Tag Archives: Family

Memorial Servive for Gram

Yesterday was the memorial service for Gram. She will be missed dearly. The whole family was there, many who I haven’t seen in a while, as well as friends of hers who it was nice to meet for the first time. The service was just what she wanted (she literally planned it out before she passed away!) We sang her favorite hymns and I read one of her favorites, Psalm 100. People shared delightful and amusing stories of her. Afterwards, there was a slideshow and a collection of photos from her life. There was also some of her favorite foods — ice cream, pie, and candy. And we did the Schnitzelbank in her honor! Her spirit was certainly present through all the laughter and celebration of her life!

The family
My little brothers!!!

Chicago 2019

This weekend I flew to Chicago with my family to visit the brother. I have visited a few times before, but it’s been a couple years. The hotel we stayed in was very unique with a lovely minimal/rustic aesthetic. It had a rooftop bar with a beautiful view.

We went on an official donut tour on Saturday morning. We had a tour guide (Mimi) take us around several blocks, making stops at four different donut places for samples. Mimi gave us a lot of fun facts about the city. At the end, there were trivia questions, and I won a “donut champion” sticker!

My favorite place was “Ipsento,” which is Latin for “self discovery.” Their donuts are made with sweet potatoes. Here, we sampled a maple donut and my all-time favorite of the whole tour: the cyanne pepper donut! Sweet and spicy!

Traveling can be stressful and exhausting, but it was a good time! I’m already quite homesick and can’t wait to go back to my cat. 😺

A Day in the Town

My parents came to visit and we had a fun day doing brunch, walking through the center of town, browsing the shops, stopping for drinks at Starbucks, and visiting the art museum. It was a day full of pleasant surprises.

We stopped at the book store and were given raffle tickets, promoting the release of “Dangerous Kisses, Gruesome Bites” — a horror love story by local author. I was shocked that I won the grand prize! I won an Amazon Fire, notebook, and copy of the ebook! WOOOO!!!

The art museum was really nice! My favorite part was the outdoor section.

Gram

I just got the news that my grandma passed away last night. I’m really going to miss her, and would like to dedicate some words & memorable photos in her honor…

Growing up, I was very close with my Gram. For a grandma who comes from a completely different time, stuck in her ways, she still managed to be the life of the party — always ready to play games, sing, dance, and have fun. She never let aging stop her, making an effort to stay active and keep in shape. Her restless soul would never let her slow down. 

I believe Gram’s greatest pet peeve was missing out (serious FOMO) and so she pushed herself to keep up with the rest of the family, even if that meant going on strenuous hikes with us even though she was in her 80s. Family was the most important thing to Gram and she is a big reason why we stayed close over the years. 

Gram lived life to the absolute fullest — the liveliest person you could ever meet. In fact, she made a point to celebrate the birthdays of those who passed away long ago — for example, “my grandpa would have been 130 years old today, so I made this cake to celebrate his 130th birthday! Happy 130th, grandpa!”

I have wonderful memories of spending the week at Gram’s during summers. She loved taking her grandchildren to Premise Made and spoiling us with ice cream and candy. Lolipops were always fully stocked in her car. One of her favorite things to do with the family was play board games — and she was fiercely competitive. During a game of spoons, she once punched her grandson over the last spoon. Losing was another great pet peeve of hers.

Gram loved being the center of attention and entertaining everyone. She was always photo-ready and you could never catch her in sweats or makeup-less. But if you try to complement her, she could never take it, and would dismiss you immediately. Gram loved dancing and took tap lessons well into her 70s. As much as she complained about “today’s music just sounding like noise,” and how much she preferred her jazzy old-school sounds, you would still catch her dancing like no one’s watching to Beyonce at weddings.

I found Gram to be a wonderful, totally one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable grandma. She was a great role model for her grandchildren. Strong morals were very important to her. Much of her time was spent volunteering and giving service to those less fortunate. She was highly religious but never forced her beliefs on others. She never drank alcohol. One of my favorite lines (from Matt & Kat’s wedding)…

Gram: Julie, aren’t you going to drink wine? You’re 18 now.

Julie: I can’t, the drinking age is 21.

Gram: I wish it was 21!

Julie: No, it is 21…

Gram: I know, I wish the drinking age was 21! That’s how it should be!

Her life was full of so many battles — but her struggles made her stronger and Gram was a fighter who could not accept loss. She also came from a time when women were conditioned to be housewives: voiceless and blindly obedient to men. And yet she was able to rise above sexism — she is the one of the most independent women I have even known. Gram taught me that age is just a number, and how important it is to keep pushing yourself. When she was happy, she was absolutely joyous, and nothing in the world could bring her down. What made her happiest was being surrounded by people who care.

Ocean Grove // Asbury Park 2019

It was another dazzling summer at Ocean Grove with the family. Filled with a mix of age-old, somewhat recent, and brand new traditions.

There were multiple Playa Bowl meals. I’m torn between the coconut bowls and the green bowls — equally delicious. A lot of people like the dragon fruit.

There was the second annual brewery tour at Beer Haus, Last Wave, and Frye Brewery. My favorite beer of the night: chop hop.

We had our annual Ladies Breakfast at The Starving Artist — no men allowed!

And of course there was beach time (the water was perfect!), walks on the boardwalk through Asbury Park, and lots of ice cream.

It’s really fascinating to see what they do with the tunnel that bridges between OG and Asbury. There is always some new type of artwork.

It’s so peaceful to be by the beach: the sounds, the sights, and the feeling. This year I made more of an effort to use my phone less and be more present in the moment.

The full moonlight was enchanting! You could see so many stars in the sky including Mars and Jupiter!

Asbury Park is such an incredibly creative place, you never know what you’ll find!

I’m so in love with these murals I found! I love how they represent the strength of women.

The ocean is alive, the ocean is free, the ocean is powerful, the ocean is female!

Until next year…

When Norman Met Venus

Last weekend I visited my parents in NY and also saw my sister to see the play Burn This in the city. Keri Russell was amazing and Adam Driver was super passionate! I brought Venus back with me and she met Norman for the first time. He’s an older man (10 years old) and still warming up to his new home. He is so adorable! They seem to get along pretty well. Still timid but very curious.

Home visit

I am at my parents’ house for the weekend in Oyster Bay. It’s nice to be back home. Everything in this town feels smaller as I get older, except for the house — which always seems bigger and emptier. I feel more relaxed and less anxious now. My parents and I did some spring cleaning: rearranging furniture and sorting through things. We dug up some old photos that bring back great memories.