Category Archives: family

Cousins, cousins everywhere – part two

Auntie Sandy came to visit a couple of weeks after Lisa was here, so there was another gathering of the cousins.

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And, yes, Quincy was still sitting on Chuck’s lap.

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Cousins, cousins everywhere – part one

We wandered out to Chuck & Larie’s for a cousins get-together in mid August when Lisa came to visit, and then we did it again in early September when Auntie Sandy came to visit. I haven’t seen so many cousins at one time in years. Visits include lots of photos, so I’ll just quit typing and post a bunch of them. This post will be Lisa’s visit. Auntie Sandy’s visit will be the next post.

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This is Chuck’s lap dog.

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Oh, yes he is! This is such a hilarous sight – Quincy sits on Chuck’s lap every chance he gets.

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Jayson had Wilbur doing his famous Saying Prayers trick. Aren’t they both adorable?

Jayson & Wilbur composite

And I can’t end this post without introducing you to Cousin Lizard. 🙂

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HM3 Mathew Petersen, USN

In a town nearby, local residents who are serving in the military get special recognition in the Hometown Heroes program. Beautiful banners with the service person’s photo, name and rank are attached to lampposts along the main boulevard. My nephew, Matt, is one of those being honored.

Matt's bannerHM3 Mathew Petersen, United States Navy

Matt's banner2Thank you for your service, Matt. We’re proud of you, and I’m especially happy that you chose to serve in the Navy.


2012 out ~ 2013 in

We ushered 2012 out with a spontaneous trip to the beautiful Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena on December 30.

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When we arrived in Pasadena we were met with preparations for the Rose Parade.

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I hadn’t even thought about the bridge being so close to the parade route, so it was an exciting bonus to see the grandstands being erected.

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Media booths were ready for the big day.

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And old cars were arriving to tour the area.

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2012 was going out in style.

Then! 2013 began with a big shock for me. I was laid off from my job of 12 years! I didn’t see that one coming. Fortunately, I was planning on retiring in April anyway, so being unemployed isn’t a bad thing at all, just started a little sooner than I intended. I’m taking this opportunity to look for another job, though. I don’t mind starting to work on my Things To Do When I Retire list a few months earlier than planned, but new jobs can be fun – and our plan included at least three more months of income from work – so I’ll see what I can find.

The brightest spot in all this is that I got to have a great laid-off-in-lieu-of-retirement luncheon with my family (not that we need an excuse, but it makes it more special than just lunch):

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gifts from thailand & vietnam

We got a package yesterday from Jeff & Vanessa that was full of gifts from Thailand and Vietnam!

I (the dishaholic) got  two beautiful bowls, a blue wooden one made by the Hmong tribe in northern Vietnam and a blue & white ceramic bowl made by a disabled person through the Reaching Out program in Hoi An, Vietnam. The bowl is the second handmade Hmong item that I have. Years ago I bought a little lizard, made by a Hmong woman, that was being sold at the Peace Corps Convention for Returned Volunteers in Chicago. Makes me want to watch Gran Torino again (for the umpteenth time). I saved the notes about the origin of each of my bowls and the newspaper they were wrapped in.

Mike got an elephant t-shirt from the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where Jeff & Vanessa have both volunteered.

There were also gifts for Steve, Karina, Leslie and Steven in the package. Steve got a bird-on-a-wire t-shirt, Karina got a purse made by the Hmong tribe, Leslie got a bracelet made by the Hmong tribe and Steven got a Technics t-shirt. It was like Christmas all over again… in January.

And, of course, the stamps on the package were a gift in themselves. I saved them (did anyone think I wouldn’t?), along with the postal receipt.

Then… the box became a new toy for Max.

Looks like Max is checking to see if it’s addressed to him. Later on Alma took a turn poking around the box, but I didn’t get a photo before she wandered off. Happy day for everyone.

I doubt that any package – contents as well as the package itself – has been enjoyed more.

One last thing….

Steve gets into trouble even when he’s in his own house. Don’t know what we’re going to do with him.

it was 30 years ago today…

Mike and I were married. February 21, 1981. It’s been a great 30 years and we’re looking forward to many, many more.

(If you’re hearing “It was 30 years ago today Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play…” in your head right now, join the crowd. So am I… for the last three hours! arghhh)

Sailor, Rest Your Oar

Today is Memorial Day, so I wanted to post something in honor of my dad, a submariner in the United States Navy.

This poem was included in his funeral service:

Sailor, rest your oar

When your final dive is made, and your battery’s running low,
You’ll know there lies a boat for you many fathoms here below,
With your annunciators jammed on full and your depth gauge needles bent,
Your accumulator’s dry of oil and your air banks all are spent,
It’s then you get to wonderin’, “is my life’s boat rigged for dive?”
Your guessing drill commences, “am i dead or still alive?”
You pace the flooded decks with scorn and curse the flaws of man.
Into realms of Rex you’ve stepped, and here you’ll make your stand.
To live your life, as sailors must, at the bottom of the sea.
There’s one you’ll have to reckon – that one, my friend, is thee.
Will your conscience do you justice when the final muster’s in?
Did you lead the kind of life you should in every port you’ve been?
The answers to these questions and many, many more,
Are locked in the hearts of sailor men from Cannes to Singapore.
So, when your day for mast rolls ’round the choice is up to you,
Sailor chart your course of life right now; chart it straight and true.
Now’s the time to flood your tanks and trim up ‘fore and aft.
It’s a trifle late when the klaxon sounds to square away your craft.
Your final billet lies below, on “old ocean’s” floor.
So, be ready when that last word’s passed: Sailor, rest your oar.

My dad wasn’t on the Thresher, but we knew some of the men who were. I also knew some of their kids. I thought it fitting that I should include this photo (taken at a Submarine Memorial Service in Long Beach) here. The Thresher was lost at sea during diving trials on April 10, 1963. All 129 men onboard died.


Last night my son called about 8 p.m. to say hello. After a few minutes of chit-chat he asked if I’d mind if he and his wife came by to wash some clothes and use the bathroom.


They live 400 miles away.

“Does he realize who he called?,” I wondered.

After a long pause (while I was trying to clear my confusion… or his), he said, “I’m at the door!”

huh? (again)

What a wonderful surprise! Visits are always planned and greatly anticipated. After all, it IS a long trip, made longer by the fact that they drove this time. I guess the fact that we are creatures of habit made it a good bet that I would be home. They were right.

I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing and kept thinking that I was going to wake up and it would have all been a dream. I still can’t believe they just decided to come for a surprise visit! I hope it happens more often.

They said they came down to bring us souvenirs from their recent trip to Hawaii. Yes, a personal visit is much better than mailing a package.

See what they brought us…

We have here yummy chocolate covered macadamia nuts, a very cool tiki, 2 packages of li hing mui (Hawaiian crack seed, aka dried plums and cherries – good stuff!), a honu (turtle) luggage tag (love it!), a humuhumunukunukuapuaa luggage tag (love it, too!) and a beautiful handmade Hawaiian print photo album. Wonderful gifts.

We have great kids.

Ok, so after the shock of them just showing up subsided a bit, we decided we should make a surprise visit to my brother. After a quick call to make sure he and his family were home, we buzzed over there and – surprise! – look who’s here. Another round of smiles and laughter. Lots of fun.

Now… since Mr WS was at work, the decision was made to let the kids surprise him in the morning.

A few minutes after Mr WS got up, our son came over and was peeking in the den window, so I told him that a cat he likes was outside, knowing that he’d turn around to see the cat. He did. “What?” he said, taken aback at the sight of someone looking at him through the window. A couple of seconds later he realized who it was and was just as shocked and happy as I had been. More laughing and smiles.

The kids left this morning after a nice brunch with the whole family and one of my son’s friends. It was a short visit with the folks that made our whole day… no, weekend… no, month. Yes, it made our whole month. Still can’t believe they did it.

I’m still smiling.

Thanks Jeff & Vanessa 🙂

Glenn E. Johnson, USN

It’s Veterans Day… a good time to shine a light on my dad, who served 22 years in the Navy. To all the veterans, thank you for your service. To all the families of veterans, thank you for your sacrifice of family time while your loved one did their duty to our country. Being a Navy brat, I know the sacrifices that are made.

Here’s my mom and dad when they were newlyweds. Isn’t my dad handsome in his Sailor uniform? I think so!

mom & dad in 1951

happy halloween – meet dracula

About 20 years ago, give or take a few, we decided to turn our son into Dracula for Halloween. Here’s the result of our efforts:

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dracula in the making







Pretty good, don’t you think?