Friends, Families and Memories

Friends, families and memories…some of the most important things in our lives. Circumstances can suddenly change our whole way of thinking and in the way we deal with issues that effect us all.  Sometimes, we are just innocent bystanders to life’s events but sometimes we are a major player.

Up until now, good food, good friends, good company have been a way of life. I have a blog that is relatively new but well received by others who have enjoyed my cooking, traveling, and leading everyone down undiscovered roads in New England and Europe.

My blog as well as my comments on other bloggers posts have been slow in appearing lately. That is because I have been attending to my mother’s health issues. We start and end our lives with our families. They are our past, our present and our future.

With our families, we share our laughter, tears, disagreements, but most importantly our memories. So many of us have shared our stories of family food memories…it is a strong connection among bloggers.

Memories...Are Priceless

While making arrangements for my mother to come live in New England in assisted living, I took her jewelry for safe keeping. Among the pieces of jewelry was the pin that you see on this post. I don’t know when my father gave my mother this beautiful pin but I remember it from when I was a little girl. It is special to her and special to me but of no real value. But isn’t that what life is really about. Special friends, family and memories are priceless.

Phyllis, from Food, Flowers, Herbs and Life has presented me with the Kreativ Award and has also challenged me to tell ten things about myself. I want to  thank her for her kind words about me and my blog. I’m going to combine the two into one post…I hope it meets with everyone’s approval.

I tend to be a private person but since many bloggers are participating in these quests to know more about a blogger, I will share a little more about me. I grew up in Texas on a ranch. I have lived in nine homes with my husband in Florida, New Hampshire and Maine. I love good food and plan trips around great restaurants. I hate giving speeches in public.

Describe yourself in seven words. I am a wife, mother, daughter, friend, artistic, quiet, thoughtful.

What keeps you up at night. I worry about my mother. Some people say “out of sight, out of mind”. I say…”what you can’t see, you worry about more”.

Who would you like to be. I am happy with who I am…my sweet husband says I’m perfect and that makes me happy.

What are you wearing. In the winter, I wear sweaters, wool slacks, and sweats. Comfy, cosy and warm during the cold days in New Hampshire.

What scares you. Most things in life don’t scare me.

The best and worst about blogging. Blogging has introduced me to new and special friends all over the world. I feel bad when I can not visit each person that visits my blog on a daily basis.

Last website you visited. I was just on Tripadvisor…I find it very useful when I travel.

Slanklets…yes or no. No.

Tell a little about the person who tagged you. Phyllis is very much a family person who enjoys spending time with her husband Ritchey at Renaissance fairs. She also writes a genealogy blog and loves to cook. She has over three hundred cookbooks. Do go over and read her blog…you will enjoy it.

I hope you learned a little more about me. I think we all enjoy the interaction with others through the comment sections on our blogs. My blogger friends have shared thought provoking  ideas, literally food for thought,  laughter and beauty beyond belief.

I leave you with one thought…”when times are good, our friends know us…when things aren’t good, we know our friends”.

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I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

102 thoughts on “Friends, Families and Memories

  1. Dear Karen, I can almost understand you, be sure, my prayers are with you, for your Mother. I wish her to get well soon. You made a wonderful post and I agree with you in all these thoughts… The photograph impressed me so much too. Congratulations, you deserve awards. My heart with you, Thank you, with my love, nia

  2. I love the end quote…very true. I hope your mother will be well and find some comfort living closer to you. It’s nice when a small thing like a pin can evoke fond memories of times gone by and inspire us to make more of the time we have with the ones we love.

    1. Hi Laura, Thank you for your nice comment and wishes. It will be hard for my mother to leave her friends but she is looking forward to being close to me. It is so important to spend time with loved ones as we never know what tomorrow will bring.

  3. I know you will feel better having your mother close to you. There is nothing more important to me than my family and I have learned how true that is by each loved one I have lost. It is nice learning a little bit about you. Lovely post.

  4. Memories enrich our lives. It’s beautiful that they come flooding back when we see something special. I loved reading this post and getting to know you a bit more Karen. I hope your Mother settles in and is happy living near you

    1. Thank you Jenny, for your nice comment. It is funny how memories can come rushing back when we see a little something from the past. I know my mother will enjoy being nearby once she is settled. Happy that you enjoyed knowing a little more about me.

  5. Thank you for your kind words! I, too, am caring for my mother – Alzheimer’s has made our way of life very different. Special moments and memories are very important. I feel your sadness – our moms always seem so indestructible when we are younger.

    I hate speaking in public, too!

    1. Hi Phyllis, Thank you for including me. I know that everyone finds your blog enjoyable. You are right…we do think of our mothers as strong and indestructible but time can change so much. Being a caregiver isn’t easy and I know that you must go through a lot os sadness with your mother. God Bless. I can express my thoughts on paper but speaking in public can sometimes panic me.

    1. Hi Mad Dog, Mother’s broach is beautiful and means a lot to her. Once my mother is settled in, I think she will be very happy. It is nice to have family close.

  6. I remember all too well, Karen, facing the same issues for my own Mom. It’s never easy but it does get better. Hang in there. You’ve plenty of people praying for you both and sending love and positive thoughts your way. Count me among them.

    1. Thank you so much John, for your kind words, thoughts and prayers. It will make my mother happy that so many people that she doesn’t know are wishing her well. It is hard for families who share the same issues. One day a child may be doing the same for me.

  7. Thanks for participating in this, Karen…the changes in our lives make it difficult sometimes.
    I hope your mother is settling-in well, and that you can regain smething of a regular schedule soon…I’ve been missing your blog, and your comments. 🙂

    1. Hi Marie, Thank you for your nice comment. Mother hasn’t been able to move as yet…she is on a waiting list which is one of the difficulties I am facing. I’ll be getting a lot of frequent flier miles in the meantime.
      You have accepted a life changing event yourself and I know that it takes a lot of work on your part. I appreciate that you have been missing my posts and comments.

  8. Hi Karen. I am in a similar situation. My parents are both in their mid 80s and my Mom lives in Independent living, but my Dad has been transferred to Nursing care permanently. They live 6 hours away from me. Distance is awful – I think about them every day and I worry and wish so much I could do more. You will feel so much better when your mother is close by – I know I would! Nothing in life really prepares us when faced with the issue of aging parents. Not easy for sure! It is the memories that will make us smile!

    1. Hi Cher, Thank you for your comment. I felt uneasy about doing this post but I am glad that I did. There are many of us that are going through the same thing and others that will face the issue of aging parents in the future. I share your feelings and the memories do bring smiles.

  9. I took care of my mother for almost 2 years before she passed away. Though it was exhausting (and even downright frustrating at times) I have never regretted that. I’m glad you are doing what needs to be done. Those end up being extremely precious memories at a time you’ll need them the most. My thoughts are with you at this time.

    And I LOVE getting little tidbits about people. It helps me to better imagine what they are like in “real” life. I think you have an extremely interesting life. I just love to “travel” along on your adventures.
    Have a great weekend, Karen.

    End of novel!

    1. Hi Sue, I appreciate you thoughts and kind words. I know that you must miss your mother very much. Exhausting and sometimes frustrating are two things I am dealing with but the good certainly shines through. I know I am doing the right thing for all of us. You will always be by my side during our travels…at least in spirit. Have a lovely weekend as well.

  10. Beautiful post Karen. I’m in a similar situation with aging parents, a Mother who is disabled. It’s not an easy task and I absolutely understand the worry. What a lovely gift you are to your Mother. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time of transition.

    1. Thank you Karista, for your kind words, thoughts and prayers. I am sorry that you are having to go through the same situation…I wish the best for you and your family. We really never expect that our roles in life will get reversed but it is something most of us will have to go through. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  11. So lovely that you took the time out to write this lovely post when you have so much else going on. Isn´t it funny how the role of carer changes over and you find yourself “in charge” of a parent and all the loving decisions that come with this responsibility. I wish you and of course your mother well in this next stage of both of your lives.

    1. Thank you Tanya, for your nice comment and wishes. I was hesitant to write this post but I wanted people to know why I wasn’t blogging and commenting as often as I had been. I am so glad that I did for all the support and good wishes from my friends.

  12. Wishing you and your mother all the best as you deal with this challenging time in her life. There is so much comfort to be found in memories. I’m glad that you have that lovely broach to remind you of happy times when you were a child.

  13. What a lovely little ballerina brooch, I wonder what the occasion was when your Dad gave it to your Mom?
    Memories are all around us even when our loved ones are no longer with us.
    Wishing you a good night’s sleep very soon.

    1. How sweet Maggie. I do wish I knew what the occasion was when my Dad give Mother the brooch. I know I will feel and sleep better when she is close by. Thank you for your wish, it is appreciated.

  14. Hang in there…you are a wonderful daughter and your mom is fortunate to have you. It is one of the hardest things to see our parents aging, to witness them become a shadow of the person we knew, and loved, them to be. My thoughts are with you and I am sending huge hugs your way. xo

    1. Oh, thank you so much Bliss. Your words are so kind. You expressed just the way I felt when I was with her…a shadow of the person I knew. Hopefully when she is close by, she will blossom. Thank you for your thoughts and hugs.

  15. Karen, My thoughts and prayers are with you. I lost my mother when I was 16; there really is no words to express how much I missed her in my life. Cherish your time with her. That pin is beautiful.

    1. Hi Linda, Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. They mean so much. I can’t imagine how hard it was to lose your mother when you were so young and not have her in your life now. When I was little, I thought that pin was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. I was so happy that she still had it.

  16. Karen,it is wonderful to get to know more about you. I hope the issues involved with moving your mother are overcome and you can have her close by. Have a great weekend. Blessings…Mary

    1. Hi Mary, I’m glad that you enjoyed getting to know a little more about me. I’m looking forward to the day when there is a place for my mother close to my home. Have a great weekend as well.

    1. Hi Debra, Thank you for your nice comment and wishes. I have loved mother’s brooch since I was a little girl. My mother had such a big smile on her face when we talked about it. It is very special to her and to me as well.

  17. I am sorry about your mom and your worry:(I lost mine at 19:(My best friend.I loved her with all my heart and still do.

    Her pin is darling..Apart from real jewelry I have inherited through my family..and the memories are favorite pieces are not real..just very sentimental..w/ words etc:)
    How sweet you know your dad gave it to her.
    I hope you will tell her that your blogging friends are wishing you all well.
    It is nice to hear how many of you love and care so much for your parents..I think and hope I would have also.

    1. Oh I am so sorry that you lost your mother at such an early age, Monique. It is wonderful when we have sentimental treasures from our family…so many memories. I thank you for your kind words. You and so many others have shown how lucky I am to have such wonderful blogging friends. I thank you and I will let my mother know that everyone is wishing her well.

  18. Hi Karen, what a beautiful and poignant post. I’m so sorry to hear that your mom isn’t doing well and as one who has a mom in her mid 80’s, I can imagine some of what you must be feeling at this difficult transition time. What a gorgeous and creative pin that is…was your mom a dancer? It was nice to get to know more about you…I didn’t know you were a mother, for one thing! Thank you for sharing a bit more of yourself with us, and please know you and your mom are in my thoughts…she’s a lucky mom, I can tell, to have you as a daughter.

    1. Hi Betsy, Thank you for your kind comment, thoughts and wishes. We all must face this situation…but I don’t know if we are truly prepared when it happens. It is harder when you are separated by so many miles. My mother was not a dancer…my father must have thought it was just a lovely work of art. I’m happy that you enjoyed learning a little more about me.

  19. What a lovely and interesting read. Touching as well, since I can relate so much to your current situation. My mother lives with us and is 83. Thank goodness she is healthy but has presented us with specific challenges, like a fractured hip which confined her to bed for months. She’s fine now and we count our blessings, but I certainly understand your frame of mind. Things such as that also often take me away but I always come back to find you all here. 🙂

    Things are fragile and precious, sometimes we need to be reminded. Thank you for opening up and sharing.

    PS: What is a Slanklet?


    1. Hi Zo, Thank you for your lovely comment. I didn’t realize that this post would touch so many people the way it has. I almost didn’t write the post but I am so glad now that I did. As you say…life is fragile and precious and I think sharing our situations helps up cope. Thank you for letting me know about your mother…I hope she stays healthy. She must love being with you.

    1. Thank you Michelle, for your nice comment. It was a hard post…as I tend to keep many feelings to myself. What loving friends we all have in our blogging world. I am very lucky to know so many of you. My sweet husband cooked us a lovely dinner this evening.

  20. Hi Karen –

    Hope things go well with your mom – she is lucky to have such a caring daughter:-). That pin is gorgeous – I could just sit and stare at the little jewels and that little pink head on the ballerina is so cute. Fun to learn more about you, but I have to admit I have no idea what Slanklets are….will have to google that one.

    1. Hi Becki, Thank you for you nice comment. As far as I can tell Slanklets are a blanket with arms.As short as I am I would probably kill myself tripping on a one size fits all Slanklet so no thank you as far as I’m concerned. Isn’t the pin lovely…they don’t make things like that now.

  21. Thanks for sharing a little something about yourself! 🙂

    “Blogging has introduced me to new and special friends all over the world. ” I am discovering this as well!

    I know how you feel. I have a someone that I worry about in my home country, Taiwan. Her health is not doing so good either, but at least she has a pretty strong network of support.

    I hope that the situation improves with this move. *sending positive thoughts to you and your family*

    I really enjoy your blog and looking forward to further developing this blog-relationship.


    1. Thank you Ming, for your lovely comment. I too look forward to our continued relationship through our blogs. Caring for a loved one depends on a true network of people and friends and is very important to the well being of our loved ones.

  22. The amount of comments you have recieved certainly shows that we all agree, there is nothing more important then our family and close friends who love and support us through success and failure. I hope your Mother is comfortable and now close enough that you can keep and eye on her progress. Best of luck.. and I love the little Ballerina

    1. Thank you Tania, for your nice comment. I try to keep my posts upbeat but was worried that people wouldn’t understand why I was absent for long periods of time and decided to write this post. I am so appreciative of the love and support from the blooging community towards my mother and myself. There are so many wonderful people such as yourself.

  23. Sounds like you have a wonderful relationship with your mom. What a blessing that she has you as she transitions to this new stage in her life. The world sure circles around doesn’t it?

    1. So true, our parents help create who we become through their love and nurturing and then the time comes for the children to do the same for their parents. Thank you for your nice comment.

  24. Dealing with parents getting older is so hard…especially when the one who used to be worried ABOUT has to become the WORRY-er. Good luck! I’m sure you’ll feel much better once your mom is moved!

    1. Thank you Joanne, for your nice comment. I don’t think most of us are really prepared to be in charge of the daily decisions of our parents. After all, they were with ones that told us what we should and shouldn’t do and now it is reversed. You just have to hope that they understand that we are giving back the love and caring that they gave to us.

  25. I can certainly understand where you are coming from Karen, my dear mother demanded to be put into assisted care (7 years ago they were just nursing homes) because it was too difficult on her husband. I cried like a baby for a week. It was brutal. The next two years were the worst in my whole life. But it’s the memories that keep me going now, and every now and then, when I look in the mirror I can see a glimpse of her. I really wish she could have seen my blog, I’m sure she would have started one on her own!

    1. Thank you Eva, for sharing about your mother. So many of us either have faced this situation or well in the future. Thank goodness there are wonderful assisted living homes now.

  26. Karen, such is life – right? Kudos to you for moving your mom closer. I too moved my mom close about 3 years ago – she’s still in her own apartment. I’ve spent countless hours with her since August when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Many hours waiting, sitting, getting chemo infusions, standing in line, radiation daily, sitting in traffic… It only seems right that we help them as they helped us become the women we are. It’s not always exactly how I want to spend my day but I’m guessing there were days she didn’t want to deal with me when I was a toddler or teenager too! The upside is on Wednesday we went for a visit after 51/2 months of chemo/radiation and the tumor is gone. This is good news, but we now go for check-ups to keep an eye out for that nasty cancer. Pray that it doesn’t return so that my mom can go about enjoying her life. Sorry for rambling – it seems to be a common thread among those of us over – let’s say 50- taking care of aging parents. Good luck to you – loved reading more about you. Our connection – Texas! It’s always a pleasure to stop by your blog and read a little. Happy Saturday! Have a glass of vino and enjoy the sunset today – I’ll keep you and your mom in my thoughts and prayers.

    1. Hi Linda, Thank you for sharing about your mother. She will be in my thoughtsand prayers as well. Her situation sounds encouraging. I hope she will be well and strong soon.

  27. Karen, my heart does go out to you, followed rapidly by prayers and the wellest of wishes. There is something about being in that position of stewardship and caregiver (the position that sometimes demands the all of who we are and have) that ends up blessing us more deeply than anything else we’ve ever experienced in life. Know that you’re not alone but are surrounded and upheld by love.

  28. Karen, Blogs are nice and can be fun, but family always comes first and the readers will be here for you when you have the time whether that is weekly, monthly or whenever! I wish you luck with your mother, stay strong and make sure you take some time for yourself. My husband and I have gone through this with both his parents and my dad and his mother’s brother in the last 10 years. They have all ultimately passed on at this time and we are experiencing a small “window” right now as my mom (81) is still very healthy and living/driving on her own but I know the time will come for her and other relatives. (there are few children on either side so my husband and I have all the responsibilities)
    Always the important thing is cherishing the time that you have- whether it is sitting quietly by their side as they sleep or to bring their favorite treat when the nurse isn’t looking.And always protect their dignity- that can be tough in a facility. Make sure the staff is respectful and caring – that is more important than any aesthetics.
    ps I would love to hear more about you being a mother – didn’t realize!

    1. Thank you Carol for your nice comment and understanding. I hope you mother stays healthy and happy for many years to come. The assisted living facility here mother will come to is five minutes from my home. It is beautiful and I know that my mother will be happy there. We just have to wait until they have space for her.

  29. Friends, family and memories…that just about sums up everything, doesn’t it? My family is in the early stages of making decisions about where my Mom will live since my Dad passed away last year. We always think of our Moms as the ones who take care of everything, until the tables turn. Hold on tight to all of those memories and take care of yourself too.

    1. Hi Mary, Thank you for you nice comment. My mother had to make the transition from her home on a ranch to an apartment for 55 and over. Now she is ready to make a new transition to assisted living. Each step is hard to make because you leave friends. The best wishes for your mother.

  30. Hi Karen,

    Just wanted to add my well wishes here. Sending you good energy and happy thoughts.

    I know how hard it can be to share to a faceless audience…thank you for taking the leap to share more about yourself. 🙂

    All my best.

  31. Hi Karen – I’m sorry for any worries you’ve recently had, and I do hope you’re able to get some peace of mind soon. My family for me, my wife, my blood family and my in-laws are so important that I can fully understand that gut-wrenching worry you can feel when something is wrong so I wish you all the best. “Bonne continuation” as they would say in France, which sort of means “good luck” but it’s more of a long-term thing wish… a bit difficult to translate directly.

    Thank you for sharing the quote at the end – I’ve never heard it before, but I really like it. Very nice 🙂

    1. Hi Charles, Thank you for you nice comment and the “Bonne continuation”. My mother is getting stronger and is looking forward to when she can be close to me.

  32. Oh my, Karen. I’m behind in my reading, too, so I’m only now reading and hearing of your family transitions. I’m always caught in times like these with an urge to say “I’m sorry” yet at the same time resisting that urge because I am certain it is a rich family time, too. The pin is a precious token. I so admire that you say you aren’t frightened of much…what a great launch that is for this new season. Cheering you on, Debra

  33. Karen, it’s such a moving post, I don’t know what to say. Every comment I can have seems flat… I couldn’t agree more with the last sentence. The older I am the more I think about it.
    I hope you will worry less when your mum moves. Thank you for sharing such personal thoughts with us.

    1. Hi Sissi, Thank you so much for your nice comment. I am touched by everyone’s appreciation of this post. Each of us must face our parents needing help as they age.

  34. Good luck with transitioning your mother to assisted living, with the physical, logistical and emotional transitions. I am lucky to have my mother hale and hearty and living in her own house at 82.

    1. Hi Sharyn, Thank you for your nice comment. We are so lucky when our parents are healthy as my mother was until recently. I think being close to family will do my mother a lot of good.

  35. Karen I’ll be thinking of you. I know this is such a difficult time. But you are absolutely right – special friends, family and memories are priceless. Many hugs to you!

    1. Hi Kristy, Thank you for your nice comment. Since I have made this post, I am learning just how important friends are…there are so many of you in my blogworld. Thank you!

  36. Karen, this blog entry is very beautiful and close to my heart. I have lots of pins that belonged to my mother and I love them all. Often I will chose one and give away to one of my daughters who wear them. I love the little ballerina pin. Thank you.

    1. Hi Teresa, Thank you for your nice comment. It is nice to pass on jewelry to family members. It is the memories not the value of the piece that is special.

  37. Karen, wishing you strength and comfort during this transitional period with your mom. I hope she settles in easily.
    Very kind of you to fill us in and to share with us.
    Have a happy day.
    🙂 Mandy

    1. Hi Mandy, Thank you for your nice comment. Mother and I are both feeling better about her situation. Soon she will be close to us and we will all be better off.

  38. Karen,
    I pray for your mother’s speedy recovery. I love the pin your father gave it to her. Memories are definately priceless!!
    It was a pleasure reading about you. It is interesting to read about the blogger friends too along with the recipes they share! Wonderful post! 🙂

    1. Hi Gursahiba, Thank you so much for your nice comment and prayers. My mother is so inspired by all the wishes. I am happy that you enjoyed learning a little more about me.

  39. So many of us have had ‘adventures’ with our parents that are rather difficult ones as we come to grips with their aging, but you have struck precisely the chord that helps bear us through: familial love trumps pretty much all else, and there are times when we just need to focus on that and the beauty that it carries. As you say, the brooch may have little *market* value, but its value as a mnemonic device is clearly enormous both for you and for your mother, and that makes it precious beyond words. May you find healing and joy, both with and for your mother, in this new arrangement as you all adjust to it, and may you *always* find comfort in the love of your family and friends. We all appreciate all that you are (including the new things you’ve let us know about you today), not just all that you can *do* for us here by continuing to blog and comment, so do what feels best and know that many people keep you in their thoughts at all times. Best to you, Karen!

    1. Hi Kathryn, Thank you so much for your very kind words and understanding. I am truly inspired by the warmth and friendship that has been expressed in post by my blogging friends.

  40. Hi Karen, I got to know you some more today, about how strong your values around family and friends are. The last quote was very resonant for me. So thank you for taking the time to write and share with us. Wishing your mum good health and that you can quickly resolve the distance. Claire

    1. Hi Claire, Thank you so much for your nice comment and wishes. Hopefully my mother will be in New Hampshire soon and then we will all be happier. She is amazed that so many of my blogging friends are wishing her well. Our blogging community is really a wonderful group.

    1. Thank you for your nice comment and thoughts. I guess when you are a blogger that it is only natural for people to want to know more about you. Sharing this particular post has brought such kind words and thoughts to both myself and my mother. I can only say thank you so much to each and every one of my blogging friends.

  41. You are in my thoughts and prayers, Karen. My father passed away a year ago this month and my mother lives in an assisted living community near me. She has dementia and I take care of most of her needs: medicine, clothing, personal items, doctor visits, etc. I’m so happy I am able to be there for her and at the same time am constantly worrying about her health and happiness. I have gotten so much support from my blogger friends. Don’t know what I would do without that.

    1. Hi Cathy, Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. The support of the blogging community is wonderful. You and your mother are in my thoughts and prayers as well. It will be nice when my mother is near me.

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