Rest in peace Sweet Mother

My mother, Betty Miller, passed away peacefully at home with my daughter and I close by.
She had been declining in ability over the past months, and she was ready to go Home and be with our other loved ones who preceded her!

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I will miss her terribly, she was a part of my every day. Up until aearly fall, we still had good conversations and even some laughs. She slowly was withdrawling more and more, and it got harder and harder to get her to open up and even smile. I cherished the good days here and there!

Watching a woman who prided herself in her independence and her sharp mind into her 90s decline in ablity was so very hard for me.

She is at peace now.

Love you Mom! Miss you terribly.

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Sounds of Summer

I am sitting at my bedroom window where I recently moved my computer table, with the window open a bit. It is nice to not be in the oppressive heat and humidity of last week. I hear the cicadeas outside, and although over the weeks you get used to the constant “hum”, if I really stop and think about it they are VERY loud. I think the noise intimidates Jack a bit, his trips outside have been far less and he will stay around the patio. (I am ok with this!)

I continue to work far too many closing shifts as we are short staffed with key holders at work. As far as work goes, I really do not mind the closing shift. I, for the most part, prefer the variety of the people on the shifts in the evening. Our day time folk are pretty much the same three people. As far as home life, it makes things a little more complicated. I sleep later, I get less done around the house and I can’t sit and have dinner and some conversation with Mom. This is pretty much the only time we sit and converse. She sleeps a lot these days, and as has been her routine watches her soaps around lunch time. I find little time (or desire to cook) and am eating on the fly again.

Hard to believe that summer will soon be over. It has gone fast. Too much work for both Tara and I, and too little time for play and adventures. Tara is picking up a second job, and will be going for her orientation tomorrow. She enjoys food service, and will be a barista at the Cafe in Barnes and Noble. I often thought it would be interesting to work in a book store. She has a friend that works there as well, so that will be nice for them to have something else in common.

As I do many mornings when I get up, I went to the patio door this morning. As i looked out I saw a butterfly flit by and land on a bush. I have seen many butterflies this summer, but few that stayed but long enough to be photographed. This one even obliged my frantic search for a working memory card. Said to say that my DSLR photography has taken such a back seat to IPhonography, that the only memory card that I actually knew where it was located is in my Nikon camera that is currently in the office at work! This little butterfly was such an obliging subject, that he waited not for one, but for THREE trips back in the house until I found one that actually would work!

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In other news, I am a great aunt again. Ella Jean Nash was born on 8/17. This makes 7 (5 great nephews and two great nieces), Tara was hoping for a girl, since there are not very many of them. Besides Tara, I have just one niece (Kristen who attends the University of Texas) and the two great nieces (Avery who is 2 1/2 and Baby Ella.)  Linda (Mom-Mom) Tara and I went for a visit on Thursday, she was less than 24 hours old when we saw her. Linda and Larry took my mom to visit with them on Sunday at home. She now has 5 great children and 7 great grand children. Mom is 92 and now the youngest in 8 days old!Me_Ella nana_EllaThat’s about all on the homefront today. I am thankful that I have a day off today! Tara is off as well. Not sure what adventures, if any, we will find, but it is a gorgeous day out, so hopefully we will find our way outside! More than likely hunting Pokemon!

Pokemon Go has become quite a sensation this summer! We have visited some new parks around the area that we probably would never have taken the time to find. Some I never knew existed, like FDR Park in Philly. It really is a neat place. I haven’t had the opportunity to take photos, as we are always too busy catching Pokemon, and the one time it was after dark!

But first another cup of coffee!

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Countdown to Christmas – Celebrating My Parents

Day #8

(I know, I missed day 7, it is coming!)

On this day, in 1945, my parents were married.

Thanks for all you did for us Mom & Dad. I love you both.

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Bill and Betty on their wedding day December 08, 1945

I wish they  had more time together, today would have been 70 years.

While I am sure they had their disagreements, they kept it between the two of them. They were faithfully in love; for better and worse, richer and poorer, in sickness and in health.

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My father worked hard, and sometimes long hours. Mom was at home for most of the years that us kids were growing up. She had a job when I was in elementary school, at my school, so she was never really far away! I got my love of driving (at least road trips), my punctuality, and my work ethic from my Dad. Mom and I are as similar as we are different.

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My parents loved to travel. They camped throughout much of the US and into Canada, and traveled to the Virgin Islands. They were a team when it came to driving! Dad drove, Mom navigated and kept him feed and hydrated. She would knit when they were on the open road. I loved traveling with my parents, even as a teen when so many kids didn’t want to be with their parents. After my dad passed away, we did some traveling on our own. She was a pretty amazing traveler with her camper on her own! She put a lot of miles on her Suburban and travel trailer!

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Dad’s retirement dinner with Mom and Bill 1981

 

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1982 – At the Viet Nam Memorial

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Countdown to Christmas – Christmas Cookies

  Today is National Cookie Day, which works well with the topic I already choose for today.
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Do you have a favorite Christmas cookie or holiday baking tradition!

I do not have just one favorite,  that is what is special about Christmas cookies, you don’t get them all year long.

Years ago my sister Linda and I would take a Saturday and bake all kinds of cookies. Spritz cookies with my favorite gadget the cookie gun, snicker doodles, snow balls, cut out cookies and several others. It was always a fun time.

Over the years I continued to bake cookies with friends,my mom, Tara and even alone. Tara always got bored after just a batch or two. Lately I have not had the energy in December to bake. We did participate in a cookie exchange for a couple years since we returned to PA. That was a fun way to get a variety of cookies!

For many years my mom has made Pizzelles, Italian waffle cookies. She would prepare several batches using her Pizzelle iron. She made them for many years and loves sharing with family and friends. She is not able to stand long enough to do too much in the kitchen but maybe we will make them together this year.

  
  
  
Love and lattes, Martha

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To Everything There is a Season

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This weeks Song-ography theme is Turn, Turn, Turn. I always loved the song as recorded by The Byrds. Until today I did not realize it was “written” by Pete Seeger, using the words from Ecclesiates 3:18. In the  60s these words were very appropriate with all that was going in the US and Vietnam during that time.  I hope you like my interpretation of this theme!

This song actually crossed my mind as we started 2014, when within one short week my family celebrated the life of my uncle who had passed and the arrival of two tiny new family members!

On January 4th, I gathered with my mother, sister, aunts, cousins, and second cousins, to celebrate the life of my Uncle Doug. He has passed away on Christmas Eve at the age of 85. Uncle Doug was always the life of the party and a jokester. His is greatly missed by his family!

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A time to die, a time to mourn, a time to lose

We always say we only get together at weddings and funerals. Some of us don’t see each other often, but it is so wonderful when we come together as a group! There was one faction of the family that for many years had been “fractured” from my immediate family, for reasons we never understood. This gathering mended that fracture a bit I believe.

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A time to love, a time to embrace

 Just six days later on Jan 11th, my mom, sister and myself patiently waited (or not) for the arrival of two very special little family members.  At 5:30 and 8:30 respectfully, Avery Elizabeth and Spencer Thomas, joined our family. They were the first babies to be born in our immediate family in close to 13 years, and Avery the first girl since Tara, 17 years ago!

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A time to be born, a time to love, a time to gain,  a time to dance (Chad is holding Spencer, Tasha is holding Avery)

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A time for peace

A time for peace

 

 

 

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Family

(I posted this on Facebook as well, since I’m not sure how many of them read my blog! I wanted it to be part of my own piece of the interwebs!)

Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future. ~Gail Lumet Buckley

As times passes, and we lose family members, each time we have a gathering I feel it important to try and capture some of the moments.

We have been fortunate over the past year to have gathered together for happy times, a breakfast for Bill when he was in town for a visit, a shower and wedding for Kellie and Jason, and a holiday gathering at the home of Dean and Cindy.

At my Uncle Doug’s service today as we celebrated his life, 10 of 11 cousin’s were in attendance along along with our moms, spouses, children and grandchildren. It felt like a perfect time to capture such a moment! Only missing of the first cousins was my brother Bill who was unable to make the trip from Texas.

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Of course in our hearts and memories were all those who are no longer with us, Robin, Dad, Nana Miller, Uncle Ray and Aunt Dot, Uncle Ken and more.

After the immediate cousin photo, we gathered the three matriach’s of our families Aunt Marie (my Dad’s sister, Uncle Doug’s wife), my Mom, and Aunt Ruth (my Dad’s youngest sister), as well as spouses and children. A few were not in attendance or left before the photo was taken! All were in the photos in our hearts.

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I personally prefer to be on the back side of the camera, and I know many feel the same. I appreciate each and everyone who were willing to pose for the moment!

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What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life – to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories. ~George Eliot

The lighting was a challenge… just enough to not trigger the flash, it would have helped with some of the glare!

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The Vietnam Moving Wall – Hatfield, PA


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Our community had the unique opportunity to have replica of the Vietnam Wall, The Moving Wall, on display at American Legion Post 933 this past week. This project took months of preparation and fund raising. The Moving Wall is required to be open to the public 24 hours/day, so you can imagine the amount of volunteer time just to staff this undertaking for the 4 1/2 days.

Maybe to some, this does not seem like a big deal, but I grew up during Vietnam, and my brother was killed in Vietnam. If you have read my blog over the past month, you know that I have been sharing letters and pictures that Robin sent home during his tour in Vietnam. This “project” was spurred on in anticipation of The Moving Wall’s arrival.

In research I have done while sharing these letters, I realize that over 40 years later there is still much pain, physical for some and emotional for most, endured each day for the veterans from this era. It was an unpopular war and these brave fighting boys and men, were not welcomed home by parades and yellows ribbons, more so they arrived home to protests and picket signs.

I have actually been to to visit four times. I am not sure if I will get back there today before it closes and moves on to it’s next destination as I have to work and it is a rainy morning.

During my visits, there were of course couples and families (I was so thankful to see many families with children who for them the war is just history), but also lone men. Many wearing caps depicting them as Vietnam vets, some in their motorcycle leathers with patches that identified them as a vet, and some who just stood and stared at one panel in particular for a long time in silence. Surely remembering a comrade, friend or family member.

I visited with my mother on Friday evening, my sister, mother and I went on Saturday evening to see it in the dark with the lights illuminating it, I went for a quiet solo visit Sunday morning and I took Tara yesterday evening. I used to visit The Wall in Washington DC weekly during the five years I lived nearby, and my mother and sister have seen it as well. All though this is a scale replica, the emotions are still the same. It is quite overwhelming to see all of the names etched on the wall.

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My sincere thanks go out to all the members of American Legion Post 933 in Hatfield, PA, and other local veteran groups, and everyone who volunteered their time. Also those who helped in fund raising and helped by financially sponsoring this event. I had hoped to be be able to help in some way, and regret that the craziness that has been my life the past couple months did not allow me to attend a planning meeting.

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Ruby Tuesday II – Red, White and Blue Birthday

Today we started celebrating my mother’s 89th birthday a few days early!
When you are about to be 89, you deserve a multi-day celebration.
My sister, brother-in-law, mother, myself and friends Bobbie and Denny had a nice lunch at Via Marconi Smokehouse Tavern. This is a relatively new restaurant at Station Square on Church Rd, Lansdale, right near the Pennbrook Train station.  
The bar/pub area is very open, with lots of windows and natural light. Many TVs give you the opportunity to keep up with your favorite sport, and if you so like, there is a dart board! One of these visits I’m going to throw some darts!
This is the second time I have been here, and once again the food did not disappoint. I had your basic cheeseburger today. It was very good on a great roll. It came with a pickle and chips. I considered upgrading to their awesome sweet potato fries today, but stuck to the basics! 
All were in agreement that their sandwiches are HUGE. Bobbie, Mom and Larry all brought 1/2 of their sandwiches home. 
As if the sandwiches were not enough, Bobbie baked and decorated a cake for Mom! Bobbie has made several cakes for family functions and she never fails to outdo herself! This great patriotic themed cake was just perfect for Mom. A delicious yellow butter cake with yummy icing

Looking good for nine days short of 89!

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Alphabe-Thursday – E is for EPCOT

Jenny MatlockI’m late, I’m late for a very important date! I’m too late to officially link up to Alphabe-Thursday, but I’m still going to do my “E” post. I really really want to get through the alphabet with this one!

One of these weeks I will come up with a theme for the letter and get out and take the pictures in that current week, but so far that has not happened!

When we lived in Orlando, EPCOT was pretty much our favorite Disney Park. I originally thought that at 6 years old when we arrived in Orlando that the park would not have for Tara, but I was very wrong!

Of course the first thing you see when you enter EPCOT is Spaceship Earth. (This picture is from 2006, the hand was removed in 2007). We always loved this ride. It too changed over the years from being sponsored by AT&T (my former employer) to Siemens who will sponsor until 2017. Unless the line was really long this was most times our first stop!

EPCOT hosts the Flower and Garden Expo every spring and the Food and Wine Festival every fall.
I always loved the topiaries at EPCOT.

The World Showcase was my favorite part of EPCOT. It was like taking a quick trip around the world, being able to experience a little bit of a several different cultures without leaving Florida!

This has always been one of my favorite photos! I don’t often get sentimental about Tara growing up (she is 16 now!) but when I look back at our Disney photos I do. Those six years we lived there were a very special time for us!

We made some really wonderful memories at EPCOT. This was the one park that I would also steal away for an occasional day by myself while Tara was in school!

The holidays were always beautiful at EPCOT (as well as all of Disney property). You could experience Christmas Around the World.

Some days we would ride the Monorail from Magic Kingdom to EPCOT and back without getting off!

Sometimes not everyone was happy about getting their photo taken! This was after a very trying Mother’s Day at EPCOT. My mother and great nephew Tyler were visiting, and the day did not turn out as special as I had hoped. NO ONE was in a good mood! One of those days were I set my expectations too high!

EPCOT has some pretty amazing fireworks each night. We did not make it to them often unless we had out of town guests!

Good Night EPCOT!

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Family

There’s one sad truth in life I’ve found
While journeying east and west –
The only folks we really wound
Are those we love the best.
We flatter those we scarcely know,
We please the fleeting guest,
And deal full many a thoughtless blow
To those who love us best
~Ella Wheeler Wilcox~


I ♥ my family with all its dysfunction! I will never understand why family members will continue to take advantage of or hurt the one(s) that have always been there for them. 

Too much of my energy and focus yesterday was spent trying to figure this out!




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