Celebrating Mom’s Life

June 21, 2015

I didn’t think it would take me this long to write about last Sunday’s Celebration of Life for my Mom – now it is Father’s Day.  Maybe it is appropriate after all, I can’t picture one without the other.   The truth is, I was so exhausted I spent the week resting and sleeping.  Yesterday I seem to have spent most of the day dozing or sleeping – couldn’t keep awake.

Eddie and I had been working on getting things done for the Celebration of Life – meanwhile he was wearing himself at work as well.  I had first heard of a Celebration of Life in the 80’s when I was going to Northward Congregational Church in Conn.  When someone died, that was how they looked at it – not as a sad, mournful event but a celebration.  I really liked that and  idea and found it more comforting.  We did a Celebration of Life open house for Dad in 2000, inviting people from all the places Dad knew people – it was quite a group.  I was concerned it would be sad and I would start crying.  However, it was a delightful time and I knew Dad would have enjoyed it.

Things have certainly changed in 15 years – not many people left who knew Mom and I will admit to being late with the invitations.  We invited the Domino ladies, the neighbors, people from Breakfast Club, my Caretaker Support Group, Future of Flight, and Kathy.  I had a postcard made that I gave out and decided whoever was supposed to come would be here.  I arranged a cake with Robbi, our resident cake designer at Breakfast Club and had her deliver it Sunday morning.


Robbie did such a wonderful job on the cake.  I was very pleased with it.


She did lemon cake with lemon curd, plus I asked her to put some lemon flavoring in the frosting.


She made such lovely flowers for the cake


It was Flag Day, Eddie put up the flag for the day – Mom and Dad used to put it out  most every day.

I ordered a fruit tray and vegetable tray from Fred Meyer, each with a dip.  I had lemonade with a bit of orange flower water and Vickie lent me her spigot jug.  I used white tablecloths and put the two card tables on the porch for the food and lemonade and one of the outside tables with another white tablecloth for the cake.  I used lavender napkins, light green plates and forks, then purple napkins to put under the trays.


The card tables worked very well.



This is the table for the cake – I had to put napkins and plates to keep the purple napkins from flying away.

I planned to buy roses for Mom and put them on the mantel with the 50th anniversary picture of both of them.  Eddie picked them for me – he always chooses just the right thing.



It worked out so well!  Mom always enjoyed her rose garden.  Candy sent roses but unfortunately there was aspire in the works and the florist didn’t send them for whatever reason.  I know Mom would have really appreciated the thought.

Ellen sent a lovely azalea, one of Mom’s favorite flowers.




I wanted to do something  interesting with the dining table, so I brought out my newest tablecloth, used the spiky chrysanthemums Eddie bought for me and put some candles and candlesticks with them.  I was going to use the Swedish crystal candle holders, but Eddie liked the silver ones.




As I looked at it after I finished, I think he was right.

My long time friend Charlotte came, The Dusslers from down the hill and Vickie and Rich Bergquist all came about the same time.


Bonnie and Alona Dussler


A much better picture of the two of them


Charlotte was looking through the book Candy sent.  she wrote it about Mom and several people enjoyed looking through it – some saw pictures of themselves in it.


No Celebration of Life would be complete without Kathy.  she started out as Mom caregiver, became a good friend and now she is our very good friend.  she helped so much with dealing with Mom, organizing, advice, answers and many, many other things.


Marilyn Silworth who lives up the street.  Mom would go walking with her husband Ron most days.  Ron would call and ask if Mom was going for a walk and Mom was delighted to go with him.


Charlotte and I both wore lavender.  In the background is Delores Allen with Ken and Maria Carter who live across the street.


That’s Claire McGee in the foreground, she lives up near where the school bus used to stop.


This is Peggy Johnson, she lives up near Claire.  She is 90 or more and we see her sitting on the ground weeding her yard all the time.


The table worked out so well.  I kept it simple.


Bob allen – he and Delores live next door and have been wonderful neighbors for Mom and Dad as well as for us.


He’s Claire McGee again.


This is Sheila Woodward – she lives on the other side of allen.  Next to her is Maria Carter.


The Carters brought a lovely plant and it was on the table with the food.


Sandy from the Future of Flight brought a lovely bouquet.


We are enjoying the Carters’ plant in the dining room.


This is Delores Allen – I’m sure she would appreciate  her front showing instead of her back.



This photo is driving me nuts!  I lightened in iPhoto and it was great – now it only comes out dark.  That means you can’t really see rich and Vickie very well.  I am going to wait for a day or two and see if iPhoto and WordPress will work together finally.

We had a great time and enjoyed all the people who came.  I was very surprised and delighted to see June Hawkins, she is one of the domino ladies and has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  She was given 6 weeks, but that has passed and although she was walking very slowly and with difficulty, her grand daughter brought her here for a short while.   Not sure about the other ladies, butI know Mom would be pleased June came.

Unfortunately I didn’t have pictures of everything thing and everyone – we had people on the porch, at the dining table and in the living room – it went very well.  I am very happy people came and had wonderful things to say about Mom; I think she would surprised  how much people liked her and enjoyed being with her.  It was a perfect sunny day, about 75 with a cool breeze – I couldn’t have asked for better weather.

it has taken me some days to begin to sleep comfortably, I was overtired, stiff and sore Sunday night.  The shoulders and neck have been stiff all week – not sure what that is about but I will work through it.  It was a special day for Mom and the last thing I can do for her.  Now it is my time and I am looking forward to what shows up next.

3 Down, 7 To Go

June 7, 2015

We are actually having summer in June – usually doesn’t arrive until July 5th.  Everything has been mixed up, some flowers bloom sooner than usual, others later than usual.  I have been amazed and delighted to see how long the rhodos have been blooming – then to find out we have several large bushes on the north side of the house.  We have been in the 70’s this week, then yesterday around 80, today warmer.  Then it is due to go back into the 70’s and sunny for quite a while.  The prediction is we will have armer than usual temperatures this summer – not very much rain.  It has been dryer than usual, but so far we aren’t considered drought status unless you listen to the governor.

They are worried because we didn’t have as much rain as usual and the snow pack is minimal – that means ski areas are not profitable this year.  That’s not to say there was snow, just not the thick snowpack we usually have.  We noticed the Olympics didn’t have much snow – mostly the very top of the peaks.  I think Mt. Olympus is the one with a bit at the very top – probably will be gone shortly.

Eddie has been a kid in a candy store since we had the furniture moved upstairs.  He has been slowly going through boxes, finding things we had forgotten all about – can’t even remember where or how we acquired it.  Some are easy – the iceberg from Eddie’s 10 years at Volvo.  There is one from Hyundai for his time at Bering Trucks.  He found my white with blue Dansk china – Christianshaven was the pattern I think.

He also came across a lot of our Swedish crystal bowls, figurines, etc.  Some wooden Dalha horses, a few olive camels, a table runner I had forgotten I made.  There were even appliance covers I pieced – not hemmed yet.  I put one on the can opener, not sure what I made the other to cover.  Eddie has emptied 3 large boxes and now has 7 more to go.  We still haven’t found the  shelves for the secretary – I need to find someone who can teach me to pick a lock so I can open the desk part.  He is looking for the brackets for the breakfront and has no idea what he will unearth next.

He found a box marked kitchen and brought up some pots and frying pans, utensils, a coffee grinder and placemats – I had no idea how many large bowls we now have.  We have plenty of room in the cupboards, but they are going to be high shelves that I can’t reach.  Not all that steady on the ladder and I don’t need a fall from a ladder.

I dom’t know how much we will get done by next Sunday for Mom’s Celebration of Life open house.  It will be what it will be.  I have been calling the neighbors now that Delores had lent me her directory – I have put ours safely away so I wouldn’t lose it.  I was able to talk to several neighbors and they are coming because they remember Mom.  I finally have postcards in hand – that was Wednesday.  I am late in doing anything with them but since there aren’t that many people around who remember Mom, I don’t know if there will be much of a crowd.  I have decided the people who are meant to be there will be there.

I would love to plant flowers in the yard to make that look great – not the time, energy or flexibility to do it.  I am going to buy a few pots with blooming flowers in a few places, that will have to do.  I am going to meet with Robbi about the cake tomorrow or Tuesday and begin pulling things together.  I have decided a few things and need to purchase them and then think about some flowers for inside the house.

We are supposed to have a good day on Sunday, so it looks as if it will be more outdoors than inside.  Hmmmm, where is everyone going to sit?  Ye Gods and Little Fishes!  If this is simple, I don’t want to think about what I would do if it was complicated.

Now that the weather is so nice, the little gils across the street are out all the time – yelling and stealing the way only little girls can.  Am I getting to be a  grouch or mean tempered old woman because I don’t particularly appreciate hearing them all day and into the evening?

It will be interesting to see what this week brings – lately it has been a lot of the unexpected.

Home Sweet Home

May 31, 2015

It’s been an interesting week – I seem to have worn myself out without much effort.  I put some oil o the hardwood floor, you can see the individual sections.  I have a couple of sections to finish, but they are traffic lanes and it won’t be hard to do them.  Eddie had a Defense Symposium on Wednesday and Thursday at Joint Base Lewis McChord.  He spent the night on Wednesday, so I had the house to myself for a bit.

I called Steve to arrange to have his guys come and bring up the furniture from the basement.  There has been quite an echo in here for a while.  I was hoping they would be able to come before he came home – I wanted to surprise him.  But it would be Friday before they came.  So I didn’t say anything when he left for work on Friday – I wanted it to be an unexpected surprise.  I was even in the bedroom having a lie down  so Eddie could get the full effect.  He was very surprised and very pleased – it is now the Kaplanian household.  They mostly brought up the big pieces and I have arranged the furniture  – probably temporary until we live with it for a while to see what works.

After dinner he disappeared down stairs – looking for the last cushion for the sofa and the little pillows that go with it.  Then he found some of his CDs and a few other things.  He was like a kid in a candy store.  I had forgotten about the big jar we used for umbrellas, I was trying to remember when we bought it.

We can’t find the shelves and bracket for the secretary and I know the key is downstairs somewhere.  There aren’t brackets for the shelves in the breakfront – no doubt tucked away somewhere.  We will go through the boxes slowly and decide what to put where.  Eddie is going to have to do it for the moment, I twisted my knee Friday afternoon and have been hobbling around since. It is getting better but I don’t want to chance it on the stairs at this moment.

No doubt it would be smart to put in the pictures to show the end result.  I will admit to being a bit overzealous in taking pictures.  I think most are self-explanatory.















I needlepointed this hassock a long time ago.  The picture goes all the way around.


Dancing With The Buffer

May 29, 2015

Last Saturday afternoon, Vickie came over with her buffer to help clean the hard wood floors.  It was too expensive and the logistics didn’t work to have a professional to them, so this was the next best thing.


Eddie dancing with the buffer


Vickie took a turn around the floor


We started in this corner and worked our way around


Eddie checking out the progress


There was a lot of dirt, but the stains didn’t come out


Our dance partner


It also meant the furniture had to be moved too – the pieces aren’t as light on their legs as the buffer


Under the dining table was really dirty and a bit sticky


A little two step with the towel



Vickie is a dab hand with her buffer


Section by section we worked around the room


Without furniture, there is a lot of floor – I had no idea


After using the buffer, it needed to have the goop mopped away


Every time we did it, there were puddles like this


Vickie mops the way I do


She is such a generous and loving friend


Eddie did a two step with the towel


Mostly he was more at ground level

Now the next thing is to put some oil on it, that’s my next project

Day 4 – Practically Done

May 28, 2015

This was what I was waiting to see – the new mantel.  Everything was done except for a few bits, so Ronnie will be back to  fix them.


I am trying to understand why the photos are upright in iPhoto but when I transfer them to my blog, they are sideways.  I’ve decided to put them in as is – I have fooled around with them for the last time.




I am confused about what I have already put in the posts




I am so pleased with the mantel, it’s what I envisioned


It is soooooo worth it!



One more cattywampus.  Now it’s time to give the floor some attention


Day 3 – Living Room Update

May 27, 2015

This was an interesting day because I saw their “spray booth”.  I went to Breakfast Club in the morning, so I gave Ronnie a key since I didn’t think I would be home in time.  I did a couple of errands and then came home to see what was happening.


The spray booth was around the fireplace area.  Part of the spray was for the mantel


With all the plastic, it was a bit hard to tell what was furniture and what was the spray booth


You can see the mantel through the plastic


They took out all the shelves and painted them individually


Far end of the spray booth – by the front door


I wasn’t sure my pictures would come out – what a delight to see they did


It was a nice day outside but finding an agle that wasn’t dark was hard


Looking good


Sometimes it was a maze to find a way from the bedroom to the kitchen


There’s my mantel – needs some attention to complete it.


WOW!  How about that room!


Ronny is to come tomorrow and finish the mantel and the other bits and pieces



The hardwood floors definitely need some attention


Day 2 – Living Room Update

May 26, 2015

It’s beginning to look more like the picture in my mind.  I can’t wait to see how the mantel looks when it is painted.  This day the second coat of wall color and also the fist coat for the wood work.   I just noticed the green woodwork on this first photo – doesn’t quite go with the color scheme.


 They covered up the brick since I don’t plan to do anything with them except maybe clean them


Getting ready for the primer for the mantel


 This was just before they resumed painting the second day


 What a difference between the door and the new wall color


It’s really beginning to take shape


At the end of the day it really looked good


The floor definitely needs attention


I discovered there are rhodos along the lot line with John and Luzma – where did they come from?


Lovely to see them out the window – the blackberry vines are trying to strangle them, so Jorge has some extra work when he comes to mow the lawn


WOW!  The shelves look good and they are only primed

Tomorrow they should finish everything and I will finally see my mantel

Day 1 – After They Left

May 25, 2015

When Eddie came home, we were able to really check out how it all looked.  They had put the first coat on Monday and primed everything, so it was time for another coat.  The furniture changed locations every time I looked at what they were doing.



The green door doesn’t quite fit the color scheme


The room really was looking great with the new paint.


This was the corner they left their stuff overnight – better than the porch


It was amazing how they papered and taped the floor to prevent spills


They fixed it so we could watch tv that evening


They put the shelves back after they painted the walls – shelves are nextIMG_0115

Day 1 – Living Room Update

May 24, 2015

Monday was the day the painters were to start the living room.  I have been playing with my iPhone to figure out how to download the pictures I took – not exactly the easiest to figure ou.  However, technology will not get the best of me.  I also used Eddie’s camera as well – now that is much easier to download.  I am waiting for all the photos to download.

I went to see my chiropractor Monday morning, then made a stop at Home Depot for my doodad – I forgot it on Friday.  Then Ronny and his two guys came shortly after I came home.  I asked if a beard was mandatory to work with him – the other two guys also had beards.

The first thing they needed to do was hand wash the walls – a lot of cobwebs, dirty and also holes to fill as well as a crack or two.  I spent most of the rest of the day back in the office or the bedroom.  The difficulty with the floor plan here is that I have to go through the living room to do anything.  When I went out to the kitchen, I was amazed to see all the draped plastic on the furniture and lights, plus they had taped the floor with brown paper.







This is what I saw when I came out for lunch.  By the end of the day, they had put one coat on the walls after priming and  put the few pieces of furniture we had back where they were.  They found they could keep moving things around without much trouble.

This post has taken me a long time to finish – downloading the pictures, then trying to find them in iPhoto, getting them to download into the blog – enough to set my teeth on edge.  let’s hope the next ones will work better.

What I Have Always Wanted

May 17, 2015

So many changes lately – more echoing now because we have almost emptied the bookshelves  before the painters come tomorrow.  Still a few places to remove things to make it easier for them.  I filled 5 boxes with our books and then Eddie slid them into the bedroom for me. We want to make it easy for the painters so they don’t have to spend a lot of time moving things around.


It was rainy when Brad came so he really likes having the covered porch to put his equipment






Thursday Brad came over and built a new mantel with crown molding.  (As soon as the camera is charged, I can put in pictures of it and the shelves.)  We had discussed at the beginning of the week and then he sent a drawing of his design.  I send the measurements to him and that way he would be able to see the proportions of it.  I wanted simple and elegant, but not plain, as well as in proportion to the room.  Eddie really liked the design as well, so Brad came Thursday morning to build it.


This was the beginning when we came home.  Brad made the fluted pieces because he couldn’t find any ready made.


This is the top of the mantel


This is how it looked – did we want to extend the fluted piece up to the top or not?


A different angle of the top


Brad started working on the bottom molding which gave it an extra boost – he doesn’t like his picture taken.



With the flutes extended

It was great to have him working at the house again, he is fun and a really hard worker.  We had to go out for an appointment, so it seemed logical to go out for breakfast.  Brad came a bit before 8 and unloaded his equipment – then we had a conference to reaffirm the design.  We left and  had breakfast at Panera, do a couple of errands and then went over to meet Vickie to review our insurance.

We spent quite a while with her, mostly because we enjoy her company.  Turns out we are in good shape with our coverage – she has been keeping an eye on things about the house a long with everything else.  She is also helping me plan the Celebration of Life for Mom.  We stopped at the German deli on the way home for ham for sandwiches for lunch.

Brad had done quite a lot when we came back – it was almost finished.  He had made a fluted piece for the legs of the mantel and we had the option to have it extend to the top.  We decided we like it extending, so he nailed it in place.  I want to put a doodad in the middle, just to give it a bit of panache.  Eddie doesn’t like the idea, he prefers it plain.  I said he had the fluted extension and I will have my doodad.


I was going to buy it on Friday but forgot, so I will pick it up tomorrow.  I need to find out the best way to attach it.

The week definitely ended better than it started.  I went to see Dr. Cheryl on Monday and she helped with my neck, back and right shoulder – packing and lifting boxes over the last few days  probably didn’t help.   I found myself very droopy draggy on Tuesday – I kept waiting for the heavy rain to come.  Maybe that was why – there are times I can really tell it is about to rain.  So I didn’t accomplish a whole lot that day.  When I woke up on Wednesday, I was okay but then started to really stiffen up and I really hurt.  I went to Breakfast Club for breakfast and then met Carol for lunch.

I am so glad we had lunch that day, I really needed it.  I feel I was whingeing a lot, she just listened.  She is a good friend and has been there for me and I for her.  I was so tired and uncomfortable that I had a nap when I came home.  Eddie was going to be late, so it worked out pretty well.  I had taken some Advil when I came home, so that and the nap helped me feel better.  I was still tired, so going to bed early was no hardship.  I slept well and was much better Thursday.

There is a real echo now in the living room – guess why?




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