July 25, 2015

Life's Little Graces

Woke up and I'm still mostly human! Frankly, that's a good thing. I don't think a Buick could have had as many rewards and as much fun as I had yesterday.

First thing, yesterday morning, I had a wonderfully lucid dream. If automobile's dream I am positive it is not with such clarity!

I popped out of bed, showered, dressed and headed out the door to pick up Manhattan Bagels for  a batch of granddaughters over-nighting at one of their houses.

Headed to the cream cheese, I find out that our intervention from the previous day worked. We actually talked our 40+ friend into.....wait.....I'm not sure that the phrase "talked into" is appropriate here. There may be more appropriate descriptions...."convinced", 'backed into a corner" maybe even "threatened"....You pick the phrase....but the heroin using mother of the 2 month old baby was admitted to a drug rehab yesterday morning. Thirty day black out period, no outside contact and then a 60 day program with occasional visitors allowed. (Please, Divine Power, let this rehab 'take').

Sometimes it pays to be an outspoken woman standing up for those that can't stand up for themselves.

Then, on to my daughter's house to play with the girls! Oh my gosh, what a time. We re-dyed a couple of heads (side note: if you color your hair (especially with kool aid, do not followup the day at a water park, the astounding amounts of chlorine in the water does a real-job on the vividness of the color). 

The new colors are awesome. We have a blue that is intense; a red that Cindy Lauper would envy and another blended divine blue in front to a deep dark  ocean bottom blue in the back. 

The temptation to join in and do even a little strip of color was overwhelming.  I have to admit, I came home to contemplate my ability to 'own it' if I did, indeed, do 'the deed'!...Still thinking! 

Said goodbye to Katie last night. blue hair and all. She caught a flight home, the rest of us are truly feeling the loss. Katie is a real sweetie-pie and she will be missed immensely. 

Time to just sit back and consider how truly lucky I am to be a grandmother and not a Buick...or even a Mini-Cooper!

July 23, 2015

"God, Don't Teach Me Nothing Today!"

Have you heard of the Cascadia Subduction Zone? Apparently, the biggest, most powerful (therefore threatening) zones of the Pacific Ring of Fire. The devastating earthquake is predicted to kill 11,000 which is miniscule compared to the damage to human life and nature that the following tsunami will cause. The average time between shakes is approximately every 298 years or so. We have passed the average by some 75 years.

Not too minimize the projected natural disaster but I'm feeling a little like the Juan de Fuca plate, or at least the rupture zone. The pressure is slowly building and the throbbing veins in my forehead are casting shadows on my cheeks.

If you have been following my blog you are most likely familiar with some of the family pressures we are dealing with. The last two days we have discovered that the an acquaintance with a two month old baby is shooting heroin.

We had a heavy duty intervention yesterday. My sis and I are all "What about the baby?"  Friends of the addict are all about "What about our friend?"

To make a long story short (I know, too late) the conversation was basically.

"Call CPS."

"We're going to tell her she just needs to call (insert our local ineffectual rehab)."

"What about the baby."

"But we can't desert our friend. She's already lost one baby!"

Voices raising."So you're telling me your willing to see another baby lost so you don't hurt your friends feelings!"

"But you don't know what she's been through!"

"YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT POOR BABY IS GOING THROUGH!" (ew, that was not my inside voice!)

Eventually, conversation came to an end. The grandma has baby and will keep it until 'friend' gets help, rehab and counseling.

Between you and me, I'm looking up the number for CPS and giving them a call.  (Or, maybe I should ask my sister what the number is because she has probably already looked it up this morning).

After the 'intervention' we return to the teenage-grandchildren/grown-children debacle. You know that 'I-thought-you-thought thing that goes on when all the messages get passed between the teens and the adults are doing the I-dont-know shoulder shrug! That problem resolved, we get home at 9:30 p.m. and it's our night for cooking dinner....Pop Tarts anyone?

A couple of minutes after we eat (yes, I like my Pop Tarts un-toasted) begins a texting conversation regarding two of my granddaughters dying their hair blue today; one did a kool-aid bath dye yesterday. Conversation continued until my thumb cramped up on me at 10:30.

As I was laying in bed; my energy account over withdrawn x 3 weeks, I rested my head on my husband's shoulder.

"I'm tired of being a human," I whined, "I want to be a Buick!"

His response? "What year?"

Nothing like uncontrolled laughter to recharge one's energy account!

But, God, let me be today! Don't teach me nothing new!

Uncontrolled laughter courtesy of Frank Tona

July 19, 2015

Head Up...Shoulders Back

Many of you have lost your parents. Some were lost in an instant; one minute they are there and the next they are gone.  Some of you, like our family, are accompanying our folks on a slow, but inevitable, decline.

We've had our fair share of warnings. Heart attacks, stroke, cancer, arterial bypasses, tremors, falls and off and on forgetfulness due to stress. It doesn't make it any easier.

Dad has always been one of the most robust men I have ever known. He also has always had and continues to have one of the quickest wits in the world. To watch his steps become so guarded, to witness his struggles to get up and down breaks my heart. But the part that hurts the most is watching his heart break that he can't climb up and down the bank of the river in the back of his yard; that he feels he can't maintain his beautiful park-like acre.

We had a great work party at the folk's home. Four generations of family showed up to clip, chop and pull the "overwhelming" out of their beautiful yard. Since then, Dad works in the yard several hours a day. One might think he just putters but he works hard. Some might say he works hard for an 87 year old man but he works hard for a man. Mom is out there, right beside him, working to keep the place inviting and serene.

They love their yard and have always had a great pride-of-ownership ethic. Now that the family work party has taken the "where-do-we-start" aspect out of the mix, Mom and Dad can see the individual projects that need their attention.

Mom had Dad rip out a whole wall of ivy (thank you, Frank, for digging out the roots) and now Mom is replacing her half-wall with a bit of custom lattice work. Dad dug out a tree trunk that was at least 3 feet across and 3 feet high. The more they work in the yard, the stronger they seem to get. Dad is steadily building up his stamina.

Its been a battle but thank God our parents taught us persistence and determination. We kids have finally convinced  them to let us help. We drive them to doctors visits; interpret doctor-ese for them. We often make calls to various entities to clear up miscommunications. Little stuff for us but big stuff for Mom and Dad.

Early this week my sister drove them to an annual physical exam (where all was pronounced well!). They did some grocery shopping, went to a see a barber and completed a couple of other tasks that needed to be done. Stress free because they didn't have to drive.

Last night, my husband changed the filter on their well, then we sat down for a great dinner. After our meal, Dad and Frank headed out to look at the Chipper, which hasn't run in five years. Mom and I visited inside where the air conditioning protected us from the 100+ heat outside.

I could hear my father's and husband's voices in the back yard as Mom and I talked. Couldn't make out the words but the conversation was steady. Suddenly, the sound of a small engine starts, runs for a second or two, then stalls. Their voices got a little louder and were filled with excitement. A minute or two later and the motor starts up and its purring.

Two sweaty guys walk into the house a short time later, chests out, arms held just slightly away from their bodies like the body builders on those late night Bowflex commercials.  They did it. The chipper is running. Mom and Dad are excited to chip the mountain of bark and tree from the side of the yard.

Those two happy men joined our conversation with a cold soda. Success is sweet.

As we talked, Dad made a simple statement, several times, which warmed my heart.

"I can feel the stress leaving my body!" he said. "Its just dropping away!"

Mom and Dad are truly the most self-reliant people I know. They are do-it-yourself-ers from way back and its been hard for them to ask for help or to accept it. This week they finally discovered that letting their children help them is a gift they are giving us. A small return for all they have done for us.

They taught us to work hard. They taught us that it was good to take pride in our accomplishments but jump back in and work some more. They taught us the importance of education, not just formal education but that self-education was a life-long task (and duty).

Dad even joked that he remembered me changing out the carburetor in my old Plymouth Satellite while teaching my oldest son and his friend how to do it. My husband reminded him that I also changed the clutch's master cylinder in my younger son's Toyota and the brakes in our old Mazda.

I reminded them that I knew I could do all those things because my dad had taught me that I could do anything I set my mind to and he taught me that since day one! It also helps that my husband is a mechanic and has taught me lots and that I rebuilt my first motorcycle engine on the floor of my living room when I was eighteen.

We talked some of Dad's days with the telephone company. Thirty-five plus years. He was always the man that the foreman wanted to lead the team. When it was a tough job for Lockheed or Moffett Field, NACA (forerunner to NASA), Ames Labs, our dad was the one the companies wanted.

He was often pressured to accept a promotion to foreman or manager and he consistently declined the promotions, usually adding that he wanted to 'work for a living, not watch others work!"

Mom is one of the most intelligent women I ever met. She skipped 2nd grade and 7th grade, graduated by the time she was 16. She was a lead teller in Crocker Bank in San Francisco by the time she was 17 and one of the first women to work at IBM9when computers were the size of large buildings!).

My mom and dad are a blessing to me. Each time I visit them I learn to appreciate them more and more.  I love you both very much.

p.s. Dad, I promise, I'm still trying hard not to talk like a truck driver!

July 17, 2015

The Magic Number!

141! One hundred, forty-one!

That's how many visits my blog had yesterday. Awesome!

Of course, June and July have so few posts because June and July have been filled with events, events, events. Kind of a crazy summer so far but a good kind of crazy.

My calendar is still full (Mike, I swear, I will read your chapter today....or tomorrow!). 

I promise to try to be more consistent.

Good stuff to write about too because my cup runneth over!!!

July 08, 2015


It's hot!

Why do I live here?

Can't move to Oregon since they passed the "tax your mileage" act. Can't move to Washington because I need more sunshine than Washington offers. Nevada.....uh, no! Arizona....from the pan into the fire. New Mexico...just a different fire. Colorado....too many relatives.

If you need me, I'll be in the pool, contemplating a move to Montana.

July 05, 2015


The King James version of the bible states, "Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you." Leviticus 11:12

I don't see anyone picketing outside the crab shack with signs reading, "Crabs Cakes are a sin!"
or "Crabs Today...What next? Calamari?"

For a woman to wear jeans is an abomination for it states in Deuteronomy 22:5 (King James again) "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man...for all that do so are an abomination unto the Lord thy God."  Do you see any "REPENT" signs in front of Levi Strauss or Wranglers? Don't even get me started on those sinful Blazers or T-shirts? 

I wonder how many Christians read Stephen King books against the advice of Proverbs, Chapter 6, "a heart that deviseth wicked imaginations" is also an abomination! Oh yeah, "he that soweth discord among brethren" are an abomination too. 

What is really sad is that according to Proverbs a "proud look" is an equal abomination as the "hands that shed innocent blood"!

It is sinful for a woman to go into the temple (attend church) when she is menstruating or for 40 days after she has given birth.....the bible says she is dirty...okay, it says 'unclean' but doesn't that mean dirty? Funny, I've never seen any sign posted in a church entrance warning unclean women to stay away.

The bible instructs us not to name a baby for 40 days after birth because the poor child has traveled through a vagina and needs that length of time to exorcise the evilness it may have picked up during the journey. How many Christians are standing outside the maternity ward at your local hospital screaming at new mothers to keep the baby anonymous for a month or so? 

There are many versions of the bible. Catholics have the original bible but in the 1400's (or there-abouts) Protestants changed some words and eliminated 7 books from their version to support their revision of what Christianity means. Then they accused the Catholics of adding the books to scripture.

The Protestants have a practice called "sola scriptura" which means "the Bible alone". They stand on the pillar of belief that nothing can be added to or taken away from God's Word yet they violated their own preaching.Could that, per chance, be an abomination?

Oh, yeah, does anyone remember the part in the Bible that warns, "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Matthew 7 1-5

There is a little quote from James 4:11-12 that reads, "Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?"

John 8:7 is one of my favorites. "Let him who is without sin among you to be the first to throw a stone at her."

The Bible is not a cafe menu, as I recall from years of Catechism. If one proclaims to  lead their life according to "God's Word" then you can't pick and choose which words pertain to you, which pertain to others and which ones to toss aside.

p.s. In America, we also have a great piece of literature. It is called the Constitution. You should read it, especially if you haven't read it since 8th grade. Equal rights, can you imagine?