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Archive for February, 2012

Aunt T

I have been meaning to write about great Aunt T since we lost her, but the spirit didn’t move me until the morning after a recent Skype call  with my mom and aunt.  Reading the obituary they shared with me then told me nothing new, but I was reminded of what a grand lady she was, who loved loved life drinking it to the lees.  She was on this earth for 90 years.

This morning when I woke up, dark and early, memories of her were jumbling around in my head so I hustled downstairs to get the ideas out before the words left me.  I don’t have a lot to say, in fact, I only met Aunt Thelma once, when I was a 2nd grader on a summer road trip from Washington State down to her home in sunny southern California.  I remember distinctly the first time I saw her because she had a wig on.  I think it was red, and I think it was because my mom thought she had red hair when she was a kid, or something like that.  I can’t recall all of the details, but I do remember thinking that this lady was something else.  On that trip we went to her usual haunts: the beach, the thrift shop, the Mexican restaurant she loved, the spot outside some random store to get weeds to feed to her little budgie.  I vividly recall the avocado trees in her yard, a sight I couldn’t quite fathom being a Washingtonian girl who thought avocados came only from the grocery store. I remember mowing her lawn (my idea) using a motor-less lawn mower that she no doubt picked up from a second-hand shop.  And that is it really.  I was young and didn’t know or understand the importance of being around a family matriarch.

Even though I only met her that once, through letters we kept in touch.  I was a sporadic correspondent, but I tried to send her postcards from my travels, mail that was always well-received and reciprocated by letters written on recycled cards and envelopes.  When I say recycled, I don’t mean recycled by the manufacturer.  Aunt T would repurpose cards and envelopes that people had sent her, something I found eccentric in my youth but whimsical and progressive in my adulthood.  In fact, her letters were so unique and original, office mates over the years came to know Aunt T and her self-constructed envelopes stuffed with bits of this and that.  Never once did I receive a letter without a random newspaper clipping or a snipped section from her senior center’s newsletter. She was a character, that is for sure.

So, Aunt T has moved on from this world she loved so much.  She leaves behind many people that love her dearly who were inspired by her fierce spirit.  I will end this post with her obituary.

Godspeed, Aunt T.

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people move our souls to dance. They awaken us to a new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom. Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. They stay in our lives for awhile, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.”

― Flavia Weedn

 Our beloved aunt, and longtime Santa Maria resident, Thelma Missouri Andersen, born August 16, 1921 passed away peacefully, February 8, 2012 at the age of 90.  Thelma was the daughter Charles B. White, a Santa Maria barber, and Annie R. White, founder of White’s Doll Hospital on W. Fesler.

 After graduation from Santa Maria High School, Thelma went on to become a registered nurse, beginning what would become a lifetime of service to others. She attended nursing school in Texas and was one of the first groups of nurses flown into Boise, Idaho to care for polio patients.  She also cared for TB patients confined to iron lungs. Near the end of her career she provided private nursing for Hollywood celebrities.

She was the widow of Thomas Christian Andersen, of Denmark, and companion to Thomas Dean Phillips of Santa Maria.

Widely known for her humor, optimism, creative artistry, generosity, spontaneity and remarkable spirit, Thelma loved life and thought of it as a perpetual adventure.

One of her favorite past times was attending The Great American Melodrama of Oceano and PCPA productions. At her request there will be no public services. In lieu of flowers please make donations in her name to The Great American Melodrama.

Thelma is survived by her nephew Frank Prince of Gold Beach, OR; niece Jolene and her husband Roger Brown of Benton City, WA; niece Judy and her husband Frank Hugenberger of Lebanon, OR, and niece Janey and husband Rusty Angleton of Santa Maria, CA. She is further survived by numerous great nieces and nephews, as well as many great great nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her dear friend and extended family member Gale McNeely of Santa Maria, CA.

Those who knew and loved her know that Thelma lived by the philosophy that, “life is good and not to worry.”

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Kreativ Blogger Award

I have seen this award of sorts passed around the various blogs that I read and recently, I received it myself from a cool, smart and strong lady I met at a  PTC conference in London two summers backs.  It was an “aw shucks” moment to receive it since she said such nice things about me on her blog.  Formerly posted in Uzbekistan, she is now settled into life in Malaysia with her two sons. Her blog is all about life as an expat mom and is an interesting and informative read.

What is the Kreativ Blogger Award you ask?  Well, it is an award that you share with other bloggers who inspire your life and/or writing. If I were really a cool blogger, I would know how to download the graphic that goes with it, but alas, I am not that blogger.  Anyway, once you receive the award, you share seven random things (preferably interesting) about yourself and then you pass the award on to other bloggers as aforementioned.  I feel like I read about a million blogs a day, mostly professional cooking blogs and a couple on how to wrangle small male children, but my favorites are by the people I know. So I will now pass the torch on to the folks whose blogs inspire me.  Since these blogs are mostly personal works and do not seem to be written for larger public consumption, I will mention them briefly here as an homage and let them decide what to do.

RF: The original blog to pique my interest in online writing, written by a special person who has influenced my life in many ways and continues to do so through his blog.

SD:  I love this blog because I get some serious insight into life in places I have never been.  I have followed her from China, to Laos and now to India, with all kinds of interesting pit stops along the way.  We met originally here in Istanbul and both had plans to move on to other countries, teaching and enjoying life.  I met Koray and happily stayed here in Istanbul while she and her husband moved on to other teaching adventures. She is a hoot to follow around the world.

AF: Another blogger that piqued my online writing interest years back, this lady is hilarious, insightful, honest and cuts to the chase, most probably because she is mama to two beautiful children, looks like a million bucks, and still runs like she did when I knew her pre-bebeks. She know resides in Brazil.

MK: The newest addition to the blogs that I follow, this fashionista is currently living in India, where she and her husband recently relocated from Istanbul. Honest and down to earth, this blog also takes me through parts of the world new and exciting.  Nothing like living vicariously through the travels of others.

LD: Last but not least I grant the award to a sassy lady with great energy and humor.  A former Istanbulite like myself, this blogger moved back to the U S of A before heading down under to beautiful, green New Zealand.  Her Kiwi and other adventures are a thrill to follow.

So, now on to me.  Seven random things that most people don’t know about me… here goes…

1.  Loose bread crumbs on the counter makes me want to run screaming. Not a good trait to have in a country where you slice your own bread.

2.  I love lamb fat and Jamie Oliver (well, I am actually a little obsessed with the latter). A side note, if you ever get a chance to eat at one of his restaurants, by all means DO NOT miss this opportunity.  The best food EVER.

3.  Even though just one half a cup over a regular sized can will give me a headache the day after (what is in that stuff?) I continue to drink Efes and even miss it when I am in the US or Canada. Yes, even with all the micro-brews at my fingertips.

4.  Originating from a long bus ride across Honduras, I  invented the “camel technique” when I travel.  It works every time. E-mail me if you are an avid traveler, especially in countries with poor bathroom facilities, and I will give you the low down.

5. I am surprised when people say they like my blog and that they think I can write well.

6.  Even though moms and yoga pants (or house pants as I lovingly refer to them) have been getting a bad rap lately, if I could, I would wear them every day of the week, all day and all night. I am not a big fan of dressing up.

7. Especially in the bleak gray light of March, I have paid exorbitant amounts of money for peanut butter, maple syrup, sweet potatoes and pork products. I have also smuggled parsnips, rhubarb, small decorative pumpkins, blueberries and butternut squash into Turkey. One time I even brought a jar of bacon fat. True story.

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