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Family Time

Gosh, has it really been a whole week since last I wrote? Apparently so.

We've enjoyed a week of family time, beginning with Matt and Tom's arrival from London last Sunday evening. Once again I got the time mixed up so they had to wait at the airport a bit, but thankfully, the traffic was good, so not too, too long. When Matt tells me a time he means the time they should be at the curb, however, repeatedly I've forgotten that, assuming it means that is when they will land. Maybe next time I will get it right?

Earlier in the day we stopped at Trader Joe's on the way home from church, and I found the most beautiful irises to welcome them home.
Love, love, love irises in bloom!

In an effort to help them stay awake, after a stop at Chuy's on the way home from the airport, we watched a super funny rom-com, Man Up. Pay no attention to the reviews, and watch it should you be in need of a sweet movie with plenty of laughs!

Monday, after unpacking everything, Matt brought out some fabric pieces he bought for me while they were visiting Japan in April. Well who wouldn't want some fabric straight from Japan?
I promptly cut it up into squares, incorporating them in my latest quilt, which is finally all the way pieced, all 387 squares! They also brought home some decorative fabric panels that the Japanese apparently use in all manner of ways. Bruce is now using his as an additional sun blocker, something he sorely needs in the late afternoon!
Although the weather in London has not been too cold just yet, sunshine is often not to be found for many hours of the day. Thankfully, the whole week they were here there was abundant sunshine which Tom took advantage of every chance he got.
I was in serious need of a nature fix, so one morning, after my bike ride proved fruitless on the nature front, I hopped in the car and promptly drove over to Greenwood Cemetery as I'd seen folks post of facebook that the nest was once again active. Count me a lucky girl that I saw one immediately!
It is always a thrill to see such a beautiful bird in the wild. Soon, though, the eagle flew off, so I decided to visit our parent's graves, but before I got there I found myself driving along the back side of the nest, and lo and behold, the other one was on the nest!!
Wasn't I lucky? I thought you'd see it my way. :)

Much to my dismay, the headstones were a big fat mess, unlike most all of the stones in their vicinity. Not a pretty sight. Perhaps this all happened because Thanksgiving time is bittersweet for me and Bruce. No one who was there will ever forget the Thanksgiving day in 2003 when, while I was mashing the potatoes and most every part of the dinner was complete and ready for our full house, Bruce called from our Mom's condo saying she was in very poor condition, something which took me by surprise as I'd been over the night before until around 7 PM. Our niece Laura took over for me, and I went straight away to the condo, finding our Mom in a semi-coma. No need to go over the rest of the details, but just four days later she died in her own bed. Now you know.

Tuesday we set the table, and by Wednesday morning we were in full preparation mode for the big day. Matt made some roasted garlic, rosemary, and sun dried tomato, rolls which were delicious.
He's preparing the pan for this wonderful dough.
Tom went to work on the vegetables and the eggplant casserole he was making for our vegan guests. He is quite the spice master, knowing how best to use them all.
Because he needed the oven, after I removed the turkey, for roasting the cauliflower and brussel sprouts, not to mention the casserole, I tried something brand new, at least to me. Yup, cooking the dressing in a slow cooker actually works just fine.
Sadly we were missing quite a number of folks this year, meaning we all fit around the dining table, a first as far as I can remember.
You know what? My serving dishes were a big hit with everyone! Because I prefer candid shots, all pictured may not be thrilled with me, but please forgive me, as I prefer to picture real life! So, the yearbook was lots of fun, both the one I bought at the estate sale, and David's one from 1994, some 30 years apart. It is so fun looking at the clothing, cars pictured, as well as the make up of the student body. Then, the conversation turned to ancestry, what with our ancestry expert in the house. Before long, Matt found Pat and Maureen's father's ancestry before coming to America!
Remember when Apple came out with the iPad and people wondered how useful it would be? Now I wonder how we got along without it!

Friday was laundry day, along with the final clean up from the previous day, and mostly we rested after the previous two days of frantic activity. Because we have so much to be thankful for, we wanted to celebrate with our sons, and their loved ones at Earls, which we are also thankful for. Despite the challenges Bruce faces near the end of a job, it is a great company to work for. So we celebrated Matt and Tom being here, Fallon, only weeks away from graduating nursing school, and David and Michelle celebrated their eight wedding anniversary on Tuesday. We had a marvelous time, and another delicious meal.
If only Jonathan and Alissa were here we would be complete. They enjoyed a quiet day of food and football in Austin, a combination that works very well for them. :)

Matt and Tom left yesterday morning for Canada, spending the rest of the week there before returning to work in London. I spent a whole bunch of time, in between finishing my quilt, watching the last full day of college football, something you know I love doing. The highlight of the day was the fantastic performance by the Florida State Seminoles during their game with the Florida Gators. Maybe you have to live in Florida to appreciate it, but man, what a win by the Seminoles!

Following church, we ate lunch, grabbed our buckets and scrub brushes, and headed to Greenwood Cemetery to do something about those headstones.
As you can see, there is a lone headstone as soiled as Mom and Dad's. Mostly we scrubbed with soap and water, and although they don't look brand new, they look better, which makes me happy. Merry Christmas Mom and Dad!
They were not the greatest parents by any stretch of the imagination, but they were far from the worst a person could have. I will be forever grateful that they gave me life, and really, that's enough for me. It is my choice as to what I make of the past, and my preference has always been to look forward, rather than bemoan how I was raised.

Family time is the most important part of our lives, far exceeding the events of the day, which are given to change. Make the most of it my friends because we only live once.

Love,

Gail
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