Wednesday, January 25, 2017


I have some relatives who live in Vegas. They are all descendants of my very dear sister, and span three generations. I managed to meet with some of them by attending a chili and gingerbread house decorating party that is held every year by my grandnephew's significant other Valerie.
It was mostly attended by extended family of Valerie, but I did get a good chance to visit with grand niece Jan and Josh.
They were a bit tired. Josh is working long and grueling shifts, but we still had a decent visit. This trip was so tightly planned that I did not think I'd get to see them again.
Jan gave me some presents: some of her bottle art with her grandfather Paul's famous line, "It's all part of the great adventure," and some home brewed body creams.
Things were often rough for her grandparents, so it became quite a story.
Once one of my deceased nieces named Gayle (his daughter) was out mowing the extensive grass around their trout pond and the mower broke.
It was a hot day and she came in pretty annoyed.
Her husband sat on the couch and after she ranted her troubles, she said, "Well, as my father Paul used to say, ' It's all part of the grand adventure.'
Her husband responded, " F##k Paul and the great adventure, "
And immediately he had a heart attack and died.

Niece Jan and her husband Josh have been involved in pigeon rescue where they find a wounded bird and nurse it back to health, so she had some stories of that. I am a great fan of pigeons and kept them as a boy, but I wanted to admit to her that sometimes we ate them, and that when I went in the service, I gave them away to an old fellow who also raised and ate pigeons.
The trouble with pigeons as pets is that, unlike dogs or cats, they don't easily resettle in new homes but come back to where they have lived. I could not let them come back to my aging mother while I was away in the Air Force.
Jan seemed to take this well. She likes me enough.
Josh showed me a fine braided chain he had made for his Irish cross. He always has some creative, interesting piece.
Sometimes we don't like the folks that our family marries, but in both these cases I really like their chosen partners.
Josh is creative and smart.  He always has some project to describe or something he wants to do.
Valerie is one of those women who you hope when they connect or marry into your family. She is delightful, upbeat and cheerful, good to those around her, and well organized. She has made it much easier for me to meet up with my Vegas relatives who are not organized and often times approach the dysfunctional, especially now that my niece Jan is busy with her baby.
My grandnephew Chris has a great sense of humor, and a quick, bantering wit.  He is always fun to be around.  This time he was with a buddy of his who really was like a twin brother in verbal patterns, bantering rhythms, and mannerisms.  It was amazing really.  I had such a good time watching them and listening to them.
The buddy stayed around after others had left and I found him comfortable and easy.
It was good Jan and Josh made the meetup. I missed two others in that family, all descendents of my sister, but it has been a hectic and very busy trip so far, and to see them I'd have to take the initiative, make a plan which perhaps that would not even work.
I'm feeling my age in this respect.  That is why it is so fine to have Valerie pick up the slack.
I did not plan meetups of board friends this trip, and still I was exhausted by the end. Live poker takes a good bit of time at the table, more than other forms of gambling. And I am hesitant to schedule around it. I can walk away from a video poker machine and come back to the same game, the same odds, the same everything. Every live poker table is different, and some I just don't want to leave.
My great great nephew George told me about his new school and his interest in history. He is quite a kid.
So far they will not have to be concerned about an overpopulation of pigeons. The ones they have rescued included only one male, and once he was healed, he flew back home again after fathering a youngster.
If the youngster is a male and mates with one of the other pigeons, then they will have the dilemma of raising pigeon after pigeon, all of which will come home again.

Josh helped me fix my phone to get rid of military time, and to get the GPS talking to me again. It had been silent and that had not been very helpful. I am learning a bit of the phone, and some of it I find very useful, but I have never much liked phones, and the writing takes forever, unlike email or blogging where my fingers pay attention to some part of my brain, and I don't have to hunt and peck or think about the words.
I am using a stylus on the phone and that has helped with some texting. Also, the word appearing at the top helps because it is one tap and also adds space at the end. The fewer times I have to tap anything the better.
However, I would need three lifetimes to tap out a blog like this on a phone.
So my texts, unlike my blog entries, tend to be short and to the point.
In my writing I am partial to long development of ideas. I abhor acronyms and all those shortened expressions that are so useful on the phone. I am not critical of the young who use them; they just don't work for me.
For me there are times when less is not better. I don't wear bikinis, for example.

After a bit of chili and some corn muffins, the group took ginger bread house kits and added every type of sugar imaginable to decorate them in interesting ways. They squeezed on the frosting in patterns and then attached M and M's, gum drops, Good and Plenty, small decorative bits, two kinds of oreos, and assorted other sugar candies. It was fun to watch and the talk and banter during the construction was very lively.
After everyone had left the party, the hostess, Valerie, her son Brendan, and my nephew Chris sat and talked with me for quite a while, telling new and old stories, bantering, and finally putting some serious thought into coming to see me back East in the spring. She wants to come out to see us. Brendan sat quietly and listened.  He reminded me of myself at his age.  He certainly seems an easy boy to manage. 
I lobbied again that they all come for a visit on Burden Lake and they showed interest again.  Chris is a bit travel phobic, and he works long hard hours, but perhaps this year he will manage to work out the details. I don't have much family left at all and I'm not getting any younger.  

I think Brendan would enjoy fishing at my place.  They all would enjoy the boating.
Pretty exciting possibility for this coming May.

Here is what the gingerbread house building looked like.  Imagine almost everyone talking at the same time while they created their unique patterns and you get a flavor for the fun.  I was honored to be included.

 Jan and Josh

 Val and Brendan

 Jan and young Sebastian


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