10 Days in Bend

Thanks mainly to Paul and Milena, we were in Bend from June 29 through July 8, 2007, staying mostly at Noah and Sabrina’s house. The Parsons came for both weekends, Vange and Megan came from Tuesday through Sunday, and I was there with them the whole time. It was a really good vacation for me, and I got to know Eva like I hadn’t had a chance to before. We saw some houses for sale, hiked along the Deschutes River.
Click here for the Amiglia album Bend June-July 2007
Click here for the Picasa album Bend June-July 2007

Christopher’s First Soccer

I went over to Laura’s house today to pick them up and take Christopher to his soccer “practice,” a combination of babysitting and tutoring and friendly happy activity, with Christopher and three three-year-old girls and a very nice “coach” named Amy. He kicked the ball sometimes, and paid attention sometimes, and generally acted like a three-year-old kid.

It was fun. We went to Jerry’s for a hot dog afterwards.

Mom’s Garden

June 23, 2007

Note to Vange:

I’m very sorry I haven’t been more supportive and appreciative through the years. There’s no denying to anybody that our garden is your achievement, yours alone, and wow, what a beautiful garden it is. I know I don’t do any part of it, but I do really enjoy it, I am so glad it is our house, and I’m grateful to you and proud of you for how beautiful it has become.

I do remember how far it’s come too. When we arrived here in 1992, there was a scruff patch of lawn in the front, the stone wall divider was there, the hedges — hooray — were there and the apple trees that were beautiful for years but eventually caused you so much trouble. Other than that, weeds.

Chad Greenberg’s year with us was a good start. The fence in the back was vital. The extra walkway, the new paving in the back, around the side, the lights in the garden. So many years ago, but that was a big step up.

Little by little, you did it. The gardener who cared about weed much more than weeds, the parade of gardeners who didn’t cut it, getting the dirt, getting the plants. There were all those days trolling the nurseries. The days with Kyle King, and Jane whatever-her-name was, and Marcelino and Juan.

There was also the occasional fight with the neighbor below us. And the moles. Remember the summers that Megan and I spent half a day here and there trying to persuade the moles to leave? The struggles to water in the summer and the disappointments when sprinklers failed in 2003, we came back from vacation and trees had tied. The struggle with the city to protect the back hedge.

Remember also when Megan was in third grade and one of her friends’ parents came to the door, and, presumably just to be nice, and asked Megan how her family kept the lawn so nice. “A man comes who does it,” Megan answered.

Two nights ago I got home around dusk, and it was just plain amazing. What a spectacle. I got my camera and took some of the pictures here. But they were a reminder that, beautiful as the garden is, it is best with the people.

How about those beautiful garden moments, like Sabrina’s wedding and the brunch the next day, or the three Lauras’ birthday in 2000. The summer afternoons we’d spend with the deck and the barbecue. The first summer when the garden was full of yellow jackets. Megan’s birthday party on the deck. Megan and Beba in the garden on a hot summer day. Remember when Paul used to play with the slider with Megan. Remember the “mensa” story? The days Sabrina and Noah and their friends played badminton, and, more recently, Megan’s friends from Stanford when they came? How about when we filled up the wading pool on a particularly hot summer day, filling it first with water and then with baby grandsons.

Nowadays I remember the garden every day, I never take the walk down from the back where I park down the walkway to the house without breathing in the garden. I love it in when it’s warm and rich and full of color, the bright greens and Spring or summer flowers against the dark blue sky, but I also love it when it’s cold and rainy and gray, still a richness and a reminder of home as home.

And there was also the beginning, when the back yard was nothing much more than dirt divided into two levels. The stone wall was there when we got here, and the back hedge and some apple trees that are gone now, but not much else.

Big Enough to Fit us All

Laura and Vange and Christopher finished moving in today. As Vange, exhausted but satisfied, was leaving, said “Christopher, I love your new house.”

Christopher said the new house is “bigger” than the old one.

Vange and Laura looked at each other, confused. How could the 2-bedroom apartment possibly be bigger than the old one?

“Why?” Laura asked Christopher.

“Because everybody fits,” Christopher answered.