Blessings that fill my life
My dear friend, Pamela, to whom I refer as “The Muse” of my online life, maintains a Web site and a blog that inspired me to do the same. Imitation is, afterall, the sincerest form of flattery. How hard could it be, I thought. I have DreamWeaver and PhotoShop. I’ll just sit down and create a web site. “Computer savvy,” and “quick study” where technology is concerned turned out to be major self-delusions when it came to tackling these applications explaining why it has taken me more than a year to produce this web site. And the work goes on, but I must say that I love doing it. I feel like I have discovered a source of creativity that gives me a great deal of pleasure.
My friends, Harriet, Don, Dori, and I make up what we fondly call “The Wo’t Larx Circle of Friends.” For this edition of “wo’t larx,” we rented a house in Cambria with a spectacular ocean view where we spent a lovely week-end sharing poetry, art, music, theatre, good cooking, and thoroughly enjoying each other’s company. On my return home, I wrote a blogpost about our circle of friends.
Spending a week-end with my grandsons, Blake (10) and Travis (5) while their mom and dad were away was a pleasure.
April was a busy travel month!
It actually began on Friday, March 30, when Mary, Dick, and I made a flying trip to Tucson to move Mary’s dad, Chuch (aka “Pa”), to Bakersfield. Arriving in Tucson early Saturday morning, we expected to spend all day packing and loading the truck, returning to Bakersfield on Sunday. Pa surprised us by being well organized and ready to “roll.” The truck was loaded in a couple of hours and we headed back to Bakersfield Saturday afternoon. Sunday was spent getting Pa settled into his new room.
April 2, I drove to Redding to visit my Aunt Will, my mom’s younger sister. I met Aunt Will and my cousins, Cindy and Regina, for lunch. After lunch, we enjoyed walking across Santiago Calatrava’s stunningly beautiful Sundial Bridge that spans the Sacramento River at Turtle Bay Exploration Park.
April 4, Cindy, and I drove to Prattville Cemetery on the edge of Lake Almanor. The purpose of the trip was to check on the placing of Mom’s grave stone. She wanted her ashes buried in the same grave with her mother, Emma, and her youngest sister, Delonas (“Punkie”). On more than one occasion, Mom told me that when she was a girl growing up in Chester during the Depression, Emma laundered shirts for the men who worked in the lumber camps. Once a week Emma would load the laundered, starched, and hand-ironed shirts into the car and Mom and she would deliver them to the camps. The trip was always planned so that they ended up in Prattville allowing Emma to enjoy the splendid view of Lake Almanor. Emma often told Mom that when she died she wanted to be buried on that spot.
I took Cindy to see the house our grandfather built in Chester in the early 1930s. When we discovered a for sale sign in front of the house, we drove to the agency and asked to see it. An agent kindly let us tour the house and I was able to share with Cindy my memories of the house’s interior which is now quite different than I remember. The kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms have all been remodeled. The spooky, unfinished attic, where my cousins, David, Marty, and I slept as kids, has been finished and is now not at all “spooky.” The house was sold after Grandpa died in 1966, so it has been out of the family for over 40 years. Though the listing information flyer about the property contained some inaccuracies, I’m certain Grandpa would no doubt be pleased at an asking price of $419,000!
April 5, on my way home from Redding, I stopped in Santa Rosa to visit my best friend, Allan (right) and his partner, David. Allan and I have been friends since we were sixteen years old! If it’s 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Allan and I can be found talking on the phone. Rarely missing a week, a typical phone call lasts at least an hour!
April 21, Mary’s beloved Auntie Lorna—everybody’s favorite “auntie”—celebrated her 85th birthday at a gala surprise birthday party hosted by her kids, Susan, Pammy, David, and Charlie. I adore Auntie Lorna and feel she is as much my “auntie” as she is Mary’s. The genuine, original “sunbeam,” Auntie Lorna is the one to be around, especially if you’re feeling down or suffering from a bout of low self-esteem; and, as such, she qualifies as “my most unforgettable character.” All who know her and love her are fond of quoting her: “Isn’t this fun, kids!” Happy, happy, birthday, Auntie Lorna! I love you.
Diana’s daughter, Reya, visited from Brazil. For Christmas last year, I gave Diana a promise to take them to tea at the Rose Garden Tea Room at the Huntington Library and Botannical Gardens. Diana is hopeful that Reya and she will one day see Paris together. Part of Diana’s plan is that I will be their Paris tour guide. Wishing to make Diana’s dream come true, I used the magic of PhotoShop to put Diana in Paris by transforming a photo I tricked her into posing for on our walk through the Huntington Gardens!
Graduation is my favorite time of the academic year. I especially enjoy seeing students receive their diplomas and certificates. It gives me pleasure and a feeling of accomplishment to think that I may have, in some small way, contributed to students’ success. Another reason I like graduation so much is because it’s the only time of year that I get to wear my academic “drag.”
The annual Irwin Family Reunion is always well attended. This year I was able to get photographs of first cousins, second cousins, and third cousins.
“The W’ot Larx Circle of Friends” enjoyed a fun week-end at Harriet and Don’s home in Atascadero.
My cousin Marty’s family celebrated his birthday this year by spending a day boating on Lake Oroville. A month earlier, Marty gave us all quite a scare when he was diagnosed with what the doctors thought was a brain tumor. To the relief of all, the surgery found a mass at the base of Marty’s brain about the size of a small apple which, according to the surgeon, popped out in tact when the incision was made. The day following the surgery, Marty was up and about and it was determined there was no need for any kind of rehabilitation therapy. Being present to celebrate Marty’s birthday this year was especially important to me.
The Irwin extended family gathered in Plumas County to celebrate Mom’s life with a memorial service at Prattville Cemetery. Following the service, there was a family picnic at Chester Park in Chester near the spot where the Irwin family camped in the summer of 1929, the first summer they lived in Chester. There was lots of good food and plenty of mom’s favorite dessert: strawberry shortcake.
I went to Redding to visit Aunt Will and to welcome the family’s newest member, Nikaya. Nikaya’s mommy is Sarah Jane, my cousin Cindy’s younger daughter.
Ruby, my cousin Marty’s wife, was given a surprise party by her family to honor her 60th birthday. Nikki, Marty and Ruby’s daughter, is the party queen, transforming a ram-shackled old warehouse into a magical space complete with twinkling lights, DJ and dance floor, numerous food and dessert stations, and a fountain flowing with chocolate. My cousin, Regina, brought her eight-year-old grandson, having told him only that they were going to Paradise for cousin Ruby’s birthday party. When Justice discovered the chocolate fountain, he said, “Granny, this really is Paradise!” Family and friends contributed money to fund Ruby’s dream of an Alaska cruise.<
On December 28, I arrived in Paris for a two-week stay in a lovely apartment just off the rue des Martyrs. This was the first time I’ve been in Paris on my own since my first visit there years ago!