Remembering Grandpa

It’s been a difficult week for our family. My grandpa passed away on Monday, at home. He was so happy to finally be back in his familiar surroundings. He never really made a very good sick patient. It’s hard to imagine him in the hospital at all. I’m so happy he was surrounded by family, friends, and even military colleagues during his last weeks. We are grieving and trying to focus on the positive, remembering what an incredible life he led.

Grandpa fought in World War II and in Korea. He is still affectionately referred to as “The Colonel.”

In Korea, one of the soldiers in his unit made this sign. They were “Wimpee’s Warriors” – under the leadership of my grandpa, Second Lieutenant Wimpee (and you’ll never see any of these men make a joke about our last name!) If you’d like to see what an impression he made in the Marines, read this website in memorial to him.

He never told many “war” stories, but did have many funny stories to tell about all of his travels and experiences in his life. It’s only because of the stories other people have told that I know what an outstanding military career he had. Always modest, it seems he found interesting and positive things to say about even the most difficult of life’s situations.

Although I remember Grandpa always having a mustache, this photo is proof that wasn’t always the case. This is my dad getting his Ph.D. in 1984 (I’m the little one on the right).

Grandpa loved to sail and had many adventures with my dad on various sailboats. This is the last sailboat he owned, and he gave it to my dad a few years ago. He named it “the Carolee,” after his parents, Carol and Lee.

I’m so happy that as an adult I had so many opportunities to spend time with my grandparents. In the fall of 2004, they came to Connecticut for a Marine Corps reunion, so I drove up to meet them.

Seth and I made it out to the Bay area on more than one occasion, and Grandpa was always the best tour guide (here we are on Lombard Street), although Grandma always teased him about driving “like a bat outta hell.” Don’t let that handicap sign fool you!

Grandpa was also a successful engineer and could build or fix anything. He helped my dad make the arch for my sister’s wedding in October 2005.

They would work so late on the project they needed spotlights to see what they were doing!

At Monica’s wedding…

…and at my wedding in December 2006.

I took this picture last July when Seth and I were visiting northern California.

I think it was that particular trip that I had a sandal come apart while staying at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. My grandpa, the engineer and colonel, and winner of a silver star, spent an afternoon with his fancy equipment to put my silly little silver sandal back together. Special glue and C clamps and some delicate workmanship made it better than ever. That was how Grandpa was: he would do anything you’d ask (or even not ask) in order to help out or fix a problem. And such a banal “problem” it was, but the amount of care he put into this small act of fixing a girl’s shoe was proof of how much he loved all of us. I wish I could wear those sandals still: the second one broke, just as the first one did, but I didn’t get the chance to ask Grandpa to fix it.

Showered

My sisters, Monica and Laura, organized an outdoor co-ed baby shower for us on July 5th, while we were visiting family in Wisconsin. What a blast! It was a Mexican fiesta theme, which meant the most delicious home-made salsas, fajitas, burritos, and my favorite, guacamole. It was a great opportunity to see old friends from growing up, and to celebrate a growing family. Seth’s parents and sister, Renée even made it from Ohio, so we were particularly spoiled!

Monica made the flower arrangements.

My mom and aunt Barbie did a lot of prep work under Stella’s surveillance.

Laura was in charge of a lot of the food (like the fajitas, above), and made the delicious guacamole.

It was fun to have Granny’s Queen Ann chairs outside!

Monica organized a Name-That-Tune-style game where each song had the word “baby” in the title. She also had a stack of blank onesies and fabric pens so that guests could decorate one for the baby. Always thinking ahead, she got sizes from 3 to 18 months so that the baby will have hand-decorated mementos for over a year.

The finished product… (and a hand-made blanket crocheted by my aunt Marge Ann)

Oh my! Look at this! I’ll have to take some pictures and share some close-ups of the hand-made items. We are set for a while, and what a wonderful way to connect with our friends and family in the Midwest while getting ready for the baby.  We are fortunate to have such generous and talented friends. Come visit any time!

It’s starting to come together…

After a wonderful shower that completely spoiled us (which I will blog about soon!) and a trip to Ikea, we’re closing in on being ready for CraftyBaby’s arrival. We hope to be living proof that a young family of three can live in under 400 square feet!

Our “wall of Leksvik” includes: an armoire for all of Seth’s clothes, a changing table/chest for baby’s clothes & blankets (the changing table attachment is sitting on top of the armoire for now), and a bookshelf/cabinet for baby’s books and toys. My closet is built-in and to the right of the cupboard. The crib ?? a family heirloom that has been used for every generation since my maternal grandfather was born in 1920 ?? will be in the bedroom as well, which I’ll photograph as soon as it gets here. It’s being completely refinished and refitted with extra slats to conform to today’s safety standards.

So one room is done, and we’re just waiting on a couch and a rocking chair for room number 2!

Thinking of Grandpa

My grandpa has been in the hospital for a couple of weeks now, and although things were looking up, there are new concerns about his health.

We’re thinking of you, Grandpa, and sending you all our love.


Grandpa, the Colonel, in a July 4th parade last year.


At Chirstmas Dinner, 2007.


A talented artist, Grandpa can make the most life-like drawings. We hope he’ll be drawing again soon!

Saying Goodbye


In the window of our first Paris apartment. Taken by Lily on our last day in Paris, June 14, 2008.

We left Paris in mid-June and I haven’t had the chance to update my blog until now. My apologies! Despite the heat, New York has been treating us well. The internet is hooked up, we have a bed as of this morning, and the a/c is installed and working. Whew! What more does one need?

Saying goodbye to Paris was bittersweet. We are excited about starting a new chapter in New York and with a baby, but it was hard to leave our old life ?? and especially our dear friends ?? behind. Getting a sofa bed is a top priority so that we can have plenty of visitors in the coming months!

The following is my farewell ode to Paris, in pictures.


Eiffel Tower, View from Montmartre


Typical Candy Stand


Art Deco Fountain in the Latin Quarter


Our Apartment (the windows facing the viewer)


Successful Flowerbox Geranium Revival


The Ile de la Cité, view from the Right Bank


Luxembourg Gardens


The Métro


Flower Shop on Rue Monge, just around the corner from our apartment


Place de la Contrescarpe


Luxembourg Gardens Statue


Honorary French Supporter duirng the Rugby World Cup