Lorena and I drove up to Lacey this morning to have breakfast with our dear, life-long friends, Brent and Susie this morning. It reminded us we are not doing nearly as much of that as we should. Had a breakfast that broke the diet pretty badly, but talked about life old times, and trials with our kids. We are so glad to have them close by. Susie came to our wedding in Mexico 25 years ago, but we have been close friends for a lot longer than that. We have common connections in Virginia, North Carolina, Oregon (of course), and many other places around the country.
Lorena sent me this photo today. It is the same grill we had when we lived in Albany. Well, I am sure it has some revisions and upgrades. We loved that grill. We got one in North Carolina that was nice, but we did not like it nearly as much. This is kind of a big deal for us. We (and I am using the royal “we” in this case because I am really talking about just Lorena) LOVE to cook on the grill–even in the dead of winter when it is snowing. This is the grill that has five burners–four main burners and a side burner she used mostly to cook corn on the cob while grilling carne asada.
The back story is that she went to Costco because we are having company over on Sunday for lunch. The thing is on sale for around $200 off. I don’t know if I quite have the budget for it, but we will tighten our belts for a month or so to assure we have room. This will be great for future invites to the house. Hope we can get Bob, Gena, and Bonnie over to inaugurate the thing.
Spent a great weekend with our friends Luis, Susan, Tom, Stacey, and a bunch of kids (using the term loosely) in Gearhart. After meeting we all went to eat in Astoria where this picture was taken. It is an amazing thing. We studied Astoria frequently in school (the oldest town in Oregon) and I even played sports against them in high school, but I had never really been there during the day. It is very, very beautiful with lots of quaint little shops and restaurants. It is less than a two hour drive from our house and we hope to go explore there some more during the summer.
Kelly and her roommate Shani are taking their mothers to dinner and a musical tonight. Mama Mia. Should be memorable.
It is about as good as you gets if you are living in Seattle, but just happen to plan a weekend trip to San Francisco, the sun is shining , AND you decide to make pie, all the while it is raining and dismal in Seattle. The sad, sad part about this sorry saga is that we will not even get to try any of the pie.
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!
Lorena and I attended the funeral of a young (43) woman we had met as a healthy, engaged wife and mother only six months ago. We met her and her little family at our Wednesday night Bible study and knew here as an engaged, thoughtful person who enjoyed life and loved God. She was diagnosed with cancer only a couple of months ago. She was buried this afternoon. The service was uplifting and hopeful. The day was beautiful and sunny. Our mood is melancholic.
It is so sad to see a young life taken in such a way. It is also a timely reminder that life is short with no promises of even one more hour of life. At our stage in life–kids out of the house and successfully making their own way–these kinds of event are a catalyst for healthy reflection on what to do for these later stages of life. Material good do not seem so important. Connections to other people seem more important all the time.
The last time Bob and Gena were here, Bob dropped off his spotting scope for us to try for a little while. We knew we had pretty bad optics on all our cameras, but now we are beginning to understand how bad they really are. The scope he brought by is nothing short of amazing and WAY too addictive. We have all been taking turns. Now if I could only figure out how to take a picture through the thing. I can hardly wait until the eagle comes back.
We got some snow day before yesterday and it is snowing a lot harder now. Everyone says it is very early to be getting this kind of snow in Centralia. The temperature is not very low (37° F) so it is pretty sloppy stuff. It took me a long time to be able to take a picture out the window, but it kept snowing the whole time I tried and it is snowing even harder now. It is beautiful out there. Maybe I will not think it is so nice if we get two feet of the stuff, but right now we are enjoying us. I bet our Alaska friends are saying “Oh, brother, that is why we left Alaska.
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!
I talked to a couple of new “old friend” yesterday. We have had some great talks in the past. We have lots of things in common, but nothing in common. We are all from very different walks of life. We all consider God to be the focus of our lives. I honestly think one of them is way more liberal than me–I couldn’t care less about that politically, but couldn’t care more about it when it comes to spiritual stuff. We have talked about the difficulties with which our kids struggle as millennials–as children of the1960’s and college students of the 1970’s we know what it means to have parents who do not have a clue about what we face on a day to day basis in a dying and decadent culture. We know we do not understand and are desperate to get it across that there are reasons for joy, peace with one’s self is possible, and life is good. Also, that life is short. Really short. It is time to be a force for good now and not mourn what happened in the past because, in the case of all our kids, all our problems are first world problems. Still, it does not matter what world you are from when it comes to knowing God. We are all desperate for our kids to do that above all else. And it is too late, for all of us, to raise them differently because the raising is now done. All we can do now is be a loving, praying influence.
I am very thankful for these friends.
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.
We heard when we moved here that the fireworks were just phenomenal. You might excuse us for thinking we had a view of the professional fireworks from our deck. We were completely wrong. We had a spectacular fireworks display that lasted for three hours. This little video does not really do it justice because there was much bigger stuff going off a lot of the time all over the whole valley below us. We were awestruck. It was not so much that the fireworks were amazing, even though they were. It was more that this thing went on at a frenetic pass for three hours. There must have been an explosion of some kind two or three times per second with periods of much more than that. The thing that was most mind-boggling is the level of participation amongst the whole community had to be huge because these things were going off everywhere, up and down the hills and valleys, in town close, far, on our side of the river there was even a very healthy level of participation. It was a joy to be here. Next year we have to share this with more people.
You might have noticed we put up a new blog header. Lorena found my old Canon PowerShot SD 750 pocket camera when she unpacked the house. I immediately went out and took this picture. I am not a great photographer and the camera, while it may not be the best in the world, is small enough to fit comfortable in a shirt pack, still takes good enough pictures that I cannot tell the difference.
This move has really been a joy. We are thankful for it all from our old friends in Texas (Dan, Al, Jill, Gary, Debbie, Sue, the Lee’s, the Drake’s, all of them) to our new friends, starting with Bob and Gena, there is much for which to be thankful. The least of these things for which to be thankful is the “stuff” we are unpacking and even that brings back memories–this is the camera Grandpa Lauro always used while he was with us.
Bob and Gena are true champions. They have been kind to us way above and beyond the call of duty. They arrived in Centralia with all our stuff from North Carolina Friday evening. All of us, including their daughter Bonnie, went to the McMenamin’s Olympic club to celebrate–the weather cooperated wonderful as we were able to sit outside and talk and talk.
We made arrangements for two guys to come help us unload the truck. We got unloaded in about three hours. After two years of taking care of parents and living in apartments, we are grateful to have all our stuff in one place and to sleep in our own bed in a house of our own and not an apartment. After everything was out of the truck, Kelly arrived from Seattle while Bob and I ran the truck to the U-Haul center and returned the appliance piano dollies to the local rental store. Bob, Gena, Lorena, Kelly and I sat out on the deck, ate fresh cherries Kelly brought to us and enjoyed the sun.
It was one of those moment to realize it is great to be alive in this time and place.
Bob and Gena are on the last stretch home with our load of stuff from North Carolina. We are very grateful for their efforts on our behalf, but also pretty envious. They had some excitement (see the burning car), saw some beautiful places, got together with family and made friends with some of our (and their) old, dear friends from Raleigh. This picture Gena sent along of their drive yesterday through the mountain west did not do anything to make me any less envious.
Gena said, “This is my kind of country -cowboy country! Ranches, old homesteads, horses, cows, sheep, antelope, sage brush, rolling hills, tall mountains, odd rock outcroppings, small streams, large rivers.” Boy howdy. It is my kind of country, too, even if it is not my home state like it is for Gena. Right After I got the email, I called my cousin, Udo, who lives in Bozeman and told him we were coming out to see him soon.
This is Olivia. We call her our niece, but we serve the role of (in common parlance) her God parents. She has always been quite a precocious child. This picture was taken on a ski trip we took with her family. Olivia’ dad, Al, told her to go tell the big guy to help her get something out of the car. The name stuck. To this day, I am “the big guy” to Olivia. We saw the beautiful Olivia last week at a church convention in Arizona. She is in high school now, even more precocious and has turned into quite the fashion plate. We hope to see more of her now that we are on the west coast. She and Lorena are negotiating with Olivia’s parents to arrange for to come up from California for a visit with us and with Kelly.
Our friends, Bob and Gena took a trip we really want to replicate or at least a copy very closely someday. They took the train from Centralia to Seattle and then on down to the airport where they caught a plane to Atlanta to spend a few days with family there. They followed that up with a drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains to Raleigh to pick up all the stuff that has been in storage since we moved out of our house there to help take care of failing and slowing-down parents in Oregon and Texas. We are very grateful to Bob and Gena. The reality is that I just met them face-to-face one time a few months back at Starbucks just because they were kind enough to invite a newcomer from church for a cup of coffee. They are friends of friends and family, retired and kind enough to take a long trip back to the East Coast to pick up all the stuff we did not move out of our house to bring it out to Centralia. It is STILL way too much stuff even though we threw away a lot.
These are the two pictures that have me envious–the train pictures. Lorena and I really want to take advantage of the fact that we live in a town with an Amtrak station that goes to Seattle and Portland–both of them places we want to go. The flew to Atlanta–a great town where I lived for less than a year, but even that was enough to give me a great love for that town and the friends I made there.
After the drive to Raleigh, they looked at our storage unit and thought they could do the whole thing with a 20 foot truck. They were glad they stuck with the 26 foot truck because they barely had enough room for their luggage–a sad reminder that we have too much stuff by at least 13 feet. We are going to work on that. The good news though, is that a lot of the stuff they are bringing is books and furniture for the porch and other places that we need sorely after living a low-rent existence in apartments for two plus full years. There is a definite up side to all that (no lawn mowing, appliance fixing or property taxes), but we are ready to have our own house.
And for all this we are thankful to Bob and Gena for their efforts to help new friends above and beyond the call of duty. I hope I get to do that some day.