Shifting the lens …

The family history project I’ve been working on was originally something I wanted to do that would be based upon a cross-country road trip I want to take to the actual places where my ancestors have lived.  Basically starting at Plymouth and moving West, eventually across the Oregon Trail and then up into Washington State where I am now.

The family history road trip is definitely on my Bucket List, but I realized that, because of the time and expense involved, this trip wasn’t going to happen any time soon.  It was so disheartening to think that this project that means so much to me, may not actually come to fruition.  This Spring, I asked myself, “If I never go on the road trip, does that mean I can’t ever do the project at all?”  I realized that it might not be my dream way to accomplish it, but I could do research here at home and write up something.  It seemed like a second best option, but better than nothing.

So this July, I’ve been researching and doing writing on the family history project as part of NaNoWriMo Camp.  And you know what?  To my surprise, I’ve been learning things I don’t think I would’ve learned on the road trip.  Now, rather than feeling that writing without the road trip is a second best option, now I realize that writing now is actually making the project richer and more relevant to my life and to today.  After I get a first draft together, that might be an even better time to take the road trip.  Seeing things firsthand would give an added depth to the story (perhaps).  But even if I never take the trip, I can still do the project.

I guess I’d been limiting myself to my vision of what I wanted this project to be without really being open to other possible expressions of that same vision.  Changing my focus slightly opened new doors and allowed me to break through a wall that had been keeping me from my dreams.

How ’bout you?  Is there anything you can shift your view of in order to see new possibilities in your own life?  What happens when we shift the lens and change the focus?

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4th of July memories …

I asked my Facebook friends today, “What are your favorite 4th of July memories from when you were younger?”  Feel free to answer the question and share your thoughts and memories in the comment section.  It’s fun to be nostalgic from time to time.

Food-related Memories: When I was a child, our traditional 4th of July dessert was Angel food cake with whip cream and strawberry frosting.  That particular cake was our family’s traditional birthday cake, and because my dad’s birthday was on July 7th, we celebrated his birthday early on the 4th as the entire extended family was together anyway. Yep, birthday cake on the 4th was my favorite tradition, food-wise. Other than that, I remembered we had an All-American feast of grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, bbq chicken, potato salad, macaroni salad, strawberry jello with sliced bananas, corn on the cob, watermelon, marinated cucumbers and onions, baked beans.  Yum.  I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.  🙂

We would eat dinner outside on the back porch at my grandparents house on Yarrow Point.  The porch was shaded and was close to the barbeque.  The rest of the day, we’d hang out by the water to stay cool. Lots of swimming, wading, splashing, floating on air mattresses.  Cold lemonade and sliced watermelon for snacks.  (The photo above is my grandparents’ front yard.)

Then in the evening we’d drive to Seattle and watch the fireworks over Green Lake. When our neighborhood all returned home from watching firework displays, the families gathered at the end of our little cul-de-sac and shot off our own fireworks. Mr Razor always had a welding torch handy for lighting the fireworks so we didn’t get to play with matches or lighters very often. lol

So how ’bout you?

~Debi

How my parents met …

front yard

My grandparents front yard on Yarrow Point looking across Yarrow Bay to the Lake Washington Shipyards. The Kalakala ferry was being worked on at the time of this photo.

by Debi (written a couple of years ago)

My parents married in September (I think), but the anniversary they celebrated was the day they met. Opening Day of boating season (which happens to also be Derby Day). I always thought it was romantic and sweet how they celebrated the day they met, which is a bit ironic because “romantic” and “sweet” aren’t words I’d really use to describe my parents. Or their relationship. I knew them when they were older and settled, however, and no longer the romantics they evidently were in their youth.

Dad’s parents lived on the shores of Lake Washington, directly across Yarrow Bay from the old Houghton Shipyards where Grandma and Grandpa met. Many years before, he’d been the Shipyard Superintendent and she was working in the office, the shipyard’s first female employee. They picked Yarrow Point for building their dream house because the property looked directly at the place where they’d met. I guess romantic notions about first meetings run in our family.

Grandma Dad Mom on Como

Grandma, Mom, Dad, and Buttons the dog on the Como Reto.

So, back to that monumental Opening Day when my parents met.  Monumental for me, anyway.  There’d be no me without that meeting.  Mom was on a date with the son of some friends of my grandparents. The young man’s folks had taken them out boating on the lake, and the four of them stopped by to visit my grandparents. My dad was on the dock getting their family’s yacht, Como Reto, ready for the Opening Day festivities, when suddenly off their friends’ boat stepped my mom. I was never told if it was love at first sight, but it certainly sounds like sparks flew. Later that evening, my mom and dad ran into each other again at the Queen City Yacht Club’s annual dance. And the rest, so they say, is history.

According to Grandma, that other young man’s mother bore a grudge against my mom for years. The nerve of my mom dumping that woman’s son on Opening Day. My mom—breaking hearts since 1957.

Life’s what happens
when you make other plans.

Grandma …

I’m sad to announce that my 107-year-old grandmother, Madeline L. Taylor, passed away last week. When my dad saw her last, she’d been sleeping peacefully. A peaceful passing was what we’d wished for her.

She led a long, full, and interesting life. If you’re curious, you can read an Oral History report I did on her life for a class at University of Washington Tacoma several years ago. I made the report into a small website, so that Grandma’s life could have a presence on the internet.

She was much loved and will be greatly missed.

~Debi

grandma-and-granddaughter5