Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Stone Angel

Been watching a British mystery TV series today named "Rosemary and Thyme".  Two lady sleuths that run a garden landscaping business.  Right up my alley!

Then Netflix recommended a movie, "The Stone Angel".  An interesting movie about a woman, Hagar, at the end of her life reflecting on her life's passions and problems.
 With a 93 year old mother and a 97 year old mother in law there is a lot of that reflecting on old times.  Some days that seems all there is to talk about with either of them.  Recently Gene's mom has lost a good many of her memories at least during her waking hours.  It is difficult to watch this process and even more difficult to see the effect on her sons.  Nothing more nor less than every human on earth goes through at some point.

The determination of the character Hagar in the movie displayed characteristics of pride of family name and heritage that reminded me of my mother.  The woman who was the first female bus driver in Collin County, Texas.  That same woman that cannot walk to a car without assistance.  But still full of pride of name, family and heritage.

Toward the end of the movie a portion of the Dylan Thomas poem, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, is quoted.

Do not go gentle into that good night, 

Old age should burn and rage at close of day; 
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

The night Gene went into coronary and pulmonary arrest, I screamed from a place in my soul that I never even knew existed.  It was akin to rage but filled with fear.  "No, no, not now.  It's too soon."  Over and over because I could not even imagine life without Gene.  It is a surreal experience to remember.  Gene successfully fought so hard to stay, to not go into that good night.

So this entry will end with neither quip nor smartly turned phrase.  Rather a simple nod of appreciation to all the stone angels that do not go gentle into the good night.  I love you, Gene.



  

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Elementary my dear Watson

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherlock_Holmes
source of picture
Tonight is the first time I have chosen to watch the "modern" Sherlock on PBS.  Quite interesting to see a Holmes wearing a nicotine patch and carrying a smart phone.  Clues both observed and unobserved consume the thoughts of that genius mind.  You think there ever was a detective with such an aptitude for solving crimes or mysteries?

Joan Hickson as Miss Marple picture from
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miss_Marple
Do I look like her?  Naw, closer to "Cannon"
Mystery shows, books and movies fascinate me.  It would be interesting to be in the minds of some of the writers of these books, movies and TV shows.  Of course the other set of minds that would be interesting is commercial writers.  Or the writers of  "The Big Bang Theory".  I am certain all of these different minds would be fascinating to persons delving into psyches.

It is really sort of amazing.  In the past couple of months we have been having a rash of holes in our socks.  Gene has lost 3 or 4 pair.  I at least 2 or 3.  Some are holes in the toes, some in the heels.  How weird is this?  Is it a coincidence? Is it a change in laundry detergent?  Temperature of dryer?  My mind may explode!!!!  Look at the unobserved very carefully.

Put on my Sherlock hat and look at the clues.  Oh, could it be that simple!  We began stocking up on new stuff about the time Gene retired ... 10 years ago.  They are just old at about the same time.  So you see, it is elementary, my dear Watson.

Now shall we look into the case of the sagging pants......


Saturday, January 28, 2012

It's all relative

How tall are you?  How much do you weigh?  What was your level of education?  How old are you?  When was the last time you were asked one of these questions?

5 ft 2, eyes
of blue

Every thing depends on how you measure or the standard of measurement.  Like how tall are you?  It may depend on your standard.  Are you measuring while standing, sitting, lying on your back or side.  Do you mean  now or say 10 or 15 years ago, which for me will make a difference of 1.5 inches in the wrong direction.

The enemy......
How much I weigh can depend on time of day, day of week or my attire.  Before or after Christmas.  Length of hair can have an astounding effect.  I found that wearing my hair in an up do did not make any difference though.

And the level of education is a real mine field of variances.  Level of education in formal schooling can be measured by grade levels, degree levels, certifications and sometimes titles.  Then there is how good was your school/college/university, ivy league or Big 12?

Recalculating, at the first
chance make a U turn.
But how do you measure practical education like doing laundry, reading a map or listening and following say GPS instructions?  Is taking spots out of kids clothing or ring around the collar the highest level of education?  And is it more educated to know how to sort colors or select proper drying times?  How to clean the bottom of a no slip shower should be close to genius.  The list goes on and on.
Sequoia National Park has
really old trees.  I was
six in this picture.

Typically age is measured from birth.  Others claim moment of conception which I thankfully do not remember for me nor my child.  Well, maybe my child, hot Gene!!!  Then there is the young 60 something or the old third grader.

So I am 18" tall on my side.  I don't weigh much, usually about twice a month.  Learned enough to recognize a line of bull.  And Biblically speaking of promised years, got about 10 good years left.  So just remember the next time someone starts asking a bunch of personal questions ......... it's all relative.


An uprising

Last week in preparation for a get together with friends and anticipating an upcoming house guest I mixed up a batch of Honor Carr's hot roll recipe.  I have been making yeast breads most of my married life.  Never was as good as I wanted it to be, that is it never tasted as good as Granny Chandler's rolls.  Granny passed away before I was able to get her to show me the tricks.

When we moved to Missouri a dear, sweet lady, Elsie Sponenberg, invited me to join an extension club with her.  That led to meeting Shirley Weatherly and her instructions on making yeast breads.  And the rest is history.  And for sure there have been good batches, mediocre batches, some that never rose and some that were so tasty they made Gene's eyes roll back in his head when he took that first bite.

It would not be an exaggeration to say hundreds, maybe a couple or three thousands of dozens of bread products have rolled out of my hands.  I like the smell of the dough as it is being mixed.  I like the feel of the different dough recipes as it is kneaded and shaped.  The smell when the dough is rising drifts through our home.  And the aroma when the dough is baking is surely what heaven will smell like!  And then there is the taste of the warm, buttered dinner roll as you take the first bite.  Mmmmm, simple pleasures.

The process all begins when a person mixes a little yeast with some warm water.  Usually I walk away to begin mixing the other ingredients and return to find the yeast alive and raring to go.  But this one morning for some reason I stayed working next to the yeast water mixture.  Then something caught my eye.  It started along one side and within a couple of seconds the entire water surface came alive.  This is the first time I saw the yeast bloom in the warm water at the bottom of the bowl.  Had I looked away as the many, many times before I would have missed this amazing sight, an uprising.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Something about .... something ...

There is something I am anxious to share about rabbits.  It has been on my mind on and off all day long.  But first a bit of the 70's we relived today.

Picture source:   tvacres.com   
I have a couple of really bad habits, well, two that I am sharing.  I am sure more will come as time goes by.  One bad habit is staying up till 2 or 3 AM.  The other bad habit is going to sleep with the tv playing. A few nights / early mornings ago I switched on the tv in our bedroom.  To my surprise and pleasure, The Bob Newhart Show was playing on the Hallmark channel.  In order for Gene to see the shows, the living room DVR was set with a timer to record the 4 shows that play from 1 - 3 AM .  This morning while enjoying freshly baked homemade caramel rolls, we watched the recordings.  What a hoot.

Cast Photo from epguides.com

The wardrobes included Susanne Pleshette's pants with leg bottoms as wide as a skirt.  Howard, the neighbor, buying a  Neru suit, wide lapels on Bob's suits and campaign furniture all brought back memories of our young, married days.

This photo is from the my-retrospace.blogspot.com 
No big social issues were addressed on any of the 4 shows we watched.  However we cannot ignore one thing about the 70's, Mini Skirts!  Here is proof they were just as short then, too.
Mini Skirt Monday #78: The Bob Newhart Show
my-retrospace.blogspot.com

The bed famous enough to be in the finale or Newhart's next series!










Sexual references were pretty subtle.  Every time someone was in bed, they had on full pjs and gowns.  At least they were not sleeeping in twin beds like I Love Lucy and Father Knows Best.  I knew only one real, live couple that had twin beds.  And they still had 4 kids!
picture from tvguide.com

Simple show with lots of one liners and always that special, Newhart style of humor.  Pleshette's character was a good compliment to Newhart.  And that was not just my opinion.  Bummer that she passed in 2008.

Did I just waste my time blogging about a 37 year old tv series?  Probably, but as I said at the beginning there was something that has been on and off my mind today.  Of course, at this moment there is nothing of the something left in my mind.

Oh, yeah, it is another bad habit I have about being easily distracted.  Something about  ....      rabbits.  Oh, yeah, that's it, if Gene or I are working on one project, get distracted and do something else entirely different, we say "I saw a Rabbit!"

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"I got plenty of nothing"

Today I awoke to the vibration of the alarm clock, then the siren part of the alarm as Gene attempted to turn it off and over shot.  He was going to meet the young guys at Panera for breakfast.  I was very content to stay at home as it was pouring rain.  Besides, I knew he would bring me one of those wonderful cinnamon crisp bagels.  And he did.

While Gene was gone I took advantage of the empty bed and did the exercises they gave us during the presurgery class yesterday.  If it makes recoup better then it would behoove me to get it done!  And today was a mostly low pain day.  So I was able to get the last of the winter decorations put away and a small arrangement made.  Since my Avast spyware quit working way too much time was spent on my computer trying to figure out why.  

I have not gotten back to the scan project.  I reeeallllly have to be in the right mood to do that and that has just not happened.  I did get this months card for the homebound printed.  What fun it was going to choir practice tonight to get signatures on the card.  The fun was listening to the talented folks practice the music for the next few weeks.  

At the end of choir practice one gentleman told of his experience on the volunteers in mission trip to Honduras this month.  This trip had the volunteers help build simple stoves in the homes of folks.  He mentioned the stoves replace open, unvented fires in the middle of the homes.  Cost of materials is about $60, "about what I pay for a meal for the family" said the gentleman.  

It was noted that next month's medical mission to Nicaragua will treat people with severe lung problems as a result of cooking on the same type of open, unvented fires.  I guess being in the choir room set a mood for me. I thought of the "I got nothing" blog, how much I have and after hearing the gentleman I remembered the old song ... I got plenty of nothing but nothing's plenty for me : )

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Just Maybe ..



Anyone that has known me very long knows my knees are pretty worn out from playing too hard!  In less than a month the right knee is to be totally replaced.  The last year has seen an ever decreasing ability for walking, standing and some nights sleeping.  Today I went to St. John's Hospital for pre-surgery tests and pre-admission paperwork.  I left a little sample of different bodily fluids for testing, had an x-ray of my lungs and picked up an end of life directive.  Along with 3 other future patients I had training for the surgery and recovery.  A video took us through the steps of surgery and recovery.  A "nice young lady" then restated the process stopping to answer questions along the way.  Doesn't sound too exciting except when thinking about the pain and the ice packs from Siberia.  "This can give you frostbite".





One year after moving in we had grass!  Spring 1994
We moved to this house almost 19 years ago, Feb. of 1993.  The yard was little more than mud and rocks with grass seed under a coat of mulch.  Every morning and evening for the first several months after we moved I walked Sam, our son's dog that stayed when he left for college, a mile carrying a poop bag.  Could not let her just run in the muddy back yard.

The first few years Gene worked 12 hour days on the weekends. Saturdays I would clean the house, mow the very small lawn and maybe do laundry or clean all the windows.  There would be time to make curtains or other crafty projects.  And Sundays were my day to "work on the garden".  Within a couple of years we had grass, shrubs in the front yard and "the plan" for the backyard garden.

Prep for "dry river bed" walk way.  1995
And with the plan I started digging. Our neighbor, Mik, dubbed me Rocks r Us due to all the rocks I dug out of the ground, loaded and carried to rock fill areas.  And a few pretty good sized "flat rocks" brought back to build bed edges and walkways.

Sam kept me company as I dug, sifted and moved dirt to one pile and rocks to other piles.  Dig, sift and haul away.  This continued for 3 or 4 years.  Finally Gene moved to a Monday-Friday schedule and we bought a tiller to help with the digging.

Sam smiling for her picture or laughing about all the rocks! 1995




Walkway plantings, wall and base rock installed by us in 1999.


Completed walk with plants outnumbering rocks in 2003 summer.
I loved working in the yard, expanding, moving and managing to make more than I ever dreamt possible. Unfortunately all the manual digging took a toll on my body, especially my knees.  Four years ago I was advised to have surgery on my right knee.  Insurance riders would not allow the insurance to cover the surgery.  


The last few years work in my beloved garden, the place I dug out not just rocks but worked on hard spots in my life, lay almost neglected at times.  Each year found me less able to do the thing I enjoyed so much.  I had convinced myself that it just would never be possible to work in my garden again.  That I would never walk the mile circuit that long departed Sam and I walked so many times.  I was certain I had nothing.....   But after the class today I came away with a glimmer of hope that just maybe ......
Walkway garden in early spring, 2007.


Monday, January 23, 2012

What goes around.....

Knowing how numbing and exhausting hospital time can be, Gene & I volunteered to cook a meal for our friends tonight.  So we spent a few hours cooking beef vegetable soup, carrot cake and French baguette bread.  We already had our dinner, home made chili, and Gene had doubled the baguette recipe so I knew fresh bread would be awaiting my return home from delivering the meal.

I was reading response, a mission magazine published by the national women's group to which I belong.  I find the articles informative and many times challenging to my faith views.  I need that.  It is so easy to get to be 65 and be a little too sure of knowing all one needs to know.  Anyway a new view on savoring was presented in an article named simply Savoring.  Starting with statements about the need for reconciliation in so many aspects of our lives, Sharon L. Vandegrift brought to me a new challenge.  The need to savor as a spiritual discipline.  "To appreciate fully ..... sensitizes us to blessings all around us and empowers us to more fully embrace a life grounded in gratitude ..... The question is not when God will act, but rather, how might we be attuned to the Divine activity already going on in the world? .....  The ability to see the holy in others is essential for reconciliation.""

As I was driving to take the meal to our dear friends I was rerunning an unpleasant situation that happened recently.  A bad habit I have is replaying conflict situations.  Something, maybe the sunset, maybe the light changing quickly, whatever, something caused me to remembered the article on savoring.  I chose to stop that negative thought loop, step back and look for the goodness in the situation.   Upon returning home from delivering the food, our neighbor had delivered a huge corner of her birthday cake!  So maybe what comes back around is in direct proportion on the positive negative scale as what goes out!

Like so much in my life when I think I got nothing, I really have a cup full, a cup overflowing.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Quite

The last post was made in the wee hours of Sunday morning.  Gene was in his recliner typing on his "ham" laptop.  I was in my recliner cruising the net on the studio XPS.  Being a child of the "age of the automobile" I prefer cruising over surfing.  Besides, I drive better than I swim.  Gene asked what service did we want to attend at church as he looked at the clock.  Good grief it is past 3 AM.  Guess we will aim for the 11 AM service.  I had nothing to add except guess we had better get to bed.

I know some of you have heard the story of Gene's problem last summer hearing the alarm clock.  He assured me the sound had diminished on old trusty.  I suggested that possibly sleeping with earphones tuned to the local NPR station could be effecting the sound.  Not to mention 70 year old ear drums.  Being near his birthday, I decided to get him an alarm clock he could hear.  It is named.  You know if something is named one might need to be suspicious.  But I threw caution to the wind and ordered the Sonic Boom with vibration option.  If any of my old Litton buds read this, get your mind out of the gutter!  I am a semi-changed woman.

So a few days later the innocent looking brown cardboard box arrives.  I remove from the outer packing and on Sept. 4 present the now 71 year old sweetheart his gift, The Sonic Boom alarm clock with vibration option.  Gene unwraps and this is what he finds.
It still looks innocent enough.  So he tries it on the loudest setting.  Immediately we both fall to the floor holding our ears.  The Sonic Boom lived up to its name.  Gene crawled to the dropped (incredibly durable plastic thing) and turned off the alarm.  Next was to try a lower setting, like level really low.  Ok, that could still possibly wake the next door neighbor from a nap in the back yard hammock, but it was not totally deafening.  And unlike the loudest setting would not induce instant death due to heart failure.  So now it is time to play, not play, check out the vibration device.  

Laying the device on his desk, Gene advances the clock and the round disk begins flopping all over the desk top.  Well, that's cute watching Gene attempting to catch the thing.  Gene decides to place the vibration device under his pillow the first night.  The vibration gave him a headache when it went off the next morning.  Ok, let's do as suggested in the instructions and place the device between the mattress and box springs.  That is much better for Gene and I am now awake to see him off to coffee with Rick or whatever.  But this alarm clock is to be used only in extreme circumstances.  Like when you do not go to bed till 3 AM.

The beautiful, quite sleep of a winter Sunday morning was rudely interrupted by our being vibrated out of bed.  Even under the mattress this little round disc makes as much ruckus as a quarter in a motel bed.  So much for quite!  



Nutin' Honey

No time yesterday to blog due to a house needing cleaning.  We did meet friends for a light supper and on to St. John's to visit another friend last evening.  Shouts out to Jerry and Bernie as they continue to beat back the beast.

Gene is so well trained.  This morning he served a breakfast fit for a queen, I type with tongue in cheek.  Waffle, bacon and fresh orange slices.  Yum when followed by some wonderful coffee he brewed his special, scientific way.

I have created a monster.  Yes, now when I ask Gene for input his answer is usually, "I got nothing".  Well, after the angel incident, I deserve that!  Maybe this blogging thing will make me think a little longer before asking the question that falls out of my mouth too frequently, "What were you thinking when you .......?"

Really, have we just spent the last hour watching a rerun of a 1990 pennant race?  Wow, that just reeks of not having much of a life.  What was I thinking wasting time like that?  You can say it with me, I got Nothing!  Not that phrase, the other one, "Kwitchyerbellyakin."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Watchyergot?


One of my dad's favorite sayings was quit your belly aching any time one of us girls or our Mom would complain.  My youngest sister, Arlene, found a sign that had the saying all jammed together and gave it to Daddy one year for Christmas.  After Daddy died and Momma had to move closer to Arlene, Sissy (Arlene, Nana) had a copy of the sign made for each of us "girls".

In this election year, everyone is complaining about something.  I am complaining about:

  • delayed surgery
  • just about anything Gene does (bless his heart)
  • the size of my rear end
  • the cost of .......  fill in the blanks.  
  • the temperature of what ever room I am in at the time
About a year ago I learned the worldwide average living space for 4 humans is 10.5 feet by 10.5 feet.  The smallest bedroom in my home is bigger than that.  That is the room we have dumped excess stuff from Edna's apartment.  Many households have a storage unit for their excess stuff bigger than the average living area for 4 people.

So I got lots of stuff.  But more than stuff I have the love of the best man in the universe for me.  No one else is welcome to him.  God blessed me with a caring son, three terrific, diverse grandsons and an extended family from my family and Gene's family ..... and most of these folks love and respect me at least part of the time.  So today, tell me, Watchyergot?  And unless you are sharing your space of 10.5' x 10.5' with 3 other people, just Kwitchyerbellyakin.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Got more than I need today!

Another day in the life of T(wo) O(ld) F(arts).  Gene performed perfectly today.  We are both still in shock.

And it was not just because he was gone on and off today, though that may have helped.  He met Rick for breakfast.  Returned home with a raisin biscuit for me.  With food in my mouth it is difficult to ask what he was thinking.  In the afternoon he carried off the recycling and visited "the storage unit".  He brought back the filing cabinet for Edna's papers that he sorted yesterday.  The cabinet needed some repair/modification to the drawers to hold the file folders upright.  So a couple pieces of trim, super glue and Gene's favorite glue gun seems to have taken care of the situation.  Pictures of Gene's newly acquired ability of the day.  Please, note the background disarray.  I found it wise to have nothing to add to the project.

No naps so far today but I have still spent lots of time in The Recliner.  I am able to accomplish quite a lot from this location thanks to lots of wifi and bluetooth toys as well as an awesome Dell Studio XPS.  Pictures of three wonderful grandsons and their dad are now printed and installed in the new frame received at Christmas.  Also, added pictures to the digital frame.  Gene had nothing to say about any of this.

Here are a few of the "treasures" brought from the apartment.




I just heard the captain of the cruise ship said he fell into the lifeboat.  Excuse me, that is like accidentally getting pregnant.  Really, you slipped and fell on the erection/only life boat within sight?  Maybe I have a little too much today.  But so far as Gene and his work today, I got nothing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Zero minus one

To those of you who chose to read this blog, thanks for the comments.  Who knows, maybe some days I may have something worth reading.

Recliner nap report.  It held me hostage till 5:15 AM when an undisclosed impulse awoke me.  So then I climbed in our bed.  Snuggled up to Gene just long enough to let him know I was not still wondering "what he was thinking" about yesterday's angel incident.

We did get more of Edna's stuff sorted today.  Some wonderful old photos from the 1920's, 30's and 40's.  Almost ready to start the scanning of family pictures again.  Man, I think Gene & I will both be thrilled when we got nothing left of this latest project!

The strange thing about this type of project, sorting our parents' things, makes us start doing some clean out of our stuff.  We had closed a bank box at one location but had not transferred to the next bank.  Went through the papers today.  Shredded out of date and cancelled policies, papers from purchase of house in 1975, contracts for purchase of this house 19 years ago.  Rediscovered Gene's army records and loved reading all the transfer orders.  Gene talked about army life, promotions and a couple of stories I do not remember him sharing.  And there was the Super Bowl memorabilia that Doug and Arlene gave John Roger.    Do not come looking for any of this stuff here, all at the bank now.  I got nothing!

Earlier this month I was scheduled for right knee replacement on Feb. 7.  Call from the hospital today and it seems the doctor is out of town Feb. 7.  So I figure why show up without him.  What do you say when the person on the other end asks, "Do you want to reschedule?"  Really, did she just ask if I want to reschedule?  And the option would be what?  Not get the surgery I have been waiting for four years?  "What are you thinking" is what I wanted to say.  Instead I simply replied yes and how soon.  Feb. 21, 2 more weeks.  That left me feeling like I had less than nothing.




Zero

There are those days in my life when folks ask me for my opinion on this or that.  Most times I got nothing.  No, really, I do not care if I buy salted or unsalted butter.  95% of the time I really do not care where we go to eat so long as I do not have to cook or clean up.  I care about bills before Congress but have no influence on the outcome so why waste the energy of stating my opinion.  

However, today I did have an opinion on how Gene put away the Christmas angels.  Why do I only have opinions about what Gene does or how he does it?  Why is it necessary for most of my discussions with him start something like, "What were you thinking?"  I mean really.  15 year old metal angels that have hung on a nail in a big trash bag 11 months of every year suddenly this year need to be placed between masonite and cardboard.  Then tied with an appliance strap now making the package too big to hang from the nail at the back of the heater closet.  Now it requires 5 inches x 3 ft. x 2.5 ft in back of the storage shelf.  I would have been better off just havin' nothing.