Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Marissa's Day

This is the day our 4th daughter was born.  Marissa Maia.  This is the year (2015) that she really did move away and in so many ways I still get weepy over this.  But on Easter of this spring, Hank took her and the boys off to California.  It was so hard to let them go because they lived the closest to us for a short period of time.  I always told each of them to go where they had to, to make the life they wanted to make so in this she's doing what she needs to do. But it's still hard, very hard.

And perhaps it's this reason that it's taken me so long to write up her birthday post.  I'm dong it today, a month late and past dating it and am still sitting here in tears.  But OH SO VERY GRATEFUL that she joined our family.
Marissa in her daddy's arms.. Easter 1980

Marissa came and for so many years was this quiet, petite little thing.  Hated to be the spotlight child. Hated to be seen.  Hated to have anyone make over her. She gravitated toward her Uncle Al Etzel which always seems strange. Al was a good man but a quiet man.  Perhaps Marissa just related to Al in a way none of the rest of us did.  But there was just too much of Marissa to be kept in a petite body, quiet body.  By now she's 6 feet altho she insists she's 5 ft 11.5"  Marissa grew to be as independent in thought and actions and everything is always BIG for her.  Her paintings are big.  Her thoughts are big and I fear her challenges are big, too. But I know she will hurdle them all.

Marissa hated underwear as a wee one. Not sure why..not then, not now.  I can remember being at a the SL Community Days Parade (hot July).  There she sat on the curb in a cute cute cute sundress...but no panties!  We were to go to the Gaspar's afterwards but first we had to go home and get her ensemble corrected.  Today we laugh about it. Back then it was always a struggle.

Marissa wrote the most amazing books for Young Authors and I think she won an award each year she entered the contest. I was certain she would grow up to be an author/illustrator. I still have hopes of that.  Marissa has the most amazing view on things.  She IS where the wild things are...or maybe she IS the wild thing.  And she's raising a house full of wild things, from her husband, Hank, down through Henry, Oskar, and Simon. And it's perfectly wonderful.  And tiring.  And exhilarating. And And And.

As Marissa aged out of childhood, her opinions grew stronger and she didn't really want my view of things, my way of things.  That was hard to endure but it's life, right?  She also never saw color in people, nor would she endure inequality in the races/sexes.  She truly would have been comfortable in the 1960s but I am so grateful that she was saved for this time because I fear I would have lost her in that era.

Marissa never wanted to walk to the tune the rest of the world danced to.  She was always going to cut her own path.  She chose to attend Miami University altho I never knew why.  It was way too yuppy of a school for her but perhaps it was  a place that kept her safe for a time.  After the first year, where she excelled, she determined it was too normal and opted to sign up for Western Campus of MU..some weird place (for me) of strange majors and stranger people. But we knew Marissa would succeed wherever, no matter what/how we felt. Funny thing that change...I don't think she lasted 2 weeks there.  We got a call from her that announced not only did she not want to be on Western anymore but she had already taken the steps to change, move out and get back onto main campus.  She got back into art and was amazing there.

Marissa got a job teaching art in the Lorain School District as well as being a volleyball coach.  When she married Hank she continued doing all this in Atlanta.  When they moved to NYC and she became a mom, she really became a mom. She instills the love of art and freedom of expression in her boys.  I am sure she will do the same in California altho I doubt they will stay there.

She supports her husband to such a degree...a degree that I could not begin to imagine nor match.

I love her...I want so much for her...I am so glad she's mine.  Happy Birthday Marissa. You are woman and you will continue to roar.

Pictures to be added soon.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Jocelyn's Day

TODAY is Jocelyn's birthday.  Lucky for her, Jocelyn was born on the actual Sweetest Day 1977.

I remember really wanting to have this baby because I had had a UTI and was very miserable.  My actual doctor was not in town and his associate was coming in to deliver the baby.  I had gained the most weight during this pregnancy (and in an attempt at full disclosure I gained the following pounds with each pregnancy...50, 60, 70, 60, 50...BUT  be sure to read the next line ... But by my 6 week checkup, each time I was down to my normal 120 pounds without diet no exercise. I was blessed...and how I wish the same could be said today).

Again, back in that day, we didn't know the sex of the baby until the birth.  After 2 girls, all the nurses were saying this was going to be a boy.  When Jocelyn started her arrival and they saw her shoulders, even the doctor said, "Oh yes, look at these shoulders...this is going to be your son."  A few seconds later...he was wrong and we were still thrilled. There's nothing like a daughter.

Dawn and Cara had still been using the small baby chest of drawers but with  #3 baby coming I knew I needed another one for them so the baby could have the cute drawers that matched the crib. So before Jocelyn was born, I set about selling Tupperware.  My only goal was to sell enough to afford a new set of drawers and I met that goal and had some good fun along the way.

Here's an image of what some vintage TW looked like in 1977.  We probably had most of these items and many more besides.  Once a week I would drive to N. Olmsted for the business meeting which were more like pep rallies.  All the dealers would start the meeting by singing our song. "I've got that Tupper feeling up in my head, deep in my heart, down in my toes, I've got that Tupper feeling all over me, all over me to stay."  That's the last verse combining all the 3 places that each were given their own verse...and yes, there were pompoms and shouting and cheering.  No wonder Jocelyn ended up becoming a cheerleader while in high school.

  Here she is in our backyard/driveway, still in the same English baby buggy that my mom had used for my sister Debi (c. 1954)...the same one Dawn and Cara were pushed in.  Robert was such a great daddy to the girls even though he worked shifts. He always made time to play with them.

We learned early that we needed to keep on eye on Jocelyn, especially after bath time.  She was most fond of running out the front door naked as a jaybird, with one of us running after her, trying to catch her before the neighbors did.  One day the next door neighbor, Dawn Kanary, rang our back doorbell and when I opened it, I was surprised to find her holding Jocelyn's hand, again naked as a jaybird and it wasn't even bath time.  Hence the nickname was presented to her...Jbird...despite the fact I had always insisted none of my kids were have a nickname.

Jocelyn didn't do a lot of talking as a child UNTIL my grandmother, Gladys Evans Holman, came to stay with us for a few months.  She would spend hours with Jocelyn, playing and talking with her and Jocelyn has talked ever since...a lot of talking!

We opted to keep Jocelyn home from kindergarten when she was just shy of 5 years old, having missed the cut off date for enrollment by 15 days. We had her tested and she passed BUT that very spring 3 of my friends had daughters who had chosen to go in early and in the 3rd grade were retained. I didn't want that to be Jocelyn's lot altho in retrospect she would have been fine.  

Instead she went to preschool and then when she got to kindergarten she knew all she ever would need to know and was known to have gotten into trouble for knowing more than the teachers who on occasion needed to come in and give Miss Marsico a break.  Jocelyn would run the class and inevitably I'd get a call.  But to this day, Jocelyn is friends with Miss Barbara Marsico.  

When she was in 3rd grade the teacher did a section on city government.   That teacher warned me that one day Jocelyn would end up ruling the world and in many ways she has.  She managed to convince me that she could not play with both hands on the piano and me, like a dummy (albeit a very tired dummy mom), gave in and quit the lessons.  Within a few years I am watching this cheerleader doing these crazy routines with both hands. So she had to wait till she was married to get a piano and realize the value of playing it.

Jocelyn was very good with our dogs. She learned hair design on Lance but Lady sure did love Jocelyn.

Jocelyn got to Brookside High School and fulfilled her 3rd grade teaches prophecy.  She was president of a lot of the organizations she was a member of.  She graduated and attended Miami University, following her oldest sister Dawn.  She did well her freshman year and was invited to be a part of the Leader/Scholar program so her residence the 2nd year was literally ON campus in a magnificent room with exquisite furnishings.

She went on to do a fellowship for Reuters in DC.  She also covered the Democratic Convention in CA and here she is covering the 2005 Presidential Inauguration in DC.  She loved the news and I think the news loved her.

 Jocelyn met many famous people during her time with the news..including Wolf Blitzer at CNN and John Kennedy Jr (I really need to find that picture of her with him just weeks before he died).

But the best and most famous person she met during those years was the man she would go on
to marry...Steve Christensen.

Together they are raising a lovely family with (at this time) #5 on the way.  Jocelyn blogs and quilts and encourages.  She praises and she cries. She testifies and she teaches.  The world is a happy place with her and her family.  

And our own family is a very happy place since she's joined us.  So for today...Happy Birthday, Jbird.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

General Conference through the ages

At least my ages.

Last night Jill called and we talked about the previous 2 sessions (no, neither of us sat and watched the Priesthood session).  I was trying to explain  how our viewing of General Conferences had changed over the decades  but then, in talking with Dawn, Dawn reminded me of something I had forgotten.  So I shall regale you with what it used to be like before technology became such as it is now…and I just wonder what it will be like in the future.
This is the first chapel we attended, my mom, grandma, sister and me.  It was on Lake Avenue in Cleveland. This picture came from a dedication book.  President David O. McKay came for the dedication.

In the beginning, we just learned about what was said in General Conference when the little booklets were printed and mailed out...I'm not even sure they were whole messages given  in the Improvement Era magazine.  I just know somehow we got them and we read them, studied them.

When I was young, as a young teen, we would go and sit in a chapel and the conference was delivered by a phone line through the audio system.  Nothing but hours of listening to the words coming through a phone.  It seems like the lights were not always turned on bright in the chapel.  At some point, the local ABC network, Channel 5 WEWS, would broadcast the 1st session of Saturday’s conference at like 5am or 6am on the TV.  Dawn said she remembered Robert and I getting up early on Sunday and watching that one session.  We’d go to church and a sweet old lady, Marian Ballif, would put up a picture of the General Authority who was speaking so we had something to look at and connect the voice to the picture.  Marian was from Utah and very familiar with many of these men.   Like this of the Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith.  And we would sit and often just stare on the picture as we listened....truthfully.  We did that.

(She even had a set of recipes of ALL the prophets' favorite food/recipe.  I have a copy somehwere.  Marian gave me my first accordion.  She knew I had wanted one and her lungs made it impossible for her work the bellows) 

There was some disagreement with WEWS and other churches, I think..or the advertisers and they stopped the presentation of that 1st session. 

But then Cablevision TV arrived in this county.  At that point, I think Cablevision was the only cable network…at least it was in Sheffield lake.  My mom kept up an ongoing campaign to get them to agree to broadcast conference.  She was a terror. But she made it work.  It was a joy to be able to sit in our own homes and watch the Brethren speak to us.  Around the same time, the ward buildings began to install satellite dishes. those huge ones, and now not only did we have voices we had video. 

Today, some cable companies offer the BYUTV channel.  Dish and DirecTV do.  And if all else fails, there’s the wonderful internet which can be hooked up through the HDMI cable to our television (which is what we personally do right now).  Oh and Roku TV. 
I went out to church for the Women’s session broadcast and learned we have satellite issues which I gather have not been corrected yet.  Perhaps it never will be.  But we do have a Roku tv so the ladies sat in the RS room and watched that session.

Now the conferences are all held in this huge building.  The Authorities must seem like tiny ants if you were to be given seating in they way back.  This place (and I have been there) reminds me of the Cathedral of Tomorrow in Akron, OH.  Built for Rex Humbard who my grandmother and I used to watch on TV before we found the restored church.

Once while still at BYU I attended a conference session in the old Tabernacle. See the pillars along the sides?  It was just my luck to be seated behind one of them toward the back.  And man!  were those pews HARD.  Obviously I was not made of pioneer stock, at least not of pioneer butt.

But while at BYU, we were able to watch each session on a small black and white TV which I had brought from home.  And we could watch them in our apartment.  It was here, after Robert returned from his mission in the Franco-Belge that we started our tradition of having Conference (coffee) Cake and juice on Sunday morning of conference. This continues to this day, in each of our children's homes as well.   This morning Jordan asked when we started to call this Conference Cake and not coffee cake.  I think it started pretty early because Robert, being the forever Mormon, didn't want to use that term around our kids.

But I have been blessed to have grown up through the technology changes and have grown to appreciate General Conferences is in a different way through the decades.  It still works best for me to list 2 questions I am searching answers for before the start of each General Conference and then to wait and see who answers and when. Almost always the answers start in the first session and end in the last. How does that work?

I don't believe in having a favorite speaker/favorite authority.  I don't want to remove myself from learning from all of them.  Inevitably, many of them answer my questions and give me a whole lot more to think about.

But the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored the earth and with it all the truths to help us become more like Heavenly Father and my Saviour Jesus Christ.  I am so grateful for Elder Fred Day who brought this gospel to our home, and to my mom who had always been on a quest to find the truth...who then embraced it and held fast to the iron rod until her dying breath.  I shall do the same.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Fall 2015

 Fall arrived by calendar this week.  I keep hearing that there's a different First Day of Fall by Meteorological determination, not the solstice.  Me? I'm sticking with the solstice.  I'm ready for fall but a bit sad to see summer over.  It was a wonderful summer weather wise.  And I guess in all wise.

I remember that down at 809 there was always this one rose bush that allowed one rose to bloom late into the fall.  There were a few years when the rose would still be around when the leaves had fallen from the trees and snow was in the air.  Roses for us are pretty young and new here at 3830.  But just this week, this lovely yellow rose bloom, right next to the garage.  It's too spectacular to snip and put in the house.  It's meant to be seen and enjoyed.

 Strangely enough, this fall our faithful spring primroses have started to blossom again by the patio.  They are the most welcome when the winter snow has melted.  We see them along with the crocus and snowbells.  But to see them again this year, in the fall...well, that's pretty wonderful.

Equally wonderful is this strange sunflower plant.  Last year we had one and this summer we have many more.  They grow tall and green for months.  As you can see they are almost as tall as our home and just when you think there will be no flowers, mid September you awaken one morning and WHAMOOO..that's for Bopnpapa...there they all are, in resplendent yellow.

 I have no idea what this plant is but in the fall these pods burst into fluffy stuff.  The stuff doesn't fly off into the air as a similar plant does in the spring, right before the advent of the midgies.  It just hangs around.  I wondered to Robert if the birds that stick around through the winter come get the soft white down for their winter nest.  He didn't know but I like to pretend they do.

This summer I asked Robert to grow some Indian corn and he did.  They turned out incredible.  I will purchase some great fall ribbon this weekend and hang them outside, everywhere.
 So fall is here...and with it comes a trip to visit the Florida Hatches and a few days after our return we must might be hosting Hillary and kids until their Michigan home is ready. is Jordan's last day at work at Chico's in Florida and Monday he starts work for the Wolverine shoe company.  I say shoe company because I actually have no idea what all they sell.  I know there are boots involved.

The only thing missing in my life is Marissa/Hank and their 3 California.  Oh how I miss them.  Facetime is wonderful and needful but not the real thing.    But it will have to do.

But I rejoice that I am still alive to enjoy the days left to me.  To enjoy my children.  To love and appreciate the grands.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Glassworks in Ohio City.

 Robert had mentioned a couple of times that he would like to learn how to blow glass or form a Groupon appeared online.  It took me several times to successfully buy one for him and today, Labor Day is the day Robert scheduled his class.  So while I went to the ward breakfast, he went to Ohio City  I think he had a good time.  We won't get the cooled project til next week.
Here Robert is warming up the tip, til it's red hot.

 Picking glass up on the tip.

 Initially it was a blob of hot, molten glass and at this table it's rolled into a cylinder, like a tootsie roll.

  Periodically Robert would need to reheat the glass.

 By rolling the rod over this metal frame, the glass is allowed to cool slightly.

 The hot glass is placed on glass colored chips.  This changed the color of the glass, gives it a pattern.

 Heating the chips so that they meld into the larger piece.

 Shaping the glass.

 Here the hot glass piece is being pulled down to form a neck.

 The instructor shows Robert how to smooth the rough edge using a torch.

The finished product has arrived...or I should say productS.  Robert made 2 things.

This lovely flower

 and a cup!

It was a good day!  Robert loves to learn new things, sometimes by reading, other times by doing.

Saturday, September 05, 2015


Cordelia has a new house for the fall/winter. And I think she likes it.  She's much like Honor and Scarlett who love to sing.  If I am very quiet I can hear her gentle whispers of song.

I have enjoyed succulents because they don't take any work but I can talk to them, transplant them with somewhat ease and just enjoy them lining the bay window in the front room.  Years ago Diane Pepin sent me a link for succulents in a bird cage but, alas, no cage.

UNTIL last week when Brandy deLeon was selling one at her yard sale.  Today in almost 90 degrees heat (and you all must know how I hate the out of doors, dirt, and heat) I decided to attempt to put it together.  Jocelyn had sent me a lovely arrangement of succulents for my birthday and they had really grown large and needed more space.  So with those and some from the window I decided to make the arrangement.

I needed some weed resistance 'fabric' and wouldn't you just know it...when the Pepins moved (how dare they) we were given some stuff and bought some other things.  Among those items was this:
 So I spent a bit of time scrubbing the stand and the cage and then let the pieces dry in the sun.

 It was a bit trickier than I had hoped but that's because the top doesn't come I needed to add my lovelies through the mesh or through the small door.    Hopefully the cage and top knot will hold up the heavy cage.  If not, it will rest on a stand I already have in the front room.

Yes, I know I need some color but for now I'm calling this good.
Thanks to Diane and Randy Bott for encouraging me. For Dawn and Adelle who are learning to enjoy
some succulents of their own.  For Jocelyn and family for the lovely
succulent garden in the midst of winter that kept me so happy...and still does.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Seminary Resumes

Luckily for Robert, he has had all summer to prepare for this year's Seminary course of study.  Last year, if you recall, he was called a week after the West side kids had already begun and I think he always felt he was trying to catch up, which wasn't true because he has such a firm grasp of the scripture.

This summer he spent over 5 hours every day working on the lessons.  He got through all 160+ of them once and then started all over, being certain to compile the visual aids, the attention getters, the PowerPoints, and any sort of films he wanted to have handy IF the spirit and need arose.
All 7 kids arrived yesterday for the first day.  Seven of the nicest and brightest.  There are 2 seniors this year...Brendan Pospisil who is finishing up his last year at LCCC as well as playing football for BHS and working.  Jacintay Boldware is ending her high school year as she started, at BHS only now BHS is a brand new school.  Samuel Eddington is a junior at Avon High School and is involved in academics and music as well as being a thespian.  Jacintaya Cuellar is a sophomore at BHS and runs track and sings in the choir. She also is coming here for piano lessons.  New as freshmen at the table is Gideon Tonkinson who has the cutest smile, sense of humor and plays in the marching back at Avon Lake High School.  Noah Kitchen seems sort of solemn but when I subbed taught in SS, I've realized he has a good understanding of the gospel as well as a sense of humor.  Rounding out the group is Joel Pospisil, also at BHS, and a major  cross country and soccer star.  There may be other band members and other activities but currently I am not absolutely certain.

They also all arrived to this sign over the 'seminary room' doorway.  To be clear...these are NOT the colors of the University of Michigan (which I hate and somehow didn't think about the color scheme when Robert selected the vinyl) but IS the colors of Hillary's West Muskingum High School (go Tornados).  Be clear on that fact. I said to Robert, if you mention Michigan in this room, I'll take the vinyl off the wall and be aware that taking it off was way lots easier than putting it up.

Yesterday I served breakfast as they entered but being such a proponent of breakfasts to start the day I will always worry the kids don't get enough to eat before school.  Today the lesson was on the Plan of Salvation.  Robert had the kids start with a game of Plan of Salvation Croquet. Sadly, the only one who knew how to play was Brendan.  Each wicket had the event name of some portion of this wondrous plan.  The idea was for each kid to get the ball through the wickets in order and end up in the Celestial Kingdom, where they received gold wrapped Hershey nuggets.

I was upstairs and attempted to get some pictures but at 6am around here, it's not very light out.  Robert helped them with the concept if they needed some help, a flashlight (standing in for the Holy Ghost) was a good source.  You certainly didn't want to go through the wrong kingdom. It was funny to hear Gideon comment "but I don't want to die".  After the game, I was content to return to my bed and let the class continue.  I know these pix are not excellent.  Too dark, didn't want a flash, didn't want to be observed but I did want a record of the morning.

and so the year of Seminary continues.......................

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