Sunday, August 19, 2007

Farewell, Ila Ashenhurst Fowler

It's the end of an era. My beautiful, sweet grandmother passed away Friday. She was a lovely lady who lived for my grandpa George, who preceded her in death 16 years ago. Her days since then were filled with longing for the man she loved. She wanted to go. It made us sad to hear her say so, but it was true.

I am so grateful to have spent time with her this year twice. In February, dad and I besieged upon her overgrown flowerbeds to weed and replant. The Coronado Flower Show society made the neighborhood rounds and gave her a red ribbon, the first in many years (she used to have ribbons every year!). It made me happy this year she could look out the window with a little help and see pretty flowers from her bedroom out back, too.

The kids enjoyed visits with me to Coronado to see her, and Ila loved her great grandsons, all five of them (two of them mine). They liked giving her hugs, visiting her at the side of her comfy chair, and chatting. They delighted in using the lemons from her tree to make lemonade.

The house that has always been the place of our abundant, extended family holidays will eventually be sold, but the memories within will live forever. Grandma made elaborate feasts. My brother, cousin and I used to do after-dinner skits in the living room for her and the family. Grandma sewed clothes for us from her machine when we were little. The Christmas tree, ornaments culled from generations, glowed in the bay window. The guest room closet was stuffed with gorgeous beaded gowns, suits and stoles she wore decades ago as the put-together wife of a career marine. I can still smell her Estee Lauder "Youth Dew" perfume and see the vibrance of her bright blue eyes. The memories flood in. I keep crying.

She saw me through college and funded my tuition and books, etc. I got As and she didn't want me to struggle. Ever. I worked my way through at the same time, of which she was proud. She was beaming the day I graduated, and came out to Hawaii to celebrate the commencement--already 80 then and a bit unsteady on her dainty, impossibly narrow feet. She loved me--us--so much and I her.

What a rich, full life she lived to make it to 92. I will miss her terribly, but I am relieved she has returned to the love of her life. I know they're celebrating their reunion somewhere while I weep these happy and sad tears.

Friday, August 17, 2007


Tonight I'll be host mom to four cute nine year old boys, one of whom is my son, celebrating a slightly belated birthday sleepover. Zach is very excited. We have cupcakes. Balloons. Mad libs. A silly movie. Popcorn. Sleeping bags in the living room. It is all good.

I love being a mom.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My four days of poison: fluoroquinolones

Antibiotics. They can be fantastic--easing the pain and infection caused by bacteria coursing its way through your organs. My Friday diagnosis warranted such medicines, an aggressive dose of two diff meds. One of them made me sicker than when I came to the doctor in the first place. By Monday, I was told: abort the meds stat!

I was already allergic to penicillin, as are my two boys. Hives and swelling. This "new" (to me) class of antibiotic, in the fluoroquinolone category, nearly turned me into a 90-yr-old, tweaked out, rampantly arthritic, fucking nutcase in three days time. I was having an allergic reaction, a rare case I'm told, but classic to the adverse symptons if and when.

After 48 hours since my last dose, the haze in my head is finally lifting. The tingling in my fingertips is less and I can type better. Fluid behind my eyes subsiding. My arms can extend with less joint pain. I can chop vegetables a with less pain. I still have horrible shin splints, like I ran a marathon with no training! I'm still nesting--my behavior totally changed--where I was gonna jump outta my skin with ADD--attending to this n that but not sticking to any one task. I slept through my first night in days. Life is going to be okay again.

I can't wait til this drug is all out of my system!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Thoroughly Deer-itated

The honeymoon is over. My awe and "awwww" of having the deer in my driveway is more tired than long tunics under cropped tops. Done!

Just last Sunday I purchased a lovely billowing flowerbasket draping with a couple feet of trailing petunias. Pink and red blossoms, all cheery and bright. I hung it in the driveway at the roadside from the lamppost on premise.

Yesterday morning Zach and I set off to collect blackberries to make breakfast tarts. I pass the basket and my first thought was, gosh, I know it's early but the flowers shouldnt be hiding. So I get closer on the basket, about 4-ft high from the ground, and see ripped stems eaten clear to the perimeter of the flowerpot.

The injustice! Man...what am I supposed to do, buy a blooming cactus instead?!

Deeritated is the word of the day.

PS I have clipped a deer while I was driving, totally by accident, and maybe this is payback!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Arrivederci, Ferrara

In the Vashon Beachcomber, we read about the soon-to-be demise of the swanky Italian-Judaic restaurant, Ferrara, which occupies the coveted corner location of Vashon Hwy and Bank Road. Tsk tsk tsk.

Just two weeks ago, my son Alex and I had a lovely meal there. Seriously! It was the BEST service of any restaurant on the island, with perfect staging of the courses, and gorgeous food in just the right portions. It wasn't cheap, but dollar for dollar, it was a good value with the experience and execution. I was sold and looking forward to returning. Technically, they've not even made it two years.

People speculated it was too snooty a restaurant. That's crap. The owner said "it takes a certain kind of customer Vashon didn't have." THAT IS CRAP. Do you know how much MONEY is on this island?! Sick amounts.

Our PR firm was actually one originally asked to pitch the restaurant for representation. Another firm got it. They succeeded in very good Seattle daily placements with nice features. They did great. My hat's off to them. The problem is, getting someone from Seattle, Tacoma or Kitsap Cty to ferry over is going to take more than a dinner out. It has to be sold as a destination with several experiences of the island.

I contend (as I shoot PR in the foot--only in this case!) those marketing dollars would have been better allocated to direct mail and influencer marketing ON THE ISLAND. This was in our pitch to them by the way, in addition to editorial pursuits.

In other words, mail out an offer of FREE food, during slower days, just to get butts in seats. Package cocktail and nosh parties for eight for $x; hype up the booze and move that bar seating against the window and for GOD SAKE lift the blinds for conspicuous consumption to the street. We're all attention whores, really, just look across the street at The Hardware Store.

I am sorry to see this wonderful restaurant go. It kicked ass, despite the fact that it didn't serve PORK. -h

Monday, August 06, 2007

What do shampoo and mayo have in common?

Unilever, baby!

Two days ago I made myself a nice treat for dinner: my favorite little sliced steak sandwiches on sliced rustic rolls, with a slather of Best Foods mayo and Heinz catsup. (Don't tell me you're one of those Miracle Whip people. I've tasted lard that's got a better flavor than that crap.)

Anyway, I noticed the little montage -U- logo in the fine print when putting the mayo away in the fridge. Huh. I remember it as Hellman's.

This morning, while showering and sudsing the hair, I spot the same curly -U- on my bottle of shampoo. Conspiracy! Corporate domination! Unilever is putting creamy things in plastic containers that go IN and ON humans.

Now all I can think of is one big LEVER, pulled down by a worker in some factory with the splooey du jour making a SPLOOSH noise and being bottled and hauled to grocery stores.

There was a time when I used to freelance and they were hiring for a copywriter, and the ad said, "must be able to write for a variety of products for our catalog," but it was in BFE Minnesota and I wasn't having that.

It makes me want to make my own mayo, and hit the farmers market where the local farmer makes homemade lavender tinctures and shampoos. I'm feeling dirty!