Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Profile Graphics
As I've grown older, I've learned not to spend a lot of time making New Years resolutions.  They are too easily and quickly broken, creating a feeling of failure before the year even gets underway.  But I do like to spend some time thinking about the year ahead and the new beginning it offers.  It's good to have as many "start overs" as we can get, as many opportunities as possible to get things "right", whatever that may mean to each of us. Even my December 31 horoscope admonished me to "set a course that will make the most of the year to come."  Overall, my intention is to slow down and live more consciously, "in the moment" as they say, to take the time to appreciate the little things that surround us each day.  In our hurried culture, that isn't as easy as it sounds and those little things can be so quickly overshadowed by the demands of daily life and the travails that beset us. I was certainly never able to feel that I could comfortably or frequently stop and smell the roses while I was working, but I have been better able to do so since retirement...... and I've been both aware and appreciative of that.

So, in addition to good health, happiness and contentment, peace and prosperity, I hope 2011 will allow you to live more consciously in the way that is most meaningful to you.  I'd also like to share the poem below that was sent to me some time ago by a childhood friend.  The first time I read it, I posted it on my fridge and felt that it offered a "new beginning" every day.  And I read from it most days, not necessarily the whole thing, but parts of it to remind me what life's all about for me at this stage.  I hope you enjoy it, too.
Beginning Today

Beginning today I will no longer worry about yesterday.
It is in the past and the past will never change.
Only I can change by choosing to do so.

Beginning today I will no longer worry about tomorrow.
Tomorrow will always be there, waiting for me to make the most of it.
But I cannot make the most of tomorrow without first making the most of today.

Beginning today I will look in the mirror and I will see a person worthy of my respect and admiration.
This capable person looking back at me is someone I enjoy spending time with and someone I would like to get to know better.

Beginning today
I will cherish each moment of my life.
I value this gift bestowed upon me in this world and I will unselfishly share this gift with others.
I will use this gift to enhance the lives of others.

Beginning today
I will take a moment to step off the beaten path and to revel in the mysteries I encounter.
I will face challenges with courage and determination.
I will overcome what barriers there may be which hinder my quest for growth and self-improvement.

Beginning today I will take life one day at a time, one step at a time.
Discouragement will not be allowed to taint my positive self-image,
my desire to succeed or my capacity to love.

Beginning today I walk with renewed faith in human kindness.
Regardless of what has gone before, I believe there is hope
for a brighter and better future.

Beginning today
I will open my mind and my heart.
I will welcome new experiences. I will meet new people.
I will not expect perfection from myself nor anyone else: perfection does not exist in an imperfect world.
But I will applaud the attempt to overcome human foibles.

Beginning today I am responsible for my own happiness and I will do things that make me happy . . .
admire the beautiful wonders of nature, listen to my favorite music,
pet a kitten or a puppy, soak in a bubble bath . . .
pleasure can be found in the most simple of gestures.

Beginning today
I will learn something new; I will try something different; I will savor all the various flavors life has to offer.
I will change what I can and the rest I will let go.
I will strive to become the best me I can possibly be.
Beginning today. And every day.
-Author Penny White

Happy New Year

Thursday, December 30, 2010

If You're Reading This, You Survived Christmas!!

Christmas Lunch
And if I'm writing this, I must have, too!  Actually, Christmas was very quiet, but very nice.  My mother kept saying, "I'm just glad to be here." and so I think we both were happy to be able to celebrate in our quiet way - certainly better than last year when she was in a nursing home.  Anyway, after opening a few gifts, we had enough cooking to fill the morning. As you can see, there was enough food for us and several more. After a big lunch and clean up, the rest of the day was a blur.

Christmas and the day after felt like two Sundays in a row, especially with the possibility of snow throughout the day on the real Sunday.  You can see that we did eventually get a little and it was fun to watch, especially since we stayed warm and comfy in our PJs all day!!  It reminded me of watching it rain in Saudi, on those rare occasions when it did.
That haze is actually snow on the day after Christmas.

 It was great to hear from those who sent cards, called, emailed or commented on the ecard I sent.  At the time I sent it, I didn't realize there was the option to comment and each time someone did, I received an email announcing it.  So, it really was a nice surprise and I read them to Mama as they came in, telling her who it was from and where they lived.  We were both pleased to hear from so many people scattered far and wide.

Photo posted on Facebook of snow on our beach.

It seems that I've been constantly busy since Christmas but nothing noteworthy springs to mind.  The weather has improved steadily and is allowing me to walk on most days.....New Years day is supposed to be 72 degrees.  Can't ask for better than that!  One pleasure of walking over the holidays  has been the quietness.  On most days I walk from one yard tending noise zone - mower, blower, wacker - to another.  That subsided over the holiday and this past week has been quiet enough to hear the leaves blow, birds chirp......very peaceful.  In addition to the pleasure I get from walking, I'm pleased to finally have dropped a few pounds, five to be exact.  I'm enjoying that accomplishment NOW, before all the sweets eaten over Christmas find my hips again.

New Year Eve is pretty much a non-event for me, but I do hope you have a fun, safe one, ushering in a year filled with good health, happiness and contentment, peace and prosperity for us all.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Week and Counting.....

Well, Christmas is almost upon us.  We started our baking on Saturday and finished on Monday.  By the time we packaged and delivered everything on Monday night, we were pretty well pooped.  Along with the typical Christmas things, my mother has also had an appointment with the Gastro specialist on Monday and Cardiologist today.  Another appointment for a Barium x-ray is scheduled for Thursday morning, leaving just enough time to tidy up the house and think about Christmas dinner!!  After which, I' d like a few down days at home to recoup!!  Though it's been hectic, if my mother's digestive problem can be resolved, I think she will feel much better, eat better and gain strength.  After Christmas we are also going to see about getting her teeth and dentures straightened out so that eating will be more pleasurable, I hope. So, there are still lots of things to keep us busy.

We delivered baked goods to three neighbors, a sweet lady that works at the gate and Al, Rita's husband.  Al's Jewish so it really wasn't for Christmas, but I knew he would like it.  I hadn't seen him since his return from spending Hanukkah with his kids in Chicago.  He looked well and seemed to be doing okay, but he was using a walker, which he had  not be using the last time I saw him.  So, I hope he will be okay.  In any case, I'm glad I did it for him and he seemed to enjoy the food and the company.

My primary purpose for this post is to spread a little seasonal cheer!  In my net surfing, I ran across this send up of the typical Christmas "brag letter" - you know those you receive (and have possibly written) with a glowing account of the year just passed.  It gave me a giggle as the girl writing it is named Donna, but I hope you're not reminded of me in any other way!!  Click here: Joy to My World!

Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Holidays Are Moving Along.....

Not a lot to report.....just checking in and hoping you're enjoying the holidays in whatever way works for you.  Things are quiet here, quieter than usual due to the dental episode.  On Tuesday I went back to the periodontist and everything was looking and feeling better.  On Wedneday, the dentist installed the temporary bridge and it was amazing how much better it felt right away, to say nothing of looking better!!  Now I just have to wait three months for the bone to grow and all will be well (I hope!!).

Otherwise, we've been doing things around the house, motivated by weather too cold for being outside.  Needless to say, my walks have been temporarily curtailed except for yesterday, which was a very nice, mild day.  Today was rainy so we began our Christmas baking - Peanut Butter Balls, Cranberry Almond Balls, White Chocolate Peppermint Bark and Date Loaves.  We will finish up over the next few days with German Chocolate Bars and Raspberry Cake Bars.  Once assembled, plates will be delivered to friends and neighbors.

Thus far through the season, everything has been a pleasure.  I've been acutely aware of how relaxed the whole process has been without doing everything around a full work really is as enjoyable as I thought it would be in retirement!!  Even my mother and I seem to be getting along better and I'm not sure whether it's because I'm more relaxed all the way around or whether we're both mellowing a bit.  Whatever it is, long may it last!!  This Christmas is a vast improvement from last year, when she was in a nursing home, and we are both thankful to be able to enjoy it.  Last night we went out looking for Christmas lights and decorations, which was somewhat disappointing.  It is basically a retirement community and many people don't bother to decorate, but we did find pockets of bright decorations and the occasional over-the-top, Griswold-like light display.

One of the few social things I've done (due to a swollen jaw and bruised chin, which you can see if you look closely) was to meet Pamela for lunch.  I've enjoyed meeting her but our time is limited since she is moving back to California in January.  She's leaving because she hasn't been able to find a decent job, nor has she met friends with whom she has much in common (have you heard that before!!)....that is until we met.  I will certainly hate to see another friend go, but don't blame her at all.  At the moment she has flown to CA to find a place to live near her daughter, but will return later in the month and then take off on January 2nd.  She is driving a 22 foot rental truck, towing her car behind, all the way across country.  I admire her spunk and sense of adventure.  Best wishes to her in the New Year.

My condolences to the entire Wingrove family on the passing of Martin's Dad.  He had come home from the hospital after a serious illness and seemed to be settling in well.  As I told Ann, this probably happened just as everyone was taking a deep sigh of relief, thinking he was out of the woods.  It's always a jolt and I've learned that there is no way to prepare for a loss such as this, except to call on friends and family when it happens.  I've certainly thought of you often today and hope that all is well (and that you don't mind my mentioning it here).  You will remain in my thoughts.  The Jews have a nice saying, "May his memory be a blessing", so I hope you all find comfort in his memory.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

All I Want for Christmas......

Thanks, Bryan, for this joke.  Not just a blond joke but a commentary on our life and times!!

Well, as it turns out this year, all I want for Christmas are my (lower) front teeth!!  This may qualify for the "more than you need to know" category, but I'm having a bridge replaced and thought it would be a simple process.  It's a bridge that I've had since my 30s and which lasted until a couple of years ago when I had it replaced for the first time.  As it turned out, that was a botched job - I noticed that it seemed to feel different and when I went to the periodontist, they did x-rays.  The post should have been vertical and in the root canal; however, it was almost at a 45 degree angle, had split the tooth and was pressing against the next tooth!!  So, the bridge had to be cut out, the split tooth pulled and two implants installed ($$$$)!   Even so, it seemed pretty straightforward.  One implant went in easily, but the other required every tool of agony in his arsenal - drill bits of every size, a jack hammer type tool, a ratchet, you name it!!  Twice he hit a "squirter" and blood squirted over my face and onto him - it was beginning to look like a scene from ER, and I knew there wasn't going to be an easy aftermath.  Once it was over, I had to sit a while until the bleeding stopped, but it began again big time on my way home (and continued to a lesser degree until I went to bed)!   Following the appointment with the periodontist, I had an appointment with the dentist who was going to install a temporary bridge (for 3 months, during which I can't bite with it until the bone and tissue grow around the post).  He took one look at the bleeding and swelling and sent me home, to return the next day.  On the following day, he recommended that I wait until I was seen again by the periodontist next week, which was fine with me - I definitely did not want anyone probing around in there until things are better.  So, since Tuesday I've been walking around without my lower front teeth, but with a swollen jaw and a purple bruise  - not a pretty sight!!  The only saving grace is that my bottom teeth hardly show, so it isn't as bad as it could be - and it gives me practice in keeping my mouth shut, a virtue I need to develop anyway!! My mother also has teeth that need to be pulled and lower dentures made, and we will be dealing with that as soon as we can.  So the running joke is that "all we want for Christmas are our teeth!!"

Otherwise, things have been going pretty well.  We've both had plenty to do and have been in good humor and relaxed.  It's been good; however, today my mother was nauseous through the night and into the morning, not getting out of bed until about 2PM.  Over the last few months she has lost about 15 pounds and, since being down here, I realize it's because she has been living on saltines and milk, which is one of the few things that doesn't irritate her system.  This is a recurring problem and her doctor down here has referred her to a gastrointestinal specialist, whom we won't see until the 20th unless there is a cancellation.  She wouldn't go to an earlier appointment with a specialist made by her doctor at home, so I'm hoping it isn't a problem here.  The problem isn't going to get better unless they can determine the cause.....and she doesn't want to do an endoscopy.  So, we shall see.  Keep us in your thoughts.....

You may have noticed that I haven't raved about the weather lately!  Winter has arrived and it's cold.  This coming Tuesday the high is to be 40F!  I've bundled up and continued with my walking until this tooth business, but I've felt and looked so bad that I've only walked one of the last 4 days.  I'm hoping I'll feel like getting back to it before too much time passes.  With me, broken routines are quickly forgotten - not a good thing!

I hope your holidays are merry and bright.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Christmas Parade and Other Activities

It's been a busy time as we've taken in the Christmas Parade, which happened this past Saturday.  I was ambivalent about going as the temperature was dropping and I didn't want my mother to run the risk of getting pneumonia again.  So, when I went to wake her on Saturday morning and she wanted to stay in bed since she hadn't slept well, I was totally okay with that.  When she finally did get up, she thought we still had time to make it and we should go, so we actually left home about 10 minutes before the parade was to start.  We had some errands to run so I thought we would run into heavy traffic or parking problems and be discouraged.  Low and behold, there was little traffic and I drove to within 1/2 block of the parade route, where a handicapped parking spot was waiting for us!! The parade had just started and we watched from our usual spot.  We had a good view, but there were lots of people in front of us, so photos didn't turn out too well - I could tell what was happening, in the midst of the crowd, but someone else probably couldn't.  Anyway, it's a funky little parade and so many people "march" in it that I'm surprised there are people left to watch.  There are horses, motorcycles, vintage cars, souped up cars. "floats", tractors, every Scoot troop within 100 miles, dancing reindeer and, my favorite, the W omen's Drill Team, with drills!!  It's a riot, as are the spectators and their four legged friends.  All in all, a good way to spend a couple of hours. 

Saturday evening we went to a holiday band and choral program at Sun City.  It was the first time I'd attended anything there and it was very well done.  We decided to go to this one because it started at 7PM rather than 8PM.  It's just as close as going on island so it turned out well.  It was a professional production and I'll definitely be on the lookout for other events happening there.

The night before Elaine and I went to the tree lighting in Bluffton, strolled around the shops and had dinner at Corks.  We started early (it's dark by 5:15) and ended early, so it was a relaxing night.  We've made every effort to get into the Christmas spirit.

On Sunday, which I expected to be a quiet day after a parade and concert the day before, we went to the huge Sam's store in Savannah.  It was very busy but we did several laps of the store and came away with the items on our list.  It's been a busy time and my mother is keeping the pace.  She's also been sewing and helping around the house, and seems fit and in good spirits - as her doctor says, good shape for the shape she's in.  I'm sure she wouldn't admit it, but a portion of her ailments comes from being alone and lonely.  It would be nice if she would realize that her life would be easier if she were with me or closer to me.  I'm not holding my breath!

The last few days have been cold, but I walked this AM anyway.  Layers, gloves, a hat and a good jacket kept me toasty, and I did the entire route.  So, it convinced me that I'll be able to do it throughout the winter unless the weather turns really nasty. 

Politics has me spitting nails and last night I zipped off emails to the White House, Senator Graham (R-SC) and John Boehner (R).  It was a waste of time, judging from the recent tax cut deal,!   I'm stunned numb by it all and think we're just swirling down the tubes.  We can probably now look forward to the repeal of the health care bill.......we wouldn't want anything that might help the middle class, the poor, children, etc. .....especially if it affects the bottom line of the wealthy.  Are we screwed up or what?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas....Ready or Not!!

It's Tuesday night and I'm sitting here in a state of total exhaustion.  Since Thanksgiving we have put up the Christmas tree and decorated the house, over a period of about three days (to say nothing of all of the usual things and keeping my mother occupied and happy).  The Christmas tree is such a job that I like doing it early and getting as much pleasure from it as possible.  I also wanted to get it done before Mama's medical appointments started....on Monday she saw the eye specialist and today she saw her internist.  The factor that I'm not accustomed to and that always throws me for a surprise is that one appointment generates one or two more.  So, after seeing the doctor today, she has to have blood work done tomorrow AM and another appointment with him next week.  In less than a week, I feel totally overwhelmed.  Sharon and I have planned to have lunch tomorrow.  Now we will have to get blood work done beforehand and I'm wondering if all will transpire to let me get in my walk.  The three things I'm trying to maintain for myself are (1) my walking routine, (2) getting together with friends, and (3) keeping up my web site........but already they just seem like the first things to let go in order to keep my head above water.

It is now Thursday and things look brighter, which tells me I shouldn't write on nights when I'm tired!!  Sharon and I had a nice lunch on Wednesday and I was able to take my walk when I got home.  Winter has arrived and it was the first day that I had to sort myself out for cooler weather.  The first time out was over-kill and after a block I came back and put on something lighter.   Today's high should be only 56 so it offers another chance to figure out the correct gear.

Today is an "at home" day, which is important to me.  My mother has been busy taking up her clothes and I'm hoping to get lots of little jobs done and tidy up around the house.  Friday afternoon I'm meeting Elaine in downtown Bluffton for the tree lighting and dinner, and then on Saturday is the infamous Christmas parade.  My mother has enjoyed it in the past, and it is funky, but the temperature will probably decide whether or not we go.  There isn't a lot planned after that so by Sunday I should be seeing some daylight.

Hope the season is going well for you.  Let me know........