"What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us." – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Showing posts with label family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family. Show all posts

Friday, November 17, 2017

Through The Window

The beautiful fall colors are so wonderful especially when I open the dining room drapes in the morning.  The beautiful burst of color the first thing in the day is so energizing .   And, I need all the energizing I can get !  It rained most of yesterday so it is great to see the bright sunshine .

My physical pain, especially left low back with radiation down to my ankle has been horrendous for a few weeks now .  My other joints, especially my knees and shoulders have also been problematic .  In years past both shoulders have been diagnosed with partial rotator cuff  tear .  I have been able to avoid shoulder surgeries by conservative rehabilitation .  I really - really - really do not want to ever have surgery again .  Remember, I do not have anyone to help me postoperatively.  A great deal of the time I am having a lot of difficulty  just walking !  I have a  medical appointment on Monday.

My reality is that friends that would and could help me have passed on .  And, you know my lack of family involment .  Recently,  I read an interesting quote that I think sums up my situation quite well .  "Old age is an island surrounded by death" .

Time to change the subject.  Yesterday , I made some very good soup .  And, that made me very happy  because for quite a long time I have had more failures (which has made me feel terrible)  in the kitchen than what I would like to admit .  And, that is far from my norm .


This is Pasta e Fagioli Soup from Allrecipes.  It was very easy, quick and flavorful.  I used what I had available and subbed small elbow macaroni for the seashell pasta.  Freshly grated parmesan cheese adds a nice additional flavor .  Cheese makes everything better - don't ya think?

And, here is a little something that also makes me VERY HAPPY  .


The Holiday Cactus plants are loaded with buds and are starting to bloom !  I have three plants and they all look great .  Last year they hardly had any flowers for some unknown reason .  So this is great .

Hard to believe that we are at the end of another week .  Wishing a Good Weekend to all.

Mary

Monday, October 30, 2017

It Was A Very Special Day

Since June of this year I have been working with a Psychologist in an effort to reunite my family following many years of conflict and disengagement with one another .  My door has always been open but life's unexpected circumstances and misunderstandings can quickly unravel a family .  Two of my previous posts found  here and  here will  give you some background .

Without going into specifics let me say that very slowly changes in attitude are happening.  During a recent conversation with my Daughter-in-law arrangements were made for her and my Granddaughter with my two Great Grandchildren to come for a visit.  My Daughter-in-law (who is a step-mom) lives in Southern California and she will drive to Central California where my Granddaughter lives and they will drive up to Northern California where I live.

AND,  IT WAS A WONDERFUL DAY!  Totally, pleasurable.  However, I was not up to taking any photos.  My physical pain level is higher than it has been in a long time.  That's a different discussion for another time.

My Granddaughter took a lot of photos and I was delighted to see  what she posted on Facebook.  She and I have always been close. And, she has always known that I am always there for her.  But this really brought tears to my eyes.

"When I was young I used to love exploring the garden surrounding my grandma’s house. She’d take me down to the creek where I’d splash and play during the hot summer days. It was truly something special to see my own kids doing these same things today"


Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing, tree, plant, child, outdoor and nature
We also went down to the Community Park which is a wonderful park with a huge children's area. They also played in the Creek with their shoes off and had fun "skipping rocks". I wanted to share this today but I'm not feeling up to par so I hope this makes sense.



Have a Great Day.

Mary

Saturday, September 30, 2017

It's In The Pot

Crock pot , that is.

It is just a pretty basic recipe for Slow Cooker Beef Pot Roast .  The roast sits on a bed of celery chunks and baby carrots .  A thickened sauce of mushrooms, onion, garlic, tomato paste, beef broth and rosemary and thyme is poured over the seasoned and well seared beef roast . And, I plan to add some chunks of red potatoes closer to the end of cooking time .   I'm not sure what else I will prepare to go with this for dinner .  I have plenty of time to figure that out.
Finally, I have been able to finish planting the Lavender "Grosso" plants.  There were only four plants, but OH what a lot of work to get them planted.  I'm done digging rock for a while !!
They should do well  -  with all my TLC in helping them to get a good start.
While I was checking the Zucchini I was happy to see this little visitor !
The garden is slowly going to sleep for the winter
Before long the Burning Bush will be a fall of crimson red.  At this time of year , I always enjoy seeing it turning colors through the dining room window.

I would like to ask for some positive thoughts sent my way as I am trying to recover from a very disappointing phone call from my twin brother on our birthday .  It has been years since I have heard from him and he continues to be arrogant, egotistical, self-serving and very unkind !  Oh, if you can,  please send me a couple hugs, too.

Wishing each and every one of you a very enjoyable weekend.

Mary 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Optimistic And Grateful But Praying For Patience


Today is a Special Day .  Since June, I have been gently trying to have a telephone conversation with my daughter-in-law in regards to my son .   For various reasons that conversation was not happening. Even though on the rare occasion there was brief telephone contact she was always cordial but stated that she did not want to talk with me while my son was home.  Two weeks ago she answered my question as to why .  According to her he was having emotional difficulty when my name was mentioned .   A very important note is that she and I have never had much communication . Therefore, she only knows about me through my son .  Three days ago I left her another message stating that my Psychologist doesn't feel she can help us if there is no communication within the family members .  That was my idea and it is so very true.   My psychologist is on vacation for one month .

This afternoon she telephoned me and we visited on the phone for one and a half hours !   It was remarkable how receptive she was with what I had to say .  We were able to discuss so many topics and she was happy to learn about my experiences with him and my opinions . She said that what I had to say answered so many questions that she has had about him.  I am blessed that she really loves him even though,  as she says, "he's a strange dude" .   The conversation was a lot for her to process and as she said, it will take some time .   At the moment she is on board to work on helping him - which really means THEM .  They have been together for 12 years and have been married for 8 years .  The years have been filled with a lot of turmoil and adversity .


After all these years, he started to see a Psychiatrist on the referral of a Primary Care Physician and has been on some medication .  He has responded to it favorably and has said that he feels so much better.  My daughter-in-law retired from employment a few months ago and they were having difficulties with adjusting and that is when he went to the doctor, after she went to her doctor .  She said that she did not say anything to him about him going to the doctor .  It was HIS initiative .


They have a lot going on in their life at this time .  They are trying to sell their house and they are in the process of upgrading a house that my son bought 17 years ago, which they will be moving into . So, she says that after they are moved she will be able to get involved fully with this journey that I am very optimistic about pursuing with the professional guidance .


If interested, take a look at my post from July 3, 2017,  When-I-Was-21- - - A Distressful Post  for a little background information.

It's a New Week and a Holiday too .  Have Fun.

Mary

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

My Love-Ums

Joy comes in many styles and places.  And, what better place to bring joy to a Daddy than visiting him at work.   Little Lady reminds me so much of her Mommy (my Granddaughter) because she seems to have a huge reservoir of smiles.   Her Mommy was always smiling even when life wasn't treating her kindly as a little girl without an involved mother!    It looks like Little Man is getting ready with his tablet to help Daddy with some of his work.  Daddy has a new job so he can use all the help he can get.


When moving to a new town as the family recently did, it is important to find the library early on.  As Mommy wrote with the next photo , "You're never too old , too wacky , too wild , to pick up a book and read to a child .  -  Dr. Seuss"    Oh , how wonderful it would be if I was close enough to read to my Love-Ums !


I pray that their childhood continues to encompass multitudes of happiness.  Healthy parenting has always taken a lot of love and certainly a lot of hard work.   The family of my Love-Ums will be moving into a newly build house in November, just in time for Christmas!   They are currently renting for a few months.

I continue to work with a Psychologist with a focus of  reuniting my little family before I die.  It is a very slow process but there certainly has been some progress. It is extremely difficult when we are possibly working with an adult with traumatic brain injury since infancy.   I am looking forward to the day when a diagnostic MRI can be accomplished and hopefully a treatment plan.  The biggest word right now is Acceptance and that can be a huge attainment.  One moment at a Time.

Even with all the worldly complexities I wish you a fulfilling and joyful week.

Mary

Monday, July 3, 2017

When I Was 21 - - - - - A Distressful Post

In 1960 I gave birth to my first born - a precious baby boy.  

            Yes, I am a lot more transparent than any time in my seven years of blogging - for various reasons. One, is that I prefer to have the documentation and also the  "the insight"  may provide some useful information.

It was a wonderful time, happily married to a loving nicely employed man, schooling finished for the time being --- and pregnant. And what an easy and healthy pregnancy it was, without a minute of morning sickness or any prenatal complications.   When the word "Glow" is used to describe some pregnant women,   THAT was ME.  I was so happy, happy, happy!

Even though we were temporarily living an hour drive away from our "stomping grounds", we decided to have our baby at the hospital where I completed my RN Nursing Program.   Being a petite lady weighing a little over 100 pounds (before pregnancy) I was what some call   "All Baby".   When my due date came about on December 5,    no signs of a baby about to be born. I was so very ready emotionally and everything was prepared for the joyous event. Unfortunately, it was two weeks more before my water broke at 3 AM and we were on our way to the hospital. It was lovely to be greeted by a familiar smiling face at the hospital. That face belonged to one of my nursing classmates. They got me settled and LABOR was on it's way.

The contractions were getting harder and harder but it seemed like it was taking forever for the dilation numbers to move along to a higher number. There were many, many hours of fierce pain. Whatever they were doing for me in regards to pain management was NOT working. The pain was so very harsh and unbearable. Eventually, medication was administered that put me out. And, I didn't remember anything until my baby was brought to me in my room all bundled up and crying. My baby was a very unhappy baby. Not the least bit interested in nursing or being held. I was very lethargic and felt worse in ALL WAYS than I had ever felt in my life. I don't believe I can put it into words just how horrendous the experience was for me.

Now it is time for a CAVEAT. The following  information may contain TMI. You may want to shift your mind to reading this as if it is a medical informational post. Remember, this took place years ago. Procedures and philosophies have changed drastically since that time.

Unfortunately, VERY unfortunately, obstetrical forceps were used to (pull out) deliver my 8 pound, 6 ounce baby boy. My body was severely damaged and required an extensive episiotomy (a surgical cut in the muscular area between the vagina and the anus made just before delivery to enlarge the vaginal opening). Many sutures were placed and the discomfort and pain was nearly insufferable post anesthesia. There was very little helpful medical guidance. Complete relief from the stressful physical situation took more than 6 months.

I gave birth on December 20th and was discharged from the hospital on December 24th with my baby boy who seemed to be very unhappy and seemed to never stop crying. Allegedly, he was physically healthy and did not suffer any abnormalities.  My mother was with me for a week but made it very clear to us that she did not plan on being a babysitter! And, she meant it!

With trying to be as succinct as I can in telling you what my son's childhood was like, I will say. From day one, every new life experience for him was traumatic and there were hours and hours and hours of crying. He seemed to have fear of everything. Yes, of course, all available medical care was summoned to no avail. To me as a parent it seemed as though the medical professionals considered him to be "just a bad kid".  There never was baby/mother bonding.   And, life was super challenging for our little family. To this day, his behaviors, I would say, continues to be borderline in interpersonal relationships. Nothing seems to come easy for him, but he manages to get by in the margins of life.
Now, let's flash forward many years to when I was in my early 50's. I started noticing some rectal incontinence. It started around the same time as my serious back injury. So a lot was going on with me and my body. The first question was whether or not there was an association with the back surgery. Many invasive and may I say disgusting medical tests were completed at Stanford University Hospital. Some nerve evaluations along with practically every test (for down there) that you can imagine were completed during a three hour session while I was awake. That was one of the most horrible medical testing that I have ever experienced but ,   not even close to the distress of childbirth. When it was completed and I returned to the waiting room the first thing out of my mouth to my waiting friend was "I Need A Drink".   And, I hardly ever drink!

The results of the testing was a referral to a Neurological Proctologist.

Studies show that a large baby , a mother with small pelvic bones , a prolonged labor , a baby whose head is in the wrong position during labor , or the use of forceps can be associated with the development of incontinence.  Rectal Incontinence being the most difficult to manage.

But, let's try to move along regarding the difficult life my son has experienced.  Throughout his life, I have felt so very helpless.  And, he was certainly misunderstood.  After studying medical literature, speaking with many doctors and feeling profoundly happy about advancing medical science I believe that my son experienced   BRAIN INJURY   at the time of his birth. It is my thought that my presence triggers a psychological and visceral response of PAIN AND DANGER for my son! So - so tragic !!  Additionally, during his childhood he experienced a couple concussions, one when he fell from a height during playtime with friends at a very young age and he was hospitalized for two days. The other time was when he was "beat up" at school.   Terrible ! ! !


On a positive note, just think of all the football players with the current attention about concussions and blunt force to the head.  Thankfully, there is a lot more information about Brain Health!

Painfully, I tell you that many years have gone by periodically without contact with my son. Additionally, he was on foreign land many years of his military deployment. At one time I made all the arrangements to visit him in Korea.  At the last moment he "shut me out" and I cancelled the trip. Additionally, when he came to visit for my daughter's wedding, he left town the day before the event.    But the time may have come - - - along with some medical and professional psychological guidance that relationships and health for my little family may be improved before I am gone.

I pray that with knowledge, medical evaluations/treatment, new coping skills and gentle guidance that the remaining years of life for my adult children will be flowered with comfort, understanding, peace, forgiveness and excitement.

What a beautiful day we are having here in Northern California. The temperatures are very pleasant but reported to be rising to the high 90"s by the end of the week.

Happy Day To You.

Mary

Saturday, July 1, 2017

There Is Going To Be A Wedding And More

In March 2018

And, this is the happy Bride-To-Be, my Granddaughter on a day recently when she shopped and found her wedding gown. I have seen a photo of her wearing the gown and it is beautiful.

And, I will show you some of their Engagement Photos.   At least, that is my understanding of what they call them even though they were officially engaged in June, 2014 in San Francisco.   So, first let's look at the 2014 photos.
And these are the recent photos next.
There lives have been so busy during the past three years and it has not been easy. Sometimes I think my Granddaughter is a  "Wonder Women".  She worked part-time, finished her education (two years) for her Bachelor's Degree and gave birth to two children and they are not twins! Because of education financing issues they waited for completion of her studies and graduation prior to marriage. She is a Stay-At-Home-Mom and they are wonderful parents. Would you say I may be a bit prejudice?  Nah!

The mechanics of living life are so very different than when I was young.  I do not know a better way to phrase those thoughts. I have quickly learned to "just roll" with the new ways and enjoy the ride. I am thrilled to be a party to any activities that my family will share with me.

As I have mentioned, I have been working with a Psychologist with a focus on repairing the  relationships with my two adult children before my journey on this earth ends. I telephoned my son's wife (daughter-in-law) and as I expected, it was good. My son has had issues since birth and hopefully todays science may be of help! His wife and I will be talking again the beginning of next week.  He is the father of my Granddaughter who is getting married.

Trust me, it is all so painful and complicated. Just like so many families. But, at least we are on our way to trying to heal. God willing and the outcome will be worth the effort. 

Over the weekend I am hoping to try to contact my daughter who in time past before her current marriage was very close to me. She may shut me down (which I fully expect), however I strongly believe her husband is the controller. The last time I saw them, he stood over me, Yelling and Screaming at me (on Thanksgiving day 3 years ago when My Special Friend was on his death bed) telling me what a terrible person he thinks I am and has always thought.  Talk about HURTFUL.  And, no one (like my daughter) came to comfort and protect me!

I parented my two preschool children as a single parent with very little support of any kind. My daughter is a Master's Degree candidate. Unfortunately, she never wrote her thesis!  And, my son is a twenty year Air Force Veteran and continues to work at an Air Force base as a civilian.

There is absolutely no contact between family members.  I'll just leave it at that!  I feel fortunate to feel strong enough to be working with what I consider to be an excellent Psychologist on this very challenging situation for me and my adult children.

Two more Daylily plants have started to bloom.
Lovely!
That's it for today.

Hope your July 4th weekend is starting with happy preparations.

Mary

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Growing Up So Fast

First day of preschool for my precious little Great Grandson who is almost four years old.  It was so nice to see that Daddy made sure he could be there for the special day. Little One has been so excited for this day to come. And, he almost forgot to say goodbye to Mommy  and Daddy.


One day old and going home!        Where did the time go?


Leaving you with a little floral loveliness  - - -


on this rainy stormy day.

Sure wish I could find some energy and get things done that have been severely neglected. I think a lot of us are dealing with the feelings of being "a little off balance". So many events are rapidly taking place in our society that we are reminded of the minute we awaken in the morning. Normal has become a mystery word! 

Winter rain is great, especially here in California, but I will be happy when we start seeing the sunshine more frequently. With that said, I can't loose sight of how fortunate most of us are compared to the multitudes who are less fortunate. Let's give thanks!

Take Special Care.

Mary

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Brothers - - - Sisters

THREE BROTHERS.                                                                                      
ONE BROTHER is my Twin

NO SISTERS.                       BUT, OH, DID I WISH FOR ONE.

Three pregnancies, Four babies. Each of my mother's pregnancies were four years apart which made it difficult to develop closeness as we were growing up. Of course that is only one of the reasons! My oldest brother was eight years older than me. And, my next brother was four years older. Surprise - surprise, my twin was my age. And, yes we are fraternal twins!! I couldn't begin to tell you how many times I have been asked if we were identical twins. Not so much these days because I think people are a lot more knowledgeable about science.

I don't know a lot about my oldest brothers growing up years other than what I learned later in life. When he was a little boy he developed Bilateral Mastoiditis which is a bacterial infection of the mastoid bone. It sits behind the ear and has air spaces that help drain the middle ear. If not treated is can spread outside of the mastoid bone and cause serious conditions including deafness and meningitis. At that time, surgery was the treatment of the day. Surgery was considered very serious and it was very expensive. Following the surgery he had to wear a helmet to protect his head/brain from any impact injury that could kill him. Some deafness persisted through his life.

He was not a strong and robust child and was not able to be involved in the usual boyhood activities. His young life was filled with physical abuse as well as emotional. When he was old enough to get a job, our father took his wages because of the medical bills when he had mastoiditis!  Horrid, absolutely - Horrid! Our mother was super religious and at some point during his life (maybe high school) he was sent to seminary to become a Minister. He hated it and returned home after a year.

He was drafted into the Army (even with his partial deafness) and served for three years in the Korean Conflict. He worked in clerical positions.

His gift of Musical Talent and Absolute Pitch (gene inherited from mother - father was pitch tone deaf ) was wonderful for it gave him a great deal of enjoyment. He was very accomplished with piano and organ and performed many concerts as well as church organist for years. I will always remember hearing him play all the beautiful Classical Masterpieces like Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Chopin and so many more.

He was very kind, thoughtful, loving, generous, curious, supportive, hard working and had a great sense of humor. We had many phone conversations and we laughed a lot. Through the years I was able to drive to Oregon and visit for a few days.

He was the only family member that I had a healthy relationship with. Sadly, we did not have more time.

He was very intelligent and eventually became a very successful Computer Software Developer in the 70's with his own company and worked as an Independent Contractor. Eventually, he married at age 39 and they had a lovely home in Portland, Oregon. He was very outspoken about NEVER wanting children for fear he may not be able to be a good parent because of his childhood experience.  So Sad.


Unfortunately, he suffered for five years fighting Metastatic Cancer. But, at age 65, he passed away from an Aorta Rupture while away in an Arizona Airport when he was on a business trip in 1997. I miss him So Very Much.



MIDDLE BROTHER

There are many adjectives for a middle brother. In my situation, I think the most accurate would be INVISIBLE. I would say "He kinda slipped under the radar". I would say he was the least scathed by the family dysfunction. I recall that he did not get along with my older brother and they fought a lot.

My recollection of him is of a Very Good Looking Young Boy who had lots of friends and was away from home a lot. His physique was very compatible with being a football player in High School where he was very popular with the girls. He was active in Student Body affairs and was President of his Senior Class. He worked an afternoon and weekend job in a large Garden Center/Nursery and developed an interest in Horticulture and Forestry. 

He served three years in the Military in Korea when he was drafted by the Army. He was near the dangerous 38th Parallel which marks the boundary between North Korea and South Korea.

Eventually, he attended University of California Berkeley and earned his Bachelor's Degree. As mentioned he was interested in Forestry but determined that employment would be more profitable in business. His professional career took him to employment with IBM where he was able to obtain his Masters Degree in Computer Technology paid for by his employer. He remained with IBM until retirement.

He also was married and decided that he also would not have children! They built a house within commuter distance of San Jose IBM in Santa Cruz Mountains (which fed his love of Forestry). Not long after retirement he became ill and passed away at age 68. I do not know the cause, but I do know it had something to do with the abdomen.

We definitely were not close. He had very little to do with me through the years other then when as a little girl, he tried to molest me - and I ran like Hell!


Additional Note. My siblings and I were expected to have an education beyond High School. But, under no circumstances were we going to receive any financial help from our parents. We worked a lot at home taking care of many things and had after school jobs as soon as old enough. We also worked a lot of jobs to pay for our advanced education. For some reason, it seemed as though we seldom were able to please our parents. And, unfortunately, there really wasn't a bond with one another.

Well, there will be more to come another day.

Have a Good Week.

Mary

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Family Origins

In the past I would never have thought that I would ever be a person that would be as transparent on my blog as I feel I am about to embark upon. I realize there are many bloggers who "put it all out there" and that has never been a problem to me. In fact, on occasion I have felt that I have gained some insight into a particular situation that may be applicable to my own life. However, if this candidness is a problem for you please just return on another day.


Growing up in the 1950's it was not uncommon to see magazine covers depicting life as interpreted by the famous artist, Norman Rockwell.


No matter your age, most everyone is familiar with this popular family Thanksgiving dinner interpretation. Unfortunately, as a people we are getting close to not recognizing this picture to be anything other than "just another picture".

The following images by Norman Rockwell have significance for me as I reflect on my early life.






But first, I think it will be helpful to briefly discuss a little about who was my family.

Father - French decent - born into a Catholic home in Minnesota on a farm in 1902. Left home and school at age 14. I do not know how many siblings but at least eight and two died at birth. On a brief occasion I met 1 Sister (that would be my Aunt) and on several brief occasions I met 1 Brother (that would be my Uncle). That's about it for my experience with my father's family.

Mother - German decent - born into a Lutheran home in Minnesota on a farm in 1902. She was one of 13 children (6 boys and 7 girls) in what was portrayed as a close supportive family. Her birth order was 11 of the 13. And, the 12th child died at birth. I think I met all of my Aunts and Uncles during a brief visit to Minnesota when I was 10 years of age.


My parents married in Minnesota in the year 1928.  Father age 26. Mother age 26. She had earned her teaching credential and had been teaching in a One Room School House with a wood burning stove. I do not know any information about my father during his young adulthood.

One very significant fact that has vastly effected my life is that following my parents marriage they left Minnesota for a six week journey in a Model T Ford to make their home in Los Angeles, California.

Do you see the picture that is developing?         NEVER did I meet any grandparents nor did I have any relationships with Aunts, Uncles and Cousins.

That's it for today. There will be more coming in the future.

Please have the Best Weekend possible and - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Mary

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