Tag Archives: Ashley

Rosalie

It’s nothing very unique for a grandfather to be enamored with his granddaughter. Nor should anyone be surprised if I talk about how smart or creative she is. A search in the tag cloud for Rosalie will turn up quite a few of my paeans to her awesomeness. Here’s one of my favorites from almost exactly a year ago.

Jeremy called me the other night. He’s at home with Rosalie while Ashley is camping with her 5th graders in Outdoor Ed. My conversation with Rosalie was marred by the speaker phone cutting in and out but one thing I heard clearly was that she will be celebrating her ‘half birthday’ on Sunday after her Mama comes home. How cool is that? Five and a half. My half birthday was yesterday but I’m not going to put a number on it.

Anyway, I wanted to post about a little thing she did while Sepi and I were at her house in April. Jeremy had gone off to a job interview and we were alone with her. (Ashley was at work.)

Before he left, Jeremy had come up with some scrap paper and given it to her to draw on. And draw she did! Sepi and I were finishing up a leisurely lunch at the kitchen counter. Rosalie was at her drawing table in the dining room. She came over every few minutes with a stack of colorful drawings. Some were representative and she would explain what they were. Some were just patterns or rainbows. As soon as she could satisfy us with her explanations, she would disappear, explaining that she had more papers that had to be drawn on. Maybe ten minutes later she’d be back with another stack of interesting drawings. This repeated for a while until the paper was exhausted. She clearly wasn’t!

We saved a selection of those drawings but they got into Sepi’s house and I haven’t gotten them back yet. I did save a couple of smaller works she did earlier that day. We had each outlined one of our hands on paper which she then embellished and signed. Somewhere along the line they got cut into smaller pieces before I saved them. If you look carefully, you can see the yellow outline of fingers. Since they were our hands, we were required to sign them too.

Spokane

Sepi and I got over to Spokane last week from Jeremy and Ashley’s in Duvall. We visited my cousins Dan and Nettie and my old friends Peter and Nanci. Sepi bonded with both women to the extent that there were times when I thought I was invisible. I was just as happy to stay out of the kitchen where they seemed to spend most of their time.

Peter’s friend Charlie restored a 1938 Chevrolet pickup truck that belonged to Peter and drove it up to Spokane last year. We guys decided to get it out and give it a spin.

It hadn’t been driven since last summer. Charlie had called earlier in the day and coached me through a couple of things I needed to know to drive it. He couldn’t have know that it was out of gas, though. In the end, Nanci had to go down to the local gas station to fill up their gas can, get it into the truck’s tank and then pour a cupful of gas directly into the carburetor as I cranked it. Thanks to Sepi’s brother Ike for generous advice over the phone that led to the cupful of gas solution.

Peter was very happy. In this picture I am still clenching from the 5 minute ride we are here just returning from. The truck is a very different beast from what I’ve gotten used to.

On Thursday I walked to the Japanese Garden at Manito Park with Dan where the azaleas were blooming. It’s a beautiful spot . . .

another blog

Ashley posted a link on FaceBook for a college friend of hers. She had a blog starting in 2010. It has the listing of post dates right at the top of the front page so I could see that. I could also see that there were no entries from April 2014 to July of 2017. Part of the reason is that Ashley’s friend developed a tumor on her brain stem. I’ve spent much of this morning looking through her blog and I see that her condition has gone from bad to worse. Her husband has been writing the posts for the last few months because chemo has completely sapped her strength.

It’s all an object lesson for us to treasure the good things we have when we have them.

Best of luck, Jordan and Brack. I’m not a praying person but I am putting positive energy into the cosmos for you.

Here’s the link.

Just him

Tidying up files today I found this quote from Rosalie, written up by Ashley in January of this year:

A friend stopped by this afternoon to give Rosalie a memory box to keep special things that remind her of Zach. After she left, I asked R some questions thinking I would write down her answers for the box.
“What do you remember about Uncle Zach?”
“Bad news bananas!!!” (Smiles and giggles )
“What was your favorite memory, or something that you remember, about Uncle Zach?”
“Just him.”
“Your favorite part was just all of him?”
“Yeah. Just him.”

tea

I had to look it up. It was Christmas 2011. Zach had moved from Oregon to Louisiana the summer before. Sarah had started her doctorate program in Colorado. Jeremy and Ashley had moved into their own home. I was starting to get back on my feet after the economic disaster of 2008 and 2009.

I don’t remember if I helped to finance, or if I suggested it, but with all five of us in one place at the same time, I wanted to get a nice picture of all of us. Ashley’s brother Ryan had a nice camera and generously agreed to take some pictures. There are a bunch of good ones, but this is the one I picked today:

But back to tea. For a Christmas present, my children got together and gave me a teapot and some tea. I don’t know why exactly. I had not been a tea drinker. I didn’t (still don’t) drink coffee. I had become a fan of caffeine over the years when I discovered it helped with my headaches but I had never thought about getting it via liquids.

OK, I have a teapot now. When I got home, I started trying out the teas that had come with the teapot. Eventually, I developed some knowledge of what I liked. The next year for Christmas, Zach sent me a huge assortment of teas. Here’s my kitchen cabinet after they arrived:

I’ve got some nice glass containers now but otherwise the cabinet looks much the same. I keep lots of different teas and drink whatever feels right at the moment. I have some loose leaf teas but use tea bags most of the time.

I thought of all of this last night when I was at the grocery store getting milk. I always go down the tea aisle, even when I have plenty of tea. I guess I look for stuff on sale. At this point I know what stores have what teas so there aren’t many surprises.

What struck me last night was that the Stash tea was about the cheapest tea there. Stash was the brand of the assortment that Zach had sent me and I thought it was pretty good. It’s an Oregon company so I thought there was some angle for him there. They have lots of teas so I was able to try lots of different flavors.

Today was Oolong. Thinking of you, Zach.

Museum of Flight

Or, as the sign in front say, ‘Museum of Fligh . . .’

Really, it was a nice museum. Yesterday was the day all four of us would have together and going to the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field in Seattle was the chosen activity. When we walked in to the main hall, we were greeted by the sight of dozens of aircraft, some on the floor and some hanging from the ceiling. An SR-71 Blackbird dominated the whole scene.

I thought it looked great, but at that moment realized we were there with a 4 year old. OK, almost 5 but still very young. But at that moment, we saw right in front of us a nice young man inviting us to the kid’s project table. They were going to demonstrate how to build a catapult in just a couple of minutes. Rosalie listened attentively to the presentation using a tablet and stood patiently in line to get her materials but was less interested in the details of actually building it. It was actually a simple little trebuchet built with popsicle sticks and rubber bands. Given the task of decorating the sticks, however, Rosalie came to life.

After it was built, she stood in line for some puff balls to launch and chose two small purple ones. Once explained the technique of launching, she took over and entertained us by launching her purple puff balls for us to try to catch.We walked around the hall. She sat in the SR-71 cockpit with Ashley:She found the kids play area and tested the wind tunnel machine:

Checked out the view from inside a light plane cockpit:

Tried the hurricane simulator with Mom:

Then we had lunch. After lunch was the Hall of Heroes, which is a review of the two World Wars with an emphasis on American planes and flyers. Then we walked across the skybridge to the pavilion which contained, among other things, an Air Force One, Boeing 727, 737, 747, 787, a Concorde, a B-29, a B-17, a B-47 and some others I don’t remember. In other words, lots of planes. We were able to go through most of the commercial airliners and AF One.

About 15 minutes into the ride home, this was the scene in the back seat.

Back at home she perked up. Momma made some chocolate chip cookies for an early birthday party with Gramps. I had found a nice jigsaw puzzle at the Museum store for her so we set to work on that after singing happy birthday.

Hmmm, can’t find the picture. Maybe tomorrow. I got up this morning and drove across the state to Spokane. I am now safely ensconced in a bedroom at Peter and Nanci’s. We took a nice drive this afternoon out Palouse Highway. The fields, some of which were newly planted with winter wheat, were lit up nicely by the setting sun. About half the sky was clear, while the other half was turning all kinds of colors.

Rosalie and me day 2

The only rough spot we had was last night at bed time, she had trouble because she missed her “Mommy and Daddy.’ All I could do was validate her feelings but repeat that they weren’t here and weren’t going to be here until tomorrow (today).

The last few days, she’s been up pretty early. As soon as she hears some noises downstairs, there she is! Although I had some trouble sleeping – I didn’t want to take a pill as the only adult in the house – I slept a reasonable amount and was still up a little after 6. About 7:15, I went back upstairs to check on her. I thought for sure she’d be playing in her room, but she was still conked. I laid down in my bedroom next door and she came in about 7:45.

Because Emma came over yesterday, my plan for going to the grocery store didn’t pan out. In retrospect, I could have gone while she was next door but I didn’t think of it until later. We were out of milk, which meant breakfast was dicey as both of us are cereal people. So, at 7:45 I suggested that we go out for breakfast. That perked her up!

Due to more confusion on my part, we missed the more traditional cafes in favor of the bakery. Actually, once she got a look at the bakery she wouldn’t go back to the cafe. I was able to get a slice of quiche for myself and limit her to a croissant with a glass of milk. She did notice the ham pieces in my quiche and eat a bunch of them.

At the grocery store, she insisted we take a cart so she could ride hanging onto the front. Besides milk, we stocked up on red pears, avocados and tomatoes. Back at home, we finally had our bowls of cereal for the morning.

Then it was upstairs for play school. She put her witch fairy costume on and tried several hats on me while preparing first breakfast, then packing snack and lunch for me to take to school. She was the Momma and the teacher. Eventually there was tickling. Then we came back downstairs for some coloring and letters and more puzzles. We were doing the USA puzzle for the second time when Ashley came home. That still lies incomplete as lunch was more interesting. Then Mommy enforced a real rest time and I was relieved.

I’m pretty pleased that I didn’t resort to the TV solution during my 24+ hours in charge. Jeremy and Ashley had told me the codes and what channels were ok. Rosalie makes it easier to leave it off as it’s not a priority for her. She didn’t ask me once to turn it on.

Rosalie and me

Jeremy and Ashley left this morning for a little over 24 hours together on Bainbridge Island to celebrate their 10th anniversary. I’m staying home with Rosalie. This morning after some warm up exercises in coloring and puzzle making, I got her out to the Reptile Zoo in Monroe, about a half hour from here.

It was very nice. Unpretentious, but with a wide variety of reptiles including an albino alligator and a two-headed turtle that they feature in their advertising. They brought out a boa and let all the kids hold it and feel it move.

We came home for lunch and not long after that, the neighbor girl, Emma, came over. Grandpa faded from the picture at light speed. Except for fixing the Ply-Doh extruder, I was invisible. Well, they did enjoy serving me delicacies cooked up with the Play-Doh. Then they went over to Emma’s and I’ve been sitting here in the empty house for an hour reading TalkBass.

The sun came out while we were at the Reptile Zoo and the afternoon was bright but cool. We might have hit 50 degrees, but the sun went down at 4:30 and now it’s getting dark. I’ll go get Rosalie in a minute . . .

outside and inside

Yesterday was outside. After dropping Jeremy off in Preston, I decided to try a different way back home. I was also trying to find some large-ish stores on the way. After my success fixing Mom’s Town and Country last month, I wanted to fix Ashley’s Nissan SUV that had the same problem. The other issue was some blinds in the window next to Jeremy’s computer. He told me that they wouldn’t release and when the sun was out, as it was Monday morning, the computer screen was very hard to see. I took measurements but didn’t write them down.

Going through Issaquah, I spotted a Home Depot so I went in and looked at blinds. As soon as I was confronted with the enormous selection there, I forgot the dimensions that I had measured. What a yutz!

Next I stopped at a car parts store in Redmond. They tried to tell me the struts for that car were different on each side and $70 apiece. Umm, I had looked at them the night before and I was pretty sure they were essentially the same as the T&C. Pass.

OK, just go home. I measured the blinds again and this time wrote the numbers down. Duvall had a car parts store so I went there. They had the pair – each side the same – for around $60. They wouldn’t be in until the next day but that was ok since I didn’t have Ashley’s car anyway. The nearest Home Depot or other large hardware store was at least a half hour away so I decided to wait and went back home for lunch.

After lunch, I took down the blinds to see if I could figure out what was wrong with them. After a little bit of fiddling while watching the mechanism, I discovered that these blinds are very sensitive to their horizontal positioning. Once set flat, they go up and down as pretty as you please. That evening, I found out that the blinds in Ashley and Jeremy’s bedroom had the same problem and the same fix. No more worries about the neighbors bright light shining into their bedroom at night!

On the way back to pick up Jeremy in the evening, I left a little early and went to a music store – not Guitar Center! – in downtown Issaquah. It was nothing special, but the downtown was nice: newer but not mass-produced shops along a Main street. Too bad it was jammed with cars at this hour (6 pm).

Today was more inside, although Rosalie and I started outside after dropping Ashley off at work. We went down to Snoqualmie Falls. The big news there was not the amount of water going over the falls, but the wind blowing over the ridge. 40 or 50 mph gusts were pushing us down the path. We were well bundled up so not cold but not comfortable either. The temperature was in the high 40s.

Here’s Rosalie putting a brave face on it:

We came home via the car parts store and enjoyed the mild, non windy air at home. I put the new struts on Ahley’s car and Rosalie and I played around the house. We even raked some leaves!

For all that, it seemed like an inside day as we spent the afternoon in the house. Puzzles, dolls and drawing were the bulk of the activities. After Mommy and Daddy came home we all went out for pizza and a skillet cookie in Carnation.

Washington

<Edited Nov 7 to add pictures.> The end of day two of my trip to Washington. It’s been pretty eventful so far. Yesterday when I got to the luggage carrel at Sea-Tac and looked out the window, I saw fat flakes of snow gently falling down. Going through the door to the outside was a shock to this Bay Area boy. Cold, cold, cold!

But Ashley was right there within a couple of minutes and the car was nice and warm. I was in such a hurry to get in the car that I didn’t think of sitting in my usual spot next to Rosalie in the back. That meant I couldn’t really see her unless I twisted myself completely around. That’s not practical at my advanced age but we talked and had fun grabbing shoes. I commented that she can really reach the seat in front much more easily than before. She’s very tall for an almost 5 year old. Ashley said there were two things on Rosalie’s agenda for Grandpa: puzzles, and tickling. We can do that!

After lunch, we did puzzles for a while at first but tickling did ensue eventually.

About 5, we headed out for Jeremy’s Fire Academy graduation. It was held in a hotel in Issaquah. There were all the usual graduation accoutrements: bagpipers, a color guard, a chaplain and lengthy speeches. Various awards were given to high achievers. Each graduate had a family member come up to pin the badge on him or her. (There were two woman graduates out of 21 total.)

When Jeremy’s name was called, Ashley went up with Rosalie. Jeremy, who had been stern all evening, picked up Rosalie with a huge smile on his face and held her while Ashley pinned him. Then they all turned to the audience and got their picture taken. Rosalie was somewhat distracted in Daddy’s arms but the instant she realized her picture was being taken, she turned on a huge smile. That generated a laugh from the audience.

After the pinning was complete, three of the graduates made presentations. One was Jeremy, who spoke of his time in the Atlanta Fire Department and the illness of Atlanta firefighter Frank Martinez. Frank reached out to Jeremy in November 2015 when Jeremy needed people to cover shifts while he was with us all in Louisiana. Frank was very sick at that time and couldn’t do the work, but did it in a gesture of solidarity. Jeremy drew the comparison with that solidarity and the group he was graduating into. He also commented that Frank almost certainly got cancer from poisonous substance exposure on the job and his goal was to reduce those exposures among firefighters.

Rosalie was sitting in my lap at that point and tears rolled down my face during his talk. I wanted to just hug Rosalie instead of wiping my face.

Afterwards, many more pictures were taken and we met some of Jeremy’s academy colleagues before heading out for a late dinner.

Today was very quiet. It was chilly and foggy early in the morning but by around 10 it was lifting and by lunchtime the sun was shining.These are out the back door window:

Jeremy slept in and Rosalie and I played with dolls, did puzzles, colored in her coloring book, read books . . . and tickled. After lunch, we went for a bike ride around the neighborhood. The temperature was around 45 but no wind. It was very pleasant in the sunshine. Several houses had the remains of snowmen still extant.

Rosalie experimented with the icy remains of the snow in the puddle in front of the house. Later we went to a local park where we walked across the Tolt River on a footbridge, admired the Cascades lit up by the setting sun, and played in the play area. Rosalie made ice cream from the bits of grass and wood chips there.

Tonight we all had dinner together and made our plans for the next three days. Ashley had a new living room light delivered today and it had a fantastic box for imaginative girls. Who could that be?