Thursday, January 26, 2017


Holiday greetings of colorful cards, letters, family photos received from friends were most enjoyable this past season.    Two friends weren't heard from which has given me concern.  Such missing responses become an increasing occurrence, especially in my older years.    One card, still with my unread letter inside, was  returned, stamped "undeliverable", also, "no forwarding address".   A follow-up phone call elicited a " no longer in service" response -- but we had talked just last summer. I found  no obituary on the internet (yes, I resort to checking there sometimes).

My former neighbor/friend  had become a widow in recent years, spoke of  gradually losing her vision, so maybe she's had to relocate from her home, and/or  is no longer able to communicate.  Two of three sons tragically died due to different causes years ago, so maybe the remaining son who lives elsewhere hasn't thought to let her friends know about her.  Strange a letter wouldn't have had a forwarding address if she's still living, even if in a different city.  I'm stymied in checking further.

The other friend hadn't been able to use, first,  her computer, then write, due to increasing hand tremors she said   Later she told me she was going to have to begin dialysis.   Also, earlier memory issues she described  to me were becoming more serious.    Then I didn't hear any more for the past year.  But I've continued to write periodically, as she previously had asked me to do, with letters she could put in her purse, carry along to read while in waiting rooms or receiving treatment, or whatever.  I finally phoned her, left a recorded message a week or so ago.  I received no response,

I was considering what else I could do to obtain an up date on her condition,-- maybe I could prepare a postal card to mail to the house -- write several short statements with check-off boxes, self-address the card so a family caregiver could just mark a box, then drop in the mail.  She often marveled we were so lucky to have each other still in our lives.

She's the only living person who's known me all my life -- is one year older than me -- we knew of each other's family beyond the immediate relatives.  Her parents visited me in California when returning from a Japan trip to visit a daughter there at that time.  I remembered meeting some of her other relatives, an aunt, grandmother, other grandparents who had a little candy store in their garage.   So much history though we haven't seen each other in over fifty years.  

Then as I wrote this one recent evening, my phone rang.  Her younger sister, that my friend resisted letting play with us when we were little, called me after receiving word from the youngest nurse sister that my dear friend's time was short -- hours, days.  She'd stopped eating.

I recall a few years ago being asked to see a patient for swallowing -- to establish her eating/drinking refusal was not due to an actual swallowing deficit.  She presented with appropriate alertness, attention, orientation, cognitive skills.  She then successfully accepted and safely swallowed water trials, agreed to a few bites of pureed consistency fruit similarly tolerated.   She pleasantly refused any more.  My having established her swallow function was intact, she then  nicely refused any further oral trials of any liquid or food, or to name anything else she would the necessary subsequent few sessions I was obliged to see her.

My encouragement for her to eat or drink was respectful, not badgering, threatening, but offered her an opportunity for intake if she desired some for any reason as she could also request from staff and/or her family any time.  Alternative feeding (tubes) was not an option.   She had other professional contacts to assess her condition..  She had chosen to not eat or drink as her way of resolving her personal terminal medical prognosis.   Usually after about three days, if not sooner, reality mental functions deteriorate with the absence of water intake and further body decline.   Staff informed me this lady actually lived about two weeks, longer than her medical status might have been thought to be the case.  

I'm thinking of all this as I reflect on my friend with hospice -- in her home on the east coast far away from my home in California.  Family said she had long ago ceased having dialysis treatments, her memory has wandered about though sometimes she has responded to prompts from the past.  I cried.

I wrote once again through the tears of memories -- preschool recollections playing with our paper dolls -- each of us with quite different ideas.    I had few paper dolls, but they were whole people, though with limited changes of clothes. (I began to make more clothes and paint them by school age).  I was troubled by her dolls out of a catalog -- because she cut off all their heads so whenever she wanted a change of clothes, she simply held another head on the clothed body.   What bothered me was a body could be turned one way and a head facing another in what was clearly an impossible body position.  Also, when she put them down to get another doll the heads would easily fall off and it was disconcerting to me for my dolls to be interacting with headless dolls, or heads detached from bodies into strange positions. Years later we chuckled over these childhood complications in our friendship.  

Another issue was why wouldn't she allow her little sister to play with us occasionally?  In our elder years when I queried her about that she said it was because she wanted all my attention for herself.

We were also part of a tap dancing quartet, each girl with a different color hair -- my red, her brunette, a blond and one with black hair -- tapping our hearts out to the "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" in a real theatre stage recital.   When we were Jr. High School age, my family had moved to an isolated rural situation for a few years and I often felt lonely.   Her family had moved to our state's capitol -- the big city -- when I was next able to visit her.

Tap dancing was still very important to us, though we both, years earlier, had to give up our dance classes.  I had been so impressed when she told me she had seen Bill "Bojangles" Robinson in person -- perform his famous sand dance.  In our elder years when we reminisced and I recounted how much I had admired she had actually seen him tap, she admitted she didn't remember actually seeing him, causing us to laugh about some of our youthful behavior when she added, "I sometimes lied then".

She was then living in the projects which I thought was wonderful with so many people around, but in our elder years she said she had been embarrassed at having to live there. Her father had a military injury and was temporarily between jobs.  I thought she was pretty lucky because my father had years earlier abandoned our family.

She surprised me, too, because when we went to the movies, she had secretly arranged, without her mother knowing, for her boyfriend to join us there.  He actually sat beside her and she allowed him to put his arm around her shoulders and even kiss her.

She told me of getting mad at me when I visited her there because she had an asthma attack one night when we had been fast asleep in our shared bed.  She started coughing, paramedics had to be called to take her to the hospital and she wanted me to go with her, but I only vaguely was aware of what was happening and never really fully woke up.  Of course, they never would have let me go but that didn't matter.  

Years would pass and we wouldn't see one another.  Our contact fluctuated as we became caught up in our own lives, but our mothers were friends and corresponded so we kept track of each other.  We usually exchanged holiday greetings, wrote a short note, or some years longer letters.   I was a single young college graduate when next I visited, meeting her finance' as the two of them showed me the apartment they had rented to move into once they were wed following his college graduation.  "Yes", she told me, "I know I said I swore I would never like red-headed boys because your older brother teased me, but here I am marrying one."

Then, years later I lived in the same city as her, I was married and she had several sons.  When I visited I recall seeing those little boys busy in the sand box loading and dumping with their Tonka Trucks.   Who could have imagined after she moved to the East Coast and they became young men that they would start playing with the huge real trucks as they established a landscaping business, prospering to this day.

Each of our long marriages ended in different years, when our husbands with some similar medical issues could no longer overcome the effects of their gradual health decline.  We could commiserate with each other during some of the challenging times, provide comfort when needed, then share observations about the world of widowhood we encountered.

I never got to tell her last summer that I had my genealogy researched by another blogger who really did a remarkable job and presented the information really well.  Wish  my friend could see the genealogy book prepared for me, plus even some special sections for other family members.  My friend would really be surprised to learn as I was -- some of my ancestors actually were among those who founded that fair city where she and her family have lived all these years.   I know she would have been motivated to check into even more information there with any local historical groups with which to surprise me.

We haven't even had an opportunity to hash over this past presidential election, or to discuss our shared dedication to women's rights in this current environment.  So many more memories.....

..........Just as I was editing this to schedule for future posting, the call came -- she passed gently into that good night, surrounded by her loving family.

I celebrate her life -- this woman who spent many years providing innovative comforting interventions augmented by her religious orientation for hospital hospice patients in her city....

I celebrate her life -- this loving, nurturing wife, mother, grandmother....

I celebrate her life -- this true.lifelong friend.....

I cry tears thinking of all we'll no longer be able to share.

Her death symbolizes so much more.  

I miss her.


Monday, January 23, 2017



I am so relieved to learn from one of our government leader's primary spokespersons that I cannot believe my own eyes when I see real time TV camera shots, and undoctored photos showing the number of  Presidential Inauguration attendees as considerably less than those participating in the Women's March occupying the same grounds the next day.
Additionally, our esteemed leader has told us there were more attendees for his inauguration ceremonies than any other inauguration.    With his track record for honesty, I knew I must not be seeing what I thought I was seeing when I viewed some photos side-by-side,  again showing fewer people present for his inauguration when compared with photos of people attending the previous President's inauguration ceremony.  

In both instances we can be eternally grateful the current administration is continuing to provide us alternative facts.  We've been shown, even told, that our own perceptions are erroneously filled mistakenly with the actual facts.

Who in their right mind would want to pollute their mental faculties with the actual facts?

Thank you to the Fourth Estate -- our Press -- for giving us the truth.   

Our Press continues to be under assault by this Administration's leader.   

Our Press needs our support as never before and we need them.

History is replete with descriptions of how authoritarian leaders       .....some striving to become dictators, achieve their goal.

One step is to systematically discredit, demean, destroy the citizenry's trust in the Press.  

Our Press continues to be under assault by this Administration's leader.  

Friday, January 20, 2017


Reflecting on my life I think I lived quite a remarkable length of time – traveled many miles.   I hadn’t realized my dying would be noteworthy, but am even more surprised overhearing just how much I’m missed.    I have to tell you, I don’t mind the eternal rest I’m experiencing.    Life hasn’t been easy as I reflect on my past.

I recall my pride at being chosen in my youthful prime over many others by a very discerning older couple to take up residence in their suburban ranch style home.   I’d only resided there a little over a year when they were replaced by a much younger newly married couple.   We became comfortable companions so after only a couple years or so, I was chosen to join them in an unexpected odyssey.   

This travel required my being removed from the only real home I’d known.   Initially, I was relegated with a number of others from our home to a small dark windowless area where we were all pressed up against one another for a several months period of uncertainty as to our future.  

Just as I was giving up hope of seeing daylight again, the others and I were all suddenly loaded onto a large vehicle of some sort for a several hour ride to another location.  We were removed and I was again in an environment where I could function as I was intended.  

This was an exciting time as I became aware a new little being – cooing, gurgling, making crying sounds, loud and noisy at times – had taken up permanent residence in our household.    

But not quite a year later I was again subjected to having my interior being emptied, then I was loaded into a huge vehicle, only this time the ride I took was weeks long-g-g.  Other than my first Midwest Great Lakes residence, the southwestern state where I ended up this time was probably the most ideal for me once my interior was properly cleaned and refreshed.   

My memories remind me of  the special pleasure several years later when I once again heard the ooing, ah-h-h-ing, grunting, babbling and more noisy sounds indicating another little one was joining our home.  Meanwhile, I had enjoyed the first little being’s hands occasionally pressed against me, steadying for walking about, or prying fingers trying to figure out how to access my interior, gradually become more independent.   Then there was the birthday party with young neighbor friends and that fancy decorated chocolate lion cake made from scratch.

There was lots of activity and I really felt I was an important part of life there.     I faced a west window so regularly witnessed the fading day’s light, shades of sunset reds sweeping across the sky before emerging sparkling stars appeared.  

I recall one time of enormous vibrating cacophony, seeing shells clinging to tree trunks, the day after the living noisy cicada departed.  Their single isolated sound had been steady, never-ending, created as pictured here, but multiplied by thousands -- deafening.

I also saw power-stopping lightning, heard sharp ear-splitting thunder and witnessed horrendous rainy downpours.    One anxiety-filled occasion occurred when a hundred year flood was triggered by a downpour which desert sandy grounds could not absorb fast enough, allowing water to rise to a level seeping under doors into the house interior.  Fortunately, the water was prevented from creeping into my area, mechanism and motor. 

There was one occasion I was glad to be protected indoors when in the distance I could see an awesome dark cloud filling the sky -- rolling closer and closer, becoming blacker and blacker, finally encompassing the whole house as the cloud passed overhead.  Outdoors, a few dirty grey moisture drops splattered over everything. Inside, a thin. light, covering-everything residue was the gift blown in by this dust storm. 

More pleasant times allowed me to feel my whole being to be of use and value.  This occurred when various baking tins were placed on the top of my exterior, just below a cabinet – a perfect warm location, out of drafts, for sour dough, whole wheat and other yeasty rolls/bread dough to rise before their aroma permeated the air in baking.   

Those years lasted only half-a-decade.   Another move for this family was in the offing.  I didn’t know I almost was left behind on that move, so when I was unloaded from what has ultimately proved to be my last large vehicle ride, to be placed outside, in a garage, I was totally unprepared this less than ideal location would become permanently mine.
Over forty years have passed.   I long ago came to the realization that my value to the family was to be exactly where I was -- in the garage.  Summers were hot – sometimes over a hundred degrees, but at least I was protected from the sun’s direct rays.   Winters only occasionally would be below freezing temperatures, but I was protected from those cold effects, too. 
Once I reconciled myself to make the most of my situation, I began to feel quite proud during those years.  On two different occasions when the units inside the home, where I previously always had been, ceased working, I came to the rescue.    In those emergencies I was able to take into my interior all their contents – frozen foods did not thaw, milk did not sour, food did not spoil.   Both of those inside units had been purchased new, had worn out, one replacing the other, while I – much older – who had been moved, drug about, coast to coast -- kept doing my job, never once even requiring service or repair.   

Finally, early in 2017, I just became exhausted.   I’ve been working 24/7 well over half a century -- with no repairs or even any service provided.   I’ve just – finally – stopped working.   Maybe my mechanism could be given first aid of some sort, tuned up, repaired in some way – maybe not.   But, I just want to be allowed to permanently rest now.  My exterior appearance, sometimes neglected due to other priorities -- but not because of the families lack of caring -- decidedly reflects the wear of years.  I know I'll be taken from here, but I'm ready.   Wherever I’m taken, I hope that some part of me, if not all, can be recycled. 

RIP Hotpoint Refrigerator 1962-2017                                     

Thursday, January 12, 2017


Enjoyed some special time with my son this past holiday season.   He surprised me taking a flight here, since I chose to stay put in sunny Southern California.   Resolution of some of those pesky problems that occur with my home ownership benefited from his attention -- such as addressing drippy faucets, assisting with security screen door selections, back patio refurbishing, performing digital guru functions breathing new life into my old computers.  Delightful phone/text/Face Time conversations, videos, from the rest of our small family highlighted holiday time.

Mostly, while my son was here, we indulged ourselves with lots of laughs, good conversation and food fare at a variety of area dinner restaurants as I didn't do any cooking.  Lunch a couple days involved the requisite visit to favored In 'N Out Burger whenever my children visit.  My son kindly sent gloating snapshots to his envious east coast sister who had specifically instructed she didn't want him sending her any such photos.  Timing of follow-up on a medical issue I've been tracking, coincidentally allowed him to be present and meet with my doctor, too.   Especially when you’re a widow of my age, I think it's good when a parent's children and doctor can meet one another, especially under ordinary circumstances.  

Prior to my son's visit I had been disheartened as had thought my fairly new clothes dryer seemed suddenly to not function as I tried to restart it several times when I discovered the towels were still damp.   Had never been unable to re-start it before.   Also a new dishwasher purchased earlier in the year had covered dishes with a black film that could only be removed with some abrasive scrubbing but serviceman couldn't come until after the holidays.   Additionally, one commode wasn't refilling after flushing due to tank mechanism malfunction.    I certainly was glad to not be hostessing a family gathering, I must confess.  

The dryer became a non-issue, I discovered to my chagrin, when my son suggested maybe I simply had not held-in the start button long enough -- exactly!  I'd never made that faux pas before.

Oh, did I mention Christmas my ancient, in digital world terms, laptop and net book had both crashed, independent of each other, though previously scheduled posts did continue to publish.

Following my son's departure, my dishwasher presented the first service man, middle-aged, a perplexing problem.  He left with one of my Corning Ware dishes smeared with a resistant-to-cleaning black film after reporting, "In my forty years I've never seen this problem before."   I'd received no feedback by the end of the week, so I phoned my longtime independent appliance store. No answers were forthcoming but we made arrangements for another service person to investigate the problem the first of the next week.

I decided I no longer needed to preserve all the blackened dishes I'd saved from the two earlier dishwasher actions, since service people had that one dish to examine. Over the next several days, 'cause I work best in spurts and don't welcome standing at a sink for long periods of time, I soaked several sink-filled batches of dishes, then scrubbed them clean.  This week in preparation for the new serviceman,  I accumulated a few new soiled dishes, intentionally dirtied a few more, to put a minimum number as guinea pigs into the dishwasher cause if they didn't get cleaned properly I wanted as few as possible to scrub.

The new much younger serviceman arrived with my still soiled Corning Ware 1 1/2 quart cooking dish noting, "In all my years working I've never seen this problem before."  Deja vu!   We discussed various issues, then he simply started the dishwasher.   He recommended I run sink water until it's hot before turning on my dishwasher.  Given our drought concerns I'll be capturing this early run of cold water to pour over a fern outside my front door that I have to water by hand anyway.

Periodically, as the dishwasher proceeded through its cycles the serviceman checked the water temperature as he had done earlier with the sink water faucet.  Temps were all fine.  He left after an hour with the dishwasher still completing it's long wash cycle, then sanitizing.   Later, job completed, I held my breath when I opened the door.  Voila!  Perfecto! The dishes, glasses and utensils sparkling clean as they should be.  So...I still don't know the source of the black film.  No, it wasn't mold.  I just hope it never returns.

The sometimes circus-like, and more worrisome serious aspects associated with the preparations for the incoming new U.S. government administration has been  hard to ignore.  During this time avoiding the continuing flamboyant, braggadocia -- a true example of the ugly American --  has been almost impossible.   I continue to be repelled by a leader who flaunts reasonable expectations he follow ethical and moral practices demonstrating his clear lack of conflicts of interest with his businesses, refuses to release his income taxes with a meaningless excuse and now presumes to say the American people don't care -- basically, he's saying, "Trust me" -- but he's a snake-oil salesman I am likely to least trust.   Also,  his mendacity, his proclivity toward pettiness, grudge-holding and retaliation against anyone disagreeing or critiquing him -- just to name a few troublesome character traits are repugnant. The thought this person represents me to the rest of the world is embarrassing to say the least.

All that said, I will continue to support our democratic republic and oppose all that is threatening.  I look forward to the future.

Monday, January 09, 2017


A message worth listening to.......if we want the United States and the world to be great.  

Meryl Streep accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award at 2017 Golden Globes


                                                      (Click on link above)


Sunday, January 01, 2017



Computer I use for blogging crashed Christmas Day and this one is not as amenable to Blogger on the small device's screen.  My Word recent items not accessible, so will see how my future posts go, or when computer issue resolved.

Manhattan Transfer and New York Voices (live 2011) combine with a jazz classic, Birdland.