Friday, August 14, 2009

Health Care Hoopla

I’m on a broom about health care. The well insured white right is engaging in fear mongering of the first order. It seems to me that the people who are screaming the loudest about “Death Panels” and health care reform are those who have good insurance and don’t care that the insurance companies are already deciding their health care. Just try to get a procedure or medication your insurance doesn’t want to cover. Even if they are willing to cover it, costs are still high.

My daughter-in-law is in a Catch-22. She suffers from bouts of tachycardia which sometimes sends her to the ER. While not life threatening, they can be terrifying, leaving her exhausted. Her last trip and six hours at St. Joseph’s ER cost $3,000, little of which was covered by her insurance because she was never admitted, just spent the day in the ER. Now she could have a procedure—an ablation to her heart nerves, some of which her insurance would pay, that would probably fix her problem, but even with insurance it would run her around $7,000 out of pocket. She is having to look into having it done in Brazil because their health care is considerably cheaper (and just as good) as ours.

My mother, who has Medicare plus some supplemental insurance, is convinced that Barak Obama is going to kill her and her friends just to get them out of the way. She’s perfectly happy with Medicare and the status quo, but the “rethuglicans” (fellow blogger Lorraine’s wonderful word, not mine) have got her scared spitless that if we all had some form of Medicare she’d be standing there with Sarah Palin’s mother and special needs son before Sarah’s so called “Death Panel.”

My youngest child has no medical coverage. He’s never had a job that offered it and he’s too old to be covered by me or his father. If he were to have a catastrophic illness his Baby Boom parents would probably bankrupt themselves to care for him. What sort of system is that? My oldest son pays $500 per month to cover his family and it does not include dental. That comes out of their pocket. It smacks of feudalism to me. If you are under or self employed you stand before the American medical system’s “Death Panel.” There ought to be basic health care offered to every citizen and then if people want and can afford more coverage, let them pay the insurance companies.

The system is broken. Why should the greatest nation in the world have some of the least accessible health care? What does that say about us?

Eight Cousins

Here we are, eight cousins together again after thirty years. That's me with the babies.

As a child my cousins rivaled my parents in claim to my love and attention and getting to all be together again at our family reunion in Shelton was divine. We are the quintessential baby boomers. Initially there were five of us born between 1945 and 1951 (four between 1950 and 1951) with three more, the babies, born during the 1960s and the youngest of which is only two years older than my own oldest child.

It had been thirty years since I’d seen my oldest cousin Steve and I’d never met his lovely wife Linda. She’s a wonderful addition to the family and I am only sorry that they live so far away in Tucson and that we are not free to travel as most of our family is. Most of us are old enough to be retired while my husband and I continue to work “as long as they keep paying me.”

Ours was the generation that had home movies and we enjoyed looking at ourselves as babies on my father’s and my uncle’s movies while eating my grandmother’s pineapple cookies. Uncle Dick was the family historian having put a lot of actual leg work (pre Internet) into tracking down records and graves from Pennsylvania to Missouri and in books even back to England although none of us have gone there. That’s one of my dreams along with visiting Jamestown where our very first ancestors stepped ashore in the New World on the resupply ship for that tiny colony. His daughter Janice has stepped into the breach left by her father’s passing. She has all of his computer records and keeps track of all of us. She also brought pictures her father had identified for her before his passing four years ago.

My cousin Rick helped me straighten out in my mind the whole first cousin, second cousin, first-cousin-once removed thing. It has always confused me and is likely to again since I can’t remember a thing fifteen minutes. Besides solving that mystery, this lovely man, knowing that I’m not big on the beef or pork that was being barbequed for dinner, just for me cooked some of the salmon he’d caught in Alaska. He and his wonderful wife (another Sped Paraeducator) live entirely too far away in Missouri, but Dave and I discovered that it is possible to get to Branson on the train and that’s close enough for them to come get us thus fulfilling my husband’s desire for a train trip and mine to spend more time with them. They live in a house on a bluff over Table Rock Lake, situated so that when on their deck you feel as if you are in a tree house.

Janice, the only other girl in the pack of us and Rick’s sister, was as dear as a sister while we were growing up. Then her parents took her off to Missouri at the end of our junior year and we’ve been playing catch-up ever since. She’s in Idaho now which really ought not and should not be a problem. Now she has a married son in Vancouver, Washington so I hope our state will again claim more of her attention.

Mark, together with his older brother Steve, were always fun when we were altogether at our grandparents. Having no sisters they were unaware that tormenting was the order of the day. They were amiable companions and a distraction to Janice’s brother who delighted in nettling us. Both of them contain their father’s gentle heart and he was a favorite of mine.

It was a big deal when the babies came along. I was nine when Danny was born. Bobby came along two years later and Tommy only two years before my own daughter. Unfortunately I don’t know them as well as the four others, but on the occasions that I am able to be with them and to see their children (and now even a grandchild) I am glad to be related to them and wish I saw them often.

Steve commented that he might not be available for another reunion if we wait 30 years. I hope we do not. My grandson is likely to be an only child and my hope for him is to have wonderful memories and relationships with his cousins. I know how important that will be to him in the years to come.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For

The children have taken over cooking dinner, a dream come true for someone who has been cooking dinner for forty years. We’ve yet to see what sort of dream it is and how long it lasts. My son, his wife and their five-year-old son have lived with my husband, my special needs daughter and me for nearly six years.

As a child my son did little cooking beyond toasted cheese sandwiches. Since then he has become a good cook. His wife, who was raised with maids in Brazil, knew nothing of cooking when she came to this country, but has learned a lot in the past 20 years. Something that I sought to model as the chief cook and bottle washer in my kitchen is the necessity of economy. Ana admits that the notion of shopping with more than one meal in mind and reading the ads before hand is difficult for her to learn. She is accustomed to thinking of something she’d like to have, go get the ingredients from the store, cook it, eat it and whatever is left over becomes a science experiment.

So when they asked if they could cook in order to teach my home-schooled grandson math, nutrition, etc. I had dollar signs in my eyes since it upsets me to throw out moldy food. Since they aren’t learning by example, I thought, maybe more practical lessons were called for for more than little Gabriel. I assented.

It was nice that first night knowing that I didn’t have to do more than tell the children where I’d put the zucchinis our cousin brought to the family reunion. I could read, write, and watch the evening news.

Now when they cook their own dinners for themselves, Frank and Ana are likely to eat late. They live their lives with a rather laid back attitude. Maybe it is the fact that they are rather disorganized or maybe it is Ana’s Brazilian background. That first evening the news, both national and local, came and went and although delicious smells wafted up the stairs, there was no call that dinner was imminent. Finally at 8 PM I called down the stairs and asked if we were going to eat soon. Yes, it was ready.

Now the ratatouille the children made was wonderful, but it had taken them four hours to prepare. At that rate they were going to tire of this quickly and we would starve. Actually, once school starts and I am back to work this sort of schedule is not going to work for me. I get up at 5 AM and so go to bed pretty early. I have a routine of dinner, the news, walk the dog, call my mother, watch the previous day’s Daily Show and Colbert Report, sleep. I can be a little bit flexible, but now where Jon Stewart is concerned.

Night two was black beans and rice, a Brazilian mainstay with the addition of some Costco brats. We ate at 6:55 PM. The next day my daughter Amy and I left Gig Harbor to go to the coast and here we are eating at times more reasonable in my estimation. The children are coming tomorrow and they’ve a new ratatouille recipe they want to try!

Cat in a Box

So our black cat Zeke started limping and went to the vet. He’s got two compressed discs in his back and is partially paralyzed. Whether this is the result of a new injury or an exacerbation of an old injury from three years ago is hard to say, but the vet was very emphatic that the cat has to be in a crate for three weeks.

Zeke is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he has a very sweet personality. His method for coping with puppies and small children is to just lay there and play dead. They get bored and go away. He loves to be petted, but it is on his schedule which is early evening. He purrs until he drools. I would not have said that Zeke has a resentful nature as many cats do, but he clearly resents being in a crate. He gets to come out to go potty and be petted, but since the doctor is concerned that he not climb on anything from which he might jump. Further injury could mean complete paralysis. He has already lost an eye due to a tangle we assume with a car three years ago.

It’s going to be a long three weeks and I hope he's the same sweet kitty he was.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Frieze Family Reunion

On Saturday, August 8th, the Frieze Family reunion was held at the home of my Aunt Sandra and Uncle Jerry Hard of Shelton, Washington. Twenty-six children, grandchildren, great-grandchild, nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews and great-greats were present for a barbeque, home movies, and lots and lots of talk. The first reunion in thirty years for some members who had come from as far away as Arizona and Missouri, there was much to talk about and catch up on.
Eight cousins together again!

Second Cousins, once removed, play while the grown-ups catch up.

Those members who were not present were not forgotten. They were represented in favorite recipes, pieces of jewelry, and the faces of those who loved them. The family hopes that there will be more such meetings without such a long interval between.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Poor Emergency Services in Ilwaco, WA

On the night of November 30th—December 1st, 2006 the fire station in Ilwaco, Washington, a small fishing village at the mouth of the Columbia River, burned to the ground. Although there was a certain irony and hilarity attached to that event—it made the evening news in Seattle and Portland—it was tragic for the community. It took over two years for a new beautiful station to be built in the place of the old one. During that time the City of Ilwaco contracted with the private ambulance service Medix based in Warrenton, Oregon, some 25 miles away, to answer medical emergency calls. Borrowed and donated fire equipment sat behind the city hall, but no EMT truck.

For the most part Medix was quick to respond to calls, but their personnel weren’t Ilwaco people. They seemed a little bored and disinterested as well as confused as to even what the zip code in Ilwaco was. This was the price we were paying for having the fire station burn down we told ourselves. Then in October of 2008 my mother activated her system because she’d fallen trying to get out of her recliner to go to the bathroom. The Medix people arrived at her apartment and got her back into her chair. They asked her if she wanted to go across the street to the hospital and get checked out and she said, no. They did no further investigation as to why she’d fallen and left. Soon the process was repeated. A neighbor of my mother, a retired nurse, came across the hall and was there when Medix did not take any vitals on my mother or attempt to get her to go to the hospital.

In the meantime the “Get Help Now” people called me and told me what was happening and included an admonition that if she fell again that day and refused to go to the hospital they would stop accepting her calls because they couldn’t keep calling 911. Why they couldn’t I don’t know, but my cousin called to say that she’d spoken to my mother and thought she’d had a stroke. I ended up calling my mother’s neighbor who made sure I got to talk to my mother who indeed sounded odd. I convinced her to summon help one more time and go to the hospital and get checked out.

As it turned out my mother had a raging infection that required a week long hospital stay and a month in Manor Care of Gig Harbor. She was running a temperature of 104 and was dehydrated as well as disoriented. Her slurred speech was due to the fact she’d not had anything to drink all day. Had the ambulance attendants investigated why this old lady kept falling they would have realized that it was more than a problem of simple balance or strength. They also would have discovered that she was in no mental state to make the decision not to go to the hospital. If they’d been members of Ilwaco’s fire department they doubtless would have persuaded her to go on the first call.

Later the doctor told us that another half an hour could have cost my mother her life for infection that was treated with antibiotics which brings me to a more recent incident. My nearly 87 year old mother and her slightly younger sister appear to be in a falling contest. If it is not one of them it is the other falling. I realize that this is not funny, but if my cousin and I do not find something to laugh about with the old girls we’d be in a constant state of woe.

At 2 AM this morning I was awakened by our house phone in Gig Harbor. It was my cousin calling to say that “Get Help Now,” the medical alert company that I pay so my mother can summon help when she falls had called her. I hadn’t heard my cell phone, the number the company has, ring because I’d left it charging in another room. I’d spoken to her at 7 PM on Friday and since she’d fallen about two weeks ago I thought surely I’d be safe for a night. Wrong.

My son had heard my cell phone and spoken to the “Get Help Now” people including a call back number. They’d told him that my mother had pressed the button a second time because no help had come. I tried calling my mother’s apartment, thinking that by now the Medix people would be there, but no one answered. I called the company who told me that they’d called twice for the Medix people and while we were speaking my mother pushed her button again. Just then they arrived. Thirty minutes from the time she’d first tried to summon help had elapsed. That amount of time was not lost on me.

In a few minutes I was able to call my mother’s apartment and speak with her. She was fine she told me. She’d fallen trying to get back into bed from a trip to the bathroom. The Medix people had had to come from Astoria they’d told her because there was no one in Ilwaco to answer the call. Now the fire station is only two blocks from my mother’s apartment and the hospital is across the street. Had my mother had a critical illness or injury the thirty minutes she had to wait might have cost her us her life.

Back in October I had contacted the Medix Company to complain about how my mother’s calls had been handled when she was sick. I received no apology or even empathy. I realize now that my anger was misdirected. Now that there is a fire station in Ilwaco again there is no reason for the City of Ilwaco to continue to contract with a disinterested company in another state. The focus of my anger is now a city that I love, but we cannot be the only family that feels that our property taxes (for we own a house there) are not serving us well. This is the community to which my husband and I hope to retire?
I pay for a medical alert service so give my mother and me peace of mind. We have little.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Aunt Mary's Coleslaw

With only another day until our Frieze Family Reunion the family is beginning to arrive in Shelton and I am getting ready to join them on Saturday. I made my grandmother’s pineapple cookies (after discovering I was out of flour and having to run to the store) which are stacked in Tupperware that dates back to at least the Johnson Administration. My next project is Aunt Mary’s Coleslaw.

Although Aunt Mary won’t physically be with us for the reunion, I feel sure she would have made her coleslaw so deciding to make a big bowl seemed like a natural. When my middle son accompanied me to Missouri he ate nearly an entire bowl of it the first night we were at my aunt and uncle’s house. It’s different than your run of the mill coleslaw. In the cookbook my aunt’s family put together she submitted this recipe as “King’s Coleslaw.” I have no idea where that name came from. It might have been a play on Old King Cole or it could reference the King family of Dade County, MO where the Friezes come from. At my house it’s “Aunt Mary’s Coleslaw.”

When I was going through my father’s home movies I was delighted to see my lithe aunt picking strawberries in the family patch on Whidbey Island in the 1960s. I thought again about what a strong person she was—strong physically and strong emotionally. It is easy for me to see why my father’s older brother would have been attracted to her. Her long graceful fingers could not only pick strawberries, blackberries and mushrooms, she could use them knead the best bread you ever put in your mouth. She hand pieced quilts and raised two of the most delightful human beings. She had patience in abundance and an infectious laugh. She didn’t like having us kids under her feet. “Now you kids go on out and play in the road.” We knew she didn’t mean that literally, but I can hear her voice just as clear as if it were yesterday and not fifty years ago. This spring I was delighted when the white lilac I planted in her and my uncle’s honor produced its first blooms.

If you want to take tangy coleslaw to your own family gathering try Aunt Mary’s Coleslaw. Here it is from a piece of stationary on which she wrote it out in the summer of ‘02:

Aunt Mary’s Coleslaw

1 med. cabbage, shredded; 1 large onion (red or white—red makes it festive), ¾ sugar.

Put in a large bowl in layers of cabbage and onions until all are used up. Pour ¾ C. sugar over mixture and set in refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

Dressing: ¾ vinegar, 1 ½ tsp. salt, 1 T. mustard.

Bring the above to a boil. Add 1 C. oil and bring to a boil again and add 1 tsp. celery seed.

Pour over cabbage mixture while hot. Let stand overnight. Will keep for several days. Aunt Mary said on her directions, “I put mine in a large Tupperware bowl with a tight seal and turn it over several times. That mixes it up easily.”

Hey, I have a Tupperware bowl as old as the pieces holding the cookies!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Grandma's Pineapple Cookies

When I took my father’s ashes to the Missouri Ozarks I got to spend some time with two of my cousins who actually were raised on Whidbey Island when I was growing up in Bellevue. We talked about our grandparents who moved around a lot—back and forth between the Pacific Northwest and Missouri and house to house in Dade County, Mo and Vancouver, WA besides my uncle’s farm on Whidbey. The Washington years were largely during our childhoods so Thanksgivings, Christmases and Mother’s Days were frequently spent with them. Janice, my lone female cousin, and I spent a week with our grandparents in Vancouver many summers.

One thing that was ubiquitous about Grandma’s kitchen was pineapple cookies in the cookie jar when she knew grandchildren were coming. To this day I’ve not run across them anywhere besides my grandparents’ house or in my own kitchen. I had hoped to make the same sort of memories for my children, but they were not as impressed with pineapple cookies as my cousins and I were. Over the years I’ve not made them often because once I get going on them it is hard to stop and I don’t need to be eating an entire batch of cookies alone! Now I am old enough to have a fresh audience, my grandchildren. Gabriel, whose parents do not let him eat sugar, will not fall under the spell of pineapple cookies, but the granddaughters, with less strict parents, could become fans.

Long after Grandma had died I received her cookbook from an aunt before she died herself. It is a 1946 copy of Irma S. Rombaurer’s The Joy of Cooking which my mother had given to my grandmother the year after my grandmother had become my mother’s mother-in-law. Now don’t go running to look in your copy of The Joy of Cooking because the recipe isn’t in anyone’s copy but mine. Inside the front cover my grandmother taped a recipe she cut from a women’s magazine. My grandmother had long ago given me the recipe, but this is the recipe. For me it is a holy relic. I can touch the scrap of paper her small hands taped there.

When the rumors of a Frieze Family Reunion began to become more concrete the decision to take Grandma’s Pineapple Cookies was a no brainer. It’s what she would have done for the occasion so I will be baking up a batch or two to take to Shelton next Saturday.

I looked on the Internet and there are a lot of pineapple cookie recipes, too many to see if the exact one was one of them so here it is, the exact directions from a magazine long ago. It makes a soft sweet moist cookie.

Pineapple Cookies nutmeg makes them different

Temp.: 375 degrees F. Time: 12 minutes. Yield: About 3 dozen

2 C. sifted enriched all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp salt, ½ C. shortening (because this recipe is from the days when shortening wasn’t evil, I use butter or margarine), 1 C. granulated sugar, 1 egg, ½ tsp. vanilla extract, ½ C. drained canned crushed pineapple, ¼ tsp. nutmeg, 1 T. granulated sugar.

Heat oven. Sift together first 4 ingredients. Mix shortening and next 3 ingredients until creamy. Mix in pineapple, then flour mixture. Drop by teaspoonfuls, 2” apart, onto ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle cookies with nutmeg and sugar, combined. (Grandma never used the nutmeg and so I don’t) Bake until golden. (I start checking at 8 minutes because every oven is different)

Astoria's Sunday Market

Sunday I went to the Astoria Sunday Market. This market has been going on for years, but it has just never worked out that I could go. Actually, guilt was probably a factor in my not going sooner. I feel guilty if I’m not doing something for my mother or family and just taking a couple of hours to go do something I want to do isn’t easy. Yesterday I decided the Sunday had come for me to go.

Astoria, Oregon, long a sad town with vacant shops downtown, is coming back into its own with galleries and book stores as well as organic bakeries and grocery stores. Add the Sunday Market into the downtown area and finding a parking place was hard. I drove around for quite a while and was on the verge of giving up when I found one near to the market.

As soon as I began to look at the booths I was instantly rewarded. We have been doing a lot of landscaping around our old Victorian cottage in Ilwaco and I had been looking for a Rose-of-Sharon that was just the right color for a couple of years. The second booth I walked by had a lavender one for $6. I was able to take it to the car and finish strolling (with a ridiculous grin) the market without lugging it around.

Astoria has a thriving art community and so there were plenty of photographs, pottery, paintings and crafts to look at intermingled with plants, fruit and vegetables. Besides the stalls of the market I ducked into Godfather Books where I purchased a copy of Jane Kirkpatrick’s A Tendering in the Storm which is set on Willapa Bay and Gypsy’s Whimsy just to smell the incense. The book has gone to the top of my stack of books to read and seems appropriate since I am staying a few miles from the bay.

In keeping with my New Year’s Resolution of not acquiring so much stuff I resisted the urge to buy anything else, except a peanut butter cookie. I tasted bread from the Blue Scorcher Organic Bakery and then forgot to go back and buy a loaf. Fortunately I know where the bakery is and when we go to do serious shopping I will stop and get some bread.

All in all, Astoria’s Sunday Market was a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning. If cooling off at the coast sounds good to you, plan your trip to include a Sunday and check out Astoria’s Sunday Market.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Plot Thickens

Yesterday I posted the blog below about the three Americans arrested by Iran when they "strayed" into Iranian territory from Iraq. Alledgedly the trio are students out for a hike. As I have posted before I follow Rotten Gods, the link to which is on this page. I posted the question to Fariboz Shamshiri as to whether or not this story was believable. Here is a link to the reply. I believe it is well worth reading. Still a story to keep an eye on.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Ugly--or at least very stupid--Americans

I’m on a broom about idiot Americans.

Three Americans were arrested by Iranian Border guards yesterday when they did not heed the warning of the guards and crossed over from Kurdish Iraq into Iran. According to the AP, Kurdish officials are referring to the two men and one woman as “hiking tourists.” Has anyone see Gov. Mark Sanford lately?

Allegedly students, I wonder what they were smoking when they decided that hiking in a nation at war was a good idea. “Hey, man, I heard they have some awesome mountains in Kurdistan.” In tourism 101 there’s a section about “What to do if a border guard yells anything at you.”

My money is on the fact that these Americans were not simply innocent hikers or tourists. With so few facts known it would be foolish to point fingers at any American governmental agency. For all we know one of the many ex-pat Iranian groups in the U.S. might have made the itinerary for this trio, but as the protests in Iran continue (largely ignored by American media) the Iranian government is going to take umbrage at anyone illegally entering the country, particularly from a country embroiled in a war that involves the United States, who has a history if interfering in Iranian affairs.

In 1953 President Eisenhower sent the CIA to Iran to overthrow the democratically elected Prime Minister Muhammad Mossadeq and restore the Shah to the throne. His twenty-six years of brutal rule set the stage for the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The U.S.’s standing in Iran was further damaged by President Carter’s decision not to talk to the Revolutionary leadership which led to the take-over of the American Embassy, the taking of 30 American hostages for 444 days and the defeat of President Carter in the 1980 election.

Americans as individuals and a nation tend to want to rush into situations without thinking. Troubled American John William Yetta not only is standing trial in Myanmar for his stupid actions in swimming across a lake to the residence where Nobel Peace laureate Aung Sang Suu Kyi was under house arrest, which could get him a five year sentence in prison himself, he put the very person he sought to meet in jeopardy. Suu Kyi has already spent 14 of the last 20 years as a prisoner for her nonviolent opposition to the Myanmar government. Just when her parole seemed a possibility Yetta made his midnight swim which sent Suu Kyi from her home back to prison. So far it’s been a good year for meddling Americans.

I am a strong supporter of the Iranian opposition currently fighting for a more democratic society there, but the United States government had best keep out of actual interference when the stakes are so high. The time has not come for President Obama to make overtures to the opposition and it would be just as ill-advised to send in agents, particularly through Iraq. I don’t believe the Obama Administration to be that unwise.

I’m not sure which sounds more ludicrous, spies or tourists hiking in the Kurdish mountains. Whatever they are, they’d been warned by the Kurdish authorities not to do so. Whether they are covert agents of the U.S. government, mercenaries of ex-pat Iranians, self-styled freedom fighters or very stupid tourists, this incident can materially damage the United States standing in the region because even if they are tourists who lost their Rick Steve’s Guide to Iraq, no one in the region will believe it. This story bears watching. That’s the view from my broom.

Preparing for a Sentimental Journey

I’m excited about our up-coming family reunion. The Frieze Family hasn’t been altogether in more years than I can remember. Doubtless there will be a few missing, but we are anticipating some 30 people to arrive at my aunt and uncle’s house in Shelton on August 8th. Compared to my husband’s family that is a pittance. The Haecks get together regularly and Christmases alone are usually 46 now with my granddaughter Lydia. The Friezes, on the other hand, are dispersed well enough and the product of my grandparents five children, compared to my in-laws seven, that we are seldom altogether in one place as we were in the days of my childhood.

Last summer I had my father’s home movies put on DVD by an outfit in Florida which I would not recommend. The frustrating process took three months instead of the promised three weeks and the result was lousy. I have no interest in turning over my father’s 16 mm film to those people again and was just grateful just to get the reels back. If you have home movies that you wish to preserve, find a company that is local. The biggest problem I faced with the movies is that my usually meticulous engineer father did not put the dates of the film on the cans so the DVD ended up higglty pigglty. If you are in the market for preserving your family home movies look for someone local and with more than their own website to recommend them.

This actually brings me back to the pending reunion. There are clips on my father’s home movies of my aunts, uncle, cousins and grandparents. There are scenes of us five older cousins in 1953 at a summer picnic in my grandparent’s back yard in Vancouver, WA. My favorite frame is of my grandfather standing with four of us grandchildren in his wheel barrow and the oldest standing between the handles. There are clips of us picking strawberries on my uncle’s farm on Whidbey Island in the 1960s and of the ‘babies”—the cousins that came along in that decade. There is even a “reel” of my very young not-yet-my-parents on Guam in 1946. Color 16 mm film was expensive and precious so my father’s clips were only about a minute a piece.

I spent Thursday watching this silent DVD (the idiots at Florida Home Movies were supposed to add the sound of a projector and didn’t), pausing when I found something I thought the family would enjoy to note the minute, before going on. I have a list of the places where there are things that might interest my cousins. Out of an hour and a half there’s about 20 minutes of the DVD that I think my cousins will be interested in (not counting a segment that is of a test flight of the B52), but those brief scenes from when our parents and grandparents were alive and young are cherished, perhaps because of their scarcity.

My next project toward our family reunion is baking a batch of my grandmother’s pineapple cookies.