Berney Elementary School teachers Jen Holbrook and Shannon Hand became friends as soon as Shannon started working there seven years ago.
You might say they're on the same wave length and this is why: As 2009 wound down, they discovered they were pregnant and were both due in July, Jen on the 6th and Shannon on the 8th.
"We also had the same doctor and most of our appointments were on the same day," Jen said.
"Toward the end of my pregnancy my doctor decided to have me induced a week early to avoid high blood pressure issues. Shannon knew and we joked that she would see me there since she was progressing along in her pregnancy."
They never thought that would really be the case, however.
But on July 2, during Shannon's routine doctor appointment, she was admitted to the hospital to be induced, also for medical concerns.
"We ended up having delivery rooms right next door to each other," she said. Jen and Scott Holbrook's son (their second boy), Jeg Allen Holbrook, was born at 2:58 p.m. and weighed in at 7 pounds 6 ounces. He joins brother Kort, 3 1/2 years old.
Three hours later, Shannon and Bob Hand's daughter Laney Kay Hand, 6 pounds 10 ounces, was born. Laney's older brother Parker will be 2 in September.
Once they were out of labor, delivery and recovery, the two moms found themselves in rooms right next door to each other.
The pair will be on maternity leave until about November, Jen said.
Gary Gilman, son-in-law of Walla Wallans Margaret and Lloyd "Chips" Davis, recently garnered a prestigious award from the Emerald City Softball Association in Seattle.
Margaret and Chips' daughter, Elizabeth Davis Gilman, and Gary reside in Renton, Wash.
The ECSA drafted him into its 2010 Hall of Fame and celebrated with a presentation on June 12.
Gary was active in sports for a lot of years, although because of a brittle bone disease, he hasn't been able to play any more.
Instead, he's carved a niche out of umpiring games, including for the ECSA. Because of his work, he has received the ECSA Board's Umpire of the Year Award every year but one.
The Seattle Metro Softball Umpires Association renamed its umpire award the Gary Gilman Most Requested Umpire of the Year Award. He continues to be the winning recipient of that award year after year.
Kirby Unti, a columnist with Renton Magazine and a pastor at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in the Renton Highlands, is such a Gilman fan, that he devoted an entire column in the July issue to Gary, who Kirby said "knows how to notch up the joy of softball tenfold."
"Gary has managed to break just about every bone in his body," Kirby wrote. As a result, Gary became active in the SMSUA, which provides umps for all the games played in King County.
He recently called his 10,000th game.
"I love it when I show up for a game and Gary is behind the plate," Kirby wrote.
"Win or lose, I know both teams and fans are going to have a great time. Gary calls every ball and strike with highly charged enthusiasm, accenting the call with expressive hand gestures."
Gary also willingly admits when he's called a play wrong, "but he calls them as he sees them."
Kirby also said Gary is the best fan players can have. He complements good plays and gives encouragement when a play is muffed.
"It is no wonder that in 30 years of officiating he can count on one hand the number of players he has kicked out of a game. Gary has turned officiating into an art form."
Both Walla Walla High School alums, Gary graduated in 1971 and Elizabeth in 1973, said Margaret.
Gary retired from Kenworth Truck Co. on his 55th birthday after a 35-year career that started right out of high school, Kirby wrote.
"He is a natural-born athlete who loves the game of baseball."
In younger years, Gary excelled at hardball and played all the way through American Legion.
He decided to become a better umpire than most of the umps who officiated his games.
Kirby added, "Quite frankly it is the kids who keep him in the game. He is now officiating for the kids and grandkids of the first players he umped. He breaks into a full smile when he says, ‘I knew them when they were in diapers back when I had to tell them not to put their fingers through the fence.'"
He also receives kudos from the ECSA which cited his "loyalty, love of the game and openness/tolerance of all people that he has umpired our league for all these years.
"Thirty years ago, times were very different. The idea of a gay sports league was new and scary to a lot of people. Gary is not GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered), but he is an open-minded professional that has won our appreciation and adoration.
"As an umpire, Gary could choose any league and any part of town to call games, but he has consistently chosen the ECSA."
The Gilmans have two sons and daughters-in-law, Todd and Ruth Gilman and Bryan and Siena Gilman; a daughter Amy Gilman; and three grandchildren.
Long-distance trucker and Walla Walla native Bill Dyer telephoned from the road to report that his 91-year-old mother, Juanita Allard Dyer, and 95-year-old Bob Thompson planned to wed Aug. 14 at Ingle Chapel Congregational Church in Milton-Freewater.
The couple took advantage of a family time-share condo in Hawaii and honeymooned in July, Bill said, sort of "getting the plow before the horse."
Born in Idaho, Juanita grew up in Walla Walla where she graduated from Walla Walla High School in 1938 and in 1941 from St. Mary's School of Nursing. As a registered nurse, she kept quite busy, Bill said.
She is still active, maintaining the home she and late husband John Dyer moved into after it was built by Wa-Hi carpentry students.
She helped organize the 100-year Wa-Hi alumni event several years ago. And she thrives working in her yard and garden, Bill said. Until a few years ago, she often walked five miles with friends in the neighborhood. She's also quite active at Ingle Chapel where "nothing goes on in the kitchen without her involvement," Bill said. Her new husband is a former longtime head football coach at Whitman College. When John was president of Shriners here, Bob was secretary. The two families have a long history.
Bill said he got the couple an ice cream maker for a wedding gift as ice cream is one of his mother's favorite foods. "If not for ice cream and brownies she would have blown away years ago."
Not even a minor stroke Juanita experienced about a month ago, is keeping her down. "She's doing good now," Bill said. "She was told to slow down, but doesn't know what that means."
The wedding started out as a family affair but has expanded because Juanita and Bob have lots of friends. They expect 80 people for the post-wedding reception alone, Bill said.
"A good day for (mom) would be to go sit in the mall and watch people. I don't think she has an enemy in the world. A special lady, she sure is," Bill said.
Maria Garcia, a hair stylist at Impress Salon, took her inspiration for a fantasy hairpiece from the Bible's Numbers 21:9, "So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived."
Maria called it Hypernikao, the Greek word which embodies the concept of the Divine Conqueror, Jesus Christ, and means "to be more than a conqueror, to gain a surpassing victory."
Eight packages of hair, two cans of Bed Head Hard Head hair spray, Bendie perm rods, barbeque utensils and swimming noodles went into creating the shapes of the pole and snake.
Maria spent 80 hours weaving, sculpting and shaping the hair and then added hand-painting with acrylics.
Thousands of hairdressers shared their creativity with Matrix at www.mannequinmania.com/ by taking part in the Matrix Mannequin Mania contest.
The winners in each category will receive a grand prize of $25,000 and a day with Tabatha Coffey. Coffey was a contestant on the Bravo TV show Shear Genius, which led to her own television show the last two seasons, Tabatha's Salon Takeover, also on Bravo.
More than 4,000 entries are viewable at Matrix's website.
At 64, Laurie J. Hannan comes from a generation of women who weren't offered sports in school and never participated in anything remotely athletic. She's the first to admit she's not and never has been an athlete.
Yet, because she enjoys challenges, she was intrigued when she heard about the Danskin Woman's Triathlon three to four years ago.
"Every year around my birthday I try to do something memorable and that year I decided to do the triathlon. Unfortunately when I started to swim I couldn't raise my arm above my head."
That setback took almost a year between the diagnosis, surgery and resulting recovery time. She waited too long in 2009 to register, so this year she registered on the first day.
"I rarely tell anyone that I am doing a triathlon. At first it was because I thought if I told anyone I'd have to go through with it."
She did enlighten trainer John Kerwin about her goal when she first started working with him but told no one else.
"I am very goal oriented - so just wanting to ‘get fit and lose weight' was a starting point, but not enough to keep me motivated long term. The triathlon has been the goal on which I focused and which kept me motivated," she said via e-mail.
The Danskin Triathlon Series in Seattle today features an 800-yard swim, 12-mile bike and 3.1-mile run.
"I was most frightened by the swim, so I started my training in the pool in March. When I started I couldn't swim one length of the pool without stopping to catch my breath. I've never been on a swim team or done competitive swimming, so it was challenging."
She continued the pool work as well as open-water swimming in Bennington Lake and the Snake River.
In April, she and friend Vivian Antes started training to do the 34th running of the Lilac Bloomsday race May 1 in Spokane.
"I thought it would be good to actually compete in an event with lots of people - I'd never done that either. Vivian and I used the training schedule suggested on the Bloomsday website to get ready for the race."
A veteran Bloomsday participant many times over, Vivian was "enormously helpful and inspirational. She kept me motivated and moving when I'd rather have sat on the couch."
In May Laurie began working on the bike portion, after friend Sally Harris got her started in Walla Walla four years ago
She borrowed her brother's faster, lighter bike so she wouldn't have to ride her "grandma mountain bike."
"I'm looking forward to the bike portion of the race. I think I'll do well. In fact, I'm getting really excited about the entire event."
Workouts with John help her focus on strength and endurance. "His workouts are never the same, never boring and he is very encouraging."
Laurie is a stationary engineer and interim environmental specialist at the Washington State Penitentiary. She moved to Walla Walla in November 2006 and is raising grandson Michael Matthews, a junior at DeSales High School. Michael has been visiting his father, a Naval officer stationed in Hawaii. Laurie expects him to arrive home this morning. "I hope to see him at the finish line," she said.
Every woman who crosses the finish line will receive a medal that declares, "The woman who started this race isn't the same one that finished it."
"I really believe that. I'm not the same woman who four years ago decided to do this triathlon. I'm healthier, happier, lighter and yes, ‘more fit.'"
Paintings by Dayton artist Steve Henderson are included in shows in Arizona, Connecticut, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Oregon, said his wife, Carolyn Henderson.
Rive Gauche Galleries in Scottsdale, Ariz., at www.rivegauchegalleries.com, accepted Steve as one of its gallery artists for his maritime work.
Fourteen of his ocean pieces are opening the collection, said Carolyn, who manages Steve Henderson Fine Art, 102 Deer Pond Lane, Dayton.
He is a signature member of American Society of Marine Artists. His work "Emerald City Twilight," a panorama of Elliot Bay and the Seattle skyline with a sailing vessel in the foreground, garnered an Award of Merit at the Coos Bay Art Museum's 17th annual Maritime Art Exhibit.
Another work, "Just Breezin'," was accepted into the prestigious 31st annual International Marine Art Exhibition in Mystic Seaport, Conn.
"The intriguing thing is that, for all that Steve focuses on ocean waves, he lives in the midst of waving wheat," Carolyn said. "He said painting sailboats is as challenging as painting a portrait of a human. The individuality of each craft demands observation and time. How he would love to have a sailboat of his own someday," Carolyn said. Steve paints out of his barn studio outside Dayton, and sells his work locally at Wenaha Gallery, Dayton; Hamley's Art Gallery in Pendleton; and The Lawrence in Sheridan, Ore. Steve Henderson Fine Art online gallery is at www.stevehendersonfineart.com .
Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or afternoons at 526-8313.