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Friday, September 28, 2018

Me, too, 9-28-2018

I have been almost paralyzed this week.  Paralyzed by memories.  Memories of being 11 years old and my body developing sooner than most of my friends.  With the onset of menses the spring of 1956 by the fall of 1957 I had begun wearing bras.  On this particular day I was wearing a corduroy jumper dress with a long sleeved blouse.  This outfit had been made by my Mom.  It was the '50s so my skirt was well below my knees.  Walking down the hall I was surrounded by about 3 boys.  The held me and managed to unfasten my bra through all that material.  I was embarrassed and bewildered.  While the boys had paid attention to me it was not in a way I liked.  I did not tell anyone and I do not know why.

In the guise of 'teaching the facts of life' my father molested me from the time Mom went to work in 1958 till I left home in July of 1965.  Not gonna give any more of the details.  During an overnight visit to a friends home I was awakened by a man fondling my breasts and touching me.  He constantly said it was ok just do not make a noise.  A later to my parents home he raped me.  Whispering, "I'm fixed do you will not get pregnant.  Now keep quite."

Again, I did as told.  I never fought.  But the 61 years since the beginning of the incidents has been filled with self loathing.  Decades were filled with nightmares, suicidal thoughts and threats.  Of course there was so much therapy.  In 2002 I was diagnosed with PTSD and treated with a reprocessing of the scenes.  I would give the details of the events.  A therapy treatment of eye movement and relaxation and then I would recite the details.  Only this time I would yell or do what ever I wished I had done at the time of the incident.

And then the uproar over Brett Kavanaugh's Senate Judicial Committee hearings.  I cannot will not watch on purpose.  I avoid the facebook posts that say it has been 30 years, why did she wait so long.  Well, considering the hell she is being put through now just imagine what it would have been like following the initial incident.  Victim blaming is not new.  Just read the Bible.  All I can say is I am not a victim.  I am a survivor.  So are all the other women that have been subjected to the unwanted grab to the unwanted penetration and have lived . . . in silence and misplaced shame.  Like it was my fault to be walking down a hall with breasts I did not ask for; or just being a daughter alone with a father while the mother was at work.  Sleeping in a bed at a friends home.  Just being a female.   

Then there are the young boys that have been bullied and raped as a rite of passage by older boys.  I do not have an answer to all this except to say this.  Do not teach your boys that this is okay by saying you do not believe.  By saying well it will ruin the rapist's life if we punish him for just being a boy following his nature.  We cannot continue with this and expect the world to be any safer for any of us.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

September 5, 2018

My brain and fingers still want to write 19## like that part of my brain has not accepted that we are 18 19 years past that time.  But that was not what I have been thinking about.  Yesterday was Hubby's 78th birthday.  Seventy eight.  Wow, he was 3 weeks shy of 26 when I opened that apartment door to find him standing outside about to knock on the door.  There have been good years, there have been less than good years.  One year that we were certain was the end of all we had hoped to build together.

1959, Hubby
With Hubby's birthday and my 72nd to follow in 3 months, I have been thinking and evaluating my place in life. Part of that evaluation has been categorizing different life phases, especially during our marriage.  Several if not most of our years together were dedicated to gathering and building.  We purchased property on which we later built a house that we made a home.  We purchased furniture some of which we still use on a daily basis.  We hoped to have a family of 2 or 3 children.  Life chose we have one very special son in 1973.
October, 1973, Son

Hubby standing on base for foundation, 1969.




We sold that first house and moved to a different state in 1975.  We lived in Hubby's home town and took over the family business.  The thriving business experienced problems under my management.  That coupled with the changing repair business becoming a throwaway and buy inexpensively from WalMart saw the doors close permanently in 1985.  By that time Hubby and I were working for a company located about 35 miles from this second home.

Still have that picture, table and some of the decor.
During those years we were still in gathering and building mode.  Building friendships and family ties.  We worked in the church, we followed Son's school activities and we even were den parents for Scouts for a few years.  That home on Hadley Street that seemed to be in constant renovation served as a gathering place for our extended families.  Nearby cousins and uncles as well at the Kansas crew sat at table for Thanksgiving.  What excitement when we blew a fuse while part of the meal was still cooking.  By moving some portable cookers to other rooms we still managed a meal by 1:00 PM.

Floating Flat Creek
We added a full bath to the back room of that house.  That is the one where I promised God if I ever got that foil wall paper hung I would never buy foil paper again.  I finished it and never did buy any more of that type of paper again even though it looked smashing.  That was Son's bedroom which still had the space based wall covering on it when we moved in  February, 1993.  Even though there were many changes in the house, garage, yard and large outbuilding, I never felt it was complete.  Never finished the basement.  Never had the hall bath updated the way I wanted.  Those were the only two things, though.  Because we lived in that home while our Son grew from a toddler to a college junior,  he will always think of the red house on the hill as his home.

Hadley house before we painted red.

Senior photo of Son, 1991
The home we moved to in '93 was to be the last we owned.  It was unfinished when we purchased.  A new build so we could pick colors and customize for our likes.  We had a doorway opened and another narrowed.  Cabinets built differently than in the original plan.  Bookshelves added and flooring added in the attic for storage.  Carpet upgrades and decided to save $ by us putting up the wallpaper.  It took about 225 rolls of paper and borders to get the 'look' I wanted.  That cost a trip to the doctor for injections for what was determined to be tendinitis in my right forearm from overuse.  Tendinitis from overuse seems to be a constant theme in my life.  Wink, smile.  (Fighting adductor tendinitis today.  Should had not been doing 500 vine steps, only about 40.)


Digging the pond at Edgewood home.
Pond, 2013
While I had always had flower gardens in the different homes, the house on Edgewood was the most extensive.  Those of you who have followed my blog have seen photos of the yard.   And that yard was what proved to be the one thing that became more than I could maintain.  You see, one can build and build.  Gather and gather but eventually it becomes maintenance.  If you have managed to accumulate enough money you can pay someone to do the work.  I had not.  I knew I could not rebuild that flagstone walkway one more time if the moles damaged it once more.  Couple the advancing years for Hubby and I with three grandsons and Son living too far away to visit for dinner, it became time to quit gathering and building.

Edgewood backyard days before moving.
Gotta keep Son's wagon.
Last look at the walk the moles kept digging up




















In 2013 we began the new part of our life, dispersing and letting go.  We had done some of this as we had realized we did not need more stuff when we had cleaned out our parents homes of 50 years.  That is when we started one in one or two out.  You cannot purchase something unless you already know what you are letting go.  That is a huge mindset change after decades of gathering and building.  Five years into living in half the space of our home, we still require storage units for the stuff we use.  And the stuff we cherish like the rocker of Hubby's grandpa.  The bed my mom bought me in 1963.  Family photos and keepsakes.  Decorations for different holidays.  Hubby's Jeep hardtop and doors.  A bicycle.  Hubby's dad's ham radio.  Stuff that not only we gathered but our parents and their parents before them.

Moving day, 10/30/2018
Today, the day following Hubby's 78 birthday, I sit here nursing my stupid leg.  It was doing better and then I walked without a cane.  I climbed on a one step stool to put some decor away after Son's party.  No longer gathering or building.  Just trying to keep myself healthy.  Working to remain mobile and upright.  Being near to Son, DIL and their family.  Spending time with my sisters.  Working to build relationships with the now 5 grand kids.  To give them that love that helps them have the solid foundation for their time of gathering and building.

Confirmation, 4/22/2018, Hubby, Son and grandsons

Bonus Grands,
Brother and sister, her prom, 5/2018
DIL and granddaughter


Thursday, August 30, 2018

August 30, 2018

Wow.  Doing an outdoor party for 40 people in Texas in August is HOT work.  Hot enough that a plastic candle warped from the heat.  Even though I did not spend long periods of time outside it was still wearing.  The lead up to the party had lasted for almost 2 months.  DIL perused Pinterest for inspiration, ideas and sources of products.  In late June she and I met and began dividing duties.  Of course priorities were invitations and the basic stuff that would be needed for this and future parties.  Things like a tub to ice drinks, beverage dispensers, half pint jars to be used for punch, footed trays, an old suitcase, crates, burlap and the list went on from there.

My beginning assignment was designing, printing and mailing the invitations.  Other design and print duties included wine glass tags, water bottle labels and sayings to be framed.   A few trips to a nearby antique mall yielded two footed trays and the cool old battered train case.  During the sister time in Dallas in early July, I pilfered Youngest Sister's decor stash and brought a back end full of stuff for decor.  Many items were ordered online.  Our stuff would fill a corner of the apartment office mail room some days!  And the pile in our apartment grew and grew!  Repacking and moving into our storage unit HAD to be next on the list.

While all this is going on Hubby and I had the Sister Time trip to Dallas July 7-11.  DIL and Son spent July 13 -17 in Lisbon, Portugal.  We house, granddog and granddaughter sat during that time.  July 27 - Aug 1 another trip for Hubby and I to a wedding in Arkansas then on to Missouri for the St. Louis Card's game.  DIL and Granddaughter left on July 29 - August 3 on a college tour along the east coast from Florida to Virginia.  August 7 - 11 DIL, Son and all 5 grands were at a lake house playing the in the lake and enjoying a little down time before the start of school on August 15.  Whew.  My laptop was always nearby so work progressed.  I even strung the wine glass tags while in the car on the way to the wedding!

Digging out enough frames for all the signs was a bit tricky.  Not enough 8 x 10 's so off to Michael's  for foam board and more decor for outdoor table tops.  Or at least ideas for the table tops.  Amazing what one can do with old canning jars, milk jars and jute twine!  DIL had cakes ordered, arranged rental of tables, chairs, glass ware, more decor items.  Figured out the menu and started two teenagers to school.  She, of course, has a full time job.  On Sunday prior to the Saturday party we met at her house to go through everything one more time to see if there were last minute items needed.  Finalize all print needs from me.  Oh, and there was still liquor and cigars to be purchased.  Oh, smoking requires ashtrays.  Back on Amazon for a couple more orders. And, what about that box spring that is still in the hall from the bed replacement in May?!&*%

Like some sort of extra punishment her back went out and my inner thigh was suddenly too painful to walk without a cane.  So extra doctor visits in an already crazy week.  DIL even had to fly out of town for two different trips withing 7 days of the party.  Stress and more stress.  That is when I called for reinforcements, Youngest Sister.  She was already planning to come to the party so she agreed to help do the actual placement of the decor on Saturday.  What a life saver.

Hubby and I managed to get all but one of the liquor needs purchased correctly.  Son said no problem, he would drink what we had purchased, a regular whiskey bourbon instead of rye whiskey.  Like could tell the difference.  Hubs and I, also, managed to disassemble the box spring unit.  The last signs printed, cut out and glued as needed.  I went a couple of photos with the text message of I think we may have this whooped.  DIL agreed.  She was sitting against an ice pack.  I had a heating pad on the over used, irritated tendons on my inner thigh.


At 4:00 pm on Saturday Sister and her hubby left to get ready for the party.  We loaded our car full of my stuff we did not use and off we went.  That left DIL and Son to finish food items for eats and drinks.  We got home, unloaded the car, showered and dressed.  On the way to Son's place we remembered the cigars!  They needed to stay hydrated and were in our crisper at home.  We made it to the party at about five after 7.  In time to set up the chafing dish with the Jack Daniels meat balls DIL had cooked.

Finally time to party.  Here are some of the follow up photos. 



Cigars anyone? 

Let's drink to Son's birthday!
Punch options for your drinking pleasure.

That is Son taking a sip of his drink.  Visiting with a friend from college days.

A great neighbor cooked all the stuff in those aluminum pans!  That was their birthday gift.  Wow what wonderful folks.

The goodies

Friends and DIL's dad visiting.  Wine and more goodies!


L to R:  Granddaughter, BIL, neighbor, me, Neighbor that cooked all those pans of food!

The party lasted into the wee hours of Sunday morning.  We drug our septuagenarian tired bodies home about 2:30 AM.  We were just about the last to leave, too.  Slept till noon.  Then it was time to go gather things together to return to vendors on Monday.  That is a story for another day!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Lily of the Valley, July 24, 2018

In the past century often the center of social life in a farming community was the church or the school.  I attended elementary school in the same clapboard 6 room school as my mom and two older sisters.  There was a small field between the school and the church building.  A road, Thompson Lane, ran in front of the school.  That dusty lane ended in a T with the road that ran in front of the church.  In the northwest corner of that intersection sat Trab and Mrs. Emma Burton's country store.  Turn left and you would pass the church, the cemetery that held my mom's ancestors, a cotton gin and a couple of houses.  Social life in the Chambersville community sort of centered in this small area.

Our particular church was one of 3 in a 'circuit rider' tradition.  The pastor was a student in Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.  He, and it was always a he, would serve the three churches.  The pastor preached 2 Sundays a month at the Chambersville church, one Sunday at Cottage Hill and one at the Weston Church.  The parsonage was located in Weston, which was a small village.  My dad wired the parsonage for electricity when the Rural Electrification Administration brought electricity to rural United States.

Summers were busy time for the farmers and their families.   Crops were to be planted, tilled, hoed, 'tended' and eventually harvested.  School was out for the summer but the church activity would pickup during that time.  There would be Vacation Bible School.  It was great fun for the kids.  Time together with friends and relatives and learning that required no tests.  Each day had treats like sweet Kool Aid, cookies or popsicles.  Of course we learned about Jesus.  We sang about Zacchaeus the wee little man.  There may have even been an ice cream supper the evening of the last day of VBS.

But the ice cream supper could have been at the end of the other big church summer event, the two week revival.  Revivals were big for the Methodist Church as well as other denominations.  Sometimes the revivals were held in open air areas with rustic arbors built to support freshly cut limbs.  These were called brush arbor meetings.  If you are not from a tradition that is familiar with the revival tradition it was basically a time to renew one's faith.  A time to reflect on life changes one needed to make.  A time to 'win new souls for the Lord'. 

For our little church, the revival would be held in the church.  The local funeral homes would provide handheld fans with their services listed.  I wonder if that was to get us to thinking about the after life and soften us up for the alter calls?   Reba Jane and I joined the church when we were ten.  She was baptized at Mrs. Rachel's farm tank/pond.  I had to be sprinkled as I had an ear infection at the time.

Any way songs such as "Just As I Am", "Others", "Amazing Grace" would be sung.  Often the revival preacher would keep having songs sung till someone came to the alter to either profess faith or rededicate one's soul.  I did rededicate myself one year after joining.  I knew I was still a sinner and needed to live better.  Wow, was that the wrong thing to do.  Mom scolded when we were back home.  "You just made a spectical of yourself doing that.  That Charlie Peoples does that every year and never lives any differently."  I did not ever do that again publicly.

Lily of the valley was a prompt on one the the blogs I will follow.  On July 24 the phrase brought back to mind summer life in rural north Texas.  You see, another of the  songs that would be sung was "Lily of the Valley".  Hope you enjoyed my sharing some of those memories.


August 21, 2018

I did an oops and posted to my haiku blog on a post about our July trip to a wedding and that adventure.  If you wish to read about that you can click here.  I came away from the wedding with a request to forward files of an uncle speaking of his years in the military.  That has been on the back burner till after the Big Party for our son's 45 birthday.  Lots of planning and incidentals to help the DIL as she plans and decides on the party.  It is in just four more days so time is getting pretty short for me to get things accomplished.  But mostly all that is left is picking up the liquor, cigars, burlap, and the plates.  Will need to make a batch of sorghum chewies. 

Friday and Saturday morning will be finishing the decorating of the home and backyard.  And it is supposed to be 102 F., that is 39 C.  I am pretty sure folks will linger in the house and only foray into the outside for drink refill and smokes.

In the last post I said I would finish the story of the wedding and ball game trip.  Well, that will have to wait a bit longer.  It is well past bedtime so I will bid you a good night and visit later.  Here are a some photos from the ball game part of the trip.

View from our hotel room

Area of stadium Mark McGuire often hit balls into

Ninety year old lady that threw out the first pitch

The boys of summer loosening up before game time.

Yadier Molina behind home plate.  Yes, we sat 18 rows up from home plate.


Pre game rain showers/downpour sent into an hour weather delay.


I missed the fireworks following the DeLong home run.

Yadie hoping his hit stays fair.  It did not.


Friday, June 29, 2018

Friday, June 29, 2017

Just another Friday.  Hubby goes to meet his Ham buddies at a local McDonalds for breakfast.  Hubby is new to the group.  Several of the group had worked together at IBM.  All are retirees as of about a month ago or so.  Not sure Hubby enjoys it as much at the Donut shop group in Aurora during the 1980's and until we move to Springfield in 1993.  Hubby is usually about the only 'liberal' in these groups.  He is not shy to speak his piece and usually speaks in a peaceful manner.

After he left to meet the group this morning I set about getting some chores done for the day.  Walking for 20 to 30 minutes in the relatively cooler air (80 - 85 F, 26 -29 C) of a Texas summer morning was first.  Second was to water the few container plants on our patio.  The third planned activity was to finishing some of the sewing and mending for the grandsons.  Walking accomplished, I began filling the buckets to carry water to the plants.  The buckets have to be filled in the sink as we have no outdoor source of water. 

First bucket filled, second bucket goes under the faucet.  First bucket is carried the 25 feet to the patio and water is distributed to various containers.  Return to kitchen, swap buckets and head back out to the patio.  The watering process requires about 4 rounds of this swapping and filling.  Gets a few more steps added to the count and keeps the tomato plants growing and putting on blossoms.  Hopefully we will get a few tomatoes off the plants this year.

One other plant I have on the patio is a small gardenia bush.  I had carried a bouquet of fresh gardenias as a young bride.   I bought this plant last year for our golden wedding anniversary party to have fresh, blooming gardenias.  To make sure we had gardenias for the party, three blossoms were purchased from a florist and added to the little bush.  As I was watering the gardenia this morning I found the first blossom of the year.  Not huge but just as beautifully scented as any. 

When Hubby returned from the meet and eat with his buddies I had him come to the patio.  I pointed out the gardenia.   We both smiled and held each other for a moment.  You see.  Saturday is our wedding anniversary.  Fifty one years together and we still get mushy over a blossom.



Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Life is being fairly calm this week.  Grandkid duty is over till mid July.  The Hubby spent Saturday and most of Sunday doing the yearly Amateur Radio Field Day.   Most years this event would occur on the weekend of our wedding anniversary or the nearest weekend.  In my younger years that could be a bone of contention.  After what will be 51 anniversaries this Saturday, I would rather see the smile on his face and hear his stories than eat a dinner together at a restaurant.

Maybe the reason for my preference is eating out is not so special anymore.  Maybe the reason is this time of year with back to back to back birthdays, Mother's Day and Father's Day there are plenty of celebrations.  But that smile on Hubby's face is to be cherished.  Because one never knows just how many more of those I will get to see.  The March Bicycle Wreck brought that tenuous thread of life back to the forefront of my mind.

This morning Hubby did run one grandson to what was to be some sort of sports camp.  Up at 5 AM because the event was on the south side of town in morning rush hour traffic.  To be certain to arrive by 8 AM, they had to leave an hour and a half earlier.  Austin may not be all that populous but folks flood the streets during drive time.  Most vehicles are one person per auto or in many cases jacked up extended cab pickups.  Cause it is Texas....  Gramps and Z the freshman arrived on time to find the place empty.  We still do not know what happened.  Oh, well.  Life keeps up hopping or Hubby at least.

I made a pair of what I intended to be pajama pants for our youngest grandson.  He would say we made the pants.  He pressed the foot feed for his learners sewing machine while I did the sewing.  The material was blue flannel with one inch round red and white Pokemon power balls all over.  Not something one would typically use for anything other than pjs.   Once finished, the flannel shorts, as Youngest Grandson called them, were instantly put on.  He ran across the street to show his buddy who had guided the material a time or two the finished product.  Youngest returned to the house with the broadest smile I have ever seen on that freckled face.

To these 'shorts' he added the black Pokemon shirt given as his 5th grade graduation gift.  And it was time to leave with his step sister to meet the rest of the family at the movies.  I sent a text to Son as to what he thought of the getup.  "Love it.  And J is over the top".  Once home he refused to remove the shorts as you know they are pajamas.  Next day the same attire went to lunch with his mom.  Back home at Son's place he began jumping on the trampoline.  Split the seam out from waist to waist and came in crying.  Devastated. 

Saturday I retrieved the shorts and brought them to my apartment and a real sewing machine.  Not sure if I could make the shorts/pjs work with that active kid, I headed to get more material to just make much bigger shorts.  While getting the material cut, I mentioned what had happened.  "Not a problem, just make a karate gusset" was the clerk's suggestion.  I had thought of additional material along the outside seams but this was so much better.  Additional online research about different ways other folks had done gussets and I was ready.

Sunday I measured and cut the gusset from the extra fabric from the shorts.  Basted in place, made adjustments and sewed in permanently.  Every other seam was resewn and the edges were over cast together.  That should kept the pants in one piece.  Since I had the extra fabric, I cut out and sewed up a shirt.  About 15 minutes worth of sewing would have the shirt finished and the machine started backlashing the thread.  The pants were picked up and I promised to call when the shirt was finished.  By the the arthritis in my upper back and neck was threatening me with a migraine should I continue working.

Monday started with the promised migraine.  Medication and rest have me feeling this afternoon like I can tackle the backlashing issue.  After all Youngest needs that shirt for the upcoming cool nights in Canada.  Oh, and I need to finish mending the sweats for Middle Grandson, too.  And the tents I made a few years back are needing alterations.  I have some material I want to make up for my trip to a wedding.  What am I doing on this computer?  I have fun stuff to make!

Ya'll all take care.  And happy sewing, crafting or sports watching, which ever is your pleasure.

Namaste,
Janice


Shirt but not the shorts/pjs