Monday, December 31, 2007

Year's End

This last day of the year the sun has come out. After a month-long deluge of rain and inclement weather, it is most welcome. Mid-afternoon now, and the dogs are sprawled in a patch of sun light on the living room floor. Soon I will wake them up and we’ll have our afternoon walk a bit early today. The neighborhood kids have fireworks and treat New Year’s Eve like the 4th of July so it’s best to get inside and hunker down for the evening before the bangs begin.

For years now I’ve spent New Year’s Eve at home by myself. I will have the party lights on and the holiday decorations and Christmas gifts are still around. I’ll burn candles and incense and listen to music. Maybe watch Dick Clark on TV (how old IS he?). And page through my life.

So much happened this year that I ran out of space on the 2007 page in my Life Book. There are notes in the margin and around the edges. Tonight I may look through it and remember the events of other years. Maybe I will pull out a journal or two at random and see what I was feeling on some other New Year’s Eve. The readily accessible collection covers the last twenty years. Farther back…into the 70’s and 60’s…notebooks are packed in some box in storage.

On one of my birthdays (60?) I thought I would try to read all my journals. Not a good idea. It was too overwhelming to try to relive all those years in one sitting. So now I just spot check my past life. Sometimes I read of joy, sometimes of sadness. I tended to write more about pain and frustration and loneliness than about days when nothing happened. Still…it is impossible not to say “How far I’ve come!”

All my friends in far-flung places will be in my thoughts tonight. I wish each of you the very best. Have a Great ’08!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

“Power’s out…hot water heater gave it up…no water…gas heater not working.” These were Christmas challenges from friends across the country. Here in Oregon at The Hideaway, we had rain in the dining room. Ah…the joys of homeownership at the holidays. This leak is in the same spot that leaked last year and it appears I am in need of a new roof. In the meantime, in between downpours, my son Scott made the climb to the rooftop with a bucket of tar.

When they told me I would get used to the rain in Portland, I did not know they meant INSIDE the house. We had to move furniture, relocate Christmas presents, and press the roasting pans into service to catch the drips. Despite this, our spirits have not been dampened and we are having a very special holiday together…all my children and the sweet new baby Ember.

From The Hideaway…Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Mother and Child

Little infant so tender and mild.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Autumn Wanes

A waning afternoon and almost time to leave work and head home for a walk with the dogs and a nice pot of coffee. The season is winding down as well as these are the last of the autumn days and winter begins this Friday. My family will gather at my house for Solstice and be in and out over the weekend and for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. There will be food and beverages (chili, pizza, sandwiches & hot cider, hot chocolate, tea, coffee, soda), games, puzzles, music, movies, football on TV, walks with the dogs, naps and other activities as they come to mind. A very special guest will be little Ember who will celebrate her first Christmas. This is a time of drawing together, of family and fellowship and fun. We are blessed to all be here in Portland, to be healthy and happy and able to enjoy this special season. We wish all of you out there a Merry Christmas and send Best Wishes for a Happy New Year.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Storm Cupboard

When I was growing up in a semi-rural area on the outskirts of Kansas City, my mother kept a well-stocked Storm Cupboard for those days when we were “snowed in.” It was the top shelf of the cabinet high over the sink and was not to be raided except during the worst of weather conditions. Canned soup, canned Boston Brown Bread, packages of spaghetti and jars of home-canned green beans. Oatmeal, coffee, and some Crisco. Also…candles and extra toilet paper. My father kept a Storm Cupboard of his own in the basement with firewood, newspapers, matches, old blankets in a rickety cupboard, and his shortwave radio. We were so prepared!

It’s a habit hard to lose and I maintain a Storm Cupboard of my own here at The Hideaway. It is actually a shelf in my pantry and since no one monitors it, I’ll admit I do raid it from time to time. It came in handy the first weekend in December when the Big Storm hit Portland. Getting out and about was tricky and risky and it seemed best to hunker down here and watch the roof leaks drip into the buckets. After several days the weather broke and just as I was preparing to go shopping and restock, Windy called to say the baby was arriving.

By the end of that week, the cupboard was bare. The cats were on the last of their dry food, and the dogs had a few kibbles kicking around the bottom of the plastic container. I was reduced to scrounging “tail-end” toilet paper rolls from a basket under the sink. And just as I was preparing to go shopping, another storm hit and then it was time to go back to work.

That cupboard got me through two weeks and I am glad I had it to sustain me. Today..finally… after two weeks, I restocked it and I am ready for the East Winds to start blowing.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Ember and Nanna

Today my sweet little granddaughter went home from the hospital wrapped in the blanket I made for her. She was holding her first stuffed animal...a tiny Pooh Bear that her mother clutched all through labor. My heart is touched.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Welcome Ember Louise Fay Roth

My daughter, Winifred Lora Graham Roth, and her husband, Christopher Dean Roth, are the proud parents of a beautiful baby girl, Ember Louise Fay Roth born on December 5, 2007 at 11:11 a.m. She weighed 7 lbs. 7 oz. and measured 20 ½ inches. Windy’s three brothers and I were all there for the birth and it was quite extraordinary. We all cried when we heard the baby’s first cries. What a joyful moment!

Windy has continued the tradition of carrying on family names. She is named for her two grandmothers. And she is using their middle names and my middle name for her daughter.

Winifred Ember Barnes Anderson, my mother
Patricia Louise Anderson
Lora Fay McKinney Graham, her father’s mother

We can trace the matrilineal line back 254 years to Ember’s great, great, great, great, great, great grandmother, Millicent Squires Sibley, who was born on January 17, 1751. Since then, every daughter has had a daughter though eight generations.

Ember Louise Fay Roth – born 2007
Winifred Lora Graham Roth –her mother – born 1972
Patricia Louise Anderson – her grandmother – born 1937
Winifred Ember Zetta Barnes Anderson –her great grandmother – born 1895
Clara Belle Sheldon Barnes –her great, great grandmother – born 1866
Millicent Diver Sheldon – her great, great, great grandmother – born 1837
Rebecca Martin Diver – her great, great, great, great grandmother – born 1803
Millicent Sibley Martin – her great, great, great, great, great grandmother – born 1775
Millicent Squires Sibley - her great, great, great, great, great, great grandmother - born 1751

Sunday, December 02, 2007


The season has special meaning this year as we await the arrival of the baby Windy and Chris are expecting on December 21st (or thereabouts). This will be the first grandchild and we are all thrilled to be welcoming her at this auspicious time. Windy and Chris have installed the required infant seat in their car, and Windy has packed a bag to be ready if she has to dash out the door. I, too, have packed a bag. she has asked me to be at the hospital with her. Not sure if I will be in the room or in the hall so I am taking my usual stuff: a book, my knitting, my camera, sudoku puzzles, a blanket, water, snacks, a hand held electronic game thing, my cell phone, change for the vending machines. I am so ready for this baby to come.

I'm anxious also for Easter and the arrival of the second grandchild that Andy and Laura are expecting on March 28th (or thereabouts). Windy's former room has been turned into a baby/guest room and I am hoping both of the babies will come often for visits.