Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Tonight I met up with friends Brett and Erin that moved from Boston ten years ago (and used to live upstairs from me in a two-family house). As we were driving from Boston to my condo, Brett changed lanes and I looked up to see why and saw that there was a disabled car in our lane. As we moved around it I recognized the license plate. I can probably recognize most of my friends' cars/license plates. Call me weird. Anyway, I looked over and there was my friend Darlyne stranded on a very busy road (Fresh Pond Parkway). We quickly turned into a parking lot and then ran up to the road to see if we could help her. Something had happened to her transmission. She had called AAA and they told her that she was a priority because of the location of her disabled car. Darlyne was on her way home from having oral surgery and was supposed to have ice on her mouth and needed to get her pain medication and she was upset about her predicament. Brett suggested that we try to push the car around to the parking lot to get it off the busy road. Just when we were working on the logistics of how to do that (who would steer, who would push), AAA came to the rescue. They really did bump Darlyne to the top of the list! We met her at the car repair shop where the tow truck left her car and then we took her to Walgreens to get her prescription, to Trader Joe's to get some dinner and then home. She called us angels.

Motto for today: It's always good to help a friend!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day memories

Our Memorial Day tradition was to go to Bakersfield and put flowers on our Patton grandparents' graves. We liked running through the cemetery and being the first one to find the graves. My dad always clipped the grass around the markers and cleaned them with Glass Wax (incidentally, they don't make Glass Wax anymore but you can buy it on eBay--go figure). We loved stopping at Dewars on the way home for ice cream. I usually ordered a "black & white" which was vanilla ice cream, chocolate ice cream, hot fudge, and whipped marshmallow with nuts on top. Sometimes we would take ice cream home with us! They had these insulated bags that would keep the ice cream cold until we got home.

I dug up these two photos from the good old days. That's me with John in 1965; those gladiolas were from our garden. The other picture was taken in probably 1968 or 1969 and I think that's my dad in the background cleaning the grave markers.

Today I celebrated Memorial Day hiking part way up Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

dumpster digger

I went to dump my trash and recyling this afternoon and noticed this little booster seat by the dumpster. Just today I had my neighbors over for lunch and I asked if 2-year-old Kate needed a booster (thinking I would toss a few phone books under her). So, this little retro booster seat is going to come in handy when my young friends visit.

I'm a happy dumpster digger!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Babysitter of the Year

I watched my friends' kids tonight. They have 3 boys ages 7, 6, and 3 and a little girl that is 1. They were all in their bedrooms when the parents left. The boys were reading and playing around and finally quieted down. I heard some random noises but didn't go in to check on them. About 9:00pm the 6 year old started moaning about missing his mom and wanted a drink. When I took the drink in I noticed the 3 year old wasn't on his mattress. I turned the light on and he wasn't in the room. How did he sneak away? I looked in the office. No Aaron. I looked in the kitchen and dining room. No Aaron. I started to panic. I went back in the room and asked the 6 year old where Aaron was. He didn't know. I started to panic more. I got down on my hands and knees to look around and noticed Aaron's BRIGHT RED HAIR on a pillow under the 7 year old's bed. I seriously thought I had lost a kid.

Years ago I babysat for friends. Their girls were probably 5 and 8. They were talking and playing and so I went upstairs to tell them it was time to go to sleep. The youngest one said, and I quote: "You are the worst babysitter in the entire universe."

Maybe she was right on.

Friday, May 26, 2006

I've got one colonoscopy under my belt

I survived the colonoscopy ordeal. I'm into photography but that's definitely a different kind of camera! Word to future colonoscopy-ers...put the lemonade Crystal Light in the big jug of liquid you have to drink. Seriously, it makes the stuff taste like...lemonade (and not gross salty bath water)! I am happy to report that I was able to guzzle the remainder of the beverage with no gagging this morning.

The nurses were all so nice and attentive at MGH and two of them were named Ellen.

I go back in a few years for the sequel: Colonoscopy II.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


I'm having one. Tomorrow at 12:15pm. I just picked up my 4 liter jug of juice that I need to drink. I couldn't drink that much if it was my most favorite drink in the whole wide world!

My insurance covered half the cost of the NuLYTELY--NuLYTELY with Flavor Packs are available in a wide choice of great flavors including pineapple, cherry, lemon-lime and orange. They make it sound like you will want to serve it at parties. I'm out twenty bucks for that crap. And, I'm on a liquid diet until 9:00am tomorrow morning and then I will be what we refer to as...fasting. Maybe I can convince my escort (I won't be able to drive for 12 hours) to stop for an ice cream sundae or hamburger on the way home from the procedure tomorrow.

I'm not sure how this is going to go but I'll give it my best shot.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Aunt Ellen

I found this message on my chalkboard tonight when I got home from taking Adrienne to the airport. Do kids leave messages like this for their parents?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Adrienne and I have been playing Rummikub and she finally beat me in our sixth game! She was very happy about that. Here is a picture of her winning game. I couldn't dump that 8 anywhere. Adrienne is great company and a great helper. I've never known anyone who enjoyed dumping recycling and trash as much as she does. And, she's quite partial to doing laundry. Everything in my condo is now clean. I'm going to miss her when she goes home to Florida. :( She'd like to come back to Boston as an exchange student.

Monday, May 22, 2006

sixty-five degrees

It was an absolutely beautiful day today in Boston. Jamel and Adrienne, my niece and nephew visiting from south Florida, were freezing. What?!? One of them thought it was cold enough to snow and the other thought they'd be stricken with hypothermia.

One man's Spring is another man's Winter.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

My favorite ride!

Today was the Brain Tumor Society Ride for Rearch. It was my 8th time riding 25 miles and raising money for brain tumor research and my favorite ride ever for a few reasons. We had a great team -- Patton's Army -- thank you Tadd, Brian, Jamel, Stephen, Adrienne, and Tyler. We also left an hour before everyone else did (it was good to not have to worry about big crowds of riders around us since there were 1,200 riders), and we rented a tandem bike so Adrienne and Tyler could trade off being on the back of the tandem and riding a regular bike. The ride started in Waltham and then we peddled through Lincoln, Concord, and Weston. We rode by Walden Pond, the Louisa May Alcott House, and past the Concord Cemetery. It was a beautiful day (though it did downpour/thunder/lightning tonight after we dropped Stephen and Tyler off at the airport) and we all had a really fun time together. Thanks to all of you who contributed and supported us.

Today was Adrienne's 11th birthday and it would have been Robes' 47th birthday. We went to Kimballs last night for ice cream with some friends and had angel food cake with strawberries and whipping cream tonight (is that technically strawberry shortcake?) with more friends. Adrienne just fell asleep on the floor. I said, "did you have a fun birthday?" She nodded and said, "uh, yeah". It's been a BIG day and one that will be a favorite for years to come.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Documenting the canoeing trip

I was getting a little pressure from someone (Chuck the photographer) to post the canoeing photos on my blog. So, for all to see, that is me with my 8 year old niece Emma canoeing on the pond/lake/bodyofwater in their Tualatin neighborhood. My nephew Sumner and I were a pretty good canoeing team (except for that brief moment I feared we were tipping over). It was a nice little workout, I enjoyed being outdoors, and it was a good thing I had that life jacket since I don't swim...but that's a topic for another day...

Friday, May 19, 2006

Happy Anniversary to ME!

Eighteen years ago today I rolled into Boston and it's been home ever since. Here is something I wrote for the Arlington Ward Relief Society Chicken Soup for the Soul book a few years ago.

by Ellen Patton

In the early part of 1988 my parents decided it was time to sell their house in Van Nuys, California. The house they bought when I was just six weeks old. The house my brothers and I had grown up in. The house that my brother John and I were living in at the time. I had to move somewhere and I knew if I didn't leave L.A. then, I would never leave. The two places I considered were Dallas and Atlanta. It was time for a big adventure!

In mid-February I got a call from Jennifer, one of my former BYU roommates, who had recently moved from Chicago to Boston. She said, "I have a two-bedroom apartment in Medford and you are welcome to move here." I had never been to Boston, but I could certainly consider it. I went home from work that night and told my dad (who was in town painting the house and getting it ready to sell) that Jennifer had called. He was very encouraging and said that he and my mom would help me drive to Boston if I decided to move there. If I remember correctly, I called her back that night and said I was about 95% sure that I would do it. Why not? So what if I couldn't find Boston on a blank map with no cities/states printed on it. So what if I didn't have a job. So what if I had no winter clothes. I had an address, a phone number and one friend and that was enough for me. People asked me what I would do if I didn't like it. My reply: I’ll stay a year and then move somewhere else.

In April my brother John and I drove my brand new Honda Civic from L.A. to Amarillo, Texas. I never touched the steering wheel; he drove the whole way! We stopped for the necessities: food, gas, and souvenirs. I stayed in Texas for 3½ weeks. On May 15th I left Amarillo with my parents, headed for Boston...taking 5 days and going through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut and into Massachusetts, arriving in Medford the evening of Wednesday, May 19th. My first thought when I entered my new apartment at 30 Bower Street was this house is old. That night we took the subway downtown and had dinner at Legal Seafood. I remember standing in front of the subway map (with its 4 colors and endless lines) thinking I would never be able to find my way around Boston.

My brother Robes, his wife Kim, and my nephew Ian (10 months old) who lived in Florida were also in New England on vacation. We did some sightseeing and enjoyed playing with Ian. My parents left on Saturday and Robes, Kim and Ian left mid-morning on Sunday. I remember standing on the curb as they drove off in their car--feeling very alone and wondering what I had done moving about as far away from L.A. (and family) as possible. Jennifer and I went to the singles' ward that day since the Arlington Ward met in the morning.

The next Sunday I went to my new ward. I remember a number of people introduced themselves. I vividly remember meeting Leesa Thompson, the Relief Society president; she had heard about me and was excited to meet me! I also remember introducing myself in Sunday School and saying I lived in "Medford" and hearing snickers and then the correction from a few people: "It's ‘Meffa.'"

In the 13½ years I've lived here I've never considered moving anywhere else. I fell in love with New England as soon as I got here. It was SO different from L.A. The houses are old and charming. Fast food isn’t on every corner. The ocean water is freezing. Going to a Red Sox game is a cultural experience. You can drive all day and go through more than one state. The Fall leaves on my own street are beautiful. Public transportation is reliable and fast. My list is endless...

My friend Jennifer and I have laughed that she was inspired to invite me to move to Boston. Maybe she was; maybe she wasn't. That's not important. What is important is that I feel at home in New England and the Arlington Ward!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Emma's baptism dress

I got my "film" photos back today from my Oregon trip and here are 3 of Emma in her baptism dress that I made. Everytime I show people dresses I make they go "ga-ga" but seriously, it was really easy. That junior high sewing class has come in handy!

Emma liked the dress and especially enjoyed twirling in the dress!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

family reunion

I showed this picture to one of my friends at work today and she said, "You're related?"

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

row, row, row your boat

I just got back from canoeing in a pond near my brother Chuck's house in Oregon. I'll post pictures when I return from my Oregon vacation.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The folks

I'm in Portland visiting my parents. Today my dad (who turns 75 on Monday) said, "Don't get old. It's hell."

'nuf said.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Counting steps...

My friend is using a pedometer to see how far she walks. So far 3 miles today. I had a pedometer once. I found it in the drawer at work just in time to take it on a trip to New York City. I walked around Brooklyn. Then I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. Then I walked to the Staten Island Ferry. Then I had to use the restroom. I realized when I got on the ferry that I had flushed the pedometer down the toilet into the New York harbor. I will never know how far I walked that day...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The afro doesn't fall far from the tree...

As high school graduation approaches, here are two senior pictures: my brother Robes and my nephew Ian (who is 6' 3"). Remember how some schools had everyone wear the same thing for their senior picture (i.e., a black tuxedo for the guys, a dark drape for the girls)? Someone asked me once if all the guys at Birmingham High School wore THAT suit? Just Robes. It was a sweet polyester leisure suit in the late 70's; 1977 to be exact.

Ian will graduate May on 21st (on Robes' and Adrienne's birthday and the day of the Brain Tumor Society bike ride). He will be attending BYU-Hawaii in the Fall and I'm predicting he'll have an amazing experience there. Someone told me the freshmen like to take the surfing class; Maybe Ian will try to test out of that class!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Dessert Dealer

I have been known to take baked goods to work on occasion. :) This morning a friend told me that she had been wanting some of my pumpkin chocolate chip bread. I told her that I was cutting back on my baking because I'm trying to lose some weight and she said, "The best drug dealers don't use their own drugs."

I had never really thought of it that way...

So I'll share my recipe with you (courtesy of Alecia Williams) and you never know, I might be baking at midnight tonight like the good old days and taking a treat to work tomorrow because I'm a complete sucker for a baking request.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
3 ½ cups flour
1 T baking soda
1 1/4 t. Salt
1 t cinnamon
4 eggs
3 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin
1 cup oil
2/3 cup water
1/2 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 bag mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Whisk dry ingredients together and set aside. Blend eggs, sugar, pumpkin, oil and water until mixed well. Add dry ingredients. Mix well and stir in chocolate chips.

Bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes. It makes 7 small loaves.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Dr. Dolittle

I had a doctor's appointment today. I didn't get much satisfaction for my fifteen bucks especially since I got weighed. I would have felt better tossing three $5 bills down the toilet and watching them swirl around and disappear.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

a baby gift

I went to a baby shower recently and my gift was a digital photo shoot. So, here are some pictures of baby (Eleanor) Nora and her pink shoes that I took today. Nora was a very good model. I hope she lives here long enough so I can photograph her when she looses her first tooth!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

nine hundred and thirty nine photos

Today was Lisa LaPierre's wedding to Jim Schilling. I was "the official" photographer. It was lots of fun. I got some really good shots; I guess so...I took NINE HUNDRED AND THIRTY NINE PHOTOS!!! Is there such a thing as photo rehab? Jim and Lisa were very happy with the engagement pictures I took of them so I know they will be thrilled with all the pictures I took today.

The highlight of the day was when one of Jim's sisters thought I was 27 years old. And, NO, she wasn't wearing glasses.

Here's to a life of love and happiness for Lisa and Jim.

Friday, May 05, 2006

the happy bride and groom

My friend Lisa is marrying Jim tomorrow and I'm taking their wedding pictures. I did some practicing tonight at the night-before-the-wedding-family-dinner.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Circus is in town!

I have memories of going to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in L.A. where I grew up. How could you forget three rings filled with animals, stunts on the highwire, acrobats, clowns, and non-stop excitement! And, a few times, our mom took us downtown the day that the circus animals got off the train and walked to the arena. It was a circus parade! So when I heard the Big Apple Circus would be in Boston, I decided to take my little redheaded 3 year old friend Aaron. I bought the cheapest tickets I could get (think obstructed view like in the old Boston Garden...) and we took the subway ("red train" and "green train") downtown for the big event. The circus is definitely more exciting when you are a kid (duh) but I think Aaron was a bit young to really understand the "Hollywood" theme though he did like the Star Wars characters. He lasted until the intermission and then wanted to go home. So we left, and as is the case with many downtown Boston events with kids, the subway ride to and from may very well have been the highlight!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I heart my hobbies

Tonight I started sewing a dress for my niece Emma to wear at her baptism in a few weeks and then took a picture of it. I could bake a batch of cookies to make the evening complete but instead I'm doing laundry.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I looked out my window and what did I see...

I have one window. It's about sixteen feet high and five feet wide. Seriously. I live in a converted high school and my unit was part of the auditorium.

This is what I see out my window these days.

Happy Spring!


This morning, after 12 years, I decided to wear a bit of mascara. I have a tube of light brown that I got from "Just for Redheads". My friend Janae is a redhead and wears mascara and it looks good so I thought I'd give it a whirl...again.

I finished getting ready, made my lunch, and went to catch the bus. As I stood at the crosswalk across the street from the bus stop, the bus flew by.

I paid the price for beauty this morning.