Monday, May 28, 2012

Angels with Wings

Today is Memorial Day. I’ve been to the Abbey and placed flowers in the stands for my parents and two sisters. It’s now afternoon and I’m weeding in my garden. The clouds periodically block the sun, so it’s not too hot. The weather guy says 65 for today’s high. It’s not there yet, but I’m comfortable in my long sleeved shirt and jeans. I pick gardening today because it’s mindless yet rewarding; the results of my work will be apparent and satisfying at the end of the day.

 I become aware of the cheerful song of a bird in the tree above me.  When I finally spot the bird, it’s a Robin. The bird continues to sing to me for half an hour. I move in slow motion, comforted by the melody, continuing my gardening tasks.

The Robin seems to want more attention than I’m giving it, so it hops to the top of the trellis with the clematis canopy of white flowers, and seemingly increases its volume. I can’t help it. I talk to the bird, thanking it for singing to me on this sad day. I’m missing my parents and my sisters- missing the laughter and the conversations we had. Mom’s passing last November was the last of the four.

I talk to the Robin, who is still perched on the trellis and tell it how much I appreciate the serenade. It’s not lost on me that one of my sister’s name was Robin. I talk to Robins a lot. I feel comfortable telling the bird that she would love the young man her son has become and the wonderful wife he now has. How proud she would be that he works with mentally challenged children and helps teach them activities of daily living so they can be part of and contribute to society. It sings a few more happy notes, then leaves.

Suddenly two doves land in the cedar tree beside me. They begin their haunting co-coo-co volley. I love the sound; it reminds me of the vacations we spent as a family in Hawaii. Every morning we woke to the sound of the doves welcoming a new day. Today, they also sing to me for longer than usual before they take flight together.  It seems they have a lot of information to impart with their limited vocabulary.

I’m smiling by now, because it is a glorious day. I feel in touch with nature and content. I’m sitting on the ground and weeding beneath a group of delphinium that is stunning with its deep purple and blue shades. A hummingbird darts beside me and even though I’m only a foot away, takes it time drinking from the throat of the farthest stalk. It finishes its feast and stops before me midair, its wings whirring.  I sense it looking into my soul. Then it takes off as fast as it appeared
I’ve been visited by four angels today. My garden has become a special place of beauty and solace  because I've been blessed by the presence of angels with wings.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Remembering Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad,

I’m sending this note to tell you how much you are missed. I hope you are comfortable in the all-seeing, all-knowing heavenly world together. Things are definitely different here without you. Matt has taken over as the head of the clan and is doing an amazing job. I didn’t realize how much he takes after you, Dad, in temperament and actions. His business is booming and his family is flourishing.

Two lovely young ladies, Geli and Laura, have been added to the family. You would love them both. Nick and Geli are about to celebrate their first wedding anniversary and Drew just announced his engagement to Laura. They will be married next summer. Natalie is busier than ever with her job and enjoys being with her friends in the social city of Seattle.

Matt and Debbie have purchased a beach house on the Oregon coast to carry on the Family Beach House Legacy.  It probably has too many stairs for you both, but there is a bedroom on the main level with a bathroom nearby. And it’s close to the golf course, Dad, so you could practice your swing with a bucket of balls.

Cris and I are enjoying our retirement. Cris spends a lot of his time in his shop building and restoring interesting and fun cars. He just completed a 1955 Ford Pickup and is now putting the finishing touches on a 1927 Model T Roadster. We’re driving them to several car shows this summer in Oregon and Washington and yes, they both have seat belts. 

Dad, the life memory book you wrote for Matt and I has spurred me on to write too. I’ve taken nine writing classes over the last two years and have completed a novel, some poems, and many short stories that I would have loved to share with you. I post them on my writing blog and have met many wonderful and encouraging friends through my involvement there. 

We have eight grandkids now that are loads of fun and keep us young. Their personalities are as varied as night and day which makes it extra special to get to know them individually. They are growing up so fast. I imagine that’s what you said about us as kids too.

I sure miss talking with you both, but am comforted to know you are together and healthy again in heaven. Give Robin and Diane a hug for me.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ashland 2012

Six of the seven in our group returned to Ashland for the annual girls week away last week. This year is my 20th year as a member of the group; others have been involved for almost 30 years. The Sherwin Cottage on Oak Street works perfectly for us.

 We worked in pairs to prepare scrumptious breakfasts.

 Crepes, baked chai french toast, eggs benedict breakfast pizza, baked cheesy apples, smoothies, mimosas, YUMM...

We were spoiled with dinner out at Ashland's fantastic restaurants each evening,

and treated ourselves to awesome Pacific Northwest wines.

We saw exceptional plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. My Favorite was Romeo and Juliet. It was set in a fabled world of the Spanish Californios in the late 1840's. The artistic directors took the play to new heights with their insight and nontraditional interpretation. It was magnificent. (I'm glad I had a Kleenex in my pocket at the end!)
Vaudeville, the Marx brothers, and craziness were the key words for Animal Crackers. Delightful with its music and zany comedy, this fast-paced play kept us in stitches.
There was much discussion about Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella as it showcased the three plays on the stage at the same time. It was a bit mind-boggling for me.
Several of the group saw The White Snake, adapted from the classic Chinese fable, and thought the staging was excellent.

Porch sitting throughout the day always brought great discussions and gave us a chance to unwind, read, or people watch.

Once again, we crowned the Cork Queen for 2012. The 2011 reigning Queen spent some time wearing the crown before it had to be relinquished to the 2012 winner.

The winning label for the theme "Nature" was:

Late night discussions, pudding shots (have you ever had one??), and popcorn with truffle butter were the best!

 Remnants of pudding shots = we had chocolate pudding with rum and baileys, and vanilla with orange flavored vodka and triple sec.

Ann got to return home in style when her husband flew down to pick her up. The rest of us had to make the 5+ hour drive home! But it was all worth it!!

We've already made next year's plan for the trip and are looking forward to getting together again!
(I took the pictures, so I'll have to wait until someone posts their photos before I can add one of myself!)