Saturday, January 28, 2012

I take photos in awkward ways....

Dear daughter caught me attempting to take photos of this fantastic scene in Venice but sadly my photos didn't turn out.  Darn.  At first I felt silly getting down on the ground with the gorillapod and my camera.  There were so many people walking on that lovely night behind me.   I hadn't done much with night shots and I only wished I had practiced before we came or at least taken more while we were there.  Another time.....another time.

Please tell me that was not my panties showing either! 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Missing some bloggers

Do you have some blogger friends that seem to have gone?  I have several that don't seem to write any longer and I miss them.  I wonder if something has happened in their life or if they just tired of blogging either from writing or reading.

All of them were terrific writers too.  Like Astonish Me who I found early on.  She spoke of stories from the South that hit the roots of my family who came from Alabama.  She wrote stories of her growing up, stories that came to life in her words.

Then there was Bethany from Bloom.  Another blog that was a delight to read.  An animal lover like myself but had some very deep thoughts and sometimes a serious side to her writing.

I so enjoyed My Farmhouse Kitchen with her lovely photography of where she lives.  Seasonal displays, recipes, her poochie Teddy, such a delightful blog.  I know of the area she lives in and how many times I would be reading and viewing and thinking "Oh I know where that is" or "hhhmmm, I'll have to go there sometime".  Colorful and friendly a special little get-away online.

Now Sarah at Sarah Elizabeth hasn't been writing but I do understand.  She had a baby this past year and I certainly would step away from blogging for a baby.

Both my daughters had blogs that they stepped away from and I miss those too.  Of course I may not view their blogs but I hear from them so that evens it out.

Do you have bloggers who have faded away?  Believe me I don't really mind because someday I too may decide that I am tired of blogging.  A different interest may come along that I take in fully.  I don't know what I thought when I began to blog or that I would have any readers except maybe family and friends.  When unknown names made comments or when I ventured to read other blogs a door opened which was a breath of fresh air.  I prefer a blog read over the newspaper any day. 

Just my passing thought for the day...

Getting tired of the monkey business

This week ended on a sour note.  Now listen up all of you.   I'm going to say this REALLY LOUD so you can hear.   When you get old, don't act like nothing is wrong, that if you are an invalid you don't need help, that if you can't hear get hearing aids and don't act like your family doesn't matter.   There.

Why my raised voice?  Let me just tell you that it is true, when you get old it isn't always fun.  You're not 20 anymore.   Let's meander down the days events starting on Wednesday.....hear the birdies singing gaily?  Nope, neither do I.

As  a background, my mother by marriage has been in Assisted Care for about 6 weeks following a nasty awful fall in her shower.  Father by marriage called for help in getting her up,  only he was to be found all snug in bed while dear mother by marriage is left with no towel in the shower.  Let me use MBM and FBM for their respective identity.  FBM seems to be in total denial of how the fall happened (he thought she fell out of bed.  Pray tell how did she wind up in the shower?).  MBM developed a horrible hematoma which eventually burst and created a nasty hole in her hip that has been draining ever since.  Therefore for her safety and healing, the family,  and upon FBM saying he wants her out as he can't take care of her,  (he refuses to have in  home care) she is brought to a lovely Assisted Care place nearby.  Within a day of her departure FBM wants her home, still in denial of how awful (not to mention how painful) her hip is.  She already has a bum hip that prevents her from walking (a whole different story almost as tragic) very well or at all.  She uses a wheelchair most of the time.

Since MBM has been in Assisted care she has had more visitors, better diet, calm environment and great care.  FBM has been swinging like pendulum with her being there.  At times he "gets it" why she is there and most times he feels the family took her while she was weak in the head and against his wishes.  He also doesn't seem to "get it" that her hip needs a long time to heal.  They were actually stuffing the wound with gauze to soak up the drainage coming out.  Now she has a pump with a  hose to remove the drainage which she has to wear constantly.  It is so sad to see the situation unfold for all involved.  Frustration, aggravation, compassion, empathy, and all around with the same thoughts over and over. 

This week on Wednesday a call came that FBM is at Assisted Care to remove MBM and bring her home.  I guess he made a scene and the family was called.  I was the only one available and got there within ten minutes of my Love asking to intervene.  When I arrive they both are sitting at a table for two in the dining room.  It is full of the folks who live here having their luncheon.  I also notice it is rather quiet.  I pull up a chair after greeting them both.  FBM has a sour face and MBM looks like she is trying to hold up with a strong face.  He asks me how we are to get her out and back home.  I calmly tell him she can't go home till the hip is healed.  He thinks it's better and she doesn't need to be here.  I remind him of the pump and he tells me she doesn't use it anymore.  I turn to MBM and say "you still use the pump all the time, right?".  "Yes, all the time".  FBM then says she needs a 30 day notice to get out of here and he doesn't want to pay the money to do this.  It all costs too much is all he can say.  I remind him for her to go home it needs to have her Dr. give the okay and she must have care at home.  He has a list of requirements he must meet at their home such as caregivers and safety needs.  He sits there with this look of disgust and anger though he talks calmly to me.  Then he starts telling me how wrong and bad my Love and his sister are for all they have done.  I look him in the eye and tell him I don't want to hear this talk at all.  That his kids have done so much for them both in loving ways.  He stops and looks at me, maybe a little shocked that I would tell him this.  The dining room feels like whatever ears can hear are all tuned in to our little table.  MBM continues to eat.  I try to make chit chat in changing topics but he looks at me as he stands up and tells me to tell his son (my Love) that they need to talk and he is going to tell him that he can't pay all this money anymore.

Whoooowee...that got handled.  Five minutes after he leaves the dining room comes to life and normal sounds of talking or moving of chairs happens.  The entertainment has stopped.

We find out out Thursday that FBM missed his Dr. appointment on Wednesday as he was at the Assisted Care causing trouble instead.  He was suppose to see his regular Dr. and then after to see a Neurologist.

On Friday morning we are called to be told that all of MBM possessions have been removed by FBM.  What?  My Love drives over to FBM's home to see what is going on.  He finds him vacuuming the floor, talking to himself before he sees my Love.  He denies picking up her personal clothes and possessions though they are in a bag in his car.  He doesn't know how they got there.  He also is saying he wants to divorce her and doesn't want her to come home.  She is mean he says and doesn't love him anymore.  If she comes home he will move out and rent a house somewhere else.  My Love gets him to sit down and have some lunch.  We all feel that FBM has some form of dementia.  They both do.  It is all such a quandary of what to do and what we can do.  None of us have the ability to have an open book with FBM health care.  Certainly we have communicated with the Dr. but legally he can not tell us what he thinks.

After getting FBM calm and fed he brings MBM's items back to her at the Assisted Care.  She denies having helped put her clothes in the bag though that is what she did.  My Love was able to get another appointment with the Dr.s for FBM this week.

Such a mess...such a sad mess.  I sure hope my Love will be able to get him to that appointment and be able to hear what the Dr.s say.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Close to you....a story of he and I....Part 3


Wondering why I wrote the story of my Love and the Shan-gri-la potential trip?  We perhaps might not have gotten engaged, or at least for awhile longer.  I was not happy at Cal State Hayward where I was going to college.  I only choose it because it was not away from my Love.  I felt that if he did go on the trip then there was no reason for me to stay at a school I was unhappy with.  Of course I had only been there a few months, barely enough time to decide if I was just going through a rough beginning or that it really was just a commuter college without a chance to have the college experience I had read and hoped for.  I thought of places away from the area.  Maybe out of state in a more interesting town than Hayward. 

When the trip fell through and I knew my Love was not leaving I thought I would still change schools.  It simmered in my mind on the back burner while we kanoodled together and became engaged.

Fast forward to the engagement party.  Mom's idea.  Not one friend of mine was invited, not that she asked me if I wanted any of my friends to come.  Just family and a few of her friends.  Lovely white cake with white frosting, blue trimming and two gold wedding ring designs on top.  I received many tea cups as that was what every young bride to be traditionally would be given.

Next thing to tackle was a dress.  This took many back and forth talks.  I never did step into a bridal salon.  I looked at a few magazines but not a one was what I wanted.   Remember I am thinking of the white peasant top and gypsy skirt.....

My mom had become quite chummy with a woman, Irene, who had a very respectable women's clothing store in Oakland.  Tres chic, with off the rack styles as well as Couture made to order clothing.  For the past year Irene had been redefining my mom.  A make over.  Mom was smitten with the attention she received by Irene.  Goodness only knows what her bills were from this shop but it wasn't cheap.  In that year I had gone to get my hair done upstairs in her store by the nicest, cutest, friendliest guy, Gary, who was just one of several who worked there.  My first time being around gay guys.  Let me just say when you are 18,  and are given so many compliments as well as an innocent kiss and hug every time I came in and every time I left...I felt like I was in a Disney movie in the happy part.  Like in Sleeping Beauty when she is out picking flowers singing with the animals and her Prince comes along.  Yes, that happy.   They were young and hip which worked for me.  Irene's store had some young items but not many so I didn't shop with my mom there.  Irene would say she was my "Aunty" which if you knew this woman, you would much rather be on her good side than her bad.  She was always delighted to see me (well, my mom was a good client), and I would look for her or ask for her when I had a hair appointment to say "hello".  

I think mom must have cried on Irene's shoulder of my desire for a hippie dress to be wed in.  What to do, what to do....I have to say that Irene was more like a Fairy Godmother, because in quick time she arranged for my mom, herself and I to fly to Los Angeles and meet with the fashion designer Ruben Panis.  I didn't have any idea who he was only that I was being treated to weekend to find a wedding dress and attend the wedding of my Love's cousin.  

Ruben and I hit it off right away.  He had a small shop and sat down with me to ask what kind of wedding dress I was interested in.  He asked me many questions of styles and designs, as well as era's of clothing that I liked.  Then I was measured from every angle of my body.  Frankly I had no idea what he would come up with but I sort of had an idea it wasn't going to be the peasant top with the gypsy skirt.  I knew this because at one point in talking about my Love he liked the idea of an open front shirt for him.  Something romantic perhaps, something that would match my dress. 

I thank "Aunty Irene" for giving me the whirlwind weekend that she did.  She was a feisty, hard business woman, but she had her soft spots for us.  

** Another good tune from the early 70's that rocked on the radio and even if my wedding was years later than when this song came out, when you're getting married...any song with marriage in it begs to be sung.

Close to you...a story of he and I....Part 2

I need to back up.  Tell a story of what preceded our engagement from Close to you....a story of he and I...Part 1.

My Love was a man who fell in love with sailing after my Papa asked him if he would like to help crew on his sailboat.   Years later he met a doctor friend through his brother, who had a 35 foot sailboat that he would go out on and sail in the San Francisco Bay.  Many times I went as well with this wild group of friends, sailing to Sausalito for lunch or for a sail around Angel Island and by the San Francisco waterfront.  The doctor, who worked as an Emergency room Doctor and was a Vietnam Veteran,  had dreams of traveling to exotic places, not just sailing in the bay.  Therein lies the dreams of those who sailed with the doctor, of going along as crew on his adventure.

The year before our engagement became a quest for the doctor to find his dream sailboat and the destination became the South Pacific islands of Tahiti.  You might as well have laid a path to Shangri-la because my Love was just as swept up with this idea.  There were trips up and down the coast of California to find the perfect boat.  At last they found her.  A beautiful 50 foot sloop named the Atlantis.  She had a steel hull, mahogany interiors and teak decks.  She was brought back up to the Richmond Boat Works for a complete overhaul.  My Love and several others spent many months working on her.

The Dr. decided he wanted to rename her, something you just don't do with boats.  He renamed her Mae-Ya-Nang which my Love was told meant in Thai, the Thai Goddess of the Wind.  My looking it up Mae-Ya-Nang actually is believed to be a guardian spirit who lives in the prow of the boat and "requires proper treatment in return for protection against misadventure".  Just note this.....

In the end my Love did not go on the trip having talked to our good friend Joel who did begin the trip. They had sailed to San Diego first to pick up crew when apparently there was trouble from the beginning with mechanical problems.  Joel was so bothered with that short journey that he decided to bail out on the trip.  We later heard that they made it to Tahiti but only on the return through Hawaii did the final and ultimate fate take place.  They ran aground on a reef.  Having been to Hawaii I find it hard to imagine having that happen,  but having been to Tahiti and two of the other islands there, I could see this happen as there are many reefs around the islands. 

My Love may have not made that trip at that time but we made our own journey to Tahiti a couple of years after we married.  I wrote of this awhile back.  Here and here are the links to two of those stories....which reminds me I never finished that story!

This song by Joni Mitchell was one that was on my mind when I would think of my sailing Lover....

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Close to you...a story of he and I...Part 1

     My baby will be getting married in just a bit over 10 months from now.  We've known since last year but now, now the months and days are upon them and I am filled with bliss.  My Love and I wonder of what plans they will make for their special day and how different it will be from ours.

     This is our year that we will have been married 35 years and though it sounds a long time ago, it feels on some days like a lifetime and on other days a blink of the eye.  Those 35 years ago our parents were healthy, happy, and active.  Now Papa is gone, my mom is merely a shadow of the woman she was, my Love's parents have approached the stage of memory tricks and failing bodies.

     My Love and I so young, I just 19 and he 24.  So much ahead that we could never imagine our future beyond that day.  That we would have four children that would add so much to our lives, test our patience, amaze us with their theatrics and humor, pull us to our knees with concern through illness and teen years.  Now our first born will be married.

     When my Love and I got engaged I was 18 and a freshman in college.  We came from the generation that shook our parents up with freedom of choices with our bodies and our minds.   My Love and I had been living together off and on since I had moved out into my own place.  We still had separate abodes, mine an apartment my parents got for me and my Love lived in a converted garage (not very charming mind you).  I had been dating him since I was 16 and though we didn't rush into a physical relationship, eventually we did.  It was only natural for us to stay together but we also new that it was frowned upon by our parents and their generation.

     Given that my mom had a huge hissy fit when she discovered that we really were planning on just moving in together, that the previous years of her knowing we were having sex (she did get me on the pill), let us go off for "honeymoon weekends" as well as a very long extended trip to Canada between my junior and senior year in high school, was as far as she could rationally deal with socially.  Her friends might find out.  I wouldn't say we choose to marry because she didn't want us to live together, only that we were quite in love and it felt as natural as could be to become married.  No one twisted my Love's arm or held a shotgun to his head.   My only frustration is that I can't remember how he proposed to me.  It wasn't some exotic location or over the top planned event.  It was his honest heart that spoke to me.

     When my mom learned that he had proposed she was a crazed woman of planning.  Those that know my mom can only imagine the possible hyper state she must have been in.  Tim hadn't gotten me an engagement ring thus she popped out several old diamonds from family heirlooms that we could choose from.  Off to Shreves in San Francisco to have a setting made for it.  My Love and I, the dog and pony act, went and nodded heads for the simplest gold setting we could find.  My diamond is from her father's tie stick pin.  A couple of chips that flaw it's value but the sentimental girl I am loved it.  I have no idea if we would have otherwise decided on a diamond engagement ring had she not offered one.   I was no help to her potential wedding plans.  I had my ideas and she had hers.  What happened was a merger, though not always agreed.

     My idea was simple.  My Love and I, in a meadow, with old oak trees surrounding it.  I would be in an off the shoulder peasant top with a gypsy full skirt that fell to the ground.  Barefoot.  He would be in an off white, button down (but chest exposed by 4 buttons) shirt with his coolest pants he wanted to wear.  His blond, curly locks long and I with my late 70's hairdo.  It would be just us and nature.  We would say our own vows or just fall into each others arms. The dream wedding for me.  My hippy heart longing to express itself.

  *** This video...this was my song for my Love.  He never knew this as I was shy to share this with him.   Fits exactly how I felt about him all those years of dating.....

Sunday, January 1, 2012


This is the recipe that did work and I did bring for the New Year's party.  It came from Cooking Light magazine and healthy it is but it also tastes amazing!  A mere 133 calories per square....not bad.

Cranberry-Oatmeal Bars

1 Cup flour
1 Cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1/2 packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
6 T. butter, melted
3 T. orange juice
cooking spray

1  1/3 Cups dried cranberries
3/4 C sour cream
1/2 C sugar
2 T. flour
1 stop vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. grated orange rind
1 large egg white, beaten

1)  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2) To prepare crust:  Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through cinnamon) in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk.  Drizzle butter and juice over flour mixture, stirring until moistened (mixture will be crumbly).  Reserve 1/2 cup oat mixture.  Press remaining oat mixture into the bottom of 8 x8 baking pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

3)  To prepare filling:  Combine cranberries, sour cream, sugar and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well.  Spread cranberry mixture over prepared crust; sprinkle reserved oat mixture evenly over filling.

4)  Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes or until edges are golden.  Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.


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