Casserole Dreams at Bay

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1/12/2010

Dear E-

As Tuesday seems to be it was an evening of cooking and dinner with friends. I resolved to make a spaghetti sauce from scratch with plans to turn it into a baked spaghetti casserole for dinner. Dietary restrictions of my friends kept my casserole dreams at bay as I had to keep the vegetarians, lactose and comatose sensibilities of my friends happy. The dinner was also something of a bold declaration of my new focus on taking up space and getting 2010 off to a fine start. The sauce making went well. Time consuming but easy. I wavered on the definition of simmer and the sauce was not prego perfect but a fine mix of parsley, onion, oregano, garlic, tomatoes joy. L brought a salad- K and crew the dessert. H crashed with wine- which there was in droves. Everyone stayed, laughed, and called it a night. Somewhere in there I gave up on complete sentances but these things happen.

Love,
B

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Foggy Snow and Thin Snow Cover

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1-05-10

Tuesday

Dear E,
First Tuesday of 2010. Didn’t sleep too well between the extend family and the news to deliver. I made it up skiing for what would be my first and likely last ski adventure of 2010. The foggy snow and thin snow cover made that realization a little easier. The less than ideal conditions made it a shorter day then I would have preferred.   I came home to a nice dinner with our next door neighbors and catching up on their life and recent their trip to Pasadena and the latest goings on in the neighborhood.  A walked in the door around and when my parents would have been happier to go to bed, I sat them down and delivered the news. Painful and scary as it was, there was no immediate relief it just felt like I was shifting the burden a little. My friends compared it to ripping off a band-aid – it only takes 5 years to heal. We shall see…

Love,

B

A Very Final Sense

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01-05-10

Tuesday 3145

Dear B,

Happy first Tuesday of the year! I spent the day vegetating in my nightgown and in bed the whole day, watching DVD’s, reading a little, eating leftovers from the memorial. I am so very, very tired. The past two weeks have been an emotional roller coaster ride. So much joy, so much sadness.

We spread some of Betty’s ashes around the old apple tree yesterday. The day was dark, rainy, and gloomy—a dank day, as her son, J called it, but it turned to a misty rain when we actually went to the tree. An eagle flew in low as we were walking to the tree and a raven flew by and croaked a few times as I read aloud excerpts from a poem called “Gravel” by Mary Oliver. We all (her four kids and two spouses) spread a handful of ashes around the tree. Nothing like having someone’s bones in your hand to get a very final sense of closure.

We came back to the house and I gave her kids the apple-wood bowls I had commissioned—wood from the very tree she had claimed as “hers.” She had written each name on the bowl and written an accompanying card for each one. We shared tears, laughter, appreciations, and memories and food and hot, mulled apple cider. And now we return to our lives, diluted with hers.

I was so very, very happy to see you and meet T. I loved your spontaneity and I believe the timing was perfect for all kinds of reasons. I hope you’re back safely in DC now and getting ready to move on with your life and with taking up space. Thanks so much for coming and for all you shared with me. You are so very important to me!

Love,

Auntie E

Plans for Seattle

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12-29-09

Tuesday 3145

Dear E-

You are not the only one for whom this day is a bit of a blur. I picked up Tucker late at the airport using the cell phone waiting area. Our plans for Seattle have come together and a long drive and friends of friends should have us a fun random New Years in the City.

See you soon,

B

This Day Has Just Vanished

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12-29-09 Tuesday 3144

Dear B,

I am writing this a week late and alas, I can’t for the life of me remember what on earth I did that day. I was still recovering from strep throat, which I had for Christmas, and thus spent that day alone and in bed. It turns out it was strep and not tonsillitis, as first diagnosed. This day has just vanished from my memory banks. A lesson about procrastination, I guess. Sounds like you had a good Christmas, except for the extended family drama. I’m so glad you liked the Cuisinart. I’m excited about maybe seeing you soon, but I’m not sure I knew you were coming by this day. Betty’s memorial is going to be on January 3rd.

Love,

Auntie E

Better Career Decisions

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12-22-09

Tuesday 3144

Dear E-

Greetings from Montana! It is incredibly refreshing to be surrounded by people with such different values here in cold remote Montana. People measure their self worth here in powder skills not power plays. It is just incredibly reassuring to be out of DC. The mountain did a number on my city boy legs. I loved running into old friends and really wondering who made the better career decisions. Ana- the beautiful Argentinean still gave me the employee discount at the registers. The skiing was low key to keep up with A’s new pace after her accident last year and my parent’s and mine first day on the slope. In the afternoon, I ditched the ‘rents and did a breathless tram lap ahh. I needed this.

Love,

B

She Was SO Amazing

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12-22-09

Tuesday 3143

Dear B,

I sadly took B to the ferry today, where he’s off to accompany his sister to Colorado for Christmas. We spent all afternoon yesterday and evening with Betty who died of pneumonia at 9 pm, an hour and a half after we left. She was so happy to know that she might die on the Winter Solstice. I’m happy for her because she has wanted to go for so long, but of course, I am very sad for me.

I was so impressed with how B dealt with the whole thing. He was so good with her and yet I worried about putting him through this because I knew it was bringing up painful memories about the deaths of his wife and parents. And he was good with me too when we learned she had died.

I’m getting a sore throat and hope I can nip it in the bud—I’ve got a lot to do to get ready for Christmas and now write an obituary and help plan a memorial service. Oh I’m going to miss her so much—she was SO amazing. I only hope I can age as well as she did in the next 35 years, if I have that many.

Love,

Auntie E

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