Sunday, March 27, 2005

Asking for Advice

I have a sweet niece who lost her mother to cancer when she was only 13, she is now 16. She lives on the other side of the continent from me. Her father owns a decent amount of rental income property in California in addition to getting a salary from his job, so money is not an issue in this girl's life...although her father can be somewhat miserly.

Anyway, I send her emails and cards and see her on some holidays. She rarely responds to these including not sending thank you notes even though she likes us and is sweet to us when we briefly get together face to face over rare holidays.

This morning I got an email from her (actually from Urbanoutfitters registry) telling me what she would like for her upcoming birthday. (SHE REGISTERED for her birthday?) Then she sent a follow-up email, after months of not hearing from her, telling me a little about what is happening in her life and then joking about her upcoming birthday.

I will certainly send her a birthday gift, but I am concerned about the parental guidance she needs in this...should I scold her about not communicating for long periods of time?...should I remind her that I didn't get a thank you for the Christmas gift and have no idea if she liked it? I have never wanted to be one of those sanctimonious aunts...but the girl has a somewhat absent father in terms of providing her social guidance...he is also busy dating someone else right now. And I know how distracting that can be to the male animal.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Resurrect the Weekend

My daughter called at work and said that her in-laws were driving in from out-of-state on Sunday and wanted to get together with all of us for early dinner or late lunch. She suggested that we try to find a place near where we live incase H. gets too tired and has to head home to rest his neck, which I thought was a good idea.

I suggeted Eggspectations or Macaroni Grill which are downtown and five minutes from the house. Niether is very special but they are close, food is good, service is excellent and prices are fine. Well her husband nixed that because they are not "fancy" enough. After talking to my daughter we determined that there are NO 'fancy' restaurants where we live so we will have to go at least 30 minutes away for a fancier restaurant. This resulted in her spending a lot more time on the phone trying to get last minute reservations so that we would not have to stand in line which H. can't do for long periods of time.

I asked why it had to be a "fancy" restaurant since her husband's parents are regular folk and not inclined to spend large sums of money. "Mom, it's Easter weekend...and J. wants to go someplace nice with his parents."

OK, so it doesn't make any sense to me what Easter has to do with fancy restaurants and why sacrifice on his good Catholic part so that my H. can be comfortable is not a Christian gesture. I am not mad, just another reason why I will probably never get back into this religion thing. I keep hitting these brick walls with the very devout. It ends being what you think you should do, or how you look doing it, and not about what you are doing and why. I realize that all religious people are not like this, but I keep running into the shallow ones.

It's a BIG picture thing with me. God, if he is there, is sooo much larger than the sum of the parts of this universe. If we just tried to be more God-like or like we think he/she is then life would make more sense.

Can't Sleep...

H. who is way off his sleep schedule now since he slept in until 10:30 this morning, came to bed after watching some TV movie at about 11:30 tonight. Then he got back up twenty minutes later because he thought he heard some voices arguing in the street...well, guess who is now sleeping ever so deeply and who after being woken twice can't get back to sleep?

I got up and heated some milk. This is more a ritualistic habit since I don't really find it helps me sleep better So, I guess I will either make crank phone calls or blog. This blogging should be full of errors since I left my glasses on my nightstand rather than grub around for them and wake him up. Thank goodness for the enlarge text feature on windows.

I am sitting in the computer room surrounded by a half dozen boxes packed with books and office supplies and photo stuff. I have a dried flower arrangement on the shelf in front of me that I need to donate to the office. It is too nice to throw away. I bought it to decorate my office in my prior job. I had this really large office with lots of room for desk, credenza, bookshelves. When I accepted this new job at another agency five years ago, I got a promotion, but I also am in a tiny tiny cubicle. I get a window, but this cubicle is really the size of a closet and it is constantly a mess since I can't organize papers from projects or get stuff filed fast enough.

H. also got a bunch of nice plants that will get donated since there are no places for plants in this rental house.

My son has already moved his extensive audio equipment and two computers to a friends basement where they are working on his music. So, at least this room looks like we are making progress. Now only the bedroom, bathroom living room, dining room, kitchen and basement to go. Boy is this going to be fun!

My son is not too thrilled about us living with him in a condo for quite a while longer. It just can't be helped. But he needs his privacy and I did tell him he could go off on his own at any time. But, he knows that it is in his best interest to go in on co-ownership of this condo. He cannot afford anything in this crazy real estate market on his own. I keep reading articles that say the real estate market is leveling off, or going to crash or still going to climb for years ahead due to demand. Clearly none of the 'experts' have a clue.

Well, guess I will head back to bed and try to sleep. I have my cleaning friend coming at 9:30 this can't make a mistake of sleeping in.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Rainy Wednesdays but with Good News

Took the morning off from work to take hubby to the therapist. He still is not supposed to drive while on the drugs. (I think that he will be able to drive this weekend though.) The therapist DIDN'T schedule any therapy sessions! He said hubby was in such good shape and had such great flexibility that it would be a waste of time to try to improve in a 'clinical' atmosphere. So, he gave him some exercises to do once a day at home for a while and then every other day. He said that hubby had the best recovery he had every seen in a patient! Needless to say hubby is on cloud 9. He is also already on the phone to his office starting work via phone.

H. said something strange on the drive to the therapist. He said that he hadn't really realized how complicated a marriage relationship was and how important it was to share your life with the right person. (See, staying home for two weeks to wait on him hand and foot rang a bell somewhere ;-). He had been feeling very vulnerable and was so dependent on my thinking for day to day decisions in addition to just providing daily care for him.

I guess we women have felt the 'vulnerable' mode more often by virtue of the barriers to our gender. I also think women are more willing to compromise and sacrifice in an immediate time and worry about the ramifications down the road. We want the problems worked out. That is probably why we get stuck in bad marriages as we think if just compromise a little longer it will work itself out.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

This is the same view only funky,,,

Sundays with the Oldfolks

I gave hubby the day off today. I have been making him walk two to three miles every morning and then maybe another mile in the P.M. Actually 'making' is not the word; 'Motivating" is the better word, because he really wants to get out and stretch and test his strength. He is still napping mornings and evenings between the walks. Today I let him sleep in until 9:00 after which he got up on his own, showered, shaved and then ate my breakfast of cut oranges, biscuits and honey, bacon and hot tea--not exactly traditional, but I was trying to use up stuff.

Late this P.M. he is listening to Bocelli and snoozing on the couch...not really napping. I am making fish fillets, tarragon beans and fried potatoes with garlic for dinner. We will probably have ice cream for dessert. I am sipping a Chardonnay (which those of you who visit my wine blog know is not my favorite...will rate this one later.) This is starting to sound like a restaurant menu blog.

Anyway, I spent the day packing bookshelves in the basement, doing laundry, and working on the Paintshop Pro 9 version for which I have a 60 day free download. Maybe I will buy the upgrade...haven't decided. I'll upload one of the many photos I was working on for your perusal.

Hubby and I did take a short walk this P.M. just before the first thunderstorm in months came briefly through. It left some lovely sunshine patterns and sky colors before the gray sunset. It was nice hearing thunder after the long winter. Birds are just absolutely crazy singing with mating passion and establishing territory. Hubby heard one lovely piercing song that we didn't recognize as it was lower down in a tree behind a house. But, it did perk his interest.

Well, buzzer has gone must set out food.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

"Yes, yes, yes!" she said with an orgasmic smile.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Something fun from our walk around the lake this afternoon. I thought I did a nice job of framing.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

An update

For those of you who are asking, we are making it down that healing trail and slowly returning to normalcy. The horror of having the back part of six vertebrae removed is being replaced with that healing sensation of itching along the 6 inch incision and the ability to shower by one's self.

I am slowly attempting a reduction in drug use and he seems to be handling it. Although he is still sleeping a LOT! But like the energizer bunny he is, when he is up, he is going strong.

Today I start to pack books from all of our book shelves as that first prep in our move which comes in July. I am getting so good at this... This is in addition to the dozens of boxes of books we have packed in the basement. Books are the one thing I will not part with!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

We currently rent a small house just off a very busy intersection and a few blocks from a huge magnet school. (A 'magnet" school is a school that is placed in a poor neighborhood and offers a very specialized science, math, arts or other program to attract students from other parts of the city, and theoretically to officer a better education to inner city kids...I don't think it works, but that is another blog.)

I took my husband for a walk near a lake and on the way back drove into the nearby gas station to get some gas. About 40 students were congregated near the bus stop on the corner. They were about 70% black, 25% Latino, and 5% white from my quick survey. Everyone was dressed in large hanging black clothes, as if they belonged to the same private school or club. They all looked in their early teens. They were loud, active and truly enjoying the beginning of spring and those flowing hormones. I proceeded to fill up my car.

Suddenly 5 or six of the black boys ran through the gas station, laughing and looking back. Some of the other kids called out to them. There was no aura of danger or anger...just noisy kids. Then a police car came around the corner and drove into the gas station and parked just in front of my car. Another large police officer appeared from the bus station corner walking behind the kids with a flak jacket on. The kids were like a large anemone...they instantly shrunk into little black mounds and watched quietly for their bus.

I finished getting gas, and squeezed past the police car and out onto the busy road. As I turned the corner past where the bus stop was, I had to make a wide right turn as three more police cars were parked with lights flashing in that lane of the busy street.

I couldn't see anything happening or even any police talking to the kids. I am guessing that it was gang related and that the police are on alert that time of the day in the spring...who knows. I have always lived in a middle-class white neighborhood (except for when I lived in various countries overseas) and so I am totally ignorant of this stuff! I do know that my son who is a BIG 26-year-old guy, never goes to the fast food places past this bus stop between 3:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon because of all the kids hanging out after school.

I was never afraid during this incident...just curious. They look like nice normal kids to me. But, maybe they have issues.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

This is the beauty on my kitchen table this morning in the sunshine. It is so voluptuous that it should probalby be wearing a veil.

This was a photo I took on an early spring hike in the Virginia mountains last year. It is still inviting, isn't it?

Monday, March 14, 2005

Something to pass the time and tell me about yourself.

OK--cut and past and email me some of your answers.

My 10 Cups of Blogging Espresso Meme (with my answers):

1. What is your favorite food…money no object?

French chocolate truffles

2. Speaking of money, what do you think is a comfortable monthly salary?


3. How old were you at your first clear memory?

13 months, I remember learning to walk.

4. What is your greatest fear?

That I or someone I love could die in pain.

5. How old were you when you first fell in love?


6. Do you think life is worth it and why or why not?

What’s the alternative?

7. What is your favorite creative activity?


8. What is your favorite thinking activity?

Reading non-fiction

9. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?


10. Are you happiest when with people or alone?

With people but only for a while.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

What's a Four Letter Word to Alleviate Pain?

I haven't posted to the Weekly Wino in some time. What with hubby on strong meds I guess only one of us can safely feel no pain at this time. Maybe I should change the name to Weakly Wino. What do you think?

I have been spending lots of time upstairs sitting or laying in bed next to hubby. He is doing very well, but since he has the personality and energy level of the Energizer Bunny, I can see that he is not anywhere near his usual self yet. He moves stiffly and if he sits up for more than 10 or fifteen minutes the pain starts to increase. Yet he will walk around the room for 10 minutes at a time when he can.

Friends and co-workers have sent flowers and plants and they are now taking up so much space, my son knocked one of them over yesterday. The flowers really boost hubby's spirits though.

Talking him into his second shower this morning took some effort. He is so frustrated in that the pain medication and the tranquilizer cut down on muscle spasms. When I asked him how he was feeling yesterday, he joked, "Just great...I can't swallow, I can't pee and I can't shit. Other than that I am fine." He doesn't swear, so I knew the drugs were working.

I am trying to keep busy doing short projects around the hosue so that I can keep checking on him. I don't want him moving around unless I am there to keep an eye on his progress. These drugs are really strong.

I am calling the doctor tomorrow on what we can do this coming week to get him up and going. I cannot believe that he is planning a business trip to Hawaii in a month!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Actually Taking it One Day at a Time

Hubby came home within 36 hours! They gave him the option of staying on one more day and he immediately said he wanted to get back to his bed at home. Of course! They cut the back of the bone away from 6 vertebrae. It is amazing to me that your neck can still hold your head up after a surgery like that...but it does!

He is on lots of drugs but in very good spirits. I spend most of my time running up and downstairs with food, news, etc. He got his first shower today...that was fun. He was actually trying to be modest while I washed him. This is so strange since the first five years or so of our married life we showered together!

Well, I am so lucky that my boss at work has totally supported this time off, once again. Unfortunately, my mom had a small stroke yesterday and now they have moved her to a hospital bed with a catheter. If spring wasn't just around the corner I would feel very old.

Here is another photo just beside the Koi pond. It was later in spring.

This was my back yard at my old house. I had some great roses to cut every year.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Hanging in Until the Last Round

I am not exactly an optimist. I am more of a tenacious fighter who hangs on no matter what happens. I refuse to lose. Months before the 9/11 tragedy, one of my younger sisters emailed me that she had skin cancer. They couldn't find the original mole but it had moved into her lymph glands in her legs. This bad news was followed by the attacks in New York.

That winter I began having back problems. It seemed that some days I was in so much pain, I didn't want to get out of bed. I began to understand what depression truly was and felt myself spiraling downward.

All of this happening over just a few months began to wear on me, but I got angry. I went out to visit my sister and tried to send her optimistic thoughts and also started an intense exercise program to get my back in shape. I was told that I had just a touch of arthritis and there was nothing that could be done. Well, my back returned to much less pain but my sister died that summer.

We sold our house the following spring and it was a very traumatic time as the buyer was a smart real estate woman who kept claiming more and more from us until finally we had to go to a lawyer to get the whole thing to stop. She got the house and we got peace of mind--for a while.

We moved into a rental house that flooded three times that summer---the wettest in history on the East Coast. After much midnight mopping and the loss of some of our "worldly" possessions, we broke the lease and moved once again into another little house. Things calmed down... for a while.

This past fall my mother got ill and this winter, as you readers know, she began to die. Upon my return from putting her in hospice we learned that my husband had stenosis of the spine and needed surgery on four of his vertebrae. The surgery is this morning.

Our landlady cannot renew our lease, and so, in four months we have to find a new temporary place to live incurring all the costs and time of packing and moving once again! Probably buying a condo with our son and absorbing all the costs that entails...working longer and not being able to retire as early.

Last night as I lay in bed, I began to think of all these stresses. It seems my life had been so calm and normal before. Maybe this is now normal life and I lived in some pathetic dream time before. I don't know, but I am still fighting. Only now I am getting a little tired.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Passing the time

Surgery on hubby's neck is tomorrow at 11:45. He is nervous since he has never been in a hospital for any type of surgery and he knows enough anatomy to drive himself nuts. He took an hour walk before dinner because he just couldn't sit still.

Right now after dinner he is walking to the supermarket to buy stuff--one of which is Dial soap which they say he needs to use when he showers since it leave the least residue.

This is going to be a rough night.!

Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Blogging Neighborhood

I have been surfing blogs and routinely stumble on ones that I like to read and/or find something in common with and post a comment to them. Surfing blogs is like taking a walk in a field outside the city. You come across all kinds of stuff. Gum wrappers, dog droppings, pages of advertisement from a magazine and then every once in a while you find a lovely page from someone's diary or a photograph of a thousand words or a lovely piece of jewelry or an extremely strange and exotic plant.

I find myself attracted to boomer bloggers because I have something in common with the history of their life. But I also find that I am attracted to the young married guitar player, the five brothers who work in geekdom, the young owl, mom's with babies and teenagers...all of which keep me linked to the people in my real life that I love.

Then, because I have traveled so much in my life I am always intrigued by those who live around the world and are able to blog in that I can maybe show that Americans are indeed more complex than the sum of their parts.

Blogging is certainly going to change the world in so many ways. Some which will be surveyed and measured...but I think there are going to be many private stories of change that will never get recorded.

Anyway, I need to start thinking about changing the links on my blogsite to add some of the other blogs I visit regularly. Just think, each of us will create our own electronic neighborhood. The good thing is that we won't have to put up with crabby old lady next door or those drunken newlyweds that fight all the time. We can design our neighborhood exactly the way we want to.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

My Datsun Sportscar

During the summer that I was taking one last class before getting my teaching degree in Colorado, I went to the car dealership with my Dad and bought a car. Since I didn't have any money, I got that American right of passage called a car loan.

The red Datsun in the previous picture was the car I bought. I thought that summer that my dates should increase exponentially---just like guys do. (I really must have looked good in that car.) But my date situation was just as stale as all the prior months. Go figure.

This, by the way, was the only car I have ever bought on time. I learned well from my parents and every other car that I have purchased in my lifetime I have paid in cash. Now that I have that habit, making a car payment would make me very ill.

My first car.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Numbers Game.

According to Andrew Tobias " 111,111,111 times 111,111,111 equals 12345678987654321"...Don't ask my why I find this so interesting on an early Tuesday morning.