Family Christmas Dinner

Well I was wrong. The theme turned out to be a “Coney Island Christmas”. Debi rented a hot dog warmer, borrowed a popcorn machine and we built our dogs and nachos. Debi did make mom’s famous potato salad.  She hung up photos she printed of amusement parks. But the best part was we had a good family get together.

I haven’t had much to write about lately. Or maybe it’s that what I do have to say I put on Facebook.

My sister Debi, who my mother lived with, is having her annual family Christmas dinner. Debi always has a theme dinner and keeps it a surprise from her guests. For example last year it was Mexican and the year before seafood. She sent us individual emails telling us what to bring so we couldn’t  “put 2 & 2 together”. My daughter is bringing my Mom’s chili and I was told to bring some type of green salad. She told us all that we needed to dress in ugly Christmas wear or beachwear.

I am guessing since my mom loved the beach and LOVED Christmas that the theme and the menu has something to do with her. This will be our first Christmas without her. It will tough but we will have our memories to share.

I will take my camera and Flip video to record our day.

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Isla trip with family and friends October 1 – 10, 2010

I have been traveling to Isla four times a year for the last several years but I only post a trip report about once a year. This trip was very different for me. My daughter Tara, her husband Kelly and two other couples were there staying in a house on the airport strip. Allie, my 22 year old nice and her friend Lisa came down for just a quick four night stay. They stayed with me in the apartment that I rent year round with a friend. Usually my friend Denise and I are on the island at the same time or I am staying by myself.

Seeing Isla through Allie and Lisa’s newbie’s eyes was fun. Also two of my daughter’s friends had never been to Isla before.

Although Tara, Kelly and two of the friends flew down the same day that I did we were on different flights/airlines. I was scheduled to arrive in Cancun about 30 minutes after them. My flight left Houston late so they all had to wait for almost two hours at the bar outside the arrival area.  Oh, darn they had to start drinking cervezas before me.

I had booked a complicated set of rides to and from the airport with AGI. Thankfully Javier and Lisa understood what arrangements I needed. I was leaving on the 10th on a 1:30 flight, Tara and Kelly leaving the 10th but on a 4:00 flight, Kim and Rob leaving on the 13th and Allie and Lisa arriving on the 4th and leaving on the 8th. When we got to the ferry dock I paid in full for all of the roundtrips so that was taken care. Our driver on the way to the ferry asked if we wanted cold beer. He stopped at OXXO and ran in and bought us two six packs of Sol for the drive and ferry ride.

Tara and Kelly and their friends stayed out on the airport strip at Villa Tranquila. VT is a beautiful home with killer views from every floor.

Kelly was excited to be on vacation on Isla for the first time in almost four years. The highlight of the vacation for Kelly was that he got to hold a baby turtle and release it at the turtle release October 2nd at Playa Media Luna. He has a video of it on his cell phone but said the file is too big to email it to me.

Looking south from VT

The three guys rigged up a pulley utilizing a golf cart to get the massage table up on the rooftop. My daughter was scared to watch since she thought that the rope was going to break and someone would get hurt.  Once they got the table to the rooftop they said it would have been easier to carry it up the narrow spiral staircase. But hey guys will be guys!

Sunday night we went to the Soggy Pesos for the barbeque ribs. Some of us had the combo plate, ribs, chicken and sausage. Both the combo and the rib plate come with a healthy scoop of really good potato salad, black bean corn salad and corn bread. It looked like we had a ton of food on the table but I was the only one who took leftovers home. We were the only customers so Fredy wanted to buy us a drink. He made these shooters with tequila, Kahula, Coke and one other ingredient that I can’t remember.

Allie and Lisa had plans to do “everything” which included swimming with the dolphins and Garrafon’s zip line. After the first day on the beach at Sergio’s being served strawberry daiquiris by Rogelio they were content to just spend every day at the beach.

Each day I drove them around and showed them the island. They loved to just take the full loop drive around. I took them into the colonias so they could see more of the island. One night I tried to find the “crayola” house but got started too far south and we drove around and around for a long time and didn’t find the house. We were laughing hysterically at times because we started to use the dogs lying in the streets as our landmarks to tell if we had already driven down that street. A couple of days later after visiting the turtle farm I drove down a street on the opposite side of the salina where I knew I could see that back of the house to get my bearings.  Then I was able to find the house so they could see it close up. They also wanted to go into the Super Express in La Gloria so that they could say they shopped at a real Mexican grocery store.

Allie, Lisa and I visited the turtle farm. Lisa must have asked me a dozen times if they could hold the babies. Every time we went to a different tank she asked, “do you think we can hold these?”

The girls and I had breakfast at Bally Hoo one morning. I had the Island wrap and the girls had scrambled eggs with bacon. Thanks Isla Gringo for the recommendation. He even showed up that morning and said hola and we chatted for a couple of minutes.

Two girls, four nights and a whole lot of their crap.

Allie and Lisa sad to leave Isla. They will be back!

My daughter, her husband, her friends and I having tequila shots at Adelita’s.

This was my Breakfast Trio at the Rooster Cafe my last morning. This was the morning that I went out of my apartment to find my golf cart was gone. My friend Jeri and I drove around until we finally found it across town parked in front of some apartments. It had gas and started so I was ready to go eat.

Tara’s friends Kim and Rob were scheduled to fly home today but due to Hurricane Paula their flight was cancelled. They are “stuck” on Isla until Friday afternoon. I can think of a lot worse places to be stuck.

That’s it for this trip. Next trip booked for Christmas time. I will be on the island for almost a month then.

Mom’s memorial service

It was a perfect day for mom’s memorial service. The weather was great and the turn out wonderful. Full of family and friends. Mom would have been smiling.

Mom's favorite candies

Memory basket

Mom's flowers still looking beautiful

Mom’s memorial service is Sunday

Sunday June 27th would have been my mother’s 81st birthday. We are having her memorial service Sunday. We wanted to wait until all of her beautiful flowers were in full bloom and hopefully the weather would be nice. The weather forecast for Sunday is calling for sunny and 81 degrees.

Last Sunday three of my sisters, a niece and I got together to work on finalizing the plans for the memorial service. There is not going to be a formal ceremony. The memorial service will be open house style. We expect there may be as many as sixty people attending. We hope that some family and friends will speak about their memories of mom. Every family member contributed photos of mom and family to use in a slideshow. We have some great photos, some current and some very old that represent many memorable occasions of mom’s life. We are going to have the slide show running continuously on the TV in my mom’s bedroom. Mom’s Christmas toys and decorations will be displayed in her room since Christmas was her favorite time of year.

Some of mom’s favorite foods will be served. Mom always wanted KFC and a Dairy Queen ice cream cake for her birthday parties. Maybe this time we will finally get the timing of the cake just right; not too melty or too frozen when it is served. My sister Debi and a niece will be making mom’s famous potato salad. Everybody always raved about it.

It will be a tough day to get through but it will be good to have all of the family together including some from out of state. I am sure that I will take lots of photos of the gathering.

Mother’s Day 2010

Remembering my mother on this Mother’s Day. Helena Louise Umland Conlon June 27, 1929 – December 28, 2009. I miss you Mom!

Mother’s Day is an annual holiday that recognizes mothers, motherhood and maternal bonds in general, as well the positive contributions that they make to society. In the United States, it is celebrated on the second Sunday in May.

Many different stories about the origin of Mother’s Day can be read here.

Yesterday when I talked to Tara she wanted to take me to brunch today but the restaurant she wanted us to go to had 15 people on the wait list and the 1st dinner opening at 8:15PM. So she suggested I call my favorite breakfast place in the morning even though they don’t take reservations. Tara was sure they would for me as I am one of their best customers and I know that they would too. Instead I said that I would rather just go over to their house and have something grilled. My SIL is going to grill carne asada and we will have Mother’s Day burritos or tacos. Because after all Mother’s Day is about being with the child or mother that you love.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you Mothers out there.

“Pot party”

as my sister Debi called it. A couple of my sisters, nieces, my daughter and I potted about 20 pots today that will be scattered throughout Debi’s backyard for mother’s memorial service on her birthday June 27th.

My mother loved to work in her garden and had an especially green thumb. We want the yard to be in full bloom for her memorial service so we moved it from Mother’s Day to mom’s birthday.

Here a just a few photos of what we potted today.

My mother – May she rest in peace

Mother at her 80th birthday party

Helen Louise

June 27, 1929 – December 28, 2009

My mother passed away this morning about 9:30AM. It was about 6 weeks ago that she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. She was admitted to the hospital Saturday as she was very dehydrated and had a lot of pain in her stomach. The CAT scan showed air in her stomach and liver lining and in an artery. The decision was made late yesterday afternoon to take her off all meds and give her morphine to try to make her comfortable. She went into a coma last night and was gone this morning as I said around 9:30. She made it to Christmas which was  her favorite day of the year.

 After all of the family in the area came to say our goodbye’s mother’s eyes were going to be donated to Devers Eye Institute. Although she was blind in one eye from a stroke years ago and had been treated for glaucoma they said that she would be an excellent donor for research purposes. 

My mother had the foresight a few years ago to make cremation plans through the Neptune Society. We will have a small memorial service in three weeks or so.