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Archive for August, 2014

Aug 26 2014

Gooseberry Falls

Posted by Mugs @ 10:37 am in Family,Nature,Sightseeing

During the reunion, we went for a hike at Gooseberry Falls. It was a beautiful day and a lovely hike. Some members of the family were more adventurous with their route than others – Ean being the bravest.

The water was very cold, but it didn’t stop Anja and Marie from soaking their toes.

Ben had the job of rearguard – keeping track of 26 people and 1 doggie, ensuring no one was left behind.

I took the easy route and most enjoyed sitting on the bench with my dear husband admiring the view.


Aug 23 2014

Abby Goes to College

Posted by Mugs @ 11:09 am in Family,school

Yesterday, Abigirl went off to college. We drove two vehicles for two reasons: 1. Abby gets to have a car at college. 2. No one else could fit in the van with all her stuff.

The evening before departure, Abby requested gumbo for dinner and peanut butter fudge for dessert. My Mom suspects the request was more about Abby trying to comfort her Dad than Abby’s love of gumbo and peanut butter fudge.

Move in day went well. We avoided traffic by leaving at Abby’s designated time of O Dark Thirty. Although we arrived early, Abby’s roommate Linzi and her family arrived first. They had Linzi’s window box fan running in an attempt to provide some cool air in a dorm room with no air conditioning and eleven people putting things away.

Zeke put away the food in the wardrobe and the refrigerator, Gabe arranged the shelf of decorative knick-knacks, Josiah hauled the trash to the van, Dale set up the computer, and I dumped things out for Abby to put away.

Abby attempted to make her part of the shelf below the mirror prettified to match Linzi’s side which had a beta fish in a bowl and a vase of lovely Zinnias.

I recommended Abby be realistic knowing her side of the shelf would soon be covered with makeup and nail polish bottles, hair styling gel, a blow dryer, brushes, combs, hair ties, etc. The best she could do was purchase a bin to contain all the mess.

We went to the store all Manrys love and bought the bin, an ethernet cable, a decorative pillow, and bed risers. (I have yet to pack everything my children need for college. Maybe, I’ll get a 100% by the time Zeke goes away.)

We ate a lunch together of burgers, hot dogs, cheese fries, hush puppies, and milkshakes at Cook-Out. We hugged her goodbye and drove home.

Everyone has been asking Abby, “Is your mom o.k.? Is she crying a lot?”

Abby tells them, “My mom’s on task. She’s focused on getting stuff done. She won’t cry until it’s all over.”

This morning, Abby’s cat Patches was waiting for me outside my bedroom door. I walked to Abby’s disaster of a room and filled Patches food and water dishes. I went downstairs and made myself some oatmeal and a cup of tea. I walked to the front windows to pull up the blinds and Patches followed to do her job of biting the blind cords while I atttempted to wind them up. For the final cord, Patches chose the best location for biting cords – the seat of the hope chest.

When the cords were finally wrapped, I sat down next to Patches to pet her. We both looked out the window watching for the return of the girl we both dearly love.

I cried then, but I blame it on the cat.

Aug 21 2014

Character Camp Graduation Party

Posted by Mugs @ 10:47 am in Family,Sightseeing

After moving four times in three years, Mom has officially graduated from character camp.

“Life is to enjoy, not to control” is her motto. Making decisions and being organized exhausts her. “It’s fine the way it is,” she’ll tell me. Unfortunately for her, I don’t listen. During the character camp of moving, I forced her to make decision after decision about item after item.

My sister, Marie, got the difficult task of moving Mom’s stuff from her old apartment into her new apartment. The Manry clan got the task of helping put everything in its proper place. Mom and I have different views of the proper place for things.

Josiah was stuck in the middle of our disagreement.

He dumped out the large bags Mom had filled at her old apartment to sort the items into piles: cleaning supplies, toiletries, decorative items, clothing, baskets, etc.

“Don’t dump out those bags. I know what’s in those bags because I packed them. If you dump them out and put them away, I won’t be able to find my things,” she said.

“Mom, if your looking for cleaning supplies, they’ll be in the laundry room. If your looking for clothes, they’ll be in the closet, If your looking for dishes, they’ll be in the kitchen, etc.”

Josiah is very quiet and thorough, so he kept working while we argued.

Gabe and Zeke laid out two junk drawers worth of stuff on her kitchen table and began to sort through it.

Mom looked over and told Abby in a huff, “Just wait and see how your mother likes it when you lay out her life on a kitchen table.”

She followed this statement with, “Here, hide this box of rags in the pantry where your mother can’t find them, so she can’t throw them out.”

Eventually, everything was put away.

The damage from his stroke has required Dad to sleep in a different part of the retirement complex than Mom. They now have an apartment where Mom sleeps, and Dad stays during the day.

When I walked into the apartment, I was struck with the feeling that the place finally looked like their home. It was the first time Mom looked settled and not like she was staying for only two weeks.

The apartment is high up in the tree tops. There is a lot light and the table is right next to the window overlooking the deck. When Mom and I were sitting on the deck, a hummingbird flew up in front of us, hovered and looked.

“I bet the lady who was here before had a feeder,” Marie said.

The next morning, I brought Mom a feeder. She filled it and hung it up. (When Mom and Dad lived on Blue Lake they had a bird feeder right outside the window. When sitting at the table, we had a perfect view of the birds.)

Later that afternoon, I was sitting with Dad at the table near the window when Dale exclaimed, “There’s the hummingbird!”

Dad could see the hummingbird in his peripheral vision. “You’re home now, Kath,” he said.

I cried.

Character Camp has been hard on all of us in the Meloch Family, especially Mom and Dad. Life isn’t always what we wished it would be.

For reunion, Dale created a spreadsheet schedule. On the bottom he wrote “Developing Character – One Character at a Time.”

The Character Camp graduation party was a celebration. We called it the Meloch Family Reunion 2014.

Aug 15 2014

Meloch Grandchildren

Posted by Mugs @ 5:09 pm in Family,Sightseeing

The cousins had a great time hanging out at the reunion. The girl cousins went shopping, made bracelets, and had picnics. The boy cousins picked off leaches, played six hour board games, and went out for ice cream.

Zeke had fun playing Rob’s church picnic games, especially human foosball, and he loved being with his Minnesota cousins just as much as he loved being with his Louisiana cousins a few years back. After we spend time with either my or Dale’s family, he pleads with us to move back to Louisiana or Minnesota. (He’s out of luck with that request.) However, I told him he could attend college near his cousins. LSU or Bethel? We’ll see where he ends up. He has seven years to decide.

The littlest cousins were a hoot and a holler with their unique personalities and forthright opinions. My favorite quote came, once again, from Marcus. He and Aaralyn were helping me sort the Manry Clan dirty clothes for washing, and upon seeing the large piles, they decided it was a good idea to jump in them and bury themselves. They jumped in, rolled around and laughed until they tired themselves out.

While they were laying there, regaining their energy, Marcus declared, “It smells like Dale.”

Aug 14 2014

Searching For Agates

Posted by Mugs @ 12:09 pm in Family,Nature,Sightseeing

The reunion location on the north shore of Lake Superior had a rock beach where we all spent time looking for agates, skipping rocks, and admiring the view. The beaches of Hawaii are still firmly entrenched in the minds of my children. When they go to the beach, they bury their brother. The reality of a beach of all rocks instead of a beach of all sand does not deter their pursuit.

I searched and searched and searched for agates, and brought home buckets of rocks. Whether or not I’ve found any agates will have to wait for Gabe’s rock polisher to reveal.

Karin was the agate finding expert as she had been trained as a young girl by her father. Sam was the person most likely to find an agate as he is blessed with a methodically diligent nature. I love rocks and was easily distracted by all the pretty colors, designs, and shapes. I told myself to stay focused on agates, but each day, I had pockets full of basalt, quartz, chert, chalcedony, and jasper.

The rocks would be shiny wet and look so pretty when I picked them up off the beach. Later, when the rocks had dried and I showed them off, they weren’t quite so special to the rest of my family.

(“Sometimes I give my friend things. Now I give her a present. She opens the box. ‘What is it?’ she asks. ‘It is a rock,’ I say. ‘It is my favorite rock.'”)

I’ve been picking up rocks since I was a small girl and polished some in a noisy old rock tumbler my parents gave me as a gift. My ‘picking up rocks’ habit annoys my children especially when I pick up rocks on the wrong side of a “no trespassing” sign or at a “take only pictures leave only footprints” national monument.

During the reunion, on the day when the tide was low and the water was very calm, I waded into the chilly waters of Lake Superior. The rocks sparkled underneath the water. After awhile, I could no longer feel my toes. Eventually, I brought Josiah out with me to help look.

My pursuit of agates never made me desperate enough to jump into the water and swim. I left that adventure to Ben, Jake, Josiah, Gabe, and Zeke.