Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bedhead Hair, Bathrobes, and Baskets of Yarn

So for days now I have been trying to re-vamp my blog. I decided I needed a more personal heading, maybe by adding a photo.  So, Thursday I decided to take some pics.

Even though I am an early riser, and am up by 6:30,  I usually lounge around in my sleep gear for a little while.

I figured since we live in an older, quasi active, adult community most people wouldn't be getting active until after Regis and Kelly.   And even though we live on the main drag in our community, I thought, hey I am only going to be out there for a few minutes.

So armed with my basket of yarn, and a few other props, I headed outside in my bathrobe and slippers.

I got so caught up with trying to be creative with my subjects, that the time zoomed on by. I was so into my photo shoot, that I just stopped short of saying "okay hold it right there, don't anybody move, this is the shot";  completely forgetting that these were inanimate objects and weren't going to move anyway.

I'm sure if I could have stepped back and observed myself, I would have been very curious about what that lady was doing outside in her bathrobe, slippers and bedhead hair taking pictures of a basket of yarn.

So, by now the more active adults were starting to become active.  They passed by in their cars, heading for their social club meetings, ceramics, water aerobics or early morning bocce.
The walkers briskly walked by with ear buds in, pumping their arms in time to probably "Let's twist again, like we did last summer..."

Anyway the interesting thing was, no one even stopped to take a second look at me.   And then I remembered where I live and who we are in this community.  Since most of us are retired, most of us probably feel the same way: "Hey, we don't have to get dressed or comb our hair until we are good and ready."   And if we want to be silly and take pictures of yarn in a basket, go for it, just do it!

The new heading on today's blog is the result of hours of staging my props, snapping away with my Canon Power Shot, cropping the pics, and picking just the right background colors and fonts for my heading.

What do you think of the new me?  Constructive input and opinions are most welcome.
Oh, and even though I am still in my pj's, I did comb my hair before I wrote this.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Death, Taxes and High Gas Prices?

It's a little after 6:00 a.m on a grey, blustery and rainy morning. The perfect setting for my mood.

Rainy Blustery Gray Day

I was lying in bed thinking about what Ross and I could do today.  I have been wanting to visit my favorite LYS for a few months now, but I have been disciplined enough to remember my stash.   More importantly, like everything else for us, the shop is an hour away.  That's the second reason why I have not been to Mt. Holly.

Nine years ago, when Ross and I first moved to Barnegat, the national average for a gallon of gas was $1.36.

Here are today's prices

Today's Price
During the past month, we watched the price of gas go up daily. Sometimes, it would go up twice in one day!   Last week at this time the price at this WaWa was $3.53.

Now I know this is not a big reveal.  I also know that there are other parts of the country where these prices would be considered a bargain.

For us, the price of gas does affect us personally.  Particularly in the choices we make.  Ross likes to drive.  In fact, as he always says, he is a much better driver than he is a passenger.  He would rather be behind the wheel.  Therefore, he always volunteers to drive.

He has a standing Tuesday morning breakfast date with his buddy Sal.  The typical Monday evening telephone conversation would be:  "Sal, 8:30 tomorrow?"  "I'll pick you up."   Now it's "Sal, your turn to drive, right?"

We used to think nothing of hopping in the car and taking the hour plus drive to see one of the kids.  Now we think twice or three times about it.

Last week, Ross had plans with our son-in-law, Derek, and our grand daughter Bella to visit the Museum of Natural History in New York City.  Normally, even though it would have been out of the way, Ross would have offered to pick Derek and Bella up and drive into the city.
Instead, Ross took the bus in, Derek and Bella took the train and they met at the Museum.

My stash is where I shop now.  And when I get desperate and absolutely need a new skein or two,  I will run over to Michaels or A.C. Moore which are only 5 miles from our house.
Red Heart Super Savers are not so bad, right?

From what I understand, currently there is not a shortage of oil.  But, the decision makers, the wall streeters, the investors, are the ones who are speculating that there just might be one in the future.  So just in case that happens, they feel they better jack up the prices now.  I know that's probably a pretty simplified, explanation, but it's what I get from all of the talking heads' descriptions of the problem.

I feel frustrated and wonder what I, as an individual, can do about the gas prices.  Who do I go to for help?  Who is listening?  How can I protest?  Would Yarn Bombing the oil companies get their attention?

I find it interesting that there is not more of a collective out pouring of rage about it.  Have we all been lulled into a soft wooly trance?  Or do we all feel that there is nothing we can do about it.  Has it become inevitable like death and taxes?

When we moved into our community, we used to joke that even though it's gated, they don't lock the gates, and we can come and go as we please. But now, sadly, we do sort of feel locked in.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Knitting on the Beach on Easter Sunday - The Movie

Since we celebrated our Easter on Saturday, Ross and I had no plans on Sunday.  It was 80 degrees, and sunny in Barnegat.  Ross threw the sand chairs in the back of the car and we headed over to Long Beach Island (LBI).   Once we got onto the beach, I was glad that I had worn my jeans, and had brought a jacket.  It was about 10 degrees cooler and breezy.

What I am knitting in the video is a sock.  I like the idea of knitting socks.  Quite a challenge for me, though.  Something I will probably never master.  But that doesn't stop me from trying. 

I had bought the yarn on Friday morning, the day before Bella's birthday party.  I foolishly thought I could whip up a pair in time for the party, which was to be on Saturday at 4:00.  At about 11:00 Friday night, with bleary eyes, and about 75% of the way through the first sock,  I discovered that I had dropped a stitch.  I tried to fix it, but I had no clue how to.   I wound up with tangled ripped out mess of a sock.   

 After a few more attempts, I finished the first sock last night.  

  Not in time for Bella's party, but hopefully there will be a second to match this one.

View my Ravelry project link here  .

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Use the Chicken Egg Timer Instead

We were invited to Jen and Derek’s on Saturday to celebrate Bella’s birthday and Easter.  I offered to make the lasagna.  Wait a minute; I offered to make my famous lasagna.

I decided to put it together on Thursday.  I could do it a t leisurely pace, no rushing to get it done.  I had plenty of time.

As the sauce was simmering on the stove, I debated on whether or not to add that extra can of tomato paste.  Nahh, I thought, it will thicken as it cooks.  It didn’t.

As I was layering the pans with way too thin sauce, lasagna noodles, ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses, it was looking very soupy and pretty watery.  So I figured I better be a little more conservative with the sauce, and ricotta cheese and more heavy handed with the mozzarella.  I shouldn’t have.

When the first pan came out of the oven it was rather sad looking. Sort of dried up and crusty.  But, I thought it would probably still taste okay.  After all it was my famous lasagna, right?   

I was pretty bummed out at this point.  Everyone looks forward to my lasagna, I mean my famous lasagna.  Such pressure.  But I had another pan to bake.  Maybe this one would come out better. 

As I was waiting for the second pan to finish baking, I wandered into the kitchen for something and noticed that the microwave was running.  And then I noticed that the timer on the microwave was not. 
I’ll let Ross tell you what happened next.

Ross assured me that he would take the blame for pressing start on the micro wave instead of timer.  But somehow it got out that I was the one who did it. 

Okay, so needless to say, I was not having a good time making the lasagna.  And at this point I was pretty sure that when my family described my lasagna from now on it would not be Mom’s famous lasagna.  It would instead be Mom's  hehe famous haha. lasagna.

Yes there would be a lot of jokes about how Mom is up to date with technology but don’t let her near the microwave.  Or “Mom I’m putting the ham in the oven now, can you put the timer on…do you know how to use this?  

Well you get the picture.

And you know how once one thing doesn’t go quite as planned, everything else you do after that just doesn't seem to go as planned either?
Let’s just say that one of the incidents involved aloe and ice.  But that story is for another time.
Anyway, taste wise the lasagna turned out fine.   No, it wasn’t up to my famous standard, but it was still pretty good.   We celebrated Bella’s birthday and Easter and most important we were all together.
What's that saying?  "All's well that ends long as you don't let Mom near the microwave..."something like that.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

An April Day at the Jersey Shore & The Good News

As we were waiting for the phone call from Joe,  Ross and I decided that the 20 minute ride to the beach might take the edge off.   As you can tell from the pics, it was a beautiful day at the Jersey shore.  

Beach Haven Water Tower
 Long Beach Island, New Jersey

What? Our bikes?  Uh, no.  But it is a neat pic, isn't it?

Let's go surfin' now

So we like to build castles, so?

A few people we don't know

I know,  pretty corny :)

There was an email from Joe when we got home.  The CT scan showed no change.  And believe it or not that is good news, very good news.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Quite the Ride

Every 8 weeks or so, my son goes for a CT scan.  The results of the scan will determine how well he is responding to the Chemo treatments that he receives every other Wednesday.

I have the date of the scans marked on my calendar.  My anxiety level rises a little each day as the date gets closer and closer. I play mind games with myself.   I go back and forth between trying to be as positive as possible to preparing myself for the worst-case scenario. This is what I call the emotional Cancer Roller Coaster Ride.  I've been on that ride way to often during my life and know it very well.  Don't we all?

While thinking about writing here today, I thought that perhaps it would be somewhat of a relief to express my feelings about the what if’s....

And then I thought I would rather write about what is.... what I know right now.

I know that today is the day Joe goes for his CT scan. I know that my anxiety level is almost at its peak. I know that I won't come down or calm down until we find out the results.  And I know that wishing and hoping will not change the results of today's test.

I know that my son is here today.  I know that he will kiss his son good-bye before he leaves to drive himself to go get the CT scan.  I know that after the scan, he will pick his son up from day care and take him home.  I know that the best part of the day for him will be the time he gets to spend with his wife and his son.  

I know that I will spend the day worrying but trying not to.  I will be on pins and needles waiting for the phone to ring.  That's the truth and that's the way it will be for me.  He is my son and he has cancer.

The test results last time were that the cancer was status quo. That is good news when dealing with stage IV.
When my son called me to tell me I was of course very relieved.   I wanted to know how he felt.
I said to him, "Joe, I know this may be a silly question, but do you get nervous waiting for the results of the CT scan?"
He said, "No, not really.  I don't think about it.  I get a little anxious when I am in the examining room waiting for the doctor to come in.  But before that I just don't think about it."

The way Joe handles his illness is inspiring.  He seems to have accepted that cancer is just part of his life now.

Going for his treatments every two weeks and CT scans every 8 weeks are just as normal to him as going to work every day, watching a Mets game with his wife or holding his son.

And even if it doesn't make a difference...

"Please, please, make it okay today"

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Martian Husband

I have gall bladder issues.  My doctor told me that surgery is an option.  But he also told me if I do have the surgery,  there is a 33% chance that my condition will improve, a 33% chance it will remain the same and a 33% chance that it could get worse.

Not liking those odds, I asked if there was another alternative.  He told me to stay away from fatty and fried foods.   Which I do....most of the time.

I've been feeling pretty good lately.  And when I feel good, I seem to sort of forget about that "staying away from certain foods" thing.

On Thursday, I picked at some of my Ross' fries.   No problem.  So on Friday I figured, hey, I can order my own fries to with that ruben panini.

And last night as I was walking the floor, feeling miserable, I was making promises to who ever was listening....."Never again, never, ever, again"

So as I  was lying in bed with my heating pad, moaning "ugh I don't feel good;" and getting up every few minutes to run to the bathroom, Ross was lying next to me snoring and sound asleep.

My puppy, Rico, was worried about me.  I could tell because every time I would get up to use the bathroom, he would be waiting outside the door for me.

Rico after our rough night

I finally fell asleep at around 4:00 a.m.  I was pretty grouchy when I woke up, mostly from lack of sleep.

My grouchy lack of sleep mood led to Ross and I having the most frustrating "Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus" conversation.

me:  "You could at least ask me how I am feeling this morning?'
him:  "Huh?"
me:   "You know I was pretty sick last night and you were sound asleep"
him:   "Well, if I was sound asleep, how was I supposed to know you were sick? "
me:    "Didn't I tell you my stomach was upset? Didn't you see me in bed with my heating pad and my ear phones in?   Didn't you hear me getting up to run to the bathroom every few minutes?"  (translation:  "Don't you care about me?")
him repeating:  "I was asleep, how was I supposed to know?"

Believe me this is just a snippet of the conversation.  It branched out and went around and around with him looking pretty confused most of the time.

Finally after about 20 minutes of this, I could see the light bulb pop up over his head.

He came over to me, put his arms around me.

him:  "I'm sorry you were not feeling well. How do you feel now?  Can I fix you breakfast?   I care about you, you know. "

me smiling:  "I know you do."

The flowers Ross brought home for me today

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Bowling Knitting League

I belong to the Tuesday Morning Ladies League. At age 55, when I first joined the group I was among the few youngins.  That was 8 years ago.   At that time the ages of the ladies ranged from forty-something to 80-something; with the average age being about sixty-something. 

We bowl at 9:30 on Tuesday mornings and our season goes from September to May.  We have four woman teams and bowl three games.  So we spend about 3 hours a week together.

When I first joined the group most of the ladies had already been bowling together for 15 years.  So, not only was I a youngin, but I was also a new comer and not a very good bowler to boot. 
It took a few years for even my own team members to warm up to me.   

About two years ago, the secretary of our league, Barbara, came up to me and asked if I had knitted the vest I was wearing.  "No," I said.  "Oh," she said, I am a knitter and that looks like a hand knitted vest."  I told her that I was newly knitting again.  She told me that she has been knitting since she was a child.  And low and behold, we had a bond.  

A group of the women always sit together and knit while they wait for their turn to bowl.  One day I got up the courage to go over and ask what they were working on.  And low and behold another bond with four more women.

That's when I decided I would take my knitting to bowling.

 A little while ago, the lanes we were bowling on were next to the lanes from another league.  The other league is a mixed male/female league.  I was, of course, knitting.  A guy from the other league said to me..."Hey, my wife knits".  "Come on, I want you to meet her."  "Honey," he called. "Come meet Lynda, she knits too."   

Now it seem that I am the go-to knitting person.  It's quite funny.  Even the non-knitters come up to me to see what my latest project is.   I think they would be disappointed if they didn't see me walk in with my old Vera Bradley knitting bag. 

There have been many changes in the last 8 years. The bowling averages of many of the original bowlers have dropped dramatically.  A lot of them have had to get lighter bowling balls.

Louise, age 81, and a member of my team, had to have open-heart surgery in October.  She refused to quit the league and hopes to come back in September.  Although Mae is 93, she still maintains one of the highest averages.  And even though her team members have to call Della every Tuesday to remind her to come to bowling, she too is still one of the best bowlers. 

Barbara suffered a mild stroke shortly after she had asked me about my vest.   She has made a remarkable recovery.  Her bowling style has changed, but,  she manages to maintain a decent average. She told me that seeing me with my knitting projects made her want to knit again.  Last week she showed me a picture of the beautiful cable stitch blanket that she made for her granddaughter.  It took her about a year to complete, and it is gorgeous.  

Now she is working on a lacy scarf.  Last week she told me that she was so frustrated because she made a mistake and had to rip the whole thing out.   I told her that I learned something very useful from my Ravelry friends.  I showed her the scarf I was working on with lifelines in it.  She was thrilled.
But, I think I was more thrilled to be able to show someone who has been knitting for 50 years a new trick. 

Yesterday, I bowled the worst three games I have bowled in a long time.  It may have had something to do with my preoccupation with trying to learn a new crochet pattern from one of my other "bowling" buddies the Reversible Shell Afghan.

The last 18 months have been pretty difficult for me.  I was pretty depressed last May and decided that I really wasn't interested in coming back in September to bowl.  But Erica, the president of our league, gently, well okay not so gently, convinced me that getting out of the house to bowl/knit would be the best medicine.   And "Besides," she said the league would miss you."  Yep, that's right I'm no longer a youngin or a new comer. 

My team, A Mirage of Treasure is currently in second place.  Not too bad for a bunch of old bowling knitters, huh?

Some of the member of my Bowling Knitting League 

Monday, April 11, 2011

When is Done Done?

I have two projects in progress.  I am at the  “Am I ever going to finish this?” point and 
 the “I never want to see Country Rose, Light Sage or Cornmeal" ever again stage.
 The first is my first attempt at something lacy LGG's Undulated Lacy Rib Scarf

I started it about a month ago.   I just finished my second skein and thought, okay 45" is long enough, isn't it?  I simply think that I have been knitting it long enough already.   But then my better judgement got the better of me. So I logically and sensibly have decided that I should use that third skein I have and wind up with a finished scarf that I can wrap around twice and actually wear.

My second project is   LGG's Textured Triangle Stack Afghan

This was supposed to be my soon to be 7 year old grand daughter's college dorm room afghan.  But since I don't know how tall she will grow, I have decided that very soon now, very soon, it will be the perfect size for a throw for my sofa.  I'll work on her dorm room afghan after she grows to her full potential. :).

I am itching to start something new.  Something I can actually finish in a few days, maybe a dish cloth or one sock.  I must say, though, I am disciplined enough that I will not start anything new until the scarf and afghan are done.
Now done is subjective.  After all, these are my projects and I get to say what done is, right?

I am proud to say that I have a FO to brag about today.  The second book in the Igbee series was completed and published last night.  I ordered 3 copies this morning.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they will arrive in time for my Bella's birthday.

If you are interested check it out Igbee and Sumbee's Great Adventures


Thursday, April 7, 2011

For The Sake of Grandma's Legacy

I was the oldest of many cousins.  There would be a lot of us running around during Sunday visits to Grandma’s.

I seemed to have a knack for quieting the younger ones down by gathering everyone into a circle and telling one of my stories.  

My soon to be seven year old granddaughter also loves my stories.   Sometimes, in the middle of a story I would catch her staring off into space.  At first I thought she had lost interest, but she would stop me,  ask a question or want more details.  It was then that I realized she was trying to imagine what I was describing, creating the pictures in her mind.

About a year ago, when Bella began to learn how to read, I started to write down some of my stories.   Since she lives about an hour away, I would email a copy to my daughter and she would print it out.  Then Bella and I would Skype and read the story together.

I thought having a story professionally illustrated, printed and bound would make a nice Christmas present for her.

Now, I knew nothing about this process.  I Googled “self publishing” and got a list of sites.  I chose the website Blurb

Since I cannot draw, I knew that the next thing I needed to do was find someone who could.  I decided to use Etsy 's Alchemy bid request tool for that.   By the way, I found out today that the Alchemy function is no longer available on Etsy.

I received about 25 bids from people with all different levels of talent and expertise.  The price ranges were also very varied.

I selected a young woman from New Zealand.  The price she quoted me was very reasonable.  She also had experience in book layouts.  I accepted her bid in July of 2010. 

It was very exciting for me to see the characters I created come to life in illustrations.

The book was completed by September and uploaded into Blurb.  When the finished copy came in the mail, I knew I couldn’t wait until Christmas to give it to Bella. 

Bella’s reaction was one of  calm acceptance.  Why of course Grandma wrote a book for me.  Doesn’t everyone’s Grandma do that?

Bella has been asking for another story.  In November I contacted my illustrator and asked if she would be interested in helping me again.  She agreed.   I thought this would be a nice present for Bella’s 7th birthday, which is April 21.

As the illustrator got closer to the finished product, I figured I should ask what the final cost would be.    The price of the first book was $133.00.  

My second book was a little longer. I did agree to her new price per page quote, which went from $10.00 to $15.00.   I estimated the cost of the second book would be around $300.   A little steep, but I justified it to myself.  After all it was something Bella could pass down to her children.

When I received the illustrator’s reply, I had to re-read it several times to make sure I was seeing it correctly.  It couldn’t possibly be $750.00, could it?  Maybe she had made a mistake and she meant $150.00.  Nope, no mistake…. $750.00.

There was no way I could justify that, not even for the sake of legacy.

I sadly wrote back to and told her that I was sorry but I could not afford her services.

She wrote back and kindly agreed to do it for somewhat less.  I must say that my illustrator, Serena, has been extremely helpful to me.  I could not have done this without her.  I understand the time and effort she has put into these books is priceless.  

So a second book will be “published”.   I hope in time for Bella’s birthday. 

Maybe, I should buy a “drawing for dummies” or “anyone can draw” book.   

Or, perhaps, just let Bella’s imagination create her own pictures from my words.

If you would like to see the first book, it is in the Blurb Bookstore, Igbee And The Pink Bird.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Today, Joe Cool, Today....

Joe is a quiet, gentle and shy man.  I completely get the shy part.  People who are shy rely heavily on facial expressions and body language to communicate.  So when I see Joe shrug his shoulders, or see his lips purse, or his face turn red, I nod my head and almost telepathically  say, "yes, I understand".

Well, I should say, that was the Joe we all knew 14 months ago.  Joe has changed quite a bit during this time.  He smiles a lot more, initiates conversations and even cracks jokes, sometimes at his own expense.
There is a certain calm and peacefulness about him.

In January of 2010, Joe and Anne found out they were pregnant.  In October of the same year, Anne gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.

Joe took to the father role immediately.  He changes diapers and takes turns with the middle of the night feedings.

When I baby sit, Joe will take his son from me to say good-bye before he leaves.  The first thing he does when he comes home, is pick the baby up to kiss him and say hello.  He seems to treasure every minute with him and misses any time away from him. 

Two days after Joe and Anne found out they were pregnant,  Joe was diagnosed with stage IV colon caner.

Except for his every other Wednesday Chemo treatment, he continues to go to work everyday.  He does not look like he has cancer.   As I write this, trying to hold back the tears,  I still cannot accept that he does.

Today is my son Joe's 36th birthday.   I always buy Joe a Peanuts Snoopy character "Joe Cool" theme birthday card.  Sometimes I can't find them when I want them.  I found two yesterday and bought them both.  I thought, I will give him one this year and I'll save one for next year.....and then I thought....and then I pushed that thought out of my mind.

I write this blog so that I can express those thoughts here.  And then when I visit Joe today, I can smile and wish him the best happy birthday ever and not think about anything but today.

I knit because the repetition of a pattern: knit 9, purl 1, knit 9, purl 1 keeps me focused and in the moment.

Joe and Anne named their son Domani Joseph.   Translated from Italian it means Tomorrow Joseph.

I am very happy to celebrate Joe's 36th birthday Today, very happy.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Memories of a REAL Real Housewife of New Jersey

I recently saw Elaine at my grandson’s birthday party.  Except for the updated hairstyle, she still looked the same.   She had a welcoming smile and we talked as if we had just seen each other.   Elaine had that way about her.

Elaine became ill a few months ago.  Everyone was hopeful that her illness could be treated.  Sadly, though, she passed away yesterday.

Her passing has brought back a flood of memories.

When I was a young wife and mother, we lived in a quiet little neighborhood, which was tucked away, a few blocks in from the main highway.  There were only five houses on our street. 

Our children attended the local elementary school.  Fields and trees surrounded the school, which was on a cul-de-sac at the end of the block.

None of the women on our street worked outside of the home.   We were stay at home moms.
We put together a home cooked three-course meal every night, which consisted of a salad, main dish and dessert.  
We hung our laundry out on the clothesline to dry.
We took our houses apart twice a year for a spring and fall cleaning.    
We belonged to the PTA, and planned and participated in many fundraisers.
We would get together once a week to craft.  We knitted, crocheted, and made macramé, planters.
We sewed our own curtains, and decorated birthday cakes.
There were hand made costumes for Halloween and pinecone wreaths for Christmas.
We had our gardens, with cukes, tomatoes, string beans and peppers.
We were the real Real Housewives of New Jersey without the drama.

My next-door neighbor, Elaine, was quite an inspiration to us all.  She was the hostess with the mostess.  The original Martha Stewart before there was a Martha Stewart.  She always threw the best bar-b-ques in the summer and hosted wonderful holiday parties in the winter.  

We all had above ground pools in our back yards.   Back yards without fences, I might add.  All of the kids would go from pool to pool.  

Elaine, her sister, Joan and their mother all had tightly curled platinum blond hair.  On a hot summer day, as I sat on my deck, I would watch as the three blond heads bobbed up and down in the pool.  Each one had a cool gin and tonic in her hand.

Elaine was pretty special.  If anyone needed anything, she was the first one there to lend a hand. 
I remember one time we went on a little vacation with the kids.  We had a Doberman, who was a very sweet dog, but hey she was a Doberman.  Elaine, who was not a pet person, volunteered to let Casey out twice a day and feed her at night.  Not only did Elaine take care of our dog while were away, when we got home there was a plate of freshly baked cookies waiting for us.  But that was Elaine.

Once a child in the neighborhood suffered a severe brain injury due to an accident in one of the public community swimming pools.   Elaine joined a group of volunteers to provide daily respite for the Mom.   That was Elaine.

Elaine’s daughter built a house on the empty lot next to her mother and father and Elaine's son lives a short distance away.  She cared for her four grandchildren on a daily basis.

Many years ago, I moved on to a new life.   My kids are grown, married, with children of their own. 
Because their father still lives there, though, they maintain a connection to the neighborhood.  

My children and Elaine’s children remain close friends.   And now their children are growing up together.

Even though time and circumstance have created a gap in our friendship,  Elaine has a special place in my heart and I have many fond memories of the time we had together.