Christmas Memories

December 25, 2016

How did Christmas sneak up on me?  It is on Sunday and we’ve barely finished Thanksgiving.  Christmas has definitely changed over the decades – yikes, it is literally decades at this point.  Growing up, Christmas was like the rest of the year – family time.  My Dad once told me if they could take the three of us, they didn’t want to go.  I don’t remember Christmas the 1st 7 years of my life in Southern California – my memories are of 1955 when we moved to this house in Seattle.

We usually bought a Christmas tree a week before Christmas, but it went into a bucket of water at the bottom of the outside basement stairs.  There was a  store called Chubby and Tubby that had 99 cent trees.  We would all split up and look for a tree in the lot – then we had to decide which would be our tree.  I usually saw a cool tree – being held by someone else.  I loved the smell of Douglas fir – that is the smell of Christmas to me.

Christmas Eve was when we decorated the house with greens and put up the terrace.  We had a holly tree next to the house and a cedar type hedge by the drive and usually a fir somewhere by the canyon.  As the Christmas cards arrived in the mail, my Mom hung a ribbon or two to the front door and taped up the cards.  She had hooked a NOEL hanging for the front door, so sometimes that went up first and the cards were on ribbons on either side of the fireplace.

During this time, Mom would be making Christmas cookies and we “helped”.  It was mainly decorating, though whatever we did, it was fun to be in the kitchen with all those wonderful smells.   And Christmas fudge – a recipe Dad got from someone at North American.  He was told it is the See’s fudge recipe – whether it is or not, it’s wonderful!! I remember Mom putting it in the hall closet to cool off.  We would also go out to the see the Christmas Ship   –  yacht decorated with lights and a different choir every night singing carols.  There were small boats following it, also decorated with lights.  They would stop at different places w here a bonfire was built and they would anchor in as close as they could and play carols to all of us on shore.  There was a schedule published for the week or so they did it, on the lake and the Sound.

Afterwards, we would be cold, so we came home for hot chocolate and Christmas cookies.

The day before Christmas we decorated the house.  The tree went up and after Dad tied it to the curtain rod to keep it from falling.  He put on the lights while the rest of us decorated its.  We never had a “coordinated tree”, the decorations were from different times.  There were some from when Mom and a Dad were first married, some came from friends or we made; others were bought to supplement those that broke – it was a hodge podge – our own special hodge podge.  We had to keep filling the pan for the tree with water because the cats kept drinking it.  We were fortunate it didn’t occur to any of them to climb the tree.

One year we put up the tree a week before Christmas – we all were tired of it before Christmas arrived.  By doing it Christmas Eve, then the next morning was Christmas.  Mom made a sour cream coffee cake for breakfast and then we opened our gifts.  Then Mom made a proper breakfast.

When my older sister was married, Mom  decided to have Christmas Eve, then they would spend Christmas with his family.  when I was married, I went out of the country.  Our first Christmas as a married couple was in Australia – it didn’t feel like Christmas because its was in the middle of summer.  We had a rather sad artificial tree with some ornaments.  What I do remember is one of the women at the store where I worked asked me the significance of a white Christmas.  That brought me up short until I realized all the Christmas cards, movies, etc. show snow – how could they connect in the middle of summer?

The worst day was Thanksgiving – no one there knew what it was or why we celebrate it.  I made the mistake of thinking what Mom and Dad would be doing and it really upset me.  I couldn’t really explain why I felt that way to the other women.  When I came home from work, Eddie had cooked a whole chicken for us.

When we came back from Australia, we were living in San Francisco and no money to go to Seattle for Christmas.  So Mom and Dad and my younger sister came to us for Christmas.  After that, Eddie was able to arrange business trips to Seattle, we just had to pay for my ticket.  So for many years we went to Seattle for Christmas and my sisters would come too.

One year our godson from Australia came for a 6 week visit – 2 weeks in LA where we lived, 2 weeks in Seattle for Christmas and 2 weeks in LA before we left for home.  it was an interesting time, I took pictures, bought postcards and assembled a photo album so he could show his family.  It took some time to do the album, so it was after he left that it was done.

When he came up here, we had a small fir tree by the drive that was big enough for a Christmas tree.  He and Dad cut it down and put it up in the living room.  We also went to dinner at Ivar’s salmon house by the locks and the Christmas ship was going through.  We had a lose up view and heard the carols.

When our 2nd oldest niece came t3o visit, she w as amazed because it wasn’t like Jerusalem at all.  My parents took her on a walk down to the beach on an old logging road – she said she had never been in a forrest before.  SHE saw Vashon from our window and wanted to see an island – not sure what she expected.  I was surprised to find there aren’t Christmas trees and decorations in Jerusalem.

When she was here, we started new tradition – a middle eastern buffet for Christmas Eve dinner.   My sisters were still coming for Christmas and we continued it for several years.  It was getting harder to travel during Christmas and my sisters haven’t been here for quite a while.  Both Eddie and I were glad not to travel this year to Toronto – we love being with them but the getting there and coming home is not always easy.

Lately Christmas has been quiet – my Mom and dementia and for 2 years we went to Toronto to our oldest niece and her family.  This year is just us and for Christmas dinner, we have invited a good friend.

Although things are different, there are always reminders, big and small, of all the Christmases in my life.

Wishing everyone a lovely Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!

Little Fingers Affect A Lot

December 22, 2016

I know I haven’t been posting very often, there is a reason – I have to work twice as hard to make sure you can read it. Ever since my elbow replacement, my left little finger and ring finger are not working very well.  My little finger is numb and tends to catch on things and hit wrong keys so I seem to have a language all my own.  I am writing my show prep for Tuesday about Christmas and will use it for my blog later on.  I would have had  it all done but I had to keep fixing it as I went along.

I don’t have a whole lot to write about since I feel I am catching up more than anything else.  We’ve hwad a little snow, but not enough to really count.  It was sleeting wheqn Eddiqe left this morning, though it was mixed wit3h rain, he wasn’t really conceqrneqd about it.  It has been really cold lately – well, cold for us.  I don’t miss the snow and ice we had in the East and also in Fort Wayne.  We are glad we decided t4o stay here for the holidays.

I have been enjoying doing my radio show – it feels easier and more relaxed thant he first time.  I also know more 3thsn I did the first time. I decided to talk about my Christmas memories, especially with my family and when Sylvia came and our godson Jason form Austra;ia.   Later I asked Bennie what he thought – he said I am a good story teller.  I was pleased to hear t3hat.  I also need to help peqopke understand  what4 the show is about, why I am doing it and the message.  I am wondering what I am going to talk about next Tuesday –  I don’t have a guest at the moment.

Th moles are having a field day in the lawn.  Not only does one make a huge mound, after Eddie pounds it down, the little sucske2r make another one right on top.  I don’t know what has galvanized them to be so active, I’da love two put a stop to it.  As I have said, we don’t have a golf course lawn but there is no reason to have it look like a construction zone.  Jorge, who does the lawn, said he had something, so maybe we can stop some of them.

Tomorrow the pest guy is coming for his third visit.  He was here two weeks ago and out of 12 traps, no furry creature.  he will remove the traps and plug up as much as he can to keep them from finding a winter home here.

This is not a long post, just a way t3o let you know I am still here and want to continue the blog.  If you can read the oddball words, then  it will make more sense.

 

Enjoy the season.

Best 2 Weeks In Ages

December 12, 2016

I have had energy and enthusiasm for things the past couple of weeks – it feels so good after so many weeks and months dragging myself around, dealing with surgeries, bronchitis and RA.  I also may have overdone a bit, but what a feeling!!!!

We had snow on Monday, about an inch and snow on Friday, 2 inches at least.  Monday was problematic for Eddie in the morning because it  started snowing when he was having breakfast in Southcenter.  He wasn’t sure how it would be on 405 into Bellevue – then found someone had broken his back passenger window – no briefcase.  He came home and spent a lot of time working with the bank because our checkbook was in the briefcase – also Andy’s business checkbook.  Then called Vickie, our insurance agent and took his car to Murray’s Collision – we just got mine back.  Someone backed into my front passenger bumper leaving dents and scratches and a big hole.

I said that is why I am such a nag about leaving anything in plain sight in the car.  He didn’t really believe me, just thought I was being paranoid.  NEWS FLASH!!!!!!!

He has a Hyundai Sonata, but he misses his wagon so much that he is impatient for it to be fixed.  I had a Chrysler 200 for a rental – it was very awkward to drive and get in and out.   So glad to have my Subaru back.

Friday’s snow was more problematic – Eddie didn’t go to work, but worked from home.  I rescheduled my haircut and a new client visit – the pest control guy came in the afternoon.  I heard scratching on the bedroom ceiling last Wednesday – a familiar sound of furry creatures looking to settle in for the winter.  He came the following day to set traps and see where they are getting in.  He came this week – nothing in any of the traps – not sure what’s happening.  He will be back in 2 weeks to check again and put copper mesh over the holes he can reach.  We also need to put new insulation up in the attic as well.

Week before last we were doing Secret Santa for Breakfast Club.  I was given Bryan Gormley – someone I barely know.  I found he had 3 daughters, so the first week I did a Family Fun Box with cookie cutters, frosting, 4 bottles of sprinkles, recipes for Gingerbread cookies and Sugar cookies.  The 2nd week was a set of wooden puzzles and the last was a set of 4 small bottles of spices and some ideas to use them.  I think he was pleased.  We had the third gift at the Christmas party Wednesday night.

Thursday was the PNAA Christmas Party in Mukilteo – we skipped it because they said snow was coming in the evening.  Glad we did because driving home in the dark and the snow isn’t something that is easy any more.  This coming Friday is supposed to be the party for Andy’s group.  So far there hasn’t been a response and Eddie will have no regrets canceling it.  We’ll see how it plays out over this week.  Andy is leaving the following day for China to visit his Mom.  Things have changed for him, he had to have a written invitation to visit.  He is now an American citizen, so it looks as if they don’t recognize he was born there.  That bugged him no end.

The past few days I felt myself with less energy, so Saturday after we finished our errands, I crawled into bed for a nap.  I slept about 2 hours and felt so much better.  I have been sleeping better as well – I think the nap took the edge off being tired.  Looks as if I need to make time for a lie down or nap every once in a while.

Oh my, have the moles been busy!!!  Our lawn looks more like swiss cheese than grass.  On the bright side, it is aerating the grass so I don’t have to do it.  I am wondering if the  kids grew up and didn’t leave home.  Looks as if we have a colony instead of a small family.  We had a card telling us the new value for the house and land – the house is worth more than the land.  Maybe they think the land is less valuable with holes in it.  I suspect our property taxes will be going up again.

We have an arborist in Breakfast club now and he came by Thursday to look at the fruit trees, fig, blueberries and dogwood.  They all need help and the isn’t going to charge all outdoors to do it.  He will prune and clear grass away from the trunks and then in Spring will prune the new fruit so we have better fruit and maybe the apples won’t keep hitting the ground so often.  Might even keep the creepy crawlies away.  I also need to have John come and give us the view back.

The snow on the Olympics is spectacular!!  When the sun comes up and shines on the snow, it is gorgeous.  We sometimes have to look quickly or the sun disappears.  A lot of the time they awry covered with clouds.  Occasionally Mt. Rainer comes out in all its glory, what another spectacular sight!

Time to close – wish I had a picture of the mountains to include.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Done !!!

November 13, 2016

 

Wish I saw this last week

This one definitely fits this week.

Hallelujah, the election is over and we don’t have to hear or see any more political ads every 2 minutes.  It is a mixed blessing because there are those who are completely stunned Hillary lost and Donald Trump won.   There are others who are over the moon Trump won – then there are those in between to different degrees.  I didn’t vote for either one – I wrote in a name.  Sometimes I wish they had a selection that says “None of the above”.  That is true of the issues as well as candidates.  What I don’t understand are the Hillary supporters sitting in the streets like a spoiled brat having a tantrum because she or he isn’t get what they wanted.  Get over yourself!!!   If you didn’t vote, you have no right to complain because you didn’t exercise your privilege and responsibility to vote.

What happened to civility and being a gracious loser or winner?  One doesn’t always have things the way they want – suppose it turns out to be the best thing for you.  It may take time. but as I say on my radio show – “In every difficult situation is a gift waiting for you to discover”.   I have been wondering if we have needed a shaking up to rebalance the country.  We have had great presidents, terrible ones and everything in between and our country is still here.  Instead of being afraid and full of fear, concentrate on what you can do and trust the Universe.  It may sound simplistic, simple isn’t always easy.  Your thoughts become things and negative thoughts, words and actions bring more of the same.  Here’s a strange concept – only have positive, loving and empowering thoughts, words and actions.  As for me, I don’t watch the news much – too negative even in good times.

Enough of that, we are all saturated with the whole thing.  Actually, it has been a positive week for me, though I have spent most of it going to doctors.  My Tuesday appointment with the cardiologist didn’t happen.  Threw was an accident on the other side of the 1st Ave bridge – I was in traffic for an hour and a half and half an hour late for my appointment.  I called to let them know – they thought I would be there in 10 minutes.  As I got to the doctor’s office, my phone rang – she was calling to see where I was and that they would have to reschedule.  I talked to a very nice young woman and they gave me an appointment for Thursday morning.  Naturally when I went home, traffic was light and one would never know there was a problem.

I was early on Thursday for the appointment.  I had an echocardiogram and they called to tell me there were some abnormalities – not something I want to hear.  I had them send the results to Doc Pierce, he said he didn’t think it was anything to worry about.  Dr. Ali was really nice and she told it straight without big words.  Essentially there is some stiffness in my heart that is simply from aging.  she isn’t concerned about it but she wants to know how the flow in my blood vessels is, cholesterol numbers don’t tell her.  She wants me to do a scan – not covered by insurance – that will give her a better if I need a statin or not.  She was pleased to see my blood pressure is good, that I didn’t smoke or drink – all good indicators.  She wants to see me in 8 weeks – it is up to me if I do the test.  I will probably do it so I know what the situation is and if it is necessary to do anything.

I saw my dermatologist Tuesday afternoon for a check up.  I am finished with basel cell surgery and have healed quite well.  She was pleased with the results – she has seen noses that didn’t come out too well and I am the second one from Dr. Bradley she says looks great.  Now she wants me to do a cream twice a day to bring up the little red spots as well as those below the skin that could be cancerous in time.  She did say I would probably look very spotty about the second week, but it would take care of them 85%.  I thought sure shoe would be trigger happy with the nitrogen, bit she thinks the cream will help.  A week or so of spotty is small compared to MOHS surgery.  She also checked my legs – they are healed and looking a lot better.  I use the CirAids around my lower legs and it has helped a lot.  I was weighed this week and I have lost 10 pounds compared to Doc Pierce’s scale.

Friday I went to the orthopedic surgeon I saw for my broken arm.  As I was checking in, it seemed to be dicey about payment – no way was I going to pay and have them reimburse me, been there, done that.  They are the most obstreperous group I have ever dealt with using my PIP coverage.  I told her I am doing fine, I am not doing the reverse shoulder replacement because I’m scared, so I really don’t have to see him.  And I left.

I also had fun doing my radio show on Tuesday – I talked about elections and voting.  I talked about where I have voted and how it was done, as well as my experience Australia.  The next couple of shows I have guests – this coming week is Krysta Gibson and next week my attorney friend Dave Gagley.  I have some other ideas for guests, so I am going tp  contact them this week.

It definitely was a good week for me.  I hope it was for you.

Almost Over!!!!

November 6, 2016

I don’t think I am the only one who is glad the election marathon will be over on Tuesday.   However, no one is sure what will follow when they decide who won the Presidency – another circus no doubt.  It seems each time the voter fatigue is worse than the one before – too many candidates saying he or she is the honest one and will accomplish so much.  Yet all the while saying what a crook, liar and double dealer their opponent is – enough already.  Afterwards the media will analyze it all to death.  Is this what the Founding Fathers had in mind?  No doubt they are spinning in their graves.  Enough of all of it!!!

I didn’t realize it has been a month since I last wrote here – the last 2 or 3 weeks I have been dealing with bronchitis.  fortunately my doc gave me an antibiotic and I am finally feeling so much better.  I don’t like taking it, but I was so miserable that I was willing to do it.  I found they weren’t kidding about no caffeine, it kept me awake all the time.  Not a lot of sleep.    So I started drinking herbal tea so I could get some rest.  I also wasn’t to have dairy 2 hours before and after, so I had to have my yogurt for lunch.  Otherwise it was okay.  Usually it is the cough that gets me, wearing me out and making sleep difficult.  One night I was so frustrated, I took my to fingers and pressed them to the base of my throat – to my surprise, it helped stop the cough.

I am finding my little and ring finger on my left hand are still numb.  That doesn’t mean there is no feeling – such interesting sensation and they keep changing.  Lately it feels as if I have a tiny blood pressure cuff on the lower part of my little finger.  It also means my fingers aren’t all that strong or working all that well – you should see what I type before I have to correct it!  So there are things I can’t do very well – such as clipping my finger nails.  The right hand works fine but the left has very little strength. This time I used the cuticle scissors to cut my right hand, it actually worked.  Now I can type better with short nails.  I am still much slower than before, it too is slowly getting better.   I am glad to say I don’t have any surgeries or procedures coming up – what a relief!!!!

This week was the first of my radio show – yes, I have started it again.  It is easier this time and now I have a parking decal that says I am an employee of Hubbard Radio.  How about that!!!!!  It is a feeling of coming home and spending time with my family.  This time I have archives on 1150kknw.com – just click the link and look for  Finding The Gifts and you can find the archives.  It still doesn’t feel quite real, but it is definitely sinking in.  Now I need to start inviting gets and deciding what subjects I want to do – I plan to have the same guests I had last time as well as others.  I need to update my web site and Facebook page to let people know I am back.

Eddie went to Jerusalem to visit his sister – her cancer has come back.  There spots on her liver and they don’t think another surgery is feasible because she just had one a short while ago.  She is doing heavy-duty chemo – today is her second one – but they really don’t hold out much hope for her.  The kids aren’t telling her everything because she is such a worrywart.  Eddie and Tako inherited it from their mother, though Eddie isn’t quite as much of one as Tako.  He wasn’t anxious to go, but it turned out very well.  It really lifted Tako’s spirits and Eddie had a chance to spend time with the nieces and nephew plus their spouses and kids.  He seemed to be a unifying influence since things had been somewhat strained.  He and Tako are the older generation and so he seems to be somewhat of a patriarch.  He is very impressed with all of them and said he would be a mediator any time they needed.

The week he was gone was the first time in 14 years I was on my own.  He used to travel a lot and I learned to create a life while he was away.  Since we’ve been here, he hasn’t really travelled and if he did, Mom was here.  It probably took me that week to realize I was on my own – they he came back.  Life is very different here from when we were moving around.

No big surprise we have had a lot of rain this month and last month.  This is when the “livability” of Seattle is strained – we are used to going and doing while it rains but newcomers aren’t.  I love the rain and since I was feeling miserable, it wasn’t at all difficult to stay in the warm and dry house.

We had Jorge and his crew power wash the house and garage roofs as well as the side walks to get rid of the moss – it is such a difference!  It took him two days – worth every penny!  Also, we had a sewer back up and this time it was really serious.  They fixed it temporarily and then later dug up a position of the line on the bank to fix the pipe – it had a hole in it and the roots were really doing a number on it.  Its was pricey but necessary – now when my sisters come to visit, we won’t have the usual back up any more.

Not a lot else going on – I know I need to add pictures, but the last time I took pictures for the post, I did a header on the kitchen floor and broke my elbow.  I will just have to update in a couple of days.

 

 

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.

Smuckers

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.


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