Monday, July 31, 2017

Monday Musings

When I was born, my great grandparents must have been in their early 70s.  Oscar and Ada lived in the rolling hills of El Cajon, east of San Diego.  Ada's sister, Lou Goodale Bigelow, lived in a cottage that was attached to her sister's house by a breezeway.  The house was on a few acres of orange trees on a hill behind the house.  I remember the dry clumpy dirt plowed between the rows, and how hard it was to traverse this landscape with my small child feet.  I mostly stayed out of the orchard, and spent my time on the tree swing beneath the enormous walnut tree just outside the front of the house.  The old tree dwarfed the house and was a prolific producer.  My sisters and I would gather up walnuts by the bag full.  No doubt these nuts were not ready to eat, but Great Grandmother (which we always called her, as she was very proper) always had walnuts on hand for us to crack, pick, and munch.  Such a simple and memorable treat for a child.

Oscar was an exceptionally tall and very broad man, even in his later years.  He had a large squarish head with wide cheekbones and a prominent nose.  I remember his hands, so large they were, that I doubt I've ever met a living soul with any hands that could rival his.  These hands served him well on the farm, and in the auto shop he would later run with his brother Clyde.  I never met Clyde, he was gone before my time, but he if shared these physical traits with Great Grandfather, they must have been a formidable pair.  Clyde must have been a Herculean man, for as a young man with a new family, he homesteaded a farm for many years.  Put it together from scratch, starting with a dirt dugout.

Ada, on the other had, was a petite woman with delicate features and beautiful tapered fingers.  As a child I knew her as a white haired, stooped  old lady, whose skin was always soft and cool, even on a blistering summer day.  Always impeccably dressed, she kept a tidy house that was adorned with Hummel figurines and lace curtains.  Fine china on the sideboard never left their nesting place, as far as I could tell.  Her house was not one for running in, though I don't ever remember her scolding any of the children.  We just knew, whether by parental instruction or pure instinct, that we had to be on our best behavior in her house.  The one place we could let our hair down a bit was the back porch.  It was a large screened in affair, with a concrete floor painted red, white wicker furniture, and the cat bed.  This is where kitty lived, not in the main house.  She was a long-haired variety, and elusive even on the porch, which ran the length of the house.  It, too, was tidy, but less formal and it allowed us to sprawl on the furniture without risking disapproval.  On hot summer days, the concrete floor was cool and inviting, and always spotless.  It was a refreshing spot to lie down, and hope the cat would amble over for a pat.

Aunty Lou, as we called her, lived what seemed to be a fairly solitary life across the breezeway.  Retired from photography and painting,  having sold her studio to her long time friend Jeanette, she lived 30 feet from her family in a cottage that was locked away in time.  We didn't visit often, and I never quite knew what to say to her.  She was ancient, and eccentric, and her dwelling was filled with heavy Victorian furniture, including a very uncomfortable horse hair couch.  Dark curtains kept the light out, and it seemed an altogether otherworldly place to my young self.  She died in her sleep when I was young, perhaps 8 years old.  Died in that substantial Victorian four poster bed with its dark wood and fancy scroll work. I think this was my first experience of death, and I didn't quite understand how she could be 'gone.' 

As an adult I have become knowledgeable about all of their lives when they were young.  I have quite a collection of photographs of these ancestors throughout their existence.  As newlyweds, young parents, middle aged with grown children and grandchildren.  Their lives before I knew them, full of vitality and struggle, travels and tedium, all that living encompasses.  I am thinking a lot of them now, now that my parents are experiencing their own great grandchildren.  Those kids only know my folks as old folks.  And who knows for how long they will know them? 

My parents were never overly enamored of spending time with their grandchildren, but they seem to take a keener interest in the latest generation.  I wonder what my grand children will remember of them?  It's impossible to motivate young children to take an interest in older folks whom they don't visit that often.  There is little connection, and little interest in what these somewhat strange grown ups are all about.  Better to go lie on the cool concrete floor and play with the cat while the adults get on with their endless conversation.

Friday, July 21, 2017

TGIF (A Diabetic Rant)

I had an eye appointment today to check out the blood vessels in my left eye, which my regular eye doc thought looked damaged and so sent me to a specialist.

If one more doctor tells me to 1.) lower my sugars 2.) lose some weight and 3.) exercise, I swear I going to rip his bloody throat out.  If I could cast a spell and give these assholes a week of Type I Diabetes, I would.

I. Swear. To. Gawd.

I could've schooled him, but what's the point.  He doesn't know that I've been struggling with insulin doses for a quarter of a century (including a pump for 3 years): the highs, the lows, the shakes, the sweats, the comas, the fear of fucking dying.  He doesn't know I had gastro surgery 10 years ago and lost 100 lbs. over 2 years.  That I had to go through almost of year of preparation and counseling in order to get the surgery. And yes, I've gained 40 of it back.  Why?  Hell if I know.  My stomach is still the 2 oz size it was when I lost the weight.  He sure as shit doesn't know that my husband and I have been working out at a gym for more than nine months and paid a trainer a tidy sum of money work our butts off.

So he glibly says this shit to me as he's exiting.  I roll my eyes.  Yeah, yeah.  You know, you seemed pretty decent during the exam but now you're just a goddamn moron.

I see Dr. Moron is 6 mos.  I think I will explain to him how his off the cuff comments set me off.  He's not my diabetes doc, he's a eye specialist.  He can keep his opinions on my health habits to himself, or at least ask me what my health habits are.

Oh, and did you know that STRESS plays a huge part in high blood sugars?  Indeed, when the body is stressed the liver sends more glucose to the blood stream so that the body can do that fight or flight thing.  More glucose in my blood is not what I need.  At all.

The End.

Have a lovely weekend.

Friday, July 14, 2017

TGIF (My Colorado Adventure)

I am one pooped grandma.

I had a great time, but what with the altitude (5,003 ft.) and daily kid care, I feel depleted.  Since returning home I've been enjoying sleep, lounging, snacking, more sleep, and watching Le Tour de France.

I also discovered at altitude that I need to drink copious amounts of water.  I was swollen from the heat, and my shoes that are normally a tad large for me fit snugly.

I think the most fun day of the trip was the afternoon on the lake with friends and family.  My first experience kayaking and I loved it.  A good arm workout for sure.  Paddling to the other end of the lake into the reeds revealed turtles and dragonflies of many different colors.  And lots and lots of water weeds that were so think and prickly that one would not want to go swimming there.

The customary summer thunder storms brought us in off the water to shelter from the strikes.  A good break time for wine and lunch.

It was the first time my son in law was able to relax and do nothing since his heroic effort in moving his family from California.  Both he and my daughter worked non-stop to get the new house put together, and it looks great.
The other big treat was spending time with old friends.  We had not seen each other since the kids got married 7 years ago.  We go back a long way.  Back to when our daughters were babies.

We picked up right where we left off.  Seamless.  When we departed, we beamed at one another.  Marveling at the years.  Marveling at each other.

I look forward to going back with my husband.
 In the last couple of days, Eden and I finally spent some good time with each other.  He had been, shall we say, difficult up until then.  No doubt the moving put stress on him and he was acting out with everyone, not just me.

Enter mom: she had a heart to heart with him and his attitude changed instantly.  He said he loved me.  He wanted to do science experiments with me.  And board games.  And so we did.  It was great to have the boy back.
 On the last day we braved a hike in the heat.  It was brutal in the sun, but once we hit the tree cover it was delightful.  Of course that's when the  boy needed to use the toilet, so off we went to home.  No toilets out there.

Turns out we were all pretty pooped (no pun intended) and so it was all fine.
I grabbed a Lyft ride to the Denver airport.  So incredibly convenient.  I love that service. 

I didn't want my daughter to have to make the 3 hour round trip.  I'll be using Lyft on future trips, which I hope Steve and I can do with some regularity.

Colorado is a beautiful state.  So much to do there, out in nature especially.  Such a different landscape from California.  And so high up.  The sun really beats down on you at 5,000 ft.

So, welcome home, me.  So happy to be back with my husband and my doggies.  Sleeping in my own bed. 

All in all, I'm glad I flew out there with my daughter and her kids.  It helped her transition, and it helped me as well to be able to see where they are living.  It's going to make my transition easier.  This is uncharted territory.  For 29 years my babe has been within spittin' distance.

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.  The fears are paper tigers.  You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process, is its own reward.
 -- Amelia Earheart
The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.
Read more at:

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward. Amelia Earhart
Read more at:
The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward. Amelia Earhart
Read more at:

Yellow Cottage, Part 2

I have a dear friend who I met in my Creative Writing class my freshman year in college.  I sent the poem to her for her comments and edits ...