Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Back Words

My back spasms in response to stress. At Ashley's funeral after I got up to speak, my back went into such an intense spasm that I couldn't breathe. I thought I was going to faint. That was a sudden dramatic pain that slowly relaxed over the course of 20 minutes. Yesterday, the reverse happened. Around mid-afternoon, the muscles in my mid-back began tightening, and by evening, the spasm was so great, I couldn't breathe.

I think the spasms have to do with words and communication. When I stood up to speak at Ashley's funeral before hundreds of people, I wanted my words to honor her, to celebrate my connection with her, and to communicate love and loss. I was concentrating on choosing the right words. I guess, unbeknownst to me, my back participated in choosing carefully, as carefully as if I were lifting a huge weight requiring much strength.

In the past few days, I've been similarly challenged to be a careful listener and carefully choose words in a myriad of contexts, for instance writing projects, ethical considerations, email, interviewing, job offers, requests for assistance, phone calls, lunch dates, and check-ins. My partners in these communications were close family, employers, colleagues, and friends, and each situation had different demands.

I had no idea how hard I was working until my back announced the strain. I called the chiropractor at 10pm last night. This morning my daughter sent this prayer in an email. It fit the circumstances . . .

Prayer for Today

Let me be this kind of friend, this kind of mother, this kind of wife, please God:

Oh, the comfort —
the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person —
having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words,
but pouring them all right out,
just as they are,
chaff and grain together;
certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them,
keep what is worth keeping,
and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.
~Dinah Craik

Monday, July 28, 2008

Another World

For four days, we mixed a few teenagers with technology and took them to Southern California to find ourselves in another world.

After picking up Brittany in Oakhurst, we headed to UCLA to get Sabrina from softball camp. That's when we got our first taste of modern day urban civilization. Using the GPS and our cell phones, we found Sabrina without a hitch on the second level of a parking structure at the huge campus.

Another cell phone call from Cindy's cousin Tota had us plugging Huntington Beach into the GPS instead of Santa Monica beach because there was a big surf competition there with a fair on the Boardwalk and all kinds of free goodies. The beach was crowded with 1000s of people and tents and boothes, a fashion shows and beach volleyball, and in one of those incredible small world stories, we walked down the stairs onto the esplanade and there was another of Cindy's cousins with her 2 little sisters. How does stuff like that happen? After visiting the booths, we sat with the multitudes on the beach while Brittany and Sabrina body surfed on the other side of the pier from the competition.Then we headed inland to Anaheim and our hotel. After some pool time, we got wired in: DVD on the TV, laptop with email, and cell phones for checking in with the rest of the world.

Everyone, but me stayed up late and slept late, so our day at Knott's Berry Farm started after noon, but the kids milked every last minute out of the day so we were there until closing time. They rode one scary ride after another as this photo album confirms. Being a total wuss when it comes to rides, I sat on benches and rock walls and took pictures. I can't imagine being upside down, plunging through space, or acceleratingly from 0-80 in 2 seconds. I'll take the carousel anytime . . . my favorite ride in a fun park.

After 4 days of urban sprawl and techno wonders, we headed back to the hills. Excuse the cliche, but we literarlly went from the frying pan into the fire as we drove directly into the smoke from a massive fire burning behind Mariposa.

More on that tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Adrenaline is a sickening thing. I know because it rushed through me when black smoke filled the sky over our mobile home park. I paced nervously as the smoke billowed over the nearby hill. I walked across the road to talk to neighbors lining the roadway to watch the sky above the hill; I strode from front driveway to back; I called Cindy in Angels Camp; I called Andrea to tell her I wouldn't be meeting her down town. I went in the house to get a bottle of water; I came back out. I called Cindy again. She was coming home. I went inside for the camera. I walked across the street again. Then I headed back to the house as airplanes and helicopters roared across the sky. The smoke turned from black to orangish-red to white and then black again. I called Michael to see if he was in Greenhorn Creek. My eyes never left the direction in which the fire was burning. I took a chair to the back driveway where I could sit and watch. When Cindy came home, she grabbed a chair and joined me. She had seen the flames from the road as she drove down Rawhide. More airplanes. The guys in the park fired up the tractor and moved it close to the bottom of the hill in the event that the fire moved more directly this way. Suddenly I was ill with nausea. Too much adrenaline! (News about the fire is reported here.)

Noise Pollution

Why is it that every office, retail store, and restaurant feels that they have to pipe in music and/or have a TV on? Yesterday, I had occasion to go with Anna Mae to 2 doctors' offices, a hair salon, an ice cream store, Rite Aid and Mervyns. Everywhere we went there was NOISE.

We sat outside at Cold Stone to eat our ice cream and the music was piped outside to compete with the road traffic. At the radiology center there was a TV show about a cook that everyone in the waiting room HAD to watch. Mervyns was probably the quietest, but with all the colorful clothes and fluorescent lights it was still too much stimulation. My nerves were all a jangle by the end of the day; I was so over stimulated that I couldn't go sleep. Give me my nice quiet home out in the country with bird song and the occasional lawn mower or tractor noise.

Ironically, 45 minutes in the Sprinter with 6 kids waiting for JL and Anna Mae who were with the orthopedist was preferable to store/office noise. We told stories. I told stories about me and my siblings when we were kids. Then the children took turns telling stories. They mostly told about wild life and pets, like the rattlesnake in the garden, the fawn in the woods, and Baxter in the kiddie pool.

I'll take the sweet sound of children's story telling over piped music or blaring TVs any day.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Blogging About Obama

Coincidentally this morning, two blogs that I regularly read had comments about Barak Obama. The first was on my friend Gayle Brandies' blog. I met Gayle in my MFA graduate program at Antioch University. She was our graduation speaker, chosen for the spot for a gazillion reason, including but not limited to her congeniality, compassion, talent, integrity, and intelligence. She is currently on the leadership team for Code Pink and is a model for political activism that inspires me because she is the embodiment of grace and right speech. Here is the segment about an Obama speaking engagement that was posted on her blog Fruit Flesh:

There was one question in particular of interest to us book lovers, and that came from a woman who asked what Obama would say to young writers. He was surprised by the question, which he admitted was one he hadn't heard before, but didn't hesitate to answer. He referenced his two books, and specifically mentioned how he wrote them himself, along with many of his speeches. With a light inflection, he said, "In terms of getting a job, knowing how to write is a good thing." He talked about how he kept a journal, and how it was important for teaching him not only how to write, but also how to think. But my favorite part was when he said, "Over the course of four years I made time to read all of the Harry Potter books out loud to my daughters. If I can do that and run for president, then you can find time to read to your kids. That's some of the most special time you have with your children."

There is so much in this statement that speaks to me. Of course as a teacher, parent, and grandparent, I'm pleased about how he discusses reading and writing: e.g. the importance of journaling and the way writing helps one to think and the value of reading aloud and especially of making time for reading in the home. Cindy and I listened to the Harry Potter books on tape while driving in the car and hearing them read aloud opened that imaginative corner of our minds that often gets neglected in adulthood. As a newly launched ghost writer, I'm acutely aware of how few memoirs are actually penned by the hands of famous folks. While I appreciate the necessity for ghostwriters and absolutely love such assignments, I'm delighted to know that Obama chose to author his own books, both of which I have read and thoroughly enjoyed. How refreshing to have a potential president who can read, write, and think.

One of my writing teachers, Alison Luterman who lives and writes in Oakland, California, wrote this segment on her blog, See How We Almost Fly:

I met my new Little Sister today. She is not-quite seven, gorgeous little girl, who tied two jump ropes together for me to jump because, she said, "You're pretty tall."

When I was helping her ride her bike in their tiny backyard, she said, "I thought you was gonna be black."

"Did you want me to be black?" I asked. "Would that make you more comfortable?"

"Yeah," she said. It was one of the more honest conversations about race that I've had.

Later, as we were playing Monopoly, she said, "All of the Presidents were white."

"Until this year," I said. "But maybe this year we might get a black President."

"I know," she said.

"Do you know what his name is?"

"Obama. My granny is going to vote for him."

"Me too."

I wonder if Barack Obama could have any way of knowing that his choice to run is impacting the world view of a first grader in Oakland with chipped purple nail polish and a pink bike with no training wheels.

Leon's and Aliou's grandmother also intends to vote for Barak Obama, who has first-hand knowledge about Africans who come to America and who clearly loves books as much as they do.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sushi, Stagecoach & Music

I took a little side-trip during Athan's birthday trip to which he'd invited his cousin Huck. My car was badly in need of washing, so I stopped at the car wash on the way to our luncheon and visit at historic Columbia State Park. What do five year old boys talk about when strapped in car seats moving slowly through a car wash? These boys talked about whether they knew how to read; what their dad's know how to fix; and what it would be like to get a giant jawbreaker at the Candy Kitchen. I have to say that listening to them certainly made this the most entertaining car wash I've ever been through.

With a clean car, we headed to lunch at O-Be's, a Japanese restaurant in town. Athan was delighted when we first walked in to see the Tour de France on the big screen TV, and as luck would have it, the hostess seated us in a booth where the boys had a great view of the TV. Athan's older brother is following the Tour de France, so he consequently was well informed about the event and proceeded to explain to Huck the meaning of the yellow shirt and his understanding of drafting. I ordered a combo sushi plate and an extra order of yellow-tail sushi, along with chicken fried rice, miso soup, and edamame. The waitress thought the rice was for the boys and the sushi was for me and was surprised when I rearranged the way she had set the plates so that the sushi was in front of them. She quickly got them dishes for soy sauce as well as chopsticks affixed with rubber bands so they could use them which they did quite expertly. They devoured the sushi while watching the finish of the bike race.

When Athan and I discussed his birthday trip, he wanted it to include horses and music night. So after our lunch, we went to Columbia State Park and road the stage coach. There is a mock hold up during the ride that I forgot to warn them about. Both boys looked a bit frightened when the masked bandit accosted the coach. I whispered that he was an actor, and the father in the family who was traveling with us made some kid appropriate jokes that eased their fears. Next, they went gold panning and conscientiously swirled water to reveal pretty colored rocks if not gold. They filled little plastic vials with their booty and when they'd had their fill of gold panning, we headed to the huge rock formations created by hydraulic mining where they climbed and played until they were red-faced and sweating. After great gulps of water from the drinking fountain, we went to the Candy Kitchen. I vetoed the jawbreaker and directed them to gummy sharks and jelly bellies. They each got a small bag of candy which they carried to the car.

I took them to Woods Creek Park where they could eat the candy and then run off some of the sugar before we went to music night. They sat atop the play structure munching candy and having another one of their 5-year old conversations while I stretched out in the grass and rested. When they were done with the candy, they went to the creek to see if they could spot any crawdads. There were plenty of the creepy creatures as well as lots of minnows. Athan got the idea to get some crackers he had in his lunch box and feed them. We all hung over the bank and watched the fish swarm around cracker crumbs. The crawdads crawled up the edge of the bank to get larger pieces that the boys dropped toward them. Huck sang the crawdad song for us when I couldn't remember it.

Then we went to Granddaddy's for music night. The boys rested on the couch for awhile visiting with Grammy, Huck's great Grandma. They eventually made it to the table to eat chicken wings and cucumbers before they took turns playing Granddaddy's ukulele with the musicians. The evening ended with them enjoying Christmas songs after the musicians had exhausted their repertoire of kids' songs. They even sang Happy Birthday to Athan (though his birthday is a week away.).

The boys left with Uncle Culley and rumor has it that they both fell asleep on the way home, apparently tired out from a day of summertime fun.

Monday, July 14, 2008


After a busy, busy week, I gave myself over to the pleasure of sitting in the recliner and reading a book: Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. My first encounter with Brooks was when I read Nine Parts of Desire, her non-fiction book about Muslim women in various countries in the Middle East. As a journalist, Brooks is an impeccable researcher who manages to uncover an amazing array of facts with which to compliment her story. She is also adept with language and writes an enthralling literary account, be the work non-fiction or fiction.

Year of Wonders is the fictional account of a mountain village in England where the plague breaks out. Over the course of one year-- from the spring of 1665 through the fall of 1666 – Anna Firth, a housemaid tells the story about the villagers' extraordinary choice to quarantine themselves to prevent the spread of the disease beyond village boundaries. This is story of love, fear, and hate, of courage, treachery, and compassion. Brooks manages to artfully weave in an amazing amount of historical research related to mining, medicine, healing, midwifery, farming, lambing, and the Anglican and Puritan religions. The book is filled with page turning suspense and unfathomable grief as the plague makes its way from household to household decimating the population.

But this is not just a sad story. Anna explores the existential question "Why do such things happen?" Her struggle mirrors the dilemma of the world at her time, one that continues until this day: the struggle between religion and science. As Anna and the townspeople grapple with the question of why, so does the reader. After facing the horrors of the year, Anna says, "I cannot say that I have faith anymore. Hope, perhaps. We have agreed that it will do for now."

Brooks maintains a break-neck pace, sprinkling the story-telling with the language of the day in an unobtrusive manner, so that I felt immersed in another place and time. I read non-stop almost all day, munching chocolate chip cookies through the tough parts and sipping ice-water as I enjoyed the wonders of this book.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Designated Driver

Yesterday I was the designated driver on Andrea's annual winetasting trip to Amador County. This trip is a family affair that normally takes place in June near Andrea's birthday but was postponed until July as we were waiting for Clare's birth. In addition to Culley and Andrea, my brother Andy and his wife Connie are enthusiastic participants. Andrea's sister Gina and her husband David come up from Sacramento as does Adrian, a dear family friend. This year Stacy and Tim, friends of Gina and David, joined up. We borrowed the Tippett's Sprinter so all the tasters could fit in one vehicle with a designated driver. After dropping the children at Andrea's mother's in Somerset, we set out, spilling out of the Sprinter at selected wineries along Shenandoah Road.

The gardens at many of the wineries provide a lovely waiting space for me the driver who is not partaking in swirling the ruby liquid or sniffing the diverse bouquets. I sit on a bench and enjoy the setting while collecting ideas for my own garden. This year we had our picnic lunch at Deaver Winery in the deep shade of an ornamental plum tree.

My favorite part of these trips is the lively conversation that ranges from wine considerations to economics to construction projects to radio programs like "This American Life." The Sprinter was a buzz with spirited talk as it slowly filled with cases of wine. For me, the trips are a delightful opportunity to enjoy the company of family and friends in a fresh, vibrant context. I sip my water and drink in the gardens and the conversations.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Hernia Hill

In all the commotion of Clare Olivia's birth last week, I forgot to mention another big deal in the Tippett family. On July 6, August ran his first half marathon at Hernia Hill in Murphys. He completed the extremely hilly run on a hot summer morning in 2 hours and 8 minutes which was faster than any of his training times on much flatter terrain.

Granddaddy sponsored him in the race and Anna Mae and Gianna went along to cheer him across the finish line.

Congratulations August!.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Size Matters

Shortly after Clare was born, 3-year-old Mary Autumn studied her in Mama's arms and asked, "What size is she?"

It soon became clear that Mary Autumn expected to GROW bigger as soon as the baby arrived. She had heard she would become the BIG sister, and in her mind that meant growing bigger like her older sisters Gianna and Anna Mae. Mama explained that she was the big sister because Clare was so little.

It may take a few days for Mary Autumn to digest this information and truly arrive at big sister status. She needs to study the situation a little longer.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dearma tells the birth story

Here is Clare's birth story from Dearma's perspective.

The day started when Jennie Lou sent an email to Culley and me with the subject line "labor." (Culley and I are the early risers in the family.) I called JL on the phone to get a status report. After hearing the sound of my daughter's voice, I knew I had time for a quick shower before heading for her home. My things had been packed in a bag for 4 weeks, so I was out of the house in less than 20 minutes.

I arrived around 7:30am in time to help fix breakfast, and JL disappeared into the bedroom to putter in between contractions. Periodically she stuck her head out to offer a useful bit of information about chores and expectations for the kids. Granddaddy arrive shortly after me. He engaged the kids in play while I worked in the kitchen.

About 9, Andrea arrived and checked JL. She was 6 cm dialated, the cervix was "floppy and the baby was at 0." All of this meant things were progressing nicely, and we would have a baby some time later in the day, probably sooner rather than later. Andrea called Dodie, who left work to come immediately. Meanwhile JL and Anna Mae went to make the bed in the glass house, a small one room cottage near the big house where the birth would take place. Andrea took her birth bag to the glass house and started setting things up. Michael was charged with getting the birth tub filled which involved getting the liner set up as well as a relay of hoses into the glass house. We were all busy with various tasks when Dodie arrived.

The pattern to JLs contractions were 1 strong one followed by 2 lower belly tightenings. After Dodie checked the baby's hearbeat and visited awhile, JL decided to take a walk in the woods to speed things along. Leon and Aliou and Dodie went along. JL had one strong contraction on the down hill trail to the warehouse and another at the foot of the hill. At the bottom of the hill, we heard Granddaddy calling to the kids that he was going to walk over to Uncle Culley's. Leon and Aliou ran back up the hill to join the contingency who was heading off in another direction through the woods. JL and Dodie looped around to the driveway and climbed the steep hill toward the house, pausing for contractions along the way.

By the time she got back from the walk, things were really picking up. JL changed to clothes for the birth tub, and the birth team hunkered down in the glass house. Shortly after she climbed into the tub, Anna Mae and I left to go fix lunch for the younger kids so all would be ready when they returned from Uncle Culley's. We were wrapping plates in napkins and labeling them when Andrea came to the big house saying, "Wrap it up you two, and come on over."

By the time we got back to the glass house, Mama was already pushing. Dodie announced, "That's the bag of waters." Andrea, told Michael, who would be delivering the baby, to reach in and tear the bag open. As he did so, JL said, "The head is coming." Then she said, "There's an ear!" After one more contraction, Michael had the baby in his hands. As he lifted her to JL's chest, he said, "It's a girl!" Anna Mae and I looked at each other and grinned. That meant 4 boys and 4 girls. It was 11:51am.

Now the mid-wives when to work, lifting the cord from behind the baby's neck and situating JL more comfortably. It was only moments before we heard the baby's lustful cry as she took her first breath of air. Minutes later, she was all pink, a lovely color after the initial gray-blue before she took in some air. Michael said, "Jennie Lou, you make that look so easy."

It's true! My daughter gives birth with undeniable grace.

The rest of the day was joyful with celebration. First, Papa said, "What is her name?"

"Clare Olivia," said Anna Mae, and Mama and Papa looked at each other and nodded.

Then Anna Mae ran to the big house to announce the news. August came first to see his new sister. Granddaddy was getting the other children washed up before bringing them over. Slowly they all trooped in, wide-eyed with wonder. After a short visit, they left to go back to the big house for quiet time while the midwives got JL and Clare out of the tub.

About an hour-and-half after the birth, the two were ready to come back to the big house, and when rest time was over, there was a birthday party for Clare with one candle in a cheesecake. After the kids opened their party favors, they each took a turn holding their new sister.

The were now a family of 10.

I am so awed by the wonder of birth and feel blessed to have been part of the incredible team who assisted in Clare Olivia's arrival.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Clare Olivia's Birth Day

Clare Olivia was born at home on July 8, her great-grandpa Stasiu's birthday (87 years ago). she weighed 8 pounds 10 ounces and was 19 3/4 inches.

Dearma is leaving momentarily to lend a hand with the household's morning routine. Apparently they are without water again. But there was plenty of water for the birth tub yesterday and Papa will have the problem fixed up soon with an alternate pump he just purchased.

Watch for Dearma's version of the birth story in the next day or so. For now, here are some pictures.

1st picture-Clare Olivia seconds after birth in her happy mother's arms (still in the birth tub). 2nd picture- during the new born exam about an hour later.
3rd picture= all pinked up and snuggled in baby clothes.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Boy, I sure have accomplished a lot staying close to home and waiting for this baby to come. Here is a bulleted list of the big stuff I've done.

  • Completed several major writing projects and wrote 3 play reviews;
  • Organized all of my freelance business files;
  • Created a marketing plan for my book that's due to arrive any day;
  • Organized my computer files;
  • Moved plants in the yard (transplanting is among my favorite garden tasks);
  • Worked on my drip irrigation system, repairing drippers and adding water where needed;
  • Planted seeds to create a patio oasis that mimics the urban meadow I saw in Portland;
  • Cleaned up several unsightly nooks and corners in my yard;
  • Hauled off 2 trash cans and 2 wheelbarrows full of slash;
  • Assisted our elderly neighbor with some yard work he can no longer manage;
  • Washed and cleaned all of the yard furniture;
  • Helped Cindy repair a leaky faucet;
  • Returned items to OSH and Payless Shoe Source;

And we did all the usual stuff, like paying bills, doing the laundry and the big monthly shopping excursion. Cindy even commented that I didn't have my usual pained expression as we did the shopping, except maybe when we were in Wal-Mart which was so crowded it was claustrophobic.

I've also caught up on reading my periodicals, including reading the newspaper cover to cover each night. I've read 2 books and done some research in a few others. I've surfed the Internet and caught up on email. And we've watched a couple of movies and more than half a season of "Bones," a program about a forensic anthropologist that my sister watches that sounded fun so I rented it from Netflix.

This extreme level of efficiency feels great. Just wish I could maintain it after the baby arrives.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Cactus Flower

This morning when I hauled the garbage cans to edge of the driveway, I saw that one of my cactus plants had a flower. I knew the flower was coming because it is preceded by a furry little bud. Like most cacti, the bloom is short lived, no longer than a day, so I was delighted that my early morning outing was rewarded by this sight. For some reason all of my cacti and succulents are blooming this year. Perhaps it's the overall dryness of the year that prompted them to flower in a wonderful display. Even my Aloe plant, which has never bloomed, sported three interesting orangish-yellow spiky flowers this year.

The cactus that was blooming this morning has a history as do many of my graden plants. I bought this guy at the yard sale the Tippett family held to raise money to bring Leon and Aliou to the US. The cactus was donated by Michael's mother, who is also a Patricia. It quickly found a home by my back gate where it has been making babies for two years, but it had not flowered in the two previous summers that I had it. This is the second bloom on the plant this year, but I saw only a wilting version of the last one, making this morning's flower all the more special.

Many flowers in my garden were acquired from others—coming as gifts or cuttings or from thinning projects. The sweet little yellow irises came from Jenny who got them from her grandma's yard. She also gave me some hens-n-chicks this year. I have another species of hens-n-chicks that August pulled from his mother's garden for me when he was 5. I have Lambs Ear from Pam and Allium from Christine and Love-in-a Mist from Trish. Jennie Lou gave me three of my four crepe myrtles which have shot up this year and are blooming already. When I took a gardening class, we prepared several cuttings for cultivation which have survived in my yard: artemisa, a mosquito repelling geranium, and two other plants I can't remember the name of but which are doing wonderfully well. Since we moved into a house formerly owned and gardened by our friend Doralyn, I also have plants that she cultivated: irises, mums, star jasmine, and roses, along with the trees, i.e. fruitless mulberries and ornamental plum.

The vibrant flower display is waning now that summer is coming on stronger, but I have planted the garden so that there is some kind of color all the way until November. Sometimes when there are fewer blooms, they are even more special-- like the single cactus flower this morning.

Happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Cream Puff Birthday

For Culley's birthday, Andrea made cream puffs. We sang Happy Birthday at Brentwood Lake, and Culley blew out the flame on a lighter held by Andrea. After we ate the puffs, we ran races in the sand. The big guys raced around the lake. Then we played volleyball until dark (no pictures of that).

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

2nd Born

Today is Culley's birthday. Thirty-six years ago when he was born during a heat wave and county-wide power failure, I was delighted to have a boy child. His arrival meant that I had one child of each gender. I can't remember if I had hopes and dreams for this child. but I do know that all he has become is certainly better than anything I could have imagined.

Here are a few things that I admire about my 2nd born:

  • He taught himself to play the banjo and is the major impetus behind a weekly music night;
  • He bakes bread all winter and made superb dinner rolls for Thanksgiving this year;
  • He enjoys food preparation, everything from making sauerkraut to creative sandwiches for lunch;
  • He gardens with gusto and intelligence, trying out all manner of plants and methods;
  • He developed a successful website that is related to teaching--Flashcard Exchange;
  • He partnered with Andrea, one of the most beautiful women I know who taught me how to not to take Culley's grumpiness personally;
  • He adores his children and cuddles them with glee;
  • He's a smart money manager and watches the US (and world) economic horizon skeptically;
  • He takes care of me, giving generously at unexpected moments.

I love the way Culley latches on to an idea or project with his heart and soul, eating, drinking, and thinking it to fruition.

Happy Birthday my son!!