A New Year and Old Memories

I am happy to be writing.  It has been too long and I missed it.

I am continuing on and hoped the New Year would be an emotional lift, but oddly enough it was a bit of a let down.  The calendar doesn’t know grief or healing.  I continue to work out at the gym, working on strength and balance.  Balance is critical for me.  Falling wouldn’t be good. I also treat myself to a massage about once every two weeks.  The massage therapist is skilled and very pleasant.  He just likes to talk too much to suit me so I have to tell him I need quiet and peace, my new goal for 2012.

He wants to talk about his kids and their education and many other issues I am unwilling to think about.  Not during a massage.

On the first Friday of each month I have brunch with colleagues from GGUSD, where I spent my career in Public Education.  We are all retired.  In June it will be 13 years retired for me.  We have a grand time laughing and remembering our years together.

I went to Laughlin with Chuck and Lorraine and we had a great deal of fun.  We stayed at the AVI Indian reservation complex and it was very nice.  Chuck talked to the tribal administrators  about scattering Russell’s ashes on the reservation.  They welcomed the idea and would charge no fee.  I am considering it.  It is about 4-5 hours from here.  I am also considering the desert near Palm Springs.  These two places were favorites for Russell.

Chuck and Lorraine and I had lots of fun, not much luck with gaming, but many good memories of the years spent on the Colorado River.  It was never my favorite but I did go often when Russ went to fish or hunt.

I am pleased to say I am beginning to enjoy cooking for one or two.  It has taken me a long time, I’d say.  I made a Denver Omlette in a big coffee cup, maple glazed baked chicken, and even a game hen with stuffing.  Yum!

I continue to find group very helpful though I am often reluctant to go.  I can’t figure that out.  I resist, give in and go and find the hour and a half with that group is very helpful.

I had a weekend meeting for CG at the Mission Inn in Riverside.  This hotel is just magnificent.  I had a little suite and a tray of fruit and wine waited in my room for me to check in.

Our meeting room was next door to the chapel.  The Inn hosts over 300 weddings a year and we were delighted to see the wedding parties for 5 weddings as they prepared to enter the beautiful church.  It is called a chapel but it is a masterpiece of stained glass, statuary and icons from early history.

We were very productive at this meeting.  It is good to be with like-minded people as we plan our conference in Palm Springs in March.  Our advocates, Barrett Snyder and Jack O”Connel were there and brought us up to date on the state of the state in Sacramento.  We need to hold firm and keep working.

Governor Brown has said that the schools will take a huge hit if the tax proposal doesn’t pass in November.  One result would be the elimination of the gifted program in California.  Our standards, our law and all our hard work over the years would be blue lined……gone.

The truth is the gifted children will still be here and according to the Golden State Constitution, every child is entitled to ” a free and appropriate” education in the state of California.  As teachers and parents we still must serve them with appropriate learning opportunities.

While I was at CAG my email was hacked and 170 messages went out as if they were from me with a link to some pharmaceutical company in Canada.  Most of the recipients didn’t open the link and for that I am glad.  I’ve changed pass words all over my internet connections.  I guess it happens all the time.  If you got it I am sorry.

When the winds were high they rattled doors and windows all over the house but none worse than my small garage door leading to the back yard. Every major rattle set off my house alarm.   Perry, my “house doctor” installed a new door last week.  It will not rattle.

While I was sweeping the garage to get ready for  Perry, a huge man came into my garage and moved way in until he saw me.  He said he was looking for work, I told him I had a house doctor.  He asked if I was expecting anyone.  Just then Perry arrived and this unwelcome visitor left in a big hurry.  Pretty scary or maybe nothing.  No open garage doors.  Tell such visitors you’ll go in and get your husband or some other male that will deter their action.

The Georgia family will be coming for CAG.  Andre’ is improving and yet still must stay off his feet.  He wears two charming moon boots now that casts and slings are off.  The wheel chair is still his mode of getting around.

Mary and Andre’ are foster parenting Ammo, Amanda’s dog.  He is a cutie and I think Amanda will have trouble getting him back.He likes to nap with Mary.  Mary and Andre’s have been in the hospital bed since the accident.  The other two dogs, Jasper and Gypsy have welcomed him to the family.  Baby the cat went to her reward under Zach’s bed.

Zach is doing well in school and enjoying archery team.  I had no luck cropping this.  One of my grandchildren will have to show me how.

I presented the keynote talk at a Saturday conference last weekend.  I was in Agoura Hills and I went up early and spent the night so I didn’t have to get up so very early.  The hotel was very nice.

The conference was for teachers, administrators and parents.  It went quite well and I enjoyed the people a great deal.  Parents are so important as we move to properly serve our youngsters.

Amanda has graduated with her first step on her way to becoming an RN.  She is certified as a nursing assistant and a certified phlebotomist.  She is well into new classes this quarter and is doing well.  Travis, her boyfriend is in the firefighter hiring process and we are wishing him well.  He passed the physical and has had an interview. Here’s hoping.

Amanda is enjoying “her” new car. She still thinks of it as my car.  She named it Luna.  Her old car was Bertha I think.  Russ also named all his cars, the most recent being Matilda.  Hmmmmm.  Can’t think of a good name for my new Buick.

It does things that are amazing.  If another car is in my blind spot, two small vibrant icons appear in my side mirror.  The back up camera is common in cars but new to me.  Every thing is just right.  I am especially enjoying Sirius Radio.  No chatter or commercials.

I am very proud to tell you about an honor Mary has received.  She was named the  Gynnette County GOP volunteer of the year.  She holds a county office and is very active in many efforts.  She worked for Herman Cain for a while and now continues with her North Georgia 9-12 patriotic work and volunteer activities.  Who knew this child would be so interested in politics and government?  Her Dad and I are very proud of her and her work.

The Parkers continue to take good watch over me.  Don came and changed light bulbs I can’t reach, put my new plates on the car.  (Maybe I do need to name her).  I’ve given her a gender, at least.  Kary gets me things I especially enjoy when she goes to Trader Joe’s.  Polenta, grapefruit and from the Parker garden I get avocado, red onions and other good healthy stuff.  I really love vegetables.  No protein but good taste.

I had lunch with Candy yesterday.  Candy lost her only child, Gregory, 16 years ago in an auto accident.  We enjoy the time together and she is enormous comfort to me.  She, of course, still misses her precious son.  The calendar doesn’t heal grief.

The hospice people are still near by.  I see the chaplain, Michael often.  Penny, a foundation worker and I are going to have coffee next week.  She says she has a little token for me.

Life seems to fly by.  It is now 9 months since Russell passed from our arms to God’s arms.  I sometimes sense him near by.  Tears are still a part of my life and may always be.  But the blessed assurance that I will see him again is a treasure.

Happy New Year.

Each new year I choose a word to guide me as much as possible.  The word for 2012 is Peace.  I want that peace in my heart and in my life.  I need to cultivate being at peace without Russell.   That’s the biggest task.  I’d love peace in the world, in our country and in the political/fiscal mess our country finds itself.  I’ll start with my heart and work outward.  My home and family are both peaceful and that makes a good beginning.

Christmas was bittersweet.  With Kary’s help I cooked a big delicious meal.  We had planned on Andre’, Mary. Zach and Amanda but they couldn’t come because of Andre’s accident and surgery.  We missed them a lot.We toasted Russell with Dom Perigone we had been saving from our 50th anniversary.  We were going to drink it when Russell was well.

We know he is well and safe and in our Father’s arms.  We told him we would always miss him and would always love him.  I think I did pretty well during the day but as the day progressed and people began to leave I just cried.  It was OK and had to be.

I fixed turkey, dressing, green beans, corn pudding, cranberries, spiced baked apples.  We had ham and all the trimmings.  Pie and cupcakes for dessert.  We decided that even 11 of us could not do justice to this much food.  Next year we will be revising the menu somewhat.  So much is tradition so you never can know for sure.

I needed help with the 24 pound turkey.  I managed to get him from garage refrigerator into the kitchen.  Once he was stuffed and in the heavy pan I was useless.  Kary came over and got him cooking.

Andre’ is doing well and has a great attitude.  Mary ended up in ER one night with hip pain and possible sciatica.  She was stressed and of course had been doing a lot, sleeping on the couch near Andre’s hospital bed.  She is better with rest and sleeping on the hospital bed with Andre’. 

Zach got his driver’s license and he has been driving his Mom and Dad where ever they need to go.  He got a car for Christmas and it he is really happy with it.

This is not his car but the car he took the driving test in.  Mary says he is a good driver and always more than willing to run errands.  I remember those days.

I had planned on at least a few trips to the gym but so far it hasn’t happened.  I’ve been enjoying my tree.  I sit in the hot tub at night and watch the lights shine through the window.  I’ve been reading, watching some wonderful TV and some mindless TV also.

I was very moved by the Kennedy Honors this year.  Sonny Rollins was one of Russell’s favorite jazz musicians.  He was honored along with Neil Diamond, Meryl Streep, Yo Yo Ma and a woman from Broadway musicals whose name has escaped me.  It seemed as if the honorees had been chosen by us.  Sonny Rollins was also featured in the AARP magazine this month also.

The Saturn is scheduled to go to Georgia today.  Andre’ and Zach were going to drive it back but you know about the best laid plans.  I am shipping it on a transport truck.  Door to door, fully insured in about 8 days give or take.  I hate to see it go but and 11-year-old car with 36,000 miles will be just right for a college girl.  Amanda’s car is ready to give up so the timing is good.

I had my last doctor’s appointment for the year and plan on seeing none of them for months.  I appreciate them all but I am well and don’t like constant visits.

I had lunch with Annie last week.  We had chowder and split a prawn cocktail.  Very good food and very good company. These young ladies are Annie and Jason’s twins, Sophie and Ava.  They are 3.  The also have a son AJ who is six and was in school that day.  AJ was a very good friend of “Mister Russell” as he called him.  They played cars together.

I’ve been very social lately.  I had lunch with the Hazelton’s, Debbie’s Mother, Jennifer and her new groom, Vlad and Sandra Kaplan.  We went to a place called Charlie Palmer’s in Bloomingdales at South Coast Plaza.  It was great fun.  They were featuring a fixed price menu for $20.11 in honor of the old year leaving.  There were choices with in the menu and the food was excellent.  The company even better.  Jennifer and Vlad are newlyweds and I really enjoyed their company and their wedding pictures.

The Kindle Fire Santa Claus brought Don and Mary is a big hit.  They both are enjoying it a lot.  I am tempted.  I downloaded Lisa Swayze’s new book ” Worth Fighting For”.  It is about the last few years of Patrick Swayze’s life before he died of pancreatic cancer.  I bought Kary a copy as well.

Steven came over yesterday and helped with so many little and big things.  My fax has been inoperable for some time.  Phone company was coming today.  Steven moved furniture, cleaned and organized wires and cords and tried a new phone jack and it all is working just fine.

He took high up ornaments down from the tree, packed up the tree and carried boxes out to the garage. He moved storage in the garage to give me more room for my new car.  He checked out the cable box and where it is coming from.  Enormous help and really good company.

This picture is old but I do enjoy it.  Andre’ on the left (on both feet), Zach who is now taller than his dad and everyone else in this picture except Steven, Russell early in his “harsh journey”, Don and Steven.  They all are very special to me.

Happy New Year to you all.  We are looking forward to 2012 and all it brings.  We do not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.