Hawaii adventuring…

We decided to go to a beach that’s off the beaten path, Pu’u Poa beach. If you are staying at the Princeville Resort, there is an elevator that takes you down the cliff. Public access requires climbing down a steep path.

The first part is not bad. But then it turns downhill.

There are ropes to hold onto as you back your way down steep, often slippery ‘stairs’. This is Jack when he declared he couldn’t do it. I went on down to see what came next. The path got worse but the beach was lovely!

I was about to go back up when Jack and Steve appeared! Jack decided he could do it, and he did. (Steve thinks the teenaged girls who passed them and told Jack it was worth it had something to do with the decision making :-).)

The beach had just enough people. The water was clear and clean. Tomorrow we’re going back with snorkel gear!

Hiking up and out is easier than it looks :-).

Celebrating Mom…

My mom would have been 87 yesterday and we celebrated the event by going out to lunch at one of her favorite places… Mooyah! We had burgers, fries, and shakes!

Mom went to Mooyah with Lorna and the kids, and Carla pretty often. That was their thing to do. This was my first trip and it makes me wonder why I wasn’t with them before. Dang!

I knew mom would want all of her friends to celebrate too, so I took a big sheet cake (baked by Mom’s Bakery here in Sherman) to Preston Place, the assisted living center where mom lived. I ordered a white cake with chocolate frosting decorated with flowers. I asked them to put a flower on every piece… I call this the ‘Everybody gets a flower!’ cake…

Mom’s Bakery did such a great job! I wish I had thought of this years ago because my mom would have loved this cake. I thought they would put the same flower on each piece but they were way more creative than that. Way to go, Mom’s!

While I was at Preston Place delivering the cake, I visited the courtyard to see my mom’s St Francis statue ‘display’. I’ll never forget setting this up, with Steve and I moving St. Francis here and there, and putting the metal flowers in just the right place. Mom loved the metal flowers. I thought they were a little over the top but I have to admit that they are smile inducing.

The little golfing monkey was still there, off to the side. Mom liked concrete critters and some of hers ended up in my yard… aturtle, pig, bird, and a rabbit with a broken ear. The big lion is at Chris and Lorna’s. However, only the monkey is playing a sport :-).

Carla had a picture of mom on her phone that she shared with me. It was from the last time mom got her hair done…

Yup, that’s my mom. The smile is right there, about to happen. There’s a twinkle in her eye, and her hair looks really nice :-). We all miss her, but we remember her and that keeps her with us, every day.

It’s not Thanksgiving without the parade…

Steve and I went with Jeff and Celia to watch the Macy’s parade. It was 18 degrees! I don’t know how the folks in the parade managed to keep the smiles on their faces, but they did. I was especially impressed with the bands. Their fingers must have been so cold!

The crowds were light so we got pretty close. Even so, I saw a lot of heads…

But luckily the balloons fly above the crowd!

We gave up and went back to the warm apartment and watched the rest of the parade on TV with a glass of bubbly.

Jeff is getting ready to cook the turkey. We are thankful for it all :-).

Happy thanksgiving to you and yours :-).

Enjoying every day!

We spent our last morning/early afternoon of vacation at Empurius beach, followed a visit to the nearby ruins.

The ruins are Greek below and Roman above. Steve and Jeff listened to the audio guide… and then I asked them questions :-).

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It was another wonderful day!

We’re back at Mas Blanc now, packing and getting ready for a very early morning. We fly back to JFK at 10:00am. It will take Steve and I about 18 hours to get home, and it’s daylight all the way!

Photos and memories…

If you are like me, you take photos of all sorts of things to help you remember. Do they really help you remember? Maybe not so much. I read this article 3 years ago and it is good enough that I saved the link. The takeaway is that photos alone don’t help you remember. You have to go back and look at them if you want to remember them.

My mom spent the months before Christmas 2014 weeding out boxes of photos. Many went in the trash. Some went into albums. The rest went to different ones of us to keep or throw away. Thankfully, mom did not want to leave her photos for someone else to deal with when ‘later’ came.

Mom had one album in her room at Preston Place when ‘later’ did come on 12/23. The kids and I went through it and took the photos of us. I’m sending the rest to my brother and I hope he will enjoy seeing the photos of him and his family that gave mom pleasure.

Mom shared her album with visitors as she told them the story of her life. She had a bulletin board with newer photos (mostly taken by me or Lorna with our phones) and they were also part of her story. Mom wanted prints — a digital frame did not work for her. At the time, that made me crazy, but when I took these pictures off of her bulletin board I realized why she loved them. Pictures that you can hold in your hand are more real.

I’m trying to find the right balance between living in the moment and taking pictures of every moment. The thing is, sometimes a photo catches a moment that becomes a fantastic memory, and it’s hard to predict exactly which photo will do that. And, even though it goes against my wish to de-clutter, I think I’ll be printing more photos.

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I don’t remember this photo, and I don’t know who took it, but it is one of the best photos of my mom that I have found. She hated posing for photos and it’s rare to find one where she let that go and was herself.

Gone to heaven…

Mom died peacefully, in her sleep, on December 23. I wanted to write sooner but time got away from me.

Lorna took this video of mom a few weeks ago and I have to share it with you. If you watch all 30 seconds, I guarantee that you will laugh. (On my screen the video looks sideways until you click the play button.)

My mother would wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas, personally and with feeling, if she could. She can’t, so I’m doing it for her. Enjoy the holidays, make memories to treasure, and it might be a good idea to take a video or two :-).

About my mom…

I’ve written about my mom before so you know that her health has been iffy. She has come back from being nearly-dead so often that I was beginning to think that she was indestructible. Not this time.

Out of the blue, a clot lodged in her lung and there is nothing to be done. Or, to be more precise, there is nothing that she wanted to have done. She clearly told me so. And you know what, that’s OK.

Over the last few days, she started saying goodbye to everyone. I don’t know how she knew this was coming, but she did. She wrote cards, she was especially warm and loving with everyone. Monday she told me that she wanted to be cremated (already paid for), buried in a nice wood box made by Steve (it’s on his list to make), and that there was no need to dress her up in something when the time came. In fact, she said, if she looked good in what she was wearing and it was comfortable she was happy to go to heaven in that. My mother is a practical woman.

Mom and I have talked about death off and on over the years. We agreed that dying in your sleep, without pain, is definitely the way to go and that is happening now. Her friends have been visiting. When she was alert, she was practically radiant and she made everyone feel so good! It was lovely to behold. She is no longer alert but people still visit. There is some crying, but also lots of remembering how feisty she has always been.

I know that I will miss my mom a lot. She made me crazy sometimes, but she has been an ever-present, always loving part of my life. Her memory will always be with me.

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Yesterday mom said “I wish I had time to….” I could see the wheels turning in her head and I asked her what — and she went to sleep. I suspect that there was just so much that she wished she could do that she couldn’t put her finger on one thing.

I hope that I can hold onto this thought. It’s a reminder to not let things go until ‘later’. To be kind, and to apologize right away if you know you should. It’s also a reminder to enjoy every day as if it’s your last, because it could be.

This is not exactly the Merry Christmas sentiment I planned to write this week, but I think it might be better. Truly, enjoy the holiday time you spend with those you love, and those you like, and those you might not be all that crazy about but who are in your life anyway. In the end, our lives are about people, not things.