Sunday, November 2, 2014

an Art Gallery with comments

woven back with felting needles for picture of bottles. etc.
Photo: Five of my seven children before we biked Europe in 1972. An interesting trip to say the least.

Going Home
No telling what I will end up with
when I start a paint.

The picture is of 5 of my children
 In 1972 when I prepared to take them with oldest two on a bicycle trip through Europe

A different picture
Oops, I printed it upside down! My son's girlfriend spotted it at the top of the picture and

informed him that I had bought it ready-made and faked it by putting my old signature seal on it.

But that was a long time ago. Last year when I turned 82, a neighbor gave me two blank (new) canvases, and somewhere, I had also acquired a third. I do not like unpainted canvases, so I decided I wanted to do another horse. A year or so earlier, I had painted a picture of two clay bowls, and I felt I might just succeed with a horse. I almost did it right but destroyed it by over-painting. Disgusted I let it sit for a few months. I tried again with the same canvas.  No use wasting a decent sunset; but this time it turned out to be a hobby horse, straight off a carnival carousel.

Since the hobby horse was painted over again, I do not consider it more than a practice effort, so my third success is the one below.  A bit different, but a horse.
My Favorte 1961 Watercolor

Ramtod-tailed Hors
In a Bamboo Grove
Portrait attempt.  Not good enough yet.
Rose's without rain drops
A Seascape on Cardboard
A pleasant  Accident

July 22 Spaulding

Chinese Brush. Not free enou
More Flowers
Piper under a blanket
July 22 2017 
The small picture under the horse
is Pup, my Brittany Spaniel taking a nap in my hammock.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Who Am I Kidding?

Who am I kidding? No one but myself!

I can no more grow old gracefully than a palm tree can become an oak tree.
I have tried to do here a bio but I was having a problem with self.

I am no more a youngster, nor am I very old. I cannot even think I am going to be old, even when my neck looks like a Thanksgiving turkey.  and my hair is a beautiful shade of white, the color of snow on a cold clear day in winter,
Bah! Whoever invented old age, should be put in a the stocks at the center of town.

Nothing like memories to keep one young.
These are five of mime when it was June of 1972. My two older ones were 17 and 18 and got their own passport picture.
We took a bicycle trip for four months camping in Europe.
It was a learning experience for all of us

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Second and Third Grade

Second Grade was not very interesting. The teacher found that I was scratching my head too often and discovered that I had head lice. I thought it was from our laundry tub where we got a bath every Saturday. My mother got coal oil, whatever that was, and my head got soaked every night and washed every morning, and finally they disappeared. I had my hair combed with a fine tooth comb every day just to make sure.

The rest of the year was not that interesting. We walked through a long double meadow, split in the middle by a copse of tall trees. Once I got threatened by a heavy set boy, but I ran and he did not follow me.

Snow om the winter was no fun. It was knee deep in the meadow which made walking to school difficult, but not impossible. Summer made up for it all. The buttercups and for-get me-nots would bloom one after the other. I would pick some for my mother. One day I did find a dime, so when I got home I went next door to the country store, owned by Mr. Disascio (never knew how to spell his name) and his wife and son, Tony.
[Mrs. Disascio made the most delicious spaghetti, and waffle cookies filled with some sort of cream. His father ran the store and used produce from his own garden to sell during the fall. Those days were idylic.]

At the store, I bought some candy and a cone of ice cream and took the candy to my mother. She was pleased with the 'gift.'

Third Grade was not what I liked, but only after my teacher punished me by sending me to my twin brothers's first grade class.  I had found a small sparkly disk on a chain and had given it to the classmate who did wonderful elocution poems for us in class. Dorothy was her name. She knew Hiawatha and The Face on the Barroom Floor; all of both long poems.  Well, I told my mother about it, but she misconstrued what I told her and insisted that I get the bauble back. I did try . . . even visiting the girl at her house. But she refused to return it to me. My mother asked about it often, but I could not say I had gotten it back so she was unhappy about it.  I made one last effort. Dorothy was sitting behind me in class and I turned around and asked her one more time. When she again refused, I got out of my seat and fought with her.

The natural result was I had to be punished and the teacher knew exactly what would hurt the most. My mother found out about my visit to First Grade at lunch time, and later when Dad came home from work, I received a spanking for fighting in the school room.

From that time on, I never made another 100 in spelling and never got another 100 in any class I attended.
No one had asked me why I did it, but I never forgot. I guess even my penmanship went downhill a bit, even though I like to draw the slanted up and down bars and the round over and around tubes of lines meant to teach us the correct method for writing legibly.

I almost forgot . . . my twin brothers, being in first grade . . . got to have their First Communion that year and I happened to be a pink Angel to guide them on their way down to the altar.  The picture that was taken for that even portrayed me as a very grouchy angel. The ceremony must have occurred after my spanking, because I was not a very happy angel.

One thing about the school I was in that year (3rd grade): I learned in religion class that the church made a big effort to convert a lot of people during the Middle Ages. I don''t know why the subject came up but I do remember that it seemed to be a bad time for the church. [Later in college when I found out how they had done the conversions, I was so shocked that I could not talk about it for over two years.]

That summer, I was playing in the peach tree in our yard with the angel robe on and the robe caught on a branch. I fell out of the tree [not very far down thank heavens, so I broke no bones] but it did take my breath away for a moment.  It was also the last time I ever went into the tub outside with only panties on. I figured that I was too grown up to be bare chested any more, so wore T-shirts from that time on, when my bothers and I went for a summer dip into the old tub. I did not learn to swim until years later.

It was also around this time that I went to Chester Creek with my cousins and my aunt. We were having a lot of fun, but one of the more cheerful ones, turned over the inner tube float that I was using. I thought I was going to drown, but my other cousin pulled me up out of the water right away. It was not as frightening since my cousin was so quick to get me out of the deeper water. She turned to be my favorite cousin, Sophie.

A short note about my penmanship. When I grew up and someone invited me to a Calligraphy class, I cheated by printing a calligraphic script phrase on thin paper. So that I could just write over what I could see under my good page.  It always made a good impression then with the teacher. But that was after seven children and a lot of grief from the marriage I thought was a good one.  Oh well.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Skipping to First Grade

First grade was something that was a bit of a memory lost for me. Previous to going to school, I was put into a dance class (to make sure I could perform like Shirley Temple, I surmise) and at  home, my father read me the comics every night, thank heavens.

I say, thank heavens, because by October, I got sick. I had measles, mumps and whooping cough, one right after the other.  During that time, I was able to read a lot of my children's books, including the Night Before Christmas, my favorite.

My first day out of bed was Christmas morning. I got up and got dressed in a neat dark blue sailor dress with a red bow tie in front.  I had asked for a bicycle for Christmas and I got one. OMG.  It was there leaving against the banister of the newest apartment we had, that over a shoemaker shop. My heart dropped. It was the wrong bicycle.  Was Santa a fault or . . . ?

The bicycle was a light green boy's bicycle with fat balloon tires. I had wanted a bicycle, but, . . . I was a girl, not a boy. The poor bicycle never got ridden the whole time I had it and even after we moved across from my father's work, I never even considered it mine

First grade after I returned to school, I remember being on stage at school in a cute red satin Russian outfit. It had short skirt with a white feather hemline trim, and red vest with a white blouse, and a tiara of red satin like the skirt, trimmed in silvery ribbons and a lot of long colored ribbons hanging down from each side.

A doll visited our first grade. She had all sorts of clothes to wear, even pajamas. She had a toothbrush and a hair brush and her own soap and washcloth. She was beautiful. Her owner said that she herself, never used soap on her face, but she neglected to tell us that she used creams and ointments. It took me a long time before I figured out that the creams and ointments had more to to with the face of the doll's owner than the doll that used soap and water.

Regardless when spring time rolled around, and the whole school was having a morning recess in the school yard, there were several wagons outside the school yard.  One in particular was a Bread wagon, all green and gold with big wheels with yellow spokes and a red or brown rim.

For some reason, the horse pulling the wagon spooked from something on the road, and it frightened him so that he ran right over the curb, breaking one wheel on the wagon, and headed straight into the school yard.  I was way in the back leaning on the small metal bannister because I had just recently returned to school and was still not able to play with the children. I was taking it "easy."

All the children started screaming at once, and running to get away from the horse and wagon.  A man, from a different wagon ran into the yard from the street, grabbed the horse's harness and stopped him in his run towards the children. I could not understand why everyone was screaming and crying. I saw who the man was and he was perfectly capable of stopping the horse. It was my father in his milk  run, or he was checking up on whether I was doing well in school.

I never told anyone who the man was, nor did anyone ever ask me about him. I did think it was neat, but no one, not even my father at home, said a word about catching the horse.

Back in the school room, probably one another day, I was reading my reader.  I said, "Oh, Nuts!" A common cuss word for children. My seat mate was aghast. "You said a bad word."  My response was, "No, I did not. It is here in our book."  And I showed her the page next to the picture of a nut tree right next to the text. That was that. She never said another word.

In the class, we had only one black boy learning his ABC's. but most of the time he fell asleep. When my sister went to that school 16 years later, she was the only white girl in the class. The neighborhood had changed that drastically.  In the early years, though I had to walk home and the shortest route was through the black neighborhood. I only could do that one time, because the children there ganged up on me and I guess they threatened me, so I never went through the area again.

By summer time, we had moved across the street from Miller and Flounder's Dairy, where my father worked. It was a white house with two floors. My father put in an oil heater in the fireplace and a plywood, high step-over door in the archway to the porch.  He then rented the upstairs to an older couple who, although I would go upstairs and read the Sunday comics where my father stored them in an extra room on the second floor, I never met them.

Not even when we got the chicken coup from the neighbor behind us who was moving to the city. Mom would make the attic into a nursery for the new chicks and I would visit them all the time.
We would have Sunday dinner, a chicken that she would prepare in the morning, starting with cutting off its head, and we would eat him in the afternoon. We also had eggs every morning for breakfast.

Friday, May 23, 2014

First View of the World

           Many years later, I came about a dream sequence that happened regularly. However, it belongs here in this part since it seemed to have occurred the day I was born, a bit earlier than my first post.

          I would dreams of a person whose finger I was holding. It seemed to me that the whole body of that person had the same thickness as that single finger i held. I dreamt this particular dream for several years, during hte time I was married and living in Miami, Florida. It was comforting dream, and I never knew why it occurred so regularly.

          After a particularly difficult day, sometime during the seventh year of my marriage, I stopped to think more deeply about it.  I reasoned, that if I was holding only a finger of my comforter, it had to be just after the moment of my birth. I  was wrapped in a warm blanket and I was being cuddled, as all babies are when they are first born.  But it did not appear to be by my mother. It was someone else.  Who, i do not know. I never heard any details of my birth, only afterward, when one of my aunts, who my mother did not like very much, was helping her out during the time of her recovery.

           Neverthelsss, once I decided that it had been that very day and hour that i was born, I NEVER dreamt that drream again.  Apparently, I was having a particularly rough time during my marriage, but did not understand why it was so difficult.  My husband was never rude or contrary to me and it actually seemed that it was a strong marriage. Seven children were loved and appreciated. So, at that time I had no inkling of any difficulty.  Or maybe I did and refused to admit it to myself.

          As it was I later found out that a divorce would be better than staying in the marriage and with a little bit of help from a friend. i was able to do that.  Things actually got a bit worse, but with my dream in my corner (how if dream can affect one's feelings, i don't know, but it did seems to happan that way to me.) I actually survived and all the children are here near where I live and they are very content with their lives.  A good feeling that I got them all grown and happy in what they do finally. Hurray!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Irish Gandfather and Polish Grandmother

         Somewhere between two and three, it seems that we were homeless for a while. First we lived with my Polish Grandmother in Wilmington, Delaware, and then with my Irish Grandfather in Chester, PA.

My Polish Grandfather, I never knew, but my Grandmother was one I could never talk to since my father forbade my mother and I to speak Polish at home. My time in grandma's house, was one of getting drops in my eyes every night and waking up every morning, my eyes glued shut,

I had to walk down the stairs carefully, to find my mother in the dining room.  She would then unglue my eyes with a wet cloth.  My Aunt Anna would fix chicken soup for us children and she gave us special bowls. Each bowl had a different story or poem in the bottom and we had to eat all the soup, so we could have the story read to us, until we finally could read them ourselves. The kitchen had a big black wood stove where the most wonderful food was cooked by my Aunt Anna.

My Grandmother, had a outhouse in back yard where the garden was. Next to the outhouse, a big grey wolf-like dog was on a very heavy chain.  Apparently, it was let loose during the night, but in the day time, we children were just warned to stay away from it.  The garden had vegetables and flowers all summer long.

          My Grandmother had a problem with her legs so she was in her bed in the dining room. She was able to greet people and be taken care of when no one came by. Gradually, she lost parts of her legs to gangrene over a period of time and finally, she died. Her casket was in the living room in the front of the house.  My aunt Anna did the cooking and other relatives and friends brought their food offerings.  We all took turns going into the front room to pray at her casket.

          Later we moved to my Grandfather's house, after my Grandmother there died. Her casket was also in their living room. A steady flow or people came and went. My Grandfather sat in his chair by the front window saying his rosary every day after that time, and sometimes my uncle Tony would sit in the other chair across from him. Many times, I would see them together that way.

          I remember learning to tie my shoelaces, sitting on the commode seat cover by the back window in the upstairs bathroom. The window was open since it was early spring and the peach trees in the back yard were in full bloom. [The bathroom was large compared to bathrooms today.] There was on one wall a strop for sharpening a flip-open razor for shaving. I vaguely remember getting spanked with the strop at least one time, but I must had done something I was not supposed to do.

          One day I was sitting with my mother downstairs in the dining room. A neighbor came to visit and gossip a bit. She told my mom that a man was in the field across the way exposing himself and she should be careful. It was then I learned that there were good men and bad men in the world. Never thought much about it though. But did remember that one should stay away from some men.

          The dining room had a vintage chandelier shade made of colored glass over the dining room table for many years, It was there even after I grew up and visited my uncles on my own.  I do not remember when my grandfather died. It must have been shortly after we moved into an apartment over a shoemaker shop nearby.

         Our doctor was next door To y and parents house, and he had a ugly, bowlegged dog, all white and brown. The dog was a nice dog though and we were never afraid of it. So I did get a lot of medical attention. Nevertheless, I was healthy and active. I remember trying to entertain my grandfather by standing on my head in the living room. I think I did it very well that time,. I had not learned at that time to use my arms as a brace for my head, as I did later, but I never did manage to stand on my head successfully again. I guess I needed a pillow for my head also.  [Live and learn, I guess was my motto at the time.]


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Why Did I Cry?

          Way back in Neanderthal days when I was two years old or so. I remember having a
birthday party. I do not remember who was there, or if I even had a birthday cake. I was wearing a violet dress; one that I remember wearing on stage in a Shirley  Temple contest at a movie theater down by my Aunt Hedwig's home. 

          All I remember about that day, was that I was crying about something. I do not know why. Modern psychology indicates that I was too young to have such a party and it was "nerve wracking" for me. I did survive that party and continued on to have other kinds of adventures.

          During that May, the twins (my brothers) were born. Mom had started the wash as usual and I was trying to help. The twins started to cry and Mom went upstairs to take care of them.  I, thinking I would be helpful, started to lift a sheet out of the wash tub into the wringer. I seem to have tried to help the sheet along and suddenly I found my hand went with the sheet under the wringer. I know then why I cried. It hurt.  

          A neighbor boy jumped a fence between his house and ours, and I was whisked away to the hospital. It was my very first experience hitchhiking. Of course, the boy had no car at that time, very few teens did. So hitchhiking was a normal thing for him to do. The trip to the hospital was quick and I was bandaged up and returned home. Because I was trying to help Mom, I did not get a spanking or a scolding. 

          My life from that point, [until the next adventure] was quiet and uneventful. I became an ordinary little girl in "Shirley Temple" curls. I even had a best friend called Ann Lavin, who was lucky enough to have gotten a Dutch haircut (no metal curlers to sleep on at night].  It was nice then being a young "grown-up" in the house. I helped Mom doing small jobs that she no longer had time for. The twins took up a lot of her time. 

          My dad would read the comics to me every day.  Some I remember very well, and others, not at all.  Those were the days, when comics were about real people and real events. They were not what we see today, as ugly cartoons, with weird clothes and supposedly "funny" one liner jokes that are not so funny any more. University comics now are even uglier and make no effort at being funny. Oh, well. It was a time of growing up for me and I was not unhappy with life as I found it then.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Over 65, Take care!

             Once upon a time, being over 40 years old mean one automatically had migraine headaches. I had Carbon monoxide headaches and was told to take a medicine for migraines.

            Now, I am well over 65 yo and find that the key to my existence has been offered as Lasik surgery for my [first]: Glaucoma, then when that did not work very well, it has become Cataracts.  I have had sales people adjust my glassesusing only the nose clips that gave me splitting headaches. Push them to the left and the right side of my head hurt; push them to the right and the left was worse.  I asked if the guys in the back room used pre-cuts and did not get a good answer.

           My first faulty eye exam was a hoot. I was told that I had 20% Glaucoma in my eyes. When I presented my prescription for glasses, I was told the change was too drastic and I should return for a second exam. The next day I did just that. The partner was there instead of the 20% man and after my exam was over I was told that I had 2% glaucoma.  H.m.m.m.m.

           As a result I went to where i was more comfortable. It was a disaster also. I attempted to get the same lenses as I had in my previous pair, but was told they no longer sold them. I did not know the glass prescription was still wrong. even though it was closer to correct.

          My next adventure with such people was when a new small eye examination store opened up. I thought maybe that might work. When I got there for my appointment and waiting my turn patiently; the owner  noticed that I was the next one to be called.  He disappeared into his office. I got instead a loud obnoxious examiner. He gave me a four lens exams for each eye and turned to me and told me that what I saw on the screen was the best I would ever see.

         I thought that was crude, but he had more to say: he told me that I would never be able to pass a vision test for driving again.  It seems he did not even bother to ask if I owned an auto. Since I did not, I was not inclined to believe this joker. He then proceeded to give me a sales pitch for something, but having been through the glaucoma pitch, I told him not to say another word. He insisted it was for my own health. I repeated twice: no more! Then I left. The receptionist was going to print out my prescription but I was angry by that time and I told him not to bother, I was not paying for such a obnoxious examiner. Was he going to talk about glaucoma or cataracts, I did not  
 know, but cataracts became the "next call to arms."

            One examiner even called me down and asked if I had Social Security Medicare and when I said No, he said. "Of course you do. And Medicare will pay for an eye operation."  $50.00 I was told later by a recipient.

          Glaucoma starts with a halo around the object you are looking at and includes pain in the eyeball and headaches.

             Cataracts starts with a white speck somewhere in the eyeball, usually the iris while pain and headaches are there also. These can be removed, maybe. . . . the Glaucoma can not be cured by any known factor. But my books are old—Tabor's #19 being one of them.

Funny how age puts one in the forgetful stages. All assume that we know nothing.

Strange,  I just had my current eye exam rechecked against my earlier exams and found out that my 2006 eye exam has the same prescription that my last exam yesterday has.  H.m.m.m Now I wonder why that happened. I think it is pretty obvious that when one gets older, one would need a stronger prescription, but never one that is eight years younger.  It is so strange to tell me that I need something that is not even here yet. I spend a lot of time reading, many times without my glasses…yes, I do have to wear them…but the glasses themselves have been getting worse, apparently it is a deliberate way to get one into surgery, since even Social Security will pay for it.

If I am older than I was in 2006, why are my eyes exactly the same?  Does that mean that I am not being suspicious—because I am a crochety old lady—of faulty eye exams for the last eight years or so.  Especially when I had such an interesting time with the "obnoxious examiner," He really was fresh out of a sales pitch seminar geared for selling houses. The speaker that I remember from that particular seminar was a presenter who bounced out on the stage in a red, white and blue Uncle Sam outfit, complete with a similar top hat.

His actions and advice was just as crude as the "obnoxious examiner." No one in their right mind would survive in sales if they took the advice of the fake "USA" presenter.  He must be old and grey by now though. The seminar I remember so vividly was in the 1960's. The O.E. must have had a video of that presentation of Uncle Sam. GADs!


Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Xiao in my Hammock

        Well, I went to bed early last night and thought I would sleep through the night. But it did not happen        that way.  My live-in companion Xiao refused to believe I wanted to sleep, so off we went and did some advance procedures. 

          He insisted we had to go outside, for what reason I did not know. I think we made about three trips outside before I actually checked my e-mail and the weather which had turned almost as cold as Easter Day in 1973 in Connecticut.

           Oh, my, I should have known. The eclipse was being broadcast from Hawaii.  Since I did not live in Hawaii, there was no problem, but a later newscast proved me wrong. [As usual]  

           There was to be an eclipse tonight. . . . .  I already up and it was after midnight. So I set the alarm for one hour later and set to work on a speech I intended to make Wednesday at Toastmasters.
Checked for my timing and it was to be 6 to 8 minutes long. A whole three minutes longer than I usually got. 

            Being so late, it seemed that I made more typos than usual. The print-out made 4 pages and five lines of text.  Since each page of double spaced typing is approximately 2 minutes, I figured that I had done pretty well . . . . but those typos. . . . .  Ugh.

             I spent the time correcting and adding a bit here and there and since it was a reading of a poem,  I figured it was good for about 5 minutes max. Put in lots of space markers because a good pause is worth its weight in gold.  If it is done correctly. 

              The first speech I ever gave was in a Technical Writing class at the university. I had my key notes set out on about 4 index cards and managed the first card very well, I thought. But when I went for the second card, I realized that I had already done it. Will try again later.

              Got an idea to make a scroll for the poem, but with all the odds and ends I keep, nothing fit the idea I had of a "rolling-up-at-the-top" and unrolling, "without falling-to-the-floor" bottom that I wanted to engineer. I did want to use my hands a little bit; not flailing, mind you, just a little bit. Had to give up the scroll idea for another time.

              The moon actually did look very Red and Yellow. It was worth staying up for it. AND I got the poem corrected to NO typos. Wunderbar.

Monday, April 14, 2014

To be Free of Conventions is an Attribute

           To be Free of  Conventions is the major attribute of reaching an Age where it is not necessary to be home- or work-bound on a daily basis.  Many times, one can drop everything and take time to smell the roses in the garden or take a walk in the early morning and appreciate the sunrise, or the evening and appreciate the sunset.  

         To be so tied down to one's aches and pains, makes one a complainer, to whom no one wants to listen.  I learned in my early days, after all my children were born and growing, that whenever I complained about the bad parts of my life, no one even cared. But when I started saying that Everything was fine—soon enough—everything began to be fine. The bad parts did not disappear but I had freed myself of the complaints.  I actually started to enjoy my children. We took bike rides together, swimming lessons together, and a great variety of other things got done. They learned to plait palm fronds to make belts and I even made a hat with a fancy looped edge.

            I also learned to make a corner in my mind for nicer things to do: like sweaters and dress-up clothes for my children, and some of their toys for Christmas. Imagination got a good workout during those days.  As a result, I could never grow old gracefully,  even if I would be able to stand on my head.

           One day recently, children in my area, pulled a starter pedal out from my bike.  When I pulled into a parking lot and put it on its stand, I turned to walk aways and I landed flat on my back. I just did an ab curl and I was up as if nothing happened out of the ordinary. And for some reason, no one even saw what had happened.  That was months ago, but I remember it as if it were yesterday. It was such an unexpected surprise.  One can never act in a graceful manner while flat on one's back.  I decided it was just a lesson for me not to be so persnickety.  Live and Learn. Boy, did I at that time!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Decided I Have No Time To Be Graceful

Yesterday was a long day, and I had a lot to do. Took another ride on my bike, then had to go to the Bank for my son so opted for the moped instead.  A lot easier..

Why in heavens name did I think I could do it gracefully? No time. I have too many other things to do which I like much better. Tried spinning my mohair and almost got done, but opted to spool it this time and not dye it.  It is a nice silky white. Like it better.

Wrote my book a while, but got blindsided by shifting paragraphs; so decided I should think a bit before doing any more, Then, suddenly, 'I remembered bits and pieces that would actually connect to what I had just changed and I realized that the fool book had started to write itself. It was amazing to me that it was possible to do things that way.
Gracefully?  Not much interest that way, but happenstance is and always has been more fun.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Prepping for a Speech

          Today is a grand day.  i have made all my little 'motors', and have only to pack up the 15 sample bags of material to be used by them. I was late going to the post office for my mail. I found only cold water with which to wash my hair, but I got a wonderful lunch from a neighbor who can make tacos much better than I, a gringa, can.

          Yesterday, I met a phone contact who is almost as old as I am. I tried to tell her about some things I was planning to do today, but stopped before I told her about my prepping for the speech this week at Toastmasters. She had interrupted me and began to tell me about her disabilities and how she and her husband were coping with them. I got the very strong message that my planned activity this week would never have interested her at all. 

          Then, my son came by and he said I walked right by him without seeing him.  Since he is usually in his working clothes I was thinking however it was, it had to be a workman for my apartment complex, so I stayed busy telling Xiao, my little dog, about what was going to be a treat for him, yesterday for suppler.  Chicken skin, grizzle, and soft parts of what was left of my dinner the previous night.  My son came after us, and I was so surprised to see him. He has a very busy schedule and for two days, I did not call him about any checks that I had to take to the Bank for him. It was great to see him in spite of his schedule.

          Of course, Xiao did not respond. Human talk while on a tour of our streets were uppermost on his mind.  We would not go down the long street, only by some other apartments nearby.  The reason was perfectly clear both to him, who was pulling very hard on the leash and to me.
He had gotten hurt on two different occasions on the long street and he wanted no more of it. Period! 

       I did not mind in the slightest. I was there when he had gotten hurt, both times, and understood his anxious behaviour.  He and I get along pretty good.  When I start to wake up in the morning, he will crawl out from under the covers and sit on my chest, with his ears perked high, and just took at me. If my eyes are still closed, he will do nothing, but once, I open them, he nuzzles under my chin. Then we rough play for a while and I end up rubbing his stomach, which he really likes. I can feel his paws relaxing and his eyes start to close ever so slowly. He is so completely relaxed. I like the idea very much, but have things to do and they do not wait very long to get done.

          Today is almost over, and tomorrow will be more interesting than today. It better be!

          A grand surprise, this evening at 10:30 pm.  I got a piece of Tres-Leches birthday cake, with a chocolate cookie and a strawberry on top of some great icing. It was a very nice gift for the evening. Even Xiao had a very small piece of the cake. And, as usual, I worked through half the night afterwards; just writing what planning for my speech this week. Wow!

Saturday, March 22, 2014


          Today is a milestone for me. I got may electrical connection to outside my door and I can sit there and sand my little shelf to a beveled shape.

          Not much of a milestone? Sure it is.  I have had this shelf to do for a long time. First, I had to get the proper wood; then. after measuring the narrow shelf I really wanted to put up, I had to get the wood cut. It was a bit long so I was reluctant to use my rip saw on the wood. My poor saw like to walk a little bit sideways which is not what I wanted to do this time.

          I waited until the maintenance men were cutting on a table saw and requested a few cuts. They were willing to oblige and I got some beautiful straight lines. Then i said down and re-did a picture with a bit of pastel oil crayons that I had painted previously. After putting it up all night, I found that I still have to do the the chest of my horse a bit narrower and a lot lighter.

          But because it is only the third horse I have drawn since I returned from China, and that was in 1986, I am a bit rusty on form. The first one I drew when I came back to the States. It was in pen and ink only. And it was a successful horse. The second was a sausage-backed horse, but with interesting bamboo and grasses. It was interesting for the bamboo and grass; the horse was only a directional pointer.

          The newest one came out, a bit odd. It  was like a hobby horse tha ran away from the carousel where the riders had mistreated it; all still and wooden.  However, my perfection-mode kicked in and I botched it again. I do not feel bad about this version, I will let it sit a while more until I do some 'exercises', I think. Nothing like mulling a problem over and then doing it right eventually.

          Went to Toastmasters the other night to applaud for a contestant who was in our group. Loa and behold, I saw Vic from the old T-M group at the health department. I was nice to see him again. Not only that, our contestant, thought he had lost to the first speaker, but it was discovered to be an error, so he actually won first place and will continue his journey to Toastmasters International.  Hooray for him.  It was a great speech with a strange ending. The kind that will surprise you, but a good one even so.

Until Next Time. . .

Thursday, March 20, 2014

My Dog Had a Real Problem

Xiao and Brina Share a Blanket
       The above picture was after Xiao, the Chihuahua, came into the family. I thought there would be jealousy but found that Brina only wanted to share the blanket, so she pulled down half of it from the hammock Xiao was sleeping in and went to sleep below the hammock. She knew the little one would not hurt her and Xiao, the little one, knew that Brina was a friend.
         Brina was afflicted with seizures. And I had begun to hear that most times, an animal with seizures had to be put down.

        Through a friend who had studied acupuncture, I learned that a  major epileptic fit could be averted by a simple finger pressure directly under the partition in the middle of the nose. It is a safe Chinese acupressure pressure point and does no damage, even if it is done once or twice more. 

        I thought he was joking. However, my dog had been given phenobarbital, a heavy duty drug that got her addicted. She needed six of those pills per day.

        My vet advised me to get a prescription which the pharmacist told me that it had been taken off the market three years earlier.

         Having seen human epilepsy with the tense but flailing legs and arms first-hand, I figured the acupressure might help but did not know about it when I asked the pharmacist about meds for leg cramps. I was a bit disappointed that the medicine was under aspirins and such.

         That non-intrusive item is an over-the-counter, non-addictive pill costing about $6.00. It is called Leg Cramps. It comes in  two sizes, one for day time and one for over night. 

        Too simple a med I thought. Brina, the dog, really goes under for almost two hours of strain. But I was willing to try it if it might help the dog. I gave her one LC in the morning with a potassium pill and the same in the evening to help with the cramping. After one or two days the potassium was rejected. I dutifully put it back into her mouth and she took it in. The next day she did the same thing, but I figured there had to be a good reason for the rejection so did not give it to her again. 

       Then, one day, I forgot the evening LC pill.  I found that she was fine with one pill a day. The pill contained quinine and was a homeopathic med. 

        I heard from a person who had similar leg cramping seizures that he used Quinine water that helped him immensely.

        By that time I had learned about the acupressure point, but had never used it.  One evening, Brina dropped to the ground about three blocks from our apartment.  I, knowing I would take a bit longer to get back to her, I pressed her nose, then rushed my other dog home.  I grabbed her "taxi" (a laundry basket with a rope) and sped back to Brina.

         I  pressed her nose, one more time and I sort of dumped her into the basket upside down and started pulling the basket home. After a block or so, I heard her breathing normally.that was strange, I thought. But, curiosity got the best of me and I turned to see if it was true. She was sitting up in the basket with both paws on the front edge, happy as can be.

       After 4-1/2 years, we returned to the vet for something else. The vet was very disappointed I did not use her prescription. She said: "Well, it was good for you, and good for Brina;  but it was not good for us" [meaning the clinic.]

         In other words the prescription given me by the vet was just a way to get more money and probably less help to dog [or even to a human] than the phenobarbital, had.

          Once in awhile, when later Brina knew she was going to have a seizure, she would hop into bed with me. and trap me between my blankets. I would not be able to get up easily, so I would press her nose and do it one or two times more. Eventually she would snuggle up on my arm and stay for about 15 more minutes or so until she knew her seizure was definitely over, and then she would hop out and go to bed as usual.

        I was so glad that the one daily pill and the once-in-a-while acupressure helped both of us have a very pleasant time together.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

So, I Have Problems?

Mr. Hen Xiao, My Best Friend
On my Shoulder as we ride on the Moped.
           My problems? I don't really have any, except those that I manufacture myself. Mr. Hen Xiao, Xiao for short, takes care that I am busier with him than with whatever problems I can create for myself.
           The day I found a beat-up bookcase, I knew it had to be mine. A neighbor helped me get it to the apartment, and I proceeded to patch, stain and repair it.  It was six shelves high, and I knew that ever with all mu books, I would never want anything up on that top shelf. So up went an Indian wooden plate with 'nacra' inserts, three Maya pottery pieces and a flower or two.  I had to made the shelf back a light color since the wooden plate was a dark wood. Had some white shelf liner and hung it as a backdrop.  Did not have to have it all the way down to the shelf bottom since the fool thing was so high, and that was good because my shelf liner was a bit narrow.  

             Xiao did not h me one little bit. He decided that sleeping under the blankets in my hammock was energetic enough for him. He tends to do that lot in the wintertime.  For the cold wind, Glen made him a pair of googles. I requested it since Glen asked to learn how to spin cat fur.  G. was a fast learner, but on the motor scooter, Xiao needed something to keep his eyeballs from freezing with the wind chill on a bad day. 
His First Pair of glasses.
We went for a bicycle ride this time.
             The first pair got stolen, probably by a neighbor who had a bigger dog.  It was believed that the glasses made for Xiao would fit the bigger dog. Ha.  That is what they thought!  Glen was nice enough to make another pair for Xiao and now he is ready for Summer. In fact, if I don't take him for a ride every day on the scooter or the bicycle, he gets very upset with me, unless he had already been outside for his necessities, and found out that it is either windy or very cold. 

          He then snuggles in the hammock until I get ready to join him.  He has learned how to shift around until I get the blankets where I want them on my feet, then he creeps up to my chest and lays across me, happy as can be.

             Ih dear, I had to get the rest of my teeth out. I must be getting old. Every once in a while I take a good look at myself in the mirror. But not too often. I am always surprised that my face does not match how I feel. In fact after years of not even bothering to look in a mirror, [my current bathroom is much smaller] I was shocked to find someone else looking at me. It was not what  I expected to see.  

             Quite a shock it was to find the drooping cheeks under my eyes. And those fine lines around my mouth. OMG. I am even older today and I cannot get used to my mirror image. I liked me much better when there were no mirrors.  But now I at least brush my hair down in the morning. When it is short; it tends, in cold weather to have an electric flare-up at the back of my head. 

               Did someone say Botox? Absolutely not. I remember the one program on Twilight Zone when the children were small. It was about a girl who did not want to become a carbon copy of her mother and her friends. I sided with the girl, but she lost the battle anyway. The memory of her sudden change into her mother's image has never left me.
                 I did have a recent experience when my daughter took me to a hairdresser to get a Mother's Day haircut. When I left the chair, I looked exactly like a neighbor of mine with a short puffy hair-do with bangs over the forehead. [She also had a dog a bit bigger than Xiao.] NO WAY, was I going to look like her. I shampooed my hair as soon as I got home. The next year, my daughter took me to another and I got the greatest hair-cut I have ever had.  It followed the natural waves, even across the back of my head. I was so surprised. I had dreaded another child-make-over. But this time it was a great cut.  Eventually, though it grew out and I trimmed it as usual. It still looks good, but I never see the back so I never know what it looks like there.   No problem, since I usually wear a sun-hat for my trips with and without  Xiao. It usually is better than a brush-out.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Eden of Old Age

Storm Clouds on the Horizon
When does the tag "Old Age" start? It it a definite statement of fact, or is it something that is neither there nor here?  
            My initiation into old age, was when I started the university. I was 40. I had seven children, 19 to 12 years of age, and I was a working mom. I had just given my children a camping trip of 4 months on bicycles. After that trip,  I had the crazy idea I wanted to go to school again. After talking it over with the children, they agreed that I should go if I really wanted to, so I registered at the university.
             I was of the mistaken belief that the university meant I could do research. However, the rules said I had to do the preliminary stuff first. History, Geography, Oceanography, Geology, Astronomy, English, Oh, and Philosophy.  I started with History and Philosophy. Neither one interested me in the least. Get them out of the way and struggle on with the others.
            It was not long into Philosophy when I discovered that one could make white mean black and visa-versa. I did not like the mathematical symbols used to prove such nonsense and although I passed the class, I thought little more about it.
           My past classes with history, were dates and wars; so I decided it should be one of the first classes I would need to ignore, just like Philosophy. The only thing wrong with that conclusion was that it did not hold water, since the first class consisted of historic books that the professor thought was more important than the dates themselves.
           I did two papers, neither was approved by the teacher. I had given the wrong conclusions. I was told that the source of Utopia was NOT a well-known country anywhere in the world, and the second: book I decided to read was NOT written by a white man. Well, I survived that class also.

          There was a minor detail in my life at that time. I had a series of headaches. Three of them, several, each several weeks apart, were diagnosed as: probably the flu; just an inner ear problem, and the last, "I don't know what it is, but here is a pill to stop the nausea."  OK,  they did not know what it was.  Maybe the university doctors would know. There definition of the problem was migraine headaches. but they gave me a run for my money and I had a series of tests on my head. None of which helped. [Did I mention that because a motorcycle was cheap transportation to and from school, I carried my helmet with its clear face-guard into the each of those university exams?] Nothing was conclusive at that point, and I was given a tiny white pill for the latest headache.OMG. Was I kidding? 
           That little pill, Ok, so although I only ordered two pills from the pharmacy, I decided one little pill could not hurt. So, after buying my daughter a birthday present, I went grocery shopping and took one as I was browsing the fresh produce. Got home, decided to take the present to her after putting the groceries away. And off  I went on my cycle. I reached her house, just as she was pulling away from the house and about to turn a corner. And then the pill hit like a ton of bricks. I pulled a sheet down from her porch railing and sprawled out on her porch. I lay there until I felt a bit better and since there was a guy washing his car across the street, I asked if I could call the doctor.
            He agreed and when I got the doctor, I asked what he had given me. His answer was "I thought you were going home and going to bed." " What? I have seven children. I NEVER go to bed with a headache!"
           This was my first clue that I was getting old. Anyone over 40 does not have a headache, they always have migraines. Don't treat anything else.

            To make matters worse, I had a small stroke when I purchased a\cup of coffee out of a machine that first year. Suddenly, without any thought, I crushed the paper cup I held in my hand, and burned my hand with the hot liquid. The doctor was very nice about it and said I needed an EKG. Well, that was different. After the exam, I asked the doctor what the EKG showed. "Oh, nothing, you have to be having a stroke in order for it to show anything."  

            "But I can no longer type. When I start to type one word, I get only the first letter, the rest can be any other word in the dictionary that I might know. I did have a stroke of some sort." The reply: "Not necessarily. You are just having normal typos. I do that also."

             I spent more than two months teaching myself to type properly again. I had to spell out loud the words that I really wanted to type and place each finger deliberately on the proper key. The process worked to my advantage. I managed to ace 95 wpm in a later typing test.  So much for doctors. After 40 there are no other problems than migraines. Has anyone else found this to be true?