Category Archives: Family

Helen James, 1925-2012

sorry for the radio silence, i’m not gone…just taking a breather.

when i alluded to an emotional week on one of my previous posts, i was dealing with a precarious situation with my grandmother.  two weeks ago, she had a massive stroke while eating lunch with her friends.

she held on for several days, but passed away last tuesday, march 27th, one year and one day after i lost my grandfather, her husband of nearly 60 years.

since then i have been in pennsylvania helping close out her home and attend her service and come back home, but it still all feels pretty surreal.  my Nana, Helen James, taught me so much.  with her i learned to bake, to garden, to sew.  i remember her telling me stories while i laid in bed about her childhood, my mom’s childhood, and my own babyhood, and i would touch her elbow while she talked and ask why her skin was so soft there.  her voice had a habit of switching octaves every so often, dropping deep and then coming back up with no real rhythm but was still kind of entrancing.

last month my 87-year-old Nana made the trip to my wedding.  when i walked into my bridal shower the day prior to the big event, she was one of the first people i greeted and she immediately teared up, as she had at my high school and then college graduations.  “this isn’t a time for crying, Nana!” i told her.  “this is a happy time!”

“i know, i know,” she said.  and we had a great shower, beautiful rehearsal dinner, and then ceremony together. she gave me her own copy of The Joy of Cooking, which i will always treasure.   i asked her to read an irish blessing to us at the wedding and she said she would love to, “because, i do read in church all the time and my voice still projects quite well, you know.”

she choked up for the beginning of the blessing but soldiered on, needing a pause to turn the page and regain her footing. after the ceremony concluded we took pictures together, some candid, some posed.  i will be forever grateful that she was able to come to my wedding not just for me but because i knew how big of a deal it was to her.  she planned out her outfits starting in december!  i will always miss her and am still shocked to not include her on my emails-to-grandparents with wedding pictures, but i am so lucky to have had her teach me so many skills that i will always have and hope to pass on to future generations of my own.

she was the child of missionaries, the college and then master’s graduate, the mother of adopted girls, the teacher, the volunteer, the traveler, the proud grandmother, the doting wife, the caregiver, and the wonderful sister.  we miss her so much already.

Tagged ,

Fast Forward

soooo…you all still around?  did you give up on me totally?  i can’t believe i’ve been off of this blog for almost a year – i still read all of you, every day, but just kind of lost the motivation to tell you about my days.  to gloss it over, my job was overwhelming, i had a lot going on, and something had to give.  i’m sorry to have let it be this!

so let’s review the past few months in a minute or less….












in summary – hawaii, new dog oliver bernard harrison anderson, ENGAGEMENT!, boston trip, visit with family in kansas and my adorable nephews, christmas in san francisco with college besties, family reunion in new orleans, tip reunion in memphis, march was full of family (my grandfather in cincinnati, my nephews and step-niece here, my grandfather’s funeral in pittsburgh [not pictured] and new job for me AND full-time position for pete as a firefighter(!), pete’s birthday in april with his big boy firefighter cake and a trip to nashville [not pictured] and me quitting my second job [not pictured], and may brought me a brand new goooorgeous melie bianco bag that happens to match patsy.

ok wow that was a lot of traveling, in retrospect. annnnnnnyways.

on to the big stuff: WEDDING PLANNING.

i don’t want to forget some wedding ideas, and i want to keep track of my life during this engagement – we’ve already been engaged for 8 months – so here i am!  we are about to confirm a wedding date of february 25, 2012 here in memphis at a B.A.utiful location:

we’re super excited and are in the process of figuring out the fun stuff – wedding party, guest list, decor theme, and most importantly, what kind of cake we’ll be having.  so welcome back to my life, i’m glad to see you all (maybe?  i’m not sure anyone’s still out there) again!

also i’m taking another trip next week – my FIVE YEAR college reunion at wellesley (p.s. i’m old, though the ladies coming for their 50th reunion tend to differ)!  watch for pictures!

2/15/10 – 2/15/10

sometimes there’s a post in my head that i don’t want to write, but know i need to.  this is that post.

today my sister ally gave birth to a daughter.  baby emma was only at about 18 weeks, and the birth was intentional – my sister was induced.  ally went for her first sonogram on thursday to find out the sex of the baby, only to discover that the baby had anencephaly.  basically, her daughter would not be viable after birth, no matter what the doctors did.  so today emma was born, and today she passed away.  this is incredibly hard for me.  i cannot fathom what my sister and her fiance are going through.

through this we have discovered the true importance of folic acid for potential mothers, so please inform any possible or newly pregnant mother you might know that simply by taking folic acid she can reduce the chances of her child developing anencephaly or spina bifida by 50%.  please help me honor emma’s memory by letting your friends know, it would mean a lot.

and to those of you that already knew and have offered your support, prayers, and thoughts, we really appreciate it and i can’t say enough how much ally is going to need it today and ongoing.  thank you.

Long Weekend, Long Gone

thanksgiving weekend was great but way too quick.  i got in a lot of extra food, extra sleep, and extra sweets, so all in all it was successful.  as i’d said, my dad came down to visit, getting in on wednesday night.  i picked him up on my own, since pete was at a 24-hour shift at the fire station til 7 a.m. the next morning.  he fit in at home quite quickly, as he was adopted by patsy:

(picture taken on my phone, don’t judge.)  we had a quiet night at dinner at cafe 1912 and home relaxing.  while we were eating, pete’s brother’s children got to go visit him at the station and tour the firehouse:

Picture courtesy of Leah!

pete showed back up the next morning with coffee in hand for all of us.  we again settled down for a relaxing morning and early afternoon at our house while i fixed my one signature thanksgiving dish: creamed onions (see bottom of this post for the recipe!).  we headed over to pete’s parents’ house for dinner and hanging out.  of course, our little man came along:

Picture courtesy of Leah!

spoiled, you say?  he was so, SO good with pete’s nephews (3 and almost 2 years old), playing with them and chasing them without ever pushing them or grabbing for a toy or anything.  i was a very proud dog mom.  we took a group picture of the entire anderson family (a rare thing for them to all be in one place), and it turned out really well – or, the one where they’re looking at the camera did…

Picture courtesy of Leah!

it’s funny what a difference a year can make.  last year we were in the same house while pete’s family was out of town, and it was us and all friends.  friends came from far and wide for a post-dinner game of bocce in the backyard (a year later and we still haven’t found one ball back there), cigars, sitting around an outdoor fire pit, and unwinding.  this year it was all family, and a good bit louder (let’s just say things get heated when you play guys v. girls in pictionary and the guys blatantly cheat), but just as good.  hope everyone else had a good thanksgiving and isn’t too exhausted this week (as i am)!!


Creamed Onions

pearl onions

2/3 c. heavy cream

2 T. butter

1 tsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

2/3 c. fresh minced parsley

In skillet combine onions, butter, sugar, salt and enough water to cover single layer of onions by 1/2 inch.  Boil mixture and onions until liquid is almost evaporated.  Cook onions over moderate heat, swirling skillet until they turn golden and begin to brown.  Add cream, bring to a boil.  Boil, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened.  Season with salt and pepper, stir in parsley.

Hint:  to skin the onions, cut off top and bottom, put in boiling water for 1 minute.  When you get them back out it is easy to peel off the skin.

A Photo Post

planetoftheapes1a character from the movie planet of the apes, my mother through a wine glass.  just saying…..

I’m Not Dead Yet! I Feeeeel Happppyyy, I Feeeeel Happppyyyy!

wow, i haven’t posted in about forever.  doing just fine over here though, adjusting to a new rhythm and schedule – i started my new job this past monday, so there’s a good bit of getting used to new work hours, new desk, new people.  so far it’s going very well.  much more mentally challenging than what i had been doing previously.  it also enables me to get to my second job an hour earlier each shift, which will be a nice extra padding on that check – good all around.

the rev, however, is not having the greatest start to the new year.  on new year’s morning we learned of the passing of his remaining grandfather, 83 years young and very close to the rev especially as they saw each other often while the rev attended college nearby.  he was a wonderful man who i was only privileged to meet once – he was a massachusetts native and a lifelong red sox fan, held on to his accent despite living in new york and florida, and was exceedingly generous.  now he’s with his wife of 50+ years, and we have to learn to get along without him.  we’d appreciate your thoughts this weekend as the rev and his family lay him to rest.

just a short update tonight, but i promise to try to get more into the swing of things again…tomorrow i’m working from 8:30 am to 12:00 am, so i might not post tomorrow, but after that, oh, after that!  there will be things.  good things.

Efficient Eve

we hit the ground running tonight, finally tackling a to-do list of mine (and this is just one of many) that has been looming and depressing me lately.  we vacuumed the entire house, i dusted all wood surfaces, we took out garbage from all 5 garbage cans (4 mini bathroom size ones), did the dishes, wiped down all kitchen counters, planted four solar-powered outdoor lights in the bamboo grove, and generally straightened up the house.

then pete’s aunt and cousins (fleeing gustav and his resultant power outage) stopped by for a visit to see the new place, bearing gifts:

gorgeous flowers, and a basket brimming with fruit and CHOCOLATE.  lots of fresh fruit, which i instantly ferried off to the fridge – i belatedly realized i wanted a picture of the basket.  but there was also CHOCOLATE.  good mix for this household.

now we’re relaxing with john & kate plus 8 (i am 97% sure the rev will categorically deny he watches this with me, and not only watches but discusses and exclaims – often in horror but sometimes in glee), and the rev has once again hit the cold level that inspires pillow piling:

off for more relaxation.  very nice, cozy night we’ve had here at chez revtempo, enhanced by the steady soaking rain going on outside (making the rev and the bamboo extremely happy).

Get Off Of My Face!

do you ever get the feeling that your mom’s, your dad’s, or one of your siblings’ faces is creeping over yours? i can feel, in certain expressions i might make, members of my family taking over my face and my falling into a resemblance of one of them. even, now, i sometimes feel like i’m looking like my nephews. it is a creepy feeling. i don’t like it.