Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Birthday fun

My birthday was this last Saturday. Mike and I celebrated by driving south down the coast to see places we haven't visited since moving to Oregon.

Our first stop was Shore Acres. It's an amazing coastline, but also has a botanic garden there! It was wonderful! As we wandered through the flowers, we could hear sea lions barking and waves crashing! Amazing! You can see all of my photos at my Flickr. We intended to have lunch at a Mediterranean cafe we knew, but they were closed, so we wound up at a local Mexican place. The food was actually quite good (we don't find decent Mexican food around here much!)

The pond in the garden

Shore Acres

We drove back up to our favorite spot, of course, the 804 Trail and walked a ways. There was one spot where there were rose petals strewn on the path.... Maybe someone got married there! :)

Petals on the trail.

Then we headed toward home and had dinner at our favorite steak spot. It was a great, low-key birthday, which I enjoyed very much... and needed! :)

Mike spoiled me with a bunch of movies. I owned them on video tape, but wanted to replace these with DVD or blu-ray. Yay! :)


It was a good way to celebrate turning 36!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Good-bye, Vicki

It has been a tough couple of months for me. In July, I flew to Arkansas on last minute notice because my sister Vicki was ill and in the ICU. I didn't know if I would make it to see her. I did, and she pulled through several surgeries. She knew we were there, but was just barely awake/lucid at all. I stayed for a bit more than a week and then had to come back home.

Then on August 17, my sister died. She had gone into a rehab hospital to recover and have physical therapy and was doing well. She caught pneumonia and a systemic staph infection. Her poor body just couldn't fight these infections and she passed away that evening.

I made another trip, this time to Colorado for her memorial service and a family gathering (party, according to Vicki's daughter, Sheri - that's what Vicki wanted.)

This experience has been one of the most difficult I've been through, but also good in many ways. I spent a lot of time with my sisters Connie and Rhonda, as well as my nieces Amanda and Sheri. I got to know Amanda's kids - Kenadie and Cooper (5 and 3 mos.) while in Arkansas.

I spent a lot more time with my sisters in Colorado and we started building good relationships - something we've never had. The time in CO was extremely stressful, emotional, and exhausting, but I am trying to hold on to the good things that happened. We said good-bye to Vicki. In that process, my entire family came together - for the first time in many years. All of the rest of my siblings and my parents were there.

At the memorial service for Vicki. (L to R: Rhonda, Connie, Tom, Me,
Sheri [holding Vicki's urn], Joe, John, Mom, Daddy)

At the family gathering - all siblings together with Mom and Daddy. (Back l to r, Yancy [Rhonda's fiance], Rhonda, Me, Connie, Ed [Connie's husband], Ramona [John's wife]. Seated l to r, Jacqueline [Tom's wife], Tom, Mom, John [behind mom], Mary, Daddy)

I'm doing better now that the time in Colorado has passed. It was a tough time with a lot of tears. I will always miss my sister, Vicki. She was a big presence in my life. She helped me find a lot of the creativity that I have.

Love you, Vicki!