Yes, I did drink it. No, I do not regret it.
My resolutions are:
1. Try to be good to myself
2. Be patient with myself
3. Don't overextend my commitments
4. Seek more opportunites to express my feelings in words.
|Escaping the Jaws of Life
This New Year's edition of life brought to you by Iron Horse Vineyards. What better way to bring in the New year then with a little celebration?
Yes, I did drink it. No, I do not regret it.
My resolutions are:
1. Try to be good to myself
2. Be patient with myself
3. Don't overextend my commitments
4. Seek more opportunites to express my feelings in words.
Life gives you Lemons, make it meringue pie!
How do I leave this year alone? There were so many different obstacles for not only Chris, but both of us.
When the pandemic hit, we buckled down. We were still in touch with our self-imposed bubble as it dragged out. There were a few friends who stopped in, and I continued the process of getting in touch with our single friends and neighbors. Much older than us, yet so very concerned, I learned a long time ago that as we age, our lives do get smaller and smaller. Adult children are raising children and experiencing their careers either in changes, or longevity.
It seemed that once the pandemic was declared neutral, life was opening. 2022 just brought us further into Chris's health crisis. First spine surgery, then 10 months of Chemo, remission declared this Spring. It was fantastic news! Then he went in for a Bone Marrow Transplant, which was a success. It took more stamina this year, but I had to remove myself from my community participation to ensure he moved forward to good health. He took his rehabilitation like a champ.
Here it is December - 18 months after his first diagnosis. He is now participating in household routines, and even driving to the store for errands. Yes, this year went by relatively fast, my next question is how to assimilate into my old self. I just can't now (or perhaps I like to call myself a victim and use it as an excuse). I managed several doctor's appointments this year, to deal with my own issues, but I am thankful that I have not had the catastrophic illnesses that I have witnessed within my distant family, and then right here in our home.
I am grateful for the advice and service that the local Cancer Center AND UC Davis Health have delivered for Chris. I believe that hesitating any treatment or casting doubt on the process would have prolonged this life event. Of course, it helps with laughter and being just plain happy - no matter what - which Chris does very well.
The one thing that I do believe, is that getting myself into a happier mindset got me through the last 4 years. I often did that, allowing nothing to distract me from "my happy" mode. So before the New Year comes, it is my personal promise to myself, that I can make lemon pie - mainly since my lemon tree is now producing more this year. I hope the holidays give us all renewed positivity, and that we all can surpass the darkness of the past. Happy Holidays, and I look forward to writing more in the new year.
Another "September date" is here. Married on 9/11/1971. 52 years ago. He may be gone, but will never be forgotten. This is at my sister's wedding. Lake Tahoe, President's Day weekend, February, 1979. 16 years since you left my side. 16 years of missing you. Forever in my heart.
Nothing prepares you when your loved one goes through a battle that you have no control of. Chris, my partner, husband, and loving character of a man, has shown to me the courage that Larry chose not to fight, he knew the outcome, and did not want to extend the inevitable. I support body autonomy...your body your choice. I wasn't sure how Chris was going to get through the early diagnosis June 2022. But he did manage through - with a lot of pain, tolerance, and my terrible lack of empathy and impatience.
Note: I said to myself when the first words came out - Cancer? My internal mind was battling the thought of going through this again. But no single Cancer diagnosis is the same for all. As I watched Chris go through the spinal surgery, the rehabilitation, the physical therapy and then the 10 months of chemotherapy, I was amazed at his strong courage and quite frankly, "I'm not going to allow this to take me down" attitude.
It helps when someone is there to help you. I was. In March, the diagnosis was "you are in remission, now for the next step -- Bone Marrow Transplant" (BMT).
So in May, "we prepared" for the BMT. This process is not for sissies! He did it, he went through the steps..and we proceed with great caution. Here's to beating Multiple Myeloma. This video is a short example is how he maintained his sense of balance fighting this disease.
I'm re-entering the world of journaling, spinning what is on my mind. As I fought (and thought) my way through the last two years, a tumultuous one for sure, I can accept the fact that both of my feet are firmly on the ground keeping me balanced. A pandemic slowed all of us down. It removed my ability (and many of my friends) to be social, with the unique intimacy that we all deserve. As we move out of the political turmoil, successful immunizations, and the process of staying safe, I accept the fact that this was my own undoing, no one else's.
We choose to stay safe. We chose those to be in our bubble. The distrust of those wandering the stores without masking, and coughing brought my own awareness of trying to be safe a bit unsettling. Judgment followed those who did not protect me. But I digress. My downfall was (and always be the political unrest in this country). I did not feel safe. I am a participant and choose those who think like me to be in my company. Over the last 35 years, I have fine-tuned what I believe a government should be like. Perhaps it was my upbringing as an Army Brat. My father, as a career soldier was the basis of my beliefs. Being a child of a miliitary man, patriotism was loyalty of country, but during the Viet Name war, I was conflicted. It was unpatriotic to revolt, but then I protected myself from my desire to say or participate as I watched the draft of young men just older than me going to the war and not coming home.
It wasn't much later in my own career (a civil servant, through and through) that my activism ignited. Women were speaking out about their sub-level of employment. I was molded by a business school and became a "secretary". As a secretary, we were taught our skills of typing, preparing text, editing, and little creative license from our male bosses who maintained their positions. When I joined the union (because I was sexually harassed, and the company did nothing to mitigate), I became the femanazi--as the despicable radio talk show hosts would label women who speak out.
I pushed and pulled through my career, trying to obtain that glass ceiling, only finding it barely inches from my fingers, but then the only way out was to change jobs with the skills I learned and obtained a better one after 15 years. That worked for about 6 years. I was in management and had a staff. But then the budget cuts came. At the age of 51, I was cut from a great job...offered a pay cut of 20%, but decided to resign.
So here is the real story. Girl meets Boy in college. Girl and Boy lived together for 38 years. Boy dies. Girl tries to re-invent herself at the age of 56. Girl meets another Boy and they are now together 14 years. Boy is fun. He love jokes, sometimes naughty ones. Pandemic comes and secludes them. They manage. Boy gets diagnosed with terminal illness. So the fun begins.
Just a girl, living her life, hoping to find purpose (and definitely has, many times over). Riding the edges of care-giving with hopes of keeping her Boy for another 6 years.
Girl just reached 72 years old. Girl is tired, and can't sleep. Girl needs a full-on rampage on how awesome she is. And so it is. Here she is with her Dolly, taken in 1952 on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic ocean on a military transport to France.
2023 resolution: To journal more, and perhaps use that creative outlet of writing stories about people, who I imagine were quite special in someone else's life.
On Father's Day Eve, 2022, I'm missing my family more than ever before. Age does that to you...but I feel I need to post this essay I wrote back in 2014 about my dad. This is to honor him, one more time!
One mid-summer day, in 1967 in his old red, Chevy pickup truck we are seeking respite with humor. Here we were, two teenage girls and their father, driving down Highway 1 and then onto Route 128, driving the beautiful curvy roads of Mendocino County. Here we are, rattling in the old pickup, bumping against each other, our vibrant hair of cinnamon and ginger locks thundering around our faces weaving into the cab. Dad, wearing a plaid, cotton, short-sleeved shirt, with his white crew neck T-shirt underneath, grinning from ear-to-ear … and ... singing the Purple People Eater song.
Our Dad had pulled off the most rebellious moment a parent could muster. He had hijacked his daughters that late-summer day. He knew he was breaking the family rules by not telling my mother his plans. He lit his Camel cigarette, and took a big drag, blowing the smoke out the open window. My younger sister was sitting in the middle, while I claimed shotgun. We would shift to the left or to the right, pushing against each other in the momentum of each turn. No seat belts (they weren’t required at the time) were in this truck, just gripping the seat below our butts, to keep ourselves in place.
At 11:00 p.m. the previous night, my Dad thought to himself, “I have the best family in the world. I have so much structure in this life, which I have to let go. The control of a family plan, an agenda. Just for a day, I want to do something different.”
He hatched his plan that night in that beautiful house in Mendocino. “I will wake up my daughters and take them to Calistoga,” he thought to himself. “I will create something so memorable, that they will never forget.”
On that wonderful morning, in 1967, I was just 16, my father creeped into my room, and then into my sister’s. He quietly woke us up … and whispered, “put on something comfortable, pack your bathing suit and a towel, where going to Calistoga.” We were sleepy-eyed, but could tell that there was mischief in the air. We quietly moved around our house, making sure that Mom didn’t wake up. He was always the early riser, and she was the night owl. We were out of the house by 7:00 a.m.
Once we were in the truck, my dad was singing songs to his delight, trying to get us to join his own euphoria. My arm was hanging out the rolled-down window, elbow curved, with my younger sister sitting in the middle. I could feel the sweat in my un-shaved armpit. We wandered through Philo then into Boonville. We made our way east on the curves of Highway 128 over the hilly crest from Boonville to Cloverdale. The drive was wonderful. I can remember leaving the fog-soaked coastline on Highway 1, that old red Chevy truck, moving us away from the coolness, into the sunshine and heat baked interior of the California wine country. The air was still crisp in Anderson Valley, but by the time we got over the mountain to Cloverdale, we could feel the interior valley heat from the Sonoma Valley.
The road dipped and rounded through small rolling hills, finally dropping us into the Northern part of the Napa Valley. My dad pulled up in front of the Calistoga public pool, now the boutique Indian Springs Hotel/Spa. We were ready for our day of hooky.
We enjoyed our day of release. We watched the geyser spout its hot water 50 feet in the air many times that day. We jumped into the public pool, the wetness feeling good from the parched sunlight of the Valley. The smell of Sulphur permeated our nostrils. We could feel its realness. It’s wetness. It’s glorious rejuvenating luxury. We could feel the healing in our pores. Most of all, we could feel the vibration of a moment of spontaneity.
Then we went home.
When we got home and saw Mom’s face – the tightness of her lips pursed together – we knew there would be hell to pay. She was not happy. She had been left out. My Dad smiled at her and then we scurried off to our rooms, depleted from such a wonderful adventure with our dad. Pubescent children, on the edge of adulthood, sometimes know when it is time to leave the room and let the adults work it out, so my sister and I escaped to our bedrooms. Their 38-year marriage was a model that I would use in my own life. Ups, downs, trials, and tribulations, but we always knew our parents loved each other all the way to the “until death do us part” vow.
My Dad had a plan, and it worked. We all played hooky and he selfishly did it with us. He wanted to highjack his daughters to have an adventure of total spontaneity. At age 46, living a safe life of happiness, and perhaps now a bit of mid-life boredom, he very likely felt confined and without purpose. This was my father, a man with some serious issues – from a broken family, raised by a single mother, and life in juvenile hall.
Him surviving the odds of his upbringing, only makes him a hero in my eyes. I didn’t know his whole story then, and didn’t know it until he died in 1981 when Mom shared the story of his youth with us. She told it with compassion, that from a life of eternal love for him. We rarely saw them angry at each other, but when we did…we saw a relationship of enduring strength within each other.
As teenagers, we rarely see instances of our parent’s personal turmoil and journey. Most parents shield us, allowing us to live in our little “safe harbor” of a family in happiness. Growing up, we are oblivious of their own journey. The resistance of letting us be independent in our decisions were real. Perhaps because they knew from their heart of hearts, they knew that we would make the right choices. My parents did this well. They were a well- matched couple.
This is one of those memories that will never go away, that “Dad” date in Calistoga. A memory that I will always remember, happily, fondly, and with a definite presentation – “you just have to live in the moment.” That’s why I try to remind myself of those words. Now, I understand it. Now, and often, I write those words, “live in the moment, because you never know when your past will catch up with you.” The challenge is to remember only that … just this moment.
I will always love Calistoga……….
It's amazing how this pandemic has impacted us all. With the two years of separation from loved ones, life goes on. It does. My last posting was in October 2021. The world has been in arena before, in 1918. When COVID-19 popped up in 2019, we were all still dealing with another political catastrophe hell-bent on doing in our Democracy. So many separated in their ideaology, but yet impacted the same. To remove myself from this disturbing chaos, I have found some relief with mediative practice and just allowed life to happen. Along with that comes death of family, pets, and life practice. My brother, Paul E. Godsey passed away on Sept 7, fighting liver cancer for nearly 8 years. He is my first sibling to leave this universe. My only sibling left is in Arizona, estranged, and staying away from the obvious...not to get COVID and spread it to her husband. I understand.
I post these pictures to replace the anguish with the appreciation of what they mean to me. The Cypress tree is a reminder of where my neice and I spread her father's ashes two weeks ago, as he requested - near Mt. Tamalpais, Marin County, CA. The other images are also reminding me that with death, comes renewal. My old cat Sneakers, after 18 1/2 years went over the rainbow bridge, and I contemplated a warm sunny day, that a newer energy had to be in existence, and I took the big bite and now have the most high energy young cat, who we now call Moose. He fits the name and will come for snacks when called. I still haven't been able to break him from taking that bite after giving me kisses.
I have spent considerable time and money in upgrading my backyard decking, and decided that replacing the wooden rungs with sleek cabling will open up the view of nature to the back of my house- the results are perfect. Doing this provided a job for a handyman who lives locally. Me paying him helps the local economy.
We are in another 3rd drought year, but then this year is odd. February was dry, March was cold, April (Spring) helped, and after many of us planted our Spring gardens,100 degree weather came and burned them out. I replanted, modified my watering schedule and now the results look - maybe OKAY.
Today, June 5, it has rained...May did bring some rain to the Sierra Mountains, along with snow and then more hot days. Rainy, and an opportunity to write. It feels good. Death feels bad, but appreciation and moving forward towards life helps relieve that depression. We are getting there. I feel humanity is getting better along with vaccinations, but then so many of my friends locally have been infected since Easter even though they have been boosted. I can commiserate, but yet, I remain cautious. It may take another year or so, but we will get out of this rut? So, why not dream a little, and share a thought of what makes you feel better. A walk in nature? A phone call (or email) to a friend? It doesn't take much. Just make the decision to do one positive thing.
After typing this up, a very old friend contacted me. We flew up in Brownies to Girl Scouts together in France, where we met. Her father was in the Army and stationed there the same time my father was. Our families lived in the same housing complex reserved for military families. We became fast friends there and have continued writing over the last 60 years. Her timing is impeccable. Another person to reflect and appreciate. Those moments pop up unexpectedly, don't ignore them, pounce on them, like my cat, Moose.
My last post was a year ago. I AM HUMAN. The global pandemic has brought this world to it's knees. We all have been impacted in some form or another. WE ARE HUMAN.
One would think that after 18 months of isolation, wearing face masks, and enduring so many skeptics about science, might have enticed me to write more...but alas, I AM HUMAN.
There isn't any memory that I can place during my 70 years here on earth that of seeing that our world is in such a mess. But then I think about Germany in 1939. During the isolation, I have researched an found more geneaology documents...especially both sides of my grandparents. They were never wealthy, but hard working folks from the mid-west. They went through the great pandemic of 1917-1918. Even their market went up and down. They also went through the great depression. Theywitnessed isolation, illness, and all of that without any technology (or TV) to distract them. They, too, had political years of quandry, they had just finished a World War I. But they never witnessed an attempted insurrection by their neighbors and family members.
During those 70 years, I have seen John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy all assassinated. Being a baby boomer, I witnessed the Viet Nam war (President Johnson), Iraq 1 (President George H.W. Bush) , 9/11, Afganistan and Iraq War 2 (George W. Bush). Those seem trivial, but they weren't. The sad thing is that my children and now their children have known nothing but the US being in war. I AM HUMAN.
Today, Presidents get elected by religious fools and ideaological idiots who are being scammed by snake-oil artists, and large corporations, and then their minds are turned to jelly in the belief that only God will save us from the virus. Thinking that religion alone can heal all problems is a naive way and keeping yourself uninformed and a prime target of ideologists who will numb your brain. The disinformation spread about vaccines and masks reveals that there is a lot of damage to those people in following a cult, the #CultOfTrump. That alone has cost the lives of so many loved ones. Even if it's unintended, people believing that science doesn't matter need to go back to school. I AM HUMAN
So many widows and widowers have had their lives disrupted. Once one realizes the surprise of losing the safety of family incomes, large medical bills, and trying to exist in this new world alone takes a lot of courage. I AM HUMAN.
My anxiety of isolation (yes, with my loving husband Chris) is real, and I still step out of my house with caution. Not seeing my children and grand-daughters - before vaccinations and even after, have taken a toll on me. Zoom meetings may have helped social gatherings and even public agencies and community service groups to continue, but the social interaction is way more important. We have survived that isolation, and I feel "we" are finally feeling freer of our caution with the ramped up vaccinations, and social interactions inside and out. I AM HUMAN.
In November of 2020, Joe Biden eeked out the re-election of Donald Drump. (Yes, disrespect intended on that name of #HeWhoShouldBeUnnamed). Social media sites whipped up the disinformation campaigns without responsibility, similar to what happened when Hillary Clinton ran for President in 2016. Social media still is on the auction block regarding the investigations of our National Security and the outside influence and selected targets from Russia and perhaps China. January 6, 2021 brought an insurrection attempt of over-throwing our government. We all watched that in real-time as the Republican party tried to hack away by calling the November 2020 election illegal. We know that was not true. Social media is not a main communication piece, but humans, out of caution are using it, albeit for their own benefits. I AM HUMAN.
I admit, I'm a political junkie regarding my country. I am an activist and understand that we need all of us to stand up to the disturbing actions of survivalists, conspiracies, and just plan scam artists hunting down the easily swayed. Having a father like mine, a true patriot and career service human, I find my mind of anger is much like what he used to complain about (1966-1974 "damn hippies" and "communists). He seemed to change his point of view around 1975. I guess you can say that he (much like me) very likely changed his views on the human capacity of just living. He died at age 60, way too young to appreciate his children and grandchildren brought forward. Yes, I AM HUMAN.
So, being human, and trying to keep my own mental balance, this pandemic has given me an opportunity to review why most of all of us are changing our minds and changing our lives. When a loved one dies, you automatically go into the steps of why, how, what, and where your journey takes you. Rethinking our principles in life, and realizing that as earth beings, we are only here on this earth a nano-second, so perhaps a reflection of what a person has paused in their intention of how they live this new life, is entirely their own responsibility, so long "we" are not impacted. I AM HUMAN.
I end this rant about death and dying. I can name at least 10 people who died this year, including my only brother (age 75). Death and dying is all part of being human. To complete this, I know of a few close friends and political friends, who have experienced birth of new humans, something that should not be forgotten. Out with the old and in with the new, including I AM HUMAN.
This collar was worn to commemorate the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a hero on the Supreme Court. RIP Notorious RBG!
Some people might be concerned about my FB posts. But believe me, I am doing other things during my days. Replanting pots, feeding the birds, trimming vines, and making sure all my drip irrigation stations work. I procrastinate these when my face is red and sweaty outside. So I make it inside, rest and find my way to the computer. Our weather has been difficult to spend any time outside. Today we have "sort of blue" skies. Right now it is 97 degrees on my back deck (which faces directly south). In the last 6 weeks the air has been horrible...but finally is clearing.
They are predicting that our weather will be changing by Friday...I sure hope so! I have things to do outside. The birds are glad I finally filled their feeders..but it's too hot to land...and at least the birdbath is full of freshwater. Doves tend to use it as their hot tub around 4:30...so they will be back in the yard around that time.
As for my posts...sometimes I feel like a reporter. I find things that are just astounding me on the current state of our country and must comment. In my lifetime I have never seen such acrimony among people. Considering there is a deadly virus (mostly for us OLD folks), no social contact unless it is through a zoom meeting, and an uptick of more infections, I believe that I have set my attitude/mental state really good. Humor. Everyone needs it. So.... hubby and I push each other's buttons with stupid sounds, song, listening to weird music, watching most comedy late night shows, and accommodating our routines.
It seems that I feel like it's Groundhog Day most of the time. When I go to fill out my "vitamin pills" - a seven-day night/day pill holder...I say to myself on Mondays..."didn't I just fill this?".
We will get through this. We will balance out, it's inevitable. Will we all learn something from this? 1. We can't control anything. 2. Whatever the situation is, your reaction to it pushes action in the opposite direction.
So I sometimes reflect on my note on the bulletin board on the side of my computer screen. Quality Questions Create Quality Life:
The importance of Choice
1. Will this steal my energy or enhance it?
2. Will this choice hold me in my past or move me towards an inspiring future?
3. Will I grow from this?
4. Is this an act of love...or sabotage.
Remember, we are in charge of our destiny, what we do with is entirely in our hands.
With Love... Lori
Here I am, in the month of August - six months into the global COVID-19 crisis. Yes, quarantined. Yes, various types of face masks, depending on my mood. Yes, hunkered down in the hottest month of the year with major power-outages, because California (and all of the Western States) are energy deficient. Over 172,000 people have died in the United States from the pandemic.
In the last 3 months, there has a been a shift of direction by many of us humans here on earth. Comparing our plight to 1918-19 pandemic, we "boomers" learned about it in school, some of our parents did, but almost all of our grandparents, lived through it. My grandmother, Bessie, would always talk about it. She lost her first husband to the pandemic with 3 children under the age of 4...the youngest, my Uncle Kenny was only two months old. That was 1918.
Imagine a young widow, no income at all, on the brink of poverty. The worry, of course was how would she make it through, not only the grieving, but the care and feeding of her children. They lived in Lodi at the time, and her father-in-law allowed her to run a boarding house to help with shelter and food. She survived it. She made it through the first year of widowhood, while raising three children. She managed her family, while running a boarding house. She managed a lot from her life, including growing up on an Iowa farm, to relocating with her parents to Eugene, Oregon. She was exceedingly resilient, and damn good at canasta (my Dad was her favorite victim).
So here I am, as most of you are, wondering how will this end? I have been focusing my attention on our current political angst. The picture is nasty. Women are getting elected despite the misogynistic and sexist venom thrown at them. I am trying to stem that with supporting any woman who runs for office. Mentoring and encouragement is what they need. Indeed, we need to make sure that this country WILL be equal for my grand-daughters and yours.
TODAY: August 18, 2020, is the 100 Years anniversary of the 19th Amendment. The passage of that amendment was the Federal action that my grandmother had already enjoyed as a resident of Oregon. They voted for State women's suffrage in 1912, whereas California had voted it in 1911. I still remember my mother AND my grandmother telling me the importance of voting. Never in my life did I ever think that I wouldn't participate in that right.
Last night, the Democratic National Committee opened their "virtual" convention in a somber, but very effective theme...voting this year is a matter of keeping our Democracy or losing it. As I watched so many women speak as leaders with the finishing speech from past-First Lady Michelle Obama, speaking truth-to-power, I knew that the next 2 1/2 months of this Presidential campaign is going to become nastier and dirtier to the point that WOMEN, who have the power to throw the current White House occupant out of the Presidential office, might not vote at all...bringing all of the 2016 efforts of that campaign with the same results. Electing a narcissistic, sociopath into an office that he is "in over his head" and incapable of doing will be a travesty.
I leave you with this. Grandma survived the pandemic. Grandma saw World War I, widowhood, a great depression, the election of F.D. Roosevelt, World War II, death of a second husband (my grandfather), a Korean War, AND Haight-Ashbury. Grandma was strong, resilient, and sufficient. She voted every time there was an election. So...be like my Grandma. Don't get discouraged by the mad-cow disease of fake-reports, scandals, and people ready to make a profit on books that will dissuade you from participating as a voting citizen. VOTE LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT, BECAUSE IT DOES.
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