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Celebration of Life Done Right

Me and most everyone else knew her as Carolyn Nickels, but apparently she was officially Mary Carolyn Nickels-Cox. I knew about the Cox part but I didn't know why. I should have.

I knew Carolyn as a fellow former Thailand Peace Corps Volunteer. We are called RPCVs - Returned Peace Corps Volunteers - because the third goal of the Peach corps is "Bringing the world back home", so we are never done with the job. At the turn of this century, Carolyn founded Friends of Thailand, a group to help Thailand RPCVs stay connected with "the kingdom."

She was just short of 5 feet tall, but was a redheaded dynamo. Everything she did, she did with passion, energy and humor. Though there was a board of directors, she ran FOT single-handedly.

She taught English and yearbook and something called Registry.

The event started with her boyfriend Mark showing a video he made of photos from her life. Mark never identified himself, his name is not in the program, but I suspect anyone who knew Carolyn in the past 10 years knew who Mark was. The video was superb, except it had no videos, which I know Mark had taken many of.

I read the article about her on the Lowell High School newspaper web site, and found out that she had gone into the hospital around July to have a brain tumor removed, the operation was a success, she was recovering, but the doctors had overlooked the rest of the cancer and it took her quickly. Students and family had expected her back teaching, but that didn't happen.

I knew we had a Seattle connection, but didn't know she grew up in Enumclaw, and taught in Seattle before moving to SF.

I also had not known she was married when she joined the Peace Corps, and her husband, Mr. Cox, served with her. And they left Thailand as I was about to arrive, so we never met there. It was close. I would have fallen in love - her photos show a DDG woman with intensely red hair.

Speakers included long time friends, fellow Thailand RPCVs, her school principal, and her grandchildren. Her mother was there, I think, but didn't come up on stage.

Four of her students came up together. Two were there to speak, two to support them. Carolyn was one of those rare people who made friends out of strangers. Those four girls did not know each other before they took her class, but she pulled them together, made them each other's support system. Now that she is gone, they have each other.

The high school choir sang, they are fantastic. The sound filled the room. And it's a BIG room.

It was worth the drive. And then some.


About 10 miles into my drive, I hit a bump on the freeway and a chunk of my car fell off, bounced a few times and was out of sight. I thought it was the front passenger corner panel, which had been bumped and was a little loose, but since the car continued to handle well, and the low tire pressure light didn't come on, I waited till I was at my destination to inspect the damage.

And there wasn't any missing panel. The mud flap is missing, and I can see two holes where there should be nuts or screws to hold it on, but nothing visible from 3 feet away. Monday I'll bring it to a body shop and ask what needs to be replaced.
I took the scenic drive home, along the ocean on the Great Pacific Highway. It was warm (80's) sunny and surf was up, so the was noplace to park. So I turned around heading south and had GPS take me along Skyline to 380 to 280.

Stopped at the Rengsdorff Safeway and got milk, salads and pulled BBQ beef. And egg nog. And cole slaw. And a gallon of vegetable oil.

Home, pulled into the driveway and Spot was lying in the middle of it.  The door had not locked. :-( He went right inside when I came out of the car.

Set up the deep fryer, used the food processor to slice some onions and over the course of a couple of hours carbonized 5 of them. Several batches, 15-20 minutes each. Now I have enough to go with the chopped liver. And to munch on.

Dinner was the BBQ over wheat bread and cole slaw. BBQ was way too sweet/tangy. I will have to water down the leftovers.

Watched UW try to give the game away to Stanford, but they failed at the last Mail Harry. UW won by 4. After holding a 21-0 lead. Disgusting.

Should have watched one of the 2 Graham Nortons on Tivo, but will save those for tomorrow.

With the onions fried and the Safeway stop, I have no plans for tomorrow except football, maybe. And I might make a mango cobbler. Depends on how much peach cobbler is left.

So that takes care of plans for tomorrow. Except maybe I'll go to a chevy place and price a Bolt lease.


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