Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mom, You Haven't Changed in Twenty Years

Words from my younger son, now twenty three and referencing a DVD I had made for him for Christmas, brought a smile to my face. Clarification is needed here. All their lives the boys have heard,"Smile, smile for the camera. We are going to keep doing this until you smile for me." Guess that memory was repeated a time or two by this cameraman. I am really trying to get rid of the old technology in the house. Clearing out old tapes and VHS recordings will give me a lot of drawer room in most of my house. DVDs of the school plays and field trips weren't the only memories mailed.

I also made wreaths for the boys using the ornaments of their childhoods. I have changed my focus on my Christmas tree and will no longer hang the standard globes and ornaments, unless of course my grandchildren make something special for me. Framed pictures of life with my kids and their kids and friends make up the ornaments from now on. I have the memorable ornaments on a wreath or two for our family, and they hang beautifully in the French doors. I get the same warm fuzzy feelings when I look at the wreaths with about zero effort. My older son spent a while tracking down his very first ornament Christmas evening. It seems his two year old thought the ornament was wonderful enough to snatch and hide in her room. I am sure the boys both thought back to their youthful arguments about whose special stuffed ornament was going to top the tree. I remember one year putting my angel on top and their two on the next branch down exactly the same distance from the angel. I think the older actually got a ruler to make sure.

I am still going through boxes and making hard decisions to just get rid of the contents. I found two Justin boot boxes full of all of the cards I have ever gotten from friends, family, and extended family. I haven't a clue as to why I saved them. I used to recycle Christmas cards into tags the following year, but used the last of them this year. I actually felt good about my little efforts to keep it green. My family has laughed at me for years for my ideologies, but it doesn't matter. I just feel better recycling.

The older son is hunting birds this weekend, and I think my husband decided to join him. Son explained that the birds were just more fun, and I agree. I never could take the confinement of a deer stand, but loved roaming the fields with the boys when they were young. Now, if I could convince my boys to want to fish and invest in the boats and all that, I would truly be happy. I fear that I will always be caught wishing and hoping my wants, not needs, wants. The younger son will always hunt with his dad, and the older son will always fish off the coast of Florida with his dad.
I get to stay home and write about it.

One never knows what the future will bring, and that is why I hold on to the past and try to pass those memories forward. The boys are going to get another memory made by their great grandmother for us when we were young adults. Hopefully, their wives will make sure the items are cherished and passed down again. It was hard to pass their baby blankets down, but I really enjoy seeing them being used for yet another generation. Warm fuzzes and all that!

Sunday, December 26, 2010


My mom will be eighty this coming year, and party plans are already in place. Brother will host the celebration at his house, and siblings will follow up with a not as glamorous as Vegas trip to Coushautta. Vegas was on the agenda until mom called it quits. She just can't make the trips anymore. Leg strength is limited to short times of standing, and to be quite honest, we lost her a couple of times on our last trip to sin city. It only took two trips to the ladies room for entourage to become the new word for the trip.

I've been thinking about age and relevance to health. I fear that I won't be in good shape when I hit 80. My mom could run circles around me at 60. She was keeping up with her kids, ranging in age from 39 to 33. We kept her hopping with all kinds of activities because we were constantly camping, or skiing, or traveling. She used to keep a calendar and keep us updated on what we were all doing. She wanted to be a part of all the fun times, and conflicts on the calendar just wouldn't do.

It will be fun to celebrate the platinum years of life with her. The golden years were a blast, but we are all slowing down. Mom's biggest sins in life have been loving too much and smoking. The love hasn't hurt her, but the smoking has taken its toll. It's the love that will bring us together as a family. We will laugh a lot, and act stupid, and compete for her attention just as we have always done. Hopefully, her few living friends will show up, and we can all remember when. We may even get some great family shots that will last a lifetime yet to come for her aging children.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!

What a fun filled day! Up early to finish dishes to take to my older son's home. We wanted to be there for Santa and opening all of the presents. During the flurry of paper and ribbon, I thought about my younger son in NC going through the same motions. At about the same time we were all giggling and laughing and attempting to contain the mountain of garbage this season brings with it.

I thought about my young years and the glad feelings a special doll or toy brought to five youngsters clammering for presents. I know that my two year old granddaughters won't remember these years, but I will. I know my ten year old grandson will remember the year Mimi and Pops gave him the basketball hoop. He loves to play hoops, and as I recall from a couple of years ago, is darn good at it. I hope it becomes a passion for him. Passion makes a person try harder, if for no other reason than to say I did that. Everyone needs personal moments of triumph whether they are on the basketball court or on the driveway at home.

I will rest tomorrow. I will go to church and thank the Lord that I am blessed abundantly. I will pray for my children and their children. My husband will do what he does best, and that is go hunting. I imagine he says a prayer or two for our kids while alone in his stand. My older son will accompany him and they will have a great time. The older son is already planning next Thanksgiving at the lease. If it comes to fruition, the fair will consist of BBQ and the fixings instead of the traditional fair of turkey. It could happen.

For now I reflect on what a great life I have. God continues to show his love for me and my family each and every day. He is a much better God than I am a servant. He is also a patient God, and I know He will wait for me to do His will. I imagine that I will be humming Christmas tunes for about another week. Christmas songs just make me smile, and the smiles just make me feel good at the end of the day. Thanks, Lord.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wrapping Up Another Year

New Year's resolutions came early or late this year, depending on one's perspective. This decade of life brings new challenges everyday, and I just need change. To end my year, I decided to plan activities that I want to do, and if Richard doesn't want to accompany me, that is fine. I am fortunate to have a cousin who lives nearby, and is a whirlwind of energy. She is available for any outing, so planning has been fun.
Now that the kids are grown with families and lives of their own, I just got out of the habit of doing things that just make me smile afterwards. This Christmas season, I changed my strategy.

I went to the deer lease (to please my husband) for three weekends in a row. I am finished until next year. I accepted every invitation for holiday fun in this area, and am still smiling because of my "new" attitude. For almost thirty years, I have tried to please everyone except myself. It can't be done, and I end up totally frustrated. Lose-lose situation.

I have accepted the fact that I can go it alone or in the company of friends. My constant companion does not have to be my husband. We have several hobbies in common and that is enough. We don't have to be joined at the hip. I have never enjoyed the hunting hobby and probably never will. I am thankful that my boys like this pasttime, but I am more thankful that I have daughter-in-laws who like to shop. I am learning a lot from them. I am pursuing my own interests and because of this, I am just happier. I am also trying to not get caught up in the last minute details that do nothing more than make me ask myself. Why did I do that? It wasn't necessary and noone really appreciated it anyway. My daughter-in-laws are so together with this concept. Their family comes first, then the rest of the world. Much healthier way to deal with the holiday season. Two more candlelight events ahead with or without the husband and a smiling wife at the end of the season. My kind of fun helps me remember that Jesus is the reason for the season, and that just widens my smile.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

'Tis The Season

The realization that 60 is now real hit me at a party this weekend when a fellow high school graduate confessed the 61 and the mental impossibility of it all. I agreed. Where did the years go? When did the kids become adults and why didn't I pay more attention?

As soul mates for four hours, we discussed our high school years and the foibles of those times. We discussed long lost friends, who died too young, and before we got to say hello again. I think we cried a tear or two while the party revelers were doing their things.

Discussion turned to retirement homes, and I felt pangs of jealousy as she described their retirement home being built for now and later enjoyment. I got to thinking about where I want to be during the retirement years. I know a lot of places where I don't want to spend my golden years, but to be honest, I really haven't found "the golden place." I think I know what I want, but as my history of houses would prove, I always end up changing my mind.

I have almost decided that life will guide us to our last home. I understand why my friend has chosen her spot. Her kids and grandchildren are there. I have several friends who have retired closer to their kids. Our motivation will probably be similar. It just isn't happening now. We have become city folk and enjoy all that is available or just thirty minutes away.

As I finished decking the halls for Christmas once again, I really had to push my mind to just do it. One son lives out of state for this holiday, and we will spend Christmas day with the other at his home. Friends drop by and the atmosphere is pleasant, but it is our conversation and sharing that is important to us. I imagine that God has a great place in mind for Richard and me, but as of today it is right where we are, and I am thankful for all his blessings.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's Time for How Many Tests?

Thank God that my biopsy was benign! However, the last follow-up for stitches removal included being sent back to the vampires for more blood work. Orders were through the dermatologist and my primary physician, and after consulting with my knee surgeon. I'm hoping that the bruising on my legs was just a fluke, and all tests come back negative. I really didn't know that so many vials could be taken without it being considered a blood donation.

The word stroke keeps coming up, and it perplexes me. I do know that my husband developed a clot after all of the blood thinner shots, and he had a really close call. I keep mentally measuring my pain, but then it goes away. As I recall, my husband's pain just never went away and became intolerable. We hit the emergency room with 20 minutes to spare. God's hand was definitely in that rescue.

Hoping the Lord feels that my work isn't done yet and extends me the same courtesy for a longer life. One never knows. I would like to enjoy my grands until they are grown, and I would like to harvest a few pecans before I die. Current goals for the pecans are subject to change according to the husband's enthusiasm, but so far we are on course.

I have researched until I am just tired of all the possibles out there. Once again, I am just turning this over to the Lord. He is in control, and He will get me through the details as always. Just hope the main idea isn't too scary. I am such a wuss.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Wondering or Worrying-That is the Question

Yesterday, the dermatologist surprised me by not giving me the prednisone I thought I needed. Instead, he took a plug for biopsy from my leg and sent me straight to the lab for an EKG. While discussing his concerns, he kept staring into my eyes. I finally asked why he was so intent on my eyes, and he said he was watching my pupil response.

Thankfully, the EKG came back normal, and I don't have to cancel my trip this weekend with the hub. I would have been very disappointed, but Richard said he would cancel also, if anything serious had landed me in the hospital. The tests and blood didn't bother me as much as the family history questions. I spent about two hours researching everything from lupus to leukemia to cardiovascular diseases. I decided that I just need to wait for the diagnosis and pray that it is something simple like a medicine reaction.

I have reacted to medicines before after taking them for extended periods of time, so hopefully that is all I will have to contend with when we get back. It really messes up my pool time on this trip. I will have to check to make sure no one is at the pool when I partake of my favorite activity, swimming. My legs look like someone took a ball peen hammer to them. It is not very pretty. When I asked the hub if these beauty marks were going to be an issue for our getaway, he just laughed. I guess that is a good sign.

Now, I have to force myself to put this all aside until I hear back from the doctors, be happy that I wasn't in heart attack mode, and enjoy the rest of the week. The doc said to refrain from doing anything strenuous for a couple of days. I can do that!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Missing My NC Family

Normally, my thoughts for the day would be ones with forward thinking involved. Today, I am feeling melancholy because my husband is where I would love to be. He was on business in Virginia, and that made a side trip to NC possible. Not only is he getting to see the younger son and family this evening, but the trip south included some gorgeous fall foliage to boot. Jealous is truly the word to describe my feelings of just a few seconds ago.

Then, the better half called and said to check my phone for the latest pics. His visit will be a too short one because he booked a 6 am flight instead of the usual 6 pm. He wasn't a happy camper. Maybe it's a good thing I didn't go on this trip. I would be quite frustrated at being pulled away too quickly from happy moments in my life. Spoiled is another word to describe me.

I did spend the day getting ready for our next together trip to Arizona. Spent the morning googling the hiking in the area, and looked for touristy stuff to do while the hub is at meetings. I finished the morning with shopping for the trip. I don't imagine the days will be cooler than here, but the evenings will be cool because of the mountains. I am on a wear out what I have mission this year, partly because I am still losing weight and don't want to renew my wardrobe until I reach my goal. I was able to add to some of my current outfits and hit some deals on shoes and purses. Guess I am set. Hub will be thrilled to see less than baggage size purses for a change. Yep, he notices my "bags."

Really glad the hub called and sent pics. The kids are growing just too fast, or it just seems like it because our trips are months apart instead of weekly. I need to take time right this minute and thank God that we are so blessed to be able to travel back and forth as much as we can each year. I know many people who are fortunate to see their loved ones once a year. My husband and I are truly blessed.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fall Festivals

Fall Festivals are everywhere these days, and they provide a safe trick or treat envirionment for kids and their parents. Today I got to accompany Kamryn aka the Bumblebee to the local library for a party. The party was cute and Kam enjoyed watching and then finishing all by herself at the lego table in the children's book section.
I lured her back to the party with a cookie and ghost sucker. She was adorable in her outfit, and should enjoy dressing up like a bee for a couple of years to come. Dress up is always fun starting about 3 when little ones find out they can dress themselves about 10 times a day, if I remember correctly.
I got cute cell phone pics of my Reagan in her Cinderella outfit. She has been wearing it for a while. Still waiting to see what Jonathan dresses as, but I do remember a Darth Vador outfit that was very impressive.
Hopefully, Kamryn will enjoy the Fall Festival at my church on Saturday. There will be rides and cake walks and hayrides. Should be fun. Probably more fun for Mimi than Kam, but one day we can laugh together over our antics. Must remind Richard to take pics of the brunettes this week while he visits. Have to have memories of all of my pumpkins.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

What I Have Learned From My Mom

After a turn around trip to Victoria, lunch with my mom and brother, and a follow-up visit to the doctor, I am happy to report that my mom is in stable condition one more time. Good doctor has given her some samples to help with the cholesterol and upped her blood pressure medicine to twice a day. She has plaque build up in one carotid artery and in one of her legs.

She must continue to stay on her diabetic diet and routine if she is to have quality of life. When it came time to write the check, she wrote $20212.34 instead of $212.34. I was there to help her void one and then write a correct check amount. I earned my daughter wages that day.

Mom is almost 80, and until this year has always bounced back with her mental abilities acute. Brother and I talked to her about going to a progressive nursing home, where she would be so much happier, but she refuses to budge. She is going to die in her home in her sleep. I pray that she is right. One family member or another checks in on her every day, but the living alone has really become an issue. I outfitted her with the emergency necklace and a maid once a month because that's all she wants. After this last spell, I will be more diligent about going to the doctor with her. After these last two weeks, I have determined that she hears what she wants to hear, and just plain refuses to follow orders when she gets tired of the routine. I have learned that stubbornness can kill.

After the last month of family issues and my involvement because my mom put me there the last time she thought she was going to die, I have learned that I must just move forward with my goals for my life. If I leave family members behind, I will have no regrets. For almost forty years, I have bent over backwards to keep everyone happy, and equal, and at peace. It's never going to happen. After smoothing issues just two weeks ago, I return to find another explosion within the perimeters known as family.

I have determined that all of the issues have one thing in common. The family members involved have turned their backs on God, and now in desperate times, God is ignoring them or judging them or punishing them. We, as fellow human beings, are just limited to solving life's problems without God's intervention.

As a child of God, I had to be broken completely before I finally understood to focus on God first in all aspects of my life. Some people just need to be broken or emptied of hope before they can be fixed. God is ultimately the only one who can fix broken people. I took some legal actions to insure that my immediate family will not become embroiled with family matters set in motion by my mom. Certain responsibilities have been turned over to the most logical family member.

I have a year of reprieve before the reality of my actions become family knowledge, but I will deal with that anger a year from now. Why not have one less year of the verbage and hard feelings? Simply keeping my mouth shut will give me pleasant visits with my mom. That is my heart's desire. I would like our last years of conversations to be pleasant. I want to look forward to my visits to my home town. After mom passes, the family dynamics will change dramatically. I won't want to spend any lengthy amounts of time with people who have removed themselves from God's fellowship. I will write hard letters this Christmas more or less advising the people I love to run to God because God is the only one who can help them. Until there is a heart change for God, then the skirmishes will continue on the homefront. Frankly, I am tired of it. Nothing ever changes when people try to fix problems without God in the equation. I plan to tell my loved ones just this. I can't fix their problems anymore, but God can.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Out with the Old.....

Recently, several emotional events have convinced me that I must make some life changes although not serious, but details that keep getting in the way of my personal happiness. Many of the details deal with family and friends who have created paradoxes in my life. I was moving along at my usual pace, wondering what the heck was wrong with me physically. I searched various medical entities and the solutions were there.

After a miriad of tests, results of said led to fairly simple solutions. These solutions have relieved me of all anxiety medicines and sleep aids except for the occasional prescription as needed. It has become abundantly clear to me that I must simplify my life. I must prioritize and make lists according to importance. Some of the decisions that followed have resulted in anger from my family, but it is ok. Somewhere in my REM, I sort out the issues and resolve them instead of letting them fester and attack me until I crash.

I have been a giver so long that at age 60, this compliance was really taking its toll on my health. I mentally had to let go and say goodbye to circumstances I accepted years ago. I can no longer comply or respond to certain issues in my life. I have to let them go. I have to take the chance that I will be fine without distractions that keep me in turmoil. It's not easy, as I am the emotional sort who has thrived on confusion. No longer. Family and personal problems have forced me to take a stand for myself.

I am convinced that the Lord is coming for his church soon. The rapture is near, and my service to the Lord will be concluded upon this earth. I am pulled to pray diligently for my children and grandchildren. I pray that they too will be taken away in a blink of an eye, but what about the rest of my family and my loved ones. I can't live their lives for them. I can't change the reality of being saved or not being saved. All I can do is present the gospel to them and hope that my prayers for their salvation will be answered.

I will have to send hard letters this year, and just say goodbye. I look around and I am constantly reminded that I am to be in the world and not of it. Over and over I can see where life has just ravished people around me. These same people have gotten so far away from the Lord that their worlds just seem to keep tumbling out of control.

I am choosing to stop worrying about everyone else, and concentrate on me. What makes me happy? Worshipping God, my husband, my children, my grandchildren, my family, and my friends. In that order....no exceptions. What can I do to balance me? Let go of the past. It is over. Today works and lets me dream of tomorrow. If my actions destroy relationships I have carefully kept cultivated for decades, so be it. The Holy Spirit is just compelling me to take a stand for my Lord. No more diplomacy or good manners or tickling the ears of those I love, just to keep the status quo and peace. I will rise from the ashes of my losses to new beginnings and new focuses. My number one focus will be on the Lord, and He will bless me as He always has; even when I was so undeserving. I thank God that He has always been faithful to me. God has been my provider and will continue to bless me and that is what my happiness is all about. Thank you Lord.

Grandmother's in the Gap

Monday mornings are regularly finding me at a prayer group for grandchildren. Our group prays for our grandchildren and the needs of each others grands. It is a powerful time when women pray in one accord.

I am always amazed at how the Lord takes my wants for other people in my life and turns them into needs for me. As I pray for the Holy Spirit to do the spiritual work in my children's hearts, the Holy Spirit starts working on me and nudges me to be bold in the work on this earth. Last week, I was nudged to write letters to my children to urge them to seek church families for my grandchildren. I urged them to look together as husband and wife for a church that will embrace them in Christian fellowship and where they will enjoy worshiping the Lord as a family.

I was further urged to include activities from their youth that brought spititual joy and thanksgiving to God. I reminded them that they are blessed because they are the Lord's, and everything they have is because God gave it to them. The riches are the Lord's and He distributes them. As Christians, it is very important to never forget from whom the blessings flow.

My life is not perfect, and the kids know this. However, I accept that God has chosen to bless me in spite of my circumstances, and it is my duty to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and encourage my children to provide the church family activities that may or may not lead my grands to the Lord. It is my job to pray that my grands be given the people, place, or activity that will insure that we are all in heaven for an eternity. This physical life is so fleeting, but the promise of life everlasting is such a gift, and it is this gift, I want for my children's children.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Time Will Tell

My visit to a friend this morning will serve to make her laugh at a very stressful time in her life. She's a dear whom I met in a Bible study about 4 years ago. Our lives have been on fast forward since.

Friend is facing a possible liver and kidney double transplant. She and her hub are visiting the Mayo Clinic before finally deciding what course of action to follow. I wish I were more medically inclined, so I could follow the huge medical words and terms of her condition with a better understanding. Basically, I understand that her kidneys are shutting down, and something produced by her liver is causing this. Sounds scary to me.

I am praying that dialysis will be an option after second opinions are given. She has a good personality to be able to handle sitting during the process. She's a lovely knitter, and the time involved with dialysis would be an acceptable reason to create a lovely project. I am going to remind her of her calm attributes as a reference for thought during the next couple of weeks. I tend to agree with her husband and just wonder why her liver needs to be replaced also. Whatever the liver is doing supposedly takes about 60 years to cause the damage to the kidneys.
They know she won't live another 60 years. It's the double transplant that throws up a red flag for me. However, I am not a medical person, and am praying that the decisions will be made for what is best for her and not for the medical profession, just so the surgeons can practice medicine. I am not comfortable with my friend being a living guinea pig or lab rat. I imagine her husband has much more explicit fears.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


I knew but just ignored the obvious with mindless images concerning loved ones. We are born and then, cell by cell the dying process begins. Death comes too soon for many, and yet lingers on the fringes of quality for others.

Statistically, I know that the average person, and most of us are average, live 7-8 years longer than our parents. I have seen this life cycle in my own family. My father lived almost 8 years longer than his father. My mother is curently living 8 years longer than her mother. I have neighbors in their 80s who are currently living with relatives whose longevity is into or close to the 100 age. It's the inevitability of death that has seemed to sneak up on my senses.

After another spell with my mom, the reality of death hit me in the face when I wanted to know the next step for her care. HOSPICE was the response from the doctor. When was speculative, but at the word, my mind went on auto-pilot concerning the details. My family was in agreement as to solutions for our mom's care, and I am thankful for that. I left my mom in a stable, strong condition, and I was thankful for the time we shared.

Even with the warnings from professionals, the reality of losing my loved one is still hard. The ever optimist in me prays that the doctors are wrong, and she will enjoy at least another decade of quality life. My head is prepared, but my heart is not.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Growing Pains

Dynamics of family life can be some of the most frustrating issues in one's lifetime. I have learned one thing in my sixty years on this earth. I have no control over the future. I finally admit it. I give up and release the future to those who are going to live it. While on earth, I will pray for the characters of the dramas to come, and if God allows me to oversee them after my death, I will do so after I die. However, for now, I release them, so I can go forward in life.

My mother is very ill again. I am ill or would be at her side. I am concentrating on now and getting well, so I can be there in the near future to hold her hand as she battles between life and death. According to statistics, she has at 80 lived 8 years longer than her mother, and statistically this might be the end. I am praying that it isn't, but mentally preparing myself for whatever God has in mind. A loved one's crisis always brings out the good, the bad, and the ugly. Unfortunately, the ugly seems to describe me at times like these. I am always flabbergasted at the lack of compassion exhibited by individuals when someone is just at their lowest point, whether it is caused by health, emotional, or financial issues.

I have observed that the compassion gene just hasn't been passed on to generations following mine. I sometimes wonder if the humanism of schools provided this venue. I am constantly surprised at actions that seem to kick the dead horse. People who swoop in when someone is easily manipulated are particularly repulsive to me, and the ugly in me lets them know it.

I have also observed that in my family, "the honesty is the best policy," truth in living has just been tossed aside. Liars can't even keep their stories straight anymore. I have lied at times in my life, and asked forgiveness when discovered. I didn't try to justify why I lied. When I chose to lie, I knew why, and just accepted the fact that I had been busted if the truth came up in conversation. I am not this saint, but I can count the times in my life that I felt it necessary to lie, and both hands aren't full yet. A lie four years ago, no you aren't going to die, not while you are in my charge. That lie gave hope. Don't know if it will work this time.

My family seems to have built a life of using lies to manipulate each other, and it has truly become a tangled web. Maybe my ugly side is the reason, I am always the last to know. If liars would just change, then they could be spared what I call my righteous wrath. I have discovered, when family dynamics are off, that sometimes it forces basically honest people to also follow suite with the lies. I find myself in a position that forces me to protect my family in legal ways. Then, if asked about it, I will be forced to lie in order to protect those I love. Fighting fire with fire comes to mind, but it still doesn't make sense.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Feelings About My Home Town

Hometown always carries a special place in an individual's heart, and I think there are logical reasons for this sentiment. Life is fairly simple for most youngsters without serious baggage from family issues. Youth was the carefree time when kids played, and obeyed, and didn't worry about too much except being caught in some inappropriate activity, like playing with matches or sneaking a cigarette from the old man or woman. Most of life's innocence is spent in Hometown USA somewhere. Thus, happiness is usually associated with the towns of our youths.

Some have the opportunities to stay in their favorite towns, raise their families, and continue to be blessed by their grandchildren. Life long friendships, began stopped and revisited, forge ties that bind. The community stays strong because of this very dynamic.

I visit my hometown on a very regular basis. My family as a whole never left or came back and have stayed. Generations of cousins, some not seen in 35 years, and some recently reconnected through a high school reunion or FB, are still the strength of this community. Most go about their business, doing the best they can in careers, enjoying their grand and great grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Most are living life, and it makes me happy to know that most have made something positive of their lives.

I read my hometown paper on a regular basis having reconnected to this media several years ago, and it is interesting to me to note that newspaper bias is alive and well in small town papers and the city paper to which I have subscribed for years. I am a fairly discerning reader and don't limit my information sources to just the morning paper. One recent article really bothered me, and I am not sure why.

There was quite a blog response discussion concerning the President's recent speech to the school children across America. Some of the bloggers were quite petty, and others fair, and that's fine. What bothers me is the newsworthiness of the topic. The article set itself up for a barrage of responses that further provoked emotions that really aren't newsworthy. Now, I don't pretend to agree with the President or his people on much of anything, but he is the President of the United States of America; duly elected by the majority of people. At that time his supporters were obviously just as frustrated with the status quo three years ago, as I am with the status quo today. The unemployment issues alone are enough to get everyone's attention.

I don't pretend to understand the financial world and the side bar deals made along the way, that once again guarantee that special interests do get their way. What I do understand is the power of the people to change their circumstances by the simple gesture known as voting. What I do understand is the position given to a select few to run our country, not just the President, but the Senators and Representatives, chosen to run our country and guarantee the American Way of Life.

What I do not understand is the disrespect for the office of President. I didn't understand when John F. Kennedy was brutally murdered. I didn't understand when Reagan was attacked. I haven't understood the verbal assaults on the last three presidents. I am entitled to feel and privately discuss how I do or do not like this or that about my presidents, present and past. What I do not enjoy being a part of is the bashing and bigotry that somehow finds its ways to forums such as those in my hometown paper. I don't enjoy reading articles that set up this kind of banter. A balanced article would have discussed the past presidents speeches to school kids throughout history. Special reminder of where President Bush was on 9/11 would have been a nice touch. The writer could have interjected his or her feelings at the very end of the article just for emphasis. I think this is why I won't ever live in a small town again. At least when I read articles in the city papers, I have no doubt in my mind as to the personal feelings of the writer. I am given glimpses of both sides, choose my position while reading, and agree or disagree at the end of the editorial or article. When hometown papers repeatedly give one sided views of news, it really sets itself up for dissatified customers, me included.

I admire the brave who get into the blog broils that follow biased jounalism, and most of the time some truly journalistic mind interjects a bird's eye view of the real issues. I will continue to read my local paper on line, but only for the local news of people I sometime know as family or friends. As for the editorial attempts at national news and its affect on the community, I will forego them for a while. I really need a break from the biased journalism of Smalltown, USA. Attempts that seem to accomplish only one thing in the community, and that is discord among its readers.

Friday, August 27, 2010

School Life

My opinions of my grandchildren are reasonably skewed toward thinking them intelligent beyond the norm, but I have visual proof of their IQ potential every time I am around them. My oldest designs his own lego projects from just looking at the magazines for new products. My brunette grand plays like she is a nine year old, and will literally go to the fridge when she needs a snack, or she'll signal dinner time by crawling into her high chair. The blond grand can count her toes, understands two step commands like find Mimi's cane and bring it to me, and will listen to ten books before growing weary. I see great lives ahead for my grands.

If I remember my developmental courses correctly, I think I see private schooling ahead for these children. At the minimum, my children should consider living in an area with really great schools. The grands will always have the enrichment they need in their lives because we have always provided the opportunities, and we see our boys following in the same footsteps.

My blond daughter-in-law is getting her toddler ready for mother's day out twice a week, and it really brings back memories of the same activities with my boys. My older son started at a homestyle daycare known as Barkers when he was almost two. He loved his time there. She really tried to make it as close to home as possible. The kids were allowed to play in the dirt, make their own pancakes, pick a snack, and learn at their pace. I never heard a concern if one skill just didn't take when it was taught. Barker had her degrees in developmental psychology and really understood learning styles.

My younger son's family had a rough year with cancer and victory over it, so another complete year at home with mommy is a good choice. Brunette grand lost some mommy time while daddy did his best to keep the family as happy as possible, considering the ordeal. I imagine that mom's day out is around the corner next year, and if it isn't that's OK, too.

As far as I can tell, the kids are happy, and that is what really counts. They are secure in their parents love, and what a blessing that is for me.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Well, the Doc was right

My knee surgeon released me from my cane today, and I carefully went about my errands without it. I was a little nervous and was careful to be around a wall or table for each endeavor. I am around 12 weeks out and everything is healed. Amazing, that a person can slice a line 10 to 12 inches long, move muscle around, resculpt bone, add titanium, stitch it all up, and then the knee moves again. Not easily at first, but in 12 weeks all movement except deep knee bends are possible. I still do my PT exercises because the muscles do get stiff if I don't. I imagine this will go on for at least another 3 months while the leg adjusts to walking without assistance.

I was supposed to get the other knee done in Novemember, but I think I will pass. It still moves, and bends, and flexes as needed. I will wait until it freezes up before cutting her open. Maybe I can get by until 70, and by then walkers will be painted in stylish colors for people like me. As long as there is no unbearable pain, I am pretty sure I can wait this out.

My maladies have been so minor compared so some of my dear friends, and I thank God that he has takn care of me for the time being. I've had a lot of down time, and I've had time to think about what is really important to me. It always goes back to family, and God's provisions for us throughout the years.

Sometimes God slows us down on purpose, so we can take the time to just think. I have, unfortunately, spent many years just living without thinking things out ahead of time. Most of the time, all major events that shape our lives have worked out, but now I think I have entered a different era of understanding. I have been forced to take my time with everything and guess what? All seems to be plugging along just fine. I am savoring life and the little stuff, like watching the hummers fight over the sugar water. I never bothered unless the hub asked me to just sit down with him on the patio for a short break. Rest was as elusive as vapor, and I just accepted that. I have become this calm person who really listens when people talk.

Maybe this knee surgery was for higher reasons than my own. I think I might start listening to God a little more each day now. I might surprise myself and go gracefully into old age instead of kicking a screaming to stay young.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Survived Sixty

Son called from NC and quipped that I had made it. Funny!! I actually spent 30 minutes soaking in the tub last night. When the hub asked what I was doing, I replied that I was soaking away the sadness because sixty came too soon. Alliteration was wasted on him, but made me chuckle. Older son will come over this evening to take us out to eat. Hub wanted to take me shopping until I reminded him it was tax free weekend. He said he could buy me that over and under I always wanted. Yeah right.

He got me a low rider card and a shoot 'em up cop video. He is such a romantic. Not! He does have his good points, coffee in bed, and home cooked breakfast including doing the dishes. I will take what I can get. To be honest, I really couldn't think of anything I really needed this year or wanted for that matter. I think that is a good thing.

I am around people who are constantly changing their lives in one way or another. People my age, who seek fulfillment from outside stimulus. I have one friend who literally changes her bedroom for the seasons, pictures included. I wonder, what is wrong with the familiar, the status quo, the comfortable? I admit that I change decorations sometimes, like when we move into a new house, but it is usually because we forgot to see if all of the furniture would fit.

I find happiness is looking back at the memories, remembering when this or that happened, how the event made me feel, the laughter at the time. I find that I like to add to rather than change during this era of my being. Maybe the big 6-0 and the time well spent, will signify a moment in time that I can regard as my moment of maturity. Awe the alliteration again. Some things will never change.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Nine Weeks and Counting

A busy past two weeks, getting back into the swing of life, finds me triumphant about my knee surgery. I really put it off as long as possible, fearing I would have to endure the same problems as my husband during his recuperation. I am even back at the gym and that means a lot for my mental stability. I was worried about my spoiled husband's ability to take care of me while the shoe was on the other foot, but he was an excellent caregiver. I am totally independent again, and that is very important to me.

This warrior's heart is once again restored and the wuss mentality is in the past. The only great side effect of this adventure into medical innovations is my weight loss of 40 pounds. Hub has hinted at a nip and tuck in the near future if the pounds keep falling off. Never gonna happen. I will live with the resulting wrinkles and regard them for what they are... the medals of life. After watching The Doctors, I discovered that I have more smile wrinkles than frown lines, and that is fine with me. The only drawback to all of this good health is my clothes don't fit. Pants are literally falling off my hips whenever I forget to put on a belt. I really don't feel like shopping except online, and that just isn't the same.

I count my blessings as I go forward with life. Richard is gone for the weekend, first to check the hay balers and then the deer lease. I will spend the afternoon and evening enjoying my granddaughter, while my son and daughter-in-law go on a much needed date.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Driving Again

I've only known two people in my life who never drove a car. Both were my grandmothers. They were always driven by family members, friends, taxis, or the bus lines. They must have been truly content women, happy and safe within the confines of their homes. I wish I was that way, but I am the exactly the opposite.

When my husband endured back to back surgeries to his hips,knee, and foot, I became his chauffeur for years. Until our cars were both outfitted with left foot accelerators, I was the designated driver of his life. It was not fun, as I am a very safe driver, and traffic patterns do not irritate my sensibilities when I am behind the wheel. However, this safe approach drives my husband nuts, and I had to threaten him with his sleep mask whenever he had to be my passenger. He finally backed off when I called a cab for one of his many doctor's visit. When I picked him up after the visit, he apologized and kept his back seat driving pointers under control for the remainder of my driving times. By this time, both cars had been outfitted, and driving 101 had begun. He became fairly proficient, and after a while, I rode with him. We did, however, take two cars for several months until I felt safe.

I must confess that after only 6 weeks of being at the mercy of other drivers, I finally understand my husband's frustrations from years ago. It has just about driven me crazy being limited to other people's driving skills. I am so thankful that I am driving again. I had a hard but satisfying day yesterday running errands, and just driving my familiar roads. I had just gotten home from the veterinarian when my husband drove in behind me. He commented on the bad wreck that was being covered by several patrol cars. It happened just past my neighborhood turn-in. I commented that I must have just missed it. He commented "or caused it." Maybe, I better pay closer attention when I get behind the wheel again.

Monday, July 19, 2010


I woke up this morning without the stabbing pain in my thigh muscle just above the knee. That has been my goal for a while now. Just being able to get out of bed without feeling like I was going to fall is a major recovery step for me. I actually didn't have to grab a pain pill before beginning my day. Sweet hub reminded me to just go back to bed because it was raining. I do like to be lazy on a rainy day.

Hub was gone Saturday and Sunday working on the pecan grove, and it was nice to just be independent for a day or so. The moment he got back, I had to remind him to stop catering. I had survived, not fallen, made my own PB&J, etc. without him, thank you very much. Can't blame the guy as he remembers the pure hell of a three years when he had surgery after surgery to correct a botched surgery. On top of that, he got addicted to Oxycontin, and that was another year and a half of detox.

I told him that I understand the oxymoron stage of his life a little better now. I was given that awful pain killer in the hospital for a total of 4 days. By 4 o'clock every afternoon, I found myself completely furious. I had no logical explanation for the anger. I was receiving excellent care in a facility that resembles a hotel instead of a hospital, and my pain management was pro-active. When the effects of the oxy would begin to wear off, this rage would build. I would be given another pill about two hours later, and the rage would be gone. I was sent home with hydrocodone, and it is a much easier drug to manage. The only side effects are with my digestive tract, and yogurt helps the stomach. Other than the pain level being felt more, this pain killer is easier on the brain. I am able to substitute my bedtime arthritis medicine for the daily doses when needed. I still take the hydrocodone at night as directed and finally, finally have slept for five nights in a row without waking to a stabbing pain.

The professionals in authority all insist that I am doing great, and at this point, I agree. It's just every other day that great shows up. On the off days, I lay around and recover from the great days. I had a great day yesterday, and managed to put together a meal for the hard working man in my life. Meager would be a good word to describe my effort, but he was glad that Honey was back in the kitchen once in while. Tonight, it is leftovers for sure. Now, to exercise, then alternate cold and heat. Glad a friend is picking me up for lunch tomorrow. Patience, patience, patience.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

One Step Forward

Gonna miss the PT guy. Nice fellow who enjoyed following the World Cup with me. I had about 20 years of following soccer, thanks to the age spread with my boys. Couldn't help but develop a love of the game. After encouraging two youngsters to keep practicing, it is fun to watch the sport in its professional capacity. I've only known three kids who actually went to college on a soccer scholarship, so I have a genuine respect for the players who have made a profession of a fun sport, one that even a MIMI can enjoy for short spurts of time.

Hub took a long lunch today, so I could practice driving. He accompanied me to the pharmacy and then we picked up subs for lunch. Just wore me out, and left me mad that I am such a wuss. I'll survive. Team Smith is going to start walking if just down the block and back. Hopefully, this will increase my endurance. My strength is fine as long as it is for short periods of time. At least I learned that my driving won't kill anybody to and from running errands.

Timing is good for all of this as the boss is needing hub in Denver on a more regular basis. Now, that I can drive, he won't be worried about leaving me by myself. As I understand everybody, I will be on the cane for at least another six weeks. It really gets in my way, but if I try to not use it, I end up in a strange kind of pain. I really am a weakling, but so far I am managing on half doses of meds during the day and full doses at night. Slowly but surely works well if you are an ant. I unfortunately am the grasshopper at this stage of life.

I am thankful that Richard is handling me so well. Most of my friends were wondering how it would go, and most were relieved that he has come through with flying colors. He did comment that he is really praying that I continue to get completely well, and the sooner the better. That was my cue to remind him of the four or five years I played Nurse Nancy during surgery after surgery after surgery. I was so thankful that I had retired before this circus started. I would have hired someone to look after him, or tried to find a way to put him away temporarily. Not really, but I do remember days that my thoughts drifted to the many health care facilities in this area. I wondered just how much peace of mind was going to cost us.

This too will pass, and we will both be stronger. Richard is actually developing patience. I always wondered what it would take. My patience-never going to happen. I want to be 100% yesterday.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

One More Try

Definitely set in my mind is the fact that the pain pills do a number on my ability to follow through with just about everything. This is my third attempt this week to write and save a blog. The writing went fine, but the save just disappeared. Ah, so far, so good.

I can't even remember what the topics of the last two attempts were, but that's OK. I do remember feeling better after the written gripe session just for my own posterity. I once thought I could really become a writer, but this past four weeks of being confined to my home has changed my mind.

I do want to thank family and friends who are consistent about checking up on me. They provide a nice break in the routine of the day. This routine consists of taking pills, waiting for them to kick in, and then getting through the exercises that help the muscle stiffness. I will admit that the joint doesn't hurt a bit, but the muscles could use a really good masseuse at this point in time. The ice packs have been replaced with hot packs, and relief comes in waves between doses.

Hub has already suggested eating out tonight, and I will be up for the treat. This is a sacrifice on his part as he loves his down time after work, and only when I was working outside the home did he actually suggest take out or a quick meal somewhere. Most of the times, he didn't have a choice due to kid schedules that kept us running and eating more than one meal on the road to and from events. I would love to start making a quick meal here and there, but the cane keeps getting in the way. The PT has really cautioned me against getting too independent too quickly, and reluctantly, I follow his advice.

Hub came up with all kinds of mundane things for me to do today, and so far I am up to the task. I have also learned that I don't think I could have been anyone's secretary. Just being at the beck and call of others isn't my forte. Maybe next week will be better. I am trying to use less pain pills every day as my driving freedom depends on being pain pill free. I think I am going to experiment tomorrow with using tylenol during the day and pain pills just to sleep. Can't hurt, and I will learn soon enough if it will or won't work.

Monday, June 21, 2010

This Time is not Flying

It's been two weeks now since my knee replacement surgery. 14 days exactly, and the nurse will take the staples out today sometime. Oh Joy!!!

As supportive and accommodating as my family and friends have been, I still find myself frustrated beyond description. I am stuck and at the mercy of everyone except myself. I keep busy working on quilts for my grand girls, but I am still confined to this house and I am going stir crazy. I'm not one of those people who are on the go constantly because I really enjoy my home and its amenities. Just the fact that my only outing is to the mail box each afternoon is starting to get to me. Hopefully, the doc will give me a go ahead this Friday for a short trip if just to the lake and back. I know I can't drive, yet, as my leg barely gets through the exercises without protest followed by ice. I just hope I get permission to ride along on an outing.

I will resign myself to the stay at home remedy if that is the outcome. I gave myself my last blood thinning shot today, and I know that blood clots are still a possibility, and a car does confine one to a stationary position while sight seeing. Maybe I can talk the doc into a short jaunt to the Sonic for a coke float or something.

On another note a couple of friends from high school are dropping by tomorrow and a gal pal is coming over Thursday. It doesn't get me out of the house, but will be welcome visits. High School pals I haven't seen for over 40 years, so should be fun catching up. Gal pal is the one who very nicely kicks me in the butt and reminds me to count my blessings. I am pretty good at counting blessings unless I am in the middle of a pity party....like today. My housekeeper is here and she is always a bright spot in the week. The nurse and PT will do their things, and after the exercise regime, I do find myself pretty tired at the end of the day. In the meantime, I am throwing the windows open all the way around and pretending that I am outside somewhere. It's why we bought this house. Even the dampest winter days are really quite pleasant when the shutters are opened. I have two more novels to read and then maybe a trip to the bookstore will cheer me up some. I just hate being stuck....hate it, hate it, hate it.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Back in Time

Sometimes we get a chance to step back in time, and when we do, it brings a peace that transcends the very moments between then and now. This has been on my mind for about three days now, and I find it interesting that it won't turn loose.

While in my hometown and driving back and forth to our pecan grove, I saw a trailer full of corn and some red objects that looked like fresh tomatoes. The trailer got my attention, but the eight year old flagging down buyers is what melted my heart enough to stop and check it out.

Sure enough the grandmother, father, and son were teaching the youngster that it is very satisfying to work for your wages. He was a cute kid, and dutifully loaded my corn and a few tomatoes into my trunk. I asked if they were going to be around tomorrow, and taking his cue from his grandma, the kid explained maybe, maybe not and sometimes, they sell a whole trailer to one buyer. I changed my mind about a few tomatoes and bought about ten pounds, thinking while I did this that I really wished I enjoyed making picante or canning foods. As I was leaving, I tipped the kid a dollar, and he asked why. On his second trip to my trunk, I told him.

I quickly told him about my grandpa and how he would take us to the watermelon patches when we were young. He told us that we could load as many melons as possible in his car, and then we could sell them around the neighborhood for pocket change, as he called it. I was probably 11 or 12 and my 4 siblings were stair steps, mostly two years apart. My sister and I would con my younger brothers into taking the melons door to door in our wagon for a nickel each sale. We told them we had already done the hard work of loading them in the car, and since we were bigger, we obviously loaded the most. We tempted them further with the five cent cokes they could buy with their profits. They fell for it. The kid commented that he couldn't believe that a coke only cost a nickel.

I chuckled and said thanks again for being so polite and for making me remember my sweet grandpa. My grandpa took the time to teach us that there is pride in working for a living, and what a blessing that has been. I am getting plum maudlin as I hit the end of another decade, but that has its place, too.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

And the beat goes on.....

Younger son called and informed us of his next deployment. He won't be going to Afghanistan, and for that I am thankful. This next deployment will be for one year, and then he could end up back in Texas and nearer to home. He and his sweet family will handle this, and we have made it clear that we will welcome his family as often as needed during this long year.

I remember the isolation I felt in my early twenties when my ex-husband accepted a transfer to West Africa. I wasn't lonely as I always make new friends very easily, but I was lonesome for the daily routines of being near family. The fact that there were no cell phones and limited communications increased these feelings. We had always lived near enough to drop in, but not so close as to be smothered. My younger son and his wife are the total package couple. They do everything together. Not my cup of tea, but works for them. They are more or less co-dependent, and it is cute to watch. I personally prefer being an independent entity with my own interests and amusements. Hub and I work side by side when necessary, but we both pursue our own hobbies and at times, friends.

My immediate life involves a weirdly, nervous husband. I don't recall seeing him worried about me but one other time in our married life. That was when I had his son by C-section, and he was anxious about the anesthesia. He told me this years later. Kind of nice to be worried about once in a while, just as long as he doesn't smother me. I do recall having to tell him to back off only a couple of times in our married life. I really don't like someone hovering over me.

I hope my son does well being independent. He will work a minimum of 12 hours a day at this base, so down time will involve lots of sleep with a readiness alert programmed into his subconscious. I would probably do better with a year long assignment away from home, but I will pray that the Lord prepares and protects him during this time. Normally, I would already being planning our trip to his overseas base, but it isn't a place I would really want to visit.

It feels good to reflect this morning before my older son visits with his family. Total attention to me will be my priority for the next few weeks. Finally, healing will come that will increase my quality of life and in turn the quality of the lives I touch. My older son is having a hard time dealing with my 6-0 this year, and still finds it hard to believe that hub and I aren't just turning 50. I reminded him that I would have had to have been 17 at his birth. He is having trouble adjusting to his almost 34 years as well. Not me, I enjoy watching the years go forward, and I smile over the simple triumphs in life. When I was almost his age, I set goals for my life, and as it stands, so far so good. Of course, all could change tomorrow or 10 seconds from now, but I will deal with whatever is on the horizon.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Weird Weekend

Our road trip was par for the course, covering about seven hundred miles round trip. There were no incidents or flat tires or unhappy travelers, but one stop still sticks in my mind. Our final destination was my husband's hometown with its one stop light and the Dairy Queen and
Raspa stands serving as the land markers for the highway.

All was well in small town, and several relatives called and said hi during our stay. Husband made no effort to go see them; reminding me that we had a full three days of them just a year ago. I never protest as they are his relatives, and I don't put these demands on him with my family or any of its extensions. Our weekend was full just hanging out and going to dinner one evening. Our fare was one of true south Texas greasy Mexican food which is only available in small towns close to the border. Hub and I always eat the local food in places like these because it reminds us of when we were young and people weren't quite sure what cholesterol was or wasn't. Nothing healthy about this kind of eating.

My mother-in-law and I got along this weekend for two whole days, and I am still wondering if she might be on her last leg. Not one unkind or rude word came out of her mouth. She criticized nothing. No major gossip about people I don't know and don't care about, no griping about her loneliness during our visit and making us feel invisible. Comments about the water bill going up, but a resignation that it was inevitable was as close to negative as it got. Yes, we caught up on the kids and their lives and the grands. I got her back on Facebook, and wrote down the steps so she could do it by herself. She's eighty five this year, so her efforts to stay in this century are worthy of applause. Hub worked to help her maintain her way too big yard, and her questions to me centered on if I really liked my tiny patio yard.

I explained that both of us loved the total freedom this little area offers. Every Thursday or Friday if it rains, a company comes by and our little neighborhood is manicured to perfection. We were fortunate enough to find an area that includes this service for less than the cost of yard maintenance in the old neighborhood. There is never this need to stay home and tend to the maintenance of life, and that suits us just fine. Hub and I are true road warriors, and trips are always on the horizon.

It was nice to just enjoy the backyard with the mother-in-law. The time was probably longer for the husband as he was closer to his dad, and many past trips were made for father son time. Up at the crack of dawn on departure day is usually the clue that he doesn't want to waste morning time with leisurely coffee. I know the drill, and am ready in exactly 45 minutes.

As we traveled through my hometown, I realized that I wasn't snipping at the hub about stupid stuff, and my chest didn't feel tight from a weekend in south, south Tejas. I thought about it, and realized that I'd spent more than 48 hours with the most negative person I know, and she was positive the whole weekend. I had carefully warned her that I was no longer going to spend time with anyone who just dragged me down with sad commentary about life. I told her how I had explained that new me to my own mother, and warned that I would just stay away if that is what it took to escape the challenges of life that seem to get worse instead of better. I also recommended that mom see a psychologist to find ways to deal with her anxiety issues. Mother-in-law took the hint and as I think back about her behavior, I realize that it must have taken some serious will power on her part to stay positive. She was even nice to her middle son, and that was a much needed blessing.

Life is just too short to dwell on things that can't be changed. Life is just long enough to change one's self to relish the good and blessed moments we get right now. A mother-in-law who was actually kind hearted for a whole weekend was a time to be remembered. Maybe she's decided to mend a few fences in the last decade of her life. Not a bad idea.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Brain Spasms

Once again, I will prove to myself that I write to relieve stress. My lab work came back today from part of my pre-certification physical, and I have a staff infection that has to be cleared up before the surgeon will touch me. I guess that the lab work is a blessing in disguise as I am feeling fine. All other tests were perfect, and ten days of antibiotics later, surgery will proceed as scheduled unless the doctor changes his mind. By that time, I may change mine. I owe this to all of the information that is given to unsuspecting patients, so our decision will be a truly informed one.

I sat in three different settings today with people who actually looked like they needed a knee replacement. Two older gentlemen were limping and using canes to get around. Two older ladies were using walkers to move, and one woman was in a wheel chair. As the last session ended, one of the wives expressed concerns about being the care giver once her husband was home. I reassured her with my life experiences with my husband, and reminded the husband to take the pain pills as directed. Joint surgery was no time to prove how macho he was.

To be quite honest, I don't remember being very good at the care giver job, but my better half is still alive, so I must have done something right. I do recall the emergency room visit with a blood clot, and waiting out the IV cocktail to stop a clot from moving. That scared me, and that is probably why I remember it. Pain management also rings a bell because it was so drastic. I doubt that my experience will entail the same details.

We were all assured that we would be in lala land for about 24 hours after our surgeries. That part sounded fine to me. I am still of the mindset "the less I know the better." I tend to worry and what if information to death. I do have faith in my surgeon. He designed the computer technology that is going to reshape my bones for the implant. As I thought about it, I laughed at the fact that I had never intended to have metal implants. Maybe saline, but not metal. I thought about how travel would change with the security, and vowed to carry my card at all times. First thoughts tended to go the negative, and then I just stopped myself.

I have been in so much pain for so long, and hopefully this will give me the relief I desperately need. I was shell shocked because of all of the complications my husband suffered, and this skewed my thinking concerning what is best for me. Once I separated the emotion from the facts, I was ok in my decisions concerning my health. I remind myself that my husband is so much better now than he was before, and that same triumph can be mine as well. I just hope my surgery goes as planned and there are no serious complication. That's where my faith in God comes in. I pray and ask for divine guidance for everyone who will be handling me. God handles the big and little details of my life, and for that, I am truly thankful. Yep, I feel better now.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Life was in exceptional stride this weekend. My older son received his Masters degree in Business from the University of Houston, Clear Lake on Sunday. My mom was able to attend this ceremony along with my son's in laws. The weekend was filled with happy moments and lots of them. A lost friend of two years called over this same weekend, and Sunday evening we reconnected and caught up with each other. We have moved twice in these two years, and she has finally downsized in lieu of the retirement years ahead.

My friend has three sons. Her oldest just received his PhD from Texas A&M and is entertaining the idea of marriage. He is a fine young man. Her middle son is a Captain in the Army and a graduate of West Point. He deploys for a year in Afghanistan and is one of America's finest as well. Her youngest, close in age to my younger son, is still finding himself and will get there eventually. He's one of those truly kind young men. All three lost their dad in the formative teenage years. We were there to bury, hug, and comfort my friend and her kids. I know that their dad looks from Heaven with pride at his sons.

During our conversation, I was reminded that our last contact had been when the daughters-in-law were both pregnant. The grand girls are now 16 and 19 months old. Two years have passed with the joys of childbirth, the scare of cancer, and finally the triumph over cancer. These two years have fast forwarded us once again.

I also told her about our latest investment, a pecan grove close to my hometown. I reminded her about my husband's need to always be growing something, and how I had finally resigned myself to this fact. Trees and all kinds of them are definitely in the future for us. She was excited about this door being opened for us, while she explained about closing a door from her life. A property from her husband's family has been sold, and as she explained it, her past life is now behind her. She remarried about five years after her husband passed away, and he is a good man who really took on the job of raising her boys. For that she is very thankful.

Just as I was smiling in my heart, I was reminded that I had also heard from my sweet aunt. She does in fact have breast cancer again, and will be fighting for her life. I have no doubt that she will fight the good fight. I realized that not all milestones are good ones. My mom and sister leave this week for a visit with her, and it will be good for the sisters to see each other. My mom is getting frail, and won't be able to stay and help her through this trial in life. My aunt's daughters are both in the position to be there twenty-four seven until this is behind her. That has helped relieve the emotional burden for my mom.

My life is plugging along as planned, and hub and I adjust reluctantly to whatever life throws at us. I am thankful in all circumstances. I am thankful for family and all of its challenges and triumphs, and I am thankful for friends who help me keep my life in perspective. We connect and rejoice at the joys of life, and we comfort one another during its trials. My closest friends are also my Christian sisters, and because of this our connections just seem to feel differently. We always say good-bye with promises of visits and prayers. The visits are always occasional, but the prayers are always there between us. I don't now what tomorrow will bring, but I do know that today brings life and friendship and love, and I am blessed.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ten Years Is a Long Time

I cried myself silly while reading another blogger's tribute to her father. A social friend from years back, the man honored passed away tragically in a jet crash after taking off from one of the Houston airports. The sweet blogger was my older son's first crush in middle school, and a favorite of all who knew her and her family. The kids went to church, Sunday school, church camps, school camps, and public schools together. I worked for her grandfather before I had my younger son. Her story was one of triumph and hope for the future. This generation of kids from one of my many hometowns is truly a blessing through the social connections of Facebook.

I started thinking about the journeys we all take day in and day out, and before we know it a decade has passed. I probably have one really good decade left on this earth, and I intend to make the best of it. My sons, who are ten years apart in age, have blessed me with grandchildren these last three years, and my world has taken on the perspective of being a granny. My husband is fighting the grandparent idea tooth and nail, and actually takes offense at the fact that I have a baby carrier in my back seat. For some reason it doesn't bother me a bit. In fact, I take pride in the fact that I have lived long enough to see my grands be born. I never understood the complete joy my mom always seemed to have when the grand kids were in her charge. As a great grand, her enthusiasm is starting to fail as age makes her patience shorter, but I see more smiles, concerning yet another generation, than frowns. I too, find that I smile most of the time I am with my grands.

It's like getting a second chance at just loving life and the blessings of childhood. When I raised my sons, I was always in the middle of life and its challenges: a job, transfers, compromises to keep peace in my world. I know I experienced the joys of raising my children, but life happened so fast that I find myself still wondering where yesteryear went. It was just there a minute ago.

When I get to spend time with my grands I get to reflect about their fathers and how they were at that age. The similar personalities and curiosities are truly fun to behold, and I admit it. I enjoy seeing a little of myself in this new generation. Most importantly, I enjoy the idea of the future, and what tomorrow can bring to these precious possessions. I also get to dance when I want, and I get to be smothered in kisses and hugs. Yes, the future does look bright, and before I know it, another ten years will have come and gone. I am realistic enough to know that there will be tears along the way, but in my heart there will also be triumphs, and that is what I will choose to remember.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Time Shifts and Sifts

Just when life seems to be cycling back, and breathing returns to normal, new challenges present themselves to us all. After wonderful times with loved ones, and memories that many never get to experience, the roller coaster we know as life deals us one more hard blow. It is no wonder that so many people seek professional counsel, and psychiatric chairs are full. Gone are the days of extended families and idle times over kitchen counters. Gone are the routine matters, discussed and elaborated until some decision or direction or peace about the subject is reached. Gone is the free counsel of wise sages. Makes me sad sometimes, and sometimes I wonder just how we got this way. I really need wise counsel with life's latest punch.

A lovely relative has just been informed that there is another mass in her breast. I pray that it is scar tissue or enlarged lymph nodes from an infection, but in my heart I know that once again, someone I love will have to fight the war against cancer. It takes my breath away. I haven't been able to call and took the coward's way out with a card and message of hope. She's my favorite aunt and is probably the real reason I am the way I am today.

This sweet aunt confessed to me about two years ago that she hated me from my conception. She was used to being the baby in the family, and the thought of having to compete with a new baby was not her idea of justice. As her sister's pregnancy progressed and a new mother's attentions were multiplied, her irritation with me increased. A few months later I was born, a fifteen year old aunt held me for the first time, and her teenager's heart melted. Aunt took another look at life, and learned early on that blessings sometimes appear in the form of squirming, crying, demanding little babies. She didn't care because she experienced her first taste of true love at that very moment. All of a sudden, she loved someone more than she loved herself. My birth was a catalyst for her life and how she would choose to live it.

While in college she became the giver of gifts to me and my siblings. I have no idea how she saved enough money to always, always be able to provide the special treats and presents of childhood. My first pony ride in the city was one of her treats. I begged her to just leave me there while she and my mom shopped. Vacations and outings were her norm. Activities were carefully orchestrated to include me and one or two of my brothers and sisters. Aunt was careful to show us that life wasn't limited to circumstances, and what a gift that has been. Her boyfriends became our boyfriends, and as she tells it, we chaperoned many a date night. She married her college sweetheart, moved to New York, and began a life of her own.

As years passed, Aunt would remind us to do our best and reward our efforts long distance. Many letters were exchanged, and I have feeling that in some box somewhere is every letter that was ever sent to her from her nieces and nephews. I suspect this because I also discovered just this year that my aunt keeps her calendars. Some people keep journals, or write down their life stories, but aunt keeps her calendars and has recorded important events for most of her life. These time lines of life become reference materials when we relive our past experiences. Years are quickly reviewed as subjects or events come up, and we are reminded that the intersections of our lives have been carefully recorded. At seventy five and sixty, we both look back and wonder how life passed so quickly. On the last day of this past visit, I saw a journal in an art store. It was painted by some clever person with a pencil and paper and eraser on it. When I saw it, I was immediately reminded that my aunt writes events in pencil on her calendars, just in case she makes a mistake. I left this journal as a parting gift. I left instructions for her to journal her life and its events and, of course, leave it to me.

Sometimes an individual reaches out and touches lives in ways that aren't fully appreciated until circumstances initiate the memories. My last visit with this wonderful lady made me realize that I had unwittingly started as her competition, melted her heart, and became a knew found love. As the years have shown me, we have traveled through so many stages of life together. We will always be aunt and niece, but now we can add friends the list. We have laughed and cried and argued. We have encouraged and helped and loved each other. Most of all, we had fun. I was the topic of conversation for her for so many years, and now she is mine. I pray that I will have the pure stamina it will take to be there for her as she fights, once again, her battle against cancer. Please journal, Aunt, and remember ten good times for every hard time to come. I look forward to reading this private collection of life through your eyes and heart.