Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas 2014: 30th Anniversary and Becoming Grandparents

Merry Christmas and A Happy 2015 From Dixie and Greg

Greg and I can't count all the blessings and all the love and all the changes and sorrows and joys that we have shared since we got married but we both agree that we never suspected that 30 years could pass so quickly.  Yet, here we are - no longer 1984, and no longer thin or flamingly red-headed, or young.  Still thirty years with the only person who knows me at both my best and worst and still is willing to stick around for another 30 if we get so lucky.  It is possible, after all, my in-laws just celebrated their 64th anniversary this summer.

So after 30 years together, we find ourselves firmly in the "sandwich Generation" as it has been named to describe those years when you are one of the Generation who still has health and strength and has established some stability, and is sandwiched between kids and grandchildren who still need some help - and aging parents who can no longer be your strength but now need you to be there for them.  It is a time when you are acutely aware of the passage of time and the fact that you are still lucky enough to have this much family, but also coldly aware that it can't last much longer.  You want to spend every moment enjoying being needed and wanted but every time you are one place you feel guilty for not being in at least three other places at the same time. 

      Speaking of being in not enough places at a time, My Brother Brett is amazing at being there for Mom and Lance. Lance still lives with Brett in Virginia and was delighted at the flood of birthday cards that he got, but he is also old enough to remember both Grandma Grace and Dad as they got sicker and died. So he understands illness enough to be very worried that Mom might die.
Mom became more and more confused and paranoid, and she couldn't do the basics of taking care of herself anymore. Then she ended up in the hospital, and from there into a nursing home that she hated and was afraid of.  Since then Brett found her another place, still not far from Brett and Lance, where she is comfortable enough that she has relaxed and calls it home. However she did fall and fracture her vertebrae and need 4 staples in the back of her head.  The first nursing home had her overmedicated and she is doing a lot better with her blood pressure and diabetes better monitored that she was getting.  Dementia is a cruel disease and it is nice to hear her being more happy than she has sounded in months.  She even went to Brett's for Thanksgiving and then said of her room at the manor, "It was good to get home."
Mom and Lance at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian

For those of you who remember the many Christmas cards and letters she has always sent, her new address is at

Priscilla Miller
Greenfield Of Berryville
413 McCellen Street
Berryville, VA 22611
Phone (540) 955-4557 (Not her room but the manor number)

Lance after receiving his birthday cards

His address is Lance Miller
PO Box 865
Middleburg, VA 20118

Thanks to everyone who took the time and money to make him smile like that.

So what else happened in 2014?

I got a couple long term teaching jobs at the school where I taught full time for 10 years, and Emerson is working there now too, so I have seen him a lot more.  And Emerson and Lula made us Grandparents on April 28th when Lula gave birth to Daisy Grace Goode

Greg and I have done a bit of traveling together without the boys for the first time really since we became parents.  This summer we went back to Wyoming and visited our Goode family relatives including Greg's parents and one brother, and both surviving sisters.  We also visited a couple nephews and Aunt Melissa and Rose.  It was low key and fun mainly.  We let our easy going way dictate the pace, and read Harry potter novels to each other while we drove, we went to see the sights like the Rocks at Vedauwoo and then visited Fort Laramie in a downpour and that seemed strange since out temperate rainforest home is in a drought.  But I had never been there, even though I wrote about it based on research in my Oregon Trail Novel.  We went to the Black Hills Playhouse (where Greg and I worked that long ago summer we were married) with my Father-in-law and had a couple picnics in the gazebo at my mother-in-laws nursing home.
We went Camping with friends up by Oregon Caves,  and we went to see "Into The Woods" at the Shakespeare Festival.

    In one week in August we had three friends die here in Crescent City, one our next door neighbor for the last 18 years, and one a fellow music teacher with Greg and a very dear friend since we moved here 25 years ago.  They were all older friends, more our parents generation than ours, but they were good friends and our world is emptier without them.

     I managed to publish two picture books for kids. One, Rainbows around Us, is a book about colors using my photographs and the other, Moonrise, is a lullaby I used to sing to the boys 20 years ago, along with finger paintings I did on the table top and lifted as prints.  So now you can google Dixie Miller Goode and find five of my books on-line or available for your local bookstore to order.

    Greg has changed back to straight vocal music instead of doing just high school band and choir, he does 5th grade through high school Choir this year, and as Christmas gets closer he has an incredible number of performances scheduled, but he ended up with a record number of his students being selected via blind audition to go to the All Northwest USA choir festival, as in RECORD (Triple the  number he has ever had before)

    Austin and his girlfriend Tricia are around quite a bit and are always working. They have kept us in firewood while also helping her family while Austin is driving for GH Outreach.  He drives handicapped adults to work and helps supervise them on the job sites. They pick up recycling and do yrs wok and he seems to really enjoy the work.  I kind of blame Lance for the fact that I have so many years teaching Special needs kids and now both of my sons work with people with handicaps.  Once you have known Lance, you realize that people need to be given a chance to be their own best self.

     Anyway, life is still LIFE, busy, happy, sad, crazy, wonderful and exhausting. It looks like we will make it to 2015 with a smile and a prayer that you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy 2015.

Much Love,

Dixie and Greg
Flat Stanley Came to visit

4th of July here at the Crescent City Display

I was finally sailing on a tall ship with my fifth grade class when Lula texted me, "My Water just broke" 

The Lady Washington

Dad, Grandpa and Daisy

Camping with family 

exploring only 4 miles from my house

Austin and Tricia

Family in Laramie, Greg's Sister Wendy and John, and their two boys 

Me, at Fort Laramie

Mother and Son

Harvey (My FIL) front and center

At Oregon Shakespeare Festival

The two picture books I published this year

Which makes 5 books published and more on the way

My Beautiful Angel

Emerson, Daisy and Lula on Halloween
Could you guess?

Being Grandma

Greg with Gasp 52 candles!

Singing Happy Birthday

Uncle Austin and Daisy

The Christmas lights getting turned on at Ashland Oregon

Dixie, Marc and Thomas

Already getting ready to run

What December looks like here.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Little Pink Monster, a retelling

Little Pink Monster

It really had nothing to do with my son and daughter-in-love picking this Halloween costume for their baby and at first I didn't remember. But then I did and once I mentioned it, so did my son. One of my favorite things to do with my boys when they were small was take them camping, and while camping to retell those old campfire stories which are handed down in families and in things like Girl Scouts and summer camp. One story I retold was easily adapted to any environment you might be in, and was sometimes a little pink Gorilla and sometimes a little Pink Monster.
 Not my original story of course but my embellishments like modernizing with cell phones or setting it in the woods or camp where we were at the moment made it ours. 

The Little Pink Monster (short version)

One dark and stormy night a man was driving along a dark, deserted road far from anywhere. Suddenly his tire blew out and when he checked, his spare was missing. He looked around the empty road and at the dark forest surrounding him
And knew it was pointless but tried his cell phone anyway. "Searching for Service."

He locked his car and walked back down the road a long way until a country lane branched off of it. He turned and followed the lane for a long time and finally came to a farmhouse. Even though it was the middle of the night, he knocked and a little old man came to the door.
"No, sorry but I don't have a phone. You can sleep on my couch and maybe we can patch up your tire in the morning."

Just when he was starting to think everything would be ok, the old man added, "You'll be fine as long as you don't touch the little pink monster"

Of course he had to see it, so the old man took a key ring and led him down the steps and through several doors that got progressively smaller. Then he knocked on a door that was only knee high and said, "little pink monster please come out." And a tiny pink monster opened the door and came out and grinned up at them.

Once the doors were locked and the old farmer slept, our hero couldn't leave well enough alone. He took the keyring and went down the stairs, opened each door and finally let out the monster. Then he bent and gently, timidly,  patted it on the shoulder.


He ran up the steps and it crashed through the walls. He ran outside and down the lane and onto the country road and it chased him. He ran to his car and it was locked and the monster was huge and right behind him. He turned to face its knee and it bent a clawed paw toward him

And patted his shoulder and roared


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Lance's Birthday Report

Last night I was at home playing with my granddaughter who had somehow decided to become a little pink monster, inspite of being all smiles and wanting to be played with. Then I got a photo from my brother Brett.  Turns out he had been in Wyoming getting my Mom's old house remodeled enough to try to sell it, so Lance hadn't gotten mail from the post office box address I gave everyone until they got home, but on Halloween he sent the picture and said, "You should post this on your facebook wall, Lance got a stack of cards 8 inches high for his birthday."  Just look at hat smile. So thank you again to everyone who sent him one.  He specifically mentioned that he had gotten some from an after school program and a kindergarten class. He also had some from countries around the world including London, Slovakia and Canada they said.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Happy Birthday Greetings from around the world. I hope

My Beautiful Brother turns 39 years old on Friday, Oct. 24th and I was thinking, he loves getting mail and he is worried with our mom being in the Nursing Home and he would be so happy to get a post card, birthday card or printed letter. He can read but cursive is difficult.

The mailing address is

Lance Miller 
PO Box 865
Middleburg VA 20118

He loves the Steelers and any sports, He Loves red cars, the teenage mutant ninja turtles and Donald Duck. He still loves fruit punch more than any other drink but maybe hot fudge sundaes at Dairy Queen beat it out as the all time first choice. Back when they lived in Cody, Wyoming, the Dairy Queen closed for the winter, but the owner actually postponed the closing and kept it open each year so Lance could have his annual birthday party there first.  Lance has the most amazing social skills and people love him. He was in Special Ed. classes for his academic subjects but interacted in regular classes for PE, he loved swimming and bowling, and he Loved Choir, and still does like to sing and still recognizes and talks to people he knew back in those classes.  He called the Bingo games at the senior center and served as an usher at the church he attended with mom.  He started working at WalMart as a part of a school program when he was 15 but he stayed there 19 years, until he had to move to Virginia to live with our brother when my Mom's health became weaker. He started grade school the year the mainstreaming law passed and my mom insisted Cody start a class. And he graduated high school with a real diploma eight months before Dad died of esophageal cancer.

  1. Being born with a handicapping condition wasn't as difficult as having to deal with people who had a lot of preconceived ideas about his limitations  I remember the idiots in the hospital who delivered him telling my parents he should be institutionalized before we could ever get attached because he'd never know who we are and he'd be dead before 25. Medical views of what was, at that time, called "mongoloid idiots" were pretty much in the dark ages. Over the years Mom had a Dr try to kill him by letting Giardia run its course until he had lost half his body weight and his hearing. Then when she made it clear that "no, his dying would not be the best thing for the family" one shot of penicillin cured the Giardia but not the deafness until surgery five years later. 

Then after an accident in the park with his puppy jumping up as he came down the slide, and tearing the skin on his arm with it's claw - an emergency room Dr. strapped him down at age six and started putting stitches in him arm without numbing it, "I don't want to waste the novocain, these kids don't feel pain, he is just screaming from reflex"

Well that might have been the Dark ages or this might be. 90% of Down's infants are aborted once it is diagnosed and in some countries it is legal to abort a Down syndrome baby right up to birth.