Summer Hiking

Summer Hiking
Mt. Constitution

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Karen's Birthday

It seems like just a few years ago, not a few decades ago that I welcomed a beautiful baby girl, with lots of black hair into my life.  I remember the doctor saying, "it's a girl"! Her sweet face and soft skin overwhelmed me with feelings of joy and gratitude!

Karen was a happy baby, always smiling, just like she is today.  
 In my search for pictures from her childhood I found few of her alone.  Most were with Duane, her Dad, friends, kittens, or other animals.  She wanted to be a vet when she was a little girl!

Karen always preferred being with other people rather than being alone.  She enjoyed Mrs. Scotty's School where she and Amy always wore dresses and black buckle shoes.  We moved to Santa Rosa before she was in kindergarten so she and Kelly St. Clair became best buds, often taking care of all the animals in the neighborhood.  It's not surprising now that she has three dogs and enjoys taking the big dogs for hikes and walks around the neighborhood.
Jake and Bradleigh gave her their favorite gifts of WebKinz animals for her birthday in 2007.

Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel was the most popular song the year Karen was born.  The words now remind me of how she was my bridge over the troubled waters of my divorce.  She dried my tears and stayed by my side when times got rough and comforted me when darkness settled in.  She gave me hope that I would survive as a single person and then welcomed me back to Lewiston.  I've been so grateful for all the ways she and her family include me in their busy lives.  
This is what I love about you:
Your beautiful smile
The patience you have when the phone rings when you are on call
The way you love John and my grandchildren
The great relationship you have with Jack and Delores
The way you take care of yourself by eating right and exercising
The kindness you show to your patients
The encouragement you give me to be active, to try new things, and to be myself
Your generous attitude toward friends and co-workers
The way you display family pictures
The way you make time for family gatherings
The way you've eased my mind and been right behind me.
The way you take time to visit with others when you meet them in the grocery store
Today, once again, I'm filled with gratitude for the Gift of You!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Kathy

Regina and I told Kathy yesterday how stunning she looks when she wears red!  She responded that she doesn't very often wear red.  That's an amazing statement from someone born on Valentine's Day.  Kathy is one the left, but her friend, Cecilia, looks great in red, too.
Our 4th Day of Grace prayer group loves to celebrate birthdays.  Today we gathered around the fireplace in Marcia's basement and enjoyed chocolate covered strawberries, ham and bacon quiche, and cranberry scones with lemon curd.  For several years now each birthday honoree chooses a favorite charity and we donate to that charity instead of buying gifts for each other.  Kathy chose to give to Family Promise, an organization that provides housing in local churches for homeless families.
Kathy inspires me by the way she prepares meals from scratch, plants and raises a great garden every year, volunteers at the Soup Kitchen, sings in the choir, spends the night with homeless families at a local church, makes incredible scrapbooks for her children, prays everyday for her brothers and sisters,  still cuts and perms her friends hair, loves and honors her husband, Tom, expresses delight in her grandchildren, walks every day, loves to pick huckleberries, enjoys the benefits of both growing up in and then raising a large Catholic family, touches people who are grieving, sings "Galloping, galloping" on the Christmas album with her Karel sisters,  and especially how she loves her Lord.
Kathy, you are a gift to me and I'm filled with gratitude this day for your friendship!
Happy Birthday Kathy

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

I love the color Red!  Perhaps that's why I cannot get rid of the Christmas Pointsettias still flourishing in my house. I guess they look ok with the spring tulips!  

I treasured the candy kiss on my pillow from Colin!  Such a sweet memory from a sweet grandson.
I spent the day baking and delivering cookies - first to the staff and residents at Juniper Meadows.

I spent some time in the dining room pouring coffee and catching up on the latest news.  The residents were happy to be in the dining room because they've been quarantined for several days to prevent a major flu outbreak.  I really miss the daily interaction with them.  I enjoyed a quick visit with Larry - delivered cookies but also asked "how is my money doing?"  I don't know how he keeps track of everyone's money and then reassures them every time they visit!  Amazing.  Next I spent time with my friend Carol Emery and her Tuesday Stitchers Group!  Gratefully, knitters are welcome too.  Then it was on to St. Stan's to help Cheryl Hart plan her mother's funeral.  I love to hear the stories - her mother devoted many years to managing the baked food booth for the Fall Bazaar!  Storytelling always seems to help ease those waves of grief that people experience during the funeral planning process.  I got to hear more stories at the O'Shaughnessy's and ended the day taking Bradleigh to her piano lesson.  I'm grateful for the day filled with my favorite color, food, friends, and family.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Maureen

When I got the call early on February 8, 1967, that my baby sister was born, I immediately called my doctor to see if I could travel to Cottonwood to greet her.  My own baby was due in just 4 weeks so I needed reassurance that it would be ok for me to be in the car for over 3 hours each way.  We probably listened to this song on the way down the Lewiston hill because it was the #1 hit at the time.  Maybe I wondered what she looked like and what it would be like to have a sister and never live under the same roof.  When I saw her face I knew it wasn't just a fairy tale - I became a believer!

I probably wondered more about how my own mother would manage to be a new mom and grandma in the same month.  But those who knew Bertha knew she did it with grace!  Maureen was born on Ash Wednesday and Duane arrived on Holy Saturday!  Mom and Dad came for Easter and Mom and Maureen stayed with us for a whole week, getting up every night with both babies.
There were lots of pictures of aunt and nephew over the years.
But soon Maureen became her own person, Miss Purse-y, Miss Clean Freak, Miss Organization!
We had some great opportunities to travel together when I was single again and she was not yet married.  We spent time with Allan in San Francisco and attended the Phantom of the Opera.  She said to me after the performance, "that was great music, but I can't imagine listening to it again."  The very next day, while shopping, she remarked that the music was playing on the store intercom and we both bought the tape (before CD's).  Below pictures of my favorite trip, the birthday cruise with her 28-year old friends!

She's always loved purple and we couldn't resist the T-shirts!

She still wears purple, but her days are no longer filled with margaritas, pampering, and cruises to the Caribbean.  Instead she spends most days doing laundry, fixing meals, and reading to the kids!  It proves that love is not a fairy tale!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Symphony Tea

One of the joys of retirement is the opportunity to experience something new.  My friends Regina, Vicki, Mary Ann and I enjoyed "Tea and Symphony" yesterday.  The Washington-Idaho Symphony Valley League sponsored this event and I would say it was a smashing success.
We enjoyed cranberry scones with lemon curd, devonshire cream, and raspberry jam along with Buckingham Palace Garden Tea.  
Notice we took the opportunity to get our hats out and Mary Ann wore her mother's mink!!
We truly enjoyed each other and I met some women who love to knit and gather every Thursday at the Episcopal Church, just two blocks from my house.  Praise God!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

It's the People I Miss

I worked last week in Larry's office.  He seemed happy that I was able to answer the phone, take messages, and make a couple of deposits while Mary Kay was on vacation.  The office is quiet and calm compared to the office of my last job!  In mid-week I realized  why I enjoyed being in an office again - it's the people!  I really don't miss my high stress job, but I do miss being with people.
Barbra Streisand sings that we are the luckiest people in the world if we need people.  Hooray for me!

Several people came to the office and everyone seems to have time to visit!  A former high school date, Mel and his wife, Sharon,  just dropped in to visit with Larry.  Larry had another client in his office so Mel and Sharon told me how they came back home to Culdesac and why they are happy without cell phones and the internet.  Imagine that?!?

Another client called in to ask Larry how she could access her money market account so she could fund a mission trip to Ecuador to work for several weeks in an orphanage.  I learned about her passion to help others!  And that she was the lucky daughter to get the prayer shawl I made for her mother!

A young man named Brad spent several hours in the office fine-tuning the printers and checking out the network.  I enjoyed listening to his tales about his family and we finally decided we were sort of related to each other because his wife's brother is married to the former Cindy Riener!  What a small world!

But best of all I enjoyed being with Larry.  He has the best stories and he knows his clients and their history.  He seems the happiest talking about their unique stories, not about their wealth or lack thereof.  He took time to show me a treasure chest filled with letters from Sister Henriette and other treasures from Mom and Dad's archives.  We wondered why we hadn't saved every letter Sister Henriette wrote.  I particularly enjoyed the ones I read from 1951, the year Allan was born.  She wrote on August 17, 1951:  "I'm happy to hear that is a boy and I'm sure the girls are saying, 'In all the world there is no other, like our darling baby brother.'"  In this letter she wrote about working with four other sisters and a priest to outline the whole high school junior religious program.  "In the past two years we've had a priest teach a course in marriage to the seniors.  However, since engagement rings and steady dating are common even among juniors, it seemed advisable to teach a course in marriage to juniors. " Sister also offered so much encouragement to both Mom and Dad.  Larry speculated that Sister's letters gave mom a lot of hope and she must've looked forward to them every week.  

This week Mary Kay called and invited me to a luncheon to meet the other business office associates who work in the nine Edward Jones offices in the valley.  I delighted in being with these other women, listening to their stories and found out some are early morning walkers, some still have small children at home and one moved to Clarkston from Santa Rosa.  The best news is that I got invited to work in another office in March when Debbie and Brad will be in St. Louis.  I'm grateful for another opportunity to be with people!  Lucky me!