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Tom Whitelaw died October 14, 2008. He was a dear friend to many. He had a special place in my family’s heart. He was 90 years old.

At the funeral this past weekend I wanted to stand up and share some of my memories, but just wasn’t able to form the words without getting overly emotional. So instead I am writing my memories here.

Some of the things I remember about Tom….

I remember when we were little he’d read the newspaper in his chair in the living room. As kids we would try to punch the paper in, or flick it from the other side. He never got angry at us for it. Instead he’d close the paper, stand up and say “RAH HA!”, and we’d giggle and run away.

I remember coming home for lunch from school (not sure what grade I was in at the time), to watch Perry Mason with Tom.

Tom would occasionally make a sandwich for lunch, rye bread, relish, roast beef and white onion. Sometimes he’d make one for me too.

One of my brothers was particularly close to Tom in the most recent years. He was always known as renegade at Muriel and Tom’s. He found a mentor and friend in Tom. He followed in Tom’s footsteps and became an Electrician. I am so happy that he graduated before Tom passed on, and that Tom could be proud of him. When he comes home to visit Victoria, he almost always would make time to see Tom. He came home for Thanksgiving and seeing Tom just didn’t work out. A day later Tom passed away and he was already back at work in Alberta. We didn’t know Tom was in his last few days. Maybe it was meant to be, because now we remember Tom as Tom. My brother and I feel particularly bad about not seeing him as of late. It was hard to have Tom pass on, hard for me to deal with my feelings of his passing, but even harder to see how Tom’s passing as been effecting one of my brothers. He was so broken up at the funeral, it made my heart ache to make it better for him.

The funeral was lovely. I choose not to walk pass the open casket as I want Tom in my memories as he is, not as he was in the casket. It is very hard to believe he is gone.

His wife Muriel took care of us kids when we were younger. We sort of became part of their very extended family. How lucky we are to have had Muriel and Tom in our lives. They will always be remembered fondly. Muriel passed away in 1996, I still miss her. I have no doubt I will always miss Tom too.

…and they have been great. Like most people when holidays are coming to an end it makes me sad and want more holidays. Almost makes me want to be back where I was this time last year. This time last year I was unemployed (because I was living in the USA without a working Visa) and I was doing my own thing (which can get boring after a while).

The first few days we stayed with our wonderful neighbours in Mountain View, CA. So it really was like returning home, because we were staying right next door to our old house. Also we could not beat the company. Lloyd worked during the day and I just hung out. I stated a new book, caught up on sleep, surfed the net, went shopping and visited friends. The weather was beautiful and warm.

The second half of my holiday has been in San Francisco centered around WordCamp 2007. It has been great to see old friends on the techy community and be involved in the cool up and coming techy community.My hubby did a presentation at WordCamp and did a great job:

Taken by Donncha

Monday morning I return home with mixed feelings. My hubby does not follow for another week, so I will be on my own, and I have to return to the stress of work. But I do love my bed and am looking forward to being back in our house, and see my family and friends. If only I could get a working Visa in the USA perhaps we would be located here in the center of it all.

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I had all this time when I was down in California, now back home it is completely the opposite, I find myself wishing for more hours in the day. Particularly to visit with friends and family friends (I am living with my family so I see them all the time;). I was so excited to be home to have my friends around, and now that I am here I am swamped with school work, all of a sudden it is two and a half weeks into the semester! (how did this happen?) So I wanted to apologize to all my friends for not calling as often as I should since I am back in town. I am taking 4 classes, but two of which have are sciences with 3 hour labs so I feel like I might as well be taking 6 courses. I am also trying to fit in volunteering in at Saanichton elementary school!

Also living at home, we do not have the chance to entertain as we do having our own place. We had quite a few dinner parties in Mountain View that we really enjoyed, I wanted to do that here, but it has to be timed with my schoolwork and with my parents leaving the house, which is more than tricky, to not likely. On top of this Lloyd just started his new job and is busy getting up to speed so as I am swamped with school work, as usual he is swamped with work. I look forward to the future where we have our own place and can invite people over to dinner and maybe have marginally more time to enjoy my precious friends I haved miss so.

The first week of classes was interesting. It was more like a fashion show! All these girls walking around in their short mini skirts. It has cooled down a bit with people starting to get to work in classes, though I often hear people in my classes giggling about a cool party, or visiting each other in the dorms. I feel dated and old. Though with my baby face most professors think I too am a first year. I found out today that I am the same age as my Lab instructor who is working on his PhD. *sigh*

I have completed my correspondence course I was doing in California. I wrote my final exam the weekend after the first week of classes. I just got back my final assignment mark, and will probably have to wait for another 4 weeks for my final exam mark. I just checked the website and found out that my final grade has been posted, I managed to pull off an “A”, but I was one percent away from an A+, grr, oh well.  The final was a little unfair, some questions not on anything the course focused on. Oh well it’s over, and it means that I can know focus on my classes at UVic.

We finally received our stuff from the movers about a week ago. They called us when we came into town, and as most of you might remember from a previous post that I anticipated trouble because of what the customs lady told us when we entered through Blaine in the wee hours of the morning. We were told we only had $750 each for all goods that we aquired into the USA. We got to customs in Victoria (accompanied by our movers with our list of belongings) and the customs officer tells us that we have completely the incorrect form. We are given a new one, on the new one it said something to the effect “all goods that we are bringing in we’ve used for 6 months time”, and “this does not include bridal gifts”. It also has our departure and entrance dates on it, previously she told us it would not matter unless we have been away a year. It really could not have been more ideal (considering the first situation!). We signed the form, and were out of the office within 10 minutes. As we left the office we looked at ourselves pleasantly surprised (esp. with all the bureaucracy I have personally gone through at the border, this was the best yet!).

They delivered our goods that same day. We got a little slap on the wrist because the truck was way to big to be fitting down our street, we should have had to pay another $300 for them to load and deliver our stuff on a smaller truck, not wanting to incur the extra expense we took a chance. The movers were again quite pleasant. Here is a photo of the fancy driving they had to do to unload:

So far we have found nothing extremely damaged, but we are not unpacking most of our stuff until we have our own place.

Ever! They have not only become our neighbours, but they are good friends now too. And we will be sad to leave them behind when we move back to Canada.

Here are just a few things about them and things they have done that make them the very best!…

The same night that we moved all our furniture into our place in Mountain View, Nicole and Ben came over and introduced themselves, gave us home made brownies as a welcome gift and invited us over for dinner that same week!

Lloyd noticed the smell of baking one evening, he sniffed and mentioned it to Nicole. When she was done baking she brought over a large sample of the chocolate brownies with Swiss chocolate in them! Another time they had leftover birthday cake, so they dropped some by for us!

Coming home from being married in Canada, Nicole and Ben looked after the mail and our plants while we were away (and have every time we have gone!). We came home to a lovely sign on our front door saying “just married”, getting inside we had a bottle of champagne in the fridge and two champagne glasses, my favourite Gerber daisy flowering plant and little hearts scattered on our kitchen table.

It was Swiss Day, August 1st, Nicole and I were chatting online. I was wishing her Happy Swiss Day and said it was B.C. day as well, she said I should put up my flag, I said we did not have one. Not 10 minutes later there was a knock on the door, it was Nicole with a flag of BC!. She had printed out the B.C. flag in color from the web, laminated and stuck to a straw!

    We will miss them dearly and thank them for being such wonderful people.