Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Big Jim

My cousin Jim passed away yesterday.  He was 84 years old, twenty years my senior but my favorite cousin of all.  He had such a quick wit but often a razor sharp tongue.  Lots of people didn't understand his sense of humor but I got him!  We were kindred spirits. 

 Jim's razor tongue probably got him in trouble a lot and it probably didn't help him much in relationships.  He was married 7 times.  His first wife was named Mary and the remaining 6 were all named Jan.  Jim said it kept him from calling wives by the wrong name or having to change the monogram on the towels.

I guess he was considered cynical but I never saw that myself.  He was always just loving and sweet toward me.  I was only 5 years older than his oldest daughter so maybe he was just easy on me.

He's the only man who could match my dad's wit and oh how they could spar.  It was so much fun just to be in their audience when they were going toe-to-toe.  What senses of humor they had.

I'm sure going to miss "Big Jim".  I envy Heaven about now.....he and my daddy have a lot of catching up to do and I'd give anything to be a fly on a cloud about now.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Shop around the corner!

Living in a college town has some great perks.  There are always activities at the University to go to and of course the sports are something my husband couldn't do without.  It is lively with young people everywhere.

When I was growing up we lived about a block from the football stadium and only a short walk to the campus.  As kids our favorite place to go was the campus corner.  It was two streets of local shops that catered to students.  Back in the 50's the streets were brick and so were the sidewalks.  Unfortunately the brick streets were replaced with concrete but some of the charm still remains.
This is in front of my favorite spot.

There are still some remnants of the brick in the sidewalks.  Dee's was a store that had just about everything.  There was a sandwich shop in the back where students would grab a quick lunch

There was a fire on the corner and one whole building burned to the ground.  Instead of rebuilding they made a secluded outdoor eating area with a park like atmosphere.  It really does look good.
 There are several old homes along the main street of the corner that have been converted to businesses.  I like the way they maintained the charm of the original house.  And....of course my favorite color is red.

Recently I learned that the corner is being taken over by large out of state businesses and the locally owned shops are being run out because of increased rent.  It is a shame.  I'm afraid the Corner will never be the same.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Catching Up

We've been quite busy these days taking care of Mr. Michael.  He's doing OK but his memory is fading more every day.  It's weird, he'll have a sudden cognitive awareness one day but not able to remember our mother's name the next day or my daughter's name.  

Mike is very close to our oldest cousin Jim or (Big Jim) as we call him.  One of the funniest people I've ever known and sharpest wit only matched by my dad's.  About twice a month Mike and Big Jim go out to lunch together or Mike goes to Jim's house to watch an OU basketball game with him.

Sadly, Saturday morning Jim had a heart attack and fell to the floor breaking his neck.  He is in a coma in Okla. City not expected to survive.  We've been cautious about how much information to share with Mike.  We know we can't shield him entirely but we have been careful.  This morning Mike told me he was praying that Jim would die in his sleep.  I realized that Mike knows Jim won't survive and his only concern is that he not suffer.  So, I told him he is in a coma and that God heard Mike's prayer.  He seemed relieved to know that Jim is not suffering and he says he's prepared for him to die.  He said, "That don't mean I won't cry."

I also got the news that my older brother has been diagnosed with COPD Emphysema.  He recently had pneumonia but couldn't seem to get over it so they sent him to a pulmonoligist who diagnosed Emphysema.  Sadly, my brother has never smoked but has been exposed to second hand smoke by his  many wive(s) and his daughter.  His current wife called me to tell me and then cried saying she was sorry she exposed Butch to her smoking.  I felt sorry for her.  There are lots of things that contribute to his diagnosis I'm sure.

Other than the bad news of the week Ron and I worked in the yard (or at least I watched Ron work in the yard).  The front looks good but our backyard is in need of some TLC. 

7 weeks until surgery............but who's counting?  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

One of THOSE people

As we age so many of our priorities and concerns change.  I  remember when my kids were young there were older neighbors on our block who were obsessed about their lawns.  I didn't have time to mow mine let alone be obsessed about it.  But oh how time changes things.

Yesterday Ron and I were fretting over the strange grass that seems to be invading our pristine Bermuda crop.  We inspected it, we pulled it, we tried to find out what it was online.  "OMG we have become THOSE people!  Our priorities have shifted........  It is partly due to the fact that we have spent so much money getting the front yard repaired after the driveway fiasco that we are now obsessed with the grass. 

I have the greatest weed getter outer you have ever seen.  The weed popper.   I mean I absolutely love this thing but with a bad hip I don't think I can pop anything except my hip out of socket.  However, I was tempted to try it on the offending grass.   Ron plans to get out there and dig it up by hand.  He's tried the weed popper but he just doesn't have the "gift".  He's too lead footed I think.

I wanted to plant flowers in the window boxes but then I thought....I'll be down most of the summer and that would make Ron have to keep them watered and he will have enough to do.  

So I guess everything is pretty much on hold until I get this surgery over and done with and rehab my way back to usefulness.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Why people blog

I'm curious.....why do people blog?  What is the motivation?  Do younger people blog for different reasons than us seniors?  I'd guess that more younger people blog for financial reasons.  Why do you blog?

I got started by accident.  I had a private journal on AOL and wrote it in solely for myself.  I have always written in diaries and journals but thought it would be easier on the computer.  I discovered the AOL blog site and selected the "Private" journal and started writing.  Once I started writing on the computer there was no turning back. 

But then all of a sudden AOL took down their blogging site and I started looking for another one.  That's when I found blogger.  It was fairly simple to create another blog but I never figured out how to make it private.  That didn't really concern me because I figured NO ONE would ever see it but me anyway.  Then one day I got a "comment" and realized there were other people reading my rambling thoughts.  I was surprised but tickled.  

Now, it is more about the people I've "virtually" met because of blogging.  So many interesting and inspiring people.  It is amazing how quickly you think of them as friends.  You care about what is happening to them and happening in their lives.  

Realizing that other people are reading your thoughts does change the way you write.  I still write down the mundane things that are happening from day to day in my life just like I would if I wrote in my diary but I do censor myself a bit because I know that others are reading my thoughts as well.  It's like when I was a teenager and realized my mother was reading my diary..........believe me I was careful about what I wrote down on paper.  Not that I was doing anything bad but I didn't really want her to know that when Mike Sherman kissed me it made my toes curl!   Or that Mike Sherman kissed me at all for that matter.

I know that some bloggers write to share information about aging and there are some great sites out there.  Ronni Bennett provides invaluable information to seniors and a place for seniors to share their stories on the Elderstorytellingplace.  I just love to read the stories published on this site.

There are great blogs written by young mothers sharing tips on child care and the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond went from blogger to tv host of her on show on the Food Network.

So, I know there are lots of reasons to blog.....what is your motivation?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Yesterday it was 80 degrees, thunderstorms, hail and tornadoes and today it is snowing!

A friend of mine saw someone mowing their yard while it was snowing...............only in Oklahoma!

Friday, April 11, 2014

A horse named Charley!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The new muscle relaxer let me down last night.  I was awakened with the most horrible muscle spasms in both legs.  It hurt so bad I had to get out of bed and Ron had to rub my legs and feet until it stopped.  Poor Ron.....he's not getting any sleep either.

One of the causes associated with nightly muscle spasms and leg cramps is spinal stenosis and I know I have that in my lower back.  I sure hope it isn't the cause because I'm not sure what they can do about it other than surgery to relieve the pressure on the offending nerves.

Tonight I'm going to hydrate like crazy and hope for the best. By the time my surgery date gets here I'll be driving faster than a speeding bullet to get to the hospital.  I'm SOOOOO ready to get this over with and start rehab.

I decided we had a gremlin in the house because I kept losing things.  First I couldn't find my very favorite pair of black slacks....then my black hoodie went missing....then my favorite measuring scoop.  I was really beginning to wonder what the heck was going on when this morning what did I find hiding in the back of my closet?   My black slacks, then my daughter called and told me I left my black jacket at her house 2 weeks I just have to find that scoop and all will be right in my world again!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Will work for premiums

I went for my regular doctor's appointment yesterday.  I appear to be healthy enough for surgery.  That's good to know!  I did get a muscle relaxer to help with the muscle spasms I'm having in my leg.   I took it as soon as I got home yesterday and then by 7:00 I was toast.  I took the rest of my medicine and went to bed at 8:00.  I didn't remember another thing until 5:00 this morning!  I had a message to call the clinic this morning to get the results of my blood work and my A1c had improved greatly since my last test.  Down to 6.3.  At least that is on the right track.

Ron saw the oncologist yesterday.  I couldn't go because of my appointment but he's on the wait and see track again.  There were a cluster of nodules in his right lung that were new.  The report read it could be inflamation but could not rule out malignancy due to his history.  The good news is that it will still buy us enough time to get through my surgery.  His next scan will be June 30th.

While looking down the road at retirement and health care costs Ron and I have decided we will probably just get scooters and sit on the street corner with signs that read, "Will work for Part B premium".  Who knows, maybe we will get a taker.

Monday, April 7, 2014

We need more block parties!

After reading about the woman who had been dead in her garage for 7 years and no one had noticed she was gone.....I read today about twins in Tennessee that were found dead in their recliners and had been there since 2011.  Same scenario as the other incident.  The twins kept to themselves and the neighbors really didn't know them.  

"Police made a welfare check on them in 2011 at the request of a relative, but found nothing untoward to lead them to break into the house. They said a relative told them that it would be unsurprising if the twins moved without telling anyone in the family."

"Some just assumed the house was vacant."

"Although the Johnson brothers had stopped cutting their own grass, neighbors said it kept getting cut. No one has been able to say who maintained it, whether a neighborhood volunteer, relative or someone else."

"A note inside the mailbox indicated that mail delivery had stopped because the postal service thought the Johnson brothers had moved."

All this got me to thinking about my own neighborhood.  I've lived in the same house for 45 years.  In the beginning I knew every neighbor on my block.  I knew them by name and their children by name and socialized with almost every one of them.

We met outside on summer evenings and had coffee and desert together.  We had New Year's Eve parties and played cards together. 

Today.....I know the names of 5 of my neighbors.  I don't know all their last names though.  I rarely see any of them with the exception of the couple that lives directly across the street.  Judd and his wife Alice have lived there about 10 years and they would notice if Ron and I hadn't been seen in awhile but I doubt anyone else would notice. 

The world has changed over the years and so have our neighborhoods.  I never see children playing outside anymore.  The last time I saw a child in my neighborhood was when a child from 3 blocks away stopped by to sell us cookies.

We had a neighbor pass away alone in her home 2 years ago.  Since she was very involved in her church it is sad to say they were the first ones to miss her on a Sunday morning.  It wasn't her neighbors her found her but her church family.  Thank goodness she hadn't been dead for days.....she had passed away sometime the day before.

This makes me want to host a block party!


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Remember when...

Can you remember what it was like when the only worry you had was whether you’d be chosen for a rousing game of Red Rover or if the gangly boy in your 3rd grade class was going to chase you home after school?   When I was a kid my parents did an excellent job of shielding me from any of the grown-up worries they may have had.  There was always enough food to eat, a warm bed to sleep in and someone close by to listen to my prayers and tuck me in at night.  What more could any kid need or want? 

My friends all lived within a ½ block of my house and were readily accessible for play.  Sometimes we would just sit in the cool clover in front of someone’s house and look for 4 leaf clovers.  Sometimes we would weave chains from the clover’s white flowers.  We’d shape them into bracelets and crowns wearing them as we searched for the precious 4 leaf clovers.  We were never in a rush to leave because there wasn’t anyplace any more important at that moment.

The biggest difference I see to day from when I was a kid is that we knew we weren’t the center of the universe.  I knew that my parent’s relationship came first, then their relationship with us.  We knew we should respect our teachers the same way we respected our parents.

Our mother didn’t chauffeur us from one activity to another because there was only one family car.  After school we played until 5:00 then we went in to eat dinner as a family.  After supper it was time for homework with usually one parent sitting close by to provide help if needed.  When our work was finished we were allowed to watch TV with our parents until 8:00 and then it was bedtime.  It wasn’t complicated we just knew what the rules were and we obeyed them.  Our home was no democracy….it was a dictatorship and there was only one dictator, our dad.  He was the figurehead of the family and he called the shots.  In exchange, we, his happy little subjects, were provided everything we needed…not wanted and thus we learned a valuable life lesson.

The world has changed so much in my life time that I sometimes feel like an alien visitor to another planet.  Is it just because I move slower these days that everything else appears to be moving at warp speed?  I hate to be one of those seniors that longs for the good-ole-days but the good ole days did feel pretty good. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Pet Peeves

I think hypocrisy could be ranked as one of my greatest pet peeves.  It isn't even a just flat pisses me off!  At the top of my list is Hobby Lobby..........

OK....they are using "religion" as their excuse to go to the Supreme Court because of the Affordable Healthcare Act.  I kept asking myself how come I had never heard anything about them not providing certain types of birth control as part of their healthcare package for employees until now.  Well, that's because they didn't stop providing it until 2012.  (Hmmmm does that sound more like political reasons or religious?) 

Next I read that their employees retirement accounts are invested in companies that (guess what) make contraceptives and the morning after pill.  Now that gives them the prize for hypocritical!!!!!!!

Another prize goes to my state governor.  She is so opposed to Affordable Health Care because the government shouldn't be allowed to force people to purchase health insurance.  REALLY?  I am a state employee in the State of Oklahoma and I am REQUIRED by the state to purchase health insurance.  I either pay for it or I don't work for the state.  So I guess what's good for the goose isn't necessarily good for the gander?  Or some other ridiculous argument. 

Bishops living in million dollar mansions while they asking their parishioners for money to feed the poor and the hungry?  Give me a break....

I guess I watched too much tv this morning.......cause I'm disgusted!

"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort."

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Survival Mode

When your life is consumed with surviving each day there just isn’t much else on your mind.  Between fending off one crisis or another with my brother, trying to physically manage going to work every day and waiting for another shoe to drop,  I’m just too tired to be chipper!

Ron has his CT scan this Friday and results next week.  We knew we had to get past one more before my surgery so we are holding our breath that everything is still good and nothing new growing.  I’m afraid that if we heard bad news right now that would pretty much just shove me over the edge.  But I’m sure we would deal with it just like we have in the past.  Those spots in his right lung are just sitting there baiting the hell out of us.

Wow….this will be surgery #4 between the two of us in the past five years.  Plus my daughters have had 6 surgeries between the two of them in the past 3 years.   We need a wing just for my family at the hospital.

I saw the funniest cartoon the other day.  A woman was lying on a couch in a psychiatrist's office.  The doctor said, "Do any of your family members suffer from mental illness?"  "No, they pretty much seem to enjoy it" she replied.