Grandma Betty

Monday night I was a part of something I thought I would never be a part of.  Rob’s grandma Betty, his last living grandparent, was in the hospital for the third day and was not doing well.  We were told to get over there as soon as possible to say goodbye.  When we arrived the rest of the family, minus Chris, Rob’s brother, and his wife and son, were there.  And so was Betty.  There she was on that hospital bed limp, pale, mouth open without her teeth, and hooked up to morphine to keep her comfortable.

But it wasn’t her.  Betty always made sure her hair and makeup were done and her nails were painted pink.  And her glasses.  She wasn’t wearing her glasses.  She would’ve hated to be seen like that.  Anyone would.

We sat around her bed chatting, telling stories, and as time went on her already shallow breaths became fewer and more shallow.  And then her chest stopped moving.  I nudged Rob a few times.  Everyone was still talking.  The nurse came in and checked for a pulse, listened for a heartbeat.  Nothing.  She was gone.  She snuck out while no one was paying attention.  There was no shift in energy, no beeping machines like in the movies.  Just like that, gone.

It was expected and so unexpected that when the nurse pronounced her dead everyone was like Oh, ok.  Not really sure what to do next.

I found it very interesting and very familiar that right after death we tend to immediately start dealing with the logistics instead of grieving.  Planning a funeral, discussing who gets what.  But I suppose it’s all part of the grieving process.  I remember after my dad died I didn’t cry for like three days and I couldn’t eat and all I could do was focus on planning the memorial and taking care of other people.  I saw the same thing in my father in-law and his brothers that night.  I felt so bad, and still do.  Nobody saw this coming, and I don’t think anyone expected to actually be a part of her death.GrandmaBettyGrandma Betty was a quiet lady who hated having her photo taken.  Hated.  I don’t think I have any photos of her smiling, and that’s not to say that she never smiled, because she surely did.  Just not in front of a camera.  I remember one of the first times I met her was at a holiday dinner, I think.  And we ended up playing Uno after dinner and she kicked everybody’s ass.  She was known for her stuffing at Thanksgiving, and her fruit salad (which was my favorite!) that she served out of the best bowl.  She was never afraid to say what she actually thought and I was (pleasantly) surprised at her sass.  I’m so glad she was able to meet not one, but two great-grandchildren.  Max may not remember her, but she was a part of his life.  I’ll always remember her pink nail polish and her love of cardinals.

We’ll miss you, Betty.

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February 18th 2005

It was a Friday.  I had been picked up from work at The Shutterbug by a friend and we headed straight to the bar.  We had  been hanging out at a karaoke joint every weekend, Suki’s, and I had turned 21 two months prior so no opportunity to consume insane amounts of Jack & Coke could be turned down.

I was wearing my black “old lady skirt” that went below the knee, my hair was sloppily pulled back into a librarian’s low bun, and the only makeup I was wearing was powder and mascara.  NO CONCEALER.

As we walked into the bar this guy was singing Elvis Presley’s Devil in Disguise.  I’m in love.

I have probably too many drinks, and think it’s a great idea to pull out my Nikon Coolpix 4800 (4 megapixels!) camera and as this mystery guy is singing Tragedy by the Bee Gees I snap a photo.  And I wish I could find the print to show you.

He probably noticed the bright white flash directed at him, so the next time I went to the bar he went too.  While he was too nice to mention the whole paparazzi thing he did say things that I don’t remember and I said that I wanted him to sing Elvis’s Little Sister.  He said he would, but he had to bring a friend home because he was the DD.

I hopehopehoped he would come back and he did.  He was called to the microphone as Dr. Love (swoon!) and he sang Little Sister.  I think I danced.  Or flailed about drunkenly.  We danced to the last song of the night, Time of the Season by the Zombies, sung by his friend, Milo.  Before we parted ways he hugged me and gave me an empty pack of Camel cigarrettes.  On it there was a little word bubble that said “Joe the Camel thinks you’re cute and so do I”, and his phone number.  I turned around grabbed my very own empty pack of Camel cigarrettes and wrote my phone number on it.

The next day at work I got a phone call from an unfamiliar number, or was it a text?  I don’t remember.  Either way, he said that he was going to a friend’s birthday at the Galaxy, another karaoke bar, and that I should go.

I called Katrina, because obviously.  She picked me up from work and we went to Target to get me a cheap date outfit.  Because I FINALLY HAD A DATE.  Did I mention that I was always the single girl?  Yeah.  So I got these cute gray and blue plaid capris and a blueish top and dolled myself up.  If it wasn’t already clear, I didn’t drive yet.  So Katrina dropped me off on my date and we had arranged the whole If I was having a bad time I’d call her and she’d rescue me thing. But I didn’t need to.

He showed up a little bit after I did and he ordered whatever I was having (a Jack & Coke) and I quickly learned that he didn’t really drink.  I was so nervous.  I had never really dated before, so I guess this was my first ever really official date.  I met his friends, we danced and at one point while someone was singing David Bowie’s Modern Love (one of my favorite songs) he kissed me.  And this was the first ever photo that was taken of “Us”.Erin&RobsFirstDateAnd that’s the story of how I met my husband, Rob.

Photo taken by Greg Bigoni at his birthday party/Erin and Rob’s First Date.  Thanks Greg!

Happy Whatever. We’re so tired.

Here are a few of the scenes from around these parts during this holiday season.
Xmas_03Xmas_02Our tiny vintage pom pom tree is still a big hit.  This guy can’t get enough of it.
Xmas_01We joined Rob’s parents, on a very cold and very rainy night, at their condo on the Willamette to watch the Christmas ships pass by.
Xmas_04We payed a visit to our favorite Santa in town, with Katrina and Ian in tow, and Max wasn’t so into it.  But every kid has a photo crying with Santa, right?  The upset of being forced to sit on Santa’s lap was nothing a little pigeon chasing couldn’t fix though.

We have been very blessed this year with a roof over our heads, our health, and a supportive family that I can’t thank enough.  It’s also been a tough year.  Financially, emotionally, and mentally but we made it through.  This is the time of year where we put all that behind us and celebrate being together, being a family and being grateful for what we have.  And we are, we are sososososo grateful.  We are also tired.2012ChristmasCard_01

Our Astoria Getaway

Last Thursday Rob and I packed up the kid (and the literal ton of things he would need for 3 days), dropped the dogs of with Rob’s folks and headed for the coast, where the temperature was going to be a nice 75 degrees as opposed to the 100+ degree weather Portland was having.

I had been eagerly anticipating this little trip of ours for a while.  Rob and I both needed this, to be alone together and not in our house where there seems to always be something going on.  But I was harboring my fears of being away from the comfort of our own home for Max’s sake.  The one and only other time we’ve traveled overnight with him was last summer, and it didn’t go very well as far as sleep.

I knew he would be fine otherwise, you know throughout the day and all.  But man, was I dreading bedtime.  And thankfully, I worried my silly little head for nothing because he did GREAT!  Our second day there he even took a solid 3 hour nap!  It was a vacation miracle!

Anyhoo.

Our time spent there consisted of blueberry picking and eating, naps, playing with cars and puzzles, throwing cars and puzzles, antique stores, May Flies, sunglasses, piano playing, corn on the cob, and an impromptu Elvis dance party.Thank you for a truly lovely visit, Christi and Greg!

Perfect Day for a Birthday

Last Saturday was my mom’s birthday.  It was one of those perfect Oregon spring days where the blue sky was sprinkled with clouds and it was warm enough to not wear a jacket.  We spent the afternoon at the Japanese Gardens.Then there was dinner at Henry’s.And a very special birthday cake at my house.Happy birthday, mama!