Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Little Doggie ~

Here, my little Simone doesn't feel good... she had a little surgery. She is on the road to recovery and is feeling much better. She was so cute trying to get around with the cone collar around her head.

Our pets are such a big part of our family. When I see they do not feel good, it pulls my heartstrings.


My sunshine doesn't come from the skies,
It comes from the love in my dog's eyes.

Unknown Poet

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Under The Harvest Moon

The days are growing shorter and the nights are getting cooler. I am welcoming the season of Fall.

Does anyone happen to know what the name of the shinning dot to the right hand corner of this photo is?

As I was driving home from one of my classes I took this Fall, I noticed this red tractor with the corn field behind it and the sky with it's purple and pink hues. I thought it was pretty and stopped to capture the rather picturesque moment.

Pumpkins almost ready to be harvested.


I've been quiet...
There has been a lot going on (Charlie is okay ~ smile) and I am trying to process so much. I have remembered and recited The Serenity Prayer, time and time again these last couple of months.

I would like to ask you to pray and think positive thoughts for my baby sister (she is currently in rehab; for the third time) who is thirty years old and her family; she has four children ages ranging from eighteen months, three, five and eight years old. Also for my mom... she has a grieving heart which is broken into pieces and is dealing (as you can only imagine) with so much right now. We haven't learned anything concerning my niece Deja, as of yet. Hopefully soon.
Yes... we need a BIG prayer!

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me
to accept the things
I cannot change,
to change the
things I can, and
to know
the difference.

Matthew 11:29-30

Monday, September 20, 2010

Weekend Rendezvous

A long anticipated camping date with some friends of ours finally arrived.

When we first drove into our camping site, I put our little dogs Sophie and Simone, on the picnic table and helped Charlie back the trailer in. I noticed a movement in the tree just above the table and looked up to see a huge bird that looked very similar to an eagle. I went to get my camera to take a picture and then remembered my girls on the table and turned around, screamed and watched it fly away. I immediately put the girls into the trailer. This should have told me how the weekend was going to go.

Later that evening, as we sat eating our dinner around the picnic table, I watched a bat fly above us and tried not to react in fear of scaring my friend Anita who is 90 years old. Apparently, it was time for bats to fly because when we would go to the store to call our daughter a bat would fly right next to me and get closer every time it made its way back by me. Needless to say, it cut my phone call short.

In the 25 years Charlie and I have gone camping in the Sierra mountains, we have never had an encounter with a bear. Although we have heard stories about sightings and how they would run up to picnic table's and grab a loaf of bread and then run away. When Charlie and I would hear this, we would exchange a look that would say, "Uh huh. Right." But, this camping trip everyone saw the bear... except me. Nessa even went to show me a picture she took of it (I couldn't believe how BIG it was) and then Rob started hysterically busting up and said she also got a picture of a lion. I realized it was pictures she had taken from a recent trip to the zoo! Ha! Ha! Joke was on me! Our last night there, I got so spooked, I believe my imagination got away from me because I heard...a growl. That was it for me and I said, "Goodnight!"

Charlie actually saw a bear standing on it's hind legs looking into a window of a trailer one early morning. Can you imagine? I think with the season changing, the bears are getting ready to hibernate. Have you ever seen a bear in it's natural habitat?

All in all, not counting the excitement we had, it was nice getting together and sharing a long weekend with good friends and family. Nothing beats telling stories around the fire at night and appreciating the great outdoors!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Summer's Song

Sunshine to warm the heart ~


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Daddy's Girls ~

"The words that a father speaks to his children in the privacy of home are not heard by the world, but, as in whispering-galleries, they are clearly heard at the end and by posterity."
~Jean Paul Richter

This is one of my favorite photos of my sister Jessica and I with my dad.

My sister is still pretty small in this photo. I am about 2 1/2 years older than my sister and I am trying to figure out how old I was in this photo. Jessica was born on September 7 and my dad's birthday was September 14th. I must have been three or four months shy of turning three years old. I just look so long for being that old! When I look at this picture I see two little girls with a young father. The love already speaks volumes to me. NOTE ~ It came to me later and I couldn't help but smile, 'Well... my dad wasn't that tall and had short legs, which could be why I looked so long laying on them.'

My dad lost his brave and courageous battle to cancer. I never heard him complain... not one time. He was only 59 years old. My dad had made it through a year and two months with this disease. Without chemo, they told us he had maybe three to four months to live. There are moments in a person's lifetime that stand out more than others. It's details are penetrated to the core of your soul and are absorbed. That is not to say those other moments don't mean as much. The last week of his life was like this for me. Super Hyper-detailed.

Thanksgiving, for some reason landed on the 29th of November. I remember checking and rechecking the date to make sure I wasn't reading it wrong (my mind was all over the place back then). I thought it was strange for Thanksgiving to be the last Thursday of the month of November.

My dad fell down twice that week and I remember having to tell him as I sobbed, he was going to have to be patient and wait for me to help him when he wanted to move; I was also watching my nephew who was a toddler at the time. My sister Jessica and her boyfriend were taking a break in their relationship and she decided to move in with dad and help me take care of him; I couldn't have done it without her. My dad expressed to both of us, how important it was that he stay at home; his home. My dad needed constant care. She had a baby and the only way we could both take care of dad was to do it in shifts. While I was at work, she was with dad, and then, I would get off work; I would then pick up my nephew at the daycare and go to dads, Jessica would be going to work. We were like passing ships in the night. While I was with him, he would periodically go over his wants and wishes with me.

That last week, the doctor (who happens to also be my husbands doctor) told us there was nothing else he could do for my dad. Hospice was to come in on the following Monday after the holiday. Meanwhile, our son Rob had an appendicitis attack on Monday night (the same night my dad fell down), and then surgery on Tuesday morning. We were all in the hospital standing around Rob's bed after the surgery, and I can remember following Rob's eyes to the door and seeing my Nina wheeling my dad in a wheel chair into the room. I couldn't believe it! My Nina said, "Your dad was quite persistent and not taking no for an answer, he wanted to see his boy (Rob)." My Nina also shared with me in private, she felt by some of the things dad was saying, he was afraid he wasn't going to see Rob again. Without responding, I understood. Later, when I had time to think about it, my dad did pass away. He must have known or felt his time was running out. Rob got to come home on Wednesday and was very careful traveling to be with my dad on Thanksgiving.

Friday was interesting. My dad was very talkative and towards the end of the night, he was hallucinating and then just like that (snapping my fingers), he seemed fine. Charlie decided to stay with him and told me to take the kids home and try to get some rest. I did. Charlie came home about 4:00 in the morning and no sooner he got into bed and the phone rang. It was my sister telling me daddy woke her up telling her he didn't feel good and to unlock the gate, he called 911 and the ambulance would be there any minute. I threw on some clothes and drove to my dad's to get my sister. When I got there, she thought it would be better if we took separate cars and I went on to the hospital.

As I drove to the hospital, so many thoughts raced through my mind and I remember feeling like I couldn't get there fast enough. When I walked into the emergency room, my dad was sitting up and wanting a cup of coffee. The nurses were trying to take his vitals and were whispering to each other how low they were. The phlebotomist couldn't get any blood from him. They came in to take an x-ray and I remember telling them that my dad had cancer, and tried to catch them up to speed. Someone else tried to take some blood from him and I remember telling them, calmly...  to just quit. I could see my dad's body was shutting down. The nurse asked me, "Do you want them to resuscitate your dad in case his heart stopped beating." I said, "No." My dad watched me as I gave them my answer. and he gave me a smile. Another nurse asked me the same thing a little later and again, I said, "No." My dad smiled, reached for my hand and squeezed it. This was one of the "wishes" my dad went over with me. I had my instructions.

All the while, he kept asking for a cup of coffee.

I had to leave the room so that my sister could come in and be with our dad; the emergency room had a "one visitor at a time" policy. It was then my turn and this time, I brought him a cup of coffee. Apparently, he asked Jess to get him one too, and she did against her better judgement (my dad had heart problems and coffee was a no-no). Daddy thanked us both for the coffee, although he had difficulty keeping it down. I would clean him up. I felt Jess needed a turn, and we switched places. I no sooner sat down in the waiting room and my sister screamed for me. I ran into the emergency room and our dad had a heart attack. As he died, without even thinking what I was doing, I immediately looked up (as if he could see me as he left his body) and I said as tears streamed down the cheeks of my face, "I love you daddy." Jess and I stood there holding each other for quite a while. When we let go of each other, I took the oxygen tube off of his face, then took his glasses off,  placed them in my pocket and shut his eye lids.

I have often wondered if that cup of coffee and the caffeine had a significant role in his heart attack. Did he know? It's interesting how the mind starts the "what ifs," and takes a life all of it's own. It was time and he knew.

We stayed with him in another room for almost five hours until the rest of the family could get to the hospital to say their goodbyes; my dad wanted to be cremated as soon as possible. I held his hand and felt the warmth that his body did have at the end dissipate. I looked at his hand and knew that would be the last time on this earth that I would see it in the flesh, it would only be in pictures or my mind after we left him. It was so hard leaving....

It was about four years later, Jess called crying and said she had something to tell me that was eating her alive; she felt horrible. It was about the day daddy died. As she sobbed, she told me the nurse came in and asked her if she wanted them to resuscitate him in case he had a heart attack and she didn't want me to be mad at her but she said, "No." I couldn't believe she had carried that around for years after daddy passed away. As she told me her story, I could see how heavy it weighed on her heart. I felt so bad for her and told her that was what daddy wanted. He didn't want to be put on machines or connected to tubes. Dad held on as long as he could at home and I think he knew when it was time to go to the hospital. He was the one that made that call because he didn't want us to have to do it. I explained to Jessica that I had two different nurses ask me the very same thing. I told her that dad smiled at me the first time I was asked, like he was proud of me. The second time, he smiled again and held my hand and squeezed it as if he was letting me know, he knew it was hard for me telling the nurse that, but at the same time, again, he was proud of me. My sister and I cried together on the phone. She had no idea. I apologized to her for not talking about it afterwards. I just knew it was what he wanted.

As I look at this picture, seeing the three of us sleeping peacefully and then jumping forward to the day we lost him... it was also just the three of us. My dad with his two girls and all the memories in between. No suffering or tragedy nor deeply seated pain could ever over shadow the bond that we retained. He will be in our hearts... always in our hearts. We're together, though apart. How lucky are that we have those wonderful feelings and memories. We are lucky, lucky daughters. And to have husbands that are such great fathers too! We are blessed!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Focus Focus

Count your blessings ~ not your troubles!

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Happy Contribution ~

My daughter is currently doing some research studying healthy aging and asked me if I would like to help her with a presentation she and her research team are giving. She needed pictures of the residents she's working with having fun.

I'm not at liberty to post pictures of the people without their permission.


Bingo cards for sale and a book of records.

Wine hour.

A glass of wine.

I noticed as I walked around, the women were a little reserved and really didn't want their picture taken. I hope they will start to trust me as time goes by and let their hair down around me. The men on the other hand were more open and well... hams around the camera.

Too cute ~

I have never really given much thought into what my life will be like when I get older or what I will be like as I age, until now. With the research my daughter is doing, I realize what an impact how we live now will have on the quality of our lives later. There are so many choices that we make every single moment of a given day that affect us, from what we choose to eat, how long we sleep, how much we laugh, and whether we interpret a stressor as a challenge or a threat. It goes further than that, according to my daughter. The actions we make affect every aspect of our life and our BRAIN health. And it is our brain that makes our body, but without our body our brain can not continue to grow and be nourished. That's why it is essential to exercise both.

It's how the saying goes: "Use it or lose it."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Sweet Surprise ~

I got a call from my son Rob letting me know Nessa would be receiving a special package. I also had special instructions to "please put it in the refrigerator as soon as it arrives." He also asked me to call her and let her know she got a special delivery. He is so cute... he sometimes needs me or his sister to pull his surprises off and Nessa has right away become suspicious when I call her with news such as this. She has learned we are always sworn to secrecy and our lips are tightly sealed.

The front of the card.

Inside inscription.

Nessa turned three shades of red and gushed, "I can't believe he told you!" We immediately explained to her, he hadn't told us anything. She smiled and didn't care to share.

A sweet surprise. An inside joke... secrets kept.

I can only guess and read between the lines.

I love watching their love for one another beautifully unfold as it grows. It brings a smile to my face.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Eyes Wide Open

My daughter would like to start her career as a Neuropsychologist in San Francisco after she finishes the doctorate program. She plans to go to the city as much as possible to get familiar with and overcome the fear of driving in the city. I have to admit, becoming comfortable with the route would be beneficial to me too; I'll need to drive it to see her. It has been fun to look at the map and pick out what part of San Francisco we want to explore and see what it has to offer. When we go it is with an agenda but nothing set in stone in case we see something or come across something that is off the beaten path of interest. I have to admit, my daughter is getting to know the streets, that is, even if we drive down a bus, taxi, or bike lane... It always turns into a learning experience.

When we walk the streets of San Francisco, I can't help but be a looky loo. There is always so much to see! We took advantage of this past Labor day weekend and took one of our day trips to the city.

I thought this tree stump was interesting. Notice the carvings?

Jimmy Hendrix painted on the side of someones home.

The store's always have the neatest signs. I thought this one was pretty.

Since I have been going to San Francisco, I have noticed this artist has quite a few murals painted throughout the streets. I think they are neat.

This lady obviously is a little bit of an exhibitionist... OR maybe she is sneaking out. ;)

This window covering reminded me of a window to a bedroom Charlie and I shared when we were first married. Sweet memory ~

I love the children's parks I've seen in the city. There is always a mural painted with bright colors full of imagination on the walls. Here at this park, the gates are made of artsy iron.

My daughter's advisor told me about a bead store in San Francisco to check out the next time we were visiting. It is down a beat up side road and if you didn't know it was there, you would miss it. The General Bead store is now one of my favorite places. It's crazy to learn the variance of prices in the city vs. in the valley; it's much cheaper in the city.

My daughter told me about a grocery store she went to on one of her visits without me. It is called Rainbow Coop., an all organic store and Eco friendly store (yes, everything!). A great place to pick up ingredients you wouldn't find else where for that wonderful recipe you've been wanting to try. I loved it! We're planning on making a trip for soup ingredients to welcome Autumn. One thing about San Francisco, everywhere you look, there is something that catches my eye! This table was outside of the grocery store. Notice it's made out of all recycled materials.

This is my baby girl the day after our trip to the city.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Soft Whisper ~

~ Warm tender feelings
Embracing love ~

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Alternative ~

Joy requires one to be awake,
Adjusting the heart's ambience to bright.
Some prefer the dark, as is their right,
On grounds of agony, and to forsake
Not only bliss, but all that's blessed by light.

~ Nicholas Gordon

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Complete Care For Gold Bond ~

Charlie fell asleep in his chair while I got ready for bed. I used the last of the toothpaste and forgot to put the extra tube in the drawer. I went to wake him up, nudging his shoulder, "Charlie, come on... let's go to bed." He said groggily, "Okay, coming." Half an hour later, he came into the room half asleep, I could hear him taking his clothes off and then started to brush his teeth. I heard the shower start and next thing I knew, he was giving me a hug and a kiss goodnight. Charlie said smacking like he was tasting something, "Honey, I brushed my teeth, but I don't think it was tooth paste... I have a funny taste in my mouth." I said sleepily, "Huhhh?..." Out we both went.

In the morning to follow, as I got ready for work, I opened the drawer and noticed I needed to get the extra tube of toothpaste out. It came to my mind what Charlie said before we went to sleep. I looked to see what he brushed his teeth with and started busting up laughing. It was my Gold Bond Anti-Itch cream I use on my hands from the constant washing working in a Cafeteria. I could see why he used it, the color of the tubes are very similar. He didn't get extra whitening but on the other hand, his mouth didn't itch.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ocean ~

here, hope, sea, cleanse,
leap, grace, soul, fly, home,
wonder, refreshed, bloom, path,
journey, mend, open, now, love,
joy, magic, breathe, letting go