Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sibling Chronicles: Chapter Four

So even though we have had the big meltdown here in Portland--last night at bedtime it was 50 degrees, woo hoo!--I still seem to have plenty of free time to update my blog. It is so much less stressful now that the holidays are over, the snow is gone and I am not anxiously waiting for UPS packages to arrive (which never did, by the way). Joey's gifts are not even going to make it here by the last night of Hanukah (tonight). I am now boycotting UPS. Fedex and the US Postal Service delivered their packages on time. For Pete's Sake, the paper guy and the NW Natural Gas Meter Reader even made it to our house last week, but not UPS. That just doesn't seem right.

On with the blog. This Chapter of the Sibling Chronicles is dedicated to sibling #6, Byron Gene Godsey: My Dad's First Son, Hallelujah. I'm not sure if ultrasounds were around back in 1976-77, but if they were, surely Dad had started his celebration early. If not, then March 26, 1977 was a gloriously exciting day. Byron was named after Papa Nip (Byron Isanhart) and Dad himself (Loy Gene).
Everyone loved holding Byron, especially me at age 13.
I put this picture in because I think it is so
funny. Kim looks to be in a real mood.
Byron's 1st Birthday.

So, it seems, if memory serves that sometime around Byron's 2nd Birthday he contracted Spinal Meningitis. It was most devastating for the entire family. Sarah was a baby and Karen was pregnant with Betsy. Byron was rushed to Hood River General Hospital. I was a freshman in High School in Portland. His condition was so bad they did not even feel he would make it if they life-flighted him to Portland. Now that is pretty bad since it is only an hour's drive.

Tiff and I were brought in one evening when the doctors only gave him... and I am pulling off a teenage memory here, a 20% chance to make it through the night. We went to the hospital, possibly to say good-bye and he was being blessed by a bunch of men from the church. Karen was basically living at the hospital and everything was just so out of place.

I actually cannot think of a sadder moment in my life. I mean, I was devastated when my Grandparent's died, but they had lived a life... Byron had barely lived at all. And the tests they were doing on him were supposed to be some of the most painful. It just wasn't fair.

By some miracle, Byron made it through everything. He couldn't walk or talk (which of course he had been able to do before the illness), but he had the most amazing disposition and he quickly re-learned everything he had been able to do before and more, lots more.

This picture was taken on one of our summer trips to Sunriver. We had been spending our summer vacations at Neskowin on the Oregon Coast, but every year it rained, so Dad switched to Sunriver. We all rode bikes and swam and generally had a blast. This particular summer Byron was still re-learning some coordination, but nothing could ever stop that kid--he had skills.
This picture was taken at Nana & Papa's house in
Tillamook when Byron was three.
Here's a picture at the Hood River house on State Street.
The pictures are really starting to remind me of Bridget now.
This may have been taken some time around the time Byron
drove the car into Karen's freshly planted garden.
Like I said, the kid had skills--driving at three. Such good times.
Another all-time favorite.
Ahhh, and then the Godsey family moved from Oregon to Arizona and along went a bunch of my siblings with them. Byron has found a frog... and is very happy about it. That 'Dukes of Hazzard' t-shirt must be lucky.

Two more siblings arrive in Arizona. Byron is holding Ben. More boys, yay! Possibly the Golden Child will have to share his throne? As it turns out, not really.

Mesa, Arizona is one big playground where t-shirts in the winter time are standard attire.
Byron, age 9 comes to the airport to see me off when I leave Arizona for Kyoto, Japan.
Quite a trio--reminds me of Sand Lot. Hey, Byron is already wearing a Blazer's cap--and his destiny was set. Not sure about the other two and their hats...
A visit to Byron in Hawaii before he graduates and returns to civilization.

Byron and Jennifer, November 27, 2004.
And the adventure continues....

Friday, December 26, 2008

Sammy's Sledding Adventure

Sammy and his friend Austin decided to use the neighbor's steep front steps as a launching point for their sled track. Only a few minor injuries reported.

Beginner's Luck

So there are a few people that are just going to cringe when they see this post--if they see this post. Yeah, I'm talking about you, Byron and Sammy. Also, fair warning that this is not one of my normal "photo album" type blog entries. Just a couple pictures of a cute football player I know and a lot of words.

This is the overdue Fantasy Football post. Now, growing up my Dad watched a lot of sports. Really--probably every televised sport. I don't remember soccer--but maybe it wasn't televised back then. So, I liked watching sports with my Dad, especially baseball, the World Series and all that. Basketball was a favorite because we actually have the Trailblazers and they even won a Championship when I was a kid. I also liked watching tennis and golf. There were two sports, however, that I really didn't care for, and those were boxing and football. Boxing is horrible (and I still think so) and I just never could understand the intrigue of football. One year when Michael was in Law School studying 24/7, I was SO BORED I decided to watch the Super Bowl. Oh yeah, that was a good three hours totally wasted. What a horribly boring game and I'm sure they didn't have cool commercials every 5 minutes like they do now. I actually called my Dad and said what a stupid, boring game and he said "well, you can't judge football by the Super Bowl--that is usually the most mismatched worthless game of the year" and I thought: How good can this sport be if the culmination of the entire season is the worst game of the year--what is the point?

When Joey was born, my Dad gave him a stuffed football and I said: (and here is where words come back to bite you in the ass)... "no kid of mine will EVER play football".

Anyway, years passed and, of course, Joey never did play football, but as EVERYONE knows Sammy adores the sport and he begged to play from the minute he found out that when he got to 3rd grade he could play tackle football. We were told by friends that football has the best conditioning and that with all the pads and helmet and everything (and at 3rd grade) it was actually safer than baseball--and Sammy REALLY wanted to play, so I gave in.

Apparently tough football players aren't allowed to smile

Sammy played football for five years. Why did he stop? Six foot, 250 pound 7th grade linemen-- on the other team--of course. In the end, Sammy is a self preservationist and we are very happy that he is.

Meanwhile, football started to grow on me... a little. When I started watching football on TV with Sammy, I started to enjoy it a little more. Then, Andy got a GTT Fantasy Football Team up and running this past Fall. I, actually and ironically, did not make the cut of those at GTT that were invited to manage their own team (and its not like we are a big company or anything, but I digress). Sammy (The Killa Beasts) and Michael (Patent Justice) had their own teams. I quickly became interested in how the whole Fantasy Football phenomenon worked. I, of course, was rooting for Sammy. Anyway, Michael could see my growing interest in Fantasy Football and about 3 weeks into the 16 week season he asked me to help him co-Manage his team. Well, just like everything else around here, once I got involved, Michael decided I could do all the work and he would just sit back and be the silent partner. For the first couple weeks I relied heavily on Michael and Sammy to help me manage the team, but then, I realized, the whole thing is about 90% luck (Byron says 50% luck, 50% skill) but I stand firm with my 90% luck, 10% skill. And guess what.... well, we won (and its not like we had a really awesome team or anything)! So, I, someone who barely tolerated football most of my life, and who has absolutely no knowledge or background regarding football players or positions or teams was able to beat 9 full grown football loving Men (well, 7 full grown men and a couple of 15 year olds). How does that happen? LUCK, that's how. And, yes, I bask in the glory of "my" win.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Stir Crazy

Okay. I am officially sick of snow. I woke up this morning to more snow. It has continued to snow today. It is after 4pm and has not gone above 25 degrees. I am bored and so taking pictures has become the next best thing to going insane.

We tried to get the Volvo out of here today, but the snow was just too deep outside the garage door. Captain Geo came to our rescue by taking his big chained-up Tahoe to the nearest Napa Auto Parts store and then bringing us chains for the Volvo. He even put them on for us. Thanks Grampy. Thanks Grammy for coming with him and drinking coffee with Joey.

So, here are some highlights from mine
and Lily's adventurous hike around the house:

Well, first thing this morning Sammy
brought in a huge icicle for Lily to enjoy.
Doggie Palooza... Riley, Luke (the neighbor's Golden
Puppy that is four days younger than Lily) and Lily, of course
Lily getting the best of Luke
Sophie, the neighbor's Cocker...
She is very shy
Joey taking a brief moment to come
outside and see what all the ruckus was
Luke loves Gatorade bottles
Ice Figs (apparently I cannot resist
taking pictures of the figs, every day)
Newest picture of the house
Lily taking advantage of the Tahoe tracks
The deck
More Lily, I can't resist
Ice fence
Snow Berries
Lily forging a new path in the back yard
Bell Bottom Ice Pants, the latest fashion
A nice hearty high carb snow breakfast.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Arctic Blast

Portland's Weather Widget is a new
one for me... I have not seen the "bouncing ice balls"
before. Funny.

The weather forecasters
have been calling our wintery
weather an "Arctic Blast" for
the past eight days. We have been
making fun of them... until
today. It finally does feel like
an Arctic Blast in Portland.
Friends in Minneapolis and
Salt Lake City should not make
fun of us... Portland is already
$1M over budget for its winter
road plowing, salting, etc... I say what road plowing? I have not seen one plowed street yet. We can see I-5 from our house and it is not even plowed. There is barely a car or truck in sight. I still have not heard any official reports on how much snow fell yesterday, but at our house, there is at least eight solid inches and there are drifts of up to two feet. Now there is a layer of ice covering everything. We will not be going anywhere today.
When I was a kid, I remember
ice storms and large branches would
break from the trees under the weight
of all the ice. Since most of the trees in
our yard are relatively young and small,
I am hoping this does not happen to them.
Our "terraced" front yard is
now just one big snow drift. No
sign anywhere of Danny's
beautiful brickwork.
The snow on the deck blew into big
drifts away from the house and has left
some very odd looking lumps.
I'm not sure if this is anything like crop circles,
but the snow on the picnic table is really freaky.
No one has touched it and there is nothing
on the table except that green pitcher?
Weird, I know!
The backyard is a winter
wonderland that only Lily is
brave enough to explore.

The drifts at the garage door are upwards of
two feet. Yesterday I sang the praises of my
awesome Volvo and then last night Michael
tried to take it out to the video store and got
stuck in the middle of the street. I had to
nix the trip to the store and bring the thing
back into the garage... three teenage boys
and a lot of shoveling was involved.
Next time: Michael does not drive the car in the snow.
One interesting benefit from the ice today...
we now have privacy windows where we
did not have them before.

So, we're loving the weather here
in Portland and yet at the same
time I am wondering if all my
online purchases will make it to
our house by Christmas.

How's the weather where you are?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holiday Shopping

The weather forecasters were right
for a change. They predicted a snow
storm and we got a snow storm. So
what did Michael and I decide to do,
leave the house and go shopping. It
was fun and we weren't alone.
Downtown Portland was filled with
people. What a fun day.

Terwilliger Blvd.

The Max Train keeps running....

but the Benson Bubblers do not

Pioneer Courthouse Square
with the Fox Tower (and Nordstrom,
of course) in the background...
possibly you can see Michael's
office up on the 15th floor of the Fox Tower?

Broadway in the snow
looking North, a beautiful sight

Michael enjoying the snow

Virgin Snow on our street.... we arrived back
home from our holiday shopping to find out no
one had ventured out on our street, there was
at least 6-8 inches of untouched snow and still
snowing. Lovely!
darkness, snow flakes and flash photography

My Volvo is awesome... the kids had left the garage
open and an 18" snow drift had developed just
outside the garage... my car plowed through it
like butter. Woohoo!