After too many years to count of slowly losing the Alzheimer’s disease battle, my Grandma June passed away this September. She was only 95 years young. Of course, going through the process of preparing for her celebration of life brought back many, many memories of the “old” Grandma June. The woman I used to know in my teenage years. And most of the memories revolved around two subjects:
Social graces. Grandma smiled and made everyone feel at home. She never met a stranger. Ever. As a teenager, she was embarassing because she talked to everyone. In my late twenties and early thirties, it was great to walk through Issaquah with her. She welcomed everyone who passed by. Often turning a grumpy face into a little smile. She was especially happy to see children and animals. Every dog got an ear scratching.
Born: June 10, 1917
Death: September 29, 2012
Piles of food. She always had food for everyone. Until she started losing her mind.
I remember walking in the door as a kid, and having her pull salad after salad from her refridgerator. Coleslaw and macaroni. Or maybe fruit salad. I often wondered how it all fit.
Another snack she always had handy – whether at her house, in the travel trailer at some campground or on her frequent visits to our house – hard salumi, a variety of cheeses and more grapes that you can count.
Maybe the most fascinating was her starting my love for jicama. She would slice it and eat it plain. I have learned that lime juice or paprika sprinkles or in a salad are also wonderful ways to eat it.
And then the not-so good memories. Burnt toast – and charred fish. To this day, I don’t like an charred food!
Ironically, she never lost her appetite (in fact she could eat for hours because she didn’t remember she just ate five minutes ago).
With over a year into my 5th decade, 40 seems so….normal.
And it is more fun to celebrate as friends turn 40. This weekend, it is Erin’s turn. And what is extra special about sharing Erin’s celebration is there has never been a time in her life that I didn’t know her. Our fathers are grade school friends; we were likely about 10 before we understood that we were not really related. Luckily, we even lived in the same town most of our childhood (I moved a few miles away at the end of my 4th grade year). I have memories that include Erin from every decade of my life – and most years. Our kids are being raised the same way. Trips to the beach, days at the fair, passing down clothes, and for my daughter, learning to take care of the horses.
So it was no surprise that as soon as Erin confirmed the date and time of her 40th birthday celebration, my girl decided she was making 40 cupcakes to take. Happy 40th to a life-long friend – and here’s to 40 more years of memories!
Today is my last day in the 30s decade. A new decade starts tomorrow. I have achieved a lot in the last decade. Who knows what the next decade has to offer. What I do know is the next year is dedicated to being F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S. That is how I choose to celebrate that milestone birthday – 40.
What does being FABULOUS mean? I am sure that varies by who you ask. I know what I mean by FABULOUS. I am taking care of me by enjoying 40 fabulous things over the next 365 days. In addition, I want to drink 40 fabulous glasses of wine. I want to eat 40 fabulous meals. So I should be busy at least 120 of the next 365 days (unless I double up some days).
I plan to share each FABULOUS adventure right here. A sort of public journal. Please feel free to follow my adventure to celebrating 40 years as often as you wish.