photo dump: walkabout edition

Home from our family reunion and celebration of Hazel the First’s life, the emotions are running on high and the energy is drained.

But coming to this place, so good.

It couldn’t have been a more perfect day.

A perfect day for a walkabout.

Come!

I don’t always shoot behind people’s backs.

But when I do I catch some pretty wonderful, unguarded moments like these.

Walking to Willow Point, so many memories of summers gone by were shared.

Childhood relived.

Did I tell you that it was a beautiful day?

The perfect day to stop and take a selfie. How else am I going to get into the picture?

All that walking makes you pretty hungry…thirsty too.

All so perfect and I am sure Mama approved.

play it again: Hazel the First

This weekend the descendants of Hazel Frances Shock Yowell will gather to remember, honor and celebrate the life of Momma Yowell on what was to be he her 96th birthday. Of course that means taking over a hotel as we do when we gather.

originally published May 9, 2014

Bill and I very soon will be celebrating 31 years of marriage, which is a pretty long time to be stuck together with one person. We have shared that day for years now with the birthday of our 4th lovely circus clown, Jodie Grace Wynonna. So it’s never really just our day. But even before Jodie, it never really was our day. We were married on the day of Bill’s grandparents’ (Momma and Poppa – Hazel and Osie) fiftieth wedding anniversary. Yeah, it was their day.

I can’t imagine being as gracious as Momma and Poppa were to share their day, their celebration with two crazy, in-love kids dressed in the OMG-what-the-fresh-hell-is-that 80′s wedding fashion. But they were. I’m so glad that they were so generous.

It was but a couple years later that I knew I truly belonged to this family I married into when Momma would address me as Teri-Toni-Dottie-Patty-Laura.

Yes!

Years and years later, I am carrying on for her, much to the annoyance of my kids, when I address them by all of their names until I eventually hit their name. Deep down I know that Hollie-Zoë-Abby-Jodie-Hazel-Fallon appreciate the family tradition. Of course they do.

Momma and her daughter, my dear mother-in-law, Mom, taught me how to properly fry chicken which is something I know Bill has given thanks for over the years. It’s not perfect or nearly as excellent as their fried chicken is, but it is properly fried chicken. Through the years, memories were made, laughter and tears were shared and babies were born…a lot of babies…

I loved Momma’s playfulness with my babies. All five of them have enjoyed her cuddles and being bounced on her knee trottin’ the pony. The awkward conversation we had where I explained to her that it was her grandson Bo’s fault that we had birthed no grandsons not so much. Still I loved the laughter we shared after that conversation.

Momma and Poppa had three children who became parents to nine grandchildren for Momma, who went on to have A LOT of great-grandbabies (I’m counting 17 but then again my math skills are seriously suspect) and 5 great-great grandchildren. All adored Momma.

Then again, what is there about her NOT to adore?

One memory I have of Momma is the fact that she always seemed to be smiling. No, not a big toothy smile. It was more a quiet smile with the corners of her mouth always upturned. To have lived as long as Momma has I know it wasn’t always perfect and rosey but clearly she lived her life with a positivity that was reflected in her quiet smile. One of many things that made her beautiful. But truth be told, my best, happiest memory was the first Thanksgiving she shared with her namesake, Hazel the Second.

Now how many 90-something year old ladies do you know who will get down on all floors to play with her carpet-crawling great-great grandbabies?

Yeah, I thought so.

I can only hope to be as kick-asstastic as her.

Hazel the First graced this world for over 95 years until today when she passed away.

Mother’s Day will be tempered with the fact that she is now part of our family’s sweet memories. For me, in the short time that I have been blessed to call her Momma, there has been many sweet memories. I will always have her to thank for knowing how to properly fry chicken and to at least try to just sit back, relax and enjoy the blessings around me (and there are a lot) with a quiet smile on my lips.

Hazel Frances Shock-Yowell, November 16, 1918 – May 9, 2014

photo dump, the it’s your birthday edition

Today my poor, forgotten middle child is celebrating a milestone birthday which is a very big deal…except for the fact she has managed to get served in the past. I can’t believe no one has ever questioned that fake ID of hers. Then again, no one ever questioned mine back in the day. But as I do with every birthday celebration of each and every one of my darling circus clowns, I get all sentimental and nostalgic searching through old pictures and files of when they were my babies because…OMG, my babies have grown up much, much too fast!!! But this time I am enjoying more the sisters and brother sharing old pictures and memories and perhaps revealing secrets that I imagine my darling Abigael Rose wishes were not revealed.

I watched you come into this world and proceed to make life your bitch.

Her sister’s right; and all the while she managed to look like a sweet, little angel who couldn’t possibly be making life her bitch.

That, my friends takes skillz, real skillz.

And having sisters always by your side sharing good times and bad times…

and adventures…so many adventures…with bad hair and costumes.

Don’t forget your brother who is always your friend.

21 years ago today the world became an even more awesome place because this young lady was born. Lucky world! That, my darling forgotten middle child is why you can never, ever be forgotten.

Happy birthday my wonderful Abigael Rose! I promise not to tell anyone that you still sleep with Baby and sometimes suck your thumb.

 

 

mawage

Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam… And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv.

~The Impressive Clergyman, The Princess Bride

It’s a beautiful thing to celebrate…mawage…er, marriage.

It is  even more sweet when it is someone you know and really care for as our family circus knows, loves and genuinely cares for Gary, one of my darling husband’s closest friends since high school.

I tried my hardest not to be distracted by just how hot the Best Man looked and focused on the happy couple.

The struggle…the struggle is real…

I’ve known Gary for more than thirty years now, and seriously, this last year I have never seen him more happy, more healthy, more relaxed, more purposeful.

In his Best Man Toast, Bill confirmed what we had already seen and known sharing that when Gary first talked to Bill about Paula and that she was “The One” he shared that loving her made him want to be a better person.

And then I was reminded of the beginning of our own marriage adventure more than thirty years ago. It’s true. There came a point where in the dating where we no longer “dressed to impress” but just settled into being ourselves and as we fell in love being an even better us because this one whom we loved should have the very best of us always.

Of course as days, the months, the years go by we settle, we get tired, distracted and complacent even because we are comfortable and confident in that love that we have together…and that it will follow us forever.

Thank goodness for lots and lots of patience, kindness, trust, hope and perseverance through better and worse and through the years…and for the marriage celebrations with family and friends that we are honored to witness and share along the way like these to remind us of our own beginnings, our own promises, our own love.

October has been a busy month of celebrations and reminders in our circles.

Hurray for October!

To Gary and Paula, Amy and Christina, Dawn and Albert…congratulations and many wishes of joy and love for you all every day…and thank you for the reminder to us.

 

 

 

 

walk with me

Fall Break is over but we had to get in just one more fun adventure because I promised.

Walk with me, I asked my clowns and most of them said yes. Stupid work responsibilities getting in the way for the rest to join me! Then again, work is good. Can I just say how proud I am of the strong work ethic my kids have? I can! Abby wanted to be with us. I wanted Abby to be with us for this adventure. But those procrastinators who filed extensions last April 15 for their income tax filings OF COURSE wait until the NEXT deadline to finally file which means Abby’s office is busy and Abby must work.

Next time, Abby. Next time I walk with you. I promise.

Meanwhile, this adventure today is here.

Walk with me, I asked them.

Sure, they said.

At this point they had no idea that our walk would be about 3.5 miles long.

Oops!

Seriously, if I told them I doubt they would have agreed, adventure or no.

And so we walked…

And stopped.

and looked…

and looked because it was a the kind of beautiful day that you just can not let slip away.

Walking just past the first tower, Hazel grabs a hold of my hand just a little bit tighter shouting, “Mima, we’re up so high! It’s kind of scary.

Exactly what you want to say to your acrophobic and agoraphobic Mima who is struggling mightily with anxiety when she is 220 feet above the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

It is kind of scary,” I agree. “I’m scared. I’m definitely scared.”

You are?

“Oh yes. But I know that I can do this. I look up at the towers and I hold your hand and I know that I can walk across this beautiful bridge on this beautiful day.”

Me too, Mima.”

And then she runs on ahead because OMG we are almost done!!!

Perfect day.

Perfect 3.5 mile walk.

Perfect Fall Break adventure in our own backyard.

CHecking this adventure off of my to-do list.