Mattie Miracle 2021 Walk was a $125,000 success!

Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation Promotional Video

Thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive!

Dear Mattie Blog Readers,

It means a great deal to us that you take the time to write to us and to share your thoughts, feelings, and reflections on Mattie's battle and death. Your messages are very meaningful to us and help support us through very challenging times. To you we are forever grateful. As my readers know, I promised to write the blog for a year after Mattie's death, which would mean that I could technically stop writing on September 9, 2010. However, at the moment, I feel like our journey with grief still needs to be processed and fortunately I have a willing support network still committed to reading. Therefore, the blog continues on. If I should find the need to stop writing, I assure you I will give you advanced notice. In the mean time, thank you for reading, thank you for having the courage to share this journey with us, and most importantly thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive.

As Mattie would say, Ooga Booga (meaning, I LOVE YOU)! Vicki and Peter

The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation celebrates its 7th anniversary!

The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation was created in the honor of Mattie.

We are a 501(c)(3) Public Charity. We are dedicated to increasing childhood cancer awareness, education, advocacy, research and psychosocial support services to children, their families and medical personnel. Children and their families will be supported throughout the cancer treatment journey, to ensure access to quality psychosocial and mental health care, and to enable children to cope with cancer so they can lead happy and productive lives. Please visit the website at: and take some time to explore the site.

We have only gotten this far because of people like yourself, who have supported us through thick and thin. So thank you for your continued support and caring, and remember:

.... Let's Make the Miracle Happen and Stomp Out Childhood Cancer!

A Remembrance Video of Mattie

August 30, 2014

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2007. This was one of the many bicycle adventures Peter took Mattie on when we were staying on the Island of Coronado in California. They journeyed to the Hotel Del Coronado. You can see the famous pink roofed Victorian Lady Hotel in the background of this photo! 

Quote of the day: If the wind will not serve, take to the oars. ~ Latin Proverb

I went with my parents today to a very special exhibit at the Autry National Center of the American West. It was entitled: Route 66, The Road and the Romance! I always thought I lived on Route 66! After all right outside my complex in Washington, DC is an on ramp for Route 66! Forget it!!! It isn't the same nostalgic Route!!! I got a real lesson today about this famous Route and the MOTHER ROAD in American History! Route 66 went from Chicago to Los Angeles! Parts of it still exist today! However, this route has had quite a vibrant and important past. Then it fell into disrepair, and is now slowly getting revitalized! It came on the radar scope of many of us in the popular media in 2006, when Pizar produced the movie Cars. Cars highlighted Route 66 and how this Route got by-passed by the Interstate! The main reason I know this movie so well is I saw it numerous times with Mattie! It was one of his favorites. Peter can quote lines from the movie, he saw it that many times with Mattie. Mattie owned every toy car from the movie too! In fact, within the exhibit today, which was sponsored by Disney/Pizar, there was a whole display case dedicated to the movie. It brought back SO MANY MEMORIES! I attached the particular scene from the movie with the James Taylor song that describes the changing of the times so well! How people no longer traveled on the mother road, and in many ways though the creation of interstates were necessary it changed how we traveled. Traveling became about getting to one's destination faster, not about the process and the journey. 

James Taylor's Our Town from the Movie Cars:

I was not allowed to photograph anything in the exhibit today, so I went on line and found a wonderful review of the exhibit through the Los Angeles Times! Therefore, I am SO THANKFUL to be able to share with you the following photos and thoughts below!
LA Times (Deborah Vankin, Autry Museum's Route 66' exhibit drives influence of the road home, June 20, 2014)

The postcard image is ingrained in our collective consciousness: An empty road cuts through the Mojave Desert, its inky black path stretching forward, seemingly to infinity. A lonely white signpost flanks the asphalt — "Route 66."

Perhaps more than any other road in America, Route 66 is layered with history and brimming with nostalgia, a post-World War II symbol of possibility and progress that has infiltrated contemporary pop culture as an emblem of the freedoms of the open road. But America's Main Street, which winds its way from Chicago to Los Angeles, also has a dark side. It was, in its earlier days, a corridor of racism and segregation and the focal point of political contention, such as in the mid-1950's when the interstate highway system emerged.

A new show at the Autry National Center of the American West travels those 2,400 miles of open road to tell the story of America on the go in the 20th century. "Route 66: The Road and the Romance" is not just for travel buffs and Americana enthusiasts, however. The exhibit of more than 250 historical artifacts — vintage gas pumps, neon motel signs, John Steinbeck's original handwritten manuscript of "The Grapes of Wrath" — is particularly issues-driven, aiming to contextualize the American history that unfolded along Route 66 since its inception in 1926.

"We use the highway as a way to examine some much larger issues of 20th century America — class, race, politics," says Jeffrey Richardson, the museum's curator of Western history, popular culture and firearms, who curated the exhibit with project advisor Jim Farber. "Nostalgia is a very small part of the exhibition; it's not a travelogue by any means."
The exhibit, which runs through Jan. 4, is divided into four chronological sections, starting with early transcontinental transportation, the invention of automobiles and the creation of Route 66. The second section looks at the route during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, an era when Steinbeck called the road, which had become a migration path West, "the mother road, the road of flight." Section 3 explores postwar car culture, and it ends with the decline and ultimate revitalization of Route 66.

There's no shortage of memorabilia crowding museums and tourist outposts in the eight states the road cuts through, including the California Route 66 Museum in Victorville and the Smithsonian's permanent "On the Road" exhibition. But the Autry exhibit, Richardson says, is unique in its scope as it includes rare artifacts and considers the route from a national perspective. The historical anecdotes, carefully juxtaposed, create dualities that give the show depth.

Songwriter Bobby Troup, for example, who was white, may have gotten his kicks on Route 66 when he penned those idyllic song lyrics in 1946 — and museum visitors can sample the song and the whimsy it conjures, at listening stations. But Nat King Cole's trio of performers, who recorded it, would likely have had a very different experience traveling the route, which at the time was studded with "sundown towns" that were unsafe for African Americans after dark.

There are six Ed Ruscha photographs on view from the L.A. artist's "Twenty six Gasoline Stations" series — all stark, black-and-white portraits of gleaming service stations along Route 66. On display with the artworks are photographs of the same locations, taken 30 years later by New York artist Jeff Brouws. In every one of the later images, the gas station has been abandoned. "We use these images to talk about the impact of the interstate highway system in 1956," Richardson says, "and the bypassing of so many communities and the impact that had."

"Route 66: The Road and the Romance" was six years in the making. The Autry made a wish list, says Richardson, of the single best objects it hoped to procure to illustrate individual points, then it set about chasing down those items from private collectors, universities, libraries and other museums. The Autry managed to scratch off nearly every item on the list. Of the 250-plus artifacts in the show, more than 200 are on loan. Among them: the oldest-known Route 66 map, Dorothea Lange's Depression-era photo "Migrant Mother," a cream-colored 1960's Chevrolet Corvette and....... 

Jack Kerouac's 120-foot "On the Road" scroll, which visitors can flip through via iPad.

"We went just about anywhere we could to find the most important artifacts to tell this story," Richardson says. A social media campaign had two Autry employees driving Route 66 from L.A. to Chicago, taking pictures and interviewing people along the way and gathering materials so visitors can plan their own road trips.

It is the individual, hard-to-come-by objects, however — the literal and fictitious detritus of the road, such as the early Jackson Pollock painting, "Going West," storyboards and sketches from the animated Pixar film "Cars," and a chunk of Route 66 asphalt — that Richardson feels will stick with visitors.

Within this exhibit I learned about the Dust Bowl, which occurred in the Midwest from the 1930-1940. I explain a little bit about the Dust Bowl below (I have to admit that this is something amiss in my own education--- I had to read about it since I did not know what the Dust Bowl was and never read the Grapes of Wrath!!!). In any case, people trying to escape the Dust Bowl used Route 66 to come to California in hopes of finding a better way of life in Los Angeles! However, the sad part was after packing up their homes and families, they weren't greeted fondly in California! Many times they were sent right back home, almost like a form of border patrol in a way! California was patrolling our OWN US CITIZENS back then! This whole exhibit was a cultural eye opener, not just one of transportation nostalgia!

The Dust Bowl, also known as the Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe dust storms that greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the US   
and Canadian prairies during the 1930s; severe drought  
and a failure to apply dryland farming methods to prevent wind erosion. The drought came in three waves, 1934, 1936, and 1939–40, but some regions of the High Plains experienced drought conditions for as many as eight years. Extensive deep plowing of the virgin topsoil of the Great Plains during the previous decade had displaced the native, deep-rooted grasses that normally trapped soil and moisture even during periods of drought and high winds. Rapid mechanization of farm implements, especially small gasoline tractors and widespread use of the combine harvester, significantly impacted decisions to convert arid grassland (much of which received no more than 10 inches of precipitation per year) to cultivated cropland.
During the drought of the 1930s, the unanchored soil turned to dust that the prevailing winds blew away in clouds that sometimes blackened the sky. These choking billows of dust – named "black blizzards" or "black rollers" – reached such East Coast cities as New York City and Washington, D.C. and often reduced visibility to 3.3 ft or less. 
The drought and erosion of the Dust Bowl affected 100,000,000 acres that centered on the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma and touched adjacent sections of New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas.
The Dust Bowl forced tens of thousands of families to abandon their farms. Many of these families, who were often known as "Okies" because so many of them came from Oklahoma, migrated to California and other states to find that the Great Depression had rendered economic conditions there little better than those they had left. Author John Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men about such people.

August 29, 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2007. Behind Mattie and Peter is the famous bridge that takes cars from the main land of San Diego to the Island of Coronado. Coronado is a special place and that summer when we were not touring around, Peter would take Mattie out and about on the Island. They would walk and bicycle around together!

Quote of the day: Teach thy tongue to say, “I do not know,” and thou shalt progress. ~ Maimonides

It is ironic, I am in California and far away from those I know in Washington, DC and yet internally I know that school is about to start. It isn't like anyone is telling me this. Quite on the contrary no one talks to me about such matters any more. That is a whole other conversation! Another complexity of navigating the world of grief with my friends..... part of me wants to hear about their lives and another part of me doesn't! Likewise, they want to tell me about their lives and at the same time they are afraid that telling me about their children might hurt me. In a way it is a damned if you do and a damned if you don't!   

Mattie died on September 8th of 2009, which was the first day of school! For many of our close friends they associate the first day back at school with Mattie's death. I am sure for some of them the beginning of school, at least for the parents, is somewhat bittersweet. As for Peter and I, the start of school signifies yet another year we are missing in our lives with Mattie.

Today my parents and I went out and did a chore that involved going to a furniture store. They happen to know the owner of this particular store and we got to talking with him. I asked him how his daughter was doing at college. She just went back East to go to school. This is her freshman year! It turns out that his son is also in college, making him and his wife empty nesters! He was talking about how lonely this feeling is and the adjustment this takes! Naturally I was listening to this and of course as a feeling person I could process what he was saying and could empathize, but then taking a step back, I realized this would NOT be something I could ever appreciate first hand. I will never have the opportunity to raise Mattie through high school, he will never attend college, and Peter and I will never be empty nesters like this. 

Peter and I are instead living the lives of empty nesters, except our emptiness comes with tremendous baggage, not much happiness or the fulfillment of having raised a child. As the fifth anniversary of Mattie's death approaches, I am already thinking about how Peter and I will honor this occasion and the beautiful life of Mattie Brown. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2007. Mattie was by the pool at our hotel in Coronado, California. The beauty of Mattie was he never stopped moving unless he was sick. He could have an absolutely full day of activity and yet continue moving up until bedtime. He was not a couch potato and he was not into video games, spending time in front of a computer, or a TV. Mattie was about connecting with the world, his environment, and others. 

Quote of the day: Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him.  ~ Booker T. Washington

It was an incredibly HOT day in Los Angeles! If you are in the shade it isn't bad, but as soon as you step foot in the sun, it feels like you are in an oven. Now I like the heat interestingly enough, but I guess I am not used to the dry heat of California. Humid heat is very different, it is a heat I am very used to in Washington, DC!

My parents and I had a full day today and by the afternoon, I took on more planting in their backyard and mulching. That may not sound too bad but in the heat that is definitely a feat and I feel like I got my exercise for the week!  

After yard work, I came inside and began baking cookies for a few Foundation supporters who live close by to my parents. They happen to like cookies, so this is my form of a personal thank you for the continued support for the work that I do!

To me chocolate chip cookies from scratch are the quintessential cookie. My maternal grandma always baked these cookies for me, so whenever someone wants a cookie from me, that is literally the cookie you are going to get! Of course that was a major problem between Mattie and I, since Mattie despised CHOCOLATE! Mattie even hated chocolate when I was pregnant. So much so that when I was pregnant, chocolate made me sick to my stomach and I couldn't eat it!!! Needless to say, I never baked Mattie a chocolate chip cookie. The macaroon recipe is something my mom and I came up with on our own. We tried a lot of people's recipes, and none of them worked for us. So we branched out on our own! The recipe we use is fail safe! You can't go wrong with it, and it produces a beautiful shaped macaroon EVERY time! The NO FUSS macaroon! My kind of cookie!

August 27, 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2007. We took Mattie to Coronado, near San Diego. Mattie wanted to ride one of those "surrey with a fringe on top," as I call them! Well they look adorable but they aren't easy to operate or pedal! In this bicycle, we had my parents, us, and Mattie. Peter and I were doing the pedaling. Mattie got a big kick out of me because I felt like I got a work out for a week! He was up in the front seat giving us directions and laughing. It was a memorable moment.

Quote of the day: The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today we visited the Arboretum. Another Mattie favorite! The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden is a unique 127-acre botanical garden and historical site located in what was the heart of the historic Rancho Santa Anita in the city of Arcadia.

The one unforgettable aspect is the freely roaming peacocks at the park! They are everywhere!!! This peahen was posing for me as soon as we entered today! Mattie LOVED the peacocks and I will never forget the show they put on for him one day! It had Mattie perplexed and he stopped in his tracks to watch it! Of course it was a male peacock trying to get the attention of a female and his dance and bird calls were hysterical to watch! Mattie did not understand the full details of what he was observing but he understood enough to know that this male bird was a sight to be seen!

Along our journey in the Arboretum we saw lots of butterflies! However, despite our best plan which was to walk throughout the property it was like 98 degrees in FULL sun. Which made walking quite a challenge. It is the driest I have ever seen Southern California too! Everything seems in need of water. 

See what I mean about the peacocks??? They are everywhere!! Whole families! This one included the peachicks!

Along our walk we passed the Yellow Poinciana -- The tree is widely grown in tropical regions as an ornamental tree, particularly in IndiaNigeriaPakistan, and Florida and Hawaii in the United States. 

Our goal was to find the plumeria which were in bloom in the gardens today! Of course I had NO IDEA what plumeria looked like, which is always a problem when looking for a needle in a haystack. In any case, we were told to climb up passed a large water fall, passed a beautiful tree (which they did not tell us was a Sycamore fig, I had to figure that one out for myself tonight with some research) and eventually we found the plumeria!!! This "beautiful tree" is a Sycamore Fig Tree!!! The sycamore fig (Ficus Sycamorus) is native to the Middle East and parts of Africa. The name Sycamorus came from the Greek Syca-Morus which means Mulberry fig. The leaves are similar in shape to mulberry and the fruit looks very similar to the common fig, except it’s smaller. The fruits grow on clusters attached to the bark. The fruit have a very sweet aroma. It tastes different than the common fig, a little sweeter and very aromatic. The fruit of the sycamore fig is not grown commercially. However, you may find fruits of the sycamore fig selling in Israeli farm markets. The trees are not as cold hardy as the common fig (Ficus Carica). They are usually grown in the warmer regions of the Middle East and Africa.

I included this photo because I wanted you to have some perspective! We climbed up LOTS of stairs to get to the TOP where this Sycamore Fig was located! I took this photo near where the fig tree was, we had to make this climb to find the plumeria! In the heat!!!! 

Plumeria (common name is Frangipani) is related to the oleander and is native to Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America as far south as Brazil but can be grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions.

Commonly known for the Hawaiian flower used to make Melia Lei’s, Plumeria flowers are sought after around the globe

The fragrance of plumeria is intoxicating and I can see why someone would want a lei made out of this glorious flower! It was worth the climb! But honestly I could never have found this flower without my phone! I had to google "plumeria" to see a sample photo! With the sample photo in hand, we then went searching in the general vicinity specified on the garden map! Otherwise I had NO idea what we were looking for!

Another beautiful tree which looks like it is growing tulips!!! This is the Yellow African Tulip Tree!

The Arboretum has its own Aquatic Garden! I could see Claude Monet here if he were alive today! The water lilies were in bloom, the turtles were out and stretching their necks toward the sun, and this seemed like a very peaceful place to escape. 

It was the perfect day for Turtles!

After the Arboretum we journeyed to a restaurant in San Marino called Julienne's. It has a lovely atmosphere and it was a memorable lunch with my parents. 

At lunch my dad took a photo of my mom and I! 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 -- Mattie died 259 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2007. While out in Los Angeles, between sight visits and running around, there were always fun projects for Mattie to do in between. Mattie loved digging through clay and sand. In this particular case Mattie unearthed a green dinosaur buried in sand! He loved projects like these and whatever toy he found he would always play with and typically carry it around with him from place to place as if it needed to experience his journeys alongside him. 

Quote of the day:  I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ~ Maya Angelou

This is a photo of Mt. Vesuvius in the Gulf of Naples, Italy. It is volcano which is best known for burying the ancient city of Pompeii in 79AD. When I was a little girl, I traveled with my parents and grandmother to Italy often. On many occasions I saw Mt. Vesuvius and during one of our trips we even walked inside the crater. Of course as a child I had NO IDEA the dangers of a volcano nor understood the devastation such a natural structure could evoke on an entire community. Now as an adult and walking through today's exhibit at the California ScienCenter, I had a completely different appreciation for Vesuvius. 

I would have to say that "Pompeii The Exhibition" at the California ScienCenter is a VERY unique show. In many ways, walking into the exhibit is a bit like walking into the ruins itself. Well NOT quite, but they are definitely trying to transport you to Italy. The space is intimate, not cavernous! The lights are dim and it is not just a visual experience! It is sensory in every sense of the word! As an attendee, we had the opportunity to have video simulations of roman life within each room, so we could see what a roman forum was like, or what a roman home or bath was like and so forth! They really helped bring Pompeii alive for us. So not only did we see the artifacts that were unearthed in Pompeii, uncovered from 14 feet of volcanic ash, but we got to see simulations of how such items may of been used in roman times. The whole recreation in each room was fascinating! If that did not get you, then I have no doubt that the introduction to the exhibit itself or the exit from the exhibit most definitely will remain with museum goers for quite some time. The introduction basically started by putting visitors in a small room with a video (we did not sit, we had to remain standing). It oriented us to the time period and walked us back to 79AD and what life was like in Pompeii right before the eruption. After the video was over, another door opened up and we got to walk into what looked like Pompeii. It was a surreal experience! Very clever, very Hollywood in a way. The exit was just as thrilling, if not more SO! Upon existing, we were bought to another room and enclosed into another standing video which walked us through the 24 hours of the eruption of Vesuvius. As if we were in 79AD! It was terrifying with dry ice being piped in to represent the smoke of the ash! Once the video was over another door opened up and we saw the body casts of the victims left behind from the volcano. I have to tell you this was not only an informative exhibit but it was an emotional roller coaster ride as well because it is hard not to walk through these rooms and not imagine the devastation caused from the deaths of innocent people whose lives were swept away!

I am going to give you some facts about Pompeii below that I hope you will find interesting and then include some photos from my trip to the museum!


Pompeii was a cultured and vibrant city rich in architecture, complex infrastructures, and exquisite works of art, and was home to 25,000 inhabitants. Its location also allowed for it to become a rich agricultural center, a vital seaport, and a booming commercial hub. The city hosted theatrical and sporting events and built luxurious public baths. Wealthy Roman visitors came to enjoy the lavish Mediterranean lifestyle that Pompeii offered.


The ancient city of Pompeii was situated in southern Italy’s west coast region of Campania, near the bay of Naples. Today, the ruins of Pompeii are located inland near the modern suburban town of Pompei (now written with one 'i').

62 A.D. – An earthquake rattled Pompeii but citizens rebuilt the city not suspecting the looming disaster. They were largely unaware of the mighty power of Mount Vesuvius.
August 24, 79 A.D. – Mount Vesuvius erupted in the morning and the surrounding landscape had been changed forever. Within a span of 24 hours, Pompeii was completely buried under 12 feet of ash and stone, the river and port were gone, and Vesuvius was a crater.
1709-1711 – A farmer, sinking a well, struck Herculaneum’s ancient theater, in which he found ancient marble sculptures. An Austrian general acquired the land, had deep tunnels dug and for two years plundered the site for antiquities.
1760 - The first to attempt a methodical approach at Pompeii was German art historian, J.J. Winckelmann, considered the father of archaeology. He catalogued Pompeian loot, and because the city was buried under a shallow layer of lightweight pyroclastic matter, speedy excavation was both possible and a priority to limit the number of thefts.
1860-1875 - The archaeologist Giuseppe Fiorelli, director of excavations at Pompeii for a newly unified Italy, introduced innovative excavation methods. From hollows left by decaying organic matter he made plaster casts that reconstruct bodies of dead people, and also those of animals and trees.
1997 – Pompeii declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO
2010 – National Archaeological Museum of Naples opened a new wing, dedicated to the display of paintings from the Vesuvian sites. Later that year, torrential rains reduced two houses in Pompeii to rubble.
Present day – Pompeii takes up a quarter of a square mile and has seen over 25 million visitors. Large-scale excavation has now ceased, and one-third of the city remains underground. Archaeologists oppose undertaking fresh excavations while they focus on conserving existing buildings and re-examining and understanding earlier discoveries.

In the year 79 A.D., Pompeii vanished beneath thick layers of volcanic ash left by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. But what nature destroyed, it also preserved.

Pompeii: The Exhibition features over 150 precious artifacts on loan from the Naples National Archaeological Museum in Italy, which offer a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle and tragic end of this ancient Roman society forgotten for centuries until its rediscovery over 250 years ago.

From garden frescoes and marble statues to gladiator armor, coins and currency to religious altars and shrines — all set in their original surroundings — experience daily life in this once vibrant Roman city. Then, as the floors shake and the walls rumble, relive the volcano’s catastrophic eruption through an immersive CGI (computerized graphic images) experience, culminating in the reveal of full body casts of twisted human forms, asphyxiated by extreme heat and noxious gases and forever frozen in time.

Through excavated artifacts, multimedia experiences, and hands-on science exhibits, guests will learn the science of archaeology, volcanology, and Roman engineering while exploring the ancient civilization of Pompeii.

Like all Romans, the Pompeians worshiped many gods and goddess. In their homes, people had shrines or larariums to honor their own "lares" or particular gods that they chose to worship. These figures represent the lares that were found in Pompeii. 

The exhibit featured many wonderful descriptive posters such as this! This described what "fine Living" entailed. The beauty of this is I have seen such a recreation of such an elite roman home at the Getty Museum here in LA! The Getty in Malibu literally designed their museum to look just like the photo in this poster. It is absolutely exquisite and when I saw this today I was able to put two and two together.  

The Oasis From Public Life! The beauty of Roman style gardens! 

I tried to take a photo of one of the display rooms so you could get a feeling for what I was talking about!

The Romans LOVED water and were the first to develop aqueducts and pipes. Such systems were seen even in Pompeii with this fountain and their elaborate bath houses.

Dining in Style! Food has always been a large component of Italian life. However, this is what dining used to look like. There were NO tables, plates, and so forth! 

Frankly I took a photo of this because it seems to me we have come full circle. This "eating out" concept is where our society is now! We no longer have the time to eat at home or to even sit down to eat! Apparently this was true in the Pompeian days too! 

I had never heard of an Amphora! But these vessels were used to transport all sorts of things from wine, olive oil, to something called Garum (which was a fish sauce made from fish intestine and eels in salt). 

Tree shaped oil lamp with three lights were used to light dinners and banquets. The design was based on famous works of art, mythological characters, and complex geometric shapes. 

The information about the public baths and the simulated video just GOT ME! I am not sure what part I found worse, the public forum associated with this, or my concern for the people having to clean up after this mess. Either case I was perplexed by the whole notion. 

If you are intrigued by Pompeii and want to learn more, I included a BBC video below. I do think that Volcanoes and other nature disasters do make us pause and help us realize just how fleeting life is and how out of control our destiny really is. Pompeii is just such a perfect example. Within 24 hours, an amazing and vibrant city was demolished and vanished. But fortunately was preserved in time for us to find centuries later. Yet thousands of lives, young and old were destroyed. It is a sad commentary and it seems to me that understanding Pompeii means much more than learning about the things that have become unearth, it means also respecting that it is a grave site of thousands of people who are just like you or me, living their lives in peace never suspecting that in the next minute their lives were going to be in grave danger and forever changed. 

BBC Pompeii: The Mystery of The People Frozen in Time:

August 25, 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2007. We took Mattie to one of his favorite places, The George C. Page Museum, where the LaBrea tar pits are in Los Angeles. Behind Mattie is a tar pit with a model of a Woolly Mammoth trapped in it. Mattie loved learning about the tar pits, the fossil collections, and the research that continues on location.  

Quote of the day: Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. ~ Pablo Picasso

This weekend Peter sent me this photo to let me know he was thinking of me! I LOVE sunflowers! Did I always love sunflowers? I am not so sure! Sunflowers were given to me by Team Mattie when Mattie was sick with cancer. They became an important symbol to me of hope and friendship! Friends gave them to me to try to cheer me up and to let me know that they cared about us under the worst possible circumstances and conditions. I will never forget that feeling! Though Mattie is no longer with us the feeling these flowers evoke is alive and well within me. When I see sunflowers they remind me of the time Mattie was alive, when we were battling cancer together, and when we were surrounded by our care community! Therefore to me this will forever be a special flower. A flower that symbolizes Mattie, hope, love, and community. Basically it is NOT JUST A FLOWER to me. 

My parents and I went out and did some chores today and we also bought some flowers to plant in the front and backyard. We got a row of hydrangeas which I will plant over the course of this week! It is supposed to be in the upper 90's this week and Los Angeles has a watering restriction!!! Since they have had little to NO RAIN! So keeping anything green here is a real feat!

This evening we are going out to dinner with friends of my parents! I haven't seen these particular friends since my wedding day! So needless to say this is a LONG TIME AGO for me. I mentioned in last night's blog that my parents and I went to Calabasas yesterday. I explained that when I was in high school I visited Calabasas frequently to visit my parent's friends! Well it turns out the friends I was talking about are the friends we are visiting with this evening. They no longer live in Calabasas but in Northern California. Which is why I rarely see them! They called last night and are in town! It is just a coincidence that I am here while they are here, since this rarely happens! It seems to me that they knew me a lifetime ago when I had just gotten married! Now I am not only married and had a child, but I had a child WHO DIED! I am a very different person and to me it is hard to meet people who haven't evolved with me. I can certainly have these gatherings, it is just harder. 

I would say it is challenging for a grieving parent to know how to exist in the every day world at times and to know how to re-engage with people who once knew us. The awkwardness goes two ways. It isn't only the griever who has issues, many times it is friends who do not know how to be a part of our lives any more either. Sometimes friends find it easier to just give us time and space, or decide to give us time and space out of respect. But unfortunately with time and space, what happens is the creation of a very large divide between friends that I have found can not be easily repaired.