Friday, May 30, 2008

Rose Festival 2008

Rose Festival has officially arrived here in Portland. Although we don't usually take full advantage of this yearly tradition, we have had lots of fun with the kids over the years taking in some of the festivities. I am posting here mainly for family that live in town and have small kids. Some of these activities are a lot of fun. Please go to Rose Festival :: Calendar :: for a full list of activities including fireworks, tonight, the starlight parade, tomorrow night, and the Jr. rose parade, next Wednesday.

Joey and Michael, June 1993 enjoying
the Clydesdale horses at Waterfront Village

June 1995, Sammy doing what he does
best, snacking. This is at waterfront park. They always
have kids rides, pony rides, petting zoos, etc... for the little kids.
We would go early on a Saturday or Sunday before
the crowds arrived. The Waterfront Village can be
a scary place, say, on Saturday nights.

Joey and Sammy helped design and decorate a Harry Potter
themed Junior Rose Festival Parade Float sponsored by the Mittleman
Jewish Community Center when they were in elementary school.
Its hard to see the float in this picture, but Joey is Dumbledore and
Sammy is Dobby (not pictured, but also on the float were Hermione,
Hagrid and Ron Weasley... Harry is made out of paper mache with a
striped shirt behind Joey). Their float won first prize that year in the small float category.
The parade runs through the Hollywood District and this year is on Wednesday,
June 4th at 1:00pm

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sasquatch Festival

View from the Gorge Amphitheater

So, the Lubitz boys are back from the Sasquatch Music Festival. They had a great time and barely got rained on at all. Here are some photos of the whole gang:

Michael, Sammy & Joey

Joey & Julia

Sammy at the Sasquatch Batting Cage

Flight of the Conchords

Flaming Lips, UFO Show, guy in alien
bubble being held up by the Sasquatch Crowd

Julia & Irene

Ryan, Andrew & Sammy

Joey's Posse: Max, Joey, Julia & Irene

Michael's Favorite Past time

Don't Touch My Snacks

Showing off the orthodontia

Monday, May 26, 2008

Apple doesn't fall far...

I should be outside planting or weeding, but it is still raining here and I don't feel like getting soaked. So, in keeping with yesterday's blog, I have posted here a picture of Michael from the March 28, 1984 Arizona State University State Press. This picture was surrounded by an article about Michael and what his plans were if he was elected President of the Associated Students of ASU.I scanned a little beyond the picture as I thought it so fitting that listed at the top of his qualifications for the office of president is his high school positions of secretary-treasurer and president of the "Crazy Club". He lost, but no doubt he would have been a lot more entertaining than the guy that won.
Now, I have posted a picture of Joey (and named the blog for this reason) because apparently Joey also has political aspirations. And that apple thing is falling from Michael's tree, certainly not mine. As Andy pointed out, my Mom predicted Joey would be a good politician, which I kind of blew off because generally speaking I highly dislike politicians. Now, Joey would most likely be a Dennis Kucinich type politician (yes, I would have voted for him if he was still on the ballot) which would be alright in my book, but I, obviously, do not represent a lot of people. Anyway, Joey ran for Catlin Gabel Catlin Gabel School Student Body Co-President as a Freshman with his buddy Jasmine Bath... and they won (Joey representing the new, fresh, liberal, outsider view and Jasmine representing the Catlin "lifer"--a compelling combination, I guess). Now, apparently without Michael or me even knowing it, Joey has run for Junior class president and has won, again. I am not quite sure what is drawing Joey to take on these additional obligations as he already spends quite a bit of time complaining about not being able to finish his homework and he doesn't have nearly enough time for his oil painting and pottery, but he does always seem to find time to spend with friends and maybe being class president will bring him closer to his people? Who knows, but we are proud of him nonetheless. Like I said yesterday, we may not agree, but we love 'em anyway.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Year We Met

I have a three day weekend all to myself... well including 1 golden retriever, 1 tabby cat and 1 himalayan persian. The great thing about the animals is they sleep 90% of the day and they listen to everything I say with barely a bark or meow of back talk. The rest of my family is off at the Gorge Amphitheater at the Sasquatch Music Festival. I am hoping their weather is a little better than ours here in Portland, or they are getting pretty soaked.

One of the things I love to do while my family is away, is to watch movies that I don't otherwise normally get to watch, for whatever reason. One of the movies I have wanted to see for a while is Juno (2007). Now, I know this movie is from last year, but we don't really get out to the movies very often and I have advocated to watch this movie before, but have been shot down because Joey and Julia saw it when it first came out and Sammy has absolutely refused to watch it (hmmm). Michael was indifferent. So I didn't fight for it, but it was the first movie I watched after they left.

I usually go to Rotten Tomatoes before watching a movie, but I don't always let it sway my desire for watching a movie, one way or the other: Juno Movie Reviews, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes. When I saw the RT synopsis for this movie put it in the same quirky category as Little Miss Sunshine (2006) and Lars and the Real Girl (2007) I knew it would be a good movie for me, and I loved it. Now, when it comes to me and movies, unless it is sci-fi which I don't have a lot of patience for, I usually just judge the movie by my feeling at the end. This bittersweet comedy really left me with a satisfied feeling. I thought the cast and script were great and believable (within the context) and I am really glad I watched.

The other thing it did for me, and the reason for this post, is it got me thinking about how hard it is to be a teenager and how difficult it is for someone with limited maturity and experience to be thrust into a world full of adult decisions. All part of growing up, sure, but arguably the most difficult part of growing up. I thought Juno's Father's character was well written and inspirational. To be that accepting of your child and her struggles... very cool. With two teens, this is a concept very close to my heart right now -- just because you don't necessarily approve of what they do, it doesn't mean you don't love them, unconditionally.

A few of the lines and themes of the movie really brought back some memories of high school and college, but mainly of trying to sort out feelings for someone and build a relationship on it. Now, this gets a little personal, but Michael really hasn't made an entrance into my blog yet, and I thought this was the perfect time for me to take the plunge.

This first picture was actually taken before I met Michael. His Mother took him to London as a high school graduation present. All I can say is perms were all the rage in the early 80's and that lady to the right of Michael looks really british. Anyway, I have always liked this picture. I finally got to see Buckingham Palace myself this past February, but that is a blog for a different day.
Michael and I met Super Bowl Sunday, January 22, 1984 at a party at his fraternity. I tagged along with my new roommate, Tracey Miller, from Manzanita Dorm at ASU. Although I barely spoke to Michael that day, he made an impression. I distinctly remember him as skinny with a large nose, big smile and strange outfit of high water overalls and a Miller Paint cap. He was quirky and amusing, certainly not forgettable, but let's say he didn't sweep me off my feet. He seemed to be sort of the eccentric mascot for his fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha. ASU was a big, new venue for me. I wouldn't call myself shy, but certainly wary and a bit intimidated by the whole social scene. I mean, really, I had been pretty sheltered and was much more confident with my 2 1/2 year old twin brothers than I was with this college crowd--and ASU was voted Playboy's #1 party school that year.

Kari and Tracey, July 29, 1989
So, Tracey gets a photo here since she played
such a huge role in mine and Michael's lives and relationship
for basically the first 5 years. She was my roommate for nearly three years and my Maid-of-Honor.

After that January day, I dated a bit, something I really hadn't done much before this point. I met a lot of different types of guys and it was an eye opening experience. Michael was there, in the background. I hadn't really thought much about him since Super Bowl Sunday, but apparently he had thought about me. This is weird for someone who never really thought anyone thought of her, at all. Michael would call and talk with my roommate, a lot. I really thought Michael was after Tracey and I just went about my own business. Michael was running for Student Body Class President at ASU that spring semester and he had no car. Since Tracey worked at Dairy Queen after school, she was unavailable, so Michael asked (begged?) me to take him around to all his speeches. I thought this was funny and I didn't really mind. I was really quite intrigued by Michael as he had so much confidence and seemed to thrive in front of a crowd--this was just so foreign for me. I couldn't imagine anyone enjoying it.

And the story goes that Michael invited me to a concert. I can't really remember who all was there, but Michael was really in love with the Turtles and the Association, retro 60's stuff, at that point and they were the headliners. It was a small venue and we had great seats. Michael was SO excited. A couple of times during the concert he tried to hold my hand... which I avoided. I did have a great time, but I had to tell Michael that I really just wanted to be friends (which, I guess, is the kiss of death--and it wasn't the first, and wouldn't be the last time Michael heard this phrase). Maybe it was harsh, but I had to be truthful.

I guess I am ultimately the lucky one. Because Michael continued to pursue me throughout the rest of Spring Semester. He invited me to the Hillel Center (the Jewish College Campus Organization) for my first Passover Seder. I really hadn't been exposed to any Jewish culture, in my life and only knew one other Jewish person before meeting Michael. But I really did not understand what it all meant. With my religious upbringing being split between the Episcopalian and LDS churches, I was enjoying my freedom from religion at that point. What was interesting to me about the Seder, was that it didn't feel religious, it felt social and cultural. It was interesting and fun, however, we had to stay way past midnight cleaning up and that wasn't really that much fun, and past my bedtime. Even when Tracey and I would go out to parties, clubs and such, I had to take a nap beforehand. My parents had instilled the early to bed, early to rise thing in me and it took a long time to break that--but Michael did help me break it and now I wish I had it back.

The semester progressed and I continued seeing Michael, as a friend. He bought me flowers and took me to dinner on my birthday before I left town for a short visit back to Portland. It was on this date, right before I left town, that I must have given Michael the impression that there was something there for him to pursue (and I guess I did). Michael returned to LA. When I got back to Dad's house in Mesa, Dad was waiting for me on the front porch with a pile of letters. I had been gone for maybe 10 days. I think Dad thought it was funny, but he was like, "who is this Michael Lubitz???" I gathered my letters and proceeded to move into an apartment for the summer. One of my roommates, who knew Michael, was dying for me to open the letters and read them. So, I did and she quickly read them right after I read them. She was ooohing and aaaahing and crying. I had no feelings, other than I really needed to set this guy straight. Obviously I had lead Michael to believe that there was a lot more to our relationship than there was. Michael lived in LA and it was 1984 and his family had tickets to the summer olympics. He was inviting me to join him and was very excited about all the prospects. So, I did what I had to do and I called him and told him that I could not visit him in LA and I could not go to the olympics with him. Okay, this is an addition to the post, Michael forced me to alter my version to the truth as he remembers it. Apparently I did not "call", I wrote him a "Dear John" letter (geez, some people, it all worked out in the end). He was heartbroken. He did not call or write after that.

It was a relief really and I went about my business for the rest of the summer. I didn't date much, but was really busy with my roommates and jobs. I worked two jobs, one as a receptionist/runner for a talented commercial photographer and the other at Honey Treat Yogurt at the strip mall at the corner of Mill and University in Tempe. So, Fall Semester starts in August at ASU. A boyfriend from the previous school year had returned to town a little early and had looked me up (an ex-fraternity brother of Michael's actually). This date with "him" the other guy (I don't think it is actually appropriate to put his real name in a blog devoted to Michael) was to the Prince movie, Purple Rain that had opened the week before. I loved and still do love Prince. So, you would think this would be the perfect date, right? But there was just something wrong. Nothing felt right and I did not have a good time (although I did love watching Prince).

I had started thinking back to all the guys I had dated the year before and comparing them with Michael. I wasn't really lonely, at college there just seems to always be tons of people around all the time, but there was definitely something missing. About a week after my disastrous Purple Rain date, I was working at the yogurt shop and playing on the radio was (and I know this is really corny) Chicago's "Hard Habit to Break", which had been released in July and was all over the radio waves--as they say. Chicago is another of Michael's favorite bands and it just really got to me. On my break I took a walk and there was Michael's car at the pizza/beer joint down the strip. Now, as you remember from earlier in the blog, Michael didn't have a car at school, but he had a car at home and for his Junior year his parents had decided to let him bring it. It became quite famous around campus that 1984-1985 year for its unique license plate: "He Bunky" and also for the persistent "Rhino Boot" that the local ASU parking patrol kept placing on it for all Michael's unpaid parking tickets.

Anyway, his little Red Honda Prelude with the He Bunky license plate made me stop in my tracks and it was at that very moment, and I can remember it like yesterday, that I decided Michael was the one. Now, I know that sounds selfish and arrogant, but come on, this guy had been chasing me for months. I guess in the same respect as I really never thought anyone would pursue me, I never really thought he wouldn't say yes when I called his fraternity later that day and invited him to the yogurt shop for a "free" yogurt. Now, whether it was because the yogurt was free, or because he wanted to see me, I'll never know, but he did come over to the yogurt shop that night. He also brought his roommate, Bill Kersey, with him. Which I thought was lame, but once bitten, twice shy, I guess. Bill didn't really like me, but gee, a potential girlfriend trumps what a roommate thinks, every time.

Well, the rest, as they say, is history. We started dating that week and have been together ever since. We got engaged November 1985 and married July 1989. I know I can be pretty aggressive and controlling, but I really have to say... Michael asked for it.

Our first formal dance together.

Michael's first trip to Portland to meet the Fleming family,
Christmas 1984. Besides the fact that Michael still has great hair in
this picture, Mac, the best family dog ever is in the background.

I have to give a shout out to all my parents here too because I brought home a specimen the likes of which none of my parents had probably ever seen. They all took it in stride, no matter how quirky Michael was and is and have never really questioned my judgment nor given me grief for converting to Judaism--and I love them for that.

Wow, I have been blogging for an hour and a half -- I really shouldn't be left alone!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!

Hey Dad,
I've been thinking about you today.
Hope you are having a great one, wish I was there with you.
Goofy Dad

Caring Dad

Adventurous Dad

Fun Dad


Monday, May 19, 2008

Ode to the Yard

When I started this blog I promised myself it would be all positive... no venting. I'm up on my soap box enough without using this forum as well. I wanted to honor people in my life with cool pictures that I dug out of nooks and crannies. Of course, if I was more organized, I could have just pulled pictures out of neat little boxes, or photo albums, but alas, I shall remain positive.

Magnolia in the back yard

Yesterday I spent over an hour on the phone having a fairly heated conversation with our yard lady. Now, I know some of you may not have much sympathy for me since I have a yard lady to be frustrated with, but we have a huge yard... a yard we literally gutted and then poured blood, sweat, tears and hard earned cash into to get to what it is today. Do you want to know what it is today... full of weeds, that is what it is. Apparently, according to the yard lady (severely edited for the sake of impending carpal tunnel syndrome), it is my job to weed and her job to plant new beautiful things that I have not asked for. I was flabbergasted (in honor of Sammy's science teacher) to find out this fact and am questioning my communication skills (which I do constantly since I seem to be the only person that understands me). I am not sure what will happen with the yard lady, but I have spent part of yesterday and today since getting home from work, embracing my large weed infested yard. Our yard, although too large for any normal, not gardening obsessed person, is beautiful.

Copper bird bath, front stairs

Clematis out front clinging to electrical conduit

Foxglove about to bloom in backyard cutting garden

Kanji bell purchased at school auction when
Joey was in elementary school

Winter pansies in window box outside kitchen
window have survived the heat.

Lilac, original to the back yard, nearly 70 years old

A bumble bee enjoys a rhododendron in full
bloom in the back yard this afternoon
(original to the back yard as I don't think I would
ever knowingly choose to plant a rhododendron... not
that they aren't beautiful--for two weeks of the year)

Blueberry bush just getting its berries
in the back yard

One of Betsy's Wedding Bouquet Hydrangeas
about to bloom

Today's blog is actually not dedicated to our yard lady, but to our yard. Our yard is filled with plum trees, apple trees, blueberry bushes, a vegetable garden and too many plants to name. Joey and I planted two tomatoes (just a start) tomatillos and half a dozen strawberry plants this afternoon, in and around the already planted lettuce, peas and broccoli....

Just a few veggie plants in one of our many garden beds

We plan on planting pumpkins and squash on the hillside for all to share.... Tomorrow Joey and I will plant carrots and cucumber and maybe get in a couple hours of weeding, or not.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

On a Hot Day

This is what happens at our house when the temperature goes above 90 degrees three days in a row...
standing in the family room facing west....

and facing east....
I guess I should have called this one "questionable parenting, part 2"

Baseball, Part 2

Game 2 was at Sammy's Home Field, Smith Elementary
Sammy at Third Base, not much action

Not much success at bat tonight, a couple of ground outs
and a couple strike outs

Foul ball

Sammy as Catcher, a lot of action!

Heading Home
Score: Wilson 7, Gladstone 7

Questionable Parenting, Part 1

Kari, Tiffany & Karen
Near Yellowstone National Park
Summer 1971

After looking at the above picture, what is your first thought? Beautiful scenery? Lovely buffalo? Gee, look at the cowboy? Is that a fancy backdrop, or.... are they as close to that buffalo as it looks? No, that is no backdrop, and yes, we are that close. Crazy you say? Why yes, crazy we were.

You see, as we were traveling along the highway on a peaceful road trip to Yellowstone, Dad spotted a beautiful buffalo very close to the road. There were a few people gathered for this all-American photo op and Dad was not going to miss out. Karen wanted nothing of the clearly dangerous situation and put up a good fight, but Dad can be VERY persuasive. So there we were THAT close to an enormous buffalo and Dad was determined to get the best picture.

What I don't get is why I look so happy and not the least bit scared... am I dimwitted or do I just trust my Father that much. Tiff looks scared and Karen, well that clearly is not her happy face. Now, all probably would have been fine if not for the.... "cowboy". Right about the time this photo was snapped, the buffalo decided to send a clear message to the cowboy that he wasn't in the mood to be bothered, and the chase was on. Not sure what ever happened to the cowboy, but we, obviously, made it out safely. Okay, so I am editing this post... according to Andy in a story that came from Dad, the cowboy actually went over to the buffalo and rested his arm ON the buffalo for his picture taking pleasure... apparently the buffalo turned around and rested his VERY LARGE head on the cowboy's chest in a gesture that probably said, "Get the heck away from me, now" and I believe the cowboy obliged. But I actually don't know since obviously we have a our backs to the whole thing.

It seems I remember a similar experience with a bear... haven't run across that picture yet. I was going to save this one for Father's Day, but since Dad wasn't in it... what fun would that be?

Maybe its time for a road trip....

Sunday, May 11, 2008

More Prom Photos

Prom Photos... as promised

The Corsage

The Couple

Julia's Parents
Michelle Ruby, Julia Ruby, Joey Lubitz & Marshall Ruby