Saturday, September 30, 2006

September Sailing and Retreat

It's been a few weeks since I made a new entry, so here goes. This will be short - yeah yeah, heard THAT before!

This is the first weekend I've been home for both days in a month! Feels like a vacation!

Cassie and I joined my sister, Janet, and my mom for a retreat at Cannon Beach Christian Conference Center. It was very relaxing and totally fun. Been a long time since I've spent a good amount of time with my sister. As always, we still finish each other's sentences and have inside jokes foreign to everyone else. Pretty cool.

The first picture is of Cassie, Mom, and me at the whale statue that graces the courtyard near the beach.

The first thing we do when we arrive at the Conference Center is to walk to Bruce's Candy Kitchen in downtown Cannon Beach, just a block away. Cassie and I made our purchases; treats for the family left behind. You can see Janet back there shopping.

Cassie on the beach with the beautiful sky and sunshine on the water surrounding her.

Janet and Cassie stop and pose after walking on the beach. That's the conference center behind them, in fact, it's the building where we stayed.

Cassie had some time to practice her karate on the beach. That's Haystack Rock in the background which dominates the beach for miles. A gorgeous place! Cassie said the beach was an unusual surface for kata work - shifting sands.

This sign says, "Tsunami Evacuation Route" and we had some fun with it.

Another weekend was spent helping Tom's mom, Nita, clear away some clutter from her garage. Tom did some household repairs for her as well. We filled up the back of her van with bagged and boxed garbage which we hauled to the dump. A widow for nearly two years, she is finding home maintenance to be a bit beyond her abilities. She lives 100 miles away from us, so depends on local friends and neighbors for help. We go down to lend a hand when our differing schedules permit. She's very busy with social crafts and activities, always on the go. Good that she is active!

Here Tom wearily tosses the contents of this tiny wooden box, the last thing in the van to throw into the dump. We kept the box for Nita as it was old and cool.

Rocky is Nita's little bat-faced, hyper-active, maniacally-licking, jumping-on-you yappy best friend. It took Tom and I about 10 tries to get the dog still enough to snap his picture. I ended up deleting several photos of his retreating hind end. Love digital cameras!

One Sunday afternoon was spent sailing with Ben and Sarah. Ben learned to sail a few years ago and LOVES it! He gave us a wonderful afternoon/evening. Tom, Cassie, Caroline, and I were taught the ropes, literally, by Ben and Sarah. A gorgeous autumn sunset kissed us good-night and we left the lake in the tranquilty that only a warm twilight can offer.

Here Caroline, Ben, and Cassie are at the helm steering us to a peaceful place........lovely day.......

This is Caroline relaxing to the sound of the water while on the bow.

Ben and some colleagues are starting up a photography business. Here he's craning his body around to get a good sunset photo. He's quite talented, if I do say so myself.

A pensive Tom completely relaxed after several hours of sailing and enjoying the day.

I've got a gazillion photos but will only put a few on here.


Ducks play Arizona today - Go Ducks! (First game of the season that Tom and I get to watch together!)

More later!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Black Belt

Cassie began taking karate lessons five years ago when she was nine, almost ten. She's one month shy of fifteen now. Karate was a passion from the very beginning, one that never wavered. She has worked hard, had a blast, and enjoyed nearly every minute of her lessons. She's made wonderful friends.

On Saturday, September 9, 2006, Cassie tied her brown belt on for the last time here at home, nervous as could be for her black belt test. I drove her to the dojo, kissed her good-bye while wishing her luck, and sat in the car.......waiting.......with one is allowed to watch the test...........only testers and the tested and judges...............nerves!

Cassie's black belt partner and coach, Nick, came out before Cassie did and told us that she did, "Wonderful!" (Thanks, Nick! You're the BEST!!) The results weren't tallied, yet, and we'd have to wait another hour or so. Nail biting.

Tom and I went to have breakfast out while we waited. Cassie stayed with her group and listened to a pep talk and whatnot.

Finally, it was her turn to go in for results. A few minutes later, smiling the biggest grin ever, running rapidly down the cement steps, Cassie raced for our car where we were waiting. "I PASSED!!!!" she squealed as Tom grabbed her up in an embrace and twirled her around off her feet. Then, she hugged me so hard I nearly suffocated, but that's okay! I'm thrilled! A few of her friends tested and passed as well, so there was much jubilation in the parking lot and all around.

Afterwards we came home and had a hot dog roast over our backyard campfire, something Cassie loves to do. Then, she and a bunch of her karate friends went to see Lady in the Water. After THAT, at nearly eight o'clock, Joe took Cassie out to the Sushi Station for a promised dinner. "You get your black belt, I'll take you for sushi!" She'd never eaten it before, and ate 5 or 6 rolls, but says it must be an acquired taste. Yup.

Tom and I looked at each other at day's end and said in amazement, "Huh. We are parents of a black belt." (Tom is a brown belt. This has inspired him to "go for it" this next school year. He'll have to earn two more brown belt levels, then, test for black belt. It'll take more than a school year, but he can do it. Cassie says she'll coach him at home and during class.)

As the dust of an exciting day settled, Cassie said she doesn't feel any different except that now she senses that she's in some kind of elite place - with black belts. It IS a special place, Cassie, and you deserve to be there! You did it!

There is a one year wait before confirmation which requires a confirmation test and several service type experiences, such as judging and assisting.

And now, as her sensei says, "The learning begins."

Friday, September 01, 2006

Age is a State of Mind

I have a few pet peeves, and one that has been drilling on my last nerve from several sources lately is people who declare they are old based on the number of years they live, and then, begin to act OLD, talk OLD, and expect, no DEMAND, special treatment because they are OLD. Some of these people are younger than I am!! Good grief. You know the type, every conversation has at least one, "When you get to be my age.....bla bla bla." Or, "Now that I'm old....."

I know several people who are 80 years old or more and they have never thought in their minds that they are old. I like to believe they never will. They haven't stopped. They aren't sentimentally looking at grandkids while anticipating their own deaths, weepy eyed, keeping track of gray hairs, wrinkles, and skin conditions. They are vital, creative, joyful people who take their physical aches and pains in stride, working to minimize the effects of age through exercise, right eating, creativity, and a positive in-control outlook. These people don't let the doctor tell them how they feel - they tell the doctor!

I think of Uncle Floyd, spending his 80th birthday with his son, Denny, in Alaska working on Denny's hanger.

I think of Aunt Joyce, spending her 80th birthday on the road in her motorhome with Uncle Floyd, swimming in mountain lakes with her great grandkids.

I think of Aunt Irene, over 90, making doughnuts because she likes to eat them, and regularly traveling from state to state to visit family.

My Cousins Carden and Millie remain vitally engaged in helping their sons with their businesses, and catering to skiers at qualifying meets, enjoying life in their 90's.

Well, here are a few quotes from people who will never be OLD. To me, they exemplify the attitude of true human beings, who see themselves as creative spirits, minds, and emotions, as well as constant learners, rather than simply aging bodies.

First, Goldie Hawn, who turned 60 this year, and is enjoying living her life to the fullest, refusing to give in to others' expectations of a 'woman of her age.' She has considered the kind of grandma and mom she wants to be for her adult kids, and is living it out. She refuses to accept the mindset that a certain age requires enfeeblement, but takes care of herself in all her dimensions, maintaining control of her life.

In her book, "A Lotus Grows in the Mud," Goldie writes her ideals as to the type of mom she wants to be for her adult daughter, by reflecting on her relationship with her own mom:

"I was only guilty of what all girls do. In order to become real individuals, they don't want to to be like their mothers. But now that I have experienced the loss of my own girl child to the great seduction called life, I have true compassion for both mother and daughter in this passage. That's all it is, a passage. It isn't lasting, and, if handled well, it moves into a healthy friendship that only grows and grows. But letting go is a most important first step: letting go of roles and the power we have had all of our lives as mother and daughter; letting go, and having faith that the lessons learned will be remembered. It's not easy, but it is necessary, unless you want to be a mother who has to be "dealt with" instead of a mother who is free and fun."

Isn't that a marvelously healthy way to look at the process of children leaving our care and taking it on for themselves? Wonderful! And who of us hasn't known one of those women who become the type of mother or mother-in-law who has to be "dealt with." Shudder.

Okay, switching gears a little tiny bit, I read another quote this past weekend that resonated with me. This one from Bob Dylan, the 65 year old Legend in His Own Time, who has an insouciant 19 year old dwelling within, but who also has grown as a human being, paying attention along the way, and becoming a wise, thoughtful man, besides one of the greatest lyricists ever.

From the September 2006 "Rolling Stone" magazine comes this quote:

"I see that I could stop touring at any time, but then, I don't really feel like it right now. I think I'm in my middle years now. I've got no retirement plans."

Middle years! YES!! My sentiments exactly.

These people and more inspire me to never look at a number for who I am or what I can do!

Cheers to you all!

"He not busy being born is busy dying." -- Bob Dylan

"Some grow young, some grow cold." -- Tom Petty