Saturday, September 22, 2012

A New Joy

I felt like a whale. Probably looked like one too.  I was only 18 years old, married and living in Honolulu, HI where my Navy husband was stationed.  We had narrowed the baby names down to just two.  I wanted a little boy, but I woke up that morning knowing that she was a girl. I wasn't disappointed.  I had held her spirit inside me for nearly 9 months.

We were having a late dinner with our friends when the first pain hit. Back then you were to stop eating as soon you felt a contraction, but it was pork chops, mashed taters and corn and I wasn't going to miss it.

Every 5 minutes from the start, she worked her way toward the new world.  As soon as my supper was finished, I went to take a shower.  New daddy kept telling me that it wasn't 5 minutes anymore so I should hurry.  She really wanted to meet her parents face to face.

At the hospital I was taken down a dark hallway to my "room"  There was minimal light and I felt isolated. In a few minutes I clapped my hand on the service bell and told them it was time, but they said no.  A lot they knew!  I called them back and they asked me just to be calm.  They were a long way away when the urgency hit.  I couldn't reach the bell so I screamed for them to come.  Less than 2 minutes later we were in the delivery room, 90 minutes from the first contractions.

Heather and I worked together and the doctor barely got his hands washed in time to catch.  Here she is!! She's beautiful!  She has a dimple and bright blue eyes.  She rolled over in the nursery just 45 minutes after she appeared.

As I have been writing this I have been remembering all the little details of that day; too many to relate here. Precious moments as clear in my head today as they were that night 45 years ago.

A blessed and Happy Birthday to you, Heather!!  I love you.


Saturday, June 30, 2012


I don't know what to say here.  My mind is going from place to place ~ up, down, sideways, back and forth.  No place I go seems to satisfy.

In the last few months, I have been going to different doctors to find out what's going on with me medically.  Last Wednesday I received a Bi-Pap machine in addition to the oxygen I've been using for 3 years or so.  Same day in the early evening I saw the gastroenterologist and was scheduled for two procedures on the same day.  Not going to mention them, but either my bottom or my belly will be complaining.  

I've had blood work twice in one week and my primary care doctor says I have a blood disorder and need to see an oncologist this coming week if possible.  I am overwhelmed.  I never drive but maybe once a week.

Also I am borderline diabetic.  When I was told about that in January I cried, then changed how I ate.  I lost 40 lbs and have cut 90% of the sugar out of my diet.  This week the number is higher.

I'm also in constant pain and have injections into my spine on a regular basis.


So what's next?  I'm kind of scared.  I'm tired of being disabled and sick.  I need you all to pray for me.  I need a super attitude adjustment.  I'm not dealing with all of this well.  I don't like taking or writing about my illnesses.  I don't want sympathy from anyone, although a little empathy and good advice might work to help me climb out of my pity pot.
I think about you all often ~ even lurk around some of your journals.  I miss you and pray for you daily.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Forgotton Man

He's in his 60's now.  Or is it his 20's?  He left a piece of himself in a foreign land.  Most of his soul is there, too.  He may never find himself again. Do you know him?

I do.

He's my husband, my son, my friend, my nephew, my grandson.  He's an American Veteran.  He's alone in his grief and anger.  He made a decision to serve his country.  Still only 19 years old, he was sent to foreign soil to fight.  What he saw while at war cannot be described.  How many little kids with bombs in their hands?  How many of his buddies died or were maimed for life?  What was the mental cost when he came home and there were people protesting his service?  When they called him a baby killer?  When even his own family told him he was a loser for fighting that stupid war?

His country has denied him.  He struggles to keep his head above water, his psyche intact.  But then the dreams come and he's back there, stuck with no way home.  He wakes up fighting and may hurt his loved one as he flails.  Next day, the helicopters are searching for a fugitive and he runs to take cover.  He cries out to God for help. 

These men and women have been forgotten.  They are the lowest persons on the totem pole.  The military took them in, taught them skills, paid them low wages and sent them home with no help.  Sure they get VA care up to a point.  But who can they talk to about the real pain that lives inside them?  A psychiatrist whose only experience is education?  He or she has never seen or lived the terror that lives inside a man or woman with PTSD.  

In this country, EVERYTHING seems to be more important than our Veterans. It's an election year.  The men who would be "king" want our votes. They will sell their souls to get them.  They will tell us what we want to hear.  But they WON'T protect our country.  They have their own agenda and a strong military is the last thing they want in their budget of trillions of dollars.

I want peace and safety at home.  I want what our country was founded on.  Do you?  If you do, forget the millions of forwards you get from well meaning friends and relatives.  Write your senator, congressman and the president.  Ask your friends to do the same. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

It's Early but . . .

Summer is coming!  A little over a week ago, we hit record high temperatures.  At our recording station the high was over 100 degrees twice.  I never, ever, ever, thought I would live in the desert.  It still looks like spring here.  One tree in the back yard is sporting beautiful soft pink blossoms.  I never have found out the name of it.  The Palo Verde tree (green stick) is nearly covered with sunny yellow flowers.  Birds of many sorts come into the yard to see if Rob has "accidentally" spilled dog food for them.  One particular blackbird struts back and forth on the wall waiting for the spill.  The other day he landed on the patio, strolled up to the sliding door, tapped on the window and flew back to his station on the wall.  We don't have hummingbird feeders, but they come for the flowers on the trees.  When our little dog Rudy is out there, they fly right up to him.  We haven't figured this out, however it is fun to watch

I did say summer is almost here.  The biggest change for summer weather:  no cold water comes out of the tap from now until September or October.  We have a special tap for drinking water, but now it's warm or hot.  There are summer savings.  We seldom have to use the water heater during the heat.  Everything needs to be refrigerated, including us.  Thankfully our home is well insulated and the air conditioner is stellar.  Of course . . . I don't go out in the heat all that much. 

Shopping and going to appointments is best done early in the morning or late at night.  Since this is a 24-hour town, we can shop anytime we like.  Unfortunately the doctors don't accommodate the lifestyle. I was pretty shocked to find that most big chain markets and stores are open 24 hours.  My sister loves this.  If she wakes up in the middle of the night unable to go back to sleep, she can hit the stores.  I haven't been shopping that late, but I imagine you can always find an empty checkout lane. 
I thought it would take years for me to acclimate to the temperatures here.  We both expected we would truly suffer the first year.  What a surprise for us!  It was hot, hot, hot that summer.  Downtown temperatures reached 117 degrees.  You know how they say it's "dry heat"?  (Whoever "they" are) .  It actually is.  90 degrees when we were live near the beach was unbearable for me.  The air was sticky and it was difficult for me to breathe.  Dry air = good breath for me. 

So how's the weather where you are? 

Thinking of you all, Penny

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It's been so difficult for me to blog since we lost our blogging community on AOL.  I know . . . it's been nearly 3 1/2 years . . . get over it!  I loved having a community of bloggers to encourage me, comment, etc.  Some of my dear friends still blog daily.  I read them all the time and comment once in a while.  It's just not the same. 

Most of the time, I just don't know what to say.  I've been sick a lot.  I don't want to talk about it.  It's bad enough that I know my health problems without whining to the world about them.  Here's the truth:  there are a whole lot of people out there in worse shape than I am.  I think every morning when I open my eyes that it's a good morning.  How can it be less? I know that the day I don't open my eyes will be a good morning too ~ I will be home with Jesus.  It can't get any better than that.

Rob and I celebrated 10 years of marriage last September. In 5 days, we will celebrate 2 years of home ownership.  We are incredibly blessed.  I never ever thought I would be living in Nevada.  I mean, really! Who would ever want to live in the desert? I guess I would.  We love it here.  I have 2 sisters living in the desert.  One lives here and one in Arizona.  That's pretty odd for girls who were born and raised in SoCal.  Our other sister is in Florida.

California is an expensive place to live, especially near the ocean.  Rob and I lived next to the ocean for 6 years.  I can count on the fingers of one hand the times we went to the beach.  We paid a premium to live in that area.  Rents were sky high, food more expensive, gasoline higher . . . all for the chance to live near the ocean.  Don't get me wrong.  It was beautiful.  I loved all the trees and greenery.  The temperature was nearly perfect.  The humidity?  A death trap for me. I couldn't breathe.  

For less than most of the rents in SoCal, we own a home here.  Living in a gated community is wonderful.  It's like a cocoon of security.  We know that thugs can get in and rob us or kill us, but for some reason we don't have that fear.  Little things tickle me:  I never had a garage door opener or a useable garage for that point.  I love that I can operate the garage door from the corner.  We have an opener for the gate to get in here, a clubhouse which we hardly use but a clubhouse nonetheless, private streets and cable built right into the walls.  I am not fond of having to answer to a homeowner's association, but like the perk of not having a "bad" section of the community.

We are truly blessed!  Sometimes I stop in the middle of the living room and just thank God for the opportunities in my life.  I've slowed way down since the days in Mexico.   I've had some wonderful jobs throughout my life: a waitress, a factory worker, salesgirl, oral surgery assistant, bartender, switchboard operator, office worker, public relations, missionary, wife and mom.  I think mom was the best job even if I didn't perform well.  Being a wife is tough - and I have had plenty of experience there.  I never thought being a missionary was a "job".  It was the best time of my life.  It was also the longest I've done anything other than being a mom.

There's not much to do now that I am totally retired.  Days melt into each other so that I often can't remember what day of the week it is or even the date.  I read a lot.  About a year ago I bought a Kindle reader.  It's been a joy to have.  So I bought the new Kindle Fire this year.  It's nice enough but I like the older one better.  Who needs color to read a book?  

We'll just see if I can get myself back into blogging again.  I miss writing my thoughts down.  I miss my blogging friends.  I wonder if any will find my blog again after so long a time?  

God bless you all.  Believe it or not you are still in my prayers.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


Early in the morning, just after sun-up. The kids are all sleeping and I step outside on the back porch. We've been living on the pastor's ranch for about a year I guess. I look out over the fields of green beans and pick up the hose to fill the tub. In front of me are two generations of laundry cleaning. The CC Mira Mesa brought us a brand new front-loading machine a couple of months ago. Next to it stands an old wringer washer, the kind my mother told me about when I was young. I love that machine.

As the tub fills, I sort the whites out first to wash. I pour in liquid detergent and bleach and start agitating. Dirtiest of whites is slapped wet on the concrete scrub-board for extra detail. Socks are the most scrubbed both with a brush and a rolling motion up and down the board. I have to be careful not to scrape my knuckles raw. Then back into the tub they go to finish with the other whites.

The process of pulling the clothes out and through the wringer is peaceful tedium for me. I push and pull the clothing through and drop it into a deep sink full of clear clean water, then step to the side to push the wringer over to the sink. I pull and rinse the clothes before wringing them again to be dropped into a basket for hanging.

There is something so calming about standing there in my bare feet to hang the clothes on the line. There are no people noises yet, just the birds chittering in the few trees, a horse nickering under the olive tree and the few dogs run, noses down searching for the leavings of yesterday's meals. My face is once again turned to the fields as I hang. I can see the fig tree down the way and off in the distance is the pastor's greenhouse.

It is good clean work. I feel satisfied as I finish the first load of the day. The towels are already agitating in the washer. It is the moment of peace I have searched for before the children rise and workers arrive. I have no decisions to make at this moment, no boo-boos to tend, no tears to wipe.

My time. My place. God's peace.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Oh, I don't know . . .

I haven't posted anything since June sometime. I've been lurking on other journals, but have not commented much. This morning I have been reading Donna's blog. A lot of my memories flooded in as I read hers. Go figure. City, suburbs or country, those of us who grew up in the 50's seem to have a collective memory. Here are some of my memories:

I was born in a 10-bed hospital in a small suburb of Los Angeles. By the time I was born, my parents had already separated. Women who got divorced back then were the subject of much scrutiny. But I didn't know that. I loved my mom. She took phenomenal care of her four girls.

I remember that we had the first television on the block. It was and awesome thing. At about 4 years old, I thought that the people lived in there and when we turned it back on, they would just start again where we left off. The television was in a very large cabinet, with doors you would close when you turned it off. It had a round-ish screen, 2 or 3 channels, and a really fuzzy picture. I remember seeing an Indian head when the stations had nothing more for us to view. I never knew that my grandparents had given us that wonderful box.

What a tender double memory I got while reading about cereal on Donna's blog. The first and most recent memory came as she posted that Cheerios was the common name for all cereals back then. In Mexico in the 80's and 90's, I learned that for them all cereals were called Corn Flakes. You could choose your poison, but it was still corn flakes. Back when I was small, I remember having Shredded Wheat a lot. My mother would offer one or two of the barrel-shaped pieces on top of which we put sugar and milk. We also ate a lot of oatmeal. Mom would cook the oatmeal with raisins while I stood on a chair to watch the "fishes" come to the surface. With all the instant foods these days, the kids don't get to watch this particular phenomenon. A shame, really.

I climbed trees a lot. When mom couldn't find me, she'd send the girls out to look in the trees. Once, our dog pulled me out of a tree. That hurt and mom got rid of him. Behind the second house I remember living in, there was a great big walnut tree. I loved it. I could take a book and my pillow to sit in one of the crooks for hours. Sometimes I napped there. I climbed trees and rocks and trails until about 20 years ago when my body started to limit me. I would love to do it still.

My mom didn't go to work until I was in school for a year or two. I would come home from school and stop by the pharmacy fountain where she worked. She would make me a cherry phosphate sometimes. Oh! What a delicious treat. When she went to work in an office, I would come home, change my clothes in the laundry room(refrigerator there, too) and go to the neighbor's house. Since I had my own key to the little room, I thought I was independent and that Becky's mom wasn't a babysitter. I think my mom paid her five hard-earned dollars a week not to babysit.

I loved that time of my life. We were not allowed to become television addicts. We played outside, climbed trees or sat with dolls to pretend we were grown-ups, even played board and card games out on the patio. We had a card game called Presidents, played slap-jack, war and even monopoly. Becky's brother always wanted to be paid with those "bluebell 50's". It was a magical time. We were all very healthy and happy. It would be wonderful if we could bring some of that play here to this time for our children and grandchildren. Just sayin' . . .