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.

The first of many firsts

Tomorrow will be the first Mother’s Day without my mother. It has been hard the last couple of weeks hearing all the Mother’s Day commercials on the radio and TV. Thanksgiving and Christmas will be especially tough the first time around because my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer just before Thanksgiving and died three days after Christmas. Christmas was my mother’s favorite time of year.

I created the electronic invite to the memorial service for my Mother which is taking place next month on her birthday. It took me at least three tries to get it done because I had to stop when I started to cry.

This morning several members of my family participated in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. The walk is to honor breast cancer survivors, remember people we have lost, and raise funds and awareness to help end this disease. Making Strides is not a race; it is a celebration of survivorship, an occasion to express hope, and a shared goal to end a disease that threatens the lives of so many people we love.” Although my mother did not have breast cancer my sister Debi pulled together some family members to help out the cause. I donated enough $ yesterday to get them to their team goal.

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.

Your’e never too old for Christmas, right?

My mother may be 80 but she loves stuffed animals especially those that make noise and move. She has most of her Christmas stuffed animals on display in her bedroom suite. These photos are of just some of the decorations and stuffed animals in her bedroom. She has more on display in the hallway outside her bedroom.

You are never too old for Christmas, right?

Like mother, like daughter, two times over

Saturday morning I bought two Lilium Lilies for my mother as part of her birthday present. I bought a yellow plant and an orange one. The yellow had several flowers open while the orange didn’t have one open yet. When Tara and Kelly picked me up to go to my mom’s birthday party she said “we bought grandma the same thing”.  Tara bought an orange lily and had it potted while I just had mine sitting in the pots I bought. Tara and I bought the flowers at the exact same store. Turns out my mom just bought a couple of the yellow lilies too at the same chain store but out near where she lives.

I guess we were all thinking the same thing. After taking a bunch of photos of my mom’s flowers the last two times I was at her house I said she needed other colors in her yard since most of her flowers were pink or lavendars.




More of my mother’s beautiful flowers

Tara and I went to St Helens to visit mom yesterday. Mom is doing remarkable well for someone who was in critical condition last Wednesday. You would never know that she had two surgeries other than the long line of stitches down her neck. She was sitting in a chair out in the yard this morning watering her plants. We actually had to order her to go in to the house and take a nap when Tara and I were leaving. It was HOT and she looked pooped.

 She walked Tara around to show her some of her flowers and her corn. Then I walked around the backyard and took some more photos of her fabulous flowers.


A couple of weeks ago when I took photos of my mother’s flowers I noticed that the majority of  them were pink, lavender or purple. Today I saw that she did have some other variety of colors.

When I asked my sister what I could buy my mother  to put in the handowoven basket that I bougth her at the Farmers Marker for her birthday she said to buy some perranials. I decided she needed some other colors in her yard.

Mom says this peonie bush is 100 years old. Well not quite. But it was in her yard in Milwaukie for many years before she transplanted it to my sister’s yard in Bend some 7 years ago. Then again transplanted it to their yard in St Helens two years ago.


Here are some close ups







Not truly flowers but interesting anyway















A “topsy turvy” upside down tomato plant


My mother’s flowers

I have written before about my mother and her green thumb. My mother loves to garden whether it is flowers or veggies. She lives with my sister in St Helens, OR. They have a beautiful yard. It is where my daughter Tara and Kelly got married last August.

My mother will be 80 next month and has some real health issues. She doesn’t get around as well as she did even a few years ago but nothing stops her from gardening. Sometimes she even complains about how much work it is to take care of her plants. But she is the one who faithfully waters them and babies them to grow strong and healthy. While my sister is the one who does the lawn work, mowing, watering, edging and stuff.

I was at their house Sunday for my great niece’s 12th birthday party and walked around the yard with my mother taking these photos. Sure she told me what they all were but I am not a gardener and have no clue what most of these flowers are called. I recognize Gerber Daisies, Pansies and Tulips but not much else. I do think that the flowers are all beautiful though.