Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Tuesday-11:15am: Family weekend

Saturday it was cloudy off and on, but I don't think it ever rained.
I took these pictures while I was waiting for everyone to arrive at the local motel and then make their way over to my place.  On my birthday in March I got a surprise gift through PayPal from my best friend in high school, Patricia.  I opened a PayPal account buy couldn't decide what to get with my unexpected birthday money.  Figured it should be something I wouldn't ordinarily buy, right?  
I met Haiying through the Yahoo Chinese brush painting group several years ago and still try to keep up with her youtube channel.  Haiying has opened an etsy shop and I decided to buy some goodies she brought back from her recent trip home to Beijing and they arrived on Saturday.   
Got three tiny hand painted tea cups. 
The smallest one has an orange fish on the other side, too. 
And a little water pot.  You submerse them to fill them.  You use your thumb to cover the top hole and then uncover to release tiny bits of water into your ink stone for grinding ink sticks.  Of course, these can be used anyplace you may need small amounts of water...not uncommon for me.  ;)  
Haiying surprised me with this extra tin that had something rattling around inside. 
Flower tea balls!!  I have seen them on her youtube video, but have never had one of my own!  I planned to maybe use the family as guinea pigs--LOL!  ;)
I moved karma's cat bed into the bedroom, so she knew something was up.  She was up on her side of the loveseat out of habit, anyways, watching me freaking out as the cell phone rang and rang and rang...I knew it was my mom saying everyone was there and they were on their way over...but the darn phone suddenly picked that very moment to decide it wouldn't let me slide the bar over so I could answer it!  So, I grabbed my land line and tried to dial my folks' cell phone and it said the call couldn't be connected.  Huh?  I tried with the "1" first and then without--call couldn't be sent?  I finally had to call Leah and ask her to call my folks to tell them to come on over.
Then Leah called me back and talked me through removing the battery on my cell phone and restarting it.  Then it worked again.  Murphy's Law that these things happen at the worst possible times, right?  ROFL!
I was hoping the phone was working right so I could buzz them in, saw them arrive, but then they didn't ring for me to buzz them in.  So I started down the hallway.  I smiled as I could hear them coming off the elevator (we are a chatty lot).  Somebody had let them in.  And there they all were!!  Been such a very long time since we've been all together!  My fault because travel is so hard on me anymore.  (Which is really embarrassing when your dad still drives up from Florida with a new hip at 91!)
Karma was laying on the love seat and I think it was Blaine, Renee, and Joel went right up to greet her and all three were saying hello and petting her at once...and she didn't hiss or anything!!??  Must be some kind of a family thing?  She's never hissed at my folks when they come, either?  Even let my mom comb her once?  Or maybe just that she got her just acknowledgement like a princess greeted on her throne--LOL!  ;)  Karma even hung around under the end table after I had to de-throne her so everybody could sit down.
Okay, I was so excited to see everybody and meet Josette (Jozette?)...never took one picture.  I did remember to bring my camera when we headed over to Dagan and Leah's a couple hours later, but if it hadn't been for Leah bringing my camera over to me I would have forgotten.  Hey, I forget when Dagan and Leah are here--let alone when there's company I haven't seen for years!  I get happily caught up in the visiting, ya know.  ;)
Here we are waiting for the Chinese to be delivered over at D&L's place.  From left to right are Leah, my sister (Renee), Dagan, Josette (Joel's girlfriend), and Joel (my sister's son). 
In this shot...to continue around the table is Blaine (brother), my dad (Kelly), and my mom (Jane). 
After dinner is when I finally would have remembered to get my camera because we decided to take family pictures on their deck.  So here's my family: Blaine(58), Dad (91), Mom (83), me (61), and Renee (57).  (Hope I got all those correct.) 
Dagan and Leah. 
Josette, Joel, and Renee. 
Renee also has a married daughter, Brittany, living in England.  Blaine is married to Kathy and they have three married kids; two boys and a girl.  Their daughter (Sondra) lives in Scotland and the two boys (Konrad and Ryan) live nearby in the Twin Cities.  Ryan, the youngest boy, has two very little ones (boy and girl). 
Sunday was a beautiful day!  It was only in the 50s at night and I would have had my place open all night, but my dad gets so cold (he's been a Floridian for so long that the thicker Minnesotan blood has totally thinned out of him years ago--LOL!) that I didn't open it up till morning.  (No heat available till fall here when you rent.) 
They all met for breakfast (I'm not very functional for a few hours after I wake up) and then came over to my place for a while.  Dad and I had the window spots.  Can you see the tea steeping in the glass pot on the table? 
 Though we have quite a few coffee lovers in the family and only occasional tea drinkers, we agreed it was pretty good.  We can all say we tried some double happiness flower ball tea.  ;)
My mom.  Been two years since I've seen my folks because they left early last summer so Dad could go back to Florida for his hip replacement surgery.  (No walker this year!)  
My brother, Blaine.  We figured out I haven't seen him since he helped me move up here to Moorhead, Minnesota in 1999. 
Everybody kind of squeezed in someplace.  We figured out that I haven't seen Joel (maybe once briefly at Renee's but nobody could remember specifics) for 14 years.  Was at the folks' 50th wedding anniversary dinner and they just had their 64th. 
Karma even hung around the second day for quite while, too.  You know how she loves bags--she came out from under the end table and was rubbing all over Renee's bag and almost dozed off down there.  I saw Renee last right after I moved to Fargo in 2005.
My long room isn't as conducive to conversation, but we managed.   
Leah got called into work shortly, anyways (which we knew about), so she and Dagan took off (he was on call, too).  Then Blaine, Renee, Joel and Josette took off for Minneapolis and it was just Mom and Dad and I for the rest of the day.  Dad took a nap on the couch and Mom and I chatted all afternoon.  I nuked quick breaded fake chicken sandwiches for dinner (Quorn brand) and Mom and Dad really liked them.  They took off early while it was still quite light out so Dad could drive to the motel.  He isn't allowed to drive after dark, and doesn't want to.  The visit went by so fast!
Funny how quickly you fall into the enthusiastically talking over each other, several conversations going at once, punctuated often with spurts of laughter...the sudden silence when everyone digs in to eat...the long Minnesota good-byes at the door when each group departs...
...and then silence.  
Memories lingering in the air.
And Karma emerged from under the bed--lol!
That night... 
...she was glad to have me all to herself. 
All was right with the world again.  ;)
I was proud of her.  
She never hissed at anybody. 
I am so very grateful for pain pills.  They made my weekend easier and I was better company than I would have been without them...especially by Sunday.  ;)  
It was wonderful to meet Josette and to see us three "kids" together with Mom and Dad for the first time since their 50th--14 years ago.  We may barely keep in contact, but they are my family.  I love them.  Was touching to see them all and so glad Joel could come with, too.  Nice!  Nice!  Nice!  My body is still recovering a little, but my heart is full and happy.  :):)
"Those whom we most love are often the most alien to us."
Christopher Paolini

"You can kiss your friends and family good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in the world but a world lives in you."
Frederick Buechner 


Beth said...

The quote says it all! I am so glad you got to spend time with your family. time has a way of catching up with us all.

DJan said...

What a wonderful post! I am so happy you had such a good time with your family, Rita. The pictures and your words tell the tale of a very satisfying (to all) visit. And your pictures of Karma, good girl that she is, make me feel all is right with the world! :-)

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Wow, it sounds like you had a fantastic weekend. So glad you were able to manage the pain, too.

Crazy Life of a Writing Mom said...

Those pictures are so fun, and I bet it was neat trying the tea. What wonderful things to buy with the money--those teacups are absolutely stunning!

TexWisGirl said...

that's really awesome, rita. i loved the photo of the 3 of you kids w/ your folks. the photo of your mom made me miss my mom (she's been gone for almost 8 yrs now). ah well...

good girl, karma!

Dana said...

Wonderful pictures and post! I'm intrigued by the flower tea balls. I've heard of them but never seen them. :)

ChicagoLady said...

I'm so glad you had a nice visit with everyone!

Dee said...

Dear Rita, this posting was a happy read. I'm so glad for you that you all got together fourteen years after the last time. Who do you think you look like? In the photo of your mom by herself in the chair, I thought you looked like her. I'm glad, by the way, to see you in that one photograph. Now I can picture you when I write a comment or read one of your comments on my blog.

Ah, what a happy gathering. So wonderful to read. Thank you for sharing. And please tell Karma that I'm impressed with her savoir faire! Peace.

Toriz said...

Sounds like a great weekend; I'm glad you got a chance to enjoy time with your family!

Well done Karma. Bet she was glad when it was quiet and back to her normal routine though!

Toriz said...

Oh, and, by the way, my phone does that too... And yes, always at the worst possible time!

Janie Junebug said...

Those tiny teacups are glorious. You may already know this, but you should turn off your cell phone at least once a day for a few minutes. It's kind of like rebooting your computer. The nice people at the AT&T store told me that. I find my cell behaves better if I follow that rule. Now, pardon me please, because a tiny lizard is in my closet and I'd like to find it before it grows into a large dragon.


AliceKay said...

Very nice post. I'm so glad you had such a nice weekend with your family. I loved seeing all of the family photos. :)

Loved the tea cup with the goldfish on the side, too. Or maybe it's a Koi? Anyway, I really liked that one. :)

Hope you're having a good week. Loved that second quote.

Marianne (Mare) Baker Ball said...

So nice to see your family. :-) I love the tea cups!

laurak/ForestWalkArt :) said...

wow rita...you sure had a lot going on!! it's nice that you were able to ALL get together...kind of made me a bit sad though...no brother or sister...no parents...all passed away...SO BE WITH THEM and enjoy their company...laugh and tell them how much you care!! :)

i THINK i might be a little behind in my reading...aaaargh!! tomorrow...i'll get caught up if i have to READ all day!!
oh, i love those tiny water pots!! very cool! and i've never seen tea balls!

HI karma!! :)

Darla said...

Looks like you had a family reunion. I like it when the clan (or even part of the clan) gets together. I also like it when the leave, LOL!

What pretty new Japanese china you have.


Carolyn Dube said...

So glad you had such a wonderful time catching up with your family! No wonder you weren't thinking about a camera!

Victoria said...

Wow..your family and loved ones are fabulous and so very special! Loved this post..so full of beuaty and magnificent treats..love the flowering tea as well..enjoy!!
HUgs..shine on!

TammyVitale said...

Wonderful pictures and great story to go along with them! Wow - you still have BOTH your parents - that is awesome!

totally intrigued by that flower tea - it looks beautiful!

Karen Smithey said...

I'm so glad you had a good visit with your family. Made me miss my dad, and mom, who've passed away, and my sister, who doesn't talk to me...

And I'm so glad I got to see a picture of you!!!! You do NOT look as though you could possibly be 61!

And I'm glad that Miss Karma behaved herself!

Crystal said...

Happy Birthday! :-)

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

It was great seeing all the photos of your family and how great for you to get to see them after so long.

As you know I have a very close knit family and can't imagine not seeing my brother for over 10 years......lol

I bet Karma enjoyed all the pats and attention but she will be glad when everyone has left and she could get some peace......lol

Harvest Moon by Hand said...

What a wonderful post! I enjoyed seeing the pictures of your family - especially your dad and mom and YOU! Now I know what you look like. I finally have a face to go with the name which is great. You look so young for 61. I would never have guessed your age. You have a beautiful smile that looks like it would light up any room you're in. :)

Have never seen that kind of tea before. When I was in China adopting Sophia, I had the opportunity to go to a tea house there. There were so many varieties of loose tea. Was surprised at the variety and taste of each one they gave the group to sample.

Tracey FK said...

I loved the whole post... those tea cups and water pot are simply gorgeous.... and the tea blooms are pretty special... they really are quite a celebratory thing are't they.... and usually quite mild in flavour... and loved loved loved seeing all your family shots and reading about the weekend... it looks like you had a wonderful time...

Cindy Lane said...

What a joyful post filled with family, love, and tea goodies!

You must've been so happy with the visit - lucky you!

I love your tea bits & pieces. I bought a tiny tea cup with koi on it 2 weeks ago - the last one in the store. It is all green, with the koi in relief around the sides. I am convinced tea tastes better in pretty cups!

Am so envious of the ink stone water pot!

Serena Lewis said...

I love, loved, LOVED this post, Rita! Family reunions are so special! The photos look great and, I agree with Harvest Moon, you look so much younger than 61. You actually make me think of Renee Zellweger. I'm a fan. :)

How amazing was Karma?!! It's like they know who is family. Our German Shepherds were the same when we brought my Uncle back with us from England after a three month holiday many years ago. The dogs treated him no different to the rest of us even though he was a complete stranger to them. They knew!

Lovely goodies from Haiying's ETSY shop. My fave is the cup with the fish. I've never tried that type of tea but I do drink green tea quite regularly. It looked quite pretty steeping in the pot.

I'm beginning to feel half normal again so hope to be visiting more regularly.

Have a lovely week, my friend,
Serena xo

Far Side of Fifty said...

So glad you had a good weekend with your family! I am especially impressed with the No Hissing Karma:)

Queenie Jeannie said...

Sounds like an awesome visit! I'm so happy for you all!

And yes, pain pill DO make a difference when they're needed!

Intense Guy said...

I'm so glad you had such a wonderful visit!! It started rough with that silly cell phone snafu - but sounds so exciting after that!

Hey... what happened to the ages of the younger folks (and Karma)??? :)