Archive for May, 2016

Crosswords

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!!!!!

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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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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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