Ruth and squid ink spaghetti.

Ruth, one of my most faithful and long-time blog readers, visited us a few weeks ago.  I write the blog for our parents and to keep up my photography interest, but I do pick up a few other readers here and there.  I feel badly that I didn’t post her picture on the blog, my only excuse being that it was a rushed and hurried and somewhat somber visit.  So I am trying to make amends by showing pictures of the squid ink spaghetti she brought all the way from LA for us.  We ate it for our anniversary dinner – thank you, it was delicious (Vince and a pal of his even tried it and liked it!) and I’m sure the 16th anniversary is the “pasta” anniversary, right?

Or else it’s the “beer” anniversary.

Swollen ankle & getting old together.

Jeremy fell (again) on a trail bike ride this past Sunday.  Again, the wounds seemed superficial – a bruised spot below the rib, a scrape on the inner right ankle where his foot slipped from the pedal and hit the exposed skin.  He did calisthenics on Monday without problem.  On Tuesday, he decided to bike to work.  It’s about a 20 mile ride and he left at 6:30 am.  The ride was uneventful and not painful; he was having fun and going fast.  Then I got a text from him at 11am saying that the bike ride was not such a good idea.  His ankle was swollen and it hurt to even walk.  The Tuesday ride to work must have aggravated something that he had more deeply injured on Sunday. He’s been downing ibuprofen and icing it.  Poor guy, he’s a bundle of injuries right now.


Today is our 16th wedding anniversary.  It’s been a long time.  So much happens in 16 years, lots of good stuff.  Lots of bad stuff.  Mostly just regular stuff.  I got married when I was 25 and, of course, I just didn’t really know what I was getting myself into.  The trick to the whole thing is to think that you are the lucky one in the relationship.  That (thank god!) you found someone to put up with your shit with humor and laughter and will gently call you out on the crap that you do and also support you when you need the help even when you think you don’t need help.  Jeremy told me this morning that he thinks he’s the lucky one, but trust me on this: I’m the lucky one.

All about that bass.

This is what we are dancing to here in the Lee/Martin household.  The first day of school was yesterday and it wasn’t all about that bass, it was all about the shoes.  Middle school is about the shoes – forget algebra and no-vegetable lunches, everyone just wants basketball shoes.  While we were in Portland, we did make it to the Nike outlet where Vince and got a pair of basketball shoes.  Donald told us the most incredible Nike store is the employee store where all the merchandise is the latest/greatest with a sweet 50% discount to go along with it, but we didn’t get to go to the mecca of basketball shoes because that ship has sailed.

Going to school was fine and exciting (violin strapped to the back, now that’s cool).

Coming home was another story.  Vince was surprised and overwhelmed with the amount of work and also upset that the summer math and reading packets were actually due on the first day of school.   Hmmm…it’s always a tough wake up call for Vince – the actual working and studying part of school.  But today was much better, homework done early and cheerfully and he’s looking forward to working in the school store in the mornings.

Edda was so excited Sunday night when we talked about school the next day.  She smiled when I told her that Ms. Carmen was going to pick her up in the morning and that Ms. Maureen would be thrilled to see her after a long summer away.

Nat put her hair in a beautiful first-day-of-school braid.


Edda had a few visitors last week right after we got home from vacation.  Eliana (au pair #2) came to visit with her mother.  I got to tell Eliana’s mom, in person (although not in Spanish), how much we loved having Eliana take care of the kids.  Eliana got to show her mom her room (thank you Nat for letting them into your room). They were headed to the beach right after their visit.  Since Eliana visited us so frequently after she moved back home and now lives in the US, she is the au pair that has really gotten to see the kids grow up.  She started working for us when Edda started kindergarten and Edda’s starting 5th grade tomorrow – her last year of elementary school.

Izzy also came by the same day to visit Edda.  Izzy was Edda’s JCC inclusion counselor #3 and she managed to squeeze in a visit with us right before she headed back to Indiana U.  Edda relaxed and fell asleep in her arms.  So sweet.

This is it. The vacation recap.

I now know that I could never be a person who travels extensively for work. The jet lag, even coming from just the west coast, just kills me for days. Only Edda has rebounded nicely from the time change. She was extremely pleased with herself at 4 am this morning and indicated this by laughing loudly and repeatedly standing on the floor next to her bed and then sitting on my sleeping head, but the rest of us are forcing ourselves awake an hour earlier every day to meet the 7 am School Is Starting! deadline on Monday morning.

I’m procrastinating by going through the vacation photos.  Somehow the need to clean the house doesn’t inspire getting up from this chair.  Here we go!

First, Vince and Edda flew us to Seattle in a very old Boeing plane.

Took the cars across a body of water on a ferry.  It was windy.  Seattle did live up to it’s cloudy reputation.  I don’t think you see the sun in any of these photos – but cloudy days make the best photos!

We stayed in a number of places with beautiful lodges in the Olympic National Park.  The common areas were quite beautiful.  The rooms that we stayed in were very basic (no TV, no Internet).


We managed to find BBQ in Forks, WA to have a picnic lunch.  Forks, we learned, is the setting for the Twilight series.

Ruby beach and the Pacific Ocean.

Lake Quinault where my mother found blackberries next to the hiking trail.

All of us at the foot of the world’s largest sitka spruce.

Everything was so green.  Love the green.

Walking near Mt. Rainier.

44th Wedding Anniversary

Yesterday, it was quiet time to celebrate our 44th wedding anniversary – had a simple restaurant dinner together, baked, sliced and enjoyed our candles-less anniversary cake (an orange cake) quietly – also, laying the radon pipes for the addition, installing a medicine cabinet for Rena’s bedroom, buying a large bag of pot soils.  And, Rena, as usual, was busy watering, tending and harvesting her veggies.

All these years, luckily with Rena by my side, we just like most families which have had many ups and downs.  But, in general, our lives are pretty normal and typical which is good, I think.

Best of all, we are relatively healthy and that is is a huge blessing.  It is also nice to know that Doris and Donald are on their own.  And to watch Vincent & Edda grow without shouldering any burden of “education” is also very enjoyable.  It short, it is nice to be a healthy grand mom and grand pa.  To be a mom and pa, sometimes, can be very difficult 🙂

Happy Anniversary!

Lake Crescent.

We are back from vacation. We spent most of the time on the Olympic Peninsula outside of Seattle which is a temperate rain forest.  Coming from DC, I found it cool and refreshing.  Coming from SF, Donald found it terribly humid.  It was beautiful and relaxing as you saw in my father’s posts. But no matter how wonderful a vacation is, it is always nice to get back home and fall into the regular routine again. We are back at work. Edda had an open house at her school this morning that we missed because I’ve been failing to check email or phone messages for two weeks. Vince is frantically doing his summer packets due on Monday (which I have been reminding him all summer to do which resulted in the standard number of sighs and eye rolls back at me). We are trying to pull together school supplies, soccer cleats, schedules and paperwork. I took almost a thousand photos on vacation and I’m not sure which ones to post, but I’ll start (and maybe end because life continues on and who wants to look at 2-week-old vacation photos?) with my favorite series of photos on the dock of Lake Crescent. It was cold and I did not plunge in myself, but these two did it over and over again to the dismay of all the sweatshirted tourists on the dock.  Happy end of summer y’all!

All Back Home Again

Yesterday (8/20, Wednesday), everyone left Washougal, WA, except Rena and me.  Sunday, I am going to leave too.  Therefore, Rena will be the only one here.  However, 2 weeks later, I will be back for a short, weekend visit.

The day before yesterday, I saw Vincent hided in our Study alone doing his own things.  When asked, he said that with all these days together, elbow-to-elbow, he had a lot of fun.  But, still, he likes to have some quiet time alone.  How true is it?  Indeed, Rena and I are very glad to see them all coming.  But, also, very glad to see them all leaving.  But, after their departures, we feel a bit lost yet still look forward for the next family re-union.  And, hopefully, our family size will be bigger slightly.

The night before their departures, we held a family meeting.  Vincent was included.  In it, we congratulated ourselves and each other about our re-union and Jeremy was elected unanimously as our “Family Travel Agent” to plan for the next one, next year.

Of course, we had a lot of laundries to do.  Dishes to wash.  Floor to be vacuumed.  Clean-up to do and put everything back to where it belongs, as we prefer.  And, above all, fortunately, we had a chance to do all these. Better to do something like these than not be able to do anything.

As Vincent’s, Rena and I would also like to have some quiet time alone.  Therefore, we are going to celebrate our 44th anniversary on Friday (8/22) alone – a precious, quiet time just for ourselves.