So Much Going On!!

I am way behind in my writing.  I write to ease my mind, to organize my thoughts and to make a record of this bittersweet time.  It helps me a lot.  If you enjoy it, I am pleased as well.

I continue to attend the grief group that meets at a nearby hospital.  It is small and intimate and the people know where I am.  We have all lost spouses to cancer.  We eat (pot luck), laugh, cry and hold each other up always.  The leader, Dani is an angel and very skilled.

My window coverings are up and installed correctly, finally.  Next big improvement will be interior paint after the first of the year.  I had the Honeycomb blinds in the bed room to cut down light and they do the job.  Its dark in there.  The front blind can be lowered or raised so light is available when I want it.

I met Roger and Dana at the Mission Inn in Riverside to see the light show and have dinner.  The Inn had nearly 4 million lights on display.  The sight was remarkable.  Dinner with good friends was wonderful.  I had shrimp and goat cheese ravioli.

Last year Russ and I had met our friends Roger and Dana there and we had such a good time.  Russell wasn’t strong then and the trip was rigorous for him but he loved every minute.  We had a glass of wine called Angels Wings.  It was so bad we didn’t drink much of it.  Russell though wine that bad shouldn’t be related to angels.

My tree is up and decorated.  It was a sad task.  Steven is coming over to add some ornaments to the top part where I can’t reach.  I’m not comfortable on the step stool and have promised I wouldn’t do that.  Russell has a wonderful collection of Kachina dancers designed as ornaments and they look wonderful.

Each Christmas Russell sent donations to the South West Indian Foundation for food and stoves to be distributed to the needy and elderly in the four corners area.  Pastor Dan called to express his condolences and to thank me for continuing this tradition.  It is so cold in New Mexico.  How these folks live without heat is a miracle.

We celebrated Kary and Lorraine’s birthdays with a great dinner at a favorite Italian place in Tustin. This is Lorraine in the middle.  She is my brother’s wife and my near sister.  We all love her very much.  She just retired from her job as an enrolled tax agent and is enjoying some new freedom as she adjusts to a slightly slower pace. 

The other picture is Kary with her husband of nearly 30 years, Don.  Russell and I often teased her about being so old.

I braved Costco.  When I got everything I needed almost I left to find a HUGE downpour.  I waited for a while and then just dove in.  Dove is about right.  I was soaked to the skin but didn’t melt.  A hot shower and warm clothes saved the day.

Costco had no cranberries and no Chex.  I couldn’t believe it.  It was remarkably not as crowded as I feared it would be.  You know I just hate going there.  That was Russell’s task and he made an adventure of it I think.  His list was organized by area and when the Costco folks changed things he had to redo his route through the store.

Upon the advice of the CPA and the attorney I cashed in Russell’s savings bonds.  In 1987 his then employer required every employee to buy a $50 savings bond every week.  So I had quite a stack.  None had matured completely but the interest rate is so low I decided I could do better elsewhere.  The Credit Union took care of it all in no time.  I feared I’d have to sign each bond but they don’t do it that way any more.  I signed once and the CU has an agreement with the Federal Government to verify the rest.  There is no end to the service offered there.

I went to Lucci’s to get cookies for the bank, the credit union and the UPS store.  The Bank and the UPS store do a lot for me and for CAG so I take them cookies this time of year.  This is a wonderful Italian deli, bakery and small restaurant.  I also got a wonderful chef salad for dinner that night.  The spaghetti is really good and eggplant is wonderful.

I still find cooking for one a bit tiresome and boring.  I am trying some new things.  Last night I had French Onion Soup from Trader Joe’s.  That is easy to fix and very good.

I have a new car.  I searched and researched with the help of Andre’, Chuck,  Don and others.  We went to the LA Auto show and I sat in a multitude of offerings.  I wanted to buy American made so I settled on a 2012 Buick.  I tried to upload a picture from the internet but it wouldn’t work for “security” reasons whatever that means.

It is sllver with black leather interior and I really like it.  I thought about red but this silver is classy looking.  GPS, phone, ON Star, and a multitude of techno stuff I haven’t figured out yet.  Good driving.  Blind spot detector, back up camera, and keyless entry.  It will take me a while to get all the features in my mind.

Hey, look. I figured it out.

Amanda is doing well after some surgery about two weeks ago.  She is registered for next semester and is really doing well in nursing program.

Here she is with Ammo her puppy.  He is a cutie and so is she.

Well, as they say, the best laid plans are often completely changed with the turns of life.  The Adamski family was scheduled to arrive in waves from Georgia.  Mary would come early to help me with a booth at a conference .  Zach and Amanda would arrive two days later and Andre’ two days after that.  I teased them that the royals never flew together either.

All this changed.  Andre’ was in a horrific motorcycle accident.  His left ankle is shattered and his right ankle is fractured.  We thank God he is alive at all.  The bike rolled three times.

This is before the surgery.  They operated Monday last and he is home now.  He will be off his feet for 6-8 weeks.  He is not allowed to fly because embolisms are common.  Above the ankles he is pretty much ok except for an arm cut and bruises, of course.

This is Andre the day of or the next day after surgery.  Not much holds him down.










This is how he needs to be.  He needs to keep his toes above his nose to prevent swelling.  The hospital bed is great.  It is in their huge den or as they call it in the south, the Great Room.

Their friends have been wonderful and have rallied around.  I’ve sent some turkey and ham, some cranberries and some crab cakes.  Yummy stuff that will take little preparation.

This means of course that I need to get presents wrapped, and mailed in order to have them arrive late.  It’s too late to make it by Christmas without it costing an arm and both of Andre’s ankles.

Elaine and I had lunch at Joe’s Crab Shack.  Great cod and shrimp.  Really great company.  We have been friends forever it seems.  I enjoy her wit, her intellect is keen and her sense of humor delights me.

I worked the CAG and Foundation booth at Central Cities conference in Pasadena.

My new car and On Star got me there and home in the rain.  I shared the task with Lillian Walker a CAG colleague and long time friend.  We had a good day and I saw many friends there.  It’s a one day conference to learn and support the needs of gifted and talented youngsters.

It’s a difficult time just now. I knew it would be.  I call on my faith in God, my family and I talk to Russell always, especially at bed time.  I sense him near sometimes and almost any beautiful Christmas song lets me think of our years together.  One year we were very poor and planned a simple Christmas.

We corralled a hug tumble weed, sprayed it silver and hung ornaments on it.  We loved it!  We remembered it fondly always.  That year Russell surprised me with what he called his “rat hole fund”.  He had been putting away little amounts here and there since September.  We had enough to buy small presents and look happily to the future.  He always had good sense about money.

I wonder if they celebrate this holiday in Heaven.  We know he is well, not in that horrible pain, and not deteriorating physically as he was here.  He is whole. 



Cold, Cold, Cold

I don’t ever remember it being this cold in Southern California.  It was 39 here last night according to the paper.  My heating bill will be huge but I am comfortable.  I turn off the heater at night and settle down under the best comforter ever so the nights are warm.

I continue to go to the gym.  I am working on balance and strength and I see improvement.  Of course, I love the water, as you know so that’s a high point.  Cody the instructor and trainer is wise for so young a man and he has made fitness, for those of us working with him, a major goal.

I enjoy the other people at the gym also.  They encourage and support all of us “seasoned athletes”. There is an elderly Japanese man who I see in the pool often.  He is formal and polite and bows each time we meet.  He must be 80ish and he is working on fitness also.  None of us plan on body building competitions.

Kary and I went to see the film, 50-50.  It stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  Do you remember him from TV a while back on ” Third Rock from the Sun”?  This film was very interesting and well done.  It is the story of a young man who gets cancer and the interactions he has with friends and family.  Seth Rogan does a fine job as well.  He does have a “potty mouth” in this film so be ready.

I shed a few tears and laughed as well.  I enjoy the experience of a movie on the big screen.  I am still astounded at the cost of tickets, small popcorn and gummy bears.  No wonder people take their own snacks to the movies.

I am beginning to plan Christmas cooking and baking.  The goodies are traditional for me.  My version of Chex Mix, boiled cookies, and butterscotch hay stacks.

Andre will do the turkey and dressing again.  I’ll do my dressing as well.  I am going to have that yummy rotelle cheese dish for before dinner and some bbq meatballs.  The main meal is pretty traditional also. Green Bean casserole, corn pudding, cranberries by Zach, and who knows what else.  Pie, of course.

I went to breakfast with my friends from working days.  They are so special.  Margaret keeps us on schedule so we don’t miss any dates.  We catch up with our lives, laugh and remember funny days from teaching and being principals.  Everyone seems busy.

Judy’s son and daughter-in-law and grand baby will arrive from Australia for the holidays.  Fran just returned from running a marathon in Paris, Sandy played her cello with the symphony at Segerstrom Hall and Marge, God love her, is working on her doctorate.  Margaret plays golf, Kathy cares for her elderly mother, Sharon delights us all and Eileen is as busy as ever.  I don’t do a lot but I keep busy with CAG, the Foundation and my family.  We all feel so blessed to be with each other and to be enjoying life in the “senior” lane.

My window covering were not manufactured correctly the first time so I was excited when they came to install them again.  Still wrong and no rod in the package.  I was disappointed but… will be corrected soon.  My fax is behaving badly.  The phone company says it’s the fax, the fax company says it’s the phone.  There was a time when I would have been semi frantic over such small issues.  I am so much calmer since Russell died.  (I can say died now.) To lose him was the worst thing to ever happen to me.  How important can a fax or some window coverings be, now? 

Debbie and Mike Hazelton came up to see me and we went for dinner to Seasons 52 at South Coast Plaza.  This is a remarkable restaurant.  I had vege soup and penne with shrimp and veges.  All this is low-calorie, fresh and presented in a beautiful way.  I will go back there.

My Christmas tree is up.  It is beautifully lighted.  I’m waiting a few days to decorate until window people get here.  Positive thinking!!!!  It is a beautiful tree, pre lighted with 600 color lights.  The ornaments come from over 52 years together and most have special meaning.

Last night, Kary and I went to St. Joseph’s tree lighting.  Russell was honored with a light and an ornament that I can now put on my tree.  It was held outside and it was cold but the ceremony warmed us all.  We had hot chocolate, hot cider and a new drink for me….cucumber water.  It was delicious.

The Hospice workers deserve such support.  Dr. Malouf was there and Chaplain Janice was there as well.  Janice led the first bereavement group I attended shortly after Russell left us.  Carolers sang and we all had lighted candles.  The tree also honors living people.  Every year I support a light for the Parker Family, the Adamski family and my late father, Waldo Dearing.

It was bitter-sweet to be there but now after 7 months I renew my thankfulness for having such a man as Russell in my life.  I miss him fiercely and sometimes its like it happened yesterday.  We are all blessed to have had him for part of his 71 years.