Working Smarter

April 22, 2014

In February 2011, I had client ask for several quotes on short notice.  I worked my tail off for four days straight and finished before the deadline.  However, in the process I really wrecked up my right shoulder and was in such pain – I kept thinking it would soon relax and right itself, but it didn’t.  Not only was it the ice pick in the back of my shoulder, it was the stiff neck and very sore and inflamed shoulder joint.  To be honest, I was a mess.

That began the most intense three years of my life.  I started seeing Debye for massage for the shoulder pain and found it hard to do anything for quite a while.  I hurt so much and had trouble sleeping at night – not one of my of my better periods.   I started doing better after I began massages with Debye in May or June – way too long to get help – and then things began to really show up with Mom and dementia.   Around  July and August was the time when I couldn’t leave her by herself any more.  It was a very difficult time because I was recovering from the shoulder and it meant I couldn’t go out any more.  By December I was way past overwhelm and far into over my head.

I waited to long to find help – I kept thinking “It’s not that bad” but it was.  I was brought up with “Don’t ask for help, don’t bother or burden people”.  It finally hit me – I had been doing that all my life, especially with RA!  I remember talking to my sister Ellen on the phone around that time; I mentioned the Don’t ask for help thing and she had three words for me  - Ditch it, Girl!  She knew exactly what I was talking about, all three of us had been doing it for decades.  So I asked for help from the Alzheimer’s Association and finally had the help I needed.

February of 2012 I broke my hip tripping over my Mom – that sent me to the hospital and rehab for 8 weeks with another 4 in outpatient therapy.  By that time, my doctor, my family, my friends were really worried about me.  The therapists at rehab told me if I went back to what I was doing, I would be back in rehab permanently.   I realized I couldn’t keep taking care of mom without some major help.  I had arranged caregivers during the day so I could get out for a few hours a week for a break, but it was also time to think seriously of long-term decisions.

I went through paperwork to enroll Mom in the Providence Elderplace program – they would take care of all her needs and provide caregivers when she wasn’t at the Center.  It was good for her to go to the Center and be with other people – all the staff there is wonderful with all the people.    Also, her new doctor, PT, OT and anything else she needed was there.  They helped me find a really good adult family home for Mom because she was needing more and more care.  In October 2012 we moved her there and it was just the right time.  She was still able to socialize, any longer and it would have been harder.

More paperwork, then even more to apply for Medicaid – by that time I had gotten her checking account down to $2000 and sold everything to pay her monthly bill for Providence.  At the same time, we were applying for a loan and vast amounts of paperwork for that.  February 2013 Mom was approved for Medicaid but it wasn’t until the beginning of June when the mortgage went through.  Then 4 or 5 weeks of kitchen remodel for a wonderful kitchen.  So many other things still to do for the house.  I have been trying to sell the furniture so we can have our own things around us, but not much luck.  I don’t know if I just don’t know how to do it or if something is holding me back.    Plus, so much cleaning out!

February of this year I past the 2 year mark of breaking my hip.  My rheumatologist said 70% people who break a bone will break another one within 2 years.   I was determined to be in the 30% and I made it – no falls or broken bones since the hip. So here we are in 2014 and it feels like a brand new start.  I have decided to move our furniture upstairs and my parents down to the basement.  We need to paint the living room and I want Brad to create a new mantle with crown molding.  it has been raining so consistently I haven’t had enough clear days to move furniture and not get it wet.

So what does all of this have to do with working smarter?  I had a call from the client I worked with 3 years ago when I spent four days straight on her quotes.  I had a week to update them and this time, I paced myself over the week.  Yes, it meant I worked a lot on Easter but I wanted to be able to finish on Monday and feel human.  By George, I did it!  I took my time, took breaks, went out to do things and didn’t allow myself to get antsy in the that “Got to get it down” mindset.  She has a board meeting today where she will present i – no idea if the board will go for it this time or not.  They vetoed it three years ago.

So here I am, 3 years older and a whole lot smarter and wiser.   I have been doing a lot of quotes and very happy to report a lot of them have turned into orders.  I am surprised to look up and find my life has changed a lot from Feb 2014 – I’m not sure how it happened, I know I have changed a lot as well.  I am better at asking for help, knowing that when something comes up, I can handle it, especially knowing I have friends and colleagues I can turn to for help.  If it hadn’t been for Dave Gagley and all his help with Mom’s stuff, I would have been in a rubber room.  So many people are willing and happy to help, now I have ways to help other people when they are dealing with some of what I have been doing.

The hardest part is going to see Mom twice a week at the adult family home.  She can’t really carry on a conversation in worlds I understand, though it is in a very conversational tone – she understands it but the circuits between her brain and her mouth have too many shorts now.  I read to her, take my iPad to play music she likes and of course, she loves the chocolate and cookies I bring every time.  I don’t ever want her to think I have abandoned her, so I visit and enjoy what I can with her.  She is usually glad to see me, whether she recognizes me as her daughter or just a familiar presence.

Why Do I Have RA?

April 20, 2014

That’s a very good question, one I haven’t quite  understood after 43 years.  I talked to a medical intuitive a while back and she told me it was only my energy; I was hoping there was also someone else’s energy that could be cleared.  So it is all me – wonder what caused me to decide to experience it in this lifetime.

There is a quotation “Things are not done TO you, but FOR you”.  Well, that one takes some pondering – something I have spent a long time doing but not  really reaching any conclusions or answers.  Does that mean it is karma in some form, balancing out something from a past life?  I believe I have had past lives, though so far I haven’t remembered them myself.  Am I supposed to – is it necessary for this time on earth?  Sometime s I feel I have more questions than answers.

Is there something about my life that is overwhelming and I don’t know how to deal with it?Am I reluctant to take responsibility for things?  What things would that be?  Or is it for protection so I don’t have to deal with certain things “because I have RA”?  I realize I look at everything in terms of RA.  I see things I would like to do, but then see the physical obstacles that could prevent me because my joints aren’t always flexible.  I felt that way about riding the Duck, the steps were a little steep and somewhat difficult to navigate, but I went up and then back down.  Sometimes I am afraid to try – in case I fail and can’t actually do it.

Oh my, I can see I set myself up to fail by not giving something a try.  Part of it comes from feeling clumsy and awkward; I would rather not put myself in that position.  I also realize I am limiting myself – that I have put those limitations on myself.  I have felt clumsy and awkward most of my life, I was the overweight (not that much but enough) middle child between two slender sisters.  I don’t really know how it feels to be thinner.  I lost about 35 pounds when I was in junior college; now I realize I didn’t really believe it or feel it was really me.

Enough about that – it is the past and no longer something I want to focus my energy.  What just occurred to me is that RA may be possibly part of my Life Lesson and Life Purpose.  Maybe these are things I want to heal in this lifetime.  I was about to say “I think”  instead of stating it because I have always been like that.  One of my Life Lessons is standing up for myself, speaking my truth – at this point there isn’t an “I think” about it.  Another is taking back my power – what a wonderful discovery to realize I do have power when I always thought before that I didn’t have any.  What a concept!

I also realize I have had a very negative view of RA – it was done TO me.  I was an innocent victim sideswiped by RA – don’t think I can see it that way any more.  I have been writing about the gifts in RA, a much more positive view than in the beginning.  Anything to do with past lives, Spirit, etc. was not talked about because people who did were weird.  Heavy duty hocus pocus, woo woo and goofball stuff.  Yet that goofball stuff has really helped me, to understand a little better and also to take personal responsibility rather than continue seeing myself as a victim.

This seems a collection of random thoughts to me – I’m not sure it has logic or continuity to it.  As I write, thoughts come to me and I write them down.  It is one of those t imps where I am not sure where it is leading.  I admit to having to stop and wonder what to write next, then a thought comes and I start writing again.

I just thought of Louise Hay and what she wrote in her book “You Can Heal Your Life”.  She said that when you truly love yourself, things will sort themselves out – my words.  I have been focusing on two major things for quite a while – Loving Myself and Life Purpose.  So much of what goes on is a result of my thoughts and as she says “It’s just a thought and a thought can be changed”.   Also I have read and heard that what I am experiencing now is from thoughts not very long ago.  The problem I am having is recognizing what those thoughts are that continue RA and what the positives are to replace them.  I know a lot of those negative thoughts have been there for a very long time and it is hard to recognize them.

What surprises me is that my Mom’s dementia has brought some of the programs into the light so I can recognize them.  Then I realize how I have been operating with them all my life without knowing it.  I may not know yet the “Why” but I am learning ways to see what has been happening all my life; plus what and how I can change thoughts that once served me but are now invalid.  I am slowly creating new positive thoughts and patterns for this stage of my life.

Maybe Spring Is Really Here

April 13, 2014

Sometimes my body tells me when it is going to rain – usually if it has been a long time since the last storm.  I start to notice it in my hip – just about where my leg and hip come together.  Essentially it feels as if my leg is being torn out of the socket; it comes suddenly and hurts like the dickens.  It starts to rain and suddenly the pain is gone – boy, am I glad to see the rain come.  Not so much this last time, it was both hips and it was a day or two after the rain and about to start in again.  I saw my chiropractor and she did some adjustments which helped, but it was still very uncomfortable.  I was with a friend at lunch and I suddenly remembered something my Occupational Therapist in Connecticut told me – “You don’t do change of seasons very well”.  Maybe it’s true.

I started looking at what I was doing at the time, was I moving in a different way or did I remember an unusual movement.  I couldn’t think of anything but then as I was getting up from the chair at the computer, I noticed I was bracing myself a little differently – maybe that was it.  I put the chair a little higher so it was easier to get up – though it can’t be too high or it hurts my neck and shoulders.  Some days life feels like a delicate balance.  So far, with the chair a little higher, I am doing better.  I am also sleeping well.

Last Monday it was warm and sunny, so nice I went out in my bare feet to do some “earthing” in the grass.  I also took out my bottle of bubbles and blew bubbles in the sunshine.  That was fun!  They were so pretty shiny in the sunlight, I’m waiting for it to be warm again.  Yes, we have had sunshine and it is usually very pleasant in the sun.  In the shade it is chilly with a north wind – still nippy.   I am wearing turtlenecks and sweaters to keep warm while so many people are out in shorts and tees.  Am I out of step?  It is working its way up into the 60′s today and maybe into 70 tomorrow.  As for the garden, it is doing very well.

Thanks to Eddie who did it for me, the fruit trees have fertilizer stakes and we also had a bit of rain afterwards.  never did get to spray the trees for all the lichen and fuzzy stuff, maybe I will just have to pick it off.  Anyway, the pear trees are in full bloom and gorgeous – if the rain and windy don’t come too harshly, we may have pears this year.  The Gravenstein is just beginning to bloom, not fully out like the pear trees.

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We also did the blue berries and they are also blooming, plus we did the fig tree – not sure if it has recovered from pruning or not.  Eddie thinks we made a mistake pruning it, I am willing to wait and see.  I am so glad we gave them fertilizer this year, it hasn’t been done for 2 or 3 years.

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You can’t really see the Scillas, but they are there and blooming.

The grape hyacinths are still blooming and now the Scillas have finally begun to bloom.  So we have purple in the beds and it is lovely.   The camellias are still blooming, though they make a mess on the sidewalk.  I need to check the rhodos, Delores brought over some red buds for me to take to Mom, unfortunately I left before she came.  So I have them in a vase on the kitchen window sill and they are beginning to open up.  I will see how ours are doing and take some to Mom.

It feels as if everything has burst into bloom.  I have seem rhodos blooming, magnolias and azaleas – it is such a glorious time of year.  The trees have a lot more leaves and it is truly amazing.

My sister Ellen has some of her photos online – just click her name and see what beautiful pictures she has taken.  I’m so very proud of her, she is an amazing talent.  My sister Candy is too, she also has many facets and talents.  They have both captured spring – in Nashville and the Jersey shore.

The first flowering fruit trees have lost their blossoms, almost like a snow storm.  Now it is the puffy cherry trees, like balls of pink fluff.  It is such a pleasure to drive places and see colors and beauty all around.  Hmm, am I starting to wax poetical?

I need to get dressed now, I cleaned the bathroom this morning, Eddie vacuumed and the laundry is almost done.  He didn’t have to go to the Museum of Flight today and since we went to service his car yesterday, Saturday chores were spread between both days.  It is certainly a lot more fun to be out in the sunshine than the rain and wind.  We will all be wanting rain if it is too dry for too long, it’s a Seattle thing.  If you wait for a nice day to do things, you wouldn’t be going out very much.  Unless it is a gale and hard rain, you just go and do.  I remember a January day in L.A. when I went to renew my driver’s license.  It was a rainy day and there was hardly anyone at the DMV.  One of the advantages of growing up here.

The wisteria will soon be out, but I will have to enjoy my neighbors because we had it dug out last year.  It’s so lovely when it blooms, but the rest of the time it does a really good job of taking over everything, no matter how much I trimmed it back.  I am not going to miss it.

Is It Really “No Big Deal”?

April 6, 2014

Deep tissue massage with Debye has once again been an eye opener for me this week.  She has been my cheering section for these many months and she hasn’t understood why I don’t pat myself on the back and be proud of what I have accomplished.  I have realized I have only seen “big” things as accomplishments to be acknowledged; the little ones seemed to be no big deal, they were just things I needed to do.  As an example, no pat on the back for keeping my body straight all week, the courage to keep going and digging down deeper and deeper, becoming more and more aware or asking and trusting my Angels for help.

I was surprised when she told me how much progress I have made, my body is much more flexible than when I started last June.  Plus she is so amazed at how much more aware I am than when I started as well.  From inside me, I feel I am not very far along – only because I am comparing myself to Debye and Monty.  They have studied and had different life experiences than I have had, plus they have healing abilities and sight I have always felt I didn’t have.  I have an automatic response to look outside myself and compare  to someone who is farther advanced, travelled more than I have or has an advanced degree.  I tend to discount what I have done, where I have been and most especially who I am – it’s no big deal.  Pat on the back for recognizing it!

Is it childhood programs and training; society and what it values; not knowing who I am what my gifts are or just a matter of not having confidence in myself.  Maybe it is something else entirely – I don’t quite know at this point.   I tend to compare myself (usually unfavorably) to people who have achieved things of note, made a name for themselves and support themselves very well financially.  Or to people with wonderful gifts that they were either born with or became aware as a result of a near death experience or catastrophic accident.

Over the past 40 years or so, people have often said how positive I am while having RA; how I do so much or that I am an inspiration.  I have a tendency to discount it, not seeing myself as others do but as myself doing what I have to about RA and living my life.  I realize some of that is childhood programs of not thinking well of myself because that is boasting or bragging.  So seeing small accomplishments only as one more thing to do and big accomplishments as something to keep to myself or I will be boasting.  How many kids have grown up with that same refrain?

It didn’t help to have a very talent older sister with great artistic talent.  (I know she will read this and I’ll bet she will discount herself a bit – why is it so easy to see in others but not myself?)  It isn’t anything to do with fault or anything like that – she has a talent and she worked hard to develop and refine it to the wonderful work it is now.  I admire her so much and love to see her work.  She is also a talented musician.

Then at the other end is my younger sister who sings,  writes lyrics and music, as well as books and other things as well.  Being in the middle sometimes feels as if I am out in left field without my own place.  However, I know that is my perception, my feeling of not having anything special to offer or be.  That is lack of confidence and insecurity – as an adult I have a lot better perspective.  I see I have always tried to define myself as an artist of some kind, as if that is the only area to look towards.  Looking back, I think I would have gone to the reference section of the library and start at the beginning and explore what was available, seeing what is out there and what piqued my interest.

It’s funny, I have always liked writing, but I felt stymied trying to think up characters and situations.  I finally realized I like essays and opinions, what I am thinking and feeling or what is happening in my life.  maybe I just feel comfortable because I just write down what is going on, I don’t have to think about.  There are times when it is a serious piece, other times I like to write about either the funny things that happen or describe it in a more humorous way.  I am learning I am a writer because I write – not because I have published anything that is a big seller.

Today I am more able and willing to pat myself on the back , whether it is for recognizing I am beginning to spiral down or that I have had the light bulb go on full tilt about I didn’t quite understand before or for an accomplishment, no matter the “size”.  Too much ego and her negative ideas for so long – it is getting so much easier to see the positive in myself.

 

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LET’S HEAR IT FOR A PAT ON THE BACK!

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YOU ARE A BIG DEAL!!!

 

Time For A Happy Dance!

April 3, 2014

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We have been trying to get our taxes finished and filed since Barrie Lane – our tax accountant – died at the end of February.  I will say that his daughter Sarah has been swamped with work because she his doing taxes for her own clients and for Barrie’s clients.   She is doing a great job during a very difficult time.  I had my binder ready to go when we went to see Barrie, and it turns out he input things but they couldn’t find some of the back up material for some of them.  We had to scramble to replace those and By George, we did.

We usually go in around the 2nd or 3rd week of February because our business is due march 15th.  We had a tax extension that helped reduce the stress of coming up to a deadline and worried we wouldn’t make it.  We both have been pests and nag to find out when our taxes and my Mom’s returns would be finished – I wouldn’t be surprised to find other people were doing the same thing.  It was tough on the staff and they were friendly all through it.

We also had to del with 2012 issue once again.  Fro 2 moths we were employers for Kathy when she was taking care of Mom while I was in rehab.  When tax time came in February, Barrie created a W-2 for Kathy and we paid the taxes, etc. with our return.  Except the IRS came back a month later and said we didn’t pay enough.  Eddie paid it – under protest – because we don’t want to run afoul of the IRS.  Barrie sent them a letter telling them we paid it and sent the W-2 in to them.

Then February of this year we have a letter from Social Security saying the IRS shows twice as much as we submitted.  So I spent over an hour waiting at the Social Security office only to be told “This isn’t our department”.   Since their name was at the top of the letter, it seems logical to start with them – no, we had to deal with the IRS and send in the questionnaire.   I will say, Sarah and company took care of that and sent in the letter to the IRS as well as giving us a copy.  It is also possible the IRS will send another letter – no departments talk to each other.  We might even get our money back from the second payment, but I won’t hold my breath.  They are johnny-on-the-spot to collect but take their sweet time refunding money owed to us.

Finally, yesterday we were able to go down to Sarah’s office and pick up our returns.  I had the copies of the things they couldn’t find so they could scan  them into our account.  We signed the papers to have the returns e-filed and all we have left is the bill for the tax prep.  After all this time, it was hard to believe we had gotten to the end at last.

Definitely a Happy Dance afternoon.  I think we both slept well last night now that it is completed.

Lightening The Mood

March 29, 2014

I was a bit wiped out writing three long posts about my Dad – sometimes I was seeing pictures from the past, sometimes I was a bit drippy and many times I was smiling as I recalled things about that dear man.  I have been making a list of things I had forgotten so there will be other post about him.  It was a stressful week because of Dad’s birthday, but also because f Mom, probably more emotional stress than physical.

So I thought I would put a few photos on this post to lighten the mood and maybe make you smile or giggle.  There is no doubt about it, cats can put themselves in the most peculiar positions and places.

 

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Cat Lounging in the Sun

 

It’s a wet, rainy and chilly day, a few cat pictures cheer me up no end.

Dad’s Birthday – A Bit More

March 26, 2014

Dad enjoyed working with his hands and the business gave him something where he felt he made people happy with his products.  He was much happier working in his business, his blood pressure went down a lot as the business  grew.  He did have health challenges – a heart attack around 1979 that neither Mom and Dad saw coming.  I was in new Jersey at the time and it was a real shock – I realized my parents wouldn’t always be there as I had assumed.  Plus, it was difficult to be on the other side of the country.  But Dad bounced back and began walking every day, Mom was always there with him.  In later years he had two bouts with colon cancer and continued to work.  If he didn’t have the business to focus on, he may not have done as well.

He was losing his hearing, all that time in the aircraft industry didn’t help.  I remember when I was working at Boeing at the same time he was, we would ride to work together – he left half an hour early for me and I waited half an hour for him.  I remember one day he took me next door to the factory – I had to cover my ears because the noise was so loud.  There’s Dad, no hands to his ears, pointing out things to me.  The noise didn’t bother him after all those years but I was ringing and vibrating for quite a while after that.

Dad was  very patient when I was learning to drive, though he did say I was only a paint layer away from that bus on the hill.   We started out in Highline High parking lot after school, there were sports games going on so I soon had an opportunity to drive opposite other cars.  I finally graduated and he said it was time for me to be on the road.  So I drove us home.  When it came to parallel parking, he put two of the four cars along the driveway so I could practice.  it never has been my strong suit, though more often than not I surprise myself and put it in the slot the first time.  When it came time for my younger sister Candy to learn, he told her to learn at school.  After teaching Mom, Ellen and me, he had done his job.  Do you suppose it was teaching me and the bus incident that made him decide?

When I was growing up, I used to help him in the garage when he was fixing cars.  Not that I did all that much, but I did learn things from him.  I also helped him fiberglass the outside of the wood hulled 18′ Mukilteo hull he and Mom bought for family outings.  (That was a story in itself).  We put the fiberglass cloth onto the hull, then there was the resin we painted on the cloth.  I remember painting over Dad’s hand at one point, we both laughed and continued on with the job.  He didn’t get upset if things didn’t go perfectly the first time, he was patient and had fun with it.

Dad loved to talk; we had lots of conversations about a lot of things.  He told stories of growing up and some of the things he did before he met Mom.  A lot of times it was about people he knew, family stories and what Mom and Dad were doing in the business.  He would strike up conversations with strangers – Mom said he could be at the Grand Canyon and find someone to talk to about things in common.  That actually happened.  He enjoyed people and  treated everyone the same.  I tend to take after him.  Eddie and I were in the grocery while living in Torrance one day.  I went over to the produce department for something and heard a couple by the lettuce.  They were commenting it didn’t look all that well.  I said “Excuse me, there is a Japanese vegetable stand just down on PCH and they have wonderful stuff.  And they don’t charge an arm and a leg.”   They were very appreciative and thanked me; I left to go back to Eddie.

When I came back, Eddie asked me “Who was that couple?”.  I told him “I don’t know.”  His comment was “You are definitely Sam Paull’s daughter”.   What is amazing is that my husband, who didn’t talk to strangers because he was brought up not to talk to people he hadn’t been introduced to, now after 45 years of the Paull family strikes up conversations with strangers.  Not to the point my Dad did, but he has definitely come a long way.  He and my Dad had a lot of fun together watching baseball, taking planes, cars and all kinds of things.  It was fun to come here and visit, the four of us would go off on adventures and have just as much fun at home.  We did the same thing when they came to visit us in some of the places we lived.

As the years went on his hearing got worse and he  struggled to find hearing aids that worked but didn’t buzz or send out a high-pitched sound when it wasn’t quite working right.  He had trouble hearing the tv, so it was loud when he watched and he was frustrated at not hearing conversations well.  He seemed a bit vague at times, but Mom told me he was sharp when it came to the business and working with the wood.  I remember one visit was an old man living here – wondered where this old man came from.  I realized it was my Dad, but he was in his 80′s at that point and not surprising in some ways.  But it came as a shock to me – I always think of my parents in their 50′ or 60′s, not old people.

I was up visiting on my annual summer visit and Dad took me to the transit Center to pick up a bus to the airport.  I was going to rent a car while I was there.  I remember he said “You mother is a wonderful woman” as I was getting out of the car.  I didn’t know that was the last time we talked together.  I rented the car and did the stuff I wanted to do and then came back here.  There was a note on the back door from Delores next door – I was to go next door as soon as I came home.  She much have seen me come home because she came over before I could do anything.  She told me they had taken Dad to the ER with a heart attack.  He and Bob had been talking while weeding the garden.  When Bob made a comment, he didn’t receive an answer from Dad, so he went to where Dad was weeding.  Bob found him slumped over in the flowerbed – he called Mom and they called 911.

I went to the ER with Delores and found Mom and Bob with Dad.  He had been resuscitated but they didn’t know how long he had been unconscious.  They put him on life support and I will be grateful the hospital never gave us hope he would recover.  It was a strange time because our niece Sandra was due that night to visit and I had to call Ellen and Candy to let them know what happened.  They flew out and I seem to remember making several trips to the airport to pick people up.  The one thing about Sandra being there was I couldn’t focus on myself, I needed to be there for her and that was a plus.   After they did all theists over 72 hours, they decided to pull the plug – Dad would not want to be on life support.  We decided to have an open house as a celebration of his life; we invited Mom’s friends, business friends, neighbors and other people who knew him. Dad was so loved by people, I think he would have been surprised to hear the wonderful things that were said about him.

 

Things keep popping up and I need to make a list to write another post sometime soon about those memories.

Dad’s 100th Birthday Continued

March 25, 2014

Mom and Dad had a very small wedding, they were married on the red rug in Grandfather’s house.  It was quite a change for my Mom, she had grown up in a small town with family all around; in California it was just Dad’s family.  In the beginning they had a small apartment on the beach in Redondo – a one room where they were on the beach as they came out the door.   Dad was never drafted, though Mom told me once they sweated it out every time.  Dad was working for North American as a Field Service Rep – when there was a problem with a plane, he was there to fix it.  He was sent to three different bases and Mom went with him.  They were married on January 16th right after Pearl Harbor and after a few months, he had to drive to Meridian, Miss. –  not the garden spot of the world.  A year later, my older sister Ellen was born.  Throughout the war they lived in Albany, Georgia and Newburn, North Carolina as well.  They rented houses and all that traveling back and forth to California with a new baby wasn’t easy.  I remember Mom talking about taking the train and the three of them sleeping in a berth.

I remember Mom saying in later years, it took all of her courage to fly out to California to marry Dad.  In a way, I understand a bit because when I went out to Australia to marry Eddie, I was very young – I certainly grew up in a hurry.  There was a time when Dad had to leave and he had to teach Mom how to drive so she could use the car.  I think that was why Mom never liked driving, but she did it.  When they went to the DMV office, it was raining and the examiner asked Mom who taught her to drive.  She said, “My husband”.  Then he asked Dad, how does she drive? He said she does well.  The examiner looked at mom and said “Lady, if your husband thinks you can drive, you have a license”.  The day Dad left, he went by train and Mom drove out of the station with Ellen and found herself in the middle of a parade.  Maybe another reason she didn’t like driving.

She did have a chance to take the train to Glastonbury to visit her family – Ellen was the first grandchild and I think Mom was glad to show her to her family as well as have a lovely visit.  I think she missed them a whole lot, but she loved Dad more.  I remember she talked about one of the rental houses that had chickens running underneath the house – guess one don’t have a lot of choice during wartime.  Some of the North American people weren’t all that welcome either.

After the war, they moved back to Southern California and eventually rented a two bedroom house in Manhattan Beach.  No, it wasn’t on the ocean, it was way back from the beach.  I was always surprised to find that all three of us girls were born in San Pedro Hospital, especially with all the traveling during the war.  I came along  4 years after Ellen, so the Manhattan Beach house is what I first remember.   6 years later Candy arrived, then 18 months later Dad got a job with Boeing.  He had taken us up here on vacation and he and Mom liked it so much, they decided to live here.  Dad’s brother-in-law helped him with job at Boeing – though until they figured out they thought Dad was his father, he had a hard time getting hired.

So in 1954 we moved to Seattle, spending the first year and a half in a rental in the Central District while they looked for a house.  He wanted a view, Mom wanted four bedrooms and it took a while before they found this house.  About June 1955 we moved in and they have lived here ever since.  Dad worked for Boeing as a Job Analyst until August of 1970 – they told him could take early retirement or no longer have a job.  this was the time the billboard went up about the last person out of town, please turn off the lights.  His job ended the end of December, but with four months notice, they had a little time to plan.  They went into business with another analyst who worked in Dad’s office – he was the salesman and Dad was the craftsman.

They started out with the hobby business making decoupage boards, but the bottom fell out of that a few months later.    His partner knew someone in a marine shop and went to talk to the guy – they brought a binocular holder to him; unfortunately it had too many doodads – the sailboaters wanted things plain.  Plus they finished the items themselves, so Dad made them sanded and ready to be finished.  At one point, his partner went to work for the University and then sudden;y died, so Mom and Dad became partners.  Dad was a lot happier working with wood; almost back to building boats as he had in Wilmington, California.    He and Mom worked together – the only times Mom didn’t was Monday mornings at Traveler’s Aid at the airport and when the hookers came on Thursday.  Spending 24 hours a day together suited them and the business grew and thrived.

They started out using mahogany and then some teak until it was all teak.  They went to deliver on Fridays to several marine stores and they trusted Dad not to overload them with product.  Mom kept the books and took care of orders and paperwork.  On some of those delivers he would have someone ask if he could build something – that’s often how they started new products.  along with the standard line, Dad did custom work – people either met him in a store, saw one of his products and took off the label or called him.  He met a lot of people and made some unusual things – he always loved talking to people.  He could talk to anyone very easily, didn’t matter who they were or what they did.

To be continued.

Today Is Dad’s 100th birthday

March 24, 2014

My Dad was born on March 24th, 1914 in Buffalo, New York.  His father was an interior decorator in Buffalo, using fine drapery, antiques and oriental carpet.  He had a fairly wealthy clientele and after my Dad’s oldest sister was born, he and Aunt Elizabeth – Grandmother’s sister – bought a farm out in Orchard Park without telling my grandmother until it was a done deal.  She was not happy  moving out to a place with no electricity and running water while my grandfather went into the city every day.  She had a lovely apartment in Buffalo and a new baby; not the best time to go to a farm with no mod cons.

However, she moved and  eventually they finally had running water and electricity, but I don’t think it was easy for her.  She had another daughter, then three miscarriages before my father made his appearance.  From the stories I have heard over the years, Dad was Grandmother’s favorite and Emmie was Grandfather’s favorite – didn’t leave anyone to favor Ibbie, the oldest.  They always said she was everyone’s favorite – didn’t quite compute for her.

Around 1926 my grandmother went to Southern California to visit her brother Frank.  He was living in Palos Verdes, a very wealthy community, building houses.  She loved it out there – who wouldn’t with Buffalo weather – and  wired Grandfather to come out to visit.  Unfortunately he arrived on a very rainy day; when it rains, it pours and doesn’t kid around about it.  Not an auspicious start but he began to like it, so they decided to move there – Uncle Frank would build the houses and Grandfather would furnish them.

They went back to Orchard Park, packed up the kids and Gertie who helped with the kids and set out in two cars to drive across the country.  I wish I could remember the stories Dad told about that – he was about 12 or 13 – especially the one when Emmie almost drown.  However, everyone made it to Palos Verdes and settled in.  My Grandfather thought he was an investor, so he bought some houses on spec which also didn’t sit well with Grandmother.   (He had some quirks – that’s a whole other story!).

1929 was not a good year for them, Grandfather lost the houses and the one where the family lived.  It was an old Spanish style with creamy stucco and Spanish blue trim.  She was upset about losing the house and moving to a much smaller house.  Dad always said he would have survived the Depression better if he had been in Pasadena, a more established place.  By then the older girls had gone to college and were about to be married.  Dad didn’t go to college, he loved working with his hands and worked for a boat builder who was also a former (I think former) rum runner.  He worked in aircraft at Douglas, North American, Lockheed – I didn’t realize they hire for a contract and then workers had to find another job.

Dad enjoyed going out with his friend Jim Reed, plus he had a few somewhat disreputable ones.  Dad always know what he wanted, knew right from wrong, so he was never influenced to get into trouble.  I remember him telling about the time he and Jim rolled the car over on the sand and Jim hurt his arm.  They hoped baking it in the sun would help, but it didn’t.  They did get the car back right side up, but they were found out because Jim had to have his arm fixed.  He did a lot of stuff with cars, he has always loved them and felt if he had been able to keep all the cars he had, he would have quite a collection.  He never bought them new and fixed them himself.

In his high school yearbook, the girls all wrote “To the Dancing Sheik” because they loved dancing with him.  He said he had an easy style, not sure what that meant, but it worked well for him.  From what he said, I don’t think he dated a lot – then again, does a father tell his daughter about romantic adventures?  I think he went to dances a lot and spent time with girls there.  He drove his Mom crazy because when he was on the way out the door, she would ask “Where are you going?” and his answer was “Out”.  When she asked when he would be home, he said “About that time or a little after”.  Funny, his sister Ibbie always said she knew everything he did, but said she didn’t know much.

In 1941, he went back to Connecticut to visit an uncle, stayed in Glastonbury and rented a room in a house near my Mom’s grandmother. He worked at Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, so it wasn’t a long commute for him.  At the time, I’m not sure if he was engaged or engaged to engaged and drove quite a way to visit her.  His landlady and Mom’s grandmother arranged a blind date for the two of them – Mom had spent a lot of time checking her grandmother’s flower garden so she knew what he looked like.   No doubt it is obvious he was no longer interested in the other girl after meeting Mom.  They dated and they always said neither asked the other to marry, it was understood.

They went to Mom’s dad and said they wanted to get married.  He told Dad, “Go back to California and establish yourself.  Then, if in 3 moths you still feel the same, then it’s okay with me”.  So Dad went back to California to establish himself and in December was Pearl Harbor.  Mom’s family thought she was crazy to go there – the Japanese would invade and it was dangerous.  Her Aunt Marian was the only one who encouraged her, so in early January, she flew from Connecticut to California to marry Dad.

To be continued.

What’s New In The Garden

March 23, 2014

It’s the 1st week of March and the flowers are slowly blooming – won’t be Spring officially until about March 21st.  Doesn’t seem to faze them about the hard rain and wind along with the cooler temperatures.  I saw a few flowering fruit trees all in bloom, the crocuses have been up and blooming for a couple of weeks.  Unfortunately it has rained so hard and for so long, the poor things are lying flat on the ground.  They were lovely when they were upright – I didn’t get out to take pictures soon enough.

I just notice by the side along the garage the little daffodils are about to bloom.  The Scillas pushing leaves up all over the place, the back porch bed is full of them.

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I noticed some thin, twirly leaves in the garage bed while the Scillas were bringing up leaves – not sure what they were, almost pulled them out.

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100_0343What do you know, they are grape hyacinths.  Not easy to see in the photos.

I certainly can’t complain about the weather, I much prefer it to the white stuff and that seems to be happening over most of the country – all our rainstorms will turn into snow as they go over the Cascade mountains and head east.  My concern is when the fruit trees blossom, if it rain and is too windy, all the blossoms are gone and we won’t have pears and apples.  I do need to make sure there are fertilizer stakes for things this year – poor babies have been starved for the last 2 or 3 years.  Now they are in full bud.

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Unfortunately they are also covered with lichen and some fuzzy stuff – they would probably do better if I cleaned it off the branches.

I bought something for the cat garden – a cat of course.  I checked Home Depot and they had a cat curled up asleep, I bought it and Eddie put it on the Fortinia stump so she can sleep in the sun.  I must admit, I am sorry to see her in the rain, but she will be fine.  I am also thinking about putting in some pieces of sea glass as decoration, or maybe as a small pond.  Still deciding where and how to arrange it.  Still not sure what to do about the other two beds, the rest of the yard is on its own for the moment.  Most important right now is removing weeds.

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Some days I feel badly leaving her out in the rain and cold.

3 Days Later

Wow! You should see all the flowering fruit trees out in blossom; the camellias are out as well – I took a picture of the big camellia tree but I stuck my finger in the middle, so I will retake that.

100_0339That didn’t come out too well either.

I had the two forsythia bushes  taken out in the front, but I looked down the bank and this is what I see now.

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Two bushes have taken up residence on the bank.  There are a few daffodils down the front bank – who would have thought it.

I never know what I will find blooming these days, I admit i I am not much of a gardener at this point, though I have a lot of ideas I want to try.  Today is one of our sunny days, it is supposed to rain again and of course, all that rain goes over the Cascades and becomes  very wintry weather for everyone east of us.


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