Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Why it is so hot.....................you can fry an egg!

We've been having rather hot weather the past few days 100+ but  we had a welcomed thunderstorm this morning and it has cooled things off to the mid 90's.  When I was a kid I was oblivious to the weather.  As long as it wasn't lightening outside we were out playing no matter what the temperature was.  Sometimes the hotter the better.  I remember our science experiment of 1959 when we cooked an egg on the driveway.  I guess the biggest reason we were not bothered by the heat was that we were acclimated to it.  Most of us didn't have central air conditioning back then so it didn't matter if you were inside or out.  I remember at my best friend's house they would put a fan behind a huge block of ice and that was their cooling system.  All the kids would get a salt shaker and sprinkle salt on the ice and then sit in front of the ice block and lick away. 

I miss the sounds of the summers of my youth.  Every night there were neighbors sitting outside and kids laughing and playing or waiting for the DDT man to come down the street spraying for mosquitoes.  It is a wonder that we are not a generation of adults glowing in the dark as a result of running in the fog behind the DDT truck.  I remember I just loved the smell....but our parents would yell at us to get out of it and not breathe it but we did it anyway.   All summer we would play kick-the-can after dark or hide and go seek.  We didn't go inside until our parents called us in.  

But, now I seldom hear children playing outside.  Their little lives are as scheduled as business executives.   I guess they are never home to play.  I just wonder if they are having the opportunity to explore and build their own imaginations.  If someone is always organizing your activities for you how do you learn to entertain yourself?  I'm just curious. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sometimes we find ourselves when we aren't even looking!

Today I am feeling reflective about my life. I was only 27 years old when my husband announced one night that he was afraid life was passing him by and myself and our 2 children were to blame. So away he went with his 21 year old girlfriend. I couldn't believe I was being replaced by a younger woman at the age of 27 but it was true. 

So....there I was, 27 years old, with no college education (I quit school to help my husband finish and he left 1 week before receiving his graduate degree) I had 5 year old twin daughters and no job. Now that was a pickle! At first I grieved, then I got angry, then I sucked up what little self-esteem I had left and enrolled in school. I took an exec. secretarial course because I needed to brush up my skills and I needed to get a job as quickly as possible. About 5 months into the course the school hired me to be their deaf education secretary. I worked there for 6 years and then decided to go back to college.

We had very little money and I often worked 2 jobs but we made it.  As in most everything in life, timing is key. The girls were old enough by then to be a huge help.  They were great tutors and learned astronomy right along with me.  They flourished with the added responsibility and it was during this time that they learned to cook and sew.  They basically ran our household and I am still proud just remembering how they stepped up to help me while I pursued school.

Dating was just about out of the question though. Who in the world had time? Between work, school and spending time with the girls there just were not enough hours in the day. I decided early on that I would just put my personal life on hold until after my girls were grown and on their own. It isn't the right decision for every single mom but it was the right one for me. I don't think I could have combined motherhood and a new husband let alone a blended family. (I greatly admire those who manage to do just that)  Sometimes I felt guilty that my children didn't have a father (he was never involved in their lives after he left) and I sometimes wondered if we were a real family. But now I know that kids can make it just fine as long as they have at least one stable, dependable parent. They just need to feel secure and even a single parent can provide that security. What was the most difficult time in my life turned out to be the greatest opportunity for personal growth. I found out just exactly who I am and what I'm capable of doing. I will never be afraid of losing myself again. 

Then the timing was right to fall in love again.  It was unexpected but oh so welcomed.  I am married to my best friend and now that I'm about to be 62 years old, I can say I have it ALL and I wouldn't change a thing.

Friday, June 24, 2011


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

I absolutely love this quote.  I have always been a positive person...seeing the glass half full rather than half empty.  I have also annoyed more than just a few people along the way with my attitude.  It seems that worriers don't like to be shown the positive side of things.  It messes with their brains or something.

I have always wondered just how much of our personalities are inherited through our gene pools.  My dad was a very positive, upbeat person who always said he wasn't stressed he was just a carrier.  He said he'd probably never get ulcers, just give em.  My mother was a worrier.  She was a self-schooled medical professional of the Reader's Digest School of Medicine.  She had you diagnosed before you ever set foot in a physician's office.  I guess I'm somewhere in the middle.  I tend not to worry about things I have no control over.  I fix what I can and move on.  But if worrying will solve my problem.....I'll get right on it.

I remember when the doctor told me I was having twins.  My first question was, "Is there anything I should be worried about."  He replied, "Nothing that worrying will change, just go home and take it easy."  Now, I got right on that "Take it easy" part and I didn't worry at all.  I delivered full-term twins weighing in at 6 lbs and 5 1/2 pounds so my strategy must have paid off.   

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Follow your instincts..................

Sometime ago I wrote about my neighbor Menopause Maude.  Well, at the time I thought she was 84 years old but yesterday I found out she is actually 90.  Well for sometime now I have been keeping an eye on her house and I watch make sure I see her every day.  Yesterday when I came home I didn't see her on her porch.  I watched the rest of the evening and still never saw her.  I commented to Ron that maybe I should go check on her but got interested in something on tv and never did.  This morning she was outside and called me over to tell me she had been sick all night and to please call her son.  I immediately called Darrell and he took it from there.  Now what I'm feeling bad about is that I didn't follow my gut instinct and check on her last night.  She's such a character that you never know if she's exaggerating her condition or not but I figure at 90 years of age it really doesn't matter.   I just need to keep an eye out for her.

Mrs. P's mother lived to be 106 years of age so Mrs. P will probably outlive me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Under My Umbrella

My daughter Julie and I like to create children's picture books. This is one we are working on now. I write the poems and she does illustrations. We just make them for her class but they are fun. Julie didn't do this picture but I didn't have her drawings on my computer. She does beautiful drawings complete with animals etc........ (of course I'm not bias) :)

I have a big umbrella
Under which I like to hide.
I close my eyes and there I see
The things I feel inside.

Underneath my big umbrella
There are endless things to do.
I can be a movie star
And a super hero too.

Last night I talked to mermaids
Underneath the deep blue sea
And all the whales and dolphins
Swam around with me.

I went way up to outer space
Just the other day.
I hugged the moon and kissed the stars
And rode the Milky Way.

The rain forest in India
Is where I learned to climb
Of course the monkeys taught me how
They do it all the time.

I led a jungle safari
Where I was the bravest guide.
On my own, and without help
I tracked a lion pride.

Tomorrow I might fly
In an airplane across the sea
But you can bet my umbrella
Will be along with me.

When I am under my umbrella
There are endless things to do
My only wish is to do them all
With a friend like you.

But now my mom is saying
It’s time for me to sleep
But all the thoughts I have inside
Are mine alone to keep.

Because I have a big umbrella
Under which I like to hide
Where I can close my eyes and see
The things I feel inside.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Things to think about over an egg enjoyed from an egg cup!

Stay loose.
Make friends with freedom and uncertainty.
Cry during movies.
Swing as high as you can on a swing by moonlight.
Do it for love.
Take lots of naps.
Give money away.
Believe in magic.
Celebrate every gorgeous moment.
Read every day.
Giggle with children.
Listen to those older than you are.
Get wet.
Write more letters.
Eat a soft-boiled egg from an egg cup with a candle on the table.

Take time to be quiet.
Listen with your heart.
Don’t waste time trying to make sense of the senseless.
Believe in your spiritual self.
Lie down in clover.
Walk barefoot through mud.
Walk hand in hand with someone you love.
Believe in miracles.
Be comfortable in the dark.
Learn how to flirt.
Reach for the unreachable.
Trust yourself.
Eat blue mashed potatoes
Live your life with dignity end it with grace

Take a rain day.
Don’t become too predictable.
Don’t let your spirit die before you do.
Be willing to pay the price.
Take life as it comes.
Draw beauty and pleasure from each moment.
Experience life one moment at a time.
Be sensual.
Change the color of your hair at least once.
Live juicy
Breathe with another.
Look in the mirror and like what you see.
Learn from a child.
Be a role model.
Don’t be afraid to love.
Laugh often and wholeheartedly.
Respect power tools.
Know where your arrow may fall.
Take a chance on important personal matters.
Talk to a friend.

Once a year go someplace you’ve never been before.
Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.
Discover what is truly meaningful to YOU!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hail, Hail, the gangs all here!

The sky opened up and the wind started blowing 70 mph sideways from the North and then God started throwing rocks at us!  If the rapture had been predicted for yesterday I would have thought it was indeed the end!
I was at work about 7:30 pm when this all started.  In the middle of the meeting we lost power and then it just sounded like the roof was being pelted with baseballs.   LOTS OF BASEBALLS.  When we went to the window you couldn't see a foot ahead because the hail was coming from the North and it just looked like a white wall.  I've never seen anything like it!  It seemed like the whole storm lasted about 45 minutes.  We finally finished our meeting by candlelight and by the time it was over so was the storm.

The city is a mess with broken power lines and trees snapped.  Fences are down everywhere and several roofs were torn off.  My new siding looks like it has pock marks.  I'll be making a call to the insurance adjuster.

The power of nature is impressive!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011



I remember the day Daddy told you that you were so special that the flag was waving in your honor.  It was your 6th birthday and I was almost five years old.  Your birthday was the first big event of the summer and you would pave the way for my birthday in July.  For only 4 1/2 weeks you were boastfully "2" years older than me.  When you heard about flag day you were so excited and wanted to drive up and down main street just so you could see the flags that lined the street.  You would yell out the window to passersby letting them know that it was your birthday.   How thrilled you were when people responded with a happy birthday shout back to you.

I wish life had always been so carefree for you dear brother.  You seemed to be the kid in the family who inherited all the broken genes.  Asthma was your nemesis almost as soon as you could walk.  I remember hearing your labored breathing from my bedroom next to yours.   Holidays, with their excitement and festivity would almost always induce an asthma attack that sent you to the hospital.  I remember the first time I visited you in the hospital when we were little and saw you lying under the oxygen tent.  I was almost jealous because I wanted a fort of my own.

You were a mystery to me when we were kids.  You never quite accepted your abdication from the throne as the youngest child.  Therefore you never quite accepted me.  I'll never forget when you told me that you really didn't know I existed until the day I became a mother myself.  Twenty-one years is a long time to be invisible.

I have watched you struggle to live in a world that was often confusing and frightening.  Your diagnosis of Schizophrenia was not only a shock to the family but certainly to you.  Although it gave clarity to your often "odd behavior" it must have been horrifying to a nineteen year old young man.  It spelled out a future that was uncertain and foreign to us all.   

But here you are, 63 years old today.  The flags are flying high for your dear brother.  I have learned so much from you and you have inspired me to never take anything for granted.  Most of life's obstacles have been reduced to minor inconveniences in my life compared to your constant struggle to differentiate between delusion and reality. But no matter how you walk that fine line between sanity and insanity you always speak from a place of sincerity and honesty that the rest of can only strive to reach.  

When our dear auntie was complaining about her own precious granddaughter and threatening to never speak to her again because of some questionable behavior on her part, you simply responded, "Well, I just love her!" You dear brother silenced the entire room.   You showed us all that judgment needs to be for the one who will judge us all and that our job here on earth is to merely love one another.

And so......dear brother.  Thank you for being a part of my life!  Thank you for allowing me to get a glimpse of the world as you see it.  You have made me a better person.  



Monday, June 13, 2011

Time--------------friend or foe?

Time can sure be our enemy can't it?  Time can bring healing or it can bring decline.  It is so easy to get complacent when things are stable and that is especially true when dealing with mental illness.  We take each day one at a time but always with our breath held.  Every once in awhile I become acutely aware that being so close to the situation doesn't always give me the clearest view.

I've become accustomed to the fact that my brother's state of mind fluctuates not only from day to day but literally from moment to moment.  Yesterday we took Mike to lunch after church (our usual routine) and I was aware that Mike was (for lack of a better term) a little foggy.....kind of in a haze.  It was subtle but it caught my attention as well as Ron's.  Because he appeared to be otherwise Ok we took him home and he let us know he planned to just stay home the rest of the day and do a few chores.

We heard from him several times throughout the day but he seemed fine.  Then about 7:00 pm I got a call from him and he really sounded confused.  He told me he was anxious and had taken one of his as needed medications (for anxiety) but he couldn't tell me what had made him anxious.  The only answer he could give me was, "my memory".  He also told me he had called the home health agency and asked them to send someone immediately.  Mike is unable to differentiate between what is a crisis and what is simply a minor problem or inconvenience.  I talked to the aide who had responded and she assured me that Mike was OK and that she would stay with him.

All of this led to Ron and I have a lengthy conversation about Mike.  I think we need to have several plans in place; an emergency response plan, a plan for emergency care (facility) and a long-term care plan.  Our options for long-term care are still limited because we have yet to find a nursing home that is willing to accept him.  So, in the meantime we still need to have a plan in place if it becomes unsafe for Mike to be alone in his home.  Of course I believe that I am the only option and I want to figure out how to make it work the best way possible.  What support systems do I need in place and where is the best place to care for him.  Is it my home or his?  Do we need to consider moving?  Should I look at buying a duplex or something with  separate living quarters for Mike, just to give us some separation.  

I am also anxious to get a neurological evaluation done.  I think I may be too close to the situation to realize just how his cognitive abilities are declining.  I need more information in order to make informed decisions about his care.  I also need time.............time, the unseen enemy.  Of which I have none.  I feel like I am navigating a mine field........I'm dodging cancer mines and schizoprenia mines and I have no clear spot on which to stand.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Still being employed full-time I begin planning my weekend chores on Friday morning.  Just how much can I squeeze into 48 hours?  I have trouble mixing work and pleasure, too much work a very little pleasure (according to Ron).  

But I actually enjoy the routine maintenance of keeping a home.  I love to mow the yard because you can visually see your progress.  I love to clean house and make everything fresh and ready for a new week.  I'm one of those weird women who also likes to iron clothes (even in a world of no iron fabrics) probably for the same reason I like to mow grass.  I can see my progress as one-by-one I hang freshly pressed clothes on the rack.  All these things were things I did alone.  They kept me busy and my mind occupied while affording me a sense of accomplishment.  

But now that I am married and sharing my life with someone else I have to balance work and play.  Something I'm still learning to do.  

My weekends now include caring for my brother as well.  He shares our Sundays with us, first with church followed by an outing to his favorite restaurant.  He and Ron will usually watch some kind of sporting event while I tend to some chore.  This weekend I'm going to make mini-meatloaves for Mike.  (He loves meatloaf)

My plan for today was interrupted when we received a surprise rainfall.  I had planned to go straight home after work to mow the yard but that appears to be unlikely right now.  I guess I'll just be thankful for the rain and revise my plan.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

I'm going home this afternoon to meet the plumber.  Our outdoor faucet seems to have an issue.  When I turned it on expecting water to come out of the sprinkler.......it didn't......I went in the house thinking my sprinkler didn't work (even though it is new).  But to my surprise I found water on the floor in the dining room.  The room on the other side of the faucet.  There was dirt and water all over the floor.  This can't be good!  

But what really made me call the plumber was when the washer drain backed up and water flooded the laundry room.  Time to call the plumber!

Married life is great.  One month married and still happy as a lark.  Even though my laundry has tripled.  I swear Ron must go home at lunch and change clothes.  I've never seen a man go through so many clothes in one week.  Or.....I must have been a real slob all this time.  If I haven't worn something very long I hang it up and wear it again.  Is that uncooth?  Or am I just lazy?

Oh well, he's worth the extra work.  He's a sweetie.  He makes the bed every morning while I'm in the shower and I have even stopped re-making it.  I don't care if it hangs too long on one side.  We're the only people who see it.  He insists on cleaning the kitchen after dinner.  He says since I cook.....then he cleans.  Good trade.  And I've stopped wanting to go behind him and "re-clean".  I just sit back and enjoy the help.

So all in all we are adjusting and enjoying married life.  I still have to pinch myself to make sure it is real.  I was always content being single and 34 years is a long time but I had no idea how much I would enjoy being married.

Ron said that what he loves about being married is knowing it is HIS footsteps I am listening for at the end of the day.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I just got a call from my daughter Jamie who is in Valletta Malta.  She has been on a cruise since last Thursday and she sounded tired.  I immediately googled Valletta and the pictures I saw were beautiful.  The city is over 8,000 years old.......older than my comprehension.  I can't wait to see the vacation pictures.

My other daughter is somewhere in Mexico but I haven't heard from her.  She is my kid that trouble follows.  When the girls were in college they never went anywhere that I didn't get a crisis call.  There was the time Julie called form Dallas and the first words I heard were, "Mom, don't worry, the fire is OUT."   Of which I immediately replied, "WHAT FIRE and where are you?"  It seems that somehow the backseat of MY car had caught on fire for reasons unknown to any of its' passengers.  

When Julie was about 17 and still a fairly new driver she came home (in my car) with all the hubcaps missing from the right side of the car.  When I asked what happened she defensively responded, "Well, did you want me to hit the kid on the bicycle?"  As if that were her ONLY option.   Uhhhh how about just stop?

Then there was two years ago when they were again in Dallas and I got a call from the mall.  It seems the car was stolen while they were shopping.  They then got a rental car and that night a bullet came through the back left passenger window.  No kidding!  Fortunately no one was injured but it made me want to put them in a glass bubble and just keep them there.

So, I will be holding my breath until they are all safely home again!

                  Velletta Malta

Monday, June 6, 2011

Food Critic at the Last Supper

Yesterday at church we decided that Mike was ready to take communion.  He's been doing so well and has gotten very comfortable at church.  His constant getting up and down to leave the sanctuary (for a drink of water) has lessened and his attention span has improved.  After letting us know he wanted to take communion yesterday we just told him to lead the way.  Mike exited the aisle right behind me and Ron pulled up the rear.  After I had received the Eucharist Mike followed.  He had no sooner put it in his mouth when he turned to Ron and said, "That bread doesn't taste very good." (I might add that Mike doesn't really have an "inside" voice either)  Ron got tickled and whispered, "If you put more money in the offering maybe the food will get better."  

Can you find the food critic?

Next Sunday we are having a church picnic and I can hardly wait to hear the food critics comments on the food.  I'm sure it will be interesting.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Odie and Garfield meet again!

My daughter Jamie and her husband Chris are animal rescuers. If there is an animal in need of a home they quickly volunteer to take in the homeless and often sick animal. This is a trait that they have both had since childhood, rescuing everything from “lonely” turtles to motherless baby squirrels. The problem is they can’t bear to let the newcomer go so finding homes for these wayward pets is usually not part of the equation.

Right now they have two rabbits, a half blind, tailless cat that was severely burned and her tail cut off by some heartless individual. Her name is Tilly and after recovering from her serious injuries was taken into their home to share space with their two dogs, Sophie and Bella La Grossy. I thought their family was complete up until two weeks ago when a newcomer arrived named Olivia. She’s a two year old, black and white, floppy little Shitzu. Ron and I went by last night to she how she is adapting to her new environment. She is going on her 3rd week in their home and by everything I saw last night, adapting quite well. She and Sophie have become great friends while Bella La Grossy wants nothing to do with her.This is no reflection on Olivia since Bella wants nothing to do with anyone.

But what is really funny is the relationship between Olivia and the cat. Tilly just hisses under her breath at Olivia and Olivia is totally oblivious to the cat’s disapproval.Olivia looks just like a cartoon……you almost see her little black eyes roll in her head. She is mesmerized by the scraggly, tailless cat and follows her everywhere. Taking advantage of this fascination the cat has started leading her admirer into the bathroom where she then entices Olivia to jump in the bathtub behind her. Once Olivia is in the tub, Tilly jumps out and exits the room leaving Olivia trapped and unable to climb out of the tub. In order to stop this Chris & Jamie were making sure the bathroom door was closed when they left the house. Then one day they found it open after they were sure they had closed it and sure enough there was Olivia sitting in the tub patiently waiting their return. This kept happening all week long when Chris decided to put up a motion camera to try and figure out how this was happening. It took one day to catch the one-eyed cat on film jumping up and swiping the doorknob until she managed to get it open.  There on camera was Olivia sitting and waiting until she could follow the cat inside. No more than 10 seconds later the cat emerges alone………….

They have now changed the doorknob on the door and have resorted to locking the door when they leave the house!&

The kids left today for a 10 day trip to Italy. My heart goes out to the 19 year-old house sitter!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Rapture

I'm still fascinated by the predictions for the end of time.  I can't even count how many predictions have come and gone just in my lifetime alone.  I remember one well publicized prediction back in the 60's.  I was in high school at the time and the day before the predicted "end" someone had placed fliers on our windshields warning us of the impending rapture.  Of course the day came and went and we all went on about our merry teenage way.  

All this preoccupation with the "end" made me think of all the trips my brother and I were fortunate enough to take with our parents.  But no trip was complete without asking the proverbial question "Are we there yet?" about a thousand times.  The first would come about 10 minutes after leaving our driveway.  In the first hour or two of the trip our dad would calmly answer our question by giving us mileage information or an approximate time line.  By the 5th hour of our trip he would respond with white knuckles gripping the steering wheel, "YOU WILL KNOW WHEN WE GET THERE."

So........for all you worriers about the rapture........quit worrying about it.  You will know when you get there!