Tag Archives: Missoula

My Visit with Coco in Missoula

21 Dec

Missoula morningDowntown Missoula at 8AM this morning.

view from Coco's houseThe view from Coco’s living room window around 10AM.

This past week I’ve been lucky to have spent some time relaxing with my son, Coco.  During my visit, he was able to take a little time off from work and we went on long walks, played cards, and watched a few movies.  We also cooked together… and several times Coco cooked for me.   It’s pretty amazing to see the young man that he has become and I am very lucky to have had this opportunity to simply hang out with him in Missoula.

The other night, Coco invited several friends – Cody, Mason, Mike, Audrey, and Lynn – over to his apartment for a home-made pizza dinner.  To prepare, we first went shopping for groceries.  As we were walking back to the apartment, I realized that I’d forgotten to buy mozzarella for the pizza.  One of the key ingredients and I’d spaced it!

“That’s okay, Mom”, Coco told me.  “Audrey can make some.”   I’d recently met Audrey and she is very sweet… but wasn’t that asking a bit much?  And doesn’t it take a long time to make mozzarella cheese anyway?  Well, the answer was “No” to both questions.  Audrey was happy to bring over the necessary ingredients (a gallon of milk and some enzymes) and in just about an hour we had “fresh mozzarella.”   I was amazed!  All the years I have spent in the kitchen, and never once did I ever even think of making cheese!  Well, I can tell you with certainty, that that will definitely change!

Yesterday while Coco was at work I made an apple pie for his friends and co-workers.  I wanted to thank them for welcoming my son into their hearts and community.  It’s such a good feeling to know that Coco has found a place where he is happy and comfortable, is able to survive on his own, and is supported by a close circle of friends.  What more could a mother hope for?

Coco and Me

Coco and me.

“You can’t make me be nice.
You can’t make me be good.
You can’t make me believe.
But your example, your kindness, your patience and love will affect me perhaps enough that eventually I may choose to do those things.”
― Richelle E. Goodrich

A Gift of Love and Support

15 Dec

anny's pie 2Yesterday I traveled to Missoula, Montana to visit my son Coco.  He’s been living there for almost two years, and our family was able to spend Christmas with him last year.  This year, however, that won’t be possible due to a number of circumstances and so instead I will spend some time with him before the holidays.  As I’ve not seen him for a year, I have been looking forward to this visit very much .

During the week prior to the trip, I was busy working on a few catering events, getting Christmas packages into the mail, and attending to myriad household details.  The morning I was to leave, I still needed to pack my bags and pay a visit to my Dad.

Even though my schedule was fairly full, before I left I really wanted to (read: needed to) make a pie for a dear friend who has been going through a particularly difficult time.  What I find intriguing, is that while she is facing this “life crisis”, she is also awaiting and preparing for what will likely be one of the most memorable experiences of her life.

It can be hard to fathom the juxtaposition of happy and sad events that life presents to us.  For me, my most challenging moments came when my daughter was born and then a few months later, my mother lost her battle with cancer.   I was totally unprepared to handle the emotional pull in two very different directions – caring for my newborn while saying goodbye to my Mom.

What I want to say to my friend by giving her a pie, is to let her know that this difficult moment will pass, and more importantly, to remind her that she is surrounded by a caring community that loves and supports her.   We will be there to help her every step of the way… and are more than honored to do so.

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. – Charlotte Bronte

“Home” for the Holidays

24 Dec

Alexandra

A few days ago, my daughter, Alexandra, flew from New York to spend the Christmas holiday with us.  What seemed to be a pretty simple plan – fly from LaGuardia to Medford, Oregon – proved to be anything but.  After arriving at the airport (via taxi because of all the bags she was carrying) she was told by the agent at the US Airways counter that her flight had been cancelled.  The agent then told her that they would put her on a flight out the next day.  “No… I need to get home today” Alexandra told the agent.  In short order, the agent told her that she could get on a flight that day… but that flight was out of JFK.  “But I just spent $55 to get here for my flight” Alex told her.  “Save your receipts and tell that to customer service… but if you want to leave today, you need to get to JFK,” was the reply.

Alexandra did as she was advised and took a cab to JFK in plenty of time to board the plane for the west coast, but as sometimes happens, that flight was delayed for more than an hour. That  would not have been a problem if that one flight had led to her ultimate destination, but unfortunately, it did not.  When the plane finally arrived in San Francisco, Alexandra and another passenger ran for the Medford flight… thrilled to find that it was delayed and still at the gate.  They happily boarded thinking that they would only arrive twenty minutes later than their originally scheduled time.    But that didn’t happen either.  Instead, for numerous reasons too mundane to relate, the plane did not take off for almost two hours!  When Alexandra and I last spoke I told her that I would pay for her cab because I couldn’t stay awake waiting for her any longer.

The next morning Alex shared the details of the trip… and the delightful seat-mate that she had met who took her home when they finally arrived in Medford.  My grateful heart wanted to thank that woman for taking care of my daughter in the wee hours of the morning… and so, I made a pie.  I gathered apples, walnuts, and raisins and a crumb topping and in short order had a pie in the oven.  Later that day, Alex and I drove to the woman’s home… and discovered that she had moved into the home where Alexandra’s singing coach used to live.  What a small world… and what a wonderful coincidence!

Apple Pie assembly

A few days after Alexandra arrived home, she, her Dad, and I, packed up the car and drove to Missoula, Montana where her brother, Coco lives,  so that we could all spend the holiday together.  On our journey here, we spent the night with friends, Shawn and Catherine, in the Dalles laughing, playing “Last Word“, and sipping red wine.  Yesterday we drove the last 400 miles or so, listening to the book “Cutting for Stone” on the CD player.  We realized last night that it has been 4 years since we were all together for Christmas.  We are enjoying this snowy Christmas eve in a warm kitchen, listening to old vinyl records, while Daddy Emile prepares the turkey for our feast.  I feel pretty darned lucky right now.

Apple Pie

To close, I want to share these few words from a book entitled “Have a little faith” by Mitch Albom.  I love his stories (Tuesdays with Morrie,The Five People You Meet in Heaven) and this one is just as good, but is a true story.   In the epilogue, he shares this memory.  He is talking with the Rabbi and asks him what he would do if he had five minutes alone with God.  The Rabbi says that with the first minute he would ask God to help his family members.  With the next three minutes he would ask God to counsel those who were suffering.  And then Mitch asks, what about that last minute?  And the Rabbi says this is what he would say:

“Look, Lord, I’ve done X amount of good things on earth.  I have tried to follow your teachings and to pass them on.  I have loved my family.  I’ve been part of a community.  And I have been, I think, fairly good to people.

“So, Heavenly Father, for all this, what is my reward?”

And Mitch asks, “what do you think God will say?”

“He’ll say, “Reward?  What Reward?  That’s what you were supposed to do!”  And then Mitch and the Rabbi laugh together for a long while.

Tonight, I send you my best wishes for a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and whatever it is that you celebrate with the people you love.

family-card

Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.  ~ Confusious

Day 319: A New Adventure

19 Feb

 

 

 

My Family on our trip to Missoula, Montana

This past weekend our family spent more than twenty-eight hours driving to and from Missoula, Mt.  My son, Coco, has decided that he would like to live there and last week he asked if we would take him.  As we all wanted to see where he would be living, and truly wanted to “see him off”, Friday night we packed up our car and began the journey.  At about 11:30 PM that night,  we landed safely in the arms of our dear friends Mike and Julie in Portland.  It was important to me that Julie see Coco at this juncture, because she was present at his birth – and this moment in time is similar in so many ways.

After a light breakfast the next morning we all piled into the car and resumed our journey.  We listened to many of Coco’s favorite CD’s while we passed around Turkey and Swiss sandwiches (on Dave’s Killer Bread – yum!).  All the while we kept at bay the reason for this trip: Coco wants to see what it is like to be on his own; he is ready for a challenge and it was time to let him go.  And as easy as that is to write, it is much harder to actually do it.

This “leaving home” thing is not new for me.  Both of my children have spent time living in other countries and have come through the experience quite well.  While they were away they learned a great deal about themselves and I believe they realized that they were quite capable (and pretty neat) individuals.  I wish every kid could have that experience!

Last evening we unloaded most of Coco’s worldly possessions into a house in Missoula.  We did not get to meet his roommates because they were busy elsewhere, but in addition to Coco’s “stuff” I also left an Apple Pie. I want to extend my thanks to his roommates for welcoming Coco into their house and send my very best wishes for this transitional moment.

“Loving someone is setting them free, letting them go.”
~Kate Winslet

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