Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Big Lazy Dog

An Ancient Blickensderfer

One of the very first electric typewriters

I'm excited about my own family history, but I wasn't sure if it was interesting to anyone else until today. My grandfather invented the electric typewriter, and now that Dad is moving to our house, we had to find a place for his 20 antique typewriters. I found a great website online that bought antique typewriters for lots of money, but Dad would have none of it. So I Googled "typewriter museum" and got a list. They were all over the U.S., but one was in Ventura!!! So I called the Ventura County Historical Museum, and they came out today to look at our collection. Before she came, I had no idea how she would react. What if she said "Well, we're really not interested." What if our treasure was treated like items being picked over at a garage sale? I needn't have worried. The woman oohed and aaahed and almost jumped up and down. She made all the appropriate responses that made my heart sing. We have the original patent from the patent office, and old pictures, pay stubs, and ads that turns out are valuable by themselves. She was a little unsure how to tie it all to Ventura County, even though I was a resident. After all, I've only lived here 20 years, and my grandfather never lived here. Then when I mentioned I was a Pinkerton, (a long-time Ventura County ranching family),  it was as if she had struck gold. "Oh, we know your family's history backwards and forwards. " So, I think they're going to take all the beautiful machines and take good care of them. Very rarely do I get a chance to make someone happy by checking something off my list, so I'm thrilled. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

I'm Thankful for a Four-Day Weekend

I'm so weird. I can wallow like Eyore one minute, and the next feel quite Piglet-ish. One minute I'm incredibly sad about my nephew dying, and the next minute I'm realizing how much fun the weekend is. 

On Saturday I celebrated our mutual February birthdays in San Clemente with my friend who is like a mother to me. We had lunch at a fancy restaurant on the water in Dana Point. It was great to talk for hours about our lives, our faith, and to straighten her out on the fact that the teacher's union is NOT what is making education terrible in California. 

Then I went on to San Diego, and got to eat at my FAVORITE restaurant (the Persian one). It was Valentine's Day and Molly and I fit right in because all the people in the restaurant were same-sex couples celebrating their relationship. (Kelly lives in a very ecclectic neighborhood.) Although Kelly is living in Northern California now, she flew in that night for a job interview and to play the Wii at her San Diego house. 

Molly reminded me of the time Brenna was about five and announced "ALL roads lead SOMEWHERE." Yes, they do. But not always where you want to go. Molly, kept saying "I know where I'm going. I know where I'm going." And this was technically true. She just didn't know how to GET there. Molly has many amazing talents. One of which is that she can roll out of bed and look prettier than someone who has spent an hour trying to make themselves presentable for the day. 

We also ate breakfast at Mystic Mocha, the hippy coffee place near Kelly's house.  I love, love, love Mystic Mocha. I love the toys from the sixties displayed all over the restaurant, and the way people don't drive to it--they walk from the surrounding neighborhood. They often bring their dogs, and there is a huge glass jar of biscuits for their canine friends. But the best part is the most incredible muffins in the world. It was hard to choose between the pumpkin white chocolate chip pecan one, or the Mexican chocolate banana nut one. Yum! Then we went to Molly's church. Flood. (Why do churches all have non-church names now? Reality, The River, The Rock, The Bridge.) Next up: Korean Barbecue. A great quote from Kelly looking at the lunch menu: "Octoupus really isn't good the next day." Even though eating is one of her greatest talents, (She will try anything new.), Kelly has lost a lot of weight and is a mere shadow of herself. I hope she gets this job as a bilingual kindergarten teacher in San Diego. Obviously, there is NO ONE better qualified, but will they be able to see that in the 15 minute interview? I missed Jim and Brenna being with us, but I had a fabulous time with two of my girls. 

Molly and Kelly at Mystic Mocha

Friday, February 13, 2009

Into Thin Air

I read Into Thin Air, a book about the disaster on Mount Everest that left 14 people dead, and I can't stop thinking about it. Although my life is not as engrossing and suspenseful and well-writtten, it does have some paralells. I am surrounded by death. I went 30 years without having anyone close to me die, and  then in the past two years I've had a dear friend, a brother, my mom, and my dog pass away. Just yesterday my 28 year old nephew died, leaving behind two children and a grief-stricken family. I feel like I'm grieving a new grief every other minute. There are two kinds of people who climb Mt. Everest: serious mountaineers who have lots of training and practice climbing tall mountains in high altitudes, and rich tourists who pay lots of money to have guides take them on a big adventure. The first group has saved forever and trained arduously to accomplish a once-in-a-lifetime dream. They are prepared and equipped and organized. The second group wants a thrill, and they might not have trained as much as they should have. They might not have brought enough oxygen or they don't have the experience to be able to make good decisions when disaster strikes. When danger strikes, the experienced climbers must choose to either help those who are in such deep trouble that they could lose their lives, or try to make it to the top and fulfill their own dreams. I am the organized type. I plan, I have back-up solutions for back-up solutions. I don't overspend, I don't get drunk, I don't wait until the last minute. I ask for help long before I am desperate. But there are a lot of people in my life who don't make good choices and don't plan, and I am left loaning them my last oxygen bottle. The administrative things I do make me think I can control my life. But I'm climbing this mountain, and I keep getting jerked off my feet by someone at the other end who has fallen into a crevasse. And if I were not an arrogant, self-absorbed person I would follow my faith better when it tells me to "bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please yourself." (Romans 15) I think God is saying, "It's not about getting to the top. It's about the journey. It's about helping others along the way, and it's about life's experiences (difficult as they are) making you a holier person. It's not about YOU and YOUR goals. It's about ME and how I'm working out my purposes through you and conforming you to be like me." And I really really want to live with that attitude, but these blinding snowstorms and avalanches keep knocking me over.