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Grandma Nana Comes to Visit

by Tom Johnson on Dec 11, 2011 •
categories: family

Grandma Nana came to visit last week. It was a short visit, so we didn't have time to do much, but we did do a few fun things. We spent half a day at the Clark Planetarium and watched the Hubble 3D at the IMAX. We attended the Hyatt Family Christmas party together, and Grandma Nana got to see the kids swim in the pool. She also baked some peanut-butter toffee cookies for the party.

Grandma gave the kids art kits and jewelry, and a wooden puzzle for Molly. The jewelry included clip-on earrings, necklaces, headbands, and bracelets, which the kids absolutely loved. After opening the art kits, the kids started drawing pictures for Grandma Nana. (That's what kids do when you give them art kits -- they make pictures for you.)

I didn't carry the camera around very much, but the morning Grandma had to leave we snapped a few pictures.

On the final day, we went to a tree farm in Alpine to get a Christmas tree. We arrived 45 minutes too late, though, and the farm was already closed. But there were a few people still wandering around, and one of the workers let us get a tree anyway. We picked the first one the worker showed us, which surprisingly turned out to be just about perfect. Grandma Nana generously bought the tree for us, the same as she did last year. I think I will now associate Christmas trees with Grandma Nana (of course to me she is Mom).

I remember one Christmas as a kid in high school, living with Mom in Tacoma, we didn't get a Christmas tree for some reason. Both of us couldn't remember why. (Maybe we had been traveling or vacationing or something in Olympia at a Trendwest share.) Anyway, it was Christmas eve and we decided we needed a tree. It was about 8 or 9 pm and we drove to a nearby tree lot in a parking lot, which was vacant since it was Christmas eve. A few unbought trees remained, most likely abandoned, so we just put one in our trunk and drove away. I guess it's the exhilaration of the moment that makes this memory stick in my mind.

The night before Grandma Nana left, I asked her some family history questions. It amazes me how well she remembers names, dates, and locations. She could remember full names and birthdays of more than a dozen relatives on both sides of the family. I took some notes and tried to fill out my family tree on

One line that we can't connect very far back is Edwin Schalker's grandparents. We know Edwin's parents, but that's all. If I could find out the grandparents' names, I'm certain I could connect into some genealogy that's already been done for that line. That's usually how it works in genealogy -- if you can just identify four generations, you almost always connect into a genealogy line that has already been researched. Grandma is going to consult her Half Mound book at home to see if she can find more information.

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer / API doc specialist based in the Seattle area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.