What a big 'first full day' in Seattle. I have to say that I really loved this day, loved 'being' with my family in one house after another. This trip feels different. There is no crisis, no sense of waiting and wondering. Mom is gone and I realize how hard it really was to visit and see her in such disarray. The atmosphere feels lighter, even with the sadness and remembering.
Dad is 'holding,' frail, but more or less 'with it.' When I arrived at his adult family home this morning, he'd just finished a walk around the premises with his special caregiver and Glenn Miller was playing on his jam box. Now, that is a change. Imagine. He can listen to big band music and jazz every single day if he chooses. Mom hated listening to 'other people's music', as she called it. That included everything except her choir music.
We plan a big all-family get together on Boxing Day. That would be the day after Christmas, a holiday we've celebrated since our days in Aruba. We'll have Mom's Christmas plum pudding with a double batch of foamy yellow sauce. I brought several dozen East End tamales in my suitcase. We hope Dan's dad will bring lots of fresh oysters for grilling. I expect there will be big pots of homemade soup, a sliced ham and pecan pie. And eggnog. Couldn't have Boxing Day without eggnog with rum and a sprinkle of cinnamon. And John says he's sending a box of his pistechis to Jeanne's by overnight Fed Ex. A very eclectic meal by any standard.
Spent the morning with Dad and he certainly enjoyed a boat load of visitors. Chris stopped by on his way back from Lynnwood to Virginia Mason's main campus. So glad to see Chris because he and Heather will be at her parent's home for the holiday.
Caroline and Lulu Bell brought Dad a box of her handmade bird feeders. Caroline hung them all on the tulip tree outside Dad's window.
In the early afternoon, I went to Jeanne's where we all decorated about six dozen freshly baked cookies. The girls use the same recipe we've used for 40+ years, except she used rice floor. No wheat, no gluten.
After all the cookies were frosted, Kelan and I went on a walk up to the deli on the corner. I needed a double shot Americano. I was fading, just as bit. Kelan spent quite some time deciding which pastry or cookie he'd get. Would it be a peanut butter cookie, which he's never ever tried or a piece of fudge or a slice of banana or pumpkin bread?
In the end, he chose a piece of deep dish apple cake and was delighted with it. The lady behind the counter did not engage with him at all, but that sweet boy kept going out of his way to include her. When he dropped a couple of cake crumbs on the floor, he picked them up and asked her where the compost was. He was thrilled with our entire excursion. We had a very good time together. While we were at the deli, Jeanne and Lauren were off to the vacuum cleaner repair shop. Not a good season for a vacuum cleaner to break down. It'll be fixed by Thursday.
It gets dark in Seattle these days before 5:00 p.m. and today was the shortest day of the year. Jeanne began making supper at 4:30. Look out her kitchen window and you'll see that lit Christmas tree in a neighbor's yard. It's dark out there.
On a final note, Lulu Bell decided that what she'd like for Christmas is time alone with her Mameau on a special field trip. Caroline tells me that Lulu has never been to the Space Needle so that is where we will go. I asked Lulu if Earl could come along with us, as he's never been to the top of the Space Needle either. She is contemplating a threesome.
I have done little or nothing for Christmas, but it doesn't seem to matter. Kate and I were saying to one another this evening that Christmas is indeed 'upon us'. Keith, the Porteguese gardner in Aruba, always began as early as July, to remind Mom that "Christmas is upon us, Mrs. Thompson." He was thinking ahead to his Christmas bonus and I don't think Mom ever failed him. Yes, Kate, Christmas is upon us. We also agreed this evening that the Christmas will be over and done with more quickly than we know.
Kate has gone on up to bed. I'll add photos to this post and then gather my things for the trek back to the Arapahoe house for the night. And then, up and away again in the morning to see Dad and carry on.