Archive for the 'Family' Category

In memory of Louise Rosequist

Sunday, February 26th, 2006

Louise Rosequist died last Monday. She was the mother of one of my best friends growing up, Andy. She was one of the neighborhood moms, and because of the trust my mother put in her, had the same authority as my mom did, from my perspective. Her words and admonitions (and what young boy doesn’t get thousands of admonitions?) carried the same weight as my own mother’s. My mom’s trust in her was not mistaken either as she was a wonderful woman and mother. Frankly spoken, she was always my favorite neighborhood mom because she treated me as maturely as I was willing to behave and always seemed to speak words of wisdom, integrity and compassion. She had a composure and collectedness that, despite all of our antics as children, rarely was ever cracked. Finally, while most parents seem to play favorites, you always got the feeling from her that she cared for us all and treated us all fairly.

She died fighting a 15 year battle with cancer, a battle she fought vigorously so that she could watch her children grow into mature adults. A fight she won as she lived to be able to see her first two grandchildren born in the last couple years.

May God forgive her sins, grant her peace and bring her into His heavenly presence.

In memory of Norman Hermansen

Friday, February 17th, 2006

On Tuesday, Norman Hermansen died. He was in his late 80s. Norm was Wendy’s grandfather, her father’s father. Much of what I love about Wendy seem to have come from her grandfather. Norm never had anything negative to say even around people who didn’t extend him the same courtesy and always showed compassion in his words and actions. He loved his family and supported them. He also seems to have been the source of a good portion of Wendy’s sense of humor as it mimics his style.

May God give you peace Norm. Know that your legacy will live on in your granddaughter that I love very much.

The Mission

Monday, February 6th, 2006

In a Crawford family first, my brother actually recommended a movie of religious nature that I enjoyed watching: The Mission. This movie was made in 1986 and stars Robert DeNiro.

The number one thing that struck me in this movie was the value of Penance. Robert DeNiro plays a slave capturer who kills his brother in a fight and turns away from his past life to become a religious brother. During his transformation he goes through a process which is very common for new/renewed believers: he doubts whether his sins can be forgiven. And while God forgives, the process of penance helps us to recognize the truth. The sequence of him carrying a heavy load of miltary gear up the mountain to the natives that he had hunted and sold was very powerful and the natives freeing him from that load was even more powerful. You could feel the healing in DeNiro’s tears.

Penance is a very powerful healing tool.

The second thing that I thought of what how far the mighty Jesuits have fallen. This movie portrays the best of who the Jesuits are. They were formed by a Saint who knew the value of fighting for the faith or as is said in the Catholic Encyclopedia:

‘Ignatius had suggested for the title of their brotherhood “The Company of Jesus”. Company was taken in its military sense, and in those days a company was generally known by its captain’s name.’

The movie shows the Jesuits standing up for the faith and, just as importantly, the people of the faith in the face of secular persecution. Today, however, the Jesuits far too often find themselves associated with questioning the faith and denying Jesus and particularly his divinity. How the mighty have fallen…

Being thankful

Wednesday, January 25th, 2006

I was reading today on a Catholic blog where the author is anticipating a major pay cut at his job and was pretty worried about how he was going to make ends meet.

What instantly popped in my head was how thankful I am for the life I have. I’ve got a stable job at a pretty good company (although not what it once was as far as employee treatment). They pay me enough that I can afford to pay for all of my family’s needs without asking my wife to contribute financially. I am able to do this and was able to purchase a beautiful home at a time when it was affordable for me to do so on a 30 year fixed morgage at a pretty good interest rate.

But even more importantly, I have a wonderful wife whom I love dearly and two incredibly wonderful boys who bring me so much joy I want 20 more of them.

There is much for me to be thankful for.

Vacation graphic and metrics!

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006

Below is a graphic with the GPS routing of all of the driving I did over the course of the vacation. Here are some metrics:

-Total hours driving: 44
-Miles driven: 2680
-Average speed: 61 miles an hour (officer, I was NEVER over 65…)
-Longest individual trip: 610 miles from uncle Rick’s ranch home
-Shortest individual trip: 70 miles to and from Wendy’s Parent’s house from home
-Earliest trip start: 7:00 AM when leaving uncle Rick’s ranch for home
-Latest trip start: 6:00 PM when leaving for Vegas Bowl
-Earliest trip end: 10:00 AM arrival at Wendy’s Parent’s house on Christmas day
-Latest trip end: 3:15 AM arrival in Vegas for Vegas Bowl
-Highest elevation: 6070 ft. when entering Yosemite
-Lowest elevation: 20 ft. at Tim’s Wedding in Oxnard
-Northern most point: Latitude 39.522 N at Wendy’s Parent’s house
-Southern most point: Latitude 34.228 N at Tim’s Wedding
-Western most point: Longitude 121.613 W on drive to Wendy’s Parent’s house in Gridly
-Eastern most point: Longitude 113.833 W at uncle Rick’s ranch

Here’s the picture (click on picture to see full size image):

My vacation

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006

Well, I’m back at work after two weeks off, and what a two weeks off it was! Read the below post about the beginning of the vacation and the Las Vegas bowl where the Cal Bears beat BYU! This post picks up where that one left off.

After the game in Las Vegas ended around 9 PM, Brian and I went to my Uncle Rick’s desert ranch outside of Yucca, AZ. Uncle Rick and Aunt Garnette had come up from their vacation ranch to watch the game with us and we caravaned to the ranch with them. I would tell you how to get there but it’s WAY back (like 20 miles back) off some gravel roads from Yucca. I made sure to get GPS coordinates for the place because I don’t know if I could find my way back without them!

The route to Yucca, AZ from Las Vegas took us over the Hoover dam, another place I’d never been. I was surprised just how narrow the canyon the dam was in. From that standpoint the dam was pretty small. However the depth of the dam is AMAZINGLY deep. We didn’t stop, but from the Car not only could I not see the bottom of the canyon, I couldn’t see the lake’s water (which I’m told was low) from the top of the dam. It was a very impressive canyon. I was also suprised by how deep in the canyon the dam was. We were probably a good 200 feet (heck, maybe 500) below the top of canyon when on top of the dam. Finally, it is clear that dam puts out a LOT of power. The power lines coming out of there are as big as the power lines coming out of a nuclear power plant. I’ll have to go back there sometime during the day and walk around to see the entire facilities…

We arrived at my uncle’s ranch at about 11 PM and since it was dark, I couldn’t see much other than what was inside their small vacation house. When I woke up in the morning, what I saw was amazing. There were Joshua trees everywhere and TONS of cactus. One always stereotypically thinks of the desert as miles and miles of sand with a cactus every couple hundred yards. That was not the case here. Not only were there tons of different types of vegitation it was as dense as a redwood forest. Of course, most everything here is under 10 feet tall so it doesn’t have the enclosed feel of a redwood forest, but there really was that much vegitation. We were only there for one day (two nights) but we managed to take a hike up to a nearby hill to see the entire valley, play a round of frisbee golf (uncle Rick has a full 18 hole course, all that is missing are cart paths and a score card), and visit with some of their neighbors who live there year-round.

That evening we got a call from my wife Wendy. She had been called by the Yucca fire department saying they were towing my car. I had left my car at the empty lot right next to the fire station and uncle Rick drove Brian and I into the ranch in his really nice truck. Since the roads to the ranch were all gravel and somewhat bumpy, we thought it best to leave a Jetta in town. Well, apparently the fire department didn’t take to kindly to that. After talking with Wendy we realized that they were only threatening to tow the car and it may still be there. Nevertheless when uncle Rick and aunt Garnette drove us to pick up my car to head home the next morning (now the 24th, the game was the 22nd, we spent the 23rd at the ranch) there was some question as to whether the car would be there. Both Rick and I were somewhat confident that the car would be there because Yucca is such a small town that it would be a hassle for them to tow it and they wouldn’t do it for a few days. Thankfully we were right.

Brian and I made the 9 hour trek back to Roseville (interestingly, although Yucca is two hours from Vegas, since they are off of I-40 and I-15 respectively and those two freeways meet in Barstow which is where one cuts over to Bakersfield, the driving distance from my house to either place is about the same) arriving there about 5:15 PM on Christmas eve. Sadly because of some miscommunication between Wendy and I, she wasn’t expecting me back because of the towed car incident and had stayed at her parents place not expecting me until late at night. I was pretty exhausted, so I slept in Roseville (Brian drove home to Oakland) and drove the hour and a half to Oroville to meet up with Wendy and the boys in the morning. We had a nice Christmas day, including Mass at the small Parish in town (more on this in a later post), in Oroville and came home in the evening after dinner.

Think that was the end of my travels? As Al Pachino says, “I’m just getting warmed up!”

The following day (the 26th) we all got in the car and drove to Yosemite. It is somewhat of a Christmas tradition for my Mom to take me and Brian to Yosemite around Christmas time. We haven’t gone for the last few years because of having little babies both inside and outside of Wendy. This year with our youngest being nearly 1, we decided it was time to go again. Yosemite usually has light snow in the valley and heavy snow on the top of the walls. This year it was BONE DRY. It even rained for a day while we were there. We took Gregory and Andrew up to Badger pass so that they could play in the snow but despite the fact that there was snow up there, it was raining and the boys didn’t have any fun. Thankfully, Gregory loves bus rides so the trip up to Badger pass wasn’t a complete loss.

We stayed in Yosemite for three nights and then drove home. For those counting, I’m now up to 31 hours of driving (9 to Vegas, 2 to Yucca, 9 home, 1.5 to Oroville, 1.5 home, 4 to Yosemite, 4 home) and I had only been off of work for a week! Thankfully I got a full 6 days at home to relax, watch football (stinking USC and Oregon killed the Pac-10 bowl record!) and catch up on some ToDo items.

But it wouldn’t be any fun if that’s where it ended, would it? Last Thurday, Wendy, the boys and I got back into the car and made the 6 hour trip to Oxnard (in Southern California between LA and Santa Barbara) to go to my brother-in-law Tim’s wedding. His fiancee’s (now wife) family is from Oxnard. We had a fun time down there and the wedding, particularly the reception was a lot of fun (more about the ceremony in a later post). But the driving, particularly after a week of so much driving took its toll and after the 7 hour trip home (we took a route up the coast to Pismo Beach to have a little more scenery) we were all (particularly the boys) very glad to be home.

For those counting I spend 44 hours, more than a full work week, in the car on my Christmas break. That was a bit too much but the trips were a combination of fun and important and was glad I went on them all. Tune in next month for my update: the month stayed at home.

(Actually expect a couple more posts, as indicated above, soon)

My brother is a lucky man

Wednesday, October 19th, 2005

My brother was given one of the best gifts you could give a Cal fan. No, not a trip for the team to the Rose Bowl, although that would be really nice. No, he was given a ticket stub for the UC Davis vs. Stanford game. You know, that upset from earlier this year that made Stanford the laughing stock of just about all of college football? Yeah, that game.

He’s going to get the ticket framed (as he should) so that the memory of that game will never fade from Crawford memory.

I’m jealous.

Public Service Announcement

Sunday, October 16th, 2005

Warning: Following Cal football loses be on the lookout for fans suffering from “Crawford Cal-loss syndrome”. While not dangerous of its own right, when provoked, those suffering from this disease WILL react. Suffers can be identified by looking for overweight individuals not taller than 5′ 10″ and usually shorter than 5′ 7″ wearing significant amounts of Cal clothing and sweating profusely even on fog covered days while wearing shorts and t-shirts. Suffers tend to congregate into groups. The disease is contagious so watch for others congregating with the sufferers even when they don’t match the above description.

When you happen upon a group with individuals meeting this description first watch for signs of the disease. The first sign you’ll notice will be scowling faces and an uneasy silence. Also watch for angry and accusatory statements that occasionally puncture the silence. These comments are often responded to with further statements of disbelief and claims of athletic ability not present in the group (“Any of us could have thrown that pass” being a common example.).

Once you have identified the disease, it is important to know how to respond:

-Do NOT provoke them. Although they never turn physically violent, the verbal outburst unleashed upon you WILL make you feel violated.
-Do NOT ask them the outcome of the game. This warning can not be taken too seriously. Isn’t it obvious enough? Is it obvious NOW!?!
-Watch for flying objects. This warning should not be taken too seriously as most items thrown will be of the softer variety and unlikely to do any harm. More dangerous items, when thrown, are thrown with a surprising concern for other’s safety particularly considering the rage with which they are thrown.
-Keep all valuables out of reach. While the above warning is accurate, no regard is shown towards the value of items thrown. The next item hucked might just be your new cell phone. TV remotes are particularly likely candidates.
-Do NOT try to console them. Consoling will look like provoking to those with the disease.
-Make sure you fulfill all your responsibilities. Spouses that fail to walk fast enough or navigate the crowd well enough should most heed this warning. Bus drivers, concession stand workers and other game officials need also be concerned here.

Your best course of action is to give all sufferers of these disease as much conversational space as is possible. While there is no need to give physical space (sufferers are used to walking in crowded places) you should be quiet and focus on anticipating what will be asked of you next. Questions should be answered promptly, efficiently and unambiguously. Commands or requests should be acted upon immediately with military like precision. (Although a salute is not wise (see the warning about provoking) it is the appropriate mind set to be in.)

Finally, the key to surviving an encounter is to understand that, while the disease can take anywhere from two hours to 2 seconds to onset, once it has reached it’s peak, the disease runs it’s course very quickly and consistently. Instead of trying to conquer the disease, your goal should be to survive it. Once the sufferer has exited the stadium or turned off the television/radio, it will be no more than 30 minutes before suffers can restrain themselves when provoked (in most cases). Walking significantly helps reduce this amount of time as does reaching one’s car or even the bus that will take them to their car. By the time the sufferer goes to bed, the disease will have finished running its course (although you should probably read warnings about the far less dangerous but much longer lasting “Crawford Cal-loss hangover”.).

This concludes this public service announcement.

Great comment from another father

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

He says:

How can you tell a baby has two of their favorite things to chew on in their mouth?

When they don’t freak out when you remove the first one.

I can attest to the truth of that one as recently as last night when I pulled the first, second and finally third fragment of paper from Andrew’s mouth.

What my family is known for…

Monday, August 29th, 2005

Since we’re on the topic, I figured it would be fun to elaborate on what my family is well known for:

-Bulldozers: We’re a family of bulldozers. If you’re in our way, watch out! You could get flattened. Whereas my wife’s family is known for their peace-making and consciously going out of their way not to criticize anyone or point out when they’re wrong, my family aches for the opportunity to run you over and show you what kind of an idiot you are. And I don’t say “what kind of an idiot you are” as a euphemism. We’ll literally break down all of the different types of idiots there are and explain why you fit in the category you do. (Credit goes to Seth Hensley for coming up with the term.)

-Knuckle Scrapers: This speaks to both our personalities and our physical attributes. There is something primal about the short legs and arms that characterize my family. The short legs in particular suggest that our knuckles might scrape the ground if we weren’t careful, particularly if we hunched over as we are all too likely to do. But just as well as it describes our physical appearance it describes a personality aspect of ours. Crawford’s are survivors and not just because of our mechanical skills. We can out-sweat, out-shiver, out-stink, out-bleed, out-eat (no question here), out-starve, out-sprain (as opposed to break), and in most other ways out-last other people. We may not catch the gazelle, but I’ve got money on the Crawford when the bear comes into the tent. The uglier it gets, the more likely a Crawford is going to end up on top. (Credit goes to Paul Swagerty for helping me think up the term.)

-Fundamentalists: I don’t mean this in the religious sense of the term. I mean in an over arching sense. We think in fundamental terms. We don’t get bogged down in nuanced thought. Nope, it’s the cold hard facts that matter to us. As opposed to appealing to emotion or difficult scenarios, we’ll bulldoze right through those and force everything into whatever fundamental categories we’re bulldozing you with (like what type of an idiot you are).

-Irresistible force meets immovable object: This has two aspects as well. First, we take great pride in being stubborn. And there’s nothing you can do to change it! Second, whenever Crawford’s come together you can expect explosive conversations. Explosive like the irresistible force meeting the immovable object. (Credit goes to my Dad for constantly repeating this mantra of our family.)

-Jovial: This is the first of two redeeming quality of the Crawfords. We love to laugh and have a good time. We love to cheer and generally be excited. Part of why we have explosive conversations is for the fun of it. Don’t sit next to us at a football game if you don’t want to hear some yelling (this includes both Jovial and Bulldozing/Knuckle scraping aspects). Our favorite way to have a good time besides cheering is to laugh. We’ll make jokes all day long and as long as they’re funny to us, we’ll keep them rolling. On the down side, we often lean towards sarcasm and mocking in our humor. Luckily, we do really great bad impressions, particularly of those in the family.

-Thick skinned: Just like with the knuckle scraper, it refers to both a physical and emotional aspect of the Crawfords. We do seem to physically have thick skin. It helps in our ability to out-bleed others. But thank God for this attribute in an emotional sense because with all the above primal and seemingly unforgiving aspects, one would think we’d never be able to get along with anyone. But we’re not. We’re generally well liked once people get to know us and a big part of that is because of our ability to not let stuff bother us (as well as our otherwise jovial nature). At first I was going to write that we were quick to forgive but in reality we never let stuff bother us in the first place. In fact, we didn’t know that it was supposed to bother us. What knuckle scraper would know that?

I think that about sums up my family. We take great pride in who we are. It may seem harsh at first but it’s really not. It’s really a lot of fun. Want to come over for dinner some time?