Thursday, February 28, 2008

Blessed to See My Family

On my three recent trips to Phoenix to see my brother Steve and then go to his memorial, I was blessed to see family (on both my side and Steve's wife's side) whom I haven't seen in years! Here's a glimpse of my family...
My parents, George & Vivian/ My brother Tim & wife Alisa

Me & my niece Amanda/ My nephew Chris & girlfriend Melissa

My sister Deborah & husband Rich/ Johanna (Steve's wife) & Eric

Me & Angie (Johanna's daughter)/ Johanna's son, David (far right)

Steve's stepson (from 1st marriage), Walter & wife Sasha/ Steve's neighbor, Josh, whom Steve "adopted" as his own son

Family traditions when we all get together in Phoenix: 1.) Dinner at Fajitas, and 2.) Deborah does the rounds cutting everyone's hair.
Although the circumstance surrounding these family gatherings was sad, I still felt incredibly blessed to see my family and friends, and I will treasure those times, along with the memories of Steve!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I Can't Get Rid of It!

I have a black thumb. You may remember my post on gardening in which I clearly state that I almost can't stand anything to do with the subject. I can't keep any plants alive in my house; well--that is--until now. I have a poinsettia that just won't die! It's kind-of a cruel irony that the one plant I wish would turn brown and brittle, won't! I mean, it is almost March, and the Christmas plant looks quite out of place. I tried to pass it off as a Valentine decoration this month, but it just didn't work. It's a poinsettia, and they're only good decorations during December. I didn't expect it to live past the first week of Christmas, so now that it's still around, it's almost starting to annoy me. Why I kept watering it is beyond me. It even survived without water the weeks I was away. It lost a few leaves, but was still healthy. I thought about trying to keep it around until next Christmas...maybe transplanting it outside, but I knew just the idea might kill the thing. I can't stand it anymore. Every time I look at the plant, it seems to laugh at me. So, I am going to get rid of it. Yes,I am going to throw it away. I'll be right back...

Gosh, I feel so much better now! I've reclaimed my black thumb reputation.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Remembering Steve

Stephen Edward Gow
July 2, 1963-February 18, 2008

Six weeks ago my brother was diagnosed with liver cancer. Monday he went home to be with the Lord. I was able to see him just hours before he died. Although most of you never had the privilege of meeting him, this is to remember him...

Try to think of Stephen Gow without smiling, whether it be on the inside or spread wide across your face. It just can’t be done. For Stephen was a man full of so much laughter that it spilled out wherever he went, landing on whoever was nearby. In fact, Stephen’s laughter was quite contagious; watching a comedy with him was sheer enjoyment. Stephen loved life! His favorite activities included camping and spending time with his family and friends. His music appreciation ranged from heavy metal to opera. Stephen was a hard-working, honest man who enjoyed lending a hand to others with no strings attached. He was a soft-hearted man and deep down, a sap. Anyone who knew him was privileged indeed. He is in heaven now, probably laughing with Jesus. He would want us to laugh with him, too, as we celebrate his life.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Prom Night!

I never went to my senior prom. The guy I was dating at the time, Lenny Gorski, made up some lame excuse about having to house-sit for his aunt. I explained to him that house-sitting didn't mean he had to sit inside her house 24/7 until she returned home! To add insult to injury, that evening--after the prom was underway--Lenny called me and asked me if I wanted to do something. "Go do something?" I thought. "Hmmm...Let's see...Like go to THE PROM!" I guess he just didn't want to go. That was in 1988.

Fast forward 20 years to last Saturday. I finally got to go to the prom--and not with some lame date, but with my forever sweetheart and husband, Eric! I was in charge of my church's annual Valentine Banquet again, and this year the theme was Prom Night. We had a catered dinner, live band and even the crowning of prom king and queen! It was so much fun, and I have to admit that dancing to "Love Shack" in the church youth center was one of the most fun things I've done in a long time! You should have seen Eric bustin' a move on the dance floor with his friend, Sean. They were hilarious!

So, I got to go to the prom after all; and this time with my husband and some of my closest buddies with whom I will be friends for years to come. Now that's the way to do a prom!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Music to my ears!

After the girls' "naps," they get a snack. Today, I asked them, "Do you want some popcorn?" Amber said, "No, Mommy, I want some carrots."

Monday, February 4, 2008

Trolley Trouble

If you ever want to do something "different" with your kids in this small town of Ojai, resist the urge to buckle them into their car seats and drive downtown. Instead, take the Ojai Trolley. And don't go to a playground, go to the Ojai Library. (No, the Ojai Chamber of Commerce did not recruit me for free advertising.)

This morning, Eric had a wonderful idea...let's take the trolley to the library and go to lunch and return home. Our books were due today, anyway, so we put them in the book bag and walked to the corner of our street (one house length) to wait for the trolley. We had a fun ride into town and a fun time at the library, too. Then we walked across the street to the new Jim & Rob's Fresh Grill and had a fun lunch. We had almost an hour to spare after lunch before the next trolley would arrive to take us home, so we walked to Cluff Vista Park and had more fun. We could have gone to Libbey Park, but we wanted to go to a place without a playground, so we would be forced to spend time together as a family, as opposed to watching our kids play on the jungle gym. We had fun throwing coins in the fountain (although Amber would have rather kept the money for her piggy bank), exploring the area for "treasures" and playing tag. We also read some of the new books from the library.

It was time to return to the trolley stop in front of Carrows to catch the 12:29 trolley back to our house. We got there at 12:25 and waited, and waited, and waited. Eric looked at the trolley schedule once more, to discover that he had misread the time. It came at 12:24. We had missed it by a minute. We were so focused on getting the kids safely across the street (we didn't bring a stroller) that we didn't even see the trolley whiz past us. I had a doctor appointment coming up shortly, and so we couldn't wait another hour for the next trolley. So, what does a family do when they're stuck in downtown Ojai with no way to get back home? They walk to the nearest family they know and hitch a ride. We walked the short distance to our good friends David & Lea Gonzalez' home, and Lea drove us to our house. (Thanks Lea!)

It was a fun day, despite the hiccup of missing the trolley. In fact, the hiccup is what made the day even more fun! Anyone can drive downtown and back. Anyone can take the trolley downtown and back. But it becomes an adventure (on a small scale) when you're stuck downtown and have to figure out how to get yourself and two tired little girls back home.