, made the journey across Monterrey to the airport to pick up Kelly this afternoon. We are SO glad for such a great family. What would a Mexican welcome be without a pink sombrero!!! Kelly was SO excited to be there that she gave us a quick “got here” text and we have heard nothing sense. The picture came from Tio Rigo.
One sad note, Kelly’s Instagram locked up when she was adding picture so it in Mexico so it is not available to her and she can not receive the text message she needs to receive to enable it again until she returns home, so I think most of the pictures will be on Facebook if she has time to even do that. We are dying to hear how it goes, but doubt we will get much until she gets back. If we do, though, we will keep you posted.
Another great pic!
This is Kelly doing her Melania Trump impression. I guess now that she has moved uptown she needs to express herself with a high level of haute coutre. Actually, along with the move to a much better living situation, she is on the brink of some good, new and ambitious plans. She will start it all off next week with a trip to be with family and long time friends in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon followed by additional travel, preparation (hard preperation) for very difficult new endeavors. We hope we get to help her some with this through moral support and the odd weekend when she comes down her to wash clothes, play the piano and be pampered by Mom.
Kelly, with massive help from Mama Lore, moved out of her apartment today. They have a really cool moving service in Seattle where you can have a couple of guys pick up your stuff from your apartment and store it for a month for under $100. That seems to be a really good price, especially for Seattle. Lorena is really glad to be moving out of a house of a bunch of girls to an apartment closer to her work and closer to downtown with one roommate. I am sure she will be sad she was not there to see the hunky guys pick up her stuff–Lorena handled that because Kelly was at work.
Now, Kelly is headed off to Mexico to see family and friends for a week or two with her friend Eliza. Of course we are all envious and would love to be in Monterrey eating tamales and mangoes with her über-hip uncles, but someone has to stay home and work.
The weekend was an interesting one. Lorena, Kelly and I attended a church convention this weekend. I had not been to this particular one for over forty years. Even so, I made connection with old friends from Oregon, Washington, California, Virginia, and Arizona. Lorena so the sister of some dear friends of hers from Mexico City. It was a great weekend. While we were there, it rained enough to knock down sufficient smoke from the British Columbia forest fires that we could make out the outline of Mount Rainier out our back window.
Kelly spent the weekend here in Centralia. Lorena is driving with her back to Seattle and then taking the train back to Centralia. Kiwi is helping retrieve her Amtrak ticket from the printer.
It seems like Christian makes a big effort to look a little scruffy whenever he comes to visit us. I used to think it was because he did not have time or just did not think about it, but now I like to think it because he likes his mom to make a fuss about it. She takes him down to one of the local haircut places, then he comes home, takes a shower and trims his beard.
We are up in Canada again for my work. Christian spent the night in Seattle so he could go out to dinner with Kelly and a few friends. One of those friends was John Michael, who recently moved out from North Carolina. He was a math major at North Carolina and spent many an hour with both Kelly in Christian in the undergraduate Math lounge in SAS Hall. I am sure they are having a great time. Christian flies back to Tempe, Arizona tomorrow night.
In the meantime, work is progressing at the house. It has slowed down fairly dramatically, but we have hope it will be complete before the end of August.
Kelly came down for the weekend to bake blueberry muffins and spend some time with her baby brother. It is truly nice to be in a house (as opposed to the apartments we inhabited for the two previous years in Texas and Oregon) and the family is all together. This is the first time for that in over three years. We know it is fleeting, but it is a very good feeling that we hope to make happen more frequently now that we have a home base.
Christian came to visit us after finishing up in his research work in Boston. He will be here for a week. It is especially poignant as today would have been Grandpa Milo’s 88th birthday. We went to Jimmy John’s, our favorite sandwich place (he being a college student) as soon as he got into Centralia. We were all excited for him to be here, but were a little bit disappointed because the smoke blowing down from the forest fires in Canada prevent us from seeing much past the river let alone all the way to Mt. Rainier.