Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Our Christmas Week

As with Thanksgiving, we did things just a bit differently this year for the Christmas holiday.  With Beverly no longer with us, we were free to celebrate with friends.  Bill's little "sister", Cindy, invited us to spend Christmas Eve with her family.  She invited us along her dad, brother and sister-in-law, and nieces to a quiche and ham buffet dinner.  I really wanted for Chris to join us but unfortunately, Cindy provided the wrong address on her invitation and I didn't think to look to see if it was correct.  Chris went in his own car ahead of us and ended up getting very lost with the incorrect address and got frustrated so he went home.  Bill and I had a lovely time though.  And we did a bit of a white elephant gift exchange and the little girls opened their presents from Aunty Cindy.  It was fun to be around the joy of young children at Christmas.  It has been awhile since I had experienced that.

Christmas Day was fairly quiet during the day.  That night we went to our friend Diana's home for dinner.  She had invited quite a few people over for a buffet potluck dinner and a night of "Battle of the Sexes".  The food was so good.  Lots of wonderful crab legs, sauteed shrimp, tri-tip, and other yummy things.  It was so nice to be included in the celebration of others and have a nice change to what we have done for the last several years.

Tom and Maddy celebrated Christmas Day in Wichita.  They were able to get leave on the 27th and flew into Seattle.  They got up early Sunday morning to travel here and spend our family Christmas together.  We had some breakfast and then did our gift opening.  

The Packers and Lions game wasn't going to be on local TV so we decided we were going to go to Big Al's to watch the game.  It was a big one with playoff implications so Tom, Maddy and I really wanted to see it.  Maddy wore her brand new Jordy Nelson jersey that Tom got her for Christmas.  Chris came along for the ride and to enjoy some beer and food.  He didn't care about the game so he read a book and took notes while we were there-takes after Bill in that respect.  Neither one of them cares about football so it was nice to have Tom and Maddy here to share it with me.  Even Ariel has a Packer scarf to get into the spirit of the game.  The game was a good one and stayed pretty close.  The Packers won so they are the #2 seed in the NFC playoffs and have a bye week.  And Jordy Nelson beat Robert Brooks' record for most receiving yards in a season so Maddy was pretty happy about that.  And we were all happy that the Packers won and are in a good position for the playoffs.

After the game, we came home to cook our traditional prime rib Christmas dinner.  It was a great day and great to have my entire family with me and under one roof.

Bill wanted to do something fun while Tom and Maddy were here.  We thought it might be fun to go to the Evergreen Air Museum in McMinnville.  Since Ariel couldn't get in, Chris decided to stay home to dog sit and get some quality time with her.  We found a nice little bistro in Dundee to stop and have lunch.  Then we went to the museum.  Tom whipped out his military ID thinking he would get some sort of benefit.  Little did we know that his active duty military ID would get all four of us in the museum for free.  That was such a nice surprise.  Since we didn't have to pay admission, we decided to take a few additional tours.  Tom wanted to see the inside of the B-17 bomber.  He was hoping to see the navigator station to see how a WWII nav station compared to today.  Unfortunately, we could only go into the back of the plane and not up front where that was.  We also decided that we would splurge and get a tour of the Spruce Goose cockpit.  That was so worth doing.  It was Maddy's first visit to the museum.  The rest of us have been there several times but it was the first time that Tom and I saw the new space museum and it was definitely the first time that any of us had been in the Spruce Goose cockpit.  We could have spent more time there but Maddy also wanted to do some winetasting.  So we left in time to stop at one nearby winery--Stoller Vineyards.  Spent a pleasant hour tasting wine and then headed home.

Tuesday was spent working on wedding planning of sorts.  Bill and Chris needed to get their wedding attire.  We went to Men's Wearhouse and found that it is a lot more complicated process than one would think.  None of the items that they needed were in stock there and they were having some difficulty finding which stores to order things from.  Chris' wasn't so hard but getting things for Bill were much more difficult.  Hopefully it will all work out eventually.  Now we have to start looking for some cowboy boots for them.

Early Wednesday morning (New Years Eve), they left to go back to Kirkland to spend the next few days with Maddy's parents.  It was a very nice visit.  Looking forward to seeing them again in June when we have their wedding.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Our Christmas Miracle

Sunday started out to be such a good day.  Chuck was here for the weekend to pack up what he wanted out of Bev's condo and to help us get it ready to sell.   We were looking forward to an evening with friends at the Tony Starlight Christmas Show.  It was going to be such a good day.  I talked to Tom and Maddy to ask what small appliances they might have wanted out of Grandma's pantry.  They were getting ready to go to a restaurant/bar to watch the Packers game and I was going to watch as I was packing up things.  Not long after, I got a call from Maddy's mom.  The kids had gotten into a very serious car accident.  Maddy seemed to be okay but Tom was hurt.  Maddy was able to update her parents and they would call or text me to let me know what she had to say.  It was a scary several hours while we waited to hear if Tom was seriously hurt or not.

On the way to the restaurant, Tom and Maddy were getting off the highway, hydroplaned and lost control of the car.  They rolled the car and the roof of the car collapsed 18" on top of Tom's head.  They weren't able to get out of the car so they had to break a window to crawl out.  Tom was able to crawl out on his own but his neck and shoulder hurt really badly. Pete and Marian could hear the medics working with Tom when Maddy called them.  They put him on a back board and in a neck collar to mobilize his spine.  Maddy was also taken to the hospital by ambulance so that she could get checked out.  She had cuts and whiplash.  I kept getting updates from Pete and Marian--Maddy's phone worked at the hospital but Tom's didn't.  Once Maddy was discharged from the ER, she was able to go see Tom and she put Tom on the phone with me.  He still hadn't gotten the results from his CT scan so he was very upset and worried still.  He could move his arms and legs and had no numbness so I tried to calm him down with the fact that he was still alive and that was all very good news.  That he was probably fine.  But this momma so wanted to be there with them.  Fortunately, the results of the CT scan were negative and they released him shortly afterward.

They have both been very sore all week.  The car was totaled but we are so fortunate that they weren't hurt anymore than they were.  We are considering it our Christmas miracle.  I am so looking forward to giving them both a big bear hug next weekend when they get here to celebrate the holidays with us.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Saying Goodbye and Celebrating Our Love

Beverly passed away four weeks ago and we had a private ceremony for the family shortly after she died.  We had planned to have her public memorial service and internment for December 5th.  It was well attended by her church family, PEO sisters, bridge partners, DAR friends and a few of Bill's friends.  Chuck and Suzanne came up for the service and both Bill and Chuck spoke at it.  We had a reception afterward in the church basement.  And then we went to the cemetery to have her interned in the urn garden.
Saturday was the 28th anniversary of our military wedding.  We spent a little bit of time going through some of Beverly's things to see what Chuck and Suzanne wanted for themselves.  Once we filled the trash can and the recycling bin and made a few decisions about things, we headed out to the Columbia River Gorge to do some wine tasting.  We went to Cascade Cliffs which was as wonderful as we remembered from our last visit there.  Chuck and Suzanne were very impressed with their wines.  The manager at Cascade Cliffs recommended that we head to Jacob Williams Winery down the road which was another small winery.  They had some very nice wines as well.  Our last stop was at Maryhill Winery which is more corporate based.  But it was quiet there on Saturday so we got a fair amount of attention from the pourer.  We came back to Vancouver and ate a celebratory dinner at La Bottega which was also wonderful.  I can't really remember ever celebrating our anniversary with anyone other than Bev or the kids so it was fun to have our best man and his wife here to help us celebrate.

It was a bittersweet weekend.  Fun to have Chuck and Suzanne here with us but it was hard saying goodbye to Beverly.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Our Thanksgiving Weekend

For the first time in several years, we were on our own for a holiday.  We used to always spend our holidays in a quiet way before we lived near family.  Occasionally we would travel to Denver or someone would come visit us to spend a holiday with us but that was pretty rare.  And occasionally we would celebrate with friends.  But with Beverly passing away, we were faced with our first holiday without her.  We have spent all our holidays with her these past 14 years--mostly cooking at her house.  We kept thinking about how we wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.  We wanted to do something that would get us out of the house.  When our friend, Diana, invited us to her house, we were thrilled.

The only thing she wanted was for me to make a dessert so I made some pumpkin bread and a chocolate pecan pie.  She was making the rest.  What a wonderfully decadent and elegant meal it was.  After dining in such an elegant way, it was quite the contrast to play Redneck Life after dinner.  Oh My God!  What a fun game!  We laughed so hard.  The goal of the game is to have as many teeth left as possible.  You get married and have younguns--not necessarily in that order.  You get married and buy a car or cars depending on how many younguns you have and have to replace them in you blow them up.  You get divorced and remarried and take on a lot of stepkids.  And you are constantly getting into situations that you lose teeth.  I managed to have no teeth and was still in debt at the end of the game.  I did better than Chris though.  He lost 17 teeth more than he had to start with.

Diana made a whole extra turkey for us to take home.  Plus leftovers so we are set for food for a few days.

The Vancouver Rotary Festival of Trees is always Thanksgiving weekend and Bill is always in charge of judging.  We bought several raffle tickets this year but we didn't win a tree.  So I will be putting up the new one that I bought at the after Christmas sales last year.

Jeff and Julie usually do a dinner for veterans on Veterans Day Weekend but they decided to go to Florida for a veterans event down there this year.  So we celebrated a little later this year--November 30th.  We went to a different location this year too--Langdon Farms Golf Course down in Aurora. There were 10 of us this year.  Ernie brought his brother, Bob, who was also a pilot during WWII. They went to flight school together.  Jeff's parents were also there as well as another couple that we hadn't met before.  It was a very nice evening with friends and meeting new ones.