Venturing Out

The time seems to be flying by as the holidays come closer.  It’s been six months now since Russell died and I can’t believe it most days.  At the time I was sure I couldn’t live six weeks without him and now it is months.  This picture was taken a few weeks before he left us and it is one of my favorites.  We were at a car show and he had a wonderful time.

I am working on expanding my recipe collection to include some new things.  You know I am not a fan of left overs, but my friend Jean had a good suggestion.  Freeze what you don’t eat, pop it in the freezer and have it three weeks or so.  It’s a new meal and not a “next night” left over.

I did that this week with two things.  I found a macaroni and hamburger recipe that said it would feed 5 so I made the entire recipe.  I think it would feed 55 but I packaged up more than one freezer “new meal” and will try it in a week or two.

The other one was short ribs in my new smaller crock pot.  This included onions, garlic, pineapple and a yummy sauce to put on rice.  I will try that later.  One can’t live on Stauffer’s alone. Now I do make exceptions on next night left overs.  I make a wonderful potato and onion soup that I could eat for days.  Russ loved it and I would use my “boat motor” immersion blender to puree his a bit.  For me, I like the pieces of onion and potato.  I also will eat homemade chili more than one night.  It’s generally better the next night.

Another source of ideas are those ads I’ve seen for 100 years for ways to use Campbell’s soups.  I tried onion burger this week with hamburger patty and canned soup and cheese on a toasted bun.  Pretty good with some fresh peas.  Who knew to read those ads?  They are everywhere.

I am still enjoying the gym.  I did some hand exercises this past week designed to strengthen thumbs and hands.  I liked that and will do more of that.  I often can’t get lids off so I use a nut cracker on smaller ones.  Larger ones sometimes are work for my neighbor. Jason.  It helps to be young and have strong hands.

I spoke to a group of parents yesterday at the OCC-GATE annual conference.  The annual conference was a wonderful opportunity to learn so much. I especially enjoyed Sandra Kaplan and Jessica Manzone Cole talking about identifying gifted youngsters in Pre K-2 grades.  They are both of SC and are at the heart of teacher training.

When Russell was ill, I didn’t do much of this speaking because I was reluctant to leave him.  I was concerned that I would be rusty and out of my speaking rhythm  but it went well.  I enjoyed hearing other speakers and seeing old friends.  Most of these dear people knew that Russell had passed away but two or three didn’t.  It was not easy to tell them when they asked about him.

I had dinner with Chuck and Lorraine last night.  This is Chuck and Lorraine and Allison, my niece and their daughter-in-law.  We had coupons for Black Angus and Lorraine and I are big fans of coupons.  We had good food and good company and good conversation.  My brother Chuck has been there to support me always and especially since Russell passed away.  His wife, Lorraine is like a sister to me.

We had a long discussion about my feeling that I should be giving back in some way for all the goodness and kindness Russ and I received through this last 18 months.  I don’t know what to do.  I don’t want to work with children just now if ever.  Sounds strange I know.  I am not sure I’m strong enough to help with hospice and sick people. I’m not interested in working with animals though I love almost every dog I’ve ever met. Maybe I’m not ready to do anything since I’m so scattered about it.

I need to remember to turn the sprinklers off tomorrow for Halloween and the Trick or Treat crew we will get.  It changes every year in amount but I am always ready.  Our two young neighbors, Kyle and Kaitlyn always dress up in some creative way.  They always visit and let me see the year’s new costume.

My grown up grandchildren go to parties and Katy is especially creative with her costume.  When I was a principal this was not my favorite holiday.  Sugared up kids weren’t always easy to teach.  The dentists in our area are offering books and games if children will bring in their bags of candy.  Now where is the fun in that?

I will be thinking of you all as I venture out into the world for the first big trip without Russell.  I am going to New Orleans for NAGC, the National Association for Gifted Children.  Mary will come in from Atlanta to spend the time with me and frankly to give me what support I may need.

Many friends will be there from all over the country and beyond.  I am not speaking, I am only attending and enjoying…..no pressure.  Mary has never been there so we will for sure take a tour of the city.  Russell and I loved New Orleans.  A daily stop at Cafe’ Dumond is a must.  Chicory coffee and hot sugary beignets  are a treat.

Did we have Summer?

It has been so cold here, especially in the mornings and late afternoon into evenings.  It is late October so I guess it is cooler weather time.

I continue going to the gym two to three times a week.  This week I worked on balance with very difficult for me exercises.  It may be that my balance is worse than I thought.  I do a lot of “survival walking” according to Ferin, my physical therapist.  That is when you walk, you hold on to what ever is near by to steady you.  Walls, furniture, close friends etc.  I am working on standing up from a sitting position to stand on just one leg.  Try it.  It is easy when I can stand on both legs but just one is a huge challenge.

I am still fortunate to have the pool almost entirely to myself.  I guess it’s going at lunch time that seals the deal.  I am getting stronger.  I want to avoid those falls.  My cousin Kathy in Central California fell and broke her shoulder.  She will have surgery later this week.  She really has no one to help her.  I hope her Medicare or secondary insurance can cover some home health care.

The Purple Stride is coming all over the country in November.  This is our team from 2010.  I don’t run, walk,cycle or any of those means to do the 5K.  I am however among those who stand at the finish line and applaud.  Last year it was tears, too as Russell stood from his wheel chair and walked the last 100 Yards.

He will be honored this year with his picture and name on a poster as part of the entire group of survivors and those who have gone ahead.  We welcome you to become a member of our team if you choose.

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, and with that comes the Purple Stride!   The Orange County Affiliate of Pancreatic Cancer Action Network will be hosting their third annual Purple Stride on Saturday, November 12, 2011, at William Mason Park in Irvine.  Our team, Russell’s Warriors, will be participating again this year and we are looking forward to making it a good day!

Please check out our page for the event at  http://www.kintera.org/faf/search/searchTeamPart.asp?ievent=481579&lis=1&kntae481579=9E3FD17F7EF344B88797E9537306DF56&team=4238304

I am still attending the group at one of our local hospitals.  Every week I find a new conversation to help me along this journey.  There are two of the members who are in their mid eighties.  They are wise and helpful.  The leader is remarkable with her insight into “end of life” situations.  From her experiences we all seem to get wisdom about our own loss.

I saw my dear Dr. M this week and the good news is that I don’t have to go back until October of 2012.  I had hoped for that  outcome.  I weighed the same as I did three months ago so he considers me stable.  At least my weight seems to be.  It is the twilight zone for me to have doctors worrying that I don’t weigh enough.  Really????

Russell’s birthday was the 22nd.  He would be 72.    We went to Kobe Japanese Steak House. This was one of Russell’s favorite places. They cook on a Tappan table.  We had such good food, good entertainment from the chef and entertainment watching the children on the other part of our section.  They were amazed at the entire process. I was pretty amazed also.

We all raised a glass to Russell and wished him well. I love this picture of him.  It would appear he is talking on his cell phone but not Russell.  If he carried his phone, he needed to remember to turn in on.  He did use his laptop and often went out on the internet, but a phone was too much.

This photo is from a ferry boat journey from Seattle to Victoria on our way to Alaska.

Coming up Saturday, is the Orange County Council one day conference.  I am presenting once and hope I’m not rusty.  I virtually quit this when Russell became ill.  I don’t know how I feel about continuing.  I will do this Saturday Conference because I have such tremendous respect and affection for this group of educators and friends.    I am speaking in January somewhere out in the valley because a school district won my presentation in a raffle at CAG last year.

I used to enjoy it a lot, I think I did it well, but now sure just now.  We will see.

It was hard to not have Russell here for his Birthday.  We celebrated Amanda also, who shares this birthday with her dear Grandfather.  When I asked her last week what she wanted for her birthday…..she said she would like one more birthday with Grandpa.  Me, too!!

Small Baby Steps

That’s how I feel most days, going forward in small baby steps.  Not too unusual I’m sure.  Five months are not a long time.  Some days it seems like yesterday.

I have been really keeping busy.  I’ve chosen Costco Decorators to do my window coverings after checking out bids.  Actually, the bidders were all within a hundred or so of each other.  I’ve chosen Hunter Douglas products and that is probably why there isn’t much leeway on prices.

The living room slider and window almost cover one wall so it was the biggie.  My bed room is going to have “Honey Comb” design to shut out light.  I am sensitive to light and this product will help.

A friend sent me some amazing jam and jellies from Stonewall Kitchens.  Hot red pepper jelly is very good, especially on plain cream cheese on a toasted bagel.  The others included seedless black berry and pineapple apricot.  All favorites of mine.

My friend Margaret sent me this picture she took at her home in Minnesota.  She gets there as often as she can and you can see it is so beautiful with the river quite near by.  I also love her snow pictures from when she visits there in the winter.  Margaret lives in Santa Barbara and I’m glad for that.  She has been a long time friend and so supportive always.

I had lunch with Mary Lou this week.  We have known each other from when I was her son Scott’s fifth grade teacher.  We also had the good fortune to work together in the GATE office when we were working.  We had a wonderful time and some good conversation.  Her advice is lovingly offered.  She knows what it is to have a husband die.

The gym is enjoyable.  I work through my list of exercises and reward myself with the pool for an hour or so.  Water is probably my favorite element after oxygen.  The gym I attend has many free classes and I’m looking into a few to vary my land exercise but will always follow with the water.

I have a crew ready to pour cement in a small strip between my home and my neighbor to the south.  It will simplify many things including getting barrels in and out.

Russell’s birthday is October 22.  He would have been 72.  He was two years and one months younger than I.  He loved that one month when we would say he was three years younger than I was.

We will celebrate his birthday with family.  We are going to Kobe Japanese Steak House.  They cook on a teppan table and Russ enjoyed the show and the food.  Then we will come back here and have cake.  He enjoyed cake and ice cream, also.  We’ll have a few tears I’m sure and many good memories of Russell.

Amanda shares his birthday, October 22.  She will be 20.  She starts her clinical class, working full-time in the hospital.  She will learn so much and will be a wonderful nurse someday. This is a picture of Amanda and Zach.  Very cool on a beach somewhere. The second picture is Russ and Amanda at her high school graduation.

When Russ became ill Mike and Marge gave him a Kindle.  I am enjoying it a lot.  It will never take the place of real books to hold and enjoy.  The kindle, is however, so convenient.  Tonight I will leave it on to receive a new release that will be downloaded after midnight.Amazing when technology can do.

I’m reading a novel by Steve Martin called “An Object of Beauty”.  He is a renaissance man.  His writing is excellent and I think he is often, not always, very funny.  He went to school in GGUSD so I guess we all claim him to some degree.  We saw him in Nashville playing his banjo and he is quite skilled.

The passing of Steve Jobs touched us all.  I hope he remembers Pancreatic Cancer research in his generous donations.  AOL reported that 23% survive after five years.  This is NOT TRUE.  The facts are grim.  Only 6% live beyond 5 years.  Most live 3-6 months.  We know some long-term survivors and honor them.  We pray for more of them every day.

Purple Stride is fast approaching

When I look at pictures such as this one I am amazed that our first Purple Stride is nearly a year ago.  We had quite a team we called Russell’s Warriors.

We had a great time and raised a few thousand dollars with just our team.  The event will be November 12, 2011 and our team is ready to go.

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, and with that comes the Purple Stride!   The Orange County Affiliate of Pancreatic Cancer Action Network will be hosting their third annual Purple Stride on Saturday, November 12, 2011, at William Mason Park in Irvine.  Our team, Russell’s Warriors, will be participating again this year and we are looking forward to making it a good day!  Russell’s Warriors stride in loving memory of and in honor of the life of Russell Roseberry.
We stride to make a difference in the fight against this devastating disease! We stride for awareness and education about pancreatic cancer! We stride to fight back! We stride to raise funds that will allow bright researchers to be able to do their jobs and find the answers to this disease! We stride in memory of the beautiful lives lost and we stride in honor of the survivors who are battling with everything they have for another day with their loved ones!!
Please check out our page for the event at  http://www.kintera.org/faf/search/searchTeamPart.asp?ievent=481579&lis=1&kntae481579=9E3FD17F7EF344B88797E9537306DF56&team=4238304

You can join our team by clicking the “join our team” link.  You can also make a donation through any member of the team by clicking on their name and donating through their page, or make a general team donation by clicking on that link.   If you aren’t able to physically join us that day but want to be part of our team, I’ll personally make sure you still get your shirt.

I’ve had a busy week and that’s good and that’s not all good.  I find I need quiet time on a regular basis.  I went to my new group and found that time with these people very comforting and peaceful.  I took my famous apple crisp for the pot luck and everyone enjoyed it.

I’m busy with house “stuff”.  I’m getting estimates on window coverings, cement for a part of the yard, and watching the gardener trim the bottle brush.  He is not a very young man, certainly younger than I and to see him climb up into that huge tree is scary to watch.  He told me he had been doing this for 30 years…..not to worry.  It sure looks better.  He has one branch left to trim.

I went to the City of Fountain Valley Poker Night last night.  I have not been before though this was number 17 for the city to sponsor.  The proceeds of entry fees go 100% to the charity you choose from a list.  I chose the American Cancer Society.  I had a good time, didn’t win anything but got a cute T shirt.  The men at my table were friendly and volunteered to shuffle when it was my turn.  I accepted.

A city councilman and the mayor of Fountain Valley were there.  They offered their condolences.  Kary had contacted Fountain Valley and a number of other neighboring cities asking for a proclamation naming November as Pancreatic Cancer Awareness in the city.  Fountain Valley has done that and I thanked them for that action.

Chuck and Lorraine called this morning from Florida.  They will board their cruise ship and set sail even though the weather is not wonderful.  A tropical storm is brewing but they have been assured things will settle down and seas will be calm.  Hmmmmmmm!!

This is Lorraine and Chuck talking to my  niece, Allison.  She is their daughter-in-law and she lives near Atlanta.  Allison and her family walk in the Purple Stride in Atlanta.  We have both coasts covered.

I bought a new crock pot.  It is smaller and will be useful.  I really miss cooking so I’m going to do a little cooking and figure out a way to cut recipes and learn to appreciate left overs more.  A little more, anyway.  Today I’m doing a Mustard Chicken in the oven and this recipe was easy to cut down.  Later I’ll do a meat loaf.  Meatloaf sandwiches are good the next day.

I’ve had a few people say I am beginning to look better.  I am sleeping better and that has to help.  I’m sure Russell is smiling in Heaven as I put flannel sheets on the bed this morning.  I was never crazy about flannel sheets but he was always so cold.  Guess I missed them.  They will be cozy when I get there tonight.

I think I’m doing better.  I had a strange emotion last week.  I was with some friends, playing cards and had a really good, laughing, happy time.  On the way home I felt such guilt at enjoying myself that I cried all the way home.  I know intellectually that having fun is part of my new life and Russell would want me to do that.  In my sad heart, however, I felt it would have been so much more fun if  he had been there.  I felt like I shouldn’t be enjoying myself.

I move along and I am appreciative of all the warmth and care from family and friends.  Stay in touch.

The “Event Season” has begun.

A grief counselor I’ve met calls this time of year the Event Season.  She was, of course talking about the holidays.  I have to add my birthday, Russell’s birthday this month, Amanda’s birthday the same day as Russell’s.  Then there is Mary’s birthday, Don’s birthday, Ron’s birthday, Kary’s birthday, Deb’s birthday and Lorraine’s birthday.  There are birthdays for Michael and William in Georgia, too. Events to be sure along with Thanksgiving and Christmas.  We all group during the last few months of the year and we always enjoyed it very much.

We will enjoy but there is a big piece missing because Russell is not here and he did enjoy the Events.  A lot of the birthday celebrants are in this picture.  This is Russell’s family except for Deb who was too sick to attend.  She is better now.  This was taken in June at Russell’s memorial.  I love this picture.

I’m going to the gym regularly.  You know I love the pool and swimming.  I have prescribed exercises on the dry land to build my balance.  I make up exercises in the water and Mary has told a few she does during her workout.

I got more shots this week, whooping-cough and DPT.  No wonder little kids cry.  They were all in one shot and the shot hurt.  I didn’t cry but the dear nurse said my arm would be sore.  She was right.

I go by the senior center and pick up the newsletter.  They will mail it to me when I join but you may only join in January.  I look at the offering every week and think I’m going to try some classes or events, but I don’t.  I have plenty to do and most of the time I am not lonely so I don’t know why I am reluctant.  I would like to try yoga on a mat or in a chair.  I’m pretty flexible and I’ve been told it would be good for me.

I am attending a support group for those of us who have lost our loved ones to cancer.  It is helping as much as anything can.  I read a lot, keep busy and hold my routines close.  It is comforting.

I went to the jeweler to have a ring guard put into my wedding ring.  This was new on our 50th anniversary and is really too big now.  I’ve had it sized once and didn’t want to do that again.  The jeweler who sold us the ring said I could come back and always be assured of a new ring guard at no cost.  I feel much more secure with the ring guard.  My heart would be broken if I lost it.

Russell has been gone 5 months now.  Still hard to believe most of the time.  Below is one of my favorite pictures of Russell near the time of his passing.  We were at a car show and Russell enjoyed it very much.  Vic and Jody are friends from Pan Can.  Kary took Russell in his wheel chair to see all the old, old cars entered in the show.  There were cars older than we are.  It was great fun.

Well, our next event is Russell and Amanda’s birthday.  We are making plans.  That same counselor said that birthdays should be celebrated just as they has been before the loved one died.  We are thinking of all the good things we will do and the good memories we have of Russell.