Archive | June, 2012

What a wonderful life!

26 Jun

What a whirlwind these last few weeks have been!  Much of the focus was on our daughter, Alexandra, as she completed her studies and prepared to graduate from Southern Oregon University.  There was a fair amount of stress to be sure, but everything worked out perfectly in the end.  We were both so proud to see Alexandra walk across the same stage to receive her diploma that her Dad and I carried her across 22 years before.  What a wonderful experience we have shared!  A friend remarked about Alexandra this weekend, “She is such a person.”  I would have to agree.

Another element of fun during this time period was the fact that my son, Coco, returned home for a visit to see his sister graduate.  What that meant for our family is that we were all four at home and doing things together that have become a part of our family tradition.  We cooked lots of wonderful food and hosted a graduation party so friends and family would have a chance to congratulate Alexandra.  We told stories, shared jokes, and reveled in the fact that we were all together.  And we listened to John Prine on vinyl and sang the words to songs that we have come to know by heart:

Blow up your TV, Throw away your paper,

Go to the country, Build you a home.

Plant a little garden, Eat a lot of peaches,

Try and find Jesus on your own

(from Spanish Pipedream)

And just to throw a little excitement into the mix, I received a phone call a few days before Alex’s graduation from a woman named Jinnee.  Her wedding had been planned for the week after Alex’s graduation and her caterer had backed out at the last minute.  She told me a friend had recommended that she call me and then she asked if I could I cater her wedding.  Wow.  I had to tell her, “Of course… but we can’t talk until next week because my daughter is graduating this Saturday.”  And so Jinnee agreed to my catering her wedding without meeting me until 5 days before the actual event!

When Jinnee and I did meet, we agreed on a menu and a budget, and then called or emailed over the next few days with questions about all the many details that arose.  Friday morning, I thought of all that she was going through and realized that she was having me prepare her wedding buffet and she had yet to taste anything that I had ever cooked.  And so I decided to bake Jinnee and her fiance a Kick Ass Apple Pie.  I thought she deserved one for all that she was going through… and it might give her some comfort once she had a bite.

That afternoon I called Jinnee to ask how things were going and if I might stop by for a minute.  I could sense concern and I finally blurted out, “Jinnee, I made you a pie.  Can I bring it by tonight?” Jinnee was thrilled… and I felt that I had offered her a moment to enjoy the wedding that she was planning.

The next afternoon, Jinnee and Peter were married… and as soon as they exchanged their vows, the heavens opened up and the rains came down.  There was a mad scramble for cover… and the outdoor wedding that had been planned soon became a warm and cozy indoor gathering of dear friends and family.  And I was blessed to be a part of it all.

Tonight I want to offer thanks for such a wonderfully busy time… and all the things that I hold dear: family, friends – old and new, and all of the little miracles that grace our lives.

“Three things are needed for a good life: good friends, good food, and good song.”  Jason Zebehazy

Touch of Grey

14 Jun

These last few weeks have been eventful… and emotional.   Why does that not sound surprising?

This period of time began two Sunday’s ago when we were witness to the passing of one of our cats.  Grey, was a very timid cat who somehow appeared on our back porch one day. My guess is that she heard through the grapevine that the lady at this house put out “wet” food each morning and evening and so she came round to check it out for herself.   But something must have happened early on in that cat’s life,  for while she desperately wanted to eat, she did not want to be petted.  In fact, I think I fed Grey on my porch for two years before she ventured close enough for me to touch her.  For much of her life, Grey kept mostly to herself.

The one exception was that she spent a lot of time on my neighbor, Bernie’s, back porch sunning herself and enjoying the treats that he offered her.  She went there so often that there is a path in the grass from my house to his.  Sometimes Grey would be at Bernie’s in the morning and when I brought out her breakfast she would just stare at me from across the distance as if to say, “Thanks but I’m too comfortable to move right now.  I’ll see what you’ve got there in a little while.”

Last Sunday when I called to her, she just lay sleeping on Bernie’s old couch. I thought nothing of it, set her food down outside, and went for my usual walk with my daughter, Alex.  There was a message from Bernie on the phone when we returned.  Never one to mince words, Bernie’s message said “I think we’ve got a dead cat here.”

Fortunately, Bernie’s statement was premature;  Grey had not yet died.   I didn’t know what was wrong, but she was unable to move a muscle, and she couldn’t even open her eyes.   When I reached a friend who is a vet, he said that we should make her as comfortable as possible.  And so we did.  We gently stroked her back, moistened her mouth, and kept her covered against the chill of the day.   We probably spent more time petting her that day than we were able to do in the last ten years.   And at day’s end, she took her last breath, arched her body a bit, and died.

It was a sad way to begin the week, but we were glad to have been there for Grey… and also to have had the chance to be close to her.  As the week progressed I found I was on “Team Alex.”  What that means is that my life’s purpose for the remainder of the week was to help my daughter finish her Capstone for Southern Oregon University.

Okay, I really didn’t do anything to help her with her Capstone… but I did feed her, walk her dog, mop her brow, etc.   On the day her final paper was to be turned in, I remained at the ready – and for me, that meant I kept myself busy in the kitchen.  I cleaned, I organized, I baked.  At the time her paper was to be at the printer’s, I called to ask for a grace period.  And the young man gave me us an extra 30 minutes.  When I shared that news with Alex, she said, “Mom, we need to make them some brownies.”  Unbeknownst to Alex, I already had made a quiche for one of her teachers… Curt.  He has been a big help to her this last term and his name had been on the pie list for weeks.

As I look back, I can say that the week ended happier than it began.  That Friday evening, Alex handed in her completed Capstone, Curt received his well-deserved quiche, and the folks at Printfast received a plate of brownies still warm from the oven.


All in all, it was just a week in our life.  And a wonderful life at that.

Tonight I am sending warm wishes to everyone in the Universe,


A very proud Mom