Wednesday, January 13, 2021

 Dear Hubby...remember him? going to the doctor today.  He was born with a defective and deformed kidney but no one knew it at the time.  It wasn't until he was 20 and began having some major pain and problems that his mother took him to the doctor.  This was back in 1973 when medicine seemed pretty advanced but most diagnosing was done with tests and x-rays. Since he was urinating blood and in excruciating pain it didn't take long for them to realize there was something drastically wrong with at least one of his kidneys.  His urologist performed surgery, trying to correct the drainage...instead of removing the kidney.  They removed kidney stones, some of them the size of golf balls, and tried to fix the problem the kidney had in emptying. The poison build-up was what was making him so ill at times. It was given a 50/50 chance of being successful.  

Along came me into his life.  He told me about his physical problem but I wasn't too concerned because he seemed healthy and was able to work and do everything else a young man in his 20s could do.  After our daughter was born we went on a fishing camping trip along the Cowlitz River and he went outside to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  When he came back in to the trailer, his face was ghostly white even in the gloom and he told me he'd just urinated a stream of nothing but blood.

We went to see his urologist.  The news was grim.  The kidney needed to be removed. It was, and he has had 45 years of excellent health since then.  

A few weeks ago he mentioned he's been having a lot of tenderness and discomfort on his right side where his remaining kidney is.  It goes.  He told me it might be a good idea to see a urologist here in Michigan to establish some kind of  medical relationship with one in case anything goes haywire.  All his medical treatment had been done in Oregon in the mid-1970s and his urologist had died years before.  I found one who appears to be a very good urologist here, and Dear Hubby went to see him.  Dear Hubby appears to be in such good health the doctor asked him what he was doing there -- a good sign, I'm thinking. When he told the doctor his past history he's taking it pretty seriously now. He did a thorough exam and had us send away for Dear Hubby's medical records.  He'll have them today for the appointment...SHOULD have them, since they were being sent by FAX and not by any mode of delivery or the USPS.  We know how abysmally slow all of that is anymore. He's scheduled to have an MRI at the end of the month and we'll move on from there, whatever path the results take us.  Like my mom used to say, "Don't borrow trouble."  "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof," is another good one. 

 99% of what we fret about never comes to pass anyway, and then when it does we face it, pick ourselves up by the bootstraps, and move on.


Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Pilgrim Path

Outside the Window....

At this hour of the morning there is such a sense of calm outside.  Isn't it amazing how we can feel 'calm'? Not the 'calm' that is an emotion, like calm after chaos, but the sense of quietness and stillness inside the soul? When you can hear a distant train on the tracks, the warm furnace kicking on and sending up draughts of heated air that warm your feet tucked under the desk. A friend posted some photos yesterday of a drive she took along the Oregon coast, mentioning how calm the water was.  Smooth as glass, the sky all around nothing but pastels blending from shell pink to cream, to softest apricot and lavender. It soothed me, just looking at them. I once lived in Oregon, for most of my life actually.  I thought I would miss the Pacific but I haven't.  I grew up near it and took drives or weekends here and there to visit it and spend some time.  I have lived in Michigan for 10 years now.  Here, I have the stillness of snow hushing its way down to the ground. I have five Great Lakes, each so huge but each so different. A stormy day on Lake Superior can create surf every bit as wild and untamed as the sea.  If I get homesick, I go there.  The only thing missing is the salt in the air.  Even though I know that, I still find myself licking my upper lip to taste the salt on my tongue.

Day before yesterday I spotted a fat but industrious fox squirrel out in the back yard. He'd run a few steps and bury his nose in the snow, looking for buried treasure, disappointed time after time. I got a little container with some bird seed and opened the back door, rattling it in the clear plastic cup.  That got his attention and he sat up on his haunches, his tail twirling behind him like a windmill, and we had a staring contest for a minute or two.  Finally he edged forward.  I held the cup low. He came all the way to me, stopping every few steps to crouch down and spread his tail over his back.  Maybe he thought that made him invisible; I don't know. He got all the way to the cup while I encouraged him in a soft quiet voice, only to peer inside to find thistle seed that I feed to the finches and sparrows.  Disappointed again! Not his favorites, I'm assuming, because he dashed away and then went up on his haunches once more, giving me the type of disgusted look only an animal can give a human when we've let them down. I have to go to the store later.  I think I'll buy a bag of unsalted peanuts, see how he likes those.

I am 67 years old today.

Friday, October 25, 2019

"The clock only measures one tick at a time"

Do you ever consider how many crossroads we come to in our lifetime?  Choices we need to make that can alter our lives in huge ways...or not so huge.  Like Yogi Berra was known to say, "When you get to the fork in the road, take it."  Ah, but therein lies the dilemma:  which one do we take?  Sometimes the indicators, like when we made the decision  to move 2400 miles from all we'd ever known living in the Pacific Northwest to the Detroit area...the path before us was so clear it's a wonder it didn't reach out and slap us in the face. In almost 66 years of living I've come to a lot of crossroads.  I've made a lot of choices that have impacted my life in a lot of ways, some wise and some really stupid.  But all my life I'm one who gets up off the ground, pulls up my boot straps, and moves on.  I try not to let the truly stupid decisions I've made affect the rest of my life.  There are life lessons tucked away in every nook and cranny of our decisions and as I look back and examine them, a lot of the stupid choices bob to the surface.  This time, though, I can take what I've learned from them and apply them to where my life is in the here and now.  I once wrote a letter to myself on my blog from the perspective at the age of 50, I believe it was, to my 20 year old self -- or thereabouts. Oh, if only we had the wisdom and maturity we have at 50 to help us make decisions at the age of 20!  So I wrote a letter telling myself not to sweat the little things, to focus on the moment so that when the big things come along we're prepared.  As prepared as we can be.  I never dreamed that at the age I am now the lines of human decency would become so blurred.  The choices so muddled and confusing.  God help my grandchildren.  I shudder to think what their futures will be like and how the fork in the road is going to  become even more blocked by tangled branches for them to cut their way through.

Recently I've been faced with a whole new fork in the road.  Both of my parents have been dead for quite a while. My mom was 61 and my dad was 83 at the times of their deaths. You go through the various degrees of grief and move on.  Now it's getting down to my generation:  my oldest brother has just been diagnosed with Stage IV liver cancer that has metastasized to his pancreas.  With chemo he might live a year, without chemo 4-6 months.  I'm not sure how I'm dealing with this emotionally so far.  My main concern is seeing him make it to Heaven.  I wish it was clear cut and I knew without a doubt that he's ready to meet God but I'm not.  Oh, he can talk the talk and spout scripture like a Bible scholar.  But to say he walks the walk...well, that's where I start thinking he's on shaky ground.  But that is not for me, my brother, and God to figure out in the preparations needed.  It is totally between him and God.  Yet the uneasiness and uncertainty I feel is eating me alive.  I am a Bible-believing Christian and though so many "Christians" nowadays leave Christ out of Christianity --  they look for "the Power within them" and figure they're going to enter Heaven on their feel-good beliefs --  that's not what I read in my Bible, and I have read it through several times.  I don't want this to be a theological discussion.  I just want my brother to really search his heart and take care of any loose ends. Now is not the time for him to neglect broken relationships and devastating hurt he's caused in the lives of his children and grandchildren.  Do you see what I'm trying to say?  I'm not being his judge, I'm just concerned...deeply concerned.  He posted something on his Facebook page that gave ne pause, talking about how he and his wife have had to face persecution and abandonment by family for their beliefs.  In every life-drama they're always the victims...they can not see the forest for the trees and how their decisions, their "Christian parenting," have been done from their interpretations, not Scripture itself, and they have done a lot of serious damage. I think their kids and grandkids are going to have to dig their way through a lot of mixed emotions and bitterness to find forgiveness in their hearts. 

I dunno.

He's 6 years older than me and we have never been close.  I do love him because he is my brother. I know in my heart when my time comes to "walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death" I will focus on any righteous feelings I have about my life and ask the Lord to search me and see if there's anything else I need to make right.  Not focus on how righteous I think I am.  I'm very afraid that's where my brother stands at the fork in the road he faces now.  Oh, fervent prayer is that he steps off onto the right path.

Monday, October 21, 2019

It's the little things God does that never cease to amaze me. I don't go over to my neighbor Donna's on the weekends but I always look to make sure the newspaper is taken in in the morning...that's her signal to me that she's up and doing ok. Well, this morning I didn't go to church because I wasn't feeling well. Usually her paper is in by 9:30 but when I checked at 10 it was still on the porch. I grabbed her house key that I have in case of emergencies and went over and tried the front door. Locked! So I went into the sun porch at the back to use my key, and as I opened the screen door a little sparrow started flying frantically around. It had to have been trapped in there since Thursday when I took out the recycling! I shooed him back to freedom, and found out that Donna was fine...she had gotten all caught up on doing a jigsaw puzzle! If I'd felt ok, if I hadn't gone to check on Donna, and if her door hadn't been locked so I had to go to the sun porch...I would never have found that little sparrow. It just goes to show how God knew where it was and it needed help. We are not too small for His attention, and neither was the little sparrow. I just marvel how He orchestrated it all. What an amazing God we serve!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Isn't it funny how easily we can become distracted?  I sat down here at my desk half an hour ago with the mindset that I was going to write on here again and in the process I thought of someone I hadn't thought of in a while and decided to check Facebook "first" before coming here.  Half an hour and about 10 side trips later, I finally arrived here. Now I only have a small window of time to write, not the hour I'd planned on.  Oh well.  My intentions were good anyway.

My little side trip down the road reminds me of what an organized mind for detail I once had.  I could recall names and faces from diaper-hood onward.  You needed a phone number?  I'd rattle it off for you.  I excelled at the jobs I had in Medical Records when I was younger because I had a photographic memory when it came to numbers.  I did fantastic playing "Jeopardy" from my living mind was an overflowing source of junk yard trivia. People playing any kind of trivia game would call me to see if an answer was true and I was always correct.  Always.

Well.  That was then, this is now.  My new reality the past few years is accepting the fact that the ol' mind just ain't what it used to be.  What gives me comfort is knowing just about everyone over the age of 60 is rowing the same boat. I'll open the pantry door and for the life of me I can't remember why I did.  I double-check and second-guess myself on just about everything.  I sometimes catch myself thinking as I'm driving, "Now...where did I need to go?"  I blame it on moving 2400 miles from Portland to a whole new region that I'm still learning.  But, reality I'd temporarily forgotten. It used to freak me out, until I read something Anna Quindlen had written about getting older.  She had gone to her doctor thinking she had early-onset Alzheimer's because she was forgetting so many things.  I loved her doctor's response. She said (and I paraphrase because I read it awhile back and can't remember the direct quote--typical, ha!) "Think of your mind as an empty file cabinet you started filling on the day you were born.  Every thought, every memory, has been filed into that cabinet.  At our ages, the cabinet is full to overflowing and sometimes it's just too much to keep track of."  Or something like that.  But it reassured Anna and it reassured me.  I love some of the funny memes on Facebook about people dealing with the same thing.  Makes me feel so not-alone when I go searching for my glasses and find them tucked up onto the top of my head five minutes later.  Or when I have to check and recheck a recipe when I'm cooking dinner, even tho I've made the dish many times thru the years.  Oh, it can be terribly frustrating at times, but just like with so many other aspects of growing old, I take it in good grace and humor.  I don't want to be one of those cranky, bitter old ladies who sits and complains about everything.  I don't want to feel the need to share the details of my bowel movements and every ache and pain with those around me.  They don't care.  Why should I?  You can sit and fret the rest of your life, or you can look at the days you have left the way the good Lord wants you to.  As a gift.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

I feel pretty silly, considering how many stops-and-starts I've had on this blog.  I've "retired" it and yet I keep coming back to it.  Last year...well, I think it was last year - who knows with how time flies! - I took several days to sit down and read thru the whole thing, choosing the posts I wanted to use for blog books to be made for my grandsons.  My plan is to give them their copies when they graduate from high school.  It ended up being quite the daunting task.  I had over 2000 entries!  I guess I'm a little longwinded when I sit down in front of a screen and keyboard, ha!  I pared it way back.  I had to.  As it stood, when I first started editing, each copy it would've cost several hundred dollars each.  I wanted to make only 3 for me and one for each grandson, but that would've taken it up to almost $1500.  I dunno about the rest of you, but I'm not made of that kind of money. So...I kept nipping and tucking and finally ended up with 249 pages.  That ended up being around $400 for all 3 but I could manage that tho I had to gulp a bit as I wrote out the check.  My Dear Hubby, wonderful man that he is, encouraged me from the very beginning and gave me his blessing.  Truth be told, I can't bring myself to read my copy yet.  It tells the story of the years I had with them from birth until we moved here to Michigan in 2011. We spent every week day together for around 11 hours a day. Even as I write this in 2019 I still have plenty of interaction with them.  I give rides to and from school when needed.  Rides to baseball practices and games. But they're old enough now at 11 nd 13 to be on their own at home on vacation days and holidays. I'm basically "on call", I guess you'd say.  And now that I'm 65 that's plenty.  If I had to start over at this age it would just about kill me, lol!  I definitely don't have the stamina and energy I had when I started out being a grandmother at 52.  I have been so very blessed, tho, to have the years I've had with them.  There is a bond there that is so precious.  In the years when we lived in Portland, Oregon, where most of this 'blog book' happened, we went on miles and miles and miles of walks and had tons of fun together.  It grieves me when I ask them if they remember any of it now, that they can remember the color of our house (blue) and stopping at the fire station to see and sit on the fire engines.  But when we moved here they were just becoming 3 and 5.  Their life has been here in Michigan.  If I'm still alive when they get their copies of their books it will be interesting to see if they spark any memories for them.  I left posts about me in there, too.  They tell me I'm an awesome and crazy grandma now.  I've always been a little off-the-wall...just ask anyone who knows I'm leaving behind some of the goofy  things I thought and said.  I also recorded a lot of personal things.  It truly is a family chronicle and I hope it means as much to them as it means to me. 

I sent an email to a friend yesterday and I told her I just can't seem to get it together to want to write much of anything anymore which she knows is not like me at all.  We've been best friends for 52 years and she's received plenty of letters and cards and suffered thru reading the silly 'teen love' stories I wrote all the way thru high school. Volumes and volumes.  Reams and reams.  I had an old turn-of-the-century black cast iron Underwood typewriter that weighed about 10 pounds back then.  I had hundreds of pen pals around the world where those old handwritten letters could take weeks to arrive at their destinations.  Now I sit here with my laptop, write an email or message, click a button, and they're delivered in nanoseconds.  I have so much arthritis in my hands now writing anything by hand is very laborious.  But, you know, the world has really lost something, no longer writing letters in one's own handwriting.  There was something so...personal...about receiving a letter in the mail from a friend or loved one.  Maybe that's why all my writing ambitions have disappeared.  There's not much of a thrill staring at a white screen and trying to make my words mean anything to anyone.  My email and their email and everyone else's emails all kind of melt into each other after a while.  I can't look at Liz's email or my friend Sue's email or my cousin Ginger's and even know it's from them until I see their name on it. But, see any handwriting on an envelope let me know there was going to be something fun and worthwhile to read once I opened it!

Oh well.

As usual I've just rambled on.  Isn't my mind a strange place, the way it meanders here, there, and everywhere, especially since I hardly ever end up writing what I thought I was going to write about to begin with. 

My day beckons me so I guess I'd better get moving.  It's a beautiful almost-freezing morning out there.  It's just teasing us, letting us know Winter's on the horizon.

Friday, April 5, 2019

If you would keep young: be cheerful, keep working, and love one another. ~Fanny J. Crosby

A few months ago I began helping out an elderly neighbor of ours.  Donna is 89 years old and still -- barely -- able to live independently in the home she's lived in for over 55 years.  Much against her wishes her family was seriously considering having her move to some kind of assisted living facility.  They had valid reasons:  she can no longer drive, her health is quite frail, and she was in need of someone to check on her on a daily basis to make sure she was up and able to get around.  That's where I quite unknowingly stepped in, going over to her house to give her a little Christmas planter.  A representative from a Home Health service happened to be there at her children's request, talking with her about different things their care givers can do --  for a price  --  to help her out at home. The woman was just wrapping it up when I arrived so I stayed to visit with Donna for a while.  She told me about the services offered by this company.  She had a choice of four things from quite a large list.  The appalling part of it was the price!  $1200 per month!  The helper assigned to her had to be guaranteed 4 hours per day 4 days a week, whether Donna needed anything done or not.  How on earth is an older person on a fixed income supposed to afford that?!  And who knows what kind of people work there, regardless of background checks.  Plus they're complete strangers to Donna.  She was understandably pretty upset.  As she was talking I had a light bulb go off in my head.  Why not offer to do it for her myself?  I'm right next door.  So I told her I'd be willing to do it to supplement my Social Security and I'd only charge her $400 per month.  She was so relieved, and so was her family who live about 20 miles away...not too far, but not able to get to her if she's in need of help right away.  Donna was happy to accept, and I've been going over on a daily basis, Monday through Friday, with her knowing if anything comes up she can call us any time on the weekend.  Some days I'm there half an hour...some days, like when we go grocery shopping, it can be 2 or 3 hours even though she only has a few items on her list.  Grocery stores overwhelm her but she likes to get out around people and get out of the house.  I take her to the bank, clean her house, doctor appointments, the hair salon.I take dinner over to her if we have a casserole, soup, or chili.  Mostly, I just visit with her. She is so hungry for companionship, and before I began helping her she could go weeks without any face-to-face contact with anyone.  My daily life is busy enough where I didn't see or realize just how frail she's become.  But now that I know, I can fit in time each day to make sure she's alright. Sure, she can tell me the same story over and over every day.  She gets mixed up on facts and does things like forget her house key in the outside lock on the front door.  I've had to call ambulances twice to take her to the hospital when her heart went out of rhythm and when she was bleeding from the bowels. Once, on a Saturday morning when something told me I needed to go check on her, and another time in the middle of the night when she called me and told me something was wrong and she needed my help.  I think I broke all records throwing clothes on and getting over to her house!

The sad part about this story is there are so many of our elderly who are in similar situations to Donna's.  Family so busy with the day-to-day hectic schedules they aren't able to do much more than call on the phone.  The older person needing help but too stubborn or afraid to ask because they're frightened their independence will be taken away if they do.  And foggy minds that can tell you wonderful stories about their lives in such detail from 60, 70 years ago but can't remember their keys or their purse or wallet as they leave to shop.  When I was in my later 30s in the 1980s I helped an elderly lady at my church in Portland for a couple of years.  She was 96 and still able to live independently but in need of help just like Donna.  There was an age span of 53 years between us and even though I knew by helping Leona the frustrations and helplessness she sometime felt, I was still young and didn't really take it all in.  I didn't really realize the challenges of the elderly.  Now, with Donna, there's only 24 years between us, my 65 to her 89, and now I do realize, quite soberly, that my future could easily be the same as hers in a few years.  It's a whole different perspective, let me tell you.

Two things both these ladies told me was they don't want gifts on special occasions at their ages.  They don't need or want gets down to just the necessary needs for the most part.  But what both had in common was loneliness.  They told me if only their families gave them the gift of time.  A simple phone call.  Stopping by to visit without being in a rush and in an itch to get away to the next thing.  They need to know they still matter, that they're still thought of, that their lives are still relevant.

That they're still loved.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Chapter Two: It's Never Too Late to Start Afresh

I haven't decided if I'm going to tell anyone I know personally that I'm going to begin writing on here again.  It's been niggling at the back of my mind for quite a while but I keep using the excuse that I'm too busy.  How do I find the time? Where on earth do I begin?  Since moving here to Michigan 8 years ago I tried to keep up my original version of this blog for a few years but my posts became skimpier and farther apart.  I realized I'd written myself into a corner and couldn't find my way out.  I tried about a year ago to start up a new blog but honestly, this blog had been my home for such a long time that I felt displaced and couldn't seem to find a comfortable groove.  I am no great shakes of a writer but when I do write I need to feel at home and that 'new' blog didn't have that feel at all. It felt like an extended-stay hotel suite. So... it just kind of dried up from lack of interest and lack of content.  You see, my original blog was written for two main purposes.  One, to deal with a lot of raw emotions and baggage from the death of my father.  Two, as a legacy to my two grandsons.  Their lives were chronicled on it from when I'd first heard of their conception.  A journal of their early childhood, shall we say.  I knew how fleeting time is by how fast my own two children grew up and the amount of things from their childhood I'd found I'd forgotten. I didn't want that to happen again, so I began writing it all out. I have since had it published privately and each grandson will receive his copy when they graduate from high school.

 I basically started with no readership.  No comments.  No real direction.  Just a deep need in my heart to write about how I felt in my heart.  How much I loved my grandsons.  And how I was able to put to rest a lot of unresolved issues with my Dad, that I was able to make peace with him before he died.  It was very, very cathartic. And through this process somehow word got around and I began to get readers, many of whom became and still are very dear friends of mine.  Before I started writing this this morning I went to look over my stats to see if anyone is still reading this at all.  Very surprisingly...yes.  People still stumble across it.  Since I'm a techie dinosaur I really don't know how because it's been dead in the water for a long time.  Needless to say, that gave me the kick in the pants I needed to pick myself up by the bootstraps and dive in again.

So, okay.  With all that drivel out of the way, what do I plan to write about in my second chapter?  I think I need to write about growing older.  I am 65 years old now.  I am  receiving Social Security.  My grandsons are both in the "double digits" now.  My Dear Hubby is contemplating retirement.  I seem to get hung up on what one early commenter wrote, saying, "Why do you think anyone wants to read about your boring and paltry life?"  Well, I honestly don't know, truly.  I just write what I feel, share the ups and downs.  I'm a very fast typist so my fingers keep up pretty well with my thoughts and I'm capable of letting it flow out through my fingers just as it's 'speaking' in my mind.  I dunno.  It worked before and maybe now that I've come Home it will work again.

"A Shelter from the Storm"...I used that as my blog title originally because that's what writing has always been for me, an escape.  A safe place to retreat to.  I'm going to leave it at that.  No changes there. The good Lord knows we face challenges every day, no matter how old we are or where we are in life.  My Dear Hubby was reading something I wrote recently and he asked me, "Do you ever write on your blog anymore?"  I told him no, that I'd shut it down.  He said, "You need to start again." He seems to think I have talent and he said I shouldn't waste the gift God's given to me.  I dunno...I feel funny claiming any 'talent'.  I just write whatever comes into my head.

I don't know if there will be anyone stumbling across this new updated version.  I don't know if anyone will want to read about my boring and paltry life again.  But if you do drop in, please take the time to say hey so I know you're out there.  I'd love to make another new friend.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Parting is such sweet sorrow...

Yep, I'm shutting 'er down.  I have taken this blog and put it into book form for my grandsons and myself, and I am leaving it here because it's still getting traffic even tho I haven't written on it much since we moved to Michigan in 2011. But what I set out to do has been accomplished, covering the early years of my grandsons' childhood and interspersing those entries with entries of my own.  My hope is I'm leaving behind books that will help them remember the 'real' me in years to come when I'm long gone from this ol' world.

Going thru and editing what to save and what to delete was a lot harder than I thought it would be.  I thought so many of the moments I wrote about would be things I'd never forget and was stunned at how much I'd forgotten.  But what is so wonderful, so amazing, is I DID write it, and we will have this record in our family's time in history.  We were there...and leaving it on the internet it should live on.  But, as I learned...and it was such a hard blog sites can disappear without any notice, which is what happened with the beginnings of this blog.  I had switched over to Blogger when I began having all kinds of problems with Bravejournal and I had thought what I'd written would be there forever, only to try to go to it one day and finding it...gone.  Oh, the heartbreak!

I am going to start another blog...I have missed writing on a regular basis very much.  When I get it up and running I'll come back and provide a link to it if you want to follow my mental meanderings for the remainder of my life.  An anonymous commenter once left this on one of my posts:

"Who are you to think anyone would want to read about your boring and paltry life?"

With over a million views in its lifespan, I'd say somebody did.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Because I Can Never Forget This Ethiopian Flower....

(I originally posted this on 9/11/2009. I have decided that I will re-post this every year on the anniversary, just to keep the memory of this one beautiful soul my heart, in your heart. In everyone's heart who reads this.)

Here is a photo of a young woman who is now going to haunt me for the rest of my days. Her name was Eskedar Melaku. She died September 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center. She was 31 years old.

She was born in Ethiopia and emigrated to the United States, settling in New York City to attend Queens College. At the time of her death she was assistant vice president of Marsh & McLennan
Cos. Inc., a global professional services and insurance brokerage company, ranked the 5th largest US company in the diversified financial industry. I also found in researching for this blog post that the company was located on the floors directly impacted by the first jet that crashed into the North Tower. It comforts me to know that she never knew what hit her. She was a successful young business woman, but that only touches the surface of who she really was. She was described in the many tributes I've read about her by people who knew her as intelligent, beautiful, radiant, authentic, full of life. Hard working. Kind. Thoughtful. Never a bad word came from her mouth. A beautiful soul whose quiet presence is missed very much. How much she was loved by those fortunate enough to know her. How I wish I'd been one of them.

Like everyone else on that day, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when the attacks on the World Trade Center were taking place. I was standing at my bedside, folding towels before leaving for work, listening to Katie Couric and Matt Lauer on the Today Show on the TV behind me, Katie making some kind of comment like, "What does this mean?" before anyone really had a clue what was going on. I happened to turn to look at the TV just as the second plane was approaching and watched in horror as it slammed into the tower. I remember the icy cold tendrils of shock radiating down my spine, just as I feel them now as I sit here writing this. I never realized how this incident, this horrendous tragedy, would change the 'safe' world we Americans had always taken for granted, how America would never be the same. I said more prayers than I can remember that day, for those who perished and the loved ones left behind. I have said many prayers for them since. None of whom I ever knew personally.

But, now I do know one of them personally. Eskedar Melaku. And I know she'll come to mind on every anniversary of 9/11. And at many other random moments, whenever I hear references to that day. I will see that beautiful smile, those warm eyes. I will remember.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Don't simply retire from something; have something to retire to. ~ Harry Emerson Fosdick

Retirement is a funny phenomenon.  I reached 62 at the end of last year and we decided I should go ahead and start receiving Social Security.  So, I signed up for it and began getting my checks a few months ago.  I cannot begin to tell you how surreal it was to look at our bank statement and to see my very first check deposited into our checking account.  How did that happen?!  How have I become so...old?  Believe me, it isn't much because my husband and I decided years ago that I'd be a stay-at-home mom for our kids and, it ended up, half the neighborhood.  We have never regretted that choice.  But outside of working seven years for the Portland Public Schools I would make a little extra money here and there cleaning houses, doing a little day care...little jobs with little income that had little influence on how much I'd get in my Golden Oldie Years.  Oh well.

I love quotes.  Bible quotes.  Famous people quotes.  Funny quotes.  Thought-provoking quotes.  I have a favorite website devoted to quotes and I glean most of those that I use from that site.  I was looking at it this morning under "Retirement" to see what I could use for my post title.  They're not very encouraging.  Mostly about living on less...much less...and the boredom that comes from suddenly transitioning from being so busy all the time to wondering what in the world you're going to do with the endless hours of inactivity stretching out in front of you.  This title caught my eye because outside of suggesting playing rounds and rounds of was the only one that encouraged me to do something with that time.  Volunteer.  Give away your time.  Go to your nearest elementary school and volunteer there...the staff will love you for it, and so will the kids.  I do that during the school year at my youngest grandson's school, and I'm known as Mrs. Cooper's Grandma to the little first graders I tutor to help them learn to read.  I volunteer at the Book Fair twice a year.  I'm going to sign up to volunteer at a hospice here in the city where I live.  You're giving of yourself...your talents...your strengths.  It keeps your mind active and healthy.  It keeps you in contact with people.  It gives you friendships.  It gives you a sense of purpose and a sense of usefulness.  A blessing is also there because you're doing unto others.

I don't want to wither away.  I don't want to sit here collecting dust.  I want to continue to be a productive part of society.  I want to contribute.

I want to matter.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Only in the agony of parting do we look into the depths of love. ~ George Eliot

We are preparing to bid our daughter goodbye.  She's an adult, granted...but no matter how old they become, they're still our children.  And since we've had her with us or near us for almost 40 years, saying goodbye is not easy.  Not easy at all.

She will be leaving by train Monday morning to move back to Oregon.  Out of all of our family's monumental adventure of moving to Michigan a little over 5 years ago, she's the only one who's missed the Pacific Northwest the most.  Being single and working a very physical job on an average of 9 1/2 hours per day, when she's been home on the weekends it's mainly been a matter of resting up for the coming week ahead.  Even tho she likes Michigan she hasn't been able to establish any real friendships because of lack of time and energy.  She went to Oregon on vacation early in the Spring this year and stayed a week with her best friend of many years.  She realized just how much she'd missed her friend and also the beach and other amenities of Oregon.  They'd talked about my daughter moving back out there before, but this time they cemented the deal and she'll be moving on Monday.  She's selling and donating just about everything and will ship only the basics.  My daughter-in-law and I are spending the next few days helping her get everything ready.  She'll stay the weekend with her brother's family to spend some time with her nephews...and then she'll be gone.


Sure, there's Skype and texting and all that.

It's not going to be the same, tho.  Not having her nearby.  With just her leaving, it diminishes our small core group of family by one and leaves us with only 6.  I already feel the loss.  My "mother's gut" is feeling sick and my heart is very heavy.  But I can't hold her back.  I can't be negative.  I want her to spread her wings and fly.

Sometimes we have to love them enough to let them go.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing. ~ Eva Young

Yup, what my post title says is the truth.  No arguing there.  I am finding that getting back into the groove of regular writing is like coming back from a Rip Van Winkle nap.  Brain cells that used to snap to attention and produce post haste now just kind of...dribble.  But at least they're still there.  I'm putting sentences together into some kind of cohesive order.  Aren't I?  I am not going back and rereading what I've written the past few days.  I am very guilty of over-critiquing myself and I'll talk myself out of writing anything at all if I start that up.

Kind of like when I joined Weight Watchers a bazillion years ago.  I so desperately wanted to lose weight and I did.  A lot of weight.  Something like 60 pounds in 8 months.  I was the star of my class, the lecturer's little darling.  I was put on a pedestal so high I was set up to crash, at least with the way my mind works.  And boy, did I crash, hard.  I became bulimic and an abuser of laxatives.  I purged like crazy.  I did anything to keep my weight at or below my goal for maybe a couple of years?  I don't remember for sure...this was back around 1980.  Then the pressure of it became too much and I fell off the band wagon with such a loud crash they probably heard it in Baltimore all the way from Portland, Oregon!  My greatest enemy in my lifetime has been my scale and it has had a demonic hold on me.   Or I should say it did until a few years ago.  I know I'm never going to look like Cindy Crawford at 50 in a bikini.  I wouldn't want to.  Can you imagine the pressure on her to stay skinny?  But I still refuse to look when my weight is taken at the doctor's office.  I tell the nurse to just write it down...I don't want to know.  Deep down I think I'm afraid I'll jump on the band wagon if I do and it will be back to the races again.  Instead, I'm at what I call a 'comfortable' weight.  Not skinny and not fat.  Just "grandmotherly" and since I'm a 62 year old grandma, that's sufficient for me.  What is so sad is the stupid things we do to our bodies in our youth come back to bite us on the behind as we get older and my dumb choices have wreaked havoc on my digestive system thru the years.  You wanna dance, ya gotta pay the piper.  End of story.'s been a good but emotional day.  My little buddy Christian was over at our house this morning for the last time before school.  We had a long, very sweet hug before we piled in the van to head to school.  I dropped him off and then had a lovely breakfast with a dear friend and I'm sure that helped make the morning a little less emotional.  Around 11:30 our family gathered together at our grandsons' elementary school to participate in a tradition that's been upheld for many years where family, school staff, and the other kids in the school gather in the hallways to 'clap out' the 4th graders as they leave the school for the very last time.  Very bittersweet and especially emotional today because our daughter will be leaving to live in Oregon in a month and she and our grandson had a very tearful moment at the end.  It's great to make fresh new plans for your life...but the reality of goodbye comes knocking at your door too and I don't think my daughter knew before today just how hard that's going to be.  When we moved to Michigan we came completely intact as a family but now she's heading back all on her own.  Quite a different scenario this time around.

So as my brain cells...dribble...I am not going to be disheartened that my blogging audience who once upon a time was very healthy has faded away to next-to-nothing.  I never started this blog 14 years ago for that reason, anyway.  I began it to chronicle the lives of my grandsons and it has morphed into so many other things as well.  When I first began writing this all those years ago someone left me a very rude comment that almost caused me to quit before I'd hardly begun.  He said, "Who wants to read about your boring and paltry life anyway?"  You know who?  ME!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Only in the agony of parting do we look into the depths of love. ~ George Eliot

I have a little boy at my house this week who is letting me know he's not very happy with me.  Not in words, but actions...and I can't be mad at him because, even at my age, I can remember how frustrating and heartbreaking life could be as a child when I had no control over things happening in my life.  Until you're 18, you're basically at the mercy of whoever is in charge of raising you.

This little guy is my buddy Christian.  I've been taking care of him in various capacities for the past two years...before school, after school, part of the time last summer.  We've become very attached in these two years.  Sadly, the time's come where I can no longer offer him day care...partly because of health limitations.  Because I have no kids in our neighborhood for him to play with, and no electronic game systems.  Last summer on the days I took care of him, sometimes I was so desperate for him to have someone to play with because he was so bored that I'd take him to McDonald's Play Place and let him loose for a couple of hours since there were always kids there. He's at an age now, almost 7, where he's not all that interested in toys anymore. I'm collecting Social Security now and the possibility of tax penalties if I'm not careful with any extra money I make is a big consideration, too.  But complete honesty...I'm just ready to say goodbye to taking care of other people's kids.  I've been doing it all my life and I no longer have the "want to" in me to keep up the pace needed to do a good job of it. And rather than becoming a cranky old lady doing something she no longer wants to do, I'm hanging up my hat.

That isn't to say it isn't going to be wrenching to say goodbye.  I love him almost as much as I love my grandsons.  But as he and I have been talking about it here and there since he learned about it, I think even in his young mind he knows I'm not up to the task anymore.  Not that it's going to be easy on him, either, as I know he loves me, too.

I'm going to give him a gift tomorrow, our last day together.  I collect angels and I took the most beautiful one I have, one with a lot of sentimental value to me, and wrapped it up in a box.  The bigger the sacrifice, the more precious the giving, right?  I wrote in his card that I was giving him this angel to keep in a safe spot, and every time he looks at it to remember that I'm praying for him always.  I told him he will always have a Heavenly Father who is only a whisper away.  And I told him I love him...but, more importantly, Jesus loves him.  REALLY loves him.  That is the most important gift of all.

Monday, June 13, 2016

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. ~ e e. cummings

Where oh where oh where did my muse disappear to?  Is that the right word...the ability to think, comment, and meditate?  I dunno.  Something profound happened when we moved 5 years ago to Michigan.  My blog writing almost entirely dried up.  Became a desert land in what had once been a fertile oasis!  When we lived in Portland, Oregon, I couldn't wait to get to my computer keyboard most days and just rattle on.  My high school Creative Writing teacher, Anne Hartley, who was a great believer in stream of consciousness writing, would have been proud of me.  Maybe it's because Dear Hubby and I were a little past our prime, into our late 50's when we made this -- to us -- monumental move. 2400 miles from all that had been familiar our entire lives.  Far from family and friends.  Far from the church we'd worshiped at for 35 years.  Dear Hubby left a job he'd had for 32 years, to take on a brand new one that was starting from scratch and a totally different line of work.  A new state, a new climate, people of a much different mindset from the very liberal West Coast. When we moved into our new house I had to use my GPS to even find a nearby grocery store!  We knew absolutely nothing about where we'd moved to.  One huge blessing was the fact our entire core family  --  Dear Hubby, myself, our son, his wife, our daughter, and our grandsons --  all moved here together.  But we were the only familiar faces we knew.

We bought a house in a very comfortable, friendly neighborhood.  Dear Hubby's work took him out of town a lot and I was allowed to ride along with him on the road trips so the first couple years here we covered a lot of territory.  We saw all kinds of sights we never dreamed we'd see when we lived out West.  Traveled thru many states.  Began attending a little branch church of our faith in Kitchener, Ontario, which is a 3 1/2 hour drive from where we live near Detroit.  Our two grandsons began attending a wonderful school here and made lots of friends and got involved in sports.  The business we all came here to help establish thrived and grew beyond the owner's expectations.  It's a good life.  I am the only one in our family who hasn't traveled back to Oregon.  I have felt since I moved here like I'd come home, and I still feel that way.  I have no desire to go visit.

I've got a good life established here for myself, too.  Between friends in Kitchener and those in the Thumb area of Michigan at another church we began attending because health issues don't allow me to travel so far any more, I have a satisfying social life.  At this stage in life my grandsons are now old enough where I'm not needed so much like I was when they were little guys.  So when my hip and back issues allow I like to volunteer at their school.  I've also taken care of a darling little boy before school for the past two years.

But you've got to be ready for the forks in the road that come along.

We recently found out our daughter is moving back to Oregon next month.  As a single, she's missed her life and friends there a lot since we moved here.  Work over the years has been so busy...and long hours and very physical.  She's worn out and burned out.  An opportunity to make the move has opened up and she's jumping at the chance to make it.  I can't blame her.  I can't hold her back.  But, I going to miss her.  And, because of trying to avoid Social Security tax penalties, after school gets out on Thursday I will no longer be taking care of the little boy who has grown to be like another grandson.

Those are my forks.

I don't know how I feel about them, either.

But I've never been resistant to change.  I wouldn't have moved to Michigan if I had been, would I? 

Neither goodbye is going to be without tears.  You might even hear my heart crack in two.

Life's book is so full of different chapters.  You come to a new one, you turn the page.  New lessons to learn.  It's a fact of Life.  But it doesn't make it any easier.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself. ~ Alan Alda

There are times in people's lives where facing big decisions could lead to some major relocations in their lives.  Oh, can I empathize!  I know exactly the exhilaration, the terror, the excitement, the fear of the great unknown.  I can sympathize as's pretty daunting, packing up all you own, selling your house, and moving a great distance from everyone and everything you've ever known.  You move into a new house in a new neighborhood in a new city in a new state in a new region.  And then what?  Well, you settle right in and start making a new life the very next day.  You don't dwell on what you've embrace what you've come to.  One of the positives of moving to somewhere new in the US is everyone still speaks your language.  And when you go shopping, the shelves are stocked with many of the brands of foods you've always seen at the grocery store.  Granted, the names of the stores may be different and there are some regional brands you've never seen before.  But trust's just food, no matter what the brand.  Moving from the Pacific Northwest to Michigan the accents of the people are very different and at first was very pronounced to me, but now after almost 4 years of living here I don't hardly notice it any more, tho I do hear it in the voice of my youngest grandchild...he's very much a Michigander.  You don't constantly compare the differences of 'here' and 'home'.  For one thing, I was told Oregon is so far away most people here know nothing about it.  At most I get asked, "Doesn't it rain there a lot?" And  "Isn't it by the ocean?"  That's about as far as their curiosity goes.  Like Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz...."Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore".  And that pretty much hits the nail on the head.

I was in my mid-50s when we moved here.  I know our younger population thinks nothing of moving anywhere at any time for the most part...they're a very mobile, world-traveling generation.  But I come from a childhood in a small town in the 1950s and early 1960s, where life was simple and the pace was slow and you knew just about everyone in town.  My adult years were spent in and around Portland.  We never moved more than 75 miles from the area, and that was only for a few months before moving back to Portland again when our son was born 36 years ago.  So to say we had a pretty routine-oriented life...where one day blended into another day...and another day...and another day...would describe us very well.  I had no desire, no plan, to move or live anywhere else.  I figured we'd finish up our lives here on earth right where we were.  But God had different plans for us...and here we are.  One should never say never.  You might get thrown a curve ball that will be a grand-slam homerun.

Change is good.  You don't move and then wait for the whole world to come and find you in your little corner of it.  You get out there, get talking, be friendly.  And don't use "But I'm so shy!" as your excuse.  So am I!  My basic nature is very introverted.  But no one here knows that about me unless I tell them.  Life here is a whole brand new clean slate and you can start afresh.  And it's amazing how liberating that is!

Monday, October 28, 2013

You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

A puffy little fur-ball came into my life back in 2004.  He was a new Lhasa Apso puppy and his name was, quite fittingly, Max.  He was my grandpuppy before my grandsons came along and I used to do daily care for him as well while my son and daughter-in-law worked.  I house-broke him, walked him, and loved him with everything in me.  He had the biggest heart of any dog I've ever known, and his instinctive empathy was amazing.  When I was quite ill at one point, he used to jump up on the bed and stretch out his body alongside mine, giving me warmth and comfort.  He was so happy-go-lucky, something that served him well once the grandboys came along.  His one downfall was he never did learn to obey the word "Come!"  If he accidentally slipped out of the door, he was gone! But he always managed to find his way back.

This past week Max began showing signs he wasn't feeling well, around Wednesday.  He wouldn't eat or drink, he had no energy.  He lost his luster and his shine and his eyes became dull.  My son was out of town for a week's vacation with Dear Hubby so getting Max to the vet and trying to get him some help fell on my daughter-in-law and me.  By Friday he was very ill.  She took him in earlier in the day, then I took him back Friday evening so they could give him an IV to try to sustain him until the next morning when the Veterinary Hospital opened.  By Saturday morning, he was in pretty desperate shape.  We took him in, and to make a very sad story short, we had to have him put down.  He was barely hanging on to life when he arrived at the hospital.

So...Maxie will never be slipping out of the door again and frisking off into the distance.  He'll never come and sit beside me early in the morning on the days I take care of my grandsons, laying his head on my lap while we wait for the boys to awaken.  He doesn't need to worry about obeying the word "Come!" anymore.  I'm sure in his little corner of doggy heaven he's free to run and enjoy himself as much as he wants to.  I'm sure he's there to give some little angel boy or girl all the love he bestowed on us here on earth.  And I'm sure, on the day each of us gets to heaven, he'll be there waiting at the gate to welcome us home.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity. ~ Edwin Hubbel Chapin

Dear Hubby meeting his New Best Friend
Dear Hubby and I took a vacation in early August to southern Missouri to attend a church camp of our faith for 5 days.  This is an annual Camp Meeting that is held every year for those who live in the Midwest and East.  People came from as far away as Portland, too, which is where our faith's headquarters are and where Dear Hubby and I attended church for 35 years.  Portland has an international Camp Meeting at the end of June that lasts for two weeks and people from all over the world attend that one.  In all the years we'd lived in Portland we had never been able to afford or take the time to make the trip to southern Missouri so this was our first time ever and it was a wonderful experience.

But...before we headed down to the Ozarks and the church camp we took a little side trip to a tiny town about halfway between St. Louis and Jefferson City.  It's the town my husband's father lived in before their family moved to Portland in the early 1940s, where he and his siblings spent a good portion of their childhood.  It is a town that's been devastated by the economy and also a major flood of the Missouri River in the 1990s that destroyed many homes and businesses.  As Dear Hubby and I drove in on the main highway thru town we didn't know what to expect but we surely didn't expect to find a literal ghost town.  About the only businesses we saw that were open were a little convenience store/gas station and a mechanic's garage.  We drove around and were so disappointed to begin with, there were so few signs of life.  Coming to this little town was a dream come true for Dear Hubby, who'd always wished he could visit someday...and it looked like it was going to be a bust.  That is, until we turned a corner and approached a church.  There was an elderly lady sweeping the sidewalk there and I said to Dear Hubby, "Why don't you stop and ask her if she might have known your family?  She looks about the right age."  So Dear Hubby pulled up next to the curb and called out to her.  He got out of the car and as he walked towards her he asked her how long she'd lived in the town.  "Why, I've lived here all my life!" she told him.  "Well, then...I'm wondering if maybe you might have known my Dad's family," he said.  She asked what the family name was and when he told her she exclaimed, "You mean Norma and Ray and Russell?  Well, yes, I knew them!  Norma was my sister's best friend.  We used to all go to school and play together!"  Oh my word!  This was over 70 years ago!  To make a long story short, she and Dear Hubby were new best friends from that moment onward.  When he told her how thrilled he was to meet her, she told him, "Why, this is such a thrill for me, too!  I get to share all these memories of my childhood and have such a nice visit!  I never dreamed when I got up this morning that this would happen to me today!"  She took us on a tour of the town and showed him the house his dad had lived in as a boy.  We went to the old school up on School Hill, to the Pavilion and Park along the Missouri River where they played and went to dances.  She remembered everything and at 85 her mind was as sharp as a tack.  She invited us into her home and we had a lovely visit there.  By the time we left we felt like we'd known one another forever.  We couldn't thank her enough for her kindness and hospitality.  She told us with a twinkle in her eye as she walked us out to our car when we were leaving, "Why, I wish I'd known you were coming!  I would've baked you a cake!"  I don't know who had a better time, her or Dear Hubby.  It was a very emotional trip for him and it was such a privilege to be a part of his special day, to see how much it meant to him and touched his heart.  His grandparents have been gone a long time and his dad, his aunts, his uncles, are all gone now, too, the last of them passing on just a short time before we moved to Michigan.  His New Best Friend brought the past alive to him in a way he'd never dreamed possible.  I knew his dad and aunts and uncles and it brought them all to life again for me, too.  I could just picture them walking the country road to school...swimming in the old water hole...playing in the grassy yard around the old school on the hill.  A person hearing this story could say, "What a nice coincidence!"  I say, what an incredibly sweet gift from the good Lord.  Before we'd gone to the little town, we'd stopped in another one, a kind of touristy-trap place a few miles up the highway.  We talked about taking a walk and stopping in some of the antique shops but I had this urge to move on so we hopped in the car and drove on to the little town.  If we'd stopped and browsed, we most likely would've missed our opportunity to meet our new friend...she was just finishing up with her sweeping and was getting ready to go home when we pulled up next to her.  We could have turned the corner by the church 5 minutes, half an hour later, and missed her completely.  It was just meant to be.  In my heart there ain't no doubt about it.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The leaves of memory seemed to make a mournful rustling in the dark. ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Ok.  This is my third attempt at trying to write something here this evening.  I love to write with music playing and on my first attempt I tried my Pandora station of Bluegrass Gospel...mmmm, no.  Then it was Contemporary Christian...that didn't do anything for me either.  So now I've got it on my Piano Instrumentals and I guess I'm like Goldilocks because this music is 'just right'!  Third time seems to be the charm.  Maybe I'll get somewhere now.
I have very few photographs of myself when I was a little girl.  We didn't have much money and film was a luxury back in the 1950s.  I have always loved this photo.  I'm sitting on the porch with my brother who is 2 1/2 years older than me and with my paternal grandmother.  My brother and I are bundled up but Grammy is sitting there in one of her old house dresses, short-sleeved, no jacket on.  This was taken in Washington State along the coast and I notice the sun is shining.  I can't tell you what a rarity that is there thru the winter and spring months.  I'm having a hard time gauging when this must have been taken because my grandmother died on Easter Sunday when I was 3.  That was in 1957, and I don't think I look much beyond 2 or 3 here.  My birthday is at the tail end of December, so I'm thinking this must've been just around the time she died. With all that said...I can't remember my grandmother, not consciously.  But see that funny-looking thing I'm clutching in my arms?  It was a cardboard lady.  The back of it, which is pointing out at the camera, is blank, but on the other side, the caricature was of a very refined lady with a striped parasol.  She had on a beautiful dress and high heels.  It sat on top of the dresser in my grandmother's bedroom and I simply loved that cardboard doll.  It was a special privilege for me to be allowed to hold it when I came to visit and it's the first thing I ran to claim whenever I arrived there. 
Why would I remember a cardboard doll but not my grandmother?  I can remember the smell of the house she lived in because my grandfather was a heavy smoker and the cigarette smoke was almost overwhelming as you walked in.  I can remember the outside of the house, what her dresser looked like in her bedroom, her old dog Muffet.  But when I try to bring up an image of her, my mind is empty.  What I do have when I think of her is more of an emotional memory.  I can feel a deep sense of love and warmth and comfort.  But try as I might I can't 'see' her.
The mind is a strange storehouse.  I can remember things from 55 years ago like it was yesterday, and yet I can't remember where I put my glasses.  I can relate a memory to my oldest brother that's crystal clear in my mind and he'll tell me, "No, it happened this way, not that way!"  My daughter can remember even the most minute detail of her childhood...and my son can't remember anything.  Why does my brain  let me remember riding home in the car, looking over the backseat at my newborn baby brother cradled in my mother's arms, when I was 6...but I can't remember my mother's voice 24 years after she passed away?
Time is a funny thing.  I heard it explained in an interesting way today:  We are allowed the time allotted for our lives from the moment we're born to the moment we die.  Our time didn't exist before that, and our time ended then, in the physical sense.  And as to memories...well, we're only still 'alive' when there's still someone left here on Earth to remember us.  Once that last family member or acquaintance we knew passes away themselves...well, we die again right along with them, really.  It kind of gives time a different perspective thought about that way, doesn't it?
I don't know about you, but I'm glad there are a lot of things we don't remember.  There have been many things in my life I've striven to forget.  And yet I'm sure there are a lot of things I wish I could remember, like the hugs and voice and smile of my grandmother, the voice of my own mother.  With Grammy,  all that is lost forever but thankfully, with my mom, there are still old VCR tapes I can pull out and play where I can see and hear her again.  With the sound and the image, she comes alive again for those few moments and my memory is refreshed.  Because I'm still here and I remember her, she's still alive for me, even if she is just a memory.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

It's but little good you'll do a-watering the last year's crops. ~ George Eliot, "Adam Bede", 1859

Oh, why not shock everyone and post another entry to my blog?  I'm sure my blog doesn't know what to make of it! 

Isn't this photo beautiful?  It's a picture of a lake that's in my hometown in Washington State.  It's around 2500 miles from where I live now so I highly doubt I'll ever see it again.  You know, when you get to my age...almost 60...not that it's that begin to think of Time in a different perspective.  At 20, 60 seemed like the Dark Ages to me.  Now, being almost that age myself, 20 seems like I was barely out of diapers.  And to think I got married at that age!  Mercy.  Now, there's a scary thought.

But...back to perspectives...when we moved to Michigan a few years ago, as I boarded the jet to fly here, I never even began to think that I might never make it back to Portland again.  We learned about the possibility of moving in November 2010 and moved in March 2011, so it was a very whirlwind experience...coming here in January to find a house in 5 days, then going 'home' to start packing and organizing the move, sorting thru 28 years of memories and belongings.  Realizing how few 'things' were actually important enough to drag 2/3 of the way across the country with us.  I know people move every day, and sometimes much further distances than we did, but if you had any clue what creatures of habit Dear Hubby and I were beforehand!  We shocked everyone who's known us for years when we suddenly announced we were heading for the upper Midwest.  I think we shocked ourselves most of all, taking this midlife adventure of a lifetime in our later 50s.  And now, here we are 2 1/2 years later and we are so settled, so happy here.  The funny thing about it, it's hard to believe we ever lived anywhere else.  Michigan is truly home to us.

Even so, every now and then a memory or a photo or a comment posted on Facebook by a friend or family member who still lives in the Northwest will draw me up short and I'll think, " know, I may never see Lizzee again" best friend since 1967.  Or the lake I have pictured up above.  Or my brothers.  Or the house we lived in for 28 years.  And I'll have a twinge that I can't quite put into words.  It's not homesickness or remorse in moving so far away.  No, it's more like a bittersweetness.  Kind of like how I feel when I think of my years of caring for my grandsons on a daily basis.  They'll be a thing of the past, now that they'll both be in school for full days come the Fall.  An ache in the center of my heart.  But it passes, and I get caught up in the here-and-now, which is a life full of family and love and discovering this part of the country, something I never dreamed I'd do in a million years.  I have made new friends that will never take the place of the old ones, but will add a new richness to my life.  I will stand on the shores of  Lake Huron or Lake Michigan or Lake Superior...and I will think of the many, many trips I made to the shorelines of the Pacific Ocean.  And I will miss the tang of salt on my lips but I will lift my head up and revel in the fresh breezes blowing off these magnificent lakes. 

Life is a series of give-and-takes, isn't it?  We give up one thing, only to have it replaced by another.  It doesn't mean the past is lost.  It just means there's room in the present and the future for many more blessings.  You just keep yourself open to them.