Archive for December, 2013

So What Do I Know? A Short Paragraph on Regret

Posted in Uncategorized on December 31, 2013 by drycreekherbs

Well now, that feels better. I am going to write about regret and fear at length, but not now. I am such a priss. I say, oh so sagely, that I never want to have fear, regret, guilt, and something else I can’t remember presently. Now that I am aging and walking in the shadow of death, I might be changing my tune. Well, maybe I will say that I do regret not studying harder…I just didn’t study and who knows what all I missed. For sure I missed being asked in to the National Honor Society at Tech because of my poor undergraduate grades. Who knew I was going to want to be a scholar later in life? So I am letting that go. No one has asked me recently about my grades. They might just surmise I am not too bright or on the positive end they might assume I am brilliant. I am not over-thinking this one. So sooner or later I am going to write about my status on regret…just not now.

The week before Christmas I lost earrings….two sets-one lost from each pair. One pair expensive the other cheap and I loved both pairs. Of course, I lost them in either HEB or Wal-Mart so the chance for recovery is zilch. Nevertheless, I went back and stood in line at customer service to hear the bad news. The good news is that I can get the expensive pair replaced in San Miguel in February and possibly the cheap pair if I can head up to Waco. Dangling, long earrings get caught in sweaters.

I also spent the week before Christmas whipping up Cranberry-Orange Marmalade in frenzy…I hope recipients like it….it is ok as far as I’m concerned but Max and Jay like it…no feedback from women so I don’t know to continue or not.

Ok, so I even had an oyster cracker frenzy and Kahlua cake frenzy. These things come and go with me.

My college roommate, Patt, called me night before last. Actually, her husband, Jake called. Patt has Alzheimer’s. Patt knows she has it and talks about it. She told me that everyone dies of something. It appears that Jake is very good with her. Jake and Patt have decided to come to SAT every February as long as she is able…Her Mother resides at the Air Force Village. Patt said that both her brother and sister died in February so she thinks it is a good idea to visit her Mom then. I think they are going to try to schedule their visit while I am in SAT…Mom has a doctor’s appointment February 7th and I leave for Mexico City on February 8th from SAT….so it should work out. Back to Patt. When we talk on the phone, she has to put Jake on a lot for information and dates, etc. Alzheimer’s is about the meanest of all the cruel diseases and conditions.

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I am doing a quick day trip to SAT tomorrow. I noticed Mom realllllly was winded Christmas and Billy said that this morning she was very difficult to rouse from sleep. She woke up, pulled her legs off the bed, then fell back asleep. I continue to pray for her gentle release. Post script: I went to SAT and Mom was great! She told me how much she enjoyed my visit and good conversation and that she could hear me. I think it is best when I go by myself and alone with her.

I just finished reading Tell the Wolves I’m Home and listening to i. I really like the former. The latter was good but ended so abruptly. I wanted a few more things tidied up. Len and I went to see Saving Mr. Banks—I liked it once I started catching on….I never read Mary Poppins nor did I see the movie. Actually, it was pretty darned good. The part about her alcoholic father hit some raw nerves for me. I was surprised to cry at the end of it—lots of symbolism. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty wasn’t all that spectacular. I do wonder if Steller actually skate boards? I am looking that up on Google. Post Script: Yes, he did the skate board scenes.

December 23rd was my 2-year anniversary since last chemo. It seems a million years ago. Two people today rang the bell in the chemo center…they are done for now and hopefully forever. On the other hand, Kristi’s Mom lost her battle with cancer two nights ago. We did our chemo treatment together.

Tomorrow is January 1, 2014…I am thinking that in addition to Black-eyed Peas, a New Years Dinner tradition could include canned tuna fish. Hopefully Belinda is coming by tomorrow for a visit…other than that we have NOTHING planned.

I have been continually beating myself up thinking I am on the slippery slope with dementia. I have absolutely no short-term memory but out of the blue I can remember riding home from the hospital after my birth. Helllllo, joking. So as an example: I heard someone say something about someone named Roger. And here’s the way it went in my head. Roger, Roger, whom do I know named Roger? Then I thought, “Yes, in college I was madly in love with a man named Roger S and in 7th grade I had a crush on Roger Jentzen who had a very big butt.” I mean it. I couldn’t believe I could remember Roger Jentzen…let alone his big butt. He also had beautiful skin and a crew cut. I also was wild about a guy in 8th grade who wore desert boots and smelled like Clearasil. No aftershave, but rather Clearasil. Not the way most of us want to be remembered….but maybe better than having a big butt.

I called U-Haul today to find out how much it will cost to rent a cargo van so I can transport my dollhouse to Miss Hattie’s Bordello Museum in San Angelo. Yikes. Although it is only $19.95 a day, it is $0.60 a mile! San Angelo is of U-Haul to San Angelo. Two hundred six miles x 2 = 412 x .60 = $247.00, I think. Hmmm. I think I will call the curator and see if he is still willing to come get it! I am afraid he will say no.

Diego pulled my white wool ‘string cheese’ rug apart today. I want to kill him. I think I can put it back together—owning a red heeler requires constant vigilance. If this isn’t enough, his favorite treats, which he consumes many in one day resulting in doggie flatulence.IMG_9205.jpg It is more than I can stand. I am thinking of the children’s book, Walter, The Farting Dog.IMG_9275.JPG

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Christmas: More Like All in the Family or National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Posted in Uncategorized on December 26, 2013 by drycreekherbs

Brother Bill, David, and Mom came up Christmas Day. It was good for about 4 minutes, then I made Billy reallllllly mad. For 45 minutes it was grim. Real grim. He stopped being mad and all was well. I went to bed after they left and slept 14 hours.

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The Holidays with the Santa Krals

Posted in Uncategorized on December 19, 2013 by drycreekherbs

Most of the time Len and I have a fairly low-key to non-existent holiday social life. I always want to do more but the reality is we usually just don’t have too many places to go. But this year has been different. Well, maybe we haven’t been so many places as there has been a lot going on. There has been Lolly’s reception, birthday club, happy hours and Mah Jongg.

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AND, I’m usually sad and cranky during the holidays but not this year. OK, not as much as usual. Yvonne Gilbert and I hosted the December birthday girls….Patsy C and Carrol Jean were the birthday queens. Last year Lolly was with us…OK, I think the girls had a good time. Nina was hilarious summarizing some of the darker aspects of our aging…including the contents of a disaster kit. I’d carry one but I’d need a backpack to hold everything! I love this picture of Lolly…she was going to her high school reunion and I think it was last year or the year before. I THINK Nina and I helped her buy that top. IMG_9214.jpg

I baled out of volunteering Tuesday…and now I feel guilty, of course. I wanted to play Mah Jongg (Why? I guess I like getting whipped! I am on another losing streak.).

Right after Christmas I MUST do repairs on the dollhouse and make plans to transport it to Miss Hattie’s. The thought of calling all over to find a roomy vehicle isn’t interesting to me. I think I will start with U-Haul because they will definitely have something even if it is expensive.

Now I am in SAT—I will do Mom’s shopping and Christmas shopping too. Currently the plan is for the SAT team to come to our house…I don’t know for certain if that means Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. I’m thinking it will be David’s decision. I have to get around that.

Len and I talked it over and discovered we can’t really afford to get a condo at the Broadway…at least not a two-three bedroom. I don’t know that I could cope in a one bedroom….here is what I want to do…look at the condos a block east on New Braunfels. They are older and not so luxurious…but who knows, I haven’t ever been inside nor do I know if any units are available. Well, I just looked, and there are a few available but they are even more expensive and they are much older.

I received a Christmas letter from Tish acknowledging receipt of the holy cards. She was good natured about doling them out to the El Campo Catholics….I know this is the best place for my pretty prayer cards. I loved collecting them and I love letting them go to her flock. AND I loved hearing from her and getting an update on her family. We had great times in graduate school. It makes me sad to lose track of friends that played such an important part of my life.

Diego was skunked again and it is getting really old. This time we gave him his bath outside….it was freezing and we had stripped down so we wouldn’t smell of skunk…it was bad for all three of us. Turns out the skunk had sprayed our bedroom window! Len washed it but it still requires more strong cleaning. Diego went to the doggie spa the next day…shampoo and set and pedicure. He is handsome again.

Today Belinda and I had lunch out at Neiman-Marcus’ restaurant….good checking in on our households, families, books, etc. Then I went to Soft Surroundings then Barnes and Noble. I am not too interesting.

A Touching Subject

Posted in Uncategorized on December 18, 2013 by drycreekherbs

For the past 5-6 years precious Lolly has suffered degrees of memory loss. During our travels from 2003-2009 her condition worsened to the point where she could no longer travel. I was sort of a maniac about not openly discussing it with anyone but Nina…soon enough it was apparent to all. The rest is just plain heartbreak. Dear Tommy cared for her as did others—particularly Patsy H and Nina B…and I am sure others but these two in particular. Tommy, Patsy, and Nina would bring Lolly to Wednesday Birthday lunch and also the monthly Birthday Club Soirees. During this time she was able to participate haltingly…she always asked me the same questions, “How’s your Mom?” or “How’s Len?” or “When are we going on another trip?”…a few minutes later she would start the questions again. Certain habitual mannerisms became obvious to us but not to her—but she was always loved, protected, and cherished, for that matter. Most of the time she was very social and mostly it was a predictable happy routine. We watched over her, ordered her meals, etc. This is not to point out how good we were just that it was something that needed to happen and we all love(d) her so much it was a joy to do just to be with her. Time was against her and she continued to digress and finally becoming very agitated at home. Brad and Kelly helped Lolly relocate to a beautiful facility in Georgetown. She has lived there for about eight months. Her loving family and the staff requested no visitors until she became acclimated. Some days are better than others for Lolly and sometimes visits distress her.

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Yesterday, Erin, Lolly’s youngest granddaughter produced a dessert reception in honor of Lolly. The following is a story from the Killeen Daily Herald written by Madison Lorenzo, photos by Jodi Perry.

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Community members, including friends and relatives of the Buckley family, gathered at the Clifton Park Elementary School library Sunday afternoon for Lollipops for Lolly, a dessert reception to benefit victims of Alzheimer’s, a disease that has afflicted Ellison High School senior Erin Buckley’s grandmother, Lolly Buckley.

Erin Buckley spent months preparing for the event, as a project for her Leadership Academy course in school. “I wanted to do something personal to me,” Erin Buckley said. As for the turnout, “I was shocked,” she said.

Her family attended the reception in support of her work, with more than 100 people coming through the event, said her mom, Susan Buckley. “It was standing room only. We’re extremely proud of Erin,” she said.

Erin Buckley gave a presentation on the state of Alzheimer’s research.

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Hosting the reception at Clifton Park Elementary was a natural choice. Lolly Buckley taught at the school for more than 20 years, said Principal Catherine Snyder….All of the $5,643 worth of donations collected at the reception will be sent to the Alzheimer’s Association, which seeks a cure to the disease, while enhancing the lives of those who have it.”

The Birthday Club made and served the desserts. EHS students designed the T-shirts. Erin’s great-grandmother, Annie Roe was there too. It was a a beautiful tribute to Lolly. I feel like I would like to say more but there is nothing to say. Alzheimer’s is the cruelest and the meanest. Lolly was independent, smart, focused, good hearted, and a dear friend. She remains dear.
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hank·er·ing noun: hankering a strong desire to have or do something. hank·er·ing ˈhaNGkəriNG/ noun noun: hankering a strong desire to have or do something.

Posted in Uncategorized on December 11, 2013 by drycreekherbs

For days I have been hankerin’ to write in my journal. I just long to write in it sometimes—maybe because I am reacting to something in a big way and I want to capture the moment since I might forget it in an instant. Is it correct to say that my life events seem very evanescent? It is just so darned hard to savor the moment and live it at the same time. So I just have to write it down.

By taking so long to write an entry I lose a lot of the affect and certainly the context. So it goes. I had in my mind to call Tommy to see if I might get to go with him sometime to see Lolly….when out of the blue, he calls me…and invites me to go with him. I wonder if he was put up to call….I don’t care….I was just thrilled. I met him at Brookshire’s. During the drive to Georgetown he more or less talked about how it all felt and how visits worked. Sobering news. As it turns out neither of us were able to speak with Lolly although we did get to see her through a window. The staff member said it wasn’t the best time for her to have visitors. I can’t say specifically what that means but I respect it and told Tommy I was just happy to see her. She looks well and that’s all I will say. The facility is lovely and I believe she gets great care. Tommy did say it was ok with him if I dropped in to see her and to take heed from the staff on whether or not I get to talk to her. He also gave me some tips on ways to avoid agitating her. Afterwards, we went to lunch at Denny’s and had a good visit.

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Len and I went wilding in Austin this last week. We had a great time doing nothing but driving from one place to another. We were consumed for a while with the yuletide spirit. Then we rushed home to be with our hound. We love this dog.

This past week I let Lou, my aesthetician, apply a Jessner Peel on my face—For years, literally, she has been promoting this application but I have always balked at it because my skin is so super sensitive…I finally broke down and let her do it. First, it didn’t hurt at all like I imagined it could. Secondly, I had no side effects, and finally I never have had the big peeling as often mentioned…and frankly, as it is supposed to do…major exfoliation. I called her after four days and she wants to put more on in a month at no charge. She said she did a very conservative application because she didn’t know how my skin would react. I like that approach. I will say my face is as soft as baby skin.

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Patty C, my book club chum and former Library Board colleague, followed through with her plan. As a single woman, she decided a few months ago that she wanted/needed to move closer to her only family, her sister, in Colorado. So, she put her house on the market, had a couple of estate sales, and after the sale of her house—off she went. This is so big. I told her over and over how much courage I thought this took. She is looking to buy a house in a small college town about 45 minutes from her sister. She has zero connections to this community; it is simply where she is choosing to live. This takes guts. She has been a very active community member and will be missed by many…especially her book club mates. The last day she was in her house, she invited folks to come by and get a ‘till-we-meet-again-hug.’ This is so thought provoking for me.

I am helping a number of other women give a bridal shower for Lila. Jackie is the event organizer and she is perfect, perfect, perfect for the job. We all have assignments that were well thought-out. Eartha and I are doing the invitations. I am learning a lot. Katie has been helpful and has me hooked up with Paperdoodles where she has worked for years. Tomorrow afternoon there is a meeting to go over the details. Eager for more specifics so we can get everything ordered with a comfortable timeline.

I am just about ready to submit my Global Entry application for expedited immigration and customs re-entry. It sure is a time consuming endeavor but as much as I am traveling out of the country it is worth it to me. I THINK I have finally cleared up my mailing address problem. I just thought I lived in Salado! But now I think I really do. It is all tied to 911 assignments! This has taken hours and hours to figure out and I am almost afraid to say I have it figured out…it is a bureaucratic web with the same mechanizations as the Obama Health Care Plan. I had to determine which countries I have visited in the past 5 years (15), my work history for the past 5 years (tricky with the consulting work), and other such information….ok, then you pay $100.00, drive to Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, or Houston for a one-on-one interview. Well, I am almost afraid to send it off….I did have that issue with customs when I inadvertently brought in an orange from Mexico and then the time I listed seed packets on my customs claim from UK. I sure hope those incidents don’t keep me from getting clearance.

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Gads, I haven’t written about Thanksgiving and Baby David’s birthday. Billy drove David’s new monster truck up here toting Grandma and Baby David…who is now 22 or 23 years old and a 2nd Lt in the US Army! Mom tells me on the sly that it is not comfortable to ride in—Mom is getting very funny about her sidebar remarks…and some not so on the sly. She told Billy the other day (when he came in the house on one of a dozen daily checks) that he had a ‘drinker’s nose!’ He doesn’t drink. God only knows what she says about me…in fact Billy and I like to tell each other the funny things she says about the other! Ok, on to

Thanksgiving. Here is why it is good. They only stay just a short while because they are all dying to get home to their own worlds…and same here I guess. The meal is all purchased except for some odd thing I think up that no one wants to eat. Mom usually says something like, “What is this?” There were a couple of good photos except that they are blurry.

My hope is that Bill and David bring Mom up for Christmas dinner too. I think it might be soup….Mom likes getting out and she will love or hate my modern Christmas tree….either way she will make herself abundantly clear.

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Last night out Salado Book Club had our Christmas soiree here. The ladies don’t like to come here in the winter because it is dark and they mutter a lot about the trees and not being able to see. Len had an electrician come out today to put in a huge light out by the cattle guard…that probably won’t be sufficient for them either ☺. We may have to start meeting in the mornings so there will be no danger of hitting trees, falling asleep at the wheel, or falling in a ditch. I have to face it, we are not spring chickens. It was a good party/discussion. I am attaching photos of our books for this coming year. Patty called from Colorado and her new life. I hate change.

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In addition to book club soiree, I am having our December Killeen birthday party here next week…..I decided in the throws of all of this that it was time to start purging the house again. So the first thing to go was the Christmas tree–I gave it to Susan’s library at Salado High School—this meant I needed something to put up for my parties. I chose 3 saplings from my fence line and Max cut them for me…then made stands for them. Two are on the porch and the big one, which is in my opinion absolutely perfect, is in the house. It would be really awesome in a spiffy condo.** Mom will think it is odd and like eating ‘new age green beans.’ Those are green beans not cooked to the mushy stage.

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After getting rid of the tree, I then called Pam’s first born, Erik to come for the Catrinas. After Pam died, Erik had a skeleton head tattooed on his torso. I smile at this. It made sense to him and that’s what matters. Anyway, I felt like it was time to part with my two Catrinas, so I called him to come get them…he brought Katie which made it an event….photo shows Erik and one of the Catrinas.

I have to digress….I just learned this cartoonist, Jose Guadalupe Posada created the Catrina—she appeared sometime between 1910 and 1913 when he died, in an engraving that mocked those who pretended to be a higher class… even if it meant starving themselves to be scary thin…she was the most famous of his illustrations. A little trivia.   

I want to do something odd. I want to stir stuff up. Perhaps a bongo recital, featuring me at the bongos in a long prom-like dress? I just love the idea of sending out printed invitations to a disparate audience for a black tie event. No one would get it, as there is nothing really to get except that I am borderline crazy as a coot. I mean it, how would you hold your face if you went to a bongo recital?

Back to the house purging. I have taken boxes of books to the library and bags of clothes to the hospice thrift shop too. I have tossed or burned all kinds of documents including certificates, articles, and awards. Looking at them now, they seem foolish attempts to seem to be something other than who I am….yikes, wait a minute….kinda like Posada’s Catrina. Anyway, I IMG_9066.JPG IMG_9063.JPG IMG_9064.JPG IMG_9065.JPG want some photos to remind me of how silly it all can be in RETROSPECT. Maybe it is like all accouterments….housing, furnishings, clothing, jewelry, make up, cars, friends, etc. Trappings of who we want to be or to have others think we are. Holy cow, I might be having a deep thought, albeit fleeting. I better let it go before I get scared. I am smiling now. When Lolly would listen to someone talk (often me), she would say, “Gosh, that’s deep.” That meant she had no idea what I was talking about.

In the throws of all this manic purging, I also have been whipping up jars of Cranberry Orange Marmalade. Nothing wrong with me that a little OCD medicine wouldn’t fix!

I guess Len is entering a transition too. On his own initiative, he called the VA loan folks to see if we would qualify for a 2nd VA house loan…I THINK that is what he said. I am often wrong about such things. Anyway, we do qualify and we have a super credit rating so Len is keen on going to SAT to check out the condos. Hmmm, I wonder what this all means? I wonder if I am being put out to pasture?

Before I think too much about that, I want to record that today I had lunch in San Antonio with Fred and Ron from San Miguel….It was a lunch of smiles.