Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Christmas 2017

Merry Christmas 2017 and May we all enjoy a Happy and Healthy 2018.

This was a year that went much smoother than the last several for our family. No new births or deaths, although typing that makes me want to knock on wood since 2017 isn’t over yet.
The highlights of the year, as almost always, had to do with family.  Greg and I took 40 High School Band and Choir kids to LA for spring break. We had the craziest schedule and it almost killed me, but it was fun. “Julius Caesar” at Shakespeare in Ashland, then overnight bus ride to Disneyland, a shower and walking to the park from a nearby motel, then a day at Universal Studios, where I reveled in the Harry Potter area, and a vocal lesson at UCLA and three Disneyland days and a dinner watching knights jousting at medieval times, and another overnight bus ride home.
  I hadn’t seen my Mom or Brothers since summer 2013, and this year I ended up teaching almost full time between two long term substitute jobs.  That gave us enough money that Greg and I could Fly to Washington DC and spend two weeks including Mom’s birthday, The 4th of July, and my birthday too.
That was great, and before I forget, let me give you their contact info again. Lance has a cell phone (540)-359-1413 and you can send cards and pictures and letters to them at the same address

  Lance Miller /PO box 865/ Middleburg, VA 20118

While we were there we were taken to a couple plays, and spend a day in DC at the memorials on the Mall 
and riding the subway with Lance and My friend from High School, Tricia, whose Dad worked with my Dad for years. Her son, Michael was wonderfully patient with Lance’s slower, post surgery pace and we all had fun.  We also baked in the sun while watching the Washington Nationals get destroyed with Brett and Emily.
We spent several afternoons with Mom, and while she gets confused, she is much easier to talk to now that she is settled in a home where she is comfortable and her meds are controlled, than she was 4 years ago when she was frightened and hallucinating. 

She went to a musical, and a movie and her Birthday lunch at red lobster. She told Greg, “I don’t know who you are, but I know I love you.” And she always knew me. She was clean and calm and basically relaxed. She recognized old pictures and we talked a lot.  If you write to her, she may not open the envelope, but if you send a postcard, she will know what the picture is of, and recognize your name.

In the summer Greg’s sister, Wendy and her husband, John and one son and his girlfriend came and camped in our yard and we did all the local, redwoods, beach, lighthouse, fern canyon, kind of things. Daisy had a blast and wanted to keep Colton’s girlfriend, Brittney when they left.
Then right as school was starting, a big fire blew up from a few hundred acres to 100,000 and Greg’s school start was delayed two weeks, while mine was filled with smoke and school issued filter masks.  As the smoke cleared, Our former Brother-in-Law, Vince and His wife, Marcy came for a brief visit, and sat around the fire pit and ate Crabs and escaped the hurricane hitting their Florida neighborhood. They had just done a bike trip around San Francisco and Marcy’s planned flight home was delayed by Irma.

A year after my Mother-in-law died, we are planning to go back to Newcastle for Christmas and visit my Father-in-law.  Emerson has custody of his daughter, and has permission to bring her along.  That has been an emotional year. Daisy is now getting visitation with her Mom, and their relationship is getting a chance to develop, but it has been all her and Daddy for over a year now, and she is a happy, confident and beautiful, 3 ½ year old.  This year she went to a traveling dinosaur exhibit called Jurassic Quest and dove in and rode the robotic Carnivores with delight. She went to a pumpkin patch and drew her own witch face on her pumpkin, and she loves Poppy from the Trolls movie.

Austin and Trisha’s son, Gavin is 1 ½ and very much an outdoorsman in the making. He has a smile to melt the iciest Grandma’s heart.  Austin will be crabbing so they can’t go to Wyoming with us.

I love Christmas and the gift of going through my family and friends list each year and remembering why you are so special and important to me. I hope that this finds you weathering the changes and remembering the blessings.

After I wrote this, and made my multiple copies yesterday, we got a call late at night to let us know that the Flu had turned into pneumonia and Greg's Dad was in the hospital in Rapid City, SD with a Do Not Resuscitate order on file, and would not survive long. Before another hour passed, Grandpa Harvey died with his name-sake son holding his hand. So our Amtrak tickets and adventure will now be spent going to a memorial service and a sadder Christmas. Still, wishing He had met his California great-grandchildren, but knowing that his love and spirit is carried in them and always shall be.  We are so lucky to have had this hard working, hard-playing, loving and loyal family man for so long.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Dixie and Greg

Monday, November 13, 2017

Things To Be Thankful For

 I was driving home through a Redwood tree grove and along a pristine river and through a sheer canyon. It was just another commute home after a day working with wonderful children and supportive peers.  I was still feeling a bit down and exhausted, the time change making everything feel later than it was.  I had absolutely no reason to feel anything less than thankful, but I wasn't feeling it.
 When I got home, I decided to drag out the one pumpkin I'd saved from being carved into a Jack-o-lantern and try a new, very old recipe I'd seen that claimed it was the type pumpkin pie that the Pilgrims would have made. It surely wasn't a pie, just a simple egg and cream and sugar flan baked in a pumpkin shell, and it came out very much not tasting of pumpkin.  However just that little bit of change, stepping outside the daily routine, seemed to reset my mood and allow me to feel awake and happy again.
 I know, sugar is poison, but baking is still one way I feel myself connect to my grandma and my mom.  I reach to my roots where my soul is nourished.
 Then I got the granddaughter and we went to the park, running between rainstorms to climb and slide and swing. And this local park also has a redwood trail to explore. In this rainy season the slugs and mushrooms are abundant.

My mailbox brought me a book written by a facebook friend

My new waffle iron made bowls which demanded a caramel sundae instead of syrup

 And old friends sent me old pictures of my Mom and new pictures of my brother Lance.  Life was reminding me, again and again, that it is good to be alive.

My Brother and my Niece

My Granddaughter was Princess Poppy Troll for Halloween

Mom and her extended family in about 1946. ! of many old pictures that were sent unexpectedly from an old family friend.


Mom, with her cousins and grandparents


 So when the rain returned, we simply grabbed the rubber boots and kept on playing.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

An intense August

 “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” 
― Epicurus
 “Remember that an act of hatred belittles the one who acts it 
out - but not the one it is done against unless that person allows it 
to. Each person who reaches out in love grows a bit himself even 
when the love appears to be refused.” 
― Dixie Dawn Miller GoodeDuffy Barkley Is Not a Dog: Tales of Uhrlin Book One
 “she thought of the mix of kids in her class and in Melissa’s and she knew that the future could be bright. No one had tried to say she didn’t have a right to be in that school, or acted interested in who her ancestors were, but they had been interested in who she was and where she had moved from. They wanted to know what she did and wore and liked.” 
― Dixie Dawn Miller GoodeDouble Time: On The Oregon Trail
learning to bowl with grandpa's band camp kids

the peace filled harbor

the fires around Oregon and northern California are painting our skies and dimming the sun

 August isn't more than 2/3 of the way through but it is already a confusing mix of hateful news and smoke-full skies, so that as the eclipse approaches I am left wondering if anyone can see clearly. That is when I look at the children and realize they CAN. We see the social media and the fear and the world wide upheaval. My granddaughter sees the blackberries ripening and the sun looking red and the flowers blooming and that her normally cool-busy family suddenly has lots of time for snuggles. I used to be more aware of the good people. Sometimes I don't hear enough voices reminding us that we share a beautiful world. So today, that is the voice I want to speak with.
baked pancake and free berries from the yard

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Have you been loving summertime?

 Many of my past posts have dealt with how sick my brother, Lance Miller has been for the last two years as he battled an abdominal infection that started in his bladder and pretty much dominated his life ever since.  I didn't get to see him during that time, as we live on opposite sides, opposite coasts the continental USA.
 This summer, I got to go back to visit him, just as he was getting strong enough to have the feeding tube removed and be able to get out and play a bit. My husband came with me, and we also saw my Mom, and my other Brother and his wife and some of his kids.  A family re-union, in a place my husband had never been, as we also met up with one of my best friends from high school, and toured some of the Washington DC area sights.

 I had to touch the Washington Memorial, up close and personal.

 Then when it was time to fly back to the Pacific Coast, summer was far from over and my husband's sister was bringing her family to explore our redwood coast.
 We went hiking in Fern Canyon, where Jurassic Park's Lost World was filmed

 and to visit Paul Bunyan and Babe at Trees of Mystery. See my granddaughter clinging to his boot like a lump of chewed gum?

 we went swimming in the Smith river, and petted sharks at Ocean World

 And the granddaughter made a new friend in Belle at the local library
 We tore out the old carpet and put in new, and a new bed as both were twenty years or more
 and took the killing to play outdoors and indoors every chance we got.

 The only thing I haven't done much of is writing. Writing and teaching, the stuff of the school year, and it's coming right around the corner, and going to arrive soon
but for now, I still get to play.