Saturday, December 22, 2012

Happy Holiday decorating

Each year I like to come up with a different way of decorating the Christmas gifts.  This year I had some nifty ideas that I found via Pinterest with a twist of my own.  I bought brown mailing paper, then I found old vintage Christmas photos of children online, downloaded them, and printed them to use on top of a layer of burlap and ribbon, added a gift tag with Baker's twine with the cute red and white stripe for color.  The cute snowflake craft paper I bought at Staples that is a Martha Stewart holiday wrapping paper they are selling this year.

Little boxed gifts on the piano lid with one of my favorite Santa Claus's

Since my daughter got married in October, I had wallet photos made to put in small frames, add a little red ribbon so they can hang as a tree ornament.

My girlfriend Lori and I saw at Crate and Barrel Christmas tree candles that they had put in Hurricane bowls.  We liked that too so we each bought one of the candles to see what we could come up with.  The white "snow" is Rock Salt.  I added a little Santa Claus that I bought at World Market to create a "Winter scene".

Lastly, Tucker perched on the chair near our Christmas tree.  Be a good boy Tucker and no eating the packages!

Friday, December 14, 2012

It was quite a Wedding....

October 13, 2012.....    I've been gone for so long.   Truly I've been overwhelmed with many emotions of joy (I never knew one could have so many moments of joy and how they would each be so special and unique to my heart!).  

So here I share just a tip of the joy our family had on our dear daughters wedding day....enjoy.

I'll be back, really I will.  Now the holidays have come and a New Year just on the heels of it all.  I'm still going through photos from out Wedding week in New Hampshire and may I just say I fell in love with the scenery, his family and all their friends.  The Fall colors, the crisp (chilly!) days, even the days we had a bit of rain it was magic!  In fact that has been my overused word for our daughter and her dear hubby B. Wedding.

Magic.....  magic....  it was.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Where I have been these days.....

I'm sorry that I haven't blogged in such a long, long time....we have a wedding in the family and I just have busy getting ready for it.  

Oh then starting in July we had a lot of time with family gatherings, vacation and poof! time passes by swiftly!

I don't think I'll be back till after mid October.....but if I have a chance I'll try to write..really I will.

I've thought of my blog friends and so much has gone on since the last time I read any blogs I'm sure.

I'm working on a special gift to bring to the wedding and my time is devoted to that....

Very happy times around here!!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wise Words Indeed

My love, my daughter and her fiance, my son and middle daughter (L to R)

On Children
     Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

I love the words of Kahlil Gibran, such wise and truthful words.  This July our family was able to spend some cherished time together.  It gets harder with every year as they don't all live near the "nest" as they once did.  Whenever I am with them I can't help but look at my children, all grown up except R, and am amazed at their adult faces.  Like looking at your newly born babe, I look at them.  I look in their eyes and see that if they could they would tell the stories of where and what they have been doing.  The hugs given, so sweet to me the hugger, to feel their bodies warmth next to mine, holding on, remembering all the hugs we have shared.  They restore my motherly need to be close to my babes. 

The release of our children has to be one of the hardest acts for me knowing that the years of my needing to mother / parent are waning in my lifetime.  I'm grateful that I will have this gift for awhile longer with R, but the girls, they are grown ups.  I want to be their good friend / mother.  Someone they can count on both ways.  This can be tricky for that means ones grown children need to release the thought that the parent is trying to pry  or question them when really the parent is just interested in what they are doing!   It also means the the grown children must perish the thought that they need parental approval for their lives / lifestyle.  It means that they must get cozy with the idea that mom and dad can still not agree on all that they do or say just as they do not need to agree on everything we do or say and it still is okay.

Today I was registering R for his Junior year in High School.  I was waiting for him to get his photo ID taken and noted that many of the moms were hovering and fussing with their daughter's hair while seated for the photographer.  I laughed to myself and wondered why oh why they were doing this.  I suppose if my daughter(s) had asked me to do this then I would but seriously I think parents need to let our kids arrange themselves for a photograph when they're teens.  I'm there at the school because it is required  but if it wasn't  I would have R. do it all himself.  In my day we went alone and did it ourselves!  Some parents can't resist being the "helicopter" parent and never let their children learn on their own.  I have always stayed out of my kids school work unless it was necessary for me to do so.  I set guidelines for when it was the homework time and not phone call or TV time.  Yes, there might have been some "why mom?!" but once it was made clear we didn't have too many issues.  There are far more important tasks in parenting and lessons to learn when it comes to children and their responsibility of homework.  I'd much rather lean towards the positive track and how that feels than harping on a negative.

My kids have all had their ups and downs as the years have gone by.  Just like all people regardless of age or sex.  We are human.  Trusting ones intuition when you come from a consistent, supportive upbringing will come to them even if it didn't when it should have.  We learn sometimes by error and that isn't always so bad.  Perhaps because I married young and my Love and I became parents young we never had to go through the phases that many young adults seem to go through these days.  We had no choice but to make a living to support the family and home.  Well, okay, I was a stay at home mom, but I darn tooting worked hard at my home job!  I never doubted my ability to care for home and family, I just did it.  So I wasn't the greatest cook, well I certainly could keep the home tidy and the clothes clean.   I could keep my kids for the most part happy and entertain them with trips to the park, plenty of paper and crayons, songs to sing or listen to, and most of all love.  I found my "perfect career", mothering.  I'm a good wife too.  Love my man, my friend.  I hope my girls and son someday find their perfect soul mate.  Yes, my first born daughter has....and soon a wedding...

In the words of Emily Dickenson ~
    That love is all there is
          Is all we know of love

Saturday, August 18, 2012

To My Life

To My Life

When our eyes met my soul was completed,
When you smiled, it opened up a closed door to my heart,
When you said 'hello', my happiness lit up a dark corner of my life where I thought it couldn't have been touched by another,
but can you see what's in my heart or in my eyes?
Can you see my soul? Look into my eyes? What do you see? How about me?
Look for me, find my happy place, see me? Find me;
complete the light in my soul as you did when our eyes met.

Susan San Augustin

It's been a long time of not writing.  I needed the rest more than you know.  I'm heart, healed heart.  We can never anticipate what or where our daily life will lead us, let alone why.   I like to think it is growth and sometimes growing pains there to remind us that we are merely human.  We are not of a storybook, fairytale, a movie or TV...we are mortals with frailty, with strength, pulsing along, walking, sitting, daydreaming...we breath, we hold our breaths, tears, smiles, questions, and so it goes day by day.

So it goes...and here I am.  Fresh as morning dew...the first light of dawn...the first step on a quiet beach... 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Not feeling it.

For the past two weeks I just haven't had my heart in writing.  I wrote that I was wanting to write and excited as well in a previous post but that has deflated like a long old balloon with a ppppppffffffffttttt sound as it exhales it's last remaining bit of umpf.

Am I getting too much blog life and not enough of living life?  Did I get myself over my head trying to juggle 4 blogs and trying to write to all that make a comment?  Heavens I have barely the time to read other blogs anymore and I'm not fully reading them as I want to.

Is it the weather that is calling to me with it's brilliant blue skies?  The green hills that I want to walk upon?  

All of that but also I'm not sure if I am blogging like I use to.  Life has changed and my tempo has too.  Am I writing for me or for others?  Is anyone out there?  I see that I have activity and then again I sometimes see nothing.  As one who writes by blogging, feedback does encourage my writing so a lack of response discourages me.  Do I mind writing just for myself?  No....yes.

Am I saying goodbye to blogging?  Maybe.  I guess I'll just play it by ear.  

I haven't taken a decent photo in ages.  I haven't caught up on my home movies that I have struggled to archive.  I need to decide where to store all my photos and upload them to a new place which will take time.  I want to work on the family genealogy that is time consuming but a pleasure and excitement at finding where that leads to.  I want to make friends and get out with them.  I've become lazy.  I've been depressed.  I've been everywhere in my head but where I want it to be.  Where blogging use to help I feel sucked dry now.  

I need to rethink

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Leave it to Paul Simon to come up with the great lyrics of his song "Rewrite".  From the first time I heard it I loved it. 

I've been working on my rewrite, that's right
I'm gonna change the ending
Gonna throw away my title
And toss it in the trash
Every minute after midnight
All the time I'm spending
It's just for working on my rewrite
Gonna turn it into cash

I've been working at the carwash
I consider it my day job
Cause it's really not a pay job
But that's where I am
Everybody says the old guy working at the carwash
Hasn't got a brain cell left since Vietnam

But I say help me, help me, help me, help me
Thank you!
I'd no idea
That you were there
When I said help me, help me, help me, help me
Thank you, for listening to my prayer

I'm working on my rewrite, that's right
I'm gonna change the ending
Gonna throw away my title
And toss it in the trash
Every minute after midnight
All the time I'm spending
Is just for working on my rewrite, that's right
I'm gonna turn it into cash

I'll eliminate the pages
Where the father has a breakdown
And he has to leave the family
But he really meant no harm
Gonna substitute a car chase
And a race across the rooftops
When the father saves the children
And he holds them in his arms

And I say help me, help me, help me, help me
Thank you!
I'd no idea
That you were there
When I said, help me, help me, help me, help me
Thank you, for listening to my prayer

My head has been leaking in or is it out, the need to write deeper.  With the past many months when I have felt devoid of words that I want to express I think it is starting to emerge.  Like a bulb in the ground the thoughts are pushing out to receive the light, to grow, to open.

That story I want to tell that maybe I will begin to write, not for the blogging, but that story that I think can be worth telling.  We all have stories within us.  Storytelling once was a way to pass the evening after supper along time ago.  A time to pass on family stories or of a childhood long gone to the young ones who would sit in rapt attention.  Maybe a story was told that would be well remembered and laughed at or one that the listeners would pause in thought to think they were glad that never happened.

In doing the genealogy I have found descriptions that made me wish I could be told the story of their lives.  The family members, husband and wife, who died in a tornado.  Those who died in the Civil War, WWI, WWII, those who came from Ireland to America.  I guess that is why I write to leave my trail for any beyond my lifetime who happened to find me as they do their own genealogy on the family.  

My Love has asked who in our family will be interested?  All the time I put in to researching, who will look at this?  All the time I've put into my photo organizing, uploading, storing, documenting, creating, making archive copies on DVD's or CD's.  What will become of it all?  I don't know.  I don't want to think it will all disappear without meaning to someone.

There's that story I want to write of my mom that only gets more fascinating as I put the puzzle pieces of her life together.  The few stories she told of her life as a child and now I find some of them to be fictitious.  Was it because she was too young to know the real story and filled in her life with what she wanted it to be?  We all tend to embellish stories we tell for the listener if we say it enough.  I want to write that story of hers that sits beside me as I correspond with a cousin of hers.  She is young and her mind clear to tell me what she knew and what she is trying to find out for me.  

I dug into a place I maybe shouldn't have but like me I did.  It was casual in my brother saying that our stepfather Bill was still alive.  What?!  Mom always told me he was dead!  Just like her to say that so I wouldn't at some point go looking where maybe she thought I shouldn't.  My brother innocent in telling me this only peaked my curiosity.  He even lives within a short drive from me not that I would go visit.  I did think to drive by but didn't.  The internet is different.  I found his email address and I wrote him.  I've been disappointed in that he hasn't tried to do the one favor I asked of him, to tell me of my mom and his breakup.  I never was given a reason since I was a young teen.  I don't know why my thoughts to know this are so strong I just wanted to understand why to fill in the pieces of the puzzle that didn't fit.  This man who was so good to my brother that he changed his birth name to his stepfather's name.  One doesn't ask, do or other lightly.  How does this man just drop off the face of the earth once he moved out?  I realize that he is now 80 something and maybe after the 40 some odd years have past, we too are merely a distant memory or lost.  I don't know.  He and I corresponded three times.  He shed no light though he said he would.  The last time I wrote him I told him I would not bother him again if I did not receive any emails back.  He must not want to tell his side.  The door closed.  The story gone.

Like Paul wrote...I'm working on my rewrite...that's right.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Special treat!

E came by yesterday for a visit and brought a big jug of fresh, raw goat's milk.  I have never had fresh, raw goat's milk and it was sweet and delicious!  I think I tried it off and on all day, a little glass here, another glass later, in a latte, and this morning on my oatmeal.  

I had thought it would be tart but it wasn't at all.  It is ultra white and just because I didn't know this, here are the benefits of drinking raw goats milk:

According to the Journal of American Medicine, "Goats milk is the most complete food known".  It contains vitamin, minerals, electrolytes, trace element, enzymes, protein and fatty acids that are utilized by your body with ease.  In fact, your body can digest goat's milk in just 20 minutes.  It takes 2-3 hours to digest cow's milk.

Goat's milk is less allergic.  Easier digestion allows the lactose to pass through the intestines more rapidly, not giving it time to ferment.  Most lactose intolerant people have found that they can tolerate goat's milk and goat's milk products.

There is more but I just shared a little.  I wish we could have this every day!

E. has been volunteering at a goat farm where they raise goats for their milk, they make products out of some of this too.  The lady shows her goats and must do very well as the goats she sells are pretty pricey.  They are Dwarf Nigerian goats and E. says they are quite cute and small.  She has learned to hand milk but also how to set them up with a mechanical milker.  They milk the goats two to three times a day depending on the goat and her production.  The down side has been that the couple are overworking their volunteers which is E. and one other girl.  They provide room and board for them but expect them to work a 10 hour day which is a lot of work.  She has decided that she is going to find another farm with goats and leave this place.  It's to bad the couple don't understand that maybe they need more hands to help with their large herd of goats.

E. joined up with a WWOOF - World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms to find a farm to work on.  I think she will try to find places that others have given reviews on as the place she is at didn't have any.  It was close by for her to pop in and see us, but I think it makes the volunteers to be treated like indentured servants.  Hello...we are not living in the past people!

We shall see where she decides to go the meantime I  am going to enjoy this milk while we have it.  E. thinks we should get goats so we can have our own fresh milk but something tells me this would be a lot for us to take on even if we do have the land.  We are thinking of expanding the chickens and maybe selling fresh eggs.  Looks like the hens are going to get a roomier coop and pen with a remodel by my Love!  Hahahaha!  Hard to get regular work but what the heck...remodel the hen house.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A slump by any other name

Sisotowbell* Lane
Noah is fixing the pump in the rain
He brings us no shame
We always knew that he always knew
Up over the hill
Jovial neighbors come down when they will
With stories to tell
Sometimes they do
Yes sometimes we do
We have a rocking chair
Each of us rocks his share
Eating muffin buns and berries
By the steamy kitchen window
Sometimes we do
Our tongues turn blue

Sisotowbell Lane
Anywhere else now would seem very strange
The seasons are changing
Everyday in everyway
Sometimes it is spring
Sometimes it is not anything
A poet can sing
Sometimes we try
Yes we always try
We have a rocking chair
Somedays we rock and stare
At the woodlands and the grasslands
and the badlands 'cross the river
Sometimes we do
We like the view

Sisotowbell Lane
Go to the city you'll come back again
To wade thru the grain
You always do
Yes we always do
Come back to the stars
Sweet well water and pickling jars
We'll lend you the car
We always do
Yes sometimes we do
We have a rocking chair
Someone is always there
Rocking rhythms while they're waiting
with the candle in the window
Sometimes we do
We wait for you

Joni is calling me once again.  I hear her songs from old albums that still trigger an emotional response in me.

I'm in one of those slumps that seem to come and go, but while within my moodiness of the slump I need to remind myself that it will pass.

I missed my children this Easter.  While I had my son I missed those daughters of mine.  Memories are a blessing and a curse, are they not?  I guess I never realized that at some point the chicks (children) would fly the nest and not be with us as before.  The girls all in their 20's and early 30's have their own desires and interests.  For now a tradition of gathering for holidays is not that important or necessary.  Or is it just me that holds on to whatever could bring us all together just as my mom did.  I have to hand it to her that she gave plenty of parties, BBQ's, and vacation times to keep the family together.

I sat at my sister by marriage's table for Easter Brunch with "the old" people as her mother by marriage said to me.  She asked why I was sitting with them and not the "young people".  I wanted to have us all together in my heart...young, old and all in between.  I remarked back to her "I am almost where you are and less toward them".   I said this more for politeness and yet I did mean it.  Am I not in years less near the young and closer to the elder? 

The slump mood mixes me up as to what makes me happy these days.  I want to be happy and surely I have the ability to allow the sad events wash off my back like duck feathers with water?  If I think happy will I convince my heart and head that I am?  Is obtaining happiness that easy?

Since I had children in my 20's my Love and I didn't fly to far from our old nest of our parents.  We accepted the Sunday night dinner or the dinner out to eat.  I was happy to not have to cook.  We were available to be with the extended family for any excuse.  None of us left the area.  Even now my husband's family all live in the Bay Area.  True that side of the family has grown by leaps and bounds and getting us all in one house is getting tight and harder to do but we try to gather together, if not with everyone then with who we can.

This year feels just that much more bitter with my Love's parents not doing well.  There age is showing and slowing every day that passes.  It's bad enough to have my mom but not have my mom with her mind the way it is.  The gathering of the elders to be with the young ones, the Great Grandkids is not easy.  Transition marks our path of Grandpa who has lost his license (for a good reason), Grandma in Assisted Care in the town we live in but not in the town her husband lives in, my mom in another town not ever to leave her home due to her state of mind.  We move around to see them and think of how much closer we are towards them and less of the young parents we once were.  How many dinners did they do for us to be with us?

In Joni's song these words take on a meaning I never thought of so long ago.....
We have a rocking chair
Someone is always there
Rocking rhythms while they're waiting
with the candle in the window
Sometimes we do
We wait for you

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Birth of Ryan

Sixteen years ago this dear man-child was born.  He was a gift is the only way I can see it.  A little miracle.

My Love had had a vasectomy within months after our last daughter was born in 1985.  Yet less than ten years later I was having the worst case of mommy yearning.  It fell on me in waves of tears and sobbing, of grief that I would never carry a child again, to feel the flutter of life, to watch my belly grow and undulate, to give birth, to hold a newborn in my arms.  One should never have a vasectomy so soon after a birth and really I wish we both had waited and talked at length, at least a year later, if we would ever in our wildest dreams imagine wanting another child.  Why would we?  We had three beautiful girls who filled us with joy!

With much talking back and forth, waiting, and more talking my Love decided he would have a vasectomy reversal.  We found an incredible Dr. who did the surgery and blessings upon us he was back to 100% of his sperm count months later.

Me....I was another story.  At 34 when he did the surgery I felt there would be no problem getting pregnant.  After all, our girls were conceived the very month we tried.  Still, month after month passed and year after year with no pregnancy.  We were disappointed but tried not to dwell on it.  

Three years later in 1995, I realized my period was late.  I hadn't even bothered to count anymore as that dang period just kept coming.  What was the point?  Yet here I was almost 2 months late.  Happy, ecstatic, overjoyed and relief!  My Love and I had joked that if I wasn't pregnant by 40 he would have to get another vasectomy as we figured by then it was not  meant to be.  He wasn't looking forward to going under the scalpel another time.

Pregnant.  We didn't tell any one right away, we wanted to make sure of this.

We shocked many of the family and it was jokingly thought that the "milkman" must have done it!  They couldn't believe that my Love would have done a reversal.  

Next was finding our midwife Peggy who had been with us for our last two daughters.  Where oh where was Peggy now?  Quickly I found that she was a midwife with Kaiser hospital.  What will we do as we don't belong to Kaiser?  Would we do a home birth as we did with M.?  I wanted to and then I wasn't sure since we didn't belong to Kaiser and what would we do if I needed to go to the hospital?  Would Kaiser even let me go or would I have to go to our local hospital into the emergency and be treated as an outcast? 

With great reluctance we began a search for another midwife.  What I learned was the midwives were a scarcity in our area and mainly only worked through the Kaiser Hospital.  Insurance companies didn't want to insure midwives except at an unreasonable fee.  My how things had changed in 10 years.  We thought of the two nurses Lindy and Robin who did doula work when I was pregnant with E. and maybe they had become midwives.

As luck would have it we found that Lindy had become a midwife and worked through Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley.  Home birth didn't seem to be so easy because of the insurance sadly.  Still as long as I had a midwife I knew that it would be alright.  I had E. in the hospital with Peggy and it was a beautiful birth.  

Meeting Lindy after such a long time was a memory door opening for me.  Her face looked the same but her hair had gone to a lovely silver grey.  Still petite and soft spoken she and I visited back to the year that she came to our home when I was in labor, checking me, coaching me till we decided when it was the right time to go to the hospital.  She was only going to stay for that time at our home but as so often happens with a birth, it is not something you wish to leave till a baby is in a mother's arms.  

In all honesty, Lindy had huge shoes to fill with my not having my beloved Peggy as our midwife.  Two births with her, she left a indelible mark in my heart.  

My pregnancy went well with only one issue which was R. being breech towards the end of my term.  Thankfully he turned and his wee head was in the right position.

The night of his birth, one week late, we had just crawled into bed (can a pregnant woman crawl into bed?) preparing my pillows to support my huge belly.  Our time to watch him him move in the tiny space he had left to move in.  I felt like a whale, a beached whale at that.  Then the most odd sensation happened and I knew at once my water had broken.  This was exciting because in three births my water had never broken on it's own.  So this is how it feels.  My Love and I laughed and became giddy with joy.  Tonight was the night!  He went to tell our daughters that soon we would be going as their little brother was ready to come into our arms.  The time: 10 P.M.

We called my parents who were to come and stay with the girls for the night.  Within a short time my contractions came on in regular intervals.  My uterus knew the drill.  Did I remember after 10 years though?  Would it all come back of how and what to do?  How to breathe through my contractions?  It was then that Peggy's voice filled my head...her words..."down and out"....I heard her just as if she was right next to my ear, softly and calmly comforting me.  

We left for the hospital which was about a 30 minute drive from our house.  The roads were quiet thankfully.  Alta Bates is a huge busy hospital with a large parking garage.  The walking felt good as we approached the doors.  

I wasn't exactly thrilled to be back in a hospital.  I would  have preferred to be home.  I just kept telling myself and my Love, that the birth was to be our way.  Lindy understood too.  My sister by marriage would be meeting us at the hospital as she would be taking photographs for us.  Of course once inside after we checked in, they told me to sit in a wheelchair to go up to the Maternity Ward.   Why?  I wanted to walk, I wanted to stop when I had a contraction.  I wanted to lean myself into my Love's arms, hug him, rock and moan.  Rules...rules.

Once up in Labor and Delivery we were given our room.  Lindy came in and of course we all were excited.  At last baby boy was really on his way!!!!  Lindy checked me and I was dilated to 5 centimeters.

A nurse came in and said that they needed me to wear a fetal monitor so they could run a strip to check his heart rate.  Okay...I will oblige this rule though I did not want to lay on the bed for a half hour.  I certainly didn't have to do this when I had E. in 1983.  It was uncomfortable to lay there through my growing contractions.  I wanted up, I wanted to move and sway into my hips, I wanted to be anywhere but laying there on my side keeping a monitor in place with a big strap, breathing, doing my soft moans.

Finally they took it off but of course the nurse really wished I would keep it on.  The rebel in me refused.  We wanted to be left alone.  Let me labor in peace.

My labor was rapid and relentless.  Steady contractions, lengthening, growing in their waves.  Peggy in my head guiding me.....I realized a panic coming over me and I found myself becoming fearful.  After so long I had forgotten how powerful labor is.  I couldn't find a comfortable position.

This fear works against a laboring woman.  To watch a woman in labor you need to see in her eyes what she is thinking.  You need to hear it in her sounds that she makes. You need to see how her legs, toes, arms and fingers touch and reach.  She needs someone to breath with her.   She needs someones eyes filling hers.  Closing your eyes only can lose you in a dark and lonely place and make you feel frightened when active labor pours over you.  I felt adrift from my Love and Lindy.  Every time the fear tried to undermine me I heard Peggy.  I could have been totally alone in that labor room because a part of me was.  My Love didn't seem to realize this.  It was then that I cried out for drugs.  I felt I couldn't do it.  I begged for an epidural.  Of course my Love and Lindy knew I that I didn't want any drugs.  No, I really did!  Peggy in my head calmed me.  She "awwddd" with me, keeping my mouth loose like my body wanted me to.  A woman's body knows how to give birth, it's the mind that needs to be calm and trusting of this natural process of giving birth.

And then I hit transition.  A tidal wave fell over me and I feared I would not be able to go further.  How do I collect myself?  I was fully dilated but I didn't know if I could push.  The mind gets in the way.  Wait and the time will tell you when the urge begins.  It will happen.  I know the time will come to release and to be fully in the moment.

I tried being on my hands and knees, but no this wasn't working.  I tried on my side but no this wasn't working either.  I tried to squat and felt awkward and off balance.  

Back up on the hospital bed on my back with the head raised and pillows.  And there I began the pushing.  I might as well have been giving birth to a huge watermelon or a cannonball.  My request for a mirror came just in time to see R.'s crowning.  My mind connected that at last my labor was coming to an end.  Now would be the time to bring him out to our arms.  

As was the pattern with my tipped uterus, this fourth birth no surprise, R. would be a posterior presenting baby like his sisters.  Back labor and a baby facing the opposite way of a normal birth.  

That moment just as full crowning happens, just as you feel that you can take no more, just as you must let go, that head pops out.  The odd moment of knowing that there is no going back and a child will slide into a world of air, to be released forever from the amniotic sea and of the comforting mulled sounds of my body.  Now his shoulders must slide out one side first.  The last push and out he came with a whoosh of fluid.  A big boy indeed.   R. weighed in at 9 pounds 2 ounces.  He was healthy and beautiful.  Our son so wanted had come to our arms.  The world could have fallen away and I would have never known.  

His birth was at 1:15 A.M., March 27th, 1996.  My labor a mere 3 hours though it felt like many hours more.

Bliss.  That was my word of R. in our life.  Nothing could have been more blissful.  There I lay, baby on my bare skin, the warmth of his and mine, bonding, blending, beginning.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Doing the right thing

Mother by Marriage ~ Photo by Megan Frasheski

These past many months have been challenging for my husband's parents and siblings.  The relentless aging process for his parents and how to do the best you can for them as you keep them safe.  The process of this is quite different than with my own mother who set up literally a Fort Knox to keep her family out of her protection.

Mother by marriage (MBM) remains at the Assisted Care and is doing well there.  She still has a the hip wound that refuses to heal and now she has been to a Wound Specialist to aid in the care of it.  Last week the Dr. had to reopen the wound as there is a pocket that won't close up.  I won't even write about what they did as it makes me queasy to even think about it.  

Father by marriage (FBM) mentally is fading....quickly.  It was a success to keep him from driving but that was with some rather humorous ways that he tried to get back behind the steering wheel.  Brother by marriage (BBM) ended up removing the batteries from both cars and that seemed to work even though FBM keep calling to say he needed to go get a battery and would we take him to go buy one.  Then he ended up taking a cab and going to buy one by himself!  My sister by marriage (SBM) was visiting MBM when who should stroll in but FBM.  Big shock when he mentioned that he drove himself.  I failed to say that his license was taken away two weeks before via his Dr.'s recommendation (only because we all had to pressure the Dr. to understand that FBM should not be driving and at last he agreed it was dangerous for him to be behind the wheel).  

My Love went and bought two Clubs that go from the steering wheel to the brake pedal and slipped in the garage without FBM knowing and installed them in both cars.  FBM thinks that the DMV came and installed them!  So now we know he can't drive.  Wheewwww.

We have a caregiver go by the home everyday, and takes him grocery shopping as well as on short errands.  She has also driven him out to visit MBM.  

It's not easy learning how to parent a parent.  I've said before it is not for the faint of heart.  You have to be strong, you have to let go everything you thought of about your parent as the one knows how to tend to themselves.  It takes time for both sides as well as lots of redirecting and patience.

FBM is much like my mom in that he is difficult and can get quite nasty.  I'm glad my mom is beyond that point.  For now my Love and his siblings are learning just as I did how to tackle the onslaught of constant phone calls, demands, flowery four letter words this way and that, the crying, the yelling, the lack of hearing and the understanding that dementia brings with it.

Today an example of how hard it can be to deal with him.  We get a phone call from FBM that he wants to go to Costco.  My Love says he will come pick him up and take him.  A couple minutes later and BBM says he is going to pick up FBM as he wants to go to Costco.  Mmmmhmm.  See, FBM just starts calling.  He doesn't remember if he called or not, he just dials numbers.  We assume then that BBM will take him and my Love doesn't need to go.  5 minutes pass and BBM calls us to say the FBM is mad because he wants to go to Costo and BBM doesn't think there is anything he can't get at the local Safeway and doesn't want to drive him all the way to Costco.  My Love tries to explain that FBM just wants to get out and what is the big deal of not taking him.  They hang up.  Another 5 minutes pass and BBM calls to say that he has left because FBM wouldn't write a list and he wouldn't take him without one.  My Love tells him "Dad can't write a list"....well BBM refused to do the the right thing and said dad is unreasonable.

My Love right now is off to pick up FBM and take him to Costco.  Yes, it is a 1/2 hour to FBM and a 1/2 hour back to Costco, maybe an hour at Costco then 1/2 hour back to FBM's home and then 1/2 hour back to our home.  Maybe.  It might be longer but it will get FBM a chance to get out of the house.  To visit with his son on whatever level it may be.  It will be walking without a list to get who knows what.  Sometimes you have to do this.  It may seem a waste of time but for our elder folk it is all they have to think and do on a given day. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

When we were little

There is something special with old photos of when you were a kid.  I put this together awhile back for my brother for his birthday.  Just felt like sharing it today.  He is my family and I love him.  He's here through thick and thin.  Smiles and tears.  He's my big brother.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ready for a ride down the Grand Canal?

I'm sharing a video I took while we were in Venice ....  if you like, visit my other blog Snapshots on My Journey to see.


Friday, March 2, 2012

The girl with the bracelet

She sat next to me in my Crafts Class.  She was pale skinned, with long wavy hair that sometimes looked unbrushed, slight of built and quiet like I was.

I had switched to the Craft Class because the Chorus Class disappointed me.  Over the summer we had moved to this town and I was less than happy over leaving my friends.  They would all be in their Freshman year at the High School and I was in a three year Middle school.  I couldn't even call myself a Freshman, I was a 9th grader.  The year was 1972.

She didn't talk readily but would give a demure smile if you spoke to her in greeting.  Her eyes looked haunted and sad as though there was something she was not able to say, and not knowing anyone at the school I could not ask what was her story.  At 14 I didn't have the best social skills of making new friends and frankly I didn't want new friends, I wanted my old friends.

Our class was in a large, high ceiling room with a kiln room in the rear.  We sat at high desk tables on stools, two by two, making clay bowls.  Our teacher with his laid back ways, allowed us to talk while we worked.  Her table was the only one with a vacant stool.

Day after day we sat working on our bowls, not saying much.  Sometimes she had dry, crusty looking lips and her eyes looked like she had been crying as they were red and watery.  She never seemed to have any friends in the room who would come up and talk to her.  In some ways we shared the same isolation.

I noticed that she wore a bracelet but it was not a decorative girls type of bracelet.  It was of silver in color with writing on it.  I asked her one day what it was.  She told me it was for her boyfriend who had gone to Vietnam.  He was missing and she wore this always and never took it off.  I didn't know what to say and muttered a "oh".   That was all we said as we worked.

She wore a POW-MIA bracelet.  A young man off to war missing in action.  Her sadness was understood by me of what I thought she might be feeling.  Or so I thought.  I too had lost a boyfriend when we moved.  He as well had moved away and we had tried to correspond thinking we would still always be boyfriend and girlfriend.  It felt tragic to me not being able to see him, hug him and kiss him.  I did not know what tragic meant.

Tragic meant for her maybe never seeing the man she loved.  For he was a man, not a teenager, sent to fight, drafted.  How could she love one at her age who was so much older than she?  What did her mom and dad think of this?  How long had he been gone or was missing?  I had questions in my head but I lacked the courage to ask her.

She had been absent for a few days and I wondered when she would be back.  Our class project now was working on leather belts, pounding on the head of a tool with a small hammer to create designs of our choosing. By now I had made new friends at the school as well as in this class and was accepting to a point that this was where we lived in this new town.  I still dreamed that somehow I could convince my parents to let me move back to our old town and live with my girlfriend's family.

She was gone a week.  When she came back she looked more frail and pale that before.  It saddened me to see her so.  I asked her what happened, had she been real sick?  She looked at me with old eyes and said "I had to stay home because my baby was sick".  I was speechless.  She had a baby?  She was 14.  In my world you don't have a baby at 14. 

She told me that she missed her boyfriend so much. That he was the father of their little girl.  It was hard to raise her child alone even though she lived at home with her mother and father.  She had not seen him for a year.  She did not know if she ever would.  She did not know what would happen with her life but here she sat making a dumb leather belt, going to middle school as a 9th grader and not to High School.  She was a young teen mother and not married.  

This was my wake up call that life can be tragic beyond a break-up of a boyfriend at school because he liked another girl over you.  This was more tragic than having to move away from your friends.  I didn't have the maturity to understand what she might be going through but I could be her friend here and now.

I didn't get to know her any more than in that class. Sometimes the shallowness of our teen years keeps us from wanting to reach out beyond the girlhood rules of friendship.  The girls I began to hang out with cheered me up and accepted me.  She didn't have time to be a teenager to do what teens do. To go to the movies or shopping.   I didn't see her again when we all finally moved on to 10th grade and at last to High School.  

I am haunted by her memory all those years ago. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sixth Sense

Flat top of the Maverick from the rolling

I found the photo of my brother's car that he had his accident in when he was a teenager in 1970.  It is a miracle that he is alive.  It was a brand new Ford Maverick, red exterior and black interior.  Quite a snazzy car for a young driver.

My story of this event was my first encounter with a Sixth Sense.  When I hit the age of 13 up until I was 17, I went through a phase of frightening, wake up in the night, dreams on a regular basis.  I dreamt of my Grandmother dying often.  Whether it coincided with my Step-Grandmother telling me that she believed in Reincarnation or that she believed in Channeling and in fact had lived other lives in other times, it certainly laid some mental groundwork in my thoughts.  Once when I was in 4th or 5th grade she visited us and played a tape of her talking about her Channeling experience.  It was creepy and odd to hear her speak this way my having been raised in the Presbyterian Church Sunday School with a strict version of Bible Stories.  We didn't discuss Reincarnation or Channeling or what that was.   I became curious but laid it to rest. 

On the night of the accident I had dreams of my brother being hurt though I couldn't interpret if he had died or not.  It was a troubling sleep where I tried to change my dreams but I kept going back to him.  Somewhere in an awaken moment I heard voices in the house though I knew the hour was late into the night.  I couldn't understand what was being said and fell to sleep hearing their muffled voices.

What happened was that my brother had been in a serious car accident on the Monterey Salinas Highway just at the Laureles Grade.  He had gone out with his girlfriend that night and was returning home to Salinas after he had dropped her off at her home in Pacific Grove when he fell asleep at the wheel.  Amazingly he suffered only minor injuries of a broken rib, scrapes and bruising.  He wasn't wearing a seatbelt and that may have been what saved him.

Falling asleep, in that relaxed state, he slid down and avoided being potential decapitated or certainly seriously injured.  His car rolled and hit a tree in the end.  At the time even though it is a Highway, it was a quiet road at night, mostly just a country road with very few residences.  I don't know how long it was before someone discovered the accident but in the 70's there were no cell phones so someone would have to find a house somewhere to call for help.

In the morning when I came out of my room, I was told that he had been in an accident and in the hospital.  

I was relieved that he was okay but to digest the fact that I had dreamed he had been hurt only to find out that indeed he had been hurt did scare me. How was I to understand that I could have dreamed something and that it happened?  What if more of my dreams became real?  

I like to think that my being a teen helped me to pass through without any residual effect.  I did have good dreams too.  This did have the effect of my interest in spirits, ghosts stories and hauntings outside my church upbringing and what I wanted to believe or question. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fixing a hole...

Another continuing saga with our elderly parents....if you haven't read this you may want to so that you understand what I am writing about......previous post.

Today is just one of those days with FBM,  who decided to abscond MBM and dear Love had to intervene along with a local policeman at the Assisted Care Home she lives at...this is the song I thought of because everyday another hole is made by a very confused, agitated, irrational, volatile, paranoid elderly man, ....catching all this?  Seems that no matter what,  the story will have an unhappy ending as he can't understand or accept that his wife will never be where she once was and will always need care that he can't provide because of his frailty.   Worse still is that his Dr. can't do anymore to help as he doesn't think FBM is incompetent enough to need care himself which floors all of us.  He can't write very well anymore, and can't comprehend or understand verbal dialog except when a part of his brain flips to the up side and he more or less ends the discussion of where he thinks his wife, our mom, needs to be. Then there are the endless phone calls that start bright and early in the morning to his kids of wanting to move her home, not move her home, move her to a V.A. Hospital, change Dr.'s as he doesn't trust her Dr., wants his gun back (another story), thinks his son stole the gun and calls the local police on him (he is doing this almost every other day and the police are getting tired of him calling), he sobs, he wails, he yells and yet the Dr. can't help us except to turn this all over to Social Workers and even that is a whole different can of worms.  

It is a lovely sunny day, I just had our daughter and her fiance visiting for a few days and they have just flown back to the East Coast, youngest daughter came to visit as well and middle daughter hung out with all of us too.  Life can be sweet and I am looking at that rather than the dismal saga that dredges on with FBM.  I love the hugs my children, my adult children share with me.  That is comfort medicine of the best kind.  I am glad that they all had the chance to visit with MBM while they were here as I know this brightened her day.  Hold close your love ones, tell them, show them....and in the meantime we will continue to plug the holes that keep erupting in the aging parents.

I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
Where it will go

I'm filling the cracks that ran through the door
And kept my mind from wandering
Where it will go

And it really doesn't matter if I'm wrong I'm right
Where I belong I'm right
Where I belong.

See the people standing there who disagree and never win
And wonder why they don't get in my door
I'm painting my room in the colourful way

And when my mind is wandering
There I will go
And it really doesn't matter if I'm wrong I'm right
Where I belong I'm right
Where I belong.

Silly people run around they worry me
And never ask me why they don't get past my door
I'm taking the time for a number of things
That weren't important yesterday
And I still go

I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
Where it will go


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