September comes to a close.

We are beginning to gear up for the Purple Stride.It is November 12 and I will share information with you between now and then.

Please check out our page for the event at

This picture is from last year I’ve already talked to you about.  I just love this one.  I really enjoy all these pictures because Russell was feeling stronger after chemo and radiation was over.  We couldn’t rewrite the ending but we did enjoy that day.  With him is Katy, our oldest grandchild.  She decorated their faces with “war paint” for the walk and the fight against this disease.

The CAG weekend was very productive.  Steven is coming up with ideas for advertising and increasing revenue for our award-winning journal.  The more eyes looking at a project means more ideas and he has several.
I ventured out to Costco again.  Every time I go I say Never Again.  The baskets are huge and tall.  However I had $15 in coupons for paper goods and detergent so I couldn’t resist.  I’m not a coupon fanatic but I do use the ones that seem helpful.  I bought so many paper towels it will probably last for years.

I know this will surprise many of you but I miss cooking.  Not being a fan of left overs I try to choose recipes I can modify.  I did chicken and rice casserole the other night.  Pretty good.  My rice cooker makes enough rice for a small country so I am going to see how Uncle Ben’s small packages work.

During this last week I had a wonderful golden waffle for dinner.  Not a big cooking task but very good.  Eating is still an activity I need to plan.  I eat better out in the world.  I went to lunch with Phyllis and Annie at Plum in Costa Mesa.  I had salmon and it was very good.  Fresh fish can always tempt me.

My birthday was Thursday.  I celebrated for two or three days in reality but I think that’s acceptable.  Marge and Mike took me to Mongolian Bar-B-Que.  You choose your protein, and pile the bowl high with vegetables.  Then you add seasoning according to a formula spelled out by the staff at the vegetable bar.  I had sesame seeds, garlic oil, a little wine on top of onions, bean sprouts, pineapple, celery, and green peppers.

All this is cooked on a device that resembles an inverted wok.  You then have wontons, little bread pockets and fried shrimp waiting at your table. Very good food,  I had pork and beef, Mike added lamb and turkey and Marge had Turkey and pork.  Good food and especially good company.

I went to my first meeting of the bereavement group at the hospital near by.  This group was suggested by Scott Klar, former student and now a cherished adult friend.  The group was all I wanted it to be.  Small amount of people, warm and caring, and so understanding.  They meet every other week and that works for me.

I am keeping busy with Foundation work, CAG work, and reading a lot.  I am thirsty for the spiritual words that come in Max Lucado’s works.  I benefit from many different types of writing.  I finished Edward Grinnan’s autobiography and that was helpful.  Dorothy Taguchi gave me a small book of quotes from the Bible with liberal use of the words of Jesus.  Margaret gave me a small calendar of quotes about friendship with all the quotes attributed to famous authors or quotes from scriptures.

I continue to go to the gym.  Balance exercises are a challenge.  I fear falling and I am thinking I need to use my cane more often just for balance.  I have it from rehab for my feet.  Dr. Peng says it also keeps people away from you a little in a crowd so you have less chance of being bumped and losing footing.

I hate to use it.  It makes me look old!!  But then……I am getting there.  I turned 74 this week and I will take good care of myself.  Its critical if I am to honor my dear husband.  It was a privilege to take care of him and an honor to live now for both of us.

The Parker’s took me out for dinner last night.  Macaroni Grill is a favorite.  Deep fried balls of macaroni and cheese.   Spicy red peppers stuffed with goat cheese and then my favorite, spaghetti with GOO.  Garlic and olive oil and mushrooms and asparagus.

Best of all was being with my family.  How blessed I am to have such support, such wonderful memories and hope for the future.  Don’t get me wrong….I have my tsunami of tears days but I always surface from those days stronger. 

Kary and Don and the kids are always right here for me.  I count on them a lot.  Mary, Andre’, Zack and I talk nearly every day.  Amanda is texts and calls away….very close.

Thanks to you, my good friends for continued support and love.

Amazing Grace

It’s been a while since I wrote.  So much has happened but none of it is momentous, just ordinary.  This new picture of me was taken at CAG meeting this last weekend.  I sometimes still wonder at this haircut but it works, I guess.  A lot more white in there.

CAG is the statewide Non Profit I have worked with since 1974.  Ouch!!!  We are a statewide advocacy group on behalf of gifted and talented youngsters, their families and teachers.  These are difficult times for all educators and monies have been cut severely.

We train teachers, publish good work and work with parents.  Our big event is the annual conference.  The 2012 event is in March in Palm Springs.

I’ve been busy at the gym.  I am especially working on strength, balance and good health.  I work the machines and the floor exercises and head for the pool.  Because of the time I go, I usually have the pool to myself.  I swim, walk, do water exercises and sometimes just paddle about.  I can think and pray and enjoy the solitude and the water.  Good for my body and my brain.

Purple Stride is coming up in November.  This is a picture of our team “Russell’s Warriors” from last year.  We raised over $3000 for research and service to the workers trying to halt this cruel disease.  I was a virtual “runner”.  You could walk, run, bike or wait for the team to come to the finish line.

Kary pushed Russell is his wheel chair until he got to the last 100 yard.  Then he got up and walked across the line with Steven at his side.  Oh, how I wish he could be here this year to cross that finish line.  He was so pleased that he could do that.

This year the team again is hard at work, getting ready to honor Russell with our efforts.  You can come visit or donate if you choose.  The site is

Visit the PurpleStride Orange County Make a Move for the Cure 2011 website for event details.

You may have to put in Kary Parker as the contact person page.  She is our daughter as you know.  Our family has taken this disease and its eradication as our cause.

I lost my cell phone somewhere this week.  I was playing cards with friends, took a text message at 1 PM and the next time I looked it was gone.  It hasn’t surfaced yet.  Now this is not exactly the end of the world but I was not to be consoled.  I could not stop crying.  Not for the cell phone or not so much for being cut off from my family for a few hours, but for all the pictures I had of Russell on my phone.

My daughter’s calmed me.  A friend let me use his cell phone to call Kary.  I had an upgrade ready with Verizon anyway and the new phone is quite nice.  Kary and Mary saw to it that I had most of the pictures on my phone in no time.  Steven guided me through the set up of the new phone.  Such love and patience from everyone saw me through what seemed so terrible.

It made it quite clear that I am not always clear thinking.  I should have figured that all would happen.  For some reason the loss of the pictures seemed like lost forever.  I was considering not attending any more grief groups but have decided to continue.

I know I have been group shopping and hope I have now found the right one.  Scott, a former student of mine and now a delightful adult friend has suggested a group he was in when his wife passed away.  Tonight is my first visit.  The leader was delightful on the phone and I already feel welcome.

I’ve been listening to a lot of music here at home and in the car.  I am searching for old disks I haven’t listened to in ages.  John Denver, Alabama, Ricky Nelson, and even Linda Ronstadt.  Russell preferred music without words as he named it.  His classical collection is huge.  Celtic woman was a biggie with him even though they used words.

I dug out an Emmy Lou collection and have enjoyed this a lot.  When Russell was working on his BA and I was working on my MA, we were on campus together one night a week.  One night there was a huge group of people lined up for a free concert.  It was Emmy Lou, unknown to most and still with dark hair.  That was in 1969.  I wish we had listened instead of rushing off to class.

Her music is among my favorites.  She has one song called,”Easy From Now On”.  It is a song about lost love.  One line stays with me.  “The hardest part is knowing I will survive”.  Poignant and a little sad but true some days.

Bless you all.

Things to be joyful about

On this anniversary of 9-11 it is good to remember and good to be thankful for what we have.  The picture above was taken on Russell’s 71st birthday with three of his delightful grandchildren.  Steven, Amanda and Katy.  I can’t remember why Zach wasn’t here.  I have tons of pictures of him and will share one later.

I am thankful for all four of these young adults.  Katy is student teaching at our local high school, the school her mother and father graduated from.  Steven has just graduated from college and is sending out resume’s and inviting prospective employers to visit his web page.

Amanda is in nurse’s training in South Georgia.  Zach is a high school sophomore in Georgia.

I am more than thankful that Mary survived the 9-11 tragedy ten years ago.  She was right in the heart of all that horror and it has impacted her life forever.  This time of year is difficult for her.  After seeing the tribute films again all this week, it is no wonder.  Mary is a patriot and spends a lot of her time being active in politics and in educating others about the constitution.  I am very proud of her and her work.

I am still adjusting to this new space

for writing.  Just as I am adjusting to

life without my Russell.  I have to learn to cook in smaller amounts.  I’m not a fan of leftovers so I need to be careful what I cook.  Someone gave me a handy little cook book for cooking for one or two.  Some good things in that collection.

On Labor Day we went to the Camarillo’s for a great dinner and also to celebrate Lew and Alma’s birthdays.  Lew is 89 and Alma is 88.  They’ve been married over 60 years.  They are independent and amazing.  Good role models.

I had lunch with teachers I worked with at Hill School.  We are all retired so we met on the first day the teachers has to go back to work.  Donna, our secretary, joined us and we had a grand time.  Donna’s husband Ed recently passed away.  It is so difficult to keep going.

I am going to start a new group next week.  I have been group shopping but I feel it is critical to have the right place to work through some of this sorrow.  This group is small, maybe 6-7.  They all have lost loved ones to cancer.  The group meets at the hospital less than a mile from me.  That will be good.  They have a pot luck each time they meet but for the first time I will be their guest.

Going to the gym two or three times a week is good for me.  I work out building strength and flexibility.  Then a swim for about an hour.  I don’t swim the entire hour.  I do exercises, paddle around and walk too.  I had the huge pool to myself last Friday.

I went to dinner with the Parker’s last night.  We went to Macaroni Grill.  My favorite thing on the menu is design your own pasta.  Last night I had spaghetti with Goo.  Garlic and olive oil is GOO.  I added asparagus, mushrooms and snow peas.  Very good.

Then Kary, Katy and I went to the production West Side Story at the Fine Arts Center.  The music and dancing were wonderful.  The play is old as you know and based on a really old story of Romeo and Juliet.  We enjoyed it.

Other things to be thankful for fill my days.  A very charming and capable doctor who tells me her goal is to keep me well and not to stress me because I’ve lost a lot of weight.  It might come back, some of it, perhaps but no more than 10 pounds.  I am enjoying my new green yard.  My hot tub is a haven.  To soak and commune with the stars and the one satellite I can see there is very soothing.  You know I love the water.

Russell played a big part in getting that satellite in orbit and he participated in planning its design.  He was very proud of it.  He was a huge fan of the space program as you can imagine and he would be grieved to see the impact of the new decisions about our involvement in the program.  He felt we should go back to the moon and looked forward to it.

I hope all is well with each of you.  I understand if you reply you are offered an opportunity to subscribe for free to be notified when I post something new.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Some of my “grown up” friends kid me about being on Facebook.  I can handle the teasing when the results are so gratifying.  In this picture you will see a group of my “kids”.  These are a few of my fifth grade gifted kids from long ago.  We have found each other on Facebook.

This event was over a year ago but we had a grand time and plan to do it again.  We went to brunch at Schooner or Later.  These young people are delightful.  We talked and ate and laughed and caught up with each other.  Other diners asked what we were celebrating and when we told them we were celebrating being fifth grade students together they were astounded.  One man said he didn’t even remember high school, let alone fifth grade.  Then he graciously asked which of us was the teacher.  Very good, young man.

It was a remarkable year.  These bright, clear thinkers, were all 10 or 11 but even without reconnecting on Facebook, I thought of them often.  They were deep thinking problem solvers, even at that tender age.  They were still just kids but delightful ones.

They knew how to treat each other with respect, they knew how to disagree without being disagreeable, and they were so so funny.  Now you may think my memory is softer now but I do remember the learning experiences.  Some of the most gifted had difficulties getting work in on time or would question what was going on in the world.  Great parents to work with.

The Gifted Program in GGUSD  was quite ahead of itself in those days.  Under the leadership of Jeanne Delp, we wrote curriculum, worked with parents long before the government required it and we just enjoyed the task.

Things are different now.  Tomorrow, when many of my still teaching friends go back to work, a group of us will have lunch and celebrate that we are not going back to work.  There is so much interference with real teaching these days.  I loved every minute of my 40 years in the business.  Sadly, I am glad I’m not part of it anymore.

I will continue to advocate for “my” gifted kids.  Maybe one of them will solve just a few of the problems this world faces.