Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The List

We have been getting ready for "vacation" for about 6 months.  The Internet has been consulted, downloaded, printed and placed neatly in a binder with appropriate headings, directions and places reserved for the nights ahead.  Money has been counted, recounted, accounted and accounted for.  Lists have been made, remade and finalized.  I am a list maker by nature so everything is on a "list".  I have a lot of lists, a To Do List, a Have Done List, a Packing List, a Meds List, a Things for Jonny To Do in the Car List, a Things We Must See List, a Places We Must Go List, you name it and I have a list it will be on somewhere neatly recorded and entered into my "Bucket List Vacation Binder". 

Clothing has been neatly folded and piled in the appropriate rooms so I can stack them into suitcases, emergency kits have been standing by, snack baskets with the appropriate snacks for travelers await us.  DVD's have been carefully selected for Jonathon (our grandson) so he can insert them into the pre-charged portable DVD player.  Journals, postcard stamps, paper clips and any other small items we may need have been stowed in of course their appropriate places. 

The countdown has started 2 days to our 5am departure in the family SUV.  Did we get the keys made for the house/pet sitters?  Oh shoot! Better run down this afternoon and do that, heck its Saturday so might as well check out some of the local garage sales for anything last minute we might need. 

Checked out a few garage sales with no purchases, ran to the hardware store and had keys made.  Thinking on the way home that there was one more garage sale on the way. 

I hear my husband say, "OH NO!" , I feel the car brake, I feel the car swerve.  I look up to see a flash of blue and a loud bang followed by another loud bang, screeching tires, my head makes hard contact with the window and I am thrown violently to the left.  I think, "I'm still conscious! I'm not dead!"

I look at my husband and it's like a weird movie.  He is gripping the wheel hard and the car starts to tip, I'm thinking, " No way, its not going to roll its just tipping a bit".  The car rolls over on its side in a ditch.  I hear the window breaking.  I'm thinking,"Wait, we have to go on vacation- this cannot happen!" 

Everything is silent but the engine is running.  I hear people but can't see them, only their feet from my position, which happens to be nearly upside down. Nothing is supporting me but the seat belt.  I hear my husband say, "Are you alright?"  It's then that I realize I am in a lot of pain, my head is screaming, my back and neck are screaming and suddenly I realise I am also screaming!  I'm screaming, " Someone please help us! We can't get out!  Please help us get out!"  My husband is telling me he is bleeding badly, I am trying to help him but I can't reach him and now I am trying to hold myself up with my right hand into a crack where the door used to fit.  I tell him I think we just messed up our vacation.    I can't breath very well from my weight being restrained by the seat belt across my chest.  I am calling to someone to help my husband--he's bleeding badly. 

I see people's feet and legs standing around the car.  I see a man put a cigarette into his mouth and my husband started yelling for him not to light the cigarette, the man seemed to be ignoring him and my husband screamed at him.  The man got mad and said he wasn't going to light it.  How could we know that?  Someone else was saying things to sooth the man's ruffled feelings, I kept thinking what was going on?  Why isn't anyone trying to sooth our ruffled feelings?  I close my eyes and whisper, " Heavenly Father, help Jack and I to get through this, watch over us and the people in the other car, in Jesus Name AMEN".

I hear sirens, soon I see the yellow covered legs of the paramedics and firemen.  Suddenly a fireman is behind me and putting his arms around me, he says, "My name is Tony, I'm going to take care of you".  It was the sweetest sound I heard that day.  I said Tony my husband is bleeding badly, I'm scared and I can't breath very well, I told him my medical issues.  Someone handed a towel in through the broken front window and I reached for it and handed it to my husband.  He wrapped it around his arm.  Tony put an oxygen mask on me and suddenly I could breath again.  

I see the Jaws of Life cutting the side of the front window frame right above me and I am afraid that when its cut the roof will collapse on us.  I am trying to shield my husband who is below me.  Suddenly the seat releases and I fall back into the arms of Tony who not only catches me but has me on a board and pulled out the back of the car.  The cool air outside the car is a relief.  I am quickly put on a back board, questioned about my injuries and rushed inside an ambulance.  

I am asking where is my husband?  Did you get him out? Is he ok?  They are not talking to me about that.  I ask where are the other people are they ok?  No one is talking.  Instead they are telling me they are starting a "line" and I will feel a big pinch.  I don't feel anything, I am too busy looking for my husband.  Suddenly there he is. His arm is already wrapped.  They are talking about who is going where.  I am confused because I thought we were going on vacation.  The hospital, oh yeah that.  I think I am fine just a headache, backache not much else.  I'm pretty tough but I know my husband is bleeding.  

I'm hearing talk about "airlifts" and ambulances.  I realize then that my husband must be really bad even though he is now joking and laughing with the attendants.  That's how he deals with crisis.  Everybody deals with crisis differently.  I know that, I used to be a 911 operator. 
Then I hear that they will take him to the hospital in an ambulance and I will be airlifted.  I thought that was strange and said to them that we should go together wherever we were going.  They said there wasn't enough room for both of us at that hospital so they had to send us all to different places.  

I close my eyes and prayed, " Thank you Lord for keeping us safe, we don't deserve your love and kindness but I know you love us no matter what".  Please watch over us while we are apart and please protect the other people too." AMEN.  

I feel the ambulance drive on uneven ground and the paramedic pulls me out of the ambulance.  He leaned over and said that I should keep my eyes closed.  I was going in the helicopter to the hospital because of my head injury.  I told him I didn't have a head injury, I just bumped my head on the window.  No blood.  He said just to keep my eyes closed until I was told to open them.  OK . 

I hear all the sounds of the blades, the engine, people,but I kept my eyes closed.  Then I feel the board sliding smoothly and for just a second I opened my eyes and all I can see is what looks like quilted white material.  I slammed my eyes closed.  the inside of a coffin.  That's what it looked like. I felt more sliding and I opened my eyes to see a woman taking off a helmet and swinging her beautiful hair away from her face.  I see a man on the other side of me closing a door and sitting down.  I am thinking how thin they must be to fit inside this very small area with all this "stuff" .  They talk to me, but I can't hear them because of all the noise.  

The man leans down and says he's going to start another IV in my other hand , OK?  I am wondering what if I say no? But I don't.  He puts oxygen on me and starts the IV.  The ride is rough but he does it swiftly and gently, I hardly felt it.  I am thinking this whole time that I'm am going to feel so stupid when they find out all this fuss is for nothing.  

It's taking a very long time to get to the hospital that I thought would be a 5 minute ride to.  We finally arrive and they are pulling me through a "tube" (the coffin) and we go down the sidewalk to a building.  I see the ceiling and the elevator and ask where are we?  Doctors Hospital in Modesto, they said.  I am thinking, "oh crap, how will I get home from here?"  

Suddenly we are inside and people are everywhere, someone tells me she is the Dr. and not to worry.  Someone else tells me she is the trauma nurse and sorry but we have to cut your clothes off but don't worry.  I guess it's not a time to be concerned with modesty.  I am jabbed, poked and prodded.  It hurts, it doesn't hurt and it screams hurt.  I am loaded up again and taken to a CT scanner.  A very nice man who speaks very gently and kindly tells me everything that is going to happen.  

He tells me he is going to take about 2000 pictures, he tells me he is going to inject contrast material and I might feel warm, I might feel like I am going to wet my pants but I won't.  I don't tell him how I really do need to use the lavatory. I do tell him that I am sure I am fine, I just need a nap because I am so tired.  

We go back upstairs and everyone is gone now.  Just a nurse named Stephanie.  She helps me go to the lavatory in a commode next to the bed.  I feel, for the first time I can relax a little.  I find myself talking to God again," Father please be with Jack, I don't know what is happening with him".  The doctor comes back in and has a young man with her. I see he is wearing a tee shirt and shorts.  They look like undershorts.  She says he is the Neurosurgeon, she says she has news for me and doesn't want me to get scared.  Now I am.  She says I have bleeding on my brain, on both sides.  He says one side is where I hit the window, the other side is either my brain hitting my skull or  my skull hitting something else.  OH CRAP.  I don't feel like I am bleeding. 

He tells me its a small bleed and hopefully it will resolve itself.  I have to stay at least overnight.  They will re scan in the morning and if the bleed has stopped I can go home.  I am speechless.  Didn't expect that.

The nurse comes in and hands me a cell phone.  It's my husband. 
He is ok he says.  He had 65 stitches and is good as new.  He is being sent home.  He says he is in a lot of pain.  I can imagine.  I am thinking how to tell him what the Dr said.  I say," I have a bruise on my brain so I have to stay for observation."  He wants to come and I say no.  Go home, get some rest.  We say we love each other and hang up.

My son shows up and buys me a soda.  And a cookie.  I used to give him a cookie when he was a child and had an "owie".  I send him home.

Sometime later I get a room and am properly tucked in.  Its about 12:30 am, I am beat but still have to tell them all the details, meds, etc.  They have to do skin checks in case they missed something in ER.  Finally I am left alone.

Time to talk to God again.  I tell Him I am really disappointed about the vacation.  I am happy though that He took such good care of us.  I am happy I am His Child , it brings me to tears how fortunate I am to have my precious Savior right there to watch over me and Jack.  

I am home now and making plans for a shorter vacation as soon as we can get another car.  I am still in pain, lots of pain but I am getting through it.  Jack is healing but also still in pain.  We have a lot of work to do with the insurance issues and all the reservations being cancelled and family notified that we will come when we can but that might not happen either.  They understand.  

I believe God has a plan for us and we will see what it is.  If we are able to go on vacation we will go.  If not we will save our Bucket List for next year.  I will have a whole year to make lists to my hearts' delight.

I praise God for He is so good to me, without Him it could have been so much the worse for us all.  I praise God for being number one on all my lists.  We never left home without HIM!


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Throwers of Stones

What makes people do what they do?  Is it some childhood happening or something taught by parents, maybe something learned as an adult?  I wonder what makes some people the loveliest people you've ever met and others hateful?

In the last few days there have been two things that have really struck me.  My good E friend Sharon who happens to be Jewish (as was my great grandmother) somehow came across a group called "Hating Israel, on Facebook". It is beyond me why Facebook would allow any hategroupsFacebook should have a positive image and a positive content.  Yeah I know all about freedom of expression and freedom of speech.  But I believe you should not have the freedom to infringe upon another individuals beliefs.  Remember, mom said if you can't say something nice......?  I guess that's just too simple, it probably runs into all kinds of legalities and infringements to just either be polite or keep your ideas in your own arena.  It seems to me that to be politically correct is another way of saying it's ok to stomp on someone else as long as its in the name of being fair to only one race, religion or creed. 

Speaking of HATE.  My beautiful 16 year old grandson was hit in the head with an object because someone at his school thought he was "GAY".  He has long lovely dark hair, the same color as his grandpa's by the way, he is a "rocker" which I suppose means he is into rock and roll.  I didn't know that long hair and rock and roll was symbolic of being "GAY".  He loves the girls and the girls seem to love him, but bottom line is that whether he is or isn't GAY is not the issue.  The issue is that to be struck with a rock in the head because someone thought you were GAY is a HATE crime. 

My cousin was GAY.  I loved her very much, she was fun, pretty, kind, witty, intelligent and GAY.  I don't know why she was GAY.  I won't go into the politics of whether it is an inherent trait or conscious choice.  I did not agree with her life style, but I loved her as a human being and family member.  I would hope that she would have made the proper choices and understood God's love for her.  She had a terrible childhood, it was full of tragic circumstances that no child should have to experience. She died very suddenly in a horrific crash.  I do hope she made the right choices in her relationship with God.  I don't know that she ever knew how much she was loved. 

I suppose Jesus was the first person we can identify who was a victim of a hate crime.  Over the last 2000 years there have been many brought to our attention.  Anne Frank, Matthew Shepard, John the Baptist, the list could go on and on.  In some cases the death of someone insured that a change would take place but at the cost of a precious life. 

For Christians the death of Jesus means everlasting life for those who accept him as their Savior.  For Christians it also means we are to be compassionate and non-judgmental.  It's an awful hard thing not to be consumed with anger towards someone who hurts those you love.  I wonder if that's how those hateful people got that way.  So I am back to square one.  I am commanded by my Lord to pray for those people who hurt my friends and family ....and forgive them.  I am only human but I know that the only way to serve God is to be an example of God's love.  Only through God can I forgive those that hurt the ones I love.  So tonight when I review my list of people and issues to pray about I know what will be at the top of my list.

The entire incident has lead me to review my own feelings about homosexuality and truthfully I didn't like what I discovered.  I had to do some real serious soul searching about my own feelings and probably left over input from my parents and grandparents.

I recently read the following information written by Lehman Strauss:

What should be the Christian's attitude toward the homosexual?
We must always keep before us the fact that homosexuals, like all of us sinners, are the objects of God's love. The Bible says, "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). Jesus Christ "is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (I John 2:2). The Christian who shares God's love for lost sinners will seek to reach the homosexual with the gospel of Christ, which "is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth" (Romans 1:16). As a Christian I should hate all sin but I can find no justification for hating the sinner. The homosexual is a precious soul for whom Christ died. We Christians can show him the best way of life by pointing him to Christ. Our Lord said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). We are obligated to take the gospel to all.

So even though my grandson is not gay, someone thought he was and his treatment by that person/persons was not the way Christ would have wanted anyone to be treated.  We are to hate the sin but not the sinner!   Which means we cannot hate the thrower of the stone anymore than the person who was the object of the stone. 
Dont'cha just love how it all works out when God is in control!

Gold Rush Grandma

Gold Rush Grandma 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Grampa's Old Yellow Pickup

My cousin Bill and I spent our younger years with our grandparents.  My mother and his father were siblings.  Our grandfather was actually our parents step father but we didn't really understand or care about that, he was just "Grampa".  He worked so hard everyday of the week.  Once in awhile he was off on a Sunday but mostly he worked. 

 We lived many years in the Bakersfield area  but we also lived in a small community (though I hesitate to call it that) called "Chalame" pronounced Sha Lam.  No one ever heard about that area until James Dean died there in an accident.  I think they have put some kind of memorial up there for him, but it wasn't there when I was a kid.  Chalame was miles and miles of nothing.  Dry desert area, lots of sagebrush, tumble weeds, rattlers and assorted other nasty creatures. 

Billy and I went to school everyday on the school bus.  It took us to Lost Hills Elementary School. There were 14 kids in my combined 3rd and 4th grade class, and 9 kids in Billy's 1st grade class.  20 kids graduated from the 8th grade that year.  When we came home from school we would go out and play and watch for the dust trail on the horizon.  That meant Grampa was on his way home.  We would run down that old dirt road to meet his old, battered yellow pickup.  He would always slow down so we could jump on the running board and he would drive us home.  We always thought he was driving us fast but he probably was only doing 10 mph.   It was fast enough for us!  We would laugh and shout with joy during that short ride back to the house and our supper. 

Grampa worked as a farm hand for a landowner.  He ran the tractor in cotton, corn, alfalfa and whatever else they were growing there and he also worked with the landowners cattle.  Grampa was an old rodeo man.  There wasn't much he couldn't do on a horseback. 

They all called him "Tex"  as he was from Texas.  New Braunfels to be exact.  He was the son of German immigrants and he could speak three languages fluently, German, Spanish, and English.  He had a strong work ethic and felt it was a man's duty to provide for and protect his family.   When Grampa spoke you listened and while he never did spank us you just didn't want to find out if he actually would. 

Grampa served in WWII.  He saw horrific things.  He fought in some historic, bloody battles during his enlistment.  I never heard him talk about it, ever.  Instead he sang us German songs and would tell us the song was about his ugly dog and other nonsense.  We loved it!

Grampa loved my grandma very much.  He wasn't much for words and I never heard him say he loved her but just by the way they were with each other you could tell they did.  Once when I was 15 I saw my Grampa go up behind Grandma while she was washing dishes and put his arms around her and give her a big kiss!  My Grandma said," Oh FRED!"  like she was mad but I could see her eyes were smiling and her cheeks were red. 

We didn't have a phone that worked on a regular basis, and it was a party line when it did.  So there were no lady friends for Grandma to chat with.  We were 15 miles from the nearest house and a couple miles off the main road.  Grandma liked to watch her "stories" everyday which were General Hospital and As the World Turns.  About half the time the tv didn't get good reception - no satillite in those days.

Every morning my Grandma would wake us up before the sun came up and we would have to look over the side of the bed onto the floor and pull up any bedding that might be down towards the floor before leaping out away from the bed..once in awhile a rattler got in and would be under the bed! 

She would load us up in the car and we would drive the fence line and rabbit hunt.  Grandma had a little 410 that she would take along and a 22 with a magazine.  We would come back with 2 or 3 cotton tails that would be our dinner that night.  Then we would get ready for school. We ate cotton tail rabbit about 5 nights a week.  Grandma was thrifty.

There were some old bunkhouses next to the house we lived in but they weren't used anymore so they made the perfect "clubhouse".  Billy and I would pretend we were cowboys and we named the bunkhouses "Rattail USA" .  It was our pretend ranch.   We believed we were going to Montana someday and be rich ranchers like the one Grampa worked for.  We were going to have horses though, not smelly old cows.  We also weren't going to let anyone else on our ranch, we didn't need anyone else. 

Once in awhile my Aunt Mariam came with her 3 kids.  The oldest was 9 months younger than me and the middle one was the same age as Billy.  We tolerated them but they were city kids and just not worth our respect.  We got them into so much trouble because they weren't allowed to do much of anything for fear of being hurt.  We were used to going out into the desert on our own and we carried pellet guns with us!  (I was 10 and Billy was 7) 
To this day our cousins don't have much to do with us.  We just live on different sides of the ocean I guess. 

Nowdays I live in the foothills of California's Gold Rush country and Billy lives in a remote Oregon forest with his wife and youngest son.  We never did see that ranch in Montana but its still fun to talk about it when we get together.  We refer to each other as brother and sister even though we are really cousins.  It just doesn't feel like cousins to us.  Cousins are those city kids that aren't allowed to have any fun at all. 

My grandma died when I was about 16.  She had cancer and they didn't have the skills or tools they have now to treat cancer with.  She was only 55.    I remember my Grampa calling the ambulance to take her to the hospital.  She didn't know who he was.  He went to the hospitol and she died very shortly after she arrived there.  My Grampa came home and opened a bottle of some kind of liquor and sat in the kitchen with his cowboy hat still on and quietly got drunk. 

Grampa was retired by then and he ran a boarding stable and taught calf roping and barrel racing to youngsters.  When my oldest son was 10 months old (I was 21) we got the call that Grampa was gone.  He had a heart attack out in the barn, unsaddling a horse.  He died quickly and died in the place he loved second best to my Grandma. 

I don't know if they were saved or not, I can only hope that one day when my time comes they will be there to welcome me home.  Just like when I was a kid and came home from school.  Riding on Grampa's old yellow pickup running board, the hot wind blowing through my hair and not a care in the world.

Gold Rush Grandma

Friday, May 21, 2010

Last summer was my husbands' 65th birthday. WOW! 65, I'm married to a 65 year old man. How did that happen? I'm so young, when did HE get so old? Another thing when did he start looking like his dad? Not just looking like his dad but ACTING like his dad.

Pop would talk non stop for hours and hours. Right through dinner, right through all your favorite TV programs, he would stand outside the bathroom door where you thought you could escape to for a few minutes peace and quiet and long after you went to bed you could hear him in there talking. I guess to the dog. Pop lived to be 93. He worked right up to the week before he died, only the stroke stopped him, but just for a minute. He looked at every new face as an opportunity to tell some stories that everyone else had already heard a thousand times. Doctors and Nurses were fair game and a captive audience.

My husband Jack has not only begun to imitate his father but in so many ways he has become his father. Somewhere between here and there he has come full circle, adoring kid, know it all teen, angry young man, patient middle aged man to an understanding older man. His relationship with his father was so love-hate for so many years. I guess that is the nature of things. In life we seem to love to hate and hate to love through so much of our lives.

My husband Jack wasn't a great dad himself. He loved his kids but just didn't know how to relate to them. Maybe it was because he was the product of much older parents. Born late in their lives his dad was really too old to "grow up" with his kids as most parents do. Perhaps not having a younger dad as a role model didn't provide him with the tools he needed to be a good dad.

Maybe he was so intent on proving what he thought a "man" was that he missed the boat on being just a dad and relaxing in that role. As his kids became older he took his boys hunting and fishing some. It seems they really enjoyed that as they became teens. Being somewhat of a mental teenager himself I believe they had some good times together. But I don't think he really could comprehend what he needed to do to be a father of daughters. Girls were and still are a strange and mysterious although fascinating species to him. He loves his girls deeply but sometimes just doesn't know how to communicate that.

As a younger man Jack was quite charming and very good looking. He attracted women like bees to honey. I can tell you he led me on a merry chase! He was romantic, strong, loving and all the girls! Yes, I fell for it too, like a ton of bricks.

When we decided to get married it was like a command performance. No one believed it would actually happen, least of all me. Right up to the starting of the music I was sure he wouldn't show up. His precious freedom was at stake. But as I saw him waiting for me at the end of the isle and saw the tears in his eyes I knew then that it was forever. Till death do us part. We got married by a friend who was a superior court judge. My only regret now is that back then we were Christians only by definition. We had no prayers , no scriptures, God was not invited to our wedding.

We have had some real ups and downs during the last 25 years. Some deep valleys. I'm surprised we were able to climb out of some of them. I'm still learning things about my husband. The most important thing took me years to figure out, mainly this: A person is the way they are and if you think you can "help" them make some changes for the better, think again. Your time would be better spent in learning how to compromise than how to change.

Now we are Christians and we try, together to do what God would have us do in our relationship. We try to treat each other as commanded. The Bible says, "Husbands love your wives" . It doesn't say for wives to love their husbands...hmmmm. I would think that is because women have the inherit trait to love. If women are loved and treated well they will love and treat well. Women are commanded to "submit to your husbands", hmmmm. Men are raised to work hard, make decisions, provide and protect. If you as a woman do not allow your man to do that which comes as natural instinct, he cannot become the man God wants him to be. This does not mean the woman is the slave to a hard master. A Godly man loves his wife, he wants to have a co-operative and loving union and respects her ideas and suggestions.

So now I see my husband, silver hair, shoulders still strong and wide, always a smile and a joke. He refuses the Senior Discount down at Frank's Diner because somehow that will mean admitting his age. He still sucks in his gut when he see's a pretty girl, which makes me laugh at his vanity. He makes his grandkids laugh at his antics and jokes and I hope he will do the same when his great grandkids are old enough to appreciate him. Yes, he is almost 66...I forget that often. To me, his almost 58 year old wife, he is still the handsomest man I have ever seen.
Lucky Gold Rush Grandma

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Running with the Bulls

After suffering for many years from a back injury, it has finally gotten to the point that I decided to mention it to my Dr. So he says how did it happen? " I'm wanting to say something like It happened in Spain, I was running with the bulls when....." or maybe "I was in San Francisco, minding my own business when 5 ninjas attacked"... but somehow I didn't think he would believe that.

So I had to confess, I was roller skating when I was about 30, a couple of teens who thought they were playing roller derby came up behind me and plowed into me. I took a shoulder in the lower back, did a flip and landed on my lower back on top of a roller own.

It left a bruise that went across my entire back and most of my bottom. I could barely walk for weeks. About a month later I decided to show my son's some "moves", on a skate board. Nuff said about that. The Dr rolls his eyes and I hastily remarked, "I was real thin back then! What was I thinking??? Did I somehow subconsciously think that he was picturing me as I am now hitting the concrete in a great big splat?

So anyway he says I need to take some physical therapy as I probably have a pinched nerve causing the problem. Ok I'll go.

First I have to get X-Ray'd , lower back, both hips and legs. Then I get an appointment for the Physical Therapy.

Today was the big day, I drive into Stockton, which is a big city for me. Here in the Foothills if there are more than 6 cars on the road at the same time its either a parade, funeral or church is letting out. Although I lived
in Stockton for more than 30 years I still get lost there and everyone is driving like they are in time trials for a stock car race.

I arrive at the appointed time and the first thing I notice is the sign says " Sports Medicine Therapy". I'm thinking hmmmm, wonder what sport falling off a skateboard is?..

I go in and fill out the required 16 pages of insurance and past medical history. Then I wait in the lobby humming to the overhead tune of Girls Just Want To Have Fun, done by a classical orchestra, I'm thinking it's a pretty appropriate song.

The "PT'ist" comes out and gets me and we go into a room where she has me trying to do ballet moves to determine my range of motion. Then I lay down on the exam table and she digs her fingers in every joint I have and asks, "Does this hurt?" which I nod the affirmative at every chance hoping she will ease off a bit. She goes over my medical history, then briefly tells me hers. I'm not sure why but I am sure there will be a test at the end so I really listen. Then we go into the "PT Room" other words the Torture Chamber or Dungeon whatever you prefer.

Bicycling comes first, the seat is small or my bottom is big, maybe both. I have to pedal for 7 minutes. Pedaling is not the problem, the disappearing seat is the problem. I am suddenly absorbing the seat like the La Brea Tar Pit. I am positive the sound of me coming off that seat is going to sound like a champagne cork coming off the bottle.

Time is up and I slowly get unwedged off the seat and walk back to the PT'ist. I can still feel the seat somewhere "up there" and I begin pulling at my pants to make sure they are not buried in an uncomplimentary way as I walk thru a room full of University Jocks with pulled ham strings and popped tendons. I suddenly had a vision of a lady I saw on a plane once, coming out of the bathroom with her skirt neatly tucked into the back of her pantyhose. As she walked down the isle back to her seat I saw about 15 heads pop into the isle as she walked past each row of seats...Please God , not me!

So next on the list is to lay on the giant table-bed next to a man I have never even met. I kept thinking, "I'm married and in my entire married life the man next to me has always been my husband"... I couldn't even peek over at him to see if he was as uncomfortable as I was. Anyway she had us both doing the same exercises at the same time and we both kept our eyes averted from each other (at least I did). I would imagine the young man got a good feeling for what it would be like to do exercises with your grandma..

When I was just at the point of not being able to do another knee bend or waist twisting thingy she said time was up. PRAISE GOD! I managed to walk out to my car after she tells me I need to come in twice a week. ( I gave her the I'll call you routine). I drove home and I could barely get out of the car. I suddenly remembered I have to go to my grandson's Open House tonight and there would be no getting out of it.

My grandsons school is on the side of a hill. You have to take a series of stairs up levels and down levels to visit classrooms. So the classes were all on the lower levels, there was an Art Show on the upper levels and a book fair on the far side of the upper level, we were parked down two levels, across the campus and up one level... I was in such pain by the time we finished I could barely walk to the car.

So the next time someone tells me physical therapy is just the thing I need, they just might be needing it too....

Grouchy Gold Rush Grandma!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Home Economics

I'm not really sure what "Home Economics" are. Is it being economical in the home? or is it the practice of the art of homemaking? I guess it's how you look at it from your own perspective.

It's hard to practice the art of homemaking if you have to get out there and earn a buck so your kids can eat and go to school with decent clothes on everyday. Especially in these times where one or both parents are out of work or have had to take pay cuts to keep their jobs. But in reality this is where "Home Economics" kick in.

I'm sure not a professional in the realm of cheap living but I've been poor on and off through out most of my life. I was born to farm workers who (seriously) picked cotton by hand for a living. I remember doing it myself as a 4 year old. I have been unemployed while being a single mom for long periods of time between jobs. I have gone to strip malls and gone door to door, business to business offering to strip and wax floors , clean out commercial kitchens, defrost commercial freezers etc during closing hours for $20.00. I remember getting my car repossessed and walking home from one of those all night jobs carrying my buckets and cleaning supplies in my hands. I can still hear my kids pleading with me to try and come earlier or later so their classmates wouldn't see me on their way to school and make fun of them. I learned how to stretch a dollar and I will show you how you can do that too. Just a few money savers....I'm not out to change your life, only you can do that.

Have you noticed how expensive laundry detergent is? Washing powder is expensive and liquid or liquid gel is even more expensive. I am going to start this off by giving you a recipe for laundry detergent both powder and liquid, that will cost you pennies per load.


2/3 bar of Fels Naptha soap, grated

2/3 bar of Kirks Castile Soap, grated

2 cups 20 Mule Team Borax

2 cups washing soda

1/4 cup glycerin

2 gallons hot water

20-30 drops of essential oils such as lavender or tea tree oil

Put a quart of water in a medium pot over medium heat, add the Fels Naptha and Kirks Castile and stir until melted.

Add the 20 Mule Team Borax and washing soda and mix till it thickens.

Put 1/2 gallon hot water into a 3 or 4 gallon bucket and add the soap mixture and stir well.

Add the glycerin and essential oils to the mixture and fill to the two gallon mark on your bucket. (You might have to measure and mark with a permanent marker prior to mixing the soap)

The glycerin acts as a stain remover and the essential oils have antibacterial and/or antifungal properties.

Set it aside for 24 hours. It will sometimes set up into an almost jello like consistancy but that's ok, it still works.

Use 1/2 to one cup per load. I keep in on top of the washer in a bucket with a fitted lid and an old half cup measuring cup sitting on the lid for convenience.

You can find the glycerine at most health food stores or pharmacies and the bar soap in the laundry isle, the washing soda is ususally there too under the Arm and Hammer brand, note this is washing soda not soap.

20 mule team borax should also be there.

These items together shouldn't be more than about 10.00 and will make more than the two gallons of detergent, which makes this so economical.

If you like using powdered laundry soap then mix the dry ingredients together well, you can use an additional grated bar of any bar soap that you like the smell of as well. (I like to add Irish Spring) Put it in a zip lock bag or a large container with a lid. Use 1/8 of a cup per load.

Try and look at this as a fun way to learn about the old arts of homemaking. Our need to save time has cost us more and more and not just money. We lost many skills with the coming of fast foods and time saving products. We no longer stand in the kitchen side by side with our mothers and daughters to share the work and learn the art which in turn strengthens our relationships with each other. We have to make it a priority to get back to basics and live more frugally.

Later I will give some great places to find money saving coupons and freebies galore!

Gold Rush Grandma

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Morning Thoughts ~He knows me

Sometimes God lays it on your heart to share. This morning I want to share my favorite passage in the Bible. Psalms 139. I shared this passage with my son the other day and told him this is what I want read at my memorial when I go home.

Psalm 139

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.

5 You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, [a] you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to
me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.

19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!

20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.

21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
and abhor those who rise up against you?

22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

This Psalm is so precious to me, it is calming and endearing. It tells me no matter how bad things get or how alone I think I am in the world that God is always by my side and knows me better than anyone, He alone can comfort me the way I should be comforted. I am never alone and never without His strength even when I am weak and fall, I fall before Him and He lifts me up and never remembers my failures, but encourages my attempts to overcome adversity for they make me stronger. He is my Lord, my Father, my Christ and my Savior . I sometimes feel lower than an undeserving worm before Him but I know that to Him I am a strong and faithful servant and I am so glad for my Savior's Love.

Do you know the love of Jesus Christ? Would you like to know what it is like first hand to be wrapped in His EVERLASTING Love? It is so easy to ask the Lord into your life and heart. He will never leave you or forsake you...Just ask!

A Greatful Gold Rush Grandma!

This and that

It's been a week of changes here. My husband Jack was diagnosed with diabetes last Thursday. So some major changes in diet are about to take place. We of course got a lot of info from family and friends and we are going to take a few classes so we will have some good guidelines for practical use.

I am thinking of how to change my husbands favorite recipes to healthier ones so he won't feel deprived. I love reworking recipes anyway so it will be a challenge I will enjoy. The whole family will probably benifit from the new diet-we can all afford to lose several pounds.

Granddaughter Christina is graduating next week. My how time flies! It seems just yesterday when she was singing "I love you, you love me, we're a happy family, with a great big hug and a kiss from me to you, won't you say you love me too?" She is planning to go into law enforcement so I really hope the budget in CA is balanced by the time she finishes her POST training.

We are planning our first vacation in many years and I am hoping to blog on the road as we go. We are driving to Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Tombstone, Monument Valley, Salt Lake City, then we will drive to the Oregon Trail and crossover in Portland to Washington as we head to the coast for a few days. Not sure where we will go after that but I will post that as we decide. We are taking our almost 9 year old grandson along so keep you fingers crossed on that! I am hoping to find my father and step mothers graves while we are in Arizona, see some of the places I lived as a child (Vegas, Blue Diamond NV, Tempe AZ,) It should be fun anyway.

We celebrated our 67th annual "Home Coming" at our church last Sunday. What a wonderful day! We enjoyed some awesome food (church ladies are the best cooks!) and afterwards we enjoyed some truly talented people at our "Hymn Sing". My son Jon went and I was worried he might think it was taking too long but he said he really enjoyed it. Our little church was started in 1865 by the Kirk and Sinclair families who still have descendants in attendance there. There have been several prominent families who have supported,attended and built up this wonderful church. You can see many of their names on the road signs as you travel through the gold rush area. You can get an idea about our church if you are interested by visiting the website:

That's about enough for today. Got to start dinner soon and help Jonny with his homework..

Day One

Having never done a "blog" before I simply title my blog today as "Day One". I will eventually get the hang of it as I get used to my new computer and new keyboard (which is way different from the old one).

I am in the process of trying to duplicate a lot of the material and pictures, recipes etc that I lost when the old computer took a nose dive a couple of weeks ago. Valuable lessons have been learned.

I decided to start a blog because I wanted to share my boring life with anyone who cares to read about it. I will post recipes, pictures, farmlife, info while we travel and just general stuff that life is made of. I will probably also publish a lot of the unique and highly interesting stuff my grandkids are up to. Can't wait can you?

I think this might be fun and will hopefully find folks interested enough to keep me doing it.