Saturday, February 3, 2018

January 2018

Hello friends and family.    How are you doing after the holidays?  
Yes, It was cold.
Emma and the Seattle Skyline 

Bill and I were thrilled when my mom decided to spend Christmas with us.  I flew down helped her get her stuff together and flew with her back to Seattle around December 20. She spent just about a month with us and then I flew back with her to get her home safely and stayed a couple of days to help her get adjusted. She needed meds and some groceries and stuff like that.  She is fully capable of doing all that alone I totally know that but she is 94, she uses a walker and wheelchair at the airport and stress of any kind effects her more, she is more vulnerable and she is just so dang cute.  She has shrunk so much. 

We had a great time with my mom.  I think we finished 3 jig-saw puzzles while she was here.  Mom 's biggest health problem is that her back always hurts and she is in a lot of pain.  She manages her life with pain meds, lots of pain meds. With medication on board, she is happy, functioning, busy, responsible, caring person.      

This visit I put out the word that my mom was coming and anyone who wanted to see her contacted me.  I then managed the social calendar so that we had people in to visit and had enough days to rest so that I didn't get sick.  We had lots of traffic through the house the entire time she was here.    Bill and I both loved it, we are happiest when we are sharing our lives with others,  I know, how lucky I am to get somebody that is a similar mindset.  
A particularly happy moment is when Bill and I are standing on the porch, we will have our arms around each other and are waving goodbye, to the most recent guest.  We have had a wonderful time with whoever has been here but I love the days of quiet and recuperation that come right after those busy times. 
First, we clean everything; do the laundry, pick up the clutter that I chose not to fuss over when guests are here. (Sidenote: our house is always much cleaner when we don't have guests here.  We don't 'need' to pick up when company comes because I am 'that' way already  and that is another cool thing Bill and I are alike about,  he might be more lenient in one area than I wish but he is amazing in other ways where I am not, so we have helped each other to reach a happy common ground.  I keep counting my blessings.  
Second, we rest.  We catch-up on television programs, we watch movies on Netflix, Bill will read his Kindle or take a nap and I will knit and listen to a book on audible, and we both enjoy a jig-saw puzzle.  This goes on for a few days depending on how long the guests have been here. 
Once we have rested we go into a real busy mode; fixing things, running errands, meeting up with local friends that we missed seeing while our guests have been here. Bill and I both love 'projects'; that could be cooking a meal, tending the garden,  repairing or updating or renewing something around the house, my knitting or BK wiring something.  We work on our project a few days and then I start looking forward to who is coming to visit next.  What are they interested in? Why are they in the area?  How can we 'serve' our next guests?  Then I want to 'get the house ready' which includes stuff like; decorating for the season, adding supplies to areas that might need something; like chocolates under pillows or water beside the bed, a basket of bath bombs for our guest to relax in the tub. (listen to your favorite music playing on your phone, connected by Bluetooth to the speaker in the showerhead because a wonderful houseguest gifted us with this because we would love it and because we would absolutely never ever even thought of buying it for ourselves. ) 

In early January, while my mom was here we did go on one adventure.  We took the ferry to Bainbridge Island, visited one of my favorite yarn shops; Churchmouse Yarn and Teas, and had an early dinner then we visited an art gallery where two of our favorite musicians were playing that evening.  We enjoyed Chuck Easton and Jenny Davis (and company) they did several oldies just for my mom, I think.  Mom loved the whole adventure but it was a long day for her back. 

New Year's Day BK and I drove north to Mount Vernon area to spend time with family in that area.  Mom's back did not choose to do that trip and she was quite happy at home. Something I do from time to time is taking my 'box of knitted gifts' with me.  I tell everyone that I love to knit and if they want a knitted gift please choose but if you don't want a hand-knit scarf or socks or hat or hand warmers just leave them for the next person.  That way I knit what I want most of the time and my gifts seem to go to happy recipients.  I love to share knitted gifts with house guest also.  I connected with a friend that is doing a 'drama production' of some kind.  I think he said it was about Ester, of the Bible when women were protesting in the streets and that he might need some of those 'pink' hats.  This friend is an amazing artist.  It has been so much fun to watch his work evolve and grow and develop over the past several years. Thank you social media. We made a deal, I would knit 6 (I made 7) hats and he is going to give me a break on one of his art pieces. We have scheduled a meet-up date. I am so excited.

I got back home on January 17 and spent the 18 and 19 in what BK and I call 'recovery mode'; Sleep, knit, watch movies, sleep and that Saturday was my 'one day a month' to work.   I still enjoy working every time I go in. I just have to recover appropriately afterward or I am asking for an Addison crisis. I guess I learned a big lesson last summer.  
Bill K, Mike N, Bobby Oz and Chuck E  (mid 1980's)

On January 13 a classmate of BK's was killed, by a drunk driver, hit and run, but the police got him and he is in jail now.  BK and his class from Mount Vernon high school have stayed unusually close and connected over the years.  Bill has many friends still from that class, actually, many of the core group he sees were friends from elementary school. They call it the 'kindergarten club'  On Saturday, January, 27 BK and three other classmates drove to Corvallis Oregon,  they met up with some of Bobby's family and visited.  The next morning they were able to spend more time together, so those four were all able to talk and help each other grieve.  They went to the memorial service,  Bill said he spoke for a bit, to remember the high school days.  I choose not to go. Bill needed to be with those guys, they all were close and had lots of memories to share.   My heart aches, for his wife Rachel and his grown-up boys and their families.  I would have loved to tell Rachel how sorry I was but I decided to do that another way.  Bill needed to be with his buddies and the car held the four of them.   I am going to end this month's blog by sharing some of my thoughts of Bobby Oz.
My thoughts on Bobby OZ:

I only knew him through Bill and each time our path crossed I met a different part of him.In the early years, he was a bit of a risk taker. He was an ‘independent’ thinker and in those years he was growing into a good man. He learned about consequences and responsibility and following through.

Later our paths crossed and he was a ‘family man’, married with two young boys.  Bobby and his family came to our “summer party” several years in a row.The summer party was an annual event for 12years of our early marriage.  We celebrated especially big the year we had been married to each other longer then either one of us had been married to any other spouse. That was when the parties started to slow down. 
Everyone was working hard, traveling lots, raising children, and helping our parents.  On the occasion of our 30th wedding anniversary, we decided to have another big party.  I am guessing that was the last one of that proportion. 

Back in the Day, around 1985, these parties started on a Friday night, camping in tents all around our yard, lots of volleyball and croquet. This crowd loved music; guitar, harmonica, flute and lots of drums.  We would grill salmon and everyone brought lots and lots of food.  We would start Friday night with a bonfire, music and so mores.  Saturday others would arrive and we spent a day playing yard games, city walks and usually a trip to REI for many who didn’t live this close to one.  Then we would restock the fire pit and stoke up the fire and talk and laugh and dream and cry together. We would grill salmon and refresh friendships.Remember, this is a group of ‘men’. They call themselves “The Kindergarten Club” because they all go so far back.  It may not be that far back for most of them but they were all friends for a very long time. Each of us women that joined the group, to one extent or another felt like an outsider, but after 20, then 30 and 40 years of friendships the women have all become good friends also.  We have all laughed together and cried together.  We have celebrated births, birthdays, graduations and grieved losses together.  That was also when our parties were getting further apart. 

During these years the guys always tried to connect at reunions and then as we would occasionally cross paths.  If Bill and I were planning a trip or adventure it often included stopping and visiting with friends and every one of those guys has been to our house to connect whenever they could.

Most everyone had moved away from Mount Vernon and the years started to fly by but that never affected the bond in this group of men. From my perspective, I think the bond was “snugging up” a bit now that they have all mostly retired from work.  They have the opportunity to talk on the phone more often, meet up to hear Chuck Easton  (  )  play music or hike together, ski together, and lots of other fun adventures.

Another time we crossed paths with Bobby Oz he was a marine biologist.  We spent the night and had a delicious crab fest dinner and the next day we had a tour of where he was working.   I remember thinking “this is really cool”.  Then we saw him aging as a few more years went by.  He had knee problems and pain and was anticipating knee surgery in his future. 
He had the knee surgery and the last time we saw Bobby Oz we were passing through on our way to the Oregon Country Fair. (That is a whole different adventure, I have written about it in a previous blog.)  Bobby met us for lunch. We told him about what had been happening in our world and he told us about how proud he was of his boys.  Turns out he admires each of them for being independent thinkers also.  He talked about Rachel and how much he admired her commitment to her ‘causes’ and how he respected her.  He also spoke of his service work to the community and his passion for political involvement and his commitment to helping make the world a better place.

I am so sad for Rachel and the boys, who will miss him.  But many are grieving and Bobby Oz holds a piece of a whole lot of people’s hearts.