Posted tagged ‘Family’

Mary

July 23, 2018

Well, it’s been a while since I wrote a post on Mary. So today’s the day.

She continues to get more and more weak and frail every day. Her memory is pretty much shot. She remembers Paula and my names, but that’s pretty much it. I give her three things to do: brush your teeth, wash your face and get dressed. She only remembers “brush your teeth”.

Last week, Paula took her to her dentist to have one of her molar crowns replaced. Doctor put a temporary crown on the molar. He told her not to pick at her teeth. Mary has a habit of picking her teeth with a tooth pick. Her tooth picks have been put in hiding for the duration. (Maybe forever, disgusting habit.) Permanent crown will be installed first week in August.

So we took Mary to church this morning for the 10:30 am service. She knew about going to church, but she couldn’t remember the name of our church. (The church that she has been attending for over fifty years.) So after the service, I pointed out the view of LA Harbor out the back of the church. The name of the church is “Ocean View Baptist Church”. Do you think that seeing the image of the harbor will help you remember? Nope, not a chance. We went to the Pacific Diner for brunch after church. The owner comped her breakfast that morning.

We were going to go to the Chili Cook-Off at lodge, but decided that it wasn’t worth getting Mary out of bed and dragging her off to another function. Better for all of us to have a decent afternoon nap. Leftovers for dinner.

Every now and then Paula and I have the discussion about whether the time is right to put Mary in a nursing home. We have decided not yet. We have a regular sitter that watches Mary for short term gigs, so that we can go to a movie or something. We have an agency that we use for longer term service. We have a couple of weekends scheduled for August OES events. (One in San Diego and one in the Bay Area.) It will be good to get away for a weekend.

And finally, a hat tip to our Uncle Jack (Mary’s younger brother who lives in Louisiana) who is a faithful reader of this blog.

TTFN,

Joe

I Blog

June 30, 2017

joe-paula-2016Okay, I’ve had various ideas for this post kicking around in my pea sized brain for a while now. I wanted to explain to my readers why I do this (ie. blog).

I started blogging about five years ago at about the time that Paula and I had decided to retire and move from Massachusetts to California to live with her aging mother.

I felt that I had a story to tell and that if I didn’t do it then the story wouldn’t get told. I didn’t feel that I had the writing chops to write my autobiography and I wouldn’t be getting some famous biographer to step up to the plate and do it. So blogging was it then. One spends a lifetime filling your brain with stories and information. Then when you get old and senile it all leaks out and falls on the floor to be forgotten. I didn’t want that to happen to me.

I’ve seen that first hand in Mary. She remembers almost nothing about her life. Paula’s Dad, Harold took a ton of pictures but most have the pictures have no information on the back. We’re left guessing who was in the picture and where it was taken and why it might be important.

I thought about doing it on Facebook, but Facebook seemed to be too limited on what I could write and many of my friends and family don’t do Facebook, but they will read an email from me. (By the way, you can get Word Press to automatically email my latest post to you). WordPress has Window apps and iPhone and iPad apps. Pretty sure they have apps for Android too.

So one fine day in the spring of 2012, I created an account on WordPress. Next, create a blog. The name that I picked was “Calherewecome“. It’s a sort of a play on the old song “California, Here I Come”. WordPress is pretty much free. Only thing I have to pay for is the internet domain registration for calherewecome.org

As of today, I have written 448  posts that are read by about 125 people. This is post #449. Some of my readers are friends and family, but many are people that I have never met. Some of those people are also bloggers and I often read and follow their blogs.

So what do I write about? I write about that which interests me. I write about family especially my aging mother-in-law Mary. I write about books that I’ve read and movies we’ve seen. Mary’s brother Jack who lives in Louisiana, faithfully reads all of my blog posts.

I write about technology. I spent almost all of my working life doing IT support for DEC, Compaq, HP and IBM. Many older folks call their adult children for PC technical support. In my family, they call me.

I also keep a private journal on Evernote. This where I put all of my private stuff that is inappropriate to publish on the blog. Evernote is a great app. There is a journaling app that I used on iOS called vJournal that works with Evernote. I use Evernote for filing all of the documents and statements that we receive. I have a recipe folder. Paula will ask me to look up a recipe while we are wandering through the grocery store. Check it out. You won’t be disappointed. Here’s the iPad link and here’s the iPhone link to the iTunes app store. You’ll have to figure out the Android link yourself.

That’s about it for now. Thank you to all my faithful readers.

TTFN

Joe

 

Thanksgiving

November 24, 2016

2016-11-23-12-12-26It is time to reflect on all that we are thankful for this year. First and foremost, I am thankful for my lovely wife, Paula. She has been my partner now for 38 years. She has been by my side through thick and thin, good and bad. I don’t know what I would do without her.

Second, we are thankful that our son and his lovely wife live near by along with their (oh so cute) children. When we made the decision to move to California five years ago,  if they had not been living here, we probably would have stayed in Massachusetts.

In that case we would have moved Mary, kicking and screaming back to MA to live with us.

So what about Neil? Our other son, Neil, lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. SLC is a lot closer to LA than it is to MA. We get to see Neil from time to time. No grandchildren from Neil yet. Sigh. Maybe some day?

We are also thankful that Paula’s mother Mary is alive and healthy. She has reached the ripe old age of 92, bless her heart. Lord grant me the patience to deal with her. She can be a pain in the butt sometimes. We  have managed to keep her safe. No broken bones. Our goal has been to keep her out of a nursing home. And in that goal, we have been successful. We make sure that she gets fed and takes her meds.

We have a good home. We live in a condo that is well suited for elder care. We have no stairs (ie. all on one level). No trip hazards. We have an elevator that takes us to our parking garage. It’s big enough for all three of us to live comfortably.

So what about Thanksgiving? Needless to say, this is a decision that is way above my pay grade. The site of our feast wasn’t settled until a few days ago. In the past few years, we have gone to Theresa’s cousin Eric in Rancho Palos Verdes. Eric has a house that can easily host a large crowd, ranging in age from infant to 90ish. Eric’s wife Nikki said that she didn’t want to do it this year. We can’t do it, not enough space. Best we can do is have total of eight for dinner.

So it was decided to do it at Uncle Min’s house (also in RPV). Not quite as big as Eric’s place, but it will do. Uncle Min is part of Theresa’s extended family. Thanksgiving dinner is always an interesting blend of American and Chinese cuisine. Also, Uncle Min has a piano (and that is a good thing), so I will be bringing my iPad to play. We always enjoy seeing the extend family that we generally only see once a year.

And finally, thank you to all of the folks who read my rantings on my Blog. I originally started writing this blog to reach my friends who didn’t do Facebook. It has grown to so much more than that. This blog along with Facebook allows me to keep in touch with so many people that we have met over the years. I have been told that back in the day, people wrote letters on paper with a pen.

Anyhow, I hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.

 

Mary

September 19, 2016

Well, its been a busy couple of weeks. On Sunday, we asked Mary if she wanted to go to church. She of course wanted to go, but when it got to be game time (ie. Time to hit the road) she decides to pass. Too dizzy she says. Actually, that made our life a little bit easier. Paula went to church and I went to the grocery store to pick up a couple of things. Then, to the bakery to pick up the cake for Sarah’s birthday.

Oh right, I forgot to say, yesterday was Sarah’s 2nd birthday. The family arrived at 12 noon on the dot. Little Jonathan, rushes in and announces, “Sarah is two!!”. Then Sara and Jonathan see the presents wrapped on the table, and Jonathan asks, “Is this for me?” He sees the Transformer wrapping paper which is definitely telling. Well maybe, we say. We’re not opening presents just yet.


It’s time to eat brunch. And then we have a birthday cake for Sarah. It was a banana creme cake from Amalfitano’s bakery in San Pedro with figure of Minnie Mouse on top (Sarah’s fave). Of course, Jonathan’s birthday is coming up in October (and he knows it). And he will tell you that is will be five. (And holds up 5 fingers)

Jonathan’s gift was a black Jeep truck. He was ecstatic. The anti-theft packaging was a pain. I needed to get out a screw driver to release the truck from the packaging. ARGHHl He knows that Grandpa drives a black Jeep (which he calls the “Jeep Truck”). Whenever we go somewhere he looks for it.

So let’s get back to the subject of Mary. We have her doing physical therapy twice a week. We still have her using the walker. She grumbles about that every now and then but uses it. We tell her if you don’t use it, you will fall and get hurt. (And perhaps kill you.) We don’t actually say that but I think that she knows. She continues to sleep a lot during the day.

Yesterday was a particularly busy day for her in that after the birthday party we took her to Shriner BBQ at LA Harbor Lodge. Her husband Harold, was very active in the Shriners. I got her a glass of White Zin to lubricate herself. Then Paula got her a steak and some salad. After dinner, there raffles of door prizes. I won a bottle of Johnny Walker Black. Made my day.

We don’t understand why she keeps blowing off going to church. One thought is that she is dizzier in the morning but she doesn’t complain about going to PT at 9:30 AM. Another thought that we have is that she doesn’t to have other people seeing her as old and weak. Who knows? We just go with the flow. If you want to go, then fine, If not, fine.

Saturday

July 30, 2016

Here I sit at our dining room table writing a blog post. We have no appointments, no things that need to get done, no errands, no grocery shopping. Nothing.

Paula is working on cleaning up our bedroom. Organizing and dusting. Me, I’m just writing a post.

So I’m done reading the NY Times and Boston Globe. The conventions are done. I’ve done two crossword puzzles. Saturday puzzles are the hardest.

img_4456Mary finally got up at about 11:45. Fed her breakfast and made sure she took her meds. Now she’s back in bed. She probably won’t be up until 6 pm to watch the evening news.

It’s afternoon and that means time for iced coffee. We started getting a product from Starbuck’s that is cold brew unsweetened coffee. Sold in the supermarket dairy section. Good stuff.

Once again, the conventions are done. Can anyone explain to me why in this day and age that we have to wait until November to vote in the general election. If you haven’t figured out by now who you’re going to vote for you, you’re not paying attention or something. BTW, I’m voting for Hillary. If you follow me on FB, you probably know that already. Though I expect that 100 days will be enough time for Trump to shoot himself in the foot a few times.

So tomorrow is the Chili Cook-off at LA Harbor Lodge in San Pedro. So I will be getting out the crock pot this evening and getting my entry ready. I will be doing a pork tenderloin and black bean chili. Here’s the recipe.

Later this evening I will be watching my Boston Red Sox play the Angels. Since the Angels are a local team, that means that the game will be blacked out on MLBtv. I will have to find it on the feed from our cable provider (Time Warner).

Well the iced coffee is done, that means it must be time for my martini.

TTFN

Joe

 

Write Me a Letter

July 10, 2016

We spent Saturday doing another deep dive at the storage locker. We took a lot of glassware to the Goodwill. We threw a bunch of stuff into the dumpster. And we brought back a couple of boxes of pictures and memorabilia worth looking into. We continue to struggle with lack of dates and info on the back of pictures. We found a bunch of black and white pics from the 40’s and early 50’s. Paula didn’t recognize anyone and I’m sure that Mary won’t have a clue. Also, the pictures were too small to bother with scanning. So in the trash they go.

We did however find some treasures. We found a couple of pictures that I had taken during a vacation trip in Maine and PEI.

EPSON MFP image

The other interesting tidbit was a letter sent by Pvt. Paul Stanley (Harold’s Father) to his wife (Mimi). The letter was sent in November 1942 from Midland, TX where Paul was in the Army. We’re not quite sure exactly why Paul was in the army. He was a bit old for active duty (he was born in 1898). So here is the scan of the envelope. Two thing to note. No stamp. Postage was free for personal letters home. Addressed to Mrs. Paul Stanley, not Mrs. Mimi Stanley. Married women were always referenced as Mrs. [husband’s name] [husband’s last name.]

Apparently Valley Falls, KS was a small town. No other address info. I suspect that the letter reached the intended recipient without any trouble.

Apparently, Mimi (aka Mabel) joined Paul in Texas soon after the letter was sent because there was an ID card for Mabel at the Army Air Forces Bombardier School in Midland issued in Jan. 1943. So at this point, Harold was 24. Harold was born in August of 1919. Paula tells me by that time he was working at the Douglas Aircraft Co in Long Beach, CA. Interesting how people moved in those days to help with war effort.

So Mabel was 43. Her statue was listed as “Stout”. There’s a euphemism for you. That’s what you called someone who 5’2″ tall and weighed 156 lbs. The letter begins, “Dear Mother”. To which I replied, Huh? Apparently a term of endearment. I guess.

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP imageEPSON MFP image

By the way, Paul (or Paw-Paw) as Paula called him, died of a massive heart attack in the summer of 1954 while traveling up to Lassen National Park in Northern California.

Father’s Day

June 19, 2016

stan bowkerMy father died about 50 years ago when I was about 19. I don’t exactly remember all the exact dates. My memory has gotten just a bit foggy over the years. So here’s my story.

My mom and dad got married after WW2. They got married on March 3, 1946. My father was not in the military due to his epilepsy. Plus he might have been a bit old for the military. They probably didn’t feel right starting a family while the war was going on. Another reason that they might have delayed getting married was that my mother was a school teacher and at that time school teachers were forbidden to be married. Get married, lose your job.

So marry they did. They had three children, born in 1947, 1948 and 1950. So they were well into their 40’s by the time all of my brothers and I arrived.

Okay, fast forward to the late fifties. My dad suffered a heart attack. I think it was 1958 or 1959. What I remember most about the incident was how little the hospital could do for him at the time. No open heart surgery. No stents. All they could do was have him rest. Eventually they sent home from St. Elizabeth’s. He asked the doctor how he was going to manage the stairs to our home on Etna Street in Brighton.

Doctor’s instruction was take a step and then say one Hail Mary, then repeat. Anyway, life went on. That’s it for post-hospital instructions. I suppose there might have been some medicines, but they didn’t tell this 10 year old.

So in November (or maybe December) 1966, my dad had gall bladder problems. Surgery scheduled. Back in the day, they didn’t have laparoscopic surgery. They did it the old fashioned way, they cut you open. In those days, there was no MRI so when they didn’t quite know what was wrong, they cut you open. The term they used was “exploratory surgery”. Yikes.

At any rate, Dad came out of surgery okay, but was suffering some bleeding (showing up in his urine, I guess). Mind you this was a man that only 8 years prior had had a heart attack. So they scheduled another surgery (exploratory this time). I learned this when I went to visit him at St E’s after school one day. At any rate, he coded during the surgery. The surgeons did managed to get his heart restarted, but the damage was done. He never woke from the surgery. He was in a coma for about 6-8 weeks before he died.

So here are my take-aways.

Medicine has come a long, long way since the 1950’s and 1960’s. Looking back on that time it seems like it was dark ages of medicine. If the heart attack had occurred even 20 years later, he might still be alive.

My Dad never got to see us get married and have children of our own. I can truthfully tell you that grandchildren are such a fantastic blessing. Nothing makes me happier than to have our grand-kids run up to me and say “Hi, Grandpa” along with a hug.

Happy Father’s Day everyone!