Saturday, September 30, 2006

Fall Friends

I spent the day with Laura and John, friends that used to live here that were visiting from California. We had lunch at Sally Ann's in Concord, walked around Arena Farms (I took lots of photos of pumpkins, squash, and animals), drove around (the town of) Harvard and ended up at Bolton Spring Farm (they have delicious apple dumplings!). I enjoyed spending a Fall New England day with good friends.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Fall Fotocards

Here are a few of my Favorite Fall Fotocards that I sell. Tomorrow is supposed to be a nice day so I want to go "shooting" (w/ my camera...).

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A sad anniversary

It was 8 years ago today that my brother Robes (Robert Pitchforth Patton) died of a brain tumor. I still count the years and months and weeks and days and I still miss him terribly.

When "Robby" was 13 months old, I was born; rocking his little world. A baby sister. A redheaded baby sister. He wasn’t the only child for very long. And, on September 28, 1998, eighteen months and three days after his brain cancer diagnosis, Robes’ death rocked my world. I won’t ever forget it. Staying up two entire nights, true vigils, watching over him as he slipped into a coma and then died. It wasn’t like the movies. The noises were strange. His vital signs raced and his organs shut down. His skin changed. He picked at his clothes. He became weaker and weaker. He was confused and he hallucinated. His body and mind failed him after a short 39 years. A lover of gourmet food and an excellent cook--being spoon fed green jell-o. Bedridden for weeks--a man with a passion for travel. And, a writer by trade--robbed of his keen mind. How does that happen to a healthy young man? Why does that happen to a healthy young man?

our first Christmas together---the day he entered the MTC in 1978---at the NBA All-Star game in NYC in February 1998

I’ve never felt sadness like I felt when it was clear that he was dying. I remember feeling the steady stream of tears down my face and the sick feeling in my stomach. It was Monday morning. We huddled around his hospital bed in their home; me, his wife Kim, her mother Ann, and his college friend Rick Egan. The three kids were still sleeping. We were watching and waiting. Whispering to each other about what was happening. Counting his pulse and respirations. The shock and disbelief that he was dying right in front of us. His strange gasps for breath that none of us anticipated. Was he fighting to stay with us? Two days before, with a frightened look on his face, he said loudly, They can’t take me without your permission. Who was he talking about? Relatives? Friends? Were they in the room? Did he recognize them? Kim went over to him, rubbed his head and said, You have my permission. I told you it was alright to go. It was surreal. Robes died 8 years ago today at 7:00am.

I think about Robes every day. Plenty of things remind me of him (Bruce Springsteen, the Miami Heat, Tito's Tacos, French cheese and chocolate, VW bugs and Levis 501 jeans to name a few). His three kids Ian, Jamel, and Adrienne remind me of him. They were 11, 8 and 3 when their dad died. It makes me so sad that they have been robbed of having their father raise them. He was crazy about his kids. I wanted Robes to take Ian to BYU-Hawaii last month and to help him plan his trip to Costa Rica last year. I want Robes to take Jamel to Europe and scout camp and go bike riding with him. I wish Robes could take Adrienne on Daddy Daughter Dates and watch her practice the baritone and tell her about attending junior high to ease her mind as she settles into middle school. He would be so proud of his kids. They all resemble him (except that the boys are both over six feet tall!). A few years ago Adrienne was so happy that her freckle pattern was the same as her dad’s at her age.

I don’t ever want to forget Robes' great example, his many talents and his love of life. I know I will be with him again but in the meantime I'm sad that he's not here to be a husband, father, brother and son.

Patton family Christmas card in the 60's

Disneyland in the 70's

Portland, OR - January 1998

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Good luck?

I met a friend for lunch in the Boston Common today. While we were searching for a bench to sit on a bird pooped on my arm and vest. One of my co-workers told me in some countries that means good luck.

I think in this country it means I need to scrub my arm and find some stain remover.

More old friends

I had dinner last night with more old friends visiting New England in the Fall. This is Kristi. I met her in Van Nuys when her older sister's family moved into our neighborhood and ward. She has 4 nieces that are very close in age to me and my brothers (we were born within days/weeks/months of each other). I was in the same kindergarten and fifth grade class with her niece Kristen and we were good friends. We used to ride our bikes two streets over to play in The Field across from their house. Kristi likes cars, fire trucks, and money! It was fun to see Karla and Kristi and Karen again after probably 35 years.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Dessert before dinner

My friends Valerie and Scott Pingree, that used to live here, were visiting tonight. Valerie is my sister-in-law's sister-in-law's sister. We just say we're cousins. The plan was to go out to dinner and hit Kimballs before they close at 9:00pm. It looked like if we had dinner first we might not make it to Kimballs so we went there first. This wasn't the first time I had dessert before dinner. Valerie and I got Gingersnap Molasses ice cream. Scott got strawberry kiwi sorbet. I asked if Valerie wanted to split a kiddie cone. She glared at me and said NO WAY. She came all the way from Utah to get that ice cream. And, she's pregnant. So we each got our own. She and Scott enjoyed every spoonful. I ate about a third of mine and dumped the rest before going into Bertucci's for dinner.

I always have time for good friends and ice cream.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Clambake report

The Clambake was great!! It rained the whole morning and stopped right about the time we were eating. We had a great turnout (I'm guessing close to 200 people) -- consuming 93 lobsters a bushel of clams, hot dogs, salad, corn-on-the-cob and watermelon! Most of the kids got in the water and everyone seemed to have a great time. I'm glad we went to the beach!!!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Arlington Ward Clambake

We are going ahead and having the Clambake at Crane Beach tomorrow. Lunch will be served at noon. You may want to arrive early to enjoy the beach in case of rain in the afternoon. The temperature should be around 65-70 degrees so you might want to bring a sweatshirt.

Directions: Take Route 95 north to Route 128 north (towards Gloucester), take exit 20A (Route 1A north) and follow for 8 miles to Ipswich. Turn right onto Route 133 east and follow for 1.5 miles. Turn left onto Northgate Road and follow for .5 miles. Turn right onto Argilla Road and follow for 2.5 miles to Crane Beach gatehouse at end of paved road. Parking is $7.00. No pets. For more information:

See you at the beach!!


Thursday, September 21, 2006


I didn’t feel very well last night. Feverish sick like I should take my temperature. One problem. My friend used my thermometer a month or so ago and then found out she had viral meningitis ( I didn't have any alcohol to clean it so it’s been sitting on a shelf. I asked around (OK, I asked two friends) and the general consensus was don’t use it. So I went to Walgreens last night and bought the cheapest digital thermometer for $4.99. I took my temperature last night: 97.4. What does that mean?! I took it again this morning: 98.2. Am I sick? Am I alive?

I am returning the cheap-O thermometer and will buy a more expensive (better?) one. And, I will try to find out how to dispose of an old mercury thermometer. I better feel better soon. I’m in charge of the ward Clambake on Saturday!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Sharon's peach cobbler

My dad sent me this recipe and has been nudging me to make it. He insists it's over-the-top, best-ever delicious. I bought some peaches last week, let them ripen in a brown bag, and then they were rotten. So I bought more peaches and monitored them better and decided tonight was the night. He was right. Wherever you are Sharon, your peach cobbler is delicious.

Sharon's Peach Cobbler
5 to 6 cups sliced peaches
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (divided)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup 2 percent milk
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place peaches in a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish. Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix melted butter, vanilla and milk together. Combine the two mixtures and mix until blended. Spread over top of peaches. Mix water with remaining 1 cup sugar and pour over batter in pan. Bake about 1 hour, until topping is golden brown.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Twist and shout

When I got to the subway station tonight I felt like my skirt had gotten a bit twisted. I couldn't feel the zipper in the back and looked down and the pleat and zipper were in the front. I was totally twisted! I went through the turnstyle and as I went down the stairs to the platform, I got my skirt straightened out.

When I was in college I was walking to class with a friend and her slip fell off and was around her ankles. She said, "Oh no", then reached down and picked it up and put it in her purse. Once when my parents were eating at the Sea Lion restaurant in Malibu my mom noticed when she got back from the restroom that there was a trail of toilet paper stuck to her shoe.

I was embarrassed today but it certainly wasn't my Most Embarrassing Moment. I'll save that for later.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Remember four?

My buddy Aaron turns four today. His family moved to the Boston area a month before he was born. He sits with me almost every Sunday at church. I've enjoyed lots of fun trips with his family (New York City, Maine, apple picking, Vermont -- to name a few). When he first learned to talk he called me "Lolly". Last night I took him cupcakes with sprinkles and a Star Wars toy for his birthday. Both were a huge hit. Oh, to be four.

He's my special friend. Happy Birthday, Aaron! Love, Lolly

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Rise and shout the Cougars are out!

BYU played Boston College today and I went to the game. Football isn't my favorite sport but I couldn't pass up seeing BYU play on the east coast (a rarity). It was an exciting game even though BYU lost in overtime (30-23).

At one point my friend said, "Who are the yellow people?" I'm pretty sure they are the BC student body. All wearing yellow shirts. Very impressive.

It was fun seeing lots of friends at the game and cheering for my alma mater.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Laraine Wilkins 1965-2006

Tonight we held a memorial service for Laraine Wilkins who died from injuries sustained in a car accident in Idaho three weeks ago. She and her daughter lived in the Arlington Ward a few years ago and have recently been living in Salt Lake City. A number of us wanted to have a memorial service here. It was so nice. Four people prepared remarks and then a few others shared memories of Laraine. There was a vocal solo "Be Still My Soul" and then the women sang "The Lord is My Shepherd". I suggested that someone videotape the service, which they did. I know Laraine's family will appreciate hearing the memories and tributes shared tonight. Laraine will be missed by her many Boston friends. And we are all hoping and praying that her daughter continues to recover.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

You want some?

On my subway ride home tonight three teenagers got on at Central Square. The girl had a box with a slice of pizza in it and one of the boys had a styrofoam container filled with Chinese food. The three of them sat around me. The boy with the food said to the other boy (in that loud, teenage boy tone) , "You want some?" He nodded his head yes, and then the kid filled the other kid's hands with lo mein noodles. I'm not even kidding. The one boy ate his food with a fork and the other slurped his out of his hands. Dinner on the subway.

Please pass the anti-bacterial soap.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

New Neighbor

This is a picture of my Neighborly Neighbor who is soon to deliver #3. She looks awesome!

When N.N. was pregnant with #2 I told her if she went into labor in the middle of the night to call me. Sure enough my phone rang one morning about 1:15am and N.N. said, "Ellen, I'm in labor!" I jumped up, put on my shoes, and drove to their apartment and stayed with #1 while she went to deliver #2. Now we live in the same building with a neighbor inbetween us. I've offered to help out if she goes into labor in the middle of the night again. I'm anxious to meet #3, my New Neighbor.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Mary Poppins and the Food Network

Occasionally I babysit for friends.

Usually my friends tell me I can eat anything I can find. But it's not their food that I'm interested in. I'm interested in the Food Network on their cable TV. I have Crappy Cable. FREE Crappy Cable. So I can't really call the Cable Company and complain about my Cable or I'm sure it will not be free anymore. So I get my Cable fix when I babysit.

My favorite shows are "$40 a Day" and "Rachael Ray's Tasty Travels". One time Rachael Ray went to a diner in Portland, Maine and I had eaten there! Tonight Rachael was eating for $40 a Day in Salem, Oregon.,1976,FOOD_9947,00.html,2677,FOOD_23076,00.html

So if I ask if you have Cable the next question may be "Can I babysit your kids sometime?"!

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11th - what I remember

I carpooled to the subway station that morning with my friend Rebecca and got to work at MGH earlier than usual. We didn't have a TV in our office but someone had their radio on and heard what had happened and spread the word. Two of the planes left from Logan Airport/Boston which made it more real for me. I was on the phone with my sister-in-law in Florida as she described watching the first tower fall. I was stunned. I called my parents on the west coast and told them to turn on their TV. I visited my new friend Dusty who was at MGH a few times that day and watched the coverage on the TV in his room. A few of my friends got stuck in various cities around the country when all flights were grounded. I remember hearing stories of how they got home: chartered flight, limo ride, riding the Greyhound bus. Like everyone else I was glued to the TV for a few days. I have three friends-of-friends that lost their spouse or their life that day.

A week later, my firefighter friend went to Ground Zero to be a peer counselor and support for firefighters in New York City. When I heard he was going I had an idea. I went into my kitchen and started baking. I made 454 cookies in two nights. That's a few cookies shy of 38 dozen. I knew he would be able to get them into Ground Zero to people that would appreciate a homemade treat. I called him and told him I had something for him to take and asked him to come over. I put the cookies in shopping bags. He saw how many there were and said, "I can't take these." I told him, "You are taking these cookies. I don't care who you give them to but you are taking them."

This is what my friend wrote about the experience for my birthday book last year:

Most of us shoppers know those big bags with the rope handles that are reserved for the largest shopping purchases. Macy's uses them, but only when you buy a lot.

Back in September of 2001, Ellen filled (...and I mean filled to the top), these huge bags with fresh baked cookies. These cookies were just like the "made at midnight" cookies we all know and love... but on a larger scale, more like the "made over a 24 hour period" brand. Ellen stopped her busy schedule and was baking like crazy to fill these bags.

These cookies were delivered to FDNY firefighters and relief workers attached to the FEMA office working at Ground Zero. This was Ellen's donation to the efforts at Ground Zero.

I was in New York City on August 26th with the Garcia family from France. I took a picture of them on the State of Liberty ferry with their backs to me, facing the World Trade Center towers. Just sixteen days before September 11th.

I am so sorry for the people that died on that terrible day. I am so sorry for all the families that lost loved ones that day. I am thankful for all those who saved another life that day and for all the good things people have done for others because of what happened on September 11th.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

All 50 states

My friend's mother Sheryl is in town helping out while my friend's husband is recovering from surgery. I thought Sheryl might like a break so asked if she wanted to go for a drive. Then I thought a day trip would be more fun so I asked her if she had ever been to Maine. She said, "Maine is the only state I haven't been to." Uh...WE'RE GOING!

We just got home from the "EP abbreviated Tour of Maine". We stopped at a local craft fair, did some antiquing (she found a really cool antique butcher paper holder/cutter and I found more $1 bottles), had lunch (the Egg & I in Ogunquit), walked around York Beach (I bought some peppermint taffy at Goldenrod) and saw Nubble Light.

I'm happy to report that Sheryl has now been to all 50 states!!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Whose sock is this?

I bought a condo last year. It is one of 70 units in an old converted high school in Lexington, Mass. I'm disappointed that I don't have my own washer and dryer (though central air, my huge crawl space, and 18 foot ceilings are a good trade off!). I thought I wanted to put hook-ups in my upstairs closet until I got the estimate from a plumber: $2,795.00 and that doesn't include patching up the walls, only the plumbing. I've decided that even if I had a spare $2,795.00, I'd rather travel than have my own washer and dryer. The biggest advantage to using the laundry room in my building is that I can do three loads of wash at once. I usually start around 11:00pm (shhhhhh---don't tell anyone) and I never see anyone in the laundry room at that time because all my neighbors are already in REM sleep. There are two disadvantages. The trips to the bank for rolls of quarters and finding other people's clothes mixed in with my laundry. I said "ewwwwwwwwwwwww" when I found this sock in my drawer yesterday and my first inclination was to throw it away. Then I realized that someone may be looking for the other sock in their pair. So, I'll tip-toe into the laundry room later tonight and leave The Sock.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

"These are a few of my favorite things"

Almost every morning someone is playing music at Alewife, the subway station. Often it is a duo playing guitar and saxophone. They are really good musicians. Takes one to know one (I played the clarinet in jr. high and high school---hahaha!!). They sell CDs and have their music cases open for donations. It's part of the Boston subway scene. Today the guys were playing a peppy version of "My Favorite Things". I had a skip in my step and was humming along...and thinking of my favorite things (in no particular order)...friends, family, reading on the subway, baking, sharing my baked goods, shooting (pictures), writing notes, mailing articles to friends, getting letters from my pen pals, making cards, watching movies, sightseeing in New England, my big window, my red refrigerator, red toaster, red bread box, red spatula and red kitchen aid, rain, riding my bike, running shoes, antiquing in Maine, quilting, finding cool 30's reproduction fabric, staying up late, talking on the phone, planning activities, apple picking, eating lobster, ice cream, and of course blogging!

Creative friend

Tonight I met up with an old friend who lived here for a summer a few years ago. She makes really cool cards and she brought some with her for me to look at. I really like her style and creativity and bought some birthday and thank you cards. Here are a few of them.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

When in Boston...walk the Freedom Trail

I hope I don't offend anyone but I'm not all crazy about the Freedom Trail. I'm no history buff. I don't like doing what everybody else is doing. And seriously, how many times do you need to follow a red line around Boston? I walked it about 17 years ago when my cousin Anita and her husband Doug visited. I don't think we walked the entire Freedom Trail. I'm guessing we didn't and I will take credit for that. When visitors show up and want to walk the Freedom Trail I tell them "have at it" and point them towards the city OR I suggest that we go to Maine for the day and they usually pick the latter option. Even though I'm not a fan of walking the Freedom Trail, I do walk over it. Every day on the way to work. Today they were painting it. For someone who loves RED so much it's interesting that I'm not a bigger fan of the Freedom Trail.

Labor Day

I labored in the kitchen tonight making cookies for my friend's bake sale. She's walking the Boston Marathon route in two weeks to raise money for The Jimmy Fund. I baked 12 dozen cookies and packaged them for her to sell on Wednesday. They are Grammy's Chocolate Cookies from Martha Stewart's holiday cookie magazine:

TIP: They are really good if you roll them in sanding sugar (I buy it where they sell cake decorating supplies). I didn't have any and called my friend Mary who saved the day and sold me a pound for $1.00.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Kids say the cutest things

I had dinner with some friends tonight. One of the moms was talking about an upcoming trip to New York City with 3 friends to attend the U.S. Open. Her 10 year old daughter heard her talking about being away next Saturday and said, "You're not leaving me with him and them."

She was referring to her father and her siblings.

Sad day...

I found out today that my friend Laraine died early this morning in Idaho from injuries sustained in a car accident last Saturday. Her 17 year old daughter Lena is in a hospital in Utah. She has suffered a severe spinal cord injury and has no feeling below the waist. I met Laraine and Lena when they moved into my ward. It's been a sad day for their Boston friends.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Vacation day (2 down 3 to go)!

I enjoyed a day off of work. I slept in (ahhh!), ran errands, took photos of my typewriters (at my brother's request), baked pumpkin chocolate chip bread, and got together with some friends for a BBQ. I heard tonight that friends that used to live here (Laraine and her daughter Lena) were in a terrible car accident in Idaho last weekend. I can't stop thinking about them and hope their recoveries go well.

Here's one of my latest typewriter photos. The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.