Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Way to Go, Diana!

When we got home from Canada, we picked up our mail from our neighbor.

Diana had been invited & interviewed for a pretty big scholarship just before the prom.

She got a letter from the Ford Family Foundation while we were gone.

It was a thanks-no-thanks letter, letting her know she should apply again next year, but they'd selected all their recipients. (She took it better than I did).

Then today, she got a call from the FFF, saying that someone had declined their scholarship, and she was the first alternate! So did she still want it? Diana gave them a very enthusiastic YES!

We don't have the details yet, but we should find out soon exactly how much it's for, whether it's enough for her to be able to attend the University of Oregon, and whether it's renewable. We should be getting something in the mail soon.

I was really surprised this happened. It's like a miracle.

I'm gonna think we had a little help from above on this...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Video Tribute to my Dad

My sister Connie worked with the Springfield Funeral Home to put this together.

A Video of Wolfgang Vetter's life

It runs about 7 minutes.

Thanks, Connie.

A Cognitive Leap

Lee & I have found that Connor learns best through life experiences. Not just about that particular thing that he's experiencing, but he seems to create new pathways in his brain when things are different from normal. We try to get him out to different places to do different things as much as possible.

He's a pretty smart little guy. On the way up to Canada last Thursday, we decided to drive up along the 97, which is the inland route. So just before Portland, we headed east, along the Columbia river. Connor panicked a bit, he was sure we were going somewhere else and we wouldn't get to have the "flying car" over the bridge. We told him what was going on, but he wasn't sure about it. It wasn't until we crossed over the Columbia at the Dalles that he was really okay again. Then there was new scenery to watch, and he was fine. In fact, only Connor and I are completely awake when we do these 12-14 hour drives. Everyone else snoozes here & there in the car but us.

We used the idea of transformation to help Connor understand why my dad isn't around anymore. Connor has always been interested in things turning into something else, whether it's in a Disney movie (like in the Little Mermaid, where the evil Ursula erupts out of her disguise into her many-tentacled real body) or if it's a life cycle of a frog (Connor sings about the frog laying eggs, eggs turns into a tadpole, tadpole turns into a frog - like a transformation!).

Lee and I both spoke with Connor about Opa's transformation. He left his body behind, and transformed into "like an angel" (a soul was too hard to describe) and now he's in Heaven. We won't see him here anymore because once you get to Heaven, you can't come back to visit.

I was actually looking for a book to help Connor visualize this - there's one called Waterbugs & Dragonflies that describes the transformation and helps young kids understand that when we are all the waterbugs, we can't see anything beyond our pond. Once we transform to dragonflies, there's a huge new world out there, but we can't come back into the pond anymore.

Connor did very well at the memorial for my dad. He stayed nice and quiet through all the readings & did well with the reception afterward. He had a Captain Underpants book to read. He got that people were sad, and he even dabbed a hanky at his eyes during the service, although I did not see him cry. He's pretty empathetic though, and I could see he knew this was a 'big' thing.

Once we were all home again, my mom was resting in her room with Connie & me. Connor was playing in between the beds (they were pushed together). Out of the blue, Connor asked, "Why is Opa dead?"

This was the first time I've ever heard him ask a "why" question. Who, what, when, where are a lot more concrete & easier to point out. "Why" is much more abstract and takes a better cognitive understanding of language that we hadn't seen from Connor before.

Lee & I realized we hadn't addressed why Opa had died. We wanted Connor to be aware that he was gone, but we didn't go into the details.

So Omi told him that Opa was very sick, and he couldn't get better, so he died. Connor said, "Go to the doctor. The doctor will fix it." Omi explained that Opa was too old, and the doctor couldn't make him better anymore. Connor then said, "Opa was very brave." (Lee had told Connor he was brave when he got his foot stitched up).

I reiterated that Opa did the transformation to like an angel, and then Connor went back to playing between the bed.

He never once asked where Opa was, and he didn't look for him anywhere.

So we think he got it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

After the Memorial

Omi & all her grandchildren.

We had to take photos while we were all dressed up.

Luckily, the make-up didn't run too badly.
Mikael, Connie, Catherine & Aaron.
Cole, Carolyn, Kaleigh & Carl.
Lee, Connor, Diana, Tina & Trevor.
This is the photo we had at the memorial, which the frame shop so nicely framed up for us in a day. My dad was a regular customer of theirs & they did a great job.

The flowers on the right are from Mom & Pop, Donna & Jim. My mom liked the red roses in there - they made her think of the three daughters. The ones on the left were the arrangement through the funeral home.

My Dad

On May 16th, my dad passed away after a long battle with cancer. He was 80 years old and in his 50th year of marriage with my mom.

We weren't able to tell the kids right away - it was the day before Diana's prom, and Trevor is hard to reach at school, so we told them both on Sunday.

Trevor took the train in to Eugene on Wednesday and then we drove up on Thursday. We spent Friday with my family, and Saturday was the memorial.

It was well attended and many people spoke about how my dad had affected their lives. There were a lot of really nice things said about how much he was respected and admired by all who knew him.

My sister, Connie, and my mom did a beautiful job of putting the whole thing together - music, slide show and flowers. The funeral home was lovely and welcoming. I haven't attended many memorials, really, but this was an exceptional service.

I got a copy of the slide show on DVD, and Lee is figuring out how to post it so that our family and friends who weren't able to attend can also see it. I will do a permanent link on the right when we have that figured out.

I am grateful for the last year, and the amount of time I got to spend with my dad. My parents came down to us last June to see their first grandchild graduate high school. My dad was really happy he was well enough to do the drive, and felt so good at that time. Our family got to visit again in August, although my dad was in the hospital the whole time we were there. Diana did get to bring in the laptop and show him the photos from her trip to Germany. I brought either Trevor or Diana with me daily to visit, and Connor and Lee got to visit as well.

In October, I met Carolyn in Portland and we drove up to visit again for my dad's 80th birthday. He was home, but in bed for most of that time, but we still got time to talk and laugh with him then. Even though he wasn't feeling great, he was able to visit with friends and enjoy their company.

Then Trevor & I visited again over Spring Break. I spent a lot of time with him then, and he really appreciated our time together.

I will be forever grateful that he wasn't alone at the hospital when he passed away. My mom & Connie were with him, holding his hands as he went - on his own time. I think it was the best way he could have gone.

My dad had a very full life. He made it through WWII, met and married my mom, and created a name for himself in Los Angeles. He was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather. I think he got a lot of happiness out of his retirement and being with his grandchildren - In his retirement, he created lovely pieces of art in stained glass & jewelry, which many of us have as momentos.

Now he is finally at peace, and his long battle is over. He is with his parents, his brother and other friends and relatives in Heaven.

I know he's in a better place, but I will miss him terribly.

Auf Wiedersehen, Papi. I love you.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Diana's recap on school today

So Diana went to school today with the new hair & contact lenses, etc.

She wore some of her new clothes as well.

The kids/teachers who hadn't seen her at the prom gave her lots of nice compliments.

The buzz around school was that her date was male model! LOL

Don't worry - she set them straight. She said all the guys had seen her, but didn't realise she had a date - the girls had all wondered who the hot guy was :P

In German class, the kids didn't want to have to do a lot of work, so they asked Diana to really take her time describing her weekend when it got to be her turn (in German). Diana talked about 20 minutes about all the stuff she did from Friday through Sunday.

She & Trae are intending to have World of Warcraft dates on Mondays, I think. Too bad he's Alliance... Still, he's got that Boy Scout thing going for him. This might go on a bit further than just the "thing." I think they are texting back & forth a bit :) Whee! You go girl!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

After Prom...

This is Diana right after the limo dropped her off, with her friend, Becki.

After dinner, Diana got to introduce Trae to all of her friends at the prom. There was a lot of good reaction to Diana's new look :) And to Trae *wink*

During a break in the dancing... Trae & Diana took a little walk together... and I'm gonna make you wait to find out what happened, but you can probably guess.

Today was the final wrap-up.
So here's Diana with Steph...

And with Jen, Krista & Eddie.

Everyone left now, and the five weeks of the 'thing' are over (until June, when Diana & Lee do a quick jaunt to NYC to do some final stuff).

We'll all see the result in July!

Saturday, May 17, 2008


What a cool experience. More will come in July!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A new favorite

Here's a link to a cartoon site. There is language occasionally, so be warned.

Here's a sample:


Myrna sent me an interesting email with a bunch of weird shoes being sold in Japan.

Diana doesn't have much to complain about with her 'normal' four-inch heels, eh?

I wonder if they wad up cotton like Connie did when she danced in toe shoes for ballet?

Diana liked these ones best, just for the confusing footprint.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

There once was a Student named Trevor,
Who thought he was rather clever.
So he wrote a poem,
and sent it home,
To the greatest mother ever.

Happy mother's day Mom!

The best part was the pretty dang positive phone call today. He's keeping up with his classes and his team in Civ class won the Concrete Frisbee competition!


Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Thong

Diana was given one today for the 'thing.'

I had to explain that the first time I ever even saw one was in "Crocodile Dundee" when that girl goes to wash her stuff in the water, and she's wearing a thong bodysuit.

Until then, I don't think I'd ever seen one.

In the 70's, we wore Dittos jeans, but I don't think the thong was invented until after I was in high school. I did know girls that just 'went without' or wore Underalls so they wouldn't have panty lines.

Thong underwear didn't come into being until the 1990's according to Wikipedia.

She was supposed to try on dresses for Prom today. I don't know if the underwear was needed for a slinky dress or what.

I think the gals were surprised at Diana's reaction.



Prayers for my dad

would be appreciated.

He's in the hospital, on morphine, and it's looking like it's getting pretty close to him going home to the Lord.

Thank you.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Sunday - going home

Okay - so she had a bit of a sunburn...

We flew San Diego to Phoenix (not my favorite, very bumpy), and then Phoenix to Eugene.

We had the most awesome flight attendant on the way home.

The first thing I noticed was that he was wearing Danskos like the kind I use for work. He knew all about the thing Diana is doing, and was thrilled to meet her.

The two of them had tons in common, and she's drawing him as a chibi here.

He was a big Anime/Manga fan, and has attended conventions & done cos-play as well. He basically spent most of the flight talking with Diana (I think he handed out the pretzels a little late) and at the end of the flight, he had her announce the final prep for the passengers on the plane using the phone.

Riki and Diana exchanged webpage info, and I'm sure they'll keep in touch. All these anime kids are like family to each other. They both cheered each other up immensely. Too funny.

Thanks for a great flight Riki! You were fantastic!

Cool Gift from Renee

Diana had to open it immediately, even though it was after midnight.

This is an oyster in a little tuna-sized can, that you open and then get out the pearl.

There's a necklace that goes with it, but I don't have a photo of that since Diana hasn't taken it off yet.

Just a way cool gift & Diana was thrilled to get a real pearl that she got out of the oyster herself!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Saturday in SD

Diana was busy all day, but Carolyn & family were able to come down to visit with me. We hung out at the hotel a while, and then headed over to Horton Plaza for some shopping. We met up with Renee & Patrick there, as well as their friend, Thomas. Thomas promised Carl a helicopter ride some time...

Carolyn was sad she'd miss seeing Diana, but she still left her a cool manga. Diana was just going to be getting back too late for a chance to see them.

We had lunch at the Karl Somethingorother brewery (thanks!) and I think the kids liked the "beach" and the pool. Thanks for driving down to visit - that was great!

In the evening, Nae and the guys came to pick me up and we went to a diner on Coronado Island. Renee was pointing out stuff along the drive, but I could barely see anything because it was NIGHT!

We got back to the hotel to wait for Diana, and sat in the Lounge so we'd be sure to see her when she got back. It wasn't until 11:30 that Diana got in, and she had a nasty sunburn. Turns out the sunblock they had was waterproof, and she is allergic to that, so she didn't use it. Oh well.

We hung out with Nae & the guys a while longer and then we headed up to the room. Diana loves the manga and the little Hello Kitty charms & stuff she got.

There's an extra post on what Nae gave her coming up...

Hello San Diego!

Diana & I got to take a trip to San Diego over the weekend for the thing.

We arrived Friday evening, and managed to hook up with Renee & Patrick. They treated us to dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe.

It was WAY FUN seeing Renee again, and meeting her guy. He is very nice and knows a lot about music & anime & other stuff, so we all had plenty of conversation going around

Thanks very much for dinner!!!

I think Nae likes San Diego very well :)

Sunday, May 04, 2008

I survived & I'm home again

I'll tell ya about it after I sleep...


Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Curse of the Thyroid

Well, the main part of the curse is over. I had a great endocronologist who used a very strong treatment on me which worked and cured my thyroid condition.

However, before I was diagnosed, I recall standing in line at Knott's at the parachute jump ride with Carolyn & my dad. I was looking up at the parachutes, and Carolyn told me to stop, because my neck looked "gross." I'm like, how does a neck look gross when you're 14?

So, we get into the little basket thing for the ride, and it goes up and all of a sudden, I get hysterical. I'm a little ball on the bottom of the basket, screaming bloody murder. It was so bad that when we came down, they let me off and Carolyn & my dad continued for the other 2 rides up & down. I had been on that ride before, as well as roller coasters, etc. without a problem.

Fast forward to the 90's. Lee & I are going to take a trip to Albuquerque to visit his sister Karen & her family for Thanksgiving. I'm petrified of flying, and I can't use my 'normal' method of dealing with valium + Irish coffee, because I have small kids. At the time, I had insurance that allowed for "mental health" and part of the benefits included counseling or hypnotherapy.

Froggy had a doctor friend that also taught self-hypnosis, so I went to see him. In figuring out my phobia of heights, he put together the thyroid condition and the onset of the phobia happened at the same time. Turns out the thyroid pushes against the pituitary gland (at least that's my best recollection), which affects emotions - like fear.

So even though the thyroid part was taken care of, I'm still left with an totally unrational fear of heights. On the plus side, I did learn the self-hypnosis technique that allows me to fly in an airplane and not have panic attacks. On the down side, I have to work at it and focus to get through it. The best thing I took away from the self-hypnosis therapy was that when I feel the fear build up, I should let it pass through me, vs. letting it take me over. The self-hypnosis helps keep the fear at bay - but sometimes it does build up anyway.

So - yeah - curse of the thyroid.