Wednesday, April 30, 2008

In the Midst

In the midst of having a heart-heavy feeling about the loss of Mom and not feeling so well myself, there have been reasons to savor the sweetness in life as well: spending more time than usual with family, good times with good friends, the amazing resurgence of the Spring season, and appreciating the creativity of the human brain in expressions of art, architecture, literature, cuisine and thought. For being a part of the human experience, I am truly blessed.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

New Life...and Love

Can I just say that I love this picture taken recently of Anne and baby Ingrid? Everything about it is so sweet, isn't it?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Casa Bonita Family Fun

TASTE THE GREATEST SHOW IN DENVER! - great Mexican food PLUS over 30 attractions - cliff divers, escaping gorillas, cowboy shootouts, lost caves and caverns, amusement arcade and more Photography © by Casa Bonita Casa Bonita has been the funnest AND tastiest place to eat in Denver for nearly thirty years. Few can resist the excitement of the live shows combined with our all you can eat dinners. Check out our menus and our entertainment and see for yourself how great Casa Bonita is! Visiting Colorado was always a treat for our young family. Seeing Grandma and Grandpa at "the big house" and going to the mountains to their place on Grand Lake with trips taken on their pontoon was a blast! We went to Elitches Amusement Park, Lakeside Park, the zoo, the Mint, the Capitol name it and we had an outing there. However, a perennial favorite was going to Casa Bonita. So many of us wanted to have our celebratory Mom "send off" at this restaurant before we all re-entered our back home lives. It was an evening I'll always remember...and, once again, you can check Linnea's blog for her take on this event, too. Vintage John (4), Linnea (9) and Anne(8) on the bridge by the waterfall/diving area.
Casa Bonita in 1990 with my parents. Please note that my perm/mullet hair years were a mistake.
Right: This year with the Mariacchi band. They, too, have updated their look!
Though we ALL had been to Casa Bonita with Mom and Dad, we had never gone as this big of a group. We had to split up seating, but by the end of the meal, we all were together...loving every minute of the memories. The cliff divers, the schmaltzy show, the mediocre morsels, the delicious sopapillas, the silly puppet show - all were new again as we watched through the eyes of Cal and Ava.
Here the group of Grands and Greats gather before heading into Black Bart's Hideout Cave. All can remember being scared witless as kids here...I remember John and Anne turning back many times before the end was reached! Now Cal and Ava have experienced the same feelings. Time can be very sweet.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bling it On!

Oh, how my Mom loved to accessorize! She loved lapel pins, stick pins, earrings (pierced after the age of 60!!), beaded necklaces, chain necklaces, rings and (sometimes) bracelets. She wasn't really "dressed up" and presentable without an article of jewelry. Most pieces weren't very valuable, but all were treasures. At our big family dinner celebrating her life, I brought out the boxes containing these bling-bling treasures and the grand-daughters took turns picking pieces for themselves. Laughter, stories and even a song or two were sung together as they remembered Vera.
Here the girls are pictured together wearing their finery. L to R: Jennifer, Linnea, Anne
After the grand-daughters went through their Grandma's jewelry, it was time for the grandsons to get into the action. These guys sure know how to accessorize! What you might not see so well in this picture is that Andrew and John both have silver bracelets in their mouths to further bling-ize their appearance! L to R: Carl, Peter, Andrew and John.
Thanks for all the fun, guys. Grandma would love knowing you now have something she once wore close to yourselves as well.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Priceless Memories and Photos

Photographs are such a comfort to me these days as I mourn the loss of Mom. I began the project of going through some of the family albums with her over a year ago. As we were preparing for Mom's Visitation and Memorial services, it was my honor to put together a memory photo board for Mom. What was difficult about it was to only use one board when there could have been hundreds highlighting the various ages and stages of her life. Now that we are back home, I find myself with so many images of Vera, and I know I am going to miss her terribly. Our Nelson family celebrated her full, long life in Colorado this past weekend; more details are available on Linnea's and Anne's blogs to link to on the right of my blog, should you care to see more of these actual events. It was a very powerful time for all of us. Peter and John are looking through one of the realy old albums. Even though I had seen these albums before, there were many surprises to be found like seeing an article about Mom singing on a radio station, her position as a forward on the basketball team (remember she was barely 5 feet tall!), and an autographed napkin bearing my Dad's signature on it long before they were an "item." Anne is looking at a more recent album of Mom's life after she moved back to Illionis in 2004 - 2005. Here Linnea, Duane and Timi look at an old photo album that Mom had put together of Duane's family. Our family on April 12, 2008. Who knew that on March 4, 1945 when Mom and Dad were married that by this date we would number 22, with two more on the way? Their human legacy will continue to grow.
We're all back in our homes and lives now. Fresh heartaches for all. Yet, somehow, each of us has a frozen moment or two from the weekend that we will forever hold close in our hearts as we remembered a special woman and the full life she lived. And, due to the camera lens, we will be able to relive our family time together in picture format now and to pass along to the generations to come.

Monday, April 07, 2008

December 19, 1921 - April 7, 2008

Today my Mother, Vera, passed away. Peace to her memory. She is in a far better place now, freed from her earthly body and physical limitations. Her mind is surely to be clear as a bell and she and my father, her parents and other loved ones are having a reunion like no other. I love you, Mom and will miss your face lighting up when you see me, just like it's Christmas. So many words, but this is all I can muster now.