May 11, 2010 at 9:33 AM | Posted in I'm related to these people. | 1 Comment

My mom loves Parcheesi.  Looooooves it.  This means that we have to play it a lot since my mother is not afraid to use guilt as a means of persuasion.  As in, “You know, I won’t always be here to play Parcheesi with you.”

Mom has always been real about the facts of life.  Did you know that she was the sex ed. teacher for my high school?  Yep.  You had braces?  Didn’t make the basketball team?  Imagine the fun I had between classes.

I’m not a totally enthusiastic Parcheesi player, so I proactively try to suggest other games, “Mom, do you want to play Uno?  Scrabble?  Clue?  ANYTHING BUT PARCHEESI?”

The answer is always an emphatic no and a treatise on the nature of life.  So, Parcheesi it is.  Again and again.

I just can’t get behind playing a game that sounds like it should be a pizza topping.


Bless you, Mom.

July 26, 2009 at 11:18 AM | Posted in I'm related to these people., Salt of the Earth, We Have a Bear on our State Quarter | 2 Comments
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I love my Mom.  She’s the best because she hasn’t killed any of us yet. 

Perhaps I should explain.  Here is the latest family episode where my mother, in a miracle of self-control and good humor, did not murder anyone:

Yesterday, my mom woke up to rainwater streaming down on her from my dad’s rain gear as he peered down on her and demanded to know where the net was.  Please recall that my father is a commercial fisherman.  His rain gear is way fishy.  The rain gear wake-up call is not one to be savored.  However, my mom heroically put rain gear over her pajamas and went sloshing around in the yard to find the net.  Please recall, again, that my father is a commercial fisherman.  We have lots of nets in the yard.  Like, there are more miles of net out there than calories in a Wendy’s Toffee Coffee Twisted Frosty, which if you haven’t had, you need to.  Because you are slowly dying inside without one.  Go right now.  I will still be here when you get back.  You may thank me then.

And give a shout out to my mother.  Because I still have a dad.

515 and 5.3 or 5.7. Not 7.

June 23, 2009 at 9:59 PM | Posted in Adventures in S-Land, I'm related to these people., We Have a Bear on our State Quarter | Leave a comment
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I began this morning with a bleary-eyed struggle to focus on my cell phone since it was ringing its head off.  A 515 area code.  Interesting.  I didn’t recognize the number, but 515 is the area code of my mom’s relatives in Iowa, so I figured that maybe Aunt Mary was calling to give me pointers on pie crust or ham loaf or something.  And I do love pie.  It’s worth getting out of bed.

But, no pie crust or ham loaf tips today, nope, it was my Aunt Irene gasping out questions about whether or not I was okay.  Now, I don’t sound all chipper and up & at ’em in the morning, but I didn’t think it was THAT bad, so I was relatively perplexed which is normal for me before 8 A.M.  You’d be perplexed too if you woke up with my hair.  As in, where did this brown octopus come from, and why am I wearing it as a hat?  Shouldn’t I be chopping it up for sushi?  Anyhow, turns out that the cause of my dear aunty’s concern was reports circulating through the Lower 48 that we Alaskapeeps had experienced a 7 point earthquake.  Which we didn’t.  It was 5.7 or 5.3, depending on which news you read. 

I explained the earthquake terms, explained that I was fine, and had a little chat about Tupperware just to round out the whole talk.  Because the world can’t be falling apart if I can still talk about Tupperware; I figured that was the greatest comfort I could offer. 

I thought about using the 7-point earthquake as an excuse to avoid the inevitable Dillingham shopping that I have to do since I’m flying out next week.  You know, how I’m all traumatized, and I just don’t think I can face Costco like this, blah, blah, blah.  But then, I thought about all the nice things my mom does for me, etc.

Plus, she’d already read the 5.7 news.  The gig was up.

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to Costco I go.


February 18, 2009 at 9:25 PM | Posted in Salt of the Earth | Leave a comment
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Growing up in rural Alaska meant that fresh produce was way expensive.  In a family of six, that meant we didn’t taste much fresh fruit outside of the berries we picked under the direction of the berry-picking whip cracker (hi Dad!  Love you!).  My mom, admirable master of grocery shopping economics, would slice up a single pear and we’d all glory in a piece of it.   

But, when I visited my cool aunt in Anchorage and later Seattle, I got a grapefruit half.  TO MYSELF.  My aunt always called grapefruit our midnight snack, and she taught me to cut around the edges, then around the membranes to create bites to scoop out with this weird little spoon that had teeth on it.  She taught me to sprinkle salt, not sugar, to enhance the citrusy taste and how to keep your eyes closed when squeezing the rind because, after all, that’s where the juice is going to squirt by non-negotiable law of the universe. 

So, pajamas and grapefruit go together since, although I rarely make it to midnight anymore, I only eat grapefruit at night.  But now I’ve achieved ultimate luxury.  That’s right, I eat BOTH halves. 

The whole grapefruit.  This is why I went to college.  This is what it means to live like royalty.


January 4, 2009 at 8:55 PM | Posted in I'm related to these people., Salt of the Earth | Leave a comment
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Pancakes are strong in my family.  My dad makes them, my grandfather took his grandchildren to them, and my grandparents partied over them.

My dad is into cooking things in skillets.  So, pancakes qualify as a Dad Food.  My mom makes them too, but when I look back on Sunday breakfasts as a kid, it seems like my dad was doing the cooking.  He was the one who taught me to look for dull edges before flipping each pancake over which replaced my method of randomly whacking them over with a spatula and spraying batter over every nearby surface.  

My Iowa grandfather was a big fan of the Legion Hall Saturday breakfasts.  It always seemed to me that those breakfasts were held earlier than any human being needed to arise during the summer, but since the breakfasts were events put on by farmers, I’ve come to realize that I was fortunate to not have to plow something as price of admission.  Those breakfasts were a lot of fun, and I cherish the memory of digging into pancakes as my grandfather introduced me, the visiting granddaughter, to all his buddies as “one of Jeanie’s little Alaskans.”

In their later years together, on Saturday nights, my grandparents used to have pancakes for dinner.  After my grandfather’s death, my sister asked my grandmother if she’d like pancakes for dinner.  Grandma smiled, but said, “No thank you.  Pancakes just wouldn’t be as fun without Jim.”

Pancakes are love, People.

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