Saturday, March 31, 2012
Friday, March 30, 2012
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
- Most mornings before school when I was in the third grade and Mom was expecting my sister Linda, she would make me a giant pancake. I'd put butter and sugar on it and eat it while I watched reruns of Father Knows Best and Leave It To Beaver. When Linda was born, the pancake service pretty much dried up. But that was okay. I just learned how to make them for myself. And I knew my mom still loved me.
- Slicing up fresh tomatoes from the garden and sprinkling them with a little salt and pepper.
- Eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with chicken noodle soup, especially when I was on the mend after being sick.
- Snacking on dilly beans (whole green beans pickled and canned with dill) and cucumbers sliced up and marinated in vinegar. More garden treats.
- Putting chocolate milk the blender and frothing it at the highest setting so it was light and full of bubbles. I especially liked to drink it when I had my nose in a book. I'm sure it was my treat of choice all the way through Dr. Dolittle, and I'm guessing through Harriet the Spy and The Outsiders as well.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Monday, March 26, 2012
Every day we had rest time, and there was a strict rule that we weren't allowed to take a drink from the water fountain right before we rested. The rule didn't make sense to me, so one day I complained. I was told that we couldn't take a drink because then we'd have to use the bathroom when we were supposed to be resting.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Friday, March 23, 2012
- A list of "habits I need to develop by 30th birthday" that includes things like flossing teeth daily, never going to bed without doing dishes, using lunch hours wisely, and waking up happy every morning.
- A quote by Erica Jong clipped from a magazine: "I don't personalize rejection anymore. I realized that the way people treat me often has more to do with them than with me. It's totally liberating."
- Another magazine clipping: "20 Indulgent Destination Spas."
- A list of questions I put together for a book I thought about writing once, telling the stories of women who've led interesting lives and how they balanced having a family and pursuing their dreams.
- A catalog for an MBA program.
- A 1995 Volkswagon brochure.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Monday, March 19, 2012
A nice longish post in memory of my brother, who passed away a year ago today. These are the remarks I made at his memorial service.
Rob was the oldest child in our family, and I am the sister who is just younger than him, so I am the sister who has known him the longest. Nearly 48 years! It doesn’t seem possible. Today I’d like to share some of the memories I have of Robbie.
As you might have gathered from Mark and Jim’s remarks, from the time Robbie was young, computers utterly intrigued him. One of my earliest memories is watching Robbie pace the house, talking excitedly about owning his own computer someday. Honestly, I thought he was completely nuts! When we were kids, the only computer I had ever really seen was at the Smithsonian, the one that took up a whole room.
I remember when I was a teenager he tried to explain to me what hardware and software were, and I just stared at him not understanding a word he said. I had no frame of reference. But fast forward to today, and it is because of people like my brother—you know, the ones who are absolutely obsessed—I was able to hang out in a comfortable chair, on a plane, and in a car, writing and rewriting this on a laptop.
I was envious of my brother’s single-mindedness. Because he loved computers, he always knew what he wanted to do with his life. However, he didn’t exactly follow a conventional path to get where he wanted to go. He quit high school once, then he went back and tried hard to put up with all of the social drama and the busy work that was, frankly, teaching him nothing he didn’t already know. He never did graduate from high school, but he was able to convince a computer company to let him work for free until he proved that he was capable of the work they needed him to do. He did prove himself, they hired him, and he was able to live his dream of being a software engineer for many years.
In the same way he carved his own unique career path, he didn’t particularly follow other sorts of conventions like, oh, say, giving gifts at Christmas or on birthdays. But when he was struck with an idea of a gift to give, it was often an unusually generous sweeping gesture. We have several things in our home—beautiful art books and so on—that he gave to us on a whim because he thought we’d like them (and we did). Last week Robbie’s good friends in Kenya, who considered him part of their family, emailed me with memories they had of Robbie, and the messages were full of stories about his kindness and generosity, treating them to things they had never experienced before and supporting them in their efforts to gain education.
Robbie loved to read, and it was stunning how quickly he’d go through books. He just inhaled them and was always hungry for the next. When we were in high school together, the one place he felt most at home was in the school library. Our librarian was very kind about letting him help out in the library whenever he was free (and, I suspect, at times when he was supposed to be in class). When one of my classmates read about his passing in the newspaper, she sent me a note, remembering my brother taking care of business at the circulation desk.
Robbie loved to laugh, and he loved to make other people laugh. As I was growing up, I thought his sense of humor was really unusual. When I was older I got a job in the computer industry, and, well, I met all sorts of people who had a sense of humor like his.
I will never forget the way he’d try so hard to suppress a grin when the punch line was coming. He struggled to contain himself when we performed plays with our cousins at Lake Geneva every summer, or when we’d sing his favorite rendition of “Row, Row, Row the Boat,” in which we’d sing the song over and over, dropping the last word each time until we got to the end and sang “row, row, row; row, row; row.”
Robbie loved to cook, especially if it was a dish he had mastered or when he had an opportunity to please the crowd. His adopted family in Kenya fondly remembers lining up for his famous grilled cheese sandwiches that he cooked, one sandwich at a time, in his small kitchen. Everyone loved them! Once he hosted a birthday party for one of the children--one of the “little monsters” as he called them—and when they were all completely stuffed with food, he asked, “who wants a grilled cheese sandwich?” They all looked at one another and burst out laughing at his joke.
For all of the things Robbie loved, he struggled with many things throughout his life, and, honestly, it was challenging at times to be his sister. He was the know-it-all older brother and I was the younger sister who just wanted a little respect. But I don’t think Rob always found it particularly easy to be my brother. The first vocabulary word I learned was provoke, as in “Margy, don’t provoke your brother!”
He was bigger than me, and he liked to believe that he was always smarter than me. Most of the time he was, but I’m really sure that at least once or twice I was the one who was right! At any rate, the only way I had any power in the relationship was to do things that bugged him. He hated it when I put lots of different color gumballs in my mouth and chewed up a big ‘ol gray wad of gum. So I did that whenever I had the chance. He didn’t like it when I sang songs and improvised the words or the music, especially when I embellished the ending. So I did that when I could. He had no absolutely no sense of humor when his little sister beat him at games like Monopoly, so, however rarely that happened, I flaunted my wins and it drove him crazy.
I was definitely a pesky little sister. Sometimes it came back to bite me. One time I found a huge icicle hanging from the roof of our house, and I thought it would be funny to put it in his bed. Despite his sense of humor, Robbie didn’t think it was funny. The next day I came home and he had taken an oscillating fan and a bag of flour and covered everything in my room with a fine white coating. He even opened all of my drawers for good measure. I spent days vacuuming my socks.
A memory that I will hold close for the rest of my life is that our whole family was able to spend time with Robbie at the end, and we were all together with him when he passed away. I hope that he knew we were there and that he could feel our love for him, love that I think often eluded him.
When Robbie was 17, my mom was expecting our youngest sister Maryann. She received a blessing in which she was told that the baby she was carrying would be a comfort to Robbie. I imagine that has been true many times since then, but I am left with a particularly striking image from the last moments we had with him. As he took his last breaths, his head was turned toward Maryann who was at his side. She leaned in, held his head, and spoke gently to him, providing him what I’m sure was immeasurable comfort.
In all my life I have never met anyone like my brother Robbie. The beauty of being connected through family relationships is that we are bound together despite our differences. And, in fact, it is our differences that enable us to learn to love a Christ-like love as we move through this world.
I am thankful that I am bound by eternal family ties, but also by love, to my brother, Robbie, a fellow child of God.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Friday, March 16, 2012
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
This is a picture of my sister Maryann on her first birthday and our family's traditional and very tasty birthday pie (cream cheese filling in a graham cracker crust with sliced peaches on top). For many years we had birthday pie instead of birthday cake because my brother was allergic to wheat.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Monday, March 12, 2012
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Friday, March 09, 2012
Thursday, March 08, 2012
- A Lawyer Looks at the Equal Rights Amendment by Rex E. Lee
- The Equal Rights Amendment: Myths and Realities by Orrin Hatch
- From Adam's Rib to Women's Lib by Maureen Ward