Posts Tagged ‘Eddie’

Time For A Happy Dance!

April 3, 2014

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We have been trying to get our taxes finished and filed since Barrie Lane – our tax accountant – died at the end of February.  I will say that his daughter Sarah has been swamped with work because she his doing taxes for her own clients and for Barrie’s clients.   She is doing a great job during a very difficult time.  I had my binder ready to go when we went to see Barrie, and it turns out he input things but they couldn’t find some of the back up material for some of them.  We had to scramble to replace those and By George, we did.

We usually go in around the 2nd or 3rd week of February because our business is due march 15th.  We had a tax extension that helped reduce the stress of coming up to a deadline and worried we wouldn’t make it.  We both have been pests and nag to find out when our taxes and my Mom’s returns would be finished – I wouldn’t be surprised to find other people were doing the same thing.  It was tough on the staff and they were friendly all through it.

We also had to del with 2012 issue once again.  Fro 2 moths we were employers for Kathy when she was taking care of Mom while I was in rehab.  When tax time came in February, Barrie created a W-2 for Kathy and we paid the taxes, etc. with our return.  Except the IRS came back a month later and said we didn’t pay enough.  Eddie paid it – under protest – because we don’t want to run afoul of the IRS.  Barrie sent them a letter telling them we paid it and sent the W-2 in to them.

Then February of this year we have a letter from Social Security saying the IRS shows twice as much as we submitted.  So I spent over an hour waiting at the Social Security office only to be told “This isn’t our department”.   Since their name was at the top of the letter, it seems logical to start with them – no, we had to deal with the IRS and send in the questionnaire.   I will say, Sarah and company took care of that and sent in the letter to the IRS as well as giving us a copy.  It is also possible the IRS will send another letter – no departments talk to each other.  We might even get our money back from the second payment, but I won’t hold my breath.  They are johnny-on-the-spot to collect but take their sweet time refunding money owed to us.

Finally, yesterday we were able to go down to Sarah’s office and pick up our returns.  I had the copies of the things they couldn’t find so they could scan  them into our account.  We signed the papers to have the returns e-filed and all we have left is the bill for the tax prep.  After all this time, it was hard to believe we had gotten to the end at last.

Definitely a Happy Dance afternoon.  I think we both slept well last night now that it is completed.

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Barrie Lane

March 3, 2014

Saturday morning I had a phone call to tell me Barrie had passed away the night before of a sudden heart attack.   He has had heart trouble for several years and had a monitor implanted in his chest to warn when there is a problem.  He will be sorely missed by friends, family, colleagues and clients.

1958291_10201790557194764_1260156870_nIn happier times – Barry, Lois and Sarah on Sarah’s wedding day.

I first met Barrie through my parents – who met him through a neighbor.  He was doing taxes for the Torstenbo’s and they recommended him to Mom and Dad when they needed someone. Mom said he used to come out to the house at that point, then later they went to his office.  When Eddie and I decided we wanted to be in Seattle in the future, we started putting roots down here.  We opened a savings account and started having Barrie do our taxes.  It meant I had a trip to Seattle every February – Eddie was usually off traveling somewhere.

We usually had federal tax, state tax depending on what state we lived and while we were in Virginia, we began to have a business tax return.  It has been a whole lot easier to see Barrie to do the tax returns since we moved here; often I had to go by myself and took Mom to do her taxes.  Barrie was always able to help us through some of the confusing things that Uncle threw at us, though mostly we have had a very simple return.  Seems a bit selfish to wonder if he had finished our tax stuff this week.  I saw him Wednesday at Breakfast Club , he said he was still deciding about the business.  He was his usual cheerful self, always found humor in the IRS and Uncle.

There was another side to him, one that only came out around the Christmas holidays.

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Barrie loved being Santa at Christmas time, just as much as he loved his work.

Barrie is the one who invited me to be a member of Kent Breakfast Club 10 years ago.  My first thought was “I can’t do that!”, mainly because I had just recently moved back here and I was still trying to figure out what Promotional Marketing was.  It was dropped in my lap and then suddenly to be asked to be part of the group was a bit overwhelming.   But I did join and through the club I met the most remarkable, caring and enjoyable group of people.  I gained experience, knowledge and confidence through the group – a soft place to fall.  It is not the normal networking group – we don’t have high dues, requirements to bring referrals every week or have such a “Life is real, life is earnest” attitude.  We are serious about business but we also have a good time laughing, learning about each other’s business and enjoying each other’s company.

There have been a lot of family things come up over the last 10 years and it has been such a comfort to have Barrie’s advice and help.  When things were happening with Mom and dementia, he helped us so much; when Candy needed help, he was there for her.  He was always there for my Mom and Dad when they started their custom wood business – he was a lot like my Dad, Barrie loved to talk and with the two of them it was always interesting.  So glad Stan Torstenbo introduced Mom and Dad to Barrie, then we got to know him and had him do our taxes as well.  He will be sorely missed by so many people who knew him.

I wrote my sisters Ellen and candy about Barrie.  They sent these emails to me.  From Ellen came:

What a jolt to hear about Barrie Lane–bless his heart for all he has done for our family over so many years. I’m remembering what Dr. Pierce said about Daddy: He died like a king, in his own garden and
without prolonged suffering, and it would seem to apply to Barrie too.

From Candy, who also sent pictures from a Christmas Day when he and Lois came when my sisters were visiting.  We had a lovely time that day and were delighted they stopped to see us.

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I am so sorry about Barrie’s passing. Please give my love and  condolences to Lois. They were so happy together, I know it’s going to  be very hard for her. I owe Barrie so much, especially being in this  house, as it was he who had the idea in the first place. And he helped  make it happen, and advised me when the financial difficulties began.  He was such a wonderful man. Now Barrie will be on the other side, and  Mom will have another familiar friend to greet her when she arrives.  It is as if a whole world is disappearing as the generations pass. And  I had expected Barrie would be with us for years and years. It’s  another reminder that the only thing we can control is our response  and our attitude toward what happens.

It still isn’t real to me yet.  I saw Brandy at the chiropractor’s this morning and she said it finally hit her Sunday night.  I wonder about myself – it has been 13 years since my Dad died suddenly and it doesn’t seem strange to me he isn’t here – maybe I haven’t accepted it after all.

I Am A 30 Percenter !!!!!!!

February 24, 2014

Two years ago today – Feb 24th – I fell and broke my hip.  I had surgery to have a screw and plate put on – it was lower enough I didn’t need a hip replacement.  After about 4 days, I was sent to rehab for at least 6 – 8 weeks to heal and learn how to walk again.  I went into rehab feet first and came out on my own 2 feet with the help of a wheely walker.  After another 4 weeks of outpatient therapy, I left there with a cane.  After a  few weeks I was walking all by myself, though I took the cane to places I hadn’t been to before or if there were a lot of people around.

This is what they did for my hip, kind of explains why I spent 8 weeks in rehab.

 

Right Hip Fracture and Emergency Surgical Repair

The next time I saw my rheumatologist, she told me something interesting – 70& of people who break a bone will break another one within 2 years.  I thought to myself, I am going to be in the 30% group and now By George, I am!  Recently a friend asked why anyone, especially a doctor, would say such a thing to a patient.  Maybe it wasn’t the wisest choice of words, but I have concentrated o being in the 30% since then.  How true the whole thing is can be anyone’s guess.

I am also happy to report I haven’t fallen during those 2 years, though I did stumble against the shower door in the middle of the night.  I hit my upper arm on the glass door rail for the bathmat.  Not a very comfortable thing to do, but I didn’t fall.  The next morning I saw this huge purple bruise forming, that sucker hurt!  As I looked in the mirror not too long after, I thought “This must be what it is like to have a large tattoo” – only mine would fade and soon be gone.  Don’t think I will have a tattoo;  that’s voluntary pain and then what happens when I don’t like it any more.  More voluntary pain to remove it.

For the last two years I haven’t really thought about the 70% or the 30%, every once in a while it comes up and I choose the 30% every time.  I decided dwelling on it and being afraid of falling would be a self-fulfilling prophecy; I would rather think in terms of being the 30%.

I was also wondering if I would mark the 2nd year as the day I broke my hip; but that seemed un productive.  I didn’t “celebrate” having RA for 43 years in November, it was just a measure of time.  I see this in the same way, though no one gave me percentages with RA.  Let’s just say I have reached my goal of 2 years without a “break”.  Whether the whole things is true or not, it is now something in the past.

One interesting thing, I was sure I would set off the security scan when we left for Toronto, so I told them I would probably set it off.  So they took me to a full scan and I was done.  What surprised me was that coming through security in Toronto on our way home, nothing happened.  However, Eddie was chosen for a random scan, so he had a little more to deal with than I did.  Do you suppose they used a plastic screw and plate in my hip instead of metal?  It has me wondering.

Time to work on my next goal – not sure what it is yet, but I will be concentrating on that rather than what has happened in the past.

Farther Down The Road To Recovery

January 19, 2014

This has been quite a long 3 weeks,  now in its 4th week.  Bothe Eddie and I are having trouble shaking this flu balderdash, kind of up and down.  I have some energy and interest in things at times, other times I just want to lie down and close my eyes.  I find I sleep better, don’t cough as much but have trouble going to sleep at night.  I can now wake up in the morning and feel ready to do things, then around lunch I am exhausted and I have a lie down or a nap.  No doubt the nap doesn’t help going to sleep at night.  However, I need to catch up on the rest I didn’t have while coughing all the time.  Thank goodness Eddie also sleeping better as well.

Now that I have covered Sick Call – aren’t you absolutely fascinated with all my aches and pains?  If it sounds like whingeing, it isn’t – just an update.

I ended up with a lovely ending to my birthday on Wednesday.  I came home from the acupuncturist to find heavy fog – it was a day of mixed weather.  I had a lovely 2 hour nap and when I got up, it was sunny and we had a lovely drive into Seattle to have dinner at Il Fornaio.  The sun was beginning to set, so there was some pretty pink in the sky – it was dark when we came home, so I don’t know how the sunset looked.  I was just please the sun returned for my birthday dinner.

I had venison, so tender and delicious; Eddie had the chicken medallions.  It was the Festa Regionale for 2 weeks and we try to come and sample the different regions through the year.  We split a dessert and they brought it with a lit candle – happily there was no chorus of Happy Birthday by the wait staff.  It was a quiet, enjoyable dinner with the two of us – it was fun and a delight.  Doesn’t take much to make me happy, especially with Eddie there.

We came home and relaxed a bit, then early bedtime.  Since I gave Eddie some of my balderdash, he has been sleeping in another room so he won’t get any more.  I am a generous person, but that kind of generosity is not to his liking – nor mine when he gives me his balderdash.

I have been taking Chinese herbs and a supplement for my immune system along with acupuncture to clear all this out; it is taking its own sweet time leaving.  Thursday I went in for infusion and found myself really tired, so I came home and went to bed.  Not quite how I had planner my day.  But Cindy says rest is very important and I am taking her at her word.

Friday I went to see Mom – she was fast asleep in a recliner with her red throw covering her.  I didn’t want to wake her because she looked so peaceful and comfortable.  The recliner is something she is willing to use to elevate her feet and Judy says it is making a difference.  She said Mom has slept well the night before, but it was a cold, raw foggy day and she wanted to be warm.  I left her chocolates and cookies in her room for later.

Yesterday we had sun all day – we just did some shopping and had something at Barnes & Noble, then came home.  I ended up having a nap and Eddie made soup from scratch.  We have been eating a lot of soup lately, we’re thinking maybe it is better to make our own than buy canned soup.  We’ll see how long that lasts.

Eddie had plans to go wash the car today – we have decided to stay put and read or whatever we want because it’s foggy and we don’t feel like going out.  Eddie is reading a book he can’t put down – he spent the afternoon reading while I slept.  We both love books like that – I read them faster than he does because I want to see how it ends.  Then I am sorry to see it end.

It may not have been an exciting week, but I am glad to feel better and to have interest in things.  So in that vein, I will put a picture in this post to lighten the mood.  I saw these and thought – Yup, that’s Cat Logic!

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Snow – Part 2

December 21, 2013

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I took pictures of Mom’s room on my phone camera – have no idea how to download them.  So I had the camera since I was taking pictures of the snow and decided to take pictures of Mom’s house.

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it’s a long, wide one story house with a white picket fence.

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This is Eddie and his Volvo, the best way to get around on sloppy roads.  No way would I take the Versa out in the weather.

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This is looking into Mom’s room from the hall – the bathroom is just across the hall.

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This is Mom’s new hospital bed, I put up the quilted hanging I did for her 85th birthday.  I had put up the two hangings on the bed to cover the circuit breaker panel, but it didn’t work out too well, so I brought them home.

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She has windows that face to the front.  If you count windows on the outside, hers is right by the front door on the left.

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At the other end of the bed is a set of shelves above the foot of the bed.  There is the picture of the two of them on their both anniversary.  On the lower shelf is a picture of Dad.

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We put her butterfly rug by her bed, she designed it herself as well as hooking it.

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Across from the bed is her dresser and she has a photo with the three of us girls and Eddie, also taken on the 50th anniversary.

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There are a couple of high shelves above the dresser.

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I did a closeup of the bureau to show the photo and also the pretty bear Luzma brought her.

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When we came home, the snow was mostly gone except for the flowerbeds.

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Even the stream looks a bit different.

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Some rain has fallen, but it is mostly toolie rain.

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Still a bit of interest here; glad I took pictures of the snow.

That was our adventure yesterday in the white stuff.  Glad Eddie didn’t drive all the way to Mukilteo to work, it made me apprehensive because of the other turkeys on the road.

Snow This Morning!!!!!

December 20, 2013

We’ve been hearing about snow in other parts of the country, now we can say we have snow too – or did have snow.  It is late afternoon and the temperature warmed up enough that a lot of the snow is gone – seems to have stayed in the dirt and mulch in the flowerbeds.  The weather people kept saying it was going to snow last night but nothing showed up until about 5 a.m., just as Eddie was ready to go to work.  He decided it wasn’t worth dealing with the highways and other drivers – I was very glad he decided not to go.  We probably had about 2″ of snow – more than enough for me.  I even remembered to take some pictures before it was gone.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAI took this out the bathroom window, I wanted to show snow on the leaves before the wind started to blow.

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Looking to the right of the window, the lilac tree and on the right, the outside stairs.

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This is to the left of the window.

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This is straight out the window toward the hedge by the street.

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I still was in my nightie and bare feet, so I took the next few from the back door – not quite daylight.

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You can see a bit of Eric’s lights across the way – looks more impressive in the dark.

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I had trouble taking photos out the window with the flash – so I took a picture of the window to see the view.

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The ding room window.

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We went out about 10:30 or so – Eddie drove his Volvo.

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Not the brightest morning I’ve ever seen.

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The log slices looked different with an inch or two of snow.

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My little stream looks a little strange.

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Another angle.

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Looking back to the house – the side walk was slushy and also crunchy.

Part 2 coming in the next post.

About Mom

November 10, 2013

I haven’t written much about my Mom since September when she turned 95.  It is getting harder to visit her because she is slowly going downhill and at time she doesn’t look my Mom.  A couple of weeks ago I had a call from the nurse at Elderplace.  She was concerned because Judy sent a note in that she had noticed a sore on Mom’s left thigh.  They checked but it was close to time for Mom to leave; they decided to have her come back the next day for a more thorough exam.

They think it is because she sleeps on her left side all night and also realized there was no cushion on her wheelchair.  So Friday the physical therapist was going to make sure there was a cushion and also they ordered a hospital bed to help with keeping her feet up as well as helping diminish the sore before it got any worse.   The nurse really appreciated that Judy let them know so soon so it could be treated.

When I went the following Tuesday, I asked if Mom had gone on Friday – she had.  What amazed Judy was how fast the bed arrived – on Friday.  Now it is easier to pull the bed out and help Mom turn over to the right side often enough to relieve the pressure on her left side so the sore is resolving itself.  The hospital bed is much easier for her to pull out and put back than the other bed.

Mom is usually sitting on a dining room chair or the wheelchair because it is hard for her to walk.  Judy does her best to have Mom use the walker to go around house so she will not lose her ability to walk for as long as possible.  She is usually quiet and cooperative until it is time to get up, change her clothes, have a shower and wash her hair.  That is when she gets very feisty and resists Judy.

Mom sleeps a lot more now and even when I come to visit in the morning, she is likely to close her eyes.  I started reading a Miss Read book to her, I am not sure if she is taking very much in as I read.  I ask her if she would like to hear more and she will say yes.  In some ways I feel I am copping out a bit but it is hard to have a conversation with her because she mumbles and repeats words so I don’t know what she is saying.  I think she knows what I am asking, it’s just not going through the shorted circuits to what she wants to say.

Some days I don’t want to go, but I don’t want her to think I have abandoned her.Judy tells me she knows the days of the week I come.  She tells me Mom is aware of things even though she can’t express them in words.  I will admit, this Friday I don’t think she quite knew who I was, that I was her middle daughter.  I call her Mom and I suspect it is inside somewhere deep that she knows who I am – or at least a familiar presence.

My older sister Ellen wrote in an email – “It’s hard, but important, for me to see her as a person and not just my Mom”.  I am realizing that is also important for me as well.  she and Dad have been big authority figures for me and I’ve seen them as Mom and Dad.   But I have not really seen her as Ruth, a person with a history and experiences that don’t necessarily involve me, the child.  I know the little she would talk about, but she as always been very quiet about that part of herself.

Sometimes she has told us things but I could always tell when she didn’t want to talk about it – I would ask a question and her answer would be “I don’t know, I don’t remember”.  I have met member sod her family and know things from them,; I have met people on Dad’s side who knew him and his parents.  It was interesting to hear what they had to say, some I heard from Mom but there were new things as well.

She did talk about her family some and I loved hearing about the great aunts – I call them the Awesome Seven.  Two of them were quite interesting and I also heard a lot from Mom’s younger brother when we would visit them in Waterford.  They had a summer house there, around the corner from the nuclear plant.  Don embroidered a lot of the stories about the family, so it was quite entertaining  Whatever he talked about, he made it so funny and I loved hearing his stories.   His wife Betty had heard them all before, so when Eddie I went down to visit, he would talk with Betty while Don told me stories.

I also realize I have only looked at the things that have bugged and frustrated me about Mom, time to see the more positive loving side.  I know she loved all three of us and wanted to protect us – it was some of the ways she went about it that put my teeth on edge.  I think I wrote a post about all the wonderful things I remember about Mom; this morning I thought of another one, she taught us to make a bed with hospital corners so everything stayed put.

Mom is a loving a giving woman, I think sometimes how she was brought up made it difficult to say it in words.  As I think about it, I think it was easier to express love for us by doing rather than saying.  I realize now that Mom and Dad always made me feel loved and wanted, that Mom was home when I came home from school – so many kids didn’t have that.   In many, many ways, I was blessed with the parents I had – it has taken experience and getting older to really appreciate what I had.  My sisters may have had a different view – this comes from the middle child.

Local News

October 13, 2013

I have been lucky to write once a week lately, but that doesn’t stop the mind from thinking of things to write about – unfortunately I am on the freeway, in the shower, it’s 3 a.m., you name the inconvenient place.

It’s been a busy time for the moles, all sized mounds in the yard – I noticed a small one out by the garage; one of the youngsters must have been out trying those diggy feet.  It was a little mound, but he or she has the hang of it already.  That summer holiday must have energized them no end.  Bob next door suggested pumping some gas into the holes and lighting a match – wouldn’t that be something!   As it is, Delores puts down her mole pellets but can’t find an actual hole.  The battle continues.

Mon had her 95th birthday on September 24th.  Delores sent a plant, Ellen sent Mom’s favorite maple sugar candy and a dozen roses and Candy sent chocolates and a lovely teal hoodie and a sweatshirt to keep Mom warm.  I had a light purple knit top and pants with some embroidery.  It was a Tuesday but I had gone for my infusion in the morning and had an appointment at 1, so I didn’t stay long.  mom seemed rather sleepy, so I came back the next day for a bit longer.

I have had some  difficulty finding things to talk about because I understand the first 3 or 4 words she says, then it is mumbling and repeating words.  I haven’t a clue what she is saying.  She doesn’t talk about her mother or father, maybe once in a while.  She doesn’t remember as much of her childhood as she did – we went through the album I brought but she only remembered a few things.  My sister Candy solved the dilemma for me.

She has written an ebook called “The Translucent Heart” and had sent me an email with the book.  So I copied it from the library and have been reading it to Mom.  She seems alert and interested, I don’t always know how much goes in and sticks, but because Candy wrote it, she is interested.  I am on page 93 or so right now – my voice gives out sooner than she loses interest.  When we are done with that, I am going to bring Rosamund Pilcher’s book “Winter Solstice” to read.  Mom loves the book and has read it every Fall since my Dad died.  At one point she asked if I could get her a new copy, hers was falling apart.

Mom is still doing pretty well even though she needs help with everything.  she is aware of some things around her and the people, but she fights Judy all the way when it comes to any caregiving such as bathing, washing her hair or anything like that.  Maybe she feels that is the only things she has control over now.  She still goes twice a week to the Center and as long as she is able to that, it is a very good thing.  It gives her another situation and context to her life, plus her doctor is there as well.  There are times when I don’t really want to go, but she is always glad to see me and I don’t want her to think she has been abandoned.  It is not an easy situation for any of us, but at the moment things are going smoothly.

I finally finished Eddie’s new Round Up design and he will be sending out Monday.  the people in the office have seen it and love it – his boss told him he should charge money for it.  He has been bugging me for the last 3 weeks about when it would be ready to go.  I have been working on it in Group Training for Pages at the Apple store – they have helped me so much with design, learning to use the program and all kinds of other things.    It will take another couple of issues before I really have it down pat.  Eddie is pleased with it and finds it is much easier to do on his MacPro than on the PC.

To see his other ones, PNAA has it on their website.  Click the link here, click News and then Local News.  On the right is a box where his Round Up is listed as The Kaplanian Report.  His new one should be up  in the next week or so.  I am interested to hear the comments on the new design.

I’ve been debating about mentioning this, but putting it out there means actually doing it.  While I waiting for the editing from Toni on his Round Up, I started a book with posts from this blog.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to us Gift of RA because I have also written about Mom and dementia, my own personal development as well as writing.  What happened was a vision of four complete books in as a set.  I decided to call it “Finding the Gift…”; this is “Finding The Gift in Rheumatoid Arthritis”.   It may not be the same in the end as it is in the beginning, but I know I have to do something about this since it has been simmering on the back burner for several years.  I have the journals that I wrote for several years with things that have happened – a lot of information without an idea how to corral it.  Baby steps and see where it goes.  There, I said it!!!

They’re Back!!!!!!!

September 15, 2013

It seems our little furry friends have returned.  Remember this face – one only a mother could love?

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Back last February Delores next door was battling moles in our lawn very diligently.  She and Bob went on their annual trip to Hawaii in March and no moles showed up to drive her crazy when she came home.  So things have been quiet – until 2 weeks ago.  Eddie found mole piles in the bed by the garage and now the flowerbed by the back porch.  We also have weeds coming up no matter what we do.

I thought the moles were gone, but they only were off somewhere on their summer holidays.  Now it is back to work, no more frolicking in other places.  Too bad they didn’t decide to move there, there are several who would have happily wished them Bon Voyage with hoopla, knowing they would not return.  They and Mother Nature had other plans.

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This is by the back porch – my toe is in the picture.  They seem to like the new mulch better than the grass.

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They have been quite busy lately, not satisfied with one mound, they do several at a time.  Who knows, maybe it is triplets just learning the trade under Mom and Pop’s training.

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I wonder if this one was made by Pop, the head of the clan.  He must be a big bugger.

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The one on the left was the first one, and I think Eddie took the shovel and hit it, or maybe just stomped it so it was level again.  The one beside it is a little newer.

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Looks like Pop has been at it again – no flowerbed left behind.  This is along the garage and the cement path – I had to take pictures before Eddie took care of them.

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This is what happened when the latest incarnation of Mr. Dinh did when he mowed the dandelions and edged the walk.

Hmmmm, maybe I should  take a few pictures of “after” since I already have “before”.  No story is complete without a beginning and ending.

They have predicted thunder storms today – so far just thunder and lightning but I am not going out to take pictures and get wet.  That is for another day.  Instead, I found this one on Tracey Warren’s Facebook page and loved it – I was chuckling over it for quite a while.  I think it’s the best way to end this blog.

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English Muffins and Orange Marmalade

September 8, 2013

We bought english muffins the other day when Eddie grilled big mushrooms for dinner and we ate them like hamburgers.  Then we had some with toasted cheese with our soup and yesterday morning I had the last one for breakfast.  You may be wondering why I am writing a post about them – here’s the reason.

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English muffin and orange marmalade always makes me think of Eddie when I first met him and my Aunt and Uncle who introduced me to him.  I had been invited down for a 2 week holiday by them between finishing my second year of commercial art school and before I went to work for Boeing.  I can see their kitchen in my mind now and every morning for breakfast they would have coffee, fresh squeezed orange juice along with english muffin and orange marmalade – but not just any kind.  The muffins were always Thomas’ muffins and the marmalade was King Kelly.   I was never able to find it when I lived in the Eastern half of the country, I had to take some with me from my visits here or my California trips.

It was a special time in my life, I had fun with my Aunt and went with her as she was helping out with wedding plans for the young people in her life.  She had two sins and then kind of adopted Elle from Ireland and Bill – not sure where.  Eddie was good friends with my cousin Rob, the younger son who was also going to San Mateo Junior College.  When I arrived for my holiday, Eddie was an established part of the family.

Eddie and my Aunt met at the Red Cross doing the Charleston – Eddie was part of the Foreign Student Club and the Red Cross helped them a lot.  My Aunt was a volunteer – not sure how the Charleston came into it.  My aunt took Eddie under her wing and since he would look for room and board with a family in exchange for help around the house, she found him a place with her neighbor in back.  My Uncle also helped him a lot, plus he was invited to parties and family gatherings.

During my holiday I stayed in Bill’s old room, over the garage.  I can see that in mind as well.  I had visited  them with my family 2 or 3 times when I was growing up, but this trip was different, it was just me.  I had a project from my Dad, to copy my grandmother’s diary since my aunt wouldn’t let it out of the house even to be copied.  I also went with her on her errands and visiting, I enjoyed the drive through Hillsborough and looking at all the fancy houses.

I met Eddie about 2 days after I arrived – he came one evening to talk to my Uncle and before he went upstairs, he sat in the living room with my aunt and me.  I felt such an idiot, so when he came back downstairs and asked me out for ice cream, my jar hit the floor, I was so surprised.  So we went out quite a few times, even went to Sacramento for his class there.  I remember going to the Immigration office – he had to spend a lot of time there and had gotten to know a lot of people who worked there.  He not only went for his own stuff, but also to help new foreign students when they arrived.  Even so, there was still a lot of bureaucratic balderdash.

I remember driving around Hillsborough and the back way to San Mateo with him on our dates.  When I went by the golf course surrounded by huge eucalyptus trees, I thought about taking Max the dog out for a walk with my aunt to the course.  There were eucalyptus trees all over the place, something we don’t have in Washington.  My aunt had a lemon tree in her back yard, she always had fresh lemons.  Something else we don’t have here.

On the side of the house she had a lovely patio with a huge tree to shade it.  We would often have lunch outside there or I would just go sit and relax there.  I read the books she had and it was an enjoyable holiday.  So much so, I stayed an extra week, mostly because of Eddie.  He asked me out for most nights – it was painful for him because he would shave a second time that day and I am sure it must have burned every time after a while.  I didn’t realize that until quite awhile later.

When we came back from Australia, we lived in the Bay Area for 3 years and it continued to feel special to me because every where I went, there was a place Eddie took me or we drove by or something we would do.  We also made a lot of new memories as a married couple and also everywhere we went to live.  The memories here of my Mom and Dad, my two sisters and the wonderful times we shared all through the years.  I also would do English muffins and marmalade quite often and it would take me back to ay aunt’s kitchen in 1968.

Now you know why I wrote about English muffins and orange marmalade – it still gives me those wonderful memories of a time that truly changed my life.


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