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Monday, June 24, 2013

How They Met

Ah love it can strike at the oddest of times between the most unlikely folks or in the most unlikely of ways. Here is my parent’s story. 

I grew up knowing it but only in my adult years did my mother share what I now know is the beginning and how my grandmother played an integral part in it all although completely without knowing it at the time.

My father was drafted. It was the 60's. When my grandmother got the pictures of him all dressed up in his uniform that the military had taken she put a copy in an envelope to mail to her daughter, my aunt and his older sister.

When the envelope was stamped addressed and mailed suddenly Granny as she liked to be called started thinking 

“My daughter might not be as excited about this picture of her brother as I am. I don’t want it to get mistreated being shuffled around amidst all her activities. I better wait to send it.”

So wait she did. The stamped and addressed envelope went into a drawer for weeks or months. I am not sure for how long.

Meanwhile my mother had met, her future sister in law. They were in Job Corps together I believe in Florida. My father’s family was in and from Oklahoma at the time.

This is where my mother always used to start the story. One day she went to see her future SIL who was in a different dorm room than her own.

When she got to my aunts' room my aunt was not there but a roommate was. My mom mentioned, as she inquired when her friend (aunty) might be back or where she might be, that she thought the guy in the picture looked nice or something. Maybe she asked if that was a boyfriend etc.

Either way when mom tells it she does not indicate that she was super interested. It might have just been a passing remark.

By the time my aunt heard about it or maybe because she heard about it, it turned into something else. The next thing my mom knew her new friend was telling her

"That is a picture of my brother. He is off in the war. I am supposed to be writing him letters.” 

Next came the question “Will you write to him instead?”
Thus began a love affair. So I like to tell people I am a product of the Vietnam war. I have no other idea as to how an ordinary boy from Oklahoma would have met my mother from a small tropical island in the Bahamas.

When the war was over the happy couple eloped to Oakland California and started a new life out here on the west coast.

Us kids came along five and ten years later respectively. (Here is a snap shot we snagged of my brother napping around Christmas time when he was here.)
I grew up thinking it was normal to fly on seaplanes. “Mommy the plane has on shoes.” I used to say of their little pontoons.

This post is brought to you by a prompt from one of my internet connections who was telling the story of how her parents met today.

Ironically both of us are single. hahahahah

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Great Dads are GREAT

I had a great dad. 
His favorite color was green. 

My mother says when she got pregnant with me my father thought he wanted a boy.

Somewhere between my delivery and her recovery he saw me and he changed his mind. He did not give up on his dream of having a son but he went all out becoming the great dad of a baby girl.

He insisted on cloth diapers among other things my mother tells me.
He was a quiet man with those he did not know. To his family he became known, eventually as the man who could talk your ear off but many who did not live in our houses have a hard time believing that.

My daughter grew to know and love my father as both a grandfather as well as a place holder for the father she barely knew and who has never quite risen up to be the leadership figure she needs in her life.

My dad was a simple guy. Hard working and good natured he enjoyed spending time with his family. I think our youth brought him joy. He was so patient with me and then my daughter.

Sadly I think the role my dad played in my life was a tad understated such that it took a few years of being out on my own to really appreciate him. 

It doesn’t hurt that I see so many men failing to step up to the plate and be good fathers to the children they bring into the world. It hurts my heart. My dad made it look so easy.

He showed up
He took an interest and responsibility
He did not nag and fuss
He knew how to have fun
He showed me things
He helped me if I needed or asked him to
He challenged my thinking
He exposed me to new things
He talked to me listened with a caring ear
When I felt threatened he protected me

My dad did not know everything neither did he ever claim to. Still there was a lot of knowledge he had to share with me along the way while I was growing up.

It was my father who showed me how to cook. Scrambled eggs, bacon and toast was the first meal he instructed me in. This is as much about cooking the proteins as it is about timing each element so they can be served together hot.

One year we planted a garden. Another year he cut a panel out of the wall in my parents’ bedroom and installed a sliding glass door.

One day I came home I guess from school and he was painting my room…pink without me even having to ask. 

I loved that.

He had a wild adventure of a life, seeing the world courtesy of the US military, marrying an island girl and owning a home in California, two kids and a granddaughter. 

Who could have asked for much more?

RIP Filder L Johnson 3/12/2006

Monday, June 10, 2013

Get Out and About with Someone

Spring is the dating and mating season right? 

Whether you are mated, dating or thinking about spicing up the calendar with hot dates and events, summer is right around the corner and here are two lists.

 10 where and how to meet ideas:

Online dating 
Volunteering (Habitat for Humanity)
Coaching (kids) sports teams
Playing Sports
Active groups like hikers or bicycle lovers
Bookstores/Game Shops/Groups(hobby,geek stuff)
Gym or Fitness
College courses
Non college classes: Dancing, Woodworking, Auto mechanics, Computers, Photography, Cooking, Art etc.
Dog Parks
Vacations and Singles Cruises
Coffee Shops

If you are single it can be hard to meet quality people in the modern day. Some of us have never been the bar fly type and others have simply tried and out grown it. 

Enter the coffee shop and book store but now we are all on our mobile devices connected all across the globe and oblivious to our seatmates and neighbors.

Enter the idea of things like online dating. I have always loved in theory the idea of online dating. 

Instead of falling for someone because you have decent chemistry and then trying to make things work when you clearly are not a match, select and deselect important options and save time.

Sadly there are some singles who will never give online dating a serious try. Some who are social adept feel it to be beneath them. 

There are questions swirling around about how online selections might be teaching people to focus too much on things they might otherwise over look in person. Balance is needed.

I have been talking to single women online. They seem to not understand balance. 

“I avoided this guy because of a line or a word in his profile. Weeks/Months later there we still are and I reconsidered. Met him, he is pretty cool.” 

I have heard a variation of that more than a few times now. 

I see an on line dating profile like a speed dating prerequisite. Once you isolate the stats then you have to give the person a chance. It is not the time to over analyze their post.

I also don’t believe in allowing one’s self to be CatFished. Meet them for real or the relationship probably is not.

Some places to go and things to do. How About We style.

Roller Skating
Ice Skating
Movie Watching
Cook out BBQ
MeetUp events: Bike, Hike, Kayak, Wine Taste
Sporting events
Arts/Theater/Fine Dining
Indoor Rock Climbing
Ice cream or frozen yogurt
Live music

Once you have a partner in crime you don’t want to get stuck in a rut or close yourself off from the rest of the world. Keep active and continue to try new things. 

Just do some of them together to deepen the bonds between you.

Friday, June 7, 2013

National Doughnut Day

Oh what a day to be broke as a bad joke!

Who does not like doughnuts? Raised or cake, glazed or sprinkled, doughnut holes, fritters etc.

The only thing better might be ice cream. Something many of us locals might need by the end of this weekend if not today.

The temps are heating up. Thankfully for bakers their jobs start early. They fire up their ovens in the wee hours of the morning so that pastries and carb filled delights are ready for the morning rush.

I live right across the street from a doughnut shop. Between self control and a tight budget I can keep my other wise addiction in check.

The best deal they have is for a bag of three doughnuts one day old for $1.50. I love that. I do not like warm pastry for the most part. Krispy Kreme never charmed my heart in anyway.

My favorite is a bear claw with apple filling. Other old time favorites include raised glazed or chocolate, also jelly filled except for the lemon ones.

What kind of doughnuts do you like?

Where I go skating twice a week here in town the rink provides us free morning coffee. One of the other attendees I guess it is usually brings in a bag or two of doughnut holes.

A nice pop of sugar without as much guilt.

This week we were spoiled.

We had biscotti one day, brownie bites another and I think it was a birthday which brought in cup cakes and an edible arrangement of yummy fruit.