Tag Archive | Jeff

Welcome to Club 82, Mom.

On January 12th, we would have celebrated your 82nd birthday together. Instead, those of us who knew you best wore pink and red in tribute to your love of those colors together. Of course some of us still question that combination.

I remember you always loved our family celebrations. Celebrating those you loved so dearly was one of your greatest passions.

I know you would enjoy being here with us. Seeing, holding, and playing with your great-grandchildren would be one of your many pleasures. I can see you talking with them as you cuddle the little boys and discuss a great many things with the older little girls. You were a wonderful grandma and I know this from having you for a wonderful Mom and through word of mouth and deed from my nieces and nephew. You would have been a super-wonderful great-grandma.

I know you would still keep in touch with your family and friends through your letters, still hand-written, and via email and now, Facebook. You would have really liked connecting with people through Facebook — so many messages, photos and links to more information. I still have some of the letters you had written to me.

Cupcakes for Stuart's birthday.

Cupcakes for Stuart’s birthday.

We celebrated Stuart’s birthday on January 8th. We all gathered at Laurie’s. Had a nice dinner, something he would have liked and cupcakes, complete with birthday candles. We lit the candles, sang Happy Birthday to him, then your great-granddaughters blew out the candles. I know this is something you would have done….. so, we did it. This made Stuart’s birthday not as difficult to get through.

Yesterday, we again gathered at Laurie’s. This time to celebrate Natalie’s birthday. Of course we had her favorite food, BLTs. And, as was your way, we celebrated with ice cream and cake. Another party you would have truly enjoyed. Family celebrating family.

On your birthday, besides wearing red and pink (eesh), I went to a favorite Mexican restaurant of yours and had enchiladas and a flan, in your honor, for dessert. Oh my, was I full. That evening, I made a custard pie and learned that Jeff really likes custard pie. Yet, no one I know, or will ever know, will like custard pie as much as you did. Mine was not the best, it was not yours, but, it was custard pie all the same.

I wished you welcome to Club 82 on my Facebook page and I know you would have been a great member of the club. I hope to be one, some day.

Custard Pie for Mom's 82nd Birthday

Custard Pie for Mom’s 82nd Birthday

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Eleven

Mom, my post about eleven and the calendar made me think of things over the past eleven years since you passed away.

I wrote down the years and noted some personal and family events that have happened since January 26, 2003.

2003

  • Dad and I kept each other moving forward, one step at a time. Days blurred together, but when you’re going through Hell, you keep going.
  • One of my best friends, Gary, passed away in June. At his graveside service tears were streaming down my cheeks, a gentle breeze came to oh so softly dry them. Thanks Mom. I knew that was you.

2004

  • In honor of your 70th birthday, I donated blood for the first time. Thanks to your great example, I had the courage to go through the process and do my part to try to give back.
  • Dad bought a candy apple red Toyota double-cab pick up. You would have enjoyed it too.
  • Your granddaughter, Kylie, graduated from high school.
  • Your granddaughter, Ashley, and Nathan were married in July. A beautiful ceremony.
  • For the Light the Night Walk annual event, in Portland, to raise awareness and money to fight blood cancers, I single-handedly raised close to $1,500.

2005

  • This year must have been a blur or simply uneventful, as I can’t remember much of anything really important.

2006

  • Your granddaughter, Natalie, graduated from high school.

2007

  • I spent my 50th birthday at the Oregon Coast (I know that ‘surprises’ you ;)…. ) with a great friend, who’s name just happens to be Helen. 🙂
  • Your granddaughter, Ashley, graduated from Eastern Washington University.

2008

  • Your grandson, Grant, graduated from high school.
  • Dad got a great report from his doctor. Cancer free for five years. What a relief. You would be pleased.
  • Your great granddaughter, Cadence Anne, was born at Fort Lewis.
  • You brought Jeff and I together. I know you picked him out for me. Thanks. 😉

2009

  • Jeff and I along with Kylie and Natalie saw the musical Wicked in Portland at the Keller Auditorium. The same place we saw Cats, twice.
  • Ashley’s husband, Nathan, was deployed to Afghanistan. Ashley did a great job holding things together, especially considering her daughter Cadence had such a hard time with her Daddy being gone.

2010

  • The Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, B.C. Canada. I remember how you loved to watch the Olympics and how you were so supportive of my opportunity to move to Vancouver for work and encouraged me to make that step.
  • Jeff and I became engaged during the time of the Winter Olympics.
  • Ashley and Nathan had their second daughter, Piper Joy. Another great granddaughter for you.

2011

  • Dad battled chronic kidney disease. On the brink of needing dialysis, he did what the doctors said and turned the disease around. He still is mindful of it, but doing much better.
  • On 9.10.11, Jeff and I were married in Athena, Oregon and in spirit Mom, you were right there with us. We had an awesome day.
  • Jeff and I spent our honeymoon in British Columbia – Vancouver, Squamish, Whistler, Nanaimo.

2012

  • Natalie and Scott got married in May. Kylie and Eric got married in September – a week after Jeff’s and my first anniversary. With Kylie marrying Eric you gained another granddaughter. You’d love Mila. And Scott and Eric.
  • Your granddaughter, Candice graduated from high school.
  • Stuart was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer. Surgery and treatments followed.

2013

  • I was able to purchase a new sewing machine for my quilting and sewing projects. Mom, you would love it and like see what it can do.
  • Stuart was sent to the Mayo Clinic for more testing/evaluation. Surgery was set up at a hospital in Seattle. Then things changed. The cancer had become more aggressive and surgery was not the best course of treatment, no longer an option.
  • Another great granddaughter was born, Harper Lee.
  • Stuart endured 8 weeks of radiation treatments five days a week and chemotherapy one day of that week. The treatments took their toll, yet, following your example, he battled back.
  • Cadence started kindergarten. I can see you encouraging her in school. I know you would dearly love the little girls.

2014

  • Good so far – the best news is that Stuart is feeling stronger, recovering from the radiation treatments.
  • Dad’s health is much better. Encouraging reports from each doctor visit.
  • Mom, your Seattle Seahawks won their division, won their conference, and next week they will play in the Super Bowl. I know you would have been so excited to see their playoff games and the ‘big game’ certainly. I know you’ll have the best seat in the house for the ‘big game.’

Tastes Like More

Cinnamon and Sugar.

Apples.

Vanilla Ice Cream.

Oh, what to make of this.

Apple Crisp.

All it takes are some apples, cored and sliced. A pinch of salt, some flour, sugar and some butter. And, time to bake. Simple.

One of the first desserts I made when I was a kid. One my Mom encouraged me to try making.

Now, it is one of my husband, Jeff’s favorite – especially if there is vanilla ice cream in the freezer or he can make a quick trip to the grocery store to get some.

Me… I like the simplicity. The smell of cinnamon as it bakes. The steam coming up from a serving spooned into a bowl and the melting of that delicious vanilla ice cream as it hugs the apples while it melts.

And, Oh, the taste…. as my Mom would say, “Tastes like more.” Jeff agrees.

Apple Crisp, fresh out of the oven.

Apple Crisp, fresh out of the oven.

Warm Apple Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream

Warm Apple Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream

These Dreams

WOW!!!! Another vivid dream.

This one was in the category of “fantastic, yet coulda happened,” you know the kind.

This dream seemed so real that when I woke up I was going to ask my husband, Jeff, if he had gotten a program at the wedding we had attended. I was so hoping that he had brought one home with us. I remembered that I unfortunately left mine in the beautiful red folder that we were handed. I’ve never seen such an elegant folder at a wedding. It was a hardback cover holding the wedding program and a detailed map of how to get to the reception, etc.

The important thing was the wedding party, the list of attendants and honored guests. Of course, first on the list were the two terrific people we came to see get married. Next up, well to me anyway, were the names of the performers at the wedding reception. None other than Ann and Nancy Wilson and, their friend, Sue Ennis. Keep in mind, I did say this was a “fantastic, yet coulda happened” dream.

Earlier in the day, we had stopped at a gas station. Jeff got out to fill up the car. I sat quietly. I heard some singing, yet this was not ordinary singing. I heard voices I knew…. ones I knew from recordings and concerts…. yet, these voices were live. In person. Not too far away. Could my ears be wrong? Could my mind be wandering so much as to be playing a trick on me. No…. these voices were from the car ahead of me. Acapella. Clear. Strong. Musical. Harmonious. Wonderful. Yes, I knew these voices. Ann, Nancy and Sue. And they were in the car just ahead of us. Suddenly, Ann got out of the passenger seat and went inside. I was so stunned all I could do was to scream, “WOOOOOOOOOO!!!!” My cover was blown. Then, I saw Nancy and Sue turn around and heard Nancy say, “OH, sounds like we have another fan!”

I could not believe my own eyes. A sighting. A real, up close sighting. I so wanted to hop out and meet them, yet, I don’t know why I did not. I seemed to have been frozen to the car seat. May be that I had figured that screaming had accosted them enough. Besides, at this point I’d be lucky to say anything intelligent. I would have told them that they were my idols and I was one of their biggest fans…. someone who had followed their musical career since 1974. Someone who had listened to and lived their music for all this time. Someone who even fashioned a coat for herself that was similar to one that Ann wore onstage. Someone who had found Mushroom Records while on a vacation to Vancouver, B.C., just because Heart had been there.

Then, to my amazement, these women with the magical voices and beautiful music were going to perform at the wedding reception.

Upon awakening, I don’t really remember much of the wedding, except that it was beautiful with love all around. Nor do I remember the wedding reception and seeing and hearing the much-anticipated performance of Ann, Nancy and Sue. You’d think my dream would have allowed that. After all, I did SEE and HEAR them at the gas station!!!!

Dreams like this appear to me every so often. This one reminds me of how much I’ve enjoyed their music over the years and how much Mom knew I enjoyed their music. She knew of all the performers I enjoyed. She was such a good mom that she’d tape concerts and appearances from the television and give them to me to watch as often as I wanted. She’d listened to their music with me. These dreams keep Mom close to me. Her influence in my life is so vivid much like the dreams she appears in and the ones she conjures up for me.

These dreams…………

My Valentine!!!!

My husband, Jeff, is a writer and copy editor for a rural small-town newspaper. He saw this gem, headed for publish in his newspaper, and sent it to my office, via email.

I have to tell ya, it made my day, my week, brightened my end of January and certainly covered February…..

….

From Dear Abby for tomorrow’s paper

“A life without love is no life at all.”

“You will know you have found love when you meet someone
who makes you feel strong instead of dependent,
who appreciates you for the person you are and isn’t threatened by your successes,
who supports you when you’re down, takes pride in your accomplishments,
and will hug you even after a difficult day.”

You fill the bill in all categories, Sweetheart. I love you!!!

….

….My response to Jeff’s email….

BEST Valentine EVER…. well, except for my ENGAGEMENT RING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😉

I LOVE YOU….
You do the very same for me, my dear Jeffry.
You even like me when I am grumpy and out of sorts for no apparent reason.
You lift me up in times of difficulty and trouble.
You support me when my road is rough.
You comfort me and hold me, telling me all will be okay when I am sad and in despair.
You laugh with me as we share in our own silliness.
You rejoice with me in triumph.
You celebrate our life together.

You constantly remind me, my family and friends and all who know one or both of us…

that I made the right choice…..
that we made the right choice…..

You, are my person…. my one and only person.
I love you.

Forever and a Day!!!!

….
I know Mom is happy about this love.

Rock Tober

I know the radio stations usually use this phrase as ROCKTOBER… but this Rock Tober has been different. Way different.

October rocked our family’s world. And this was after a tormenting second half of September.

In September we were cruising along, nicely. The first few days, Jeff and I were putting the finishing touches on planning our Canadian vacation to Nelson, BC in honor of our first wedding anniversary. We had a good Labor Day weekend, the next weekend a great celebration with some family and friends to note our anniversary. Then, we had an amazing trip!!! We made it back home in time to attend our niece’s wedding and celebrate.

Things started to unravel.

On our anniversary, a friend’s husband passed away. We were on our anniversary vacation and friends told us the next day.

The Monday following our return from Canada, my brother went to see his DR for a lump in his neck and sore throat combined with an overall tired/crappy feeling he’d been dealing with. Primary DR sent him to an ENT specialist for further review. Testing ensued. This DR did not like what he saw. Not one bit.

The DR told him he thought it was thyroid cancer. My brother not only had to deal with this himself, process the news, but… he had to tell his family. And…his daughter was still in Hawaii on her honeymoon. Thankfully, her husband is a great guy and would be there with her when she got the call from her Dad. The man who walked her down the aisle just a few days earlier. The man who walked her sister down the aisle just four months earlier… and their older sister, six years earlier.

The next weekend, we attended Sarah’s husband’s funeral. This was the very day, five years prior, that Jeff lost his first wife, Tina, to the ravages of diabetes. He was of great support to me and my friends. He knew of Sarah’s pain and anguish.

My brother had surgery so the DR could biopsy the tissue, survey the area and get more testing done and formulate a plan. Test results came, another meeting with the DR. A meeting with another DR. Decisions made. Thyroidectomy scheduled.

Meanwhile, on the other side of our family, Jeff’s Mom, my mother-in-law, had suffered a stroke. She and her husband were traveling near Eugene, Oregon when it happened. Thankfully, they had stopped at a friends’ home. He, being an EMT, knew something was wrong and urged her to let them take her to the hospital. She refused. He was persistent. “You can either go with us now, or wait for an ambulance.” She took them up on the ride to the ER. She was admitted with a stroke. At first she could still speak, garbled, yet she could still speak. The next day no words. She could understand the other side of the conversation, but could no longer formulate her words to hold up her end. Jeff and I both left work to go check on her. We were met by family. Luckily, she had been headed to where a majority of family members live when the initial stroke happened. We stayed with family. We were all blessed to learn that she had been accepted as a patient in one of the best rehabilitation hospitals in the state, when she was to be released from the hospital. The morning came and we went to help transport her from one facility to another. We got her admitted and got a tour of the facility and met with DRs, Nurses, Therapists and a Social Worker. A quite compassionate, caring, professional place. With her in good care, we left for home.

Back home, my brother was to be the guest of honor at a fundraiser. Firefighters and EMTs from the surrounding areas had gotten together to support him and his family. The rural community where he lives, works, volunteers and supports those in need all came together to support him. We wanted to be there too. Not only to support my brother and his family… but to personally THANK those involved.

The next Friday was the surgery. Our younger brother and his family had come to offer support. In-laws and cousins had also come. My brother had a great DR and lots of support. He was going to get through this, but it would be a long time healing.

My dad was not unscathed by my brother’s cancer scare. Dad suffered a lot of anxiety. His health suffered because of it. He could not sleep. He was more irritable. He was more sad. This was HIS kid and his kid HAD to be okay. Dad had told us that this had scared him. Of course it did. He was scared of losing his son. He was scared of the unknown. Dad has had severe health issues himself, including prostate cancer. He had helped Mom battle leukemia…. was right along side her all the way. He had seen his father and mother both battle cancer. He knew the odds. Yet, he knows of determination and good health care professionals.

Just a few days ago, my Dad called me at work…. he was not feeling well at all and had called the ambulance. We spent six hours in the ER waiting for tests to be run, to be analyzed and results determined. I finally got to take Dad home.

Here at the end of October, my brother is healing… yes, it has been a painful time for him, but he’s still around. My mother-in-law is making some progress and is out of the rehabilitation hospital and is now living with my sister-in-law. My dad is able to relax, so he can feel better… and I can too.

Prayers and hopes for all my family members. Me, I simply hope I did my Mom justice…. with her help I was able to help my family get through this Rock Tober.

Whatever October 2013 brings us, we’ll deal with it.

Self-less gesture. Loving husband.

Unlike my family and my good friends, you may not KNOW how I dearly love, my husband, Jeff…..
well… here’s just one of the many reasons why.

And…. a reason my Mom would LOVE Jeff too.

He went with me to attend Brice’s funeral and to the reception after.
He had the chance to stay home and watch football. Read. Play golf. Do whatever he wanted.
He chose to be with me. To support me, to support us (my friends and coworkers)…
above all, to support Sarah.

You see, he knows of the battle that Sarah has endured, the emotions that have rocked her world.
Five years ago, to the day, September 22, Jeff lost his first wife, Tina, to the ravages of diabetes and accompanying complications.

He could have stayed away from those additional memorial influences.
He, instead, chose to be there for me, for us and especially for Sarah…….
He told me that since he ‘had been there’ it was far more important for him to be with us,
to offer support.

Here is the blog post he wrote this morning.
http://neoregonblues.wordpress.com/2012/09/22/death-and-forever-sunshine/