Friday, October 30, 2015

Mom's Birthday Party

Our family has always been big on birthdays. Mom always made them a special occasion for us. There was always a family party, and she would make the best birthday cakes, usually with 7-minute icing, which we all loved.

So Mom had her 88th birthday on October 19th, and true to form, we had a party. It wasn't really a fancy party, although the food was fantastic. We all had a good time. I think these pictures capture the mood of the evening.

The Birthday Girl!
(on a beautiful Fall afternoon)

Beth came in town as a very welcome surprise.

John and Beth in the backyard, thumbs up for the beef tenderloin cooking on the grill - yum!

A couple of candid photos of John, my energetic brother, of whom we are all very proud.

Mom thinks John looks the most like her. What do you think?
Brothers Joe and John.
Dad, who turned 91 on August 27th.
I don't know if it was all the candles or the way the cake is being carried, but during the birthday song, the smoke alarm went off!
Happy birthday!
Little Nolan was very excited about his piece of birthday cake!
Little Hudson has the cutest pout you've ever seen!
Mom loved Beth's present.
I like the candid feel of this picture, with all the empty glasses and crumbs on the table.
Can't get enough of this little fellow.
Another candid picture of the way it was.
John and Cecilia - so happy they came in, too!
Dad with baby Hudson.
Everyone wanted to be in this photo.

Happy birthday, Mom!! Love you!!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Unexpected Trip to California

 On August 4th, my sister lost her husband during a heart procedure. They had been married for 14 years and were crazy about each other. I took this picture of them in my backyard two years ago. Jim was a frequent visitor to our family in Indiana, although they lived in California.
After losing his previous wife to cancer, Jim organized a benefit for lymphoma research every year since 1998. It was always held on the 2nd Saturday of September. Since all of the groundwork for the benefit was completed, my sister decided to go ahead with the benefit and asked me to come to California to be with her during this time.
So, very unexpectedly, I found myself in Folsom, California for three weeks, from August 25th through September 15th. Here we are at my sister's favorite breakfast place, Mary's Goldmine.
I found out very quickly that there is a terrible drought in California. I knew it, of course, but to see it firsthand is something else. This is a picture I took on a drive in the country one day.

My niece, Kelly, came in from Japan. I hadn't seen her for six years. It was very nice to spend some quality time with her.
Kelly's sister, Bonnie, also came in town. She lives in Portland. We also spent some quality time together. This picture was taken of my sister's breezeway. While I was there I helped refresh the flowers and rearrange. Plants do not last very long because of the drought.
One of the things my sister asked me to help with was to clean out her garage. With the help of my nieces, we got it done! We are women, hear us roar! 
On a walk one day I came across some pretty leaves. I came home and made a bouquet.

We enjoyed breakfast out a lot.
Bonnie and Patsy.

Loved this giant pumpkin in front of the candy store on Sutter Street. Signs of Fall were everywhere.
Hello! We took a lot of walks. One day we encountered this fellow in the park. It's not every day you see a peacock in the park!
I do not usually notice cars, but these old cars really caught my eye. I love VW bugs!

And look at this old camper! It just screams the 70's. 
A cool old Chevy.
And another Bug!
And here we are again, enjoying the breezeway, along with Hazel.

A lot happened in the three weeks I was there. We had dinner at their wonderful neighbors', Andrea and Bill. We had Jim's sister Susan and her husband Bob over for dinner one night. And we went to Jim's daughter Kriss's house for dinner. We also went to one of my sister's best friend's house for a cookout and I met all of her work friends. And of course there was the Benefit, which was a grand event at the Moose Club. We had pedicures and a foot massage. We drove to Davis, CA, for a Farmer's Market, which I loved. We drove into gold country in the hills north of Folsom.

And it felt as if Jim was there with us, through it all. He was only 68, way too young to leave us. And we will miss him.