Friday, December 23, 2011



So when we left off last year, Jim was very poor and Gwen was stylishly on bed rest.  Jeff was in Walla Walla, Tim had a nice tan, and Jesse was – well, Jesse was busy being Jesse. 

We postponed our Christmas so that Jeff and Danielle could join us.  They arrived on Tuesday night and we pretended it was Christmas Eve.  On Wednesday we awoke to snow so we truly did have a white Christmas.  I highly recommend postponing the holiday until it's convenient for you.  Not only do you get another chance at a white holiday, but there is loads more time for decorating, baking, shopping (and you can take advantage of post Christmas sales if you want to brave the crowds), and you have all that extra time for procrastinating.  It worked out just great for us, so I've declared a new holiday, Brassmas, where you just celebrate whenever you darn well feel like it or get a round tuit. 

I started off the new year with a trip to the cardiologist where I was declared heart-healthy.  Tests showed that I had not had a heart attack and the 'damaged' spot in my heart had healed completely after the angioplasty.  I'm on an impressive array of meds.  It was a sad day when I realized I was taking more pills each day than my mother.  And an even sadder day when I realized my memory was so far gone that I couldn't remember from one moment to the next what I was doing and had to resort to one of those little pill cases with the slots for each day.  I hit rock bottom on a trip to visit my mom and found she had a shirt almost identical to one of mine.  And hers was cuter.

We were only a few weeks into the new year when I slipped and fell down our stairs.  I managed to bruise myself from head to toe inside and out (taking blood thinners makes for some spectacular bruising) and twisted my knee.  This injury allowed me to lie in bed watching tv for several days and further postpone taking down the Christmas decorations.  I gave some thought to just leaving them up all year but in the end started taking them down the last weekend in January.  I managed to drag this out til the end of March, when I decided to get it done so I could put up Easter decorations.  Except for the one tree upstairs which didn't get taken down til September when we had overnight company coming and I was embarrassed for them to see that tree.

In the meantime, I had not even recovered from the twisted knee before being given the news that Jim and I were going to be grandparents. Yes, 2011 was getting off to an exciting start!

Jeff and Danielle spent the year in Walla Walla.  Danielle received her Master's in Sociology in August and went back home to Hawaii.  Jeff stayed in Walla Walla to work a couple months more, which turned into him deciding to stay there a while.  He lives with a bunch of people he works with and enjoys both his friends and his work.  He came home for a visit in early November with his head shaved.  This is the first time since he was two years old that he has had short hair.  Quite a shock!

                                                                               Last known photo of Jeff with long hair.

Tim stayed down in Forest Grove for the summer and worked on campus in their Convention Services department, which was a job that Jeff had done when he was there.  During training, they learned how to make beds properly.  They were given a photo on how not to make beds and as it was passed around, Tim was informed, "This is one of your brother's beds."  I'm sure Tim's beds were meticulous and now they have "do" and "don't" photos from the Brass brothers.  This is Tim's last year at Pacific.  He's majoring in Business Accounting and really likes it.  He works on campus during the school year building sets in the theater department.

Jesse finished up his freshman year at Washington State University and came home for the summer. He worked for a contractor helping with painting and minor construction.  In September he transferred to Seattle Central Community College in order to be closer to home.  He lives in a 6-bedroom house in the Beacon Hill area with 7 other males.  It is surprisingly clean and it doesn't even smell bad.  A lot of kids from his high school class attend the same college, and he's enjoying Seattle a lot.  He just got a part-time job yesterday at a steakhouse, which I'm very excited about!

On Thursday, October 6, Jesse and Justine Coomes welcomed Hayden Alexander into their hearts.  Hayden is adorable (which one would expect from a Brass baby) and so sweet; Justine is a wonderful mom; and Jesse had Hayden's hair combed into a mohawk within the first 24 hours.  Jesse was a really good baby and very easy, and it looks like Hayden is following in dad's footsteps. 

We all have to grow up sometime.  (Except for me, of course.)   Jesse has had maturity handed to him in the form of a sweet little 7 pound 14 ounce, 20 inch package and has taken to being a dad with surprising ease.  There's definitely something to be said for young parents.  

I finally got back to work court reporting this year (although it has been very slow going), and besides working in Washington, I took several trips down to the Bay Area and did some work for firms down there while visiting my family.  After one trip, my friend and traveling companion Thelma Shelley flew down and drove back up with me.   We stopped in Healdsburg on the way home and visited an old high school friend Linda and had a blast.  I fell in love with Healdsburg and can't wait to go back.  Then we drove up 101, had dinner at the Samoa Cookhouse (which did not quite live up to the memories I had of it), and ended up in Brookings, Oregon, where we spent the night at Sue's, another high school friend.  We next headed to the cabin for a night and ended the trip in Walla Wallla where we went wine tasting and out to dinner with Jeff and Danielle.  It was a great trip with lots of wine consumed and purchased.

On another of my trips to the Bay Area, my niece Sawyer and I cooked at a Big Green Egg Eggfest, Eggs by the Bay.  We cooked up a number of things, but our hit of the day was definitely "You Had Me at Marshmallow," cedar-planked Twinkies topped with Nutella, crushed Oreos, mini marshmallows, and crushed Heath bars.

In September 5 friends came to visit me for an extended weekend.  We were quite the international group.  They came from France, Connecticut/New York, Ohio, Texas, and Australia.  Only Catherine from France had been to Seattle before, so we played tourist a bit, consumed lots of wine, and lounged around our house having a great "girls' weekend."  (Jim was banished to the cabin for the duration.)   Notice the cute tablecloth I made for the occasion.  We really did have a lot of laughs and a lot of fun.

When not palling around with friends, I've been a busy little worker bee.  I've been doing some floral work for Farmhouse Flowers, a local florist here in Langley, which I really enjoy; and, of course, I continue to work at The Clyde on Tuesdays in the ticket booth and in the snack bar whenever Mindy goes on vacation.  At the end of November I decided that 5 jobs weren't enough, so I started working for Greenbank Farm.  I'm their facilities rental manager.  Basically I handle all their rentals for events that are held on the property, including a lot of weddings, which should be a blast.  Keeping track of 6 part-time jobs is a full-time job, so I'm pretty busy these days.  But it's all fun and you know what they say – variety is the spice of life.  As reporting picks up for me, I'll be dropping some of the other jobs.  My goal is to get it narrowed down to court reporting, the movie theater, Greenbank Farm, and doing flowers.

Jim continues to enjoy his only (slacker) job at Evergreen Construction in Auburn.  He works from home two days a week and commutes down to Auburn the other three.  Sometimes Buddy goes to work with Jim if I'm not around.  Everyone there loves Buddy, but Buddy is not overly fond of riding in the car and has figured out that if Jim gets up really early and I'm not around, then maybe he should go and hide from Jim in hopes of avoiding the car.  So then Jim has to go in search and there is a lot of coaxing involved when he finally locates Buddy.  On days I work at Farmhouse Flowers or at the bus barn for the school district, I take Buddy with me if Jim isn't working from home that day.  Again, he's not thrilled to go, so he hides from me too.  He's a funny pup.  But we love him to pieces.

We're down to three chickens now, and they have quit laying eggs except for two piddling eggs we got in November.  Which is really a drag because we (Jim) have to take care of them and feed them, all the while going to the store to buy eggs.  It was so much fun just going to the coop to collect the eggs.  I don't care for this new arrangement at all.

We had Jesse, Hayden, Justine, Tim, and our friends Robert and Shelley with us for Thanksgiving and had a great time eating turkey and consuming lots of wine.  So much fun to have a baby in the house again!  Baby smells are even better than turkey and gravy smells.

Yesterday I drove down to Oregon, picked up Tim, and brought him back for the holidays.  Jesse came over from Seattle this afternoon.  Jeff will come home on the 26th and we'll celebrate Brassmas.  Jim and I will be celebrating our 25th anniversary on December 27, so it'll be a combined Brassmasversary.   Hayden will be with us on the 25th and 26th when I hope to get more baby nuzzling time in.

Today is the 23rd and I haven't baked a single cookie or even put up a tree.  We might venture outside to see if we can find something in the yard tomorrow.  I went out there looking the other day and they all looked pretty spindly.  I think that's because I hadn't had enough wine yet, so I'll get an early start on that tomorrow and see what I can come up with.

Happy Bralidays to all of you!  We miss you and think of you often.

No comments: