Happy Birthday, Phyllis May

Today is my Grandma’s birthday, so I thought I’d post what I wrote to say at her memorial service earlier this year. My Grandma was wonderful at making people feel special on their birthdays, and I know we’re all missing her as we head into the holidays, a time of year she really made shine.

Happy birthday, Grandma.

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When I was thinking about what I wanted to say today, I realized I had so many stories of my grandma, I would have to narrow it down by picking a theme. 

I could talk about how creative she was, I could talk about the things she loved to do. I could talk about her sense of humor – very quick-witted, surprising, and just a little bit mischievous. 

Thinking of all these things, who she was and what she taught me, I decided the best thing I could talk about is something I’m sure everyone here can relate to. My Grandma is someone who could make people feel special, and she certainly did that for me. 

The first time my grandma laid eyes on me is a story I heard often enough that it almost feels like a memory I have myself. It was snowy, in the middle of the night, and she had driven all the way into northeast Portland to meet me, the day after Christmas. 

When she picked me up and looked into my eyes, she was struck by this feeling that I had her eyes, and we formed this connection that I like to think we share to this day. 

She also shared with me her creativity, and taught me to paint flowers and seagulls, how to draw a face in proportion. She was the first ever person to buy my art when I was little and decided to sell poorly drawn ballerinas for ten cents each. I was so excited to have found this new income that I started mass production, hoping to get rich. 

She shared her interests and curiosity with me, always asking what I’ve been up to and insisting that by giving me her vintage clothes or loaning me a pretty necklace for a school dance she would be living vicariously through me. The dress I’m wearing today is one she gave me when I was in high school. It came with a pair of cork heeled red pumps that fell apart as I was walking to class. She thought that was pretty funny. 

She shared with me–for better or worse–her sense of humor. There are probably hours we’ve spent laughing about the oddest things that honestly you can’t explain without their losing all meaning. Jokes about matching tattoos we might get, and where. Or how tickled she was to be called a “badass grandma” by my brothers. 

She was such a generous woman to share with so much with me. Our blue eyes. Our love of Birkenstocks. Our middle names.

I was lucky to know her, to have grown up next door to her. And I feel honored she saw so much of herself in me. 

When we would talk about what I’d been up to lately, she had a habit of saying she wished she could join me. It gave me this feeling I must be living some fabulous and wild life that she admired, and it always made me feel like I must be doing something right. 

That’s how special, and how important my grandma could make people feel. 

Like leaving notes from a “secret pal” for my brother Charlie to find in my mom’s car. Or baking 27 different types of cookies at Christmas time to share with people she loved. If you visited her, she would laugh at your stories and make sure you felt welcome and insist you get a drink and a treat. 

She’s someone I admired and someone I wanted to grow up to be. Now I hope to live up to that legacy.

I want to take in and remember everything she’s taught me, to live the type of life she would approve of, and to share her stories to remind myself where I came from. 

I’ll do my best to be the kind of woman, sister, wife, and friend she showed me by example to be. 

Grandma, we love you. 

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A very good weekend.

I managed to fit a lot of my favorite summertime activities into the last 24 hours:

Drive-n movie theater

Food carts

Ride the OHSU tram

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Milwaukie farmer’s market

Get someone a birthday present

Visit the dog park

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Sleeping in

Time in the hammock

Yard work

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Visit the rebuilding center

Learn to cook on a charcoal grill

Thrift shop

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Buffalo wings

Dinner date

Sunset beers

I guess it’s okay with me that this is the last weekend of August. Now that the deck project is done, I’m working to get the most out of my remaining summer.

Portland Bridge Pedal

Continuing the recounting of my many adventures this summer, I thought it would be fitting to share my photos from the Portland Bridge Pedal, especially because the  Tilikum Crossing is now officially opened!
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Every year, thousands of cyclists in Portland get together to disrupt all bridge traffic in the area for one epic bike ride. This year, the Davis family joined in the fun.
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A Smith Rock Adventure

Travel Oregon is doing a state-wide bike scavenger hunt called 7 Bikes for 7 Wonders–and if you find the bike, you keep it! Aside from being a beautifully executed campaign (I mean just look at this video), these bikes are amazing, and it’s been a great excuse to get out into nature.

All that to say, Kyle and I packed up the dog and went to Smith Rock in search of a bike last week. Here’s the photo evidence:

The Crew geared up for our adventures

The Crew geared up for our adventures

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Words for the Holiday Season

Welp, we made it. It’s the end of December, and all that’s left to do is wrap up a few loose ends for the year, then settle into some quality time with friends and family. I have a lot to look forward to in the next 11 days I have off—family in town, my birthday, a first Christmas as married people (and maybe more importantly, a certain puppy’s first Christmas north of the border), sleeping in and movies and cooking and reading.

Here are a couple new words I learned today (after falling into a Wikipedia rabbit hole) that I want to keep in mind:

Hygge:

A Danish word (pronounced “hYOOguh“?) often translates to “cozy” — though it connotes much more. From what I gather, it means something like “fireplace warmth with candles and family and friends and food, tucked under blankets on a snowy day, cup-of- coffee conversation, scarf-snuggle, squiggly, warm baby love.” Or something like that.
Read more at this NPR article, here.

Gemütlichkeit

A German word meaning “a space or situation that is warm and cozy, that induces a cheerful mood and peace of mind, without a need to hurry or worry, and with a connotation of belonging and social acceptance”

Read more about both Hygge and Gemütlichkeit here.

 

Here's a picture I took up at Timberline Lodge this past weekend. It's such a cozy, warm place to curl up by a fire and have some hot cocoa.

Here’s a picture I took up at Timberline Lodge this past weekend. It’s such a cozy, warm place to curl up by a fire and have some hot cocoa. I’m also glad this family wasn’t creeped out by my snapping this picture.

I managed to sneak in a trip to Peacock Lane before the holidays! I loved the fact that there were TWO houses featuring Star Wars memorabilia.

I managed to sneak in a trip to Peacock Lane before the holidays! I loved the fact that there were TWO houses featuring Star Wars memorabilia.

This little cuddle puddle took place right after we took our holiday card photos. I love these two ridiculous creatures!

This little cuddle puddle took place right after we took our holiday card photos. I love these two ridiculous creatures!

Osa rocks her Christmas sweater! I can't wait to see how much she loves watching people tear into giftwrap!

Osa rocks her Christmas sweater! I can’t wait to see how much she loves watching people tear into giftwrap!

This is the photo we used for our first ever Pratuch Family Christmas Card. I'm lucky to have these two, and especially lucky to have such a patient husband, willing to dress up in silly sweaters and pose with our silly dog.

This is the photo we used for our first ever Pratuch Family Christmas Card. I’m lucky to have these two, and especially lucky to have such a patient husband, willing to dress up in silly sweaters and pose with our silly dog.

 

Here’s wishing all of you a safe and happy Holiday!

Osa Update!

…or really just an excuse to dump a bunch of pictures of her on the blog.

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She’s a sweetheart, and starting to teeth. Training her with Kyle has been an exercise in patience (towards her) and communication (between us). We’ve enrolled in puppy classes, and she’s gone through all her shots, so we’re pretty excited to get her out and about in the world–and hopefully behaving herself.