Saturday, September 6, 2008

MIssing another good friend

Well, it's nearly another month since my last post....but....time has a way of slipping away. I can really relate to that, I just lost my good friend/buddy/pal/dog-sitter to a massive stroke last week. It was a shock, but not unexpected. HUH, you say? Well, he had had two TIA's (mini-strokes in the past year, and his Dr. did say the next one would be a big one, but still, when I just got finished playing cribbage online with him, talked to him on the phone, and next thing you know, WHAM! He evidently had the stroke shortly after I spoke with him last Tues nite, cuz my friend said she called him around 9PM (I spoke w/him around 8) and he didn't answer. Anyway, I went to his house the next morning when I couldn't get him on the phone, and found him lying on his bedroom floor, still alive, but.....when they took him to the hosp. the dr. said it was Massive, massive bleeding in the brain...inoperable. He held my hand (my friend) and knew I was there as I reassured him that all would be well, and he pounded my hand and his against his heart repeatedly. The next day he passed.
Life goes on, doesn't it, but it's hard to figure out what to do with all the time I used to spend with him. I do have my darling 96 yr old, Ruth, staying with me, and she is some cutie...but she also has been ill and very weak. I doubt she has a lot of time left either. I don't really like God's recycling plan a whole lot, but, I guess this would be one crowded earth without it.

I had given my friend a lot of furniture for his mobil home he moved into in his later years, and his son gave it all back to me. It now sits in the driveway with sale signs on it. His Lincoln Navigator that I used to watch for all the time sits in the drive too. I am storing it till the will gets probated and then his son will sell it.

As life progresses, I realize more and more that I want to move back to Texas, although I do love my cozy little cottage and big big yard that I planted so many trees in. But I so do want to spend more time with my wonderful children....before I get to old to enjoy I have plans in my head of my house I want my boys to build, and it's very exciting...but, then again, I do so love Ca....oh well Scarlet, I'll think about that tomorrow!

Seems like the family bloggers are getting as bad as me with their posts, so guess I will just jump over and visit Lily and Tasha, see what's going on in their world.

Have a safe and wonderful life, and appreciate every moment like it's your last. No guarantees, remember.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Now I know I need help!!!

HOLY Moley, I can't believe it's been over 2 months since I've blogged. How time flies when you're having fun!!!

Well, I've finally done it! Yep, I've joined the league of old ladies who think their dogs are just new children! I must explain.
All last week, in temperatures of 100+ I cleaned out my terribbly over crowded, messy garage. Ever since the workers left (a year ago, lol) after the remodel, I had "STUFF" everywhere, i.e. left over unused electrical "stuff", sheets of unused sheetrock, hardy backer, plywood, pieces of 2 x 4's I thought too good to throw away, cans and cans of paint, paint thinner, primer, outdoor paint, indoor paint, stain, etc. You get the idea.

Well, the object of the cleanout (other than trying to navigate to my extra refrig and freezer out there,) was to have a place for the dogs to sleep. They have been sleeping at the foot of my bed for over a year now, spoiled to the core, and loving it. However, when my hardwood floors begin to look like I have a bear rug from Lily's shedding, it's time to take a different stance. I vacuum twice a day and still find her hair on everything in my closet to the dining room table. Enough was enough. So, last night I put Cali in the garage and closed the door cuz she was barking non stop to get in the house. Lily was smart enough to realize this was not a way to win mama's heart, so she chose to sleep in the grass, quietly!

Tonight when I tried to urge them into the garage, they would have none of it. Cali flatly refused, however Lily did come in and lay on her bed, and I told her what a good girl she was, etc, laid next to her and sang, yes SANG "Lullaby baby in the tree tops"...she loved it. Even Cali
stuck her nose in the door to see what all the noise was about. Tales wagged as I spun off a second verse rubbing their ears and getting kissed in return. Now see what I mean? I'm really off my rocker and the good thing is I am still alert enough to recognize it. Can't be alzheimers, must be senility.

I do have a large box fan for them, plus a night light and a radio, so they should endure. My friend Dick said, "What, No TV?"

Well, it's really nice having a clean garage and I think I lost about 5#'s sweating thru it all. Now to get rid of all that good "stuff" in the driveway.....hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I know as I sit here typing that every mother that ever was wished she had "do-overs". While lying in bed last night, unable to sleep, I was doing what I do soooo very often, thinking of the years of bringing up my children and mistakes made... (there were oodles)
One incident that I dwelled on was comical yet sorta tragic. Let me preface it by saying that when My children were teens, I was a paranoid basket case that they would all end up drug addicts because of the abusive and disturbing childhood, so I decided to take the football and run with it, demanding that none of my children would go to Rock Concerts. My impression of them was a lot of drugs, bad behavior, sex, etc. NO WAY were my children going to be exposed to that.

So, one Friday evening my 17 yr old son asked me for some money for gas. Having no cash (big news bulletin) I told him to ask his sister, she had gotten paid that day (she worked at a fast food place). He asked where she was, and I said "she's at Vivian's house"...she was spending the night with Viv. So, he called Vivian's house to ask her, and Vivian's mom advised that the girls had left with the guys! My dtr was 16 yrs old at the time). My son related the msg, and I lost it...I yelled "WHAT GUYS, and to WHERE?"
Vivians mom, a saner person than me, said they had gone to a rock concert in Dallas. Holy moses. That was impossible....after all I preached on that subject! I sent my 17 yr old and his friend to Dallas to retrieve her, but when he got there, the band had started, and they would not let him in without a tkt, and needless to , he came back home. I was livid! I said to myself, "ok, she won this round, but just wait.....!"

I took one of my other boys, age 15, with me in the car and parked in front of Vivian's house to await their arrival. It was November and it was cold. We sat in the car, and somewhere around 11 P.M. we both fell asleep. My daughter came home (don't know what time) and saw me asleep in the car, knew she was in deeeeep trouble, so ran into Vivian's house and went to bed. I woke up at 1:a.m. and sent my son to the door to get her. Vivian's mom answered and said "well, the girls are asleep!" OK, she won round two, but just wait.........................

The next morning, I was making breakfast for the family, and asked my 15 yr old son to go take my car to the grocery store ( 5 blocks away), for some milk, and swing by Vivian's and pick up his sister. He left, and I sat like a tiger about to pounce on a wildebeest, smacking my lips and steam coming out of my ears! I was at least going to win round three! WRONG ! My 15 yr old came home with the milk and his sister. I started into my tirade promising a lifetime of grounding among other non-sensicle threats, and her response was "I don't care what it costs me, it was worth it". when alas, there was a knock on the door. I was ranting so loud I didn't hear it. I might mention that my 15 yr old had gone straight to his room to CLEAN IT!!!! What's wrong with that picture????

I answered the door and there stood a uniformed police officer and two sheriff's officers. I was so mad at said dtr for breaking the rules and then flaunting it in my face by letting me sleep in a cold car, that I didn't want to deal with the police, but I did ask what they wanted. The police officer asked, "maam, is that your brown plymouth in the driveway?" I said, "yes, why?"He responded that it had been involved in an accident. I went to my son's bdrm and asked if he had been in an accident. He said yes. I said "what did you hit?" He said a fire hydrant. I was still so mad at my dtr I didn't care. I said to the police officer "so he hit a fire hydrant, what do I have to do?" He responded "well, maam, he hit more than a fire hydrant, he hit this officers (sheriff) parked car and knocked it up on his front porch!" oh dear....................

When he finished writing tickets for "unlicensed driver", "leaving the scene of an accident" among 5-6 other things, I had enough pink paper to wallpaper the kitchen. I walked out to the kitchen and waved them in my daughters face and said "do you STILL think it was worth any price you have to pay?" Her response was "Mom, you can't blame me for that. You know better than to let an unlicensed driver drive your car!" TALK ABOUT ADDING INSULT TO INJURY..........................The worst part of raising this child was since she learned to talk at age 2, she was always right. Really. She was so logical, I hated her at times...(not really).

Losing Round 3, 4, 5, 6. etc, I finally resigned myself to second place. I had no rank even thought I was the mother!

However, this said daughter was my right arm while trying to work and raise 8 children. At the age of 10 when I went to work, 1st night I came home thinking, OMG, now I have 13 loads of wash to do, supper to make, homework, etc. etc. I didn't know how or when I would get every thing accomplished. As I entered the house, there was a marvellous dinner on the table, consisting of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad and iced tea. She had made it all and had the smaller children all washed up for dinner. I cried! She and I have a special theme song for the two of us, "You and me against the World" by (aw, her name escapes me now).

If ONLY a guardian angel had whispered in my ear " relax mom, you don't need to worry so, it will all turn out just fine", I could have enjoyed my darling darling children so much more, and I'm sure they would have benefited greatly from a lot less hysterics! Oh well, it DID turn out just fine!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Yesterday I heard on T.V. that childre in foster care, when reaching the age of 18, are put out on their own, no money, no place to go, no place to live and most often no job. Now what in the heck are the politicians THINKING ??? What good does it do to save these children from abused homes, or abandonment, give them a decent place to live, hopefully with kindness and love and understanding, something most of them have never experienced, only to be kicked to the street at their most vulnerable age. Surely if we can have half-way houses for drug addicts (who chose that behavior as opposed to abandoned/abused children who had no choice), we should be able to have a transition home until they get their "feet wet", find a job and get acclimated.

When I first moved to CA., I wanted to volunteer for something involving children, so I became a mentor to a 17 yr old boy living in a group home, and as much as I looked forward to that job, it was short lived. I met "Josh" at his group home when they were holding a get-together for volunteers and kids to get together. He was a very sweet boy, tall, slim and very polite. I was looking forward to being a guiding force for him, since he didn't have family...(I never found out the story) and we did a few things together. I took him to the Orange County fair, the flea market, movies, etc. There was a woman in her mid 30's who was the "house parent", we'll call her Pam, and she seemed to have a special affinity for Josh. I felt it the first time I was at the house, and as additional occasions came up, I took particular notice of her behavior. The last time I was convinced she was more involved with Josh than the law allowed...She really showed partiality, was always rubbing his back or neck, or hugging him, etc. I was pretty convinced she was sexually involved with him, so I decided not to volunteer with Josh any further. I felt bad that I didn't keep in touch with him, but I was really reluctant to talk to anybody about my feelings, in the event I was wrong, and If I WASN"T wrong, she could make sure I never did volunteer work with kids again. So, I took the easy way out and bowed out. I have wondered often what became of him.

It's so sad that these kids are at the mercy of the very ones hired to protect them...just as we discussed in Matt-Speak's blog. I saw young teen girls interviewed and they were scared to death of what would happen to them. The object of the news story was that they were giving college scolarships to some of these kids..they were SO excited. But what happens to the other 99 percent? Not all foster children are hardened and streetwise....some are very sweet and innocent. I think to myself, "I have an extra room, it would be so great to take in one of these young girls and give her a room of her own, help her get some financial aid for college,. etc.

Then I think of children will remember her. I met Heidi when I was secretary to the Patrol Capt. at the FT. Worth Police Dept. My office was accross the hall from the jail, and I was working the 3-11 shift when she walked in and asked if anyone could help her. It seems that she and her girlfriend hailed from Maine to Texas by hitchhiking with a truck driver. When they arrived in Tx. they went to a house of friends of the truck driver. Well, it seems the girlfriend (she and Heidi were both 15 yrs old) got cozy with said truck driver, stole Heidi's suitcase and all her belongings and took off...Heidi managed to find a way to the police Dept. asking for help.

Now Heidi was a farm girl from rural Maine, and with pink cheeks and baby fat body, she was as green as grass as to the ways of the world. She wouldn't allow me to call her parents because they 1) would be angry with her, 2) were too poor to send her any money to come back home.
I asked the Lieutenant on duty what I should do. It was a Fri. nite and everything was closed. I called the red cross, they advised me they had no facilities for such things, suggested I call the Gospel Mission. Ye GADS!!! The Gospel Mission was and old, delapated building for alcoholics, dirty, dank, roach infested and horrible. I told the Lt. I would see her sleep on a bench in the park first! Having run out of options, I took her home.

Well, needless to say, it was a little crowded.....I had a 3 bdrm home , 8 kids and me..and now Heidi. Luckily, my oldest daughter, if I remember correctly was old enough to get her own apt. accross town where she worked..she and a girlfriend shared. My other daughter was as loving and giving to Heidi sharing her small bedroom with a complete stranger that mom brought home. Heidi was such a sweet girl, she lived with us over two years until she met the man of her dreams and got married. Last time I saw her, she had a baby and was very happy.

Well, as I sit here I am no closer to an answer to the problem than I was before I started this.
Like everybody else, I want so bad to help but have no clue where to start. If only I had Bill Gates money.......if only..........what wonders I could do. If only!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Today, while sitting out in my lovely yard on the swing, eating my 2nd bowl of Strawberry and Cream Ice Cream, I was thinking about the possibility of taking on a new project of caring for yet another elderly patient in my home.. While I cherish my semi-retirement and leisure time, I so do love taking care of the elderly, and this particular little lady is a princess. She stands a whopping 4'7" tall, gorgeous white hair and very very cultured. She is 96 yrs young and very delightful, just a little unsteady on her feet. She lived in her own home until 2 mos ago, and after the death of her husband a few years back, was able to take care of the homestead very capably. It consisted of a home reminiscent of Tara, in Gone with the Wind. Huge White manor, columns and all, with winding staircase inside the front door, 4 bdrms, 3 1/2 bath, 3600 sq ft home, with a huge pool in the back, pool house for changing.. many fruit trees surrounding the place.

While trying to figure out whether or not I wanted to comprimise my privacy, my mind wandered back to all the previous jobs in my life, starting with my paper route at age 9. My older brother had the route first, but in our little town, we had two deliveries a day, morning and evening papers. He had the afternoon route, but passed it on to me and he took the early morning. However, I distinctly remember one winter morning, approx. 4;30 A.M. and mom woke me up saying, "get up, there's a blizzard and you have to help Duane with the paper route". Well, anyone who's lived in Mn. for any length of time understands the meaning of a BLIZZARD! Wind was blowing snow sideways, and it was so cold the snow froze to ice in no time (probably in the minus 30's.. ) I remember Duane trying to teach me how to walk on top of the deep snow without falling thru, to no avail. I was almost hip deep trudging along the route. Funny thing tho, I don't remember being cold....but I do remember mom dressing me in layers of clothes, topped with snow leggings, boots, mittens and scarf and cap. I guess children don't feel hot/cold like adults do.

With my afternoon route, I saved enough money to buy myself a used bicycle for $15.00 That was my equivalent of a Mustang Convertible to todays kids. My other treat that I allowed myself daily, and always before my route started... was a chocolate malted milk at the Corner Dairy Bar. We would get the tall glass full, topped with whipping cream... and the can which was still half full. All this for a mere .20cents....and then.....the worst happened....the owner raised the price to .25 cents!!!! The NERVE! Even then I was vocal about it. How was a girl supposed to earn a living with these increases????

During my teens all I ever wanted to do was babysit!!!! Every woman in the neighborhood who went to the hospital to give birth left me with the other children to care for while hubby worked, and it was like playing dolls. I would bathe them, shampoo their hair, dress them in their best clothes (probably not appreciated by their and prepare their meals...take them for walks in the neighborhood....gosh that was fun. I was born a baby junkie. As early as 5 yrs old I remember asking one neighbor if I could wheel her 5 mo. old baby in the buggy. Strangely, she let me, and I pushed the buggy to my house a block away to show my mom, and as my house was on a slanted avenue, when I turned into my yard the buggy overturned. Mom was out hanging clothes and yelled at me to "take that child home and go change your school clothes". No, the baby wasn't hurt. Didn't even cry.

I don't think I went thru the "boy crazy" phase...I guess there really wasn't anyone that impressed me that much. I did love going ice skating all winter with about 6-8 friends, and we would play "crack the whip" holding hands and pulling a long train in circles till it got going so fast, the last one flew off into a snowbank! David Tester was the one I did think was too cool.

In my Junior year of HS I worked downtown at a bank for the summer. That was fun, mostly because it was next door to a Norweigen Bakery and every morning at my 10 o Clock break, I would run over and get the most DELICOUS, HUGE Cream Puff, filled to the max with fresh whipping cream, topped with powdered sugar!!! My mouth waters when I think of them now. They don't make anything even close to that now, with the fake plastic cool whip, but when it's so chilly in Mn, you can put the real thing in them. Before long, I had the entire second floor of the bank eating cream puffs!

After HS graduation, I worked a couple of office jobs, till I got married and got the job of my life...having MY VERY OWN BABIES!!! Wow, what a thrill. Nothing will ever compare.

After the divorce, there was the job at the insurance Agency writing auto policies, working for an old drunk was was unconscious at his desk by noon every day.
After that came the job with the Police Dept...civilian working as Secy' to the Patrol Capt. Therein lies a million stories alone! Also worked for the City Secretary's office for a time.
Can't forget the 4 yrs managing the Travel Agency, doing strictly Government travel. Also fun.

Moved to Calif in my mid-life crisis, alone, not knowing for sure what I would do for a living, where I would live, how I would survive without my "babies" around me.....lifechanging for sure.
Worked as a temp at first, then sold cars, then took care of Cosmetic Surgery Patients in my home. That was lucritive and most interesting. Did that for 5 yrs until I took in a patient (not cosmetic) but a 52 yr old man dying of Cancer, stroke, renal failure, among about 10 other life threatening ailments. He was supposed to live 4 mos when I took him in, but he lasted two years. That was my initiation to the world of hospice work. I love it, and next to motherhood, the most rewarding work I have ever done.

So here I sit, contemplating whether I want give up my life as I know it now, for taking care of yet another patient...but I am leaving that decision up to God. I am selfish of my "personal time" even if it's only to sit on the swing and eat ice cream...because taking responsibility of another person is a 24/7 thing....making sure they don't fall, and they get all their meds, make their meals, do their laundry, bathing them...etc.etc... but it is rewarding..... oh dear Scarlett, What Shall I do????
(said in a Southern drawl).

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

There but for the Grace of God

How often do we take for granted the fact that we can get out of bed without help, go to work, even though we may not want to, feed ourselves, perform daily hygiene routines, etc.

Yesterday, I was in a huge rush, having many many tasks on my plate, rushing here, there, doing chores, attending a luncheon, getting home just in time to welcome visitors...was the house clean enough? Will they think it's ok for the purpose they were coming for? (I was being interviewed by a brother and sister whose Mother I will be caring for in my home). After they left, I rushed to grab my purse and jump in the car to go to the hospital to visit a friend. I had to put up the dogs so I could get the car out of the gate, back out, close the gate, let the dogs out again, back in the car, backing out when I noticed a young lady in a wheelchair in the middle of the street, stopped in her tracks. Traffic stopped behind her, I watched for a moment until I realized she couldn't move. I got out of the car, walked over to her and said "sweetie, there are cars behind you, you'll have to come over to the curb. She mumbled something I didn't understand...she was slumped to her right side, trying to get her arm up to the toggle switch that controls her wheelchair. I asked if I could help, and she said yes, so I steered the chair to the curb. She said she was very hot (sun was bearing down on her) so I got an umbrella and gave it to her to shade herself. I got back in my car, waited to see if she was going to manage ok, but she dropped the umbrella several times, didn't seem as tho she could manage it. I got back out of the car again, tried to affix the umbrella to her headrest, go. It nearly poked her in the eye. I asked her where she lived, and she said two block west. I asked her if I could drive her home in the chair, she said yes, so I locked my car, held the umbrella over her and steered the wheelchair to her apt. (It was a wild ride. I couldln't manage it well from my position. We went really fast some times, then it would stop and I couldn't get it going).

Finally reaching her apt. I asked if she had a key. She said no, and the door was locked. I said "do you live alone?" She said she had two children who live with her and her son should be home, so I knocked on the door. No answer...Knocked louder, no answer,pounded on the door, all the while hearing the TV blaring and smelling the lovely aroma of Marijuana wafting thru. I asked her what to do, and she said to just leave her there, he would come out. Not wanting to, I did have to go to the hospital, so I left.

While talking to this young lady, I found out she was 45 yrs old (looked 35) and had MS..Multiple Sclerosis. Having taken care of MS patients, I know they cannot endure heat, they lose all muscle strength when overheated. This is why she could not operate the wheelchair.

As I walked away from the apt. I thought to myself, "what a desolate, hopeless situation. A disease that entails full care , kids that are burdened at a young age taking responsibility, and probably overwhelmed to the point that pot smoking is their only fun in life."

My head never hits the pillow without thanking God for my wonderful family, for their good health, safety, and for my own good health and wonderful life. I don't know how I got so lucky!

The next time someone angers you in traffic, instead of cursing, think of her. Count your blessings and thank your maker every day.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Mama used to say..........

My mama used to say "Idle hands are the Devil's workshop" . Well, if that is true, and the devil paid a visit to MY house today, I know he threw his hands up and left, frustrated.
Today was the seasonal switch with my wardrobe, and believe me, that is some undertaking. You see, I moved two years ago from a 4 bdrm, 3 1/2 bath, 3300 sq ft. home to my "darling bungalow" which is (was...I'll explain later) 2 bdrm 2 bath, built in 1943 when putting closets in a home was a new idea. Those were the times when people owned two pair of shoes, Sunday-go-to-meetin, and work shoes. Their wardobes were also very scant, one Sunday outfit, 2-3 everyday outfits...period. Hence, my closets in the bunglaow, all two of them, are the size of a large refrigerator! It takes a lot of inguinity to figure out where to put everything. i.e. I own about 16 pair of WHITE pants, all the way from shorts, bermudas, peddle pushers, cargos, jeans, etc. Now that doesn't include the colored pants! BTW, children of mine, you have my permission to have me committed if you see me buy any more white pants! Wellll, last winterI bought a large , I mean LARGE plastic container with wheels and snap on lid, where I store my out-of-season clothes, in the garage. Also, the lovely large desk I owned was too big for my bungalow so I sold it, and now my "desk" is under my bed, in another plastic container with rollers and snap lid. Man, I'm INTO thos e containers...All the "stuff" that was in my desk is now compartmentalized under the bed in one container. LOVE it! To explain the "was" above, I renovated a lot of the house, taking out walls, putting French doors, extending the very small bathroom out 7 ft. and added an antique clawfoot tub...But, sadly, no place to extend closet space.....I plan to scale down the wardrobe BIGTIME as soon as I can figure out which white pants and Black sweaters (another weakness that needs' addressing) I can live without. So, today I washed, ironed and hung umpteen pieces of clothing, and I'm dog tired. Gonna go eat lunch before it becomes dinner time! (It's 3;30 p.m.)