Saturday, May 21, 2022

Celebration of Life

My niece contacted me the night before the memorial and said Ken, my brother-in-law wanted us to get there early so we did. It was good to be able to give him a hug.

My sister Deb was already there helping to set up tables and chairs and get food ready. I immediately began helping her and everyone pitched in where they could. We talked with Ken's sisters, I hadn't seen them in years. And his aunt, she was hosting it at her house. She's got to be close to 90 but was still spry as ever: in and out the back door, directing people where to put things, I think she has more energy than I do!

More and more people started arriving. Honestly I was surprised at how many people showed up. It had been 3 months since she passed away, I figured it would mainly be family but there were people there from their motorcycle group, friends they met when they spent time at the desert when the kids were little... there were probably 50-60 people there. I was glad they came out to support Ken. I know it meant a lot to him.

I walked around taking pictures and with each new group of people I'd hear him telling the story of how she died. Time after time he'd be tearing up as he told how he heard her come out of the bathroom but she didn't answer when he called to her. By the time he got to the bedroom, she was unresponsive. I think talking about it was therapeutic for him. Like if he said it enough times he might convince himself. 

My niece Karlene came up to me part way through and said she wondered if we should have people share stories. I suggested we go around to each group and let them know we'd be 'saying a few words' in a few minutes and they would have a chance to share if they wanted to.

Ken, my niece, Deb and I all stood in a central area of the backyard and I introduced myself and thanked everyone for coming, and shared a memory of my own. Of Kathy and I going out to Ocean Beach one day, having lunch at the little cafe on the pier and walking along the rocks by the shore.

A lot of people shared stories, some laughed, some cried. My sister was well loved.

After that people began to leave and we took family pictures by her motorcycle and her ashes. It was a hard day, but it was good.

That's Ken in the white beard


Ken and Karlene

Me, Ken, Deb

Ken, Karlene and Karlene's kids. 

And Ken and Kathy's dog Penny. Her and Ken have been inseparable.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

The Days Before the Memorial

We got home on Monday night and I've spent the last couple of days unpacking and doing laundry. It was a whirlwind trip and there were a lot of emotions packed into those few days. 

We flew out of Seattle on May 4th and got to the Airbnb around 2:30 in the afternoon. We drove out east and had dinner with my sister, one of her sons and his family. I realized driving back that I didn't get one single picture. 

Everyone else got in on Thursday and we made 3 trips back and forth to the airport before everyone was finally at the house. We've stayed in a lot of hotels over the years plus our timeshare, but there's nothing like coming 'home' at the end of the day.

Our home away from home last week:

 The sun room, master bedroom, and backyard:

My sister Kathy LOVED hummingbirds and this was hanging in the kitchen window. I sent a picture to Deb. It really made me smile every time I looked at it.

Sharaya and Ally wanted to go swimming when they arrived so the rest of us went out to the Ocean Beach Pier. Kathy and I spent some time here a few years ago, just the two of us. When I realized it was possible for me to go again I got so emotional. It was good to re-live that memory. But I had forgotten what a long walk it was to the cafe at the end of the pier!

On Friday we headed to the Los Angeles area to see where Chuck's mom and dad are buried. His dad died in 1961 and his mom died just last year. It took us a while but finally Peter found where they were located. We also found his grandparents and his dads twin sister, who died as a baby.

It was still early afternoon when we left there so we decided to stop at Downtown Disney. Have you ever been there? It's just an outdoor shopping center, but all Disney. And it's free to get in. Shops and restaurants, photo ops... you don't see a whole lot of young families, usually it's the older crowd who wants the Disney magic without the cost and motion sickness from the rides. 😄

We headed 'home' after that and relaxed a little. Played cards. I finished the posters and we all got stuff ready for the next day.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Neighborly, Over Average, And, They're Baaack!

Beth texted me from the bowling alley last week:

'I have a pizza and sweets to' 

'That sounds good!'

'Yeah. i got my medal and first place'

'What?!? Wow Beth! Congratulations!!'

'Thanks. i will show you and dad my medal to when I get home'

She came in the door and showed me her medal and said she also got $5. I asked if I could take a picture but she said no. A couple days later I'm reading the bowling newsletter and I see:

'The most over average last week was Ms. Beth Anderson as she saved her high game for when it counted the most and it was a terrific 146! She beat her average by a whopping 62 pins!'

Wow, there's over 100 bowlers! No wonder she got a medal and some cash! She hasn't bowled regularly for over 2 years but she's starting out hot! I took these a couple weeks ago -

For quite a while now I've watched our neighbors try to navigate a street corner that was overgrown and dangerous. I finally called the city a couple months ago and was told they've been looking at this corner for a while but haven't been able to move forward due to a power pole that was in the way. Well, this week they showed up! The other corner is much worse than this one and they're fixing them both! I love my city!

 I saw the man out there talking to the workers, he was pointing at areas of the new sidewalk; filled my heart with joy! And I'm so glad the workers got to see exactly who they were doing it for and what a difference they're making in that man's life.


We began seeing those old familiar signs: twigs on the porch, tiny sticks, moss, and then one day, there it was. Mrs. Junko had come back to build her nest!

 I took those pictures on Tuesday and when I checked the nest again today...

 Two tiny eggs! They should hatch and be out of the nest in just a few weeks. The Junko's have used this wreath for many years now and I look forward to seeing them every time!

Have you had any fun surprises this week?

Friday, April 22, 2022

What A Way To Start

I go down to a main road and turn right to get to work. I turn left to go to the waterfront. Both are about a mile from my house.

The last few days I've felt a calling to go down to the water. You ever have that? Where you just get this feeling to do something that's out of your routine?

I had to go to work early this morning to unlock some doors and on the way home I felt it again. I believe it was the Lord, calling me, urging me to peaceful waters.

So today I went.

It was 7:30 in the morning and very few people were out. It was so quiet and peaceful. I walked around for a little bit and listened to the silence.


As I was getting ready to leave I noticed the sky turn an amazing shade of turquoise. The deeper blue above and then right in the middle... it shined! It was spectacular and I had to thank the Lord for bringing me down there. What a glorious way to start the day!

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Teamwork, Easter Flashback, So Ready

We went to the cardiologist a few days ago and he cleared Chuck to go back to work. So tonight, that's where he is, the first time in just over a month! He was so ready. They still don't know what caused him to pass out but he hasn't had any episodes since.

Ally has joined a volleyball league and we went to a game last weekend. Sharaya's the assistant coach, they've been practicing every week for a month or so and this was their first game. It was fun to see the girls work on new skills and learn teamwork.

We had a great Easter. Chuck, Beth and I went to church in the morning then we all headed over to Diana and Peter's for lunch. Peter made lamb and chicken, brussel sprouts, a pasta spinach and cheese dish. Sharaya made the mashed potatoes... everything was SO good! We brought pie for dessert.

After lunch we made our annual trip to the tulip fields. Ally was with her dad but Peter's sister flew in from New Jersey the night before and was able to come with us. It was Easter Sunday, the weather was nice so of course there were a ton of people! But the flowers were gorgeous and we were all together. Nothing better than that.


(My mom, our girls and one of their friends.)




I hope you all had a blessed Easter!