Posts Tagged family

quickest Seattle trip ever!

29 April 2018

Since my 103-year-old grandma ended up unable to travel for our wedding, we took a day trip to Seattle to bring a taste of our wedding to her! She requested I play & sing for some new friends at her care facility and they loved it. We had dinner with her and showed her some of the wedding that she didn’t get to see on the livestream on Saturday. Our outfits were pretty obvious especially since we brought our hats and my extremely heavy bridal bouquet, so we got a lot of comments and congrats, and even free cocktails paid by the man sitting in front of us on the plane!

Christmas 2017 in Seattle…with an 8ft tall snow Olaf-Zilla!

28 December 2017

On our way to Seattle trying not to catch anything else! Did you know that the airport Menchies Frozen Yogurt just got Dole Whip 2 days ago?!? The sign says Dole Pineapple Sorbet but it is creamy just like at the Tiki Room!

We were picked up at the airport in style with a furry welcome! Made it to Grandma’s house and unloaded all the luggage and presents before dinner!

Merry Christmas from Diagon Alley in Ballard! Impressive amount of work in just a driveway and a constant line of people! We did our best Azkaban escapee faces, took advantage of the mistletoe at the “moving bricks” entrance, inspected the construction behind the scenes, spotted a holiday R2-D2 near a spare dragon, and even peeked through the window into his garage shop in back and spotted some new details in progress. Congrats to them for having creative fun and raising so much money for a good cause! #diagonalleyproject

It’s snowing just in time for a white Christmas! 😃No need to dream anymore! ❄️🎄🎁⛄️

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night! Lutefisk, lefse, pickled beets & Swedish meatballs for our Christmas Eve dinner, all while snow continued to fall and a couple snowballs were thrown, then fun opening all our presents, including some challenging puzzle boxes for Glen that required group effort! 😉

Merry Christmas! Do you wanna build a snowman?!? Our Olaf-Zilla is 8ft tall! I hadn’t built a snowman since I was 9, but Glen was on a mission to go big! Thanks to Diane for taking photos, thinking of the sweet potato nose, and mason jar rings & cut out leaves for eyes!

Our 8ft tall Olaf-Zilla is already leaning so some last photos before he melts away! Hope everyone is enjoying their Christmas Day!

Great to see my Peterson cousins today and the big brothers were all smiles! Thanks to Kathleen & Brian for hosting at their new house only one week after moving in! A bit of stress when we couldn’t get the van up the hill in the snow, so they drove us up in shifts…whew!

Singalong carols around the piano like the old Clouston Christmases! Of course we had to sing White Christmas this year with all the snow still on the ground!

Glen inspected the last pieces of Olaf-Zilla, we packed the RV, and said goodbye to Grandma out the back door for another snazzy ride to the airport as Gary & Diane keep driving to California! The Spaceneedle was peeking through the melting snowdrops on the window, but Mt Rainier was out today!

Home again! We got lucky with an open seat in our row, and Southwest has smartly moved the magazines to the top of the seat and plenty of knee room even for my long legs! When we disembarked, Glen immediately headed the opposite direction from baggage claim with a sneaky grin…it took me half the walk to figure out he was headed for some Dole Whip to go before we left the airport…hahaha! Even though there was no lid that fit, that giant container is now safely in our freezer. Both kitties are fine but Obsidian somehow lost both his normal collar AND his Christmas collar!

Grandma’s 102nd birthday in Seattle!

8 November 2016

Since Grandma was turning 102 and still loves big parties, we had another birthday party brunch for her at her house in Seattle this year, so I embellished a Costco cake into an impressive peacock-feathered creation, Glen accompanied me this time, and we even had a chance for a few hours of sightseeing in Seattle! Check out the full photo gallery at the end, too!

Glen did his best Shatner at the EMP museum Trek exhibit in Seattle…hahaha! While it rendered it had messages like “Please wait, rendering evil smugness…amplifying Shatnerosity…” Hilarious!

Click through to see the full gallery!

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A Hundred Years of Helen

17 December 2014

The birthday girl and me at the pre-partyI have been working since 2006 on a biography project for my last surviving grandparent, and when she was turning 100 this year, I absolutely had to finish the project in time for her birthday! This has been a lot of work even before 2014, but this project has been about 140 hours of work in just the past 8 months. I hadn’t started counting when I reviewed & imported all the video interviews and scanned most of the old photos before then. I have taken about 800 media “assets” of interviews, old films, scanned vintage photos, digital photos, narrations, including my own singing & playing for the soundtrack, and compressed a chock-full interesting 100-year life into 2 hours 9 minutes running time.

Slideshow at the big partyEven with my day job, my eye surgery in the spring, hosting 4 summer movie nights, a 2-week Hawaiian vacation with Grandma, and giant Halloween The full video premiere at the after-partypreparations this year, I finished a single digital copy complete with all music and transitions in time for the party! I made a short slideshow with a couple video clips to show as large as possible on the wall during the big party, then I set up my projector in the living room back at her house to premiere the full video at the after-party, far enough away from competing with the football game on the TV in the family room. We had a decent dinnertime audience who really enjoyed hearing stories even close friends and family hadn’t heard before. :)

After the premiere, my cousin Stephen told me he had some of the missing photos my grandma couldn’t find, so he scanned those for me, I added in what I could to the video and mastered a DVD-ROM to include all the photos as files for other generations to use, plus I transcribed and formatted everything into a book to accompany the video. I couldn’t fit as many photos into the book, and I took a couple screenshots from the old family films, but that’s not the same as seeing them in motion. The hardback book is available on the Lulu Marketplace here, but the DVD is only available from me. :)

You can now watch the full video “A Hundred Years of Helen” online, broken into the five chapters. There are easy links at the end to click to view the next chapter. The full story is just over two hours long, and Chapter 3 is the longest section at 40 minutes. All the soundtrack songs are classics my grandfather used to play, performed by yours truly on vocals, steel-string guitar and baritone ukulele.


A Hundred Years of Helen
The Story of Helen Marie Bergstrom Clouston

Chapter 1: Childhood in Minnesota
Chapter 2: From the City to the Farm
Chapter 3: Starting in Seattle
Chapter 4: Travels Around the World
Chapter 5: A New Chapter

My mom beat me to blogging the pre-party with pizza and out-of-towners at the house, the big party with 101 guests to help the birthday girl celebrate, the after-party at the house with dinner, and the day-after Peterson cousin fun, so you can read what she said here:

Gary & Diane’s Adventures: A Hundred Years of Helen

I’ve added my own photo gallery here below, plus some videos my cousin’s husband took of my singing with the hired accordion player per the request of the birthday girl. Grandma said it isn’t a party without music, and she loves that I can carry on my grandfather’s musical tradition, so I obliged in belting out some classics my grandfather used to play. :)


You Are My Sunshine

Red River Valley

End of Don’t Fence Me In





Here’s one more bonus song because it’s too cute. My cousin’s kids sang Christmas carols last year with me, so little Abby was looking forward to singing with me again. Lo and behold she is a Frozen fan, so we sang our best “Let It Go” while I fumbled around try to play it on the old electric organ, and she was adorable! 😉

Abby & Britta Singing Let It Go


home again

31 December 2007

We had an uneventful drive back to California…well my dad drove the entire time of course since it was HIS new toy. 😉 We saw the beautiful fresh snowfall over the Siskiyou Mountains as we drove on the clear & safe road, Mt Shasta stayed hidden behind clouds, and the worst driving weather was between Weed and Dunsmuir through Shasta National Forest, but thankfully the snowfall was light along with the traffic so no problems for us. The weather stayed misty the entire way back down into the Central Valley, much gloomier than bright snow, but Christmas was over anyway. 😉 We got back at dusk with enough time to unpack the essentials, pack my car, and go to my brother’s house for his presents and dinner out together. I left his house after 10:30pm but missed traffic that way, so I was back home with my kitties even unpacked before 1am. They so far have not gotten mad at me and are plenty cuddly & fun, but I also haven’t left the house for any extended length of time since I’ve been back, since I was getting all my Christmas decorations packed away. We’ll see what happens when I have to leave them to go to work again in 2 days!


Siskiyou Mountains in southern Oregon – taken out the RV window while moving on the I-5 freeway!

I now have all the photos in a Gallery album if you’d like to see how the giant front windows of the RV let me take a lot of pretty landscape photos while we were in motion. :)

Never fear, I will start the new year with cute kitty photos again. Happy New Year everyone!

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