Thursday, August 25, 2011

Two Weddings and... uh...

Presto change-o! Within a couple of months, two of my sons became engaged. As in, they're planning to be married! Woo hoo! Do you know what this means? All those stories I've heard about kids growing up -- those were definitely true. But all those stories I've heard about kids leaving the nest to build their own lives? It appears that those stories may be true, also! Amazing! This may be proof -- one of the boys acquired an apartment last week, and he has been living there for three days! It's empty, he's alone, but he's got a bed and utilities and maybe some food in the cupboards, and he's loving it.

Economic circumstances being what they are, this has been a difficult time for my guys to strike out in independence. The desire has been there for a long time, but the boys just couldn't afford to get their own places. A few years ago, I had an interesting conversation with a hairdresser about this. We were making small talk -- do you have kids? how many? how old? When I admitted that all my sons still lived at home, she was totally supportive. In her cultural mindset, it's expected that the kids should stay home until they are really ready to be on their own. A solid career is a must, and a solid relationship is preferred, before there's any talk of leaving the parental home. On top of that, she saw it as a positive thing that my sons were willing to stay at home after high school. That's a marker of a decent family life, she said.

I was kind of taken aback. Not that I didn't agree, but I'd never heard these things spoken with such directness. She made me ponder my own expectations. In my family of origin, finances dictated that my brothers had to live at home through all four years of college. One moved across the country to attend graduate school, but the other stuck around a couple more years while he searched for a decent career. When I came of age, I took my cousin's advice and went away to college. After a year, I got married and never looked back. For me (and perhaps my brothers), it was most comfortable to move away to learn independence; distance gave me strength.

Anyway, back to the present. I'm thrilled, ecstatic, joyful, grateful, and happy that these two wonderful gals will be entering our family! I'm beginning to see myself in a new role, a new season of life. I'm not sure, but I think that becoming a mother-in-law means I'm grown up... as much as I'll ever be.

Oh, and the son who's not preparing to tie the knot? He says he's too smart to leave home for a while. He'll have three bedrooms to himself, and his mother in the basement.

P.S. The flower pictured above is from one of my future daughters-in-law. So nice!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Making Strides

Earlier this summer, I decided to "gentle" young Polo into accepting car rides as necessary means to a reward. I figured it would take many, many days, but would be worthwhile. Then I got a migraine and gave up on the whole long process.

A few days ago, I decided that I really want to get out walking again, on the trail where dogs are leashed. I love being out among the native plants and getting good exercise. But this means Polo must ride in the car.

It continues to embarrass me that I have to stoop to lift and drag and push a 70 pound furry baby into the back seat of my car. It would be different if he were old and lame, but he's clearly young and sprightly.

We've walked three times in five days, and I'm currently working on teaching him the word "walk" as a fun concept. Once we hit the trail, his ears relax, his nose goes into overdrive, and his tail curls up high with pride. He loves walks!

Too bad he hates car rides.

On one of these walks, for the very first time ever, Polo marked a spot along the trail. That must be a good thing, right? And he's learned where to watch for the feral brown bunnies that play freeze tag in the field. I think we're making progress.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Spotted at the Aquarium

Not only did I have a great time with my family, but I got to play with my camera. Woot!

Some subjects are not prone to smiling for the camera...

There was much to see OUT of the water...

A tall ship from the Russian Navy visiting the port...

Architectural splashes always catch my eye...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Great Minds... [or, Spending Time with my Brother]

Summer has finally come to the Pacific Northwest, and so also have arrived my brother and sister-in-law. Time for drives and sharing meals and visiting places. Sometimes we visit interesting places, other times not so much. But it's good to be with family.

Here's a representative illustration of our mutual... um... mutuality. (A big thank you to my very-good-sport sister-in-law for handling the camera for this opportunity!) We thought this made a meaningful photograph. The sign reads:


I'm being safe, sitting there on the roadside of wood fence, on a bench.

If you see us around town, you would also do well to remain on the roadside of wood fence. The free-ranging sense of humor we share isn't very safe. You should've heard us at supper tonight. Really, though, if the restaurant didn't expect people to snort and guffaw at the name of that beverage, they should not have put it on the menu. Talking about free-range moose only made it funnier. Maybe you had to be there, but it was quite an exchange.

Just so you know. Be safe. Stay on the roadside of wood fence.