Monday, December 29, 2008

Farkle Sparkles OR "Biddy" Birthday

Guess who had a Birthday on Sunday? Ms Farkle for sure....ain't she gorgeous!!!!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Horsey Gal, here.. snowed in but feeling Blessed

Jack and Chris sharing blog
space with Horsey Gal and
just happy to be anywhere.
Picture was taken Summer
2008 at the Lake.

While putting up my artificial Christmas tree my
cat, Jake, kept climbing it and taking my orna-
ments off. I only put up unbreakable ones such
as metal horses and resin nativity scenes and
wooden ornaments which I dearly love anyway.
I also included one that Mark had made for me
when he was a little guy and the two Santa's
that my brother, Bobby, and I had made as kids.

The week before friends came over and we had
our celebration together and then there were
several Christmas programs and concerts at
different Churches. Knowing Christ as the center
of my
Christmas, along with friends and family
and singing
Christmas carols (I still have my
Christmas carol book that I had as a child)
has made Christmas for me. Christmas Eve
my brother,Wolfe, his wife Julie, and two kids,
Ldub and Shae were here and then
I went to their house and I got both practical
and fun gifts.

With all the snow we have had, I have tunnels
going everywhere - out to the barn, to the goat
shed, the chicken coop and the mailbox (don't
know why because we have not had mail
delivery for so many days now.)

Wolfe has cleared my driveway and the neigh-
bors and the roadways in the back several
times with the backhoe.
Christmas morning I opened the door to go out
to do my chores and my dogs (Chris, a golden
retriever, and Jack, a black lab) went out first.
The snow came crashing off my garage roof and
Jack missed it but Chris was buried about 3 feet
down by . I grabbed a shovel and dug and prayed
and cried and looked and saw some golden hair
and then movement and finally dug him out with
no injuries at all. At Christmas dinner that after-
noon, Wolfe prayed and thanked the Lord that
we still have him and I did too. I so love my
Chris dog.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year
Happy Trails.

How was your Christmas?

Did you go
out and
buy a tree
or did you
put up an

Who decorated the tree? You or the whole
family. Was it a themed tree or did it have old
family favorites on it?

Did you get your shopping done early or
were you out Christmas Eve for some last
minute gifts? Did you grab a quick bite to
eat somewhere or did you go home and
fix a special dinner?

Do you have
any special
Christmas music
that you listen
to year after
year ? Did you
play it this

Did you open your gifts
on Christmas Eve or
wait until Christmas
Day? Did you just open
one on Christmas

Were your gifts practical?

Or were
they fun
that you

Did you have visions of Sugar
Plums dancing in your head
or did you just fall, worn out
and exhausted, into bed?

Did Santa leave your stocking

full of wonderful

Did you spend Christmas
day cooking, and enjoying
your family and friends?

If the answer is yes then
I would say you had a
very Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Attebetty has a Frederick and Nelson moment

In 1952 the Seattle, Frederick & Nelson had 'Uncle Mistletoe at Cozy Cottage' instead of Santa. Uncle M. was a puppet show on t.v. and we had the first t.v. in the neighborhood. I seem to be the only person in the entire world that remembers him and the photo of my sister and I with him. I was going through Mom's photos tonight and found the photo! I looked up Uncle Mistletoe and found he was a Christmas staple in the Chicago Marshall Fields at Christmas for years. If you ever have a place to show the Santa pictures; I'll donate one from the dark ages. Here's the info I found.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Shopping the escalator and a history lesson

Some one mentioned recently that they were going into Seattle for the day and it brought to mind something I always did with my pals around Christmas time. One night a year the stores in Downtown Seattle stay open until midnight. There was a fantastic store. Here are some actual facts about the store for the history buffs and then on with my story......

Frederick & Nelson Department Store (Fredericks as the locals called it) Frederick & Nelson was for many years Seattle's premier department store. In 1890, they began selling used furniture during the rebuilding of Seattle after the Great Fire of 1889. The business expanded to include home delivery of goods, a tea room, and ready-to-wear men's and women's fashions. The owners built a reputation for elegance and customer service.

In 1916, Donald Frederick astonished the Seattle business community by planning his six-story store at 5th Avenue and Pine Street, then outside the city's retail core. "Frederick's Folly," as detractors called it, proved to be an instant success when it opened its doors on September 3, 1918.The store featured unique amenities such as a candy factory, a children's hairdressing salon, a kindergarten, and a lounge for mothers with infants.

The mail order department shipped distinctive merchandise around the world.
During World War II, the store embraced the war effort by becoming a center for the sales of war bonds and by opening a branch store at the Boeing Airplane Company's Plant No. 2. This allowed shift workers, many of whom were women, to shop. When the war ended, Fredericks helped feed the demand for consumer goods and it established a reputation for the best in fashion.

As people began moving to the suburbs, Fredericks opened its first major branch in the Bellevue Shopping Square in 1949. In 1951, the downtown store was expanded by three floors up and two floors down.

This video is so fun to watch. It was done in 1953 and the fashion, the cars, etc it so interesting to watch. It is 29 minutes long so make sure you have time to watch the whole thing as it is worth if.

The good times did not last for Fredericks. Shoppers began to move to discount retailers. Service to customers succumbed to volume sales. In 1982, another company bought Marshall Field and Fredericks was absorbed into a national chain. Losses mounted. Fredericks was sold off in 1986 to Seattle area investors. In 1989, developer David Sabey bought the Fredericks stores and sought to restore their reputation for elegance. In 1991, however, debts exceeded assets, and Fredericks filed for bankruptcy.
On May 31, 1992, Frederick & Nelson went out of business.

The building at 5th Avenue and Pine Street was sold to Nordstrom (which was a shoe store only when I was a child) which remodeled and reopened it as that company’s flagship retail store in 1998.

We would meet on the 8th floor in the Tea Room for dinner and a gift exchange. The restaurant was beautiful. White linens on everything and beautiful views of the city lights out the windows, strolling Victorian costumed carolers, good food and the promise of a lot of shopping before nights end. It originally started out with just the core group of friends but over the years sisters, co-workers, new friends, daughters, were added and the numbers varied year by year.
Often we would have prime rib for our wonderful dinner, Kathy would pull her annual joke, we would exchange gifts and head for the escalator.

Rule # 1; you couldn't venture into the store on each floor further than you could be seen from the escalator. Than many ladies trying to stay together was like trying to herd cats, hence the rule.

We would then go over to the Bon Marche and do the same. When it got close to store closing time or we just wore out we would head for the Olympic Hotel (old name) and go to the Ballroom there. We would sit on the couch and chair arrangements and watch the "old folks" (watch it Lady) dance. There is something special about couples that have obviously danced together for years. We would order from the mobile dessert cart and have coffee and something wonderfully sweet. It had an atrium type ceiling and outside wall and you had a marvelous view of the city lights as a back drop.

Just very recently it has been brought to my attention that many of us, including several age groups, from that area have memories of that old store that go back to our child hoods. The Frederick and Nelson Santa was legendary and a lot of us have pictures sitting his lap. They had live reindeer one year and always had the most beautiful store windows. The Christmas decorations in the store were really something to see. Unfortunately I have some pictures but no scanner so I have used some I found online.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Some of my "Old Biddies"

Judi, known each other since 1949

Carole, Trudy, Joy, Kathy
known most of these gals since the early 60's

The beach storm....and crashing P-dots blog!

The storm was intense, so intense they named it Storm Judith!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

We loved those Sailors.....

Lew got a call from his best friend Al today. He travels a lot in his Sheet Metal job. He's in Minnesota until the end of the week and then he'll go home to Austin Texas for Christmas and his next assignment. Al was in a small town Minnesota grocery store yesterday. He was wearing his leather flight jacket. It has patches referring to his Navy stint, the fact that he's a Vietnam Vet and one from Hatron Two, the squadron he and Lew were in at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station in the 60s (......remember when Trudy mentioned 'chasing sailors??'.....).
Al heard someone behind him in the store yell, "Hatron Two!! Were you in Hatron Two?" Al turned and the guy spotted his name on the jacket. He said, "Al! Remember me? I'm Tom (can't remember the last name...)". Al remembered him! Then Tom asked about Lew! Al told him how Lew was and where we live. Tom laughed and reminded Al of when Lew was working as a Baker one year, when they went T.D.Y. to Vietnam on the U.S.S. Ranger. He recalled how Lew used to bring them all fresh baked, hot bread with butter and strawberry jam. They all loved the top crust so, they tore off the bottoms and threw them away. Then he brought up the times when the cooks would find cockroaches in the bread mix. They'd just add raisins and cinnamon, call it raisin bread and keep going!!! Tom laughed about how Lew would come in and warn them, "Don't eat the Raisin bread...."
They had a good reunion and exchanged email addresses. Lew expects to hear from Tom soon. So.....Trudy and Penni.....What do you think??? Matching leather flight jackets with patches that say, "I ran around with (U.S.N.) V.P. One, V.P. Two, Heavy (Hatron) Two , Heavy Four and (U.S.A.F.) 57th Cameron.???" Maybe
we could have a few 'reunions'........

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas is different now....

For years and years we had our family traditions. Christmas Eve was a big deal in my home. My Mom would make either clam chowder or oyster stew and she would serve it on the tea wagon in the living room. The tea wagon had collapsible sides and when it was open it was like a small round table. She would decorate the table with lace and the good china.
After dinner we would open gifts. Some one played Santa, (usually me) and handed out the gifts. One gift at a time, one person at a time. So each person could enjoy their moment in the spotlight as well as the giver could enjoy seeing their gift opened.
There would be egg nog made by my Great Aunt Ethel and we would have home made fruitcake. I love fruitcake, always have so if you get one and don't like it, send it to me.

When I had my own family I followed the same tradition as closely as possible. See, I was an only child and I had four rambunctious boys so it didn't always go as smoothly as my childhood ones did with only one child. But that was our tradition and we did it.
Fast forward to the early 90's and I found myself at my first single lady Christmas Eve, with only two of my grown sons dropping in for a little while to see me. Not the same and hasn't been since. I tried to get some of my married children to do it the way we always had but they have wives with their own traditions. Going to Vegas even became a consideration but since I don't gamble or drink, what was the point?
I have had a few Christmas Eve's that have been close to the old days but it has been kind of hit and miss. It seems to me that this sort of thing is really personal and how do we let go of the past. How do we deal with the fact that things change and we can't even control our traditions? Make some new ones? Just remember the old ones as a fond memory?
Any suggestions????

AND.....on a lighter note here is something I enjoyed doing.

Okay, here's what you're supposed to do, and try not to be a SCROOGE!!! Just copy it onto your blog and change the answers where necessary.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both

2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial

3. When do you put up the tree? A couple of weeks before Christmas

4. When do you take the tree down? January 6 th (also known as 12th Night)

5. Do you like eggnog? I like eggnog, with a little 7-Up in it.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? A Toni doll

7. Hardest person to buy for? Mark, he already has everything

8. Easiest person to buy for? Todd

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes

10. Mail or e-mail Christmas Cards? Both

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Dishes from my 'wasband' and I didn't have the courage or the sense to tell him I didn't like them so I got add on pieces for the next 10 years. Blech....

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? It's a toss up between It's a Wonderful Life (like I want life to be) and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (more like my life is)

13 When do you start shopping for Christmas? I shop all year long and more recently I added online shopping

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Those little round cookies with all the powdered sugar on them and Hollie's home made fudge and Clam Chowder or Oyster Stew on Christmas Eve

16. Lights on the tree? Pre-lit tree.

17. Favorite Christmas Song? Aaron Neville Christmas Album

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay Home

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Sure. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Doner, that it?

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Angel on a star (new this year) before a tall spiky thing

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas Eve

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? People saying Happy Holidays instead of Happy Hanukkah or Merry Christmas.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? I love white lights and the crystal, silver, pale, ice look on a tree

24. Favorite for Christmas Dinner? Prime Rib and mashed potatoes, and other trimmings.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? A fruitcake

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Long Way Home

I watched a good movie recently on DVD from Netflix. It was a 1998 made for TV movie and it had one of my favorite actors, Jack Lemmon, who I miss seeing since he passed away in June 2001.
As the movie opens we see an Estate sale in progress. Tom Garrin (Jack Lemmon) looks on with melancholy while his home and his belongings are sold. He keeps just a little wood plane as a souvenir.
A widower for three years, he has two daughters, two sons, seven grandchildren. "They clipped my wings" he says when asked about living with his son. He is not sent to a home for the aged as one son wants but moves in with his other son and daughter-in-law instead.
His daughter-in-law dutifully administers his medicine to him and remains always polite despite the fact that she would have preferred to have her house to herself after her children left. Toms habit of speaking to himself appears strange to her.When he isn't at home on time she always suspects the worst. Toms reaction to her and his sons patronizing attitude is equally childish: Let them worry!

One day he's late again. He watched a circus, fell asleep and stumbled over a log. He tries to make up lame excuses ("They kidnapped me"). He is nearly run over by a car and engages in a conversation with the young driver Leanne (Sarah Paulson). When some rednecks in a saloon try to hit on her he comes to her help. In the following chase, her car is smashed up. She plans to hitch hike to Carmel, California. Tom, who has just cashed his pension-check impulsively decides to join her and visit an old girl-friend in Monterey. His efforts to inform his family are half-hearted, to say the least, and while his son is so worried that he alarms the police and tries to trace his father via radio, he enjoys his trip.

In the company of this merry, optimistic and energetic young woman Tom realizes that his own approach to life is perhaps the wrong one. "What are you doing?" she asks him. "I used to be a cabinet-maker." he answers. "No. I mean: what are you doing NOW?" "Nothing." Why did he retire, she wonders.

Arriving in California , Tom is confronted with people whose way of looking at life is the opposite of his own. Leanne's father, a man not much older than his own son, is confined to a wheelchair, slowly dying - and still working. The idea of retiring never crossed his mind. He wants to lead a useful life to the last. Tom calls on his old sweetheart, Veronica (Betty Garrett, Lemmon's partner in "My sister Eileen").

"The Long Way Home" is a superior TV-film, a little bit patronizing, but redeemed by two outstanding performances. The lesson in this movie for senior citizens is pretty much this: Don't be one of those living-dead who sleep their life away before a television-set. Go out and live!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Be careful what you say....

I have been, jokingly, talking about living in the 'old folks home' and someone overheard me and sent me this. I guess I need to be a little more careful about how I address my living quarters.....
It's not the 'home', really!!!

A Senior Christmas Poem….

'Twas the night before Christmas at Rock-Away Rest,
And all of us seniors were looking our best.
Our glasses, how sparkly, our wrinkles, how merry;
Our punch bowl held prune juice plus three drops of sherry.

A bedsock was taped to each walker in hope,
That Santa would bring us soft candy and soap.
We surely were lucky to be there with friends,
Secure in this residence and in our Depends.

Our grandkids had sent us some Christmasy crafts,
Like angels in snowsuits and penguins on rafts.
The dental assistant had borrowed our teeth,
And from them she'd crafted a holiday wreath.

The bed pans, so shiny, all stood in a row,
Reflecting our candle's magnificent glow.
Our supper so festive — the joy wouldn't stop –
Was creamy warm oatmeal with sprinkles on top.

Our salad was Jell-O, so jiggly and great,
Then puree of fruitcake was spooned on each plate.
The social director then had us play games,
Like 'Where Are You Living?' and 'What Are Your Names?'

Old Grandfather Looper was feeling his oats,
Proclaiming that reindeer were nothing but goats.
Our resident wand'rer was tied to her chair,
In hopes that at bedtime she still would be there.

Security lights on the new fallen snow
Made outdoors seem noon to the old folks below.
Then out on the porch there arose quite a clatter
(But we are so deaf that it just didn't matter).

A strange little fellow flew in through the door,
Then tripped on the sill and fell flat on the floor.
'Twas just our director, all togged out in red.
He jiggled and chuckled and patted each head.

We knew from the way that he strutted and jived
Our social security checks had arrived.

We sang — how we sang — in our monotone croak,
Till the clock tinkled out its soft eight-p.m. stroke.

And soon we were snuggling deep in our beds.
While nurses distributed nocturnal meds.
And so ends our Christmas at Rock-Away Rest.
Before long you'll be with us. We wish you the best.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

There is still time.....

Here is a pre-Christmas Meme for you.
You may copy and paste in your own blog if you wish to, and bold or color (mine are in red) all of the things you have done.


1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightening at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Ridden an elephant

While some of these experiences are more positive than others, all of our experiences contribute to our lives in some way. Some experiences are just glorious - others teach us a lesson (for instance, bouncing checks is expensive...or you shouldn't eat warm cole slaw...). But they all make us what we are today.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Horsey Gal's joke about old people and food..

The elderly couple were sitting in the living room and he says "why don't you get us a bowl of ice cream?" She says, "ok" and he says, "now wait a minute cause I want chocolate syrup and nuts on it too." She says, "ok" and he says, "well you had better write it down." She says, "oh don't be silly - surely I can remember that when I get to the kitchen." He says, "alrighty then, let's just see how this goes." She is gone a long time and when she comes back she has a plate of scrambled eggs and bacon. He hollers at her, "see, I knew you would forget it by the time you got to the kitchen." She says "so smarty pants, what did I forget?" He says, "WHERE'S MY TOAST?"

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Remember when I mentioned that phenomenal kid of mine? We were talking about this Blog on Thanksgiving evening and she reminded me of when she was 11.
By 1973, as fate would have it, we lived 3 blocks above the Bethany Home instead of across the street. She came home one day and asked if she could invite her new friend Nancy to Tea. I said she could. She set the day about 3 days out. On the appointed day, she helped me set out the tea tray and left to go get Nancy. I was picturing an afternoon of giggling girls enjoying the 'grown up' tea.
I was on the porch when I saw Terri come up the hill and turn down our street. I didn't see Nancy at first. She was behind Terri and moving much, much slower because she was at least,
a hundred years old!!! She had on a fantastic, red Chanel suit. It even had the gold chain belt. Every silver hair was in place. She was walking slowly because of her advanced age and the high heels she was wearing. Naturally, Terri got to the house first so, I had time to ask her who Nancy was. "She's a lady I visit every day when I go down to Bethany Home."
I asked if she had told anyone Nancy was leaving. She said she hadn't. Panic set in but I helped Nancy up the stairs to the house and welcomed her to tea at our home. Nancy was so sweet. One could tell she was a little fuzzy but so cute. She knew her last name when I asked. She was so pleased to be having tea with her little friend. I sat them down with tea and scones. I excused myself to make a phone call. I called The Bethany Home and told them if they were looking for Nancy she was at my house and explained the situation.
As soon as I said my daughter Terri had invited her, the woman on the other end told me they all loved her down at the Bethany Home. (I didn't even know she went to the home!!) They said they'd come up and get Nancy right away.
I looked in the living room and saw the two of them having such a charming time. I asked if it was okay for them to postpone picking Nancy up for about an hour. They were so nice about it. They came an hour later and acted as if they knew all along where Nancy had been.
Terri rode home with her and walked back. When she got back, she told me she walked down to the home almost every day and visited certain people. There was the bedridden lady with no family, a tall man that stood in his doorway paying passersby dollar bills to listen to him sing ("I don't take the dollar bills Mom.") and Nancy among others. She said she didn't think Nancy got any visitors either.
The Bethany Home people called in the next few days to thank me for calling them and alerting them to how easy it was for someone to leave without notice. They encouraged me not to blame Terri and said she was always welcome.
She's going to be 47 next week and she is still a sucker for us old people.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I was re-reading Penni's thoughts on Bethany Home tonight and it brought back memories.
When I was first divorced and poor as a church mouse I rented a big, drafty barn of a house right across the street from Bethany Home.
My friends 'Clunk' (long stuck...), Danny and I would 'scrape together some Jingle' as we called it and go across to the store Penni mentions and buy a few beers. Then we'd sit and talk. Some of my favorite memories of those two are in that shabby living room, sitting on the only piece of furniture, a couch that had bad hinges and kept making into a bed if it moved away from the wall.
We even picked our rooms in Bethany Home from that house. Clunk & Danny in the left tower and me in the room below. Funny how that potential move seemed to be HUNDREDS of years off.
That was 1962!!! Forty Eight Years ago! I was 19 and Wow,how things changed in the following years. I raised a fantastic human being that doesn't let anything stop her from what she wants. I met the best friend I will ever have. (Okay...the circumstances of our introduction are another entirely different story...) I ended up with the best cadre of friends a person could have.
We had a ball being single for the next 6 years. We all married and kept in touch as much as possible.
We were visiting Penni and her ex in Tucson, in 1990. We drove up to Phoenix and went to Sizzler before going on to Cottonwood (..where it was so cold, my video camera FROZE in it's track....!). As we left Phoenix we ended up going down a street called (I KID you Not...) Bethany Home Road!!
Over the years Clunk retired and moved to Lolo, Montana. We haven't seen Danny in years. A few years back Bethany home was sold to a Medical Clinic and parts that included 'our rooms' were torn down.
Last Thanksgiving Clunk called in a panic. Apparently, he had come over here to Washington for Thanksgiving. I said, "Hello" and he hollered, "Carole!! Bethany Home is gone!! What are we going to do???" Hence..My Bethany Home memories.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

WOW, what a deal. Fresh produce.....

If you are on a fixed income it is often challenging to make ends meet and to eat healthy, fresh produce at today's prices.
Our complex's management company has found a way to help us in this. This past Tuesday they started a Farmer's Market.
The week before they passed out sheets with lists of produce and suggested we mark what we like and might purchase. They purchased it at wholesale prices and sold it to us at the price they paid for it.
What a great idea to help Seniors buy fresh food at a reasonable price. There is even a way to help out with this wonderful idea and that is to show up early and help bag up the things that need bagging ahead of time.
There were even eggs at $1.69 a dozen and they also sold them by the half dozen.

After hearing someone complain about the price of an apple (Fuji .40 each) I decided to do a comparison shop with Safeway.

I had purchased:
1 bunch green onions
1 pint grape tomatoes
7 fat asparagus in a small bunch
1 pound red grapes
1 large banana
2 avocados
2 yams
1 pound green beans (the really dark green small sized ones)
1/2 pound mushrooms
1 huge red pepper
1 # baby carrots
1 large head cabbage
and 2 Fuji apples

My total bill came to $12.10* and filled up a Trader Joe's paper shopping bag to the top.
When I compared my list, item for item, the total came to $27.53. And the apples were .75 each at Safeway.
I know I have purchased apples cheaper than that at Grocery Outlet but I had to buy a whole bag and they were a little wrinkled as a lot of their produce is what is called seconds. The apples from our Farmer's Market were large and very fresh and juicy and crisp.
So here's to the people in the management office that did all of this for us and let's make sure we show up each week to shop.
Oh, and what happened to the produce that didn't went to a charitable organization that feeds people. What a win, win situation.
*I may become a vegetarian at this rate.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

And Then It's Winter..For All My Pals

And it's winter before we know it....
You know, time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years.

It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate. And yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went. I know that I lived them all...

And I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams... But, here it is..the winter of my life and it catches me by surprise... How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my babies go? And where did my youth go?

I remember well.. seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that winter was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like... But, here it friends are retired and really getting gray...they move slower and I see an older person now. Lots are in better shape than me... but, I see the great change... Not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant... but, like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we'd be.

Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat's mandatory! Cause if I don't on my own free will...I just fall asleep where I sit!

And so, now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did!!

But, at least I know, that though the winter has come, and I'm not sure how long it will last...this I know, that when it's over...its over....Yes , I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn't done ,,,,,things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I'm happy to have done. It's all in a lifetime....

So, if you're not in your winter yet...let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life please do it quickly! Don't put things off too long!!

Life goes by quickly. So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether this is your winter or not!

You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your, live for good today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember...and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past!!'

Life is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after.
Make it a fantastic one.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Count down to Thanksgiving.....

The Boynton Beach Bereavement Club

I'm not much of a movie buff but I just rented and throughly enjoyed the movie, The Boynton Beach Bereavement Club. Maybe it's my age, maybe it was the fact it is revolving around a Senior community.

A romantic comedy about our amazing capacity to rebound and fall in love at any age. Lois, Harry, Marilyn ,Sandy and Jack live in an "Active Adult" community in Boynton Beach, Florida. Their lives intersect when they meet at a local Bereavement Club where they go to find emotional support after the loss of a loved one.

For anyone who thinks that new love and romance ends long before retirement, they're in for a reality check. No one sees themselves as becoming old, and the residents of Boynton Beach aren't about to start. But sometimes we all need a little reminder that life is worth living and sharing.

If I have roused your curiosity a little, here is a link to the trailer for it,
but it in no way does it justice.

You may have to copy, cut and paste to see trailer

Back in 1935 Congress enacted the Social Security Act; at that time the average life expectancy was only 59.9 years for a man and 63.9 years for a woman. Most people were not going to live long enough to collect their benefits. Today when so many of us are passing 80 years and on, a new phase of life begins at 65 or sooner.

We plan and dream for a life of leisure in the sunshine, but as the poet Robert Burns noted, "the best laid schemes of mice o' men, gang-aft-a-gley". Sooner or later, most of us will be in this situation. The need for companionship, someone to care for us, the fear of being alone and yes, even sex.

Director Susan Seidelman took one of her 75 year old mother's short stories ( Florence Seidelman) and adapted it to the screen. The result is
a comedy-drama that is both entertaining
and at times poignant.
Tighter writing could have brought out much
more of the drama and bigger laughs. Even with these flaws, Boynton Beach is an enjoyable diversion.

Their stories are portrayed by an excellent cast of veterans including: Joe Bologna, Dyan Cannon, Sally Kellerman, Mal Z. Lawrence, Michael Nouri, Renee Taylor and Brenda Vaccaro. It is a little unnerving to see these folks after not viewing them for some years. I was taken aback by Dyan Cannon's collagen-infused new lips. Len Cariou and Joe Bologna steal the film. After this movie, younger folks will be looking at those who live in an active-adult community with a new sense of discovery.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My morning, or why I sometimes over eat.

I think I have found the reason that I sometimes over eat. When I was younger, I got up in the morning, went to the kitchen, made myself a "cuppa", fixed some breakfast, and sat down to eat.

This morning I got up, headed to the kitchen, took my breakfast items out of the fridge, placed them on the counter next to the stove and started to prepare my breakfast. I had purchased a large plastic container of citrus fruits and a can of crushed pineapple. Mixed those together and put back in the fridge. (A small dish of this is so yummy, ice cold, first thing in the morning.) Threw the containers in the sink to rinse for recycle.

Saw the pumpkin puree that I had taken out of the fridge to bring to room temperature and said to myself, "better get that into the crock pot now (making pumpkin butter) as it has been out since the middle of the night." Moved the breakfast items to the side and made the pumpkin butter mix and put it into the crock pot. Putting the ingredients away I realized that I had nothing to put the open bag of sugar in....(still buying too large of a size...and will I ever remember that I'm just one now?). Stuck it up in the cupboard and decided next time I'm at the Dollar Store I would purchase a storage container. Moved the breakfast items closer to the stove and while I was cleaning up after myself I picked up and moved a pound of butter that I had purchased last night and left sitting on the counter to also bring to room temperature. (I whip real butter with healthy oil to make whipped butter.) Realized it was soft and warm and said to my self, "better get that into the bowl and get it whipped up and refrigerated since it has been out all night". Moved the breakfast items to the side and whipped up a fresh batch of butter.

Went to put on the water for tea. (Found a new-to-me tea yesterday, Nutcracker Sweet, that I had heard someone on a blog rave about) "Oh no," while I was putting the pumpkin mixture I had splashed it on a good portion of the back corner of the stove and the heat from the burner might make it harder to remove. (brand new appliances have made me so fussy about cleanups) So I went to the sink to get the dish rag hot and soapy and realized I had a sink full of dishes.....see where I'm going with this.
"Better put the dishes in the pan with some hot water so they will be easier to wash", I said to myself. Took the things I had put into the sink to rinse and recycle and looked at the big plastic container that the citrus fruit salad had come in. "Hmmmm, now wouldn't that make a great container to hold that extra sugar that I bought." So I got busy, did up the dishes, but had to put yesterday's clean ones away first. Of course. When I came to the plastic container I just tossed it into the hot remaining dish water to soak the label off.

Finally, moved the afore mentioned breakfast items over to the counter by the stove, again, and started to put on the water for tea when I realized I STILL hadn't cleaned up the pumpkin splatters. Actually got it done and put the water on for tea.

As I was standing at the stove, my bare foot landed in something sticky and I said to myself, "better get that wiped up before you track it into the living room on the new carpet." So I did the floor. Water is now boiling and I actually made the tea but had too much water in the tea kettle so poured it into the dishpan with the plastic container, put the kettle back on the turned off, but still hot burner. (I do this to dry out my tea kettle so I don't ever have to buy another one.)

Was curious about how hot the water was and if that would help the label to loosen. Hmmmm, almost loose. "Better take that off now while the water is still hot and the glue is still soft." Label came off great but all the glue remained and was it sticky.
I decided to heck with it all and I was, by now, absolutely starving. Put the little egg skillet on with a dab of my recently whipped butter, set the toast in the toaster oven and fried up two perfect eggs.

Now remember, I said toaster oven and mine is rather large since I purchased it when I lived in the RV and used it instead of the oven. It takes quite a long time to make toast. I decided while I was waiting, to see if I could get the glue off of the container. "Oh, didn't I have some Goo-Gone somewhere? Maybe it's down under the completely stuffed full cupboard under the sink." After some searching I found it and drizzled some onto the container lid to test. "Darn, there goes the toast", I said out loud this time. Nora looks at me like "what". "Oh, it will only take a few minutes", so I think. I worked and worked on it and now, naturally, the toast is cold and hard as a brick but I have a new, perfectly good container for free.

I dished up the eggs on top of the toast, hoping to have the heat and the runny yolk soften it. But by now the yolks have firmed up completely from sitting and waiting for me. So I had breakfast....hard toast, hard eggs, cold tea and it is two and one half hours later than I had originally started out to have breakfast. But I have a new container, pumpkin butter cooking and perfuming the house, whipped butter chilling in the fridge, and that will taste wonderful on the many slices of pumpkin bread I am going to go into my kitchen and consume because it's now lunch time.......see, this is precisely why I over eat. How about you?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Horsey Girl, here...shocked and agreeing

I too, have wondered how did I get this old so fast and I remember my Mom saying "where did the years go?" When I was young, I thought that was a strange statement and now I think the same thing, just like my Mom's Mother before her. Pastor Marzolf, who was my Pastor for so many years used to say, "now when I say it happened the other day, it could have been many years before." I do this also and find it shocking that it was 10 or 20 years or even longer. What really hits me hard on aging is when we figure out how old the kids are because they are at the age that I mostly think that I am.
Oh my goodness, how unprepared we were when we received the news that Penni had her
Medicare card and thought "how could this be - she was always younger - she must have gotten a special consideration or something"........Well, I am adjusting to it and have come to the conclusion that 'it's not my fault' and take a little comfort in knowing that I can't be blamed for that too.
Happy Trails to all the oldies but goodies.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Think more

Retirement is a gift that I have been given, but it is like a large beautiful bowl and I must find beautiful things to place in it. There is a real danger of filling the bowl with bits and bobs of useless things.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about aging , and I realize that I must plan my remaining years carefully if I expect to get the most out of them. I think when you reach that certain age, if you are lucky, you begin to realize that life is giving you a second chance.

When you are young and raising a family you are busy living in your waking hours. Each day is brim full of necessary deeds and tasks. People need you, so you spend time working on filling those needs---whether it is earning a living to pay bills or cooking and cleaning and kissing boo-boos or consoling a broken teenage heart.

It is a daily race and you fall into bed at the end of the day, hoping your mind will slow down enough so that you can sleep.

Then, almost suddenly, but not without warning (children leaving home, getting married, having their own little ones) you realize that the race is slowing way down. You have time to look to each side and not always ahead. You are going slow enough now that you no longer worry about taking the wrong side road. As a matter of fact, a side road is rather desireable.

If you have good health and your finances are secure your side roads can be more interesting and very available. But even if life didn't end up like you had planned, there are still different things that you can do to have an enjoyable life.

When was the last time you took the opportunity to be lost in thought for a while. I remember the days, as a little girl, dreaming for hours. Do my grandchildren have time to do that today? Are their days so scheduled with activities or so filled with technological toys that they fail to exercise their brains and in turn their imagination? Are we becoming doers and not thinkers?

I guess this is why activities such as doll making, sewing and crafting appeal to my soul. There is time for thought. Where do you do your best day dreaming or thinking?

Now that I have such peace in my life I have so much more time for thought. I hope others realize how important thought should be in their lives.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Do you remember this? (Thanks for the reminder, Jack and Judi)

My Mom used to cut chicken, chop eggs and spread mayo on the same cutting board with the same knife and no bleach, but we didn't seem to get food poisoning.

My Mom used to defrost hamburger on the counter and I used to eat it raw sometimes, too. Our school sandwiches were wrapped in wax paper in a brown paper bag, not in ice pack coolers, but I can't remember getting e.coli.

Almost all of us would have rather gone swimming in the lake instead of a pristine pool (talk about boring), no beach closures then.

The term cell phone would have conjured up a phone in a jail cell, and a pager was the school PA system.

We all took gym, not PE...and risked permanent injury with a pair of high top Ked's (only worn in gym) instead of having cross-training athletic shoes with air cushion soles and built in light reflectors. I can't recall any injuries but they must have happened because they tell us how much safer we are now.

Flunking gym was not an option... Even for stupid kids! I guess PE must be much harder than gym.

Speaking of school, we all said prayers and sang the national anthem, and staying in detention after school caught all sorts of negative attention.

We must have had horribly damaged psyches. What an archaic health system we had then. Remember school nurses?

Ours wore a hat and everything.

I thought that I was supposed to accomplish something before I was allowed to be proud of myself.

I just can't recall how bored we were without computers, Play Station, Nintendo, X-box or 270 digital TV cable stations.

Oh yeah...and where was the Benadryl and sterilization kit when I got that bee sting? I could have been killed!

We played 'king of the hill' on piles of gravel left on vacant construction sites, and when we got hurt, Mom pulled out the
48-cent bottle of mercurochrome (kids liked it better because it didn't sting like iodine did) and then we got our butt spanked.

Now it's a trip to the emergency room, followed by a 10-day dose of a $49 bottle of antibiotics, and then Mom calls the attorney to sue the contractor for leaving a horribly vicious pile of gravel where it was such a threat.

We didn't act up at the neighbor's house either, because if we did we got our butt spanked there and then we got our butt spanked again when we got home.

I recall Donny Reynolds from next door coming over and doing his tricks on the front stoop, just before he fell off.

Little did his Mom know that she could have owned our house.

Instead, she picked him up and swatted him for being such a goof. It was a neighborhood run amuck.

To top it off, not a single person I knew had ever been told that they were from a dysfunctional family.

How could we possibly have known that?

We needed to get into group therapy and anger management classes.

We were obviously so duped by so many societal ills, that we didn't even notice that the entire country wasn't taking Prozac!

How did we ever survive?


Monday, November 3, 2008

and her mother said, " you otta see the clown she married"

This incredibly lovely lady is Lorie and she is in her 70's. She was the first person I met when I walked into the Sonoma Avenue Church. She was the greeter that day along with her husband, Art, and she grabbed me and gave me the biggest hug.
Soon after wards I was invited to lunch at her house and I assumed we were close to the same age group, her being younger than me. We toured her lovely home then we sat down to a beautiful lunch on the patio, joined by her sister, Georgia. What a great time we had. We talked about ourselves, asking questions as people do that are just getting to know one other. She had mentioned that she was married at 17 and that her parents weren't too happy about it. Then she said she had been married over 50 years and you ought to have seen my fingers doing the math under the table trying to figure exactly how old she was.
I was thunderstruck that she was older than me because next to her I look like I have been rode hard and put away wet. She is beautiful inside as well as outside. Let her be the poster child for taking good care of yourself. Exercise, sensibly eating, keeping the mind young with constant service to the Lord, inquisitive about anything new and trying new things out are the activities I see her involved in most. Rock on Lorie!!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

How Great Is Our God!!!

We sang that in church today and my life is a testament to that statement.

Here I am in the last chapters of life and God has certainly not forgotten me. During my life I have made many mistakes and God, being who he is, has forgiven me but has often left the consequences to remind me that my life isn't about being here.

This life is just the wilderness and we are here to test what is in our hearts. To get us to trust and lean on him and to depend on him. Not on the things that we, as humans , see as value. Relationships (people in our lives), emotions, or possessions.(1 Cor. 7:29-31) Important but not what this life is about. People can die, or leave us, emotions can fail us and possessions can disappear.

I have done poorly in the planning of my old age. Many reasons that I won't bore anyone with but here I am in the retirement years with hardly any money and not much chance of a future. I was making it only by the kindness of my sons, Todd and Mark. Todd and his wife, Tanya let me live in the 5th wheel on the back of their property for a year. Mark encouraged me to come to California and said he would help me.

I was actually planning to go to Arizona since I knew I could survive in Yuma since it is very old age sensitive. Mark guilted me into coming to Santa Rosa....."Mom, you have Grandkids here that don't even know you". (you kids are so good at that) Long story short, here I am in Santa Rosa.

I took a job managing a very troubled Mobile Home Park thinking (in my humanistic mind) that I was doing the right thing to take care of myself. It was a wrong choice except for the friendship of the two women I worked directly with. I got fired!!!! Yikes!!! first time in my life to ever be let go.

Several weeks after moving into the 5th wheel again, I received a letter addressed to Penelope Colley and no return address. It only said in big letters, VERY IMPORTANT. I thought it was junk mail and almost tossed it but I noticed that it had a 41 cent stamp on it. Who would put full postage on junk mail? Then I thought it must be for the manager of my now old job and I should pass it on to the company. Then I thought, 'What the heck, I will just open it....what are they going to do...shoot me?"

It was for me and it was an invitation to sign up for a brand new 54 unit, low, low income apartment housing that would be opening up the 1st of June. The invitation indicated that it had first been sent out in February.

I wondered why it was not full all ready as things like that are hard to find. I called the person's number and started to ask questions. She said it was going to be run by the Episcopal church and had very strict guidelinges as it was HUD financed and would I like an application......ya betcha!!!!

I fit the criteria perfectly and was accepted and signed my lease in June and moved in. I only pay 30% of MY total adjusted gross income. I have a brand new 530 square foot apartment with all new, beautiful appliances, beautiful shower with glass doors, new carpet, and so on and so on....

The location is perfect. Right behind the mall. (Craft store at edge of mall on my side, he, he) Post office, library, Social Security office just down the street, and a new Whole Foods being built as we speak.

Ten minute drive from church and really close to many other stores, JoAnns, K-Mart, Trader Joe's, Staples, Kohl's, TJ Max.....etc.

Does that have God's finger prints all over it or what!!!!!!!!!! Even in my dysfunction, God was there to prepare a way for me to live out how ever many years I have left in this temporary life.

How great is our God??? Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Col. 3:2
But our citizenship is in heaven.......Phil 3:20

Guess what happened right after I left Todd and Tanya's yard and came here...

See that big tree, that's where the 5th wheel was parked. I was right across a very narrow alley from the garage that caught on fire in the middle of the night. The owner of the garage had it filled with old cars and chemicals and it went BOOM!!! We had talked many times about how much he had stored in there. The fire was so intense that the fire trucks had to park out in the street and shoot the water over to where this was because the fire was so intense. Guess what would have happened to me??? How great is our God??? Let me tell you, cuz I know!!!!