Always New Questions

October 2, 2016

Why is it, during the week I have all kinds of ideas for this blog; but when I sit down to write it, my mind is a blank.  After such a long silence, I thought I would have all kinds of things to say.  One thing I do remember thinking was how much my questions have changed.   I think I did a post about questions a while ago – asking what is the gift and blessing in this situation rather than wailing “Why does this happen to me?”.  Then again, why not me?  Do I think I should be exempt from challenging situations?  Recently I was listening to alternative talk radio and this quote came up – “The Universe is doing it for you, not to you”.

I have to then ask myself what messages have I been sending through thoughts, words and actions?  Yes, the old childhood programs are running, the difference is I am more aware of them.  I was thinking last night before I went to sleep that I have survived, overcome, came through – whatever term one wants to use – the things and situations  in my life over the past almost 70 years.Ye Gods and Little Fishes!  70 in January – how did that happen?  Must have happened when I wasn’t looking.  I don’t feel any particular age, I just am.  When I think about being 70 soon, I feel as though my time is shorter than I thought.

Lately I have been smacked in the face with the results of long-term effects of RA and meds.  It never occurred to me that I would have trouble with edema in my lower legs, then lead to wounds that need to be wrapped to heal them.  My skin has always been tender because it is pale – I sunburn very easily.  Now it is fragile and that concerns me, I run aground on things but I don’t remember when or how, I only notice I have broken the skin.  Everything takes longer to heal because of biologic and immunosuppressant – some days I feel I am between a rock and hard place.

I would have whinged and complained about it before; now I am wondering what I can learn from it and what can I do or think differently.  It is much easier to write it than it is to do.  I suspect the whinge is the first response and I have to consciously change gears to see it differently.  I also was smacked in the face with realizing that when people see me, they see the deformity of my hands.  I am looking at a different angle and know they aren’t  as they used to be.  But I don’t really noticed it.  I think I saw my hands in a mirror and realized I don’t have to say anything for someone to know I have RA – the hands tell it all.

I am grateful about how much my hands can do – I can do a lot of the things I want and need to do – at times strength and flexibility aren’t there, but I have been able to find other ways around it.  My body has made it possible to do things, go places, explore and travel.  I had also been thinking about the question of “What need does RA meet?”.  I had a thought the other day about that – I have often felt there was nothing special about me, but RA is a way to be special and different.  People have often said they don’t know I do all that I do with RA.  I will admit I haven’t been doing a whole lot lately except recover.  A friend recently said she remembers when I was always going and going.  I realize my life has been a lot more sedentary the past couple or 3 years.  Time to put on my walking shoes and walk more.

Now I need to think in terms of how am I special without RA?  Everyone is special in his or her own way, but society says there are only certain ways to be that way.  But is being famous or well-known the most important way to do it?  Suppose each of us recognized what is special about us and worked within our circles of friends, colleagues and acquaintances?   There would be all these circles that would overlap and who knows what could be accomplished.  We all want to be special and recognized, finding that specialness is not always easy – one of those “think outside the box” type situations.

Then there is the question “What keeps me from feeling special?”.   “What makes me think I am not special?”.  Is it childhood programs or feedback from peers, etc.?  Or is it Madison Avenue telling us over the years if we don’t fit the mold, we aren’t acceptable?  Now at this age I am considered old and discounted as not worth advertising to – only those 18 – 34 are important.  I don’t feel old, I don’t feel unworthy or any of that, I am at my best now than when I was in my 20’s and 30’s.  I am smarter and realize what is really important as well as finally understanding so many things that were so confusing.

I feel as if I am on the threshold of a new life, I need to be clear on what I want it to be and begin to create it.  Simple, right?

Return to a Regular Human Being

September 25, 2016

As you have noticed, it has been quite a while since I wrote a post.  There is a reason, though I am a bit embarrassed because it preventable.  In June 26th I was writing my blog and since I was writing about the yard, I wanted to show pictures of how the mulch looked after Jorge and his crew finished.  So I went out wearing my slippers to take pictures to add to the post.  When I was coming through the back door, I tripped on the rubber threshold piece and fell out of my slippers.  Net thing I knew, I had face planted on left side.  When I was able to sit up after a few minutes, I realized my left elbow was not working properly.  I knew I was in trouble and needed to call 911.

Eddie was at the Museum of Flight for his docent stint – later I learned he hadn’t taken the house keys or his phone with him.  I went in an ambulance to ER where they told me my elbow was broken.  They put me in a fiberglass splint and told me to call the orthopedic surgeon on call to make an appointment to see him.  Wouldn’t you know, it was the same one I had for my broken arm last year.

Meanwhile Eddie came home, found the door locked and my slippers by the step.  He had no idea where I was, thought I might be visiting the Dusters down the hill.  Bonnie hadn’t seen me but remembered Bill said something about an ambulance in our drive.  She called him and he confirmed it.  So they called the hospital and confirmed I was there and I was “stable”.  Scared the life out of Eddie and he said he was shaking as he drove over to ER.  I went home and got an appointment for Tuesday.

He was no help except to say I needed a new elbow joint.  He didn’t know anyone but would ask around.  He also changed the splint and put on a plaster one, much heavier than the first one.  I waited until Thursday morning and finally went looking for a surgeon on my own.  I found one at Swedish Orthopedic Institute and they made an appointment for me the following day.  He was great and both Eddie and I really liked him – as opposed to the other one.  He arranged for surgery the following Wednesday – 4th of July week.

They have the doctor’s offices, surgery and recovery all at the Institute – like a small private hospital.  I will admit, it is the easier broken bone I have had – replacement means I started therapy right away.  I was there three days and it was a great experience.  If I stayed 2 nights, then he could take off the splint before I went home.  Eddie will give you a very different view.  I came home and rested, once again confined to the house unless someone drove.  A week later I went to see the doc to have the 31 staples out.  I was having trouble with the numbness on my left hand.  He did a 24 hour nerve block – I still have numbness in my little finger – but it seems  to have been really noticeable in the ring and little fingers.  He gave me some pain med for it – it felt as if I had a swarm of bees inside – the buzzy feeling wasn’t so bad, but when it felt as if they were biting and then stinging, it was unbearable.  I wanted to have it calm down so I could sleep at night.

The stuff he gave me made me sleepy all the time, out of it, couldn’t remember things – just weird and when I first woke up I was woozy.  When I saw him 4 weeks after I told him I had had enough. Fortunately by then, things had calmed down enough it wasn’t so much of a problem.  The sensations seem to change, mostly I feel as if I have only half a hand that function.  I noticed as I used my hand, it feels as if it is slowly gaining strength.  I have to concentrate about how to use it, it isn’t working automatically yet.

To add to this, I went out one Sunday to put my feet in the grass to ground myself.  I stayed too long and the top of my feet got sunburned.  A while later I noticed something on the back of my calf, Eddie is sure I was bitten by something.  Doc Pierce sent me to Wound Care at Highline Hospital; I ended up having my leg wrapped up and I had to take spit baths.  They discharged me a couple of weeks ago – then saw them again Thursday with along narrow blister on the right leg and another are on the right.  So I am back seeing them again.  First a vascular ultrasound – everything was working well.  Now an arterial ultrasound to check the arteries.  I’m seeing a different door and she wants to find out why I am having a problem with edema.  All kinds of new adventures.

I find I am slowly building energy, stamina and beginning to take an interest in things.  I don’t think of it as getting back to normal – who knows what normal really is.  I think of it as getting back to feeling a regular human being, more of who I am.  It is also an opportunity to create a whole new life – I only have to decide what I want it to be.  I will publish the “lost post” when I attach pictures.  I will say, it isn’t deathless prose, just me writing about things in my world.

Now you know what has kept me from writing posts for the past few weeks.  Eddie say “No more falls!!!!” and I whole heartedly agree. I have had my share and I really need to watch where I am stepping.

A Different Father’s Day

June 19, 2016

Robert Galloway Paull - 1915 - 16-1

My Dad is a year old here – 1915

I have very happy memories of my Dad, he taught me a lot and I have used it through out my life.  I remember his story when he was working in a small shipyard in Wilmington, California, for Dick Crank.  He dropped one of Dick’s tools in the water and really didn’t want to tell him, but knew he had to do it.  So he went to the office and said to Dick ” I am really sorry but I have dropped one of your tools over the side into the water”.    Dick told him “Thank you so much for telling me, no one else does, the tools go over the side and I have no idea it happened.”  It was a real relief to Dad because he thought Dick would yell at him.  That story stuck with me – not only being honest about things but taking responsibility for it.  I’ve had times when I have had to tell something to someone and dreaded it – sometimes they were mad, but surprisingly quite often it has turned out well.

Another thing my Dad told me was about tackling a bit project.  It certainly can be scary and overwhelming – but his advice really helped me do it.  He said to start first with the things I know how to do; then work on the things I don’t know.  Often I will find when I have done the things I know, the project is often done or almost done.  I notice I use that same type of  thinking when I am in a difficult or uncomfortable situation.  I have to talk myself through it – “OK, we just do this part first”, when that is done I say “Just focus on this part and relax, it will come together.”  Many times I hear myself say “This won’t last forever.”  It is often a situation I want someone else to take care of it, but I also know deep down that I can do it.

Every once in a while something will remind me of Dad, something he would enjoy, understand, find funny or interesting.  He had a great sense of humor and so did Mom.  We three girls have inherited from them – Dad once said you don’t have to be crazy to live in our family, but it certainly helps.  I married a man who fit in with my family, at times he says funny things and  after 47 years, I can still make him laugh.

Since Eddie has been working with Andy, it is more and more as if Andy is the son he never had.  We have been married long enough that he could be our son.  It’s interesting that Andy calls us Uncle Eddie and Aunt Lee at times – I sometimes call him Nephew.  In many ways, Eddie is as protective of him as a father and also tells him the straight scoop – Andy is not always ready to listen, but over the months he has changed some.  Eddie has no problem being the bad cop.  At this point in his life, he  doesn’t have to be diplomatic any more; nor is he about to play politics.  He spent too many years doing that.

When I was doing Ike Pono, I acquired a son Tom.  We were doing an exercise I noticed he seemed upset.  I went over to talk to him and later, I heard a voice saying “Mom.”  It was Tom and we became good friends.  The exercise had to do with parents and in his case, it was his Mom.  I said to him that his Mom would be very proud of him and filled with love – it seemed to make a difference for him.  Then there was the time when we were in a small group and working on another exercise.  One of the women was having trouble speaking her mind, so I told her “Connect with you Inner Bitch”.  They just looked at me as if they couldn’t believe I said that.  Guess I come across as quiet and ladylike at times and something like that was quite a departure from their perception.     Eddie once told me he never knew what I was going to say or do at any given time.

Eddie enjoyed being with his Dad, he didn’t nag him about things.  They had fun together, and Eddie’s only regret is that he wasn’t able to spend more time of his adult life with his Dad.  Life here is so different from where he grew up, it was hard for him to explain it to his Dad so he would understand.  Unfortunately he and Mom never took Eddie up on his offer to have them come and live here.  Dad would have done well I think, but Mom would have had a difficult time because of language and how things work here as well as not having grandchildren around.

Eddie’s down at LeMay Car Museum volunteering – to us it is just another Sunday.We both remember our parents many times during the year, not just this one day.  We were brought up very much the same – the same values, the same feeling about parents and family.  That is so important for a good marriage, though growing up in different countries and cultures has been eye-opening – sometimes it really smacks me in the face when I least expect it.  I tend to assume he thinks the same way I do because he has been here so long.

Although it is the official Father’s Day today, we both like to think of it as every day of the year and each memory of our dads bring love and warmth to us.


Jammy Memories

June 12, 2016

Eddie and I were in Bartell’s the other day and I saw some Apricot-Pineapple jam from Smuckers.  It immediately reminded me of the jam Mom used to make from scratch – I loved her apricot-pineapple the best.  I had to buy it and then Eddie and I started talking about it because he loved the apricot jam his Mom made.


Sunday we had it for breakfast and talked about our Moms because they both enjoyed cooking and trying new things.  My Mom made a lot of jam, this is how I remember her Apricot-Pineapple:

jam apricot:pineapple

She often collect peanut butter jars, small mayo jars and often a collection of miscellaneous jars for jam.  She would cook it on the stove and add pectin and sugar – Mom and Dad were on a tight budget, so Mom did a lot of canning and preserving.  Then she would sterilize the jars and add the jam.  when it was cool, she poured a layer of paraffin on the top, then later a second layer to seal the jar.  She often had lids to put on to seal it even more.  I remember some of it was the devil to get off, it would split into pieces and then we had to dig them out.  Other times, the paraffin popped out in one piece – no delay in enjoying the jam.

We used to pick the little blackberries and sometimes we had enough for blackberry jam – often it was more likely a pie.  We had blueberries by the back porch – still do and they have a bumper crop this year – for blueberry pie and sometimes jam.  There were raspberry bushes along the side of the property and we had lots of raspberry jam.  I would go out in the morning and pick a big bowl, then late after I could do another big bowl.  We also ate berries fresh for breakfast and occasional blueberry pancakes.

Mom did a lot of canning – all three of us girls helped her.  The most uncomfortable was peaches – yes,, Mom would pour boiling on the peaches and the skins would come off easily.  The cut them in half and remove the pit and into the jar.  The problem was the peach fuzz, it got all over me and was itchy and scratchy – how could a lovely, soft and delicious peach be so uncomfortable afterward?  Tomatoes  were also done with boiling water, but no scratchy fuzz. Mom would get flats of tomatoes because she used them a lot in cooking, so it seemed there were more tomatoes than anything else.   Apricots were cut in half with pit removed and put in the jars.  The Royal Anne cherries were washed, stems removed and put into jars with syrup.The fruits had syrup added to the jars when there wasn’t any room for more fruit – I think she put a little salt and tomato juice in with the tomatoes, not sure if there was anything else.  I’m trying to remember if she tried her hand at dill pickles – that’s the trouble getting older, there are more and more memories and my mind often feels as if it is a room with over stuffed file drawers with memories spilling on to the floor.

King Kelly

This is another jammy memory.  This reminds me so much of my aunt and also when I met Eddie.  My Dad’s older sister lived in San Francisco Bay Area and I had been visiting a couple of times with Mom and Dad.  Every morning she and my uncle would have fresh squeezed orange juice, coffee and English muffins with King Kelly Orange Marmalade.  When I went down to spend a couple of weeks holiday with her in May of 1968, that was what we had for breakfast.  I met Eddie a couple of days after I arrived and we went out a lot – I remember the room I stayed in and a lot of different places in Burlingame.

It was an enjoyable time, though I had no idea it would end in going to Australia to marry him.  My life has been very interesting and educational since I married Eddie, I have learned so much, traveled to places I always wanted to go and some I am glad I went but have no desire to return.  I remember when we moved to New Jersey I couldn’t find King Kelly jam, nor any other place in the Eastern half of the U.S.   I had to buy it here when I came to see Mom and Dad and take it back with me.  Every time I have it on my toast, I think of my aunt and uncle and the times I spent with them.  It also reminds me so much of meeting Eddie for the first time and learning about him – I had never heard of an Armenian before and in 48 years, I have learned quite a lot about them.

Funny (peculiar) how something so simple can generate so many wonderful memories.

Pull Up Your Socks And Get On With It!!!

June 5, 2016

Last week was a somewhat low point for me, especially when I actually saw the wound on my right temple.  I wrote an email or two to my friend Char:

 I did have my “little flower” removed and now it is just a bandage.  He was pleased to see it is “taking”, I will see him in 2 weeks to check it.  I didn’t actually see it until this morning after I washed my hair and took off the bandage.  Ye God’s and Little Fishes!!!!!  He said it looked like a divot, but it looks more like a crater.  He said it would flatten out in time – maybe I will be more used to it soon.  However, I am glad it is healing well.  It feels so good to have clean hair at least – it has been over 10 days since I washed it last.

Oh, yes, it can be rather startling when they remove the bandage and you see the surgical site for the first time!!  Doesn’t matter what the surgery is!  Just be very thankful they got the entire melanoma removed, and focus on that, and healing.  At least you won’t require chemo, and should be able to get back to your normal life pretty soon!

 Each time I change the bandage on my temple, I am—– I don’t know what the word is that describes how I feel.  Appalled at the huge crater, upset with myself for letting it go so long, not paying attention to consequences and having trouble really facing how it looks.  I don’t know when I will feel ready to leave the bandage off, it has to look better at some point.  It is not as though I can cover it with clothes or my hair – no, it’s right there for all the world to see.  It definitely will take some getting used to, that’s for sure.  Enough of that!

Okay, now, I may shock you with this next, but I think I need to tell you:  You need to stop beating yourself up about letting that spot go for so long!!  You  definitely have had Other Things on your mind over the last 2-3 years–first with your mom, and the house and all that, and then your recovery from your accident.  So, cover it with a bandage for a while, if that makes you feel better, but eventually you will get used to how it looks, and it won’t be such a shock any more.  Has Eddie seen it yet?  That might be the first step, if he hasn’t–let him see it.   Then, some day, when you are feeling a little more comfortable with how it looks, you might show it, privately, to one of your friends.  Perhaps you could try going without the bandage some day when you are going to be home all day, with maybe just a little walk to the mailbox, or maybe just leave the bandage off overnight, which might help you get used to getting up and seeing it in the mirror without “unveiling” (which can be kind of dramatic sometimes).

I will admit it needed saying because I have been upset about the changes.  But I also know deep down how right Char is and I may have needed the kick in the tush to snap me out of feeling sorry for myself and beating myself up.  I know it is important to accept and come to terms with it – I’m still working on that.  My attitude needs to change to  “This is what it is now and it’s time to quit the “oh-poor-me-osis”, pull up my socks and get on with my life”.  I also wonder if I need some time to grieve the changes in my face – after all, I can just cover it up with clothes; it’s right out there where everyone can see.  I don’t see myself going all Veronica Lake either.

I am pleased to say I actually had a good week, feeling quite well and had some energy to do things.  I decided I would just rest and do whatever I wanted – my calendar isn’t crowded and that is what I need most.  I have decided to do the same this week – making sure I get some walking in and rest as well.  I am sleeping well and the combination of exercise and rest will help a lot.  I have also been working on seeing things in a positive way and it is starting to work.  It’s been a lifelong view and will be easier as I continue to think more positively.

I went to Wound Care on Friday – I now have my leg back.  To help with avoiding scraping my left leg with my compression socks, they put a regular knee-high on before putting on the compression.  So far so good.  I am also now able to take a proper shower again – what a delightful way to start the day.  It has been so long since I had one, I wondered if I would be able to ever do it again.  Such blissful joy!!!!

We’ve had some warm days lately and today they predict 90 – not sure about that, but Eddie didn’t have any volunteering today, so we went early to Renton to walk along the Cedar River,  He goes toward the flight line to see what 737s are there – he recognizes them with no trouble.  I went the other way and did a circle with some incline to make it more work.  Yup, it was and I was tired when I went toward the picnic tables in the shade.  One of these days I will be able to do it without getting out of breath – I am working on building my stamina slowly.  We’re glad to be home and have the doors open, though not the nice breeze we had yesterday.  It is quite pleasant and we may bring up the fan later.

Some very sad news this morning, Sonia – our nice in Toronto called early to tell Eddie her Dad died.  Eddie’s sister Tako just came out of surgery on Monday and now suddenly her husband is gone.  He has been ill for quite a while, though he seemed to be doing well when Eddie talked to him last Saturday.  Sonia and Raouf are going to Jerusalem today or tomorrow, the funeral is on Tuesday.  Eddie isn’t able to get away and is sorry he won’t be there.

I didn’t plan to end this on a sad note.


May 29, 2016

Every once in a while I get an urge to do crosswords; I found free printable puzzles on the internet and printout some to work.  At first, I have trouble filling in squares, but the longer I do it, the better I am.  I had a bout not too long ago and found after a bit, I was doing really well.  I thought of words that would fit and found they were right – other times it was dead wrong.  However, it made me feel confident and competent when it came together.  I also feel as if I am keeping my brain working – I want to keep it working well to the end of my life.

Now these are not NY Times crosswords, but there are times I haven’t clue what the word is, they definitely make me think.  My Mom and Dad used to do the Seattle Times crossword every day – I don’t buy the paper any more and they don’t let you print it on-line.  I have tried the Times puzzles and I usually am left with most squares blank and only a few filled.

What surprises me is how much I know without realizing it.  Some is from childhood, early tv, knowledge of a subject, etc.  Some times it’s a baseball star from earlier times – I don’t know many any more.  Or a book I’ve read, a quote, a writer, a foreign language term – it can be so many things.  When I have played Trivial Pursuit or watched Jeopardy, often an answer comes in my mind and turns out to be right.  Others times it’s wrong, the number of times its right is more than the wrong ones.

I use a pen to fill the squares – if I am not sure, I put it in lightly and dark when I know it.  Sometimes a word pops in my mind, it fits but I am not sure, so I do lightly and see what happens.  I do find I am not paying sufficient attention because I find I have put an answer in the wrong place – that certainly doesn’t help things.  However, I’m not being graded or have it put on my permanent record, I’m just having fun.

I also find when I put the crossword down and come back to it later – either a couple of hours or the next day – I can fill in the squares I missed before.  It is the same for doing jigsaw, I enjoy them as well and after a while, I have to step away because none of the pics fit any more.  Time away doing something else is a benefit – helps my mind regroup and things come back to me.  Then again, some have me stumped and I let it go.  No point in driving myself crazy.

We have Fall weather right now, cold, cloudy and some rain – not a whole lot of that.  I am wrapped up in at least 3 layers and sitting comfortably with crosswords is quite enjoyable.  I think we may have some sun tomorrow – according to the weather, but not so sure about Mom Nature.  The weatherman predicts and often Mom just thumbs her nose at him.  It is great hot tea weather and we have been having soup – that is really great on a cold day.  No one is sure what it will do this summer – did we have summer in April when it was in the high 80’s?   Last summer we had a long spell of hot dry weather, I remember it quite vividly because I was stuck at home with a broken arm.  I spent the summer in tee-shirt and panties, inside the house.  I plan to watch it unfold each day and plan accordingly.

I plan to spend this summer doing regular and new things, I think my bout with medical is just about done.  I had the second Basel cell surgery on my forehead last Friday and this Friday I had my sutures out.  he put a pressure bandage that looked like a flower, seemed to gob smack some people.  Fortunately he made it possible to wear my glasses, so I was able to drive to see my rheumatologist and the plastic surgeon – Eddie took me to Wound Care.  I think this coming week is the end of Wound Care, I just need to protect the left leg when I put my compression socks on.  That means I can finally take a proper shower – that seems the hardest thing at the moment, not really feeling clean.  I was able to wash my hair yesterday after 10 days, that really felt good.   Not sure how soon I will feel ready to take off the bandage on my temple – the doc said it looked like a divot – looks more like a crater to me.  It is supposed to flatten out in time.

So I don’t have any procedures, etc. now, just the usual visits and starting Remicade when the plastic surgeon gives the OK.   I did get the new pneumonia shot, not supposed need any again.  I can go back to my regular life – whatever that is now – and feel more human.  I feel I need to ‘catch up’ on things that I’ve had to postpone for a while.  I’m ready to be in the groove again.

Medical Update And Decision

May 22, 2016

I’ve been more conscious of writing posts about things other than myself and my health the past 2 or 3 times – not always of interest to people.  There is the feeling of finally coming to end of all the stuff I have been doing and going through since the car accident last summer.

Thursday I had the MOHS surgery for my temple – he took out a larger section than I expected – once again, I had put it off much too long.  Not thrilled with the needles, though the temple isn’t quite as tender and sensitive as the nose.  My appointment was for 9:45 in the morning, but it took longer because the sample was bigger than usual.  Also, he had to go back for a couple of spots that he didn’t quite get all if it.  By the time I was able to leave, it was 3.  Needless to say, Eddie was getting very impatient with the wait.  I don’t know if it helped or hindered when I told him this is how I spend a lot of my life.

I was exhausted by the time we were finished and was ready for bed.  By the time we went to bed at 9, I was too tired to sleep, so I didn’t do so well that night.  Friday morning the skin graft was at 9:45.  The doc had said he would take it from my neck; after he had the report and pictures, he decided to take it from my thigh.  I went under and didn’t know anything until I work up – my thigh and temple were fine – the pain stuff had me comfortable.  I was going to take a nap when I came home, but Percocet kept me awake and most of the night as well.  I am off Percocet now because it doesn’t help all that well and since he arranged the bandage on my temple (looks like a small ice bag sewn on)  so I can wear my glasses.  I am taking it very easy this weekend and week – I have an appointment with my rheumatologist on Wednesday morning, wound care Thursday and appointment with the plastic surgeon Friday morning and I can drive – as long as I am not on Percocet.

I think I wrote about my second opinion for the reverse shoulder replacement and she was the first one to really explain what was going on in detail.  I saw the original surgeon on Friday the 13th and when I discussed my concerns, I felt he minimized and dismissed my concerns – he thought the risks very low.  I told him they are worrisome to me and although he is gung ho to do surgery, I am not.  The higher risk factors are worrisome to me; I have to have a positive feeling about it and since I don’t, I am not doing the surgery.  He also told me my bone hasn’t quite healed – something the second opinion doctor told as well.  He wants to see me in 6 months – not sure why, but I don’t expect my decision to change.

Monday I went to talk to Rb about the case and what I had decided.  They will put together all the information and  submit a demand to the other insurance company – we’ll see what happens.  Fortunately for them, not doing the surgery is less costly, though I do have a disability by not doing it.  That’s why they deal with it and not me.

The week before at Breakfast Club, I was due for a 15 minute presentation two weeks from then – Bryan wasn’t available so I changed to last week.  Probably not the best idea because I planned to put together survival kits for the group.  Since I don’t know who will be there, I had to have one for everyone – a lot more work.  I had done it about 3 or 4 years ago and the cast of characters has changed a lot in that time.   I really needed 2 weeks to do it because I had to make changes and be sure things were set right.

However, by working on it all the time for a week, I was able to have them done by Tuesday night, I wanted to be able to go to sleep knowing I was ready for Wednesday morning.  As I was handing them out, I noticed I hadn’t quite done a few right, upside down or reversed clip art, wrong words, etc.  Don’t know how much anyone noticed.

I put backgrounds on the labels this time, last time they were just white.  I took a 4″ x 6″ zip bag and put the things on the list inside – then folded over the label and stapled it to the back.  I put each one in a organza bag to finish them.  Below is one of the labels.

I bought some glossy photo paper to print the labels, but I couldn’t get it to print.  So I had to use regular copy paper – didn’t come out as nice looking as I wanted.  However, not sure if I am the only one who knew.  Anyway, it was fun and a bit of a laugh – shows them my creative side for promotions.  Eddie said he really admired my tenacity – I’ll take that part of the compliment.  I realize I am a perfectionist in some things, I had to decide good enough would suffice.

I also helped Brad (our contractor for the bath and kitchen remodels) land another remodel job.  He asked if I would give a reference and I said “Absolutely!”.  I think I helped me a bit ago for a remodel as well.  The couple emailed me (they live in Burien) and had questions, so I answered them about how much I like working with Brad and what a great job he does.  I also offered for them to come over and see his work.  That feels so good to help Brad.

Two Powerful Words

May 15, 2016

When I was growing up, Mom and Dad taught us manners, how to eat with both fine china and crystal as well as casual plates.  They gave us integrity and being honest as well as doing the right things whether anyone was watching or not.  I remember stealing a small box of mints and getting away with it.  But I couldn’t eat them and ended up throwing away because I had such a guilty conscience about it.  Needless to say, I never stole anything again.  They taught us to be polite, to say Please and Thank You – the last two words are very powerful.

Thank You

A lot of people say Thank You For Your Service to military personnel – not something that has happened in the past.  My friend’s husband was a Marine in the Korean War – when he came home, there weren’t a lot of Thank You’s for him.  What’s interesting now is when he is somewhere and people see he is a Marine (once a Marine, always a Marine) they will say Thank You For Your Service. The first few times it happened, he was so surprised and amazed.  I have a feeling it still surprises and pleases him.  Can you imagine how it feels for a Vietnam veteran to hear those words?

I have been going up to a police officer when ever I see one and thank them for being out there and I appreciate what they do.  Talk about a stunned expression!  One woman cop gave me a hug.  Eddie and I watch Cops on tv and see what the officers have to deal with – not too often does someone say Thank You or be friendly.  I will admit it took me a while to work up the courage to go over to a cop – I would see them in a coffee shop taking a break – four officers together was a little intimidating in the beginning, now I love to see the stunned smiles on their faces.  That are very grateful to find there are people who appreciated what they do every day.  They deserve it!!!!!


Whenever I am somewhere, doing something, I find the Thank You comes out without thinking.  The waiter brings water, brings my meal, clears the plate, etc., I say Thank You each time.  In my day days when I would occasionally drink and didn’t know much about it, I would ask the waiter about it.  I didn’t try to bluff my way through, they can spot that in a second.  I would say “I had never had it before, what would you recommend?”  They were always very helpful and I appreciated their help and would thank them.

When I go into the Ladies and someone is cleaning, I would tell them how nice it is to come to a clean restroom and thank them.   More stunned looks.  Or when someone opens the door for me, I say Thank You.  The one that confuses men is when I open the door for them and say “You should have some benefit from Women’s Lib”.  Another instance that leaves people speechless is when I see a well dressed family and I stop them to tell them they have a great looking family.  They finally get out a Thank You and they are smiling.  Or I see a well dressed woman, I will compliment her.  When she is wearing a color I love, I will say “You’re wearing my favorite color” – though I may not be wearing that particular day.

I have been places and have complimented someone and the response is”I really needed to hear that today”.  That’s a double win for both of us.  I know I have felt the same way when I am on the receiving end.  There is a tendency to think the speaker at the event has it all together, but not always.  I was at Women’s Business Exchange one breakfast and I happened to be in the Ladies at the same time as the speaker.  She was having a little trouble with her throat, so I suggested drinking something warm or hot to help expand things – cold would just contract.  She was very appreciative and thanked me.

In the beginning of our marriage, Eddie and I started saying Thank You to each other for what may seem small things.  Eddie gets the credit for starting it and I am glad we have continued to do it for each other for the last 47 years of our marriage.  I thank him for cooking, he thanks me for doing the dishes; he thanks me for working with him on his Kaplanian Report, I thank him for pulling off my compression socks; etc.  It doesn’t matter how big or small, knowing it is appreciated is what is important.

Thank You’s and compliments go a long way to let people know you appreciate what they do, it’s amazing how many situations people tend to be oblivious to the people around them – as if they are a piece of furniture.  Sometimes life becomes a bit too impersonal – time to stop, notice, say Thank You and smell the roses.thank-you 2

And a huge THANK YOU (not a shout) to the Greater Power, whatever you name for It, Him or Her.   An ever-present Spirit to all of us, whether we know or acknowledge it or not.  When you say Thank You for everything, more will come to you – even those difficult and uncomfortable things and situations.  I just learned they are messages to us, we just haven’t heard or understood them yet.

How many times have you thanked someone and what was their response?  I would love to know about them, so please contact me and tell me what happened.

Reimagining Mother’s Day

May 8, 2016

This is the second Mother’s Day since Mom died; in some ways it feels strange she is not here, in other ways it doesn’t feel strange at all.  Maybe because the last 3 or 4 years of her life were dominated by dementia and she wasn’t quite the Mom I have known my whole life.  I am glad I was there for her during the time she was alone after Dad died, he was her whole world and she missed him so much.  She didn’t really say much about how she felt about things, her generation didn’t talk about feelings or were as open as we seem to be today.

When we were kids, we wanted to give her breakfast in bed – that was considered very much a luxury. However, Mom was not a breakfast-in-bed kind of person – I think Dad convinced her to let us do it for her.  Sometimes I think it was hard for her to accept receiving from others, she was such a giver to everyone.  She enjoyed having people come over and she would feed them.  She liked the people we invited over, Mom was very comfortable in her own home rather than out somewhere.

I remember when the three of us girls and Dad went to buy her a black nightgown – what that sales lady thought one can only imagine.  I remember it as  fun and a little out of the ordinary.  It never occurred to us to think in terms of what Mom would like best, Madison Ave always told people what to do or give on any occasion.

Mom was rather dismissive of Mother’s Day, because the idea of honoring mothers and showing how much they are loved on just one particular day was phony.  To her it was an all year round activity and more important for those small things every day.  In some ways I have agreed with her, make up for all the unsaid things, not visiting, etc. on one particular day.

I was living away from Seattle for over 34 years, I was able to come and visit my parents at least 3 times a year, sometimes more.  It was joy to be back in Seattle and be with my parents, we had a lot of fun together.  It was even better when Eddie was with me, the four of us would go on adventures.  Sometimes Eddie came on business trip and I couldn’t go with him, so he had my parents all to himself.  I have often thought he is the son they never had, plus Eddie thought of them as his own parents as well.  Eddie really enjoyed the times he and Dad went out by themselves – a guy’s day.  Dad showed him a lot of back roads around Seattle and Eddie still uses them.

They would come to visit us maybe once a year – I was able to take them around to places I knew and when I was in Atlanta, we drove up to Nashville to visit Candy.  When we lived in LA, we met friends of theirs from when dad was growing up and when they were first married.  Dad showed me places in Rolling Hills and Palos Verdes that were special to him and where he spent his teenage and young adult years.

When we were growing up, Mom was a stay at home mom, she was there when we came home from school – if she wasn’t, we knew she would be back shortly.  Sometimes she would be king cookies or downstairs ironing with the smell of fresh, clean clothes.  It wasn’t until high school, when I went home with a friend, that I realized how blessed I was to have Mom home when I came home.  I took it for granted.  My friend’s father had died in WWII and her mother had to work to support them.  When we went into her house, it felt cold – not just temperature, there was no one there to welcome her with warmth.  That really hit home and I began to value having a stay at home Mom.

As I think about it, home was a place that was safe where I was loved and wanted.   No matter what was going on outside, I would find a retreat at home.  Mom and Dad made it feel that way, Mom was the major component for it.  As I got older, I found more things we had in common, such as the books we liked.  When I was married, I learned to appreciate her more and understand things better.  If I had had children, I would certainly have understood being a mom a lot more.

So now I have to re-imagine Mother’s Day since Mom is not with us any more.  I know she is now much happier because she no longer has dementia and is with Dad.  Maybe it will be a celebration of her life and what she gave to me and my sisters.  I don’t quite see a picture in my mind yet, it may have to simmer on the back burner for a while.  When I think Mother’s Day, I see the lunch we had with her sister Jean and her son and daughter-in-law or the last dinner with Jean before Mom died.  They are happy pictures in my mind and I want it continue that way.

I did another post a while ago with pictures and I want to put those in this one.

Mom and her sister Jean

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Mom as a little toddler

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This is the house she grew up in on Main Street in Glastonbury, Conn

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Ruth Paull-2

This is out at the farm in Waterford, Conn near Long Island Sound

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I think this was a camp somewhere

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Mom was a Traveler’s Aid volunteer for more than 34 years – she thoroughly enjoyed doing it.

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Every summer, Mom’s father would rent  house on Clinton Beach in Conn., the family would rent houses near it and spend the summer there.

Dad made an album of pictures of Mom’s life and I used to go through it with her on my visit.  She had Macular Degeneration, so she wasn’t able to see them.  I would describe them to her and she knew exactly what I was describing.  She would tell me stories about growing up – I never knew when she was in a talkative mood.  It would happen all through my childhood, so when I lived in Conn., I went to Glastonbury and saw where she lived and met the relatives that were still alive.  On one of Mom and Dad’s visits to us, I took them there and we also went to Clinton beach to see the rental houses – surprising it looked a lot the same.

Those are the memories and pictures I have of Mom in my mind.

Connected Friends

May 1, 2016

At my network breakfast club I was talking to Robbi and I realized it has been quite a while since we had time to talk.  It was a lovely conversation because I felt as if we had just picked up  from when we left off the last time.  Not only that, we don’t have to explain things to each other, we “get” the other.  She is some , she brought in some of her many quilt tops – she doesn’t do the quilting until she is ready to give them away.  Even though I haven’t done any quilting for quite a while, I still check things out.  I mentioned how quilting has changed and it was great to know she has noticed it as well – both of us aren’t that pleased with the changes.

Connected friends

Everyone has people in their lives like that – friends you may not see or talk with very often, but who are so much on your wave length it never feels that way.  You just seem to pick up where you were the last time.  I have one friend I really miss seeing because of things in my life and in hers, yet when I get an email or call from her, the sun comes out.  She has a lot of knowledge and experience in things I don’t, so I learn a lot from her – how lovely it works well in the opposite direction.

Friends 2

Another friend I have known since the 9th grade.  We have stayed in touch through all my moves and we would get together any time I came here to visit my parents.  Now that I live here again, I see her more often – I have noticed as we have “matured” we have had a little harder time finding a day for ourselves.  That means those days feel more special and we have many shared experiences and talents that work to keep us so well-connected.  She is much better at emailing than I am.  I remember we started to email before we moved here, we were sharing the same type of experience and it made it so much easier to write to someone who understood what was happening and also what I was feeling.

far away friends

I have many close friends but who live in places I used to live.  I don’t have an opportunity to visit them and they don’t have one to come here.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find we would be instantly connected if we talked with each other and had time to spend together.  That is one of the things about moving several times – I lose touch with good friends and it is difficult to leave them.  I started finding I didn’t make close friends the last couple of move – it hurt too much to leave.  I found my life a bit lonely, I also had a Newcomer Group to socialize and make friends.  I started quilting in Atlanta – that was something I could take wherever I went and quilt shops have classes and quilters.

Known All your life

Someone I met here is still close, though she lives near Las Vegas.  She has family here and once or twice I have had a visit with her when she came to town.  I think she is moving back, not sure.  When I talk to her on the phone, I feel she is right here in the room with me.  She has boundless energy and enthusiasm that definitely rubs off on me.  She was a guest on my radio show in the studio, that was a real kick and we had a great time.

friend far away

Then there are the ones who I meet and it feels as if we have known each other forever.   Sometimes it is instantly, other times it is in a very short time.  It happens when I least expect it and over the years I have learned to wait for a while before I decide it is real.  I have experiences where there was an instant connection and then later it cooled off, something wasn’t quite right.  I have also had more experiences when it was real.  A little wait and see is often smart.

deep connection

I have also had the opposite – I didn’t like the person at first and as I began to know them, I changed my mind.  I remember at the Newcomers Club in New Jersey, I met a woman and instantly disliked her; I admit I was looking at her outside appearance and mannerisms.  I saw her in many interest groups and I began to change my mind as I got to know her better and she became a good friend.  This is another wait and see situation – first impressions aren’t always true impressions.

Over the years seeing doctors, etc. for RA, I have met some really great people – I would rather know them in a social situation instead of a medical one.  I really appreciate when they are friendly and have a sense of humor.  The Wound Care group is so great – there is a little too much fun going on there.  They are very serious about what they do and do it very well; it is pleasure to go see them.  It would be better if we could all gather and have fun in a social setting – I’m not happy about the reason for going, I appreciate how they operate.

I definitely prefer people with a sense of humor, especially now.  More often I find people who give me a blank look when I mention something or  make a joke.  It is quite possible I am not as witty as I think I am, but I often get laughs when I least expect it.  I find myself saying something without thinking, usually works out, but the blank look makes me wonder.  However, I will continue doing it because that’s me and it comes out without my realizing it.  If I can make someone laugh, all the blank stares don’t matter.


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