dearanonymousfriend

Ramblings from a would be writer

Aunt Beulah’s Fox Stoles…

Last night while not being able to go to sleep, I thought of my Aunt Beulah.  Yes, I actually did have an Aunt Beulah.  Why anyone would name a young girl Beulah is beyond me, but, I digress.

Aunt Beulah was not a warm and fuzzy aunt.  You did not run to her with open arms to get a big hug.  She was married to my father’s older brother.  She had an air about her that did not belong in Oil City, PA.  She was restricted, I mean refined (?).  She was aloof.  At least that is what I think of when I think of her.

She had a pinched look on her face and that caused these little lines to form all around her mouth.  A few years ago, I noticed I had lines around my mouth.  I almost screamed aloud, “Oh no!  Aunt Beulah lines!”.  Instead, I slathered lotion around my mouth and spent the next few days constantly smiling, hoping those lines would disappear.

Now, I have painted a certain picture of my aunt.  I know we spent a lot of time at her house, especially after my mom died.  I don’t know if she felt sorry for us poor motherless waifs, or what, but I do remember being at her house often.  She would use scissors to cut up nice pieces of meat for her dachshund, Wrinkles, who would yap and snap at your heels constantly.  A very unpleasant dog.    My dad often commented that Wrinkles ate better than his brother.

Again, the memories are most likely not accurate because, we did visit often there.  I remember holiday meals at her house.  Not the food actually, but, doing dishes.  My sisters and I, the poor motherless waifs!  We would spend hours doing dishes.  At least that is what it seemed like.  I am certain she used every dish in her china cabinet.  We washed, we dried, we put them away in their sleeves in these quilted dish holders.  They would then go into a box and then into the china cabinet.  Those dishes were so protected that I think World War III could start in the china cabinet and those dishes would be unscathed.

But, what made all these memories come forward was the thought of Aunt Beulah’s upstairs closet in her sewing room.  It was a small closet, and inside was nothing but fur coats and fox stoles.  You know those stoles that women used to wear over the collars of their winter coats?  They had little fox heads that were actually clips to hold the stole together.  My sisters and I would go into that closet to ‘pet’ the furs.  We would eventually take each of those clips and clip each of the stoles together.

This is what my initial thought of Aunt Beulah was last night.  I saw her in a last-minute rush going into that closet to grab a stole and head to Mass.  Grabbing one, a dozen came out, I am certain.  I can just hear her, in my mind cursing those poor motherless waifs for connecting her stoles while she was trying to get to church.

It’s amazing where your mind wanders in the middle of the night, isn’t it?

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It’s a New Year…

Yes, it’s the third day of this new year.  No, I haven’t been celebrating for the past four days.   I am just now getting around to reading blog entries and deciding to write.

I have read blogs talking of new starts, new hope, blank slates.  All of them poignant and encouraging.  To be honest, this year, I haven’t done my usual inventory of the past year and I haven’t thought about this new year.  As cynical as it sounds, my thoughts have been wondering what all will happen this year.

Each year I have tried to look ahead.  I try to plan things I would like to do.  I don’t call them resolutions because I know by February I will have forgotten what I resolved to do.  I just like to make mental plans of what I could do during the year.

Except this year.  I haven’t a clue as to what this year holds.   I know whatever happens, with the grace of God, I will get through it.  The grace of God is what has gotten me through several years.  It is only by His grace, His care and His love that I am where I am.

A year ago today, if someone were to have told me that my hubby was going to be laid up throughout the summer and I would have to do the things I had to do this summer, I would have run screaming through our woods hoping to get lost and never found.  I would not have had the courage to go through this year.    I would have quit.  I wouldn’t have gone forward.

That’s the thing about not knowing the future.  We may not have the courage to proceed if we know what is in store for us.

So, as this year starts, I am sitting here wondering what this year will be like.  I wonder what I will be like this year.  I wonder what changes will happen.  How they will affect me.

Last night I made popcorn.  Not a remarkable event.  But, it was the first time I had made popcorn without our puppy underfoot.  As usual, I dropped some popcorn pieces as I was pouring it into the bowls.  I looked down and realized that for the first time in 16 years I had to pick that popcorn up.  There was no Shugo to scarf it down and beg for more.

This is just one example of how things have changed this past year.  Last year the thought of losing Shugo was a possibility, but by the end of the year, it was reality.

I am grateful for my faith in our Creator.  For, without that faith, that assurance of His care and protection of me, I could not face a new year that is unknown.  I know this is a different tone than my usual post, but, this is what is on my heart.  I face this new year, now, 362 days left in it.  I know I will write about it, cry over it, fight it, enjoy it and this time next year, Lord willing, I will look back and once more know who it was who actually got me through it.  Thank you Lord, in advance.     Happy New Year.

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Once Upon A Time at Christmas… Pt 2…

Christmas Day is usually a day that I love to cook.  I try to make our meal time special, the table settings, real napkins, and Christmas china and of course, food that is much different from my normal food.  I love to plan for it and I always want it to be special.

Throughout my life,  I can count on both hands the number of times that I have not had Christmas dinner either at my home or at a friend’s home.  There was the time where we took the bus over to the Yokohama train station and went to the underground mall.  We spent the afternoon shopping and I believe we ate there also, another time, we went to Disneyland for Christmas Day.  It was crowded, but fun.  It was the first year our whole family was not together, so hubby and my oldest ferried me up to a hotel on Christmas Eve and we spent the day at the happiest place on Earth, having a lovely dinner at Downtown Disney.  It was a special day, but, it did not help my loneliness at not having my girls together with me.  I am certain there were other times and adventures, but, honestly, besides those two times that stick out in my mind, I have always had a meal at home.

So, this year….  I could not cook.  The thought of a full septic system and me in my kitchen just could not be reconciled.  I told hubby mid day that I could not fix a meal to my satisfaction.  He said whatever was easiest for me was what we would do.  I spent an hour online trying to find a place that was open.  Nothing was.  Denny’s was open.  So, off we went to Denny’s.  Now, I usually do not mind a meal at Denny’s.  I joked on the way over that moons over my hammy might be a good choice for dinner.  I did not get the laughing response I thought I would.  About that time, I looked over towards a strip mall and commented that the chinese restaurant was open and there were only three cars parked in front of it.  Everyone groaned a bit, but laughed.  We continued towards Denny’s.   We arrived, went in and noticed immediately the long lines.  We then noticed that there were an incredible amount of empty tables.  People were complaining.  Loudly!  No Christmas cheer  in this place.  We sat down and waited to be seated.  We waited for a good half hour, getting to know several people who were also patiently waiting. Eventually, Little Miss got loose from us and wandered towards the  counter area.  My daughter chased after her, coming back to tell us all that we were not going to eat there.  She had glanced in the kitchen and was appalled at the appearance there.  Obviously, being short-staffed, they figured that cleaning the kitchen was not important.  We left.

Once in the car, I once more suggested the Chinese restaurant.  Once more, I was ignored.  We headed to another known place ~ IHOP.  So, off we go.  The wait was long, but, we were at least seated.  We got drinks, and they were refilled when they went down.  We finally ordered and after another hour, our mediocre meal arrived. We were thankful for it, but, I honestly, at that point was thinking, full septic tank or not, I should have figured out something to cook at home.  Little Miss needed to be changed after dinner, so my daughter took her to the restroom to change her.  Upon returning, she reminded us of a couple whom we had talked with at Denny’s.  She had run into her in the restroom and found out that shortly after we left, a fist fight broke out at Denny’s between a staff person and one of those disgruntled customers.  I guess the police were called.  Definitely no Christmas cheer there…

We left the house at 4:30 p.m. on Christmas Day.  We didn’t arrive home until after 7:30.  It was a long time for a disappointing meal, but, we had food in our tummies and for that we were grateful.

On the way home we noticed that the Chinese restaurant was still open.  My daughter, who, was tired from keeping Little Miss occupied and happy,  said, I am going to check and see what the reviews of that place is.  If it is even a 3 star review, I am going to kill myself.  Opening the phone information she read off several 4+ star reviews.  With a mixture of laughter and indigestion we sighed.  We could have had some good Chinese food.  Oh well, I guess that is something to keep in mind in case we ever have another Christmas like this one.

We came home.  Victorious.   We had survived Christmas…   It was not the version I had dreamed of for weeks before it’s arrival, but, a Christmas very different. I know through the years the story of this Christmas will be remembered.  It will be retold.  Years from now it will be a family story that one begins to wonder if it really happened.   For those of us who were there, we will remember.  We may forget what gifts were given.  We may forget the frustration of the day.  We may even forget what started the whole day, but, we will remember how different it was.  We will remember laughing over the stupid things.  We will remember it was a time of bonding.  How can you not bond over septic waste and shop vacs?   Yes, this is what our Christmas was this year.  I think I am looking forward to 2017.  Thanks for stopping by today, have a great few last days of 2016 and may 2017 hold all the joys and blessings your heart can hold.  Cathi (DAF)

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Once Upon A Time at Christmas…

A week ago, my daughter (Little Miss’ mom) and her family arrived for Christmas.  It was the first time in a decade that we were able to spend Christmas together.  I was so thrilled!  Her sister, obviously my other daughter,  was supposed to join us, but, at the last moment, couldn’t.  We were disappointed, but, understood.

The days leading up to Christmas were full.  We had fun, visiting, playing with our Little Miss, who is two and filled with giggles and two-year old conversations.   We went shopping for last-minute gifts, for groceries, for nothing in particular.  It was a lovely few days leading up to the 25th.

Christmas Eve we set out gifts and made plans for the following morning.  My daughter made a breakfast casserole in the crock pot and we planned to get up and head to church.  We each had our outfits ready to go, and it was all planned out.  Get up, have a nice breakfast, go to church, come home and open gifts and have a nice dinner.

Christmas Eve we went to bed.  All was quiet…   Hubby and I got up, showered, got ready for church.  Our daughter was getting up and Little Miss’ daddy was kind enough to discover that our guest room bath had standing water in it.  Such a wonderful Christmas gift for us!  We went to the basement and lo!  there was more standing water.

That lovely Christmas breakfast casserole stayed in the crock pot just a bit longer.  Hubby and I changed from our church clothes into work clothes.  So, for the next two hours the guys worked.  Pumping and vacuuming water from the floor.  Turning off water certain places to make certain it didn’t leak. Moving a toilet to make certain it wasn’t the cause of the water.  Discovering that our septic tank decided to be full.  Full on Christmas Day.  Not Christmas Eve…. no…. Christmas Day.  It could not wait another day… no… full on Christmas Day.

So, we called and got an appointment for the next morning to have the tank pumped.  That was good.  It was going to happen soon.  We had water to drink that did not need to be run through the sink.  So, that was great.  But… cooking.  I just could not think about doing that in my kitchen.   This will be in part 2…

We ate some breakfast, although the guys did not have much appetite after clearing the rooms.  I had the fumes of disinfectant lingering in my nose as I scrubbed the floors where the water had been and where the men had walked.  We ate, not truly enjoying the casserole that was delicious.

We read the Christmas story.  Little Miss was a bit distracted, but hubby was trying to salvage something of the day.  The story ended.  I went to the kitchen and decided that mimosas were in order.   And then we opened gifts.  Christmas, as it is spoken of in  “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”  did come.  “It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.  Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… He thought …means a little bit more.”   Christmas came even though the tank overflowed…

Christmas came.  We laughed with one another as we sat in our stinky work clothes.  We hugged and thanked each other even though only half of us managed to shower that morning.  We had each other and the cares and weight of the messy morning did not ruin what happens when family sit around a tree on Christmas morning and share with one another.

Christmas came as it did centuries ago.  Christmas came quietly that day long ago.  That day when our Savior was born.  Christmas came without ribbons, it came without tags.  It continues to come even when the morning is filled with shop vacs and buckets and scrubbing.    I hope your Christmas was special like ours, but, not as eventful as ours turned out.   Cathi

 

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Season’s Greetings…

As this year draws to a close, I realize I have not been as consistent in writing this year.  A goal for 2017?  Be more so.

The one thing I have been consistent in, though, is my deep appreciation for those who read my blog and those I read.  To the writers of other blogs, thank you for your words.  They have made me laugh, made me cry, encouraged me and challenged me.  They have given me comfort when you knew nothing of what I was going through.

So, from the bottom of my heart, I wish you a joyous Christmas.  May this holiday season be filled with love from those you hold dearly.  May this season be filled with laughter, unexpected and bringing tears of joy to your eyes.  Most of all, may this season bring a deep and lasting peace to you.

Thank you for being in my life.  Because of you all, my life is fuller.    Merry Christmas.


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The ticking sound of time

Prelude:   This post is by my very talented niece, Beth.  Please take the time to read this, it’s awesome!  But, also visit her blog,  PDA: The Positive Disabled Adult.  Leave some comments for her, she deserves to be read and read often.  She leaves me inspired and encouraged and especially during this season, we need to feel that.  Thank you dear niece for being you!

“You would know the value of time, the day you start counting not the hours, but the seconds they contain, and what you did with them.” -Herman J Steinherr As the holidays quickly appro…

Source: The ticking sound of time

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Beneath the Irises

I usually take each post I write and share it on my Facebook pages.  This one I will not as I have already posted a picture and most of my friends know what this post will be about.

Beneath the irises, under the dirt, wrapped in a blanket with a favorite toy lies our dear puppy.    I knew I would write this post and it is one that I have dreaded.

In July of 2015 our puppy got sick.  He was so ill that we had to carry him inside and out.  We had just moved and hadn’t decided on a veterinarian.  I went online, looking up local animal hospitals, reading reviews and hoping I would find the right one.  We did.  We took our puppy in, fearing the worst.  They admitted him and gave us the diagnosis.  The vet looked at us upon his discharge and said, “I wish I could give you good news.  But, he could live for the next two hours, two days, two weeks, two months or two years.”  With that, we brought him home determined to love him however long we had.

Two hours passed, as did the weeks and the months.  Each day we woke up and listened to see if he stirred.  His hearing left him.  He could not hear us talking to him, but, that did not stop us from talking to him.

Eventually his eyesight started to go.  His balance was bad.  But, still he clung to us and to his life.

I said good-bye to him several times this past year.  Each time believing that he would be gone when I saw him again.  Each morning he greeted us with a slight wag of his tail and his precious face.

Last week he was struggling.  He would fall down the steps going outside.  He would fall up the steps trying to get back inside.  We knew it was time and yet it was still a struggle for us.

We made the decision last Friday that we would take him to the vet for his last visit.  Hubby walked him around outside and I went in to check him in and to do what needed to be done.   It was a very hard thing to do, but, he was ready.

We went into the examining room with a vet and tech that were so very kind.  Hubby and I stayed with our Shugo.  We did not want him to be alone.  We petted him and talked with him and thanked him for being our buddy.  They started the injection and he relaxed.  The anesthesia took effect.  The vet had to take the needle out as he discovered our poor buddy’s veins were too fragile.  They moved to another sturdier vein and continued.  We cried and petted him as he fell asleep.

We brought him home, wrapped him in his favorite blanket and put his favorite toy with him.  Together, hubby and I buried him.  I planted irises and paperwhites above him.  It is Shugo’s garden, nestled by our gazebo in among the trees.    I miss him.  I always will.

So, rest easy my friend.  We were prepared for this day and you gave us sixteen more months than what we thought we would have.  We could see you deteriorate and still you were a faithful friend.  Thank you for those extra months, I needed them.

You are now pain-free and able to hear and see and run wild.  Enjoy.

 Cathi (DAF)

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Where my mind has taken me….

But, first…. a preface!  Last night one of my dear cousins wrote me and asked how I was doing.  She does this often, and I do miss her and wish we could somehow travel back in time and get to spend more time together. But, I digress…. in the middle of the message, she encouraged me to not give up my blog.    I haven’t written in weeks.  I do have a reason.  I have had this cold/bronchitis/sinus  stuff that lingers and lingers and lingers.  I have taken cold medicine and my mind has been more than hazy.    So, this morning, in my haziness, I forgot to take my cold medicine and amazingly enough… my mind is clear!  And a post came to mind.  So, even though I sound like I am hacking up a lung, I do have something I want to write….

When we were in the process of buying our home, we had a house inspection done.  The inspector gave us a book (literally), and reassured us that this book was much smaller than almost every other home he inspected.  This helped us greatly in deciding to proceed with the purchase of the home.

One of the things in this book, was the notification that all of the appliances were original to the house.  The inspector told us that the next five years would find us repairing and/or replacing these appliances.

That was okay with us, we like new things and we decided to buy them as they went out.  We bought a refrigerator which I love, and we have been watching to see which would be next.  Our microwave will occasionally turn on by itself for a minute.  We laugh at this, and say it must be a Revolutionary ghost soldier.  He hasn’t been around in months as the microwave has only turned on when we press the buttons.

Last week, though, I finished loading the dishwasher, put the little soap thingy in it and went to close the door.  The door would not latch.  I pulled out the shelves and rearranged everything.  Tried again.  No latching.  I looked at the latch and tried to figure it out.  No success!   I sigh, walk into the living room and tell hubby.  He gets up.  He closes the door.  It doesn’t latch.  He slams the door.  Still doesn’t latch.  He pulls out the shelves, rearranges things.  Still nothing.  I hear him looking at latch.  Still nothing.  He comes in and says,  “I don’t know what to tell you.”   He sighs and I say, “It’s okay, I can wash them.”

I love my dishwasher.  I have only had a dishwasher since we moved to South Carolina.  We have been married almost 42 years.  We have lived in South Carolina for 7 years.  That’s a lot of time of washing dishes.

I fill up my dish pan.  I start to empty the dishwasher and I look up.  Although I have lived here for a year and half, it occurs to me that I do not have a window to look out of while doing dishes.   In San Diego I could look out the window while doing dishes and have an incredible view.  I could see the Pacific Ocean, the Coronado Bay Bridge, and Point Loma.  I could watch the sunset.  I could see a view that some people will never see.  It was an incredible view to have.  I never took it for granted.  I was always in awe of the view.    I did not expect to be transported back to that old kitchen of mine while doing dishes here.

As I continued to wash the dishes I thought of other kitchens I had.  I thought of our first kitchen.  How, I stared at a wall while doing dishes.  It didn’t matter though, because I was doing our dishes after fixing him a meal.  I remembered how excited I was to have a kitchen that belonged to us.  I smiled to myself.  I wasn’t expecting to take a journey in my mind.  I was not expecting to have such wonderful memories while washing the dishes.

It took almost a half hour to get the dishwasher empty, to wash the dishes and dry them and put them away.  But, it was a wonderful respite for me.    As I folded the dish towels and closed the cupboards, I leaned down, lifted the door to the dishwasher and click!  It latched!

I just started laughing.  Grateful that we didn’t have to replace our dishwasher so close to Thanksgiving, but, also, grateful for the memories that flooded my mind so unexpectedly.

It’s the little things that happen in life that amaze me the most.    Thanks for stopping by today.  Cathi (DAF)

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Life is like a Ferris wheel

“If you’re gonna make a change, you’re gonna have to operate from a belief that says life happens not to me, but for me” -Tony Robbins It’s been said a million …

Source: Life is like a Ferris wheel

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Shelter in the Storm…

Many of us watched this week as Hurricane Matthew made his journey up the East Coast of this country.    My thoughts are with those who lost loved ones and property.  This has been a difficult week for many.

But, I confess, I was blessed by Matthew.  Matthew brought Little Man and his parents to me.  They came here when they evacuated Charleston.

Little Man was a bit concerned, which is expected.  A four-year old seeing his folks work around the house, pack up things not typically brought for a visit to Grammy and Grampy, and hearing news reports and conversations that he does not usually hear.

Being smart, his folks tried to lighten the mood by suggesting a new name for Hurricane Matthew.  A name less frightening for a four-year old.  It’s a classic name.

So, Hurricane Cupcake Pants, thank you for allowing a Category 5 whirlwind of giggles, laughter, tickles,  playing several rounds of ball, and going on adventures to a local park.  I loved my week, I haven’t smiled and laughed this much for a long while.  Little Man is growing and each visit brings great conversations with him.

Yes, I had a great week.  I know there are many people who haven’t.  I pray things will calm down for them.  Thanks for stopping by.  DAF(Cathi)

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