Tuesday, July 14, 2015

My Grandma's Service

My Grandma's Service was today.  We did lunch at the Falls Terrace in Olympia.  It was a restaurant she liked and she loved doing lunch.  The following was the "program" that I made for it. 

Myrtle Virginia Randolph
January 20, 1919 - May 17, 2015

Raised in Ewan, Washington, Virginia loved basketball and graduated at the top of her class; however, she regularly received below average marks for “Deportment”, something she embraced with both hands.  She was the first of five children of Hollis Dickerson and Lady Faye Smith.  She is survived by her son, Keith Clarno married to Sharon Clarno of Federal Way.  She had one granddaughter, Angela Clarno married to Grant Hainsworth of Kent, WA who brought her great joy with two great grandsons, Mason (10) and Nolan (8).  She was hard working, fierce, and always willing to help those she loved. 

Other facts:

Her lasting love was Floyd Randolph, her third husband, who nicknamed her “Toughy”.

She had another son.  William Cary Clarno unfortunately died within two weeks of birth.  While she rarely spoke of him, in her final years she referred to her “boys”.

She “Lettered” in High School Basketball.

Two prize possessions – her Bible and her Crossword Dictionary.

Famous Virginia Quotes:

“Thing.”  “Thing” was put in the place of all words she could not remember.  When she started to lose her memory, she never said “thing” again.

“Good ol’ days?!?!  What were those?!?!?  Think of life without plastic!?!?!  Really, think of life without plastic?!?!?!”

“So, if you think you should do something that sounds like a great opportunity and someone else says that is ‘stupid’ and you listen to them, who is really stupid?”

She will be missed, but never forgotten.
Everyone had beautiful stories about her, and they were genuine.  The most touching part was at dessert when both my boys ordered and finished a piece of carrot cake.  There was plenty on the menu, but that was her favorite that we brought to her each birthday and they remembered.
Maybe I did something right, or maybe it was Grandma.
Happy Tuesday, Ang

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Nolan, we are not blending!

The family and I just went on a trip to four corners.  For those of you who know four corners, you get it.  For those of you who don't, it is this ridiculous trip to a place where four states come together.  I was there when I was young, like under 15, and it was like a crooked sign in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE AND YOU TOOK A PICTURE.  See below.....

Grant has never been to the Southwest.  This is a bit of an issue with him.  I have been to the Southwest a ton.  This is not an issue with me.   I love the Southwest.  And so goes the story.....

When I got sick, I never thought I would see the Southwest with Grant or my kids.  I didn't think much of it, because I knew Grant was interested and I knew he would take them.  With my good fortune, Grant and I decided to go, but it all depended on our friend in Kelowna that was fighting cancer.  Although I had planned the trip; all the reservations in place; we did not pull the trigger until we knew he did not need us.  We really did not know we were going until June 18th.  We left the 20th.  So, for most of you, you were like, "Wha?  She is out of town?  Where is she?"  I apologize for that, but in the end, maybe I do not.  We had an awesome trip and that is what life is all about, right?!?!?!?!

Kids got out of school on Thursday at noon.  We left on Saturday at 9:00am.  We stopped in Mountain Home Idaho for the night and dinner.  Nolan was in heaven because they served popcorn BEFORE dinner.  There was a pool and it as 95 degrees.  We landed in Moab, UT the next three nights.  We did Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.  It was HOT.....highlights were the woman at the local history museum.  Could not have someone more excited about Moab history....I LOVED her.  We also 4 wheeled out of Canyonlands.  Okay, so, I am going to say something I will probably get a cross eyed look when I do, but Grant is GREAT at starting the 4 by trip, but when things get rough, he gets nervous to the point of bailing.  He is a Toronto City boy.  I am not.  So, when we get "stuck",  I take over.  I love and trust my Grant, but I know when I have to literally take the wheel.  The boys get this about us.  I love that.  Maybe someday they will respect their wife to take over the wheel as mine does.  It really is an honor.  My friend is Rick, who told me years ago, "Ang, you are lucky you have him and that he lets you do what you do."  When he said this, I stared at him and I think he thought he might die, but it was true.  Grant gives me a very long leash.  A padded room if you will.  I get to do 98% of what I want and when he says no, I am fine.  Truly.  I could have married no one else.  So, as we were staring at the rock that had fallen over the trail, he said, "I am sorry.  We should have checked with the ranger station."  At the same time, I said, "I just need to see if there are tire tracks on the other side of the rock.  If so, we can probably do it."  There were and we did.  The boys, as usual, were like,"Mom, should we be doing this?!?!?!"  I responded with, "This truck was ACTUALLY DESIGNED to do this, if not now, when?!?!??!"  Exhale.  We made it.  The road was washed out, we were in the thick of it, but we made and that is all that mattered.  We did it - together. 

We left Moab and when to Mesa Verde and Four Corners on our way to the Hopi reservation.  I have been to Mesa Verde with my parents and all I remembered was going by latter into a kiva.  We got to Mesa Verde at 10am and all the tours were BOOKED until 3pm.  There was one place could go that had no restrictions and my only question was, "Can they take a latter down into a Kiva?"  Grant looked at me, like, "Wha?"  But, when I was young, I went down into a kiva via latter and I was never the same.  I wanted the same for my boys - all three of them.  "Yes. Yes, there is.  Absolutely."  We went there.  I took pictures of up and down. Grant is claustrophobic, so he came out quickly, but it was done and we did it. We got to Four Corners which is now a "Navajo Park" so you get to park for $20 and then go to a monument, to stand in line to take a picture that is SURROUNDED by Navajo vendors.  So, I am okay with all this.  I acknowledge all of them, we talk about it, and we moved on or purchased.  I hope that I am training my boys in the respect that they need.  Time will tell.  At the end, Mason purchased some Horsehair pottery and Nolan purchased a Navajo Spear.  I was proud of both of them on how they treated the vendors and their products.  We got pictures and then we left - without fry bread which was a faux pas we will learn about later.....

It was a big day....we breezed by Chinle and the canyon there, which is not visited by many, but HOLY COW it is beautiful!  We got there at dusk and the lighting storms had started.  It was amazing.  However, the amazingness of it all was dampered by Mason saying we were all going to die......  Sometimes he is such a buzz kill!....

So we go on to the drive to the Hopi Reservation.  Have to say, there are not a lot of directions.  There is a P.O. Box on the confirmation and, FYI, none of us look HOPI.  SHOCKER.  Grant was like, "Ang, it HAS to be on this road....it is the only road."  And it was, but four miles after I thought.  We check in.  At check in they tell us that it is illegal to have alcoholic beverages in the room of the hotel.  I am thinking we are going to die over two beers and a couple stupid coolers.  Apparently, my face say it all and she smiled and said, "Just keep them in your car."  Fair enough.  So, we unpack, and I tell Grant to put the beers in the car even after his analysis of "How are they going to know...." We settled in and decided to go to the restaurant for some ice cream.  As we sit down, Nolan says to me (mind you this is the ONLY restaurant for miles), "Mummy, you look stressed.  Do you need a.......wait for it......no seriously...this is unbelievable.........martini or margarita?!?!?!?!?!

The woman in the booth right next to us BUSTED up laughing.  Before I can say, "Nolan this I a dry campus." I come out with, "Nolan!  We are not blending!!!  All the other tables start laughing also.  Before he things he is a regular comedian, I shut him down.  "Nolan, we will talk about it later...." Everyone is SUPER welcoming, especially since we are clearly alcoholics ....

SIDE NOTE - I am volunteering at the library at school this year and we have some canned and dried food for people to take. We also, however, ran out of plastic bags, so I went through them with my boys before I took them to school......There was Fred Meyer, Safeway, but also there were a fair amount of "Total Wine", "Black Cat Fireworks" and even a one from KFC.  I guess we really also drinkers that have a horrible diet and blow crap up.

We spent the night and woke up our Hopi Guide after checking out the museum, met up with our Hopi guide, Gary.  SO COOL.  We learned a lot about the culture, history, and current challenges for the Hopis.  One thing they are awful at is negotiating their goods, "I usually sell this for $40, but I will give it to you for $20."  Where is the pause?  Maybe I want to give you $40.  Even Gary was like, "Well, I told you x, but just give me y."  So, I just told him, "I am not paying you less that z."  Business classes....white man business classes.  I may just make that my mission in life!  Gary thought I was hilarious, but said it probably was a good idea.

Wrapped that up and went to the Grand Canyon South Rim.  It was well, grand.  I have never seen it from the top.  Every time we went it was winter and it was fogged in - no lie - three times.

We then ended our trip in Zion.  AMAZING three days.  The best hike was the River Walk at the end of the road.  You walk for a mile and then river is your path.  When it is 108 degrees, walking in a shady canyon in cool water rocks!  Best hike ever.

We ended out trip taking a vacation from our vacation and just hangin' out by the pool one day, being lazy, and then the trip back, popcorn at dinner in Mountain Home, ID, and home.

The boys did great, Grant drove most of the way, and everything went according to plan.  Road trips are in Grant and my blood - nothing like a good road trip!

Happy Sunday,  Ang

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Mosquito and other things.....

As a child, I was mosquito bait.  As an adult, the same.  Then cancer hit.....chemo takes care of that.  I have not had a mosquito bite in eight years.  Then, on July 4th, we were blowing up stuff outside and I was like, "What are those annoying little bugs?  OUCH!"  Apparently, chemo wears off in TWO YEARS.  That they need to bottle.

Times has been flying by...lots of things have happened, but there are two notable stories that you may enjoy.  One Today......

Parental Joy(?)

I emailed the following to the teachers and staff that were involved with Mason this year.  He had a big year of growth emotionally and I thought they should know....


In September of 2014, a boy named Mason stared the 4th grade in Mrs. Swenning's class.  This year, like all the others, Mason's Mom warned Mrs. Swenning that his tenderness is his best, and most challenging, quality.  Pleasing his teachers and his parents is his goal and in that order - anything less turns to tears. 

Mason was not afraid of computers, he loved them, and learn to hunt and peck the year before with testing.  His access was more limited than he would like, but those were Mom's rules.  He met a woman named Ms. Thompson who showed him more about the Internet he had ever known which he told him Mom all about.....all the time.  Ms. Thompson this, Ms. Thompson that and, "MOM!  Mrs. Swenning said we are doing Hack-a-thon!"  Hack-a-thon would become an entire being in our house, Ms. Kelley would ask if Mason could skip a doctor's appointment (Mason would NEVER think to ask this) because "Hack-a-thon" was there that day.  The Doctor's office was like, "That sounds fun - sure!"  (No fee.  No penalty.  WHO DOES THAT?!?!?!?!)  But it was the joy on Mason's face when his Mom told him he could go back to class that took her breath away.  What just happened?

Mason's was voted onto Student Council and by some small miracle, he went to his Mom and asked if he could spend $10 of his own money on a "Team Tonya" shirt.  "You (the Mom) took her to chemo.  The least I can do is wear a T-shirt. ( Mom bought not only a t-shirt for him, but for herself also.)  He learned about hunger in our own back yard and while he complained in the fall about being tired at NW Harvest, he and all the other students, did not complain once on June 10th when they went again (although some water breaks were quite long....).  Wow, what happened?

Mason was Captain of the 4th Grade Boy's Track Team.  Mr. Furukawa talked to him and later to his Mom about his sensitivity and how, as a leader, you have keep it together and NO TEARS.  Choir was running at the same time and then baseball started.  Last year was the first year that the players pitched to each other.  Mason was a mess.  Yet this year.......oh my gosh, this year, he was relaxed and confident like a version of him his Mom always knew was there, but never saw.  He allowed one man on base each inning (they only have three), struck out the others and it was a shut out game 13-0.  The parents all congratulated him and ask his Mom, "What happened?!?!?!" 

But here is the kicker....the one that made me share this will all of you.  Mason came home and got the Surface (Santa brought the family a Surface 2 which he told me was not as good as the Surface Pro that he had at school), and started typing away.  Then the questions....

"Mom, can you take me to school early on a regular basis?"
"Sure, I can." (I have no idea what he is doing.  I thought it was homework.)
"Can you take me to performances?"
"Sure." (Starting to clue in.)
"Can you carry instruments?"
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, Mason I am quite sure."


"Mom, this is just REALLY important and you have to be sure that you can do all this and I have to be sure you can too!"


"Mason, I will get you to all of it."

The DRUM Application was then "keyboarded" entirely by him, printed by him (and HP), attached to the application with arguments about why he should be chosen to join DRUM, and slipped into his backpack. 

"Would you like me to check it?"
"Nope, I got it."

What just happened???????

Neely did. 

There is nothing I can do to thank you enough.  You can helped create a beautiful boy that is growing up to be a responsible, caring, beautiful young adult.

Forever your fan,

Mason's Mom


Awesome, right?!?!?!  The clouds parted, the sun came down and the angels were singing.  RIGHT after I hit send, Nolan came into my office and proclaimed, 

"Mummy!  I am going to write a petition to stop all homework.  It hurts the environment because we have to cut down trees and trees make air.  It also makes you sit a lot and that causes cancer.  I am going to talk to Mr. Regnart about it tomorrow!"  

Angels stopped singing.  Sun went away.  Clouds rolled over and I think it even started raining.

My head went to my keyboard and said, "Of course you are Nolan......" 

Story Two Tomorrow - "Nolan, we are not blending!"

Happy Wednesday!  Ang