Posts Tagged ‘Ellen’

1st Barbecue of the Season

March 27, 2016

Friday I had to go to Wound Care again – what a lovely day it was.  Eddie left in the morning for work with clouds a bit of rain; when he came home to pick me up, the sun was out.  For the first time in a long time, I had the car window open and it felt quite warm.    More rain today and tomorrow, then they promise the sun for several days – does Mother nature agree?  We will see.

I am back wrapped up again – my legs swelled again – and wouldn’t you know, my compression socks arrived and were sitting in the mailbox as we drove out.  Well, I won’t be wearing them for a couple of weeks, then I will take them with me to have them help me learn how to put them on.  This means spit and duck baths again; so far the hair doesn’t look too bad.  It does tend to stick up a bit when I get up in the morning, I will have to run the shower with my head in to have the steam tame those wonky parts.  I have an appointment on Wednesday afternoon to remove sutures, then I can lean over the shower chair and wash my hair at least.

My forehead has been numb since the first plastic surgery, yet at times I feel it tingling, sometimes as if something is walking on my head.  It is an odd sensation but not unpleasant.  I asked the doc about it last Monday before surgery, he said it will take a long time to  go back to normal.  I expected that answer because I found that with the hip incision.  It was numb and I would get sharp pricks when I least expected it – that was unpleasant.  Seems to be  fairly normal now, four years later.

I am determined to drive again after Wednesday, I don’t like being so dependent – at least I can see a lot better now, that makes a difference.  When Eddie comes back from the Car Museum, he is taking me to Bartell’s – it is sometimes difficult to explain to him what I want.  I think he is very uncomfortable buying “lady things”, but does a pretty good job.

Yesterday was fairly sunny and when Eddie came home from shopping, he had hamburgers with him.  He decided to start the BBQ season and I noticed Eric across the street had his big grill on his deck.  Eddie said he could smell someone else getting ready to BBQ.  We have had such a lot of wind and rain this winter, it feels good to look forward to spring.  Each time I go out, I see new things blooming – I almost feel I am missing out on spring.  The Scillas in the beds have abundant leaves up and it will be fun to see all the lavender flower stems blooming.  The grape hyacinths are blooming, not as many this year and the two clumps of yellow daffodils on the bank are doing well

My sister Ellen on the Jersey Shore has had rain, snow, sun and wind – I’m so glad she sends photos of them.  The last photo I enclosed in the blog is now a painting – she is so talented!  She is able to show the ocean in so many different moods and colors – so amazing.

This was the Nor’easter the other week – she had snow as well as windy.

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This was on March 24th – spring is coming.

I have been so self absorb in myself lately, both my sisters reminded me March 24th would be Dad’s 102nd birthday.  I also thought about September 24th, Mom’s birthday – it will be her 98th.  In 2018, it will be her 100th birthday and that year was as eventful as Dad’s in 1914 – so many historic things happened that changed the world during those years.  Because they met, fell in love and married, my sisters and I are a part of this changing world.  They gave us so many gifts – being loved and wanted, integrity, respect for other people, discipline, manners – so many things that have given me a strong foundation.  (I won’t speak for my sisters)  I am grateful for all of it, they were very loving parents.

A blog wouldn’t be complete without a couple of photos from my sister Candy in Nashville.

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She puts lovely backgrounds in her photos

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She has done a series of Christmas photos with flowers and also ornaments.

I have been sleeping a lot, though I still feel draggy,  I need to walk a bit every day – exercise needs to be part of being rested.  I have hesitated to go outside and walk up and down the sidewalk because I don’t want to trip and fall.  Now that I can wear my glasses better, I am willing to give it a try.  Windy and stormy is conducive to walking outside – I seem to have missed the worst of the weather during my captivity.

My posts have been so “me” centered, it is time to focus on something else for a change.  Wishing you all a very Happy Easter.

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Lee 1, Technology 2

May 10, 2015

I finally was able to  make the one printer work at last.  Last Sunday afternoon I was clicking around and found a set of things to work with to help figure out what I needed to do.  Essentially, they all  had to have the cartridge problem resolved before I could use any of them.  I found a place to check the ink supply and was astounded to find it showed the color empty.  I just bought the cartridges a short while ago, so they shouldn’t be empty.  So I decided to take it to Office Depot to see if they could tell if it was full or not.  The guy was really great – he gave me a free swap and I only had to pay for the other cartridge.  They didn’t have single ones, just a double one with black and color.  So I went for it.

Then I changed the color and found it printed – except the black was barely showing up.  I aligned the cartridges, cleaned the heads and I don’t know what all to get it to work.  I printed out some things where the color worked fine.  I figured I had only won half the battle.  Friday I decided to print out some crosswords and I was so surprised and delighted to see the all black pages looked just right.  Maybe the black had to work its way through before printing properly.  A victory for me.

I didn’t make it to Apple for Pages session, so I don’t know if Ellen received her birthday card on Friday or not.  Plus there is the other printer to solve the scanning problem.  I forgot to mention the phone – no more buzz and static, but now my voice mail doesn’t work and tells people to put in the code.  I don’t have a code.  If I am home and the phone rings, I can answer it with no problem, but no one can leave a message.  I’m wondering if I need to unplug it and put it with the other phone and see if that works.  Looks as if Technology has 3 – I only have 1.

This week we moved more books out of the shelves – picture books to Providence Elderplace, some novels for the Infusion Center and the rest to Goodwill.  We need to empty the shelves for the painters.  They are coming on the 18th.  We had the man for the floors come to give us an estimate and what was possible to clean the hardwood floor.  Seems the floor Dad put in has a very thin layer and it is a little wavy – it would take only 1 sanding and even then, it wouldn’t look much different.  He said he would do it in 2 days but we would have to move out of the house for 3 days because the smell is overpowering.  We would also have to move all the furniture out – that plus the cost and the three hotel nights along with eating out was a bit off-putting.  The logistics also difficult, so we decided not to do it.

I asked Brad if he would build a new mantel for us with crown molding – that is a lot less and something I have always wanted.  I sent him a couple of designs that hit me – I don’t want it too complicated that it overpowers the room and the fireplace.  I also don’t want it so plain either.  He is doing some research to see what molding is available and what will work for the space.  Oh dear, I need to email measurements for him.  It should be ready to paint when Ron comes.

Friday was a great day, we had clear sunshine, 69 and I felt so good.  We had 78 to 80 yesterday, a little hazy. It’s a bit cloudy but due to be 73 – then guess what is coming through?

Today is not only Mother’s Day, it is our 46th wedding anniversary.  We decided not to go to dinner today, instead we went on Thursday a bit early.  It was quite lovely and not a lot of people.  We have a wonderful dinner – brought half of mine home for lunch the next day.  It was fun to have a leisurely dinner and enjoy our anniversary together.  Both of us find it hard to believe it is 46 years, it doesn’t feel that long.  It has been a while since it has been just the two of us in our own home.  When our living room is painted and our furniture is in place, it will truly be our home.

This has been a mixed up Spring so far and now Ellen is sending Spring pictures from Ocean Grove.  They have had a lot of weather this year and who knows what Ana will do as she blows up the coast.  I’m so glad she sent some cherry blossoms.

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It feels as if I am experiencing Spring flowers for a second time.  Thank you so much Ellen.

I can’t think of a better way to close this post.

I Am Still Here – Somewhere

January 11, 2015

I just realized it has been more than 3 weeks since my last post – I’ve been around but not necessarily with it.  After 3 months, I decided it was time to stop pushing aside grieving for my Mom and Dad, too many oddball things were showing up and I need to deal with it.  I was upset when I decided to end my radio show for a while – going on hiatus while I do major self-care – and will be back doing it again in the future.  I don’t want to spend the rest of my days somewhere in neutral and drag my butt tired.

Eddie and I went to Toronto for a few days for Christmas with our niece and her family – no ice storm this year.  It was 40’s and 50’s with some rain, just like Seattle.  However, I am glad we aren’t there at the moment, they have cold, ice and snow right now.  I have some photos from my sister Ellen  at the Jersey shore showing snow.

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 This one came this morning

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 This was earlier in the week – so amazing!

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Ellen really knows how to compose a great picture.

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This one must have been uncomfortable because the snow was blowing all over.

We had a wonderful time in Toronto – I found myself noticing after a day or so that I had not thought about here or what was happening, I was completely there.  It’s not that we did much, at least I didn’t.  It was a delight to just enjoy their company and relax.

 I have to admit to feeling a bit left out because I only understand about half of what was said, so I asked for a major attitude overhaul.  What a change in my way of looking at the situation.  NEWS FLASH!  It’s not about me.  It is a time for Eddie to speak Arabic with people he cares about and who know exactly what he is talking about – most it is about the past, people they know in common and situations.  They also imitate the way some they knew spoke Arabic – only they understand the joke and why it is funny.

Christmas Eve we watched the service from the church in Bethlehem, then went out for a wonderful dinner.  Christmas afternoon we went to Raouf’s uncle’s house – and 30 of his close relatives.  There are probably another 30 we didn’t meet that night, there is always next year.  I spent a lot of time talking to his Uncle John.  He’s a very interesting guy and so easy to talk with – I found out more of his history on the drive home.

We left on Boxing Day in the evening – Eddie isn’t quite sure why he arranged only 3 days.  We had a wonderful time, though it was so good to be back home and in our own bed.

After we came home, I called Hospice of Seattle to find out about their grief support group.  It is a 6 week course, then often the group decides to continue meeting after the end of the  6 weeks.  It starts this Tuesday and will be for the next 6 Tuesdays.  I don’t know what it will be, I am open to what ever works for me.

I found the book “When Bad Things Happen To Good People” in the library – I had heard it was a really good book for grieving.  Unfortunately I didn’t find it helpful – I don’t need to find a reason Mom is gone – it was time and it was her wish as well as relief.  It is more explaining about the whys – I don’t need that.  I am glad I checked it out, now I know what is about.

I have some other things to check out – some of this by guess and by gosh, some are suggestions from other people – I am open and receptive to anything.  I am open and willing to explore things and ideas to see how they resonate.  This is so individual that it is more challenging than if there is a set formula.  Maybe I will start to look at it as adventure rather than as something to be overcome.  I am working to put it into words for myself – there really aren’t any pictures in my mind yet.

I bought an iPhone last Saturday – my Christmas and birthday present.  It is cool and I went Tuesday to learn how to use it.  I have another appointment this Tuesday to learn more.  They were able to download my list from my old phone and I finally got my pictures downloaded as well – not quite as easily.  However, the number is the same and I don’t have to go through that balderdash again.

I downloaded the new system Yosemite at home in November or December and my computer has been a bit wonky in some places.  I took it in on Saturday afternoon – what a zoo not only at the Apple store, but all over the mall as well.  Anyway, I told them about it and Nicole thought the best thing to do was reinstall Yosemite there and it would install over the one I did.  It was going to take an hour, so I went for coffee and by 5 I was ready to go.

Meanwhile Eddie was home doing the laundry and cooking dinner – what a delightful husband!  He had done all the shopping in the morning by himself because I had woken up in the middle of the night feeling as if at least a Hummer or something bigger had driven over me from feet to head and up my back.  I am not sure what happened, I was doing well the day before and the one before that – no clue why.  By late morning I was doing a lot better – thanks to Advil at night and in the morning.

Life is definitely an adventure.  I found this picture the other day and in some ways it’s how I feel – I don’t know how I got here and I have no idea where it leads, but at the moment, I am here and safe.

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Her Journey’s End

October 9, 2014

Yesterday morning at 4:50 my Mom died peacefully in her sleep.  She had her 96th birthday last month and she finally was ready to let go and make her transition.  We had a call shortly after from Judy, her caregiver to tell us Mom had died.  It was part expected and in part startled me.  Since the doctor had said she was going into the last stages of dementia, I didn’t know how long she would be with us.  It is a relief and also upsetting; even though I knew Mom didn’t want to be here, that she missed my Dad and her cat Josephine.  Judy asked if I wanted to see her body, but I said No; I wanted to remember her the way she was when I saw her Friday – fast asleep under the covers, looking warm and comfortable and holding the weighted baby doll.

I am not sure what I am feeling or what I need or want – I feel at sixes and sevens, sort of wandering around wondering what I am supposed to do.  I called my sisters to let them know, I spoke to Ellen and had to leave a message for Candy because she wasn’t available.  Eddie had a conference he was helping put on and there was no need for him to stay home.  I think it helped him concentrate on that rather than Mom.  I went to my Breakfast Networking Group – Julia asked why I was there.  I didn’t want to be at home.  I’m so glad I went, this group of people have been there to support, encourage and help me through some difficult times – they are close friends rather than just people with businesses I network with every Wednesday.

I am still alternately calm and teary/drippy, never sure when the drippy will appear.

LATER

I’m having trouble settling to anything – I quit writing this because I couldn’t  keep going – usually I go into a flow once I start writing.  I’ve been wondering if writing it out would help – not really sure any more.  I tried having a lie down, to possibly sleep; didn’t happen.  I know I am tired – probably exhausted, but sleeping is not working out very well.  It took me a while to get to sleep last night – then I noticed how stiff and uncomfortable I was.  Not sure what is going on.

Back to the story:

After Breakfast Club I went to see Judy.  She told me Mom was very different on Tuesday, she noticed changes that weren’t there before – she recognized it probably wouldn’t be too long.  She checked on Mom quite often that night and then Mom was gone.  She reassured me that I had done everything I could for Mom and that she feels the loss as well.  She loved my Mom, as she loves all the residents as long as they are there.  It is difficult for her to see them go.  I have tried to tell Judy as often as I can how much I appreciate her, all that she did for Mom and to thank her.  She told me many times that it made such a difference for her to be appreciated – I don’t think too many do that.  She said Mom was a darling and everyone in the house loved her.

I keep meaning to tell Ellen the lilies she sent for Mom’s birthday are still beautiful – they are on the dining room table for everyone to enjoy.  Some have lost their petals, but quite a few are blooming.

I came home  and found a voicemail from Candy – I’m sorry I wasn’t able actually talk to her.  I called the Allens and also John and Luzma to tell them.  I ended up checking my emails and then had a cup of tea and a pear for lunch.  I suddenly felt very sleepy, so I went to lie down for a bit – I think I slept but then the tea kicked in and She Who Must Be Obeyed let me know I needed to get up and use the bathroom.  I went down again for a bit, then Luzma came by.  John had told her when she woke up.  We hugged each other and we sat and talked for a while – she will definitely miss Mom.  She remembers how kind Dad was to her, accepting her and treating her well.  She loved Mom, she said she was like a grandmother to her.  Their shared their gardens and many other things.

I decided I needed to do something, so I worked on the expenses for the business, I have let it go for too long.  it seemed to be the only things I could concentrate on.  Suddenly John and Luzma reappeared, carrying flowers.  She said she knew Mom loved her rose and she thought the house should be filled with roses.  There is one vase is small roses in a deep pink, one vase with red roses and a third vase with apricot roses.  The last vase had white daisies – plus a balloon.  In each vase is a lovely butterfly.  (I’ll put the pictures in another post).

They told me to call them for whatever I need – as soon as I know, I will.  While they were here Eddie called, he was on his way home from the conference, it didn’t last as long as he thought.  I was glad to see him when he came home.  We just had tea and bread – it was later than we usually eat and we were both tired.

I left a message for June, one of the domino ladies and also called and talked to Kathy.  I know there are people to tell but I can’t quite think of them at the moment.  That was Day 1.

The Rest of The Story

October 5, 2014

I didn’t write my sisters about Wednesday until the next day – I needed to digest it for a bit first.  I also needed to meet Mom at the Center to take her for a haircut.  Last time she was fast asleep through all of it, not this time.  She was sleepy and holding on to her plush lion, but she was a bit more with it.

Lisa put the plastic shield around Mom and the lion so Mom would have something to hold.  She wasn’t all that happy about having it washed, I had to put a towel around her forehead because the headpiece let water run down into her face.  She didn’t like the shampoo – at one point tried to bite Lisa.  Unfortunately she wasn’t able to really get her hair clean because Mom was so feisty.  She cut Mom’s hair and then put her under the dryer to dry it as much as she could.  Mom was not happy under the dryer, I was sitting next to her and put my hand on her arm and let it know it was all right.  Then she held my hand while the dryer was going, at times she got agitated and I just told her it’s fine.

Lisa fluffed her hair some – interesting to see the back curly and the front very straight.  She said it happens with geriatric patients, some parts will curl, others won’t.  Certainly Mom was glad it was over.  I took her back upstairs to get ready for lunch.

I asked Sherry, the receptionist, if it was possible to see Dr. Myre, I wanted to collect my hug.  Instead of phoning, she must have written an email because Dr. Myre came out quite quickly.  Not only did I get one hug, I had several strong ones from her.  She  is very comforting and understanding – I, of course got teary and drippy.  Seems to be the case a lot lately.  She said I was doing a great job being there for my Mom and it helped to hear that.  Many of my friends and my sisters have continually told me that – it is good to hear since the old “beat myself up” program keeps intruding.  It says I haven’t done it perfectly and not done all I could – that voice will always tell me I didn’t do it perfectly or enough.  So I am learning to  release the need for that and to know I am enough.

I left and went to see my acupuncturist because I felt the sore, scratchy throat starting again. Probably would have been smart to go Tuesday and nip it in the bud.  I made an appointment for Friday as well.  Seems as if lately everything is coming at once, with not much time in between to regain my balance.  I’m not sure it is supposed to come in separate intervals.  When I worked in department store, it was either everyone came at once or it was very quiet.

Friday I went to visit Mom, I wondered if she would be wiped out after the haircut.  She was fast asleep in ned, holding on to the weighted baby doll Char gave to Mom.  Judy said she likes to have something to hold, keeps her hands occupied.  I didn’t want to wake her up, but I did tell her I love her and that Ellen and Candy send their love.  I knew I would get too teary if I stayed much longer, so I left and headed over for my acupuncture appointment.

It’s been an odd week, Eddie was home Wednesday because the archives were closed and he wanted to get another shirt from the Car Museum.  I went to Breakfast Club, then came home because I had to work on an order for calculators.  He assumed I would come with him and seemed a disappointed I didn’t.  The Friday he had the day off because he was going to go to the venue for the PNAA Defense Conference to show Lisa the layout.  I  didn’t get home until after 1, he wanted to know what kept me.  Trouble is, he assumes when he takes a day off, I am available to play.  I usually have been but now with new things going on, it isn’t possible and he has to adjust.  Funny how things change, then change again.

We also have been sleeping in separate rooms for the past 3 weeks or so.  He had a bad cold and didn’t want to give it to me, then I had the coming down with something – neither wanted to give it to the other.  Friday we finally got together again, though we are being careful because we don’t really know if either of us is contagious or not.

I also wrote an email to the Northwest Schooner Society to see if they were interested in the models and Dad’s old wood working tools.  I had a nice email and Kitty wrote back saying they would be very interested.  I email pictures and she said they were gorgeous.  So now we are working on a day for her and her helpers to come and pick things up. I told her the box may be a bit heavy, that I would check with my next door neighbor to see if they would be around to help.  They are a young, just married couple living in the lower level of Bob and Delores’s house – Cameron is their grandson – I think their son Jerry’s son – and his wife Kika.  We saw them last night – they were locked out and came for the key – and they are willing, it just depends on when.

Plus my radio show – I have 2 guests lined up and working on a third.  Still no sponsors but I have given a couple of people the information.  I am getting ready to publish my website for the show – it will be rough and needs refining.

Otherwise, not much has been happening here.

Life With Mom

October 4, 2014

Thursday I sent my two sister and a close friend this email:

Late yesterday afternoon, Mom’s doctor called.  She said that Mom was about to turn a corner into the last stages of dementia.  She said Mom has lost weight, isn’t really interested in eating and she had two spots beginning on her bottom.  Not wanting to eat and losing weight means she doesn’t have her systems working very well, so making sure she doesn’t get sores will be a big priority.

 She will continue to go to the Center for as long as it benefits her, then they will have to have another doctor see her at the home.  Just because of distance.  She wanted to ask if I would like to have Comfort Care for Mom from now on.  It is their hospice type of care.  It means it will be easier for Judy and Didi so that went something happens, they don’t have to call 911.  There will be people to come and decide what works best for Mom – it is for the times when the Center isn’t open.
Dr. Myre said she couldn’t predict how long, especially since Mom is still strong.  It could be 6 months, it could be more.  She said Mom’s brain isn’t connecting to her body very well – she probably won’t be walking any more and at some point she will be bedridden.  She has noticed Mom has declined a lot – I’ve noticed it the last 2 or 3 weeks.
 I went to see Mom on Monday, but she was very sleepy and a bit cranky, so I didn’t stay.  Last Friday she spoke so softly I couldn’t hear her and she was very sleepy.  I went in the afternoon because Judy thought she might be more awake in the afternoon.  When I come in the morning she has had her meds and right about then, they kick in.  She also doesn’t seem to know me, so that may be how it will be from now on.
 I am going up to the Center today to take Mom downstairs for a haircut.  Dr. Myre said she didn’t like telling me over the phone about it and if I had been there she would have given me a hug.  I said I would be there today, I will collect my hug.
I am trying to wrap my head around this and it may take a while.  I have wanted her to let go and make the transition; but now that it seems much closer, I’m not sure what I am thinking and feeling.
I received answers from all three.  This from my younger sister:
It’s hard. Yet Mom has been ready to go for a long time. A geriatric doctor friend says that when they stop eating, it’s a sign they are ready to let go of life. Palliative care (Comfort Care) is a very wonderful thing. They are focused on making Mom comfortable, and helping the entire family deal with the transition as the patient enters Hospice Care. Hospice (and Medicare coverage) begins (according to Dr. Jeannie) when the patient cannot walk, talk, or feed herself. You will have a dedicated team available there to see Mom through this. 

You have already created a stellar safety net to take Mom through the final stages of life. Hospice care opens more resources for Mom, and for you. It is also totally covered by Medicare, freeing you to focus on walking with Mom through this process of releasing. Hospice people are great, so take advantage of the things they offer. They know so much about this part of the process and are deeply tuned into the spiritual aspects of dying, as well as the practical physical aspects. 
It is very disorienting to see someone so powerful in our lives become so weak, and to disappear as the dementia progresses. At the same time, there is a strange liberation, because all the old rules don’t seem to apply any more. 
This transition time is not only about Mom making her exit from the planet. It is an opportunity for all of her children to be “born again” and reinvent our lives. The life we knew is dying, but new life is continually being born. 
And from my older sister:
Thanks for keeping me informed. Candy, your thoughts are so healing and such a help. Yes, reinvent ourselves. Love, E
And from Char, who has been through this with her Mom:
Thanks for the update on your mom.  I’m frankly not too surprised (having been down this road before), but I know it’s hard.  Do make sure they keep after those sores; no sense making her uncomfortable, if you can help it.  My mom had those, too, but of course she was bedridden for quite a long time before she died–as in about 4 years–so it wasn’t to surprising.  However, the fact that your mom is losing weight can mean not only disinterest in food but a gradual slowing down of organs, tummy not as able to absorb nutrients, etc.  Be prepared–there may come a point when she refuses to eat at all, and that will be her choice, but it’s hard to deal with.  
 
I think Comfort Care is an excellent idea; we had that for my mom, too, and it really does help.  They can help you anticipate the changes you will see from now on, and that will help you be somewhat prepared.
 
I thought your mom had declined quite a bit since the last time I had seen her, but it had been several months, so that wasn’t too surprising, really.  When you see someone frequently, the changes seem much more gradual.
 
I hope you collected that hug!  If I were there, I would give you one, too, although today you probably wouldn’t want me to–overnight I have developed a full-blown head cold!!  It started with a sore throat yesterday, and BOOM! here it is…..sniffing, dripping, sneezing, etc.  I took a Claritin, and that has helped a little, but not enough! 
Believe me, I am so glad I have begun to ask for help and let others know what is happening.  I have been glad I don’t have to do it by myself.  Plus, when I have opened up to other people, I have been amazed to find so many others with the same kind of situation.  Even so, it isn’t a cakewalk.
To be continued . . . . . . . . . . .

Dad Continued

September 14, 2014

Today is the 100th anniversary of Clayton Moore’s birthday – otherwise known as The Lone Ranger.  I remember watching it as a kid – I also named my stick horse Scout – Tonto’s horse.  Interesting how things this year have reminded me of my Dad.  I may not write about my Dad in chronological order, sometimes certain things come to mind that may be out-of-order.

I think my first memory was about 3 or 4 years old, in the Manhattan Beach house.  I have vague memories and pictures in my mind of chasing trains.  I remember being at the front closet to get coats and go see trains, where I have no idea.  My older sister Ellen might remember.  I also remember walking on the tracks with my sister and Dad – used to frustrate me no end that I kept slipping off but my sister walked the tracks with no trouble.  From my younger point of view, she always did things better than I did.

Family Feb 1954

February 1954 – I think it was taken at my Dad’s parents house in Palos Verdes

Ellen and I would play stick horses together, a long square stick that we tied thin rope at the top for reins.  At one point, Dad took his jigsaw and cut out heads to put at the top – mine was painted like Tonto’s Scout, can’t remember what Ellen had.  We enjoying playing with them, I know we played in the back yard but whether we went in the street I don’t remember.  Again, just pictures in my mind.  When Dad decided to accept a job with Boeing, we moved from Southern California to Seattle – for some reason Dad said we couldn’t take our stick horses – no room in the moving van, or something like that.  That made no sense to either of us, so we weren’t too happy about that.

Family on Drive

Back yard of Manhattan Beach house – to the right is the yard, to the left up the drive, a 2 car garage.

I was 7 when we moved about April of 1954, Ellen was 11.  My parents found a house to rent in Madrona and things suddenly changed.  I was in 2nd grade – turns out I went to school a year earlier than the other kids, so I was always a year younger during public school.  (Mom and Dad always told the story of how much fuss I made to get on the bus with Ellen, so they let me go at age 5 – turned out not to be a favor after all.)  I finished the last 2 months of 2nd grade and then went into 3rd grade.  I think Ellen was in 6th grade by then.

I remember one day in 1954, my Dad came home for lunch – very unusual for him.  Then he and Mom stood out on the back porch watching a plane fly by – what was the big deal about a plane?  It really was a big deal because it was the first flight of the 707 and beginning of the jet age.  It was many years later that I knew why it was a big deal.

When we moved to Seattle my sister Candy was about 18 months old and to us, a pest.  Certainly not her fault, but there was 6 years between us and 10 years between Candy and Ellen.  I also noticed Ellen wasn’t my playmate any more, by that time the 4 years difference was very noticeable.  I was on my own a lot, seems to have been my history.  She kept to herself more and I was probably a pest and nuisance by then.

A year and a half later, my parents found this house – it had all the requirements – a large lot, a view, 4 bedrooms; I never thought I would be living here since 2002 and it is now mine.  I now understand why my Mom wasn’t happy with the layout of the house, you have to go through the living room to get anywhere.  The front door opens smack dab into the living room – wonder if that is why everyone goes to the back door, or is it the path leads to the back porch?  Unfortunately she couldn’t explain it to Dad in a way he would understand.

At Christmas time we would go down to Chubby and Tubby for our Christmas tree.  The five of us would look around the lot and each found a tree – then we had to decide which one to buy.  It often seemed to me that the best tree was always the one someone else was holding.  We would choose one (sometimes one that needed the most love),  take it home and put it in a bucket of water at the bottom of the outside stairs.  It was usually a week before Christmas.  Then we put it up on Christmas Eve, decorate it with ornaments Mom and Dad had collected when they were first married, new ones and ones we made.  The cool thing was the next morning was Christmas.

One Christmas we put it up a week before Christmas, didn’t work out all that well.  Instead of Christmas coming the next morning, it seemed forever for it to come and I think we all  were a bit tired of the tree when it finally came.  So we went back to putting it up Christmas Eve and taking it down New Year’s Day.

I’m curious to know what my sisters’ memories are, if they are very different.  Funny how each person sees something, a person, or event at the same time and sees it differently.  I have been going through pictures and these two were ones I found.

Once again, to be continued.

Bits And Bobs

July 6, 2014

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This is one of those times when I want to write but haven’t an idea what to write about.  Usually something has happened, I have learned or discovered something, someone said or did something  unusual – none of it comes to mind.  I ave noticed the moles are back – they have been digging in the bed by the porch and I can see the holes, not just a pile of dirt.  They are busy little bodies, that’s for sure.

I have been working on my RA book; I think I have a better handle on the program now.  I decided to use my sister Ellen’s ocean pictures for the cover and also the chapter headings – looks pretty good.  When I feel I have the hang of the program, I will work on the book about dementia – both Ellen and Candy have flower photos and I think those will fit Mom because she loved gardening.  As for my garden, well that’s another story.  Nothing else has been done since I messed up my knee – I don’t think it is the best thing to do at the moment.  I did receive the flower seed mats and I have decided to use quilt block patterns to set them out – maybe with white stones to outline them.  I need to cut them in squares and diamonds ready to be put down.

As for the knee from my slide; I am doing better, I just started my third week of it.  I have been seeing Cheryl, my chiropractor and she has helped; mostly it is resting and taking care of myself.  I don’t do a lot in a day, just what I need to do and I have been having naps at times.  I’ve been using my cane when I go out, around the house I do okay.  It was hard to bend my knee to walk and now it is slowly getting better.  I think of the things I need and want to do, then I feel too tired to do anything about it.  I keep forgetting it takes a lot of energy to deal with it and rest is so important.  This too will pass – it always does.

I look around the office and keep thinking how much I need to clean out and organize.  There are things I no longer need and when I take the clutter out of my mind and home, there will be room for new things and ideas.  I am a pack rat, though getting less so – it’s the sentimental streak that gets me.  That is how I feel about the things someone gave me, or I used to use, etc.  Too much emotion invested in things.  One thing I have been learning through Mom and dementia is to take the emotion out of it.  Taking it personally is also part of it.  Now I am working on taking the emotion out of things – I have pictures and they  have been part of my life since I can remember.  But I am living my life, not my parents’ life – I want to have my own things around me.  Not sure I remember what I have any more, 12 years is a long time.

It is our life now – Eddie’s and mine.  I guess I feel a bit disloyal selling or giving away Mom and Dad’s things.  But it is also disloyal to Eddie to not have our things upstairs.  I feel caught in the middle a bit, I want to move on with our life together.  I think I am finally at that point I am ready to let go for myself.  The advice to people is to wait a year before making any major decisions – it is almost 2 years since Mom moved to the adult family home.  She won’t be coming home or need anything now, she isn’t really aware of anything outside where she lives.  (I think I am actually writing this to myself).

This is probably the first July 4th in quite a while that we have had sun for several days.  We tend to joke that summer doesn’t start until July 5th, this is one summer that seems to be more “normal” (if you can define that).  The sun and clouds have been playing hide go seek with each other, sometimes it is a hazy sun – not my favorite.  We actually had almost 90 on Tuesday – much to warms for me.  since I found out we have a furnace fan, I turn that on to help cool things off upstairs and bring some warmth and dryness to the basement.  It works pretty well, so Eddie and I were comfortable sleeping that night.  If it is going to be partly cloudy, then make it clear blue sky, bright sun and white puffy clouds.  I don’t mind the clouds covering the sun for a bit – it has a lighter feel,  hazy sunshine reminds me too much of L.A. and smog or East Coast with hazy, hot and humid.  I think go it as the difference between having a bad headache and feeling great.

This seems to be a bit of a mind dump – just things running through my head.  It would be a whole lot longer if I wrote about everything whirling around up there.

Gingerbread Sky

May 18, 2014

I  must give my sister Ellen credit for these photos, she sends some really cool pictures and I thoroughly enjoy them.  I had no idea what she meant with the title until I opened the photos, what a surprise and delight to see what she had done.

I checked out Wikipedia to see what they showed about it:

Ocean Grove was founded in 1869 as an outgrowth of the camp meeting movement in the United States, when a group of Methodist clergymen, led by William B. Osborn and Ellwood H. Stokes, formed the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association to develop and operate a summer camp meeting site on the New Jersey seashore. By the early 20th century, the popular Christian meeting ground became known as the “Queen of Religious Resorts.” The community’s land is still owned by the camp meeting association and leased to individual homeowners and businesses. Ocean Grove remains the longest-active camp meeting site in the United States.

Now you have a bit of history which explains why there is a lot of gingerbread there.  Here are some examples:

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The Victorians loved gingerbread on their houses, even their “summer places”.

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I have to admit, I love it; these have enough to make them interesting but not over done.

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And if you didn’t have a fancy gingerbread, there are some lovely cottages that are just as nice.

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And of course, a real cool Main Street!

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Ellen has also been sending pictures of flowers – everything is a little later there because they have had so much snow and ice.  I feel as if I am enjoying Spring for a second time.

Thank You so much Ellen!

 

Happy Birthday Ellen

May 4, 2014

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I knew Ellen’s birthday was coming up, but I have been so focused on myself that I let her birthday slip by.  I planned to do couple of things and then suddenly the time has slipped away to be on her birthday.  It will be a little late this year, but it is coming.  I have the coolest sisters and so appreciate them, they have been a great support as I have been taking care of Mom and her needs.  I wish they had been able to be here to see Mom when she had periods of recognizing her daughters.  Sometimes she knows me, sometimes I am a familiar presence.  Ellen sent more maple sugar candy for Mother’s Day, Mom really enjoys them.

Ellen has a gift for choosing just the right gift for giving, I wonder how she does it.  I remember one Christmas, she gave us a pair of the coolest scissors – I have used them for quilting, sewing and all kinds of things.  They cut so smoothly and easily, they are my favorite pair.  It was unexpected and turned out to be a wonderful choice.

Ellen is my older sister, the one I played stick horses with when we lived in Southern California.  She is 4 years older than I am but that didn’t seem to be a big gap when I was up to age 7.  First it was just a square stick with rope tied at the end for reins, then later Dad made heads for the sticks.  I called mine Scout – probably after Tonto’s Scout.  I can’t remember what Ellen named hers.  We loved them and had a wonderful time playing with them.  When we were moving up to Seattle, for some reason Dad wouldn’t let us take them.  We never quite figured out why – they weren’t all that big.  We both were upset and decided to put them behind the garage when we left.  I wonder if anyone ever found them.

She did have friends on our block more her age, but I also remember we spent a lot time together.  I am sure she remembers Betsy, hot dogs and cheese.  I remember my Dad bought Betsy – don’t ask me what year or model car she was – and he took us out for a drive.  We all sat in the front seat and we realized there were a couple of floorboards missing.  I think we went through a puddle and got splashed, but I am not sure.

I have a vague memory of a show we put on with the some of the neighborhood kids, but that’s about all.  Maybe she remembers better than I do.  There was a game called “Kick the Can” the kids played.  There was a coffee can filled with water flowers and who knows what other debris;  we went around in a circle with our eyes closed and whoever kicked the can over had to do something.  Usually it was run up to someone’s door, ring the bell and run away.  I remember only playing a couple of times.

When moved up here to Seattle, suddenly Ellen seemed so much older.  We went to Madrona grade school about 2 months before the year ended – I was in 2nd grade and she was in 5th grade.   I had gone to school a year early, so I was 3 grades behind her rather than 4..  We went to Madrona another year and then moved to this house.  Ellen started junior high (7th grade) and I went into 4th grade – 2 different schools and the age difference really seemed wide.

Ellen has always been a wonderful artist and I watched her do her homework for the Famous Artist Course.  It was a 3 year home study course, I admired her talent and ability.  She is an amazing artist and has been taking photos in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, for several years.  She has also done some paintings from those photos.

She was married and then I left for Australia to be married, so we didn’t see each other for a long time.  I would come and visit here, either by myself or with Eddie and she would come to see us.  It’s funny (peculiar) how the gap seems to widen between us until the last few years.  There is something about getting older that narrows the gap so I feel there isn’t such a gap.  All three sisters have had very different lives, but now my sisters seem so much closer even though we live far away from each other.

I did vist Ellen in Ocean Grove about 9 or 10 years ago – I went to visit my head office for my promotional marketing business and since they are in New Jersey, I just took the Garden State Parkway down to Ocean Grove to spend a few days with Ellen.  I’m so glad I did; I would like to do it again and also visit Candy in Nashville.

Happy Belated

Birthday Ellen!


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