You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2007.

I was reminded by a yahoo bot to update my photos, so I did. The newer fuzzy faces were taken through the moon mirror I hung in my cubicle at work. The out-of-focus face is about as close to reality as I care to get these days…

The National Bushnell Family Reunion

My mother went to a big Bushnell Reunion out in Arizona in 1999. It was a VERY big deal with a lot of work put into it. Those present decided to shoot for a national event in 2007…and began harassing canvasing people out east to work on it early in the new century. Very early. ‘Way too early. People couldn’t wrap their heads around something scheduled almost five years in the future.

Through a variety of family members, the reunion planning marched forward. The impossibly far-away date of July 5-8, 2007 in Hartford, CT is next week. My mother is flying up from Florida on the 4th, my brother is driving up from Kentucky then as well. My sister will make it up from New Jersey after work Friday night and hopes she doesn’t miss the entire dinner celebration thing.

There is a lot of history in the family line of Bushnell…inventors, philanthropists, educators, high mucky-mucks with pedigrees up your wazoo. I expect I’ll hear a lot of it from family members I never met. That’s okay. It’s one of the reasons I am attending. Although there are many Bushnell’s with web sites covering various bits of genealogy, this will be in one place. A smorgasbord of family trees, if you will, with a common theme.

My husband’s family plans a week-long get together every summer at the family farm in Vermont. People pitch in on the cooking, cleaning, repairs, painting, etc. that needs to be done. A family meeting is held on the closing weekend to discuss future care and upkeep of the property and to make other future plans. The number of people who can make it changes from year to year. Many people can only make it for the weekend part. Of all the regular to-do jobs on the list, bush-hogging the hay remains the most highly sought-after job for some reason. It is hot, sweaty, covers you in hay dust, and you have to physically argue with a truculent tractor. Since just about everyone in the family has a bazillion allergies, they all get swelling and red blotches all over the exposed areas…and they grin! A guy thing, probably.

I help out with hubby’s family communication thing by assisting in the family newsletter that is sent out twice a year. Another family member collects materials from family members (holiday letters, graduations, weddings, births, travels, etc), and I augment it with whatever I can find in shared photos and on line. After I finish laying it out, I pass it off to yet another family member who snail-mails it to family groups and individuals in the family phone book. The same team has been doing this for the past eight years, I think. We couldn’t do it without the help and input of other family and family-related persons.

My DH has maintained the genealogy of his family line and related family lines, taking up where his father (who did a HUGE chunk) left off. Some records and lines been documented back to Charlemagne (sp?) and oh my goodness there are a lot of names that intermingle. The work that goes into tracing lineage is a time sponge. People do it for the fun of detecting, for the pride in past familial accomplishments, and for the stories of the people connected in their past. They make history “real” in a tangible way.

And here I am. A heretic who likens genealogy to cattle breeding. Actually, in animals, it makes sense. In humans, not so much. Not always, anyway. I think the real sticky part for me is the concept of what constitutes family. I gotta tell you, those breeding charts ain’t what makes family. Sometimes I wish they did and then we could all live in Pleasantville. Every child would be wanted and planned for. Everyone, young and old, would be safe in their own home. There’d be enough work, food, clothing, and medical care for everyone. Not even in America does that happen.

I probably wouldn’t be so angry about “family” if the same validity was given to those who become family without benefit of clergy or bloodlines. You know, the friends who are there for you through thick and thin, and the mentors who guide and cheer you. The friends who make your personal family all that much better because they are there. I love them and they are more “real” to me than any bloodline I’ll be seeing this week. How can I add those names to my family line?

These marvelous, talented, loving people have shaped my life, changed who I am, and who I will be, just by being a part of my life. I figure they have had as much a part of my “breeding” as the sperm and egg donors. After all, they are the ones who were/are a part of life. People I know, know of, and know me. That’s what family is to to me.

A cynical aside notes that I, personally, did no actual breeding. I would’ve if I could’ve, but since I was blessed with two wonderful children to raise in love and pride, it hardly matters to me what manner they came home. And having the definite joy of sharing my DH’s grown children (and grandchildren!) as well…well…I consider myself well-blessed indeed.

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How much does love weigh? How much does it cost? According to my visit to the United States Postal Service this morning, love costs $8.95. That is how much I spent to have three dozen home-made snickerdoodle cookies sent to my-son-the-Sergeant, currently stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.

I would like to think that those cookies are worth more than a box of cookies from the food store, or even gourmet cookies from a fancy bakery. Cheaper, maybe, but not worth more. How could they? These were made especially for him because he is loved and missed.

A co-worker returned a day late from his honeymoon. Why was he late? He couldn’t find his wallet. He hadn’t seen it for the past five days.

I did mention he was on his honeymoon, yes?

When I heard the reason why he was still absent yesterday I took a fit of giggles thinking of honeymoon antics that don’t require clothing. What man dresses and doesn’t put his wallet in his pocket?

And now, for the rest of the story:
After extending their stay another day and checking every place they could think of, they began the tedious task of notifying credit card and bank, etc. of the loss.

Having exhausted all avenues there, he and his mate returned home. And unpacked. And then they checked the mailbox, possibly concerned at what charges might be laid on their proverbial doorstep (it’s an apartment doorstep, but that doesn’t matter).

His wallet was in the mail. Some honest soul had put it in an envelope and mailed it to the home address. According to the postmark, it had been mailed the same day it was lost and all contents were intact. Bank records confirmed no activity on the account.

More proof (as if I needed any!) that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

It is the SHOES that are stupid, not the girl, honest. The girl may be vain, and more than a little foolhardy to wear shoes that are not intended to actually be foot “wear” (like, traipsing through ice, snow, rain, mud, or even dry hilly outdoors or inside stairs for any length of time or space, BUT…I digress…)

I love my new stupid girl shoes.

I even have some sandals that by looks alone, could be considered appropriate footwear OR stupid girl shoes.

However, no matter how comfortable they are, no matter how “organic” the design, no matter how well-molded they might be to the bottoms of your feet…they still are not meant for walking on hard surfaces for hours on end. Think: shopping.

Aching ankles, throbbing knees, and beastly backaches are what I deserve for knowing better, thinking about changing shoes before heading out, and deciding not to. That indicates the judgment process used (I am being very loose here on the “used” thing) is stupid, not the shoes!

We won’t say what it says about the “girl.”

The warranty on my car expired last October. Two weeks ago my CD player began eating CDs, beginning with a loaned CD from my voice teacher. Because it was so freshly out of warranty the local Ford dealership offered me the repair/replacement at the “half price” of $200 if I would deliver it directly to the Ford-authorized radio repair shop people (hint: not local). The shop did not accept credit cards or personal checks. They are geared for insurance payments and warranty reimbursements. Hence, cash only. Ouch.

DH recently had the 30,000 mile maintenance work-up done on his car which is very nearly the same age as mine. It cost him an arm and a leg and that was BEFORE he went to the gas station to fill up his CR-V. One of the issues was that the “needs maintenance” light kept coming on, even though the diagnostic machines said nothing was wrong. The reset button must be reset by Honda mechanics. The reset doesn’t _stay_ reset. It flickers on and off from time to time. Annoying, but not fatal.

Some time in the past month my car developed an awful “CLUNK” noise that sounded like a spring going bonkers in the right front wheel area. It scared the daylights out of me when I first heard it. It was a buried, rain-filled pothole on my way to work, I think, that did it. The rims for the low-profile Ford Focus ZX3’s are *very* ouch-expensive. If I had known they were going to be $400 to replace, I might have looked at another car! Anyway, back to the original tirade: the sound was very similar to the time a tie-rod broke on a previous car. But…I could still steer (unlike the past experience), and the noise was intermittent and at first, random. I couldn’t reproduce it when I tried, which is my litmus test for “is this serious enough to deal with NOW or can it wait?” philosophy.

Just recently it began making those noises a LOT, so I mentioned to DH that I was planning on taking it in to be looked at, out-of-warranty or not. The idea was I could borrow DH’s car. The man telecommutes to Chicago from home. He doesn’t need a car to get to work, just feet. (I don’t begrudge him his fortune, honest I don’t…much.) He insisted on driving it to check it out and freaked at the potentially serious consequences of driving any car making noises like that. He insisted I take it to be looked at immediately and use his car. (Umm…isn’t that what I just said I was planning on doing? Such a guy!)

As I left the house this morning, the “needs maintenance” light came on about a block from home and stayed on.

sheesh!

There is a positive ending to this report, however. The dealer called back to say the coil spring was busted (just like I thought! yeah, me!) and there is a blanket one-time free replacement from Ford for it. Another yeah!

Now that just leaves his “lit” issues to deal with…

People send me things…

Visualize Mary Poppins and Bert singing “Let’s Go Fly a Kite!” and check out the amazing stuff this man does! Ray Bethell, 8-time-Multiple Kite World Champion is flying the kites. He is 79 (!) years old, and this is an absolutely stunning film.

From THIS is TRUE #678: 10 June 2007 comes an update on the urinal marketing by Wizmark:

“FLUSHED WITH PRIDE: The State of New Mexico has ordered a new electronic device to remind men not to drive drunk. The “Wizmark Interactive Urinal Communicator”, disguised as a deodorizing urinal tablet, is activated by a motion detector. “Hey there, big guy,” the urinal cake says to no one in particular with a recorded female voice. “Having a few drinks? It’s time to call a cab or ask a sober friend for a ride home.” The state will hand out the device to bars and restaurants. “There is no more captive audience than a guy standing at a urinal,” says inventor Richard Deutsch. The devices cost $21 each, and last about three months. (Santa Fe New Mexican)

And Randy Cassingham’s comment: ” …That’s not an innovative product. One that tests urine and says “You are too drunk to drive—I’m calling the cops and I have your DNA!” would be.

I have enjoyed Randy Cassingham’s writing since 1999. You probably will, too. Just in case, the easy (free and spam-free) sign up is at: http://www.thisistrue.com

Once the family editor collects (reminds, requests, badgers, and pleads) for materials to put in the semi-annual Windhill Newsletters, the material comes to me to lay the publication out. Rarely do they come when I am bored out of my mind with nothing to do. Nope. They come when I am crunched with work, children, choir, or chorus obligations. The “to proof” cycle is targeted for within 14 days of receiving all the material. The deadlines for receiving the initial material and the “to proof” delivery times are munged as best can be.

I bet you already know where this is headed, don’t you? I inevitably lay out the issue and get late-breaking news that either leaves a big whacking hole in a page, or must somehow cram a new entry for an elderly family member (careful! I am getting to be one of those!) and what happens in between (late copy comes via snail-mail after criss-crossing the country). Not everyone is electronic – not necessarily Luddite-driven, just not wired, if you know what I mean.

Said late material arrived as I was over-committed and about-to-be absent. I have no time to work on it for the next five days. Fortunately, I have already mentally figured out how I will handle the cram-session so it won’t look too obvious to anyone other than me and someone else who maybe does family newsletters.

On to the Cautionary Tale…

Book-making in the new century features an array of online tools that totally beat all! CVS was running a 2-fer special on their bound photo books. In a panic to complete them before the deadline, I stayed up late (fortified with a glass of wine), and stayed focused at the computer, selecting 40 images (20 for each book), uploading them 12 at a time (the max per batch), writing copy, uploading changes, getting another glass of wine, cropping, re-uploading, and trying to print a proof off screen and not able to. I wish I could have! Writing copy and proofing books late night with regular wine refills created some odd results. I don’t care about the typo. I think the missing photo in Liam’s book is a bummer and I will ask CVS about fixing that, but selecting the same picture twice in the same book within 3 pages of one another…ahhh…well….As my DSis would say, they are HISTORY and irreplaceable, regardless of their “imperfect” status. (FlyLady would be so proud of me!)

Another Cautionary tale… Carpenters are encouraged, nay, urged to measure twice before cutting. A similar suggestion could be useful for new knitters of socks. The socking continued on to toddler socks based on the “magic 28” recipe. Dinky double-pointed needles make them a pin-cushion experiment, indeed! Slip, drop, tangle, and groan!

So last night I tried them on Liam.

They don’t fit.

He loves his mom’s and wore them around the house. When I finish this pair, I will try to get a shot of Aidan wearing them, next to his brother wearing his mom’s. They will both be ludicrously large on their feet.

Yes, I know you met him earlier, but there are so many more to choose from! I compromised by only uploading five mini pix.

Our Sunday School discovered a bear earlier this year, left behind after our Fall Rummage Sale, and adopted him as their own. He is called W.C. (short for West Chelmsford United Methodist Church) and has recently begun a series of travels. This week he is with us and joined us on our visit to Liam and his baby brother, Aidan.

W.C. got lots of hugs and goldfish crackers from Liam, but Aidan slept through W.C.’s visit.

The New! Improved! Sock Report

The kirchner join on the first sock took a half hour of looping the how-to video over and over and a couple false starts, but was easier than I thought. The second sock however, was a repeat of the original nightmare. Sheer pigheaded stubbornness and five tries finally got it done. Liam was delighted with it and modeled it for me. You will just have to imagine there are two because all he was interested in modeling was just the one.

Aidan Patrick Woodbridge O’Brien, arrived 8:04AM June 7, 2007, weighing in at 8 pounds, 5 ounces, and 21 inches long.

Isn’t he adorable? Doesn’t he look the spitting image of his older brother?

Okay, so maybe it is the hat, and his hair is red and wavy like his dad…well you could see the wavy hair if his dad didn’t keep it so short. What is it about guys hating curly hair? Every woman I know loves curly or wavy hair on a man.

Mom and dad were troopers on baby #2. Organization was a must with a hospital arrival at 6AM!

BoBo (paternal grandmother) arrived Wednesday night to stay with Liam while mom and dad went off for another adventure in parenthood.

Mom had also arranged for a toy bin of new-to-Liam toys to be brought to the hospital for after he met his newly-out brother. Liam loved the assortment and was very happy to see mom and dad. He was interested (and puzzled) with his new brother. Stay tuned for the developing saga as Liam finds out the new brother actually comes home with them after the weekend!

In the inevitable confusion and quiet, I was able to hog Aiden a few times. 🙂 So did his grampa, but I’ll post those pix tomorrow.

On an almost totally unrelated note: in the traveling to meet our newest grandson, I was able to do quite a bit on my first pair of socks, completing the first one INCLUDING (!) a successful kitchner join (yeah me!). The second sock already has a slight discrepancy in the ribbing at the top – I did two rows over what I needed to do – big whoop! I am on the shank, now, about 3/4 of an inch before the heel flap.

We went into Portsmouth for our lunch (I celebrated by having fries with my burger!) and wandered through a shops enjoying all sorts of eye candy and ideas. In a yarn shop we found the softest yarn for socks and a pattern for converting the basic sock pattern to accommodate different yarn weights. DH picked out a couple colors for a pair of socks I will make for him. Hmmm…that pair of socks cost almost $60 in materials alone….good thing he was also paying for the entertainment value of knitting something he will enjoy and wear for quite a while. I hope!

Socks really are very portable. I have to say that for them.

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