Archive for May, 2014

A Little Work In The Yard

May 25, 2014

It has been a busy week and  we have made a big change to those and yard.  Delores and Bob Allen were having their drive repaved and they asked if we would like to do ours at the same time.  theirs needed a lot of work while ours needed some more gravel and then it would be ready to pave.  She gave us the name and number and Eddie had to think about it.  He had called them when Delores first told us about them and no one answered, just a voicemail.  Eddie left two messages and no one ever called him back.  that doesn’t go down well when someone doesn’t answer the phone, so he was leery of them.  This time he left a message on Monday and Tuesday morning I had a call back.  He gave me a quote and I  wanted to let Eddie know how much they would charge.  He didn’t think it was outrageous, so I called the man back and left a message that we would go ahead.  He called back and said he would be out in the morning with the contract for signing.

They were still at Allen’s when Eddie came hoe, so he went over to talk to the crew to tell him what he wanted, I decided he needed to have the way he wanted it.  As he was talking with them, it turned out they are also doing the paving for the parking lot at the Future of Flight.  This I learned when Kevin came on Tuesday morning with the contract.  they said they would start that day, but I never saw them show up except to paint lines along the drive.  Not sure what was happening.

When I came back from Breakfast Club on Wednesday morning, I found this in the drive and newly bulldozer gravel.

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No way was I going to be able to park in the garage.  So I put it over at John and Luzma’s house, tucked in among the other cars.  I knew they wouldn’t mind.  I took some pictures of the things they had done.

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They scraped some of the other gravel down so they would be able to pave a level way into the garage.

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There is a bit of a hail down toward the garbage cans, a bit much for me, so I go along the drive to a lower place.

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There is a bit of a gradual going down so Eddie can put away the wheelie bins without an obstacle.

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They made it so there is a gradual incline to the end of the side-walk.

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They planned to take a bit of the hill and smooth it a little, plus they dug by the pavement.

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You can see one of the orange paint marks they did the day before.

 No one showed up until around the time Eddie came home, about 1 or after.  Then we saw Bob Allen checking it out because the guys came to pave.  I wanted to take pictures of the process but Eddie wanted to get going to do what we needed to do, so I have a few pictures of before and after but no during.  This is what we saw when we came home – the Volvo was parked behind my car at John’s.

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A brand new drive!

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No more step up to the sidewalk.

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A small ridge by the trees.

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They curved it on both ends.

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They also scraped at each end at the foot of the drive.

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That’s how it first looked to us – we left the tape on until the following afternoon.

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It all happened faster than we expected – it was a future project and now it is a reality.

 

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Gingerbread Sky

May 18, 2014

I  must give my sister Ellen credit for these photos, she sends some really cool pictures and I thoroughly enjoy them.  I had no idea what she meant with the title until I opened the photos, what a surprise and delight to see what she had done.

I checked out Wikipedia to see what they showed about it:

Ocean Grove was founded in 1869 as an outgrowth of the camp meeting movement in the United States, when a group of Methodist clergymen, led by William B. Osborn and Ellwood H. Stokes, formed the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association to develop and operate a summer camp meeting site on the New Jersey seashore. By the early 20th century, the popular Christian meeting ground became known as the “Queen of Religious Resorts.” The community’s land is still owned by the camp meeting association and leased to individual homeowners and businesses. Ocean Grove remains the longest-active camp meeting site in the United States.

Now you have a bit of history which explains why there is a lot of gingerbread there.  Here are some examples:

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The Victorians loved gingerbread on their houses, even their “summer places”.

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I have to admit, I love it; these have enough to make them interesting but not over done.

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And if you didn’t have a fancy gingerbread, there are some lovely cottages that are just as nice.

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And of course, a real cool Main Street!

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Ellen has also been sending pictures of flowers – everything is a little later there because they have had so much snow and ice.  I feel as if I am enjoying Spring for a second time.

Thank You so much Ellen!

 

A Less Than Stellar Move

May 18, 2014

I was really looking forward to Saturday and sharing the day with my friend Char and her husband – it is their 40th wedding anniversary and they were renewing their vows.  I was all ready to go, had the invitation to get a map to show me where to go and I set off.  However, I forgot my phone charging on the bureau.  I was driving up and I was surprised at the traffic, it isn’t usually that much on a Saturday and I managed to be behind every slow driver on the road.  I was concerned about being late, but when I thought about calling to let her know I was running late – that’s when I remembered I didn’t have my phone.

So I figured I would get there when I got there, not a lot I could do about it at that moment.  So I followed the map directions and when I got to the end – no church.  I looked at the map and all the streets matched, but no church, just housing developments.  That upset me because I didn’t know what to do.  I did see a woman walking her dog, so I asked her  but she had no idea.  She offered to lend me her phone, unfortunately she couldn’t get it to work.  Now what?

I drove around a bit looking for another 13th St. W but didn’t find one – I was upset at being late and now it looked as though I wasn’t going to get there at all.  I was really upset at disappointing char and not celebrating a special day with her.  I couldn’t think of anything else to do but head home.  I had no idea what happened, though I figured it was my bad – I had missed something somewhere.

I was on the freeway and needed to find a pit stop, so I went to the rest stop to heed She Who Must Be Obeyed.  I came back to the car and was looking at my map to see if I could see where I goofed.  As I picked up the invitation, it hit me in the face – plain as the nose on my face!   I had put in Everett on the map finder out of habit – I seem to associate Char with Everett because when we were in high school, her parents moved up there.  So I had the address right, but it was Lynnwood, not Everett.  What an idiot!  So I drove home because I had no idea where it was in Lynnwood

I started beating myself up and caught myself – that wasn’t getting me anywhere.   I’ve grown enough to know that has been my usual pattern and if I had stayed true to form, I would be a mess by the time I came home.  Then I began to think in terms of a reason for it  working out this way – I had no clue but maybe it would show itself at some point.  Maybe I was in too much of a hurry and worried that I wouldn’t be there in time.  Whatever the reason, it was a small miscalculation that put the spanner in the works.  One of those times I wish I could go back in time to correct what I put in the computer.

When I got home and saw Eddie, I started crying , not sure why it didn’t happen when I was driving.  I called Char the minute I came home and left a message for her to let her know why I didn’t show up.  Eddie was glad to see me, he thought I would have later.   He had just gotten home himself, so I enjoyed  grilled turkey burgers with him and folded the laundry.

Char called when she got home and had heard my message.  She had been concerned something had happened with Mom, Eddie or me and so her mind was at rest on that front.  she was just glad everything was okay.  She had a great time and there were about 50 people – I’m delighted she had fun and although there were clouds and sun, no rain fell.  I will be able to enjoy it in pictures later.

I am working on understanding why I feel compelled to write about this – in the scheme of things, it’s barely a ripple.  It is the same feeling I had when I began to write the blog in the first place; something compelled me to write about RA and my journey.  I felt that if someone could benefit from it, then I had accomplished my objective – to be of use and help others.  This has the same feeling, but no obvious purpose as I had in the RA parts.  That one is going to have to simmer on the back burner for a while and see what emerges.  Sometimes that works the best for me when I need to understand what is happening.  There are sudden “Aha” times and I will finally “get it”.

I’ll keep you posted.

Too Beat To Rant

May 15, 2014

I have put this in the Emotions Category, though I’m not sure I have that much energy to rant and race about dealing with Mom.  I went to see her 4 times in the last week – last Tuesday, Friday, Sunday with Eddie for Mother’s Day and yesterday.  She has a couple of meds for depression as well as to help her sleep at night.  As a result, she is  kind of sleepy a lot of the time.  When I read or bring my iPad, she tends to doze, sometimes goes to sleep.  I also notice there are times when I see her, she isn’t  willing to really have a hug.  Other times she is very glad to see me and enjoys a back rub.  Yesterday She looked at me and so I said “I am your daughter Elizabeth”.  She  then knew who I was and was happy to have me there.

It’s so hard sometimes to visit her – at times I would rather not go at all – but I never want her to think I have abandoned her.  I see this woman in the adult family home and she resembles my Mom, but she is so different.  The Mom I knew is barely there.  As this process has progressed, it seems as I grow stronger, she diminishes.  I can’t fathom what it is like for her inside, especially since every person is different.  I was at the caregivers support group on Monday and I am glad I have that to help me deal with this whole dementia thing.

I am in the process of writing 2 books simultaneously – based on the blog posts I have written about RA and dementia. Before I did any post on dementia, I had done some writing (ranting) about what was going on and how frustrated, angry and  upset I was about the situation.  I never published them on the blog and as I read them while working on the book, I was amazed at the energy and emotion I had then.  (There’s a good reason I didn’t publish them – no whinge zone).

Things are very different now.  I don’t really have the need to rant, but maybe I need to just pour out my emotions about the current situation and cry if necessary.  I don’t seem to have the energy  to be worked up any more, it is more a sadness than frustration.  Some of it may be that I have a lot of my own things – physical – that I need to clean out; I also have stuff in my head that is no longer valid and that also needs to be cleared out.

If you aren’t into woo woo, goofball and hocus pocus, you may want to quit reading.

I talked to an intuitive a couple of weeks ago about what is holding me back from selling the furniture.  She told me I have a lot of Spirits around.  She saw 2 older women baking bread, a little boy who took her and showed her the puppies and there are cats and all kinds of spirits.  She also saw my Dad – he is here waiting for mom to finish what she needs to do here.  He loves her so much – I remember many times he would say “Your mother is the most wonderful woman in the world”.  He is pleased with me and loves me – he wanted to know if it was all right that he is here.  I said “Absolutely, I’m delighted to have him here”!

She suggested I call Paul and Jude at Whispering Dragon to have them clear them out.  I had heard about them before and wondered if it would a good idea to have them come.  The next item on my list.

I wonder if part of the fatigue is bumping into all the spirits here along with RA and dealing with Mom.  I also know if I keep thinking and saying out loud about being tired, the Universe sends whatever I focus on.  Instead, I need to create more  positive thoughts and words to change to positive – I am the only one who can do it.  I like Louise Hay’s quote “It’s only a thought, and a thought can be changed”.

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day

May 11, 2014

No, I’m not a mother; but I had a great Mom.  Well, I will amend that to I have a great Mom, she’s just in a different place now.Funny how things change, at times I feel as though I am the mother and she is the child.  I once thought if I had had kids I would be better equipped to deal with Mom and dementia.  I’ve talked to several people and they have said it doesn’t help.   Mainly it has been flying by the seat of my pants and lots of help from people who know more about dementia than I do.

When I think of Mother’s Day in relation to my own Mom, it’s a bit tricky.  Only because she has always felt it was ridiculous to make a big todo one day of the year – as if that covers the whole year.  When we were kids, we  wanted to give her breakfast in bed as a treat.  Unfortunately it really wasn’t a treat for her because she hates breakfast in bed.  But apparently Dad talked into letting us do it because it meant a lot to us.  It must have been a bit hard on Mom to be willing to go along with it.   Let’s face it, television, ads, magazines, etc. all said this is the proper thing to do for Mother’s Day.  Doesn’t always take into consideration what a mom might find a pleasure.

Eddie and I lived away from here for a long time, so we usually weren’t here for Mother’s Day.  We usually sent flowers and depending on what we knew Mom liked, we sent her something else as well.  When we were here, we often took Mom and Dad to dinner and went on outings – often places Eddie had never been.  It was fun doing things or going places with my parents, they sometimes felt more like good friends than parents.  We also called them just to see what was happening and hear their voices.

Growing up, I really didn’t understand how blessed the three of us girls were that Mom was a stay at home Mom.  No doubt I took her for granted; until high school.  I had a friend who lived one  the bus stop before mine and occasionally she invited me to her house after school.  Her Mom had to work because her Dad died  a little after the end of WWII.  What I noticed was how empty and cold her house was, no one was home to greet her.  It wasn’t so much physical  temperature as no warmth of someone greeting her.  I began to realize how much I had because when I came home from school, Mom was there.  She might be in the basement ironing and there was the smell of clean clothes; or she would be baking cookies and the aroma of lovely cookies.  On rare occasions  she wasn’t home but I knew she would be back very soon.  Or we would go to the library or maybe to the Sears catalog store.

That’s when I became aware that not everyone had the same”Father Knows Best” childhood.  Funny how I assumed that everyone was like us.  I still assume a couple has always been married to each other because my Mom and Dad have only been married to each other.  It brings me up short to find out one or both of the couple have been married before, or an older couple has only been married a short time.  My parents never argued, something I can say about us, but then I saw that other people’s parents do fight.  In many ways we had a very sheltered childhood.

I remember Mom coming to the Mother Daughter Tea every year, I suspect she did it for Ellen and Candy as well.  Because Mom is more confident on her own home ground, it must have been difficult to meet all those strangers in one afternoon.  I appreciated that she did come.  Mom is quiet and shy in many ways, once she knows people she is more comfortable.

The past 2 or 3 Mother’s Days have been very different because Mom isn’t always aware of what is going on, often she seems surprised and unsure about what it all means.  As soon as I get dressed, Eddie and I are going to visit Mom.  I have a gift from my sister Candy to give her and Friday when I saw her, I gave her the maple sugar candy Ellen sent.  Eddie has a really hard time seeing Mom the way she is, I don’t remember the last time he came.  It isn’t always easy for me to visit twice a week, sometimes I don’t want to go – I want to run away and let someone else do it for a while.  She can carry on a conversation but I need subtitles because I don’t speak or understand her language now.  She says it in a very conversational tone – I once asked her if it made sense to her and she said yes.   Lately she has been droopy, though she has meds that make her sleepy.  A little chocolate and cookies sometimes perks her up, sometimes not – but she loves them.

Well, time to get dressed so I wish all mothers

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

45 Years And Counting

May 10, 2014

Today we are celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary.  When I think about that day, I remember standing looking out the front window at Sydney and thinking “This isn’t quite how I pictured my wedding day”.  I never dreamed I would be in Sydney, Australia, waiting to marry a man I had only seen for 3 or 4 different periods.  I always thought I would meet someone here in Seattle, get married, have children and live very much like my parents.  I was 22 going on 16 – naive, inexperienced and in many ways clueless.  I have certainly grown up and matured since that day – imagine if I had been the woman I am now when I was married – an interesting “what if”.  I could apply that to any point in my life, then I know I would not be who I am now unless I had experienced the last 45 years exactly the way they unfolded.  To read the posts I did about going to Australia, check out https://giftofra.com/2010/03/04/a-little-history-part/ and https://giftofra.com/2010/03/04/a-little-history-part-2/ .

I remember it was a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon – May 10th – a gorgeous Fall day.  Some of the family had gone down to the flower market early that morning and the ladies of the Presbyterian church decorated the sanctuary for us.  They also enjoyed the benefit of the flowers for the next day, which was Mother’s day.  I notice this year both days fall  at the same time this year as they did in 1969.  I just realized I was born and married in the last century!

I had arrived in Sydney the Sunday before and then suddenly, Eddie was gone the next morning.  He went back to the small town to give finals and everyone went to work or school – just Angel and I were left.  Everything was so different and unusual.  The people,  the place, different customs, the languages, food, experiences – I often think it really didn’t sink in because Eddie was gone again.  He was due back later in the week, so I spent those days missing him again.  No one had phones in the small towns, so I couldn’t talk to him until he came back.

I was surprised and pleased to find that Angel and I were able to communicate – she had very little English, I had no Armenian or Arabic.  The family was all around and they welcomed me and made me  feel welcome.  I sometimes wondered if I seemed like a being from another planet; they were so different from me and my experiences.  It turned out they were fascinating and fun, I learned so much in a short time  and it has been a learning experience ever since.  Eddie came back Thursday night and the preparations for the wedding got underway.  Saturday morning they hustled Eddie out of the house before I got up – he spent the time with John and Sofie until the wedding.

It was a little different than I thought – we were going to have a very small reception at the house, so I was helping with the food that morning – I don’t remember what we were planning or what happened most of the day.  I pretty much dressed by myself and was ready before the others.  George was giving me away, Shake’ and Sonia were my bridesmaids in yellow – the dresses had been worn at Shake’s wedding.  When we went down to get in the car, John and decorated the car with tissue flowers, etc.  So as we drove to the church, people turned and waved.

The church was done in yellow and white flowers, it was so lovely.  I had given Eddie the wedding ring back when I arrived in Sydney –  he had sent then in December with the engagement ring.  I told him that the next time he gave it to me, he was never getting it back.  I know that John and Vic were taking pictures for us, I don’t remember a whole lot of  the wedding itself, but it did the job and suddenly we were married.  John drove us back to house in the car and more waving to us.

At the house John decided he was going get us drunk – I don’t know that he did because I had no idea how being drunk felt.   We had a hotel room for the night, so John and Sofie drove us over there.  I think Sofie was a bit embarrassed after a bit – John kept showing us all the parts of the room, etc. and she was trying to get him out of there.  Finally she succeeded and we were alone.

The next day Eddie decided to rent a car – neither of us had driven on the left side of the road.  The rental car fellow brought the car over to the hotel and explained how all it worked and then left – but with the key.  So he had to come back or there was no point to having a car.  One thing we found out, doing the opposite of what we were used to doing here doesn’t necessarily work there.  Good thing it was Sunday morning and not much traffic.  We had a lot of horns honk at us during that drive, it was quite an experience, a bit hair-raising at times.  After a bit we decided to go back to George’s house and see the family, we had had enough experience for the day.   (Several months later we found out the first rule of the road is give way to the right – those on your left have to look out for you).

We spent the rest of the day with the family and one of the guys took Eddie over to return the car.  Then it was time to board the train to Griffith where we were going to live.  Eddie had rented a small flat not too long after living in boarding house for a bit – not quite his taste and it was a relief for him.  Griffith was 450 miles west of Sydney and it was going to take a while on train that didn’t move very fast.  That was some train trip!

Dang!  I haven’t found the book downstairs with the wedding pictures.  I look some more for a future post.

A Mixed Up Week

May 8, 2014

It’s been a  peculiar week, hard to remember what day it is.  I suppose it started on Sunday when Eddie left early in the morning for work and spent the night up north.  It was fun to have a day just for myself, I did work on quotes and projects for work as well as things for myself.  Then when evening came, it was a bit odd.  I have been out of the habit of  having Eddie away since we have been here for almost 12 years.  He used to be away a lot and I was used to it – I liked having things done my way for a bit.

I was able to get up on Monday in plenty of time to leave for my chiropractic appointment, do some errands and then come home to work.  But I kept mixing up my days and thinking I was missing doing something that turned out was scheduled for 2 or 3 days ahead.  I was pleased to see Eddie when he came home.

I went to see Mom and read to her, this time I pretty much put her to sleep.  I noticed that it was one of those days when she didn’t seem too sure who I was – some days she says “Hi Love, I’m so glad to see you”.  However, chocolate and cookies are always welcomed and when I said I was putting her to sleep, she told me that was fine, she liked it.  I will admit I wasn’t quite sure it was Tuesday.

Going to Breakfast Club on Wednesday morning really made the week feel proper – I would miss it so much if I didn’t go.  I left shortly after to come home, I have been putting off training on how to use my new website.  I thought it was Tuesday and Thursday, so I planned to do it last Thursday, only to find I had the wrong day.  Anyway, it was quite interesting and now I need to work on the site for real now.

I have been working on an ebook for a while now, I needed to figure out what I needed to do to make it ready to publish.  I did a One To One at Apple and found they have an app called iBooks Author that puts it in a format that can be sent to Apple.  Apparently there are other formats one needs to send it to Amazon and Barnes & Noble – I’m going to concentrate on Apple until I have it right.  Since I found how to use iBooks Author, I have been excited to see it take shape.  I have 3 other books that I want to t with it for a 4 book series in a case.  I need to check out what it takes to self publish a few books to see if it is viable.

I came to the conclusion I needed to actually do something about the book or it wasn’t going to get done.  I also know it is important to put it out there by saying it out loud, as well as on paper (so to speak).  A little scary, but I need to move out of my comfort zone and try new things, take risks.  The odd thing is, I have several ideas for books and can’t wait to do them all.  I have ben concerned about how my body would take to it physically because working on the computer has given me sore shoulders.  What I am finding is that I am doing a lot better – must be the discovery that payback pain is only a belief I have had for a long time, it is not the truth.

I don’t know how much weather has to do with how I feel or what condition my joints are in, maybe it is another of those beliefs that are no longer true.  We had 70’s and 80’s last week, a lovely day yesterday, though a bit of a chilly wind.  now we are back to MOTS – rain and clouds, etc.  Typical Seattle weather.  However, there are no tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. so I am happy to live here.  The rhodos are blooming and so spectacular.  so many flowers out and it is amazing.  The lilacs are gorgeous, some people have white and lavender lilacs, we have a lavender one and a dark purple one.   I love spring and the feeling of a new beginning.

I feel a change in myself, nothing I can put my finger on or anything specific – just a more positive feeling than I have had in a long time.  I have been reading a lot of different things and also talked with an intuitive about some things and it is beginning to make more sense.  One day I would like to be able to put it into words so it can be understood by someone else.  Until then, I continue to learn, experiment and experience different things.

Happy Birthday Ellen

May 4, 2014

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I knew Ellen’s birthday was coming up, but I have been so focused on myself that I let her birthday slip by.  I planned to do couple of things and then suddenly the time has slipped away to be on her birthday.  It will be a little late this year, but it is coming.  I have the coolest sisters and so appreciate them, they have been a great support as I have been taking care of Mom and her needs.  I wish they had been able to be here to see Mom when she had periods of recognizing her daughters.  Sometimes she knows me, sometimes I am a familiar presence.  Ellen sent more maple sugar candy for Mother’s Day, Mom really enjoys them.

Ellen has a gift for choosing just the right gift for giving, I wonder how she does it.  I remember one Christmas, she gave us a pair of the coolest scissors – I have used them for quilting, sewing and all kinds of things.  They cut so smoothly and easily, they are my favorite pair.  It was unexpected and turned out to be a wonderful choice.

Ellen is my older sister, the one I played stick horses with when we lived in Southern California.  She is 4 years older than I am but that didn’t seem to be a big gap when I was up to age 7.  First it was just a square stick with rope tied at the end for reins, then later Dad made heads for the sticks.  I called mine Scout – probably after Tonto’s Scout.  I can’t remember what Ellen named hers.  We loved them and had a wonderful time playing with them.  When we were moving up to Seattle, for some reason Dad wouldn’t let us take them.  We never quite figured out why – they weren’t all that big.  We both were upset and decided to put them behind the garage when we left.  I wonder if anyone ever found them.

She did have friends on our block more her age, but I also remember we spent a lot time together.  I am sure she remembers Betsy, hot dogs and cheese.  I remember my Dad bought Betsy – don’t ask me what year or model car she was – and he took us out for a drive.  We all sat in the front seat and we realized there were a couple of floorboards missing.  I think we went through a puddle and got splashed, but I am not sure.

I have a vague memory of a show we put on with the some of the neighborhood kids, but that’s about all.  Maybe she remembers better than I do.  There was a game called “Kick the Can” the kids played.  There was a coffee can filled with water flowers and who knows what other debris;  we went around in a circle with our eyes closed and whoever kicked the can over had to do something.  Usually it was run up to someone’s door, ring the bell and run away.  I remember only playing a couple of times.

When moved up here to Seattle, suddenly Ellen seemed so much older.  We went to Madrona grade school about 2 months before the year ended – I was in 2nd grade and she was in 5th grade.   I had gone to school a year early, so I was 3 grades behind her rather than 4..  We went to Madrona another year and then moved to this house.  Ellen started junior high (7th grade) and I went into 4th grade – 2 different schools and the age difference really seemed wide.

Ellen has always been a wonderful artist and I watched her do her homework for the Famous Artist Course.  It was a 3 year home study course, I admired her talent and ability.  She is an amazing artist and has been taking photos in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, for several years.  She has also done some paintings from those photos.

She was married and then I left for Australia to be married, so we didn’t see each other for a long time.  I would come and visit here, either by myself or with Eddie and she would come to see us.  It’s funny (peculiar) how the gap seems to widen between us until the last few years.  There is something about getting older that narrows the gap so I feel there isn’t such a gap.  All three sisters have had very different lives, but now my sisters seem so much closer even though we live far away from each other.

I did vist Ellen in Ocean Grove about 9 or 10 years ago – I went to visit my head office for my promotional marketing business and since they are in New Jersey, I just took the Garden State Parkway down to Ocean Grove to spend a few days with Ellen.  I’m so glad I did; I would like to do it again and also visit Candy in Nashville.

Happy Belated

Birthday Ellen!


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