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!!!!