Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
The kids arrive day after tomorrow....I have made no holiday progress so this will probably be the last day I can languish in front of the computer.....Steve is home tonight, we have lots to do to get ready and STILL no shopping done.
Christmas was Charlie's favorite holiday...his annual peeing on the tree, sniffing ornaments, and laying under the tree keeping careful watch over Mimi who always climbs up the trunk for naps will be missed deeply. But, this is Penelope's first real Christmas and we are looking forward to making memories with her and our family.
To all of my old and new blogger friends, have a wonderful holiday...you are great!
With love, rosemary
Friday, December 15, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
I love books........I love buying books, reading books, touching books, smelling books....books. With the exception of the buying part, all of the other components of book love have been there since I was old enough to read and go to the Library. My name is Rosemary and I am a book addict.
I worked in a Library and my supervisor told me that my book buying habits would eventually fade away . They didn't. I not only want to read books, I want to own them, never get rid of them, not lend my favorites, stack them over and over again each time in a different way, relocate them from room to room, alphabetize them, dust them...just possess these books in every way that I can.
When I was a kid, we had a one room Library in our "bedroom" town of Alhambra. It was safe to walk anywhere then....I did; to and from school, to and from the Library, to the market to buy cigarettes for my mom with a note, to the park...anywhere. My favorite destination was the Library and my favorite spot was on the floor in back of the Librarian's desk hidden by a short bookcase. I would sit there for hours reading......Little Women was my favorite and I probably read it dozens of times. I would walk around the Library just touching the books and trying to read titles. Every once in a while Mrs. Booth the Librarian would say to me, "Rosemary that is a grown up book section. Please sit down." I didn't know grown up from kids books. Yes, there was a children's section, but I had read all of those books and wanted to see what was on the rest of the Library shelves. Little Women was actually a "grown up" book, but it was shelved in a place where I could very slowly take it down and then sit in my spot and read. I always had a "cover" book in case Mrs. Booth ventured away from her desk which was almost never. She was a large woman and it probably took great effort just to breathe!
Eventually Alhambra left the bedroom and moved to the real world and a new Library was built. Very efficient this new Library; segregated sections, tall shelves with books out of reach for little hands, places to sit, write, study and all of this done with absolute silence. Mrs. Booth was no longer in control but several new women ran the place with an iron fist. That was Ok for a while because of all the new children's books that were added to the collection. But eventually my curiosity got the better of me and I tried to discover the grown up books once again. My mother was called, I was scolded but all this did was make me wonder just what was in those volumes and volumes of books.
By the time I was in high school, I was a reading fool. I had the dream of becoming a physician, but not the aptitude, dedication or drive....and then there were the boys. I did take all of the english, history and literature classes I could but reading fiction was so much more fun than homework. I actually had Lady Chatterley's Lover stuck in my American History book and was reading away when the instructor asked me a question....I was busted and big time; parent conference, I was wasting my brain, grounded, all of my Library books returned and my Hollywood Confidential mags were found and taken away as well. Did not change my appetite for reading.
As a young mother I went through Napoleon, Henry the VIII, European History, and California Indian reading phases. But my heart always belonged to fiction. The Library was my "other man"....it gave me the escape I needed from several bad marriages and relationships after divorces. My children had the same love of books that I did and so we were a happy little group, sitting and reading the days away. I allowed the kids to roam the Library and touch, see and wonder about all of those volumes that were not yet discovered by their little hands and minds.
I can remember reading Belva Plain, Pearl Buck, Victoria Holt, Marilyn Harris, Herman Wouk, John Jakes, Earl Gardner, Jane Austin, John Steinbeck, Bronte, Du Maurier...and any other fiction author I could find. I was never a romantic novel reader....you know, the kind with a ripped bodice and a well-hung-good-looking-long-haired man on the cover.....but I did love the epics that went on for several volumes and even years after the last one was read, another generation would emerge in yet another volume.
Somewhere along my novel covered road, I started buying books...paperbacks at first and then I became a purist; I only bought hardbacks. I joined three book buying mail order clubs....of course the main dealer for my book fixes was Doubleday. I probably built several floors of their building with my purchases. I still have Winds of War that I bought from good old Doubleday....the cover is torn and faded and it's format is the minature size and print that Doubleday used.
I have actually sold some of the books I have bought at my yard sales, but I have reluctantly done that. I have also donated some to my local Library....but with each book I sold or donated I felt like I was losing a friend. Now, I just box the books up that I have read and put them in a special place in the garages.
I have a notebook that I was going to use to record all of the books I have...but what fun is that? I would rather look at my books, touch them, smell them and think all of the wonderful experiences I will have living vicariously through their characters. So, to all of the wonderful fiction writers I have enjoyed over the years.....write on, write on, write on!
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Monday, December 04, 2006
My husband left today for a 4 day trip. The dogs and I waved and barked and yelled "I love you!" as he drove off on the icy road. When we went back inside I said out loud "What are we going to do for 4 days without him?" and both of the dogs looked at me with knowing eyes. Those dogs are spooky sometimes.
So, I am making my comfort food; lentil soup. Growing up Catholic made for some interesting meals on Friday. In those dark age days of my youth Friday was a meatless day. I can't remember what we ate on Friday before I was about eight, but I sure do remember after that. My dad would barbeque swordfish. Swordfish. Dry, tasteless swordfish. White, bland, textured like cardboard swordfish. Swordfish; barbequed. Those meals were unending as I chewed and chewed but just couldn't swallow. I heard the poor kids in China story every Friday and still I couldn't swallow the stuff.
After my sibling was old enough to complain about fish Friday, it was only my dad that ate swordfish and my sibling and I were the recipients of the newly created fish stix. Greasy, bread crumbed, nasty fish stix. I remember thinking that they were made out of fish feet....they had a peculiar smell while baking. Eventually I complained too and I was given the gift of lentils, alphabet pasta and garlic simmered for hours and tasting like food of the Gods. For as many years as I lived at home I had lentils on Friday. I would eat the contents of the entire sauce pan, ate them until I was far beyond full, feeling bloated I ate until they were gone. Thankfully my sibling never liked them and went on to Friday pancakes and waffles.
I am not a cook, don't bake from scratch, am kitchen challenged except for cleaning up and have and would still be eating as much fast food as I could had I not gotten old and had this high blood pressure/cholesterol thing going on. As hard as I have tried, I have not been able to replicate my mother's simple lentil combination...it comes out mushy, or undercooked, or tasteless no matter how much salt and garlic I put in it, but.....I have created a really tasty lentil soup that is simple and used to taste better when it had real sweet Italian sausage instead of turkey copy cat sausage that doesn't even come close to tasting like the real thing. But, it has lentils and pasta and garlic and the rest of the ingredients are simple....diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, a veggie, mushrooms, onions and a little of this and that for seasoning. It will simmer all day, I will sample it every few hours, I will eat it twice a day until every last bit is gone and not have to share it with anyone. My husband thinks it is an OK soup, but he isn't wild about lentils so I don't feel bad about eating half a bag of lentils and all of the other stuff in the soup all by myself. I figure he will be eating with friends in a restaurant, having someone serve him and clean up after him and I can eat the entire pot of soup without any guilt! Evens out I think.
Friday, December 01, 2006
I made a comment on a blog yesterday...The Boomer Chronicles. It is a neat site, fun without competition and great information and trivia.
My comment was about a list of calories burned relative to an activity. My response was about vacuuming, my favorite sport. That got me thinking about my friend John. John died of lung cancer in February 2005.
I inherited John from my husband. They had been friends since grammer school. I met John in 1989. He was living in a shack with a woman and they were both in the same shape; alcoholics, no jobs, dirty, and bad teeth. John however, had a glorious, dry sense of humor. John could be forgiven for any action because of that sense of humor.
John called himself a gutter drunk and made no apologies for his lifestyle. He said it was a life lived on the edge with every day being one of risk, adventure and trying to panhandle enough money to stay shit faced. He had been married and divorced several times, had no children and no obligations other than the multiple DUI infractions that he eventually paid for with jail time. He possessed a variety of junk cars at times, the most memorable one being an old Datsun with no floor boards, no windows but a motor that ran, 4 wheels with tires and a seat and steering wheel.
John met his last wife through a strange set of events.....he was house sitting for a good buddy while that buddy was in the hospital dying from alcoholic liver disease. It was while housesitting that John became sober. The buddy died, his ex wife and daughter came up to settle the buddie's estate, the ex met John, they fell in love and eventually married.
John had not had a main stream job for over 20 years. When he moved to Sandpoint he was a house painter, had money, built a home, bought a car, had thousands of dollars in paint equipment and he lost it all to beer and lost it fast. After he married for the last time, his role became that of a once in a while house painter for good money and he was the ultimate house husband. John cooked, gardened, built a deck, managed the snow in winter, just did it all around the house.
John was opinionated and I never talked politics with him. He told the truth as he saw it...told it about himself and others. If someone was offended, well too bad. He wasn't hurtful, but if I had some ugly sox on, he told me but using his great humor..."Hey Rosemary, did you get a deal on those sox at Goodwill? I'll have to see if I can get Barb a pair like that and see if she divorces me!"
He was a true and faithful friend. The man that helped him get sober was not the best role model for sobriety and being drug free, but John never forgot the gift of sobriety help he received from this man and defended him no matter what. My husband "hired" John for a variety of odd jobs at our crazily built home so John would have smoke money when he was not painting. My husband has NEVER thrown out one journal, magazine, file or any other piece of paper he ever had and John boxed those papers and journals and hauled them from one garage bay shelf to another time after time. John called his work for my husband his 401K.
My love for John besides all of the wonder of his personality? He loved to vacuum. The one joy we shared and, yes we said it out loud, was seeing the vacuum design patterns newly left on a carpeted floor...and it really pissed him off if someone walked on it too soon....wife, friend, dog or critter. I really, really miss John.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
In 1998 my husband and I made the big move from California to the Beautiful Inland Northwest. After moving, I landed the best job in the whole wide world..at the Library. Below is my farewell letter after I resigned last year. Were it not for an automoblie accident that almost killed my husband and injured me (an elderly driver crossed the center line and hit us in an off set front end crash) I would still be there. I have edited out names but put some comments in blue next to others....it is a long story.
In the beginning, in the olden days of 1989, there were 16 acres of beautiful forest in the peaceful Selle Valley in Sandpoint, Idaho. By early 1990 there was a cement foundation on the acreage and by summer, there was a 3600 square foot building that was mostly shop and storage but also with a two room, 600 square foot apartment on the second floor.
A building site for a real home was chosen, the ground cleared and power established…..but the house would have to wait until retirement.
Over the years, lengthy visits were made in April and October. For flavor an occasional summer vacation with the blended family was thrown in and a few Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays too. Sandpoint in the winter was beautiful and the time spent with frozen pipes, a dry well, and trips into the ditch were fun and novel!
Easter of 1998 was the turning point. The California real estate market was heating up and it was time; time to get out of “Dodge” and make the bold move to Sandpoint and make the quaint, quiet, undiscovered town home. I was the epitome of the phrase “burned out.” No more sleeping with a beeper, no more taking call, working weekends, no more screaming, error prone physician bosses. Yep, I was ready for Sandpoint.
The house sold in a week, closed in 60 days and we hit the road in a 29 foot motor home with two dogs, four cats, and my mother’s antique vases for the last big adventure of our lives!
The moving van arrived in Sandpoint three weeks late and a few packed boxes were never to be found, but we were nesting and loving everything Sandpoint! We loved the rock roads, the thunderstorms, clean air, the forest ferns, riding bikes, feeding the Bambis, squirrels, and birds and were delighted when two adorable bears arrived to demolish all of the bird feeders. We took $289.00 worth of pictures that first summer in Sandpoint and I framed and displayed the ones of our wildlife like they were my children.
Winter arrived with a skiff of snow on the 4th of November 1998. I had learned a new word…skiff…I let it roll over my tongue and used it like I was a local! The red snow shovel was cute and I could fling flakes with the best men on the road! I started a weather journal and faithfully documented the temperatures, snow fall, and the minutia of weather change. And I read from my book collection.
I had taken over another 600 square feet of the upstairs storage and turned it into a real bedroom and a dining room. I stenciled on every open wall space and when I had finished with that, I moved pictures so I could stencil more. I felt adventuresome and drove to Ben Franklin’s and bought every plaster miniature house they had in stock and 50 bottles of craft paint. I painted enough miniature houses to establish a community. And I read from my book collection.
Spring finally arrived and the word mud took on new meaning. But there was some sun and no damn snow falling. Spring, summer and fall were alive!!! I would survive Sandpoint after all.
But God can play funny games sometimes and he does with me…he brought my second winter with the same snow as the previous year plus a few feet more. You know the joke about the man that eventually hates the white stuff and puts a hit out on the snow plow driver…that was me. Steve was traveling; I spent a lot of that winter alone talking to the dogs and cats and painted even more plaster houses. And I read from my book collection.
Winter 2000 arrived and Sandpoint looked like a snow globe. Sweet little round circles of snow fell, then it rained, then it snowed, then it rained, then the rain froze. You know the drill. The retirement home idea had been abandoned. We just added on to the apartment…we added laterally, and down and instead of a stenciled, painted plaster house decorated apartment, we had a 7200 square foot stenciled behemoth! I had to do something to keep busy. Winter was getting longer by the hour. I had to have a plan…..and what I knew best was working 24/7.
Nursing was quickly eliminated after one interview. There they were; the same requirements of a beeper and on call. I signed up for job service and what should show up but a listing for the Library.
I had nothing to lose but my sanity so I went in and picked up an application. Realizing that the Craig guy that would eventually receive the application packet would take one look at my experience and wonder if I really was insane, I had to make my cover letter pretty attention getting. I told the truth…Nursing was my profession; reading and books were my passion.
The rest is history with all of you. I have loved every minute, good and bad, at the Library. I have been surrounded by wonderful people as co workers and patrons. I will never forget all of the fun times I have had, the opportunity I was given to learn at my ripe old age and be surrounded by so many glorious books.
I want to share with all of you some of what I have learned, observed, pondered, felt and decided:
Sometimes coming in second can mean you won after all. (I was second choice for the position after the first candidate turned it down)
I can wear the same jeans for three days in a row and no one would notice.
All of you “get” my T Shirts!
I will forever remember the name of the first patron that made me cry.
I have only worn mascara to work once and no one noticed……applying mascara is a waste of time.
What would happen if the Library closed 5 minutes early?
I STILL managed to work for someone that made mistakes…. but he is a nice man and doesn’t yell!
You all like my curly hair and I wish I could give it away! Amazing.
Squirrels are our friends.
I think the trustees are all politicians in training. (In October of this year I was appointed to a vacant Trustee position. I will have to run for office in May '07, but for now I am having the time of my life! I have no political ambitions.)
I REALLY know my decimals but still can’t remember all of my times tables.
I may have chosen the wrong profession. (Meaning Library Science instead of Nursing.)
I won’t work long enough at the Library to know everything the folks at the info desk know.
Working at the Library did not curb my book purchases.
My pets are my inspiration.
Is it still 2002 at the Clark Fork branch? (Our beautiful really rural branch.)
Reading fiction is relaxing, inspirational, an escape, and promotes daydreaming!
The Library saved a lot of kids from not knowing.
After the exposure to kids at the Library I know that my children really were angels.
I bet people wish they could shake like dogs. I know it would make me feel better.
Violet is my dog persona. Drake is my cat persona
I still secretly think the bears are cute.
My favorite CD is NOT by Jackson Browne.
Sometimes I wish Steve was Jackson Browne.
Friendship can bridge several generations.
My friend Molly is a beacon when it is dark.
I will miss all of you more than I can express.
This entry in the "Dolly Tea Party" did win second place....almost every other entrant in both of these contests were kids....girls and boys....so I was duly embarrassed when my name was announced but I did keep the word count down. I miss Kathy too.
PS Every doll I ever had was named either Sandy or Kathy.
I knew something special was coming. It was Christmas 1952, my mother was sewing like crazy in the bedroom and I couldn’t go into the room. I loved surprises, but this year was different. I wanted to know what Mom was making and I wanted to know right now.
I peeked. I found them. Stacks and stacks of dolly clothes. I felt good and bad all at the same time. I was getting a new dolly.
Christmas morning, there she was; Kathy with red hair, in a bride dress, my dolly. Next to her was a blue trunk, a dolly sized trunk and when I opened it, there were all of the beautiful clothes my mother had made; dresses, PJ’s, a cape, a coat.
2006. Kathy is gone, but the trunk and all of those beautiful clothes are in the attic where every year around Christmas…..I peek all over again.
Two years ago I entered this essay in a "Dolly Tea Party" contest. I didn't win anything because I broke the rules and didn't keep it to the required word count...like 20 or 30. The dollie had also relocated by that time. But, the essay was written with so much love for my granddaughter and I enclosed it in the dollie bed when I sent Sandy to California. Today, I am missing Sandy and my granddaughter.
Sandy was lonely. She spent most of her days in Sandpoint, Idaho in her dolly bed. She IS old (she turned 56 this year) and she earned the rest. But she missed little girl hugs and the sweet kisses only a 4 year old could give to a special dolly. So, she moved to California.
When Sandy was a new dolly, she had soft, brown hair and eyelashes and pretty pink cheeks. Her eyes opened and closed if her head was moved and she could drink water from a bottle. Her diapers were changed and she had her own flannel pajamas with feet in them so she wouldn’t get cold. She was a beautiful baby doll.
Sandy’s first mommy was Rosemary. Rosemary loved Sandy more than any other baby doll or toy she had. She played with her every day, took her on car rides and walked her in a dolly stroller. Sandy knew she was the most loved dolly ever.
But, time passed, Rosemary grew older and baby dolls were left behind for bride dolls, paper dolls with dozens of paper clothes, and bicycles. Sandy was happy to stay in her dolly bed and watch Rosemary turn into a 10 year old girl, a 16 year old young lady and then a woman and the mother of real babies.
Sandy stayed faithful. She was never far from Rosemary and every once in a while Rosemary would take her out of her dolly bed and tell Sandy how much she was loved.
Over the years Sandy lost her soft brown hair and a few of her eyelashes. Only one eye closed and she had to have her rubber body replaced at a dolly hospital. But she was still beautiful.
Sandy went to live with Rosemary’s granddaughter Sachiko this year. She was a special birthday gift. Sachiko didn’t care that she wasn’t new or perfect. Somehow she knew Sandy was special and gave her a little girl hug and the sweet kisses that only a 3 year old can give.
Sandy sends her regrets; she won’t be able to attend the tea party this year.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Great Thanksgiving Day.
Mother Nature graced us with a beautiful snow storm that left the slush of the 22nd covered and crunchy. We had dinner with neighbors; duck, stuffing, mashed potatoes, fruit compote, garlic bread, green beans, pie and lots of sparkling wine.
Being of an advanced age, my husband were home early, called all of the kids, watched TV for maybe 12 minutes and went to bed at 8:30.
Great Thanksgiving Day.
Explaination of Thanksgiving Day after 3 bottles of sparkling wine (shared with 3 other people of course) for those of you that don't know what the day represents.......The pilgrims came to the new land aka America from the mother land England, met up with the Indians, bonded over some roasted turkey and still, celebrated the land, naked Indians and probably modest English women shared recipes, they all ate for three days and then the "Americans" took over the land and called it their own = Thanksgiving Day.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Oldest son.....so sensitive, caring and loving, tried too hard, brilliant but unused mind, gives his all, truth teller even when it brings him pain, music lover, so close to my heart but too far away in miles, should receive a fatherhood medal, handsome, handsome, handsome, neat freak, home owner, forgetful, you will always be my little redheaded boy.....oldest son, you are my conscience, my first real love, my soul.
Sons.....grew up too fast, drove too fast, crashed a car, borrowed my car, drank too much, admitted every mistake he ever made and was truly sorry, used his fine mind, paid for his second round at a university, became more handsome than I could have imagined, appreciated all of the sacrifices I made, kept his room fairly clean, is sensitive, calls me every week, trusts me, married a nice woman and gave me sweet babies to love beyond words, made lemonade with bike wheels, saved his father from himself, has a real sense of what is important in life.....son.... you are the reason I live.
Granddaughter and grandson.....you are the image of your daddy, you are wild, independent, sweet, yell in the phone, love violets, breathe in my ear when you call, leave me sweet messages....yes, even the crying is sweet, are growing too fast.....grandchildren....I miss you more than I can express...you make me cry with happiness and longing.
Daughters.....they are beautiful, complex, laugh as though someone said the funniest thing in the world, alter their bodies and tattoo themselves for some reason, critique their mothers, send cards that make their mothers cry, love doggies and kitties, are voracious readers, live every day to its fullest, have an incredible sense of style, don't care about cell minutes when you call, yell at their kids and husband when you do call, drive too fast, tell you the truth about how you look and then lie about how you look......daughter, you are my heart beat.
Grandsons.....loud talkers, make obnoxious belches at the dinner table, don't shower often enough, rarely brush their teeth, give the best hugs in the whole wide world, call their grandmothers for no reason, sign the cards their mother buys to be sent for a special occassion with "love you" without having to be told,actually listen to grandmotherly advice one out of ten times, make mistakes and hate to admit it, give sweet kisses, eventually have to shave, call you collect from jail and borrow money, don't care about or see wrinkles, grey hair or age spots,love their grandmothers unconditionally..... grandsons, you are my breath
Thursday, November 02, 2006
In my neck of the woods, the Tamarack is the last tree to turn and drop its' needles.
The Tamarack is a tall, thin tree with branches that breathe and give its' sibling arms lots of room. If it shares space with another tree...a pine, Hemlock or Cedar... it will stay bare on the shared side.....a nice tree.
When the Tamarack finally turns I know winter is just around the corner. I was out with the dogs yesterday and the two Tamaracks that are close to the house have started dropping their needles. All around the base of the trees it looks like God has dropped angel dust; bright orange angel dust that will blow away if I breathe too hard or too close. There was a fallen branch and I picked it up. Just looking at the needles, I thought they would be sharp and hurt if I stuck myself, but they were fooling me. They are as soft and gentle as my kitties fur. The needles surround the branch like spun gold and when I touched the branch the needles gently fell off and slowly drifted to join the pool of family needles on the ground.
Every morning and every evening my forest is there. If I look out the window, there it is faithful and strong. I wonder if my forest trees have feelings, know that they are taken for granted by me and weep sap to show me they want to be acknowledged and loved. I talked to that Tamarack yesterday and told it I love its' soft needles, its loyality and reliability.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Fuzzy (black and white) and Drake (all black)
My oldest kitty, Drake, has hyperthyroidism. She is 15. She is a very small, petite kitty. She was 7 pounds in 1998, 6 pounds in 2002, and recently has had hyperactive bowels, flits all over the place and was losing weight again. She is 5.2 pounds now. She will get medication until mid November and then she will have surgery. It will cost about $600.00. We love her. The cost doesn't matter if she will be a chubby 7 pounds again, take naps on my chest, wake me up with a head-butt every morning at 6:30 and allow me to pet her.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
I had lunch with an old friend today. I drove up to her house to pick her up, a home she will be moving out of in a few weeks. Friend had been married to a high school buddy of my husband and I met her through the buddy. She had moved up to our neck of the woods in 1997 and my first sight of her was a tiny woman dressed in sweats from head to toe stoking a slash pile a million times her size. She has been a complex sometimes difficult person to be a friend to, but we have had a lot of good times and reminisced over burritos and chili rellanos. The buddy died almost 2 years ago and friend has had a tough time living in the snow, summer garden, spring rains, leaves everywhere of the Inland Northwest. She met a man online, has fallen in love again and will move to another state to start over and find happiness.
I visited the grave of the buddy......he is buried in the friend's garden on their 5 acres of land. The place will always be B & J's no matter who lives there, but I won't be able to visit again nor will my husband who is sad beyond words to essentially lose both of them...at least up close and personally.
I am sure we will email for a while, maybe call each other, but the truth of moving and having miles and states between friends is that the friendship can fade just like the afternoon sun.
I am going to be 62 this November and change gets harder and harder. I miss my children more and more and feel the isolation of living in the most beautiful place on earth some days. While my surroundings are magnificent, the trees, forest wildlife and my cats and dogs just can't fill that space in my heart that should be overflowing with my family. A sweet kitty kiss cannot replace my granddaughter's hugs and the feel of baby breath on my cheek from my grandson.
Life. Just life.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
xciting, xamples (sorry)
Simply amazing and wonderful!
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
I recently appplied for my social security benefits....a right of passage for retirement, the silver years, old friggin age I guess. I was thinking about my mother after the telephonic application and wondered how many regrets she had besides the obvious ones I had seen and heard. I swore after she died I would live my life to its fullest and never let my dreams fizzle. Well, some of those dreams resemble Alka Seltzer now. So, in the spirit of Erma Bombeck.....maybe.......
I wish I had:
Moved with my children to a foreign country......Dingle, Ireland or Sorrento, Italy. But, I didn't know about those wonderous places when the kids were young. Maybe, just maybe......
Learned to play the piano....I was an Italian kid....I learned to play the accordion. I got as far as teaching runny nosed 6 year olds how to play a 12 bass instrument when I was a sophomore in high school......then I fell in love with the man that would become my first husband. Maybe, just maybe......
Straight hair......I was an Italian kid, I had fuzzy hair of course. I did try having it straightened as an adult, but it looked like ric rac for the most part. Forget that one; I need to accept my hair for what it is.
Learned a second language. I took Latin in high school. Who speaks Latin, a priest at mass? Not even there anymore...I tried learning Italian before our trip to Italy but I beleive my brain cells are just too atrophied to absorb strange words. Well, maybe.......big Maybe.
Another sports car. I have had three...two red ones and a blue one....two Toyotas, one a Vette. No ground clearance on those babies however, so not practical in snow country. Maybe I wish I had enough money to buy another sports car and just park it in the garage 6 months of the year. Maybe......probably not. I'm too old to bend down far enough to get into the damn thing.
My handwriting was better. It is big, slanted, sloppy sometimes and actually illegible most of the time. No matter how hard I try to write in a straight line, my letters slide off the side of the paper. I am just as sloppy on the computer but thank goodness for spell check!
I hadn't married my second husband again making him my second and third husband. I don't regret the first marriage which was my second marriage.....because I had Gil. But, I was STUPID the second time that made him my third husband. He was the same man as the second man and even worse actually. He is not a nice man.
Been a better mother with all three of my children. As a small defense, I was a child when I had my first baby.....I was 16, under-educated, lonely, felt ugly, and had few friends. High school had been a nightmare of social mistakes, wrong clothes and boyfriends that were off the norm and I wanted to be loved and love someone deeply......that was my first son, Art. I never really knew how to be a mother...didn't have the best roll model. I wish I could have a few do-overs with my three kids.
Worn more high heels. They really make a woman look sexy...and my legs are still pretty nice. I don't have any varicosities, at least none that show and while I am white as bread, I might consider self tanning goop....or not. However, my feet are almost 62 years old and feel it most days. I guess high heels are out, but really cute flats might work.
Had cats as pets a lot sooner. I always thought that cats were sneaky and distant. I was wrong. My first cat Babie was sensitive, loving and a great comfort. I have had a total of 7 cats and they all have been the very BEST pets. Low maintenance, independent, bad breath yes, but cats are great!
Married Steve when I was thirty. We have had such a good life together. I met Steve in 1982 when I was 38. Just 8 more years would have been enough.....he is the kindest, most sensitive, generous man I have ever known and I would still feel that way if we didn't love each other.
Discovered the forest and all of the wonders that come with it sooner. I lived in the suburbs all of my life....that is up to 1998. When we moved to our 16 acres in '98 the most surprising thing to me was the quiet...no cars, freeways, drunk teenagers in the street, tied up barking dogs, or neighbors close enough to hear me in the bathroom. The forest is filled with leaves rustling in the wind, scurring little critters, birds, unseen animals treking through the trees, and God. I have never really felt afraid in the forest except when I know the bears are hungry and I won't go into it at night because of skunks.....but it is a place of such discovery and awe. I have discovered a lot about myself in the forest.
Spent less time cleaning my damn house. I have an O/C disorder when it comes to cleaning my house. I clean everyday....vacuum, dust and wash the floors. Yep, every day. In my own defense, I have to say that I do some of my best problem solving while I clean. I can have an entire conversation with someone in my head and before I know it the house is sparkling. My daughter once told me my pets and vacuum were more important than my kids...they're not...they just fill a really empty place in me.
Paid more attention on my childhood summer vacations. My dad was a long haul truck driver. Every summer...yes every summer...we took off for the entire months of June, July and August and drove across the country to Virginia and Ohio to see my relatives. My dad took all of the truck routes and back roads and I saw some of the most magnificent sites....the Painted Desert, the Petrified forest, Native Americans living in hill side caves, Amish country, underground houses in Utah, Williamsburg when it was being restored, cities like New York before graffiti and gangs...and so many more amazing places. I have a box filled with 8mm films of all of those places but nothing to use as a projector. Maybe someday I will have them transferred onto another medium.....when I win the lotto.
More friends.I have always been a solitary person. As a kid I would play with my dolls and paper dolls rather than other kids. High school was a social nightmare. As an adult I have had trouble trusting other adults so work became my friend until it became my enemy. Moving to a rural home didn't help with my social aspirations such as they were. I do have one good friend, but she is busy with her own life and I don't need much of an excuse to stay home. I have substituted books for dollies. My loss.....maybe someday.
Bought fewer handbags. Oh, that is a total lie...I love handbags and not cheap ones either. I wish I could buy more shoes too. I just threw this one in to make it seem like I was a good person and was embarrassed about buying another bag last week.
I lived closer to my children and grandchildren. This is a tough one. I have really grown to love the forest, the few cars out here and the simplicity of my life....well simpler life anyway. I know I couldn't live in a big city or suburbia with its freeways, gangs, rudeness and rush; not now. But some days my body and heart just ache to have them within touching distance. The promise to see them as often as I could got lost in finance, bills and high airfares. We talk a lot on the phone, but I have missed all of the wonderful grandmotherly things I wanted to experience in person.
I wish I could say THE END, but unfortunately I am sure I will think of other missed opportunities.....while I am vacuuming.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
He was the best back seat navigator, he always left a doggie kiss for me on the window, he made quiet smellies when a certain person came over to visit, he loved the kitties, ignored the kitties, loved Violet.....well, sometimes he loved her, but he really did love Penelope before he got sick, loved Christmas music, always woke up when I couldn't sleep and kept me company, let me use his tummy for a nap pillow, never got upset when I yelled...he just laid down and took a deep breath, hated the water just like me, posed for pictures, never drooled on me, loved me unconditionally.
The worst thing.......he got old and sick and I couldn't make him better no matter how hard I tried.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
36 degrees this morning. Charlie up at 5:30 am. He didn't make it outside for his pottying.....he has the softest ears, the most beautiful brown eyes. I have missed him already. We have gotten him a burger, let him have some ice cream, took him on the trails for a short while and loved him more than we ever thought possible. Sweet Charlie.
Monday, July 31, 2006
My first pet as a child was a copper colored Cocker Spaniel named Penny. Not a very inventive name, but she was a beautiful puppy and I loved her. At the time, my family lived in a rear house that was once a garage. It had been converted into a one bedroom home with another garage added on that my parents made into their bedroom. The house was surrounded by cement. There wasn't one plant, flower, patch of dead grass or a weed; just cement. Not the best place for a growing puppy that pottied every hour. I played with Penny and tried to clean up after her, but I was five and not interested in the potty part of a puppy, just the playing, running, having fun parts of a puppy.
Eventually Penny became a dog and the clean up had been taken over by my mother. Since my mom wasn't even a good housekeeper, dog clean up was not a favorite pastime of hers. The "word" came from my dad. Penny had to go, mommy isn't happy and Penny wants to run in the grass and have lots of space to go potty. Penny was going to live on Uncle Bill's farm. Who was Uncle Bill and since when did he become a relative? While Uncle Bill was not related, he did have a farm and my dad and I took Penny there on a Saturday that was warm and clear as only California could be in the early 50's.
Penny was out of the car in a flash and she was happy. There were other dogs there and I had a child's vision of her herding sheep for some reason......no there wasn't a bahhhh to be heard. So, Penny became a farm dog and I never had another childhood pet.
My husband and I adpoted an older shelter dog named Charlie in late November of 1998. He is a beautiful chocolate Lab, and he has been the pet love of my life. Charlie has been my companion, my friend, listened to me bitch and moan and never once complained about late breakfasts, too few walks in the forest or going to the groomer to get detailed. He was the best boy when he was in the kennel when we vacationed and faithfully went to sleep beside our bed every night, trading sides so my husband and I felt equally loved. Charlie had a neurological catastrophe that almost paralyzed him two years ago. We had two choices..... we could do surgery, but the recouperation was hard and given his unknown age (old, we were told) he had a poor outlook. We went with option two which was steroids and quality of life. Charlie has tried his best to go back to the day before his neck hurt, but it has been hard. He has slowly lost his sight, lost his hearing, can't walk a straight line, won't lay down for hours but paces and pants instead because once down he can't get up. He pottied in the house last week and has every day since. In essence he has lost his personality and his dignity.
We purchased our current property in 1989. We built a shop and an apartment to stay in when we vacationed here. Several years before we moved here permanently (1998), a golden retreiver/husky/shepherd mix dog became our official greeter. When we pulled into the driveway, there she was tail wagging and glad to see us. She lived across the road and she became Charlie's girlfriend. She was the only living creature that could entice him to leave us for a while to go on forest adventures. I could count on her being in the drive every morning after we moved here, waiting for a cookie or a pig ear, walking with us to get the paper and not going home until she was sure Charlie and I were inside. If it was 20 below, she was there, 103 degrees at 7 AM, she was there. Faithful. Her family had their own catastrophe a few months ago and they shattered and went in different directions all over the state. My husband and I were talking to the mother of the family as she was moving out, giving her our best wishes for a better future when she told us their dog was an unwanted comodity. Not a beat was missed as my husband and I both said "We'll take her."
God knew we needed that dog. Charlie will be put down tomorrow, and we will bury him in the yard where he ran and walked with us on all of those wonderful days. The neighbor dog that was expendable, but had a special place in our hearts, was named Penelope by her first family......I call her Penny.